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Territorial Sesquicentennial

Kansas Territorial Sesquicentennial Commission <>.

The Kansas Territorial Experience <> Beginning January 14, 2004, University of Kansas Continuing Education will offer an online book discussion and a college course to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Kansas Territory. Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Englishman in Kansas, John Brown: The Legend Revisited, and The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton--two novels and two works of nonfiction--are the books discussed.


Assumption College. E Pluribus Unum: An Online Archive of 1850's America <>. A National Endowment for the Humanities funded web site containing primary and secondary sources designed to promote an examination of the American attempt to make "one from many." This portion of the site centers on the critical decade of the 1850s.

Assumption College. "Bleeding Kansas: A Narrative Guide to Online Materials." In E Pluribus Unum: An Online Archive of 1850's America <>. A narrative of Territorial Kansas events and links to on-line resources related to the period. Part of a National Endowment for the Humanities funded web site containing primary and secondary sources designed to promote an examination of the American attempt to make "one from many."

Furman University. Secession Era Editorials Project <>Transcriptions of newspaper editorials written during the 1850's in response to four major events: the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), the Senator Preston Brooks' caning of Senator Charles Sumner (1856), the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision (1857), and John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry (1859).

Kansas Heritage Group. KanColl Bleeding Kansas Gallery <>.

Northern Illinois University Libraries. Getting the Message Out! National Political Campaign Materials, 1840-1860 <>. An Institute of Museum and Library Services funded web site that examines national popular political culture in antebellum America. It includes histories of the presidential campaigns from 1840-1860, as well as primary source material, such as campaign biographies and campaign songbooks. Recordings of some of the songs are also available.

Public Broadcasting Service. Africans in America <>. America's journey through slavery is presented in four parts. Each part includes a historical narrative, images, documents, stories, biographies, commentaries, and a teacher's guide. "Part 4: Judgment Day, 1831-1861" is most relevant to Territorial Kansas events.

Public Broadcasting Service. "Bleeding Kansas." In Africans in America <>. A brief introductory essay on Kansas Territory.

Territorial Kansas Heritage Alliance <>.


Fort Scott

National Park Service. "Bleeding Kansas," Fort Scott National Historic Site <>.


Lawrence Sesquicentennial Celebration, 2003 <>

Lawrence West Junior High School, Lawrence Community Connections, 2002 <>.


Lecompton Historical Society. Historic Lecompton <>.


Collins, Steve. Quindaro: In Union There Is Strength, 1999 <>.

John Brown

National Park Service. "John Brown Cabin," Aboard the Underground Railroad, 2002 <>.

Public Broadcasting Service. The American Experience: John Brown's Holy War , 1999 <>.

Public Broadcasting Service. "John Brown," The West Film Project, 2001 <>.

Documents, Contemporary Accounts, Memoirs, and Newspapers (Primary Sources)


Barnes, Lela. “Letters of Cyrus Kurtz Holliday, 1854-1859.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 6 (August 1937): 241-294. C. K. Holiday penned these letters to his wife Mary, who did not initially accompany her husband to Kansas Territory, describing varied activities—political and business related—during territorial period.

Berneking, Carolyn, editor. “A Look at Early Lawrence: Letters From Robert Gaston Elliott.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 43 (Autumn 1977): 282-296. A founder, along with Josiah Miller, of Kansas Free State newspaper (1854), Elliott wrote these letters to his sister and fiancé, both back in Indiana, between May 8, 1857, and February 28, 1866.

Caldwell, Martha B., editor. “The Southern Kansas Boundary Survey: From the Journal of Hugh Campbell, Astronomical Computer.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 6 (November 1937): 339-377. Covers party's journey and work from St. Louis (April 1857) to Fort Leavenworth (November 1857).

Cobb, David Glenn, editor. “Letters of David R. Cobb, 1858-1864; Pioneer of Bourbon County.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 11 (February 1942): 65-71. The 1858 letter of a farmer, local office holder, and legislator, which describes his arrival and impression of Kansas Territory; three additional letters from Topeka in 1864 when he served in legislature.

Gibbens, V. E., ed. “Letters on the War in Kansas in 1856.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 10 (November 1941): 369-379. The 1857 letters of John Lowrie, a free-state participant, reflect on his experiences in and around Lawrence after his return to Indiana.

Griffing, Bill, ed. Private Letters: The Correspondence of Rev. James S. Griffing and J. Augusta Goodrich, 2002. <> Letters written by a Methodist minister and his wife from Owego, New York, who came to Kansas Territory in 1854. They settled first near Tecumseh and later near Manhattan.

Hoole, William Stanley, editor. “A Southerner's Viewpoint of the Kansas Situation, 1856-1857: The Letters of Lieut. Col. A. J. Hoole, C. S. A.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 3 (February 1934): 43-68; concluded 3 (May 1934): 145-171. Letters written to family members in South Carolina; Hoole was politically active during his stay in K.T., serving briefly as probate judge of Douglas County.

"Letters of Hugh M. Moore, 1856-1860.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 10 (May 1941): 115-123. With his brother J. Frank Moore, Hugh Moore, as real estate salesman and speculator, removed from Pennsylvania to Topeka in 1857.

"Letters of John and Sarah Everett, 1854-1864: Miami County Pioneers.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 8 (February 1939): 3-34; and three addional parts: 8:143-174, 279-310, and 350-383. The correspondence reflects on frontier life and the tumultuous political events involving two reform minded New Yorkers who settled near Osawatomie.

Lovejoy, Julia Louisa. “ ‘Letters From Kanzas.’ ” Kansas Historical Quarterly 11 (February 1942): 29-44. The four letters reprinted here describe the Lovejoys’—Julia Louisa (1812-1882) and Rev. Charles H.—journey west to their initial settlement at Manhattan; originally published in Independent Democrat, Concord, New Hampshire, they are dated March 13 to August 1, 1855.

Lovejoy, Julia Louisa. “Letters of Julia Louisa Lovejoy, 1856-1864: Part One, 1856.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 15 (May 1947): 127-142; four additional parts: “Part Two, 1857,” 15 (August 1947): 277-319; “Part Three, 1858,” 15 (November 1947): 368-403; “Part Four, 1859,” 16 (February 1948): 40-75; and “Part Five, 1860-1864,”16 (May 1948): 175-211. After a relatively short stay in the Manhattan area, the Lovejoys moved to Douglas County in 1856 from where Lovejoy continued her regular correspondence with the Independent Democrat, Concord, New Hampshire, and several other newspapers back east.

Miller, Nyle H., editor. “Surveying the Southern Boundary Line of Kansas: From the Private Journal of Col. Joseph E. Johnston.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 1 (February 1932): 104-139. Official survey to set dividing line between Kansas and Indian Territory conducted in 1857.

"Notes on the Proslavery March Against Lawrence.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 11 (February 1942): 45-64. The Siege and sack of the Free-state stronghold in May 1856, as described in diary of proslave participant.

Robinson, W. Stitt, editor. “The Kiowa and Comanche Campaign of 1860 as Recorded in the Personal Diary of Lt. J. E. B. Stuart.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 23 (Winter 1957): 382-400. The campaign, as described here by the soon to be famous Confederate general, began at Ft. Riley, on May 15, 1860, under command of Maj. John Sedgwick.

Root, George A., editor. “Extracts from Diary of Captain Lambert Bowman Wolf.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 1 (May 1932): 195-210. Captain Wolf’s account of his pre-Civil War frontier experience on the Plains, 1856-1861, with Company K, First U.S. Cavalry.

Root, George A., editor. “The First Day's Battle at Hickory Point: From the Diary and Reminiscences of Samuel James Reader.” Kansas Historical Quarterly (November 1931): 28-49. Free-staters under James Lane confronted pro-slavery men under H. A. Lowe on September 13-14, 1856, near present Oskaloosa.

Ropes, Hannah Anderson. Six Months in Kansas. By a Lady. Boston: J. P. Jewett, 1856. The author traveled from Massachusetts to Kansas Territory in September 1855, and pulished here the letters she wrote home during her trip to and stay in Lawrence.

U. S. Congress, House of Representatives. Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas; With the Views of the Minority of Said Committee. Report No. 200, 34th Congress, 1st Session, 1856. An elaborate report, giving majority and minority views. Congressional publications, including the Globe, are replete with items pertaining to the Kansas question during the 1850s.

Contemporary Accounts and Memoirs

Brewerton, George Douglas.The War in Kansas. A Rough Trip to the Border, Among New Homes and a Strange People. New York: Derby & Jackson, 1856. The author of this 400-page book claimed to be reporting the truth of the important events of the day in Kansas and to be on “neither side of this unhappy quarrel.”

Cordley, Richard, D.D. A History of Lawrence, Kansas from the First Settlement to the Close of the Rebellion. Lawrence: Lawrence Journal Press, 1895. The Rev. Cordley (1829-1904), pastor of Lawrence’s Plymouth Congregational Church, moved to Kansas Territory in 1857 and witnessed the events about which he wrote quite vividly, including Quantrill’s 1863 raid.

Doy, John. The Narrative of John Doy, of Lawrence, Kansas. New York: T. Holman, printer, 1860. Dr. Doy, a member of the first Emigrant Aid party to reach Lawrence in August 1854, devoted most of his 130-plus pages to the story of his efforts to help kidnapped or “fugitive” African Americans, his capture and trial and conviction for “negro stealing,” and his subsequent “rescue” from the St. Joseph jail.

Gihon, John H. Geary and Kansas. Governor Geary's Administration in Kansas. With a Complete History of the Territory. Until 1857. Embracing a Full Account of its Discovery, Geography, Soil, Rivers, Climate, Products; Its Organization as a Territory . . . Philadelphia: J. H. C. Whiting, 1857. Dr. Gihon was Geary's private secretary.

Mattes, Merrill J., editor. “Patrolling the Sante Fe Trail: Reminiscences of John S. Kirwin.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 21 (Winter 1955): 569-587. Kirwin, a private in the Fourth U. S. Cavalry, was stationed at Fort Riley, 1859-1861.

Moffatt, Isaac. “The Kansas Prairie: Or, Eight Days on the Plains.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 6 (May 1937): 147-174. The author’s account of an 1859 trip to Kansas from Philadelphia.

Robinson, Sara T. D. Kansas: Its Exterior and Interior Life: Including a full view of its Settlement, Political History, Social life, Climate, Soil, Production, Scenery, etc. 1856. Reprint. Lawrence: Kansas Heritage Press, 1990. Although its biases are obvious, this is an interesting and useful account by the wife of Dr. Charles Robinson, free-state leader and first state governor.

Phillips, William A. The Conquest of Kansas by Missouri and Her Allies: A History of the Troubles in Kansas, from the Passage of the Organic Act Until the Close of July, 1856. 1856. Reprint. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1971. Written in 1856, Phillips, a Scottish immigrant who was affiliated with the New York Tribune when he first came to Kansas in 1855, recounted an “early and unhappy history of Kansas.”


Wichta State Univsersity Libraries, Department of Special Collections, Digitized Kansas Maps <> An excellent collection of over 325 Kansas maps, dating from 1556 to 1900. There are over fifty maps from the territorial period. An interactive feature enables users to zoom in on map details.


Territorial Kanzas Newspapers <>
A Kansas City, Kansas Community College sponsored web site with PDF images of most Territorial Kansas newspapers. The Quindaro Chindowan includes subject, name, and issue indexes as well as text versions of the newspaper.

Books and Articles (Secondary Sources)


Blackmar, Frank W., ed. Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : Standard Pub. Co., 1912.

Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago: Lewis, 1918.

Cutler, William G. "Territorial History." In History of the State of Kansas. William G. Cutler (Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1883).


Baldinger, Wallace S. “The Amateur Plans a City.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 12 (February 1943): 3-13. Cyrus K. Holiday, well-remembered for his role in establishing the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, was representative of the many “novice” city planners of his era; Holiday, of course, helped found and plan Topeka in 1854 and 1855.

Barry, Louise. "The Emigrant Aid Company Parties of 1854." Kansas Historical Quarterly 12 (May 1943): 115-155. Information on six groups of settlers backed by New England company; parties that came under company auspices in 1855 covered in August issue (12:227-268).

Brinkerhoff, Fred W. “The Kansas Tour of Lincoln the Candidate.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 13 (February 1945): 294-307. The Republican presidential candidate visited northeast Kansas in December 1859; this was Brinkerhoff’s 1944 KSHS presidential address.

Caldwell, Martha B. “The Eldridge House.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 9 (November 1940): 347-370. From its beginnings as the free-state headquarters in 1854-55, Caldwell offers a history of this Lawrence, Kansas, icon through the construction of the fourth and final hotel building in the 1920s, but her focus is the first decade.

Caldwell, Martha B. “The Stubbs.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 6 (May 1937): 124-131. “The Stubbs” was a free-state militia company organized at Lawrence in April 1855 as the Kansas Rifles; includes constitution and by-laws.

Caldwell, Martha B. “When Horace Greeley Visited Kansas in 1859.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 9 (May 1940): 115-140. The article includes long passages from Greeley's letters to his New York Tribune describing the territory in May 1859; among other things, Greeley attended the Kansas Republican Party’s organizational convention in Osawatomie.

Cecil-Fronsman, Bill. “`Advocate the Freedom of White Men, As Well As That of the Negroes': The Kansas Free State and Antislavery Westerns in Territorial Kansas.” Kansas History 20 (Summer 1997): 102-115. The focus is on editors Robert G. Elliott and Josiah Miller, who substantially contributed to “the successful establishment of the Kansas free-state movement.”

Chapman, Berlin B. "Removal of the Osages from Kansas." Kansas Historical Quarterly 7 (August 1938): 287-305; concluded, 7 (November 1938): 399-410. By the early 1870s Osage lands in southern Kansas had been ceded and Osages relocated on Cherokee land in Indian Territory.

Dolbee, Cora. “The First Book on Kansas: The Story of Edward Everett Hale's Kanzas and Nebraska.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 2 (May 1933): 139-181. A 256-page volume published in Boston (September 1854) less than six months after opening of territory.

Dolbee, Cora. “The Second Book on Kansas: An Account of C. B. Boynton and T. B. Mason's A Journey Through Kansas; With Sketches of Nebraska.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 4 (May 1935): 115-148. Published in Cincinnati, 1855; like the first, essentially propaganda for free-state settlement.

Dolbee, Cora. “The Third Book on Kansas: An Interpretation of J. Butler Chapman's History of Kansas and Emigrant's Guide.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 8 (August 1939): 238-278. Published in Akron, Ohio (January 1855), this slim, 116-page volume is unusual in its presentation of both sides in Kansas controversy; story of author's observations as participant in settlement process.

Etcheson, Nicole. “‘Labouring for the Freedom of This Territory’: Free-State Kansas Women in the 1850s.” Kansas History 21 (Summer 1998): 68-87. Using Ellen and Harriet Goodnow as two of her prime examples, Etcheson examines “the interplay of politics, domesticity, and western settlement in the lives of nineteenth-century women.”

Farley, Alan W. “Annals of Quindaro: A Kansas Ghost Town.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 22 (Winter 1956): 305-320. Established in Wyandotte County, early in 1856, Quindaro was to be “a friendly portal for antislavery partisans to enter and leave Kansas.”

Gates, Paul Wallace. “A Fragment of Kansas Land History: The Disposal of the Christian Indian Tract.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 6 (August 1937): 227-240. Gates examines “the struggle for possession of the Christian [or Munsee] Indian tract” in northeastern Kansas, complicated by the fact that none of land was part of the public domain or legally available for settlement when white “squatter” onslaught began in 1854.

Gower, Calvin W. “Gold Fever in Kansas Territory: Migration to the Pike's Peak Gold Fields, 1858-1860.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 39 (Spring 1973): 58-74. Discusses impact of gold rush on the population of eastern Kansas at a time when much of Colorado was still part of Kansas Territory.

Gower, Calvin W. “Kansas Territory and Its Boundary Question: `Big Kansas' or `Little Kansas'.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 33 (Spring 1967): 1-12. Gower examines the pros and cons of this issue; the former would have retained the Continental Divide as the state’s western border and extend its northern boundary line to the Platte River.

Griffin, C. S. “The University of Kansas and the Sack of Lawrence: A Problem of Intellectual Honesty.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 34 (Winter 1968): 409-426. An interesting historiographical look at the May 21, 1856, sacking perpetrated by Douglas County Sheriff Samuel Jones that centers around a late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century claim against the U.S. government.

Griffin, C. S. “The University of Kansas and the Years of Frustration, 1854-1864.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 32 (Spring 1966): 1-32. From his book length history of K.U., this article covers the decade before the university became a state school and its New England/Free-state origins.

Hickman, Russell K. “A Little Satire on Emigrant Aid: Amasa Soule and the Descandum Kansas Improvement Company.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 8 (November 1939): 342-349. Founded in November 1854, the “Descandum” Kansas Improvement Company was “a burlesque upon the Kansas mania then prevalent” throughout New England; its only activity was “the sending of Soule to Kansas; the article includes the company’s constitution and the “Kansas Letter of Amasa Soule.”

Hickman, Russell K. “Lewis Bodwell, Frontier Preacher: The Early Years.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 12 (August 1943): 269-299; concluded, 12 (November 1943): 349-365. Religion and the Congregational church were a vital element in the territorial struggle from its founding at Lawrence in 1854; Bodwell (1827-1894) was commissioned by the denomination in 1856 to establish an independent Topeka congregation, where served until 1860.

Hickman, Russell K. “Speculative Activities of the Emigrant Aid Company.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 4 (August 1935): 235-267. One element of the struggle for Kansas was, as Hickman pointed out, the “conflict between two economic systems,” and here he focused on Eli Thayer's company, incorporated in 1854, as capitalist venture that actually survived until 1897.

Hickman, Russell K. “The Vegetarian and Octagon Settlement Companies.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 2 (November 1933): 377-385. “Experimental” colonies established on Neosho River during the 1850s by the Vegetarian Kansas Emigration Company, which “was the first to adopt the Octagon plan of settlement.”

Jackson, W. Turrentine. “The Army Engineers as Road Surveyors and Builders in Kansas and Nebraska, 1854-1858.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 17 (February 1949): 37-59. Often overlooked in the histories of western settlement and development is the role of the federal government, especially perhaps the military, as facilitator.

Johnson, Samuel A. “The Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 1 (November 1932): 429-441. Kansas “historians” had debated the relative significance of the New England Emigrant Aid Company in making Kansas free for years; Johnson concludes that it was of great importance, if not a deciding factor, in the struggle.

Langsdorf, Edgar. “S. C. Pomeroy and the New England Emigrant Aid Company, 1854-1858.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 7 (August 1938): 227-245; concluded 7 (November 1938): 379-398. Pomeroy, who became one of Kansas’s first U.S. senators in 1861, was a company agent during those critical first years of territorial settlement.

Langsdorf, Edgar. “Thaddeus Hyatt in Washington Jail.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 9 (August 1940): 227-239. Hyatt, a New York capitalist who supported “free” Kansas both physically and financially, was jailed in March 1860 for contempt of Congress after he refused to testify in the John Brown/Harpers Ferry investigation.

Lillard, T. M. “Beginnings of the Kansas Judiciary.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 10 (February 1941): 91-99. Lillard's KSHS presidential address covered the judicial branch from the first three federally appointed territorial district judges of 1855 to Thomas Ewing, Jr., the first chief justice of state supreme court.

Malin, James C. “Emergency Housing at Lawrence, 1854.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 21 (Spring 1954): 34-49. Includes an early sketch of Lawrence (“J. E. Rice’s “Lawrence, Kansas, A.D. 1854-55”) and its built environment, along with some lengthy, contemporary quotations about housing types and materials.

Malin, James C., editor. “F. H. Hodder's ‘Stephen A. Douglas.’” Kansas Historical Quarterly 8 (August 1939): 227-237. Reprint of Hodder's first contribution (1899) to “Little Giant” historiography in which he stressed Douglas’ responsibility for the Compromise of 1850 and his overriding concern with the organization of western territories.

Malin, James C. "The Hoogland Examination: The United States v. John Brown, Jr., et al." Kansas Historical Quarterly 7 (May 1938): 133-153. Reflects on events surrounding the Pottawatomie massacre and border conflict in southeast Kansas in 1856.

Malin, James C. “Housing Experiments in the Lawrence Community, 1855.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 21 (Summer 1954):95-121. In this essay, Malin goes beyond the “emergency” stage to examine the “next phase” of house building in Lawrence, focusing on the cultural differences of the settlers, their architectural traditions, and the limitations and opportunities of the geographical setting.

Malin, James C. “Identification of the Stranger at the Pottawatomie Massacre.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 9 (February 1940): 3-12. The Brown raid on pro-slave settlers in southern Franklin County, May 24-25, 1856, occurred while the Howard Committee (special congressional committee to investigate the Kansas troubles), and the first mention of the “stranger” appeared in the minority report affidavit of James Harris.

Malin, James C. “The John Brown Legend in Pictures: Kissing the Negro Baby.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 8 (November 1939): 339; continued, 9 (November 1940): 339-342. The articles include several versions of the painting of this legendary incident, which, according to the Whittier poem, occurred on the way to the gallows.

Malin, James C. “Judge Lecompte and the ‘Sack of Lawrence,’ May 21, 1856. Part One: The Contemporary Phase.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 20 (August 1953): 465-494; “Part Two: The Historical Phase.” 20 (November 1953): 553-597. For their own partisan reasons, both pro- and anti-slave factions unjustly, according to Malin, blamed the excesses of Sheriff Jones’ pose on U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Lecompte; Malin uses this incident as an opportunity to comment on numerous territorial issues and incidents.

Meredith, William John. “The Old Plum Grove Colony: In Jefferson County, 1854-1855.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 7 (November 1938): 339-375. This community of settlers, originally from the upper South, moved from Clay County, Missouri, to “a new Promised Land” in Kansas Territory that offered “room enough for generations to come.”

SenGupta, Gunja. “Bleeding Kansas: A Review Essay.” Kansas History 24 (Winter 2001/2002): 318-341. This first, regular feature in Kansas History’s review essay series examines the extensive territorial Kansas literature, suggests directions for future research, and challenges scholars to continue recent efforts to reconcile the “dynamic interplay between” two “seemingly disparate realms,” the focus on sectional conflict and/or the study of Kansas through the lens of the new Western history.

Taylor, Morris F. “The Mail Station and the Military Camp on Pawnee Fork, 1859-1860.” Kansas Historical Quarterly 36 (Spring 1970): 27-39. Deals with the activities of the military at the Arkansas River post—later called Fort Larned—during these first years of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.

Watts, Dale. “How Bloody was Bleeding Kansas? Political Killings in Kansas Territory, 1854-1861.” Kansas History 18 (Summer 1995): 116-129. After carefully analyzing the evidence, the author concludes that political killings number about fifty, far less than many have indicated, and that the violence was perpetrated about equally by both sides—free state and proslave.


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