Jump to Navigation

Letters of John and Sarah Everett, 1854-1864, 2

Miami County Pioneers

May 1939 (Vol. 8, No. 2), pages 143 to 174
Transcribed by Sean Furniss; digitized with permission of
the Kansas State Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to footnotes for this text.

Osawatomie July 10, 1856.

We received yours of the 20th & 25th ult. this week. We continue well and safe. The Legislative Assembly who met at Topeka on the 4th, the true Representatives of four fifths of the actual settlers of Kansas, were dispersed at the point of the sabre by U. S. troops. This is "Squatter Sovereignty" in Kansas. The wild borders of Missouri, hangers on and lick spittles of Missouri slaveholders, vote for and elect those who rule us, while the People's Representatives are hunted down as traitors. We are all traitors to slavery, but if we were not loyal to the Union, most loyal, such an insult and indignity as above recorded, would never have been written. The patience of those parts of the territory who have suffered most is wearing very thin. Our returned representatives said it was hard to keep some of the free state men from firing into the U. S. troops. There were some six or seven hundred free state men there well armed. Is there a North? Why will she not unite for our deliverance? I am glad to see the firmness of tone manifested in Congress. The plain story about Kansas is this:— There is not a proslavery man of my acquaintance in Kansas who does not acknowledge that the Bogus Legislature was the result of a gigantic and well planned fraud, that the elections were carried by an invading mob from Missouri. The free state Legislature was the result of the unbiased and free vote of the people. The question is, shall we be ruled by a foreign mob or by the resident people expressing their will in a peaceable election.

We hear that the Southerners are in camp three or four miles East of Osawatomie on the Osage, and that they talk of making a town there, "New Georgia." If they do, we shall have to look to our locks and our hen roosts, for the proslavery men about Westport got disgusted with them—they were so thievish. You ask if Whitfield [26] led the mob who robbed Osawatomie. Some who had seen him thought they recognized him, but they were led by a drunken Capt. Bell of S. Carolina

We have just got some hens for the first time. A few weeks ago, we took a hen and chickens to raise on shares. Then we bought two hens and a hen and chickens. A hen will set and raise three broods of chickens here in a summer. We have a hen setting now for the 2nd or 3d time. She began laying, when her last brood were three weeks old, Our two cows and yearling heifer are doing well. We are raising the two calves. Love to all John.

Longwood July 22, 1856

Dear Cynthia

We received Father's of July 9 this morning. Our Quaker friend Richard brought it along just before Breakfast— The Tribunes did not come this week. Twenty seven come now in the mail. Tis the first week they have been detained. For some little time (since about the 4th) we have had quiet, but some goods that belonged to one of our merchants Mr. Saml. Geer was broken open between here and Westport within three or four days and all the boxes searched. This begins to look like another beginning of the "reign of terror." A Mr. [John E.] Stewart who lives on the Wakarusa and was passing down to the Neosho called here on his way to get dinner. He says that the people there have been prevented in a great measure from getting in crops and that many have lost a great deal of private property. The only way that they had been able to do anything in the way of ploughing and putting in was to go in large companies to their fields armed with the invincible Sharpe's rifle. Mr. Stewart I have since learned is a New England Minister—but I gathered from his conversation that be thinks that here in the Territory "moral suasion" will be a little better for having something like a Sharpe's rifle to stand on. He agrees with H. W. B. [27] on that point— It is very dry. We have had no rain to do much good for over 5 weeks. If we do not have some soon our crops will present a totally ruinous look—

Father inquired about the soldiers; they left the Sabbath before the 4th. We sold them a little more than $10 worth of "sundries"—

We are going to have a great many wild plums in our grove this year— They are very nice too, not at all like the sour plums that grow in Steuben— I think I shall be able to dry some to sell besides what we shall want— We found plenty of gooseberries in their season so you see this summer we are likely to fare rather better in some respects than we did last— We make butter enough to pay all our store bills at present— We have a few eggs now. We have two hens of our own that lay and two of friend Richard's here that have begun to lay today. We have 5 of his here which we took to see if we could get them to laying. They have sixty or more chickens and so little to feed them all that the hens stopped laying 2 months ago so a few days ago we borrowed five hens and two of them commenced laying today— We bought 1/2 bushel of corn to feed them and are going to pay for it in eggs— 15c a doz for eggs and 20c for the corn— So much of chicken news— I must send you a piece of Frank's new trousers and apron—the "yaller" piece is like the apron—How do you suppose his little white head looks growing up through such a suit as this makes— I have cut his hair today for the first time and must send you a bunch. It reached clear down to his shoulders— We have meetings now in our neighborhood—could have them here if we chose but think it a little nearer the centre of the district at friend Mendenhall's and so they are held in his dooryard shaded by the forest trees.

There are six preachers located on claims within 2 miles of us or rather their claims are located, within that distance. Two of them have not yet moved on to their claims—

Good bye for the present
Sat [28]

July 24.

It continues very dry. We long for rain. The Calendar for July came to hand this week. Also Phrenological & Water Cure Journals. . . . The reconsideration and passage of the Kansas Free State Bill in the House revived our drooping hopes. The moral effect of such a vote is very great. If Douglas's bill [29] should become a law, another just such an invasion would take place as have taken place, although perhaps more cunningly contrived. We should have thousands of Missourians among us on sham claims, who would stay just long enough to call it a residence; put up a log or a rail pen for a shanty, split out a few oak boards to sleep under, and then pass the time in fishing hunting and lounging about. Many families here live almost entirely out of doors from choice in the Summer particularly Missourians. Some houses have a projecting roof in front, with three or four shelves for dishes &c, and there the women spend most of the summer days. Others have rails laid up just like a rail fence roofed slightly, and live in that day times. We hardly ever get any rain oftener than once a week except for a few weeks in the rainy season. go it would not be much expense to set up a habitation for the summer.

Our health continues good. Love to all


Longwood, Aug 1, 1856

Dear Cynthia

Father's last, announcing Jane's arrival was received this week. But the only thing that I could fix my mind on was the Fremont enthusiasm. In his election is our only rescue!

If that proves a failure we are in common with the free North "Subdued!" We can no longer speak of our glorious Republic! Liberty and Democracy will be utterly overthrown to be raised again only by strife and bloodshed! It is a shame that a government. commenced as was ours, should now be overthrown by a spirit darker and more malignant than that which provoked its origin. We are looking forward to the Nov. election with trembling anxiety.

Can it be possible that any one born and reared in the free north blessed with all its privileges, can— in their hearts desire that this country should be tilled by slaves? If they have not hearts to feel for the oppressed, can they yet really desire the introduction of an Institution here that shall hinder the development of the. country's wealth, and render the soil in a few short years worthless and worn out? . . .

We do not hear of any more difficulty in the Territory as yet. Have learned from our Eastern papers that Col. P. Smith is now in command of the U. S. troops in the Ter. [30] It matters not who has that post so long as Frank Pierce is Commander in Chief. I should not lose 10 sec. of sleep if I should hear any night at bed time that that man or demon or whatever he be had been assassinated!

The weather here continues very dry and hot! Newcomers are mostly getting down sick. An old lady one of our neighbors who came in, in the winter where Mr. Rose lived, was buried last week, and another young woman in town.

The old lady was in at our house a few weeks previous talking about the troubles in the Territory. She set down the Free State party as a, mean set and she and I approached somewhat towards a quarrel before the talk ended which was only avoided by her very adroitly turning the conversation. She had given me reason to infer from what things she had said when here once before that she was as radical on the slavery question as we, and 'twas this hypocrisy that called forth my indignation at this time.

When she left I remarked to John that I felt as if I never wanted to see her face again and I never did, for we did not hear of her death till two days after the funeral! There is no hardness between them and us. They are "pro-slavery to the core" and her son has threatened to shoot the first abolitionist that steps into the house—yet he knows we are abolitionists and he is as obliging and good a neighbor as we want.

We are quite well yet John has a sore foot that prevents him from working out much so he is digging a little cellar under the house. Frank looks as "tough as a knot." . . .

Let me see I must keep you posted up on the chicken news. I believe I told you we had borrowed some hens—they have all got to laying! and as our neighbor wanted some tin ware very badly I managed to get two of the hens for a tin pan. I did not like to spare the pan but thought I could get more by next summer with eggs! Butter is worth 30 cts a lb. in Kansas City and we have concluded to pack down what we make after this week and send it there—or keep it till winter when twill be worth more than tis now here. I have been writing to my brother to send us money to get cows with this fall and if we can bring things around right will make cheese next summer! and so get money to pay for our claim.

I shall have to stop any way for I have covered my sheet.

Our love to all . . .
Sarah M. C. Everett

[This Fragment, in the Handwriting of John R. Everett, Bears No Date But Contents Place It at This Point in the Series. The Letter Describes the Battle of Osawatomie on August 30, 1856]

arms flashing in the sun. One house seemed to be burning. I staid some time there, but could not distinguish any thing more particularly. We could hear occasionally the roar of the cannon and the shouting of the Missourians. I came down and as I came home could see smoke after smoke go up from the devoted town. They had finished plundering and had gone to burning in earnest. I found more fugitives from town at the house, a son of O. C. Brown [31] (not Capt. John Brown, but a very different man) and a son of Rev. Mr. Adair, the Congregational preacher. [32] The latter was a cousin of Frederick Brown, Capt. John Brown's son, who was shot before any alarm was given by a scout of the enemy, a proslavery Baptist preacher named Martin White. This was the first sad note of warning. Young Adair was sent immediately to alarm the free State men under Capt. J. Brown named above. His son shot dastardly, unsuspectingly was the word to rouse the brave Captain. Adair was cut off from returning by the advance of the enemy. He made his way below the town and over to us. He is a brave boy about 14. In the mean time friend Mendenhall had returned to his watch on the bill, and stayed there till be saw the Missouri crowd take up the line of march and leave. He immediately, with another neighbor Rev. James Caruth [33] started to town to render assistance to survivors &c. They came past our house and I went with them. We were almost the first in town after the burning. The first house we came to was a farm house, Mr. Chestnut's, a zealous free State man with a large family. This house was in the town limits, but not in the village strictly. They had moved their goods nearly all out. The mob came there but providentially did not burn up their shelter. The next house we came to was smoking but standing. We went in and found the floor had been fired from underneath, but was then only half burnt. We put out the fire with some wet wash clothes standing in a tub and saved that house. Others came in, and we went down to the timber to the field of conflict, to look for wounded or dead. We found one body on the bank of the river shot through the breast. He appeared to have died instantly. No one was killed on the battle field of our party. This man was sick, and could not escape. We got a couple of poles, laid shingle boards across them, and four of us mournfully carried him to an empty house, belonging to a pro-slavery man and so marked with a white flag and saved. The next day he was buried in a rough box in his clothes as he fell, with two others, martyrs to the liberty of Kansas. We looked around a long time but found no others. Again the next day we were down searching. George Cutter was wounded you know before the battle, over a mile from town. [34]

And now to answer some more questions. We feel in somewhat more danger on account of our nearness to Missouri. But there are 18 m. Indian territory to the line and twice that to any center of invasion.— My health is not very good for a few days. I feel better today. Sarah and Franky are pretty well. . . . As for the coming winter if they pay us for the care of Mr. Cutter we shall do well enough. We have not got any thing yet except part of a bag of flour. We hope to get something. I saved the $20 1 should have sent you for the Tribunes, till I had a chance to get 3 nice pigs for $41/2 dollars of it. This is a good investment of a small sum. They live on acorns they find in the woods, and the house refuse. With their natural increase I calculate they will be worth $50 besides their keeping next fall. The other $15 1 have been obliged to break into on account of extra expenses for our wounded man. If it had not been for business having been broken up and the people driven off by our late calamities we should have done well enough. As it is, we shall have no trouble if we get our pay.

Osawatomie, Oct. 29, 1856.

Dear Father

We received yours of Oct 14, yesterday, by our weekly mail. This mail brought very discouraging news for us by the papers. We see that Pennsylvania and Indiana went for the border ruffians at the State elections. It will be a very dark day for Kansas if they vote the same way next Tuesday. But it is idle now to talk. Before this reaches you the great question will have been decided as far as this election can decide it. However it may go, those who have thrown all their influence for freedom may feel that they have succeeded, for blood guiltiness will not be upon their souls. Their record is clean. Their consciences are satisfied. And the great Ruler of the world can make even the wrath of man to praise Him. It is mysterious how He permits the wicked to flourish like a green bay tree, and their plans of gigantic wickedness to succeed. I am sure, I would not be in Buchanan's place, or in that of his intelligent supporters for all "the wealth of Ormus or of Ind." They are trying to strangle freedom in an immense territory, and to plant human oppression, bloodshed, and the worst tyranny in its stead. To succeed in this is as if a man should succeed in murdering his own offspring.

Last night the prairie around us got afire, and we were out about 3 hours from 12 to 3 o'clock "fighting fire." It burnt up about 2/3 of what hay I had saved in spite of us.

I have been talking the past week quite seriously of going East this fall, working there at something through the winter and returning in the Spring; while Sarah would stay here to take care of our claim, stock &c. But now I do not think it advisable to do so. If Fremont is our President, I think we should have quiet here this winter, probably. But if Buchanan is elected I fear trouble. From what I am able to learn, the free State men do not mean to give it up in any event. There is still a chance for us to save this territory to freedom and virtue. There is still a majority of free State men among the actual settlers in the territory. Are the East prepared to sustain us here? I hope the host of liberty have girt on their armor for the war, and that one reverse will not dishearten them. If the government is against us, there is more need that we should be true to ourselves and to the great cause.

Rev. Mr. Finch, the Wesleyan Missionary and one of our neighbors, went to Lawrence this week. He was going to try to get some money to pay us for taking care of Mr. Cutter. He took out 20 or 25 pounds of butter to sell for us.

There are a good many families around here who will suffer this winter unless they have help. The war has paralyzed industry, and prevented employment. One cannot work even for himself in the midst of continual alarms. I am glad to see so much interest taken in collecting funds for the suffering in Kansas. It will be needed.

Our health as a family is good. Our wounded man is getting along slowly. He has three wounds still open. This is the ninth week he has been here. This is a cold windy day. The thermometer at sunrise was 26°.

With much love to all at home Your son


Osawatomie Nov. 13, 1856.

Dear Father

We received yours of Oct 29, this week Tuesday, with the gold dollar for Frank. The little boy is very proud of his present, and thanks J. W. Roberts very much. Tell Mr. Roberts that Sarah does not despair of making a buffalo cheese yet. I have seen a number of cows that are part buffalo. The hunters take out a cow with a young calf, they find a calf whose mother has been killed. They kill the cow's calf , and the cow takes to the buffalo calf. So tell Mr. Roberts to look out for a buffalo cheese some time or other. These half or part buffalo cows are generally esteemed better for the cross. I saw a man who said he once had a three quarters buffalo cow, the best cow he ever had.

Those currant slips came by this mail—11 white and red. I have put them in the ground, and I hope they will live though they are somewhat dried. I am very much obliged to whoever took the trouble to do them up.

You ask about religious meetings. We have had none this side of the Pottawatomie since the burning and scattering here. At first people dare not leave their families and homes—all was apprehension. Every day or two brought some fresh rumor of impending invasion. Now there is a feeling of measured security again—for how long the future alone can reveal. This added to sickness in some families broke up our meetings. . . .

I am working for a neighbor this week, helping him gather his corn. I am tired this evening, and will close with much love.

Your son


P. S. Osawatomie was not burnt a second time as reported. The steam saw mill was not burnt at all. It is sawing boards again now. And alas for the steam grist mill I see reported burnt. There is none here. (Vide O. C. Brown's letter in the Utica Morn. Herald of Oct. 30. That man cant tell a straight story.)


Osawatomie, Nov. 20, 1856.

Dear Father.

Yours of Nov 6 was rec'd this week. The election of Buchanan was what I had been expecting for the last three weeks, and especially for the last week. It has not depressed the feelings of free State men here as I thought it would. We are still determined to struggle for a free State. If Fremont bad been elected that would have been assured, but even now we do not despair of the Territory. We have still Justice on our side. Eternal principles are with us. The God of the oppressed is for us. The sympathies and prayers of hundreds of thousands in the free North are ours still. A great majority of the intelligent, upright, thinking Northern public is strongly and actively with us. A bare plurality of votes of the ignorant and prejudiced, obtained by the grossest misrepresentation and fraud is all that our enemies can boast of against us. I confess I think more now of the "troops and crowds and clouds of friends" who have stood so faithfully by struggling Kansas, and who came so near carrying this battle for freedom. And although the battle is lost, the cause is not lost. The great principle we may nay must fight for still. I am proud to think that your town and county and State did so nobly.

You ask what our Quaker neighbors intend doing? I answer, they feel more firm to stay now than before election. One timid woman told Sarah yesterday, she was so mad to think her State (Indiana) had gone for B-n, that she would not leave now for anything. Most think still that this will some way be a free State yet, although the danger of its being given up to slavery has been greatly increased. But "the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." We hope God will bring good out of evil.

My health has not been quite as good this week—slight chills and fever. Sarah has not been very well either for a few days. Frank is well, as usual. George is having chills again. A piece of bone came out of one of his wounds the other day. He sat up a little today for the first time in nearly 12 weeks. The weather is mild and pleasant—the ground not frozen.— Sarah wants to know the price of sugar, rice, molasses &c with you. Your son


Osawatomie, Nov. 28, 1856.

Dear Father,

It was with feelings of inexpressible sadness that we heard of the death of Robert. He was to me more than a brother—so kind, so warm in sympathy, so generous in feeling, so unselfish and self sacrificing. And I never shall see him again on earth! I feel that he is not lost. I know that he is in heaven. The first consoling thought was that he is now walking the hills of paradise, free from the fleshly trials, with Henry. I little thought when we parted in Utica, it was to meet no more on earth. I have no recollections of Robert, but of kindness of generosity and love.

I cannot write much. It is too late in the season for us to think of going back now. We could not sell our claim and improvements. When I talked of going I expected money from Lawrence on George's account to travel with. We have not received any, and may not at all although we expect to sometime. Navigation on the Missouri will soon cease probably. It sometimes stops by the middle of November. We feel now a good deal more like striking our roots downward and outward in this soil where we are planted now, than of uprooting and starting again elsewhere. Our free State men here feel much more encouraged now than two months ago. The splendid and unexampled vote of Fremont and free thought in N. York, Mass., Mich., Northern and Western Pennsylvania, Northern Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and indeed through the North, wherever there was intelligence enough to reach the conscience. There is no doubt that here on the ground for all the harassings and harryings, for all the butcheries, burnings and legal persecutions, we stand better numerically now than in July. I must stop here. Perhaps Sarah will add some John.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We are not all feeling quite well—John has been helping friend Mose gather corn a part of the time this week and gets very tired & I have been about sick with a cold for three weeks—the first I have had in the Territory—Frank is well and is growing out of his clothes— George is gaining some faster now. I think its likely he will be able to go home in a few weeks now— Two days this week I have spent in getting things from the charity fund for him and ourselves and neighbors. One of our neighbors went to Alton to meet his wife who had been visiting East, and by stating the wants of the people of this part was successful in raising 5 large boxes of clothing & bedding (second hand) beside two or three barrels. These things he has been distributing to such as need especially to those who have braved the war and not run from the field.

I got for George socks shirts bedclothes and overcoat—for John overalls, vest, boots & socks, for myself dress & stockings, for Frank stockings aprons a nice little embroidered wadded merino sack also a nice red french merino long cloak—and worsted trousers, and a bundle of soft flannels— I got one heavy white woolen bed blanket. We have had 50 lbs. of flour this week from the regular relief fund (National) and clothing for George, and the promise of whatever we need Sarah

Osawatomie Dec 4 1856.

Dear Father.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Gov. Geary is getting more in favor with free State men. He is a vast improvement on Shannon. His removal of Donaldson [35] and rebuke of the infamous Judge Lecompte [36] is well received as an omen of better times. The troops have been withdrawn from the Southern part of the Territory. They made seven arrests while here of men who had been in the free State army last summer. They had warrants out for a good many more, but the persecuted generally got warning and kept out of the way. Now the troops are gone there is no more danger for them. I was last summer among those who thought "prudence the better part of valor," and not having a gun, neither knowing how to use one was not in the fighting army of freedom. (I must say I am rather ashamed to confess it for there never was a more righteous cause than ours, but so it was. I will say in palliation that our place is out of the way, not exposed to all the evidences of strife, and I was not disposed to go counter to your opinions on war, if I could avoid it.) There is no danger of our being exposed to legal prosecutions that I am aware of, and for Missouri armies such as we saw last summer, as long as Geary is Governor they will be kept out. The merchants of Kansas City are very tired of the past state of things; and will do what they can undoubtedly for quiet. They were getting a great trade from the Territory but war of course cut it off. A great many of the turbulent Southerners have gone home. As to the reports you speak of respecting disturbances near Osawatomie we have not beard of any thing particular. A messenger or other officer of the Congressional Committee of inquiry, Mr. Arthur, had his house burned and stock driven off some four or five weeks ago. Mr. Arthur's claim is on Sugar Creek, 25 miles South from here. The letter writers sometimes make "Osawatomie" include a district 30 miles West and from ten to twenty five miles South. I feel almost as much encouraged to look for the ultimate success of freedom in this territory when I consider the splendid success of the Fremont ticket wherever there was a thorough and straightforward canvass and an intelligent vote, as if Fremont had been elected by a meager vote. The heart of the North is aroused. The thinking farmers and intelligent mechanics are with us. The vast majority of the conservators of religion are with us. I hope we shall see a large emigration here in the spring—men moving West who will come here as peaceful settlers, ready to stand in the gap for freedom. It is said that the larger part of the emigration, what there is, even now is from free States. The Yankee race are said proverbially to be remarkably tenacious of their purposes; they are not going to give up the territory.

Our health is pretty good now. George is improving some, but is having a chill to day. There is some prospect that we shall have a speedy remittance from Lawrence on his account. . . . The free state people are very much enheartened and helped by the liberal donations of their friends in the East. It will save a great deal of suffering, besides coming in a time when we, specially felt the need of evidences of sympathy and help from our brothers at home.

We were unavoidably hindered from getting our last letter in the mail in season, so you will perhaps get two together.

With much love John.

[December 4, 1856]

I am glad that you can so readily supply us with rennet. [37] I have bothered myself beyond all telling trying to make it hold out, now I shall give myself the satisfaction of using just enough after this and hold you responsible for the consequences.

. . . [John] and Mr. Snow finished . . . a very large stack of hay to day. 12 tons they calculate!

You asked in your letter if we did not sometimes long to see such things as hills stones and so forth At the south (3/4 of a mile from us) we are blessed with the view of a magnificent bluff, "Crescent Hill," that circles around to the eastward forming a fine curve the slope of which is mostly wooded, on the west and east the bluffs step down into rich wavy rolls and to the North we descend very gently to the creek. Stones! I will show you some when you "settle in Kansas" that ten yoke of oxen can hardly stir!

John says send on that money and he will promise to take good care of the cow. $14 will get only a heifer. I am not in much of a writing mood as you must have already discovered, so perhaps I had better stop. . . . Are white linen cuffs and collars fashionable? . . . [Sarah M. C. Everett]

Osawatomie Dec. 11, 1856.

Dear Father

Yours of Nov. 27 we received this week. We thank you and our kind friends in Steuben and Pennymynydd very much for your offer of help in case we wished to return. We may be glad before very long, to avail ourselves of any help we can get. But no present danger threatens us. I was talking with the mail contractor the other day. He had just returned from Westport. I asked him how they seemed to feel there? He said they were very clever now. Those who were encouraging the border ruffians last summer now spoke of their doings as something awful. "Well," I said, "I suppose they feel very confident this will be a slave state now Buchanan is elected?" "No," he said, "they talk as if they thought it would be a free state." Capt. [Henry T.] Titus, a notorious and very prominent leader of the Southern bandits, was at Kansas City, with 50 other Southerners, bound for Gen. Walker's army in Nicaraugua. This Titus is reported to have said in passing through Lawrence, that he had spent his money and time to make Kansas a slave state, but he could not do it, nor any other man under God's heavens. There is more confidence here now than at any time since the burning of Osawatomie although we do not any of us know what a day or a week may bring forth. Another store is starting here this week—i.e. one that was burnt out starting anew. They have put a small pair of stones into their steam mill here so that they grind corn now. Some of Mr. Cutter's friends from near Palmyra were here a short time ago and said they were very busy making improvements there in their neighborhood. If we could have sufficient emigration from the North next spring, this will be a free state yet. The next claim West of us was taken this week by a Wesleyan minister. He sold his previous claim, a very good one before the election for the value of the improvements, to take effect in case Buchanan was elected, thinking there would then be no use for us to try to do anything. But his confidence has returned, he has hired a man to work on his new claim all winter I believe, and he is going on to make large improvements.

There seems still to be a great deal Of injustice practiced in the territory, but not so openly and with such a high hand as when Shannon was Governor.

We have had some pretty cold weather the last week—one morning the mercury stood at 2° above zero. There is no snow and the ground does not seem to be frozen permanently yet.

Our health is pretty good. Geo. Cutter is improving quite slowly, he is kept back by frequent chills. We are looking for a remittance from Lawrence on his account this week.

If you feel that we are not acting wisely or doing quite right in staying here, when the prospect of our making a permanent home is so uncertain, remember that the free state folks feel not only that there is an opportunity for bettering their condition if things turn favorably, but they feel that they are standing in the breach for freedom, and to leave while there is hope is to desert their colors and give strength to the enemy.

Your affectionate son John Everett

Osawatomie, Dec. 19, '56.

Dear Father,

Wednesday was a "white day" for us in Kansas Territory. In the first place Rev. Geo. Lewis and J. H. Thomas of Lawrence called to see us. Mr Thomas was formerly of Brooklyn; you know him as Mr. Thomas the tobacco man. They came this way to look at the country. We had an exceedingly pleasant and encouraging interview with them. Mr Thomas has been in the state (Missouri) lately. He says they seem discouraged about making this a slave state. He said it was perfectly safe to travel there, and to express your sentiments. On the other hand the free state men about Lawrence and indeed through the territory are full of hope, and sanguine of final success. Mr. Roberts, an intelligent neighbor (a Welshman) has been in the state and be got the same impression. He says it has cost the people of Western Missouri one million dollars for their villainous raids on Kansas. They now feel that they have been foiled. They calculated to drive us all out as they did the Leavenworth people, but found us too bard to drive.

But the event of the day was the call of Mr. Thaddeus Hyatt of New York, President of the National Kansas Committee. He is now in the territory for the purpose of visiting every neighborhood to see that justice is done to the sufferers— His visits are of a "flying" character but he transacts business with dispatch— We had never received any thing yet from the Lawrence committee on George's account but before he had been in the house 10 minutes he had settled the matter by having us make out our bill for the whole time (16 weeks) and himself writing on it an order for its immediate payment— He then made a little inquiry about the treatment George was having and recommended us to use water, and handed out $20 to get better tubs and other appliances for that purpose— He gave George $10 for an old wallet that contained 75 cts that was in his pocket when he was shot and which caught one of the bullet's that was aimed at him and which saved his hip joint from being fractured and undoubtedly saved his life— He was very indignant that the Lawrence Committee had not paid Mr. Cutter's bill before this time.— John is going to town this morning to get a bath tub made and engage lumber to ceil the house so that it will be warm enough for a bath room &c &c.

. . . Since we wrote before we have received from the fund 50 lbs flour 7 lbs sugar 6 lbs rice 2 lbs coffee 1/2 lb tea and an old pelisse which, I find very comfortable to slip on in this old room or to wear when I go out on horseback to do errands— We do not expect to get any thing more from the fund if they pay us.— John commenced but the morning was wearing away and he had wood to chop and thought he would hardly have time and so I was obliged though reluctantly to spoil his letter. Therefore with many regrets

I am, Sarah

O-e, Dec. 26, 1856.

Dear Father

Two gentlemen who were in Osawatomie this week, came in through Missouri. They reported the border ruffians they met or heard of as universally discouraged. One man who was in the army that burned Osawatomie said they were promised before they started $1.50 a day, and 160 acres of land. "Well, did you get your $1.50 a day?" "No, by —— we did not." "Did you get your 160 acres of land?" "No, by —— we didn't." "Are you going there again?" "No! Kansas may go to hell!" (That is true border ruffian dialect.)

We are very thankful to you and the generous donor for the $5 enclosed in your last. We hope now that another year we may be left in peace so may earn our own living, and soon return to other needy the help we need and are kindly furnished. This help the North is now sending, in my judgment, assures the freedom of Kansas.

We received $60 this week from Lawrence, (from Mr Arny [38]) on George Cutter's account. Our health is usually good as a family. . . . Yesterday we had company to a Christmas dinner—a Methodist (Wes.) preacher, wife and child. A pleasant visit. I wish Mother could make a visit to Kansas for a resting spell. We have had a cold December. The two last days were very mild. Today foggy. This week got Dec. Cen. They get them in Lawrence about the 10th or 12th.

With much love John.

Osawatomie Jan 1, 1857.

Dear Father.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Do any of the Welsh people talk of coming to Kansas in the spring? Any one who could come out with means enough to go right to making cheese with 20 to 40 cows could almost make their fortune in one season. Cheese retails here at 25 cents a pound. Last winter the same. I wish I had means to go into it. The pasture is unlimited and most excellent. Milch cows and all stock get as fat as butter in the summer. Good cows were worth here last spring from $25 to $35.

Corn is worth here 40 to 50 cts, Flour brings $4.50, Butter, 25 cts; turnips 25 cts; potatoes, none to sell; pork 5 cts a pound.

Our health is good. We expect to take Mr. Cutter to Lawrence as soon as we get a few days of mild weather. He gets along slowly since cold weather. John

P. S.


Look out for mail failures now! The season of snow drifts, and swollen creeks approaches. There is three or four inches of snow on the ground to day which fell yesterday morning. Every week in December brought first rain, then wind, south, west, and north, cold, cutting, frosty, then a clear sky, one or two beautiful spring like days, the last day wind East, then clouds, then rain would complete the circle and begin a new round.

Osawatomie, Jan 15, '57.

Dear Father,

We received yours of Jan 1st this week. (Excuse my pencil marks. My ink is frozen & pale.) The $7 came safely. Franky and Sarah are very much obliged to the children and mother for the donation. Will you please get Sarah a paper of good needles and send in your next letter, sharps 5s-10s. All her needles bought here cut in the eye. You remember those we brought with us were lost in the bandbox. . . .

We are much more comfortable this winter than last. Our house is cold, but not nearly so cold as that we were in last winter. We are having a cold winter again. I'll give you a statement of how the thermometer has stood at sunrise since Jan 2.

[See a text version of temperature table]

Jan 2


Jan 6


Jan 10


Jan 14























The prevailing winds have been westerly.— The free State Legislature met last week according to adjournment. They adjourned to June. Some of the members were arrested. I am not surprised with this. The Symbols of power are with our adversaries. The marshal or deputy told one of our members from this section that he had a writ, for him, but it was a farce, and he would not execute it. (The member had called on business.) But one feels indignant that the representatives of nine tenths of the people should be arrested as if for crime, and that in the abused name of democracy.

Franky is very healthy, and lively as ever. Sarah and myself are in usual health. We get about four quarts of milk a day. I bought a good second-hand saddle the other day for $3.50. Before we have had to borrow or do without. Mr Cutter is with us yet. We are on the whole pretty comfortable, when the thermometer does not stand at zero, with a stiff breeze. Our coldest weather is pretty still.

[John R. Everett]

Os-e, Jan 21, 1857.

Dear Father

Our usual letter failed this week.

We are in usual health. Nothing particular to write. Therefore please excuse brevity. Last Sunday morning the mercury fell to 26° below zero. Saturday was very cold. The only day yet this winter when the mercury remained below zero all day. Wind N. N. W. A hurricane of snow blowing all day. The night before the snow sifted through our roof like meal from mother's sieve. I had to get up and suspend a sheet to keep the snow from our heads and pillows. You must be having a severe winter there. It is not as cold nearly here as in the N. W. part of the Territory as I see by an account of a surveying party's expedition Dec 10 ult. published in The N. Y. Tribune Your aff son John

Osawatomie, Jan. 28, 1857.

Dear Father

We rec'd yours of Jan. 9th yesterday, with $6.00 enclosed. Thank Wm Roberts and J. W. Roberts and yourself very kindly for us. We hope we will be able some time to return it to some one who needs it as much. The prospect before us this summer is brighter than it has been yet in Kansas. Our health is better. The look for peace and confidence is yet good. The prospects of an overwhelming preponderance of free state settlers here are not at all desperate but highly encouraging. I hear on all sides noise of anticipated improvements the coming season. There is to be a saw mill and store put up 3 or 4 miles west of Osawatomie, the nucleus of a prospective town there—about the same distance from us as the present village. Our claim is in the centre of the township. Who knows but we may have a four corners, a store, blacksmith shop, &c here some time? There is considerable talk of building in Osawatomie. They have recently been getting subscriptions to erect a small building for school and meeting purposes—nearly enough already subscribed. My neighbor Mr Finch and I intend to fence together 20 acres each, making a field of 40 acres for corn. There is little fencing timber on my claim. Most of the rails I will have to buy. We intend to purchase a prairie plow between us and do the plowing mostly ourselves. Now do you think you could lend or borrow for me $50 or $30 to get fencing with? I can fence the half of a square piece 1/4 mile on a side with the same rails it would take to fence 10 acres separately. The surveyed lines come so that it will be much more convenient to make a field so, than to enlarge my old field. Mr Finch, you have heard me mention before, is a Wesleyan missionary of the Am. Miss. Association. If I can do this fencing and make my mare and my labor pay for my part of the plowing of the field, it will be a great lift for us and with a fair season bring us in enough so that next fall we will be quite independent. Next spring I intend to put out a few fruit trees to begin to make an orchard. I will have to buy some potatoes for seed. Those currant slips Lewis sent me I hope will grow next summer. They have been in the ground all winter. I wish some one was coming out here from your part in the spring, so that I could get a variety of small fruits &c. . . . How many of my apple trees lived through the summer? If you have not earthed them up, the first thaw let any one who has time tramp the snow around them. This will shut out the mice from gnawing the bark under the snow. I am sending the Herald of Freedom to you once in a while. There is a good deal of gas in this paper along with a good deal of substantial truth. I suppose you have seen our Gov. Geary's message. [39] It is a strange mixture of excellent recommendations with miserable political philosophy. His practical suggestions are good, but his political theories are detestable, untrue, and inhuman. I doubt if Gov. Geary does not soon find himself, in spite of himself, with the freedom loving people of Kansas, and at loggerheads with the border ruffian legislators thereof —like Reeder, with this difference, then the people were a handfull, now comparatively a multitude, and every month becoming stronger. The few grains of common sense hidden under the bushel of error in the doctrine of squatter sovereignty will compel this. The violent proslavery papers here already berate Geary. They say the show of moderation to the free state people before the presidential election was a political necessity, to carry Pennsylvania and Indiana; but now he should throw off the mask and openly show the proslavery colors. But I feel thankful, that it is getting more and more impossible for mere politicians to mould the institutions of Kansas at their will. The people here are getting too strong. It is a curious commentary on the doctrine of squatter sovereignty that where it is first applied, in the territory to govern which the doctrine and sounding phrase were invented, here the people have actually less political power than in any civilized government on earth. Our Legislature is elected by the wild and half civilized Missouri borderers. All our Executive officers from Governor to constable are appointed either by the President or by the Legislature; so with all the judiciary from Supreme Judge to the most ignorant Squire hardly able to write his name; all county officers. But the people are awake.

"Who would be free themselves must strike the blow." And sooner or later the people will triumph. They tried to subdue us last summer with the whole power of the U. S. Government and army on their side. They failed. Now I think they may try governmental forms and formulas. But they will equally fail. The people at last will triumph. If any thing were wanting to insure this, the munificent donations for Kansas in the free states have done it. The South have done nothing comparatively to encourage and keep their sons here.

The weather has softened. We have had three mild days, thawing the snow a little. I think the hardest of our winter is over

With much love Your affectionate Son John.

Osawatomie Feb 3, '57

Dear Father

We received yours of Jan 19 this morning. I hasten to write a few words in reply. The snow is thawing and going off very fast. Today is the warmest day since November—the thermometer now (about 2 P. M.) indicates 60°. The past has been a very mild pleasant week. My health seems to be better as spring approaches than it has been for many years. I am fleshier than I remember myself since I was a boy. My clothes that I wore two years ago are all too small. . . . Sarah and Franky are both well. We are hoping the back of this winter is broken. The Indians think there will be no more very cold weather this winter. Friend Mendenhall has been on a tour through Lawrence and North of the Kansas river. He found people hopeful. There is a good deal of a speculating spirit among a great many where he has been. Lots in Lawrence on Massachusetts street (the main Street) are rated some of them as high as $150 per foot front. Tomorrow the Pottawatomie may [be] too high to be fordable so I hasten this brief letter to the office. We thank you for the stamps in your last.


Your affectionate son and daughter
John & Sarah

Osawatomie Feb 19, 1857

Dear Father and Mother

We received yours and Lewises of Jan 28th this week. This is the first mail to come in for two weeks. We had a heavy rain and a flood. The Pottawatomie was away over its banks and every other stream I suppose. Of course the mail could neither go out or come in. The prairie was all frozen so that all the water ran down into the natural channels as from the roof of the house into an eaves trough. Some lost cattle and hogs. I found our cows up to their bellies in water, with the water still rising, a bitter cold day. It was one of their usual haunts, when they happen to wander, about 1 1/4 miles from home. The water surrounded them, and they had not the courage to break for the land, partly I suppose because it had turned so cold, and they would have stayed there till they were floated off or had been frozen if I had not found them. I went home and got my mare and drove them out. A neighbor below found his cattle on a little island of perhaps half an acre. On the island with the cattle were frightened representatives of the denizens of the forest—wolves and rabbits, pigs, deer and turkeys. The cattle were driven off, the pigs refused to budge and were left to their fate with the wolves deer and rabbits. The weather has been very mild generally, this month. A number of days the thermometer has en from 60° to 68° at the warmest. For three days now the wind has been North with rain and heavy fog blowing down and freezing as it falls. Not very cold—mercury ranging from 23° to 34°. But it Seems much colder after the mild beautiful weather of the few days preceding. We have had no mail from Lawrence for three weeks. We hear privately that the Bogus Legislature has repealed the test oath law, [40] and part of the statutes infringing liberty of speech. [41] It is remembered that this Legislature was chosen by the slaveholding party in Kansas without let or hindrance, and that free state men by their convictions and conscience were precluded from voting. This is an indication that the substantial victory is ours. By the time this reaches you, Buchanan's inaugural will be on your table, and the names of his cabinet under your eye. I hope to live to see the time when a President of the United States may be chosen who believes in the Declaration of Independence and in the free doctrines of the Holy Bible, and who will administer the Constitution in the spirit of its preamble. Too many of our Democrats (and is not Buchanan their chief?) seem to believe in nothing but in flattering those who have votes. Buchanan comes in without the moral support of the North, and I do not despair of seeing among his "glittering generalities" some decided admission or appreciation of the fact that there is a North. D. Webster on the 7th of March 1850 forgot that, and was forgotten in consequence.

You see I have nothing to write about, and I close. Sarah intends to write a few lines to Jenny if she has time before we can send this. Do not expect our letters regularly now for a few weeks. To take this to mail, I will either have to wade the Pottawotamie or go down three miles below and cross in a canoe. The banks are so miry that it is not safe for me to try to cross with my blind mare.— We have 3 or 4 hens laying. Do you get any eggs? How many quires do you wet now for Cenhadwr? Do you or Lewis or Jenny know of a cheap edition of Macaulay's last volumes of the History of England. Harper published the two first vols in paper covers for 25 cts per vol. If the last two volumes are so published you would do me a very great kindness by getting and sending them to me by mail. I have not seen a new book since I came here, above an Almanac. If you want to get a very interesting and useful little farmers book, you will find one in the "Illustrated Annual Register of Rural Affairs and Cultivator Almanac" for 1857. It is beautifully printed and illustrated, and cannot be read by any one with a square rod of ground without profit.

With much love Your son


Osawatomie Mar. 5, '57.

Dear Father

We are well. Have only had one mail for nearly three weeks, and no letter or paper in that. The rivers have been high, and now the waters have subsided. The banks are so miry no wagon can pass. These are some of the inconveniences of a new country. In a few years we hope to have good roads and bridges. Emigration has commenced in good earnest. Every boat we hear of comes up loaded with emigrants. Several claims have been taken near us this week. Mr. R Hughes of Lawrence, whose name is on your Cenhadwr book, spent Sabbath with us. He is out here looking at the country, with a probability of moving here. I do not see but that we are likely to have a Welsh settlement at Osawatomie. At least there seems to be a number of Cymry who talk of coming here. They all like the country around here well.

A proslavery man named Sherman, generally known over the territory, as "Dutch Henry," was shot Monday evening four miles above on the Pottawatomie. He was a violent proslavery man, active in the troubles last summer, and this is one of the bad fruits of that miserable slavery extending crusade. He had been a resident of the territory for 10 years before the Kansas bill was passed, first as hired man to a half breed Indian head man, and then as stock raiser having for his pasture the illimitable prairies. Before the troubles he had large herds of 200 or 300 cattle, but "when there was no king in Israel" guerrilla parties found means to find wings for his cattle, and now he is probably dead. This act is greatly regretted here, but perhaps not to be wondered at. Today is cold. The weather has been spring like. Our pie plants have started. We get some eggs. John


Osawatomie, Mar. 11, '57.

Dear Father,

We received yours of Feb 18 this week. It contained a draft of $29.55. This will be of great service to us. I am disappointed in the way of making my field and plowing as I wrote. The man who took the claim West of me proved quite changeable in his plans, gave up the claim and bought a timber claim elsewhere. Still I expect to make a field of 10 to 15 acres in addition to what I have now under cultivation, and think I can do it and get it plowed with this assistance. I fear it will cramp you to take this from your own means. I wish you could have borrowed it.

George Cutter has left us. He had a chance to go and went the beginning of the week. He had got so as to sit up nearly all day, and to walk around some. We miss him much. His disposition was kind, very peacable, and unrevengeful. One of the last persons who would seek a quarrel. The Committee owe us yet $30 for taking care of him, which I think we will get in time to be of service for our spring expenses. I have besides between $20 & $30 in my pocket. We get 7 or 8 eggs a day. Now we are alone we expect to sell most of what we get. They are worth 20 cts. a dozen now. We have some 1st September chickens laying now, and some May and July ones not laying. The winters here are much more favorable to poultry as indeed to all stock than with you. The difference in latitude between us and you makes a more marked difference in temperature in Spring than in fall. We shall not need to fodder much more this spring. We have had a very cold turn of weather these last few days, but the sun has got so high it cannot last long. There has been a good deal of discussion about the Convention called by the bogus Legislature. The general feeling is in favor of voting if we could expect fairness but this bill was so unfair Gov. Geary vetoed it, and I think Free State men will not recognize this more than any other law of the bogus Legislature. [42] There is a delegate Convention [43] this week at Topeka, to consult and devise a wise plan of united action. It was with the delegates from Osawatomie to this Convention that George went up to Lawrence. . . .

From your son

N. B. Tell any body who knows how to make cheese that they cannot miss it in coming to Kansas. Cheese has retailed here this winter at 25 cents. Butter, 25 cents. Pasture don't cost any thing.

Osawatomie, Mar. 18, 1857.

Dear Father

We received two letters from home this week one of Feb 10 and Feb 23. The latter contained the draft of $21. The draft of $29.55, we received last week. We hope to be able to repay you before very long. Our great anxiety now about it is, lest you have cramped yourself by sparing it out of your own resources. . . .

. . . We heard that George Cutter arrived safely in Lawrence, after leaving us. The last two winters have been the coldest (they say) known or remembered in Kansas, by the oldest inhabitants. March is still cold. Not much spring for us yet. We do not have to feed cows much however. We have one cow that gives us a little milk yet. Get 6 to 8 eggs a day. Our pigs that I boasted so much of last fall, went one day in the beginning of winter (as all the swinish multitude here were wont to do) into the creek timber, and never returned! Someone "pressed" them I suppose. So we suffered, because "there was no king in" Kansas. And we are only too happy because it was not a thousand times worse with us, as it has been with some. We hope never to see such times here again as we saw last year.

I close with much love to all. Your Son


Longwood, Mar. 26, 1857.

Dear Father

We received yours from Utica, (March 5) this week. . . . The last few days have been beautiful spring days. Last Sunday the mercury rose to 84°. To day it is between 70° and 80°. This week we heard that Gov. Geary is dead. [44] If so, it will be a great loss to Kansas. He will be sincerely and truly mourned in many a humble log cabin. With all his errors of logic in his messages, in his administration he was the true friend of the actual settler. He stood between free state men and those who would devour them. He restored peace, and maintained it by refusing to employ the military in enforcing the barbarous territorial laws. We shall hardly get a better Governor, and may easily get a worse. A son of John Pierce of Big Rock and one of Thomas Pierce of Aurora, fine young men, have taken claims near us. They stopt with us one night.
. . . I must close in haste. Your son



Friday morning.—I was interrupted in writing this by a prairie fire driving down straight into our timber. We both worked hard to keep it back for about 8 hours. Did not get to bed till midnight. We finally succeeded. It reminded me of the effort of the slave power to spread its devastating flame over our beautiful prairies. We had to work' hard, watch constantly, when one plan failed to try another, and it finally only blackened one little corner of the timber. I have a chance to send this, and must close.;

Longwood, Apl 2 1857.

Dear Father

Yours of Mar. 10 (from Utica) recd last mail. I thank you for sending the heads of your sermon on secret prayer. Hope it may do us good.

Rev. Geo. Lewis and Mr. Thomas of Racine stopped with us last Sunday. Had a pleasant interview with them. You will have seen 'ere this the account of our Topeka Convention. They resolved not to vote at the coming constitutional Convention. This vote I think was unanimous. There has been a good deal of difference of opinion as to the wisdom of such a resolve, and is yet. Many were in favor of going to the polls, and if necessary with rifles in their hands. I think the wisest course is that adopted by the Convention. We can wait and watch. Let them form their slave Constitution. There is no provision in the law for a submission to the people. Will Congress receive this Constitution formed by a small fraction with such submission? I think not. If submitted to the people, we shall be much stronger next fall than now and if we could get the control now could easily vote them down then. If not presented to the people we can send a remonstrance signed by three times as many voters as they will be likely to muster to vote for their constitutional candidates without opposition. Our policy is now a "masterly inactivity." Wait for those who are coming. The advocates of voting want to go to the polls and expect they would have to vindicate their rights there with blood. But our policy is peace. We wish to do nothing to provoke collision, at least till we are strong enough to awe and look down all opposition. Even if our state is slave in form and name, it will be a slave state with the great majority actively hostile to slavery. I predict that when Kansas becomes a state, the greater the effort to make it slave in reality, the more determined and explosive will be the opposition to slavery in fact. If a slave state at all, it will be a slave state without slaves. Mark that.

This morning was the first frost in a week. The gooseberries in the timber are leaving out a little. The prairies are yet brown with green patches here and there. Grass grows in the timber and wet places, and the buffalo grass and the wild barley make quite a bite on the prairies. Yesterday our hens laid 13 eggs. With which interesting information I close with much love from your grandson, daughter and son John.

Commercial Ink

10 gallons clean rain water, 2 1/2 lbs Extract Logwood (not the chips but a solid, comes in lumps). Boil slightly 15 minutes in a clean iron kettle and stir well.

Then add one half pound bichromate potash, dissolved in a little hot water, stir it till a deep black, take off. Let settle, strain or pour off.— This is a valuable receipt. Friend Mendenhall has been a druggist, and paid $10. for the above. This is the ink. Costs, dear as drugs are here, 20 cts a gallon. He sold me a pint for 5 cents. If you had known it, you would not have sent the powder. It stands the test when tried with chemicals better than any other ink.

Mr. G. Lewis gave us $11.25 from the Welsh Relief Fund, which was unexpected but very acceptable. Mr. Adair had a box come lately. He sent word over and Sarah went and got a pair of shirts for me, two pair of woolen stockings for herself, a pair of pants, apron & mittens for Frank, 12 yards of calico, 1 pair of pillow cases. . . .

Longwood, Apr. 8, 1857.

Dear Father

We received two letters from home this week Mar. 16 and 24 with . . . that little ball of yarn. Please excuse me writing a letter this time, as I am very busy with my spring work. I am splitting rails now. My health is better this spring than I remember it since I left school. Sarah and Franky are both well. The Spring is quite backward. Sunday was a very cold day—a regular return of winter. Monday morning the mercury fell to 10°. How was it with you ,about then? It has stopped freezing nights now except once in a while. We were sorry to hear Gov. Geary has resigned. We have not heard who is the new appointee. It was a great joy to us to read of the triumphant result of the New Hampshire elections. A few short years back and N. H. was where Penn. & Ind. are now. The world moves and will continue to move. We feel cheerful, and confident of the final triumph of the right. . . .

Your affectionate son

Osawatomie, Apr. 16, 1857.

Dear Father

The mail seems to have become rather irregular on the advent of a new administration. We got no letter this week. (But now I remember we got two last week.) The Feb. Cenhadwr only came to hand last week. We have had no N. Y. Tribune for two weeks now. We are having a cold April—colder than anything we have seen in April before— North winds now two days out of three. Some have made garden and planted potatoes, but they are doing no good. Last years crops were poor, except wheat, and the emigration is large; so provisions are quite high. It is a good omen for us that we hear of very little Southern emigration. Ask any one just come in, if the boat he came on was full? "Crowded," it will be the answer. "Were there most free state or slave state?" "0, Free State, a great deal," or "Nearly all Free State," will be the, reply. Still, the most of those going on to the Indian lands, or claiming there are Proslavery Missourians. It is said there are 2800 names registered on the squatter's claim book in Westport of Missourians who have made claims on the Shawnee lands. It is said the Census taker went to that Claim Book, and took all those names on his list. If he had gone on to the land he could not find a tenth part of them, I presume. But this is a part of the fraud that is to be practiced at the Bogus election this summer.

The removal of Gov. Geary is a sad blow to us. Well, Walker cannot well be worse than Shannon was. And then we are far stronger in the territory, and our enemies far weaker in Missouri than last year. If Walker wants to save the Democratic party, he will give no occasion for a renewal of strife in Kansas. I must close now. Your son


Osawatomie May 1, '57.

Dear Father

Your regular letter came this week. I have been quite busy planting and making garden this week. April has been very cold and dry. We have now had a few days warm weather. But to day is cold again, the wind North. Sarah is well excepting a cold. Frank is pretty smart again but complains still of a cold. My health is quite good. In haste


Longwood May 7, 1857

Dear Father—

Yours of Apr. 23 came to hand this week— John is very busy now with his Spring's work and can hardly find time to write— He is getting on very well—has done his own plowing (on the old land) and got it mostly planted. Will finish this afternoon all except a small patch for a few more garden seeds.

The spring is so late that there has not been any sod broken yet in these parts— John has split most of his rails so far this spring to fence in his new breaking and expects to be able to finish what he will need before his crop will be liable to injury— His health is better than it has been before since I knew him- We are both amply repaid for all the privations, persecutions and horrors we have suffered in the Territory, by the better health we enjoy and in seeing Frank changed into a robust, vigorous stout boy.

We do not learn that the resignation of Gov. Geary and the appointment of Walker affects the emigration into the Ter. or that it the same grievances they did last summer—and not to recognize the right of their oppressors to tax them— You will see by the Herald of Freedom John will send with this how the Lawrence people met the taxation question when acting Gov. Stanton expressed his views, on it—and that is an echo of the whole free state population [45]— We have heard this week from one of its agents (Genl. Pomeroy) that the Em. Aid Soc. has bought out half of the town of Atchison-including in their purchase Stringfellow's paper The Squatter Sovereign, as violent a proslavery sheet last summer as could be found, and are going to turn it into a free state paper. [46] Gen. P. says that the proslavery men are "backing down" throughout the Ter.— It is not believed by any one that there is the least probability that the outrages of last summer will be re-enacted or even attempted again—

Little Franky went with us to "fight fire" till dark when I took him to the house and put him to bed and returned again as one alone could accomplish nothing.

There was nothing particularly dangerous if we were careful— My dress or any of our clothes might have taken fire if we had not had our minds on ourselves as well as on what we wished to burn— but we escaped unharmed with the exception of extreme weariness and severe colds.

Our nearest neighbor is three fourths of a mile distant. We had no time to take Frank there—besides children here have to learn self reliance and independence as well as their parents— That night Frank went to bed with his clothes on and without his supper without crying— But he cried for his breakfast before we could hardly get our eyes open next morning.

One thing I should have mentioned in regard to our bogus officials—which is that they do not attempt to enforce the barbarous "laws of Kansas" against opposition as they formerly did, even when justice calls for punishment. One striking example of this occurred not long since in Osawatomie— A young man at a boarding house in the place ran away one night with a span of horses and wagon belonging to another inPidual $80 in cash belonging to another, and a coat, pistols gun &c belonging to others— He was pursued, taken, and lodged in jail in Lecompton. Not long after, the sheriff and a posse of ten I believe brought him down to Osawatomie for trial before our bogus justice but no one would testify against him, the blacksmith who boarded at the same place with this fellow was subpoenaed but he told them if Williams (the Bogus justice) wanted him he would have to come where he was— Williams talked pretty loud about making him testify and others also, but it all ended in talk, and we have heard nothing since— So it is in other parts as well as here— The free state party are conscious of superior strength and are not moved or daunted as heretofore.

We are having a very dry spring and have had also a very cold one. During April the wind was strong and steady and cold—the weather here was well described by the Tribune in speaking of the weather in N. Y. that it was "unseasonably, unreasonably, uncomfortably and unnecessarily cold." It was that here once more alsoI close with love to all from— Your children

Sarah & John & Franky

Osawatomie May 14, 1857.

Dear Father

Your regular letter received this week. . . . I am very busy with my work now. I am fencing for my new breaking. Expect to get about 10 acres new prairie plowed or perhaps a little over. Will have to pay $4.00 an acre at least. Around Lawrence they charge $5.00 and $5.50. Have saved $40.00 of the fifty I borrowed of you for that. My rails (excepting 250) 1 split myself. Have got enough split to answer till my corn is planted. Yesterday and the day before was hauling rails. Have got about half done. Expect to get it planted week after next. The spring is very late and cold. Flour is $7.00 a hundred. Bacon 15 to 20 cts. Corn for meal and seed $2.00 a bushel. Butter is 25 cts. Cheese 25 cents a pound. I wish somebody would lend me $100 to buy cows. I would willingly pay 10 per cent, and could afford to pay 20. It would be the same as rent with you. Are there none of your money loving Oneida men who would like to get rent for some of the Western prairies? Thousands of tons of good prairie grass will be burnt this fall within two miles of our house. When I was in Steuben men would pay $12 rent for a cow and a place to keep her, when butter was worth no more than 15 to 18 cents and cheese 6 to 7. So we go. I have done more work with less fatigue this spring than in four times the time last. There is no more danger of Kansas being a slave state (except by fraud and in mere form) than Iowa. Not half as much as that Pennsylvania will revert to slavery. Much more likely that Missouri will become a free state. We feel quite safe on that head. Proslavery men are backing down and backing out, and free state men marching in by thousands to fill their places. Thank God, in this country the President is not absolute. His power is very limited. The Governmental power is in the people by universal theory and general practice. In the end, the people here will triumph against the slave power and all its hosts, including President, cabinet, and their long tail of office holders and seekers. In Europe the sovereignty is with the prince, and in the long run he generally succeeds in his objects as against the people. Here the sovereignty is universally acknowledged and felt to be in the people, and in a contest between President and people, the people will come out winners. All that is needed is firmness, wisdom, and faith. The most significant fact of late is that the Squatter Sovereign, the head and front of slavery propagandism has become a free state paper. "Is Saul among the prophets?" Has persecuting Saul, who sat at the feet of Ananias, and held tile clothes of those who stoned Stephen, become the Christian Apostle Paul? This is like James Buchanan trying to make Kansas a free state, or the Washington Union becoming a Black Republican paper.

I must close. We are all quite well.

Your affectionate son

N. B. The land is now open for pre-emption— That is, we can pay for our claims as soon as we can get money. Excuse haste and blunders. We have no milk yet.

(To be continued in August Quarterly)


26. John W. Whitfield was commander in chief of the Missouri forces.
27. Henry Ward Beecher.
28. Family name for Sarah M. C. Everett.
29. The Toombs bill, reported by Sen. Stephen A. Douglas from the committee on territories on July 2, provided for a census of all white males, over 21 years of age, bona fide residents of the territory. Those counted were to be permitted to vote on November I for delegates to a constitutional convention. The bill offered precautions against election irregularities. It passed the senate but failed in the house.
30. Gen. Persifer F. Smith succeeded Col. E. V. Sumner as head of the territorial forces. General Smith's sentiments were Proslavery, but he did not take an active part in territorial affairs.
31. Two sons of Orville C. Brown were in Osawatomie at this time, Rockwell and Spencer Kellogg. The latter, then a boy of 14, describes his participation in the battle in his journal. (See George Gardner Smith, Spencer Kellogg Brown, D. Appleton & Co., 1903.) He was taken to Missouri as a prisoner for a short time following the battle. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union army under General Lyon and held the rank of fourth commander on the gunboat Essex. He was captured as a prisoner of war while destroying a rebel ferry boat near Port Hudson in August, 1862, and after a year's imprisonment at Richmond, was executed on the charge of being a spy.
32. The Rev. Samuel L. Adair, whose wife was a half sister of John Brown.
33. James Harrison Carruth, Presbyterian minister, later professor of natural sciences at Baker University, Baldwin, and state botanist, 1868-1892.
34. George Cutter, with Frederick Brown and three others, had come to Osawatomie from Lawrence on August 29 with dispatches from General Lane. They spent the night about a mile and a half west of the town. Early the next morning the advance party of the border ruffian forces approached Osawatomie from the west. Frederick Brown, on his way to the home of Samuel Adair, was shot and killed. Cutter was also shot, but not fatally. He was removed to the home of John and Sarah Everett and cared for by them until his recovery.
35. It was erroneously reported in the summer of 1856 that Governor Geary had asked for the removal of U. S. Marshal Israel B. Donaldson. Reference is possibly to this, or possibly to the arrest of Capt. John Donaldson of the territorial militia on order of Governor Geary issued November 7, 1856. Captain Donaldson had removed a prisoner from and dismissed the court of R. R. Nelson, a justice of the peace at Lecompton. Donaldson was later reinstated.
36. On September 23, 1856, Governor Geary addressed circulars to Chief Justice Samuel Lecompte and to Assoc. Justices Sterling G. Cato and Jeremiah M. Burrell, asking for compIete reports on their activities in office.
37. Rennet is the prepared inner surface of the stomach of a young calf, used for curdling milk. The outer skin and superfluous fat are removed from the stomach while fresh and it is then placed in salt for a few hours and dried. Small pieces are soaked in water and the water added to milk, producing curds which form the basis of cheese. Sarah Everett explains in a later letter that it was difficult to secure rennet in the territory because few calves were killed.
38. William F. M. Arny was a representative of the National Kansas Committee organized July 9, 1856, to send aid to the settlers of the territory.
39. Governor Geary's message to the legislative assembly of Kansas territory, January 12, 1857.—See The Kansas Historical Collections, v. IV, pp. 676-687.
40. Section 11 of the act to regulate elections, passed by the territorial legislature of 1855, provided that no one convicted of violation of the fugitive slave law should be entitled to vote or hold office in the territory; further, that if any person offering to vote should be challenged and required to take an oath to support the acts of congress pertaining to same, as well as the Kansas-Nebraska act, and should refuse, the vote of such person should be rejected. —Statutes of the Territory of Kansas, 1855, "An Act to Regulate Elections," Section 11.
By an act of the legislature of 1857, that part of Section 11 of the act to regulate elections, providing that any person chaIlenged as a voter should be required to take an oath to sustain the specified acts of congress, was repealed.—Laws of the Territory of Kansas, 1857, "An Act Prescribing Oaths . . . " Section 1.
41. Section 12 of the act, to punish offences against slave property, Statutes of 1855, provided: "If any free person, by speaking or by writing, assert or maintain that persons have not the right to hold slaves in this territory, or shall introduce into this territory, print, publish, write, circulate or cause to be introduced into this territory, written, printed, published or circulated in this territory, any book, paper, magazine, pamphlet or circular, containing any denial of the right of persons to hold slaves in this territory, such persons shall be deemed guilty of felony, and punished by imprisonment at hard labor for a term of not less than two years." This section of the act was repealed by the legislature of 1857.
42. The territorial legislature passed an act on February 19, 1857, providing for the election of a convention to frame a state constitution. Delegates to the convention were to be apportioned on the basis of a census ordered for April 1. Governor Geary vetoed the bill because it failed to make provision to submit the constitution, when framed, to the consideration of the people for ratification or rejection. The bill was passed over his veto.
43. A Free-State convention met at Topeka on March 10.
44. Governor Geary left the territory secretly on March 10. He had addressed his resignation to President Buchanan on March 4, to take effect on March 20. His death did not occur until 1873.
45. A portion of Acting Governor Stanton's speech to the people of Lawrence is quoted in an editorial appearing in the Lawrence Herald of Freedom. May 2, 1857. "You wish to know my position in regard to the Territorial laws. Congress has recognized them as binding. . . . The President has recognized them as valid and they must be received as such. (Never! from the multitude.) You must obey them, and pay the taxes. (Never, no never.) There is where I am at war with you. (Then let there be war.) It shall be to the knife, and knife to the hilt. I say it without excitement, and wish you to receive it as such; the taxes must be collected, and it becomes the duty of my administration to see that they are collected. (Then you bring the government into collision with the people.)"
46. See Samuel A. Johnson, "The Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas," Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 1, pp. 436, 487; and Russell Hickman, "Speculative Activities of the Emigrant Aid Co.," ibid., v. IV, p. 253, for statements regarding the interests of the company in Atchison.