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




N the first part of June, 1858, William Smith and wife arrived at Fort Scott with their son William H. and daughter Mary. The elder son, Edward A., was already here. Mr. Smith was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1810. He was a printer by trade and worked for some years for Harper Bros. in New York, after his arrival in this country in 1830. "Uncle Billy Smith" was a man of strong, sturdy qualities, somewhat "set in his way," but with a large heart and warm sympathies. His wife, "Aunt Jane," was a noble, Christian woman. Mrs. Smith, with Mrs. Alec McDonald, organized the first Presbyterian church in Fort Scott, in the next November after their arrival.

John F. White came early in June, from Pennsylvania. He was absent from Fort Scott most of the time for two years or more, conducting the general store of George A. Crawford & Co., at the Trading Post. Then he returned and opened a store of his own. He was afterward, County Treasurer for four years. Jack was a noble man.

Charles F. Drake arrived June 17, 1858, from Mt.


Vernon, Ohio. He came just after the Denver meeting and compromise, having walked into town from the Osage, and arrived here dusty, ragged and hungry. Finding a rather peaceful condition of things just then he decided to remain, and soon after started a small hardware store and tinshop, the first one in Southern Kansas. Thus he commenced pounding and soldering together the elements of his successful future. He, however, always found time to "be into" and help engineer nearly all the enterprises which have since been inaugurated in Fort Scott.

Our railroad enterprises have all felt the necessity of having the assistance of C. F. Drake, and most of them his signature also. He placed the Foundry on its feet and held it up for some years. He built the first Cement works, aided in the details by A. H. Bourne, Dr. B. F. Hepler and B. F. Gardner. He helped establish the First National Bank, and later, the Bank of Fort Scott; he shouldered largely the responsibility in the erection of the Water Works and Sugar works, and has built his share of the fine business houses in the city.

Mr. Drake is a man of much more than average financial ability, and his life might well be taken as a model by any young business man.


In the latter part of June, 1858, Capt. Nathaniel Lyon, then in command of the United States troops at Fort Scott, wrote to Governor Denver that:—


"The agreement made by the people here on the occasion of your late visit has been entered upon in good faith, and to this time fully observed."

The newly appointed Sheriff, T. R. Roberts, at once commenced active work against the horse-thieves, especially the gang running with our old acquaintance "Rev." J. E. Stewart, who had again returned. This man Stewart and his men had rendezvous on the Osage and on Drywood, and were sheltered and protected quite as often by men claiming to belong to one side as the other.

A considerable number of horses and other stock stolen by organized bands of theives, were recovered during the summer and returned to their owners by Sheriff Roberts. The Fort Scott Democrat of date of July 8th, has this to say: "Sheriff Roberts has recovered nearly all the horses stolen by Rev. J. E. Stewart."

One day Sheriff Roberts and his posse were out to arrest some men who had been with Stewart the spring before, and who had now slipped back again. Rube Forbes was one of them, and he was one of the men Roberts wanted. Dave Forbes, a brother of Rube, was along with the posse. When they got up near Mapleton, they met Rube, or saw him at some little distance in the road. They all knew him at once. Rube knew them also, and fixed himself for a run by throwing away everything loose and tucking his Sharp's rifle down under his leg. Dave, as soon as he saw him, rushed his horse in front of the posse and shouted to Rube to run. Then facing the posse and raising his revolver, he said: "Gentlemen, that man is my


brother; the first man that attempts to shoot him is a dead man." And he held that posse until Rube had time to get away.

Soon after peace was restored, Geo. A. Crawford made a trip to Washington to effect the removal of Geo. W. Clark, who had been so long in the Land Office. This he succeeded in doing, although Clark was the pet of somebody near the Administration, who immediately secured for him a fat appointment in the U. S. Navy. But this section of country was rid of him for all time.

G. W. Clark was at heart a bad man. His methods were sneaking and underhanded. He held his office under false pretenses and under a false name, the records of the Land office bearing his name as Doak. He planned and instigated more devilment among his class of rabid Pro-slavery men than any other man on the border. He was not in the Marais des Cygnes murder, but he was in the secret council that planned it in the "dark recesses" of the Western Hotel. Had he and his friends then in Fort Scott ever obtained what they thought to be a sufficient advantage, their first stroke would have fallen on Crawford, Gallaher, Dimon, McDonald, Campbell, Tallman and others, instead of the wholly unprotected and unwary men who formed that fated line on the banks of the Marais des Cygnes.


During the summer the work of improvement went on satisfactorily. Hill & Riggins and Wilson, Gordon


& Ray erected their new stores on Market street and occupied them. The Democrat had moved to the second floor of the Town Company's building; the Company occupied the front room, and the post-office the back room of the lower floor. Two Swedes erected the great barn-like building at the Southeast corner of the Plaza, one of them—the big one—packing most of the lumber from the mill on his shoulders, and C. F. Drake occupied the east room for his stove and tin store. William Smith erected a dwelling at the corner of Scott avenue and Locust street. Charley Goodlander put up his shop on the east side of Scott avenue.


Governor Denver had designated the 2nd of August, 1858, as the day for the election on the Lecompton Constitution, as submitted by the provisions of the English Bill.

The election took place on that day, with the following result in Bourbon County:

                      Against.     For.
     Rayville,           53
     Sprattsville,       18
     Mapleton,           84          1
     Marmaton,           41          4
     Osage,              30
     Mill Creek,         26
     Drywood,            50         13
     Fort Scott,         81         19
                        ___         __     
       Total,           383         37

     The total vote in the Territory was:
     Against the Constitution          11,300
     For the Constitution               1,788
       Majority against                 9,512

And that was the last of the Lecompton Constitution. It was born in iniquity and shame; left in all its squalor on the steps of the White House; there reclothed, a bribe for its adoption hanged around its neck and then returned to the place of its nativity, only to be spurned into a timely grave.

Thus perished the last hope of the incipient Confederacy that they could ever add Kansas to their territory. They gave up the fight. The struggle was over. Kansas was free.