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Kansas Historical Quarterly - A Southerner's Viewpoint of the Kansas Situation, 2

1856-1857
The Letters of Lieut. Col. A. J. Hoole, C. S. A.
--Concluded

Edited by William Stanley Hoole

May 1934 (Vol. 3, No. 2), pages 145 to 171
Transcribed by lhn; additional HTML by Susan Stafford;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.


Kansas Historical Quarterly, May 1934Douglas, K. T., Nov. the 2nd., 1856
My Dear Sister

IT IS quite true there is very little of interest to write that I can think of at present, but perhaps I may be able to fill a couple of pages . . . . I know you are always glad to hear from us, so I have endeavoured always to write to some one every week since I left home.

I guess you wish me to say something about myself, &c. Well, my health is still improving. I thought I was taking the rheumatism, but it has got well, and I suppose it was nothing more than taking cold in my shoulder while at Lecompton, by lying with it near a window where a pane of glass was out. I am quite well of it now. I am quite well at this time, but after eating, whether I eat much or little, I feel a choking sensation in my chest which sometimes turns me sick for a few minutes . . . . The Dr. advised me yesterday to get some whiskey, and make me some bitters, but I would have to give 75¢for a bottle full, and I dislike to spend so much money. Moreover, I don't like the idea of buying liquor anyhow. I am one of the few men in this Ter. who do not drink.

I have been making a bedstead and doing other work, trying to fix up the house, and other things comfortably for the winter. I tell you, we look quite stylish with our new bedstead (a teaster, at that) and the curtain all round. We intend to make us a mattress this week. We have the tick already made & a hackle ready for the hackling shucks. So you see we will soon be very comfortably fixed. Betsie has quilted a quilt, and we have two thick comforts besides.

Our purse is getting low, but I still think we will have enough to take us through the winter, so you need not fear of our suffering.

Court is still going on in Lecompton. One man tried for being engaged in the Hickory Point fight on Saturday, has been convicted and will go to the penitentiary, I guess. Four have been acquitted for that, but then they have to be tried again for being in the fight on the day after (Sunday). They are however getting on very slowly with the court. I went up yesterday and elbowed my way

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to get a claim, so that my trip here may not in the end be a final loss. Another reason is, I don't think that the difficulty is altogether over here. If the Abolitionists find that the Southerners are leaving, they will immediately begin to send immigrants, so that in the end we will lose Kansas, for which we have spent so much and suffered so much already. I don't think, on the whole, that I can lose much more than I have already lost by remaining here a year longer. That will be the time which I have said I would return home, from the first, and if nothing happens to change my mind, I will remain till then.

I am now, and have been for some weeks, in as good health as I ever was in my life. 'Tis true at one time I thought that I had the rheumatism, but it lasted only a short time, and I have come to the conclusion that I must have hurt my shoulder, or taken cold in it. The choking sensation which I felt after eating is removed. I got a bottle of whiskey, and filled it half full of cherry bark, which cured me.

'Tis a pleasure for me to hear how much love all of our Negroes have for me. God knows they do not throw away their love away on me, who does not reciprocate their feelings. Remember me to them all, and also tell "Maum" Judy howdie for us. Tell Mary if we live to see next year this time, we may drink some of her locust beer. I could fill a sheet in messages to them all, but I have not time, but they may all rest assured that I think of them a great deal.

There is an effort in progress to make me up a school here in Douglas, worth $30 a month, but they don't go at it rightly. I have succeeded in making myself very popular so far as my acquaintance extends. All seems to think a great deal of me. I have been told that I was the very man for Kansas-I mend boots, make axletrees for wagons, work at the carpenter's trade, and in fact do any little thing of the kind, so make myself useful. Some have gone so far as to suggest me to the committee as a nominee for the legislature, but it was thought I was too little known in the county. But enough of bragging-!

Don't fret yourself about me . . . . Were it not for you, my dear Sister, I would hear from home but seldom. I get the Flag, but there is very little news in that. I have received precious few letters besides yours since I have been here. Col. Wilson has written to me twice, once while in Virginia, and one I got from him today. He speaks in his last as if he would be glad to see me in Old Darlington, tho', like me, he fears the danger is not over.

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into the court room. They were examining a witness, and though I stayed in there at least fifteen minutes, the lawyer only asked the witness three simple question. I should have remained in the room longer but I happened to cast my eyes on the head of the man standing by me, and it was so well speckled with nits that I thought it prudent to get away from him, for fear I might catch the disease.

There is very little regard paid here to the Sabbath. Now, while I am writing, the hammers of the carpenters are going just as if it were not Sunday, down at Lane & Co's steam-mill.

I don't know how many guns I have heard this morning. One of my neighbours killed a beef. Last Sunday some of them went driving, and so it goes on. I have sometimes thought that I could tell Sunday from any other day in the week by the number of guns. But then, I don't know but that I am doing as bad-as I generally take Sunday to write letters. But I have no other way to pass off the day. I get tired of singing and reading, in fact I can scarcely find time any other day, and on the whole, it is as quiet and as harmless a way of breaking the Sabbath as any other.

We have had no very cold weather yet, though the ground has been frozen over several mornings. It is now raining and the wind is bearing around to the north, so we may expect some cold weather. Provisions have taken a fall in price; bacon can now be bought at 100, corn at from 50 to 62½ cts., flour at. from $4 to $5 pr. sack, butter is worth 35 cts. per lb., sugar and coffee are worth 20 cts. per pound, &c., &c.

Betsie joins me in sending love to you all. Your ever affectionate brother, A.

P. S. Tell Stin that Mr. Ellison & family are well, and that Mr. E. was one of those who went driving last Sunday. He had a shot at two large old bucks, and the dogs ran off after a wolf.

Douglas, K. T., Novbr. the 20th, '56.
My ever dear Sister

Yours of the 3d. inst. has just come to hand, and though it is now 7 o'clock at night & I am pretty tired, I have seated myself to answer it, as by doing so, you will get it four days earlier than if I should postpone till another day, the mail not leaving here after Saturday till Tuesday. I would not have time to write to-morrow and get it in the mail, as I am at work.

I have made up my mind to remain here till next fall, and see another crop made, when planters will have nothing in a political way to contend with to throw them back. I wish also to endeavor

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 147

to get a claim, so that my trip here may not in the end be a final loss. Another reason is, I don't think that the difficulty is altogether over here. If the Abolitionists find that the Southerners are leaving, they will immediately begin to send immigrants, so that in the end we will lose Kansas, for which we have spent so much and suffered .we much already. I don't think, on the whole, that I can lose much more than I have already lost by remaining here a year longer. That will be the time which I have said I would return home, from the first, and if nothing happens to change my mind, I will remain till then.

I am now, and have been for some weeks, in as good health as I ever was in my life. 'Tis true at one time I thought that I had the rheumatism, but it lasted only a short time, and I have come to the conclusion that I must have hurt my shoulder, or taken cold in it. The choking sensation which I felt after eating is removed. I got a bottle of whiskey, and filled it half full of cherry bark, which cured me.

'Tis a pleasure for me to hear how much love all of our Negroes have for me. God knows they do not throw away their love away on me, who does not reciprocate their feelings. Remember me to them all, and also tell "Maum" Judy howdie for us. Tell Mary if we live to see next year this time, we may drink some of her locust beer. I could fill a sheet in messages to them all, but I have not time, but they may all rest assured that I think of them a great deal.

There is an effort in progress to make me up a school here in Douglas, worth $30 a month, but they don't go at it rightly. I have succeeded in making myself very popular so far as my acquaintance extends. All seems to think a great deal of me. I have been told that I was the very man for Kansas-I mend boots, make axletrees for wagons, work at the carpenter's trade, and in fact do any little thing of the kind, so make myself useful. Some have gone so far as to suggest me to the committee as a nominee for the legislature, but it was thought I was too little known in the county. But enough of bragging-!

Don't fret yourself about me . . . . Were it not for you, my dear Sister, I would hear from home but seldom. I get the Flag, but there is very little news in that. I have received precious few letters besides yours since I have been here. Col. Wilson has written to me twice, once while in Virginia, and one I got from him today. He speaks in his last as if he would be glad to see me in Old Darlington, the', like me, he fears the danger is not over.

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Well, my dear Sister, I am on the middle of the 4th. page, and I thought, when I commenced, that I would not write two. But I feel now that if I had the time, I could write another sheet, but it is time for one who rises before day to be in bed; it is nearly 9 o'clock.      So I will close by sending love to [the family] and all inquiring friends . . . .

Your loving brother, A. J. H.

P. S. Tell Stin to ride Grant sometimes fox-hunting. I am afraid he will forget how to run in the woods before I go back.

Douglas, K. T., Nov. the 30th, 1856
Dear Mother,

We are enjoying excellent health, tho I have had a cold for some days past, which is not unusual in all places. The weather has been pretty disagreeable for more than a week, cloudy and windy, but no rain. Yesterday was a very clear still day, and to-day it is fair but windy & cold. I have not felt the cold more severely than I do winters at home, but then we have had some as cold weather here already as it commonly gets in So. Ca.

I have had to lay down my pen for three or four hours. A young man came in, and asked me to go with him up to Lecompton, to preaching. So I dressed and went, but the preacher did not come, and we had our walk (about 6 miles) for nothing. I am astonished to see so little regard paid to the Sabbath, as there is here among people who seem to be enlightened in every other respect. When I went up to Lecompton today, the steam-mill was going just as if it were not Sunday, and all of the groceries were open, as on any week-day. But this is pretty much the case all over the Ter.-those who do not work go hunting, or do something else, not much better. For my own part, I generally take Sundays to write letters, but then I have very little other time to write, unless at night, and I don't feel able to afford to buy candles for this purpose. It is also a quiet way of spending the day. On the whole I don't see as there can any harm arise from it. It certainly disturbs no one.

I am regarded here as a very quiet, consistent, moral man, and one of the ladies said the other night that she had often thought that I ought to be a preacher. Would to the Lord that I was good enough to be one! A young man belonging to the Baptist church asked me yesterday to go with him to-day to see one of our neighbours, and on my refusing to go with him on the grounds that it was Sunday, he told me that I was not a Methodist, but a strict Presby-

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 149

terian. I have written the above, my Dear Mother, not to make you believe that I am any better than I was when I left home (for I feel truly that I am worse) but merely to let you know that I am not affected by the recklessness of those around me.

I and the young Baptist man (mentioned above) has some arguments on doctrine. He has read Graves' Iron Wheel, and argues for him, but I got him the other night. He came over to our house expressly to argue with me. I had told him to prepare himself before he came, and I suppose he had at least fifty passages of Scripture picked out, but I think I headed him on his own selections. He is the first male member of the church I have met with, that I know of (except the preacher) since I have been here. It is quite a treat for me to find some one to argue with on Scripture. But enough of this-

My dear Mother, I don't want you to fret yourself about me. I am afraid that you imagine that I am not getting along well, and conjure up a great many imaginary hardships, dangers, &c., that I have to undergo. Don't let such things disturb your mind. I am getting along very well; my health is good. I expect that I weigh as much at this time as I ever did. We have a plenty to eat, a pretty comfortable house, and on the whole are getting along finely.

The neighbours around Douglas have been trying to make up a school for me, but I don't think they will succeed . . . . It is thought that everything will commence with new life [in the spring]. Money will be more plentiful and a greater demand for work of every kind . . . . I can live very comfortable until then, but I am deprived of many, yes, very many, luxuries that you all enjoy, such as agreeable company, church-going, &c., &c.

There is little or no excitement here. The Kansas militia were disbanded last week; the prisoners were put in charge of the regulars, and as was expected, 36 of those who had not been tried, and 3 that had been and condemned to five years' imprisonment, have escaped. Nothing else could have been expected, when a good many of the regulars are Abolitionists themselves. I saw a statement in the paper today saying that Lane says he is coming to Kansas in the spring with 10,000 men. I don't believe he will ever show his face in Kansas again. My impression is that there will be no more fighting here, but we need men more than ever. Those who are here should stay at least a year longer, and more should come. The balance of the fighting will be at the ballot-box.

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Well, my Dear Mother, I have very little else to write. I write so often to some of you that I keep you posted as regards how things are going on here . . . . Sister writes that you are all very dull since I left. I don't see why that should be, for my company was not so very agreeable, nor was I so very cheerful that I should cause so much sadness by my absence . . . . If we all live, I expect we will spend the next Christmas after the one near at hand, together. God grant that we may all live to see it, and meet once more. My heart yearns toward the loved ones in Old Darlington, and if I find everything as I hope to find it, when I return, I don't think I shall leave home again soon-for any length of time. Give my love to all.

Ever Your Affectionate Son, A.

Douglas, K. T., Dec. the 21, 1556
Dear Jack[21]

I guess by this time you have heard of the increase in my family,[22] as I wrote to sister more than a fortnight ago, and requested her to let you know all about it . . . . The little brat is getting along finely, but it sleeps almost the whole time. It (or rather she, I should have said) is very small, but pretty good looking. I don't nurse her much yet, but when she gets so that she can notice and laugh &c., I expect I will play with her a good deal-but enough of this.

We are all well and getting along fine, though the weather is very cold. The ground has not been clear of snow for more than three weeks; before one snow can melt, another comes; every time it clouds up, we have some snow, and 'the river has been frozen over so that people have walked over it for two weeks or more.

I have been working for Gen'l Clarke for the last two weeks.

I hear that I please him better than any one he has ever had to work for him. I don't know how long he will want me. I will finish what I engaged to do in another day, but he tells me that he is not nearly done with me yet. He wishes me to go to Missouri to buy provisions for him, and sundry other services which he cannot trust others in his employ to do.

Jack, I get more & more out with the Ter. every day, and if it were not for the great cause, I would leave it as soon as I could. But I think that Southerners are needed here now as much as ever, and will be far the next twelve months, by which time I think that the political fate of Kansas will be decided. From what I can gather

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1557 151

from newspapers &c., I am of the opinion that there will be a great many Northern emigrants sent here next spring, and it would not surprise me at all if we have more fighting. There is something brewing. Only last week a party of desperadoes went to a man's house, dragged him out of bed, and gave him fifty lashes on his bare back, telling him that, if he did not leave in ten days, they would kill him. They have also threatened others in the same way. These men who have been thus treated and threatened are free-state men, but law and order loving men, and the reason they have been treated thus is because they would not join Lane's band, but served on the jury in trying some of his robbers. This and signs convince me that there is something in the wind, but let it come. We will meet it like men. But the South should not rest on her oars and think all is safe. If she does, she will be sadly mistaken. The Abolitionists are going to work slyly and cunningly, and if our eyes are not wide open, Kansas will be lost at last.

I shall try and tough it out till next fall, and do all that I can to save it. Let as many go back as will. I may be the only representative of Old Darlington here now, for ought I know. I received a letter from Bill Huggins the other day saying that he has heard that Scarborough had gone back, and all of the others may be there. I wish you would try to ascertain who are gone home from here, and let me know in your next. I know from experience that it is hard getting along here (Kansas is a hard road to travel) but then I should think that young single men could have toughed it out, at least one year. I am afraid they did not have the great cause at heart sufficiently. If I live and nothing happens more than I can imagine at this time, Kansas will have one representative from Old Darlington next fall, at any rate, let others do as they may!

The corn crops here were light this year. In fact I don't believe that it yielded but very little better than it is generally at home, tho to look at it growing, it seems that it would more than double acre for acre. It is planted a great deal thicker than we plant it in So. Ca., but the ears are no larger. This year was not a good one to test it, as all corn was planted too late on account of the War last spring. Sweet potatoes do but poorly here on account of the shortness of the season. I have not tasted one since I have been in the Ter. I saw some not long since, the largest about as large as a man's wrist, but they were generally about as large as corncobs. Irish potatoes do fine. The sweet are worth $2.50 a bushel, the Irish, $1.50.

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Brown sugar & the meanest Rio coffee is worth twenty cents a pound, cheese 30 cts, butter 40 cts, beef 78 cts, pork 6 cts, lard 15 cts, cornmeal $1.25 a bushel, flour $4.50 pr. sack of 80 lbs, molasses $1.50 per gallon. So by the above you can judge of the cheapness of living here in Kansas. Everything else is in the same proportion, except salt, which is $10 a sack.

There is one thing that I forgot to write in writing of the political state of affairs here. It is that Robinson (the Free State governor of the Ter.) has issued a proclamation ordering an election to fill a vacancy in the Free State legislature, and also ordering the legislature to meet at Topeka on the 2nd. Monday of January next, the same day that our legislature meets. Now we will see what Gov. Geary will do. This shows that the Abolitionists still do not recognize the existing laws of the Ter., and also that they do not consider Geary, but Robinson, as Governor.

Everyone who sees your rifle wants it. It is considered the prettiest little gun in the country. I went over the river not long ago with it and killed ten squirrels in twelve shots, and cut off the forefoot of the eleventh. A little before that I killed four in four shots, making fifteen times I hit in sixteen shots. But then I have been mad enough to break her several times-I have popped four caps at turkeys. It seems that every time I get a good chance to kill one, the cap pops without the gun going off. I came on a doe the other day which made a few leaps and stopped behind a cluster of vines and bushes. I shot through at her, and she ran off, though I thought I hit her. About a week after one was found dead, so I would not be surprised if it were not the same deer.

You must let Mother know of your getting this as soon as possible . . . . Do write to me. . . . Ever Yours &c., A. J. H.

Douglas, K. T., Dec. the 28th., 1856 My Dear Mother-

It is now after night, but I must write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting on. My common practice has been to write to one of you every Sunday, but it happened that I could not write this morning . . . . We are quite well; Betsie is now by the fire holding our little one, which is growing finely. I think it will begin to notice and laugh in a short time. I have made a bet with a young lady that she will talk at six months old. All in fun, of course. Betsie makes a great to do over her, but it is too young for me to notice much yet.

I have very little that is interesting to write, except that I should

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go into detail of what has transpired in the Ter. in a political way, and that would be too great a task for me to undertake. Everything appears to be going on very quietly here, but I fear that the North is working secretly. I have suspicions that they are buying over the influence of some who have heretofore called themselves Proslavery men. There are some who were with us, that I feel pretty confident are now working with the North. I have always watched them with a suspicious eye; they are men that I never put much confidence in, tho others did. But you will hear more of this before long. I will now change the subject.

What sort of a Christmas have you all spent? For my own part, it has been very dull. I went over the river squirrel hunting, walked over the ice. After I got over I heard that there was to be a meeting of the settlers on that side about a mile above. So I went up to the meeting. There were about 12 or 15 men there; one got up and endeavoured to explain the object of it, and after getting up and trying to explain it about a half dozen times, making in all a speech about two hours long, I gathered enough to find out that it was to appoint a delegate to the Proslavery convention to be held in Lecompton on the 2nd Monday in January. The speaker was drunk. They had four bottles of liquor, and before the meeting broke up (for it did not adjourn) one got so drunk that he fell down; another got about a hundred yards off, and there he lay. Others got pretty boozy, but they kept their feet. At least they were up when I left. Thus passed my Christmas. Betsie went to our next neighbour and spent the day.

I have been working for one of our neighbours (Gen'l Clarke) for two or three weeks, and I intend going back to work for him in a few days, but I will have to go to Lecompton tomorrow to buy some flour or meal . . . . If provisions were not so high, I could make a very respectable living here. Flour has got up to $6 pr hundred, meal $1.37½ per bu., salt $4 per bu., sugar and coffee 20¢ pr lb., &c., so you see this is a dear place to live in.

It has been colder here for a month past than I ever saw, tho I have not minded it much more than I did the winters at home. The river is frozen so thick that they are hauling logs across on the ice with two yokes of oxen, so you may know the ice must be thick. We have had eight falls of snow, but it has never fallen more than an inch thick. I tell the folks here that I would not make this my home for life, if I had the whole Ter. There is no way that one can enjoy himself. No matter how much one makes, there is little en

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joyment in it at last. I will stay till I see that there is no use in my remaining any longer, and then Ho! for So. Ca.

In the meantime I will try to make all the money I can don't fret yourself about me. I tell you honestly and sincerely that I am getting on well. Let us endeavour always to look on the bright side, remembering that the same One who watches over you there is watching over, and I hope, protecting me here. Let us endeavour to look to Him to spare our lives to meet each other again . . . . Ever Your affectionate son, Axalla.

P. S. There is a weed here that they say put in whiskey will cure the rheumatism. I have been told that it has never failed to cure the worst cases. I intend carrying some home with me when I go. If you are not well of it, I will get some, pound it up, and send it to you.

Douglas, K. T., Jany the 4th., 1857
My Dear Sister-

Your very acceptable and agreeable letter of the 11th. Ult. came to hand in due time, and I now seat myself to write you one in return, as it is Sunday, which is my usual time for writing.

I generally shave & clean up on Sunday mornings, just as if I were going to church, and then seat myself and write my letters, after which I spend the rest of the day in singing, and talking with Betsie. Now that I have a little fellow, I nurse and play with it, but it is too small to be interesting yet. Wait till it gets old enough to laugh & jabber; then I will have fun. She has begun to notice some already.

I commenced a job of work for my neighbour (Mr. Ellison) on the 1st. inst. . . When I get through with his work, I have another to do for Gen'l Clarke, up on the prairie. . . We have had very cold weather here for a month, but I find that I can stand it about as well as any one else here, tho most were raised farther North than I was. The river is still frozen so that wagons can cross on the ice.

Everything is apparently going on quietly here, but I fear it will not continue so long. Several Proslavery men who held public offices have been turned out, and it is thought that the Gov. is at the bottom of it. There is a plan on foot to get him turned out, at least I think so. I heard some hints on Christmas day which will make me an important witness against him. My opinion of him, and I told my friends so from the first, is that he is a double-faced Free-Soiler. I have never had much faith in Pennsylvania poli

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 155

ticians, Buchanan not excepted. Geary is an energetic Gov., but I believe that he is working for the Free-soil party here. I wish I may be deceived. One week more, I think, will throw light on his maneuvers. Robinson has issued his Proclamation, calling together the Free-soil legislature to meet at Topeka on the 2nd. Tues. in this month. If Geary permits them to convene, then he will admit by his actions that he is not The Gov. of Kansas, but that Robinson is The Gov. The Proslavery legislature convenes tomorrow week, so we will then have two law-making bodies in the Ter., assembled at the same time. Tine will soon test the matter. But enough of this.

. . . I am glad to hear that you have so many potatoes. They would be a treat for us here; we have not tasted one since we came.

I am sorry to hear of the short cotton crop, though it is just as I expected from the accounts I saw from different parts of the state, and that is why I fear that the Negroes' eyes magnify.

Well, my dear Sister, I have written a very scattering, disconnected letter so far, and I have but little else to write. Now I must come back to myself again . . . . Every time it clouds up here, it snows. The ground is perfectly white now, but the snow will not average more than two inches. The old settlers say this is a remarkable fall; the ground has not been clear of snow for a month. I have bought some pork that was killed last Friday week, but it is frozen so that I can't salt it, and if the weather continues thus, there will be no use.

Give our love to [the immediate family]. Tell all the Negroes howdie, "Maum" Judy, Frank & Delia included; tell them to be faithful and do the best they can. If we all live and nothing happens, we will see each other next fall. Your loving Brother, Axalla.

Douglas, K. T., Jany the 11th., 1857

Dear Cousin Billy

I wrote a letter the other day to A. W. Sexton, stating to him how near I came to dying a few days before, which letter I presume he will get some days before you get this, and so I am satisfied he will tell you all about it. I will only say that I had a severe attack of the bilious cholic, but I now feel quite well. Betsie is also quite well, & so is the little one, which, by the bye, is growing finely and begins to notice a good deal. It has not been sick in the least yet.

Everybody praises it as the prettiest thing in the country, and you may know we think so. I think it is almost, if not quite, as pretty as Lizzie Cooper, and you know I always thought she was the

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prettiest thing in the world. Our little one's hair is shedding out and I am afraid it will not be so pretty when it gets a little older. The women around here say they never saw a child grow faster, still it does not look blubberly and helpless as some children do, but looks firm and hard.

Everything is apparently going on smoothly here in a political way, but I fear the storm has hardly commenced yet. I am getting to despond a good deal. I know they are going on in the north with their aid societies, &c., and I would not be surprised if they are not planning another invasion of Kansas next spring, and at the same time I hear of nothing being done by the South. Those who came out last year have mostly gone back, and I hear of no others coming. The South seems to have given us few over and has lost all care for the Ter. I fear Kansas will be lost yet, tho we now have the upper hand. For my part, I will try to weather the storm, and if we fall or fail, I may be found at my post. I will have the consolation of feeling and knowing that I did all I could for the South and our cause. But Kansas is a hard road to travel and God alone knows how I will weather it through. Few have made greater sacrifices than I have, as yet, but if we gain our object I will not regret what I have lost by the operation.

There have been two balls lately in which Proslavery and Abolitionists mingled together, and there is to be one in Lecompton next Thursday, of which The Governor is first manager, but in spite of all this, there is still bitter feeling existing between the two parties. Our legislature convenes tomorrow, I said our because the Abolitionist legislature was to have met at Topeka last Tuesday, but I have not heard from there. The great and engrossing subject here at this time, is the Gov. & his actions. The papers are full of him, most condemning him. There is also another topic in vogue, the bank. Some are in favor of chartering a bank, and some not. For my own part, if I were ever so much in favor of a bank, I would oppose chartering the one in contemplation, as the capital all comes from the northern states. We are to have a vote tomorrow on the subject in order to instruct the legislature. Several prominent Proslavery men have been turned out of office, and I have no doubt it has been through the representatives of the Gov.- I tell you, we are down on him in this section. I regard him as a double-faced freesoiler, tho I have had some of our party to find fault of me for viewing him in that light. That was my opinion from the first, for all he seemed at the time to be acting in our favor. Time will prove!

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 157

We have had very cold weather for some time. The snow is now from 4 to 10 inches deep. They say it is as cold here as it was any time last winter, and it will not get any colder. If it does not, I can stand it pretty well, though it is too cold for me to like to live here. I find that I can stand it as well as anyone else, and I believe I complain as little as anyone. The most I hate about it is, that when it is too cold to work, it is not too cold to eat, and so I am losing. I saw a prairie wolf this morning for the first. One of our neighbor young men caught it and called me over to see it. We are going out in the morning, if it is a good morning; they come to a dead ox a short distance from here, and he says he knows he can start one. I will not seal this letter till I can give you our success.

P. S. Monday morning, Jany. 12th. Well, I went on the wolf chase this morning, and such a chase it was. The hounds were trailing it and one of the grey hounds saw it, and ran it about 200 yards, and caught it. It was a small one. The prairie wolves are great fools; they will run in the openist place they can find. This was on the ice on the river. I saw two more on the ice about one mile above us, but we didn't go after them. at prairie chickens this morning, but missed.

I shot twice

Yours sincerely,

A. J. H.

Douglas, K. T., Feby the 22nd., 1857
My Dear Mother

I have been elected, by the legislature, a judge of the county court, which I have been told pays $3 a day, for every day I serve. I was elected without any solicitation on my part, by the unanimous vote of both houses. It is however an office of more honor than profit. I go now by the title of Judge.

Quite a serious & shocking affair took place in Lecompton on last Wednesday (the 18th. inst.), the particulars of which I will relate in as few words as possible. Some two months ago the sheriff (Jones) resigned his office, and the judges of the county court, of which I am now one, appointed a young man named Shirard [William T. Sherrard] from Virginia to fill his place, but the Gov. refused to give him his commission. Shirard met him in the anteroom of the legislature about two weeks ago and spat upon him. The Governor's friends (Abolitionists of course) held a meeting of indignation against Shirard and commending the Gov.'s course. Shirard's friends (myself among the number) attended the meeting. The Gov.'s friends, convicts included, were all armed. After several speeches Shirard got up to explain his position to the meeting (so

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I learned, for I had left the meeting and gone to a store about fifty yards off, to warm). In the course of his speech he said something, and a man by the name of Sheppard gave him the lie. Shirard dared him to repeat it, when they both drew pistols and commenced firing at each other, but neither receiving a mortal wound, they both closed in, when they were separated. At this time a young man of the Gov.'s household ran up to Shirard and shot him in the head. He was taken into custody, but gave bail, and has sloped [sic]. Shirard lived till yesterday evening. He is to be buried at 2 o'clock today. Shep[p]ard was shot through the body near the hip, but [it] is not considered dangerous. I am glad that I was off when the firing was going on. Ex-Sheriff Jones had his watch chain shot off, and another man was shot in the knee.

Monday morning, the 23rd.-My dear Mother, when I had written the above I was called to go to the burying of Shirard, and did not have time to finish, but we did not bury him, but concluded to send his body back to Virginia. It is the opinion of a great many here that the meeting on the 18th. was got up expressly for the purpose of killing Shirard, Cramer, & Ex-Sheriff Jones, and that the Governor was knowing to it, if not one of the plotters. There is one thing certain, he was solicited by persons on both sides to try and stop the meeting, as persons were fearful that evil would grow out of it, but he refused. He is charged as being one of the plotters, publicly by the paper here. Well . . . enough of this.

I am going up to Lecompton this morning to take the oath of office, and get my commission, but Geary may refuse it, as he did poor Shirard, being as I am a South Carolinian. On the first of Sept. next we are to elect delegates to frame a state constitution, and if we succeed in making it a slave state, I can then return home feeling satisfied that my enduring hardships here have not been in vain. I feel pretty well satisfied that we have the majority in the Ter., but they can beat us in this county. Oh, how I wish that 1000 Southerners would come in the middle of March and settle in this county . . . . Well, my dear Mother, 'tis time I was going up town, so I must close . . . . Tell all the negroes howdie, howdie, howdie . . . and let me beg you not to fret yourself about me. Recollect that there is One who watches over us here in Kansas as well as those in So. Ca.-let me assure you that I will always try to keep out of danger as much as possible, but if we should never again meet on earth, let us try to meet where parting will be no more. Remember us in your prayers, is a request of your ever

Devoted Son, A. J. H.

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 159

Douglas, K. T., March 22nd., 1857

Dear Jack

Your very agreeable and acceptable, but very short letter, came to hand a few days ago . . . . We hear from home so seldom, that we can't help but feel sometimes uneasy . . . . I would like for you to tell us how they [the immediate family] are getting on, what each one is driving at, &c., &c. . . . You can scarcely imagine how anxious we are to know everything and a little more time and labor on the part of our dear friends, which would be of small sacrifice on their part, would be a source of great, Ali! very great satisfaction to us . . . . But enough

One year ago yesterday we left old So. Ca., oh, how time flies! and still it seems long to me since I have seen my dear friends. But, thank God! if it is His pleasure, we will see you all again in eight months more, for, if nothing happens, I expect to leave here about the middle of Nov. It is impossible for me to make a decent living here . . . . I am to commence a job of work tomorrow that will be worth $25 or $30 when it is finished, which I think I can do in two weeks at least. And, if we should have no more difficulty this year with the plagued Black Republicans, I think that there will be a better prospect of making money. I fear however that we will (but this in its proper place). I have sent 2/3rds of the money I had to Mo. to buy provisions, and when it comes, we will have enough to last us (without accident) three months at least, and I hope by that time to make money enough to send for another supply.

The Delaware lands, which I spoke of in my last letters home, have not been treated for, at least I fear so. So I shall have no hope of making such a speculation, as I hoped to do, that would remunerate me for my time and trouble in coming out here. Now for my reasons for fearing that we are to have more trouble here this summer, which will also inform you concerning the political state of the Ter.

In the first place, as perhaps you are aware already, we are to have an election on the 16th. of June to elect delegates to frame a state constitution. Well, the Black Republicans held a meeting on the 10th. at Topeka and have resolved not to vote on that occasion, [and] also that they will not allow themselves to be assessed for taxes, and will not submit to the laws. They also elected Chas. Robinson as their governor for the 2nd. time. It is also reported that Lane is in Lawrence and Old Brown[23] (the notorious Ossa

160 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

wattomie murderer) brought. in 100 men a few days ago. How true these things are I can't say, but it is generally believed. Gov. Geary left the Ter. secretly last week and took a boat for St. Louis. It is reported here, but I doubt its correctness, that he died at Jefferson City of bleeding at the lungs. He looked in bad health before he left, and some think he has a fast consumption.

A letter was received from Washington a day or two ago, saying that Geary would certainly be turned out of office. Few of our party will cry about it, as we certainly can't endorse his course since he has been Gov. of Kansas. I hear that he said before he left, that he was heartily sick and disgusted with these Abolitionists. I sometimes think that he really meant well, but for want of judgment and bad advice, he committed grievous blunders. He thought he could come here and pat these rascals on the back and in a short time all would be right, but he was grievously mistaken in his men; he is gone however, and joy go with him.

I heard yesterday that Secy Woodson, who is acting Gov. in the absence of the regular Gov., received despatches from Washington that there is to be two regiments of regulars stationed at Lecompton to be at the disposal of the Gov., [and] that some of them are to go around with the tax collector. If this is true, it is good news. This, Jack, is all the political news of importance.

The mails have been irregular for the last month or more, which may account for your not hearing from us, as you said, for I am sure I write every week and sometimes twice a week.

#160;   You said in your last that the Estate Negroes had been divided, and that Cousin Billy got Peggy and her children. If I recollect aright, that is the lot which he preferred, but you did not tell us of the others, who got such and such lots. All such as that would interest us . . . . Make a big crop of corn and potatoes, as I wish to buy my supply for next year. Oh, I wish I had a peck of sweet potatoes now; I have not tasted one in a year!

Ever your friend & Brother-in-law, A. J. H.

Douglas, K. T., Apl. the 12th., 1857
Dear Jack

Your most acceptable letter of the 23rd. March came to hand yesterday, with a check on the State Bank of N. Y. for seventy-five ($75). I doubt very much whether I can get it cashed conveniently anywhere near here, but perhaps I may be able to trade it off in Westport, Mo., or perhaps at Leavensworth City. If I fail to pass it off my hands without putting myself to too much expense and

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 161

trouble, I will enclose it back to you. I shall go to Lecompton tomorrow and see what I can do, but I have very little hopes, as neither of the merchants there trade in New York; two of them trade in Philadelphia, and the other in Kansas City & St. Louis. They are all rather of the dropshot sort of merchants anyhow.

I had the pleasure of hearing a sermon preached today in the City of Lecompton, the first I have heard since sometime about the middle of July last. The text today was Romans V, 1. It was preached by the Presiding Elder of the M. E. Church South in Kansas-by the way, a pretty good, plain, matter-of-fact sort of sermon. I enjoyed it pretty well, tho I had to stand the whole time during service, as there were only enough seats for the ladies.

Well Jack, I have very little to write except what I have written . . . for the Flag, which is political, and you will see it. I will tell you, however, that. Betsie got bloodthirsty this evening. The news came that Jim Lane was at a house about 100 yards from the one we live in. So Betsie and some of the other "Border Ruffians!" women here talked about killing him. I saw him as he was going off about a mile from me on the prairie, which is the first time I ever saw him to know it., tho' I was once within 150 yards of him, but could not tell him from any of the rest of his men. I am firmly of the opinion that we will have more trouble here this year, if our new Gov. is not a man of the right grit.

Betsie & the baby are both quite well. We have named the little scamp Ada Constantia. What think you of that name? She grows remarkably fast, and some of the women think that her under gums are swollen as if about. to cut teeth, but I think it is quite young. However, I know little about these things.

Betsie joins me in love to you, . . . Tell all the Negroes howdie, and give my best regards to all enquiring friends. . Ever Yours sincerely, A. J. H.

Douglas, K. T., April the 19th., 1857
My Dear Sister

I received the draft which you mentioned, from Jack, God bless .him for his kindness. I have not yet got. it cashed tho one of the merchants in Lecompton says he will take it at 1 pr. ct. discount, if I should happen in when he had money enough on hand to take it up. His clerk told me yesterday that if I had been there a day or two before, he would have taken it, as he was in want of one, but he had got one that suited him better, as it was for an even $100. It would be worth 1½ pr. cent premium in St. Louis, but that would

162 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

cost more than it would come to, to take it there . . . . It may be that we will be able to get along without using the $75 . . . until we start home.

We still have winter weather here. On the night of the 17th Inst. the rain fell and froze on the ground, so that everything was covered with ice. It then snowed a coarse hominy snow till the ground was white. It all melted off however yesterday, but the wind still blows cold from the west, too cold for me to go to Lecompton to preaching. I went last Sunday . . . it was quite a treat to hear a sermon, not having heard one before since last July- The Presiding Elder (Bradford) called on Betsie and me last Friday. He appears to be a very clever man. He wants Betsie to send for her letter from the church, and deposit it here in Lecompton, but I don't know as there would be any use in that, as we are going back again. He hinted strongly at me about joining also, and I would do so, but I fear I am not fitting, and never will be, to join the church.

I begin to hope that we will have no more fighting in the Ter. Stanton,[24] the Lieutenant Gov., has arrived. He made a speech in Lecompton the other day, declaring most emphatically that the laws should be enforced. He came out boldly and asserted that he was born Proslavery, had lived Proslavery, and would die Proslavery. Walker,[25] the Gov., will be here about the middle of next month. He is also Proslavery. So I think the Abolitionists will be afraid to risk another fuss.

My health has been very good for more than a week, and I have been at work . . . . Little Ada is well and growing finely. She is a perfect prodigy, so pretty, smart, &c . . . . We named her Ada Constantia, tho I call her Snooks, Snipes, Zip, Snapp, &c.

Who could not be happy with the best of wives and the prettiest best, smartest, and most interesting [of] little babies?

I think I will leave this part of the Ter. after a while. Gen'l Clarke has been down to Fort Scott and speaks so favorably of that section, that I believe I will go there. He (Clarke) is going, and says he is going to carry me. He says they want a male academy there. They have a good female. It is a fine opening, and he says there are a good many vacant claims in that section. It is much

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1556-1857 163

warmer than it is here. Howdie all the Negroes for me to Your Affectionate Brother,

Give my love to Mother. and write soon, dear sister, Axalla.

Douglas, K. T., May 24th., 1857
My Dear Mother

I received a letter from Sister by Wednesday's mail, dated the 7th. Ult. which I will answer by writing to you, as I wrote my last to her . . . . I am sorry to hear that you will have no fruit this year, and I fear from all the accounts I can get, that the prospects for a crop are quite gloomy. Spring is very backward there as well as it is here. People are not done planting corn here yet, and what is planted does not seem to come up. We had just had a sprinkle of rain and it looks as if we will have more directly. I wish we could have a good rain, for then perhaps everything would come up and grow.

Tell Sister I thank her for the seed she sent me, but I wish she had sent me the cotton seed also, as there are a good many of my neighbours who have never seen it growing, and I am anxious to see what it would do here.

Times are very hard here at this time. I hear that there are some families down south of here, about 20 miles, who are on the point of starving. They are some of the northern emigrants, sent out by the Aid Society. The North has done more for her emigrants than the South has done; still I believe they are getting along worse. In some parts of the Ter. I hear they are generally quarreling and fighting among themselves, burning each other's house, &c.

The Indians are playing the mischief out west of this. They have taken Fort Laramie, which is about 150 [?] miles from here, I believe. I have not learned what tribe or tribes. Eight hundred regulars left Fort Leavensworth last week for the scene of action, so I guess they will soon be brought to terms. Everything is going on quietly here with the exception of what I have told you above.

We are to hold a meeting in Lecompton to-morrow to nominate delegates for the convention. Gov. Walker has not arrived yet, but. we are looking for him this week.

I did not go down to Fort Scott as I expected, but I asked Genl. Clarke & ex- Governor Ransom[26] to enquire what chance there would be for me there . . . . Betsie's health has not been so good for several weeks. She has a bad cold . . . . . Our little one has

164 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

also had a cold and cough, which is the first time that she has been the least unwell since she has been born. She has cut four teeth and two more are almost through. She can sit alone, grows fast, &c., &c. Everybody says she is a prodigy!

Mr. Ellison had a Negro woman that died yesterday; she had been sick for a long time . . . . The Negro left an infant about a fortnight old, the poorest little object you ever saw. It does not weigh more than three pounds. There has been a great deal of sickness here in Douglas this spring, mostly from colds.

I killed a rattlesnake yesterday, but it was a small one, having only three rattles & a button. One was seen by the path I go to get water, very large, by a man yesterday and I was looking for it when I found the one I killed. There are not many snakes here, but I believe there are as many rattlesnakes as any other kind.

Provisions are still very high here; bacon has fallen a little, but I believe everything else is on the rise. Cows are beginning to mend, and milk is getting plentiful. My neighbours tell me to come after milk, but I do so very seldom-it looks too much like begging to me.

Well, My dear Sister, I have written all the news that I know of and some foolishness that I ought to have omitted. If I were with you, I could find enough to talk about for a week, but when I come to put it on paper, it is a different thing . . . . I hope in God's name we will see each other in about six months more. What I shall do when I get back to Darlington, I can't tell . . . but I guess I will try teaching again, and that will be a poor business, I fear. Give my love to [the entire family]

Your Affectionate Son, Axalla.

Douglas, K. T., July the 5th., 1857
Dear Sister

I received yours of the 17th. Ult. the day before yesterday. Betsie is enjoying very good health at this time . . . . As for my sown part, tho I keep up and have worked every day. . . I would perhaps have lain up some days, had it not been that I was (and I am) so anxious to get through with the job of work I have in hand for Col. Stanton. He is also in a hurry for it, as he says he wishes to get out of town. He wants me to occupy one of the rooms.

It would be much more convenient to live there than here, as wood and water are more convenient, and moreover, he wishes me to continue working for him . . . . I guess by the time Mr. Smith & I get through with the work, he (Stanton) wishes us to do

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 165

for him, we will be into his pockets about $150 . . . . I think I can get along here pretty well till I get ready to go home.

I fear, Sister, that coming here will do no good at last, as I begin to think that this will be made a Free State at last. 'Tis true we have elected Proslavery men to draft a state constitution, but I feel pretty certain, if it is put to the vote of the people, it will be rejected, as I feel pretty confident they have a majority here at this time. The South has ceased all efforts, while the North is redoubling her exertions. We nominated a candidate for Congress last      Friday-Ex-Gov. Ransom of Michigan. I must confess I have not much faith in him, tho he professes to hate the Abolitionists bitterly, and I have heard him say that Negroes were a great deal better off with Masters. Still, I fear him, but it was the best we could do. If we had nominated a Southern man, he would have been sure to have been beaten, and I doubt whether we can even elect a Northerner who favors our side.

One of out most staunch Proslavery men was killed in Leavensworth a few days ago. It is hard to ascertain the facts in relation to the murder correctly, but as far as I can learn, there was an election for something. The man who was killed (Jas. Lyle) went up to the polls and asked for a ticket. An Abolitionist handed him one which he, Lyle, tore in two. The other asked him why he did that; he replied he did all such tickets that way. The Abolitionist told him he had better not do so again, when Lyle told him if he would give him another he would. It was given him, and he tore it also, at which the Abolitionist drew a bowie knife and stabbed Lyle to the heart, then ran a few paces, drew a revolver, and commenced firing at the dying man. The fellow was taken prisoner and eighty men were sent from Lawrence that night, by Jim Lane, to keep Lyle's friends from hanging him. Gov. Walker put out for Leavensworth on Friday to have the prisoner carried to the fort, in order to keep the Abolitionists from rescuing him, or prevent Lyle's friends from hanging him by mob law.

There was a big ball in Lecompton on the night of the 3d., but they had no celebration there yesterday. The Abolitionists had a barbecue at Bloomington, about 8 miles south of this, but it was a party thing, I hear. There was a big celebration at Tecumseh and all were invited to attend, tho it was given by Proslavery men. Judge Cato was the orator of the day. I celebrated the day by hard work . . . so you may guess I felt like sleeping last night.

We have had no rain here for more than two months, worth a name,

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but the corn seems to grow some, dry as it is. My Irish potatoes look well, and are full of blossoms, but I have not tried them yet. My cotton grows fast, but the other seed you sent me did not come up.- Betsie is lying on the bed, reading the Bible & napping by turns, but I believe she does most of the latter. Ada is asleep. Oh, the sweet little creature. You may think I am only bragging, but I tell you she is the smartest child I ever saw, has the most sense, is the prettiest, and the best everything else. She can crawl, stand up and hold to a chair, has cut six teeth and will soon have two more . . . but she has precious little hair on her head.

Some of the ladies here don't call her anything but Whitey, she is so fair and looks so white. Enough of this

You must give my love to all . . . . Tell all the Negroes a hundred Howdies for us.

Your Affectionate Brother, Axalla.

P. S. 6th. Mr. Smith, the man engaged with me in work, was bit by a rattlesnake last night about midnight. He got up to give his child a drink of water, & stepped on the snake on the floor. He drank a pint of whiskey and got drunk. He has the Doctor with him this morning, and I hope he will be up in a day or two.

Douglas, K. T., Augst. 16th., 1857
Dear Cousin Mary

I suppose you are aware ere this that we have moved from the place we have been living ever since we have been here, and also that we have changed our manner of living. So Betsie, instead of complaining of the want of something to do, now is glad of a chance to rest . . . . Col. Stanton has bought a cow, and you would have been amused to see Betsie's first attempt at milking. If the cow switched her tail, Betsie would jump, and if she happened to look around at her, she was sure the cow would bite her the next thing. She was even afraid to shift the calf from one teat to another for fear it would bite her hand . . . . Oh, coming to Kansas has been a great school for my old wife. She has learned something about cooking, she has learned to wash, and milk cows, besides a good many other things. So when I go back it will save me one hand in the field, as I will have learned by then that in getting a wife I got a first-rate cook & washer, &c. Jesting aside, I really believe it will be of advantage to her, as she will be able to know how things should be done . . . . But to change the subject, I tell you . . . . I have the greatest little girl that ever was.

She is beginning to walk already and her mouth is forever

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 167

jabbering when she is awake. She hollows at everything that comes about, horses, cows, hogs, &c. Col. Stanton thinks she is a prodigy. I will be dogged if I know how many teeth she has- I will ask Betsie when she comes in. She beats everything in these parts; that is enough

Sister wrote to me in her last, bragging what a nice dinner she and Mother ate at your house a few days before she wrote, and it gave Betsie and me fits, we wanted to be there so bad. You must not eat up all of your cabbages before the 1st. of Dec., as I guess that will be all the kind of vegetables you will be able to have at that time . . . . We have had no vegetables yet this year, except some beets which Betsie bought at 15¢ a dozen. As for chicken I have almost forgotten how they taste as I have not eaten any in almost a year. I bought a few hens the other day, but have not got them home yet. I am to give 30 cents apiece, and have to go after them this morning, Sunday. As it is I don't like to do it, but it is a kind of case of necessity, as the family I bought them of is going to move to a different part of the Ter. to-morrow. I went after them yesterday but they had neglected to shut them up the night before, and I could not catch them. If provisions were not so dear here, I think we would be able to live, but when meal is $2.50 a bushel, flour $13 a barrel, meat 20 cts. a lb., sugar & coffee 20¢, molasses $1.50, eggs 30¢ a doz., salt from $2 to $3 a bushel, I tell you it takes money to live. We are doing, however, pretty well now. We have about $120 . . . on hand now, which is almost enough to take us back to So. Ca., and I intend to try to keep that much on hand ahead, for that purpose.

Well, I have very little more to write. We have had several good rains of late, which has improved the corn very much. There is a good deal of stir about politics at this time, but I cannot go into detail on the subject, as it would be too great a job. I will however say that the candidate we have nominated for Congress (ex-Gov. Ransom of Michigan) in one of his messages to the legislature of that state, was strong on the Free State side, which has been found out since his nomination, and he has been requested to withdraw. I don't know whether he will, or not enough of this . . . . Give my love to . . . all of the relations and friends . . . and tell all the negroes howdie, howdie, howdie for me . . . . Hoping that you are well and that, God willing, I will see you in the course of about 3½ months, I subscribe myself.

Your sincere and affectionate old Friend, A. J. H.

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Douglas, K. T., August the 23rd., 1857
My Dear Sister-

Your very acceptable and agreeable letter of the 5th. inst. came to hand yesterday. It is now 3 o'clock in the evening, when I now take my seat to write you. The reason I am so late commencing is that I have been attending a meeting to organize a Sunday School here in Douglas. A Sunday School missionary is going around in Kansas for this purpose. The day was so unfavorable that we had a small turn out, but I think we will have a school of 25 or 30 children. I was elected Librarian, Secretary & Treasurer of the Society and also expect to take charge of a class, at least till we can get enough teachers, which I hope we will. It is to be held in the house I moved from in Douglas.

I was in hopes that, if the peach and apples missed, you would have watermelons, but it seems you have not. I ate some yesterday for the first. I bought two small ones for 25¢ apiece. I also bought some beans & beets, and Betsie & I had a real old fashioned vegetable dinner today. I came near hurting myself, and Betsie complained of having eaten too much. We have to buy everything here- Great country this!

Betsie & Ada are both well, but Betsie is still very thin. I will say nothing of Ada, as you will think I am only bragging, but you will see and judge for yourself, if God is willing, some day, whether I am only bragging or not.

We have had a few pretty good rains lately and it is now raining a slow rain. Crops are improving, my cotton I see is pretty full of offers, blooms and small pods, tho' it is so late, I fear but few bolls will mature.

The Col. [Stanton] is a very fine man personally, and I like him so far very much, but he and I don't agree in politics. He is too much of a Union man. We argue a good deal, and once or twice I saw he got pretty warm. We get along first rate. He comes home about sundown and leaves soon after breakfast, so B[etsie] and I are alone all day . . . . We get 1½ gallons at a milking from our cow, or three gallons a day. Betsie makes from half pound to a pound of butter at a time . . . . I tell you, we are living at fountain head now, if we do have to pay high for everything. Col. Stanton bought a sow and six pigs to eat the buttermilk and scraps; He made Betsie a present of two of the pigs.

There is little of importance to write in the way of politics, though that. is all of the topic here at this time, as it has always been. There

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 169

is to be a meeting tomorrow within a few miles from here to nominate another candidate for Congress. It is by the Conservative Free State Men, nominally, but I fear it is gotten up by the Black Republicans to divide our party, as they have learned that a good many of us are dissatisfied with our nominee. But what surprises me and rather puts me at a loss to guess what they are driving at is that the Abolitionists' nominee says that if Col. Moore[27] is the nominee tomorrow, he (Parrott) will not run, but will do all he can for Moore. Moore was a representative to Congress from New York about 18 years ago, and made a speech against the Abolitionists while in Congress. I have heard him express himself in favor of Slavery- 'Tis hard to tell what will be the result.

Our Convention meets next month to frame a State Constitution. I am satisfied that a majority of said convention are Proslavery, but don't know how they will make it. The time for deciding the great question will soon be at hand. What will be the future state of Kansas no one can tell. So much for politics.

It has been quite cool here for several days, and now it is comfortable sitting by a fire . . . . Betsie has just cut one of the watermelons I bought yesterday, and I must lay down my pen and eat some.

You say that Cousin Billy says he will not write, but will give it to me when we return. Perhaps he may not have the chance of doing so in a year yet, for I may not go back this fall, but wait till next. So he had better give it to me by letter, for fear he may forget some by that time.

Give my love to [the immediate family] and tell all the Negroes a heap of howdies for me.

Douglas Co., K. T., Sept. 13th, 1857
Dear Sister

Yours of the 25th Mt. came to hand a few days ago . . . . 1 have very little of importance to write. The constitutional convention met last Monday and organized, elected Genl. Calhoun[28] Presi-

Do write soon to

Your ever loving brother, Axalla.

170 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

dent, and after being in session a week, they have adjourned, not to meet again till the 3rd. Monday in Oct. after the election is over. I guess they don't wish to adopt a constitution until they ascertain what the Abolitionists intend doing in the coming election. The great subject of contention here now is not whether the convention will frame a slave constitution, for 'tis almost certain they will, but whether it shall be put to the vote of the people for ratification, or not, and who will be the legal voters. So far as Gov. Walker is concerned, some endorse his course of policy and some do not; even those who do, admit that they do not approve of some of his acts. For my own part, I . . . endorse nothing he has done, let alone his general course of policy. A good many of our party appear to be very sanguine about this being a slave state, but I am fearful 'twill not, though I am sometimes high in hopes. I wish 'twas decided, one way or the other. I am getting tired of it, and wish to leave the Ter. We had Genl. McLean with us last. night; he is one of the same school of politics as myself, so he and Col. Stanton had it all the time. Stanton is one of the Walker & Buchanan school of politics.

Crops look very fine here at this time, the rains having set in about the right time, and if frosts should stay off long enough, there will be a good deal of corn made in this part of the Ter., and accounts from other parts of the Ter. are equally favorable.

We are all quite well at this time . . . getting along very comfortably. I think Col. Stanton doesn't want us to leave here this winter, [as] there is little prospect of his house being finished this fall, so that he can move his family here . . . . He has found out that we are not of the ordinary class of persons know that he does not like the idea of parting with us.

So far as living high is concerned, as the saying is, we are living in clover, but I believe I gave an account of our living in the letter I wrote to Mother last week. Our Sunday School I fear is a failure, owing to the difficulty of getting the library. The agent said that he would send the books to me at Lecompton, but they had not come yesterday.

I thought I would say nothing about Ada, as I fear you will say I am only bragging, but I will tell you however that she can walk all over the house, has eight teeth, and her gums seem swollen as if she was about to cut jjaw teeth . . . . Mrs. Ellison, who has had about a dozen children, and as many grandchildren, says that she never saw such a child in her life. Col. Stanton says she is

HOOLE: A SOUTHERNER'S VIEWPOINT, 1856-1857 171

a prodigy; he never saw such a forward child in his life. Whenever he comes home, she commences jabbering to him, which pleases him very much. He makes a great deal of her.

Well, my dear Sister, I expect you will find this a disconnected affair. When I was on the 2nd. page, my Oddfellow's widow & her sister came in, and in a few minutes after, two of her other sisters came, and so I could not write steady with them talking around me. You must excuse it, if it is written badly . . . . Give my love to Mother . . . . Tell all the Negroes howdie, and my best regards to enquiring friends.

Your loving Brother, Axalla.

Notes

21. John A. Brunson, b. March 3, 1828; killed, Second Battle of Manassas, August 31, 1862.
22. A daughter, Ada Constantia Hoole, b. December 12, 1856; m w. H. Lawrence, September 7, 1881; d. August 30, 1904.
23. John Brown (1800-1859), of Harper's Ferry fame.-Cf. Dictionary of American Biography, v. III, pp. 131-134.
24. Frederick Perry Stanton (1814-1894), born in Alexandria, Virginia. In the spring of 1857 he was appointed secretary of Kansas territory. Later in the year he served as acting governor.
25. Robert John Walker (1801-1869), of Mississippi, though a native of Pennsylvania. He reached Kansas and accepted the post of governor, Mays 5, 1857, on the pledge of President Buchanan that the state constitution should be submitted to the vote of the people. But after rejecting the forged and fraudulent returns in Kansas, and opposing the Lecompton constitution, he resigned, November 16 1857, and going before Congress, defeated the attempt to force the corrupt measure on the territory. Appleton, op. cit., v. VI, p. 329.
26. Epaphroditus Ransom (Democrat), state governor of Michigan, 1848-1850.-Cf. Encyclopedia Britannica 13th. ed., v. XVII-XVIII, p. 377.
27. Ely Moore (1798-1881), was born in Sussex county, New Jersey. From 1834 to 1838 he served in Congress, and won national fame in his reply to Waddy Thompson, of South Carolina. In 1853 President Pierce offered him the position of minister to England, but he declined; and accepted, on account of his health, an Indian agency in territorial Kansas. It is a part of the unwritten history of Kansas that he was to have been the first territorial governor, but his health forbade, and he recommended his friend, Andrew H. Reeder.-Cf. Albert R. Greene, "United States Land-Offices in Kansas," Kansas Historical Collections, v. VIII, p. 4.
28. John Calhoun (1808-1859), appointed as surveyor general of Kansas and Nebraska by President Pierce in 1854. He was made first president of the constitutional convention in 1857.-Cf. Dictionary American Biography, v. III, pp. 410-411.