Though Miss Anthony did not know all of them, each one came from her era and worked to make us a more equitable and just nation. We have far to go to complete the reforms they championed, but knowing of their work can help us go and do likewise whenever we have a chance.
Today we remember Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte as one of these great American women. She traced her desire to study medicine to an experience at the age of eight. Young Susan LaFlesche kept vigil at the bedside of a Native woman while waiting for a (white) doctor who promised to come, but never arrived. The patient died. In those dark moments, Susan realized that Natives needed doctors devoted to their care. Rather than lament the lack, she became one.
“Well mercy me!” as they might have exclaimed in the 19th century. It seems I never published the post explaining why Daniel Anthony’s abolitionist activities were controversial. So let’s play catch-up. The photo above, from a mural in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, should give you a clue.
When Susan B. Anthony was four, her brother Daniel Read Anthony was born on August 22, 1824. The family called him “D.R.” to distinguish him from Susan’s father, whose name was also Daniel. Brother and sister grew up to be ardent abolitionists.
Jayhawkers and Bushwhackers
Before the Civil War, while Susan was hosting speaking tours for the New York State Antislavery Society, D.R. joined Jennison’s Jayhawkers on the Kansas-Missouri border, sparking fear in slaveholders’ hearts by laying waste to farms and liberating their slaves. Some blamed the Jayhawkers’ raids for inciting rage in Quantrill and his band, who attacked Lawrence.
The Border War between Kansas and Missouri involved Southern sympathizers (“bushwhackers,” usually from Missouri) tampering with Kansas elections. Bushwhackers were typically young plantation residents who made guerilla raids and retreated to the safety of their homes. The only way the abolitionists could rout them out was to attack the homes where the bushwhackers received provisions and protection.
The Kansas Seventh
Later, when the Civil War began, D.R. helped Charles Jennison organize a Union cavalry unit called the Kansas Seventh. They were so thorough in burning out bushwhackers that only the chimneys survived, nicknamed “Jennison’s tombstones.”
As hated as he was by some for the border raids, D.R. was also called “The Moses of Kansas” for the number of African-Americans he liberated. Sometimes as many as a hundred slaves followed the Seventh across the Kansas border into freedom.
Historic Rochesterian Daniel Read Anthony, brother of Susan B., wielded both fire and bullets to bring about the end of slavery in the Wild West. Pictured behind me is the city of Leavenworth, Kansas around 1860, where Daniel emigrated after selling insurance in Rochester, New York for several years.
Throughout his life, Daniel also supported his sister’s more peaceful but equally radical attempts to bring about equal rights for women.
How did his convictions mesh with Susan’s? And what methods did he use? Learn all about it at this upcoming talk:
Powerpoint presentation by Jeanne Gehret
The Truth About Daniel: Susan B. Anthony’s Forgotten Brother
Here are some of the books I’m reading for my next novel in my Dauntless Series. They focus on contemporaries of Susan B. Anthony’s brother Daniel Read Anthony, who lived and fought on the Missouri-Kansas border before the Civil War and in its early days. Annie Osborn Continue reading →
We are pleased and honored that The Truth About Danielwas recently featured in Life in the Finger LakesMagazine. The review praised the novel’s good pace, handling of critical historical events, and “careful attention…to mores and manners of the time.” See the complete review here, titled “Endurance, Determination, and Resolve.”
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A band of 400 proslavery ruffians–many teenagers–led by a madman named Quantrill conducted the Lawrence Massacre in 1863 in Kansas on this day. Most of the the town’s men were off fighting for the Union. As a result, 180 died and the town became ashes.
Daniel Read Anthony knew the town of Lawrence like his own child because he helped to establish it. Therefore, he suffered its loss. In this excerpt from The Truth About Daniel, he visits just a few days after the attack:
Early on their fourth day in Lawrence, D.R. and Chas rode by the homestead of Martin Townsend, a farmer from Vermont who had settled in ’fifty-four. They found him pouring water from a bucket into a stone trough for a pair of oxen.
“Marty!” D.R. hailed him before swinging down from the saddle.
As the man turned, D.R. took in his friend’s face covered with grime and a four-day stubble. He asked Townsend how he had escaped.
“The day before the raid, I took my team a few miles outside of town to help my cousin. On my way home, I saw the town on fire and heard that Quantrill was singling out men old enough to bear arms. So I hid in the ravine where raiders wouldn’t go.
“I felt like a coward leaving my wife and children inside, but how would they have farmed if I turned up dead?” His house was ablaze, he said, but he was relieved to see his family out front. He gestured to a crude tent partially supported by a scorched tree. “We all survived, thank God, but this is all I have left of my home.”
D.R. wanted something to do, but there were no tools, not even an extra bucket. “Apparently Quantrill’s raiders didn’t come to fight, but to murder and steal.”
“They never would’ve gotten away with it if so many of our men weren’t off to war.”
“So what happened when the army finally did come?” asked Chas.
Townsend leaned on his shovel and gestured toward the road. “The ruffians turned tail and ran south. Cavalry followed them right through town and out again.”
D.R. pictured how he would’ve handled the operation. The Jayhawkers and the Seventh Kansas were trained to grip their horses with their knees and shoot with both hands at once. Having faced Quantrill’s raiders in Missouri, he knew many of them to be teenagers with no training at all. At least the army will have extracted its toll on them, he consoled himself. Hopeful of a good report, he asked, “How many did Quantrill lose?”
Townsend sighed deeply. The anger blazing from his eyes contrasted with his dusty face. “One,” he replied.
“One!” roared D.R. “They caused all this damage and got away with only one casualty? What the hell was the army doing?”
Next time: Read how the Lawrence Massacre of 1863 fueled a Union retaliation.
Read more about this fateful day in Lawrence at History.com.
Time is running out to enter your name for a chance to win a free copy of The Truth About Daniel.Goodreads is offering two free copies until this Thursday, April 6. (Click here to see my previous post explaining how Goodreads works.) On my own Goodreads site I have rated more than two hundred books that I’ve read, including many in the historical fiction genre. If you’ve read some of them too, share your comments with me there!
Don’t want to take your chances at winning a copy of my book? You can order it now directly from Amazon by clicking here.
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.