From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

Pioneer Leavenworth Man cleared of Kidnap Charge

by George J. Remsburg

While looking through some old records recently I came across a letter written in Leavenworth during the Civil war, which is self explanatory, and of which the following is a verbatim copy:

"Leavenworth, August 21, 1862."

"To the Public:"

"On the eighteenth of this month, one, John Benton, who represented himself as a government detective, made a written statement to this office charging Samuel Hipple, recruiting commissioner for Atchison county, with having had three Negroes in his employ during the present summer, who, on a certain night on or about July 1, mysteriously disappeared, and that, on inquiry being made of Mr. Hipple as to where they had gone, he refused to give any satisfactory account of them, but said they were in Leavenworth City. But on inquiry being made his statement was found to be false, and that the Negroes were found to be with their masters in Missouri, and that he, the detective, had under consideration, the propriety of demanding said Negroes on a requisition through General Logan, as witnesses against Mr. Hipple as a kidnapper.

"Upon this charge being made, I at once made a full and completed investigation of the matter, and find the colored woman at a respectable boarding house in this city, and the two colored men in 'Camp Jim Lane' doing service for their country. they all state that while they worked for Mr. Hipple they were treated with the greatest kindness, and were paid their wages to the last cent, and were all brought to this city from Atchison in a carriage by their own request.

"The colored people furthe (sic) state that while living with Mr. Hipple he furnished them with fire arms for their protection against 'nigger thieves,' and the colored woman states that Mr. Hipple paid her and sat up with her and taught her how to read.

"In view of these facts I have no hesitation in pronouncing the whole story of the said Benton to be utterly false and malicious."

"T. J. Weed,"

"Major & A.A.A.G."

Samuel Hipple, alluded to in the above letter, was a pioneer of Leavenworth. Later, when the old town of Monrovia, on Stranger creek, about 18 miles northwest of Leavenworth, was started, he moved over there taking with him a combination saw and grist mill, which he set up on the bank of Stranger creek. This mill was the first of its kind in that part of Kansas territory. It was brought to Leavenworth from St. Louis by steamboat, and from Leavenworth to Monrovia by ox-team. it did a thriving business. Mr. Hipple also opened a tent hotel of several rooms at Monrovia, later erecting a large frame hotel from lumber sawed in his mill. It was opened with a "housewarming" dance, at the end of which it caught fire and burned down. The town gave Mr. Hipple 80 town lots for erecting his mill there. He became much interested in real estate and at one time owned 2,300 acres of land in this section of Kansas. He was engaged in the overland freighting business between Leavenworth and western and southwestern points for some time. He served a term in the Kansas senate. The last years of his life were devoted to buying and shipping cattle.

Mr. Hipple's old home in Kansas was only a few miles from mine. He died when I was quite young and I can hardly recall him, but I kenw his son, the late Oliver P. Hipple, and other members of the family quite well. They were fine people. The elder Hipple died in 1875. He was a native of Pennsylvania and was born in 1815. In his native state he was a railroad contractor and constructed several hundred miles of the Pennsylvania Central road. He came to Kansas in 1857, first locating in Leavenworth. During the Civil war he had charge of the quartermaster's department at Cape Girardeau, Mo. He was commissioned by President Lincoln November 26, 1862, and resigned July 18, 1865.

Major T.J. Weed, who came to Mr. Hipple's defense on the proposed kidnapping charge first came to Kansas in 1856, and making Topeka his headquarters, he raised a company and served under General Jim Lane until the fall of that year, when he returned east. The next year he came back to Kansas and settled in Leavenworth, practicing medicine here until he entered the United States service in 1861, as adjutant general of a Kansas Brigade. During the same year he was assigned to a position on Gen. George M. McClellan's staff, with the rank of major. in 1863, he acted as assistant adjutant general in the recruiting service. He also served with Generals Fremont, Blunt, Curtis and Schofield. He was mustered out in 1865, being at the close of the war Chief of General Curtis' staff in the department of the northwest. Returning to Leavenworth he engaged in general insurance business, and was county auditor for several years. He was a New Yorker by birth.

concerning the John Benton, who preferred the kidnapping charge against Mr. Hipple, I cannot find any further record.

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