Transcribed from History of Bourbon County, Kansas : to the close of 1865 by T. F. Robley. Fort Scott, Kan.: Press of the Monitor Book & Print. Co., 1894.

1894 Robley's History of Bourbon County, Kansas




ABOUT the 20th of February, 1858, McDonald's saw-mill was completed and steamed up for the first time. The boys thought this was a proper occasion to steam up likewise, and Alex. McDonaid "gave a party" that night. Egg-nog was the principal ingredient. Ben. McDonald, John Little and Ed. Smith were chief cooks and did the mixing. They thought they had plenty of fuel when they started in, but Ben said they run out of Polk County sour mash, and towards the last he had to chuck in some bay rum. Anyway, they laid the boys all out, bottom side up. They didn't know whether they were border ruffians or prohibitionists. Joe Ray said the next day, they had to dust their hats with slick powder and put them on with a shoe horn.

The boys had lots of fun at this saw-mill. Ben was head sawyer and Joe "bore off" the slabs, when he couldn't get Charlie Osbun, or some one of the other boys to do it for him. Joe wasn't lazy, but he was awful tired. They sawed cottonwood lumber sometimes. Cottonwood was great lumber to warp. Joe said it would often curl up and crawl oft in the bushes and hide.



On the 6th of February, 1858, an act was passed by the Legislature incorporating the town of Marmaton. W. R. Griffith, W. B. Barber, W. H. Krotzer and Horatio Knowles were named as the incorporators. On the 11th of February another act was passed incorporating the Town Company of Marmaton. The incorporators were T. R. Roberts, J. E. Jones, Orlando Darling and Charles Dimon. This Company spelled the name with an "i" instead of an "a" thus: "Marmiton." The correct way to spell the name of the town and the river is as the Town Company had it. The name was given the river by the French fur traders who were here before any other white people. The word means scullion, or kitchen boy, the one that empties the pots and slops. But the people of the town and township preferred to spell the name "Marmaton," and they petitioned the County Court to have the spelling of the name changed, and it was so ordered.


Uniontown was laid out in 1858, by Aleph Goff, W. W. Wright and B. F. Gumm, who were members of the Town Company. Unioutown took the place of "Turkey Creek" post office, which was a well known point in the early days of the Territory, when it was in "Russell" Township. It is surrounded by as fine an agricultural country as there is in the county, and the settlers, old and new, are of the best class of people.



The Legislature on the 10th of February, 1858, passed an act providing for the election of delegates to another State Constitutional Convention. The election was held on the 9th of March. W. R. Griffith was delegate from this county. The Convention met at Minneola on the 23rd of March, and after organizing adjourned to Leavenworth, where the first session was held on the 25th of March. On April 3d the "Leavenworth Constitution" was completed. The prominent feature of this Constitution was that it nowhere contained the word "white."

The Leavenworth Constitution did not figure to a great extent in the history of Kansas. President Buchanan had, on the 2nd of February, 1858, transmitted the old Lecompton Constitution to the Senate and recommended the admission of the State under it. This he did in the face of the known and often expressed opposition to that Constitution by both the Free State Republicans and the Free State Democrats.


Congress, being unable to agree on the question, finally appointed a conference committee, and on the 23d of April, W. H. English, of Indiana, reported for the committee what is known as the "English Bill." This act provided that the Lecompton Constitution be again resubmitted to a vote of the people; provided stringent regulations for securing a fair vote, and provided for an immense grant of lands to the State for


various purposes, aggregating nearly six million acres, as a straight bribe to the people if they would adopt it. We will vote on this proposition as quick as we can get around to it.


Everything being somewhat quiet this winter in the "political" circles of this section, Montgomery decided to retire from the field, and do a little work in the way of improvements on his farm in Linn county when spring opened. There were others, he thought, who could continue the watch on the border and keep the upperhand of the Border Ruffians in this part of the Territory. The man principally relied on to do that was a Methodist preacher called Captain, or "Rev." Stewart, the same man mentioned as having had a hand in the Van Zumwalt affair. Stewart had about twenty men, who mostly lived north of the Osage river, when they had any home at all. For awhile everything went off all right. But very soon brother Stewart "backslid," and he and his gang began stealing horses right and left, and running them off up north. They gave themselves up to plundering, robbing and stealing from everybody and anybody. They pretended to be Free-State men—called themselves so—but any man who had a little property was a Pro-slavery man in their eyes, and "all horses were Pro-slavery."

They committed so many villainous outrages that the settlers, of all parties, began to leave the country. Many came in to Fort Scott for protection. It seemed like


the country would be depopulated. The Governor was appealed to for troops by Judge Williams and others, and on the 26th of February Captain George T. Anderson came down with two companies of the 1st U. S. Cavalry. But he could not do much good; he could not guard each individual, and he could not catch the thieves. He told the settlers who applied to him for protection that they must come in to Fort Scott. That was a difficult matter, too, for those who had property, especially stock. They could not well bring that in to town. This plundering and stealing was aided and participated in to some extent by a few of these very U. S. soldiers, who were sent here to protect the people. Edward Wiggin, who now lives on his farm about four miles north of Fort Scott, came here with Capt. Geo. T. Anderson, as a private in Company "I," Anderson's company. He says there was a small squad of his company, giving their names as Bill DeBost, Jim Simmons, Henry Sadwick and some others, who soon fell in with the idea of playing "Jayhawker," and influenced by some of the old Border Ruffians, repeatedly made stealing raids out into the county, in which they represented themselves as "Stewart's men," and Free-State men. A. Hyde, who after the war located in Fort Scott, and was at one time City Marshal, and who our citizens familiarly called Cap. Hyde, was also a member of Anderson's company. Through the influence principally of Ed. Wiggin and Cap. Hyde the thieves mentioned were driven out of the company for this stealing business.

In the meantime, all this thieving and indiscriminate


plundering was casting an odium on the Free State party and giving it a bad name among those who were not in the saddle.

Things came to such a pass that Montgomery again took the field to straighten them out. As soon as he appeared Stewart and most of his gang left this part of the Territory for a while and that sort of business ceased for some time.


Montgomery remained in the field. The Southeastern border was infested by Border Ruffians of the worst class, many of whom had been driven down by the Free State men further north and had lodged along the Missouri State line. They were making their last stand here. Hamilton was their General-in-chief. It was an idea of theirs to use the United States troops to accomplish the capture of old Jim Montgomery. They had out their spies, and on the 21st of April it was ascertained and reported to them that Montgomery was in the Marmaton valley. Captain Anderson was at once urged by the Border Ruffian crowd to go out and bring him in. Anderson, like many of the regular army officers, was himself an ultra Pro-slavery man and would have liked nothing better than to have gotten hold of Montgomery. He did not require much urging, and soon started out with a detail of men to capture him. About six or eight miles out, in the Isaac Mills neighborhood, they sighted old Jim sure enough, riding leisurly along, with about twenty men,

Western House, or Pro-Slavery Hotel/Narrow Defile on Paint Creek. 1858.
Western House, or Pro-Slavery Hotel/Narrow Defile on Paint Creek. 1858.

and they took after him full tilt. It had not yet become customary to fight United States troops by either faction, and Montgomery having no desire to commence the practice "skeedaddled." But being close pressed he turned up Yellow Paint Creek to a good narrow defile for defensive purposes which he knew of, quickly dismounted his forces to fight as infantry, and coolly awaited the onslaught of Anderson's troops. Anderson paid no attention to the order, three times given, to halt, but opened fire without dismounting, badly wounding one man, John Denton. Montgomery replied with a volley, killing one soldier named Alvin Satterwait, wounding one or two others and killing a soldier's horse, which fell on him pinning him to the ground, and also killing Anderson's horse. The regulars then retreated to town, and the irregulars went on about their business.

This was the first and only time United States troops were fired on during the border troubles. The Free State party had always been careful to avoid placing themselves in the light of rebels, or as resisting the bogus Territorial laws. This affair was not similar to that of Thermopolyae or the Alamo, for Thermopolyae had one messenger of destruction; the Alamo had none," but it might easily have been, had Anderson's force been of similar disproportion.

Captain Anderson resigned soon after this, and when the war broke out he went into the rebel army and became a Brigadier General. He had a brigade at Pittsburg Landing. Captain Hyde was also in that battle as a private in the regular army. On the first


day of the battle Hyde was wounded and left in the hands of the Confederates, where he was accidentally thrown into the presence of General Anderson. They knew each other at once, and Anderson caused him to be taken care of until the second day, when the tide of battle, surging past where he was, left him in the hands of his friends.

The second in command under Montgomery in the Paint Creek fight was Aaron D. Stevens, then going under the name of Captain Whipple. More will be said of him hereinafter.