previous next
[242] several persons. Dow was unarmed, and was set upon by three armed pro-Slavery men, who had no cause of quarrel with him but their difference in politics, although they made a pretense of claiming the land on which he had settled. The murderer fled to Missouri, but immediately returned to Shawnee Mission, and surrendered himself to Gov. Shannon, but was allowed to go at large. The body of the murdered man lay in the road from noon till evening, when Jacob Branson, the Free-State settler with whom he boarded, hearing of his death, went after and recovered it. Five days thereafter, a meeting of Free-State men was held at Hickory Point, at which the murder and its authors were forcibly denounced, and a Committee appointed to bring the murderers to justice. This meeting was made the pretext for bringing on a collision between the people and the authorities. Branson was soon after arrested on an affidavit of one of the three armed men who had compassed the death of Dow, who swore that he was in fear of his life. The arrest was made by a party headed by Samuel J. Jones, postmaster at Westport, Mo., and one of the foremost in the conspiracy by which Kansas had been so far subjugated to “Border-Ruffian” rule through the wholesale corruption of her ballot-boxes. For his zeal and efficiency in this work, the fraudulent Legislature at Shawnee Mission had made him sheriff of Douglas County, wherein are Lawrence and Hickory Point. Of course, the “Free-State” settlers, constituting a large majority of the people of that important county, scouted his assumption of official authority, regarding him as a deadly and dangerous foe. His posse was made up of pro-Slavery men, including two of those who had witnessed and abetted the murder of Dow, though Coleman — however active in raising, fitting out, and arming the party — had been persuaded not to accompany it. Branson was found by them asleep in his bed, and taken out by Jones, who professed his intent to take him to Lawrence for examination. Whether he did or did not entertain that purpose, he lingered and drank by the way, so that a party of the neighboring Free-State settlers, fifteen in number, was hastily collected, by which Jones and his party were intercepted near Blanton's Bridge over the Wakarusa, and Branson rescued from Jones's custody. There was no actual collision — not even a gun snapped — but the Free-State men formed across the road in a bright moonlight evening, and called Branson to come over to them, which he did, notwithstanding free threats of shooting on the part of Jones and his followers, answered by a cocking of Sharpe's rifles and revolvers on the other side. Jones, who had been speaking daggers up to this time, wisely concluded to use none, though his party was well armed, and decidedly the more numerous. Branson and his rescuers moved off toward Lawrence, the citadel of Free-State principles, which the discomfited sheriff protested he would soon visit at the head of five thousand men, and “wipe out.” He accordingly called on Gov. Shannon to order out three thousand militia, to enable him to “execute the laws,” and sent to President Pierce an affidavit that he had been resisted by “forty abolitionists.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Samuel J. Jones (6)
Jacob Branson (6)
William Dow (3)
Wilson Shannon (2)
Amos A. Lawrence (2)
Sharpe (1)
Franklin Pierce (1)
Coleman (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: