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 Territorial Legislature met at Lecompton on the 2d of January, 1860, but soon after adjourned to Lawrence. The town of Dayton was incorporated by an act of this Legislature, approved February 18, 1860. The Dayton Town Company consisted of George Stockmyer, D. J. Patterson, E. Kepley, George A. Crawford, O. Darling, C. E. Cranston, J. S. Dejernett and Amos Stewart.


On the 27th of February, 1860, the Legislature passed an act incorporating the Fort Scott Town Company. The company had been in existence since January, 1857, but had not up to this time been incorporated by law. Geo. A. Crawford, W. R. Judson, Joseph Williams, E. S. Lowman, H. T. Wilson and Norman Eddy were named in the act of incorporation.


On this same date—February 27, 1860—an act was passed with the following title:


"An act to amend an act to incorporate the town of Fort Scott." Section First provided:

"That all that district of land described as follows, to-wit:—The southwest quarter, the west half of the southeast quarter, the southwest quarter of the northeast quarter and the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section Thirty, Township Twenty-five, of Range Twenty-five, be and hereby is declared to be a city by the name and style of the City of Fort Scott."

The act also provided that the first election should take place on the second Monday of March, 1860. A. R. Allison, S. A. Williams and C. F. Drake were named inspectors of said election.


The city election took place according to law, and resulted in the choice of the following officers: Mayor, W. R. Judson; Councilmen, H. T. Wilson, C. W. Blair, John S. Redfield and George A. Crawford; Clerk, Wm. Gallaher; Recorder, Wm. Margrave; Marshal, Richard Phillips; Assessor, John S. Caulkins; Treasurer, A. McDonald; Street Commissioner, A. R. Allison. At this election, the first in the new city, 81 votes were cast. W. R. Judson failed to qualify as Mayor, and Joseph Ray was elected to that position, and became the first Mayor of Fort Scott.

On the 10th of September, 1860, Joseph Ray, as Mayor, purchased the town-site of Fort Scott from the United States, consisting of 319 11-100 acres, as described in the act of February 27th, incorporating it


as a City. The patent afterwards issued by the Government for the land described is dated July 10, 1861.

About the 1st of April, 1860, a county election was held at which the following named county officers were chosen: County Commissioners, Isaac Ford, Lester Ray, G. W. Miller; Probate Judge, H. Knowles; Assessor, J. N. Roach; Treasurer, J. Aitkin; Register of Deeds, W. H. Norway; Coroner, Dr. Freeman.


In May, 1860, the notorious "Pickles" of Linn County, a general all-round thief; was arrested and brought to Fort Scott for trial for theft. His real name was Wright, but he got his nickname of "Pickles" for having, in one of his expeditions, stolen a two-quart jar of pickles and devoured them as he rode along. When taken into court he plead guilty to the charge of horse-stealing, and was at once sentenced to the penitentiary, as an act of discretion, to avoid falling into the hands of an Osage Vigilance Committee, who had assembled in town, headed by old Billy Baker with a rope. Some of Pickles' gang came down as far as the Osage and endeavored to raise a rescuing party, after the Ben Rice fashion, but they soon abandoned the project. The day for that sort of thing had passed. The vigilance committee mentioned, or anti-horse thief society, as they called themselves, which had been formed up about Mapleton, came into town to look after the Pickles trial, with an eye open for a possible attempt at rescue.


Pickles fared better than did a man named Guthrie, who, some time before this, was found with a horse supposed not to belong to him, and was taken from the hands of a constable and hanged by this committee. They also got hold of Hugh Carlin, who had given the settlers on the Osage a good deal of trouble, and in the early part of July he was taken from the house of A. F. Monroe, without giving him time to dress, and that was the last of Hugh Carlin.

In these hangings a young man named L. D. Moore was particularly active as a member of the committee. On the night of the 16th of November he was visited by Jennison, with a squad of about twenty men. Upon arriving at Moore's house, Jennison kicked open the door and shot Moore before he had time to get out of bed. This murder was in retaliation for the hanging of Carlin. Although Moore, who had settled on the Osage in 1857, was a Pro-slavery man, politics had little or nothing to do with his death. It was a kind of an afterthought—a finishing up job of Jennison's, who two days before that had started out on a circuit in Linn county, first hanging old man Scott in his own door yard, in the north part of that county; the next day hanging Rus Hines near the Missouri State line, east of Mine creek, and winding up with the killing of Moore. The first two were killed on the pretext that they had aided in the return to the owners of runaway negroes, and Moore was killed because he was, as Jennison said, "a little too — conservative."

There was, in the fall of 1860, a secret society organized in Linn county, which they called the "Wide


Awakes." It probably existed to a more or less extent all along the border. In Linn county it was especially strong. Nearly every Free State man in that county joined it. The fundamental principles of this society were opposition to the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law; to take measures on all occasions to nullify its provisions; to uphold the officers, sheriffs, etc., in its nullification; to forcibly prevent the return of fugitive slaves, and, when they got over into Kansas, to give them a bag full of grub and show them the north star. The society did not, however, propose to take violent measures in the case of men who were aiding and assisting in the execution of the law. But Jennison and a few with him took the general feeling as a license for him to do so, and the death of Scott and Hines, and indirectly that of Moore, was the result.

In Bourbon County all these murders, by both parties, caused a decided revulsion of feeling, not only against the Jayhawkers, but all other species of mob violence, vigilance committees, protective societies, etc., in all forms. The point was passed where anything more of that kind would be tolerated. The disposition and determination of the public mind was to inaugarate LAW, to establish the forms and precedents they had been accustomed to in the old States, and thus bring order out of the utter chaos which had so far reigned from the day the Territory was organized. It was not hoped that this could be accomplished in a day, but it was, nevertheless, practically so, for these were the last outrages perpetrated under the guise of "Free State" or "Pro-slavery."