Lawrence K.T. Feb 24 ’59
Last night one of the captured fugitives of whom I wrote you in my last arrived at this place. As no one appeared to claim him he was lodged for safe keeping in the jail at Platte City with some ten or twelve other slaves, most of whom had been recently bought up to be taken South, He broke jail by burning out the bars from the window; he walked 10 miles to the Missouri river & crossed on the floating cakes of ice; got 1st on to an island or sand-bar in the middle of the river where he spent two days & nights hid in the young cottonwoods; thence again over the running ice to the Kansas side & walked the 35 or 40 miles to this place in one night. He is a resolute fellow right in the prime of life (35 years old) has a wife who has lived with him here in Lawrence since last September up to the time of their attempted migration to a freer soil in British dominion. & their capture by the human blood hounds but 10 miles from this place (He thinks she is now in Lexington Mo, where she is owned,) We have him now hid & are to day making arrangements to have him set forward tomorrow 30 miles to another depot. I think they (there are 2 others to go) will not be taken again without bloodshed. You have perhaps seen some account of the Charley Fisher affair in Leavenworth. But three persons know of his present locus; you may be the 4th. He came to our house in a coach from Leavenworth disguised in female attire. We kept him 2 days. I then took him by night & afoot across lots through an 80 acre corn field in which the stalks are standing & to another hiding place from this he has in the same way been moved on from house to house until he is about 8 miles on his way & will be started in the small hours tomorrow morning for Canada-
I suppose you have heard of “John Browns” heroic success through Kansas Nebraska & Iowa, Before this his band of chattels that were are probably safe off this cursed U.S. soil.
Dr Doy & son are yet in jail at Platte City, locked up in an iron cell 8 feet square without fire, light or pure air. We are now making every effort in our power for their defence. The x which you sent me has gone for that cause being spent to get Mrs Doy & daughter & other witnesses from this place to Platte City. You need not be surprised if you hear if an invasion into Missouri & a forcible delivery of our kidnapped citizens out of that vile iron box – about the time that this reaches you.
One of our people went with John Brown as far as Mt Tabor Iowa where deeming him out of harms way he returned & has just reached Lawrence. He reports Brown a “perfect daredevil” The pursuers be glad to keep out of his path-
The pro-slavers consider him a wild demoniac who will never be taken alive. This I have from a man who lives among them in the Western part of Jefferson county & who spent two days at our house this week. & by the way, he is a native of old Concord, Cyrus A. Adams by name. He informs me that several of his neighbors went out on the Brown hunt but came back & used their credit for discretion by reporting that they kept a respectful distance from the “old maniac” – & one man lost his horse saddle & bridle being surprised by party of Browns guards one of whom happened to be afoot.
The end is not yet.
Yours for the Right E.N.
Ephraim Nute to unidentified, February 24, 1859, Kansas Memory, https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/4980