The Kansas Herald of Freedom: December 20, 1856 (Number 22 -- Volume 2)

Price: 295.00 USD

Lawrence, KS: G.W. Brown & Co., 20 December 1856 (Vol. 2, No. 22). Large folio (19" X 25"). Self-cover. Good plus. Mild sporadic age toning and occasional inoffensive foxing, with minor edgewear and slight soiling. Overall an attractive example of one of Kansas' first free-state newspapers, founded by the noted abolitionist GEORGE W. BROWN (1820-1915) in January 1855. He was associated with the New England Emigrant Aid Society, which is considered the town's founder. Brown was arrested by an irate pro-slavery mob led by the infamous sheriff, Samuel J. Jones, on May 21, 1856 and his offices trashed and burned. He spent four months in jail on high treason charges, later dismissed, and continued publishing his newspaper until December 17, 1859. This interesting issue is filled with countless newsworthy tidbits concerning the free-state versus slave-state issue and other anti-slavery matters. The leftmost column of the first page makes reference to the May 21, 1856 destruction of the "Herald of Freedom" offices, too: "We are pleased to observe that our friend, Henry M. Kimball, who was engaged in the Herald of Freedom office, at the time of its destruction, in May last, has become associated... in the publication of the Carlinsville, Ill., Free Democrat...." And best of all, a classified ad on the fourth page, under the headline "Still Alive!", comes from Lawrence pioneer CHARLES STEARNS, a William Lloyd Garrison supporter from Massachusetts and former Underground Railroad conductor who arrived in what was to become Lawrence on May 26, 1854, and built that city's first structure, a crude log cabin. It reads: "The old mud shantee came very near being destroyed on the memorable 21st of May, but it wasn't. I am still alive, and have a few goods, and a very little money left. Should be happy to see all my old, and a few new friends at the old shantee, next to where the 'Fort' was, but alas! is not. In a few weeks I expect to move into a comfortable Stone Store, that is, if I am not arrested for 'horse stealing' before. When I get there, shall be very happy to see all Lawrence, and the surrounding country. -- Shant have much to sell, but shall be glad to see all, gentlemen and ladies, and talk politics, religion, & c....." The notorious "sack of Lawrence" on May 21 destroyed a hotel (the "Fort" referred to) and several other businesses along with the "Herald of Freedom," and Stearns' shop was no doubt one of them. (Whether the "mud shantee" is this first building at 620 Massachusetts Avenue remains to be determined -- or perhaps Stearns had a separate building for his store.) A superb issue of this scarce newspaper, with excellent references to the attempt to destroy it.

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