The Sixteenth District, Part Three

The Howard Committee

The Howard Committee

Parts 1 and 2

H. Miles Moore talked to other Kansans and learned how they felt about he and his Missourian comrades hijacking the election:

I had a conversation with several free State men who resided in Leavenworth city and its vicinity, in which they stated that they were disgusted with the manner in which the election was being conducted, and that the free State men would not vote, but would contest the election.

But Moore

tried to persuade them to vote, and their reply was that the people of Missouri were controlling the election, and they would not take part in it.

Moore’s own opinions of the Missourian effort evolved, as mentioned previously. I don’t know that he came around to agree with his fellow Kansans that they should have sat out the election, but he had moved away from his past justification of the electoral theft.

That change of heart had consequences for Moore. As a man of prominence, a member of Leavenworth’s town association, his activities drew the eye far more than those of some farmer out in the wilderness. Even if he did not take a leading role in antislavery efforts in the territory, Moore’s position painted a target on his back:

In consequence of my determination at this time to act thereafter with the free State party I became obnoxious to the pro-slavery men, both in Missouri and in the Territory. My person and property has been frequently threatened with violence and destruction by them for six months or more past.

John Sherman

John Sherman

Moore did not content himself with a position as a prominent local citizen, though. Making himself obnoxious to the proslavery party included taking up a position in the illegal free state government formed in response to and rejection of the legal, but fraudulently elected, territorial government. I don’t want to leap too far ahead of the narrative, but Moore’s testimony does so and includes an incident that makes more sense to include here than to wait on:

On Wednesday, May 28, 1856, I was arrested while standing at my office door, about noon, by Major Warren D. Wilkes, who had a posse with him of some twenty or twenty-five men, armed with United States muskets and bayonets. At the time of the arrest, I was conversing with Marcus J. Parrot and Hon. John Sherman, a member of the Kansas investigating committee of the House of Representatives. This posse marched down the street in a column in platoons of four, and when they reached my office they faced about and formed a line, with shouldered muskets. A man by the name of Eli Moore, who has been, and I think is now, deputy sheriff of this county, approached with Major Wilkes, and pointed out to him Mr. Parrot and myself. Major Wilkes said to us, “Gentlemen, I have to arrest you temporarily.” Mr. Parrot said to Mr. Sherman, “What shall we do?” Mr. Sherman said, “I can do nothing; I am powerless in this matter.”

This puts the lack of testimony from the Eleventh District in some context.

The freshman congressman John Sherman with whom Moore spoke sat on the Howard Committee. He went on to serve Ohio as a senator and later on authored the Sherman Antitrust Act. He also had a brother by the name of William who quite overshadows him in the historical memory.

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