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The men that had settled in Kansas were generally poor, and few had any reserved fund from which to draw their support, but were literally dependent for their daily bread on their labor day by day; and to take away the horses of such a man was literally to take the bread out of the mouths of his children. Free State men and Pro-slavery men had each in turn been thus despoiled and compelled to flee the Territory; or if they remained they were paralyzed and unfitted for work.

 

But the spring and summer of 1857 had brought a new order of things. Gov. Geary had put an end to these disorders, and the presence of S. C. Pomeroy and other Free State men in Atchison was an additional guarantee of peace and security. As a result the Kansas squatters had gone to work with a will. Old things had passed away, and all things had become new. There did indeed remain a chronic state of disorder in Southeastern Kansas; but this was local and exceptional.

But religious and thoughtful men looked far beyond this question of what shall we eat and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed? Intemperate habits were growing fast on the people. Coarse profanity and ribald speech were becoming so common as to be the rule and not the exception. Fathers and mothers began to tremble when they thought what their boys were coming to; and this turned their thoughts to the question of schools and churches. Then all the denominations simultaneously began their work. A church was organized at Leavenworth by our brethren, in which S. A. Marshall and W. S. Yohe were the leading members. Dr. Marshall had formerly been a resident of Pennsylvania, and W. S. Yohe was from the South, a slave-holder, a man of considerable wealth, and of eminent personal excellence.

The church that had been built up in 1855 at Mt. Pleasant had fallen to pieces in the troublous times, and was now reorganized at what has come to be known as "The Old Union School House," a place that has been hallowed to precious memories, because of the great revival that took place under the labors of D. S. Burnett in the year 1858.

The brethren that lived along the valley of the Stranger Creek and its tributaries, and that had met to worship two years before under the spreading elms that lined its bottoms, now organized themselves into a church at a village called Pardee. This ambitious little town was located on the high prairie; but it shared the fate of many other Kansas towns, equally aspiring and equally ill-fated. When the railroads were built they followed the courses of the streams, and it was left out in the cold; but for a time it was the center of social, political and religious influence in the county outside of Atchison.

Among the brethren that had been in Kansas from its first settlement, and whom we have not mentioned, were John and Jacob Graves, brothers from Tennessee, who have since grown rich in worldly goods, and richer still in good works. There were also Brethren Landrum and Schell, and many others whom we can not name. In the fall of 1857 came Lewis Brockman, who loved the church more than he loved his own life. He was brother to that Col. Thomas Brockman conspicuous in the Mormon war in Illinois, which resulted in the exodus of the Mormons to Salt Lake, there to build up a kingdom that cherishes a deadly and undying hatred to the United States, its people, and its institutions. Norman Dunshee, now Professor in Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, also came to Kansas from the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute at Hiram, O., in the fall of 1859, and settled at Pardee. Dr. S. G. Moore, of Camp Point, 111., who came in the spring of 1857, was brother-in-law to Peter Garrett; and these two men were of one heart and one soul in their aspirations for a larger liberality on the part of Disciples and a better order of things in our churches; but they had to take up the sad refrain so oft repeated: "We have found the Old Adam too strong for the young Melancthon." Dr. Moore was a man that, when he knew he was in the right, pushed his enterprises with such a rigorous purpose as sometimes to alienate from himself men who might have been won by a more complaisant temper. His stay in Kansas was limited. The dwelling in which he lived was struck by lightning, and Bro. and Sister Moore were seriously injured. From these injuries Sister Moore has never fully recovered. With broken health she became homesick, and pined to be among her kindred. Moreover, a valuable farm that Dr. Moore had sold at Camp Point fell back into his hands, and he felt constrained to return to Illinois in 1861. With such elements of power the reader will not think it strange that we should go to work with a will to recover the ground we had lost in this social and political turmoil and religious inaction.

The writer did not travel much abroad this summer; he found too much to do at home. We had meetings every Lord's day, and had frequent additions by letter and by baptism. One day, as my manner was, I gave an invitation to sinners to obey the gospel. There had been no indication, however remote, that any would desire baptism; but my daughter, Rosetta, now thirteen years of age, came forward and demanded to be baptized. Two years before I had brought her, then eleven years of age, with her mother, to Kansas. Some part of this time we had spent in the very presence of death; and Rosetta and her mother would not have thought it strange if a company of men had come into the house at night with murderous intent. I have not told in these "Recollections" how many times I felt it expedient to be away from home; and then Rosetta was her mother's only companion. Of young company such as girls usually have at her age, she had almost none. We had talked of these daily occurring tragedies until they had lost both their terror and their novelty. These certainly were not fitting surroundings for a little girl, intelligent and thoughtful beyond her years, and of an unduly sensitive and nervous organization. But she was her mother's only girl, this was our only home, and, coming out of the furnace fires of such a life, we could not think it strange that she should feel the need of a Heavenly Father in whom she could trust, of $ Savior's arm on which she could lean, and of a home in the church where she could find help and sympathy.

One thought was ever present in my heart, how far could brethren co-operate together who had been on opposite sides? To learn what could be done I made the acquaintance of brethren everywhere. The brilliant and erratic Dr. Cox, of Missouri, had sent an appointment to "Old Union," and Oliver Steele came with him. I attended his meeting, and Bro. Steele, Cox and myself accepted the hospitality of Bro. Humber. Bro. Cox, being now in the presence of a man reported to be a live Abolitionist, opened a discussion on the question of slavery.

I had been brought up on the Western Reserve, Ohio, and inherited intense anti-slavery convictions. But I had learned from the writings of A. Campbell to judge slave-holders with a charitable judgment. They had inherited the institution of slavery from their fathers, and like the aristocratic institutions of the old world, it had come down to them without any fault of their own. My experiences in Kansas certainly had not made me love slavery any better; still, all this, how bitter soever it might be to me, had revealed so much of real nobility in the hearts of many slave-holders that it had not impaired my feeling of good will to them. If I were to grant that they had been associated sometimes with men of desperate morals, had I not also been associated with Jim Lane, and had I not been compelled to hide myself behind the old maxims, that "Politics, like poverty, makes us acquainted with strange bedfellows?"

And so I argued with Bro. Cox the views I held, stoutly asserting them, when, for a wonder to him, Bro. Steele and Bro. Humber expressed themselves as coinciding with my views much more than with the views of Bro. Cox, who held the ultra Southern, John C. Calhoun theory of slavery. It appeared that these brethren held that if Providence has given to the Caucasian descendants of Japheth, a fairer skin, a higher style of intellectual power, and greater force of will, that the same divine Providence has given to the sons of Ham a darker color to their skin; but that all are alike the children of the love of one common Father; that Jesus died for all, and that he will not suffer with impunity any indignity to be offered even to one of the least of these his brethren. To the inquiry why these brethren did not give that freedom to their colored servants which they asserted was their natural right, they made reply, alleging the unfriendly legislation not only of the slave States, but of the free States; and that had interposed grave difficulties in the way of such a step. The Big Springs Convention had framed the first Free State platform for Kansas, August 15, 1855, and this, with hard-hearted inhumanity, had avowed the purpose to drive out of Kansas the free blacks as well as the slaves. The same principle was also incorporated in the Topeka Free State Constitution.

It will throw additional light on this subject if I mention that, in 1858, one year after this conversation with Bro. Cox, when the Free State men had obtained control of the Territorial Legislature, Bro. Humber went to Lawrence and laid before Judge Crosier, a leading member of the Legislature, from Leavenworth, the following proposition. He said: "I will emancipate my slaves, and will sell them land. I want them to remain where I can look after their welfare. I do not want them to be driven out of Kansas." Judge Crosier, while greatly sympathizing with Bro. Humber, had to tell him the thing was impossible. It is comforting to know that "The world do move;" that colored people do freely enjoy in Kansas now the rights Bro. Humber in vain sought of a Free State Legislature then on behalf of his slaves.