Rufus Gilpatrick

Rufus Gilpatrick was born in East Trenton, Maine and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1834. He practiced medicine in New Madison, Ohio until 1855 and taught at Starling Medical College in nearby Columbus. His students included his nephew, James Gilpatrick Blunt. Starling Medical College opened in 1848 and became part of Ohio State University in 1914. [Pinta, Psychiatry, 3-12]

James Gilpatrick Blunt (1826-1881)

Rufus Gilpatrick's nephew and medical student, Blunt was a General in the Civil War, with several commands of Kansas soldiers in the Border War. []

Gilpatrick was active in the Underground Railroad in Ohio, forwarding runaway slaves from Cincinnati to the Canadian border through Darke County. He was an "earnest and active worker" who "knew all the stations" along the route. [Balser, Underground Railroad] In Spring 1855 he moved his family to Anderson County, Kansas where they were among the first settlers [Cutler, History, Anderson County, Part 1] They settled just north of Greeley and, in Autumn 1855, Dr. Gilpatrick joined John Brown Junior's "Pottawatomie Rifle Company." He got to know John Brown well and identified "Old Brown" as the leader of the "Pottawatomie Massacre" at a "Conciliation Meeting" in Osawatomie following the massacre [ Oates, Purge This Land, 140]

The next year, during the Battle of Osawatomie, Gilpatrick led a company of Anderson County men in relief of John Brown's forces. On August 28, approximately 100 free-state men attacked Reid's army during breakfast and the Missourians retreated in confusion. Another group of Missourian's were then traiding Greeley with the intention to hang Gilpatrick, but abandoned the project when they learned of the capture of their camp. [Cutler, History, Anderson County, Part 1]

In 1857, Gilpatrick was elected president of a town company laid out across Pottawatomie Creek from its rival town of Greeley. Originally called Pottawatomie, the name was changed to Mount Gilead. A saw mill was built and all that remained of Greeley was moved to the new town. Mount Gilead grew rapidly at first, but soon failed for lack of a good water supply and the town site was abandoned. In November 1858, a free-state squatters' court was organized to settle land claims in Linn, Anderson and Bourbon Counties, and Dr. Gilpatrick was elected judge. Having no bible at hand, Gilpatrick swore witnesses on his copy of "Gunn's Domestic Medicine, or Poor Man's Friend in the Hours of Affliction, Pain and Sickness," first published in 1830. [Cutler, History, Anderson County, Part 2]

Gilpatrick was a delegate to the Osawatomie convention in May 1859 that organized the Republican Party in Kansas Territory. He took an active part in preparation of the party platform and the debate that followed. In October 1859 he was elected county superintendent of public instruction and to the 1860 Territorial Legislature. In the legislature, he authored a resolution to investigate claims on the territorial treasury, uncovering fraud that might have resulted in a large burden on the future state government. After statehood, Gilpatrick returned home to his duties as superintendent of public instruction. [Johnson, Anderson County, Ch.21]

In 1861, Gilpatrick began service as an informal soldier in the Union Army on the border, a "secret detective, " and was at the Battle of Webbers Falls in Cherokee Territory in April 1863. He went outside the lines to treat confederate casualties serving under Cherokee General Stand Watie and was killed by Confederates "while exposing his life to protect the ladies of a Rebel officer's household at Webster's Falls," [ J. Gilpatrick to Mr. Sawyer, May 21, 1863 and Johnson, Anderson County, Ch.21]

Charles Clark