The Old Band: The Story of a Kansas Town

‘You ask me, dear father, if we intend to remain in Kansas, with all its dangers and hardships. I answer most emphatically “Yes!” Many families in these dark days are leaving, and you cannot imagine how it discourages those who remain, and how our enemies exult. I never felt a duty more plainly pointed out than that every lover of Freedom should remain at his post. We will never leave until Kansas becomes a Free State.'

These words I found in a letter, yellowed by time, that my mother had written from Lawrence, Kansas, to her father in Vermont. It recalled to my mind the years of my childhood in the 1850’s and 1860’s— the years in Kansas when it was the storm centre between proslavery and antislavery forces, a conflict between opposing factions which resulted in the Civil War, Since these dark years in the pioneer history of Kansas resulted in matters of nation-wide importance, it may be worth while to record, even with the unskilled pen of age, some of the memories of my childhood and of events related to me by my father.

I

It seems almost unbelievable to-day that, within the memory of those still living, human beings were bought and sold like cattle by kindly Christian people; moreover, in this land of freedom, that it was done with the full sanction and approval of our democratic government. It was decreed by an act of Congress in 1820 that this institution of slavery should not extend west of the State of Missouri. When, in direct violation of this promise, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of the year 1854 opened Kansas territory to the blight of human slavery, we can hardly visualize the frenzied excitement in both the Northern and the Southern states. If Kansas became a slave state, what might not be the result in the territories to the west, even to the Pacific Ocean? Slave labor was becoming a burden, especially to the housewife of the Southern states, and, unless it could be perpetuated in the new territories, slave property might soon lose its value.

The inevitable contest between proslavery and antislavery forces began in Kansas. Lawrence stood as a barrier to the extension of slavery. The hated little town was so encompassed by a host of enemies that an Unseen Hand must have guided its destinies, or it would never have survived. Running through the dark background of gathering storm clouds like a thread of silver is woven the story of the Old Band.

It was the first musical organization in the territory of Kansas. Perhaps its worn band instruments were as useful as weapons of warfare in winning Kansas for freedom. It furnished patriotic music in military camps, joyous strains for weddings, and solemn notes of comfort for the bereaved. It played its part in devout religious gatherings and also in stormy political meetings.

My father was a charter member of the band. He went to Kansas in one of the first parties sent out under the auspices of the Emigrant Aid Society. This organization was formed in Boston for the purpose of assisting freestate immigration into the new territories of the West. It obtained favorable rates on railroad and steamboat lines, built boarding houses and sawmills, schoolhouses and churches, for the use of the emigrants when they arrived at their destination. This generous assistance had much to do with the results in Kansas.

At the same time, Blue Lodges were forming in the Southern states, not for encouraging emigration, or the results might have been different, but for arming and equipping companies of men to prevent free-state settlers from entering Kansas and to drive out those who had already arrived there. With the Federal Government in sympathy with the extension of slavery, they were confident of success. Scenes of violence were a natural consequence.

There was a large crowd in the Boston railroad station when the Emigrant Aid party of free-state men started for Kansas in August 1854. My father, his brother, two cousins, and one other, who had played together in the village band of White River, Vermont, for some years, were in the outgoing Kansas party. They carried their band instruments in their hands. Whittier had written some verses for the occasion, which were distributed on large cards through the crowd. The five band instruments took up the tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ The train pulled out while the voices in the depot and those of the Kansas party were still singing.

THE KANSAS EMIGRANTS

We cross the prairie as of old
The Pilgrims crossed the sea,
To make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!
We go to rear a wall of men
On Freedom’s Southern line,
And plant beside the cotton-tree
The rugged Northern pine!
We’re flowing from our native hills
As our free rivers flow;
The blessing of our Mother-land
Is on us as we go.
We go to plant her common schools
On distant prairie swells,
And give the Sabbaths of the wild
The music of her bells. . . .
No pause, nor rest, save where the streams
That feed the Kansas run.
Save where our Pilgrim gonfalon
Shall flout the setting sun!
We’ll tread the prairie as of old
Our fathers sailed the sea,
And make the West, as they the East,
The homestead of the free!

As far west as St. Louis, where the railroad terminated and the steamboat journey began, Whittier’s ‘Kansas Emigrants’ was called for. It was the song of the hour.

Its popularity, however, suddenly ceased when the Kansas party went on board the steamboat. There were tiresome days when the music of the band helped to relieve the monotony. Profane and abusive threats against the Yankees who were going to Kansas were often heard. But as the sweet strains of ‘Annie Laurie,’ ‘Oft in the Stilly Night,’ and kindred selections floated out over the turbid waters of the Missouri, all voices were hushed.

After the boat reached Kansas City, there were many delays in purchasing teams and equipment. Every obstacle was placed in the way of the Kansas party, and exorbitant prices were demanded. Kansas City at this time had less than five hundred population. It was the rallying point for plainsmen, for adventurers drifting back from the California gold fields or from the Mexican War. All the lawless elements of the frontier were gathered there. The surrounding woods and thickets, which extended three miles to the Kansas River, made good hiding places for the border ruffians of the 1850’s — a menace to friend and foe. The people of Missouri were about equally divided on the question of slavery, but although there were many high-class families along the Missouri border with the fine culture and traditions of the Old South, the proslavery element was the dominant one.

II

It was a beautiful day when the Emigrant Aid party left Kansas City. Their first view of the new territory which they hoped to call their home, ‘fair as a garden of the Lord,’ filled them with emotions that could only be expressed by music. Walking two by two beside their loaded teams, the band led them across the Kansas border with martial tread to the beat of patriotic airs, ending as they crossed the Shawnee Mission grounds with Whittier’s ‘Kansas Emigrants.’ It was a peacefullooking company, — even so were its Pilgrim forefathers, — but as terrible as an ‘army with banners’ in winning Kansas for a free state.

Dr. Robinson, the leader of the party, had already chosen its destination. When he went overland with Frémont’s party, in 1849, to the gold fields of California, they had camped on Mount Oread. Looking off on the beautiful valleys of the Kaw and the Wakarusa, he had registered a vow that he would sometime bring out a colony from New England to this favored spot.

Three days after the party had made camp on Mount Oread, having been joined by arrivals from the Mid-West, a Town Company was organized. Sitting on rocks and logs, they made plans for a future town which they named Lawrence, in honor of Amos A. Lawrence of Boston, one of the most liberal supporters of the Emigrant Aid movement.

It had been a wild night of wind and storm. The campers had held on to their tents by main force to keep them from blowing away. But the morning sun shone down upon them through the rain-washed air, serene and bright — a symbol, perhaps, of the history of the future town. Never did the virgin landscape stretched out beneath them look so beautiful, I have been told, as on that morning of early September. A wide expanse of billowing grass and flowers, unmarred by human habitation, sparkled in the sunshine. They could not foresee that over the hills to the east, beyond the wooded streams, would soon come hordes of lawless men with hatred in their hearts. Even while the Town Company was making plans for schools, churches, and colleges in the future town, the Blue Lodges were plotting for its destruction.

The needs of the present, however, cut short all these plans for the future. Winter’s cold would soon be upon them, and shelters must be provided. Very little lumber could get across the border, and there were no sawmills in the territory. So, with axe and saw, every man set to work to hew out his own habitation. There were trees to be felled, sawed into short lengths, and split into shakes, before houses could be built.

When my father’s shake house, with its leather hinges and wooden latches, was finished, it became a musical centre. Every pleasant, evening there were concerts within and audiences without. The music consisted chiefly of hymns and Sunday School tunes, the crowd outside joining in the singing. In spite of labor-filled days, the charter members of the band had been constantly watching new arrivals for recruits, with such success that all parts were now taken and the band meeting for regular practice.

Even before the shake houses were finished, the community life had begun, in the hay tents furnished by the Emigrant Aid Company. They were made by nailing uprights together in the form of an inverted V. Cross pieces fastened them together, and grass was thatched to this support by wire. Commercial enterprises had their beginning in these hay tents. There was a boarding tent which was used on Sundays for church services, the congregation sitting on the boarders’ trunks and bags, the pulpit an up-ended box. A reception to the new governor of the territory was held in this tent, a squash, smuggled over the border, furnishing pies for the occasion.

The shake house was a step in advance of the hay tent. Now that the filing papers on his homestead had been approved and a temporary shelter provided, my father felt that the time he had so eagerly anticipated had arrived, when he could go back to Vermont for his family.

One of my first memories is of waiting on a day of early spring for my father’s return from Kansas. The dinner was in the warming oven. We had heard the whistle of his train; he might come at any moment. My father has said that it was the happiest moment of his life, after his months of absence, when he saw his children running out to meet him, with their mother not far behind. He hardly seemed like our father, for he had gone away with a smooth face and had come back bearded and bronzed by Kansas sun and wind.

How full of enthusiasm he was for the rich soil and the sunny climate of Kansas and for the fair acres of his homestead! How determined that this new homeland should not fall under the blight of human slavery! My mother was in full sympathy with this enthusiasm and determination. Even if she had not been, a good wife of that period never questioned her husband’s decisions.

She did not weaken when she said good-bye to her father and mother, — whom she was never to see again, — to her brothers and sister, relatives and friends; but I know now, from these yellowed letters before me, what a rending it was to tear herself away from them. Vermont people at this time did not often travel. Even well-to-do people lived and died without going outside the community in which they were born. A trip to Boston was the event of a lifetime. Kansas seemed as far away then as the uttermost part of the earth does to-day.

All went well until the railway’s end at St. Louis. The Missouri River was low, and our boat was continually running aground on sandbars and snags. It was, indeed, as often aground as afloat. Every night it was tied up to the river bank, for it was not safe to travel after dark. Days lengthened into weeks before the steamboat’s journey was finished. The supply of milk and drinking water gave out, and my baby brother became seriously ill. There were loud-voiced Southern men on the boat who had been boasting of the bloody end that was coming to the poor white trash who were entering Kansas. When they saw the sick baby their voices grew gentle and sympathetic. They stood aside with bared heads as the sad little procession, bearing the lifeless body of my baby brother, passed from the boat.

My poor mother had no time to give way to her sorrow. We had been exposed to the measles on the boat and had barely reached our destination when the disease developed. Our little shake house was very crowded, but she could not refuse when another mother from the boat, with a child sick with measles, came begging to be taken in. The chill winds of early spring searched out all the cracks and crevices of the sick room, and retarded recovery. Children’s minds, however, do not retain scenes of sadness as they do those of joy. The row of white beds crowding our little shack, with my young mother anxiously bending over them, are a dim memory, but the first Fourth of July picnic, in which the band had an important part, stands out clearly in my mind as a red-letter day. The free-state pioneers eagerly welcomed this first festive occasion in Kansas. Even my invalid brother, who had not entirely recovered from the effects of measles, was allowed to attend.

III

It was a picturesque scene, as Mrs. Robinson described it. ‘Ox wagons coming in from the country were decked with flowers and vines. There were many in the crowd whose dress and bearing showed that they were recently from the East. Brushing elbows with them were women in calico dresses and flat sunbonnets. Men with the sombrero and buckskin clothing of the plains were there, while scattered through the crowd were Indians in their gay blankets, who had come by special invitation.’

First on the programme was a speech of welcome from a dignified old Delaware chief. ‘I am glad,’ he said, ‘that our white brothers do not come with a hatchet or sounds of war, but with the sweet fruits of peace and civilization. The Indian, too, loves freedom. The tree of liberty has been watered by many an Indian with his blood.’

There was also an address by Dr. Robinson, in which, for the first time, he outlined his policy. It was, in brief, to avoid all conflict with United States authority, but, on the other hand, to make a stubborn resistance to the lawless bands of ruffians who were endeavoring to drive the free-state men from the territory. The first would have been difficult without Robinson’s cool judgment; the second even more so without ‘General’ Lane’s skilled leadership of the citizens’ militia, and the fiery courage which struck terror to his foes.

A critical test of Robinson’s peace policy came late in this same year. Lawrence was threatened by a horde of border ruffians who had boasted that they would destroy the hated Yankee settlement. Urgent appeals were sent out to the militiamen of the surrounding country. It was bitterly cold. Relays of men, throwing up embankments, were taking turns by fifties, night and day, changing shifts frequently on account of the intense cold. The weather, however, proved to be a good friend. It was so severe that the undisciplined mob from the border, without tents or equipment, broke ranks and returned home without striking a blow.

It was in response to Robinson’s call of desperate need from Lawrence that Thomas Barbour, in spite of the entreaties of his young wife, came in from his home on the Wakarusa to the assistance of the threatened town. As he was returning home, when danger was past, he was shot from the roadside by a man high in authority in the ranks of the border ruffians.

This tragic incident, immortalized by Whittier in his ‘ Burial of Barbour,’ roused the free-state men to a perfect frenzy. Robinson’s peace policy was much less popular than Lane’s militant methods. It was hard to restrain the free-state men from some act of violence that would have brought them into conflict with the United States troops. There had been previous outrages of this same kind, and many more were to follow, all intended to drive the free-state men from the territory, or into antagonism with the Federal Government.

In order to give vent to the popular indignation, and also to honor the memory of a brave man, Dr. Robinson decided to have a military funeral. People came in from the country by scores. There was a long procession winding over Mount Oread to the cemetery, preceded by the Old Band and the Barbour Guards. There were few dry eyes in the marching column as the sad notes of the ‘Dead March’ from ‘Saul’ mingled with the sobs of the young widow.

It was a hard, unpaid service that the militiamen rendered for the protection of Lawrence, especially for those from the country. Often for weeks at a time they were obliged to leave their families, and in summer their growing crops, to do guard duty in town. Many of these farmers in the East had been clerks, bookkeepers, or schoolteachers, and had left everything at the ‘call of Kansas.’ They were struggling, with pitifully small resources of money and experience, to develop their prairie farms, yet in the poorest homes one would often find the Atlantic Monthly or some late book.

When these men from the country were called into Lawrence for militia service, the rough, hard work of the farms fell upon the women and children. They had to feed and water the stock, and in summer hide it in hollow squares cut out in the cornfields. They were in constant fear, also, of marauding bands of ruffians, inflamed by liquor, who were traveling over the country, pillaging the farms and striking terror to the lonely homesteads.

When the militiamen from these farms realized the hardships their families were enduring in these neglected homes, when the weather was cold and wet, when they were weak from insufficient food, — often there was no flour in Lawrence for weeks at a time, — they would grow restless and discontented. Even the magic of Lane’s wonderful personality could not always hold them. Then he would send out and gather in the Old Band for a rousing military drill, which would give fresh courage to the disheartened men. It was on one such occasion that Lane said to his militia company, ‘Boys, we must whip these infernal scoundrels, but it is hard to do it on a diet of green corn, for that is all we have to eat.’

The food question was indeed a serious one. It was seldom that any supplies could be smuggled across the closely watched border, and we were often without flour. I remember what a luxury it was when a kind neighbor sent each of us children a flour biscuit. My father drove nail holes through a sheet of tin which he fastened to the side of the barn, and on this primitive contrivance he grated unripe ears of corn to use as a substitute for flour. My brother and I hunted eagerly in their season for patches of wild strawberries. We scoured the woods for wild plums, grapes, and papaws. Sometimes Mother made us a pie of wild sorrel, which we thought quite a treat. My father brought in prairie chickens and rabbits, sometimes a wild turkey. Occasionally some man would brave the dangers of hostile Indians and bring back a load of buffalo meat from the Western plains. So we existed through that first year.

There was not only the anxiety for sufficient food, but also that caused by frequent alarms. Often my father would come in from his work and say, ‘The flag is flying on Blue Mound. I shall have to leave you to-night.’ A sentinel was kept constantly on Blue Mound, four miles southeast of Lawrence, to watch for the approach of the enemy and give warning. More than once a threatened invasion was turned back when it was found that the town was on guard. The border men had built rude forts on three sides of Lawrence, which furnished headquarters for these invading bands.

How lonely the house seemed after Father had taken his gun and gone away for the night of guard duty! Mother would dress us in our warmest clothing and place us on the bed with instructions to make haste through the window into a near-by cornfield if the house was attacked. Sometimes I would be aroused in the night by a distant shout, or the hoofbeats of a horse galloping on the highway, and would find my gentle little mother sitting awake and watchful by my bedside, often in the attitude of prayer.

In the long watchcs of these nights did she not have thoughts of the peaceful little house on a Vermont hillside? Did she not dream of the sweet spring water at the back door, and of the path through the fragrant orchard along which her children ran to Grandfather’s house? The arms from which her baby had gone were empty. Her oldest boy was a hopeless invalid from the effect of a cold taken when he had the measles. Her own health was failing and her husband’s life in constant danger. Often men were called to the door at nightfall and murdered on their own doorsteps, or shot from the side of the road as young Barbour had been. Why not leave it all, as many were doing, and return to Vermont? Such was the anxious question of parents, relatives, and friends. This yellowed letter before me is the answer my mother gave them: ‘I never felt a duty more plainly pointed out than that every lover of Freedom should remain at his post. We will never leave until Kansas becomes a Free State.'

It was that ‘darkest hour’ in 1856 when this letter was written, and the ‘dawn’ was not yet visible. Never had the soft breezes and the warm sunshine been more eagerly welcomed than in the spring of that year. The winter had been one of bitterest cold, and in the loosely built houses, heated only with green wood, there had been much suffering. However, the intense cold had protected us from our enemies, but with the return of spring they were ready for new activities.

Sheriff Jones (of detested memory) had been busily working among the Blue Lodges through the winter. It was openly declared across the border that Lawrence must be destroyed, and the rebels (so called) imprisoned. Under one of the bogus laws enacted by the mobs that swarmed across the Kansas border on election days, it was made a criminal offense even to speak against the institution of slavery. Sheriff Jones did not find it difficult under the law to discover that our most prominent men were subject to arrest. Grown bolder, he led a mob of ruffians into Lawrence, and in the name of ‘law and order’ destroyed the Free State Hotel, Dr. Robinson’s house, the newspaper plant, and other property.

Such outrages could not fail to arouse the whole country. Henry Ward Beecher in Plymouth pulpit, Horace Greeley in the New York Tribune, and a young lawyer in Illinois named Abraham Lincoln were among those who proclaimed in burning words the ‘wrongs of Kansas.’ The better class of Southern newspapers also denounced these outrages against the free-soilers. Instead of aiding their cause, they helped to defeat it.

My mother’s letter was written only a few weeks after the burning of the Free State Hotel. It had been a social centre for the entire community. The services of the band were often called for to assist in some festivity there. The pioneers of Lawrence were young; few had reached middle life. Many of them had filled important places in social circles of the East. It takes the young with red blood in their veins to be pioneers. The ties of friendship, moreover, were closely knit by the hardships and dangers of the times.

It needed the brave spirit of my young mother in 1856 to give strength and courage to her husband. His sodland crops were almost a failure. He was weakened by ague chills — there was illness in almost every home. His heart was torn by anxiety for his dearly loved family, and his usual cheery smile was not often in evidence. There was one occasion, however, when Father seemed like his old gracious self. It was when the Old Band met at the farmhouse for its weekly practice. During the week they might be farmers, mechanics, or business men; the week’s toll of loss and hardship might have been heavy; but on this one night they were only band boys. They called each other by their boyhood names, and their only anxiety was to play their musical scores with such correct time and expression as to meet with the approval of their leader, who was a trained Boston musician. If the weather permitted, they always gave an outdoor concert, to an unseen audience before separating. The people of the farms for miles around would come to their doors. Forgotten would be the tough sod, the protracted drouth, forgotten the green wood, the hard water, the latest ague chill. Even the constant menace of the border ruffians would be forgotten while they listened to the music of the Old Band.

At one such band meeting in 1857 there was an especially hopeful spirit. They had been asked to furnish music at the reception of a new governor. It was said that he had come bearing an olive branch of peace in his hand. The administration at Washington had become alarmed for the effect of the Kansas situation on politics. The new governor came with the promise of equal justice and security of life and property. New hope sprang up, immigration increased, many fine families came over the border from Missouri, saying that they wanted to live in a ‘white man’s country.’ It seemed that the days of warfare had ended. Alas, they had only just begun! The fire started on the Kansas prairie soon spread over the entire country.

IV

It was not until January of 1861 that Kansas obtained what it had been striving for — admission to the Union under a free-state constitution. When the Southern Senators arose in a body and left their scats in Congress, the first business taken up by those who remained was the admission of Kansas as a free state to the (dismembered) Union. Lawrence was now a highway of marching men. Over half the ablebodied men of the state had enlisted in the Union army. They had everything at stake on the result of the war. The Old Band was often called on to furnish music for the patriotic occasions. Their instruments were literally worn out in the public service.

Dr. Robinson, now governor, was the first to recognize this fact. He headed a subscription paper with a generous sum, in an appeal for new silver instruments. Grateful for the generous response, the band organized a series of weekly open-air concerts. The first one with the new instruments was given from a stand near the river on August 20, 1863. It was the highwater mark in the history of the Old Band. Never had they played more harmoniously or with better expression. The streets were as light as day and filled with a happy crowd. They applauded each number and frequently called for an encore. Could any scene be more peaceful and secure! Yet there mingled with the crowd some of Quantrell’s guerrilla spies, probably Quantrell himself.

At early daybreak the next morning Quantrell’s guerrillas, three hundred strong, came upon the sleeping town. It was totally unprepared. There was no railroad or telegraph at this time. Every messenger sent to warn of Quantrell’s approach met with disaster. By some blunder the guns of the militia were stored in blockhouses at the intersection of the streets. The town was without defense. Quantrell’s orders were ‘Kill every man and burn every house.’ The guerrillas — magnificent horsemen — rode at breakneck speed through the streets, a revolver in each hand, shooting every man in sight.

A few had a trace of humanity. One young fellow sprang to the assistance of a frail lady whom a guerrilla had ordered to draw water for his horse. ‘I would n’t have come if I had known there was to be murder,’ he told her. One would not burn a house because there was a sick lady in it, another because the flowers in the yard were so beautiful. Quantrell himself set a guard over a small hotel where he had stayed when living in Lawrence in disguise. The comely daughter of the proprietor had cared for him when he was ill, and the house was not molested. With but few exceptions, however, the guerrillas were like fiends in their brutalities. Three members of the Old Band were killed, one of them with unspeakable cruelty. My father, with quick wit, disappeared into a field of growing corn when almost face to face with the guerrillas.

Quantrell’s orders to kill every man and burn every house were being literally carried out when a sentinel on Mount Oread gave warning of the approach of United States troops. As it was, over one hundred and fifty were killed out of a population of less than two thousand. The raid was only one expression of hatred for the Yankee town that had stood as a barrier to the extension of slavery.

A little over a year later there came the alarming report that General Price had broken through the cordon of troops on the Missouri border, and was marching toward Lawrence to finish its destruction. Every able-bodied man enrolled in the militia; doctors, lawyers, merchants, farmers, all sorts and conditions of men, marched with the militia to the border. With them went the Old Band. After two weeks of anxiety there came a terrifying report. There had been a battle, it was said; many of the militia were killed and Price’s army was marching on Lawrence.

We hurried into town and found the streets filled with panic-stricken crowds — the streets along which were still standing skeletons of burned buildings, grim reminders of Quantrell’s raid. As we came in, there sounded the tread of marching feet on the bridge north of town. Was it Price coming to finish the destruction of the defenseless town? Would the horrors of Quantrell’s raid, of recent memory, be repeated? We saw a gleam of silver midway of the bridge; a band struck up a rollicking tune popular in war time — ‘When Johnnie Comes Marching Home Again.’ Familiar faces began to appear. It was indeed our militia coming home again. There had been a battle, though the militia were not in it, and Price had fallen back into Missouri. Thus ended the period of war and bloodshed in the history of Lawrence. Henceforth the music of the Old Band was heard only on peaceful occasions.

It was a special satisfaction to them when they were called on in June of 1867 to assist in the exercises of the first commencement of Kansas University. This first building of the University, in which they were held, was made possible by the gifts of generous cities to stricken raid victims, and by the benefaction of Amos A. Lawrence of Boston to his name-child — ‘ provided that Kansas become a free state.'

Ex-Governor Robinson and other members of the Town Company of 1854 were present at this first commencement. They had labored unceasingly for the founding of an institution of this kind. Even this infant University — a child of the Civil War — gave them great satisfaction. Its first class, indeed, was graduated on the very spot where the Town Company had met in 1854 and made the first plans for founding an institution for higher education. How welcome to us — its first students — were the opportunities for peaceful study, after the terrors of war’s alarms and dreamhaunted visions of murder and burning homes.

The scattered members of the Old Band were called together once more by Dr. Robinson to furnish music for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the arrival in Lawrence of that New England party which started out from the Boston railroad station singing Whittier’s ‘Kansas Emigrants.’ The members of the band were now past middle life, wrinkles and gray hair were much in evidence, but they could still play the old-time tunes with much of the old-time spirit. Whittier had hoped to be present for this occasion, but his health proved to be too feeble. In his letter of regret to my father are these words: ‘No one of the sisterhood of States has such a record as Kansas. So full of peril and adventure, of fortitude, self-sacrifice, and heroic devotion to Freedom!' In the words of the motto on the Kansas state seal:

AD ASTRA PER ASPERA.