Forgive me, Freedom ! O, forgive those dreams !
The second Territorial Governor of Kansas was Wilson Shannon. He was born February 24, 1802, in what is now Belmont county, Ohio, while that State was yet a Territory. He died in Lawrence, Kansas, August 30, 1877, in his seventy-sixth year.
Governor Shannon's father came from Pennsylvania to Ohio; and was frozen to death in the winter of 1803, while on a hunting expedition along the Ohio river. At the time of his death he had nine children, seven sons and two daughters.
All these sons seem to have been of more than ordinary ability. The oldest was John, who was nineteen at the time of his father's death. He was a noble young man. He immediately went to work to support his widowed mother and his brothers and sisters. He was a patriot, also, for in the war of 1812 he entered the army, and rose from the rank of a private to that of Captain. He was a man of fine mind, and could have distinguished himself in any position or profession he might have selected. He sacrificed every personal consideration for the welfare of his brothers and sisters, and for so doing deserves the highest commendation.The second son, George, was a member of the expedition of Lewis and Clark, and accompanied it to the remote West. He was wounded in the leg on the upper Missouri while assisting in repelling an Indian attack. When the expedition returned it was found necessary that his leg be amputated. He superintended the publication of the valuable Journal of the expedition in Philadelphia. Here he studied law, was admitted to practice; and afterwards went to Lexington, Kentucky, where he rose to eminence in his profession, and was elected Judge of the Circuit Court. Prom this point he removed to Hannibal, Mo. He was here honored with an election to the State Senate, and was afterwards appointed United States District Attorney for Missouri. He was defeated for the United State Senate by Thomas H. Benton. He died in August, 1836, in the court-house, while defending a man in a criminal action. Shannon county, Missouri, was so named in his honor.
The third son, James, was educated by the efforts of his brother John, and sent to Lexington to study law in the office of his brother George. He became a brilliant lawyer, and a leader in the Democratic party. He married a daughter of ex-Governor Shelby. In 1832 the President appointed him to an important position in Central America ; he died on the way to his post of duty.
John assisted the fourth son, Thomas, to enter commercial life. He was established as a merchant in Barnesville, Ohio. His ability was recognized by his fellow-citizens, and he was elected to Congress, after a second term in the State Legislature.
David, the fifth son, was sent to Lexington to study law in the office of his brother George. He was admitted to the bar, and afterwards settled in Tennessee. President Jackson appointed him Judge of the courts of Florida Territory. He died while arranging his affairs to enter upon his duties there.
The sixth son was Wilson. His brothers, John and Thomas, sent him, in his nineteenth year, to the University of Ohio, at Athens. He remained here almost two years. He was then sent to Lexington, Kentucky, to enter the Transylvania University. While here he studied law in the office of his brothers, George and James. In 1826 he was admitted to practice in St. Clairsville, Ohio. He rose rapidly in his profession. When his practice was sufficient to support himself and a wife, he was married to a daughter of Mr. E. Ellis, at that time Clerk of the Circuit Court. Much of his political advancement was the result of this marriage. His brothers-in-law were all influential men in Ohio politics. Among them were Hon. William Kennon; Hon. George W. Manypenny, Commissioner of In-dian Affairs when Kansas was organized as a Territory; Hon. Hugh J. Jewett; and Hon. Isaac E. Eaton. The influence of these men was exerted in his behalf. In 1832 he was the candidate of the Democratic party of his district for Congress, and defeated by only thirty-seven votes, by General James M. Bell. In 1833 he was elected County Attorney for his county; he was reelected in 1835. He was elected Governor of Ohio as a Democrat in 1838. He was the party candidate in 1840, but was defeated by Thomas Corwin. He favored the nomination of General Lewis Cass for the Presidency, in 1844. He was appointed Minister to Mexico in this year, and entered upon the discharge of the duties of his office, but returned home on the breaking-out of the Mexican war. Upon the discovery of gold in California, Governor Shannon went there in 1849. He remained two years, but seems to have accomplished little in California, and returned to Ohio in 1851. In 1852 he was elected to Congress, and supported the Kansas-Nebraska bill and the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. His support of these measures rendered him unpopular in his Congressional district, and he was not a candidate for reelection. He resumed the practice of law.
When Governor Eeeder was removed, the office of Governor of Kansas Territory was tendered another Pennsylvanian, Hon. John L. Dawson, who declined the honor. Mr. Shannon was an applicant for the position, and was given the appointment. His commission was dated August 10, 1855. He arrived in Westport, Mo., September 1.
At Westport he addressed an assembly. He was reported to have affirmed the validity of the laws of the bogus Legislature, and to have expressed himself in favor of the establishment of slavery in Kansas Territory. The Governor, in a communication to the newspapers, denied that he had uttered the sentiments attributed to him in the published report of his speech. But it was well known that he held the views said to have been expressed by him, and in his article of denial he did not disavow them.
The Governor was in no haste to assume the duties of his office. He desired to escape the responsibility of approving the laws of the Legislature, then recently adjourned. This honor he was willing should attach to Acting-Governor Woodson's administration. On the 3d of September the Governor marched from Westport to Shawnee Mission with a crowd of Missourians at his heels. O. H. Browne, a member of the bogus Legislature, formerly the editor of a slave paper in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, was one of the number, and upon the arrival of the party welcomed the Governor in a fanciful speech. He pictured the border-ruffians as singing psalms and leading in the prayers of their family devotions. Their peaceful and virtuous homes were represented as crowning every Kansas hill. These simple, quiet rural people, he assured the Governor, welcomed him to the peaceful fields of Kansas.
Governor Shannon replied in a similar strain. He
was confident that the inhabitants of the Territory were peaceful and law-abiding; that no troubles of any serious
nature had ever occurred in Kansas; that the first elections. had been attended with some unimportant irregularities;
that it was the duty of all citizens to obey the laws provided by the late Legislature for the protection of the
people; that it was his duty and intention to enforce the said laws; and that he was glad to be so cordially welcomed
by so pastoral a people as dwelt in the peaceful vales of Kansas.
Two days after Governor Shannon made his most remarkable speech to Browne and others at Shawnee, the Free-State settlers met in delegate convention at Big Springs. Their fortunes had never been at a lower ebb. Their very existence was ignored by the Executive of the Territory, and the General Government seemed in array against them. They had no standing in the laws of the Territory unless they renounced their principles, or at least, the expression of their convictions. The issue of slavery alone had been made by the representatives of that idea. They had been eliminated by force and fraud from any expression in the Legislature just adjourned. They were reviled, denounced, persistently misrepresented, and mercilessly ridiculed and persecuted by the border-ruffians into whose hands the government had fallen. Tree men have rarely met under a more lowering sky than overspread the fortunes of the Eree-State men at Big Springs, September 5, 1855. But of faltering there was none. Not only did they meet the issue made by the bogus Legislature, and inscribe on their virgin banner, Ereedom, but they went to greater length. They denounced the enactments of the Legislature. They resolved never to obey them, to never be bound by them, to never be subject to them in any manner. They even determined to resist them to a bloody issue when such a course gave any promise of success. And to still a greater height did they climb. They took the preliminary steps to form a constitution upon which to seek admission to the Union as a State. The justice of their cause and the courage with which they confronted a well-nigh hopeless condition advanced their interests and augmented their strength. Their action combined all the elements in the Territory opposed to slavery and the rabid, criminal, reprehensible, and bloody course of the border-ruffians.
The Pro-Slavery leaders viewed with concern the movement inaugurated by their opponents. A new issue was defined. An emergency had arisen which they had not expected, if indeed they had foreseen it. In the evolution of their infamous code they had attempted to render "abolitionism" impossible of existence in Kansas. It could be obeyed by none save a Pro-Slavery community. If the slave laws of this code could be enforced in a town,- Lawrence, for instance,-and the people compelled to live under them and give allegiance to them, they must become a Pro-Slavery community of necessity. Free-State sentiment would cease to exist, or be so stifled as to become impotent and harmless. In this belief were the slave laws of the bogus Legislature concocted. The position assumed by the party formed by the Free-State men would, if they were permitted to persist in its maintenance, overthrow the whole structure erected by the bogus Legislature for the conservation of slavery in Kansas Territory. Where was the benefit of laws to stamp out a heresy if not only was the heresy to still be preached, but the laws of orthodoxy denounced, defied, and openly resisted. In such a result the position had better not have been taken. To suffer its continuance was to acknowledge defeat. It was not the purpose of the advocates of slavery to passively permit defeat to come so easily to their plans.
To this time the advocates of slavery had acted in the name of the Democratic party. Their plans had been formed in the secret organizations of border Missouri. They had been executed on the prairies of Kansas by violence and fraud. It was felt that the time had arrived when the situation demanded a strong organization on the ground where the battle was raging. On the 3d of October the Pro-Slavery men of Leavenworth met to review the situation. They issued" an address to their colleagues, calling for a convention to be held in Leavenworth on the 14th of November. It insisted that all lovers of law and order should obey the laws, and declared it treason to oppose or resist them.
The convention met pursuant to the call, on the 14th of. November, and was largely attended by the advocates of slavery in both Kansas and Missouri. The entire Territorial Government was present and participated actively in the proceedings of the meeting. Governor Shannon was designated a delegate from Douglas county, and was made president of the convention. The labors of the convention resulted in the formation of a political party-a vicious vigilance committee in disguise. Its platform of principles was embodied in the following resolutions:
(1) Resolved, That we, the people here assembled, believing the Constitution of the United States, and the laws passed in pursuance thereof, are sufficient for the protection of our rights, both of person and property, and that in the observance of the same are, vested our only hopes of security for liberty and the Union, and that we will maintain the same at all hazards.
(2) Resolved, That in every government, whether Monarchical, Aristocratic, Democratic or Republican, the liberty, the life and property of no individual is safe unless the laws passed by the properly constituted authorities are strictly and freely obeyed.
(3) Resolved, That we hold the doctrine to be strictly true, that no man or set of men are at liberty to resist a law passed by a legislative body, legally organized, unless they choose by their actions to constitute themselves rebels and traitors, and take all the consequences that legitimately follow the failure of a revolution.
(4) Resolved, That the course pursued under this Territory by certain persons professing to be the peculiar friends of human freedom is at variance with all law,^ and entirely subversive of good order, and is practical nullification, rebellion and treason, and should be frowned upon and denounced by every lover of civil liberty and of the perpetuity of the Union.
(5) Resolved, That the repudiation of the laws and properly constituted authorities of this Territory, by the agents and servants of the Massachusetts Aid Society, and the armed preparation of such agents and servants to resist the execution of the laws of Kansas, are treasonable and revolutionary in their character, and should be crushed at once by the strong, united arm of all lovers of law and order.
(6) Resolved, That the admission of Andrew H. Keeder to a seat in the next Congress of the United States would be in violation of all law and precedent, and would have a tendency to encourage treason against all good government, and that the same would be an outrage upon the citizens of Kansas.
(7) Resolved, That the convention lately assembled at Topeka, to form a constitution for a State government, called and elected by and composed of members of one political party, the so-called "Free-State Party," and neither called nor elected by the people of Kansas, would have been a farce if its purposes had not been treasonable; and any constitution presented by such a convention is unworthy the serious consideration of freemen, and if presented to Congress as the Constitution of Kansas, should be scouted from its halls as an insult to its intelligence and an outrage upon our sovereign rights.
(8) Resolved, That we cordially indorse the Kansas-Nebraska act, and more especially that part of it which repeals the Missouri Compromise and enunciates the principle that the people of every Territory, in framing their organic law, have a right to decide for themselves what domestic institutions they will or will not have.
(9) Resolved, That the Kansas-Nebraska bill recognizes the true principles of republican government, and that we feel that we are as fit for, and as capable of, self-government as we were when citizens of the States, and that we denounce any attempt on the part of Congress or the citizens of other States to interfere with or control our domestic affairs.
(10) Resolved, That, as citizens of a Territory, not having any right to the expression of our voice in the election of a chief magistrate of the nation, yet we cannot refrain from the expression of our gratitude to the Democrats of the Northern States for their undeviating support of the true principles of government, contained in the organic law of this Territory.
(11) Resolved, That we condemn and scorn the acts and falsehoods of the Abolition and Free-Soil prints throughout the country, in misrepresenting the facts growing out of the organization of this Territory, all of which are calculated to mislead public sentiment abroad, and retard the growth, settlement and prosperity of the Territory.
(12) Resolved, That we, the members of this convention, the Law and Order party, the States Rights party of Kansas, the opponents of Abolitionism, Free-Socialism and all the other isms of the day, feel ourselves fully able to sustain the organic law of the Territory and the acts of the Territorial Legislature passed in pursuance thereof, and we hereby pledge ourselves to support and sustain Governor Shannon in the execution of all laws, and that we have the utmost confidence in the disposition and determination of the Executive to fully and faithfully discharge his duties.
Governor Shannon was made chairman of a committee to prepare an address to the people of the United States.
On the 15th the convention met and provided for the printing of this address, and then adjourned.
At this convention no person was permitted to speak unless he was known to be an advocate of slavery. Marcus J. Parrott attempted, as a man in favor of "Law and Order" to be heard, but lie was howled, jeered, hissed and hooted down.
The address provided for by the convention was issued on the 30th of November. It was a document of great length, and was a statement of the merits of the Pro-Slavery proceedings in the work of organizing the Territorial Government, It approved the course of the Missourians. And its denouncement of the Free-State party was in unmeasured terms. Everything opposed to slavery and everyone who lifted a voice against that institution were condemned and ridiculed. It announced the completed organization of the Law and Order Party of Kansas, and the platform of it as being the foregoing resolutions.
"We have this to say, that Whig and Democrat, Pro-Slavery and Free-State men, making a sacrifice of all party names and organizations upon the altar of the public good, have resolved to be known hereafter as the Law and Order party, or "State Eights" party of Kansas, and have given to the world, and pledged their united faith in support of a platform of principles laid down in the resolutions."
This address was signed by Governor Shannon, and others. It is, perhaps, the only instance where a Governor deliberately set himself against a majority of the inhabitants of his Territory at the suggestion and in favor of a mob from an adjoining State. If a servile compliance with their every wish was the qualification desired in an Executive, the border-ruffians had nothing to complain of in Governor Shannon.
The organization of the Law and Order party encouraged and strengthened the advocates of slavery in Kansas and Missouri. J. W. B. Kelley was an anti-slavery man living in Atchison. He was set upon by a ruffian named Thomason, a man much superior in size and strength, and beaten almost to death. The people of Atchison convened in public meeting and passed resolutions approving and commending the act of the cowardly bully. These resolutions were made the test of fealty to slavery in the community, and it was ordered that they be circulated, and that all citizens be required to sign them. Anyone refusing to so sign was to be treated as an "abolitionist."
These resolutions were presented to the Rev. Pardee Butler for his signature. He was a man of sterling worth and a champion of freedom. He refused to sign, and condemned the action of the bully and the people. He was arrested, subjected to frightful indignities, placed on a raft made of two cottonwood logs, and set adrift on the turbid waters of the Missouri river. Streamers and banners were attached and inscribed with insulting mottoes.
The Free-State men found it necessary to organize
some form of self-defense from the outrages of the ruffians, and they instituted what was known as the " Kansas
Legion." One Pat Laughlin became quite prominent in this Free-State secret society. He seems to have done
so for the purpose of betrayal. He was base enough to reveal all he knew concerning the society, and for so doing
was called to account by a member of the order named Collins, In the altercation which followed, Laughlin shot
Collins dead, and fled to Atchison, where the ruffians protected him.
Harrison Buckley was an intimate friend of Coleman. One of the circumstances indicating that Dow's murder had been planned beforehand is the fact that Buckley had on the morning of the murder threatened his life and aimed a loaded shotgun at his breast. Buckley fled with Coleman to Westport, but did not remain. He returned and obtained a peace warrant from a justice of the peace named Cameron against Jacob Branson, on the ground that he was afraid that Branson would kill him. This warrant the sheriff took for execution. He summoned a posse and with it set out for the house of Branson. The arrest was made about 2 o'clock A. M. When Sheriff Jones had proceeded some distance with his prisoner he was met by a party of Free-State men under command of Major J. B. Abbott, a man of courage, worth, and the highest integrity. Samuel N. Wood was also of the party, and he was a very determined man and of undoubted courage. Branson was rescued by these men, and carried to Lawrence. The town had been the scene of none of the trouble, and a resolution approving the rescue of Branson was rejected in the meeting called to consider the matter.
Jones went to Franklin after he lost his prisoner. He was in a great rage. What was his first action? Did he report the matter to the Governor and demand assistance?
He appealed to his friend, Colonel Boone, of Westport, Mo., for help. He must have known and realized that Boone could render him no legal assistance. Some of his more discreet friends pointed out that his course in appealing to Missouri was one of irregularity. They advised that he appeal to the Governor for his help. In such an emergency the Missourians needed no formal appeal. Perhaps it would have been impossible to prevent them from rendering him aid. Sheriff Jones finally wrote out and sent off a communication to the Governor asking for three thousand men "to carry out the laws." He did not explain that he needed only sufficient men to enable him to execute a peace warrant. He was careful to inform him that he might "consider an open rebellion as having already commenced." And so it proved.
The Governor complied with the request of Jones at once. He made no inquiry into the true conditions existing in Jones's county. He ordered out the Kansas militia, and the- first company of that organization arrived from Westport, Mo., two days after the call was made; it went into camp at Franklin. The following notice was spread along the border:
"To ARMS! To ARMS!" It is expected that every lover of Law and Order will rally at Leavenworth, on Saturday, December 1, 1855, prepared to march at once to the scene of the rebellion, to put down the outlaws of Douglas county, who are committing depredations upon persons and property, burning down houses and declaring open hostility to the laws, and having forcibly rescued a prisoner from the Sheriff. Come one, come all! The laws must be executed. The outlaws, it is said, are armed to the teeth, and number 1,000 men. Every man should bring his rifle and ammunition, and it would be well to bring two or three days' provisions. Every man to his post, and to his duty.
The "Blue Lodges" bestirred themselves to raise men and whisky for Jones. Liberty, Mo., enrolled two hundred men and subscribed $1,000 in one day. All the accounts of the ruffians lay great stress upon the terms "the execution of the laws," or the "laws must be executed." It will be noticed that Jones requested the three thousand men "to carry out the laws," and the affidavits of Coleman, Buckley and Hargis all recite that, as one of the charges against the Free-State men, they had heard them say they would not obey the laws. This is pushed forward as their principal justification. When less than two score men met a sheriff on a lonely road at night and rescued one of their friends whom they had good cause to believe would be roughly dealt with if not murdered, three thousand men were called for and the Governor informed that he "might consider an open rebellion as having already commenced." But before the appeal to the Governor was made a very urgent one had been sent to Missouri! Yet there are students of Kansas history that can see no premeditation in any act of Jones!
Fifteen hundred Missourians assembled for the destruction of Lawrence. The main body of this horde encamped in the Wakarusa bottoms, near Franklin, about three miles southeast of Lawrence. United States Senator Atchison was stationed on the north side of the Kansas river in plain view of the town. With his command were one hundred of the Platte County (Mo.) Rifles. And all this time Governor Shannon was urging other commanders to hurry forward their men.
The rescuers of Branson left the town of Lawrence. There was not, on the first of December, the date of the beginning of the siege, a single man in Lawrence for whom Jones had a warrant or cause for one. On December 3d he was aware of this fact, as evidenced by his letter to the Governor, but he insists that a demand be made of the people of Lawrence for the prisoners! With all his blustering, his writs, if he had any, were in his private office in Lecompton; he could not have served a writ had he met one of the alleged offenders in the public highway. All his talk about desiring to execute warrants was the veriest nonsense. His primary object was to find a pretext for the destruction of Lawrence, because it contained people who would not recognize the validity of the laws enacted by the bogus Legislature. This is why fifteen hundred Missourians assembled to render aid.
The people of Lawrence prepared to defend themselves. They enrolled the Free- State settlers who came in from the surrounding country to aid them. Dr. Robinson was made commander of these forces and James H. Lane was second in command. The approaches to the city were fortified; the men were constantly drilled. They were in condition to give a good account of themselves by the 3d of December. The Governor became concerned for the safety of the Missourians in case of attack. He wrote Jones: "The known deficiency of arms and all the accoutrements of war, which must necessarily characterize the law-abiding citizens who have rushed to your assistance in the maintenance of order, will invite resistance from your opponents, who are well supplied with arms. It would be wrong, therefore, to place your men in a position where their lives would be endangered when we shall, in all probability, have an ample force from Leaven-worth in a few days." No man ever took a more base and villainous position than that occupied by Governor Shannon in the Wakarusa war. His plea that he was misinformed but adds to its reprehensibility.
The Committee of Safety constituted by the citizens of Lawrence determined to appeal to the Governor. A delegation of two persons was sent to fully acquaint him with the truth. Their information that Lawrence was in a state of defense aroused him. History has been charitable with the Governor, and attributed his subsequent desire for peace to his sense of justice. Perhaps it was so. At any rate, he set out for the camp of the ruffians. "In his plans thus far, he had looked to successful intimidation as the result of the military demonstration. He found it meant murder and blood, and much of it, on both sides. . . . On his arrival, he found the officers sober, and fully cognizant of the serious aspect of affairs. The rank and file consisted of Missourians of all ages, who had come over to 6 help Jones wipe out Lawrence.' They had waited three days already, during which time they had subsisted on what they could steal and rob from the inhabitants, and the whisky they had brought along. They were as ignorant of the danger attending the attack on Lawrence as was Shannon two days before. They were under lax discipline, bordering on insubordination, and in the delirium coming from exposure, lack of food, and plentiful supplies of strong drink, the force was well-nigh on the verge of mania a potu. The Governor discovered at once the insane determination of the men to march on Lawrence at all hazards, and set about, with the full cooperation of all the officers except Jones, the task of getting them out of the Territory alive."
The Governor appealed to Col. Simmer for United States troops with which to restrain the Missourians, who were threatening to hoist a black flag and under its sable folds march on Lawrence. The proof that it was the intention from the first to destroy Lawrence is contained in a letter from one J. O. Anderson, a member of the bogus Legislature then at Lecompton. He said, in a communication dated December 6th, to Richardson, the commander of the Missourians: " If Governor Shannon will pledge himself not to allow any United States officer to interfere with the arms belonging to the United States now in their possession, and, in case there is no battle, order the United States forces off at once, and retain the militia, provided any force is retained, all will be well, and all will obey to the end, and commit no depredation upon private property in Lawrence"
The Governor finally negotiated a peace. It is strange that the Missouri mob submitted. They were furious, however, and roundly abused the Governor for extricating them from defeat. Stringfellow announced to his followers that " Shannon had sold himself, and disgraced himself and the whole Pro-Slavery party." Atchison's comment was as follows: "Boys, we cannot fight now.
The position the Lawrence people have taken is such that it would not do to make an attack upon them; it would ruin the Democratic cause, too. But, boys, we will fight sometime, by!" Jones said afterwards, "Had not Shannon been a d-d fool, I would have wiped out Lawrence." Does this expression bear the interpretation that all this force was desired and collected for the purpose of enabling him to execute writs?
The election held January 15, 1856, by the Free-State party was held by the Law and Order party to be a violation of the terms of the treaty of peace closing the Wakarusa war. Jones again had recourse to his writs as a pretense for persecutions against the Free-State men. Governor Shannon furnished him a military force with which he repaired to Lawrence for the purpose of arresting Samuel 1ST. Wood and S. J. Tappan. The attempt was made April 19, and failed. On the 20th, the attempt failed also. On the 23d, Jones arrived with his military escort. A number of arrests were made; at night an irresponsible party, of his own motion, attempted to kill Jones, and wounded him by shooting him in the back with a small pistol. The citizens of Lawrence condemned the act. But it was made the cause for a second demonstration from Missouri against that town. One I. B. Donaldson, United States Marshal for Kansas Territory, issued a proclamation calling upon "law-abiding" citizens to appear in sufficient number to enforce the laws. The border-ruffians needed no more definite pretext for the invasion of Kansas. The people of Lawrence appealed for aid to the Governor, the Congressional Committee then in session in Leavenworth, and the Marshal. No relief was provided for them.
On May 21, the ruffians sacked Lawrence. The Free-State Hotel and the printing-presses of the Free-State papers were destroyed. Dwellings were pillaged, and that of Dr. Robinson was burned. Property to the amount of $150,000 was stolen and destroyed.
The summer which followed was the most terrible for the Free-State men in the history of the struggle in Kansas. They were compelled, in self-defense, to take the field. John Brown met Pate at Black Jack, captured twenty-eight of his men and dispersed the remainder. Franklin was attacked by the Free-State men and the military stores carried away. The principal companies of Free-State men were led by John Brown, Major J. B. Abbott, and Captain Cracklin, respectively. Whitfield, the dull and heavy Tennessean, elected Kansas Delegate to Congress from Jackson county, Mo., gathered a herd of cut-throats along the border and led them into Kansas. Governor Shannon invoked the assistance of the United States troops to, as he said, break up all bands of armed men. The Free-State men under Brown disbanded. Whitfield's men agreed to do the same, but could not resist the temptation to robbery; they first pillaged Osawatomie, then disbanded. On the march to the town they killed Cantrell, an innocent Free-State man.
Governor Shannon departed for St. Louis early in June, leaving orders for Colonel Simmer to disperse the Topeka Legislature, which was to meet on the 4th day of July. This order was faithfully executed.
Lane's Army of the North arrived in the Territory August 7th. The tide of affairs immediately turned in favor of the Free-State party. Franklin was captured by them, and a cannon secured. The type of the Herald of Freedom was taken and cast into balls for it, and used with effect against Fort Titus. Fort Saunders was invested by the Free-State men, but the ruffians ensconced therein made their escape and fled to Missouri. Fort Titus was attacked, and captured, together with seventeen prisoners. Governor Shannon could not bring himself to endure the captivity of his Fort Titus friends, so hurried to Lawrence and negotiated a second treaty of peace, whereby they were liberated. This was almost his last official act. He ascertained that his blind obedience to the commands of the cabal at Washington and the representatives of it on the Missouri border did not secure immunity from their displeasure. The negotiation of the first treaty, by which the Missourians were saved a sound drubbing at the hands of the Free-State men, came to be regarded as a measure of incompetency by the ruffians both on the border and in the cabinet. After the conclusion of the second treaty the Governor found it necessary to flee from the Territory. His former friends opened on his trail and followed him from the country, breathing out threats of assassination against him.
When the troubles were over Governor Shannon returned
to Kansas and settled in Lawrence. He became one of the foremost lawyers of the State. His life was exemplary.
Lie won the esteem and good-will of the people of all parties. Kansas had no more devoted and patriotic citizen.
His death was mourned by his Free-State neighbors as sincerely as by others. Not resentment, but love only, greeted
him in his declining years.
Source: Kansas Territorial Governors by William Elsey Connelley, 1900, Pages 37-60
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