Jump to Navigation

The Forgotten Feminist of Kansas, 2

Kansas Historical Quarterly, Summer 1973The Papers of Clarina I. H. Nichols, 1854-1885


Summer 1973 (Vol. 39, No. 2), pages 220 to 261
Transcribed by Barbara J. Scott; digitized with permission of
The Kansas Historical Society.

II. THE PAPERS, APRIL 21, 1855-1856




Your Kansas correspondent feels very little like writing, though the skies are bright and birds singing outside her log cabin, with an inspiration which the lover of nature cannot turn from with indifference. But the past two weeks have been too full of toil and care; so full that rest is the first demand of body and mind.-- However, as we have only a weekly mail to Westport, Mo., (whence it goes daily) I may not delay another day in communicating with friends at the East, and will commence where I left off.

At the date of my last, I set off behind a pair of mules!--for Ossawatamie [sic]. We took a sufficiently marked road from Lawrence to "Blanton," [2] a new Yankee settlement on the Wakarusa [river] six miles from Lawrence in a south east direction. From Blanton we struck across the country about south, and to the east of Hickory Point, [3] another settlement at the extreme head water of the Marie De Cygne [sic]--striking the Ottawa Creek eight miles or so, from Blanton. From Blanton to Kibbys, on the Ottawa, we had no road, but travelled by the "points of the compass." We might have taken the road by Hickory Point, but the gentleman who carried me to Ossawatamie, had "business" with settlers out of the travelled road and took a "bee line," over ravine and prairie, as if such things as surveyed roads were entirely unnecessary.-- When we struck the Wakarusa we found fine timber, beautiful prairie and bottom lands, much of the former already claimed, though few cabins are as yet erected.

We came into a most beautiful and rich country, besides being well watered and heavily timbered, in the vicinity of Hickory Point.-- Two or three miles from Hickory Point we struck into the old Santa Fe road, followed it two miles and then struck off on the prairies to the right and south, wandering out of our direct route to see the country. Here we were about eighteen or twenty miles from Lawrence and some six miles from J[ohn]. Jones' [4] farm, south, on the Ottawa reserve. [5] We travelled over and around some twelve miles in this locality,--stopping for the night with Mr. A. F. Powell, [6] Post Master by appointment for "Lane P. O.," Ottawa District. I liked this region of country better than any I have seen. Wood and water are abundant and the prairie high and very rich, besides being beautifully broken in upon, by wooded ravines sweeping out from the timber on the streams, as if they would, by embracing, chase away the solitude of the prairie.

Here, after visiting Ossawatamie--where Mr. Nichols and Mr. and Mrs. [Albert] Whitcomb [7] had gone from Kansas [City] to take claims--we all came and took possession. We have taken four claims together, about 160 acres of wood between us, the rest prairie.

Six miles from us, on the south, is the Ottawa reserve, which is eleven miles square, and a very fine country.

In going to Ossawatamie we cross a twelve and eight mile prairie. I would not be willing to live so far from land as in one of these, where no tree nor spring greets the eye. I can think of nothing more solitary, more desolate. It not being "alone with nature," for it seems as though nature had gone on a long journey, "emigrated," and taken all her treasures with her, and left her hearth-stone dark.

Ossawatamie is a new town with few cabins, but those very good ones, and is located at the junction of the Marie De Cygne and Pottawatamie, the two streams which form the Osage.-- [8] The distance from stream to stream, for a mile from its junction, is only about 1 and ½ miles; they form a semi-circle by their junctions.

From the timber, or bottom land on their banks, rises the high prairie, making a fine location for a village, the claims of the villagers meeting on the prairie and ending in the streams on either side. The timber in this section is finer than in any section we have travelled; it has been less affected by the fires, consequently grown thicker, taller and straighter. The prairie is less rich, and the stone scattered pretty freely upon the surface, as well as beneath the sod. There is very rich land and good timber on the Pottawatamie. I visited the portion formerly cultivated by the Pottawatamies and sold by them to our Government. The soil is very rich and mellow, and I saw a very fine apple orchard, with forty trees, many of them having borne fruit. There are good claims in that vicinity--I am told, not taken. The land in the Marie De Cygne is excellent, and good timber. Mr. Jones,--a half-breed Ottawa, educated at the east, and married to an intelligent missionary from Maine [9] --told us that the Ottawa lands would be offered for sale within a year probably: then the fine tracts on the Marie De Cygne will be open to a settlement. [10]

There are three creeks, all called Ottawa, running into the Marie De Cygne; the Ottawa on which we are located, receives the waters of the other two and empties into the Marie De Cygne some seven or eight miles south of this.

In the matter of getting claims there is some difficulty, all resulting from the selfish policy of first settlers. At Ossawatamie leading men, and others, were holding on to from two to four claims, and asking from $200 to $500 for them, with little or no "improvements," except the "pile of logs." The same policy is pursued in most localities to some extent, though kept in check by public sentiment, where the true interests of the country and its people is not lost sight of. There are land sharks here as well as east. Inquire for claims and you will be told "the land is all taken." But as a young man said, who had been in the country some months and tried it and saw it tried--"the best way is, if you find a location you like, to stop a few days, and if the people like you, you'll find claims enough." Yes, if you are known to be a desirable neighbor, the land will not be all taken, at least after it is found that you wont buy claims of persons who have no title to them, and offer no improvements worth having. Fourteen Indian men, one with a wife to keep house for them while they build more houses--came last week into the Peoria lands, fourteen miles south east from here, purchased by our Government of the Peoria Indians. [11] This lies on the east side of the Marie De Cygne. All this region which is open to settlement is being taken very rapidly. Several gentlemen from New York State have purchased the Kibby claim and vicinity, about five miles from this, and will put up a saw mill at once.

You inquire about mail conveniences. There is a Post Office at Lawrence. "Lane P. O." here--or will be when our Post Master has "qualified." I know of no other established mail facilities in the section. Ossawatamie has petitioned, but her prayer is not yet granted.

Provisions are scarce and high. Potatoes to plant are hardly to be had, and are at from three to four dollars per bushel. Indian meal is from $1.50 to $1.63. Flour $13. Lard 12½, Ham 12½, Pork 11 cts. No general rain as yet. Showers in some sections. No rain in seven months. Springs low, but ground moist a few inches below the surface.

Freights are 1.25 and even more on the Missouri river in consequence of low water and great emigration.

The emigrants who came out last season, have been generally healthy, so far as I have been able to learn. In some sections, as many as 60 acres will be broken up and planted by single settlers. The trains have commenced their passage over the Santa Fe and California road, and this with the great rush of emigration into this territory, drains the markets on the Missouri border to an extent unprecedented, and in consequence of low water and high freights, unprepared for by the traders generally.

We spent several days to rest and to look out locations, at the house of Mr. J. Jones, whom I have before mentioned. It is a home being surrounded with conveniences and comforts not found elsewhere in the Territory, except at old Mission stations. He is an intelligent man from whom much valuable information can be obtained; he keeps stores on hand, and is reasonable in his charges to those who need.-- He has also a large and fine lot of cattle, with several hundred acres under cultivation. He has been only four years on his present place, which is on the north east corner of the Ottawa reserve. [12]

I have written with little of order in the arrangements of topics, and much awkwardness of expression--but I plead extreme fatigue, and feel confident that if your readers could have followed us in our efforts to get here--footing it 13 miles in consequence of our driver's team "giving out"--and our labors since to put our house in living shape--they would only wonder that I could think of trying my fingers to a pen at all.

All the amusing--and there is no little sum of that, must wait till the mood and the time meet.

Yours for Freedom,


P. S. The Governor has gone to Washington. [13] The resident settlers expect Uncle Sam's boys will be called out to protect the ballot-boxes next election. The Bogus Legislators are at their homes and will stay there till called for by the people of the Territory.

May 1 1855

Having had no opportunity to send my letter to a Post Office I add a postscript to note progress. Last evening a fine display of fireworks in the heavens was followed by delightful showers till past midnight; and to-day we have had two heavy thunder showers, which fills the hearts of the settlers with gladness. All have been waiting for the rains to soften the sod for breaking up, and to moisten the earth for seed. Our garden is made and all kinds of table vegetables put in quantities for early use; a large garden is to be made in the forty acre prairie lot with the corn and potatoes. Our beets and tomatoes are up and the warm weather puts them to their speed. Our creek abounds in fish, and nettles, water tresses, and several other kinds of "greens" are abundant in the "timber" on its sides. The Mandrake, or May apple, a fruit of which I am fond, is abundant also; gooseberries and strawberries are promising their presence in due season, while plums, grapes, and paw-paws are expected to appear on their respective claims; hop vines are climbing the young trees--finally God has planted a garden for us as well as Adam, and we are grateful therefore. Comfortable houses and wells we must make for ourselves, and this will take time and some toil.

C. I. H. N.



May 14, 1855    

Mr. Woodward:--

The country about us is filling up rapidly. During the past week some fifteen Pennsylvanians have staked out claims around Hickory Point six miles from here, and nine from Lawrence, in a direct line between the two places--laid out a town and are going ahead.

A large company is behind them. I can now point to about twelve fine claims within from one to three miles from us, which can be had in the way we got ours,--buying timber--whole or half, or quarter claims--and "taking up" the unclaimed prairie adjoining. Those who came out last season all took up timber claims; this answered very well while the season for putting in grain, &c. had not come; but now they can't put in their ploughs and commence improvement on the prairie without exposing their timber to be claimed to an equal extent. Consequently the extra timber is in market, in lots from ten acres to 160. Again, here are Missourians who did the same to keep out the Yankees, and keep the prairies for their herds. But the Yankees are here and increasing so rapidly, that no extra prairie will remain for their use, and they want to sell out. It is a good plan for several to join and buy one of these timber claims, as it will furnish timber for all; rails too are on them all, ready split for fencing in the land to be broken; a log house to shelter all, till other cabins can be built, and usually other preparations are in course for beginning to live. We must have saw mills and grist mills here soon. The three creeks--on the middle one of which we are located--are from one and a half to three miles apart, and heavily timbered, so that the prairie on either side and in the centre is convenient to wood. Such are the advantages of settling in a section where a dense population can be sustained and accommodated. I can scarcely hope that any of our friends who come in will find the claims of which I speak, in our vicinity, unoccupied six weeks from now. I presume, however, that during the season arrangements will be made to let in individuals who will be content with ten acres or so of good timber to the prairie. The claims of which I speak, and timber for sale, are owned by our neighbors, each of whom has mentioned the fact to me for the purpose of getting the information to our eastern emigrants of the "right sort." Forty and fifty dollars are asked for ten acres of timber; the prairie adjoining is all excellent, and the balance of the 160 can be readily staked out by purchasers of the timber.

We have been cattle hunting, to find animals for our own use. Mr. Nichols has purchased a fine three year old heifer--a beauty--to be added to the dairy in June--for $30; a fine cow--Durham blood--and a heifer calf six weeks old, for $37.50; a fine yoke of three year old steers, (handy, having been worked from calves, and the pets of the family) for $60. Two of the other members of our family company, have bought cows, one a mate to ours, without a calf, large and fat, for $37.50; the other an excellent milker, but starved poor, in Missouri, and driven here, eighty miles, with a fine calf, for $27.50. A neighbor of ours went into Missouri and bought this one among a lot of cows, from a stock of cattle that had been driven all winter three miles to water, and then be watered with a pail, and not half enough at that. A specimen of the effects of the drought. [15]

Teaming here is profitable, and stores much needed. Two hundred dollars invested in groceries, nails, tin-ware, earthen, stone and wooden ware, &c., would soon fill the purse of an enterprizing, industrious young man, content to deal fairly, and make it for the interest of the inhabitants to buy of him, instead of sending forty and fifty miles to Kansas [City] and Westport.

The "Union Express," D. Looney, Albany, Agent, to whose care we addressed our freight, sent it ahead with most commendable promptness. If we had sent it on ten days ahead of us it would have arrived at St. Louis before us. As it was we passed it at Chicago. We advise those who emigrate, to send their freight directed to "Union Express, care of D. Looney, Albany." In a separate corner mark the owner's name and destination, and care of B. Slater, No. 19 Levee, St. Louis, Mo.

We bought our stores in St. Louis. Some were deterred from doing so by the representation that they could be had as cheap, and cheaper at Lawrence, Kansas [City], &c.

It is always as cheap to buy the same kinds and qualities at St. Louis, and as in the present case they could not be found at Lawrence, all having been purchased by preceding emigrants, it is wisdom to get stores before getting out of the vicinity where they are manufactured.-- Mr. Little of Westport, Mo., will suit purchasers who pass through to Lawrence, or who come in this direction, with all kinds of hardware, and manufactures tin ware of the best quality. It is convenient for emigrants to call on him, and they will like to trade with him.

We had some fine showers and rain about the 18th of this month. We had a little rain last night and the promise of more. The weather is delightful--summer at home--the birds sing sweetly, the flowers are abundant.-- The "paw paw" is in blossom and added to my list of "farm fruits"--persimmon trees, too, are on the farm, which with the gooseberries, raspberries, mandrakes, and plums will do till we raise apples pears, &c. We have a re-election in our District--the 4th--the 22d.-- [16] A lot of free voters have been added since the 30th of March. There is a meeting to-day at a neighbors--Methodist--and some are to be baptised. I close to attend it.

Yours, truly, 


[May, 1855]    

[Editor Tribune--]

It is strange how little we find to do in our new home, of the labor daily exacted by the condition inseparable from life in older homes; and yet there is enough to be done to employ all our time and energies. A single room, 15 by 18 feet, serving as kitchen, parlor and sleeping room, simplifies housekeeping wonderfully. The chamber work is soon done, parlors soon dusted, (whew! how the wind does blow in the dust!) and the table is soon cleared (not a morsel is allowed to be left, for we have no dishes for extra bits). The toilet is exceedingly simply and soon made, for our mirror is yet with our freight at Kansas [City, Mo.], waiting the team that is to go for it. [18]



June 14, 1855


I am sorry to learn that certain returned emigrants were not content with excusing their retrograde movement by fearful observations of their own; but must also represent me as disappointed, and less pleased with the country than last fall.

I was disappointed in not finding a home or house enclosed for us at Lawrence; according to previous arrangement. Our logs in the mill yard were yet unsawn. This was a severe disappointment, as we had intended to rest and arrange our household goods, and then make our time to see the country more extensively, and select claims.-- But "the mill" disappointed us, as it had many others, and we were forced to suffer pioneer privations and hardships which we would and might otherwise have avoided.

I confess that I am disappointed as to our individual prospects and location, happily disappointed, for I felt that it would be too much to expect so many advantages in one location and in one body of land.

Every day I have spent in the Territory--from first to last--has increased my estimate of its value for homes, for farms, for an "area of freedom." And, while I do not blame, nor would ridicule those who have returned, and yet had all the intelligence--if applied--to secure them homes here, I cannot help feeling that they are wanting in something very necessary to the highest enjoyment and usefulness any where. "The country was parched, and springs dried up, and all was desolate." Well, are we not promised "seed time and harvest?"-- Shall we say it is to continue so, in face of the fact, that the like had not been within the memory of the oldest inhabitant--21 years?

We trusted Providence for rain, and went to work to be ready for it. The rains came, the earth is in fine order, one forty acre lot all planted, and corn, potatoes, squashes, pumpkins, &c., growing faster than we have been accustomed to see them East. The cattle have fine pastures, everybody is at work, and those who are through with planting are breaking up for the fall sowing of wheat. [20] -- There is no sickness that I can learn in any of the settlements. Lawrence has had some cases of what has been improperly termed cholera, probably from the fact that emigration centers there; many stopping there who got ill on their journey. [21] Provisions are very high--flour $16 per barrel, corn meal $2, butter and lard cheaper than at home by considerable. Wild fruits are beginning to ripen, and cost but the picking.

Probably emigration for the spring is ended. [22] All who have not come already had better wait till fall. Still, I say to those East who want homes and have the will to work for them, this is a most noble field for their exertions.

Missouri will let us alone hereafter. There is a determination here, such as our revolutionary fathers exercised, and I have no fears about the result. Time is allowing opportunities for a better acquaintance between us and our pro-slavery opponents than furnished at the ballot box. Neighborhood intercourse will allay most of the bitterness which false prejudices engendered. The settlers are generally content and hopeful, and seldom any collision. We are all at peace in this region.

But I must close, as I send this to Lawrence Post Office by a chance opportunity. A friend sent us one mail from Lawrence by some one coming this way last week, and a neighbor found it--eight letters and two papers--in a vacant cabin. All the seals were broken before we got them, and I hear that I have more papers of the same package around the neighborhood where they were found. I hope they will do good, and get to me some time. So you see it is possible to miss some of the letters, as I have of papers. Only two numbers of your paper received yet. We hope to have post office arrangements soon.

Yours for Kansas as ever,


October 6th, 1855   

[Mr. Woodward:]

I did not discontinue my correspondence for the Sentinel for any other reason but inability to write and discharge my duty to my family. The Injury that Mr. Nichols received in June, and from which he only partially recovered, kept him an invalid, needing a nurse's care until his death the 29th of August. [24] He was seriously ill only 9 days, a sudden cold resulting in inflammation, &c. Our little son was prostrated by inflammation on the brain, in consequence of a hickory rail from the "bars" falling on his head. For three weeks I was exceedingly anxious on his account, and he had but just begun to recover when his father died. Scarcely was he out of doors, when my second son who lived with us, was taken ill with the "chill fever" (our hired man had been down with it the 28th of August, and left his work.) A week has suffered to get him out of doors again, and now (the tenth day) he is well and "doing the chores" which a neighbor's son had done for us during his illness. My eldest son has but just commenced light work, having been ill two months with ague. He might have escaped this, had he not been ignorant of the fact that he had low remittent fever, and kept to work two weeks doing nothing for his health.

It has been quite sickly all through the Territory since the long (8 days) storm, in August. I think there have not been more deaths in proportion to the number of inhabitants than in New England, and the cases of severe and protracted illness, have been very few in proportion to the sick. One day down, and the next day, or day after, up at work, has been the usual course. Fever--a light billious fever, has been the disease most prevalent, and it is very easily managed. I have seen and heard of but little of what has been called "fever & ague." A slight chillness, followed by fever, which a profuse perspiration carries off in a few hours to return again--unless arrested by medicine--the next or succeeding day. The disease is properly "remittent fever," and the majority of those who have it keep at light work during the remissions and say they get rid of it the sooner. I have come to the conclusion that the disease of the climate, if it be such--and it is evidently induced by a most unusual season--is far less to be dreaded than the continuous fevers of the East. The settlers do not regard the present as a specimen season of Kansas, but an eastern season imported. We learn that the season has been unusually prolific of sickness all through the Western states. Missouri is suffering from ague and chill fever as she has never suffered before. The whole belt of country in "the west" affected by the severe drought of last season, is unusually sickly this. The reasons, as I hear "old inhabitants" of new countries give them, are the heavy rains in the warm season, coming upon an unprecedently heavy and luxurient growth of crops. Settlers and travellers familiar with life in the western provinces say they never saw such a heavy growth of grass as the season has produced in Kansas; and so of the crops. Sod corn is a marvel to look at. Melons and tomatoes, the most delicious I ever saw, have rotted by the bushel and cartload in our field after supplying all around who had not planted for themselves.

I have written you principally about the health of the territory, because I know many are exceedingly anxious on this point. I am more than ever of the opinion that Kansas will be a genial climate to its inhabitants. Had we been exposed to the weather and restriction in our diet in New England, as we have been here, we (I mean the emigrants generally) would nearly all have died, and the rest lingered on broken in health and spirits. The weather has been cold and fine, unusually cold for the season, say the older settlers--and last night and night before there was a heavy frost. The sick are all recovering and cheerfulness reigns. Sharp's rifles are in all our cabins, and Kansas' freedom sworn upon all our domestic altars.


P. S. I expect to return East in about two weeks, and will probably spend the winter there as navigation will doubtless close before I could dispose of the business matters which call me away. My address will be "Townshend, Vt." [25]

It may be well for me to notice through your paper, as I see by an editorial slip of the Springfield Republican that my reputation for "sound doctrine" is in danger--that I am not the author of "Mary Lyndon" which the Republican says is being accredited to me by the press.-- [26] The book was written by Mrs. Mary Gove Nichols (wife of Dr. Nichols) now of New York, formerly of Lynn, Mass. [27] No person familiar with my views of matrimony and Christianity, would ever suspect me of being the author of a work which outrages the sanctity of both; and only the most criminal carelessness could have connected my name with it, as Mrs. Nichols has attached her name to the work, in full. Advocating as she does sentiments revolting to every Christian sense of morality and decency, I cannot but regret that my late contemporaries of the press, should be confounding me with her, place me in so equivocal a position before the public.

C. I. H. N.


Jan. 25, 1856. 

[Editor Gazette & Courier:]

Being "in the mood" I will tell yourself and readers a little of my late experience in crossing that, just now, very interesting tract of country called Missouri. [29] I was prevented by illness from returning east before the close of the Missouri river navigation, and had no alternative but to come by stage from Kansas City to the Gasconade [Missouri], 260 miles, that being the present western terminus of the Pacific Railroad. We were eight days in making this point, the traveling being very bad and the haste of mail contractors below par. At Jefferson City the gentlemanly proprietor assured me that they "did not want passengers and would rather return every fare in his hand, as they were wearing up their horses," &c. I told him I believed his assertion, for I had urged my passage against the united protestations of his agents at every point, that "the roads were almost impassable and very dangerous." Happily I had found no difficulty in advancing, though often compelled to get out and walk to a house and wait till the gentlemen passengers unloaded and lifted the vehicle from the "springhole," or up the steep pitch. This at first was quite a damper to my enjoyment, but the new and instructive conditions of domestic life revealed in these calls at private dwellings, soon caused the break downs and ups to be regarded as Providential means for gathering knowledge--and I set myself to observing and inquiring. In the summing up I must say that there is more comfort, neatness, order, and consequently thrift, in the cabins of the six months free state residents in Kansas, than those of the four to ten years residents of Missouri, who came under my observation. Though I found a ready welcome to a seat by their huge stone fire-places, and the blaze made brighter and the logs piled higher to warm us, I found the inmates and the houses alike dirty and ragged. I will give you a characteristic incident. Our "mud wagon," as the Missourians called our substitute for a mail coach, "got stuck" in the "gray dawn" of a bitter cold morning, near a very decent looking cabin, for size, and I, as usual, walked on to warm, while the driver and male passengers lifted and whipped it out.

I found the "master" and "man of the house" building a fire, while a pail of water, which his wife had placed in a chair on the hearth to keep from freezing, had been upset in the ash heap and was running over the hearth and floor. His wife appeared, directly, from a dark corner of the windowless room, with a babe in her arms and two little ones, from the trundlebed, hanging to her dress. I remarked that "it was very cold weather," to which they both readily responded. In the course of my stay, I asked the woman if she had wintered in her open house. She "had lived in it four years." I was unable to conceal my surprise and asked if she had not suffered--if she could work, sew &c., to any account in the cold weather? "Yes," she was "very comfortable, had a closer room, but preferred the one she was in, as her sleeping and working room," &c. I pointed to the large doorway into an outroom, through which the wind and snow were driving merrily, and remarked to the husband, who had just come through it with an arm-full of wood, that I would think it more comfortable to have a door. "I hung one there," he replied, "but my wife thought it was in the way, and I took it down again!" There were no signs of intemperance about these people, and phrenologically, the parents, and children, six in number, had the reflective and perceptive organs larger than the average. [30] The two eldest children were "crazy to go to school, and were good scholars," the mother told me with unconcealed pride.

I told the last driver but one on the route, that I was most happily disappointed in our drivers, for I had been told, among other frightful stories, that they were a drunken, reckless set, but I had found them--without exception--sober, capable and attentive, even to nervous and fussy old ladies. And, I added, "how does it happen that I find the drivers a superior class of the people on the road?" "Why, Madam," said he, "we are all from the east --all Yankees," and he wound up with a declaration for freedom. His passengers were all from Kansas and had been discussing matters there in his hearing.

An incident illustrating the sense of responsibility in the public servants--"Uncle Sam's" officials. Our driver at 7 o'clock A. M., knocked up a P[ost]. M[aster]. who just put his undressed nose out at a crack of the door, saying, "I didn't do up the mail last night--I'll have it ready to-morrow morning." Another P. M. passed the mail bag to the driver saying, "There, take what is ready; the rest may lie over till to-morrow."

I left my home in the territory one week after the breaking up of the Missouri camp at Lawrence, and while the people in the interior and distant portions of Missouri were as yet suspended between the exaggerated and contradictory reports of ignorant or willful misrepresentors. [31] At Independence--twelve miles from the territorial line--a young man from the territory--"a down easter"--counseled me to take off the label from my baggage, said I was not wise to put my name there, at least should not add Brattleboro, Vt., for I would not be treated well if I were known to be a Yankee. I insisted that I had always met kindness and did not believe the Missourians would molest me in passing through their state. "But," said he, "you will meet an entirely different set of persons--they don't care for sex, nor condition," and more to the same amount. A young man in the stage whom I had taken to be a Yankee, as had the other members of our party, took fire, and turning to me remarked, that "the Missourians did not insult women," &c. Are you a Missourian? I asked. "I am," said he. Then will you be my champion and defend me against your lawless gentry? I queried, laughingly. "I will, Madam, and guarantee you a safe journey." This incident opened the way and we had a frank conversation touching the affairs of Kansas, the "raid" upon Lawrence, evils of slavery, &c., and it turned out in the end that he was a slaveholder, and had been one of Gov. Shannon's "good citizens" to go against Lawrence. [32] In reply to my question, which had elicited this fact, he asked me if my sons were there. I told him I had spared one to go to its defense. [33] He told us facts fully confirming accounts we had heard of the robbing of the U. S. armory, scattering of the arms and six pounders taken therefrom in their homeward flight, &c. [34]

But I must close my already long communication with a simple notice for the benefit of future travelers that way--of hotel accommodations.

At Kansas City, the American House, owned by the Aid Company and kept by Messrs. [Shalor W.] Eldridge & [William] Lyman, is well ordered, in all its departments. [35] I found there one of the best tables of the whole route, with comfortable lodging and sitting rooms, and every attention desirable. Let none of your readers regard this as one of the "paid puffs," for honestly I paid my bill in good gold, and give this, gratuitously, from regard to the traveling public and in gratitude for right home-like entertainment and care.

T. B. Eldridge, brother of the Eldridge of the American House, has taken the new hotel in Lawrence and will make it an agreeable and welcome home to the wayfarers and emigrants who stop in L[awrence]. [36] These gentlemen are all from your own state, and with their wives represent Massachusetts hospitality to her and their honor.

Yours respectfully,


Feb. 7, '56  

Dear Herald of Freedom:--

You cannot know how anxious I am to hear from and all about Kansas. I would have written you before, but I have hardly recovered my strength and health sufficiently to be "moved by the spirit" to make any communications. The winter has thus far been cold beyond all former experience, and even as January, so February threatens to withhold the accustomed "thaw." But if the weather is cold, not so the free hearts that are anxiously watching Kansas affairs, and swelling with ominous indignation towards the perpetrators of the dark deeds--weekly chronicled--of the Missourians and their government aiders and abettors.

The query is often put here, "What will be the effect of the President's Kansas Message on the peace of the Territory? Will it not incite to more frequent and aggravated outrages on your defenceless population?" [38]

What will the facts, in your knowledge, reply to these queries? I hope the attitude of the President will not discourage the Free State population. Let them read the handwriting on the wall of the White House, and take courage. "Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad," and surely the pro-slavery party in the Union is madly rushing on to its own destruction. Where there were tens of thousands two years ago to counsel forbearance and excuse their position, now there is not one! No, I have not been able to find one, or to hear of one solitary advocate in all this region of country. If such an one could be found, he would not be regarded as worth a rebuke. All are anxiously looking for a crisis in the coming spring; with what reason, time will reveal. I am impatient, in my present necessary absence from home. My home is in Kansas, and come weal or come woe, there is a tie to her soil and her struggling people which I cannot undo, and would not if I could.

I have not seen a number of the Herald since I left, and had not received the number containing my last communication, which, if you have, I beg you to forward; also the other back numbers. [39] From what I have heard, I suppose you have elected your regularly nominated ticket for State offlcers. [40] I think Kansas is fortunate in having so many able and firm men to represent her interests in a home Legislature, and if there should be any scrambling for offices in such trying times as are upon her, Kansas may well glory in her aspirants for martyrdom. Her "strong minded" women will be content to run bullets, transfer ammunition, and inspire their husbands and sons with hope, faith and courage, until public offices of honor and trust are redolent of domestic peace and quiet before they ask a share in their responsibilities. Yes, woman, self-denying now as in the past, is forgetting herself and her wrongs in the great national wrong that threatens to deprive the manhood of the nation of the right and the power to protect the altars and the hearths consecrated to God and humanity. But it seems to me that the darkness that precedes the dawn is already broken by the reflected light of the glorious sun of Freedom, the dark shadows that envelope the beautiful prairies of Kansas being the veil that rent in twain, shall assure the crucified humanity of our country of a most glorious rising.

In my journey East, I was not a little amused to notice the unconcealed surprise and indignation of several pro-slavery Southerners, when, in the course of conversation on Kansas matters, I mentioned the intention of the residents from the South and contiguous States, to exclude free blacks. And, from my observation and the train of consequences that must be apparent to any reflecting mind, I am convinced that such a restriction will make the opposition to a Free State tenfold more fierce. The leaders of the opposition understand this, though the mob which fights and runs in their service are not readers, and lack the information which is broadcast among the same class of persons in the Free States.

Said a South Carolinian to me: "What is to become of us when, in the course of time, our slaves shall have increased so as to crowd us on our own soil, if the Free States shut their doors against black emigration--what, in God's name, are we to do?" "In God's name, sir, you are bound to provide against such an exigency by immediate and unconditional restoration of the rights of the blacks. They are not to blame for being where they are or what they are, and those who have taken the responsibility, are in duty bound, as they will in the course of events be compelled, to meet the consequences. I wash my hands of it, and hope to see you do the best, as it will be the right thing before too late."

FEB. 12th.--Since writing the above, I learn that your State ticket is elected, and Dr. [Charles] Robinson is to preside over the new State. [41] It is well! I believe Kansas has a score of men qualified to preside over any of the old States, and more than fitted to the times that are trying the souls of her people. But if I were allowed to vote, I would esteem myself most happy to have aided in the election of one of these--a man without a superior in the qualifications absolutely requisite in the initiating of the new State. But the amiable Doctor [of arms] has a most diabolic reputation among the Missourians, so that when he deems it expedient to be amiable with them, they regard him only as "transforming himself into an angel of light," and all the more dangerous. Sharp's Rifles and the good Doctor are great annoyance to the "Border Ruffians."

Alas, that I cannot get back in time to be at the organization of the Legislature! I find myself asking of vacancy a thousand questions touching the character of the legislation which is to consecrate the virgin, nay, the savage soil of Kansas, to a progressive civilization.

It is a legitimate subject of inquiry--what new rounds will Kansas add to the ladder of Freedom? for each new State has taken some step in advance of its predecessors, rejected some legal barbarism, some remnant of feudalism still inwrought in the policy of older States. What new pledges of humanity shall eternal justice win from the Legislators of Kansas? That Kansas will legislate with the intent to protect her "white male" citizens in the enjoyment of equal rights, is a conceded point. She cannot do less than this. But the black males and white females, what will she do for them? The latter will be allowed to live in the State because--happy circumstance--the free "white males" can't get along comfortably without them! But will the area of their freedom be extended? The adopted constitution ignores their political rights; will the Legislature recognize their equal, legal rights. [42] Will it copy the laws of the Eastern States, or the more generous provisions of the Illinois and Missouri code for married women and widows? [43] Will they imitate the laws of Kentucky and Canada and allow women (the educators of the race,) to vote in district school meetings? [44] Or will they continue to tax widows and single women, yet deny them the right of representation, even in matters admitted to be in "woman's sphere?" Will our Kansas Legislature learn from Iowa, and restore to the mothers of the State their joint rights of guardianship, giving the mother equally with the father the control of the child during their joint lives, and in the event of his death, recognizing her as guardian during its minority? [45] I hope the warm-hearted, honest yeomanry among your

Chapin H. Carpenter

CHAPIN HOWARD CARPENTER (1834-1914), the eldest of Mrs. Nichols's two sons who emigrated from Vermont in October, 1854, resided in Lawrence. His marriage to Sarah E. Jones on April 5, 1855, has been said to be the first nuptial ceremony in Lawrence. After the Civil War Carpenter moved to Wyandotte where he owned a successful real estate and insurance business.

Thaddeus Hyatt

THADDEUS HYATT (1816-1901), a leading abolitionist and vigorous supporter of the Free-State party in Kansas, was president of the National Kansas Aid Committee in 1856 and appointed Mrs. Nichols as a relief agent for western New York. In 1860-1861 Hyatt was instrumental in organizing the Kansas Relief Committee to combat another economic crisis in the territory caused by the great drought of 1860.

Legislators will see to this themselves, for if the lawyers fix up the matter, they may think the prospect for business in the settlement of estates fairer, if they compel the widowed mother--as in all the States except Iowa--to pay the court fee for the privilege of being appointed guardian over her own children. [46]

The widows and children, in the present arrangement of settling estates by law, when the fathers die, are taxed and robbed in the shape of fees for commissioners', administrators' and judges' services. But the time is coming when this whole system of legal espionage will be abolished; when community will deem it unnecessary and outrageous to send men into the desolated home of the widow to overhaul and appraise her household goods, divide up the resources, discontinue the business, and thus break up the family, often compelling the broken-hearted mother to "put out" her little ones from under her own care, and turning herself out to service or the poorhouse. I repeat, the time will come when community will deem such a course as suicidal to the interests of the family and community, as if applied in the case of the mother's decease. Let the widowed mothers remain as undisputed as the widowed fathers to prosecute the business, meet the debts, and keep their children under their own hearing, and let the action of probate courts be confined to the settlement of such estates and such only as have no capable surviving partner, in case such partner desires the aid of legal advisers. If injustice obtains, let the courts decide, as in other cases.

Is this asking too much for women, on whom the greater responsibility in the care and training of their children is admitted to rest? If they are the weaker sex physically, why do Legislators cut them off with less means for support, when death severs the union? The surviving husband, the stronger man, must retain his home and all the property when the mother dies, in order "to keep the family together!" But the mother, whose influence and training are deemed so necessary for the children, and to prepare them for Statesmen, Presidents, Governors, Judges, Fathers of struggling Kansas! I ask you not to do by woman as she has been done by in the legislation of other States--I ask you not to protect children as they are protected in other and old States, but I entreat you to legislate for the mothers, legislate for your wives as you legislate for yourselves. [47] Make them your companions, your equals in legal rights, that in case you die first, your children may still nestle in a mother's arms, be restrained by the loving authority of a mother, and never fail of a protector by reason of the legal inability of their most disinterested parent and friend.

But I did not intend to dwell so long on this point when I commenced. Its importance must be my excuse; if that will not suffice, let me add I am a mother, and in the past have found my own hands tied by the law which denies the right of guardianship over her first children to the mother married again. [48]

With a heart painfully alive to the safety and honor of our noble State, that is to be, I remain truly yours, &c.,



March 30, 1856

Dear Herald:--

My last communication was so long in coming that I had given it up as a grab to "Border Ruffianism." I notice two or three typographical errors, but as they mar the rhetoric more than the logic, I will let them pass.

I have somewhat yet to urge on the subject of guardianship. I am aware that to carry a measure of justice against long established laws or usages, its advocates must show its practicability. I am also aware that with many, it is not sufficient to show both the justice and the practicability of a reform. It is, therefore, wise, when it can be done, to show, also, that the ground on which the hoary abuse was based, originally, has crumbled from under it. Let us, then, look to the foundation of this guardianship robbery.

By laws of all the old States and all the new States whose statutes I have examined--and these are some six or seven--the widow, by giving bonds for the faithful discharge of her duties, may be appointed guardian of her minor children; but if she marries, her right of guardianship is at once extinguished. This extinguishment of the right, originally, was based on the ground of the utter legal irresponsibility of the wife pecuniarily, all her property and earnings passing, at marriage, to her husband. Husbands were "bound," (?) by the laws, to support their wives and pay their debts, and must have all the property and earnings of the wives to do it with. The widow, having become a wife, could no longer indemnify her bondsman, for she had lost, by her marriage, all her means, and if allowed to continue to act as guardian to her children, her husband must meet the consequences of her acts, and might have to disburse some of the property obtained through her, to foot a bill. Of course men could not afford to involve themselves in any such risk to win the widows, but the widows they must have, and to get them without their responsibilities, their right of guardianship was extinguished at the altar.

Such was the view our earlier legislators took of the subject. The legislators of a later day, have somewhat changed the legal condition of married women. The legal under current of their wrongs has been disturbed, but the upper current has, as yet, floated to the surface only broken fragments of their wrecked rights. More must be conceded, aye, equal rights, before the harmony of the statutes will be restored, or women placed in harmonious relations to society and to man.

Formerly married women were spoken of by the legal fraternity universally, as "legally dead," "dead in law," "their legal existence suspended during marriage," and the like. But under more recent laws, restoring to them certain independent property rights, "dead" women have been resuscitated in hopeful numbers; and this is the more gratifying, as it destroys the ground on which the right of guardianship, with other important rights is extinguished by marriage. There no longer remains the shadow of an excuse for denying to married women, who hold property in their own right, the guardianship of their children by a former marriage. Here, then, is a practical reform for the consideration of the Legislators of Kansas; and I appeal to them hopefully, believing that they will regard such an act of justice due as much to themselves as to the women whom their constituents have disfranchised, and expect them to represent.

Allow me here to say, that in laying bare the injustice which the legislation of the past has perpetrated upon woman, I do not charge malicious nor intentional wrong upon man. The long-established customs and modes of thinking, of the feudal ages, obscured the manly intellects, which, with no happier precedents, were too much intoxicated with their own newly-discovered tenure of rights, to doubt the wisdom of holding woman a vassal still, to her loving lord and master. Woman, too, intent only on the triumph of father, husband, sons and brothers, in the struggle for chartered rights, took no thought for self, put in no plea for any right, but to aid in and rejoice over the enfranchisement of manhood. Having disclaimed all intention to charge men with premeditated injustice to women in the enactment of laws infringing upon her sacred rights, I will here take my position that on the laws which divest woman of her property rights, at the very period when every right of the individual woman is made of tenfold more value by reason of her greatly multiplied needs and responsibilities, in the new relations consequent upon marriage, are based most of the legal wrongs of which, as a class or sex, we complain.

With a single exception, the wrongs for which we are asking redress, are legal wrongs, perpetrated by legislative bodies, in defiance of the strongest constitutional guarantees, and, therefore, unconstitutional. The constitutions of the several different States, so far as I know them, have perpetrated but a single wrong upon woman, as such--the denial to her of the right of suffrage. And as if to prove by the most unmitigated and wholesome outrages that "taxation without representation is tyranny," to the death, our republican legislators with the declaration, "Governments are, or ought to be, instituted to protect the weak against the strong," warm upon their lips--commenced their magnanimous "protection," by legally executing all the married women, and taxing all the single ones!

Single women in Vermont, and the same in all the States, might "acquire, possess and defend property," might "find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which they may receive in their persons, property or reputation." But these rights, guaranteed by constitutions, which also declare that they shall not be divested from the individuals, or violated by statutory enactments, "on any pretence whatsoever," were all withdrawn from women at marriage, and until 1846, not a State in the Union, unless Louisiana be an exception, [50] had recognized to married women a single one of these "natural," inherent, and inalienable (?) rights!

Married women, except in two or three States which have recently restored to them the right, can neither sue or be sued, except joined with their husbands; consequently, it is only by consent of the husband to join them in the suit, that those women who hold property in their own right, can defend it; and if the husband is not disposed to see his wife protect her interests, or to aid her in the same; if he shrinks from litigation, even with a just cause, the wife is prevented from obtaining justice. So, also, in any injury sustained in her person or reputation. The married woman is denied the protection of the law. The will of the husband, whether he be a good man or reckless, wise or simple, is her sole reliance for "defence of her natural and inalienable rights." It is a very common ruse with bad husbands, either to make out a case in their own favor, or to frighten wives from leaving them--to threaten ruin to their reputations--to whisper the too readily believed slander. A large number of cases of the kind have come to my knowledge. Two years since, after a lecture upon the subject of women's legal wrongs, in a town which I will not name, I was told the circumstances of a separation which had recently taken place there between a couple, of the highest wealth and intelligence. The husband was a secret wine-bibber, and in the privacy of his chamber, accustomed to abuse his patient and sorrowing wife. The wife guarded the secret of his misconduct with the jealous care of a dutiful and mortified spirit, till at length his brutality was intolerable, and she made known to him her resolution to leave him. At first he scouted the idea, but when he found she was actually making preparations, he threatened, if she did go, to "ruin her reputation."

"Ruin my reputation!" repeated she; "you know my reputation is above reproach!" "I do," said he, "but I can ruin you, nevertheless, and by G_d I will, if you leave me." Curious to know what he would do, the wife asked him how he would do it. "I will accuse you of guilty complicity with Dr. _______; you know he sometimes accompanies you home of an evening." The Doctor's wife and herself were old friends, and from the same native place. She had always spent much time with the Doctor's wife, the more from her own unhappiness, and the loneliness of her friend during the Doctor's absence. Having no children herself, while her friend had several little ones, the visiting had been made on her part. Here was a dilemma. After a moment's reflection, said the threatened wife, "If you slander me, you shall prove your charges; I will sue you for slander." "You cannot sue, taunted the husband; you are a married woman, and have no power to sue in your own name." She left him--he put his threats in execution. As she had no legal remedy, her friends--among them the outraged Doctor--resorted to stratagem to obtain proofs of this husband's falseness. They counselled her to consent to an interview with him, in which she was to draw from him a confession of his belief in her innocence, and his purpose in defaming her. The aggrieved wife did so, while gentlemen of the first respectability, concealed behind a curtain, heard the whole, and came forth to overwhelm him with confusion, and compel him to clear the good name of his innocent and abused wife.



April 14, '56

Dear Herald:--

"Truth is stranger fiction," long since became, to my mind, as applicable to legal as to social life. You are a lawyer. You have heard of "legal fictions?" What some of the most striking ones are, I have indicated, I think, in my last communication, but for the present I must speak of legal truths, facts stranger, because giving the lie direct to fastidious theory. Perhaps I cannot better illustrate and impress the legal wrongs which I have and intend to present to our Kansas Legislators for their manly rejection, than by detailing, in brief, simple incidents of suffering under laws which have been, and still are, in force in many States of this Union.

And here let me say, I have been for thirty years a careful observer, and sometimes a passive sufferer, under the laws affecting the rights of married women. True, it is scarcely fourteen years since I first sought, through the press, to awaken public attention to this department of legal action, and if I have done anything towards reforms securing better protection and greater freedom to my sex, I may be excused for indicating one source of the courage, which, at so early a day, was an indispensable qualification in advocating legal rights for married women. Married at about that time to my late husband, Geo. W. Nichols, publisher and editor of the Windham County Democrat, I was most happy in finding in him, not only a sympathizing friend, but one who scouted the idea of impropriety in a woman's advocating any truth, or attacking any wrong, which appeals to her womanly sympathies, or has to do with the progress of the race to a higher moral, intellectual or political life, justice to him, justice to myself demands that I bear testimony to the noble manhood, which, having come to value its own rights of means of human happiness, rather than paltry gain, feels itself more honored in releasing than in absorbing the "inalienable" rights of woman.

From my earliest childhood to this, my second marriage, I was most highly favored in frequent opportunities to sit "under the droppings of the sanctuary" of "that town's poor." For many years my father, as town agent and poormaster, was the recipient of all petitions and complaints in that department of town life. I studied the poor laws, and peeped behind them into the causes of poverty. While I sat in the quiet corner, an indignant and silent listener to revelations from the quivering lips of the poor, and the heartless contrivances of men to evade the paupers' support, I saw my father's moistened eye and heard his regretful replies to the oft-recurring tales of sorrow--"I can't help it; I am only the agent of the town to do its bidding"--and "the law allows it"--until I learned first to despise such laws, and second, to doubt the wisdom of the men who could make them. Noble men--men of influence and official position--when I appealed to them against these outrages of the golden rule and the Constitution, only pointed me, in reply, to the law, regreting, but deprecating the idea that laws so framed as to obviate what they termed "abuses," but which, to my mind, were the legitimate uses and fruits of the laws under which they were obtained. "It is the law," seemed with the majority to be a shaking off of all responsibility in the matter, and the conviction was forced upon my young heart that the electors and representatives of the State did not regard themselves as the representatives and protectors of women and children, and had no right to claim to be trusted as such. How could I look over the legal provisions for these unrepresented classes, and feel otherwise? How could I watch the operation of laws depriving them of their rights to the means of life and liberty, and then follow them to the auction block of pauperism, or the premature grave, and not be indignantly alive to the agencies and causes involved? [52]

I would shrink from myself as less than human, and an anomaly of womanhood, if I could have seen all this, and not resolve to be, that I might do.

God, it seems to me, has made no distinction between man and woman in the necessity or the duty to labor for their bread. He has as effectually endowed woman as man with the ability to win it, and in thus endowing her for self-dependence, has declared it to be His will that woman, no less than man, should possess and enjoy independent means of life and self-culture. Neither by their laws and customs, have men loosed women from their obligation to labor for their own support. By what right, then, have they legislated themselves into possession and control of woman's inalienable right, until helplessness and degradation have become so general, that they can unblushingly speak of the sex as "helpless and dependent?"--until they have lost sight of the eternal truth that she is God-endowed with self-dependence?

Her charter of right, of independent action and thought, is as good and broad as her brother's. You may see it in the birthright gifts of her nature; you may feel it, if you will, in the second and final charter of human freedom. "Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye even so unto them." Do my readers still contend that God did not create woman self-dependent? Let them take note of the laboring classes, and they will find that under equally favorable conditions, single women support themselves with as much ease as single men.

Do they still maintain that God designed married women to be dependent, and by their relations as mothers, involved them in helplessness? I can only reply, that if such be the fact, multitudes of women have outwitted their creator, and proved, in spite of men's theories and laws to realize them, that God has signally failed in his design, and is, no doubt, amazed to find his handiwork prove so much more efficient than he intended! For, look up and down the land, and lo! tens of thousands of these helpless women are not only supporting themselves, but helpless children and invalid or drunken husbands, sometimes even paying taxes for the support of Government; and this, too, with less than one-third the remuneration which men receive for their labor. Should men, by their laws or customs, make women more helpless than God has made them? Is it good political economy to depress the energies of any class of citizens? Above all, is it not suicidal to every social interest, to rob the mothers of their God-given powers of self-support, extending, as these abilities do, to the support of their children?

The laws which sequester the earnings of the wives and mothers, are fruitful of pauperism above all other sources, not excepting intemperance. Good men have wept with the paupered wife and children of the drunkard, and ignorantly charged upon his drunkenness the pauperism of his family. If they had looked one remove further, they could have seen that, in nine cases out of ten, it should be charged upon the law, which places the earnings of the wife and children, even to their wearing apparel, at the absolute disposal of the husband and the father.

Will men assert that law is powerless to protect the weak against the strong? the self-supporting against robbery, by the idle and vicious? Our Legislators claim to protect the poor man against the rapacity of unscrupulous and unfeeling creditors, by laws exempting from attachment for debt, a homestead, necessary household furniture, the tools of his trade, a cow, a pig, school books, Bible, &c. In Vermont, some $300 worth of personal property, and a homestead worth $500, are thus exempted. [53] But in not one State of the Union is there exempted to the wife, so much as her own clothing! The husband has a right to mortgage or sell every article of personal property exempted from attachment, even to her clothing, without the consent of his wife, and when he dies the exemption dies with him--proving, in fact, that exemption laws are for the benefit of the strong man, and not for "the weak and helpless members of the family," as claimed by those who made and uphold them. They are for the aid of the fathers--not for the mothers--and yet many a little brood of embryo citizens are dependent upon the mothers for all they enjoy of a home; and should not their helplessness and the possibilities of their future, appeal effectually against the legislation which makes paupers of the mothers, only to burthen the State with the support of the children, and tyrants of the fathers, only to increase the demands for prisons and lunatic asylums?

But I will pen for your readers an incident, illustrating the economy and humanity of this unequal legislation, unequal protection of "natural, inherent, and alienable (?) rights."

Mr. B________ became involved in debt to the rumseller, which he had no means to liquidate, but the household furniture, which was exempted from attachment. He mortgaged this, without reservation, and without the knowledge of his wife, and shortly after died. Immediately after his burial, the rum-seller claimed the furniture on his mortgage. The poor, half-distracted widow went to the lawyers, and found that the laws were on his side--"her husband had a legal right to dispose of it." She then plead with the creditor to spare her a single bed for her little ones. He was inexorable; and she, with her little ones, was turned penniless upon the world. Was the creditor a hard man and cruel? Mark, now, he could not have done this if the law had not given him the power. If men who profess to protect women, had protected this woman with such protection as they have gathered around themselves, the hard man and unfeeling creditor would have been kept from inflicting such grievous wrong. If this property had been exempted to both parents, it could not have been mortgaged without her consent, and would have remained to her, as the surviving parent, at the father's death. * * One more incident to the point.

Mr. G_______ drank up all his earnings--sold the cow, pig and furniture, piece by piece, and last of all the family Bible. His wife, who had for years supported her seven little ones and paid the rent, at last found it impossible to do so with his increasing levies upon her earnings.

She called upon the town, and its agents, "put out" her older children, while she went out to service, taking her babe with her. In a few weeks her husband died of delirium tremens. Now Mrs. G. gathered up her little ones, earned them shelter, food and clothing, and sent them to school. Years have passed--the mother is "gathered to her fathers," and those children are among the most respectable members of society.

Who made Mrs. G_______ helpless and dependent? God, or man's laws? "Women are not capable of legislation"--they "cannot understand politics." Tell us, gentlemen legislators, was Mrs. G_______ protected by her legal representatives? To which condition of her life was society most indebted--that in which she was "legally dead?" or a live mother, controlling and applying her own earnings for the discharge of her holiest duties and highest responsibilities?

"Governments are instituted for the protection of the weak against the strong"--a beautiful legal fiction, my brothers. Oh! make it true political Gospel.


[TO EMMA ____________] [54]

ELMIRA, N. Y., May 24, 1856.

Dear Emma:

I am disappointed in not being able to visit you now, but still hope I may do so at no distant day.

I have spent a few weeks very pleasantly with my friends here, and expect to return to Vermont by the way of Owego [N.Y.], about the 28th. This is a beautiful portion of your State, and in some localities, as wild as in any section of Vermont.

You can hardly realize how the drunkenness, common in this beautiful country, strikes one who for nine out of ten years, has been an inhabitant of a "no license" and prohibitory law State. Vermont had a "no license" law [55] some six years prior to the passage of the present prohibitory law, [56] and [in] spite of the continued declarations of the drinkers and would-be sellers, that "more rum was drank than before," the tide of drunkenness was arrested and humanity--oppressed and degraded--lifted itself slowly, but effectually from pauperism and despair. A foundation was laid for a prohibitory law in the rallying sense of the sobered people. The second, or third year, after the passage of our "no license" law, it was repealed, [57] but one year of restored "liberty to get drunk" so satisfied the majority of the inhabitants, that "no license" was carried again by greatly increased numbers. [58] So I verily believe it will be in your State with your prohibitory law; the adverse decision which has emboldened the rum party, will only result in evidences of a necessity, which will quicken the spirit of temperance, and work a saving conviction in the minds of the hitherto indifferent. You cannot fail to set forward in the good cause, by the experiences of the present. [59]

In riding to and from town in the daily stage, I have been frequently brought in juxtaposition with drunken men. Only a day or two since, a well dressed man was lifted into the seat in front of mine, and in ascending the first slight roll in the road, his feet went up and his head came down, landing his head and shoulders in my lap. I could not avoid reflecting upon the inconsistency of men. If there had been a ballot-box, and votes to be cast "yes" or "no" on a prohibitory or any other good law, their great care for "womanly delicacy," would have prevented our presence. Why in the name of all that is consistent, do they not legislate us out of the stages and cars and all public conveyances? But no, the drunkards may sit beside us, "jostle us," everywhere else; (if only we pay) even the companions, rulers and moths [sic] of the "home sphere of woman," and our delicacy suffers nothing in their eyes. Let woman go to the ballot-box, or speak in public, to abate this nuisance or any other, and she is a monster of presumption, unsexed, &c.

I move that either the drunkards or the women be shut up, to prevent the calamity which threatens the delicacy of New York womanhood, in the present rum selling and rum drinking crisis. It would seem more just to shut up the drunkards and exclude them from the public thoroughfares, since they are the offending party; and as it is vital to the interests of the community--especially the women and children whom they represent, that they vote, the sober voters could conduct them to the polls on election day. There are great interests at stake, and all the drunkards that can possibly be manufactured between this and next election, will be wanted. We must have intemperate rulers. A new President is to be elected, Kansas must keep her present drunken Governor or another be raked up from the pothouses. So in every department, in order that the already suffering people may continue to mourn, the wicked must bear rule. "I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just," said the immortal Jefferson. I tremble for my country, in view of the injustice of its rulers. I remember that "God is just," and grow calm and strong. Let my country wreck itself on the dark rocks of slavery and intemperance, I need not fear, for God will direct and guide them that keep his law.

Emma--I grow calm from the very intensity of what I feel is to be the fate of the suffering people of Kansas. It is sad indeed to know that our friends are not only undefended by the government, whose law they have been taught to reverence above God's "higher law," but are themselves its victims. Kansas will be free and in a sense little realized by her oppressors. The white freeman and his wife and little ones are bound in the same bundle with the slave; they are tasting the quality of the slavery which it is their mission to overthrow. The South are now effectually teaching the North what a viper they have protected; and the North will strangle it in return. But I must close. The late news from Kansas [60] and the horrible outrage on Senator Sumner in Congress, [61] have roused me from the stupor of my grief, and I feel an intense desire to be up and doing. Ah, what can I do? Talk? "Lend me your ears."


P. S. Only when an evil becomes intolerable, do men, or States rouse themselves to eradicate it. Then let the darkness deepen and the great wrong fill the heavens with wailing.


July 8, 1856

Messrs. Woodward:--

Thank you for frequent numbers of the Sentinel and believe me, it is neither indifference to your cause on the great issue of the day, nor ingratitude for your favors which has prevented my frequent acknowledgment of your courtesy, as publishers, by at least attempting to aid your labors as editors. But my pen has lain in rest, that I might lift up my voice against the crying wrongs of the people of Kansas--my adopted home. If I had needed mementoes to inspire me for the duty, such an one now lies before me--a bullet taken from the shoulder of my son, A. O. Carpenter, and shot thither from the rifle of Capt. [H. C.] Pate, at the battle of Black Jack, on the 2d of June. [63] It entered near the arm pit just below the collar bone and carried pieces of his clothing to where it lodged just under the shoulder blade. It gives me great pleasure to learn that my son was sufficiently recovered from his wound to be at Lawrence (15 miles from his home) on business, on the 21st ult. I thank a kind Providence that without having "run away" he lives to fight "another day" in the hand to hand struggle against the most monstrous oppression, that the civilized world has ever seen. I thank Heaven, that I have sons ready to live or die for the rights, for which their great Grandfathers fought and sacrificed treasure. I only wish there were more of them in this trial time of humanity. My whole soul revolts from the supposition that the freeborn daughters of the North, must look on and see their sons disarmed and enslaved by complicity of a traitorous government, or the submission of craven fathers and brothers! If the men of the North can be content with resolving that these things shall no longer be, it is high time that the women of the North, prove themselves indeed "strong minded," and worthy to be the wives and mothers and sisters of freemen and by protesting, and demanding the impeachment of the tyrant, who has the power conferred on him to protect the people's constitutional rights, in perpetrating the grossest unconstitutional wrongs.

"The end is not yet," but it draweth nigh, and then shall we be made to acknowledge as a people that in consenting to the enslavement of the blacks, we were pleading guilty to the sin and the penalty of oppression. And with my whole heart I can cry, "lay on Mac Duff, till from the nation's heart shall gush forth the waters of a living humanity--curing all wrongs, and washing away all oppressions, that thrive under sanction of "lower law."

Yours for Freedom every where,  



Oct. 4, '56    

Mr. Hyatt--
Dear Sir

Just returned from Penn. where I have been speaking for Kansas. [65] I find your note of the 28th. [66]

In reference to giving my aid in organizing NY &c, [67] nothing would give me more pleasure; but I will think aloud (?) to you & have you to make another move if you see fit.

In the first place I am laboring now--in Pa.--with a view to success in three objects: 1st to subsist my two sons in the Free State army of Kansas by the pay I get for my lectures, which averages $10 the lecture over expenses or $50 per week; 2d aid in the election of Frémont by showing how Kansas, alias Freedom, is being stabbed in the house of its pretended friends north, & how & with whom are the remedy; 3d to open the hearts & purses of people to sustain the Free State & influence emigration hither.

If I take the agency you propose my sons must be thrown upon the common fund for relief & support--I will never desert them for any post that promises less. [68]

There is another way I could do, join with me a co-worker to attend to the business arrangements, speak to audiences & rely on contributions of my audiences to sustain my sons, keeping that income separate from the association funds.

You ask if I know any suitable persons for this work. Susan B. Anthony of Rochester has the executive ability--& the experience admirably adapted to the work. [69] She headed the woman's movement which thoroughly organized NY for the temperance campaign three or four years ago. [70] She has proved herself a capital financier & collecter [sic]. She has a brother in the Free State army in Kansas [71] & if I take the post you propose I would solicit her as my right hand woman. She has been accustomed to such a relation having been associated with extemporaneous speakers as her co-workers. From her, before any other person I would expect to get all the information needed for such a move. She is acquainted with the whole ground & the workers.

If old Penn. is to be carried by only a few votes & I could change the votes of that few to [John C.] Frémont, [72] nothing would induce me to leave the field I am now in. But if Mr. [Horace] Greeley [73] thinks Pa. is in no such strait that so small a service cannot be spared then with my whole soul I will enter the field you propose at once, on condition that my precious boys shall be sustained by my labors. [74] I am extensively acquainted in NY State & know I can do what you ask to good purpose.

I am engaged to speak till Thursday of next week--9th--in Pa., & other invitations remain to be refused or arranged for when I get there next Monday the 6, Oct.

Write me here if you think best, & a second letter to Mansfield, Tioga Co, Pa where I speak on Wed. the 8th--if you wish a speedy reply.

Meantime I will mail a letter Monday to Miss Anthony & request her to communicate with you at once.

Yours for Humanity,

P. S. Excuse my pencilling--I am writing at a station--no pen & ink


Oct 15 '56   

Mr. Hyatt
Dear Sir

I have just returned from Pa where I have not found a house that would hold (standing) all the people who came to hear me on Kansas. The people are awake.

So I think it all important to be posted in the details of your plan for organizing &c. I will meet you in N York at any time you please to appoint, as I can take the opportunity to go to Meriden Con[necticut]. & arrange some business matters at the same time. Please write or telegraph me at once, that I may be moving in the work. [76]

Res[pectfully] yours,



[November, 1856]  


Your hearts have been stirred by tales of Kansas outraged, wronged; the Constitutional rights of her people struck down; "the enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" made treasonable; and all the God-given means of subsistence and general prosperity perverted from the dwellers in that beautiful land, by the iron heart and strong hand of tyrant power!

Government heeds not, hears not, the cry of the afflicted. Good men may struggle in vain to rescue the victims by the speedy election of righteous rulers, and the wealth, locked in the treasuries of Free States and rich men's coffers, may be too tardy or insufficient to save the suffering, starving inhabitants of Kansas from death upon her soil, or the necessity of returning to the Free States to be fed. Supported they must be, either in Kansas or out of it; for they have expended, or been robbed, of their all in the struggle for free homes. The question, in a pecuniary point of view, then, is, where shall they be fed? Humanity--struggling for freedom to be in the image of its Maker--cries, in Kansas, where, to hold free homes, is to ensure the cause of Freedom and stay the waves of oppression.

Are you mothers? Let me speak to you for the mothers of Kansas. I am one of them. My sons are among the sufferers and the defenders of that ill-fated Territory; their blood has baptized the soil which they yet live to weep over, to love, and to defend. I ask of you, mothers of New York, but a tithe of the sacrifices and devotion of the mothers of Kansas. Their "jewels," more precious than silver, or gold, or houses and lands, are already laid a sacrifice upon the altar. Can you withhold from them the bread that shall win to you the blessing of those ready to perish?

Look upon your sons, secure in the pursuit of all that is ennobling--look upon your fair daughters, safe from the outrages of a degraded and ruffian soldiery--look upon your infants, smiling in the sweet security and sunshine of homes running over with comfort and happiness and plenty, and from your stores give to those who have none of all these but the mother-love, which, in the absence of every means to succor and save, is crushing the over-taxed heart into the blackness of despair!

Are you wives? Brave, loving men have tracked the prairie paths to bring bread, and never returned; have turned to the fields of their labor, and, with the last fond kiss yet warm upon their lips, been felled by the stealthy foe. Brave, loving men are now tracking the prairies with unshod feet and bleeding hearts. Brave, loving women weep, and pray, and toil to wipe away their tears and smile a welcome to the husbands that come sad and emptyhanded back! Wives of New York, will you fill the empty hands and win the speechless gratitude of these suffering ones?

Are you sisters? Fond, noble brothers appeal to dear sisters in the East for help in their need. Your sympathy cannot comfort them, even, in their distress. The appeal of such an one lies before me now. "Nothing to eat; no money; nothing but 'sympathy!' Oh, don't ever mention the word again if you love me. Don't ever tell me 'your eastern friends sympathize with you in your noble struggle for liberty.' Such friends, if one were hanging to a rope for dear life, would look over from the ship's side and cry, 'my sympathies are with you, hang on till you drown!'" Sisters of New York, will you send out the lifeboat to save these sinking, struggling victims of foul oppression?

Words are too poor to give expression to my deep sense of the peril, the suffering, the need, which is weighing upon the hearts and shutting out sunshine and health from the homes of the people of Kansas.

I leave my appeal with you, women of New York, confident in a generous response and an earnest cooperation.

To many of you I may speak as personal friends and former co-workers in the cause of Humanity. I know your zeal. I know your labors. I count upon your utmost efforts in this the crisis hour of the accumulated oppressions of the past--in this the grey dawning of a resurrection day for Humanity, such as the world has never seen, which the past has promised without comprehending, and groped after without the strong faith that alone can win it.



Nov. 24 1856   

Mr. Hyatt
Dear Sir--

Enclosed is a Draft for $100--fifty cents less--the expense of draft. [79]

I have spoken every evening commencing the 10th except when disappointed in the arrangements & Sat. eves. Have collected $130 & odd dollars, have found good success & ill but in every place but one a deep interest. [80] Have left good working committees in most places. Several boxes of clothing have been forwarded or are being filled. I have left receipts with the chairman of each committee for the amounts received from my audiences which they will forward to you with--I hope--generous collections additional.

I shall forward as sufficient sums are recd. to make it worth while & give details hereafter.

I am quite well.

Tioga and Chemung Counties I am about thro' with. I go to Bath & Rochester this week & on to Canandaigua, Ithaca &c.

Yours for Kansas

Election has not settled the interest in Kansas. My sons write of no outrages to my own neighbors. The ruffian Marshals are after my sons.


Dec. 6, 1856

Received, for Kansas, of my audience in Naples, N.Y. Thirty-six Dollars, to be accounted for to Thaddeus Hyatt, No. 120 West Broadway, New York.


(Part Three, the C. I. H. Nichols Papers of 1857-1863, Will Appear
in the Autumn, 1973, Issue.)


JOSEPH G. GAMBONE is a member of the manuscript and archives staff of the Kansas Historical Society. He wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Vivian Bryan, Vermont State Library at Montpelier, T. D. Seymour Bassett, University of Vermont at Burlington, and Eva J. Leech, Brooks Memorial Library at Brattleboro, Vt., for their assistance in gathering these papers.

1. New Hampshire American News, cited in Vermont Phoenix, June 2, 1855.
2. Blanton was located in Douglas county and was named after Napoleon B. Blanton, a Missourian who migrated to Kansas in September, 1854.
3. Hickory Point was located south of Wakarusa creek in Douglas county on the Santa Fe trail at the junction of the Sac and Fox trail. The paper town of Louisiana, which later became Salem, was surveyed and platted on practically the same location as Hickory Point.--See Frank W. Blackmar, Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. (Chicago, Standard Publishing Co., 1912), v. 1, p. 841.
4. John Tecumseh "Tauy" Jones, a half-breed Indian, was educated at Madison College (present-day Colgate University) in Hamilton, N. Y. He migrated to Kansas in 1838 and became an interpreter for the Ottawa Indians. In 1850 he associated himself with Jotham Meeker at the Baptist mission among the Ottawas. He settled in Franklin county and is considered one of the founders of Ottawa University. For additional information, see B. Smith Haworth, Ottawa University: Its History and Its Spirit (Ottawa, Ottawa University, 1957), pp. 1, 4-7; Malin, John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-Six, p. 717.
5. The Ottawa reserve comprised 72,000 acres and was located on the banks of the Marais des Cygnes river. The present city of Ottawa, founded in 1863, is situated almost in its center. For additional information on the Ottawa reserve, see Anna Heloise Abel, "Indian Reservations in Kansas and the Extinguishment of Their Title," KHC, v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 79-80, 104-106; Robert F. Bauman, "Kansas, Canada, or Starvation," Michigan History, Lansing, v. 36 (September, 1952), pp. 287-299; Connelley, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, v. 1, 269-271.
6. A. F. Powell, a Free Stater from Tennessee, was appointed postmaster of Lane on March 3, 1855. The post office was discontinued in March, 1856. The town of Lane was located east of present day Baldwin in Douglas county. For A. O. Carpenter's observations, see Carpenter to the editor, Ottawa creek, April 13, 1855, cited in Vermont Phoenix, June 9, 1855.
7. Albert Whitcomb, a tailor from Keene, N, H., migrated to Kansas in March, 1855, under the auspices of the aid company and settled near Osawatomie.
8. For additional information on the early settlement of Osawatomie, see [New Hampshire farmer] to the editor, "Osawattomie [sic], April 20, 1855," cited in Boston Daily Advertiser, undated clipping in Thomas H. Webb, "Webb Scrap Books," v. 4, p. 189, library division, KSHS; James Hanway, "Early Reminiscences," cited in Osawatomie Times, August 5, 12, 1880; "Letters of John and Sarah Everett, 1854-1864," KHQ, v. 8 (February, 1939), pp. 8-23.
9. In June, 1845, "Tauy" Jones married Jane Kelley, who was a missionary to the Ottawas. For additional information on Miss Kelley, see Haworth, Ottawa University: Its History and Its Spirit, p. 6; "Mrs. Tauy Jones," The Ottawa Campus, Ottawa, v. 18 (September, 1901), pp. 23-25.
10. Sale of the Ottawa reserve did not take place until 1867.
11. The Peoria lands consisted of 96,000 acres and were located directly south of the Shawnee reserve and bordered the Ottawa reserve on the east.--See Gates, Fifty Million Acres: Conflicts Over Kansas Land Policy, p. 34; Abel, "Indian Reservations in Kansas and the Extinguishment of Their Title," p. 81, and map of Indian reservations facing p. 88.
12. According to an official report issued by Governor Geary in 1856, Jones had "300 acres of land under excellent fence, raise[d] 4,000 bushels of grain, ha[d] 100 head of cattle and 14 horses, preache[d] every Sunday at the Baptist Mission, and was educated at Hamilton College, N. Y."--"Executive Minutes of Governor John W. Geary," KHC, v. 4 (1886-1888), pp. 617-618.
13. Governor Reeder left for Washington on April 17, 1855, the day after he issued his decision on the contested elections. He evidently wanted to talk to President Pierce about the political affairs in Kansas. For additional information, see Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, v. 2, pp. 386-387; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp. 100-101, 104.
14. New Hampshire American News, cited in Vermont Phoenix, June 16, 1855.
15. See Malin, "Dust Storms, Part One, 1850-1860," KHQ, v. 14 (May, 1946), pp. 134-135; Herald of Freedom, May 5, 1855.
16. Under Governor Reeder's election proclamation of March 8, 1855, Lane was included in the fourth election district. On April 6, 1855, Reeder announced that the election returns from the fourth district indicated fraudulent voting and, therefore, were set aside. However, in his proclamation calling for new elections on May 22, 1855, Reeder stated that the election returns from the fourth district had been approved and that the proslavery candidates were duly elected. New elections were not held in the fourth district. For additional information, see "Executive Minutes [of Governor Reeder's Administration]," pp. 252, 258-259, 261-262, 271, 274. For an account of the May 22 elections, see Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, p. 101.
17. Kansas Tribune, Lawrence, cited in The Lily, June 15, 1855. John Speer, editor of the Kansas Tribune, visited Mrs. Nichols at her home in Lane and made the following comments: "We called upon and dined with our correspondent, Mrs. Nichols, found her, her three boys, husband and three others in a cabin 13 by 18 feet, without any chambers. They however have added the luxury of a puncheon floor. Our dinner was spread upon the lids of three trunks, around which we gathered with our benches or stools, and partook of the repast with all the aristocratic feelings common to this western world. After dinner Mr. Nichols mounted his large bay, with Mrs. N. on behind, and in company with them and another friend, we crossed the country for two miles to Esq. Hackett's."--Ibid.
    Prior to his visit with Mrs. Nichols, Speer had announced that she would "write regular for the Tribune." Unfortunately there are few extant issues of the Kansas Tribune. Many of Mrs. Nichols's early letters and articles on the territory are lost.
18. The Lily did not publish the entire text of Mrs. Nichols's letter; only the above paragraph was extracted. In regard to her account of her new home in Kansas, The Lily commented: "This is a great change from the old settled banks of the Connecticut, and the comfortable editorial office of the Windham County Democrat; but Mrs. Nichols is a true woman, and has sons who are young and energetic; and who will be free in Kansas or anywhere else."--Ibid.
19. New Hampshire Sentinel, Keene, cited in Herald of Freedom, Lawrence, August 4, 1855.
20. For additional comments on the crops and economic condition of the area, see Carpenter to the editor, Ottawa creek, July 8, 1855, cited in Vermont Phoenix, July 28, 1855; Carpenter to the editor, Ottawa creek, August 5, 1855, cited in ibid., August 25, 1855.
21. For contemporary newspaper comments on cholera in the territory, see Herald of Freedom, May 12, 19, June 16, 1855; Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, May 11, 1855; Boston Daily Journal, May 12, 1855; New York Daily Tribune, May 11, 14, 1855.
22. For additional information on northern emigration, see Barry, "The New England Emigrant Aid Company Parties of 1855," pp. 227-268; Isaac T. Goodnow, "Personal Reminiscences and Kansas Emigration, 1855," KHC, v. 4 (1886-1890), pp. 244-253; Herald of Freedom, May 12, 1855.
23. New Hampshire Sentinel, cited in Vermont Phoenix, November 10, 1855.
24. Herald of Freedom, October 27, 1855.
25. Mrs. Nichols left Kansas in mid-December, 1855, to settle her husband's small estate in Vermont. See HWS, v. 1, p. 186.
26. In its editorial comment, the Daily Republican asserted: "We should be sorry to believe the newspaper asseverations that Mrs. Nichols, formerly of Brattleboro, is the writer of Mary Lyndon, a new auto-biographical novel, favoring a disrespect of the marriage relation, where its burden is heavy, and supporting a degree of strong-mindedness in women, that amounts substantially to 'looseness.' The book is a discredit to any true woman."--Springfield Daily Republican, August 25, 1855. For additional newspaper commentary, see New York Daily Tribune, August 4, 7, 11, 14, 1855; New York Daily Times, August 17, 1855. Also, see [Mary Gove Nichols] Mary Lyndon; Or, Revelation of a Life (New York, Stringer & Townshend, 1855).
27. Mary Gove Nichols, author, feminist, free-love advocate, and health reformer, was involved in the many reform movements of the 1840's and 1850's concerning diet, dress, health education, woman's rights, and relations of the sexes. Her book, Mary Lyndon, was an autobiographical novel protesting against the social institutions of American society. In reviewing the book, the New York Times stated: "If we did not believe it to be a book of very bad tendencies, we should not pay it the compliment of giving it this prominent and unusual notice."--New York Daily Times, August 17, 1855.
    For additional information on Mary Gove Nichols, see NAW, v. 2, pp. 627-629; DAB, v. 8, pp. 495-496; Stearns, "Two Forgotten New England Reformers," NEQ, v. 6 (March, 1933), pp. 59-84; Irving T. Richards, "Mary Gove Nichols and John Neal," ibid., v. 7 (June, 1934), pp. 335-355; Stearns, "Memnonia: The Launching of a Utopia," ibid., v. 15 (June, 1942), pp. 280-295; Philip Gleason, "From Free Love to Catholicism: Dr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Nichols at Yellow Springs," Ohio Historical Quarterly, Columbus, v. 70 (October, 1961), pp. 283-307.
28. Greenfield (Mass.) Gazette & Courier, February 4, 1856.
29. Mrs. Nichols arrived in Brattleboro on December 31, 1855. After settling her deceased husband's estate, she spent the winter in Townshend, Vt.--See Vermont Phoenix, January 5, 1856.
30. Phrenology was an allegedly scientific method of rating the mental faculties and character traits of human beings through the study of the conformation of the skull. In accordance with this theory, phrenologists charted the cranium of man in sections, each section being taken to represent the location in the brain of some definite faculty or mental or moral disposition. The cranial protuberances, according to their location, denoted the individual to be endowed with large or small amounts of 35 qualities, such as ideality, benevolence, combativeness, individuality, wit, wonder, and philoprogenitiveness.
31. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the abortive invasion of Lawrence by armed "Border Ruffians" in December, 1855, in what has been referred to as the Wakarusa war. Although armed conflict seemed imminent between Free-State and Proslavery forces, Gov. Wilson Shannon intervened and negotiated a treaty on December 8, which terminated the "war" without further bloodshed.
    For a discussion of the "war," see Malin, John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-Six, pp. 16-23; Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 138-143; Robinson, The Kansas Conflict, pp. 181-230; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp. 116-120; Sara T. D. Robinson, "The Wakarusa War," KHC, v. 10 (1907-1908), pp. 457-471. For additional information, see "Wakarusa War Papers," ibid., v. 5 (1891-896), pp, 242-250; "Evidence Relating to Claims of the Citizens of Kansas," 40th Cong., 3d Sess., Misc. H. Doc., No. 47.
32. Wilson Shannon, the second territorial governor of Kansas, was an administration Democrat. He was appointed governor on August 10, 1855, and arrived in the territory on September 1. For information on Shannon's administration, see [Benjamin F. Simpson] "Biography of Governor Wilson Shannon," KHC, v. 3 (1881-1884), pp. 279-283; "Executive Minutes [of Governor Shannon's Administration]," ibid., pp. 83-323; "Correspondence of Governor Wilson Shannon," ibid., v. 4 (1886-1890), pp. 385-453; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, p. 113.
33. Ansel Phelps, publisher of the Gazette & Courier, wrote Mrs. Nichols that he not only had published her letter but also had "taken the liberty to bring you before the public. I tho't that so noble & patriotic a deed as the offering of a son on the Altar of Freedom ought to be known as an incentive to acts of patriotism & virtue & as a kind of rebuke to our selfish age."--Phelps to Nichols, Greenfield, February 8, 1856, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz. For the text of the editorial on Mrs. Nichols and her son during the abortive siege of Lawrence, see Greenfield Gazette & Courier, February 4, 1856.
34. Prior to the abortive invasion of Lawrence, a group of Missourians had raided the U. S. arsenal at Liberty, Mo., and had seized three cannons, along with rifles, side arms, and ammunition. For additional information, see Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 141-142; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, p. 118.
35. The American Hotel was purchased by the aid company in September, 1854, and leased to Shalor W. Eldridge in the spring of 1855. The hotel became the Free-State headquarters in Kansas City and was patronized by Northern emigrants. William Lyman of Southampton, Mass., came to Kansas with Eldridge in 1855 and was employed at the hotel. For additional information on Eldridge and the American Hotel, see Eldridge, Recollections of Early Days in Kansas, pp. 11-14, 22, 45, 207-214; Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 86-87; Robert Morrow, "Emigration to Kansas in 1856," KHC, v. 8 (1903-1904) pp. 304-305; Connelley, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, v. 3, pp. 1303-1304; DAB, v. 6, pp. 69-70.
36. Thomas B. Eldridge assumed control of the Free-State Hotel in Lawrence during the winter of 1855-1856. The hotel was not quite ready for general occupancy when it was destroyed during the sack of Lawrence in May, 1856. For additional information on Eldridge, see Eldridge, Recollections of Early Days in Kansas, pp. 24, 45, 202; Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 87, 121; Portrait and Biographical Record of Leavenworth, Douglas and Franklin Counties, Kansas (Chicago, Chapman Publishing Company, 1899), pp. 825-826; The United States Biographical Dictionary, Kansas Volume (Chicago, S. Lewis & Co., 1879), pp. 579-580.
37. Herald of Freedom, March 8, 1856. The Herald was published by George W. Brown as the organ of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. In introducing Mrs. Nichols's letter, Brown wrote: "The members of the Legislature should read it by all means. Mrs. Nichols is one of the soundest newspaper writers of the present day."
38. In his special message on Kansas on January 24, 1856, President Pierce brought forth the full fury of his administration's policy on the political situation in the territory. He denounced ex-Governor Reeder, attacked the Northern emigration societies, and announced his support for both the "bogus legislature" and "bogus laws." Finally he denounced the Free-State movement and the Topeka constitutional convention as "revolutionary."--James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897, v. 5 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1897), pp. 352-360. Also, see Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, v. 2, pp. 416-419.
39. A search of the Herald of Freedom and the "George W. Brown Papers" on file at the KSHS did not produce Mrs. Nichols's letter to the Herald.
40. On January 15, 1856, the election of state officers under the Topeka constitution was held. The newly elected Free-State officers included Charles Robinson, governor; W. Y. Roberts, lt. governor; P. C. Schuyler, sec. of state; and J. A. Wakefield, treasurer. Thus two independent governments were functioning for political control of the territory. For additional information, see Malin, "The Topeka Statehood Movement Reconsidered: Origins," in Territorial Kansas, Studies Commemorating the Centennial (Committee on Social Science Studies, Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 1954), pp. 33-69; John D. Bright, "The Topeka Constitution," in Bright, ed., Kansas: The First Century (New York, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1956), v. 1, pp. 121-144; Robinson, "Topeka and Her Constitution," pp. 291-305; "The Topeka Movement," KHC, v. 13 (1913-1914), pp. 125-249.
41. Charles Robinson arrived in Kansas during the summer of 1854 as a special agent for the Emigrant Aid Company to explore the territory. After his return to the East, he was appointed a general agent for Kansas and conducted the second emigrant party which reached the infant settlement of Lawrence in September, 1854. Thereafter Robinson became an effective leader of the Free-State movement, although he came into constant conflict with James H. Lane over Free-State policy. Robinson's career in Kansas politics has been viewed with controversy by both contemporaries and historians. While a definitive biography has yet to be written, two historians have attempted to capture the political personality and character of this controversial Kansas politician.--See Blackmar, The Life of Charles Robinson, the First Free State Governor of Kansas (Topeka, Crane & Company, 1902); Don W. Wilson, "Charles Robinson: First Governor of Kansas" (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Cincinnati, 1972).
42. The Topeka constitution included the following woman's rights provision: "The first General Assembly shall provide by law for securing to the wife the separate property acquired by her before or after coverture, and the equal right with the husband to the custody of their children during their minority; and in case of death, insanity, intemperance, or gross impropriety of the husband, their exclusive custody."--Wilder, Annals of Kansas, p. 700.
43. For the Illinois legislation, see A Compilation of the Statutes of the State of Illinois, 1856, pp. 493-501, 1223-1225, 1227. For the Missouri legislation, see Laws of the State of Missouri, 1841, p. 71; Missouri Revised Statutes, 1845, pp. 426-439; ibid., 1847, pp. 49-50; ibid., 1849, pp. 49-50, 67-68; ibid., 1851, pp. 296-297.
44. For the Kentucky legislation, see Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1837-1838, p. 278. No information has been located on the Canadian legislation concerning school suffrage. According to the Encyclopedia Canadiana, women were not allowed to vote in school and municipal elections until very late in the 19th century.--See "Woman Suffrage," Encyclopedia Canadiana (Toronto, Grolier of Canada, Limited, 1966), v. 10, pp. 351-353.
45. Mrs. Nichols's statement that joint guardianship was a legal fact of life does not agree with the laws of Iowa. According to the Iowa law, parents did not share joint guardianship. The father was the natural guardian of his minor children and only at his death did the mother become the guardian. Another provision stated that the widowed mother was to be the guardian of a child's property only if the court deemed her a suitable person.--See Code of Iowa, 1851, p. 224.
    It was not until 1873 that the equal guardianship right of the mother was guaranteed by Iowa law. This was the first departure from the Common Law precedent of the father enjoying sole guardianship rights until his death. See Code of Iowa, 1873, p. 401. For further discussion of the Iowa laws, see Ruth Gallaher, Legal and Political Status of Women in Iowa (Iowa City, State Historical Society of Iowa, 1918), pp. 82-84.
46. Provisions specifying which parties must pay court fees for guardianship proceedings were not contained in the Code of Iowa, 1851.
47. The 1855 territorial "bogus" legislature enacted laws endowing widows with a "third part of all lands whereof her husband," and acknowledging widowed mothers as the "natural guardian of their children." However, if the widowed mothers remarried they would lose control of their children's property. For the Kansas legislation, see The Statutes of the Territory of Kansas, 1855, pp. 313-322, 391-398.
48. Mrs. Nichols was divorced from her first husband, Justin Carpenter, in February, 1843, and was given custody of her three children by the Vermont supreme court.
49. Herald of Freedom, April 26, 1856.
50. The Louisiana law protecting the property rights of married women was derived from the Code Napoleon and since 1803 it underwent few changes in the Civil Code of Louisiana. According to Henry M. Morris, chairman of the Louisiana Historical Society, the law was "written in favor of the woman, and is for the protection of the wife, mother and child."--Morris to the author, New Orleans, February 22, 1973.
51. Herald of Freedom, May 17, 1856.
52. For Mrs. Nichols's comments on Vermont pauper legislation, see Windham County Democrat, February 18, 1852, March 2, 1853.
53. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the Vermont married woman's property law of 1847 which gave women the right to inherit, own, and bequeath property, and the homestead law of 1849 which protected the rights of widows.--See Footnotes 12-14.
54. Unidentified clipping in the private collection of T. D. Seymour Bassett.
55. For the Vermont liquor law of 1850, see Burlington Daily Free Press, November 27, 1850. In regard to the Vermont license law, The Lily, edited by Mrs. Bloomer, asserted: "This is all excellent; and now if the Legislature of Vermont will create and put in office a class of men of high toned moral feelings--men who under all circumstances would prefer principle to a temporary self interest--men who would have the moral courage to speak out the right and true, on all questions, at all times, and in all places--then might such laws as the above be enforced. But as it is, all good and wise laws in advance of the people, will prove but a dead letter--unless, and worse than useless; for the open violation of any law, breeds contempt for all law."--The Lily, January, 1851.
56. For the Vermont liquor law of 1855, see Burlington Daily Free Press, November 24, 1855. In an editorial on the liquor law, the editor of the Daily Free Press wrote: "Unquestionably the liquor law of this State is, as a whole, by far the best extant. This is owing, we think, to two circumstances. One, the general determination to avoid extreme and violent measures,--to make a real and sure progress, rather than a showy and uncertain one. The other, a determination equally, general and resolute, that there shall not be either a politico-temperance or a politico-anti-temperance party in the State. The men of all political parties can without jealousy unite to sustain what is really wholesome and beneficial for all,--as much on the subject of a prohibitory liquor law as in most others which concern them immediately as citizens of the State."--Ibid., November 26, 1855.
57. The Vermont liquor law was amended in 1853.--See Burlington Sentinel, December 22, 1853; Burlington Daily Free Press, January 4, 1854; New York Daily Tribune, October 25, December 14, 1853.
58. In 1854 the Vermont legislature repealed the liquor law of 1853. The new law again enforced the "no license" concept of prohibitory legislation. For the 1854 Vermont law, see Burlington Daily Free Press, December 5, 1854.
59. For a discussion of the woman's temperance movement in New York, see HWS, v. 1, pp. 472-517; Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, v. 1, pp. 61-70, 81-97, 100-102.
60. On May 21, 1856, Proslavery forces sacked the town of Lawrence, long regarded as the citadel of antislavery leadership. The Lawrence attack produced retaliation in the form of John Brown's Pottawatomie creek massacre on May 23. Thus civil strife and border warfare engulfed the territory and inscribed on the public conscience the epithet "Bleeding Kansas."
61. On May 22, 1856, Charles Sumner, as he worked at his desk in the deserted U. S. senate chamber, was brutally assaulted and nearly beaten to death by Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina, who had become enraged over Sumner's speech, "The Crime Against Kansas," and his verbal assault upon the South and his uncle, Sen. Andrew Butler. For the most objective account of the attack on Sumner and its aftermath, see David Donald, Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1967), pp. 278-311.
62. New Hampshire Sentinel, undated clipping in "Webb Scrap Books," v. 14, p. 248. In introducing Mrs. Nichols's letter, Woodward wrote that her correspondence "was not intended for publication, but we think we shall be excused for laying it before our readers. It exhibits the right spirit."
63. Henry Clay Pate, a captain in the territorial (Proslavery) militia, was commissioned deputy U. S. marshal prior to the sack of Lawrence. When news of the Pottawatomie massacre reached him, Pate started for Osawatomie to either capture or kill John Brown. On June 1, 1856, Pate encamped on Black Jack creek, while detachments of his company raided nearby villages. The next morning, Brown with a company of 29 men attacked Pate's camp. After several hours, Pate and 28 of his men surrendered.
    In the spring of 1864, Pate was killed at the battle of Yellow Tavern. When news of his death reached Kansas, the Leavenworth Daily Conservative sardonically wrote: "Thus endeth one of the worst scoundrels and ruffians that infested the Kansas border in the earliest days of her political history."--Leavenworth Daily Conservative, May 22, 1864. For additional information on Pate and the battle of Black Jack, see G. W. E. Griffith, "The Battle of Black Jack," KHC, v. 16 (1923-1925), pp. 524-528; August Bondi, "With John Brown in Kansas," ibid., v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 281-289; Stephen B. Oates, To Purge This Land With Blood: A Biography of John Brown (New York, Harper & Row, 1970) pp. 152-154; Malin, John Brown and the Legend of Fifty-Six, pp. 46-47, 55-59, 589-590; C. G. Allen, "Personal Recollections of the Early History of Kansas: Battle of Black Jack," in Meade Republican, February 5, 12, 1890.
64. Autograph Letter Signed (hereafter cited ALS) in "Thaddeus Hyatt Papers," manuscript division, KSHS (hereafter cited "Hyatt Papers"). Thaddeus Hyatt was president of the National Kansas Committee which organized the relief movement to aid and sustain the Free-State settlers in defending their homes and property against Proslavery attacks during the fall and winter of 1856. The "Hyatt Papers" contain numerous manuscripts relative to the relief work and the overall political and economic condition of the territory. For additional information on the relief movement of 1856, see "Selections from the Hyatt Manuscripts," KHC, v. 1-2 (1875-1880), pp. 203-221; Lawrence R. Murphy, Frontier Crusader--William F. M. Arny (Tucson, The University of Arizona Press, 1972), pp. 41-62; Edith O'Meara, "Relief Work in Kansas, 1856-1857" (unpublished master's thesis, University of Kansas, 1928); Harlow, "The Rise and Fall of the Kansas Aid Movement," pp. 1-25; Hutchinson, "Sketches of Kansas Pioneer Experience," pp. 406-408; Gambone, "Economic Relief in Territorial Kansas, 1860-1861," pp. 158-159.
65. Before engaging herself in a series of lectures in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Nichols had spent the early part of September lecturing on Kansas in Connecticut. The New York Tribune stated that she "has been speaking most effectively for Free Kansas in Connecticut, and will do so elsewhere if invited."--New York Daily Tribune, September 12, 1856.
    Two New York newspapers, the Daily News and Express, confused the name of Clarina Nichols with Mary Gove Nichols, the prominent advocate of free love, and denounced her political involvement in presidential campaign. The Tribune replied that Mrs. Nichols of Kansas had little in common with the free love advocate and that they "certainly are neither relatives nor allied in any manner." The Tribune assured its readers that Mrs. Nichols had witnessed "some of the outrages which have desolated that fair land" during her residence in the territory, and that she knew "its wrongs by heart, and has spoken of them when requested to do."--Ibid., September 27, 1856.
66. Although Hyatt's "note" of September 28, 1856, is missing, his letter to the National Kansas Committee indicated that he had written Mrs. Nichols and had encouraged her to help organize the relief work in New York.--Hyatt to Gentlemen of the National Kansas Committee, New York, September 28, 1856, "Hyatt Papers."
67. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols wrote: "In September [1856], being appealed to by the 'Kansas National Aid Committee,' at the instance of Horace Greeley, I engaged for two months in a canvass of Western New York, lecturing and procurring the appointment of committees of women to collect supplies for the suffering people of Kansas. . . ."--HWS, v. 1, p. 187.
68. Apparently Hyatt understood Mrs. Nichols's concern over her sons and attempted to sustain them during her tenure with the National Kansas Committee. In a letter to Horace White, assistant secretary of the National Kansas Committee, Hyatt explained: "I have from N. Y. written to the Central Com[mittee]. [in Kansas] a special request that the Carpenters should be specially attended to for I had assured their mother that this should be done."--Hyatt to White, Lawrence [November 19, 1856], "Hyatt Papers."
69. Susan B. Anthony, one of the most notable leaders in the woman's rights and temperance movements, was committed to organizing the National Woman's Rights Convention to be held in New York City in November, 1856, and could not assist Mrs. Nichols in the New York relief work. However, Miss Anthony was deeply concerned with the Kansas imbroglio and in a letter to Mrs. Nichols wrote: "Poor bleeding Kansas--how the soul sickens. All free State men & women will be crushed out, ere the North will awake. . . .We have some hope our dear one [Jacob Merritt] is not among the slain, but of others dear ones are--, it seems selfish to wish that our boy shall be the fortunate one."--Anthony to Nichols [Rochester, September, 1856], in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
    For additional biographical information on Miss Anthony, see NAW, v. 1, pp. 51-57; DAB, v. 1, pp. 318-321; Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian; Anthony, Susan B. Anthony: Her Personal History and Her Era; Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony; Rheta Childe Dorr, Susan B. Anthony: The Woman Who Changed the Mind of a Nation (New York, Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1928); Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States; Riegel, American Feminist, pp. 65-81, passim.
70. In 1852 Miss Anthony formed the Woman's New York State Temperance Society and worked unsuccessfully for the passage of a prohibitory liquor law.
71. Jacob Merritt Anthony, Susan's youngest brother, arrived in Kansas in April, 1856. He settled near Osawatomie and became associated with John Brown during the summer of 1856 and was actively involved in a few minor clashes with Proslavery factions along the Missouri border. Forsaking his Quaker faith and heritage, he served as a captain in the Seventh Kansas cavalry during the Civil War. He eventually settled in Fort Scott and died in 1900. For additional information on Anthony's role in the territorial struggle, see Anthony to the editor, Paola, May 2, 1856, cited in Rochester Daily Democrat, May 15, 1856; Anthony to "Dear Parents" [Osawatomie, June, 1856], cited in ibid., July 8, 1856; Anthony to "Dear Susan," Osawatomie, June 26, 1856, cited in ibid.; Anthony to the editor, Fort Scott, February 8, 1884, cited in Leavenworth Weekly Times, February 14, 1884. Also, see Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian, pp. 46, 56; Anthony, Susan B. Anthony: Her Personal History and Her Era, pp. 19, 135-137; Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, pp. 144-145; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, p. 1076; S. M. Fox, "The Story of the Seventh Kansas," KHC, v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 19, 25-26; Fox, "The Early History of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry," ibid., v. 11 (1909-1910), p. 249.
72. John C. Fremont, a dashing adventurer and soldier, had focused national attention upon himself by his explorations in the Far West and his "California Battalion" in the Mexican War. In 1856 he was nominated as the Republican party's Presidential candidate. Although Fremont swept New England and New York and carried the states of the Old Northwest, he failed to carry Pennsylvania. His defeat by James Buchanan was due partly to fear of Southern secession and partly to lack of campaign funds. For additional information on Fremont, see Nevins, Fremont: The West's Greatest Adventurer (2 vols., New York, Harper & Brothers, 1928).
73. Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, endorsed Fremont's nomination and actively and vigorously campaigned for his election. Even though the tenuous political situation in Pennsylvania disturbed Greeley, he apparently recommended Mrs. Nichols to the National Kansas Committee.--See ibid., p. 512; HWS, v. 1, p. 187. For additional information on Greeley, see Glyndon G. Van Deusen, Horace Greeley: Nineteenth-Century Crusader (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953); Jeter A. Isely, Horace Greeley and the Republican Party, 1853-1861 (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1947); William Harlan Hale, Horace Greeley: Voice of the People (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1950); Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life (New York, J. B. Ford & Company, 1868).
74. For an account of the political situation in Pennsylvania during the Presidential campaign of 1856, see Nevins, Fremont: The West's Greatest Adventurer, v. 2, pp. 511-514; Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, v. 2, pp. 453, 487-488; Philip S. Klein, President James Buchanan: A Biography (University Park, The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1962), pp. 259-260.
75. ALS in "Hyatt Papers."
76. Mrs. Nichols finally arrived in New York City on October 20, 1856, and was placed in charge of organizing the relief movement in western New York.--See Hyatt to Horace White, New York, October 20, 1856, ibid.
    In a letter to White on October 27, Hyatt stated that with Mrs. Nichols's aid New York would be organized and "then we shall see good times."--Hyatt to White, October 27, 1856, ibid.
    On October 30, 1856, a meeting was held at Hope Chapel in New York City to organize Ladies' Aid Societies to relieve the destitute and suffering Kansas settlers. Mrs. Nichols, along with Hyatt and Charles Robinson, spoke about the Kansas situation. She gave an account of her own observations during her residence in the territory and stated that "some of the women were so poorly clad that they are ashamed to be seen by strangers, and many of them have cut up their undergarments to make pantaloons for the men who were obliged to stand guard."--New York Daily Tribune, November 1, 1856. Also, see ibid., October 30, November 4, 6, 1856; New York Daily Times, October 31, 1856.
77. Broadside in "Nichols Papers." Mrs. Nichols's letter was published in the New York Tribune on November 8, 1856, along with Thaddeus Hyatt's "Appeal to the Freemen of New York." In his appeal for Kansas, Hyatt stated that Mrs. Nichols was "fully accredited, empowered to both organize committees and to receive and forward contributions" throughout the western New York counties.
    The Lily also published Mrs. Nichols's letter and announced; "Many of our correspondents have inquired for this lady, whose skillful pen so long served the Woman's Rights cause as few can; and, finding the following letter from her we were sure they would be pleased to see a word from her, and hear of her thoughts and words."--The Lily, December 15, 1856.
78. ALS in "Hyatt Papers."
79. Prior to her letter to Hyatt, Mrs. Nichols had forwarded a draft for $300 to her sons. See receipt of A. O. and C. H. Carpenter, Lawrence, November 21, 1856, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
80. The author has checked several New York newspapers--Rochester Daily Democrat, Rochester Daily Union, Albany Evening Journal, Albany Atlas and Argus, Elmira Advertiser, and Ithaca Journal--and has not been able to locate information concerning Mrs. Nichols's lectures in New York. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols briefly discussed some aspects of her New York lecture tour.--See HWS, v. 1, pp. 188-189.
81. Autograph Receipt Signed in "Hyatt Papers" (hereafter cited ARS).