Jesse Morin

Jesse Morin (1808-1884) was "essentially military in his nature" wrote William M. Paxton, a friend and fellow Platte countian. Morin was "stern and imperative" and "born to command and lead." He was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, resided for a while in the Boon's Lick in Howard county, and pioneered in the Platte Purchase with a large colony of settlers in 1837. [Paxton, Annals, 353] He began farming and was elected in 1838 to the Missouri General Assembly along with David Atchison, pledged to support organization of one or more counties from the Purchase area. [National Historical Co., Clay and Platte Counties, 568]

Charles Bent (1799-1847)

On the morning of January 19, 1847 insurrectionists led by Tomasito went to Governor Bent's home, broke down the door, shot Bent several times with arrows, and scalped him in front of his family.


Successful in organizing Platte county in the 1838 General Assembly, Morin was appointed as the first Circuit Court Clerk of the Platte circuit in 1839, while still in the Missouri House. He had a third appointed job as Superintendent of Public Buildings for Platte county. [National Historical Co., Clay and Platte Counties, 576]

Excitement grew for the Mexican War in 1846 and Morin raised a company in Platte county in Wittlock's Battalion, Missouri Mounted Volunteers. The Battalion was assigned to the occupation of New Mexico and, in January 1847, faced an insurrection of the native peoples, beginning at Taos where they killed Governor Charles Bent. On February 1, Captain Morin led approximately 200 soldiers into the village of Mora. Most of the insurgents fled to the surrounding mountains but Morin ordered the complete destruction of the village and the burning of its wheat fields. that surrounded the town. The battle effectively ended the insurrection in the Mora Valley. [Niles' National Register, April 10 1847]

Morin was active in the pro-slavery movement and very concerned about Kansas. He was a founder of the "Platte County Self-Defensive Association," signing the call for its initial public meeting at Weston on July 29, 1854. [National Historical Co., Clay and Platte Counties, 663] In early November 1854 Morin spoke "some very appropriate remarks" at a Leavenworth nominating convention in opposition to then naming candidates for representative to Congress from Kansas Territory. After Morin's speech, a resolution was adopted that the convention was premature and the meeting was adjourned. Morin's efforts were in support of General Whitfield, the pro-slavery candidate and eventual winner. [Cutler, History, Part 7] Morin voted in the Territorial Election for Whitfield, at an Atchison polling place, although he was not living in Kansas. [Howard Report, 63]

After a free-state attempt on the life of Douglas county Sheriff Jones, in April 1856, several hundred Platte county citizens volunteered to maintain "law and order" in Kansas, and Morin assumed command of the force. The Platte county men were active in the "Sack of Lawrence" in May 1856. Morin took the majority of his men home after the battle, but one company under John Wallace stayed in the "Kansas Militia," on patrol in the territory for most of the following year.. [National Historical Co., Clay and Platte Counties, 648]

Recruitment Poster for Jennison's Jay-Hawkers
Mound City, August 24, 1861

Originally a derogatory term, the name Jay-Hawk was adopted by the 1st Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry
[Missouri Partisan Ranger Site]

Governor Geary's arrival in Kansas Territory was imminent in August 1856 when a manifesto was issued by "Citizens of Missouri," urging response to a call for help by pro-slavery Kansans. Geary was rightly thought to be unfriendly to the pro-slavery cause. Morin was one of the prominent Missourians signing the manifesto announcing in "earnestness and sincerity the imminent danger of irretrievable failure unless immediate response, in overwhelming numbers, was made to (the Kansans') call." Jim Lane's army "must be expelled from the Territory." Assistance was needed; pro-slavery citizens had been unable to assemble a force in Kansas "sufficient to compel the obedience of the rebels, now that they have been strengthened by this invading army." It was no "mere local quarrel; no mere riot, but it (was) war!" It was a war for extermination of pro-slavery citizens in which it was "not only the right but the duty of all good citizens of Missouri and every other State to come to (their) assistance, and enable (them) to expel the invaders." [Cutler, History, Part 40]

Morin won appointment as Register at the Land Office at Ft. Scott, an important political post, deciding land disputes between opposing claimants. His political influence was important even to free-state candidates like H. Miles Moore running for Territorial Attorney General in 1859. Moore wrote hoping to "secure (Morin's) influence " in Bourbon county and at the Territorial convention. [ KSHS Henry Miles Moore Collection, Box 1, Folder 4]

Morin opposed Missouri's secession but was appointed a Brigadier General by Governor C.F. Jackson in 1861. He at first accepted but "upon reflection, declined." He stayed in Platte county, acting as deputy sheriff in 1862. [Paxton, Annals, 353]

In July 1864, Northwest Missouri was raided by Jennison's Jayhawkers and Morin was arrested near his home in Platte City. He was allowed to walk down the street "on parole" and encountered Judge William Paxton. Jennison's men included "personal foes" who knew Morin as a pro-slavery man from his days in the Ft. Scott land office. Morin told Paxton that his friend could save him from Jennison's men by telling the Yankee officers that Morin was a Mason and had bitterly opposed secession. Paxton sought out the officers and was explaining "our brother" Morin's position when shots rang out and Morin ran in "greatly affrighted." The commanding officer sent Morin home under escort. Morin hid that night beside a log, near the road. His enemies followed him but failed to find him. The next morning Jennison's troops left the area, leaving behind a "band of incendiaries" who burned a number of houses and churches in Platte City. [Paxton, Annals, 369]

Charles Clark