On page 419 of the Genealogical and Biographical Record of North-Eastern Kansas, the Lewis Publishing Co. of Chicago, Illinois, 1900, there is the account of my grandfather, William Morris Hartman. Sorry that this starts out a lot like a term paper, but I had to give you my “bona fide.”

Now for the interesting stuff.

William was born in 1851 and came from Platte City, Missouri. His father was Johnathan Hartman, one of the “real pioneers” of Atchison, Kansas.

“While a resident there he was a witness of many of the scenes enacted in ‘border times,’ which gave rise to the name ‘bleeding Kansas.’ His patriotism was deeply grounded and incorruptible. He was born in a Free State, he was a ‘free-state’ man. He had no sympathy for men who were deaf to treasonable utterances and blind to treasonable actions. He was not one to shield a traitorous hand, and when his brother Milton announced his determination to ‘fight for the southern Confederacy or see the whole thing sink to hell,’ he was wounded beyond description.”

What in the world does this have to do with today?

It has to do with a mob of men who came across the River to Lawrence, Kansas, to do away with truth and freedom.

This mob had no respect for truth or for the rights of Free Men.

They came to the Free State for one reason, and that was to put an end to truth. They killed over 200 citizens simply because they lived in a town that perhaps thought differently than them.

Why do I bring this up?

I have a reason that is in respect to my kin.

They would simply not stand for a constant litany of character assassinations. They would not stand by and watch the rope go over the tree branch for the reason of hanging a man for no real evidence or reason. Particularly, if this appeared to be a constant by this mob as their only objective or reason for existence.

Free State men took action to prevent the mob from making up stories time after time for no reason but for their own personal political gain. And, ultimately, to use the rope that they threw over the tree branch and were hankering to use.

Free State men joined up in large numbers to save what they saw as the truth, and my kin stood against lynching.


Is there something afoot that seems as history is repeating itself in our nation?

My father Warren Hartman (1901) often told me that the mob from Missouri were of the political party that would make up new “evidence” to suite their “lynching mob” mentality.

Is there something happening now that represents this long-standing tradition?

Is there something that is happening that has happened before via this same group? Is this same mentality happening time after time after time to inflict severe character assassinations? Regardless of the person being of good character.

Does their story constantly change to meet the lynch mob’s mentality for anything that will result in their goal?

I state my opinion for the reason that I want to someday face my Free State grandfather, and father, face to face and look them straight in the eye.

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