Achilles B. Wade was born in Franklin County, Missouri in 1829 to a Kentucky family long resident in Missouri. In 1849, when he was twenty years old, he drove a team of oxen to the California gold fields, passing through Kansas. He was impressed with the fertility of the soil near Lawrence and settled illegally on a claim in West Lawrence in March 1854, two months before the territory was opened. He built the first cabin in Douglas County on his claim. [Connelly, Lane-Jenkins Claim, 44]
Clark Stearns' Cabin
Clark Stearns and John Baldwin made claims for the Lawrence town site.
In May 1854, the New Englanders started to arrive in Lawrence. Clark Stearns and John Baldwin selected claims on what was to be the town site. Several Missourians had already claimed those areas and a conflict ensued. Of the Missourians, only Wade was actually living on his claim and fortunately, his land was west of the New England claims. [Cutler, History, Douglas County]
Wade was able to befriend the free-state settlers, despite his political position. Joseph Savage, one of those New Englanders, was a neighbor. Savage disliked the other Bogus Legislators from Douglas County, but said of Wade: "And near the residence of A. D. Searl (was) then living our estimable fellow citizen, A. B. Wade, who was also a member of the first Legislature of Kansas. While behind (the Legislators), there was the whole power of the Government, its patronage and officials, with the army to back them." [Savage, Lawrence in 1854, 27ff]
Wade told the Howard Committee that in Lawrence the free-state party might have had a majority in March 1885 election, "but not so much as they themselves represented." The free-state party was divided and the pro- slavery men goaded them on by going to the free-state meeting and nominating S.N.O.P. Wood, a noted abolitionist, as a second nominee contesting the more moderate C. W. Babcock. Meanwhile, Wade said, Charles Robinson was bringing more new voters up the river. "A great many Missourians came (to Lawrence) in the evening before the election. " (Wade thought he) "heard the Missourians express themselves in this way: that if the emigrant aid societies would let the Territory alone they would let the settlers settle the question themselves." [Howard Report, 160] The historian William Connelly summed up Wade: "(He) lived in Lawrence until death, active in good works and gaining a reputation as a brave and patriotic man." [Connelly, Lane-Jenkins Claim, 44]