Military Land Warrants – MARTIN WHITE – Bates County, MO

                                            1856                                                               1857

Adding to my collection of Kansas – Missouri Border War items, these two land warrants, which I acquired quite by accident, headed me off on another research challenge to find out….

Who was Martin White   ????  

I don’t profess to be a historian, I just love history. Nor am I an expert on the Kansas -Missouri border war conflict, I just favor that period of time.  Intrigued with the fierceness of the battles and the extreme passion of principles by which these individuals lived and died; I stand in awe of their strength and the veracity of their life stories.

Martin White was a fiery ole-time Baptist preacher with Southern sympathies

⇒  1802, born (tho I have found mention of the date 1803) in Montgomery Co., Kentucky
⇒  1820, marriage in Kentucky to Kiturah “Kitty” Ann Fletcher
⇒  Martin & Kitty had 12 children
⇒  1829, moved to Sangamon Co. Illinois which then became Christian County in 1839
⇒  While in Illinois; he farmed, owned a saw mill, and was a Baptist circuit rider
⇒  1840 -1842, served as state representative from Christian and Logan counties in Illinois
⇒  1855 when Kansas was opened for settlement, the family moved to Lykins Co., Kansas
⇒ Purchased a large tract of land north of Stanton, on the Lykins/Franklin county border
⇒ Lykins (often Lykens) County was established in 1855 but then renamed Miami in 1861
⇒  1855, served as Justice of the Peace in Osawatomie
⇒  1856, raid by John Brown’s men on the White homestead
⇒  1856, with General John W. Reid’s command at Osawatomie
⇒  1856, killed John Brown’s son, Frederick, at the battle of Osawatomie
⇒  1857, elected as state legislator to the Lecompton Legistlature (Kansas Territory)
⇒  During Brown’s raids in Kansas, the family relocated to Cass County, Missouri
⇒  Several tracts of land were purchased in Bates County, MO and the family settled there
⇒  1861 – Joined the Missouri State Guard, entered as Lieutenant Colonel on 7/3/1861
⇒  Unit: F & S, 3rd Reg’t Cav, 8th Div, Missouri State Guard
⇒  Commanding Officers: Colonel R.L.Y.Peyton, Major W. S. Taylor, Captain D.W. Williams
⇒  Referred to as:  Reverend – Elder -Preacher – The Lion – Old White – Poor Martin White
⇒  April 21, 1862, date of death as indicated on headstone


Family stories have it that he died from “weather exposure” sustained while in service;

Another version of his death is that he was killed by Charles Metz (alias Cleveland Marshall) during the Morristown event (Sep 1861) possibly over a few mules;

And still yet another story  that says he was murdered while travelling home alone from Lecompton.

I welcome assistance on ending his story.


Headstone - White Cemetery
Martin White, White Cemetery, Bates Co., MO

Find-a-Grave Link  ⇒ Click Here

Old School Baptist Preacher

White Ref - History of Bates Co - crop.jpg
History of Bates County, Missouri, 1918


Miami county map
1878 Miami County, Kansas (Illustrated Historical Atlas, Edwards Bros.)

First Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture to the Legislature of the State of Kansas, for the Years 1877-8

Free-State men attacked Buford, drove him from his fortified camp, took the fort, and with it the teams and commissary stores of the pro-slavery forces. On the 29th of August, General John W. Reid, with forces from Platte and Clay counties, Missouri, left the headwaters of Bull creek, under guidance of Rev. Martin White, for an attack on Osawatomie.

“White, after leaving this county, preached a pro-slavery crusade in Platte and Clay counties, and, on his representation of the injuries he received, and of the trials and tribulations he had undergone as a representative of Southern ideas while a citizen of this county, he procured quite a number of volunteers, who pledged themselves to avenge, if not right, his wrongs. He stated, among other falsehoods, that he and John Brown had lived in the same county in Illinois, and that, after his removal to Kansas, Brown had persecuted him on account of his political opinions. At daybreak on the morning of the 30th, the invading force crossed the Marais des Cygnes, at Bundy’s ford, and came toward Osawatomie from the west, Gen. Reid and Rev. Martin White in the advance. As they approached the village; when about a mile distant, White saw Frederick Brown in the road, and, remarking to Reid, ‘There is John Brown,’ dismounted, and, taking aim with a squirrel rifle, shot the young man dead. As the command came up, the men scattered out and approached the dwelling of Mr. Carr, on the right of the road where Frederick Brown had been killed. William Garrison and Cutler fled from the house in the direction of the Pottawatomie, followed by the Missourians. Garrison was killed, and Cutler seriously wounded. When a short distance from the village, the Missourians formed in line of battle, on the high ground west of the point where the John Brown monument is now located. They advanced under the cover of a ravine, to the north, in the direction of the Marais des Cygnes, and attacked the right of the Free-State line, under command of John Brown, causing Brown to fall back. Dr. Updegraff held the centre of the line next to Brown, and Capt. Cline the left. Simultaneously with the advance on Brown, the Missourians charged Captains Cline and Updegraff, Reid’s forces throwing grape and canister into the position occupied by Brown, and the entire Free-State line was forced back to the river, which they successfully crossed. With the retreat of the Free-State men across the Marais des Cygnes, the battle ended, and the victors proceeded to the destruction and demolishment of the town. During the battle, William Williams, a Missourian, William Powers and George Partridge were killed, and Dr. Updegraff wounded. Charley Keiser was taken prisoner, and a few days afterward was killed by a guard of Kickapoo Rangers, at Cedar Creek. The forces actually engaged in this fight are variously estimated. On the Free-State side, it has always been claimed that the Missourians numbered four hundred, and that their loss in killed and wounded amounted to from thirty to forty, the entire number of the Free-State men engaged. The Missourians have always claimed that their loss did not include any dead, and admit that three were wounded. It is a lamentable fact that there is no evidence that the latter statement is not correct. The ruffians plundered the dwellings, fired the village and departed, leaving a wreck behind them. No attempt was made to interrupt their leisurely made return march, except a feint conducted by General Lane. At the Territorial election, held October 6th, Martin White, then of Bates county, Missouri, was elected to the Legislature from this district, receiving 127 votes, against 105 cast for J. P. Fox. Whitfield, for Congress, received 133 votes in Lykins county, the Free-State men refusing to vote.”

White - tender of service -1 page
Tender of Service, Oct 5, 1856              View Transcription

From Martin White to John W. Geary                                             October 5th 1856
Lykans Co, Kansas Territory

To his Excelancy John W. Geary
Govnor of The Teritory of Kansas Territory

Sir, I have ritten 2 letters to you and have received no answre from you. the first was asking permission to rase a Cumponey to be stationed at stanton to protect the inhabitants and thare property subject at all times to your order and the mintanance of the law[.] the 2 was informing you of Brown and his Cumponey who ware stil marching through the Cuntry takin every thing that tha  Could git that tha Could make money out of,[Even to plows and Driving Every boddy back that did not suit thare purpus and destroying the Crops for which i asked you fore a detachment of the forces under your Command to arest those high way robbers and murders. i went on the 30 of last month to [Paola] expecting to git help from you but received no ansur and found no help and finding that i was in danger i shal leeve today. Thare is a bought 40 famileys wating for protection to go back. we have rased a Cumponey of 80 men and Elected our officers and will report amediately and we ask to be mustered in to the united states survices. the names of our officers will be reported to you amediately. please rite to me and oblige yours. direct yours to [Paola] Lykans Co. Kansas Territory

yours with mutch respect.
refereances to my Caractar:
Col. Boon, westport
Col. Titus, Lecomton
Genral Calhoon, Wyandot                                                              View document

William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas  (Battle of Osawatomie)

The troops were guided by Rev. Martin White, who was one of the most biter Pro-slavery partisans in the Territory, and had himself fled from the country about the time of the Pottawatomie murders, and claimed to have been driven out. He was with the advance scouting party, which, as it approached the town, fell in with David Garrison and Frederick Brown, a son of old John Brown. Both were, without warning or provocation, shot dead. White boasted afterward that he gave Fred his quietus, asserting in justification of the act, that Brown, when shot, was known to him as one of the pestiferous gang of Abolitionists, and was riding at the time a horse stolen from him; and that, it being a time of war, it was no murder.

The village was reached shortly after the double murder, by the whole force. They were there confronted by a party of about forty Free-State men, under command of that grim, mysterious, unrelenting old hero, John Brown. The town was hotly defended by the little party for a time, but at length, overpowered by numbers, they were forced to retreat and leave it to pillage and destruction. After the sacking of the store and dwellings of all valuables that could be transported, the soldiers set fire to the town and destroyed it. When the conflagration ceased, but four buildings remained among the smouldering (sic) ruins of what had been the thriving village of Osawatomie. 

Geary and Kansas: Governor Geary’s Administration in Kansas, with a complete history of the Territory until July 1857,  John H. Gihon, 1857  


A New Centennial History of the State of Kansas, Charles Tuttle,  1876

The murderer of Frederick Brown was chosen a member of the Lecompton legislature, and, while there, the Rev. Martin White described in glowing terms the service he had rendered to the state by his cowardly deed of slaughter, being rewarded with many plaudits for his heroism ; but Mr. White never boasted again of his misdeeds. At the end of the session he started on his way home, but was not seen again for some days, when he was found stretched on the prairie, with one ball through his heart His boast had reached one man that could not allow a double murder to go unpunished, and who had removed the only shadow of doubt as to his guilt Who was the avenger? It is written, “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.”

Memoirs of John Brown,  F. B. Sanborn, 1878

In his address before the legislature in the State House at Boston, Feb. 18, 1857, Brown added some particulars concerning his son’s death. He said : ” I have not yet told all I saw in Kansas. I once saw three mangled bodies, two of which were dead, and one alive, but with twenty bullet and buckshot holes in him, after the two murdered men had lain on the ground, to be worked at by flies, for some eighteen hours. One of these young men was my own son.” He was not found by his father until the evening of that day, after the retreat of the Missouri men. His death was a murder and his murderer was Martin White a preacher, who was then serving as a soldier in what he called ” the law and order militia,” that is, the Missouri 4> forces, which, upon entering Kansas, were made a part of the pro-slavery territorial militia, by order of Secretary Woodson, himself a Missouri man, who was for a few days acting governor of Kansas. On the 12th of September, the new governor, Geary of Pennsylvania, ordered this invading militia to disband and disperse, but they did not obey, until they again had a taste of John Brown’s quality as a commander. Martin White was afterwards a member of the pro-slavery legislature, and during the session at Lecompton he boasted of the killing of Frederick Brown. On his way home from the session he was himself waylaid and shot, according to Mr. Redpath. This was in the winter after the fight at Osawatomie. The number of the pro-slavery men in arms at Osawatomie on the 30th of August was about four hundred, while John Brown had just forty-one men in his company.

Image from Redpaths book - white
The Public Life of John Brown, James Redpath, 1860

Just other somewhat related stuff:

WILLIAM WHITEHEAD, farmer, Section 11, Township 17, Range 21, P. O. Paola, is one of the pioneers of Kansas of 1855. He was born in Shelby County, Ill, January 17, 1836. Immigrated to Franklin County, Kas, in 1855 with his father, He made his home at the old Peoria Mission, near the west line of Miami County., He was an earnest Free-state man and took an active part in the turbulent scenes of 1856 and 1857, and was a member of John Brown’s company. His wife was a daughter of the notorious Rev. Martin White, who shot Fred Brown at Osawatomie the morning of the battle of August 29, 1856. The old man induced his daughter to separate from her husband on account of his Free-state principles. She died while her husband was in the Union service during the late war. Mr. Whitehead purchased his farm on Section 11, Stanton, in 1858. He has a fine tract of 234 acres.  William G. Cutler’s History of the State of Kansas   (BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES – STANTON)

Photographer – John L. Gihon     see wiki article