The Battle of
Paris, Kansas
by William G. Cutler (1880)

This battle occurred about December 1, 1859, and was fought between the forces of Mound City, under C. R. Jennison and those of Paris, over the removal of the county records to the former place. Mound City had won on November 8, in the contest for the Linn county seat, but notwithstanding this, the clerks of the Probate Court, of the County Court and of the District Court refused to remove the records to the new county seat. The Probate Judge had no influence over these refractory clerks.



The time for the meeting of the courts was approaching. No court could be held unless the county seat and the records could be brought together. It was impossible to move the county seat to the records, and it seemed impossible to move the records to the county seat. How to bring them together was a knotty problem. finally an Alexander arose in the person of John T. Snoddy (afterward Major), who went to the Probate Judge, D. W. Cannon, and proposed that, if armed with an order for the records, he would bring them to Mound City in time for the opening of court.

Judge Cannon wrote the order and handed it to the doughty Major. A company of about fifty men was organized, to march on Paris. In order to render resistance on the part of the Parisians absolutely useless and ineffectual if made, Dr. Trego was dispatched with his team to Osawatomie after a cannon that was there, the Abbott howitzer so famed in Kansas history, and with this managed by Wright alias "Pickles," the Mound City forces marched in the night upon the doomed city of Paris, arriving there just before daylight, and planting their cannon so as to rake the court house and principal business blocks, in case the records were not immediately forthcoming on demand.

A fire was built near the cannon in order to render rapid firing possible in case it should be come necessary to bombard the town. That the artillerists were entirely without ammunition was of secondary consequence to them. The Parisians, upon arising from their beds and coming out upon the streets, were taken completely by surprise. They at once saw that resistance was hopeless, but some of the officers, still unwilling that the records should be removed to Mound City, denied all knowledge of their whereabouts. The denial was not believed, and time was given within which the records must be produced. At the expiration of the time, if they were not produced, firing would be opened from the howitzer, and the town blown to atoms. Just in time to prevent this dire calamity the coveted records were drawn out from under a bed by the officer who had himself placed them there, and then most strenuously denied all knowledge of them. Thus was Paris saved and Mound City victorious.


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