Select Page

A correspondent of the New York Tribune, says that on the 29th of June last an election was held in Leavenworth city to fill vacancies occasioned by the resignation of several pro-slavery Councilmen. That no violence was premeditated or anticipated during the day, is evident from the fact that, when the murder occurred, no persons were found prepared for the emergency except such as habitually wear fire arms. The Tribune’s correspondent gives the following particulars:

Soon after diner, James Lyle, the County Recorder, and also Clerk of Probate, presented a Pro-Slavery ticket to a German. Upon ascertaining its character, the German tore up the ballot, and threw the pieces upon the ground. For this Lyle upbraided him with oaths and abusive epithets, saying he had no right to tear up the ticket, but should have returned it if he declined to vote it. An Irishman, J.M. Mitchell, a prominent character in Leavenworth, and last year a Pro-Slavery man, interfered on the side of the German, asserting that he had the right to as he pleased with the ticket after Lyle had given it to him. A low, blackguard altercation ensued, in which Eli Moore, a noted Border Ruffian, joined with Lyle, and a man named Haller took the side of Mitchell and the German. The lie was soon given on both sides, and revolvers and knives drawn, not only by the parties named, but by several of the excited bystanders. Five or six shots were rapidly exchanged, and although many persons were in the crowd, not a man was injured by the firing except a bystander, who was slightly wounded in the arm. But Lyle fell, pierced to the heart by a knife, and almost instantly expired, the knife entering at the left back, between the spine and shoulder-blade. The reports of the pistols drew to the spot at once all who were in the vicinity of the polls. The news of the fatal affray spread rapidly in all directions, and the entire city was soon in a blaze of excitement. Men of all classes were hurrying from the scene, and presently returning belted with knives and revolvers.

It is supposed that Haller struck the fatal blow, and he was soon arrested while standing upon the opposite side of the street near the polls. Mitchell was also arrested. John B. Henderson of The Leavenworth Journal, in spite of all remonstrances, addressed the excited crowd in the street in a short, inflammatory harangue, and a determination was openly manifested to lynch Haller at once; but the superior numbers of Free-State men on the ground, fully and ready to sustain the city authorities, overawed the mob spirit of the “Law and Order” bullies, and the lynching was prevented, at least for the time being. The Morgan Gazette, Martinsville, Indiana. July 16, 1857. Page 2 . © Transcribed by Darren McMannis for the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Inc.