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Bypaths of Kansas History - February 1937

(vol. 6, no. 1, pages 97 to 105)
Transcribed by lhn; digitized with permission of
the Kansas Historical Society.

MANY patrons of the Kansas Historical Society are in touch with the Society only through the medium of the Quarterly. Unfortunately this does not permit access to the 50,000 pound volumes of newspapers, or the 300,000-odd books, pamphlets, and magazine volumes, or the million manuscript. pieces, or the numerous broadsides and dodgers-all of which make up the story of Kansas. These collections represent several generations in the state's history. In them are found the records of the times-the accounts of happenings that were important in the lives of individuals and communities. It seems appropriate that as many of these little-mentioned bypaths be explored as space and time will permit; hence this department.


From The Democratic Platform, Liberty, Mo., June 1, 1854.

PASSAGE OF THE NEBRASKA BILL.-By reference to the . . . proceedings of Congress it will be seen that the bills organizing territorial governments for Kansas and Nebraska, has, after a long and stormy debate, passed the House of Representatives. The house bill differs from the one previously passed the Senate in only one particular, that is the striking out of the Clayton amendment, which excluded foreigners from voting at the first election.

We congratulate the citizens of Missouri on the favorable termination of this great debate. We will now have two new territories to colonize, with Southern citizens. Let us set to work immediately, and make preparations for having every family in Missouri represented in the new territory. We must make Kansas a slave state, else we have no security for our property.The only way for us to accomplish that is to go there and "settle." If you cannot leave, a substitute must be found, who will be on hand, when the vote on the constitution is taken.

Ibid., June 29, 1854.

RESOLUTIONS of THE SQUATTER ASSOCIATION. -- Whereas, we, the citizens of Kansas territory, and many others, citizens of the adjoining state of Missouri, contemplating a squatter's home on the fair plains of said territory, are assembled at Salt creek valley, for the purpose of taking such steps as will secure safety and fairness in the location and preservation of claims;

Therefore, be it unanimously

1. Resolved, That we are in favor of bona fide squatter sovereignty, and acknowledge the right of any citizen of the United States to make a claim in Kansas territory ultimately with the view of occupying it.

2. Resolved, That such claim when made, shall be held so long as a bona fide intention of occupying it is apparent; and for the purpose of protecting and defending such claim, we agree to act in concert, if necessary, to expel intruders.



3. Resolved, That every person of lawful age, or who may be the head of a family, who shall make out his claim of 160 acres, so that it may be apparent how the same lies, and proceeds with reasonable diligence to erect thereon a cabin or tent, shall be deemed to have made a proper claim.

4. Resolved, That any person, on marking out his claim, shall be deemed to have forfeited it, unless he commences his claim, or pitches a tent within two weeks thereafter, unless the same be on such lands as prohibit it by military or Indian reservation.

5. Resolved, That all persons now holding claims shall have two weeks, from this day, in which to make the improvement contemplated by the foregoing resolutions.

6. Resolved, That no person shall be protected by the "Squatter Association," who holds in his own right more than one claim.

7. Resolved, That a citizen of the territory be appointed as "Register of Claims," who shall keep a book in which he shall register the names and description of all squatters and their claims, and the date of making same, for which registration he shall be allowed the sum of fifty cents for each claim, to be paid by the claimant.

8. Resolved, That we recognize the institution of slavery as already existing in the territory, and recommend to slaveholders to introduce their property as fast as possible.

9. Resolved, That we afford protection to no Abolitionists as settlers of Kansas territory.

10. Resolved, That a "Vigilance Committee" of thirteen be appointed by the chairman to decide upon all disputes in relation to claims, and to protect the rightful party; and for that purpose shall have power to call together the entire "Squatter's Association."

11. Resolved, That all persons who wish to become members of the "Squatter Association" shall subscribe to the foregoing preamble and resolutions.

12. Resolved, That the secretary of this meeting be instructed to hand these proceedings to E. S. Wilkinson and S. J. Finch, or either of them, for immediate publication and reference.

Saturday, June 19th, 1854:
Lewis Burnes, President.
J. H. R. Cundiff, Secretary.

Ibid., July 6,1854.

GREAT KANSAS MEETING IN CLAY COUNTY.-On Monday the 3d day of July, 1854, in the court house in the city of Liberty, assembled one of the largest gatherings ever witnessed in Clay county.

The meeting was called to order, whereupon Judge James T. V. Thompson of Liberty was called to the chair, and G. W. Withers elected secretary.

The chairman in an eloquent manner explained the object of the meeting, when the following resolutions reported by Mr. Gwinner, were laid before the meeting.

Whereas: In republican governments the voice of the people in public meeting assembled is universally respected.

Therefore, we the citizens of Clay county, believing self-preservation to be the first law of nature, and learning that organizations have been effected in the Northern states for the purpose of colonizing the territory of Kansas with


such fanatical persons as composed the recent disgraceful mob in the city of Boston, where a United States officer, for simply attempting to obtain justice for a Southern citizen, was shot down in the streets; and learning too that these organizations have for their object the colonization of said territory, with "Eastern and foreign paupers" with a view of excluding citizens of slaveholding states, and especially citizens of Missouri from settling there with their property, and further, to establish a link of the Underground Railroad, connecting with the Iowa line, when thousands of our slaves will be stolen from us-in thwarting their attempts upon our rights we do

Resolved, That Kansas ought of right to be a slave state, and we pledge ourselves to cooperate with the citizens of Jackson county, and the South generally in any measure to accomplish such ends.

Resolved, That the citizens of Clay county have no sympathy for, or connection with abolitionism, and we pledge ourselves to support and sustain our sons and brothers in Kansas who may resist the encroachments of Northern fanatics; peaceably if we can, but forcibly if we must.

Resolved, That the proceedings of the Westport and Kansas meeting on this subject meet our hearty approval, and we promise to cooperate in all measures for the protection of the slave interest in Kansas territory.

Resolved, In the language of our Westport brethren "that we will carry with us into the new territory of Kansas, every species of property including slaves, and that we will hold and enjoy the same; that we desire to do so peacefully, and deprecate any necessity for resorting to violence in support of our just and lawful rights; yet, (in no spirit of bravado and with the strongest wish for peace,) apprehensive of interference with our private and domestic concerns by certain organized bands who are to be precipitated upon us, we notify all such, that our purpose is firm, to enjoy all our rights, and to meet with the last argument all who shall in any way infringe upon them.

Resolved, That we recommend to our fellow-citizens of Missouri and Arkansas, more especially of the border counties, to organize with these ends in view; and to each and every man who feels an interest in the destiny of the future state of Kansas, to be on the alert that we may avail ourselves of the great advantages which the contiguity the new territory at once gives to us, and entitles us, in moulding the government and institutions of the future state in accordance with those of our own, and thus guarantee for the future a good neighbor and a firm friend, united to us by the bond of interest.

Resolved, That we tender our warmest thanks to Hon. David R. Atchison, Hon. Henry S. Geyer, John S. Phelps, James G. Lindley, A. W. Lamb, John G. Miller, Samuel Caruthers and Mordecai Oliver, for the manly and patriotic stand they took in defense of the Douglas bill, and the rights of the South.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the city papers and other papers in the state be requested to copy.

The resolutions were discussed by Messrs. Thos. T. Gill and E. M. Samuels and F. Gwinner, who were favorable to their passage. On motion of Capt. W. E. Price the resolutions were unanimously adopted nearly every person in the meeting voting.

After this decided expression of the citizens of Clay county, the meeting adjourned.

JAMES T. V. THOMPSON, President, G. W. WITHERS, Secretary.



KANSAS MEETING.-In another column will be found the proceedings of a Kansas meeting lately held in this city. The resolutions there passed, we endorse to the letter, and are in favor of having them carried out. The resolutions are such as ever[y] trice Missourian can subscribe to, they show the citizens of Clay to be sound on the slavery question, and willing to adopt ultra measures to rid ourselves of the squad of abolitionists, and Negro Stealing Free-Soilers, who infest this state. If every county in the state would speak as Clay has spoken, there would be no danger of Kansas becoming a free state, or the citizens of Missouri being longer troubled with such nuisances as Abolitionists, and Free-soilers.

Ibid., July 13, 1854.

Attention is directed to the articles from the Weston papers, offering $200 reward for one Eli Thayer, principal of the "Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society," an association for colonizing Kansas with Abolitionists and Northern paupers, at the exclusion of citizens of slave-holding states. We hope the individual may be found, and meet with just such a course of treatment that one of his sort deserve,,hanging!!

Ibid., July 20, 1854.

A large company left this city on Tuesday last, for Kansas territory. They took with them mechanical tools, and farming implements, for the purpose, we suppose, of "making improvements" in the new territory. They are of the "right stripe" and as soon as comfortably fixed will take slaves into the territory.


Copied from an early-day broadside.

Fare to Lawrence, $3.50

Through From Kansas City to Lecompton In One Day
One Daily Line from LAWRENCE to OSAWATOMIE, and Two Daily Lines From LAWRENCE

Passengers by this Line have an opportunity of traveling over the most attractive and cultivated portion of the Territory in Splendid Four Horse Concord-built Coaches, and will save at least TEN MILES of tedious travel, making it the Shortest, as well as the Cheapest and most agreeable Route to the


Passengers leaving Kansas City by the Morning Line, breakfast at Wyandott, dine at Wolf Creek, and arrive at Lecompton in time for supper, making five changes of horses between Kansas City and Lecompton.


Express Freights taken at the Lowest Rates &amo; delivered with Promptness & Despatch.

Office, 109 Levee, Opposite the Steamboat Landing, Kansas City.

AGENTS.--Kansas City, Al. F. Caswell; Wyandotte & Lawrence, Eldridge Bros.; Leavenworth, Buckley.




From Kansas National Democrat, Lecompton, August 30, 1860.

Some idea may be formed of the vast emigration and trade across the Plains from the following figures:

During the present season, one hundred and fifty thousand persons have crossed on the roads leading through Kansas alone. In freighting, traveling, expressing, and carrying mails, 15,000 head of mules, 2,000 head of horses, 8.000 wagons, and 85,000 head of cattle are employed. The value of merchandise shipped to New Mexico, Pike's Peak, Utah, and to military posts and Indian traders' forts in the mountains, during the present season, is estimated at $12,000,000, employing a capital of $5,500,000 and returning a profit of $5,000,000, or fifty percent, which is about the average profit claimed by persona engaged in the trade.-Leavenworth Dispatch.


From Freedom's Champion, Atchison, June 14, 1862.

Our city is cursed with an innumerable quantity of miserably executed Leavenworth shinplasters. We don't want them, and if Leavenworth bankers persist in sending them out of their city, we advise our business men to adopt a system of promptly returning them to the issuers. We have a chartered bank which has always redeemed its issues in coin, and a responsible private banker, and if desired, they would undoubtedly supply all the small notes which our community would require, and of a quality which would not be worn out after passing through a few hands.


Excerpts from the Wichita Vidette, August 13, 1870.

We present, today, the first number of the Wichita Vidette . . . Vidette! That is the name of our paper. The word is from the French, who spell it Vedette. It means an out-post, or picket, or rather "sentinel on horse back," as Webster hath it. As we conceive ourselves to be the sentinel or picket of journalism in Southwestern Kansas, we claim the right to spell the word as we see proper, and therefore print it Vidette. Of course we expect some smart Aleck of a quill-driver will discover a mare's nest as soon as our title strikes his eye; and we expect him to go for us on what he will imagine to be very bad orthography, or at best a misprint. But we don't care a continental. "Vidette" is the name of our paper, and we purpose having it known as such.

About ten miles southwest of Wichita, there is one of the greatest natural


curiosities in the world. It is the finest quality of salt imbedded in the earth similar to a rock quarry. It can be easily obtained with but little labor, and when pulverized (which is easily done), is similar to the Kanawa salt of Virginia. This is where the Indians, from all parts of the plains, get their supply of salt. This great salt plain is so extensive that there is no doubt but at some time it will be of great value.

There is another natural curiosity, eight miles east of Wichita near the head of Dry creek. It is a large apperture or cave, about thirty feet under ground, through which flows a stream of pure clear water, containing several varieties of fish. It was first discovered by Captain Payne, whose curiosity was excited at finding a shallow ravine, along which was occasionally a hole that had apparently been made by the earth being removed from the bottom which upon investigation, proved to be correct.

Captain Payne made a rope fast a few feet back from the apperture, then fastened the other end around his waist and descended into it through one of those holes to this great cave. Its extent as yet has not been explored. The distance from where the captain tapped this cavern to the foot of the bluff is about a quarter of a mile. The water flows directly in that direction, but sinks, as it approaches it, in the sand below. The height of the opening is about three and a half feet, the width varies from two to nine feet. The water flows south. The other end of this curious subterranean passage was explored by the Captain and some other gentlemen a few days since, for a distance, as they supposed, of about 500 yards. The main channel is nearly straight. At a short distance from the opening there is a chamber of about 10 by 14 feet and six to six and a half feet high, with lime stone rock above and sand stone below, perfectly dry. The sides are lime stone and yellow clay. There are other chambers, the extent and formation of which we have not yet learned. The Captain says he is determined to know more about this curious cave just as soon as he can find time to give it a thorough examination. The most singular part of this discovery is that fish should live where they are entirely excluded from the light.

There is the finest quality of soil along the Little Arkansas river, Cowskin and Chisholm creeks, and in fact along all tributaries of the great Arkansas river from twenty miles above Wichita to forty miles below, than there is in the United States, the Sciota Miami, and Great American bottoms not excepted. They are the most beautiful streams of clear running water, with level bottoms that any country can boast of from which the inhabitants catch the finest quality of black and yellow catfish, white bass, buffalo, and many other varieties; and as for wild game, it is far ahead of anything in the West. Along all the streams wild turkeys are found in abundance. Prairie chickens abound all over the valley, and, within a short distance immense herds of buffalo, antelope, deer and elk are found. The farmer has only to take his team and wagon, throw in sufficient bread-stuff to last him two or three days, a little salt, some coffee, tin cup, coffee pot and frying pan, and strike out west or south from twelve to twenty miles to get all the wild meat he wants to last himself and family three months. The settlers are crowding the wild Indians so far back that we have all these great hunting grounds to ourselves, unmolested by them.

In 1868 General Lawrence, Durfee, Munger, and others began talking about laying out a town; but it seems that the land could not be obtained for that


purpose. A year later Mr. Munger got a title to a part of the old town, and laid it off in lots. He had several buildings put up, which gave it the appearance of a town. Little else was done until about three months ago, when William Griffinstein laid off a town south of the old town, since which time buildings have been going up as fast as mechanics can do the work and building materials furnished. At an early day steps were taken to secure the publication of a newspaper, the first number of which is before you.

Wood is cheap in this market-only $4 per cord . . . . Sod corn here will produce, this year, forty bushels to the acre . . . . Three thousand head of cattle passed over the trail on Friday morning. A large herd came in this morning . . . . The Texas cattle trail is now permanently located at this point, and when railroads reach us, think, oh l wise men of the East, and study a way to this cattle Mecca . . . . A quarterly meeting of the M. E. Church will be held in Wichita on Saturday and Sunday next. We are glad to see so great an interest manifested in religious matters as is being exhibited by the members of the different religious denominations. . . `. We are under many obligations to both stage lines, the Southern Kansas (Henry Tisdale's), and Kansas Stage Co. (Terry & Co.). Both run a daily line to Wichita. The managers spare no pains to accommodate the traveling public, while their agents and drivers are as kind and courteous as men can well be.

The Presbyterian church of this town are about erecting a very fine church edifice . . . . Joe Irwin's bull train passed through here today, en route for Harker. It came from Fort Sill, and had been on the road fifty-four days. The stock was in first rate condition. The drivers informed us that Wichita was on the most direct and best route between Forts Sill and Harker.

A ball and party, gotten up in a very respectable way, and comparing favorably with towns much older than we, was attended with great harmony and good feeling, last night. The music was excellent, and the viands partaken of with a relish . . . . Last week, we in company with J. C. Burke and Captain Payne, "went fishing" in the Little Arkansas about a mile and a quarter above town. We had Mr. Burke's net and fish-rack. This rack consists of narrow plank framed together, and when a haul is made the fish is taken from the net and placed in the rack, which is floated after the net. We made five hauls and took out about 500 pounds of fish, the largest cat-fish weighing fifty-two pounds gross. We like fishing when we can do as well as we did this time.


From The Commonwealth, Topeka, April 2, 1875.

The following beautiful and touching obituary notices appear in the Cawker City Tribune: "The Beloit Index has ascended the tin tube. It expired at the early age of three months. The fierce struggle for corn meal and potatoes was too much for it in these grasshopper times. Another good newspaper office will now become food for the sheriff. The Solomon valley is paved with newspaper presses, as hell is with good intentions. They stand at every four corners, monuments of warning to would be Greeleys and Bennetts. They are all sacred to the memory of departed ambition and ruined hopes. Only the bleaching buffalo bones outnumber them. Phillipsburg once had one. Kirwin has one dead and one stored away. Cedarville once had it, and it died. Osborne City killed one. Stockton was threatened with one. Cawker City has borne up under the infliction of two of them, and now supports


one. The place where Lindley once stood is marked by an old hand press. Solomon City gets away with about two a year, and this is not the first death that has occurred in Beloit. It buried a Mirror once. But now McBride `has stepped down and out,' and the grief of Beloit is so great that she `sits on the ragged edge' and wishes she had never held out inducements to lure the young `Ibex' on to his ruin."


From Dodge City Times, Aug. 18, 1877.

Dickinson county has a buffalo hunter named Mr. Warnock, who has killed as high as 658 in one winter.-Edwards County Leader.

Oh, dear! What a mighty hunter! Ford county has twenty men who each has killed five times that number in one winter. The best on record, however, is that of Tom Dixon, who killed 120 at one stand in 40 minutes, and who from the 15th of September to the 20th of October, killed 2,173 buffalo. Come on with some big hunters now, if you have any.


From the Pearlette Call, April 15, 1879.

You know wood is scarce in Meade county, and coal is expensive, hence you will doubtless wonder what we do for fuel.

Those who can afford it buy coal in Dodge, at 87 to $9 per ton, while others, having teams, get some wood in the canyons east of us.

But the most of us burn chips-buffalo chips we call them but. the majority of those we find were doubtless dropped by Texas cattle when passing north.

These chips make a tolerable fair fire, but of course burn out very rapidly; consequently to keep up a good fire you must be continually poking the chips in and taking the ashes out. Still we feel very thankful for even this fuel.

It was comical to see how gingerly our wives handled these chips at first. They commenced by picking them up between two sticks, or with a poker. Soon they used a rag, and then a corner of their apron. Finally, growing hardened a wash after handling them was sufficient. And now? Now it is out of the bread, into the chips and back again-and not even a dust of the hands!


From the Lakin Eagle, August 22, 1879.



On The Plains of Western KANSAS.


The Renowned Hunter of This Country.


A rare chance for INVALIDS and PLEASURESEEKERS to spend a week among the herds of wild HORSES, BUFFALO and ANTELOPE of KANSAS and COLORADO.



must not forget that C. Henderson will commence to run his excursion train over the WILD PRAIRIE in either direction for your accommodation, on the first of October next, and CHARLES YOUNGBLOOD, will go as PILOT. Youngblood has traversed the western plains for eight successive years, and knows it equal to the "RED MAN," whom he has met frequently, and will show you many interesting features, in connection with all kinds of WILD game found on the plains or, "Great American Desert."


These excursions will commence promptly on the first day of October next and will be continued from time to time as occasions require, and start from Lakin, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.

This enterprise will be managed by men of ability and integrity, who are experienced frontiersmen, and will be under the immediate control of CHARLES YOUNGBLOOD a man who has been eight years on the BORDER, and is acquainted with the whole country, from Dodge City, Kansas, to Pueblo, Colorado.

Mr. Youngblood is a man fifty-three years of age, rather under medium height, dark complexioned, with keen piercing eyes, and dark hair sprinkled with grey. He is safe, trustworthy and reliable, and proposes to find game for all parties who go out under his leadership, or make no charge.


is situated on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, in Kearny county, Kansas, and on the extreme frontier of civilization but here the tourist and pleasureseekers can obtain as good hotel accommodations as are to be found in the state, and at the stores of O'LOUGHLIN'S or GRAY & JONES', all the necessary articles can be purchased to supply the wants of the excursion parties.

These parties are organized in the fall, for the reason that, that is the most delightful of our seasons for travel and recreation.

A love of the chase is a passion inherent in everyone, and when it is for game that is rare to Eastern people such as Buffalo, Antelope, and Wild Horses, it is rendered doubly so; but here is an opportunity for all to get a sight of those wonderful animals that they have only been acquainted with in books and legends, and to breathe the pure and exhilarating air of the


of the West. The atmosphere of this country is so pure and dry that any one can sleep at night in the open air with perfect impunity and in fact many a one, suffering from pulmonary diseases or general debility, have been effectually cured by living a time in the camp of the hunter or stockman.



will be run exclusively for the benefit of Health and Pleasure seekers, and the necessary outfit for the accommodation of parties will be in readiness at the time stated.


proposes to make one round trip for each week, and parties will be taken for ONE DOLLAR per day each.

The herd of WILD HORSES, spoken of elsewhere is held within about a mile of LAKIN, and will doubtless be an object of interest to all new comers.