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When Sheriff Jones saw that the control of this business was being taken out of the hands of himself and his fellow-conspirators he wrote the following letter to Gov. Shannon:

CAMP AT WAKARUSA, Dec. 6, 1855. To His EXCELLENCY, GOV. SHANNON:

_Sir_: In reply to yours of yesterday I have to inform you that the volunteer forces now at this place and Lecompton are getting weary of inaction. They will not, I presume, remain but a short time longer, unless a demand for the prisoner is made. I think I shall have sufficient force to protect me by to-morrow morning. The force at Lawrence is not half so strong as reported. If I am to wait for Government troops, more than two-thirds of the men that are here will _go away very much dissatisfied._ They are leaving hourly as it is.

It is reported that the people of Lawrence have run off those offenders from town, and, indeed, it is said they are now all out of the way. I have writs for sixteen persons who were with the party that rescued my prisoner. S. N. Wood, P. R. Brooks and Samuel Tappan are of Lawrence, the balance from the country around. Warrants will be put into my hands to-day for the arrest of G. W. Brown, and probably others in Lecompton. They say that they are willing to obey the laws, but no confidence can be placed in any statements they may make. Most respectfully yours,

SAMUEL J. JONES, Sheriff of Douglas County.

 

 

From the above, three facts are apparent:

1. Sheriff Jones is not willing that the militia shall go home, and Col. Sumner and the United States troops take their places.

2. He has writs against the sixteen rescuers of Branson. But of these he has ascertained that thirteen live in the country, and he does not need to go to Lawrence to find them. The three that belong in Lawrence are gone to parts unknown, and he does not need to go to Lawrence to find them. _At this writing Sheriff Jones has not a single writ against any person in Lawrence._

3. If he has such a warrant the Lawrence people profess themselves willing that he should serve it, but he does not believe them. "No confidence can be placed in any statements that they may make."

So far as Sheriff Jones is concerned, it is now manifest that this was a devilish conspiracy against the people of Lawrence, to cut their throats and burn up the town. How far the men that were with him were conscious partners in his guilt, or how far they were ignorant dupes of a man that had murder in his heart, does not appear.

The people of Lawrence now thought it was time for them to open communication with Gov. Shannon, and Messrs. G. P. Lowery and C. W. Babcock, after running the gauntlet of the patrols, robbers and guerillas that infested the road to Shawnee Mission, succeeded in putting in the hands of the Governor the following letter:

To His EXCELLENCY, WILSON SHANNON, GOVERNOR KANSAS TERRITORY:

_Sir_: As citizens of Kansas Territory, we desire to call your attention to the fact that a large force of armed men from a foreign State have assembled in the vicinity of Lawrence, are now committing depredations upon our citizens, stopping them, opening and appropriating their loadings, arresting, detaining and threatening travelers upon the public road, and that they claim to do this by your authority. We desire to know if they do appear by your authority, and if you will secure the peace and quiet of the community by ordering their instant removal, or compel us to resort to some other means or a higher authority.

SIGNED BY COMMITTEE.

 

The Governor began to think it was time for him to go to the camp of Sheriff Jones' army on the Wakarusa; and when he came he was frightened at his own work, and became just as eager to get out of the scrape as he had been forward to get into it. He wrote to Col. Sumner, frantically begging him to come to the rescue; but he had got no orders, and would not move without orders. Sheriff Jones and the rank and file of his camp were furious that they were held back from pitching into the Lawrence people; but the officers had become cognizant of the bloody job they would have on hands, and were willing to be let off. And so the Governor patched up a peace, and sent his militia home again, with their curses diverted from the Lawrence Abolitionists to Gov. Shannon. Cowardly, weak-minded and infirm in purpose as this unhappy man was, he was not wholly a fool; and we may justly believe that he had in his heart a foreboding of that awful day of reckoning that would surely come, when inquisition would be made for the blood of these citizens, and the Governor himself would be called to answer, "Why were these men slain?"

And now that peace--angelic peace--sat brooding over Lawrence with her dove-like pinions, they made a love-feast and invited the Governor to partake of it; and what with the ravishing music, and the blandishment of flattering tongues, and the intoxication of fair women's eyes and sweet voices, the Governor was made to forget, for the time being, that he was the property, body, soul, and spirit, of the "Law and Order" party; and his soft and plastic nature was beguiled into signing a document constituting the army of defense of Lawrence a part of the Territorial Militia, and giving them authority, under his own hand and seal, to fight with teeth and toe-nails against the outside barbarians that he himself had invoked to cut their throats. When, however, he had come to himself, and had to front the frowns and ungrammatical curses of the "Border Ruffians," he was fain to lay the blame on the sparkling wine of the feast, and the more sparkling eyes and sparkling wit of beautiful women.

These felicitations of the people of Lawrence with Governor Shannon did, however, have a somber and awful background. While this had been going on a boy had been murdered in the vicinity of Lawrence. Some young men rode out to see about it, and one of them was shot and killed. But a still more ghastly crime threw its baleful shadow over the people. It was perpetrated two days before the Governor concluded his treaty of peace.

Thomas W. Barber and Robert F. Barber were farmers, living about seven miles from Lawrence; and on December 6th started with a Mr. Pierson to go home to their families. These were two brothers and a brother-in-law. They were intercepted on their way by J. N. Burns, of Weston, Mo., and Major George W. Clarke, United States Agent for the Pottawatomie Indians. These two men shot Thomas W. Barber. It is hard to find an explanation of their act, unless it were that they came to Lawrence to shoot down Abolitionists as they would have shot wolves on the prairie. They had no provocation. They rode apart from their companions to intercept the Barbers, and called on them to halt. Thomas W. Barber was unarmed, and gave mild and truthful answers to their questions. After the shooting the brothers started to ride away, when the murdered man said, "That fellow hit me;" began to sway in his saddle, was supported for a little time by his brother, then fell to the ground dead. His horse also had been shot, and died the same night. Familiar as Kansas had become with cruel and devilish deeds, there were circumstances connected with this act that made it exceptionally a blood-curdling horror. Thomas W. Barber was a somewhat notable farmer, and had married a young wife, that loved her husband with a love so passionate that she was sometimes rallied about it by her sister-in-law. It had been with misgivings and forebodings she had consented for Barber to go to Lawrence. The news of her husband's death had been kept from her; they dared not tell her. A young man was sent to bring her into the city, whither her husband's body had been already carried, and he blurted out, "Thomas Barber is killed!" and she shrieked, "O, my husband! my husband! Have they killed my husband?" It has been said that so frantic were her struggles, that it was with main force they had to hold her in the carriage which conveyed her into the city. Much has been written of the pathetic and voiceless woe of this wretched and sorrow-stricken woman, but we will spare the reader the recital.

This question, however, we did often ask ourselves: "What had we done that we should be made to suffer thus?"

But now there was peace, and Sheriff Jones, breathing out curses against the Governor who had balked him of his anticipated revenge, disbanded his army and went back to his post-office at Westport. It was past the middle of December, but some lingered on their way, robbing and stealing. The cold grew intense. A driving snow came down from the North. It was one of the coldest winters Kansas had ever known, and there fell one of the deepest snows. And now, winding through the deep snow, benumbed with cold, and all unprovided with clothing suitable for such inclement weather, the rear guard of the ring-streaked, speckled and spotted regiment of Kansas and Missouri Militia passed out of the Territory.

Thirteen leaders of the "Law and Order" party had met with Lane and Robinson, acting on behalf of the people of Lawrence, and had agreed to the terms of the treaty. But Sheriff Jones is reported to have said: "Had not Shannon been a fool I would have wiped out Lawrence." It is reported that Stringfellow said that "Shannon had sold himself and disgraced himself and the whole Pro-slavery party." Atchison accepted the terms, saying to his followers: "Boys, we can not fight now. The position that Lawrence has taken is such that it would not do to make an attack on them. But boys, we will fight some time!"

The peace was to be broken at the earliest opportunity.