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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cheerful Yesterdays, VII. Kansas and John Brown (search)
ied pork and made bread; women with their babies sat round the fire; and a saddler brought out his board and leather every night and made belts and holsters for the emigrants. Each man kept watch for an hour, striding in thick boots through the prairie grass heavy with frost. Danger had always to be guarded against, though we were never actually attacked; and while we went towards Kansas, we met armed parties day after day fleeing from it, hopeless of peace. When at last we reached the Kansas River, we found on its muddy banks nineteen wagons with emigrants, retreating with heavy hearts from the land of promise so eagerly sought two years before. The Missourians could not conquer us, they said, but Governor Geary has. On my first morning in Lawrence, Kansas, I waked before daybreak, and looking out saw the house surrounded by dragoons, each sitting silent on his horse. This again was a new experience in those ante-bellum days. A party of a hundred and fifty of these men had b