Archibald Payne was born in Kentucky in 1819 and moved west to Boone County, Missouri when he was 18. He married Lydia Bondurant of Boone County in 1844 and soon thereafter the couple settled near Weston in Platte County. When Kansas Territory opened in 1854, Payne made a claim in the Salt Creek Valley, south of Fort Leavenworth. He was elected as a judge of the Squatters' Court, deciding land disputes among that pro-slavery group. [Monticello History, Boom-Town] As a leader in the Salt Creek group, Payne was among those chosen as candidates for the Bogus Legislature at a meeting in Leavenworth after the first session of the United States Court in early March 1855. He chaired the pro-slavery meeting on April 30, 1855 that ordered free-state lawyer William Phillips to leave Leavenworth. [Howard Report, 965]
H. Miles Moore (1826-1909)
An early settler and free-state lawyer in Leavenworth, he wrote a history of the town with memories of several members of the Bogus Legislature.
Payne's fellow Leavenworth citizen, H. Miles Moore, did not care for him. Moore wrote that Payne insisted upon being called "Judge," although serving on a squatters' court hardly merited the title. Moore said Payne failed as a farmer in Leavenworth County and ended up moving to rural Monticello to live on "hog and hominy and poor whiskey until he collapsed." Payne was dangerous when drunk and he was usually drunk. He often threatened free-state citizens on the street with a bowie knife. [Moore, Leavenworth, 70] Despite his personal failings, Payne was appointed colonel of a regiment in the Kansas Militia during the Border War, serving under General Lucien Eastin in the Sack of Lawrence. [KHC 3:284] He served on the resolutions committee at the Law and Order Party convention in late 1855. [Cutler, History, Part 23] In 1857, Payne moved his family south to Monticello in Johnson County; was first President of the Monticello Town Company and first town postmaster. In 1858, Payne was elected to the Territorial Council from Johnson County, serving as a minority member of that free-state dominated body. He served on the Johnson County board of county commissioners for three years, 1859 to 1861, the last year as Chairman. He remained a Johnson County resident the rest of his life. [Monticello History, Boom-Town]
There is a question about Payne's allegiance during the Civil War. He may have switched sides. On April 25, 1861, Payne wrote to a well known Confederate government contractor in Alabama requesting funding for a "force" of Kansans to go south, to assist in "repelling Old Abe's cohorts." Payne's letter was forwarded to Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, who endorsed the idea. The letter was later found among Confederate Government papers captured at Ft. Smith, Arkansas by federal troops. [Cheatham, Southern Confederacy, 174]
On the other hand, Payne is said to have served in the 5th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry Regiment of the Union Army for three years on the western border at the Battle of Westport and after. [Monticello History, Boom-Town] The official regimental history does not mention Payne's service, however. [Kansas Adjutant General's Report, 66-72] Although Union Army service would seem out of character, Payne surely would not have been able to lie about the Kansas Volunteers to his post-war neighbors. He maintained their confidence, and after the Civil War, filled various county and township offices, including Justice of the Peace in 1874 and 1875.