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Kansas Historical Quarterly - The Forgotten Feminist of Kansas, 1

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

Edited by JOSEPH G. GAMBONE

Spring 1973 (Vol. 39, No. 1), pages 12 to 57
Transcribed by Barbara J. Scott; digitized with permission of
The Kansas Historical Society.

INTRODUCTION

IN OCTOBER, 1854, a quiet, motherly, soft-spoken 44-year-old woman's rights activist migrated to Kansas territory under the auspices of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. [1] Her arrival marked the beginning of the Kansas feminist movement—a campaign for political, economic, legal, and social equality for women—that culminated, 27 years after her death, with the passage of an equal suffrage amendment to the Kansas constitution in 1912. [2]

Although the names of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucy Stone are sacred and forever inscribed to the memory of the early feminist crusade, that of Clarina Irene Howard Nichols seems to have faded away. It was she who helped to sow the seeds of female equality and liberty from Vermont to California and who was instrumental in awakening thought on woman's rights during the early stages of the struggle. Her greatest achievement was the incorporation of several woman's rights provisions in the state constitution of Kansas that secured for women liberal property rights, equal guardianship of their children, and the right to vote in all school district elections. [3]

Born in West Townshend, Vt., on January 25, 1810, to Chapin and Birsha Howard, Clarina was reared in the Baptist faith. [4] She was educated at the district school in Townshend and, for one year, at the private school of Timothy B. Cressy. Upon her graduation in November, 1828, she delivered an original address entitled "Comparative of a Scientific and an Ornamental Education for Females." [5]

Clarina taught in the public and private schools of Vermont until her marriage to Justin Carpenter in 1830. She moved with him soon afterward to western New York, where she taught at the Brockport Academy and, later, founded a young ladies' seminary at Herkimer. [6] During her marriage to Carpenter, Clarina gave birth to three children, a daughter, Birsha, and two sons, Chapin Howard and Aurelius Ormando Carpenter.

By 1839 she had returned to Vermont, probably without her husband, where she began writing for the Windham County Democrat of Brattleboro, hitherto a standard Jacksonian country weekly. On March 6, 1843, having divorced Carpenter the previous month, Clarina married George W. Nichols, editor and publisher of the Democrat. [7] A son, George Bainbridge, was born in 1844.

Shortly after her second marriage, Mrs. Nichols was forced to take editorial control of the Democrat when her husband became seriously ill. Under her management the Democrat became one of the earliest champions of woman's rights in the country. [8] However, it was not announced publicly until 1849 that she had become editor. [9] Mrs. Nichols edited the Democrat with much ability and although she was less radical and aggressive than other feminists and reformers of her day, she was able to raise the circulation of the Democrat to about 1,000 by 1850, by making it more literary and advocating a variety of other reforms--abolitionism, prohibitionism, and Fourierism. It was through the columns of her newspaper that Mrs. Nichols began her work for woman's rights. [10]

In 1847 she published a series of editorials deploring the legal and property restrictions and disabilities of married women. [11] Her essays were instrumental in influencing the passage of a Vermont law giving women the right to inherit, own, and bequeath property. [12] This legislation, according to Mrs. Nichols, was the "first breath of a legal civil existence to Vermont wives." [13]

Rallying support for woman's rights through her editorials and lectures, Mrs. Nichols was able to gain additional legislation in 1849 and 1850 which permitted a woman to insure her husband's life, legalized joint property ownership for husband and wife, and broadened the inheritance rights of widows. [14] In 1849 she also began to advocate woman's suffrage as the only recourse to attain legal rights in a male-dominated society. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols wrote: "Having failed to secure her legal rights by reason of her disfranchisement, a woman must look to the ballot for self-protection." [15]

Although her primary argument was the removal of woman's legal disabilities, Mrs. Nichols pursued the question of suffrage in regard to school elections. In 1852 she submitted a petition to the Vermont legislature, strongly endorsed by Brattleboro businessmen, asking that women be allowed to vote in district school meetings. She was eventually asked to address the legislature when the measure was considered. [16]

Defending the right of women to participate in the decisions concerning the education of their children, Mrs. Nichols attempted to gain sympathy and support for the plight of the disfranchised female. [17] Although the petition failed, she was convinced that "the favorable impression created was regarded as a great triumph for woman's rights." [18]

As one of the most vocal woman's rights activists and temperance leaders in New England, Mrs. Nichols was called upon to lecture at local lyceums and committees in Vermont and nearby New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Often the meetings were arranged as debates with Mrs. Nichols defending woman's rights or the Maine prohibitory law against a local minister or politician. [19] She usually controlled the situation with her keen sense of humor, which contrasted dramatically with the overserious attitudes of most other feminists, and her liberal use of Biblical quotations helped win many ministers to her cause.

An accomplished speaker, Mrs. Nichols could, with apparent ease, hold a large audience in breathless attention. She spoke in a grave, earnest, conversational style, and with remarkable propriety of intonation and emphasis. Her lectures were filled with illustrations and anecdotes from personal experience, while her ease and fluency of speech, the elegance and simplicity of her language, and her flashes of quiet humor made her one of the most eloquent and effective speakers in the feminist crusade. Combining a noble radicalism of thought with a feminine conservatism of spirit, she was admirably qualified to do justice to the delicate theme that she treated.

In October, 1851, Mrs. Nichols was invited to speak before the national woman's rights convention at Worcester, Mass. She delivered an emotional address on the responsibilities of women and argued that men were incompetent to judge the needs of womanhood: "His laws concerning our interests show that his intelligence fails to prescribe means and conditions for the discharge of our duties. We are the best judges of the duties, as well as the qualifications of labor; and should hold in our own hands, in our own right, means for acquiring the one and comprehending the other." [20]

As news of her reform work spread and her name became known outside Vermont, Mrs. Nichols was invited to attend and address most of the early national woman's rights and temperance conventions. In 1852 at a woman's rights convention in Syracuse, N.Y., she met Susan B. Anthony, who was at the time just beginning her work in the woman's rights movement. [21] A life-long friendship developed between these two dedicated feminists. Throughout her career, Miss Anthony relied on Mrs. Nichols's knowledge and experience, and regarded her as a very dear friend. [22]

Prior to the Syracuse convention, Mrs. Nichols had attempted to encourage Miss Anthony to increase her activity in the movement for female equality. In April, 1852, Mrs. Nichols wrote: "It is most invigorating to watch the development of a woman in the work for humanity: first, anxious for the cause and depressed with a sense of her own inability; next, partial success of timid efforts creating a hope; next, a faith; and then the fruition of complete self-devotion. Such will be your history." [23]

Mrs. Nichols had also attended the woman's rights convention at West Chester, Pa., in June, 1852, and had argued vigorously for equal suffrage, employment opportunities, and educational facilities. [24] Although she had received invitations to attend the conventions of the New York Woman's State Temperance Society at Albany (January 28) and Rochester (April 20-21), Mrs. Nichols declined because of other commitments in Vermont. [25] However, she wrote letters to both conventions supporting the temperance movement in New York and offering her assistance to the cause. [26]

From 1853 until her departure for Kansas in 1854, Mrs. Nichols was totally involved in her reform work. During the first six months of 1853 she lectured throughout Vermont on both the woman's rights and temperance questions and, then, in June, traveled to Rochester to address the New York Woman's State Temperance convention. During the convention she became involved in a heated discussion over the question of divorce with Lucy Stone and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. [27] It was Mrs. Nichols's belief that intemperance should not be made grounds for divorce. She argued very convincingly that a drunkard's wife "should be entitled to a legal separation, the custody of her children, and control of her property." [28] Miss Stone and Mrs. Stanton argued that it was not only woman's right, but also her duty, to withdraw from all such unholy relations. Although the divorce issue was not settled, the arguments clearly differentiated the philosophy of the various leaders in the woman's rights movement. Mrs. Nichols's position seemed more logical and less radical than that espoused by either Miss Stone or Mrs. Stanton.

Following the Rochester convention, Mrs. Nichols returned to Vermont where she pursued her editorial duties and prepared her lectures for the Whole World Temperance Convention (September 1-2) and the National Woman's Rights Convention (September 6-7) to be held at New York City. At both conventions she pleaded for the immediate passage of legislation granting equal political, legal, and social rights to women. [29]

From New York Mrs. Nichols, with the encouragement of her husband, journeyed to Wisconsin where she was asked to participate in the temperance movement. As an agent for the Woman's State Temperance Society, she traveled throughout the state with Lydia F. Fowler, the noted phrenologist and physiologist, speaking out against the evils of intemperance, urging the adoption of a state prohibition law, and interlarding her talks with arguments for woman's rights. As a result of her work, and that of numerous others, a law was enacted in 1855 giving Wisconsin women legal control over family affairs in cases of intemperance. [30]

Returning to Vermont in November, 1853, she resumed her lecturing and writing in the cause of female equality. [31] Although she had awakened a public sentiment for woman's rights, she became discouraged. Her logically incontrovertible arguments against the prejudices of men attempting to subjugate women and endeavoring selfishly to retain their preferred position in society were greeted with suspicion and fear by the vast conservative majority in New England.

In December, 1853, Mrs. Nichols suspended publication of the Democrat and seriously contemplated her future role in the feminist crusade. [32] Perhaps the failure of the Vermont legislature to pass additional woman's rights legislation, together with her husband's weakening health, caused her to reevaluate her life in the Green Mountain state. [33] As an antislavery Democrat, she was out of sympathy with the Pierce administration and viewed the Nebraska bill as simply a plan to swindle the North and to placate the slaveocracy. [34] By the summer of 1854 Mrs. Nichols decided to settle in the newly created territory of Kansas. When she left to make her home in Kansas, the cause of woman's rights in New England lost its most able leader.

By migrating to Kansas, Mrs. Nichols hoped "to work for a Government of equality, liberty, [and] fraternity." She believed that more could be accomplished for women with less effort in the new territory of Kansas than "in conservative old Vermont, whose prejudices were so much stronger than its convictions, that justice to women must stand a criminal trial in every Court of the State to win, and then pay the costs." She was also convinced that "it was a thousand times more difficult to procure the repeal of unjust laws in an old State, than the adoption of just laws in the organization of a new State." [35]

In October, 1854, Mrs. Nichols and her two older sons, A. O. and C. H. Carpenter, left for the territory. [36] Upon her arrival at the townsite of Lawrence, she commenced lecturing on woman's rights. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols wrote that her initial tour of the territory "wrought a genial welcome for myself and the advocacy of woman's cause on the disputed soil of Kansas." [37]

After establishing a home for her sons in Lawrence, Mrs. Nichols went back to Vermont in December, 1854. Three months later she returned to Kansas with her husband and their youngest son, and they took up residence at Lane near present-day Baldwin in Douglas county. In the summer of 1855, Mrs. Nichols was invited to attend the proposed Free-State constitutional convention at Topeka and to speak on woman's rights. Her husband's fatal illness prevented her from attending. [38]

In December, 1855, Mrs. Nichols returned to Vermont to settle her husband's small estate. She remained in the East until the spring of 1857. During this time she wrote a series of letters on woman's legal and political disabilities which were published in the Lawrence Herald of Freedom. [39] Her last essay was destroyed along with the Herald's press when Lawrence was sacked by a band of "border ruffians" in May, 1856. [40]

With the outbreak of open warfare in Kansas during the summer of 1856, Mrs. Nichols temporarily discontinued her work for woman's rights and took up the call for "bleeding Kansas." In September, 1856, at the request of Horace Greeley, she was appointed by the Kansas National Aid Committee to canvass western New York and organize relief committees to help the suffering and destitute settlers in their fight for freedom. Her efforts proved extremely successful as clothing, provisions, and money were sent to aid the suffering pioneers in Kansas. [41]

Having responded to the "battle cry of freedom," Mrs. Nichols returned to Kansas in March, 1857. She moved her family to Wyandotte county and became associate editor of the Quindaro Chindowan, a radical Free-State journal. Through the columns of the Chindowan, Mrs. Nichols not only espoused the woman's rights doctrine but also advocated the principles and policies of the Free-State movement. In 1858 Mrs. Nichols associated herself with the Moneka Woman's Rights Association which had been organized by John O. Wattles, an ardent abolitionist, and other citizens of Linn county who desired to advance the cause of equality between the sexes and to promote woman's rights provisions in the state constitution. [42]

When the territorial legislature authorized a constitutional convention to be held in the summer of 1859, Mrs. Nichols was appointed the association's representative. She was requested to petition the delegates in behalf of equal civil and political rights for women. [43] The movement received the financial support of Wendell Phillips, treasurer of the Francis Jackson Woman's Rights Fund, who promised to pay all expenses in the fight for female equality. [44]

Several weeks prior to the convention, Mrs. Nichols embarked on a lecture tour of the principal settlements in the territory, obtaining signatures to petitions asking for equal political rights. [45] The Herald of Freedom, one of the few territorial newspapers to support the movement, encouraged all women to demand their equal rights and emphasized the fact that the petitions would force politicians "to obey the voice of the people." [46]

In all of her lectures, Mrs. Nichols emphasized the fact that legal rights when secured in a constitution were not as easily abrogated by amendment or repeal as when left to the power of the legislature. Thus woman's rights would be secured and protected and could he repealed only by the vote of the people. Finally in July, 1859, she presented her petitions to Wyandotte constitutional convention demanding equal political and civil rights for women. [47] The delegates invited her to attend the sessions and assigned her a permanent seat.

Although she was not an elected delegate, and had neither a vote nor voice in its proceedings, Mrs. Nichols attended every session. She frequently brought her knitting and would sit quietly and listen intently. Since she had no official power, she could only suggest and discuss her views privately with the delegates. To secure woman's rights provisions in the constitution, the movement had to be funneled through the hands of a few far-sighted men in the convention. William Hutchinson, who had emigrated from Vermont with Mrs. Nichols in 1855, assumed the leadership in the battle for female equality. On July 11 he presented the woman's rights petitions to the convention and asserted that the day was close at hand when "open and fair discussion of all questions pertaining to the constitutional rights of women as well as men, must be heard before all such bodies as this." [48]

Following the initial debate on woman's rights, Mrs. Nichols was invited to speak about her petitions. On July 13 she addressed the convention delegates, advocating the right of woman's suffrage and pleading for the passage of equal rights provisions for women. Her lecture was well received and, perhaps, influenced the vote of many delegates on the feminist question. [49] In discussing the woman's rights movement in Kansas, the New York Times concluded:

It is not at all impossible that Kansas may set a brilliant example to the rest of the world, by ordaining in the Constitution over which it is now incubating, that "Constitutional distinctions based on differences of sex," shall never, never be acknowledged within the limits of "Free Kansas." Apparently, nothing is needed but a determined prosecution of the campaign, so brilliantly inaugurated, to insure the success of the cause of woman's rights, after the manifold snubbings to which it has been subjected in this older and less gallant portion of our slightly disunited States. [50]

Opposition in the convention was led by Samuel A. Kingman who argued that the "natural rights" of women were protected by men, and that there was no need to extend to them political rights. Kingman believed that a constitutional provision granting woman's suffrage would be used as a pretext by congress to keep Kansas out of the Union. The majority of the delegates agreed with him. [51]

Although the convention rejected the idea of granting equal political rights to women, Mrs. Nichols was able to persuade enough delegates to extend the elective franchise to women in school district elections, as well as to secure legal protection for woman's property rights and equal guardianship of children. [52] It was a bold step for the convention to embody full property and personal rights for women, and, above all, school suffrage in a constitution that was to be submitted to the vote of men for ratification.

In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols wrote that she had no hope for securing woman's suffrage during the convention. She only wanted to begin a movement to disarm prejudice and to impress upon the delegates and citizens that justice for women could be served only through political enfranchisement. [53]

After the convention adjourned, Mrs. Nichols canvassed the territory vigorously defending the woman's rights provisions and advocating the ratification of the constitution. Her lectures, together with her keen but courteous retorts, carried the cause of female equality to a successful conclusion. [54] Although the Lecompton Kansas National Democrat warned that school suffrage "would result in unprincipled women being used at such elections by unprincipled men to abuse the common school system, [and] to corrupt the youths of our future State," [55] the constitution was overwhelmingly approved by the male electorate. Thus the first of many victories for the Kansas feminist movement was achieved.

In 1860 Mrs. Nichols attended the territorial legislature as a reporter for the Quindaro Tribune and was eventually employed as an assistant clerk in the territorial council. During the legislative session she obtained the passage of a law giving married women the right to sue or be sued independently of their husbands. [56]

During the winter of 1860-1861, she left Kansas to continue her labors for woman's rights in Wisconsin and Ohio. Joining Frances D. Gage, Hannah Tracy Cutler, and J. Elizabeth Jones, Mrs. Nichols lectured on equal political and legal rights for women in Ohio. Her efforts helped to lay the foundation for the liberalization of Ohio laws effecting married women's property rights. [57]

Returning to Kansas in March, 1861, Mrs. Nichols lectured in Wyandotte on "Woman's Bible Position" and solicited signatures to two petitions--one asking the legislature for a law giving women "equal rights with men" and the other asking for "the right of suffrage of her sex." The Wyandotte Commercial Gazette supported her efforts, believing that the petitions were "reasonable," and hoped that the state legislature would "act favorably." [58] Armed with her petitions, Mrs. Nichols journeyed to Topeka to attend the legislative sessions. Her petitions were introduced in the house and she was invited to address the legislators on woman's rights. [59] Her basic argument was that women should either be allowed to vote or be exempted from taxation. Her eloquent and logical analysis of the suffrage question caused the editor of the Topeka Tribune to remark that "the women of Kansas have in her a faithful, powerful yet unassuming champion, and they should stick by her, to use a familiar political expression, and not leave her to labor along without publicly expressed sympathy and support." [60] Although the legislature failed to act on her petitions, two laws were passed providing for the relief and protection of widows. [61]

Mrs. Nichols remained in Kansas until December, 1863, when she moved to Washington, D. C., and worked as a clerk at the army's quartermaster department. On February 1, 1865, she was appointed matron of the Georgetown home operated by the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children. Her daughter, Birsha, who had moved to Washington to join her mother, assisted with the care of the children. [62] In March, 1866, Mrs. Nichols resigned her position and returned to Kansas. [63]

In 1867 the Kansas legislature approved a proposed constitutional amendment granting woman's suffrage. At the age of 57, Mrs. Nichols could not resist taking an active role in the campaign for ratification. Prior to the submission of the amendment she entered into a month long canvass of the northeastern Kansas counties. [64] She was joined in the campaign by her able friends Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Olympia Brown, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who made the pilgrimage to Kansas for the cause of female equality. [65]

Unfortunately the woman's suffrage amendment was submitted to the electorate at the same time as an amendment to grant Negro suffrage. The political complications of extending the franchise to both women and blacks simultaneously caused great anxiety and apprehension among most Kansas voters. Both amendments were soundly defeated. [66]

The 1867 suffrage campaign was Mrs. Nichols's last active participation in the woman's rights crusade, although in 1869 she addressed the Woman's Suffrage Association of Topeka and attended the State Woman's Suffrage Convention. [67] While failing health prevented her from public speaking, Mrs. Nichols continued to advocate female equality through a series of letters in various Kansas and Vermont newspapers, and, as well, in her correspondence with Miss Anthony. [68]

In December, 1871, Mrs. Nichols moved to Pomo, Calif., where her son, Aurelius Ormando, was living. She apparently hoped that the milder climate would improve her weakening health. [69] From the time of her arrival in California until her death in 1885, she maintained a literary involvement in the feminist crusade. Although illness confined her to bed on several occasions, her letters, essays, and articles on woman's rights indicated her avid interest and awareness of the major issues confronting women, and, in 1876, as an invalid, she wrote her reminiscences for publication in the multi-volume History of Woman Suffrage. [70]

Mrs. Nichols did not live to see the great dream of woman's suffrage become a reality. However, she was completely confident that victory ultimately would be attained. Four days before her death, in a letter to the National Woman Suffrage Association Convention, Mrs. Nichols wrote: "My last words in your (our) good work for humanity through its author is, 'God is with us--there can be no failure, and no defeat outside ourselves that will not roll up the floodwork and rush away every obstruction." [71]

Clarina I. H. Nichols emerges as a thoroughly kind and good woman who was intellectually and emotionally equipped for her work in the feminist crusade. Blessed with an even and buoyant temperament, and with a keen sense of humor, she was able to seize the essential points of an argument and develop them clearly and incisively. Her ideas were always logical, never emotional. Her temperate presentations were always received with remarkably few protests even from people who opposed her general point of view. Her beliefs concerning women and their proper place in society were not as extreme as other feminists. She set a good precedent for all women in politics with her gentle but firm ways.

I. THE PAPERS, 1854-APRIL 7, 1855 [72]

[TO THE EDITOR OF THE BOSTON Evening Telegraph] [73]

ST. LOUIS, [MISSOURI]
Oct. 23, 1854
Messrs. Editors:--

By request of a mutual friend, I have taken my pen to report for the gratification of such of your readers as have a personal or benevolent interest in Kansas emigration, the progress and condition of our party at this point in our journey. [74]

But first, gentlemen, you must picture the writer surrounded by some twenty emigrants, from nursery conveniences and luxuries; under six years of age, who are laughing, crying, tumbling, and being tumbled over, and then add the maternal exclamations of caution, sympathy and alarm, with the snatches of song and cheerful, even hilarious conversation, from surrounding groups.

Who can think in such a scene? And yet, 'tis such a scene that sets thoughts tumbling over each other, and opens the sluices of the soul, as few scenes in life have power to do.

"What do you expect to do in Kanzas? Will you not sacrifice many advantages, and suffer many privations?" These are questions put to us by the many, and of course the many must be interested in our reply. After a week of familiar intercourse with the members of the party, I assume the responsibility of saying, we are a company of workers; toil and privation are not strange to us; they cling to us if we stay. And in going to a new country, we choose the field and the character of both,--and for the advantages and luxuries which we leave behind us, we anticipate a glorious compensation in freedom from unprofitable conventionalities, and the competition of already appropriated elements of human prosperity.

Our company numbers 221; of these some 30 are women, and 45 are children under ten years of age. Those who shrink from toil and privation might take a first and second lesson of the mothers who have gathered up their treasures, and patiently cheerfully meet all the privations of the long journey in crowded cars and boats, by night and by day, beset by the demands of their little irresponsible "responsibilities." I was exceedingly pleased with the reply of one of these mothers who was amusing and caring for a group of 11 under 6 years of age, at one of our stopping places. "Are all these children yours?" asked a passer-by. "O, no, only 6 of them are mine, I borrowed the rest;" and the arch glance and quiet, self-possessed manner of the good woman, inspired and impressed all around her with a comfortable assurance of good angels for Kanzas. Our party being large our journey is necessar[il]y longer than that of the preceding companies. It requires more time for the changes of baggage. The trains have been longer and heavily loaded, and could not with due regard to safety travel as rapidly. An accident on a preceding train delayed us some three hours near Buffalo. We were thrown off the track ten miles beyond Alton, on the Chicago and Mississippi Railroad, by cattle upon the track, one of which was killed; we were only delayed by the accident. [75]

The arrangements of the agents of the Emigrant Aid Company, under whose auspices we travel, have been, without exception, I believe, satisfactory. Mr. John M. S. Williams, [76] of Cambridge, M[assachusett]s., accompanied us to Detroit, where he was relieved by Mr. [Charles H.] Branscombe, [77] the agent, who accompanied the preceding parties. Mr. Williams carried with him the unanimously expressed gratitude of the party, for a care and sympathy that left nothing undone which could contribute to the comfort of any under his care. But however regretfully we look upon his return, we have come to regard Mr. Branscombe as equal to the trust reposed in him; and his kind and cheerful attention to our many questions and demands upon him, has endeared him especially to the less self-relying members of our party. [78]

In reference to the general character of the emigrants, I can say to those who ask, who are to be their companions in the settlement of Kanzas if they follow us--I am pleased with the intelligence and spirit which they evince. Freedom's host in the free States, may rely on them at their chosen post of duty. For myself I shall be content, (after arrangements are made to shelter my beloved ones) to gather up my all and return to Kanzas. [79] So far as the quality of the emigration from New England is concerned, I hear nothing and see nothing as yet, to disappoint the highest expectations which I had formed from available information at home.

I cannot at this point write what I would, but I will mail another communication to you soon, and hope that the rest and the quiet which will succeed to the completion of arrangements here, will allow me to do better justice to my topic.

Yours truly,   
(MRS.) C. I. H. NICHOLS

P. S.--We have in our party Rev. Mr. Gilpatrick, sent out as a missionary by the Baptist Board, a man of good common sense, as well as apparent piety. [80]

[TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPRINGFIELD Daily Republican] [81]

LAWRENCE, KANZAS TERRITORY
November 2, 1854

[Messrs. Editors:]

Without apology or preface--sure that it needs neither to interest you in the subject of my communication--I have taken my long idle pen to tell you of this new oasis of freedom.

I cannot take the time or space to speak of our journey hither, or of the many interesting incidents which broke up its monotony, or the inconveniences which admirably prepare the dwellers of an old country for the privations of a new one. [82]

By the way, I give it as my private opinion, that if any of our company of 230 left their eastern homes with the starch of aristocracy in their dickies or their stomachs, it was all shaken out before they arrived on the Territory of Kanzas, and there is "small chance" of a new "making up," all the facilities of life here, being religiously appropriated to humanity's needs.

But to Kanzas itself. And first let me say with emphasis,--my highest anticipations of the country--its soil, its natural facilities, its climate--are realized. I did not like Illinois with its flat prairie and accompanying swamp. I was not pleased with Missouri, as seen from the river. Kanzas City where our party landed [on October 28], is in Missouri, five miles from the territorial line. It is a home-sick place, as my eye ever rested upon.-- We were all in haste to get away, and when we emerged from the forest bordering upon the state line, into the open country, the beautiful rolling prairie on our left, on our right a line of forest both extending as far as the eye could see, the change was expressibly grateful. Kanzas passed before me--Wisconsin in all the beautiful natural features which attracted me to that noble state.-- Kanzas has fewer streams, but more springs than Wisconsin; and in the whole distance from the Missouri line to this place, I saw no sign of swamp or slough. The air is soft and warm; last night and the night before, we had frost, but they have had no[t] so cold weather yet, as we had at the east in August, taking the last night, their coldest as a specimen.

Portrait of Clarina Nichols

Clarina I. H. Nichols (1810-1885), an early leader in the feminist movement, sowed the seeds of woman's rights from Vermont to California. Her greatest achievement was the incorporation of woman's rights provisions in the Kansas constitution.

The Townshend, Vermont, home of Clarina Nichols

The parental home of Mrs. Clarina Nichols in Townshend, Vt. After the death of her husband in Kansas, Mrs. Nichols returned to Vermont to settle his estate and lived at this residence during the winter and spring of 1856.

Several Missourians met our party at Kanzas City, even came on board before we landed, and told all sorts of frightful stories about Kanzas, with evident intention of preventing us from going further. If our party had not been prepared for such representations, the dismal appearance of the landing place, Kanzas City, raining as it was, would have given to them a color of truth, and with some probably the success which attended like stories to the party which preceded ours, numbers of which returned without coming to see, and others without unhitching their teams to take a look. Missourians met several of our party yesterday a few miles from here, and told them we were all "starving to death at Lawrence" and that they "had given the women and children from their own provisions what they could ill spare." Two or three men (without families) believed the report and turned eastward. One thing I think ought to be noticed; men who have wives and children with them, keep up good spirits. The women are "strong-minded." And by the way, "strong-mindedness" will be no objection to a woman, among the pioneers to Kanzas.

I wish I could convey to your readers a bird's eye view of this first location of the Emigrant Aid company. Before its formal christening, it was called Wakarusa; now it is the "city of Lawrence." [83] I will not paint to you the thatched cottages mingled with white tents and log huts--for the framed houses of the worthy citizens are yet to be built. I will not speak of the house of religious worship, thatched from ridge-pole to base with prairie grass, nor of the two "stores" where almost everything but ardent spirits is to be had. I might tell you of steam, saw and grist mills nearly ready for use, and of a large hotel, whose foundations are being laid; of streets staked out; of public squares, colleges and church grounds. But let me linger on "Capitol Hill," [84] a noble, but gradually reached elevation in the center of the most beautiful and magnificent scene my eye ever rested upon. In the south-west I see the Wakarusa [river] approach the southern banks of the Kanzas, as if it would lovingly pour its limpid treasures into her broad deep bosom, then start coquettishly away and make a circuit of some six miles to unite with the Kanzas on the south-east. These two rivers almost enclose the city, which covers an area of two miles square, with various "claims" of settlers beyond its limits. On the north bank of the Kanzas a splendid line of forest is half shrouded by the smoke of prairie and wood, which the Delawares, who hold that tract of country in reserve, have fired. Capitol Hill covers an area of many acres, all graded by the hand of nature, a natural wall of limestone peeping through the sods around its entire base. The Kanzas river, which washes the foot of the bluff on which the business part of the embryo city is to be built, makes a bend at the right point to float timber on either shore to the saw mill. Just as a convenient point for a steamboat landing, the river offers a deep and abrupt channel on the Lawrence shore. There is no danger of the city or its mills being flooded at high water; the lime rock foundation of the bluff secures the banks from all danger of being washed, and the river from any change of channel.

The springs are abundant and the water the best I have found since leaving Vermont. What more can I say of Kanzas? Compared with what I might and would say, if I had time, I am annoyed with the consciousness of having left the advantages and beauties of this fair land all unsaid. The pioneer settler must meet toil and wait for his reward, but the former is far less in proportion to the latter than on the older and less genial soil of New England. I only regret that I must return to the East again in a few weeks. If my home comforts and interest were transferred here--as I hope they may be another season--I could cheerfully give myself to the labor of making a new home among a people whose character and whose destiny are to turn the scales of westering power for the right, for the true.

One thing I must not forget to mention--no person can have a city lot without binding himself not to deal in intoxicating drinks. [85]

A committee of the emigrant party with which I came are now out with an agent of the Emigrant Aid company, to select a location from the desirable points with which he has made himself acquainted. Another town or city will probably be staked out and built upon by our party, as a neighbor and ally of Lawrence. [86]

Yours truly,  
C. I. H. NICHOLS

[TO SHERMAN M. BOOTH] [87]

LAWRENCE, KANSAS TER.
Nov. 4, 1854.   

Friend Booth:--

From this far land I remember my obligation to your excellent paper for many an hour of enjoyment. I remember, too, the thousand and one ties which bind my sympathies to the noble men and women of your beautiful State, and would not willingly that they should forget me.

I had commenced arrangements to visit Wisconsin for the purpose of locating a home for myself and family. But the Kansas Emigration Aid Company offered advantages which turned my steps this way. I came expecting to find a second Wisconsin, with a still milder and less changeable climate. It is as I expected; Kansas is Wisconsin, only a "little more so," in her most beautiful features. There are no swamps to be found in this region. There are fewer small streams, but more springs.

Do you remember the splendid scene, the grand rolling prairie dotted with groves of oak, which held our party in almost speechless ecstacy, about six miles this side of Monroe, in Green County? Well, yesterday I rode around on Capitol Hill, as the settlers have named it, a gradually approached elevation, graded by nature's own hand, ready for the noblest pile of buildings that any State can appropriate,--and from this elevation I looked around upon a scene more beautiful and more magnificent than any ever before presented to my view.-- The Company has laid out a city two miles square, and Capitol Hill rises in the centre.-- About two-thirds up on its northern side, and overlooking the Kansas river, is a fine plat of table-land, several acres in extent, suited to public or private buildings, and commanding a beautiful view of the country beyond and on either side of the river. From this elevation, Capitol Hill rises gradually, and sweeps out toward the South and West; its three other sides supported and surrounded by a natural wall of limestone from three to ten feet high, throwing up an area of some 15 acres, ready for the beautifying hand of the architect and the horticulturist. From this hill we have a view of the Kansas [river], and the Delaware Reservation beyond, on one side, and on the other, the Wakarusa [river], which sweeps two-thirds of the area between it and the Kansas, with broad prairies and belts of woodland stretching far beyond.-- The prairie is all rolling; and the numerous springs and ravines which mark the Wakarusa plat, are bordered by groves of fine trees, diversifying the scene and lending it unequalled charms.

But I must cut short my description of the country, and will only add a chapter descriptive of pioneer life, for the amusement of your readers.

Last evening I lectured by invitation in the first church or meeting-house erected in the settlement. The lecture hour was announced by the ringing up and down of the city dinner bell. My subject was the "Rights of Women," a topic on the tapis and being stoutly contended when I arrived in the settlement. [88]

Now let me give a picture of this Meeting-House, which was finished only yesterday, and which I expect to describe in future years, when the gorgeous pile effected by longer settled countries shall take its place--adding with pride that I had the honor of dedicating it to the equal rights of woman, in the first audience that ever congregated within its walls.

This "Meeting-House" is 64 by 20 feet and constructed first of poles, or small round timbers, and is simply the sharp roof of a Yankee cottage, having a ridge-pole through the center and its side resting on the ground, so that it stands upon the ground for all the world like the roof of a building. The poles run up the length of the building, horizontally, and are some 16 inches apart, and supported by rafters where the poles join; over these on the outside, is a thick thatching of prairie hay, tied by cotton twine to the poles. Of course the inside of the building presents to the eye only hay and poles, the hay escaping in single straws rather freely, and tickling the faces that get too near the sloping sides. Bundles of prairie hay were freely strewed upon the floor, (ground) and my auditors ranged themselves "a la Turk" till no aisle remained between the desk and entrance. There were a number of boxes and trunks, belonging to some of the last party, who have to lodge there till they get up tents or log-houses to live in--and on these the women were seated on one side near me. My desk was constructed of two tool-chests, piled one on the other, and lighted by two glass lanthorns, suspended, at equal distances, from cross poles, and threw their light in the faces of the auditors. It was a novel scene, and I enjoyed it as I have seldom done a lecture occasion.-- With my earnest sympathy in your public and private relations, and a perfect confidence that the Freemen and Women of Wisconsin will stand by you to the "bat's end" in your war upon the Slave Power, [89] I remain truly

C. I. H. NICHOLS.

[TO THE EDITOR OF THE BOSTON Evening Telegraph] [90]

LAWRENCE, KANZAS TER.
[December, 1854]  

Messrs. Editors.--

I intended to write to you ere this, but sundry hindrances arrived in the territory before your correspondent, or rather, I should say, the Good Father had not--as some who come here seem to expect--grown houses and finished them up as he does mushrooms. We had a home to make before health could be insured, and winter provided for. Of course, my hands have been full of work and my head of Yankee contrivances, such as the dwellers among mechanics' shops and in the marts of gray-haired commerce would fail to appreciate, and I to paint with my pen. I could not begin to write the story of "life as it is" in Kanzas, amusing as it must be to all and instructive to the many who are preparing to emigrate here. The emigrant from a country old in all the resources for luxuriant homes, makes great blunders in what he brings and what he leaves behind. I have had an opportunity for observation in the regrets and congratulations of the hundreds who have arrived in Kanzas during my stay here, which will be worth money and insure me against needless expense and privation in the removal of my own household goods and gods the coming Spring. For lack of such knowledge, many young men, and men without their families have turned back East again, who either would not have come this fall, or coming, would have been prepared to dispose of themselves to their satisfaction. That they were wise in returning, even under circumstances, I a good deal more than doubt, provided they are under the necessity or desire to win their bread by useful industry. The man or woman who has not energy and courage enough to make a home where nature has done everything but to build shelters, and where civilization has already opened facilities securing all the staples for the table--is hardly deserving of one. If people leave good homes and tempt the untrodden fields of a new country, they are unwise not to have counted the cost, before pulling up their home associations with the grub-hoe of emigration.

For myself I knew something of pioneer life having sat upon the knees of grand-parents who found out the green hills of Vermont when only marked trees guided the traveller from central Massachusetts; and when their produce and the necessaries for which they exchanged them, had to be transported many miles on horse back; when mills, schools, and neighbors were much fewer and farther apart than were angels' visits, even in those days of non spiritual intercourse. But that was all head knowledge, for it was received second hand, and did not reach the heart like pioneer experience in these blessed days of "Emigrant Aid" Companies, when the misery is sweetened by plenty of company.

But you and your readers have undoubtedly heard from some who, having come and taken one forlorn look of suffering, and starvation in prospect, too terrible to be encountered, have turned back again. The best commentary on such tales, that I could possibly give you, would be to daguereotype Lawrence, and its inhabitants as they pursue their daily avocations.

When I arrived here, like all the new comers, I was taken to a lodging-house and supplied with plenty of prairie hay for a bed, and having come without bedding, in my ignorance of the customs of the country--it was kindly loaned me by a member of the city association. This lodging-house is made of polls [sic] or small timbers, and in form and size reminds one of the stray roof of a huge warehouse. This pole-roof is thatched upon the outside with prairie hay, and is all hay and poles to the view inside. Cotton cloth covers the gable ends which have doors of the same material, nailed to pole frames. Since the weather has grown cooler and the wind whistled uncomfortably through the hay roof, a laying of the dry, tough, prairie sod has been put over the whole building, and windows introduced into one end as a substitute for the darkened cloth gables. There is a large "city dining hall" constructed in the same manner, where one hundred and more take their meals, at $2.50 per week. The first three days I ate at the public table with my sons; then I commenced house-keeping like my sister emigrants. And now comes the rich humor of my experience in Kansas life--a specimen of pioneer life the country over.

The theatre of our operations, or rather our cooking area, was the city "levee," on which these temporary shelters, or lodging "houses" are built. And now fancy breakfast-getting for some twenty families and companies, which have kindled as many fires, some with two or three stones to hold up kettles and pans, and a very few with "stick cranes." The cooks are prominent in the scene, and about as many of them men as women.-- Yonder is a grave, middle aged man, without a crane or stones, toiling man-fully to boil his tea kettle or fry his Missouri-cured "side pork," without upsetting the one or burning the other, both of which he accomplishes in spite of his efforts to the contrary, and swallows his breakfast and his chagrin, muttering something to the purpose of woman's genius for cooking. There is a woman, her skirts burned full of holes by the model "fire place," and what remains of them converted into a sort of fringe by the prairie stubble; her breakfast is a simple one, coffee or tea and mush, which is eaten with molasses; but she has a tear in either eye, for the smoke loiters near the earth. Yonder breakfast left to itself a moment--for a crying baby has drawn the mother into the tent, as it is called--has tipped over, and the beef soup is flowing from the "camp kettle" into the spattering flame. But you have not time to linger here, gentlemen, so please follow me into the tents and see the eaters. Many of them it is true, eat sitting on the ground outside; but these are men and boys, who have no "woman cook." But as we are passing the various groups, we may as well stop at the cart near at hand. The emigrants are buying beef of men who bring it in almost daily from the prairies in the vicinity. It is the best beef I ever found outside a city stall, and has the advantage of being fed in the open air with a wide range and plenty of water. Five dollars the hundred pounds, the whole creature, or five cents the fore and 6 cents the quarters is the common price.

But we are going to look in upon the eaters in this large tent where between fifty and a hundred are "accommodated." Yonder is a man, his wife, three children, and his father and mother--a venerable and excellent couple--eating from the top of a box. Two or three cups and saucers serve for the whole tea drinking, ditto plates, &c. The salt and the pepper are in papers, a tin cup is the tea pot, and the little boxes and the ground their seats. There is a group of men standing round a frying pan, each with a piece of bread in hand, dipping in the gravy and eating with slices of bacon. There is a company of men round a plate of pancakes which they raised with cream tartar and soda, and spread with molasses as they laid them on the plate. There is no butter to be had here, or only occasionally as a few pounds are brought from Kanzas [City], Mo. I have not tasted any in three weeks. [91]

I cannot linger longer in the domestic scenes of the settlement, but as "woman's sphere" here is out of doors, I may be allowed to suggest that those who emigrate here ought to know before coming precisely what they will find here as materials for a comfortable home and their cost. Many have been sadly disappointed, not with the country, but in the means necessary to avail themselves of its advantages. Great improvement has been made in the appearance and the comforts of the place in the last two weeks. Some twenty tenements have been finished, or nearly so, in that time. Two thirds of these are of logs and frames, the clapboards and shingles being split, or riven oak--the others of sod, with thatched roofs and lined to some extent with cotton cloth. The latter are the warmest and most comfortable to be had, till the saw mill shall give boards that can be fitted and keep out the wind, as crooked split ones cannot. By the way this saw mill, whose long, though necessarily delayed operation has been the cause of more discomfort and vexation than anything else, has been fixed up and commenced regular work.

We have had no cold weather with the exception of three days; the thermometer then was 12 degrees above zero. As for suffering, in the sense used by "folks at home," or starvation, it is out of the question where one has money to procure the necessaries at hand. Stoves have to be brought in from Kansas [City], Missouri, and many have been procured by families after arriving here, which had they understood matters as they easily might have done, and taken them with them, would have saved cold fingers and helped on the breakfasts and dinners wonderfully. I found a stove out of doors, far more convenient than my stick crane, especially in baking and washing. But it is still better in our sod cabin.

The climate is the finest, and if sickness comes I shall attribute it to exposure and change of living from a vegetable to a meat diet.

I have been very kindly treated by the people here and found the company's agents sympathising and ready to share their accommodations and extend them as far as possible with their sparse materials, for the comfort of the emigrants. [92]

Yours truly,  
C. I. H. NICHOLS

[TO THE EDITOR OF THE SPRINGFIELD Daily Republican] [93]

 

BRATTLEBORO [VERMONT]
January 5 1855   

[Messrs. Editors:]

After nearly eleven weeks absence I am home again, luxuriating to-day on a dish of "pot luck." [94] I was reminded of you and that promise--do you remember?--the "greens?" Well, no matter about that, but seriously, I fancied you must like to know positively that I have returned from Kanzas, since you took the trouble to notice my going and also to give, or repeat, the false report of my return while I was yet a thousand miles west.

But what of Kanzas, which you have not already gathered for your readers? Time is short and your space limited; I will be brief. It is the most beautiful country my eyes have seen; a country outromancing the descriptions of the novelist and just as God made it--you feel sure in your heart of hearts that He made it, and an instinctive indignation enters the soul with the first glance against licensing human bondage on this glorious race course for the free! It is as if the Almighty had spread wide the heritage of humanity to indicate its inherent right to freedom.

But just while the item is in my thoughts, allow me a word in reference to slavery in the Shawnee missions. I see it asserted and copied, from the Christian Age, that the Shawnee missionaries hold slaves. [95] There are four mission stations among the Shawnees: the Methodist church south has two, [96] the Baptist one [97] and the Quakers one. [98] The two latter and one of the Methodists--Dr. [Abraham] Still--are anti-slavery and actively so. [99] The Rev. T. Johnson of the Methodist church, is a large slaveholder and cultivates 600 acres of the finest lands in the Shawnee reservation. [100] When this man went into the territory, a "humble missionary of the cross," it is said that himself and wife, with all their worldly goods, rode in, not on "a colt the foal of an ass," but on an ox, a single ox, which slaveholding has matched at length, humanity bearing the other end of the yoke, that this divine may till his broad acres and fare sumptuously. [101] By the way, when he got elected by the Indians their delegate to Congress, he procured an absolute title to the acres he had enclosed as the mission farm, and beautifully is it fenced in and kept. [102]

The government at the same time, and it is said by the influence of the Rev. Johnson, withdrew its aid from the other missions, they being obnoxious to the government and its pet delegate. It is to this mission station Gov. [Andrew H.] Reeder has retreated from the "rudeness" of Leavenworth influence. [103] He is in the vicinity of the Yankees, at least, and that may be a consideration with him. This mission station is on the direct road to Lawrence, which is some 28 or 30 miles farther west. I called at the Baptist mission, also at Dr. Still's Methodist, and found there was earnest and painful solicitude on the subject of Kanzas freedom. Their mission schools are broken up by the withdrawal of means, and they will be compelled to remove, I was told, from the reserve. I saw no slaves among the Delawares and Shawnees, but was told that a few were to be found among the latter. It would be strange if some of the disciples of Mr. Johnson had not followed his example, living as they do on the Missouri border.

It would be simply ridiculous to assert that the emigrants to Kanzas were in no danger of "freezing and starving" when I left them--but that some poor, and unmated fellows, with less courage than their "strong-minded" sisters, and less power of self-protection than the prairie mouse, having spent a single night in the settlement, returned to "print it in the papers." There was no need of suffering to any on the ground when I left, the 1st December, and I learn from letters just received from my sons that buildings and facilities for comfortable homes have rapidly multiplied since I left. [104] A new city [Topeka] has been commenced by the Emigrant Aid company about 25 miles above and west of Lawrence, and the prospect there is happily responding to the host which is unsettling here to roll like an avalanche upon the pro-slavery hope of Kanzas in the spring.

C. I. H. NICHOLS

P. S. I expect to return to Kanzas early in the coming spring, and as Mr. Nichols will accompany me and go by Springfield, I venture to remonstrate against the iron rule of "woman's rights" at your depot. Only think of it,--your railroad directors set a young girl to protect the women who stop at your station, against their "natural protectors"-- fathers, husbands, brothers! If we have to wait at S[pringfield]. five hours as we did when we went out in October, my husband can't "protect nor cherish" me, as in duty bound, and I will have to go out on his platform sphere to "comfort and soothe" him. By the way, isn't it a good joke to catch public sentiment contradicting its own assumptions? I hope when Springfield gets rich enough and humane enough to build a sitting-room for "men-kind" she won't set maid or man-servant to drive out the wives and daughters and sisters who prefer to stay there with their "natural protectors."

[TO THE EDITOR OF THE NEW YORK Tribune] [105]

BRATTLEBORO, VT.
February 2, 1855

To the Editor of the N. Y. Tribune.
SIR:

My attention has been called to a letter from B. F. Stringfellow, [106] addressed to, and indorsed by, the Honorable Brooks, Clingman, Smith and McQueen, southern members of Congress, "relative to the settlement of Kansas Territory," first published in The Washington Sentinel, and copied into THE TRIBUNE of the 27th ult. [107]

The source of this letter, its antecedents and indorsement, conspire to make its statements worthy of particular notice. [108] This Mr. Stringfellow is a man of independent nerve, and instead of being rated as "Mr. Atchison's corporal," is in reality, "Cap'n of the Watch," and has the high honor of having got up and led off the first public demonstration against the northern emigration into Kansas. [109] It was this gentleman who got up the meeting in Weston, Mo., which passed flaming resolutions, prescribing tar and feathers for Eli Thayer and other agents active in the cause of emigration. [110] Subsequently, the agents of the Emigrant Aid Company chose another place for the disembarkation of the emigrants, and gave the tar and feather resolutions as their reason for so doing; whereupon the citizens of Weston--whose interests were damaged, their gain cut off--called another meeting, which indignantly repudiated the actions of Mr. Stringfellow's meeting, placed it to the account of a handful of pestilent fellows, and extended a hand of cordial welcome to the emigrants. [111] Such are the antecedents of Mr. S. at home. A similar demonstration, originating without doubt in the same patriotic brain, was made about the same time in Westport, the last town in Missouri through which the emigrants pass to Lawrence and vicinity. But to the letter in question:

First, in reply to the query "Will Kansas be a Slave-holding State?" Mr. Stringfellow says, "I answer, without hesitation it will?" He then, after expressing his alarm in the first instance, at the emigration movement, and "the declaration of those on whom his Southern friends were wont to rely, that Kansas was not adapted to slave labor," goes on to say;

Yet I never despaired! I still declared that, though sent out they could not remain; they could not live in the praires! I can now refer you to the result of the late election for Delegate, as evidence conclusive of the correctness of my opinion.

The late elections involving "conclusive evidence" that Kansas will be a Slave State, is worthy a brief review. [112]

Mr. S. evidently intends that his readers shall accept his conclusions as legitimate to his declaration, that "the emigrants sent out, could not remain, could not live in the prairies!" They had gone back to the East and left his Slave-holding "Southern friends" in the majority. He says: "Of the 3,000 transported to Kansas during the past summer there were left, on the day of election, 248. Of these, I am credibly informed 150 left the day following the election, having compiled with their contract in voting. [113] Others have since left, and I can safely say that of the whole batch, there will not, by March, be fifty left in the territory!" And this retreat of the emigrants, Mr. S. attributes to their inability to make farms in the prairies. "They could not remain; they could not live in the prairies!"

Now, what are the facts? In the first place, there has been no such wholesale returning of those who went out prepared or expecting to remain. Of those who returned before the election, only two to my knowledge, had wives with them, and they were just married. One of these, a young merchant, took Kansas in his bridal tour. Pioneer life was not presided over by "honey-moons." With these two exceptions, every man who took a wife or family into the territory with him built a cabin, and stays.

It was not the difficulty of making farms in Kansas which sent back so many single men and men without their families. It was not that the soil and climate of Kansas disappointed their expectations; for among those who returned, a large proportion had proved the value and power of their own labor, and knew well that intelligence, economy and industry, such as independence and responsibility force upon the Nothern freeman, can live and get rich on a harder, colder, and less genial soil. They knew, too, that slave-labor, ignorant and wasteful, and with no higher motive than fear of the lash or barracoon, must have the most fertile and grateful soil in order to sustain itself and enrich the master. They saw that Kansas was equal to the support of slave holders by slave-labor, and they had no ground and to fear that "the poor man," who is his own master, would fail of his reward as a tiller of the soil. Having gone on with a company of 230; and spent some five weeks in the midst of some 500 of these emigrants, besides returning "the day after election," with a goodly company of the voters to whom Mr. S. refers, as having left "after complying with their contract to vote," I may claim to speak with an authority equal to Mr. Stringfellow, touching the facts or fallacies which have determined the return or stay of the emigrants to Kansas. And now for those facts, &c.:

The preemption law requires actual residence on the "claim," or land taken up. Men might "take up claims," and leave them to go home for their families, and in their absence others take possession. Under the United States law, they had no surety of ultimate purchase, but an actual residence until the land should have been surveyed, and brought into market. [114] True, the emigrants, among themselves agree to respect and protect each other's claims in such absence; but there was a possibility, and in locations sparsely occupied a probability, that such encroachments would take place, and the majority of the emigrants were disinclined to risk any such collision of rights.

Thus, men who had left their families at the East, not expecting to bring them out till spring, and intending to return for them after locating claims, in many instances returned without doing so. Mr. Stringfellow will no doubt, be quite surprised to see these men returning into the Territory "by March," prepared to "remain and live in the prairies," wife and children with them, to keep possession of the 160 acres that can be "taken up."

If Mr. S. supposes that the men who emigrate from the East cannot make farms with their own hands and axes, or are ignorant of the fact which he claims, that; "in the prairie a hand can cultivate one-third more than in the timber," and that, "a prairie farm will pay for itself three times over, before a farm can be cleared in the timber," he is himself quite ignorant of the character of the emigrants of whom he speaks so confidently, as well as of the feats of their fathers, who have subdued the heavy-timbered and rocky lands of New England. Probably not one of all persons who went to Kansas from the East, has not relatives or friends, who have made farms in the prairies of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Iowa, and with whom they have kept up an intelligent correspondence. From such sources they were well informed as to the modus operandi of breaking up by "doubling teams" and joining hands, where an individual and his single team are insufficient. In other sections of the prairie country, there are settlers who keep the requisite team-power, and break up the soil at so much an acre--a sum within the ability of the free laborer to pay.

But why did not the single men, who had no families East, remain in Kansas! I reply, it was not because they could not make farms in the prairie; not one of them gave this as the reason of their return to the States. No, the legal necessity of occupying their farms, these things being too distant from families for them to get board and pursue their farming operations, they were compelled, if they remained, to set up house cleaning, cook, wash, &c.; and this they felt unequal to, or thought it better to return and get them wives, as a preliminary step to success in pioneer life. Supposing Mr. Stringfellow to be a Christian slaveholder, and not an infidel, I refer him, for the true character and force of this reasoning, to the "Eden" of Genesis. Now Eden, from the Bible account, was better prepared for an individual to "live in," than even a Kansas prairie, for the Lord "God had," not only used the breaking-up plow, "but planted a garden eastward in Eden. And there he put the man who he had formed, and out of the ground the Lord God" (not "one or more slaves") "made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food." Still God said, "It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a help-meet for him" and this was a wife, not a "slave."

It was for want of helps to make a home, which a preemptor of lands in Kansas must have, that so many men returned "before election."

Of those who returned after election, I know scarce one who had not made arrangements to return with their "helps."

One word in reference to the voters for Delegate to Congress. That Missourians, to the number of 2,000 to 2,500, went over into the Territory and voted, and by threats, in many instances, prevented actual settlers from voting the opposite tickets, was a fact not disputed in the vicinity of the Territory, by respectable residents of Missouri. [115] No claim was prefered for those votes on the score of actual or intended residence in the Territory. And unless the occupancy of the Kansas prairies, as pasture-ground for their cattle in the years past, makes them residents of Kansas, or "a board having their name nailed to a Kansas tree," of which Gov. Reeder speaks in his protest," [116] Mr. Stringfellow will fail to show even a lean majority of settlers in favor of Slavery for Kansas. On the day of the election, and the preceding day, I was on an eminence, in Lawrence, that overlooked miles of the great public road which keeps on the south bank of the Kansas [river] West, and that road was literally filled with wagons and horses bearing Missourians to Kansas ballot-boxes. Douglas--a one house "city," ten miles west of Lawrence,--its name indicates its antecedents--returned over 300 votes, and yet not fifty residents could be found in its vicinity. These voters came armed and equipped, (as the law ALLOWS) with whisky by the barrel to aid them in the exercise of "that noblest privilege of the freeman, the elective franchise!" [117]

As for the rest of Mr. Stringfellow's letter, it is, in the main replete with facts and conclusions to incite free immigration, and encourage those who are now getting a bare living by their own unaided energies from the less genial soil of New England, lay out those energies in Kansas. The mechanics, too, may read his appeal to the "poor mechanics who are not abolitionists," and pack up their tools fearlessly; hope's rainbow is gloriously bent, spanning Kansas high above Mr. Stringfellow. I like to write out his name in full; it so reminds me of the old Methodist stanza--"Judas by a cord out ran his Lord, and got "to heaven first."

Yours for Kansas, Humanity and
Emigrant Aid Companies,
C. I. H. NICHOLS

[TO SAMUEL WOODWARD] [118]

LAWRENCE [KANSAS TERRITORY]
April 5, 1855

Mr. Woodward:--

"Agreeably to promise," my first pen tracks in this goodly territory are devoted, or "dedicated" to your columns. Time and pressure of business admonish me to say as much as can be said in a brief communication for the instruction, rather than amusement, of your readers. We have had a long and more tedious journey than we could anticipate so late in the season. [119] We started the 20th, arrived at St. Louis, A. M., the 25th [of March], and went directly on board the Kate Swenney [sic] (P. M. Chouteau capt.; Messrs. Chouteau and Hopkins clerks, where we were entertained in the most kindly manner and fared well till we left Kansas city for an overland route to this place. [120] We set sail from St. Louis Monday, 4 o'clock P. M. and did not arrive at Kansas city till about 2 o'clock P. M., the next Monday [April 2], the river being very low, so that we spent much time on the sand bars--eighteen hours on one of them. Our party numbered one hundred and forty, exclusive of children. Many sterling men and women, and some miserable men--a few drunk nearly all the time. There was some picking of pockets--and it ought to be understood by those who emigrate, that as emigrants are expected to take with them something to sustain themselves and buy for future needs, gentleman pickpockets are very likely to calculate the chances for gain, and join the parties which come out. A pair of gamblers came on board our boat at Boonville, Mo., having come up from St. Louis thus far on another boat loaded with emigrants, and by tricks with a strap and another with cards, succeeded in making a raise of ninety dollars among our young men, not our Vermont or New Hampshire boys, and how much they got of an old one or two, whom they enticed by strong drink to risk the "bet," we could not ascertain. I note these facts to warn others who may come after us. None gained either in money or reputation who accepted the challenge.

We spent the first night at the Bardwell House, Rutland, sleeping from three to five in a bed. Little sleep did I get, and the next time I pay for lodging in that shape, at a "First Class Hotel," with a miserable breakfast to match the same, it will be in Kansas, where lodgings are scarce. Breakfasts, however, one can get, even here, that are hot and well cooked. But Rutland was matched in its table fare at Detroit and Chicago. Dea [con]. [John T.] Farwell, [121] of Fitchburg [Mass.], acted as agent to our party, and an excellent agent he was, looking after the baggage of all, and especially caring for those who were unable to care properly for themselves--women going out to their husbands or friends and the like. But to Kansas--what of the election? The Missourians, emboldened by last Fall's success, came boldly up the river, or by teams and horseback, several days' journey from the interior of Missouri--to vote. The number is estimated by Missourians at ten thousand.-- [122] The mass, low lived, drunken and reckless, were marshalled by leaders of a higher grade in society, who were compelled to extreme measures to keep their forces from robbery and manslaughter. One of these gentlemen frankly confessed to a Massachusetts emigrant, that they tapped the whiskey barrels and spilt the liquor to keep "popular sovereignty" from becoming dangerous to its own advocates. Several men felt obliged to fly from this place, their lives being threatened by the rowdy "sovereigns." It was only needed to point out such and such ones as "abolitionists," and the cry was raised "shoot," "hang," "lynch him." Private judges seized upon the popular feeling and took advantage of ignorance of the haters of abolitionists, to represent those they disliked, as such.

In this place seven hundred Missourians assembled and voted, threatened the judges of the election, and during the forenoon the "free State" residents did not attempt to vote. Later in the day, when the Missourians had scattered their forces, some two hundred and fifty voted, about two-thirds the actual number of free State men. [123] Every electorial District in the Territory but two have sent in their protests to the Governor, asking him to call a new election. [124] He is waiting the decision of the Attorney General, and if Mr. [Caleb] Cushing [125] decides that the Governor has right to do so he will refuse, as he now does to give certificates to the delegates elected, and call another election in all the protesting Districts which sustain their protests by suitably testified facts. [126]

The season is late here as well as East. I am writing without a fire, it being rather uncomfortable with one.

We found scant team force to take us and the hundred from Pennsylvania and other States into the territory. But one man is expected into the territory this week with one thousand milch cows, while some three thousand head of cattle are known to be on the way. Flour is nine dollars in Kansas City--eleven dollars here. Corn meal one dollar eighty here--one dollar there. Freights are up to one dollar twenty-five cents per hundred from St. Louis to Kansas city, one dollar to one dollar twenty-five cents from Kansas city here by land. The Kansas river is rising, and ten days hence the steamer is expected up from St. Louis to navigate its waters. Fares and freight will be down from St. Louis here soon as the rains raise the rivers. Freight was down to seventy-five cents per hundred from St. Louis to Kansas only ten days before we arrived there; but the river fell again in consequence of the cold weather, but was getting higher when we disembarked.

Yours in haste, till I write again,
C. I. H. NICHOLS

[TO SAMUEL WOODWARD] [127]

LAWRENCE [KANSAS TERRITORY]
April 7, 1855

[Mr. Woodward:]

As we have but one mail a week, (private conveyance to a daily Post Office, in Kansas [City], Missouri, gives us almost daily opportunity to send out letters) communications are liable to get old in their journey East.

In my first letter I minuted a few incidents of our journey: a few more are worth jotting perhaps. We found the team powers at Kansas [City], Mo., where we disembarked, all inadequate to the transportation of the party and their baggage. One and the principle reason was that the agent at Kansas did not receive timely notice of our numbers and probable time of arrival.-- A telegraphic despatch from Jefferson City or Boonville is the surest mode of communication. As Mr. [Samuel C.] Pomeroy did not receive our agent's letter before our arrival, many of us had to wait there till he ordered teams from the interior. [128]

Our family party with Mr. [William] Hutchinson and family, of West Randolph, Vt., procured a passage to Lawrence in good covered carriage, with spring seats, drawn by a pair of Mexican mules. [129] These mules were a dirty drab color, and about the size of Vermont yearling colts. Such another whipping and hallooing I never rode after. "Moral suasion" sometimes seemed most efficient, but it needed the whip by way of emphasis to give force. Once the creatures came near upsetting us, taking a sudden turn at right angles with one of the steep pitches which occur on either side the ravines. The roads are smooth and fine. There has as yet been no rain in the territory, and no muddy roads. (We are having a slight sprinkling now which may become rain.)

On our way up we met large numbers of the Kaw Indians, the lowest and most degraded tribe in the territory, who are beggars and thieves, but otherwise harmless. It seemed a kind of migratory season with them, and will long be remembered by our party in connexion with an incident showing that their faith is unchanged since the time when Pope wrote of the "poor Indian." A Kaw Indian had died the day before, between Lawrence and Kansas [City], and there, beside the public road, two squaws had dug his grave, and buried him with six days provisions; then surrounded it with an enclosure three logs high, and close outside lay his dog and a very valuable pony, which they had shot and left to accompany him to the "spirit land." [130]

Lawrence had grown, or rather buildings have multiplied since I left in December; But still owing to the inefficiency of the saw mill in operation, only one as yet being on the ground--but a few of the houses are finished to the demands for comfort in "a cold snap," while two-thirds of the frames erected are but partially covered or enclosed. It will be two months at least before the saw mill now on the way here can be put in operation. The large hotel, whose cellar was dug and underpinning commenced when I left, is now being prepared for the superstructure. [131] A well has been dug beside it which affords water, and the house itself will be completed, it is expected, by fall. Emigrants in health can easily find accommodations while they look about and make them on claims or in the city for themselves. Such accommodations however until lumber is to be had more plentifully must be temporary. A great many of our party, single men, came to Lawrence, spent a night and returned East again. They were disappointed in not finding work ready for them, and it would seem did not come to take farms unless they could find them in the city, or very near it. (I suspect they were afraid of the Missourians, as it was just then the governor was threatened.) [132] The season is late and but few have commenced ploughing. I go to the head waters of the Osage--to Ossawattamie [sic]--to-day. [133] My second son [Aurelius Ormando] has taken a claim there with about forty acres of woodland, the remainder high prairie, lying on a bend of the river. [134] Mr. Nichols went from Kansas City by stage, directly there, as he could by so doing take a claim adjoining. We met at Kansas [City] a gentleman [Orville C. Brown] from Western New York. The first to locate the town, and gathered from him additional information concerning that section of the territory. [135] I had heard much of it before; that it is well watered, and had more timber than in other eastern sections. It (Ossawatamie [sic]) lies directly south from Lawrence, about forty miles, between the Pottawatomie and the Magdesine [Marais des Cygnes], two streams which unite and form the Osage. A gentleman here who visited that section two weeks ago, tells me there were fifteen miles (well timbered on each side of the stream) where no claims had been taken. I will write you further when I have been there. I met a gentleman here from Topeka (twenty miles West on the Kansas river) with whom I had previously formed a pleasant acquaintance.-- He was anxious to leave us go there and stop. Wood and water are more abundant also in that vicinity. Several of our party went up with him and took claims about five miles from Topeka. They tell me the land is more desirable than any claims to be had in the vicinity of this place and the prairies most beautiful.

I have heard also from Wabonsee [136] [sic] (accent the last syllable) on the Big Blue, or near it, some seventy miles from here. Several of my old friends have removed there, and others of our party last fall are going there. E. M. Thurston, [137] Secretary of the Board of Education in Maine for several years, who came out in our party last fall as a last hope against supposed confirmed consumption, is there. He has regained his health and recently footed it from Kansas [City] to Wabonsee, 120 miles. The emigrants have been generally healthy; few deaths or severe cases of illness in proportion to their numbers.

Truly Yours, 
C. I. H. NICHOLS

P.S.--I have just seen friends who have been down to Johnson [Shawnee Methodist Mission] to sustain the Governor, who was threatened with assassination if he refused to give certificates of election, and organize the legislature. The bogus Legislature assembled on Friday the 8th. [138] The Governor, with two loaded pistols on the table at his left, and a sword concealed under the table cloth near his right hand, read his decision, accepting 6 of the members returned, 3 of them Free State men, and refusing to recognize the remainder. [139] The members however organized and went home!! So much for the Missouri effort to legislate for Kansas. All praise is due to Gov. Reeder. He stated in public to Mr. Johnson (one of the Council elected, and the slaveholding missionary at whose house the Governor stays,) that three Missourians might kill him, but the whole state of Missouri should not force him to act contrary to his convictions of right. He also told them that if they attempted his life, some of them would die with him. [140]

(Part Two, the Clarina I. H. Nichols Papers of April 21, 1855-1856,
Will Appear in the Summer, 1973, Issue.)

Notes

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. Louise Barry, "The Emigrant Aid Company Parties of 1854," Kansas Historical Quarterly (KHQ), v. 12 (May, 1943), pp. 140-149. The literature on the New England Emigrant Aid Company is voluminous. The best available study is Samuel Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom: The New England Emigrant Aid Company in the Kansas Crusade (Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 1954). For additional information, see Johnson, "The Genesis of the New England Emigrant Aid Society," New England Quarterly (NEQ), Cambridge, Mass., v. 3 (January, 1930), pp. 95-122; Johnson, "The Emigrant Aid Company in Kansas," KHQ, v. 1 (November, 1932), pp. 429-441; Johnson, "The Emigrant Aid Company in the Kansas Conflict," ibid., v. 6 (February, 1937), pp. 21-33; Robert F. Moody, "The First Year of the Emigrant Aid Company," NEQ, v. 4 (January, 1931), pp. 148-155; Horace Andrews, Jr., "Kansas Crusade: Eli Thayer and the New England Emigrant Aid Company," ibid., v. 35 (December, 1962), pp. 497-514; William H. Carruth, "The New England Emigrant Aid Company as an Investment Society," Kansas Historical Collections (KHC), v. 6 (1897-1900), pp. 90-96; Russell K. Hickman, "Speculative Activities of the Emigrant Aid Company," KHQ, v. 4 (August, 1935), pp. 235-267; Edgar Langsdorf, "S. C. Pomeroy and the New England Emigrant Aid Company," ibid., v. 7 (May and November, 1938), pp. 227-245, 379-398; Ralph V. Harlow, "The Rise and Fall of the Kansas Aid Movement," American Historical Review (AHR), New York, v. 41 (October, 1935), pp. 1-25; Eli Thayer, A History of the Kansas Crusade, Its Friends and Its Foes (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1889); Thayer, The New England Emigrant Aid Company and Its Influence Through the Kansas Contest, Upon National History (Worcester, Mass., Franklin P. Rice, 1887).
2. For a discussion of the final struggle for woman's suffrage in Kansas, see Martha B. Caldwell, "The Woman Suffrage Campaign of 1912," KHQ, v. 12 (August, 1943), pp. 300-318. Two earlier attempts, in 1867 and 1894, had been made to achieve political equality in Kansas, and both times the equal suffrage amendments had been defeated at the polls. For a discussion of these earlier movements, see Sister Jeanne McKenna, "'With the Help of God and Lucy Stone,'" ibid., v. 36 (Spring, 1970), pp. 13-26; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gabe, ed., History of Woman Suffrage, v. 2 (New York, Fowler & Wells, 1882), pp. 229-268 (hereafter cited HWS); ibid., v. 4 (Indianapolis, The Hollenbeck Press, 1902), pp. 638-664.
3. Unlike other leaders in the woman's rights movement, no attempt has been made either to write her biography or to analyze her career during the early stages of the feminist crusade. While her active involvement in the national movement was brief, she did attend and address most of the woman's rights and temperance conventions held after the Seneca Falls meeting in 1848. She also traveled throughout New England and lectured on the disabilities of women. She developed a very close and personal relationship with Susan B. Anthony and was, perhaps, more instrumental in influencing Miss Anthony to participate actively in the woman's rights movement than previously believed by other historians.
For a recent study that briefly sketches Mrs. Nichols's early career in the woman's rights crusade and credits her with helping to enlighten the West on the "new ideas" of feminism, see Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1959), pp. 89, 92-93.
4. Although some chronological and factual conflicts exist in the available biographical sketches of Mrs. Nichols, the events and dates given here are those which seem to be most logical. See Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, v. 2 (Cambridge, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971), pp. 625-627 (hereafter cited NAW); Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography, v. 13 (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1934), pp. 490-491 (hereafter cited DAB); Mary R. Cabot, ed., Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895, v. 1 (Brattleboro, Press of E. L Hildreth & Co., 1921), pp. 380-381. Although not always accurate, the best source of information on Mrs. Nichols's career in the early woman's rights movement is her published reminiscences.--See "Reminiscences by Clarina I. Howard Nichols," in HWS, v. 1, pp. 171-200.
5. James H. Phelps, Collections Relating to the History and Inhabitants of the Town of Townshend, Vermont (Brattleboro, Selleck & Davis, 1877), pp. 183-184.
6. See [Clarina I. H. Carpenter] to "Dear Parents," Brockport [New York], July 14, 1833, in the private collection of Mrs. Margaret Gould Owens, Cavendish, Vt., step-granddaughter of Birsha Carpenter Davis, Mrs. Nichols's daughter (a copy is on file in the "Clarina I. H. Nichols Papers," manuscript division, Kansas Historical Society--hereafter cited "Nichols Papers" and KSHS); Clarina I. H. Nichols to Susan B. Anthony, Brattleboro, March 24, 1852, in the private collection of Mrs. Patricia Rabinovitz, Ann Arbor, Mich., great-great-granddaughter of Mrs. Nichols.
7. NAW, v. 2, p. 625; "Divorce Decree of the Supreme Court of Judicature" [February 16, 1843], in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz; George W. Nichols to [Clarina], Brattleboro, February 12 [1843], ibid.; George W. Nichols to Clarina, Brattleboro, March 26, 1842, in the private collection of T. D. Seymour Bassett, Burlington, Vt. (a copy is on file in the "Nichols Papers").
George W. Nichols was born in Stowe, Vt., in 1782, and learned the printer's trade at Walpole, N. H. He moved to Brattleboro to be foreman on The Reporter, a Federalist weekly edited by William Fessenden, and eventually married Fessenden's sister. In 1826 Nichols purchased the Brattleboro Messenger, a Whig journal that he converted to Democratic persuasion. He published the Messenger until it was merged with the Vermont Phoenix in 1834. After two years with the Phoenix, he sold out and purchased the Windham County Democrat, which had been started in 1836 as a Democratic weekly under the editorial management of Joseph Steen. Under Nichols's editorship the Democrat became the organ of the Free-Soil Democracy in Vermont. After his marriage in 1843, Nichols became seriously ill and Clarina was forced to take financial and editorial control of the newspaper until it was discontinued in 1853. In the spring of 1855 Nichols journeyed to Kansas with his wife and youngest son. He died in August, 1855.--See, Cabot, Annals of Brattleboro, 1861-1895, v. 1, pp. 180-182, 380.
8. HWS, v. 1, pp. 171-172. In a letter to Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Nichols wrote: "I knew, I always feel, that God has set me apart for this service [in the woman's rights movement]: all the providences of my life have conspired to qualify me for & place me in the very van of these reforms. I have labored for years (6) under my husband's hat, laying the foundations, creating step by step the sentiment thro the various channels of knowledge, before I came out in my own name to give to my sex a personal offering. My husband wished me to do so before; but I wished to make sure that I had secured the confidence of men in my ability to conduct their political paper; before I threw myself on their support in the matter of legal & social reforms. I feel that men compel us to prove our equal intellect in order to [achieve] the full influence of our moral & social organization."--Nichols to Anthony, Brattleboro, March 24, 1852, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
9. Upon learning of Mrs. Nichols's editorship, Amelia J. Bloomer, editor of The Lily, a temperance and woman's rights journal, asserted that most men would find it difficult to understand how a woman was capable of editing a newspaper when she had "prescribed" duties to perform within her own "sphere." She warned that social and economic changes for women were rapidly approaching: "The day is coming--and has even now come--when woman will contest with you the right to choose the kind of labor by which to earn subsistence for herself and those dependent on her exertions; for she has learned that it is easier to write leaders for a newspaper, than to toil over the washtub and the needles, and that she is equally capable with yourselves of writing them."--The Lily, Seneca Falls, N. Y., January, 1850.
For additional information on Mrs. Bloomer, see NAW, v. 1, pp. 179-181; DAB, v. 2, p. 385; Dexter C. Bloomer, Life and Writings of Amelia Bloomer (Boston, Arena Publishing Company, 1895); Paul Fatout, "Amelia Bloomer and Bloomerism," New York Historical Society Quarterly, v. 36 (October, 1952), pp. 361-375; Philip D. Jordan, "The Bloomers in Iowa," Palimpset, v. 20 (September, 1939), pp. 295-309; Robert E. Riegel, American Feminists (Lawrence, University of Kansas Press, 1964), pp. 51-53; Bertha-Monica Stearns, "Reform Periodicals and Female Reformers, 1830-1860," AHR, v. 38 (July, 1932), pp. 693-694; Margaret Farrand Thorp, Female Persuasion: Six Strong-Minded Women (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1949), pp. 107-142.
10. Unfortunately only a few issues of the Democrat are extant for 1843-1853. Scattered issues are found in the newspaper files of the Vermont State Library, American Antiquarian Society, New-York Historical Society, Library of Congress, and Brooks Memorial Library, Brattleboro, Vt. A few issues are in the private collection of F. Cabot Holbrook, Brattleboro.
11. There are no extant issues of the Democrat for 1847. A search of several Vermont newspapers--Montpelier Vermont Patriot, Montpelier Vermont Watchman, and Windsor Vermont Journal--for extracts of Mrs. Nichols editorials or editorial comments on woman's rights proved unsuccessful. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols stated that her editorials were "addressed to the voters [men] of the State" and denounced "the injustice and miserable economy of the property disabilities of married women."--HWS, v. 1, p. 172.
12. For information on the 1847 married women's property law, see Journal of the Senate of the State of Vermont, 1847, pp. 18, 37, 43-44, 48, 51, 54, 57-58, 62-63, 67, 143-144; Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Vermont, 1847, pp. 105, 195, 203, 206-207; The Acts and Resolves Passed by the Legislature of the State of Vermont, 1847, p. 26.
13. HWS, v. 1, p. 172. In an editorial on woman's rights, Mrs. Nichols wrote that after the passage of the 1847 law "every press in the State, except our own either opposed, was silent, or spoke dubiously of the utility of its provisions;--we remember, that though scarce a single voice of sympathy penetrated to our sanctum then, the 'gallantry of the Legislature' proved beyond mistake that the people were in advance of the gentlemen of the press."--Windham County Democrat, July 24, 1850, clipping in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
14. The Acts and Resolves Passed by the Legislature of the State of Vermont, 1849, pp. 14, 17; ibid., 1850, p. 13; Burlington (Vt.) Daily Free Press, November 22, 1849, November 22, 25, 1850; New York Daily Tribune, November 27, 1849; Windham County Democrat, [October, 1849], July 24, 1850, clippings in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz; Windham County Democrat [August, 1850], cited in The Lily, September, 1850; HWS, v. 1, p. 172.
15. Ibid., p. 173.
16. Ibid., pp. 172-173; Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Vermont, 1852, pp. 98-99; Burlington Daily Free Press, November 1, 1852.
17. In her speech before the Vermont legislature, Mrs. Nichols attempted to analyze the various aspects of the woman's rights movement, emphasizing property rights and school suffrage. Unfortunately there is not an extant copy of her speech. For the text of her lecture in regard to the question of woman's property rights, see Burlington (Vt.) Courier, November 25, 1852; New York Daily Tribune, December 3, 1852.
The editor of the Vermont Christian Messenger attended Mrs. Nichols's lecture and reported: "She claimed that woman had been alienated from her true sphere, which was now too tame, and denied that naturally her sex was more dependent than the other. She claimed for woman the right to represent her property and natural interests in her child, in overseeing its educational interests."--Vermont Christian Messenger, Montpelier, November 3, 1852.
18. HWS, v. 1, pp. 173-174. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols wrote: "The effort brought me no reproach, no ridicule from any quarter, but instead, cordial recognition and delicate sympathy from unexpected quarters, and even from those who had heard but the report of persons present."--Ibid., p. 174.
For the report of the house committee on education and the final vote on the school suffrage petition, see Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Vermont, 1852, pp. 191, 353; Middlebury (Vt.) Register, December 15, 1852. For a favorable editorial concerning Mrs. Nichols's lecture, see The Caledonian, St. Johnsbury, Vt., November 20, 1852.
19. For additional information on Mrs. Nichols's lectures, see HWS, v. 1, p. 175; Nichols to Amelia J. Bloomer, Brattleboro, April 11, 1853, "Amelia J. Bloomer Papers," Free Public Library, Council Bluffs, Iowa; Susan B. Anthony to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rochester, N. Y., November 11, 1853, "Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers," Library of Congress; Nichols to Sherman M. Booth, Brattleboro, December 21, 1853, cited in Milwaukee Daily Free Democrat, December 31, 1853; O. A. Bowe to Nichols, Mohawk, N. Y., February 12, 1854, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz; Burlington Daily Free Press, April 13, 1853, January 10, 1854; Syracuse (N. Y.) Journal, November 19, 1853; The Liberator, Boston, January 13, 1854; Boston Daily Commonwealth, March 8, 1854.
Mrs. Nichols fought vigorously for a Maine prohibitory law in Vermont and was instrumental in influencing the passage of liquor laws in 1850 and 1852. For additional information on the Vermont temperance movement, see Nichols to Susan B. Anthony, Brattleboro, March 24, 1852, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz; Nichols to Sherman M. Booth, Brattleboro, December 21, 1853, cited in Milwaukee Daily Free Democrat, December 31, 1853; Windham County Democrat, January 26, February 23, April 13, 1853; Brattleboro Weekly Eagle, April 21, 28, 1854; The Lily, January, 1851; New York Daily Tribune, September 15, 1851, February 2, November 13, 1852, January 12, February 9, August 31, September 24, October 25, December 14, 1853; Burlington Daily Free Press, November 17, December 4, 11, 1852, January 4, 17, March 4, 15, July 27, 1853; Middlebury Register, December 29, 1852; Vergennes (Vt.) Vermonter, November 3, December 15, 1852; Burlington (Vt.) Sentinel, January 27, February 3, March 24, 1853. For a study of the early temperance crusade in Vermont, see David M. Ludlum, Social Ferment in Vermont, 1791-1850 (Montpelier, The Vermont Historical Society, 1948), pp. 63-85.
20. For the complete text of Mrs. Nichols's address, "The Responsibilities of Woman," see Series of Woman's Rights Tracts (Rochester, Steam Press of Curtis, Butts & Co. [1854]). For the proceedings of the Worcester convention and journalistic commentary, see New York Daily Tribune, October 17, 18, 20, 21, 1851; New York Herald, October 16-19, 21, 23, 1851; New York Evening Post, October 16, 17, 1851; The Liberator, October 24, 1851; National Anti-Slavery Standard, New York, November 6, 1851; HWS, v. 1, pp. 226-246, 825-826; Aileen S. Kraditor, ed., Up From the Pedestal: Selected Writings in the History of American Feminism (Chicago, Quadrangle Books, 1968), pp. 220-222.
In October, 1850, Mrs. Nichols had attended the first woman's rights convention at Worcester. However, she was just a passive observer and did not take an active part in the debates at that time. For Mrs. Nichols's observations, see Worcester convention [October, 1850], "Susan B. Anthony Papers," Radcliffe College Library. For the proceedings of the 1850 convention, see New York Daily Tribune, October 25-26, 1850; New York Herald, October 25-26, 28-29, 1850; HWS, v. 1, pp. 215-226, 820-825.
21. Alma Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian (Boston, Beacon Press, 1959), pp. 32-33. Unfortunately very little of Mrs. Nichols's correspondence with Miss Anthony was preserved. Several letters are found in the "Susan B. Anthony Papers" at Radcliffe College and several are in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
For Mrs. Nichols's comments at the Syracuse convention, see The Proceedings of the Woman's Rights Convention, Held at Syracuse, September 8-10, 1852 (Syracuse [n. p.], 1852), pp, 14-15, 22-23, 51-52, 78, 86, 89, 94-95; New York Daily Tribune, September 10, 14, 1852; New York Herald, September 9-12, 14, 1852; New York Daily Times, September 9-11, 1852; HWS, v. 1, pp. 522, 525.
22. In discussing the friendship of Mrs. Nichols and Miss Anthony, Ida Hosted Harper wrote: "Of all the pioneer workers with whom Miss Anthony had been associated in the early days so full of scorn, ridicule and abuse, Mrs. Nichols was among the nearest and dearest, a forceful speaker and writer, a tender, loving woman."--Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, v. 2 (Indianapolis, The Bowen-Merrill Company, 1898), p. 595.
23. Ibid., v. 1, p. 66. The original letter has not been located. A careful examination of the "Susan B. Anthony Papers" at the Library of Congress, Radcliffe College Library, Henry E. Huntington Library, Smith College Library, New York Public Library, Vassar College Library, University of Rochester Library, Seneca Falls Historical Society, and Susan B. Anthony Memorial, and the "Ida Hosted Papers" at the Library of Congress and Henry E. Huntington Library proved unsuccessful.
24. For Mrs. Nichols's comments at the West Chester convention, see New York Daily Tribune, June 4, 5, 1852; Windham County Democrat [June, 1852], cited in ibid., June 24, 1852; Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 4, 1852; HWS, v. 1, pp. 355-357. Also, see Mrs. Nichols's editorial "Notes by the Wayside," in Windham County Democrat, July 7, 1852.
25. Nichols to Anthony, Brattleboro, March 24, 1852, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
26. For the text of Mrs. Nichols's letter to the Rochester convention, see Nichols to Sisters and Friends of Temperance, Brattleboro, April 13, 1852, cited in The Lily, May, 1852. Mrs. Nichols's letter to the Albany convention was not published, although the published proceedings indicated that her letter was read before the convention.--See New York Daily Tribune, February 2, 1852; Albany (N. Y.) Evening Journal, January 30, 1852; Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, v. 1, p. 65.
27. For Mrs. Stanton's and Miss Stone's comments on divorce, see New York Daily Tribune, June 6, 1853. For additional biographical information, see NAW, v. 3, pp. 342-347, 387-390; DAB, v. 17, pp. 521-523; ibid., v. 18, pp. 80-81; Lutz, Created Equal: A Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902 (New York, The John Day Company, 1940); Elinor Rice Hays, Morning Star: A Biography of Lucy Stone, 1818-1893 (New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1961).
28. New York Daily Tribune, June 7, 1853. For the proceedings of the Rochester convention, see ibid., June 6-7, 1853; Rochester Daily Democrat, June 2-4, 1853; Rochester Daily Advertiser, June 1-2, 1853.
29. For Mrs. Nichols's remarks at the Whole World Temperance Convention, see New York Daily Tribune, September 3, 1853; New York Daily Times, September 3, 1853; New York Evening Post, September 2-3, 1853. For Mrs. Nichols's comments at the National Woman's Rights Convention, see Proceedings of the Woman's Rights Convention, Held at New York City, September 6-7, 1853 (New York, [n. p.] 1853), pp. 57-60, 75-76; New York Daily Tribune, September 7-8, 1853; New York Daily Times, September 7-8, 1853. For Mrs. Nichols's account of the convention, see Windham County Democrat [September 14, 1853], cited in The Liberator, September 30, 1853.
30. HWS, v. 1, pp. 178-185; Nichols to the Democrat, Milwaukee, September 26, 1853, cited in Windham County Democrat, October 5, 1853; Nichols to the Democrat, Milwaukee, September 30, 1853, cited in ibid., October 12, 1853; Milwaukee Daily Free Democrat, September 23-24, 27, 30, October 1, 3, 10, 14, 24-25, November 2, December 7, 1853; Chicago Daily Tribune, September 30, October 5, 1853; Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, September 26, October 21, 1853; Evening Wisconsin, Milwaukee, September 26, 1853; General Acts Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin, 1855, pp. 48-49. For a biographical sketch of Lydia F. Fowler, see NAW, v. 1, pp. 654-655.
31. At the request of Miss Anthony, Mrs. Nichols attended the woman's rights convention at Albany in February, 1854. For Mrs. Nichols's remarks at the convention, see Albany Evening Journal, February 15-16, 1854; New York Daily Tribune, February 15-17, 1854. For Mrs. Nichols's account of the convention, see Nichols to William Lloyd Garrison, Brattleboro, February 18, 1854, cited in The Liberator, February 24, 1854; Nichols to the editor [Brattleboro, February, 1854], cited in Brattleboro Weekly Eagle, February 24, 1854.
32. In announcing the suspension of the Democrat, Amelia J. Bloomer wrote that the decision rested on the ill health of Mrs. Nichols's husband: "We regret parting with this weekly messenger of good, as it has ever been one of our most valued exchanges. Yet knowing as we do the care and responsibility devolving upon an editor and publisher, we cannot blame our sister, Nichols, when her husband's health failed for hesitating, and finally declining to bear alone this weight of care and anxiety."--The Lily, January 2, 1854.
As early as January, 1854, Mrs. Nichols had given thought to leaving Vermont and moving to Wisconsin where she had spent the previous autumn.--See R. W. Ostrander to Nichols, Aztalan [Wis.], January 26, 1854, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
33. During the 1853 session of the Vermont legislature, legislation concerning the rights of married women and equal school suffrage were introduced and defeated.--See Journal of the Senate of the State of Vermont, 1853, pp. 19, 53, 69, 327, 365; Windham County Democrat, October 12, 1853.
34. Nichols to Sherman M. Booth, Brattleboro, January 25, 1854, cited in Milwaukee Daily Free Democrat, February 8, 1854; Nichols to Booth, Townshend, Vt., April 5, 1854, cited in ibid., April 12, 1854.
35. HWS, v. 1, p. 193.
36. In announcing Mrs. Nichols's departure for Kansas, Amelia J. Bloomer wrote: "Mrs. N. is a woman of superior abilities, and will do honor to any place where she may become a resident, and grace any circle of which she may become a member. No truer friend of freedom can be found than she, and if the wives of all the men who settle in Kansas are like her in this particular, slavery will never gain a foothold on that soil."--The Lily, November 1, 1854.
37. HWS, v. 1, p. 186.
38. Ibid.; Barry, "The New England Emigrant Aid Company Parties of 1855," KHQ, v. 12 (August, 1943), pp. 237-242.
39. Mrs. Nichols's letters to the Herald of Freedom appear is these articles.
40. HWS., v. 1, p. 189.
41. Ibid., 186-189. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols wrote: "Between May, 1856, and February 1857 (not counting my engagement with the Aid Committee), I gave some fifty Kansas lectures in the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York, followed occasionally by one or two lectures on the legal and Political disabilities of women; receiving more invitations on both subjects than I could possibly fill."--Ibid., p. 187.
42. Quindaro Chindowan, May 13, August 1, 1857; "Minute Book of the Moneka Woman's Rights Association, 1858-1860," "Linn County History Papers," manuscript division, KSHS; John O. Wattles to George W. Brown, Moneka, K. T., February 20, 1858, cited in Herald of Freedom, March 6, 1858; Susan E. Wattles to Nichols, Moneka, May 4, 1858, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz; Kanzas News, Emporia, K. T., March 13, 1858; Freeman's Champion, Prairie City, K. T., March 18, 1858; HWS, v. 1, pp. 189-190.
43. "Minute Book of the Moneka Woman's Rights Association, 1858-1860," "Linn County History Papers." In a letter to Mrs. Nichols in April, 1859, Susan E. Wattles, secretary of the Moneka association, wrote: "We talked over the different ways of petitioning. Some thought it best to ask for our rights 'without making any invidious distinctions' because that would include the rights of the colored people. Others objected to it for that reason. We finally concluded not to decide on any form, until we heard from you again. We shall pass a resolution requesting you to present our petitions and we desire to have them in such a form as will be acceptable to you."--Wattles to Nichols, April 14, 1859, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
44. HWS, v. 1, pp. 189, 255-257, 667, 743; ibid., v. 2, p. 256.
45. Lawrence Republican, June 23, 1859; Herald of Freedom, June 25, 1859; Leavenworth Daily Times, June 29, 1859; Topeka Tribune, June 30, 1859.
46. Herald of Freedom, July 2, 1859. In his editorial, George W. Brown asserted: "It is time for . . . [the Republican] party to contend for the civil freedom of the thousands of white women in Kansas, rather than the disenthrallment of a few hundred Negroes, if they expect the world will accord to them sincerity in their clamor for the inalienable rights of humanity. If they dare not meet this question as boldly as they do that of the suffrage of foreigners, they should show sufficient backbone to submit a separate clause to the vote of the people, entirely disconnected from the question of Negro suffrage, and let the popular vote determine whether the future State shall disgrace itself by classing woman in the political scale with Negroes, lunatics, and idiots."
47. New York Herald, July 18, 1859; "Essex" to the editor, Wyandotte, July 8, 1859, cited in Philadelphia Daily Evening Bulletin, July 15, 1859; Reprint of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention Which Framed the Constitution of Kansas at Wyandotte in July, 1859 (Topeka, Kansas State Printing Plant, 1920), p. 72 (hereafter cited Kansas Constitutional Convention).
According to Mrs. Nichols, she was given a permanent seat which she "occupied till the adjournment of the Convention, laboring to develop an active and corresponding interest in outsiders as well as members, until my petitions had been acted upon and the provisions finally passed; purposely late in the session."--HWS, v. 1, p. 190.
48. Kansas Constitutional Convention, p. 75. Mrs. Nichols had the support of several delegates, including John Ritchie, a Republican from Shawnee county, who argued: "The right of petition, I hope, will ever be held sacred. In this age of intelligence--in the noon of the nineteenth century, I hope we will not take the position that we will not hear a woman in her own cause. Every man has received his first and best impressions from his mother; therefore, when the mothers speak don't let us become so full of Democracy and Republicanism as to stop our ears."--Ibid., p. 73.
As the debate over woman's rights progressed, it became evident that the question had significant political overtones. Samuel D. Houston, a Republican from Douglas county, asserted that the time was approaching when "it will be impossible for any power in this land to curtail one single human right." Therefore, he concluded that if the Republican Party abandoned woman's rights, it would "devolve upon some other party to develop them."--Ibid.
49. Unfortunately the text of Mrs. Nichols's address was not published. For newspaper commentary on her lecture, see New York Daily Times, July 22, 1859; Herald of Freedom, July 16, 1859; New York Daily Tribune, July 20, 1859; "Essex" to the editor, Wyandotte, July 12, 1859, cited in Philadelphia Daily Evening Bulletin, July 22, 1859.
Following her address, Mrs. Nichols received a letter from the Nebraska delegates, who were working for the annexation of the South Platte region to Kansas, congratulating her on an excellent speech: "Although not prepared fully to indorse all your views; still we are free to acknowledge that if all advocates of 'Woman's Rights' were as discreet and womanly in their arguments as you--much might be done for suffering humanity. We earnestly desire to see the laws so amended that a woman shall be able to control her children, her earnings and her property--and so that widows shall control their husbands' property, after his death to the extent to keep her above want."--Mills S. Reeves and John B. Burnet to Nichols, Wyandotte, July 14, 1859, "Susan B. Anthony Papers," Radcliffe College Library.
50. New York Daily Times, July 22, 1859.
51. Kansas Constitutional Convention, pp. 169-170; HWS, v. 1, pp. 190, 193-194; Mrs. Samuel A. Kingman, "A Personal Memory," The Club Member, Topeka, v. 6 (April, 1908), pp. 27-28.
52. Kansas Constitutional Convention, pp. 169-170, 580, 588; New York Daily Times, August 1, 8, 1859; Herald of Freedom, August 20, 1859.
In discussing the early woman's rights movement in Kansas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote: "The women of Kansas should never forget that to the influence of Mrs. Nichols in the Constitutional convention at Wyandotte, they owe the modicum of justice secured by that document. With her knitting in hand, she sat there alone through all the sessions, the only woman present, watching every step of the proceedings, and laboring with members to so frame the constitution as to make all citizens equal before the law. Though she did not accomplish what she desired, yet by her conversations with the young men of the State, she may be said to have made the idea of woman suffrage seem practicable to those who formed the constitution and statute laws of that State."--HWS, v. 3, p. 704.
53. Ibid., v. 1, p. 190. According to Joseph P. Root, first lieutenant governor of Kansas, the woman's rights movement in Kansas was influenced more by Mrs. Nichols than all other feminists: "Mrs. Nichols labored with the zeal and heroism born of a great noble heart, whose every pulsation is for humanity in the elevation of women to her proper political as well as social position."--Root to Friends, March 14, 1882, cited in ibid, v. 2, pp. 258-259.
54. Ibid., v. 1, pp. 191-193; Fort Scott Democrat, September 22, 1859; Emporia News, October 8, 1859.
55. Lecompton Kansas National Democrat, August 11, 1859.
56. House Journal of the Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory (Special Session), 1860, pp. 9, 305; Council Journal of the Legislative Assembly of Kansas Territory (Special Session), 1860, pp. 315-316, 659; General Laws of the Territory of Kansas, 1860, p. 150.
57. For additional information on the Ohio woman's rights movement, see HWS, v. 1, pp. 168-170, 199. For the Ohio married women's property law, see Acts of a General Nature of the State of Ohio, 1861, p. 54-55. For biographical sketches of Frances B. Gage, Hannah Tracy Cutler, and J. Elizabeth Jones, see NAW, v. 1, pp. 246-247, v. 2, pp. 2-4, 285-286.
58. Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, March 30, 1861.
59. House Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kansas, 1861, pp. 59, 101, 110, 115; Topeka Tribune, April 6, 13, 1861; Topeka Daily State Record, April 14, 1861; Kansas State Record, Topeka, April 13, 1861; Leavenworth Daily Times, April 5, 1861; Leavenworth Daily Herald, April 13, 1861; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, April 19, 1861.
60. Topeka Tribune, April 13, 1861.
61. General Laws of the State of Kansas, 1861, pp. 297-298.
62. Third Annual Report of the National Association far the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children (Washington, Chronicle Steam Press, 1866), pp. 6-9; HWS, v. 1, pp. 199-200; Boyd's Washington and Georgetown Directory, 1865, p. 288; ibid, 1866, p. 419.
In 1861 Gov. Charles Robinson had recommended Mrs. Nichols for a nurse's position to Dorothea Dix, who had been appointed superintendent of army nurses in June, 1861. In his letter he stated: "Mrs. Nichols is a lady of education & talent as well as of irreproachable character in every respect. She has been more than a 'Mother in Israel' during our struggle in Kansas & would make an excellent person to have charge of the sick department in a general division of the Army. We have no ladies of her capacity & fitness for such a position in Kansas, and but few can be found in any community. If you can find a suitable place for her either with our Kansas Regiments or elsewhere, it will be gratifying to her numerous friends."--Robinson to Dix, Topeka, July 30, 1861, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
63. After learning of Mrs. Nichols's resignation as matron of the Georgetown home, the Washington correspondent of the Vermont Journal wrote: "She has been most successful in her labors at that institution, and takes her leave, with the feeling on the part of the Board of Trustees, that her place can never, in all respects, be so ably filled. Mrs. Nichols started, with an abundant devotion of heart, to the noble cause in which she has in twelve months brought the affairs of the Home, that were then in a chaotic state, to a most complete system of social and educational discipline, with orderly, cleanly regulations, and physical and moral condition of the inmates greatly improved. There are now over seventy orphan children, and several aged persons receiving the benefits of that Institution which is now supported alone by voluntary charities."--Windsor Vermont Journal [March], 1866, clipping in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
64. For a scholarly and judicious account of the 1867 suffrage campaign, see McKenna, "'With the Help of God and Lucy Stone,'" pp. 13-26. For Mrs. Nichols's role in the 1867 movement, see Nichols to Samuel N. Wood, Quindaro, June 19, 21, 1867, "Woman Suffrage Papers," manuscript division, KSHS; receipt signed by Mrs. Nichols, Quindaro, August 10, 1867, "Linn County History Papers"; Topeka Tribune, April 5, 1867; Leavenworth Daily Conservative, April 5, 1867; Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, May 4, 11, June 1, September 28, 1867; The Kansas Farmer, Topeka, April, 1867; Western Home Journal, Ottawa, June 27, 1867.
65. For additional information on the 1867 suffrage campaign, see HWS, v. 2, pp. 229-268; Lutz, Susan B. Anthony: Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian, pp. 127-138; Lutz, Created Equal: A Biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1892, pp. 145-156; Katharine Anthony, Susan B. Anthony: Her Personal History and Her Era (Garden City, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1954), pp. 201-204; Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony, v. 1, pp. 274-275, 281-294; Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, pp. 145-147. For biographical information on Olympia Brown, see NAW, pp. 256-258; DAB, v. 3, p. 151; Charles E. Neu, "Olympia Brown and the Woman's Suffrage Movement," Wisconsin Magazine of History, Madison, v. 43 (Summer, 1960), pp. 277-287.
66. The Negro suffrage amendment was defeated by a majority of 8,938 and that of woman suffrage by a majority of 10,787.--See, D. W. Wilder, The Annals of Kansas: New Edition, 1541-1885 (Topeka, T. Dwight Thacher, Kansas Publishing House, 1886), p. 463 (hereafter cited Annals of Kansas).
67. Minutes of the Woman Suffrage Association of Topeka, "Woman Suffrage Papers"; Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, February 13, 1869.
68. Mrs. Nichols's correspondence on woman's rights to the Topeka Daily Commonwealth, Topeka Weekly Leader, Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, Brattleboro Vermont Phoenix, The Revolution and The Woman's Journal will appear in a later installment of her papers in the KHQ.
69. Wyandotte Gazette, November 16, 1871.
70. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols stated: "Since December, 1871, my home has been in California, where family cares and the infirmities of age limit my efforts for a freer and nobler humanity to pen."--HWS, v. 1, p 200.
Mrs. Nichols's reminiscences were originally published in The National Citizen and Ballot Box, Syracuse, July and August, 1879. In an editorial on Mrs. Nichols's career in the woman's rights movement, Matilda Joslyn Gage wrote: "So valuable is her work in Kansas considered, that the Kansas Historical Society has requested the National Citizen for its files, to be bound and kept among its archives, because of Mrs. Nichols 'Reminiscences' now appearing in its pages. The Secretary of [the] State Society [Franklin G. Adams] having been a co-worker with Mrs. Nichols knows to what extent that State is indebted to her."--Ibid., August, 1879.
In 1876 Mrs. Nichols had written Charles Robinson to endorse her reminiscences. He stated in his letter to Miss Anthony which he copied in his letter to Mrs. Nichols: "I can attest the truth of all she says & much more. She is too modest in her claims, for at that time she was the personification & incarnation of the cause in Kansas. To her influence we are all that is liberal to woman in our constitution & laws."--Robinson to Nichols, Lawrence, August 5, 1876, in the private collection of Mrs. Rabinovitz.
Mrs. Nichols's writings during her years in California will appear in a later installment of her papers in the KHQ.
71. Nichols to Anthony, Pomo, Calif., January 7, 1885, cited in The New Era, Chicago, v. 1 (February, 1885), p. 60.
In announcing Mrs. Nichols's death, the editor of the Lawrence Herald and Tribune wrote: "This encomium is merited, and no praise can be higher. Many did well in this work, but she excelled them all. Another founder of the State has passed away, another star has set. But for her there is no occasion to mourn, except for the loss of the living. For such as Mrs. Nichols, 'There is no death!' The stars go down to rise upon some fairer shore, and bright in Heaven's jewelled crown they shine forever more."--Lawrence Herald and Tribune, February 16, 1885.
Although Mrs. Nichols never worked for personal reward, she was honored twice by the women of Kansas. In 1881 a committee was organized to raise funds to have her portrait engraved. The published memorial stated: "Will it not be a privilege for Kansas women to acknowledge this unquestionable debt of gratitude to Mrs. Nichols for her early services, and do it while she is living." The steel engraving was reproduced with her reminiscences in the History of Woman Suffrage.
Eight years after her death, Mrs. Nichols was recognized once again by the women of Kansas for her work in the woman's rights movement. In 1893 the Columbian club of Wyandotte county had Mrs. Nichols's portrait painted by George M. Stone, a Topeka artist, and exhibited in the Kansas building at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
For additional information, see "Woman Suffrage Papers"; "Nichols Memorial," May 10, 1881, in "Kansas Biographical Pamphlets," library division, KSHS (original draft is found in "Woman's Suffrage Papers"); Topeka Daily Commonwealth, June 7, 1881; Wyandotte Gazette, June 10, 1881; Topeka Daily Capital, February 5, 1893; Anna O'Grady, "A Woman Sovereign," The Club Member, Topeka, v. 4 (March, 1907), p. 7.
72. The papers of Clarina I. H. Nichols have remained relatively scarce and widely scattered. Aside from the papers in the private collections of Mrs. Patricia Rabinovitz, Mrs. Margaret Gould Owens, and T. D. Seymour Bassett, additional manuscripts are located at the Kansas Historical Society, Radcliffe College Library, Houghton Library at Harvard University, and the Free Public Library at Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The author has attempted to bring together Mrs. Nichols's letters, editorials, articles, essays, and other miscellaneous writings. Although the collection is the result of several years of searching, no claim of completeness is made. It is hoped that perhaps this article will succeed in uncovering additional papers. Since her papers, prior to October, 1854, do not relate to Kansas, it has been decided not to include them in this publication. These earlier papers, 1833-1854 are expected to appear is Vermont History.
All of Mrs. Nichols's papers are printed in full with original spelling and punctuation. Documentation has been restricted to the identification of persons and to an explanation of situations and events without which the document would not be completely intelligible. To identify everything is, of course, impossible.
Each item has been preceded by a heading indicating the name of the addressee if known, or the type of composition, i. e., editorial, article, diary extract, etc., and is noted with a source identification, indicating the nature of the source from which the item was copied and the present ownership of the source.
The author wishes to thank Mrs. Patricia Rabinovitz, Mrs. Margaret Gould Owens, T. D. Seymour Bassett, and the Radcliffe College Library for permission to publish the Nichols papers in their possession. He also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the staffs of the Library of Congress, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, New York Public Library, New York Historical Society, University of Rochester Library, Rochester Public Library, Vassar College Library, Smith College Library, Houghton Library, Boston Public Library, Massachusetts Historical Society, American Antiquarian Society, Seneca Falls Historical Society, Keene (N. H.) Public Library, Ohio Historical Society, Illinois State Historical Library, Kentucky Historical Society, State Historical Society of Iowa, Council Bluffs Free Public Library, State Historical Society of Missouri, Milwaukee Public Library, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Henry E. Huntington Library, California State Library, Bancroft Library, Vermont State Library, Brooks Memorial Library, and Kansas State Library.
73. Boston Evening Telegraph, October 31, 1854. In reference to Mrs. Nichols's letter, William Lloyd Garrison, editor of The Liberator, wrote that her "testimony to the character of the [eastern] emigrants [to Kansas] is very gratifying, and justly deserved."--The Liberator, November 10, 1854.
74. Mrs. Nichols and her two older sons, Aurelius Ormando and Chapin Howard Carpenter, joined the fourth party of the New England Emigrant Aid Company. Her husband, daughter, and youngest son remained in Brattleboro. Departing from Boston on October 17, the company reached St. Louis on October 22, and the following day continued their journey on the steamboat Sam Cloon. They arrived at Kansas City on October 28, 1854. During the journey up the Missouri river, Mrs. Nichols was requested to lecture on woman's rights.--See, Barry, "The Emigrant Aid Company Parties of 1854," pp. 140-149; HWS, v. 1, p. 185; Burlington Daily Free Press, October 23, 1854; Brattleboro Weekly Eagle, October 27, 1854; Springfield (Mass.) Daily Republican, October 23, 1854.
In announcing her departure for Kansas, the Worcester (Mass.) Daily Transcript asserted that Mrs. Nichols emigrated "with the intention of taking up her abode in the new territory. She will keep out the slave holders, if any one can."--Worcester Daily Transcript, October 26, 1854.
75. Mrs. Nichols refers here to the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis railroad.
76. John M. S. Williams, a Boston merchant, offered Eli Thayer a $10,000 subscription to finance the emigration company, and then used his influence in the business community to bring others into the fold. He was a trustee of the aid company and a vice-president during the whole active period of the corporation.--See Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 12-13, 26, 30, 90, 113, 116-117; Thayer, A History of the Kansas Crusade, Its Friends and Its Foes, pp. 33, 225.
77. Charles H. Branscomb, a lawyer from Holyoke, Mass., was appointed as a general agent in August, 1854. He worked in various advisory capacities until the summer of 1857 when it was discovered that he had padded his expense account. Despite the evidence, it seems likely that Branscomb was less dishonest than incompetent. He later served in the Kansas territorial legislature and the Missouri state legislature. During the Grant administration he was appointed consul to Manchester, England. In 1886 he was the unsuccessful Prohibition party candidate for governor of Kansas. He died in 1891.--See Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 58-59; "Collected Biography, Clippings," v. 3, p. 148, library division, KSHS.
78. Although Mrs. Nichols's opinion of Branscomb's ability as a general agent was rather favorable, one Kansas historian has called him "the least important and also the least satisfactory of the original general agents of the Company."--Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, p. 58.
79. Mrs. Nichols went back to Vermont in December, 1854, and returned to Kansas m March, 1855 with her husband and youngest son. Her daughter, Birsha, remained in Brattleboro until 1859, when she moved to Kansas to join her mother.
80. The Rev. James Gilpatrick, a Baptist clergyman from Topsham, Maine, was sent to Kansas as a missionary of the American Baptist Home Missionary Society. He remained in Kansas until the fall of 1857 when he returned to New England. He died in 1865. For Gilpatrick's impressions of the territory, see Gilpatrick to the editor [October, 1854], Zion's Advocate, Portland, Maine, cited in Christian Watchman and Reflector, Boston, November 30, 1854. For a brief biographical sketch, see Zion's Advocate, November 1, 1865, clipping m "Baptist Church Clippings," v. 1, pp. 222-225, library division, KSHS.
81. Springfield Daily Republican, November 15, 1854. Immediately following Mrs. Nichols's departure for Kansas, the Daily Republican had asserted that she had "gone to Kansas with her sons, with a view to settling there. The sons may settle, perhaps, but Kansas isn't large enough to monopolize a woman like Mrs. Nichols."--Ibid., October 23, 1854.
82. In her reminiscences, Mrs. Nichols wrote about several incidents that occurred immediately following her arrival in Kansas.--See, HWS, v. 1, pp. 185-186, 195-196.
83. A town association was organized and at its first meeting on October 1, 1854, it was decided to name the town "Lawrence" in honor of Amos A. Lawrence, the treasurer of the aid company. For additional information on the settlement of Lawrence, see Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 52-53; Barry, "The Emigrant Aid Company Parties of 1854," pp. 117-124; Allen Crafton, Free State Fortress: The First Ten Years of the History of Lawrence, Kansas (Lawrence, The World Company, 1954), pp. 7-32; Richard Cordley, A History of Lawrence, Kansas, From the First Settlement to the Close of the Rebellion, (Lawrence, Journal Press, 1895), pp. 2-14. For biographical information on Amos A. Lawrence, see William Lawrence, Life of Amos A. Lawrence, With Extracts From His Diary and Correspondence (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1899); DAB, v. 11, pp. 47-48.
84. The first party of the aid company reached the area of Lawrence on August 1, 1854, and camped on a hill overlooking the site. They named the hill "Mount Oread" in memory of Eli Thayer's Oread Collegiate Institute in Worcester, Mass. Apparently Mrs. Nichols refers here to Mount Oread.
85. Cordley, A History of Lawrence, Kansas, From the First Settlement to the Close of the Rebellion, p. 9.
86. Topeka was the second town to be founded largely through the efforts of the aid company. The location was selected on November 29, 1854, by a committee of the fourth emigrant party and Charles Robinson, general agent of the company. On December 5, 1854, the Topeka association was organized. Ownership of the town was divided into 50 shares with one sixth assigned to the aid company on condition that it erect a mill, receiving house, and school house. Although the company took a less active interest in the development of Topeka than it did in Lawrence, its agents continued to direct settlers to the new townsite. For additional information on the settlement of Topeka, see F. W. Giles, Thirty Years in Topeka, (Topeka, George W. Crane & Co., 1886), pp. 20-22; Charles Robinson, "Topeka and her Constitution," KHQ, v. 6 (1897-1900), p. 292; Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 80-81.
87. Milwaukee Daily Free Democrat, November 14, 1854. Sherman M. Booth, a fanatical abolitionist antislavery agitator, was editor of the Democrat, probably the most influential abolitionist journal in Wisconsin. For additional information on Booth, see Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography, (Madison, The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1960), pp. 42-43.
88. The Lily reprinted Mrs. Nichols's account of her first lecture on woman's rights in Kansas and stated: "Those of our readers who know Mrs. Nichols can readily bring the whole scene before the mind's eye, and will with us heartly enjoy the picture she draws of 'pioneer life.'"--The Lily, December 15, 1854.
A thorough search of extant Kansas territorial newspapers, as well as newspaper clippings, manuscript collections, and published letters in Eastern journals, proved unsuccessful in locating information on Mrs. Nichols's lecture. In her reminiscences, she referred to the lecture and wrote: "Thus truths sown broadcast among the stereotyped beliefs and prejudices of the old and populous communities of the East, had wrought a genial welcome for myself and the advocacy of woman's cause on the disputed soil of Kansas."--HWS, v. 1, pp. 185-186.
89. In March, 1854, Booth was arrested under the fugitive slave law of 1850 for forcibly liberating a fugitive slave, Joshua Glover, from a jail in Milwaukee. As Booth's trial progressed, national attention was focused on the "rescue case" and, eventually, forced the Wisconsin supreme court to nullify the federal fugitive slave law. For additional information of the "rescue case," see Joseph Schafer, "Stormy Days in Court--The Booth Case," Wisconsin Magazine of History, v. 20 (September, 1936), pp. 89-110; A. M. Thompson, A Political History of Wisconsin (2d ed., Milwaukee, C. N. Caspar Company, 1902), pp. 96-108.
90. Boston Evening Telegraph, January 9, 1855. Mrs. Nichols's letter was reprinted in the Herald of Freedom on February 24, 1855, with the following comment: "It must have been written over two and a half months ago, and was a good description of life here at that time. Since then circumstances have materially changed the aspect of things, and 'that sawmill' has finished many a board roof where cotton cloth or thatch was used before. As a history of the past, the letter is worthy of being placed on file."
For an excellent account on the housing situation in Lawrence, see James C. Malin, "Emergency Housing at Lawrence, 1854," KHQ, v. 21 (spring, 1954), pp. 34-49.
91. In a letter to the Brattleboro Weekly Eagle, Aurelius O. Carpenter wrote: "what would you think Messrs. Editors, to see your former cotemporary, Mrs. Nichols, and her two sons seated a la Turque, beside a box which once held boots, with two knives and forks, and a butcher knife and wooden fork answering for the third, with tin plates to eat from and the spider in which the vituals was cooked put in the middle of the box, and then 'them as likes, lay tew'."--Carpenter to the editors, Lawrence City, December 3, 1854, cited in Brattleboro Weekly Eagle, December 29, 1854.
92. Shortly after writing this letter, Mrs. Nichols returned to Vermont. For her son's impressions of the territory, see ibid.; Carpenter to the editor, Lawrence, January 15, 1855, cited in Vermont Phoenix, February 24, 1855.
93. Springfield Daily Republican, January 8, 1855.
94. Mrs. Nichols arrived in Brattleboro in early January and immediately began preparations for her return to the territory in the spring. During her stay in Vermont she gave several lectures on Kansas. In a speech, "Kansas and Its Chances for Freedom," delivered at the Unitarian church in Brattleboro on January 30, 1855, she described pioneer life in Kansas and predicted a bright political future for the new territory.--See Vermont Phoenix, February 3, 1855.
95. An examination of the extant issues of the Christian Age on file at the American Baptist Historical Society failed to locate the article on the Shawnee mission in Kansas.
96. The Methodist church established two missions for the Shawnee Indians in Kansas. One mission was founded in 1830 by the Rev. Thomas Johnson, near present-day Turner in Wyandotte county. In 1839 the construction of a central manual labor school began at the present site in Johnson county on part of the Shawnee lands. The other mission, established in 1848, was located near the mouth of the Wakarusa river in Douglas county and was under the charge of the Rev. Abraham Still. For additional information on the Methodist missions, see Barry, The Beginning of the West: Annals of the Kansas Gateway to the American West, 1540-1854 (Topeka, Kansas Historical Society, 1972), passim; J. J. Lutz, "The Methodist Missions Among the Indian Tribes in Kansas," KHC, v. 9 (1905-1906), pp. 160-193; John Speer, "Patriotism and Education in the Methodist Church," ibid., v. 7 (1901-1902), pp. 494-500; Edith C. Ross, "The Old Shawnee Mission," ibid., v. 17 (1926-1928), pp. 417-435; Grant W. Harrington, Historic Spots or Mile-Stones in the Progress of Wyandotte County, Kansas (Merriam, Mission Press, 1935) pp. 43-48; William Warren Sweet, Religion of the American Frontier, 1783-1840, v. 6 (Chicago, The University of, Chicago Press, 1946), pp. 499-551; James Anderson, "The Methodist, Shawnee Mission in Johnson County, Kansas, 1830-1862," Trail Guide, Kansas City, Mo., v. 1 (January, 1956), pp. 7-20; Lela Barnes, ed., "Letters of Allen Ward, 1842-1851, From the Shawnee and Kaw (Methodist) Missions," KHQ, (Autumn, 1967), 321-376; Caldwell, compiler, Annals of Shawnee Methodist Mission and Indian Manual Labor School (Topeka, Kansas State Printing Plant, 1939).
97. The Baptist Shawnee Mission was established in 1831, northwest of the Methodist mission in Johnson county, by the Rev. Isaac McCoy. It was to this mission that Jotham Meeker brought his printing press to print books in the Indian language. For additional information on the Baptist mission, see Barry, The Beginning of the West, passim; Esther Clark Hill, "Some Background of Early Baptist Missions in Kansas," KHQ, v. 1 (February, 1932), pp. 89-103; Harrington, Historic Spots or Mile-Stones in the Progress of Wyandotte County, Kansas, pp. 59-64; Isaac McCoy, History of Baptist Indian Missions (New York, H. and S. Raynor, 1840); Alfred T. Andreas and William G. Cutler, History of the State of Kansas (Chicago, A. T. Andreas, 1883), p. 66; "Isaac McCoy Papers," manuscript division, KSHS; "Jotham Meeker Papers," ibid.
98. The Friends Shawnee Mission, established in 1837, was located in Johnson county about three miles west of the Methodist mission. For additional information on the Friends mission, see Barry, The Beginning of the West, passim; H. Pearl Dixon, Sixty Years Among the Indians: A Short Life Sketch of Thomas H. and Mary W. Stanley, Quaker Missionaries to the Indians (Galena, Sadie S. Carter, 1921); Errol T. Elliott, Development of Friends the American Frontier (Richmond, Ind., The Friends United Press, 1969), pp. 131-159; Wilson Hobbs, "The Friends' Establishment in Kansas Territory," KHC, v. 8 (1903-1904), pp. 250-271; Harrington, Historic Spots or Mile-Stones in the Progress of Wyandotte County, Kansas, pp. 81-86.
99. The Rev. Abraham Still was born in North Carolina on August 25, 1796. He was ordained by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1828 and was appointed missionary to the Shawnee Indians in 1850. He served at the mission in Douglas county until 1854. He died on December 13, 1869. For additional biographical information, see Speer, "Patriotism and Education in the Methodist Church," pp. 496-497; Lutz, "The Methodist Missions Among the Indian Tribes in Kansas," pp. 191-192.
100. The Rev. Thomas Johnson, a Methodist missionary for 26 years among the Shawnee and other Indian tribes in Kansas, was born in Virginia on July 11, 1802. In 1830 he was appointed to the Shawnee mission, and served as its superintendent until 1841 when he resigned on account of failing health. In the fall of 1847, having regained his health, he was reappointed to the manual labor school where he served until the institution was discontinued in 1862. Although a slaveholder and a sympathizer with the Proslavery party in Kansas, Johnson was a staunch Unionist during the Civil War. On the night of January 2, 1865, he was murdered at his home near Westport by an armed band of guerrillas. For additional biographical information on Johnson, see "Thomas Johnson Papers," manuscript division, KSHS; "Letters of Rev. Thomas Johnson, KHC, v. 16 (1923-1925), pp. 236-241; C. E. Cory, "Slavery in Kansas," ibid., v. 7 (1901-1902 ), pp. 239, 242; Cora W. Bullard, "Horticulture in Kansas," ibid., p. 207; Lutz, "The Methodist Missions Among the Indian Tribes in Kansas," pp. 161-163; William E. Connelley, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, v. 3 (New York, Lewis Publishing Co., 1918), p. 1215.
101. Johnson's slaveholding practices and his Proslavery political philosophy alienated many Free-State settlers. See, "Pioneer" to the editor, Kansas, September 10, 1854, cited in Springfield Daily Republican, September 20, 1854; "Traveller" to the editor, Johnson's Mission, May 26, 1855, cited in New York Daily Tribune, June 11, 1855; The Independent, N. Y., June 21, 1855.
102. On October 11, 1853, Johnson was elected delegate to the 33d congress. Since Nebraska territory was never officially organized, he was not received as a delegate in Washington. In March, 1855, Johnson was elected to the territorial council and was chosen its president. He retired from political life after the 1857 legislative session. For additional information, see Barry, The Beginning of the West, pp. 1173-1174, 1179-1180, 1184, 1197, 1212-1213; Connelley, The Provisional Government of Nebraska Territory (Lincoln, State Journal Company, 1899), pp. 37-41; George W. Martin, "The Boundary Line of Kansas," KHC, v. 11 (1909-1910), pp. 56-57. Three sections of land allotted to the Shawnees fell into Johnson's hands.--See Caldwell, Annals of Shawnee Methodist Mission and Indian Manual Labor School, pp. 95, 107, 118, 120; Paul W. Gates, Fifty Million Acres: Conflicts Over Kansas Land Policy, 1854-1890 (Ithaca, Cornell Gates, University Press, 1954), pp. 36-37.
103. Andrew H. Reeder was nominated as first territorial governor of Kansas on June 22, 1854. He arrived at Fort Leavenworth on October 7, 1854, and, according to his testimony before the Howard committee, "the want of necessary conveniences" induced him to remove the executive office to the Shawnee Methodist mission in late November, 1854. For additional information on Reeder's administration, see Hickman, "The Reeder Administration Inaugurated," KHQ, v. 36 (Autumn and Winter, 1970), pp. 305-340, 424-455; "Governor Andrew H. Reeder," KHC, v. 3 (1881-1884), pp. 197-205; "Executive Minutes [of Reeder's Administration]," ibid., pp. 226-278; "Governor Reeder's Escape From Kansas," ibid., pp. 205-223. For Reeder's statement before the Howard committee, see Report of the Special Committee Appointed to Investigate the Troubles in Kansas (Washington, 1856), pp. 933-949 (hereafter cited Howard Report).
104. For an excellent account of the housing situation in Lawrence in 1855, see Malin, "Housing Experiments in the Lawrence Community, 1855," KHQ, v. 21 (Summer, 1954), pp. 95-121.
105. New York Daily Tribune, February 5, 1855.
106. Benjamin F. Stringfellow, a Virginian by birth, migrated to Missouri in 1838. He practiced law and was appointed attorney-general of Missouri by the governor in 1845. After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act, he became secretary of the Platte County Self-defensive Association in Weston, Mo. Although he was a leader in the Proslavery movement in Kansas, he eventually yielded to the will of the Free-State majority and moved to Atchison in 1858. He labored diligently in the promotion of Atchison and became active in railroad development. With the outbreak of war in 1861, Stringfellow, who had stirred intense emotions regarding the extension of slavery into Kansas, espoused Unionist sentiments and denounced the secessionists. For additional biographical information, see Lester B. Baltimore, "Benjamin F. Stringfellow: The Fight for Slavery on the Missouri Border," Missouri Historical Review, Columbia, v. 62 (October, 1967), pp. 14-29; Floyd C. Shoemaker, "Missouri's Proslavery Fight for Kansas, 1854-1855," ibid., v. 48 (April and July, 1954), pp. 221-236, 325-340, v. 49 (October, 1954), p. 41-54; William H. Coffin, "Settlement of Friends in Kansas, KHC, v. 7 (1901-1902), p. 331; B. F. Stringfellow, Negro-Slavery, No Evil, or the North and the South (St. Louis, M. Niedner & Co., 1854).
107. Preston S. Brooks and John McQueen of South Carolina, Thomas L. Clingman of North Carolina, and William Smith of Virginia wrote to the Washington Sentinel on January 10, 1855, requesting the publication of Stringfellow's letter on Kansas "which contains information of interest to the people of the entire South." They concluded their appeal by suggesting that Stringfellow's "discussion of the question in his publications and addresses, together with his reputation in his own State, has induced us to believe that his views will be more entertaining and serviceable to our respective constituents and the people of the South, than any information within our reach."--Washington Sentinel, January 12, 1855.
108. In regard to Stringfellow's letter, the New York Tribune asserted: "This letter was doubtless written on Atchison's prompting, and is introduced to the public with a great flourish by the slaveholding Members of Congress to whom it purports to be addressed. It has already been copied into most of the leading Southern Democratic journals, and will doubtless be trumpeted by the rest. And, in spite of its mountain of sophistry and falsehood with regard to the Whitfield sham election, it yet contains much that Northern eye will rest on with the deepest interest."--New York Daily Tribune, January 27, 1855.
109. Mrs. Nichols refers here to David Rice Atchison, U. S. senator from Missouri, who was the prominent Proslavery leader during the early years, 1854-1855, of the Kansas conflict. For information on Atchison's role in the Proslavery movement in Kansas, see William E. Parrish, David Rice Atchison of Missouri, Border Politician (Columbia, University of Missouri Press, 1961), pp. 139-192; Malin, "The Proslavery Background of the Kansas Struggle," Mississippi Valley Historical Review (MVHR), Cedar Rapids, Iowa, v. 10 (December, 1923), pp. 285-305.
110. On July 29, 1854, the Platte County Self-defensive Association held a meeting at Weston, denouncing the New England Emigrant Aid Company and pledging massive opposition to Northern emigration. The meeting adopted a series of resolutions, one of which was: "That this association will, whenever called upon by any of the citizens of Kansas Territory, hold itself in readiness together to assist and remove any and all emigrants who go there under the auspices of the Northern Emigrant Aid Societies."--Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, p. 90.
111. The merchants and businessmen of Weston were too shrewd not to take advantage of the emigrant trade, regardless of the political philosophy of the settlers. Accordingly, on September 1, 1854, a protest meeting was held and a series of resolutions were adopted denouncing the action of the Platte County Self-defensive Association. For additional information, see ibid.; Elmer R. Craik, "Southern Interest in Territorial Kansas, 1854-1858," KHC, v. 15 (1919-1922), pp. 388-389; Baltimore, "Benjamin F. Stringfellow: The Fight for Slavery on the Missouri Border," p. 18.
112. The first territorial delegate election was held on November 29, 1854. The election had little political significance since the delegate would serve only until the following March, when a new congress would reconvene. Nevertheless, hundreds of Missourians crossed over the border to cast fraudulent ballots. The illegal voting was an early indication of the extremes to be taken by the Proslavery men of Missouri. Such action aroused the Free-State partisans both in Kansas and throughout the North to intensify their efforts for freedom in Kansas. For information on the delegate election, see Hickman, "The Reeder Administration Inaugurated," pp. 313-340; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp. 93-94.
113. There is no extant evidence indicating that members of the Northern emigration companies had made contractual agreements to emigrate for the purpose of voting.
114. On July 22, 1854, the public land act of Kansas was passed by congress permitting squatters to lay land claims upon unsurveyed land. Preemptors in Kansas were required to file a declaratory statement within three months after the survey of the land had been completed and to pay for the land before it was offered at public sale. The best available study on Kansas land policy is Gates, Fifty Million Acres: Conflicts Over Kansas Land Policy, 1854-1890, pp. 73-77.
115. The total number of votes cast in the November election was 2,833. John W. Whitfield, the Proslavery candidate received 2,258 votes; John A. Wakefield, the Free-State candidate received 248 votes; and R. P. Flenniken, the Democratic party candidate received 305 votes. Twenty-two additional votes were scattered among other men. Although there is little doubt that a large number of Missourians voted for Whitfield, it is almost impossible to ascertain the total number of fraudulent votes. A conservative estimate would be approximately 1,400 votes, while Charles Robinson estimated that 1,729 illegal votes were cast.--See, Hickman "The Reeder Administration Inaugurated," pp. 321-340; Robinson, The Kansas Conflict (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1892), pp. 92-100; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp. 93-94; Howard Report, passim.
116. Reeder's reply was in response to a memorial presented to him by a group of Missourians who demanded that an immediate election for the territorial legislature be held before a territorial delegate was elected. As the meeting was composed of few Kansas residents, Reeder stated: "Your own body, whom I am now addressing, contains two undoubted residents of Missouri, one of whom is your chairman, who resides with his family in the town of Liberty, Mo., as he has done for years, and whose only attempt at a residence in Kansas consists of a card nailed to a tree, upon ground long since occupied by other settlers who have built and lived upon the claim."--Reeder to F. Gwinner, D. A. N. Grover, Robert C. Miller, William F. Dyer and Alfred Jones, Fort Leavenworth, November 21, 1854, cited in "Governor Reeder's Administration," KHC, v. 5 (1891-1896), p. 165.
117. Douglas City was the polling place in the second district in Douglas county for the November delegate election. Although the 1855 census indicated only 199 resident voters, a total of 261 votes had been polled in the November election. The number of fraudulent ballots varied from 175 to 226. Fraudulent voting also occurred in most of the other districts. For additional information, see Hickman, "The Reeder Administration Inaugurated," pp. 322, 324-340; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, p. 94.
118. New Hampshire American News, Keene, N. H., cited in Vermont Phoenix, May 5, 1855. Samuel Woodward, editor of the American News, was a Free-Soil Democrat and a leader in the New Hampshire temperance movement. Through the columns of his journal, he boldly and fearlessly advocated the doctrines of the Free Soil party, and labored unceasingly for the promotion of temperance legislation. After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act, Woodward advocated the principles of Republicanism and merged his newspaper with the New Hampshire Sentinel in July, 1855. He edited the Sentinel until April, 1859. For additional biographical information, see New Hampshire Sentinel, Keene, April 27, 1876.
119. Mrs. Nichols, with her husband and youngest son, joined the second emigration party of the Emigrant Aid Company which left Boston on March 20, 1855. For additional information, see Barry, "The New England Emigrant Aid Company Parties of 1855," pp. 237-242; Vermont Phoenix, March 24, 1855.
120. The Kate Swinney was a splendid side-wheel boat, 200 by 30 feet. She sank in Kate Swinney bend near the mouth of the Vermilion river on the Upper Missouri river on August 1, 1855.--See, "Missouri River Steamboats," KHC, v. 9 (1905-1906), p. 305; Barry, The Beginning of the West, p. 1072. Pierre Menard Chouteau was captain of the Kate Swinney from 1849 until 1855. For additional information, see ibid., pp. 341, 793, 879, 1025, 1059, 1136, 1190, 1204. Mrs. Nichols refers here to Ash Hopkins who became master of the steamboat, Asa Wilgus, in 1857, and to one of Captain Chouteau's younger son's.
121. No biographical information has been found on Farwell.
122. The first territorial legislative election was held on March 30, 1855. On that day, hundreds of Missourians, or so-called "Border Ruffians," swarmed across the border and took possession of the polls. Their votes gave the Proslavery forces a resounding victory. The Free-State men promptly dubbed the newly elected legislature "bogus" and referred to its enactments by the same derisive term. Actually there were enough bona fide Proslavery residents in the territory at this time that such intervention would not have been necessary.
123. See C. H. Dickson, "The 'Boy's' Story: Reminiscences of 1855," KHC, v. 5 (1891-1896), p. 79; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, p. 95.
124. See "Executive Minutes [of Governor Reeder's Administration]," pp. 260-273.
125. Caleb Cushing, a Massachusetts Democrat, was appointed attorney general in 1852 by President Pierce, and served until 1857. For biographical information, see DAB, v. 4, pp. 623-630; Charles M. Fuess, Life of Caleb Cushing (2 vols., New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1923).
126. On April 6, 1855, Governor Reeder, succumbing to massive pressures and threats on his life, decided on the validity of the election returns. Not knowing the entire scope of the frauds, he granted election certificates to about two thirds of the candidates, and set aside the elections in several districts. By proclamation on April 16, 1855, he called for new elections to fill the vacancies. All but one were eventually carried by the Free-State forces. See "Executive Minutes [of Governor Reeder's Administration]," pp. 271-276; Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, v. 2 (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947), pp. 384-386; Robinson, The Kansas Conflict, pp. 121-122; Leverett W. Spring, Kansas: The Prelude to the War for the Union (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1885), pp. 43-52; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp. 97-98.
127. New Hampshire American News, cited in Vermont Phoenix, May 5, 1855.
128. Samuel C. Pomeroy, a native of Northampton, Mass., came to Kansas as a general agent of the New England Emigrant Aid Company in 1854, and worked for the company both in Kansas and in the Eastern states. Pomeroy's political career was controversial and perhaps few men have been more severely maligned by both contemporaries and historians. For a scholarly and judicious account of Pomeroy's agency in Kansas, see Edgar Langsdorf, "S. C. Pomeroy and the New England Emigrant Aid Company, 1854-1858," KHQ, v. 7 (August and November, 1938), pp. 227-245, 379-398. For additional information on Pomeroy's political career, see Joseph G. Gambone, "Samuel C. Pomeroy and the Senatorial Election of 1861, Reconsidered," ibid., v. 37 ( Spring, 1971), pp. 15-32; Gambone, "Economic Relief in Territorial Kansas, 1860-1861," ibid., v. 36 ( Summer, 1970), pp. 149-174; Margaret L. Strobel Olson, "A Political Biography of Senator Samuel C. Pomeroy of Kansas" (unpublished master's thesis, Pennsylvania State University, 1962); Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 55-58, passim.
129. William Hutchinson had been editor of the Green Mountain Herald in West Randolph, Vt. After his arrival in the territory he continued his involvement in journalism by writing letters back to several Eastern journals. At first he was a correspondent for the Montpelier Vermont Watchman and Boston Journal. Thereafter he was hired as a special correspondent for the New York Times and wrote under the signature "Randolph" (the name of his native town) for seven years. He was also an occasional correspondent for the Chicago Daily Tribune, Daily Missouri Democrat, St. Louis, and the Washington Republic. In 1859 he supported Mrs. Nichols's woman's rights petitions at the Wyandotte constitutional convention. He died in 1904. For additional biographical information, see William Hutchinson, "Sketches of Kansas Pioneer Experiences," KHC, v. 7 (1901-1902), pp. 390-410; Richard J. Hinton, "Pens That Made Kansas Free," ibid., v. 6 (1897-1900), pp. 375-376; Bernard A. Weisberger, "The Newspaper Reporter and the Kansas Imbroglio," MVHR, v. 35 (March, 1950), pp. 639, 640; "William Hutchinson Scrap Books," 2 vols., library division, KSHS; "William Hutchinson Papers," manuscript division, KSHS.
130. For a scholarly history of the Kansa Indians, see William E. Unrau, The Kansas Indians: A History of the Wind People, 1673-1873 (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1971).
131. In 1854 the aid company had begun construction of a large stone hotel (the Free-State Hotel) in Lawrence on the site of the present Hotel Eldridge. Work proceeded slowly because of lack of funds. When the hotel was completed and ready to be opened, it was destroyed during the sack of Lawrence on May 21, 1856.--See Shalor W. Eldridge, Recollections of Early Days in Kansas (Publications of the Kansas Historical Society, v. 2, Topeka, Kansas State Printing Plant, 1920), p. 89; Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 87, 121, 159, 236-237.
132. After the contested election of March, 1855, Governor Reeder's life was threatened by Proslavery forces when he failed to issue election certificates to the victorious Proslavery candidates.--Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, v. 2, pp. 384-386; Andreas and Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, pp. 97-98.
133. Osawatamie, located in present day Miami county, was founded by Orville C. Brown the original "Osawatomie Brown," in October, 1854. Under the auspices of the New York Kansas League, he migrated to Kansas and with a group of 25 other settlers, settled at the point where the Marais des Cygnes and Pottawatomie creek join to form the Osage river. He named the settlement "Osawatomie" from "Osage" and "Pottawatomie." For additional information on Osawatomie and Brown, see autobiography of O. C. Brown, "Orville C. Brown Papers," manuscript division, KSHS; "Pioneer Life in Kansas," 1854-1861, ibid.; William Chesnut to the editor [Osawatomie], December 12, 1854, cited in New York Daily Tribune, January 16, 1855; Johnson, The Battle Cry of Freedom, pp. 82-83.
134. For A. O. Carpenter's account of Osawatomie, see Carpenter to the editor, Ossawatamie [sic], April 11, 1855, cited in Vermont Phoenix, May 5, 1855.
135. A town company was formed in December, 1854, or January, 1855, consisting of O. C. Brown, William Ward, and S. C. Pomeroy, each holding a one-third interest. In February, 1855, the townsite was surveyed by A. D. Searle of Lawrence. The town was somewhat removed from the main emigrant routes and was located in an area that was settled heavily by Proslavery men from Missouri.
136. Wabaunsee (originally spelled Wabonsa) was founded by a group of New England settlers in November, 1854. The site was selected by James Blood, agent for Amos A. Lawrence, acting in behalf of the aid company. In April, 1856, Wabaunsee became the place of settlement for the Connecticut Kansas Colony, or the "Beecher's Bible and Rifle" colony. For additional information, see Johnson, The Battle Cry for Freedom, pp. 84-85; Alberta Pantle, ed., "The Connecticut Kansas Colony: Letters of Charles B. Lines to the New Haven (Conn.) Daily Palladium," KHQ, v. 22 (Spring and Summer, 1956), pp. 1-50, 138-188; William A. Osmer, "The Connecticut Kansas Colony" (unpublished master's thesis, Kansas State University, 1953).
137. Elisha M. Thurston, a teacher and surveyor from Charleston, Maine, founded the townsite of Canton in Riley county which was eventually included in the organization of Manhattan in 1855.
138. The Kansas territorial legislature did not formally convene until July 2, 1855, at Pawnee.
139. Apparently Mrs. Nichols was in error with her comments on the election returns.--See Footnote 126.
140. The postscript was published in Vermont Phoenix, June 2, 1855.