Kansas Territory’s earliest elections carried massive voter fraud, much of it due to non-resident Missouri neighbors hoping to spread slavery into Kansas.
By 1858 elections were more carefully run and the opponents of slavery, Kansas freestaters, were winning. This isn’t to say that some of the pre-statehood paper election returns held at the Kansas State Historical Society don’t hold some thrilling stories. (Read some Jefferson County ones here. ) Or some odd ones. And almost universally, those aged voting records reveal what must have been a brutal job collecting and tallying votes in 1850s Kansas Territory.
My favorite among Jefferson County election results is a single vote cast for “All the Mammas” for the job of county school superintendent. On March 22, 1858, the vote for “All the Mammas” came from the Slough Creek precinct (soon to become Oskaloosa) in a batch of local office elections.
Mind, whoever wrote in All the Mammas instead of voting for candidate Mr. McFarland (he won) to preside over the county schools knew women did not yet have the right to vote. But maybe he thought women would be better at running the schools. The 1859 Wyandotte Constitution that brought Kansas into statehood in 1861 did, however, provide for women to vote in school-related elections. Our voter was futuristic.
That single Slough Creek voter must really have enjoyed his patriotic duty that day because a string of other names appeared in the returns besides All the Mammas. Fanny (or Harry?) Cutthroat got a write-in vote for coroner, Billy Frenchman for probate judge, Mary Spendall for treasurer, Lucy Stone[i] for probate judge. You get the idea.
If you’ve looked into any early Jefferson County history, you’ll recognize some of our free-state settlers’ names on these returns, including “Lawrence Avenger” Jerome Hazen, Jesse Newell, Benjamin Hoskinson, Matthew R. Dutton, J.F. Conwell, Jacob Boucher. Joseph L. Speer, Douglas County newspaper editor John Speer’s brother, was early in his long-time Jefferson County office-holding career on this ballot. (Further reading on Jerome Hazen may be found here and here , and about Jesse Newell here.)
Paper election returns that were much simpler to make out (Kentucky precinct returns below) come from Jan. 4, 1858[ii], portraying the polling at Kentucky township, Jefferson County. This southern part of the county was largely proslavery. The photo shows only the first page of the voting results, but “Constitution with Slavery” won 58-13 in this precinct.[iii] A newspaper editor of those days wrote of some “humbuggery” in election returns for a south Jefferson County precinct around this time. I don’ know which returns he meant, but this one could be a candidate.
Polling in another south Jefferson County election — Oct. 4, 1858 – gives detailed results, a blizzard of barely readable returns (Kaw precinct, below), and it tells us how each voter voted. Some of the early elections included this now-private information. As for a quick, efficient read on how this election turned out, all I can say is the voters’ names are in the first column on the left. The candidates’ names are in the rows/cells across the top. Lots of numbers follow.
The Kansas Historical Society’s Kansas Memory pages include some Kansas Territory election returns, including these from the Fort Scott precinct in Bourbon County, here.
[i] Lucy Stone, Massachusetts, worked for abolition of slavery and for women’s voting rights.
[ii] January 4, 1858 is written on the front of this document by the Kansas State Historical Society, but the election judges wrote Dec. 21 inside, probably meaning 1857.
[iii] In this election, a constitution “with no slavery” didn’t mean what you might think. It meant people who already enslaved people in Kansas could retain slaves. But no additional slaves could be brought in, if this constitution was enacted, which it wasn’t.
This post isn’t about Quantrill’s Civil War raid on Lawrence, Kansas.
This post won’t filibuster whether it was the poorly prepared abolitionist town’s own fault it was attacked on Aug. 21, 1863, or whether brokenhearted confederate Missouri brush dwellers slaughtered 150 to 180 Lawrence people at their homes and businesses because four to 10 of their female loved ones died or were injured in a Union prison collapse.
We won’t analyze whether it was the indiscriminately thieving, vandalizing, slavery-opposing Kansas Jayhawkers or the drunken, fiendish, proslavery Missouri Bushwhackers who were on the side of right.
Neither the rebel Lost-Causers’ defense of treason and revenge nor the injustice, horror or meritorious necessity of Kansas’s retaliatory General Order No. 11 interests us here. All of that and more await you in books, articles, papers, websites, speeches, podcasts, bits of it here,here, here and beyond.
Instead, we look north from Lawrence to Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte Hazen in Oskaloosa, Jefferson County, Kansas, to observe an illustration of the young state’s response to the guerilla Quantrill’s massacre at Lawrence.
Within three days of the massacre, J.B. Hazen had organized an Oskaloosa militia company called the “Lawrence Avengers” under the state’s call for militias. A good share of the men populating this early roster, including Hazen, had been radical freestaters who had fought, scouted and voted to make Kansas a state free of slavery during the turbulent Kansas territorial years, primarily 1856 and 1857. Oskaloosa women sewed a silk flag for the 1863 militia company, surrounding the gold-lettered “Lawrence Avengers” with gold stars.
News of William C. Quantrill’s early morning assault on Lawrence had tumbled across the prairie to incredulous neighbors in Oskaloosa and nearby Kansas towns. Some could see the smoke over Lawrence. Unthinkable rumors fluttered in.
But they didn’t yet have the whole story of Quantrill’s confederate guerrilla slaughter of about 180 men, boys and some soldiers. The next day, a few newspapers carried haunting snippets about the massacre at Lawrence, the state’s center for anti-slavery partisans since Kansas was opened to settlement in 1854.
The day after was too late for anyone to ride 20 miles from Oskaloosa down to Lawrence to prevent or stop the assault. John W. Roberts , the publisher of TheIndependent in Oskaloosa, decided to go with the little information he had for his weekly newspaper the next day, Saturday, Aug.22. (See newspaper clipping, “Lawrence Burnt.”)
After another day, other towns’ daily newspaper columns poured out details of atrocities, street by street, house by house, corpse by corpse, in Lawrence. Outraged calls for punitive violence against Quantrill and his Bushwhackers screamed through Kansas, whose Union soldiers fighting near and far in the Civil War.
The state of Kansas responded. Kansas Gov. Thomas Carney quickly fired off General Order No. 1 calling the state’s home militia into active service to protect Kansas from what citizens feared would be future Quantrill-like invasions and murders.
In the regular army, Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing doomed key Missouri counties on the Kansas border with General Order No. 11 warning the nation that his troops would be wiping out shelter for Bushwhackers and guerrillas in Missouri counties along the Kansas border. Residents in four Missouri counties had 15 days to leave. The Union Army burned homes and farms, leaving little or nothing for Missourians to return to. It was an action loudly applauded in Kansas but is said to have turned more Missourians, including Union-supporting Missourians, against the Union. Go to Missouri today and you will find General Order No. 11 well remembered on the border.
Besides the order to eliminate the boltholes feeding and sheltering the confederate guerillas, army recruiters took to the road to fill the Kansas ranks with more soldiers. Charles R. “Doc” Jennison, leader of “Jennison’s Jayhawkers”(the 7th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry) campaigned to rid the earth of confederate guerrillas and their attacks on Kansas civilians and troops.
(One of Jesse Newell’s sons, Mitchell “Doc” Newell, had joined up a couple of months before Quantrills massacre and was sent off with other Oskaloosa recruits (5th Kansas Cavalry) to fight the Bushwhackers on the Missouri/Kansas border. An account of Mitch Newell and a few comrades killing a group of Quantrill’s men in Missouri can be found near the end of this post.)
J.B. Hazen, Oskaloosa, had already served in the Civil War, joining one of U.S. Sen. James H. Lane‘s own brigades, the Fifth Reg., Kansas Cavalry, from July 1861 until March 23, 1862. He was discharged for disease or disability. Hazen also was in Jesse Newell’s Rifle Company in 1859, helping escort Underground Railroad conductor John Doy’s rescue squad back into Kansas. (You also might recognize Mr. Hazen from his 1867 wagon train journal about his overland move to California, detailed in this blog.)
After Quantrill’s raid, Hazen was early to put together an Oskaloosa cavalry for the state militia, responding to Kansas Gov. Thomas Carney’s militia call for men aged 21-45 not in regular military service to enroll to protect their towns and homes “… from murder and rapine.”
In fact, The Leavenworth Times reported that Hazen’s “Lawrence Avengers was the second company in Kansas to report his roll after the governor called upon the militia after the Lawrence attack. Calling Hazen one of the ’56 boys (1856) for his fighting for the freestate cause during the Bleeding Kansas struggles over slavery, the Times described Hazen’s acceptance of a “Lawrence Avengers” flag with its gold stars. (Read the newspaper clipping here.)
Carrie Macomber, who had two brothers in Kansas regiments, gave the townswomen’s flag to Hazen with a short speech. Hazen likewise addressed onlookers.
“Union,” the Times correspondent for Oskaloosa, wrote several anonymous Oskaloosa regiment articles during the war. Oddly, the article appears in a Leavenworth newspaper and nothing of the article’s jaunty description and background appears in the hometown Oskaloosa paper, The Independent. The full roster of the original “Lawrence Avengers” is at the bottom of this post.
Throughout Jefferson County and the state, militia groups coalesced precinct by precinct. Gov. Carney’s order activated Civil War militia organizations that already existed. Men 21 to 45 years old who were not yet enrolled were ordered to enroll, if they were not in the regular army. These smaller precinct-level militias were combined and combined again to form larger county and multi-county state militia regiments. As Hazen’s crew was combined with other Jefferson County militia organizations, it lost its “Lawrence Avengers” name. The regiments, including some Jackson County sections, were under command of Col. Azel W. Spalding.
In Osawkee, Jefferson County’s proslavery headquarters during pre-statehood days, old freestater Ephraim Bainter organized “Bainter’s Rangers” on Aug. 31, 1861. Included on its roster was Valentine F. Newell, Jesse Newell’s oldest son. The “Jefferson Rangers” formed in Sautrell/Sautrelle Falls  on Sept. 5, 1863.
The militia regiments, once filled and their officers elected, were required to conduct weekly drills and be ready to defend Kansas, within Kansas. I haven’t yet found whether Jefferson County’s militia was called to action in 1863, compared to the massive militia participation in 1864 to protect the state’s border.
Meanwhile, militias readied to defend their town squares, and incandescent Kansas newspaper editors called for retaliation against Quantrill, his raiders and all Bushwhackers intent on invading Kansas.
Sen. James H. Lane addressed a crowd in Leavenworth six days after the massacre in Lawrence, charging that the confederate guerrillas hiding in the Missouri border counties could be stopped only one way.
“I will tell you what I want to see,” Lane was quoted as saying, Aug. 28 Leavenworth Times, and outlining the policy of General Order No. 11. “I want to see every foot of ground in Jackson, Cass and Bates counties burned over — everything laid waste. Then we shall have no further trouble. The bushwhackers cannot then remain in the country, for they will have nobody to feed them — nobody to harbor them — nobody to provide them with transportation — no place to sleep in, and will have thirty-five miles further to march before they reach Kansas.”
Regiments like Jennison’s had used 1850s Kansas-Missouri border war tactics in Missouri, scouting and harassing enemies, stealing horses, liberating enslaved people. And while these “Jayhawker” methods were criticized and shamed before and again after the war, the methods were exactly what people called for for at the time.
John W. Roberts of The Oskaloosa Independent lauded Ewing’s General Order No. 11 and suggested that if he had issued it before the Lawrence massacre and if Jennison had already had his new regiment in place, the tragedy might have been prevented.
Jennison and George H. Hoyt, later a lieutenant colonel for this unit, barnstormed the state recruiting the Fifteenth Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, as broadcast by this advertisement, left. Other Jennison notices shouted: “No compromise with Rebels! — No quarter to Bushwhackers! Desolation Shall Follow Treason Wherever this Regiment Marches!” The ad promised rifles, revolvers and sabres for the regiment.
Jennison and Hoyt, or at least Hoyt, brought their post-Quantrill’s Raid “Death to Traitors” campaign to Oskaloosa. The Oskaloosa newspaper’s observation about the speech in its Sept. 15, 1863, edition, said that Captain Hoyt had said many good things in his speech. But.
“… we protest against the useless amount of profanity which characterizes too much of the public speaking of politicians in Kansas,” the brief article said. “The English language is strong enough to give expression to any idea proper to be uttered without the use of profanity or vulgarity. We hope there will be a reform in this particular.”
And of Mitchell “Doc” Newell, Jesse Newell’s son who enlisted as a corporal in the Fifth Kansas Cavalry at age 18? He managed to survive the war. We don’t know much about his service beyond the state’s military records, except for the tale written by an anonymous “Jayhawker” in 1889.
In one of the many war-time reminiscence stories published after the war, a writer described going on a mission in the Missouri woods with members of the young Newell’s Fifteen Kansas Cavalry and Capt. Charles F. Coleman of Kansas Ninth Cavalry Regiment. The writer admired the stealthy skill of Coleman, who like a deer hunter hid like the Bushwhackers did in the thickets in the woods, waiting for his chance.
Coleman had designed a the plan through which the Kansas soldiers would trap and kill the bushwhackers in their hidden camp on Dry Creek, and six of Quantrill’s raiders died that night, “Jayhawker” wrote.
 The number of dead has been reported variously from 150 to 200, but many accounts put the number in the 180 range.
 John W. Roberts was editor and publisher of his weekly, The Independent (renamed The Oskaloosa Independent), from July 1860 into 1892, although Roberts did not move from Ohio to Kansas until 1862.
 The 5th Kansas Cavalry was a unit set up by U.S. Sen. James H. Lane when President Abraham Lincoln gave him the extraordinary designation of brigadier general in 1861, meaning Lane could vault over normal procedure and raise troops himself. Lane’s 3rd and 4th regiments, along with the 5th Kansas Cavalry, were called Lane’s Brigade. Lane’s securing such power caused consternation for Kansas Gov. Charles Robinson, who held the duty of organizing the state’s military units, and his supporters. Washington powers were well aware of Lane’s strong ties to his Kansas men, many from territorial days, and the recruiting power he would have. More: http://www.civilwaronthewesternborder.org/encyclopedia/lane-james-henry
 From the Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kansas, 1861-’65. Vol. I Volume 1, pt. 1-2 – Primary Source Edition, p. 138.
 Quoted text is taken from General Order No. 1 as it was published in Kansas newspapers. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/22868830/gov_carneys_general_order_no_1/
 Sautrell or Sautrelle Falls had replaced Grasshopper Falls as the the name of this Jefferson County town. “Sauterelle” is the French word for grasshopper so the town apparently didn’t go far enough with its image makeover, and the town is now Valley Falls.
The Kansas State Historical Society has digitized the handwritten county militia records from the Civil War on its Kansas Memory website. This link takes readers to the beginning of the Jefferson County portion of page, Kansas Memory Item 227858, page 910.
The pages below show a post-Quantrill’s raid state militia organization in Oskaloosa, Kansas, the Lawrence Avengers, organized Aug. 24, 1863, by J.B. Hazen. The page may be viewed on the Kansas State Historical Society’s Kansas Memory images, Item 227858, page 940, here.
A sentence in James B. Abbott’s “how we did it” John Doy rescue story offers another insight into our Oskaloosa freestater Jesse Newell.
We pick up our story at Rev. Josiah B. McAfee’s place at Grasshopper Falls (now Valley Falls), where John Doy and his rescuers and John Doy had been fed and had a rest. Worried that his crew was being tailed by enemies, Abbott called for Jesse Newell’s aid in the final 20-mile leg of the journey from the St. Joseph jail to Lawrence.
“…word was sent to Captain Jesse Newell, of Oskaloosa, to furnish an escort; and when we arrived at his place we found the Captain on hand with the following-named officers of his rifle company, to wit: Jerome Hazen, First Lieutenant; J. I. Forbes, Second Lieutenant; John Newell, Gil. Towner, Robert Newell, James Monroe, Resolve Fuller, M. R. Dutton – privates; and eight or ten others. And without delay we passed on, most of the escort going to within a few miles of Lawrence, and the captain and a few of his men going the whole distance, where we arrived about six o’clock in the evening, and where we also found the streets lined with people…,” Abbott wrote of the glorious Lawrence arrival in July 1859.
Learning that Jesse Newell had assisted out his fellow abolitionists this way was helpful to my research on Newell. But that first sentence was alluring, the part that called Jesse Newell “Captain” and that he had a “rifle company.” What was he doing with something called a rifle company in 1859 and what did it mean that he was captain of it? I don’t have an oath-worthy answer for that but believe the reference points to a free-state militia type group for defense against proslavers and working to ensure Kansas would become a free state, or it could be the beginnings of a Jayhawker group.
No tidy, primary source that I’ve ever seen says that Jesse Newell was a Jayhawker, and I mean “Jayhawker” in the sense of settlers who took action for the free-state and subsequent Civil War Union cause. Characters like Jesse Newell challenge us to divine answers from a lot of wobbly sources. But these anecdotes and aged after-the-fact tales are what we’ve got. I’ve pulled up a few today to help you get to know something of Jesse Newell, who lived from 1812-1881. You’ll see more of these anecdotes in future posts.
Story No. 1: Jayhawkers and Uncle Jesse Newell
Jeremiah H. Bennet, who settled near Grasshopper Falls in 1857, wrote a series of articles, Early Recollections of Kansas, for The Oskaloosa Independent in 1878. Bennet was a lawyer, a county schools official, and a knowledgeable and entertaining writer. His May 11, 1878, Recollection reveals Oskaloosa and Jefferson County Jayhawker activity during the Civil War, the “rebellion,” as Bennet calls it. Warning: Bennet’s first paragraph set-up speeds through about a dozen things that are separate tales in themselves, but we will zero in on the Jayhawkers.
“It was in the dark portion of the rebellion. Close to the time when the southern army held possession of the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad; when a Rebel paper at the city of Atchison rejoiced at the Union defeat at the battle of Wilson’s Creek; when the Jayhawkers held high carnival at Oskaloosa; when herds of rebel cattle pastured on the borders of Cedar Creek [west of Grasshopper Falls]; when horse flesh as well as white man was ‘mighty unsartin.’” And…
“… It was after the time that Jefferson County militia took possession of Atchison one bright sunny morning. Those were wild times for our boys, and those boys were wild. Uncle Jesse Newell commanded the Oskaloosa company. Sim Hull the Crooked Creekers. Ed. Hutchins the Grasshoppers. Did Hiram Webb have a company? S.S. Cooper was Major of the Jefferson Rangers. Ed. Lynde was commander of the Post at Atchison.”
Bennet was describing a story in which a Missouri Confederate militia officer, Gideon Thompson, owed a debt. He owned pastureland on the Kansas side, west of Grasshopper Falls and, according to Bennet’s story, Thompson’s livestock was to be sold off to satisfy a judgement. Word got out that the Oskaloosa Jayhawkers were going to snatch up the livestock first, before it would be sold. The Oskaloosa crew, Bennet wrote, had a reputation for “sudden and swift thoroughness.”
The standard bio for Jesse Newell, found in the local 19th century newspapers and abbreviated county histories, is that he and his brother-in-law Joseph Fitzsimmons co-founded Oskaloosa, arriving from Iowa in 1856. We know that Newell, who set up a steam-operated saw mill, was in the thick of Jefferson County’s proslavery vs. free-state conflicts in September 1856. He is listed in censuses as a physician. He was a Methodist, and came to Kansas Territory from Iowa with Methodist Episcopalian minister’s credentials. He was viewed as a radical freestater. But these synopses say nothing of his Jayhawker or off-the-books Civil War service.
Story No. 2: Noble-hearted
The Civil War Battle of Wilson’s Creek (read about it here), fought near Springfield, Missouri, was significant for Kansas, which had just become a state on Jan. 29, 1861. It was the first major battle fought west of the Mississippi, and it was one the Union lost to the Confederates. Kansas had quickly raised the 1st Kansas Infantry and 2nd Kansas Infantry regiments, and sent them into the battle Aug. 10, 1861. Jesse Newell had two sons in the 2nd Kansas, Robert and Abram. Robert was killed that day and Abram injured.
Kansas U.S. Sen. Samuel Clarke Pomeroy spoke of the Battle of Wilson’s Creek that December on the U.S. Senate floor, recounting the work of Kansas soldiers in the young war and lamenting the death of Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, a Kansas freestater favorite who died in the battle. A portion of his address, published in The Weekly Atchison Champion on Jan. 4, 1862, mentioned Lieut. Robert Newell, and his father, Jesse Newell (who was closer to 50 years old, instead of 60 as recalled by Pomeroy).
“But this day’s work was not ended until from the sixteen hundred who went into that battle from Kansas, five hundred and forty men, the pride and hope of our young State, not yet a year old, lay among the dead or the wounded.” And, continuing…
“Lieutenant Newell, I am sorry to say, was killed. I remember him and his noble-hearted father (though sixty years of age) marching, camping and fighting with us through the long and wasting years of 1855 and 1856, never to be forgotten in our early history.”
Story No. 3: Too much fight in the material of his constitution
James B. Shaw was a Methodist Episcopalian preacher who came to Kansas Territory in 1857 and was a leader in establishing the church in the new circuit. He knew the developing towns of Kansas Territory and helped install Methodist churches and travelling ministers for the local worshippers. As a result, he knew Oskaloosa and Jesse Newell, and had this to say:
“The town was commenced by members of the church from Iowa. The leading man was a local preacher, and under his leadership they prospered for a time; but there was too much fight in the material of his constitution for these troublous times; so he quit preaching, engaged in the struggle, and was carried away in the excitement; got out of the church and became intemperate. He has once of twice been reclaimed, and the last I heard of him, he was preaching for the United Brethren. May he have strength to triumph over all sin and stand entire at last.”
No, Rev. Shaw does not offer a name for the person above. I’ve narrowed it down to Jesse Newell and Jacob Boucher, another Iowa settler who came to Oskaloosa, Jefferson County, as they were the only two people Shaw could have meant. I haven’t found much information about Boucher during Bleeding Kansas days or about his leaving the Methodist church.
But Jesse Newell in 1857 formally and voluntarily gave up his Methodist preaching credentials during the “Kansas troubles.” He requested and received their reinstatement in 1868. The Rev. Shaw also had this to say of Jesse Newell:
“Jesse Newell was one of the town proprietors. He came here a local preacher; he was ardent and positive in his temperament, and when he went right, he went with railroad speed; but when he stopped, he would not go at all; and when he took the wrong shoot, he went with accelerated motion. I believe on the whole, he wanted to be good, and do good. He had some ups and downs. We hope, through grace, he will get to heaven at last.”
Maybe Newell was associated with more than one Underground Railroad venture, as a guard or escort, and that’s why he had a rifle company. The passage of enslaved people seeking safety and freedom, after all, was still illegal in 1859 when we meet Newell’s rifle company. Escorts would connect with the network of countryside safe harbor points that extended all the way into Canada.
Recall, too, that Newell and other Jefferson County freestaters had been under assault in earlier years by proslavers from within and without Kansas Territory. Maybe this rifle company remained as a defensive troop for the occasional flare up. It was 1859 and while Kansas Territory appeared to be in the clear to enter the Union as a free state (no slavery), statehood was still a year and a half away and tussles were not unheard of. It wasn’t time yet for a rifle company to serve in a state-ordained militia or in a home guard to ward off Rebels in the Civil War.
A few dark, nameless, conspiratorial stories pop up here and there hinting that Oskaloosa was a headquarters for Jayhawkers during the Civil War. Those accounts cast Jayhawkers as wholly criminal, never noting that the Kansas armed forces officially put Jayhawkers to work saving Kansas from being overtaken by Missouri confederates during the Civil War or taking supplies from Rebels to feed and outfit Union troops. Some of those accounts were written by people associated with spreading slavery to Kansas.
Story No. 4: Physician
This final anecdote, for now, is about Jesse Newell’s status as a pioneer doctor. Censuses listed him as a physician and I have found just one anecdote to back that up. I present the clip from the Oskaloosa newspaper with a warning to the squeamish.
“Tumor Extracted. – Dr. Newell has shown us a small encysted tumor which he extracted from the head of Mr. J. Downing, of this place. In shape, it somewhat resembled an eye-tooth, and under the glass exhibited the porous characteristics of the skin in a diseased condition. It was a tough, gristly or cartilaginous substance, and when first removed contained living animalcule of the largest size. It was extracted by medicine without the aid of surgeon’s instruments.”
 You can read about John Doy’s 1859 failed attempt to help 13 freedom-seekers via the Underground Railroad and Doy’s subsequent rescue from a Missouri jail in Abbott’s account here and here. The unrealized role of Jesse Newell and other Jefferson County, Kansas Territory, men for the January 1859 Underground Railroad trip is explained here in Part IV
 Maj. James B. Abbott read his story of “The Immortal Ten” rescue of John Doy on Jan. 15, 1889, at the annual meeting of the Kansas State Historical Society, 30 years after the 10 Lawrence area men sprang John Doy from the St. Joseph, Missouri, jail. Future posts will tell a little about those other members of Captain Newell’s rifle company.
 The word “Jayhawker” has a lot of connotations. A short explanation can be found here, although countless books and articles have debated whether Jayhawkers were good soldiers for the cause and defenders of freedom or merely ruffian thieves.
 Jefferson County property tax records, patents filed with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s General Land office records and Thompson’s Missouri probate records (ancestry.com) all confirm his land holdings in Jefferson County, Kansas.
 Radical freestaters, or Radical Republicans,.opposed slavery in the United States. In Kansas, they also believed African-Americans should be allowed to live free in Kansas, and have rights equal to white men’s. Radical freestaters differed from another sort of freestaters, those who didn’t want slavery in Kansas but who wanted to bar free African-Americans from Kansas. Jesse Newell was called a radical freestater by John Day, a fellow Bleeding Kansas-era freestater in Jefferson County Kansas Territory, in Topeka’s The Daily Commonwealth newspaper, March 15, 1881.
 Both quotations are from James B. Shaw’s book, Early Reminiscences of Pioneer Life in Kansas, Haskell printing Co., 1886.
 Jesse Newell’s original “parchment” certificate is dated 1853 and is from Oskaloosa, Iowa. The document named Newell a deacon qualified to administer baptisms, marriages and burials in certain conditions and to preach the gospel. It is held in the Kansas United Methodist Archives at Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas. The archives also document Newell surrendering his credentials in April 1857 and having them restored in March 1868.
 The article, “Tumor Extracted,” was published in The Oskaloosa Independent on July 11, 1863.A
Today we get back to John Doy, the Kansas Territory Underground Railroad conductor who was ambushed with his 13 freedom-seeking passengers south of Oskaloosa in late January 1859.
Doy had been making his way to the home of Jesse Newell, cofounder of Oskaloosa and likely a Jayhawker for the antislavery cause. Newell’s place was to be Doy’s first stop on the dangerous trip for the enslaved and free African-Americans trying to make their way to northern states and safety. North of Oskaloosa, still in Jefferson County, Doy had planned to stop at the home of the Rev. Josiah B. McAfee at Grasshopper Falls, now Valley Falls, for aid.
But Doy’s capture that January night by slave-catchers and kidnappers, border ruffians and other armed proslavers crushed those plans. The Underground Railroad train never made it to the Newell or McAfee homes. Instead, Doy and his son, Charles, and the 13 freedom-seekers were hauled east across the Missouri River and jailed in Missouri.
(Note: A future blog post will share accounts of this catastrophic result for the two free and 11 likely enslaved people from Missouri who did not get away to the north on the John Doy trek. I have not researched many of the bigger questions and stories linked to the John Doy story because this blog is micro-focused. However, others have studied some of these topics and I will forward some of their published findings.)
Now, six months later on July 23, 1859, John Doy sat in a St. Joseph, Missouri, jail. He had been convicted of enticing a slave away from his Missouri owner, Weston Mayor Benjamin Wood., who was in the ambush group. Doy had been jailed for six months and was about to be transferred to the state penitentiary in Jefferson City for five years of hard labor.
Kansas friends viewed Doy’s ambush by Missourians in Kansas Territory that January as an outrageous kidnapping. They further rejected the Missouri jury’s June decision that Doy had “enticed” the enslaved man called Dick away from the Weston mayor’s ownership. Doy’s defense, paid for by the territorial legislature, argued, with the support of witnesses, that Doy was not in Missouri at the time he was accused of persuading Dick to leave slavery behind.
While Doy was locked up in Missouri, rumors hinted that fighting Kansas men would try to rescue Doy from jail or the state prison. As July waned, James B. Abbott, a free-stater with experience from Bleeding Kansas days, was asked by some of Lawrence’s abolitionist and Underground Railroad leaders to do precisely that.
Abbott selected nine other Kansas Territory men he knew could do the job, many of them likewise tested during the slavery and free-state struggles of 1855-1856. On July 23, with small boats secretly tied to the dark riverside, a tall tale to trick a jailer and discreet plans to blend into crowds exiting the town’s theater, the Kansas men walked out of the jail and headed toward the river and Kansas.
On their return trip, the rescuers and John Doy would travel through Jefferson County, where we meet again some of the Jefferson Countians who had agreed to help enslaved people get free.
After their rescue work was finished, the ten Kansas Territory men were hailed as “The Immortal Ten.” The rescue was a masterpiece of covert operational planning and execution. The men had liberated Doy and spirited him back to Lawrence without harming anyone in their way.
Abbott 30 years later presented a speech about how The Immortal 10 had succeeded in their cunning and precise operation. You’ll find it here. It’s a gripping read
He tells of a (smaller) role played in this important Kansas story by some Jefferson County settlers. No, they were not among the Ten. But their aid and willingness to stand up again was another puzzling example of a story that didn’t make it into Jefferson County’s history narratives. Back in the picture with Doy are Rev. McAfee and Jesse Newell, and this time Jesse Newell’s got a rifle company.
Here, Abbott describes the last one-third of trip back to Lawrence from the northeast Kansas point where Abbott’s men, with a weakened Doy in tow, had crossed the Missouri River from St. Joseph.
“…About ten o’clock that night we found our way to a farm-house situated a little off from the road, near what was then known as Grasshopper Falls, owned and occupied by Rev. J.B. McAfee, now known as Hon. J.B. McAfee, present member of the Legislature from Shawnee county, at which place we were well fed and made very comfortable. Thinking that it was more than likely that the horseman who followed us would endeavor to get reinforced at Lecompton and try to recapture Dr. Doy, word was sent to Captain Jesse Newell, of Oskaloosa, to furnish an escort; and when we arrived at his place we found the Captain on hand with the following-named officers of his rifle company, to wit: Jerome Hazen, First Lieutenant; J. I. Forbes, Second Lieutenant; John Newell, Gil. Towner, Robert Newell, James Monroe, Resolve Fuller, M. R. Dutton – privates; and eight or ten others. And without delay we passed on, most of the escort going to within a few miles of Lawrence, and the captain and a few of his men going the whole distance, where we arrived about six o’clock in the evening, and where we also found the streets lined with people…”
We will get to know some of these Jefferson County settlers in upcoming posts. Our first nearly forgotten Jefferson County Freestater from the John Doy experience will be Josiah B. McAfee, whom guest blogger Wendi Bevitt has come to know quite well.
 John Doy and his lawyers argued that Doy was not guilty of enticing the Weston mayor’s enslaved man away from Missouri because Doy had not been in Missouri to do so. It was not uncommon for enslaved people to get themselves to Lawrence, well-known as an Underground Railroad town, to find help. Missouri’s slavery laws from the 1850s are explained here: https://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/education/aahi/earlyslavelaws/slavelaws