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Pottawatomie Creek Massacre-RC by yurtgc548


									                                                  JOHN BROWN

                                    Photo Courtesy of Territorial Kansas Online
                     Created by the University of Kansas and the Kansas State Historical Society

                                  May 24, 1856

       A few weeks before the Sack of Lawrence an old grizzled man had moved to
Osawatomie, Kansas Territory to join his five sons who had previously settled there. The
old man was John Brown. He hated slavery and moved to Kansas to prevent its expansion.
John Brown did not believe that the policy of nonresistance would be effective and after
receiving word of the destruction of Lawrence, he wanted to fight back and avenge
Lawrence. Three days later on the 24th of May, Brown, four of his sons—Frederick,
Watson, Owen and Oliver; James Townsley, Thomas Winer and his son-in-law Henry
Thompson set about to do just that. Under the cover of darkness the group made its way
down the Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County to where proslavery settlers lived. That
night Brown and his group of men called out and murdered five proslavery settlers. The
following is an account of the Pottawatomie Creek Massacres taken from William G.
Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas, first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago.

               “Late in the evening, they called at the house of James P. Doyle, and ordered him
       and his two sons, William and Drury, to go with them as prisoners. They followed their
       captors out into the darkness. They next called at the house of Allen Wilkinson and
       ordered him out. He also obeyed; thence, crossing the Pottawatomie, they came to the
       house of Henry Sherman (Dutch Henry). He was not at home. They, however, arrested

             Shawnee County Historical Society – Reading Cards – Created By Robin Shrimplin
              Available At:
       and took along with them William, his brother. They returned to the ravine where they
       had previously encamped, and there spent the quiet Sabbath morning, then, broke camp
       and rejoined the Osawatomie company some time during Sunday night, it being at that
       time encamped near Ottawa Jones.’ The secret expedition was ended. Was it successful?
       Where were the prisoners? Had they escaped?
                Old man Doyle and his sons were left in the road a short distance from their
       house. They were cut, mangled, stabbed – some say shot – it didn’t matter to the Doyles
       – they were dead.
                Sherman was left in the creek, near his brother’s house. He was hacked upon the
       breast and hand, his skull split open, and, from the wounds, the brains oozed out into the
       muddy water. It did not matter to Sherman – he was dead.
                Yes, the secret expedition had proved successful.
                The persons who had thus suddenly gone to their long account were all believed
       to be Pro-slavery men of the most violent and intolerant type, of whom the free-State
       settlers stood in constant dread.”

The following is an account of the events that night from Mahala Doyle, the wife of the
murdered proslavery John Doyle and is found in the Report of the Special Committee
Appointed to Investigate the Trouble in the Territory of Kansas:

                “I am the widow of the late James P. Doyle…my husband, myself, and children
       moved into the Territory of Kansas some time in November, A. D. 1855, and settled on
       Mosquito creek…where it empties into Pottawatomie creek…on Saturday, the 24th of
       May, A. D. 1856, about 11 o’clock at night, after we had all retired, my husband…myself,
       and five children…were all in bed, when we heard some persons come into the yard and
       rap at the door…My husband got up and went to the door. Those outside inquired for
       Mr. Wilson, and where he lived. My husband told them that he would tell them. Mr.
       Doyle, my husband, opened the door, and several came into the house, and said that they
       were from the army. My husband was a pro-slavery man. They told my husband that he
       and the boys must surrender, they were their prisoners. These men were armed with
       pistols and large knives. They first took my husband out of the house, then they took two
       of my sons—the two oldest ones, William and Drury…My son John was spared, because I
       asked them in tears to spare him. In a short time afterwards, I heard the report of pistols.
       I heard two reports, after which I heard moaning, as if a person was dying, then I heard
       a wild whoop. They had asked before they went away for our horses. We told them that
       the horses were out on the prairie. My husband and two boys, my sons, did not come
       back any more. I went out next morning in search of them and found my husband and
       William, my son, lying dead in the road near together, about two hundred yards from the
       house. My other son I did not see any more until the day he was buried…Fear of myself
       and the remaining children induced me to leave the home where we had been living. We
       had improved our claim a little. I left all and went to the state of Missouri.”

The events of the Sack of Lawrence and the Pottawatomie Massacre led to many months of
                  violent clashes and captured the attention of the nation.

             Shawnee County Historical Society – Reading Cards – Created By Robin Shrimplin
              Available At:

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