Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rev. John E. Stewart


In a continuation of the post last week, another member of The Immortal Ten helped on the Underground Railroad and lived about a mile east of Kennedy Valley.

Reverend John E. Stewart was born in England in 1818 and was a minister in New Salem, New Hampshire before coming to Kansas. Stewart's claim with a few miles southeast of Lawrence along the Wakarusa River. It was near what is now North 1175 Road and East 1600 Road but the exact location of where the house was is unknown.

Stewart operated a branch of the Underground Railroad on his land and helped roughly 70 slaves to freedom from Missouri. Stewart also was a close friend of Charley Hart--better known as William Quantrill. When Stewart found out that Hart was hunting down freed slaves and sending them back to Missouri, Stewart broke off all ties and helped get Hart run out of Lawrence. Hart would return to Lawrence with about 300 additional men during the morning of August 21, 1863.

A couple of portrayals paint Stewart in a different light where he had no regard for property or life and was more than happy using terror and threats to further the abolitionist cause. Stewart married Mary Ann in the late 1850s and remarried to Jenny Blackmar in 1870 and Sarah Hufford after that. He moved to Ohio in 1870 and is buried in Perrysburg.

Sources
John Stewart and Others of the Wakarusa/Kennedy Valley by The Wakarusa Valley Heritage Museum

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