War and History Fiction posted May 24, 2008 Chapters: Prologue -1- 2... 


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Historical fiction -- rewrites on most chapters

A chapter in the book TROUBLED TIME IN KANSAS - 1858

Trouble Times In Kansas - 1858

by c_lucas


Civil War era set in the Kansas Territory

Background
Joe Tyson and his friends, Josh Branson, Sam Wilson and Billy McDougal, created the progressive farming community, Resurrection. Indians, outlaws, Border ruffians and a traitor threatens their community, but the Law of the Gun rules.
FOREWORD
In May of 1858, Charles Hamilton, with a band of pro slavers, raided The Trading Post, a community in the Marais des Cygnes area in the Kansas Territory. On their way back to Missouri, they captured eleven men who were against slavery, took them to a basin and tried to execute them. Five men were killed. Five more were wounded and one escaped injury by feigning death. This was one of the last significant incidences of the Border Wars between Kansans and Missourians. It is also the reason I decided to start my novel in this time period.

Resurrection, Kansas Territory, its trials and tribulations, exists only in the mind of the writer. Historical and topographical facts suffered from its creation; the size of Salina and its commerce were increased. The Smokey Hills River was changed to make it possible to support limited riverboat travel.

This is a work of historical fiction. The different inventions and livestock mentioned were available in this time period, but not necessarily in use in the Kansas Territory at the time of the story.

CHAPTER One

Joe Tyson, wearing buckskin clothing and mounted on a large dark-colored Appaloosa, waited by the edge of the water at the Saline River Crossing. His black German Shepherd, Ink Spots--so named because of the white spots sprinkled in his black fur--waited beside him. Joe watched Gotthart Schippel as he pulled his ferry across the Saline River through the cold misting rain by means of a rope anchored on both banks of the slow moving waterway.

When Schippel had his ferry near Joe's side of the river, he released the rope and picked up a pole which he used to shove the ferry into the soft mud of the river bank. Schippel, a well-built German whose face spoke volumes about his hard life, docked his ferry and lowered the front gate.

"Good Morning, Mr. Schippel," Joe greeted the ferryman and dismounted from his horse.

"Why, good morning, Mr. Tyson," Schippel answered in his thick German accent. "What brings you out so early in this dismal weather?" He looked at the dog lying by Tyson's feet, but made no move to pet it. He had tried one time, long ago. He would never make that mistake again.

"A little problem I plan to solve shortly. I need you to take your ferry back across and disappear for a while,"
Joe reached into his pocket and extracted a twenty dollar gold piece. He walked over and placed it into the calloused hands of the ferryman.

"Ja (Yes). Why would I do that?" The ferryman asked.

Twenty dollars didn't mean that much to him. He could make five times that much by early afternoon, even more if a wagon train of emigrants, or a supply train had to cross.

Joe, knowing he needed this man's cooperation, took time to explain. "We had a little bit of trouble at Resurrection (Joe's farming community). Some slavers kidnapped four emancipated black men and plan to take them to Missouri..."

Mr. Schippel emitted a German oath, interrupting Joe's narrative. Joe smiled and then continued.

"My men and I are expecting them within the hour."

"Let me go get meine gewehr (my gun)," the German said and handed Joe back his coin.

"You're out here by yourself. I wouldn't want anything to happen to you because you helped us," he replied and offered the coin back to the German.

"You will not hang them varmints?" As with most European immigrants, Schippel mixed his native language in with the local vernacular. The ferryman ignored the coin.

"I plan to turn them over to the Sheriff," Joe reached over to put the coin into the German's shirt pocket.

Schippel stopped him. "I will not take money from a man doing Arbeit des Gottes (God's Work)!" He exclaimed, adding, "And I will not interfere."

Joe put the coin back into his own pocket and offered his hand.
"Thank you."

The ferryman shook Joe's hand, walked back onto the ferry, raised the gate and picked up the pole. He pushed off. "I have plenty of rope if you change your mind." He stored the pole after the ferry was free of the soft mud and placed a hand onto the rope to restrain the ferry.

"I would love to hang them, but I have my reasons. We brought our own restraints."

Mr. Schippel waved, turned his back and began to pull the ferry across the river.

Joe returned the wave, remounted and waited.

Ink Spots yawned and continued to lie by the horse.

Two men in a tarp-covered wagon and two outriders, one in front and the other behind the wagon, moved quickly through the Kansas-chilled Saturday morning mist. The slavers emerged from the woods on the northern fork of two trails within a hundred yards of the Saline River Crossing. They stopped.

Blocking the way to the crossing was a buckskin-clad, gray haired man on an Appaloosa, with a large dog lying at the horse's feet. The ferry was on the other side of the river. The ferryman was not in sight. The forward rider, Henry Morgan, stared at the Appaloosa with avarice in his eyes, but did not let the dog out of his sight.

"Morning," greeted the buckskin-clad rider.

The slavers noticed that the Appaloosa's reins lay across its neck. The man's hands were resting on the saddle horn, inches from the two holstered saddle pistols.

"Just so there is no misunderstanding, I would like to direct your attention to that oak tree." The horseman pointed to an oak tree on the nearby river's bank. He raised his hat. Gunfire erupted from the nearby wooded area. The bullets struck the oak tree, followed by several arrows striking the same target. Neither the dog nor the Appaloosa reacted to the gun fire.

Morgan had to jerk the reins to maintain control of his horse. The slavers nervously looked at the woods. They were unable to detect who had fired the shots or the arrows, and knew the horseman had the advantage

"Mister," Henry Morgan, the apparent leader, said, "who the Hell are you to interfere in my business? What do you want?"

He started to advance toward the buckskin-clad horseman.

"The name is Joe Tyson. You have some friends of mine in there." He nodded toward the wagon.

"I have runaway slaves that I am returning to their rightful owners!" Henry said with conviction, advancing his horse closer.

"Those men are freed men and are my neighbors." Tyson watched Morgan's advance, alert for any quick movement.

"Are you one of them damned nigga' loving abolitionists?"
Morgan asked heatedly, stopping his mount near Tyson's
.
"No I'm not an abolitionist. But you sir, are a liar and a thief! Those men have papers proving they are free. If you have destroyed those papers, I have legal copies of them."

The soft, icy voice caused Morgan to break out in a cold sweat.

There was a deadly anger in Tyson's eyes. "Now, move toward the wagon!"

Morgan knew it would be suicide to challenge this man, so he turned his mount and obeyed.

During this altercation, a muscular young man of eighteen years, mounted on a large black stallion, emerged from the woods behind the wagon. He was challenged by the rear outrider. The young man looked at him and, expressing self assurance, ignored him and continued toward his destination. "If you feel lucky, go for it."

The young man rode to the back of the wagon, dismounted and removed the tarp from the wagon. "Willie, Joshua, Sam, Toby, it's time to go home."

The four black men could not respond to their friend's voice. They were trussed up hand and foot and had gags in their mouths. All showed signs of being beaten; two were clad in only their pants. All were shivering from cold because they were coatless.

The young man reached under his coat and pulled out a Bowie knife. With ease, he jumped into the wagon and began cutting the four black men free.

"I wouldn't do that!" The mounted outrider warned, riding toward the young man.

The young man looked at him, smiled and raised his hat. Three arrows impacted the side of the wagon. "Really?" The young man continued his task of cutting the ropes. He helped the injured men to the ground, retrieved his canteen and gave it to Willie.

"Thank you, Master Bison." Willie took a drink, then handed it to Sam.

"It's Bi...You are all free men. No man is your master." Bi turned his attention to the two men in the front of the wagon. "Get down right carefully."

"Are you planning on killing us?" Roy Malone, the youngest of the slavers, nervously asked.

"Whether you hang or not is up to Sheriff Jenkins and the Law." Bi turned to the rider. "Get down and join them!"

Stewart Morgan, Henry's younger brother, glared at Bison without moving.

"Like I said, if you feel lucky, go for it." With the recklessness of youth, Bi turned his back on Stewart and focused his attention on the four blacks.

Stewart continued to glare at Bison's back and began inching his hand toward his gun. Another arrow struck the side of the wagon. Stewart quickly dismounted and joined his companions.

"When you are ready, climb back into the wagon and get comfortable."

"Thank you," the freed men said in unison.

Bi smiled at them, turned and walked toward the front of the wagon. He looked at the three men standing there. "Put your weapons on the wagon seat." Bi nodded in the direction of the two approaching horsemen. "If you keep any, Pa will be mighty unhappy. Trust me. You don't want Pa to be unhappy."

Joe Tyson rode up to the wagon with Morgan in the lead.

Ink Spots padded past Joe and went to Bi and lay at his feet.

Bi reached down to pet the dog, "Guard," he said, mischievously.

The dog stood and growled at the slavers who backed away.

Tyson nodded a greeting toward his oldest son and turned his attention back to Henry Morgan. "Get down and disarm!"

Joe rode toward the back of the wagon. He greeted his abused neighbors and carried on a brief conversation with them. When he finished, he returned to Bi. "They tell me that they are able to ride."

Bi nodded, gathered the reins of the two slavers' horses and patted his leg to get the dog's attention. Leading the two horses, he returned to the back of the wagon and relinquished the reins.

Ink Spots followed him.

All four of the blacks took turns petting the dog. Ink Spots stayed with them as Bi mounted and joined his father.

Joe reached behind his saddle and retrieved his bull whip.
"Where are the rest of their clothes?"

The cracked of the whip above the heads of the slavers got their undivided attention. It also caught Ink Spot's attention.

He padded up to the six men and resumed his guarding stance, issuing a low growl

"Strip!"

"Now, wait a minute!" Henry Morgan took a step toward Joe..

"Now!" Joe lashed out with the whip and knocked Henry's hat off his head.

The four white men begin to undress, throwing their clothes into the wagon.

Once they were naked, Joe turned to the four black men standing by the two horses. "Help yourselves,"

The black men quickly began to try on shirts and coats. They were poor fits, but they brought warmth.

"You don't expect us to wear clothes after them niggers wore them!" Stewart Morgan barked, his anger getting the better of what little common sense he possessed.

"What makes you think you're getting any of them back?" Tyson nodded toward his son.

Bi dismounted and pulled some metal hand manacles from his saddlebag. Beginning with Stuart, he fastened the four shivering men's hands behind their backs. Then, he went to the other side of his horse and removed metal slave collars and a chain. He fastened a collar around each slavers' neck. He started with the last slaver in line and linked them together by running the chain through the loop on their metal collars.

Bi tried unsuccessfully to move the men, but they wouldn't budge. He grinned and looked at Ink Spots. "Move them to the back of the wagon,"

The dog only understood the word "move". That word proved to be enough. Ink Spots growled and took one step toward the slavers. The shackled slavers quickly started moving toward the rear of the wagon as fast as they humanly could.

Bi took the last empty collar, locked it, hooked it to the last link of the chain and placed it over a pole attached to the wagon. He tugged the chain once. Satisfied that it would hold, he looked at Ink Spots.

"In."

The dog jumped into the wagon, and turned around. He lay facing the slavers who watched him nervously.

Bi turned and mounted his black stallion.

"You can't do this!" Henry Morgan shouted.

Tyson rode over to him. "You attacked freed men, beat them and tried to enslave them. I'll give you a taste of your own medicine!"

The whip cracked within inches of Henry Morgan's face: He flinched.

Joe raised his left hand.

A young boy of sixteen years, a younger version of Joe Tyson, emerged from the woods, leading two more horses. Like the other two rescuers, he was well mounted on a fine horse, a large Sorrel. A Rottweiler padded by his side. The Rottweiler, named "Chester," jumped into the wagon with Ink Spots. The dogs rubbed noses and Chester lay beside Ink Spots. Quietly, they watched the slavers together.
The young man rode up to Joe Tyson. "We have a problem."

"What?"

Zack looked at his father with a twinkle in his eyes. "Mr. Hogan is concerned about you running into some women folks on your way to town,"

Joe smiled at his youngest son. "You tell Mr. Hogan to take care of the problem by sending someone ahead to warn the women and to leave someone in the back for the same reason. Take our neighbors home and have your mother and Ellie look after them. Loan two of them horses and some clothes so all can return their home."

Zack nodded

Joe continued with his instructions, "After that, take the thieves' clothes and horses and ride to Salina. Turn the horses over to Sheriff Jenkins and tell him to clear the streets. We wouldn't want to embarrass anyone. Take the dogs with you."

"Will do," Zack said, and turned rode toward the blacks. He delivered the two horses and briefly spoke to them.

After the four blacks mounted up, Zack whistled. The dogs followed him and the blacks into the woods.

Bison dismounted and went to turn his horse's reins over to his father, who stopped him.

Joe signaled with his left hand and a half-breed, armed with a bow and arrows, as well as pistols, walked out of the woods. He glanced at the four nude white men and spoke to Joe in the Cherokee dialect.

Joe laughed and replied in kind.

The half-breed, named Billy McDougal, laughed, climbed onto the wagon seat and took the reins.

Joe looked at Bi, who was laughing at the comments about the naked men's masculinity. "You best ride drag."

Bison nodded. "Okay, but I would rather look at the horses' asses instead of theirs." He mounted his horse and looked at Billy McDougal. "Why don't you ride drag?"

Billy looked at the black Stallion. Then, he looked at Bi, shook his grayed head and replied, "Safer in the wagon. That black devil would kill me if I tried to ride him!"

The three rescuers laughed.

Joe handed his son the whip. "You lose."

Bi turned his mount toward the back of the wagon. Once he was there, he snapped the whip and almost nipped the butt of Stewart Morgan, who was last in line.


The slaver yelped in imaginative pain.

Bi had come close, but he hadn't touched Stewart with the whip. It was his way of telling the four naked men that he could handle a whip.

None of the slavers was anxious to test him.

Tyson smiled at his son and started away from the river down the other fork of the trail, which led to the town of Salina, Kansas Territory.

Zack and the four Blacks emerged from the woods and took the other trail that led to Resurrection, Kansas Territory.

Six riders, one leading a saddled horse, came out of the woods and joined Bi.

The unusual caravan followed Joe. Periodically, the sound of a whip cracking and a frightened human response broke the silence.

Soon the air was filled with the curses and swearing of cold, naked men who had stepped on stones with their bare feet.


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