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A friend recently found a newpaper article regarding the death of his wife’s great grandfather, published below with permission.  Since I live near the border of Missouri and Kansas and have posted quite a bit on our Civil War era border wars, I found this particularly interesting.

Note that Elwood, Kansas (originally called Roseport) is directly across the Missouri River from St. Joseph, Missouri.

——

St. Joseph Morning Herald Thursday September 11, 1862

Killing in Elwood (Kansas). Last Thursday a Mr. Slaughter was killed in Elwood by some Federal soldiers from Troy. We heard different versions of
the affair, at the time, and declined to publish any of them. Yesterday Mr. John Norton of Elwood, who lives with the Coroner, and was the
first man on the ground after the killing, brought us the following account of the affair, obtained from Mrs. Slaughter, the wife of the deceased:

Samuel A. Slaughter, living in Elwood, was killed Thursday night Sept 4, about 1 o’clock, as follows: A man named Day was living in
the house with the deceased. The soldiers came to the door which was left open, and began ballooing for the man of the house. Mr. Day asked
them what they wanted, and they replied, “A light.” He immediately struck a light, and they then asked him if a man named Slaughter lived there.

He replied affirmatively. They told him to tell Slaughter they wanted to see him. Mr. S. put on his clothes, went to the door, and asked them
what they wanted of him. They replied, “No matter, come along with us.” They took him out of the yard, and as soon as he was outside the gate, a revolver was fired. After the firing, the soldiers twice cried “halt.” They then cried, “There is a dead man out here, come and take care of him.”

Mr. Day and Mrs. Slaughter went out there, found Mr. Slaughter dead, ‘roused some of the neighbors, and procured a Coroner. The soldiers forbid them holding an inquest. They said they were there to arrest Mr. S. and he ran from them, and none should be held.

Mr. Slaughter was a secessionist, aged 26 or 28 years, and leaves a wife and two children. He formerly lived in this city, and once kept a small saloon by the Elwood Ferry landing, called “The First and Last House.”

—-
A note on Elwood, Kansas from historical marker.

Elwood, first called Roseport, was established in 1856. In its heyday  scores of river steamboats unloaded passengers and freight at its wharves and every 15 minutes ferryboats crossed to its Missouri rival, St. Joseph. During the 1850′s thousands of emigrants outfitted here for Oregon and California. Late in 1859, Abraham Lincoln seeking the Republican nomination, here first set foot in Kansas, and spoke in the three-story Great Western Hotel. Elwood was the first Kansas station on the Pony Express between Missouri and California. Construction of the first railroad west of the Missouri river began here in 1859. On April 23, 1860, the first locomotive, “The Albany,” was ferried over and  pulled up on the bank by hand. Elwood’s ambitions for greatness were thwarted, not by St. Joe, but by the river which undermined the banks and washed much of the old town away.

Source: http://eudorapubliclibrary.org/history/elwood.htm

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2 Responses to A Civil War Border Killing

  1. Peter says:

    Hello -

    Could you point me in the direction of map resources re: Kansas-Missouri border 1855?

    Like your blog.

    p

  2. Rene Tyree says:

    Great question Peter. Several sources come to mind. Both the Missouri and Kansas Historical societies have maps (I have links to both societies on Wig Wags). Here is a link to a third party that has published Kansas Territory county maps for 1855 online.

    http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/archives/county/map1.html

    TerritiorialKansasonline.org also has high level maps.

    http://www.territorialkansasonline.org/~imlskto/cgi-bin/index.php?SCREEN=location

    There are several commercial sites with some excellent historical maps that you can view to some degree online. Heritage Antique Maps is onet. I’ve provided links to both their Missouri for that year.
    Joseph Hutching Colton’s map of Missouri 1855 – http://www.heritageantiquemaps.com/main.html?http&&&www.heritageantiquemaps.com/United%20States,%20By%20State/mo.htm

    Geographicus.com has Colton’s maps as well but provide zoom technology (very cool).
    Missouri – http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/Missouri-colton-1855
    Kansas Nebraska – http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/NebraskaKansas-colton-1855

    The Kansas City Public Library also has a great collection of Missouri maps online with zoom technology. The link below is to and 1851 map of the stote of Missouri.
    http://www.kchistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/Maps&CISOPTR=1213&CISOBOX=1&REC=9

    Hope that at least gets you started.

    R

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