Saturday, July 9, 2016

Peter Westerhouse - Civil War Years #2

The Peter Westerhouse family most likely would have left Lexington for Kansas during February of 1863. Families traveling west probably would have traveled on the Santa Fe Trail in a horse-drawn wagon.  Peter's and Anna's family may have done this.  Based upon Westerhouse family stories, they settled in Eudora, Kansas, on a plot of land, 3 miles south of Eudora near 2375 N 800th Road.  This section of Eudora was commonly referred to as the Captain Creek area.  A  property deed located at the Douglas County Courthouse revealed that this property had been granted to Paschal Fish and his Shawnee Indian tribe by a 'treaty between Shawnee Indians and the United States government'.  This treaty was signed by President James Buchanan 10 May 1854.  No land claim applications have been found for Peter and Anna regarding any properties.  However, an original property deed dated 11 May 1854, has been found for Paschal Fish reflecting the grant mentioned above.  Research continues in order to determine where the Westerhouse family originally settled during February of 1863.


Peter would have left for Lexington during early March 1863, in order to be present for his 5 March 1863 court trial.  Court records show he was not able to arrive in time, and the trial was rescheduled for 15 April 1863.

Back in Kansas, Anna and the five children were trying to survive on the homestead Peter and Anna had previously claimed.  Based upon Westerhouse family stories, Anna was tempted to buy a larger home up on a nearby hill.  This has been shown by a property deed found at the Douglas County Courthouse, indicating she had purchased 80 acres at the North Half of South East Quarter (2392 North 800th Road) of Section 3 in the Captain Creek area of Eudora, for $400, 25 March 1863.  The property deed listed only her name on the deed, indicating that Peter was away in Lexington at the time.

Anna Westerhouse's Property Deed 

Peter arrived at the courthouse for his trial 15 April 1863 and plead not guilty to both the first charge of 'attempting to entice and decoy away slaves' and the second charge of 'bribery'.  The trial was then scheduled to continue 21 April 1863, as Peter was not ready to continue on 15 April 1863.  Thomas Adamson and John Eneberg paid bail of $1000.  Thomas Adamson was a milliner (hat maker), based upon the 1860 Federal Census.  John Eneberg was a business man and Union Civil War captain, according to his biography in the book, 'Kansas City Missouri, Its History and Its People 1800-1908'.

Peter appeared at the courthouse 21 April 1863, and filed to quash the second count, 'bribery'.  The Court (judge) overruled the request and then 'jurors were elected, tried and sworn in'.  The Court instructed that the trial would continue at 8:30 AM the following morning.

The next day, When Peter was tried on the first charge, 'attempting to entice and decoy away slaves', jurors were not able to agree upon a verdict.   When he was tried on the charge of 'bribery in the amounts of $21.30 and $67.50', jurors were also not able to agree upon a verdict.  A mistrial was declared and a new trial was scheduled for 24 November 1863.  Peter Uphaus, husband of Catherine Westerhaus Uphaus, paid $500 bail for the first charge and $250 for the second charge.

Lexington Weekly Newspaper, 18 April 1863, Page 3

Back in Eudora, Anna would continue to do the best she could, on her own with five children.  In early August 1863, Quantrill, a bushwhacker from Missouri, was planning a large attack on Lawrence, a town just west of Eudora.  Quantrill and his men gathered east of Eudora to plan the attack.  Based upon Westerhouse family stories, Quantrill's men came to Anna's farm and took chickens, eggs and any other food she had available. Quantrill and his men rode through Eudora, 21 August 1863, on their way to Lawrence to burn it to the ground.  Quantrill and his men returned to Missouri and celebrated their victory.  Peter must have been worried about Anna and his family when he heard the news.  He was in Lexington for his trial and had no way to find out if Anna and their children were safe.



Peter arrived for his court trial, 24 November 1863, for the two counts charged.  He requested the first count, 'attempting to entice and decoy away slaves', be dismissed. The judge denied the request and scheduled another trial date for 23 May 1864.  Henry Westerhaus, Peter's brother, would pay the bail of $500.  He also requested the second count, 'bribery in the amounts of $21.30 and $67.50', be dismissed. The judge again denied the request, instructing the 'bribery' count be taken up again at the next trial.  Peter's brother, Henry Westerhaus, paid the bail of $250 again.

No trial record for 23 May 1864 has been found.  A court record for 24 May 1864 has been found and it indicated that Peter came for the trial.  He plead not guilty on both counts with which he had been charged.  The 'jurors were elected, tried and sworn in'.  The trial proceeded, the jurors discussed the evidence presented during the trial and came to an agreement upon the following verdict:
     Guilty on count one ('attempting to entice and decoy away slaves')
     Not guilty on count two ('bribery')

The jurors recommended punishment by imprisonment in the penitentiary for three years.  The court adjourned until following day at 8:00 AM for sentencing.

Again, no trial record for 25 May 1864 has been found.  A court record for 27 May 1864 has been found and it indicated a guilty verdict on count one and a verdict of not guilty on count two.  Jurors recommended that Peter be pardoned from punishment.

On Saturday, 28 May 1864, Peter filed a motion for a new trial.  He also petitioned for a fine to be imposed upon juror John Williams for not attending the trial on 27 May 1864.  Peter's conviction was suspended until 8 June 1864 in order to receive the results of the pardon request.  Thomas Adamson and John Eneberg paid Peter's bail of $1000.

After the trial, County Clerk Richard Vaughn submitted a pardon request with a handwritten letter to Governor Willard Preble Hall.  Governor Hall, after reviewing the request, issued a pardon for Peter on Saturday, 4 June 1864.

Peter arrived for his court trial 8 June 1864 to hear the results from the pardon request.  The court informed Peter that Governor Willard Preble Hall had pardoned him for his crime.  The Court ordered Peter to be discharged upon payment of his debt.  Peter must have been overjoyed when he learned he had been pardoned and was free to return to Kansas. He had been away from his family for 15 months and was anxious to be reunited with his wife and children.

Captain Creek Church

Upon Peter's return to Kansas during June 1864, he would most likely have started to farm the land which Anna had bought while he was away. It was not long before he was drafted by the Union army.  Peter was drafted 23 Feb 1865, under the 34th Sub-District Eudora and Willow Springs.  Peter is  listed as 100% Deficient, meaning he could provide a substitute soldier instead of serving in the war himself. No civil war records have been found for Peter in Kansas.

Peter and Anna's family attended the Captain Creek German Methodist Church, established in 1859.  Services were conducted in German at church members homes until the Captain Creek Church was built in 1882.  Peter's and Anna's children attended the East Hopewell School, a one room schoolhouse built in 1860.  The children walked to the school and studied reading, writing and mathematics.  The church was located near the North East corner of West 146th Street and 2400 Road. The school was located at the South East corner of 143rd Street and 2400 Road.

The Daily Kansas Tribune, 24 Feburary 1865


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