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




THE incidents which had occurred during the last of December renewed the excitement throughout the county. The citizens of Fort Scott and the neighborhood made application to Governor Medary for troops. The Governor having no troops to send advised the organization of home militia to act with the Marshal in enforcing the law. They acted on his suggestion and the organization of militia companies was begun about the first of the year. John Hamilton, the old sergeant of the regular army, who was here when the post was established in 1842, was captain of the first company, and C. F. Drake lieutenant. Another company was organized by Alex. McDonald, W. T. Campbell, A. R. Allison and W. C. Denison. Two or three other companies were started; they had plenty of men for officers, but they ran out of men for privates. They finally concluded that, as the weather was pretty cold anyway, they would let old John Hamilton run the military department. Being an old soldier he immediately brought matters into military shape, with roll-call, guard mounting, drill, etc. Their arms were all private property and were of as heterogeneous a character as


could well be imagined—flint-lock muskets, rifles of every imaginable pattern, shotguns, carbines and pistols.

On application of Governor Medary a quantity of smooth-bore muskets were sent to the end of the Pacific railroad, whence, during the month of January, 1859, they were escorted to Paris by a company from Linn County. On the trip, Captain Weaver, in charge of the party, in drawing a loaded gun from a wagon, was accidentally shot and killed.

The greater part of the month of January was spent in drilling. The force was divided into three companies under Captains Hamilton, McDonald and Campbell. J. E. Jones, A. McDonald and W. T. Campbell were appointed Deputy U. S. Marshals. The men were all regularly mustered and sworn in.

Sunday morning, January 30, 1859, a company of fifty men started for Paris after the new arms. The trip occupied four days and on their return preparations were at once made to go in pursuit of the Jayhawkers. The entire mounted force marched at midnight on the 4th of February. Hamilton's company reached the Little Osage, near the present Fort Lincoln, at daybreak.

For three days they scoured the Little Osage country clear to its head, riding almost continuously, and returned to Fort Scott at midnight of the 7th with about a dozen prisoners, completely worn out.

After a few days' rest they proceeded with their prisoners to Lawrence, where they were to be tried.

The difficulties in Southeastern Kansas early engaged the attention of the Legislature, to whom the Governor had presented his version of the matter. To remedy


the evils in this part of the Territory the jurisdiction of Douglas county was extended over the infected district, and all persons were ordered to be brought to Lawrence for trial, away from the scene of strife. That is the reason these prisoners are being taken there.


Continuing their journey they camped at Black Jack on the night of the 14th. Next morning, at the Wakarusa, Marshal Campbell met them with the news of the passage of the "Amnesty Act," and the captives were turned loose. The wagons and most of the men at once set out on their return to Fort Scott. Some, desirous of visiting Lawrence, since they were so near, and with no suspicion of the reception they would receive, rode on. As they quietly pursued their way up Massachusetts street, and had almost reached the Eldridge House, the cry was raised in the crowd that Hamilton, their Captain, was the Hamilton of Marais des Cygnes fame. In a moment they were beset by a fierce mob numbering several hundred. Resistance was useless. Putting spurs to their horses they dashed for the prairie. But the mob was ahead of them. As they galloped down New Hampshire street they received a perfect avalanche of bullets, brick-bats, rocks, mud and sticks. In a short time they were completely hemmed in, and then there was nothing for it but to surrender. But everything was explained after awhile and they were treated with the greatest consideration during the remainder of their stay in that city.


One good result of this affair was that Lawrence and Fort Scott became better acquainted, and the bad impressions and prejudices of both towns which had existed against each other were, to a great extent, removed. Fort Scott's opinion of Lawrence was that it consisted principally of jayhawkers and thieves, and Lawrence was entirely certain that Fort Scott contained nothing but Border Ruffians, with Doc Hamilton as Mayor and Brockett as Police Judge. When they found that the Fort Scott people were, like the best men of their own town, only interested in the peace and prosperity of Kansas, they felt most kindly towards them, and from that day both communities drew a clearer line between "jayhawkers" and good citizens.

The "Amnesty Act" mentioned was passed by the Legislature only a short time before, and was to this effect:

SEC. 1. That no criminal offenses heretofore committed in the counties of Lykins, Linn, Bourbon, McGee, Allen and Anderson, growing out of any political difference of opinion, shall be subject to any prosecution on complaint or indictment in any court whatsoever in this Territory.

"SEC. 2. That all actions now commenced growing out of political differences of opinion, shall be dismissed."

This act, taking effect immediately after its passage, pardoned and liberated all political prisoners then in custody within the designated limits.


In the winter of 1859 the county seat was moved from


Fort Scott to Marmaton City. There was a combination of circumstances which effected this removal. There was a feeling that the records and other property of the county would be more secure away from Fort Scott. There was also considerable feeling of animosity against that town, as the result of old prejudices, and it is probable, also, that a scheme for a real estate speculation, headed by T. R. Roberts, the Representative in the Legislature, had something to do with it. At any rate the records were moved, and the first meeting of the County Board was held on the 25th day of February, 1859. At this meeting the townships of Freedom, Franklin and Marmaton were organized.

The people of Fort Scott sat still and saw the records and offices moved away without much protest, as they, even then, relied on their "natural advantages" for the future of their town. But C. F. Drake and a few others realized the necessity for having the County Seat at Fort Scott, if it was in future to be the principal town in the county, and they went to work to recover it, as will be seen hereafter.


On the 7th of March, 1859, Governor Medary issued a proclamation calling an election for or against holding a Constitutional Convention, in order to ascertain whether or not the people wished a State government.

This election was held on the 28th of March, 1859. It was the first step under the movement for the Wyandotte Constitution.


     Bourbon County voted as follows:
     For a Constitutional Convention . . . . . . 333
     Against a Constitutional Convention . . . .  47
          Majority for . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286
     The total vote in the Territory was:
     For a Constitutional Convention . . . . . 5,306
     Against . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,425
          Majority for . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,881

This was a very light vote. There was but little division of public sentiment on the question, and no contest at the polls. Everybody was in favor of a State government, except a few bad smelling politicians, old time Jayhawkers and Border Ruffians, whose "political principles" had degenerated into the sole desire to see the country kept embroiled and the field kept open for plundering, thieving and guerrilla warfare.


The spring of 1859 opened and continued fairly seasonable, except there was a little too much rain. Even up to June the rivers and streams, from the Marais des Cygnes down, were often past fording, and sometimes out of their banks. But, nevertheless, the prospect for growing crops was good, and there had been much more planting than ever before.

Emigrants were coming into the Territory in large numbers, although that year the "Pike's Peak" excitement was at its height, which diverted much the larger


stream of emigration to the gold fields of the Rocky Mountains.

Bourbon County, however, in spite of the troubles, trials and vexations she had passed through, in spite of the marauding of irresponsible men, which had cast an odium on her good name, and in spite of the heretofore almost lawless condition of society, was, nevertheless, receiving a fair share of good farmers and good men. The valleys of the Osage, Marmaton and Drywood were filling up, and the high open prairie was being intruded upon by the cabin and corral. Towns were springing up,—Dayton, Xenia, Uniontown, Rockford, Cato,—all with at least a store, and a post office.

The names of all who settled in the county that year should be recorded here, but it is impossible. They came in too thick.

Fort Scott received a good increase in population during 1859, also. Among the many coming in that year was C. W. Blair.

Charles W. Blair located in Fort Scott in the spring of 1859. He was born in Georgetown, Ohio, February 5, 1829. He studied law when a youth and at the age of twenty-one was Prosecuting Attorney for his county. December 25, 1858, he was married to Miss Katherine Medary, daughter of Hon. Samuel Medary, who was soon afterwards appointed Governor of Kansas Territory. He was accompanied to Fort Scott by his old law tutor, Hon. Andrew Ellison, and they entered immediately upon the practice of law, which has been the occupation of his life except the interim during the late war. Blair was always a Free State Democrat,


and after Sumpter was fired on he was a War Democrat in the full sense of the term. He began his war service by raising the first company of soldiers organized in Fort Scott. Afterwards, he passed through the several grades of Major, Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel, and in the latter part of the war was promoted Brigadier General, at the special request of U. S. Grant. His star was, in part, gained on the bloody ridge of Wilson Creek, when, after the incompetent "political General" Sigel was crushed and his guns taken, and he discovered he was fighting Americans, the rebel host turned in full force on the main line—when, after the noble Mitchell and Deitzler, of the First and Second Kansas, had fallen badly wounded, Lieutenant-Colonel Blair took command of both those stunned and shattered regiments, rallied them into line on the right of the Iowa men and advanced to the ringing call of Lyon: "Come on, brave men, I will lead you."