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




AMONG the men who settled in this county in the Spring of 1858, was James F. Holt, who went out to where William Holt was located on Turkey Creek. Mr. Holt was born in Tennessee, April 15, 1819. He was postmaster at Turkey Creek, and held other important positions and was a well known figure in our county affairs. William Jackman came from Pennsylvania and settled at Rockford. Guy Hinton, A. Wilson and his brother M. Wilson came out from Ohio, and located at Mapleton. Frank M. Smith, from Tennessee, settled near Mapleton. Charles Elliott, from Ohio, was quite a prominent man; he served as County Treasurer one term. D. B. Jackman, Attorney-at-Law, first went to Anderson county, but located "all along the Osage" in 1858. He was prominent in "Squatter Court" affairs. E. G. Jewell and D. Jewell settled on the Osage. E. G. Jewell, a very prominent man, was one of the vice-presidents at the organization of the Republican party at Osawatomie, May 18, 1859. H. Hickson, from Ohio, settled on Mill Creek. W. R. Clyburn, from Indiana, settled on Drywood. The Custard family, from Pennsylvania, and


J. B. Caldwell from the same State, settled on Drywood. C. H. Haynes and family as noted by the Fort Scott Democrat, arrived in March, 1858. He soon afterwards purchased an interest in the saw-mill, and some time afterwards he and Mr. Jenkins moved the mill to the Marmaton river, northeast of the Plaza. Captain Haynes entered the service at the beginning of the war, as a lieutenant in the 6th Kansas, and in 1862 raised and commanded Co. B, 14th Kansas. He was married to Miss Jennie Hoyle, December 20, 1855.

John J. Stewart, who has already been mentioned as having come here in January, 1856, had now grown to manhood, and taken a claim on Mill Creek near Centerville. He married Miss Elizabeth Harbin in February, 1856. During the war he served first in the 6th Kansas, and afterwards raised and commanded Co. C, of Colonel Eaves' battalion, and was all through the Price raid of October, 1864. He has repeatedly represented the Mill Creek District in the Legislature, and has served two terms as County Treasurer. He finally moved to Fort Scott, and was one of the principal founders of the well known State Bank.

Charles W. Goodlander arrived in Fort Scott on the 29th of April, 1858. He came in on the first trip of the stage on the line between Kansas City and Fort Scott, just opened by Squires of Squireville, and which was to try to run tri-weekly thereafter. Goodlander had learned the carpenter trade, and desired to work at that business here; but not finding work just then, he took the job of carrying the mail to Cofachique, which then existed near where Humboldt is now. On


his trip he found the postmaster at Turkey Creek away from home, and the lady of the house, Mrs. Holt, was washing. She gave him the key and told him to change the mail himself. He did so, and found the mail consisted of one lone copy of the N. Y. Tribune. He got an occasional job at his trade, and would often carry the necessary lumber from the sawmill on his back. After a while he built a shop of his own. He felt then like he was an independent citizen, and dreamed of the time in the far distant future when he would be worth a fortune of ten thousand dollars. That was the objective point which he hoped some day to attain. Like a good number of the men who came to Bourbon County in an early day who are recognized as among the leading citizens in the town and county, he was a poor boy, with only industry, integrity, native will power and good hard sense as the capital with which he commenced life. And like these men also, with whom he has often joined hands in local enterprises after the hardships of those disjointed times, he soon became a powerful factor in the advancement of the interests of the city and county.

E. L. Marble and Robert Blackett were already here. George Dimon, Dick Phillips and A. F. Bicking arrived in April, 1858.


For a good while there was not much business going on in Fort Scott, and the young men found it difficult to get steady work. They did what they could find to do in the way of odd jobs, and when business got too


slack and collections slow, they would "accept a position" on the jury of the United States Court. That was richness. The pay was $2.50 a day in gold.

All the boys resorted to the jury when it became necessary to make a payment on board and washing, especially board. The washing didn't worry them. The jury was about the only means of raising ready cash.

The saw mill had been running since the "opening night," sawing up oak logs into flooring and dimension stuff, and large walnut logs that would now be worth $100 each, into siding and fencing. The cottonwood lumber was all corralled or lariated out.

Building operations now commenced on Market street. W. I. Linn was the first to begin. He built and opened a saloon in the structure afterwards occupied by Linn & Stadden as a grocery store. J. S. Calkins put up a small building further east, and the town company another, opposite the head of Scott avenue, and alongside the alley running toward the corral. George J. Clarke and Will Gallaher also erected a small log building on the rear of the lot afterwards occupied by Riggins. Further out, Roach had erected the celebrated "Fort Roach." Ben. McDonald and Albert Campbell built a small house on Williams, street. Market street, then Bigler street, was not opened for some time, owing to Ben Hill's lot fence. His house was on the street, back of the Western Hotel. J. C. Linn commenced, but never completed, a three-story frame on the corner now occupied by the stone block on Wall and Main


streets. Kelly's blacksmith shop stood on the point of the triangle between Wall and Market streets.


During the winter and early spring of 1858 there was much friction between Free-State men in Fort Scott and the ultra Pro-slavery party. The latter formed themselves into a secret society called the "Bloody Reds," which extended into the border counties of Missouri. Dr. George P. Hamilton was the head. The Western Hotel, then known better as the "Pro-slavery Hotel," was their "official" headquarters, although their favorite meeting place was at the house of Thomas Jackson, in Vernon County, Missouri. The Pro-slavery Hotel—now torn down—was on the opposite corner of the Plaza, directly facing the Free-State Hotel.

The "Reds" had a special spite against George A. Crawford, Will Gallaher and Charles Dimon, and they decided to commence operations by driving them out of town. On the 27th of April they received the following note addressed to them:

    'GENTLEMEN:—You are respectfully invited to leave town in
     twenty-four hours.
                                          "GEO. P. HAMILTON."

Crawford sent this verbal answer: "I don't exchange messages with horse-thieves," and the crisis was on. There was no longer room for both factions. One or the other must go. The Free State party, numbering about twenty-five well armed men, decided they would stay, fight all comers and take the chances. Both


parties assembled at the Free State and Pro-slavery hotels, respectively, and neither ventured out. B. F. Brantley and J. H. Little called on the Free State party and informed them that if the worst came they could count on them. But they felt doubtful about the soldiers, as, it will be remembered, Montgomery had killed one of them only a few days before, but E. A. Smith went into their camp and ascertained that they would at least remain neutral. Nevertheless, Brockett had secured three of them and secreted them in the Western Hotel. But the next day they were arrested and taken to camp under guard.

This state of affairs continued until the next night, when the "Reds" raised the siege, and the most of them left, never to return, and were not heard of again until the Marais des Cygnes massacre, in which they were the leading actors.


The Marais des Cygnes massacre occurred on the 19th of May, near the Trading Post. A body of twenty-five Border Ruffians, under the leadership of Captain Hamilton swooped down on the valley of Mine Creek, in Linn County, and gathering up eleven Free State men took them across the Marais des Cygnes river to a lonely ravine, formed them in line, and repeatedly fired into them, killing five outright and leaving all for dead.

Ten of these Border Ruffians were well-known in Fort Scott. They were the Hamiltons, W. B. Brockett.


Thomas Jackson, Harlan, Yealock, Beach, Griffith and, Matlock. The others were probably here more or less but their names are not certainly known.

The Marais des Cygnes murder was in some respects the most atrocious that had yet occurred in the Territory. It was a blow from organized extermination. The effect of this murder in the North was very great. It was taken up with more than usual feeling by the press, and the details were read in every Northern household. It was the blazing text of orators and the burning theme of poets. Altogether, it did much to shatter the elements of conservatism in the North, and shape a final crisis.

The nearest a parallel was the Pottawatomie murders committed by old John Brown and his sons, on the 24th of May, 1856. Brown went to the houses of his victims in the dead of night, and killed them one at a time. The men killed, five in number, were also unwarned and unarmed. It is true they were Pro-slavery men, but—a third of a century has passed away.

The actors of that time have taken their rightful places in public estimation. As for old John Brown, the prediction of his intimates did not take place that "the gallows would become as glorious as the Cross."

About the time of the massacre Montgomery was in Johnson County, but arrived that night at the Trading Post, where he found about 200 men assembled. The next morning a pursuit was organized with Sheriff McDaniels. R. B. Mitchell and Montgomery at the head. They left for West Point, a town about twelve miles north, where it was believed Hamilton had taken


refuge. But they failed to find any of the gang, but it is believed some of them were there hidden away by the citizens. Search has kept up and the border guarded for sometime.

That fall Matlock was captured and taken to Paris, Linn County, for trial, but he escaped. In 1863 Wm. Griffith was arrested in Platte County, Missouri, and taken to Mound City for trial. He plead "not guilty" and set up the Amnesty Act as defense, but the jury found him guilty, and Judge S. O. Thatcher of this district sentenced him to death, and he was hanged October 30, 1863. Asa Hairgrove, one of the survivors of the massacre, acted as hangman.


After the Marais des Cygnes murder the people all along the border were naturally much excited. They felt that this massacre was, in some sense, different and more alarming than any outrage that had yet occurred. They were used to hearing of murders, collisions between two factions, the sacking of towns, and of assassinations, but in these cases they were often the outcome of personal difficulties, or the animus was directed against persons or communities particularly objectionable. In this instance, however, they saw this armed band, sweeping in a semi-circle through the country, picking up one at a time these men who were absolutely inoffensive and driving them to slaughter. It looked to them like their enemy was organizing for a forlorn hope, a last final struggle, the delivery of the


last venomous stroke of expiring energy. They did not know the day they, themselves, might not receive the stroke. Their fears were not altogether groundless. It is now known that this was only the first act of a pre-arranged plan for general murder and destruction.

The people felt much incensed against Fort Scott. The citizens of the town had, however unwillingly, permitted these Border Ruffians to make it their regular stopping place and silently acquiesced in the establishment of their headquarters. The stigma naturally attached itself.

The Governor, it is thought, realizing that there might be retaliatory measures taken by the Free State people, which must result in innocent bloodshed, had for that reason ordered a Deputy United States Marshal down to arrest Montgomery, or any other probable leader in such movement, and thus nip it in the bud. At any rate, Deputy Marshal Sam Walker was sent down here and arrived at Rayville on the 29th of May, with writs for Montgomery and some others. When he got to Rayville he found a large body of men who were being addressed by Montgomery in favor of proceeding to Fort Scott and executing vengeance on some few still there who were then believed to have been implicated with, and known to be in sympathy with the Hamilton crowd. On looking the ground over and feeling the sense of the people, Walker saw that was not the time or place to arrest Montgomery. But he made himself known, and, addressing the meeting, he informed them that if they would get out warrants for the arrest of G. W. Clark and others and furnish him


with a posse, he would go to Fort Scott and make the arrests. The reply was that Judge Williams would not issue the writs. He told them to get warrants from a justice of the peace then, and, although it might not be strictly legal, he would arrest the parties nevertheless. This proposition was acted upon. He was furnished with the warrants and a posse of forty-four men. Montgomery went along. On Sunday morning, May 30th, they entered Fort Scott, found G. W. Clark, and after considerable bluster on his part, arrested him. By this time Clark's friends had assembled in considerable force, and Montgomery, knowing there were writs out for his arrest, concluded it would be discretion for him to "leak out." A demand was now made by Clark's friends that Mongomery[sic] be pursued and arrested. Walker, after consulting with Captain Nathaniel Lyon, who was then stationed here, and then present, decided to do so. He turned his prisoner over to the military, overtook Montgomery and brought him back. After Clark's friends had taken a good look at "Old Jim Montgomery," Walker left with him for Lecompton for trial. But at Rayville he was overtaken by a courier from Lyon informing him that Clark had been released by Judge Williams. This action disgusted and angered Walker, and he immediately turned Montgomery loose.

At the time Clark was arrested feeling was running very high. It was critical. Had Clark seriously resisted arrest, Walker would have killed him, when Walker would in turn have been riddled, and there is no telling where it would have stopped.