George W. Partridge

The Soldiers Monument (August 30, 1877) honors the five men killed in the battle of Osawatomie on August 30, 1856. Partridge and three others are buried next to the monument.
[Kansas Travel Organization]

George Partridge (1827-1856) came with his family from Wisconsin to Kansas in 1854. His father, Wakeman Partridge, established a settlement south of Pottawatomie Creek, above Dutch Henry's crossing. By the next spring, George was familiar enough with his surroundings to lead a party of new settlers west along the south branch of Pottawatomie Creek, across the open prairie, to a new settlement site west of Greeley. [Johnson, Anderson County, Ch. 6] The family were among the founders of what was to become the Congregational Church of Mount Gilead, with John Brown's brother-in-law, Samuel Adair, as pastor. [KSHS, James Hanway Collection] The family's free-state credentials were well established. George was a delegate to the Big Springs Convention and his brother William was Secretary of the earlier Lawrence Convention that called for Big Springs. [Cutler, History, Territorial History, Part 19]

On August 30, 1856, George Partridge young life ended when he was killed in the Battle of Osawatomie attempting to swim his horse across the Osage River. John Reid had led 400 Missourians to the battle, burning many of the houses in the New England Emigrant town of Osawatomie. Partridge died as John Brown's forces fought a defensive retreat from the town. [Cutler, History, Miami County, Part 2]

George's older brother William continued to be active in the free-state movement. In April 1856, he participated in a meeting in Osawatomie adopting resolutions against payment of taxes under the laws enacted by the Bogus Legislature. In May a Grand Jury was impaneled, bringing an indictment against William and other members of John Brown's circle, charging "they did unlawfully, and wickedly conspire, combine, confederate and agree together to resist the enforcement of the laws passed by the Legislature for the collection of taxes." A number of men were taken prisoner and eventually ended up in Lecompton where they faced charges of high treason. William was charged with having bought a stolen wagon used in the Pottawatomie Massacre, with grand larceny and with conspiracy against the Territorial laws. He was found guilty and after receiving sentence, he was taken from the Tecumseh jail and turned over to the authorities at the Lecompton Prison Camp. On January 15, 1857 he escaped with two other free-state convicts. At the time of his arrest, Governor Geary said William Partridge "was one of the worst men and one of the principal agitators in Kansas, and should receive no sympathy from him, but afterward the governor saw cause to change his opinion, and was very desirous to have him return that he might be reprieved and be at liberty with none to molest him." [Cutler, History, Miami County, Part 3]

The Reverend Adair wrote to Wisconsin, reporting on the Partridge family in 1856:

"W[akeman] P[artridge] came here in Feb '/55, sold a farm - was worth about $4,000 - a thorough free State man & a devoted Christian is about 70 years of age. He raised a family of ten children. The youngest daughter is with them - the youngest son, George, on whom they depended was killed swimming across the river after the battle of Osawatomie - was in the battle & fought bravely. The old gentlemen has been harrassed much - was at one time take prisoner by the Law & order party & kept a number days. - Both he and family have been sick a great deal, has lost nearly all his property & has been urged by his children in Wisconsin to leave the territory - almost made up his mind to go; but has concluded to remain. I have helped them to some $800 out of funds sent me for distribution. Wm Partridge was taken last may & held a prisoner some weeks - released at Tecumsee in June - has been much harrassed - Is again a prisoner at Tecumsee [sic] released within a few days. His wife now making her home with us. They are needy." [KSHS, Samuel & Florella Adair Collection]

Charles Clark