From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

The Anthony Letters

Only Argument Is Strong Army So He Carries Knife, Revolver

Leavenworth Times, 1956


Editors note: This is another in a series of letters written by Col. D. R. Anthony to his family in the east almost 100 years ago when Leavenworth was a new town and Kansas was still a territory. The letters give a clear picture of Leavenworth in its early period. The Times is publishing the letters each Sunday and Thursday.


Leavenworth, K.T.

October 20, 1857

Dear Sister Susan:

Your letter dated at Westfield October 10th came to hand yesterday. Our mails have been quite irregular.

Am pleased to know our folks have had such a good peach harvest and hope they will continue to be fruitful. I always had confidence in fruit and wanted our folks to cultivate large orchards.

As to your coming here to preempt land, I would advise against it. No single woman can avail herself of that opportunity, so it would be useless for you to come. And the river would freeze up while you are here and you would have to stay until spring.

I think your claim is safe and if you can get a land warrant I think I could get someone to preempt if for about $100.

I have less faith now than ever in preaching or lecturing. the world is bound to go to the devil anyway and the easiest way is to slide along easy. I am infidel in almost everything.

When men who stood at the gangway plank with broadaxe in hand, threatening to cleave the skull of any damned northern man who attempted to land from the steamer on Kansas soil -- when men who have perpetrated cold blooded murders publicly boast of it -- when almost every man who holds any important office in this territory has been guilty of the above or similar acts -- when these men and these men alone are the men selected by an administration to fill the various post office, land offices -- what is the use of talking?

The only argument here is the strong arm of might. Were the people once to stand up and say we will have our rights, they would be granted at once.

The Pro-Slavery Border Ruffian Democracy never attack a man here who says he will defend himself. So I have been compelled to wear a knife and carry a Colt's revolver, and the consequence is no trouble will be made on my account. The hounds never attack a man singlehanded. They are cowardly and dishonorable in all of their intercourse with Free State men.

The Pro-slavery businessmen here are a better class of men. They denounce the bullying course of some of their party but dare not speak for fear of losing their own standing. When Kansas comes in free a large number of these scoundrels will then leave the country and Kansas will then boast of as good a population as any state or territory.

My business has very flattering prospects ahead. I may come home in December. Money matters are more quiet here than in the east, no failures. Hope to hear from you often.

Yours sincerely,

D. R. Anthony

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