Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Ewing, Thomas, Jr. (1827-1896) to Thomas Ewing, Sr.

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03598 Author/Creator: Ewing, Thomas, Jr. (1827-1896) Place Written: Leavenworth, Kansas Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 7 January 1858 Pagination: 4 p. ; 26 x 21 cm.

Writes to his father that he has been very busy with politics. Gives his eyewitness account of the fraudulent Kansas elections of 4 January 1858. "We have warrants for the arrest of illegal voters & for judges of the Election at Kickapoo & Delaware but only caught two - the others fled ... I was at Kickapoo all day Monday, & saw more than I ever heard before of election frauds. Boys 15 years of age voted, men voted two or three times in an hour, about 50 Missourians voted, in all there were not over 450 votes put in, & yet the judges reported at the close of the polls 905 votes!" Discusses the free staters response to the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution. "If the pro-slavery men have carried the day, & we are admitted under the Lecompton Constitution, I apprehend Civil War. Calhoun is now in danger of death at the hands of the mob... " Part of page four is cross-written.

Thomas Ewing Jr. was the adoptive step-brother of William T. Sherman. Thomas Ewing Sr. was an Ohio Senator and U. S. Secretary of the Treasury. He raised Sherman as his own son after Sherman's father died in 1829. Ewing Jr. was an ardent anti-slavery man. His observations on the election fraud in Kansas were later instrumental in blocking the admission of Kansas into the Union as a slave state. See his article "The Struggle for Freedom in Kansas," in Cosmopolitan Magazine, May 1894.

John Calhoun was the first surveyor-general of Kansas. On Aug. 4, 1854, he was commissioned surveyor-general of the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. Calhoun was pro-slavery and later entered into politics in those territories. He served as president of the Lecompton constitutional convention, and mostly to his efforts, submitted a modified constitution to the people.

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources