Luke P. Lincoln

Julia Louisa Lovejoy (1812-1882)

Through her letters to New England newspapers, Julia Louisa Lovejoy left a vivid account of the tumult that wracked Kansas during the struggle over abolition and slavery.

[PBS The West Film Project]

Luke P. Lincoln did not stay long in Kansas but played a large role in the formation of the Free-State Party at Big Springs [KSHC 8:372] serving as Vice-President of the Free-State convention [KSHC 13:128] A resident of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Lincoln piloted the second Emigrant Aid Company party of 1854. The party arrived at Lawrence in September 1854 and reached an agreement with the first party for division of town lots. Lincoln then returned to the East. [Barry, Emigrant Aid Company 1854,126- 130] One traveler wrote that while waiting at Kansas City, the party got restless:

"...Lincoln and Taft (reporter) had hired a livery team and rode out beyond Westport, near the old Mission, to see the goodly land. They came back full of enthusiasm, saying that the prairies were beautiful, and as green as a carpet. We had formed companies according to our needs, and began to bring in ox teams into camp...." [Clark, Lawrence in 1854, 36]

In Spring 1855, Lincoln piloted another Emigrant Aid part, the "Boston" town party with its organizer, Isaac T. Goodnow, to a settlement on the mouth of the Big Blue River. There the party was merged with another later arriving from Cincinnati and the two companies agreed on the name "Manhattan. " [Johnson, Emigrant Aid,433] Goodnow wrote of the trip:

"Our trip up the Missouri of eight days on the Kate Swinney, Captain Choteau, was a remarkably pleasant one. We had 120 emigrants, with about 100 U.S. cavalry with a fine band of music. For a wonder, almost everybody was Free-State, and we had our own way in about everything. Luke P. Lincoln, our superintendent, was a fine singer, and organized a glee club which sang the songs of Liberty...." [Goodnow, Personal Reminiscences,245]

Another traveler, Julia Louisa Lovejoy, remembered Lincoln's helpfulness:

"...Our next stopping place was Chicago, where we were glad to partake of a refreshing breakfast, Thursday morning, furnished to our company, at the low rate of 25 cts., through the kindness of L. P. Lincoln, Esq., our energetic Agent, who is untiring in his efforts to make our journey pleasant, and seems interested in all that interests the emigrant..." [Lovejoy, Letters, 31]

Soon after the Big Springs meeting in September 1855, Lincoln left Kansas.

Charles Clark