Border Disputes and WarfareBorder Disputes and Warfare > Significant Incidents > Pottawatomie Massacre (May 24, 1856)
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Author: Hanway, James
This little journal/ledger contained a five-page account of the May 24, 1856, killings on Pottawatomie Creek, apparently written by James Hanway shortly after the incident. He mentioned the five victims by name and wrote: "The settlement is plunged into a perfect commotion. A meeting of the settlers was held on the 26th and they mutually agreed to protect each other from foreign or internal foes. All men of real good sense, condemned these midnight assassinations and also the killing of men who are attending to their concerns". This was a somewhat different perspective of the situation than expressed by Hanway in his 1860 letter to James Redpath. Nevertheless, the responsibility for "all such blood tragedies" is with the pro-slave men.
Keywords: Brown, John, 1800-1859; Casualties; Doyle, James P.; Franklin County, Kansas Territory; Hanway, James; Pottawatomie Massacre, May 1856; Proslavery activities; Violence; Violent deaths; Wilkinson, Allen
Testimony taken before grand jury investigating the Pottawatomie murders
Author: Hall, Amos ; Jackson, Harvey ; McDaniel, I. R.; Shaw, Isaac
Date: May 1856
A portion of the testimony taken before a Franklin County grand jury, under the direction of Judge Sterling G. Cato, charged with identifying the parties involved in the May 24, 1856 killings on Pottawatomie Creek.. Included are the statements of Harvey Jackson, Amos Hall, I. R. McDaniel, Luther ?, and Isaac Shaw. Hall stated that he had seen "Old Man Brown" [John Brown] in a wagon on May 22, 1856. A one page explanation of the testimony signed by Edward Hoogland is attached.
Keywords: Brown, John, 1800-1859; Cato, Sterling G.; Courts; Free state activities; Hall, Amos; Hoogland, Edward; Jackson, Harvey; McDaniel, I. R.; Pottawatomie Massacre, May 1856; Shaw, Isaac
Affidavits concerning William and Henry Sherman and Allen Wilkinson
Author: Day, Mary ; Grant, John T.; Grant, William ; Morse, Francis
Date: June 12, 1856
Someone copied or took down statements from the people listed as authors concerning the personal habits of William and Henry Sherman and Allen Wilkinson. They were described as "intemperate" men. William Sherman and Allen Wilkinson were among those killed in the Pottawatomie massacre. The document is written in the same hand. All of the people making statements were free state supporters.
Keywords: Day, Mary; Doyle, James P.; Free state supporters; Grant, John T.; Grant, William; Massacres; Morse, Francis; Pottawatomie Massacre, May 1856; Sherman, Henry; Sherman, William; Wilkinson, Allen
Letter, H. H. Williams and others, to Rev. Sir [Samuel Adair]
Author: Williams, Henry H.
Date: June 14, 1856
H. H. Williams wrote from Tecumseh, where he was imprisoned along with seven other suspects in the Pottawatomie massacre, informing Rev. Samuel Adair of their situation. The letter is also signed by the seven other prisoners--William Partridge, Jason Brown, S. W. Kilbourne, John Brown Jr., S. B. Morse, Jacob Benjamin, and P. D. Maness. He indicated that they were charged with high treason. He also reported on John Brown, Jr.'s health. Williams asked Adair to try to raise some funds for their legal defense as they had hired a lawyer.
Keywords: Benjamin, Jacob; Brown, Jason; Brown, John, Jr.; Kilbourne, S. W.; Maness, P. D.; Massacres; Morse, S. B.; Partridge, William; Pottawatomie Massacre, May 1856; Prisoners; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Tecumseh, Kansas Territory; Treason; Williams, Henry H.
Letter, O.E. Learnard to Dear Father [S. T. Learnard]
Author: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: July 23, 1856
Oscar Learnard wrote his father, S.T. Learnard, that he was disappointed in the attitude of people in Vermont and throughout the North who continued to support the Pierce administration. If they did so because they were Democrats, they should learn from Andrew H. Reeder, J. H. Lane, William Y. Roberts, and others who had seen the light. Learnard admitted "a few cases" of free state retaliation "upon their oppressors," and then gave some "facts" about the "Patawotamie" incident, while not mentioning John Brown by name. Learnard believed that the reports about mangled bodies were untrue.
Keywords: Border ruffians; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Casualties; Douglas County, Kansas Territory; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Learnard, Oscar E., 1832-1911; Learnard, S. T.; Northern Democrats; Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869; Pottawatomie Massacre, May 1856; Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Roberts, William Young; Vermont; Violence; Violent deaths
Letter, E. L. [Mrs. William] Partridge to Mr. [Samuel] Adair
Author: Partridge, E. L. (Mrs. William)
Date: December 28, 1856
Mrs. William Partridge reported on the condition of her husband while a prisoner at Tecumseh. Mr. Partridge was one of the free state men arrested after the Pottawatomie massacre. She described his health and his prospects for being released.
Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Massacres; Partridge, E. L (Mrs. William); Partridge, William; Pottawatomie Massacre, May 1856; Prisoners; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Tecumseh, Kansas Territory
Statement, C. A. Foster, Was John Brown present and participating in the masacre at Pottowatomie Creek
Author: Foster, Charles A.
Date: July 12, 1860
Signed C. A. Foster, Boston, July 12, 1860, this brief statement asserts that John Brown "was not present" at the Pottawatomie Massacre, "but that he knew that it was going to be done" and "he approved it."
Keywords: Adair, Samuel Lyle; Boston, Massachusetts; Brown, John, 1800-1859; Foster, Charles A.; Hutchinson, William, 1823-1904; Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas Territory; Pottawatomie Massacre, May 1856; Webb, Thomas H. (Thomas Hopkins), 1801-1866
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