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A Sabbath gathering.

After dinner on Sunday, Pate's men wanted to go over to Prairie City and plunder it. Fancying that it would be easily taken, and that no resistance would be offered, six of Pate's men started on the expedition. At the time this party approached Prairie City, the people of that place and vicinity were congregated in the house of Dr. Graham to hear preaching, the doctor himself being a prisoner in the camp at Black Jack. They could watch as well as pray, however. There were some twenty men present, and most of them, after the old Revolutionary pattern, had gone to church with their guns on their shoulders. It was one of those primitive meetings, which may often be found in the [127] West, with the slight addition of its military aspects: simple and unostentatious garb; easy and primitive manners; a log house, the ribbed timbers of which gave a rough-cast look to the simple scene, with here and there the heavy octagon barrel of a long Western rifle, or the smooth barrel of a shot gun, were visible where they leaned against the wall, ready for action. The worshippers were nearly through their devotions, and the closing psalm was echoing through the timbers of that log house to one of those quaint old melodies to be found in the Missouri Harmony, when the sacred strain was snapped by another Missouri harmony. A watcher entered, saying,

The Missourians! They are coming! ”

Never was a congregation dismissed on shorter notice. The holy man forgot the benediction in remembering his rifle. The six ruffians had galloped up; when the congregation, suddenly rushing out, surrounded them. Two of the number, who were a little back, wheeled their horses and galloped off, more than one bullet going whizzing after them; but, thanks to their fleet steeds, or their enemy's hurried shooting, they got off scathless, and got back to tell a frightful story to Pate about the other men being killed — horribly! &c. Their less lucky companions were merely taken prisoners of war. One of them, however, had come very near getting his quietus. A son of Dr. Graham, a boy of about eleven years, seized his father's double-barrelled gun at the first alarm, and hurried out to the fence, the Missourians, who were all thus taken aback, being immediately outside of it. The daring [128] boy, with his Kansas blood up, went within three rods of him, and, poking his gun over the fence, took deliberate aim at one of the men, and would have fired the next moment,--for “Bub” was not enlightened in the mysterious “articles of war,” --when a Free State man put aside his gun, and said,

“Bub, what are you doing?”

“Going to shoot that fellow.”

“You must n't.”

Bub shook his head, and began to put up his gun again, muttering,

“He's on pap's horse.”1

1 A similar incident, illustrating the warlike spirit of the children, during the Kansas conflict, came under my own notice at the same house, a few days only before this occurrence. A scout came in and said that a pro-slavery guerilla band was approaching.

“O,” shouted a little girl of five summers, “don't I wish I could shoot one of them!”

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