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

Sees Spark of War in Trial Of Men for Helping a Slave

Leavenworth Times, 1956-7


Leavenworth, K.T.

April 6th, 1860

Dear Father:

Your letter of the 30th inst. from Lyons came duly to hand. I went down to Osawatomie and stopped with Merritt for two nights and found him, Mary and baby all well.

Merritt and all intend going to Pike's Peak about May 1. He will take out farming utensils with the intention of farming on a ranch near Denver City.

He will not sell his place. He has enough to get a good outfit. Generally speaking, things went on from firends[friends] east cost more freight than they are worth.

I looked the matter of Merritt's going west all over with him and decided to give him no opinion. I gave him all the information I had of the country and the people. He knows some there are many of our own city's best boys are in Denver -- the most plucky and reliable -- and they will aid, advise, and plan for him (Merritt). He thinks of taking two teams. If he does he will make $200 for carrying over his own load.

Our trial comes off on Monday next. Don't know how the matter will end. It may end in trouble. Deputy U.S. Marshall -- Mr. Arms -- attempted to arrest Capt. Montgomery a few days ago, but the Capt took him, got the papers away from him and sent him home again.

If they press these arrests a war will ensue. If the amnesty act of 1859 is not lived up to there will be such a war in Kansas as never before witnessed on our soil. Capt Montgomery will not be taken in any event. 200 troops he can whip and 1,000 are too clumsy to catch him.

Some of the Southern Kansas boys will attend our trial to see we have justice done us.

Your son

D. R. Anthony


Editor's Note -- The trial referred to by Colonel Anthony in the above letter was a case of indictments against nine Leavenworth men who were changed with the rescue, or attempt at rescue, of Charley Fisher, a fugitive slave who was confined at Leavenworth.

Files of The Leavenworth Times carried a full account of the court proceedings. The newspaper said, "Those against whom indictments were found are all of them gentlemen of high standing and respectability and some of them are among our first and most influential citizens. They are: Hon. George W. Gardiner, Judge of the Probate court, Dan'l R. anthony, Robert W. Hammer, Lewis Ledyard Weld, David H. Bailey, Champion Vaughan, James M. Williams, Henry A. Baker and George W. Boyle.

The outcome of the trial was that the Hon. John Pettit, judge of the District Court of the First Judicial District of the Territory, sustained a motion by defense to quash the indictments.)



Leavenworth, K.T.

June 10, 1860

Dear Sister:

Your letter of late came to hand. Shall I draw on Wendell Phillips for the $200 when same is drawn from me by the Woman's Rights Association? Have sent Mrs. Nichols another $25 and she wants $25 more.

Is costs too much to have conventions in Kansas and people have too much else to occupy their minds. Two or three lectures would do, one at Wyandotte at the time of the constitutional convention -- all else is money thrown away without practical effect.

The cost of everything here is enormous and I would caution them to be prudent in their operations here. You can spend the money at once or keep it on hand for future use.

D. R. Anthony

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