The Reverend Thomas J. Addis was a preacher from Mercer county, Illinois who planned all the winter of 1854 to go to Kansas. In early March, 1855, he migrated with his family and a member of his congregation, John Rosenquist, to the future Lyon county. Rosenquist was warned by Addis's son-in-law to "look sharp, or the old man will have every penny (of your money) before you get to Kansas." [Godsey, Early Settlement, 452]
Samuel Jones (1820-1880)
Pro-Slavery Sheriff Jones of Douglas County asked for help in arresting Addis.
[Kansas State Historical Society]
Rosenquist and the Addis family built cabins on opposite banks of the Neosho River with a ford between them. On a trip to Independence, Missouri, for supplies, Addis borrowed fifty dollars from Rosenquist and proceeded to get "gloriously drunk." At Gregg's store, he began to berate the South in general and the Missourians in particular. Rosenquist was advised to get the old man out of town quickly. On the way home, Addis tied his dog for the night to Rosenquist's wagon wheel and when Rosenquist "started up rather suddenly the next morning," the dog got wound up in the wheel and was killed. Addis, who had started drinking again that morning, began swearing loudly at Rosesnquist. The party abandoned Addis on the road; the break between the men was never mended and the debt never repaid. [Godsey, Early Settlement, 454]
In April, 1856 two Missouri men came to Lyon county searching for claims. Staying overnight in a local cabin, they were awakened by a barking dog. They rose to find their horses with broken front legs. Glancing around, they saw Addis' son throw something into the nearby Addis home. Later an ax was found in the house covered with blood and hair. A general alarm went out and 30 men gathered to investigate. They decided "the Addis boys had done the work, but that the old man was the instigator." Twenty-nine men voted to hang T. J. Addis on the spot. Only Rosenquist pleaded for mercy for the sake of Mrs. Addis and he was delegated to order Addis out of the settlement within 10 days or be hanged.
The next morning Rosenquist found Addis on his way upriver with a bible under his arm, intending to preach a Sunday sermon. When told of the order, Addis began to swear and make threats. Nonetheless, he did leave the area, moving to Miami county, where:
"he told his own story, that this was a proslave community, and that he had been driven out because he was an Abolitionist, neither of which statements were true." [Godsey, Early Settlement, 456]
Addis continued his troublesome ways in Miami county. The executive minutes of Governor Geary for November 16, 1856 record issuance of warrants for Thomas Addis, Jr. and Addis, Sr. in the vicinity of Franklin, a pro-slavery town in Douglas county. The notorious sheriff Samuel Jones wrote: "...as resistance is anticipated, I request that you will furnish my deputy, Mr. Thompson, with two United States dragoons to assist in the arrest." [Kansas Historical Collections 4:636]
Addis was a member of the Delegate Convention and was elected to the Free State Legislature in December, 1855.