“I demand that all the arms of Lawrence be given up, or we will bombard the town”

Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones

Sorry for the tardy post, Gentle Readers. I scheduled it incorrectly.

Samuel Jones, process in hand, posse at his back, and fresh off getting shot the last time he came to Lawrence, had probably gave more than a little thought to revenge on May 21, 1856. W.P. Fain had come, made arrests, and gone. Jones still had his pretense to attend to and meant to see himself revenged on Lawrence. He inherited Marshal Donaldson’s posse and rode into town with about twenty of them, arriving about three in the afternoon. Jones made for the Free State Hotel and there called out Samuel Pomeroy.

William Phillips recounts their conversation:

Pomeroy came out and shook hands with him. [Jones.]

“Gen. Pomeroy,” said Jones, “I recognize you as one of the leading citizens here, and as one who can act for the people of Lawrence. I demand that all the arms of Lawrence be given up, or we will bombard the town.” Jones here took out his watch, and continued: “I give you five minutes to decide on this proposition, and half an hour to stack the arms in the streets.”

Jones had pulled this ultimatum off before, giving the judges of election five minutes to vacate, let anyone who offered vote without swearing that they lived in Kansas, or die at the hands of his mob. Pomeroy, like the judges then, asked more time. The year since the legislative elections and his own shooting must have hardened Jones; he refused to grant even the additional minute he had before. Pomeroy went into the hotel and discussed the issue with the committee of safety, for what little they had to discuss:

Jones, with an army at his back, thirsting for blood and plunder; the committee, who had provided no means of defence, and who had only a handful of men in Lawrence, who, if they attempted to resist, would merely be butchered, unless the invaders were cowards!

An answer came back before the Sheriff called down a bombardment. Lawrence would surrender her cannons, but the rifles and other arms belonged to the men who held them. The committee had no authority to demand their surrender. Jones would have to go person to person and ask each one.

The memorial that Lawrence sent off to Franklin Pierce tells things a little differently, with some portion of the rifles accepted as community property and so surrendered while others, still private property, remained with their owners. The memorialists, writing for a hostile audience in the White House, stress their submission as much as Phillips excoriates it. For Jones to just take the cannons and let go the rifles, which loomed large in proslavery imaginations, seems improbable. Phillips does refer to some rifles taken up later, but not as part of a general surrender. He may have the same arms in mind as the memorialists, each writer slanting the facts to suit their present audience. For Phillips, righteous Kansas led by cowards in the absence of the usual heroes cave without a fight. Antislavery Americans rally to their defense. For the memorialists, submitting to the law and doing all their enemies asked might move a hostile president to take a softer line against them. Either version could be true; both agree that Lawrence lost its cannons:

The artillery in question consisted of the twelve-pound brass howitzer, brought into Lawrence so gallantly during the Wakarusa war, and some four other small brass breech-loading cannon, carrying a pound ball.

Phillips describes the four smaller field pieces as “nearly useless” but doesn’t miss the chance to go after the Committee for giving them up. He informs the reader that Lawrence had buried all the cannons beneath a house, where no one would think to look. Pomeroy and Lieutenant Governor Roberts thus gave them up gratuitously.

Instructions for the Army, Part Two

Wilson Shannon

Wilson Shannon

Sorry for the late post, Gentle Readers. I forgot to set it to go live at the usual time.

E.V. Sumner wanted to help keep order in Kansas. He had instructions (PDF) from Washington to that effect and a new crisis seemed at hand with yet another proslavery posse and invasion from Missouri in motion. He reached out to Wilson Shannon, who had leave to call on him straight from the President, but Shannon appeared unwilling to take responsibility for calling the 1st Cavalry to the field. Sumner understood Shannon’s shyness as contributing to the danger, because his refusal to intervene and reign in these posses ensured that “they are made up of partisans.” Only the genuine fear both parties had for each other might avert a disaster.

Sumner had gone to Lecompton to see Shannon and then Lawrence to assess the situation there. When he placed himself at Shannon’s disposal on May 12, 1856, he carried with him a copy of a petition that a public meeting in the free state town had drawn up at seven o’clock on the eleventh.

we have the most reliable information from every section of the Territory that armed bands of men are forming, and that several hundreds are now encamped within a few miles of this town, who make the most violent threats of the destruction of the town and its inhabitants

Several hundred would about fit with the descriptions I’ve read elsewhere. Somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 showed up for the Wakarusa War and Jefferson Buford’s men could account for a few hundred just by themselves. Movement of that size would also fit with Marcus Parrott seeing two companies go by in a single day, though he didn’t say how many men in each. A company could mean the military formation, with a paper strength of around a hundred but often rather less than that. Or it could just mean he saw a group of armed men who appeared to share a purpose. Threats of Lawrence’s destruction, people included, came during the Wakarusa War as well. Nothing here looks particularly exaggerated.

Thus the meeting declares that C.W. Topliff, W.G. Roberts, and John Hutchinson go and

wait on Colonel Sumner, Commander of the First Regiment of United States Cavalry, and inform him of our imminent danger, and respectfully ask of him such protection as he may be able to extent to us

Roberts looks like the free state Lieutenant Governor, but his name comes as W.Y. Roberts elsewhere. Given the commonality of Williams and Robertses, I suspect a different person rather than a clerical error. I don’t recognize Topliff or Hutchinson.

If Wilson Shannon wouldn’t call out the army, maybe Lawrence could. Should Sumner come, then the proslavery side would face the same dilemma that the free state party had in December. To press on would mean levying war against the power of the United States. Even Franklin Pierce might have trouble excusing that, though no era suffers a dearth of shameless politicians willing to try just such a maneuver.

Instructions for the Army, Part One

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis

On May 8, 1856, Marcus Parrott went up to Fort Leavenworth and had a talk with Colonel Edwin Sumner, in command, about the brewing invasion from Missouri. Since the Wakarusa War’s muddled end, Franklin Pierce had granted Wilson Shannon the authority to call out Sumner’s men to preserve law and order in Kansas. Pierce’s proclamation made only fig leaf gestures to neutrality, casting antislavery agitation as the more serious threat. But Pierce’s orders to Sumner (PDF), by way of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, charged the Colonel with aiding the territorial government against both “insurrection” and “invasive aggression.” Davis’ orders focused entirely on the things that antislavery Kansans had done, reducing the threat of Missourian invasion to a single reference in passing. In that he followed the lead of the President, or the President followed his. We don’t know exactly how things worked out between them, but at least some of the time Davis seems to have had practical control of the executive branch.

Sumner noticed the omission and wrote back to the War Department. Did they mean for him to intervene also if Shannon called on him to stop invaders from Missouri? The Governor had tried just that back in December, but Sumner had demurred for lack of authority to comply on his own. He also seems to have asked about an invasion from parts more distant, whether Jefferson Buford’s men or some sort of armed Emigrant Aid formation. Jefferson Davis wrote back via the Adjutant General’s office on March 26:

in reply to the question as to where the men may come from, or whether armed or unarmed, is not one for the inquiry or consideration of the commanding officer. It is only when an armed resistance is offered to the laws and against the peace and quiet of the Territory, and when, under such circumstances, a requisition for military force is made upon the commanding officer by the authority specified in his instructions, that he is empowered to act.

Colonel Sumner had no authority to act against border ruffians. Should Shannon call on him, he must act in concert with them. Thus Sumner visited Lecompton on May 12, a few days after promising Marcus Parrott that he would look into things. He had bad news, which he shared with the Adjutant General:

Great excitement is prevailing in the country at this moment in consequence of the Marshal and Sheriff summoning large posses, without reference to the Governor, as they say to maintain the law.

Sumner informed Shannon that he would follow his instructions when called upon, to

arrest and hold subject to the orders of the civil authorities any men in the territory against whom writs were issued; and further, that in order to preserve the peace of the country, I would place my entire regiment immediately at any point he might designate.

Shannon, Sumner thought, wanted that badly to keep the peace. He had said as much back in December and now faced a situation much the same, down to the cast of characters. But Shannon didn’t think it proper to “assume the responsibility of controlling them under civil officers”. All of this sounds like Shannon wanted Sumner to go out on a limb face the consequences of intervention against the proslavery party.

Proslavery Men Standing Ready

Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones

The Squatter Sovereign declared its editors insurrectionists-in-waiting. They had enough of Wilson Shannon and Franklin Pierce telling them they couldn’t march out and destroy Lawrence. The abolitionists, who had shot the brave Samuel Jones, must face the music and they aimed to play it. This time, no governor would get in their way and no presence of US Dragoons would change their minds. If the abolitionists could shoot a man with a military guard, why couldn’t they? A body can only bear so many cruel disappointments.

John Stringfellow and Robert Kelley had more than bluster and a personal willingness to kill in their arsenal. A separate item on the same page of the paper informs readers

Since the rumor of an outbreak at Lawrence, there have been two companies, containing about seventy men each, under arms in this city and ready to start at a moment’s warning, to the next of war. From information received, we are inclined to think that the law and order party will be again compromised and another treaty made with the lawless scamps. “It is entirely too humiliating,” Governor Shannon thinks, “to require these traitors to give up their arms,” but they can, with perfect impunity, resist the laws of the Territory, and shoot down officers of the law […] and then are recognized as equals with the Government party and peace made with them on favorable terms.

They tried that, against the proslavery party’s will, back in December. April had come and brought this result. Proslavery men needed not just to take matters into their own hands, but keep them or Shannon would surely frustrate them once more. The governor, proslavery or not, aimed to prevent the effusions of blood to which Stringfellow and Kelley aspired.

Robert S. Kelley

Robert S. Kelley

To tell readers more about those two companies, the Sovereign printed this item:

Our young friends from South Carolina, who have settled in this city, wishing to be in a situation when called upon, to render the best service possible to the officers of the law who might need their assistance in punishing abolitionists and other offenders, have wisely formed themselves into a Rifle Company, and elected as their Captain, a graduate of the South Carolina Military Academy. A finer body of men, we have never seen together, and if they do not prove efficient soldiers, we are no judge of the ability of men. Should this Company ever be called out against the traitors at Lawrence, terrible, indeed, will be the effect.

These men sound like members of Jefferson Buford’s expedition. According to Walter Fleming (PDF), Buford’s group didn’t arrive in Kansas until May 2, but he puts them in Kansas City and Westport before that. This would place the four hundred or so proslavery men right on the border around the time of the article, but rather farther to the south than Atchison. Some of Buford’s men might have gotten out ahead of him, but given he paid their passage that seems unlikely. More probably, the paper refers to some men from South Carolina and possibly elsewhere who united under a Carolinian leader.

This company held a meeting and placed itself as the disposal of William C. Richardson, general in the Kansas militia,and organized themselves for military action. Had they come with Buford’s party, they would have already had organization.



“The sacrifice of every abolitionist in the Territory.”

Robert S. Kelley

Robert S. Kelley

The Weston Argus reported on Samuel Jones’ shooting with a degree of restraint. They didn’t come out and say that proslavery men ought to go to Lawrence and murder the lot of damned abolitionists who shot the sheriff, or encouraged and protected those who did. The paper came close, but its piece in the Squatter Sovereign doesn’t quite cross that line. The editors issued the stereotypical mafiosi threat: nice town you’ve got there, shame if something happened to it. The Sovereign itself would have none of that. Robert S. Kelley probably still felt his cruel disappointment back in December. Probably all of us have suffered a disappointment or two like that.

Whether Kelley moped about his missed chance around the office until no one could stand him or not, his paper connected the dots that the Argus left implied. A small item at the bottom of the page notes

Had justice been awarded to Lawrence in December last, during the disturbances of that month, there would be no Fort there now to shield an army of traitors who are sworn to resist the laws.

Lawrence did not have a fort per se, but they had built Free State Hotel to do double duty as a nineteenth century pillbox. That might prove an obstacle to working bloody justice on those who “murdered” Samuel Jones, “than whom a braver man never lived.” The Sovereign’s own version of events, which I missed a few days ago, comes just a few columns over from the Argus’. John Stringfellow and Robert Kelley reminded their readers of Jones’ virtue and informed them that the free state men, “thieving-paupers of the North” had come to trample the rights of Southern men, stealing their property, and murdering them if they had half a chance. All of that aimed to break the Union.

The news had thrown Atchison, just recently visited by its namesake ex-senator, into quite the stir. Rumors flew about, which we know include word of Jones’ death. They may not have. A simple assault on Jones ought to have done the same work for their movement as his death, given past performance. Given he did get shot and things appeared close for a while, I see no reason to doubt their sincere belief that Jones had died of his wounds. The Sovereign roared

HIS DEATH MUST BE AVENGED. HIS MURDER SHALL BE AVENGED, if at the sacrifice of every abolitionist in the Territory. If the proslavery party will quietly set still and see our friends, one by one, murdered by these assassins, without raising their arms to protect them, we much mistake their character. Will they again allow a Northern Governor to cheat them out of their just revenge? We answer emphatically, NO! If the Governor of this Territory and the Administratin at Washington any longer attempts to force us to assume the position of outlaws, before we can have justice done us, the sooner such a contingency arises, the better.

John Stringfellow, Speaker of the House of Kansas

John Stringfellow

Outraged at resistance of the laws and an antislavery party that set themselves up in defiance of the territorial government and, perhaps, the nation, the proslavery party of Kansas avowed that they must do precisely the same. Should Wilson Shannon or Franklin Pierce get in the way, the Sovereign would count them enemies with the rest. The party who once damned their enemies as nullifiers now declared for nullification of their own, with all the customary agility that such contortions required.

“Here I am, gentlemen” The Shooting of Samuel Jones, Part One


Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones

Whether or not Samuel Jones intended to use his arrest of Samuel Wood as a provocation which would discredit the free state government, he did arrest people. If he didn’t get any that he had originally come for, then he still had someone. Most of Lawrence seems to have begrudgingly accepted that, as Jones came backed by the United States Cavalry. Not everyone in town felt that way, though. By the time he left Lawrence, Jones could boast of taking six prisoners. To that collection he added two bullet holes.

We can’t say just what drove someone over the edge. The fact that Jones rounded up clearly innocent, or innocent enough, people when he couldn’t find Wood or Wood’s abettors may have done it. The simple fact that Samuel Jones, who had brought Lawrence near to destruction months before, had come back for a second round might have sufficed. George Brown suggested that a frustrated Jones pushed things too far himself:

The ‘sheriff” became insufferably insulting; got drunk, in order the better to render himself odious; drew his revolver frequently on unoffending citizens’ courted a personal assault

Going around drawing his gun on people and threatening them does sound like vintage Samuel Jones. He rarely appears in the sources without clearly cherishing his power over antislavery Kansans. With the army at his back, the sheriff had an ideal chance to play the bully in Lawrence and demonstrate his manly credentials. They would submit, like slaves. He would dominate, a true master.

Whatever drove them, some of Lawrence went off-script. Merrill’s True History of the Kansas Wars tells that a Colonel Preston

was taken aside by a citizen of the place, who frankly told him, that there was a conspiracy on foot to assassinate Sheriff Jones; as the day wore away, the crowd gathered in different parts of the city, became more and more open in their innuendoes, and when a man by the name of Hunt was arrested, he was called upon in the presence of Robinson, by some one in the crowd “to shoot Jones,” using expressions of wrath, and the deepest revenge ever indulged in, and the most insulting language to some few Pro-slavery men standing near the crowds. They were offered a fight, -told, “to pitch in, and they would see sights.”

Merrill leans proslavery, but all of that sounds reasonable enough. It would strain credulity more to believe no one in Lawrence talked about harming Jones than that they did, though that talk didn’t necessarily constitute a conspiracy as such. I don’t mean to parse things too narrowly here, but talk of a conspiracy implies a clear plan by recognized co-plotters to their end. Violent talk and threats might precede and feature into a conspiracy, but do not make one in themselves.

Merrill then quotes two eyewitnesses to the foreshadowed event. “[J]ust before dark,” William Preston and Thomas Crowder wrote, after repeated threats and insults directed at Jones, Franklin Pierce, and proslavery men in general,

With Lieutenant McIntosh, we, with a gentleman by the name of Yates, went to the camp, intending to pass off time and spend the night. Soon after we had made preparations for sleeping, Mr. Jones, and one of us, [Preston] went a few paces from the tent to get a glass of water. While so engaged some persons came up and inquired where Sheriff Jones was, and made insulting remarks concerning his courage, when he [Jones] arose from the stooping posture he was in and remarked, “Here I am, gentlemen.”

Samuel Jones: Political Schemer?

George W. Brown

George W. Brown

We left Sheriff Samuel Jones in Lawrence on April 23, 1856. He arrested ten men, none of whom he had come to Lawrence to seize. Whether they did anything to resist Jones and so warrant arrest or not, he took them along. With his Army escort, Jones must have felt confident indeed as he did not immediately leave infamous den of abolitionists that had defied him to the point of risking armed battle only months before. At least this time he got some men, if still not Samuel Wood.

Lawrence acquiesced with vulgar imprecations, rather than resort to arms. The antislavery men remained keenly aware that opposing the power of the United States would put them beyond the political pale. An injured soldier could destroy their movement by bringing the Army down on their heads, particularly as Wilson Shannon now had the authority to call on it at will. Jones knew the lay of the land as well as anybody and decided to camp in town.

The Herald of Freedom’s version of events stresses Lawrence’s submission. They would fight Missouri and the territorial government to the end, but not the nation:

To legal authority we submit, no matter how oppressive; to an authority which was created by fraud, and violence and usurpation, if peaceable and lawful means of resistance fail, we will die in our tracks before yielding an inch.

George Brown’s paper also reported that Lawrence’s resolve on the point “disappointed and exasperated” the proslavery men. He thought Jones’ arrival and subsequent events all done for show as

The Congressional Investigating Committee was in Kansas-had already commenced its labors. They feared to trust the investigation of their course to an unbiased and honorable committee. They knew too well what the result of those investigations would be, hence the necessity of a stroke of policy, to change the course of things. -A muss must be kicked up to hinder the committee from proceeding with its work. If possible, by any means, the Committee must be prevented from reporting until after the adjournment of Congress, and of course until after the Presidential election; or if that could not be done, they must forestall its action, by placing us in an unfavorable attitude; forcing us, if possible, to abandon our strong and honorable position, for one of dishonor and aggression.

The Howard Committee

The Howard Committee

Brown understood the national political landscape, but all of this looks like a reach. Jones might well have seen those goals as desirable. He knew the politics and of the committee’s arrival as well as anybody, so he could certainly make the calculation. However, he also came for Samuel Wood at the first instant he knew that Wood had returned to Kansas. The Herald reported Wood’s return on April 19. Jones arrived to claim him the very next day, just as one would expect for a lawman bent on making a swift arrest. It seems much more likely that Jones saw his quarry had returned and aimed to seize him, with the opportunity to show the impotence of the free state movement or to bring them into collision with national power coming as a bonus. That it would all take place in front of a Congressional committee can’t have hurt, of course.

“Miserable and fiendish blackguardism” Sheriff Jones Visits Lawrence, Again


Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones

Wilson Shannon, second governor of Kansas Territory, had dealt with Samuel Jones and the free state men at Lawrence before. He hoped that putting the United States Army between the free state militias and the combination of Kansas territorial militia and random Missourians would avert the bloodshed that the proslavery men seemed set on. That time, Colonel E.V. Sumner of the 1st Cavalry refused to decamp from Fort Leavenworth for want of presidential orders. This time around, Sumner had those orders. When Shannon told him to send a small contingent to help Jones complete his arrests of antislavery men, Sumner did his duty.

Shannon’s letter to Sumner specified seven men, an officer and six others, to go with Jones. Merrill’s True History of Kansas reports that Jones got ten, under the command of a Lieutenant McIntosh. But those ten men don’t appear to have hewed to the strictly nonpartisan role that Shannon expected. They followed their orders to go and help Jones, but John Speer tells that

The troops were generally our friends, and watered their horses at all the wells where there was a horse that would drink at all; and all who knew anything they had done, got notice in time to run; and I fled for safety to the Delaware Indians.

Orders to help Jones didn’t preclude a few soldiers helping his enemies. If that didn’t get the word out, then Sumner might have done it on his own. He wrote ahead to alert the mayor of Lawrence that the Jones and his men would soon arrive. Either way, Lawrence did not happily receive Jones with soldiers at his back. The Herald of Freedom for April 26 describes Jones’ arrival three days prior:

The physical power of the General Gov’t has been used to grind us into submission to a code of bloody, barbarous enactments. A man styling himself “Sheriff of Douglas County,” comes into our town, with a portion of the U.S. Army to aid him in carrying out his objects, seizes innofensive, peaceable citizens whilst pursuing their proper employments, and without the shadow of a pretence of justice or law, drags them before a court from whose decisions neither justice nor humanity can be expected.

Merill adds that Lawrence greeted Jones and company with aplomb:

Modesty would be shocked and shame stand back abashed, were we to pen the miserable and fiendish blackguardism that was indulged in, by the peace peaceable and law-abiding citizens, against the President, Governor Shannon, and the Pro-slavery party.

He also relates that William Howard, who gave the Howard Committee its name, overheard a man offer the services of his pistol to Charles Robinson. The free state governor bid him “wait”. The Howard Report doesn’t mention that, but it seems likely enough. Merrill includes it among other threats made against Jones’ life. Nor would it strain credulity to believe that some in Lawrence openly spoke of shooting Jones.

But as Speer said, the people Jones wanted all got the word and fled before Jones and the Army arrived. He and his dragoons surrounded Speer’s house and searched it, to no avail. They spent most of the day in town, coming away with ten men that Speer declares innocent of any wrongdoing. The Herald of Freedom names six of them: John Hutchinson, E.D. Lyman, J.F. Warren, J.G. Fuller, F. Hunt, and A. F. Smith.

The unnamed four raise questions. Given the general environment of threats and sporadic force used to resist Jones in the past, they might have done something Jones deemed worthy of arrest even if they hadn’t come to his notice previously. It seems improbable that Jones would just seize random people, though not entirely out of character. That the paper describes Lawrence as “submitting without a murmur” strains credulity more. They might not have used force against the United States, but Jones likely heard Merrill’s loud denunciations and imprecations.


Wilson Shannon Successfully Calls Out the Army

Wilson Shannon

Wilson Shannon

The Arrest of Wood: parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Samuel Jones wrote to Wilson Shannon as he had before: Lawrence defied him. The locals proclaimed they would ignore the law and deny his authority. They resisted his attempts to arrest Samuel Wood and then Samuel Tappan by force. Douglas County’s sheriff tried twice. He even summoned a posse within Lawrence and got no one for his trouble. Governor Shannon had to give him the power, by which Jones meant military force, to do his job.

Last time around, Shannon keenly sought the help of the United States Army in resolving the crisis. It did not come, as Colonel E.V. Sumner preferred to have proper orders rather than intervene on his own authority. Since then, Franklin Pierce had placed his force at Shannon’s disposal. The Governor aimed to use it. He wrote to Sumner on April 20th:

Knowing the irritated feelings that exist between the two parties in this Territory, growing out of their former difficulties, and being exceedingly desirous to avoid the effusion of blood, or any cause or excuse for further conflict or disturbance, I have thought it most advisable to call on you for an officer and six men to accompany the sheriff and aid him in the execution of the legal process in his hands.

Seven men didn’t make for much of an army, but they did come from the Army. The free state leadership badly wanted to avoid any clash with the United States military, as that would damn them as traitors in the eyes of the nation. They knew they could get no help from the territorial government in their cause, nor from Franklin Pierce’s White House. The whole free state strategy rested on their ability to present themselves as loyal Americans who suffered the trampling of their rights in the name of slavery. An armed insurrection against the territorial government hadn’t hurt that image, but one against the United States surely would.

From Shannon’s perspective, that counted as the best reason to use the military. The locals would surely not help Jones, unless he found some proslavery locals who would likely get the idea that they gathered to ruin Lawrence and murder abolitionists rather than conduct a few arrests. It had happened before. Thus

To call on any of the citizens of the county to accompany the sheriff and aid in overpowering the resistance on the part of the defendants, that is anticipated, would most probably lead to a conflict which, when once commenced, it is difficult to foresee where it might end, but in the use of the U.S. troops, no personal or party feelings can exist on either side, and their presence will most likely command obedience to the laws.

Going for a Sequel: The Arrest of Samuel Wood, Part Five

Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones

Parts 1, 2, 3, 4


Douglas County sheriff Samuel Jones gave it another go. After first failing to arrest Samuel Wood, he went back to Lawrence the next day with a larger posse. He aimed to take Samuel F. Tappan, who had resisted him the day prior, and then move on to the rest of Wood’s defenders. He had the poor luck to come on Tappan near to a Sunday service attended in chief by armed antislavery Kansans. They came to the rescue of Wood, sending Jones packing for a second time in as many days. According to Merrill’s True History of the Kansas Wars, resistance on April 20th included how

the Free State secretary, pro tem., declared that he would sooner obey the laws of hell, than the laws of the Territory.

In addition, Jones enjoyed “every imaginable indignity .” That banquet of delights so pleased Jones that he removed to Lecompton and turned the clock back to the heady days of early December. Just as when Samuel Wood rescued Jacob Branson from Jones’ custody, the sheriff wrote Governor Shannon. He related how “a mob” of Lawrence citizens rescued Wood “and with violence and force took him from me.” The mob even took Jones guns, which they retained.

I came back to this place for an additional force, and returned to Lawrence with a posse composed of four men, citizens of this county, to assist me in recovering my prisoner; and arresting other persons for theft and other crimes. When there, I summoned an additional posse from among the citizens of Lawrence, -they refused to act, and with my small posse of four men, I attempted to make the arrests, and was again repulsed, and the prisoners taken from me by force, and violent threats uttered against me, and the laws of the territory.

Wilson Shannon

Wilson Shannon

Jones might as well have just told Shannon that he starred in the sequel to December’s trials. No law of nature demands history repeat; people insist on that. If Lawrence chose to resist him again, Jones could choose to move against the town with military force for a second time. He called on Shannon, who must have seen this coming from a sentence or two into the letter,

to furnish me with such military force as may be at your disposal, to assist me in enforcing the laws.

In late 1855, the force at Shannon’s disposal amounted to the half-organized territorial militia. This time around, Wilson Shannon had authorization from Franklin Pierce to call out the Army.