Susan LaFlesche Picotte, a Nebraska doctor and and reformer, had credentials that wowed me and reminded of Susan B. Anthony. Google saluted her yesterday; Continue reading
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Here’s a recent review from a staff member at the Leavenworth (KS) Public Library:
As far as the historical parts of the novel are concerned, they are well researched and its depiction of Civil War era Leavenworth is spot on.
The story is split between two viewpoint characters, D.R. Anthony and his wife Annie. There does not seem to be an existing novel written about Mr. Anthony, and the fact that this one also shows events from Annie’s perspective is quite interesting, especially considering that she is often pushed into her husband’s shadow. Seeing Annie fleshed out as a real human being with thoughts and emotions of her own was quite refreshing.
Why was D.R. Anthony so fiercely abolitionist? Events such as the following would have fueled his anger. Today’s post gives us a typical example of how proslavery forces treated John Brown, an antislavery man whom Anthony revered and probably knew. (D.R.’s brother Merritt had fought with Brown several years earlier in southern Kansas.)
Living only 25 miles away from the following tense encounter between a proslavery posse and Brown, Anthony might have stood with the guards who protected the famous hero. Even if Anthony didn’t, he certainly would have followed the news with as much anxiety as did New Hampshire emigrant Julia Louisa Lovejoy, whose letter back east gives us this riveting account.
For the death of John Brown, the Missouri governor and others offered $5,500. Lured by this “bait,” Lovejoy reported, a pro-slavery posse headed by Marshal J.P. Wood tracked “our champion” (Brown) to a cabin where the abolitionist holed up with a dozen African-Americans.
This cabin he had strongly barricaded, and told his pursuers “he would never yield, neither would he be taken alive.” The Marshal and his force surrounded the cabin and ordered Brown to “surrender!” Brown replied, “Come and take me.” The officer dared not undertake the job, and one hundred more like him could not capture those indomitable spirits that well knew what would follow if they were taken prisoners.1
A stand-off occurred. Brown’s group, armed with Sharpes rifles, was guarded by a company of twenty-five antislavery supporters. Giving voice to the bodyguard, Lovejoy wrote, “Take care, sir, if one gray hair on that venerable head is singed, your whole party will be riddled with balls!”
The Marshal’s posse sent for reinforcements to Atchison (about four miles away) and rumored that two cannons would soon arrive to explode the cabin. In an oddly turned phrase, Lovejoy wrote that United States Army troops who engaged in “pretended pursuit” seem to have sufficiently distracted the posse, during which time:
Brown sallied forth and took three of the Atchison men prisoners (one of them, it is affirmed, he recognized as the miscreant who shot his own son, F. Brown, at the “Ossawottamie battle.”) He also took four of their horses that they had secreted in the timber, and then with his freed slaves and party pulled for Iowa, taking prisoners and horses along with him!
Thus Brown escaped from Kansas in February 1859, just eight months before his fateful raid on the arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, WV. In a summary of this western event, Lovejoy correctly predicted the manner of Brown’s death, saying, “We fear now that Brown and his party will be intercepted by an overwhelming force, but he cannot be captured alive.” “
Photo courtesy of Kansas Historical Society
- Bell, Sarah. “Lovejoy, Julia Louisa” Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865. The Kansas City Public Library. Accessed Mar, 31, 2017 at http://www.civilwaronthewesternborder.org/encyclopedia/lovejoy-julia-louisa
It wasn’t a midnight ride conducted in the midst of political danger. But then, Paul Revere didn’t ride 30 miles alone across Kansas wilderness in an evening snowstorm, either. Continue reading
Of Susan B. Anthony’s two brothers who emigrated to Kansas, Daniel Read (D.R.) was the more colorful. Abolitionist, Republican, publisher, mayor, postmaster, and gunslinger, he figured prominently in Leavenworth’s early history. Continue reading
Daniel Read (D.R.) Anthony seems to have led a rather unremarkable life until he went to Kansas. In his early teens, his formal schooling was interrupted by his father’s bankruptcy. He helped out in his father’s cotton mill for several years, had a brief stint as a shopkeeper, went to Normal School (for teachers), and then taught for two winters.
Between the Anthony home and the bank of the Missouri River sits a park, the first such public land dedicated in the whole state of Kansas. It is easy to picture Anna Anthony driving her horse along the road parallel to the river, or maybe even in the park itself. Continue reading
Hearing about Susan’s westward-bound brothers, I began to wonder about their similarity to their famous sister. Who among their parents’ dinner guests inspired Susan, Daniel and Merritt to become such active proponents of reform? Continue reading
Susan B.Anthony’s family members were the movers and shakers of the 19th century; thus, the header photo above appropriately portrays people on the move. Susan (SBA) has been my passion since 1993, when I first became a docent at her home in Rochester, NY. Continue reading