Francis M. Christison
Born: January, 1832, Missouri Died: August 13, 1909
Buried: Silent Grove Cemetery Place: Lowell, Benton County, Arkansas
THIS find, for the QSCR, is one of the best and MOST historic and it puts us right into the teeth of the Kansas Territory during the days of "Bleeding Kansas"! Meet Francis Marion Christison! Francis is buried with his wife, Mary in unmarked graves at the Silent Grove Cemetery, Lowell, Benton County, Arkansas!! No song and dance...we'll get right to the highlights.....
1. His father, Adam Christison, was one of the pioneers of Jackson County, Missouri settling there in 1825. Adam was an acquaintance of many of the great names in Jackson County history such as Alexander Majors (Pony Express), John Wornall, Solomon Young and James McGee! The Christison residence was in present day northeast Independence, Missouri.
2. Francis was appointed the very first register of deeds of Jefferson County, Kansas in 1855
Now...it picks up....
3. Was an ACTUAL MEMBER of the 1860 KANSAS LEGISLATURE! He was a member of the 1860 Kansas Territory Council and served on this board with one of John Brown's most known abolitionist fighters, W. W. Updegraff. The Kansas Legislature was 13 members of the council and 39 of the house.
4. In his time as a member of the KS Legislature, he was present at Constitution Hall at Lecompton, Kansas and stayed at the well known Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence with house members three years before Quantrill burned it down. He also was through Leavenworth, Kansas during the border-slavery arguments.
5. He knew the famous men of the times and was in the company of contemporaries like Kansas Gov. Wilson Shannon, James Lane, Gov. Charles Robinson, John J. Ingalls and Thomas Ewing!
6. He is mentioned twice in a speech that a Kansas senator made at Washington, D.C. and is found in newspaper articles of the day such as the "Freedom's Champion" newspaper that was out of Atchison, Kansas.
7. If you know much Kansas / slavery history, you know of the March 1855 Kansas "Bogus" Legislature. 5,000 Missourians that were armed to the teeth and led by David Rice Atchison, crossed into Kansas from Missouri and voted in the Kansas elections illegally. This put pro-slavery candidates in office and Governor Reeder didnt overturn the fraud government due to the threat of the Missourians. Francis, his brother, Wilburn and their father, Adam was three of those 5,000 Missourians!
8. Lastly...his brother, Wilburn was one of the designers and signers of the infamous Lecompton Constitution. This was a document that permitted slavery, disallowed free blacks from living in Kansas and only allowed males to vote. It raised a hell of a stir and raised eyebrows across the country! It splitered the Democratic party in Kansas and was a key element to Lincoln's win for Presidency!
Francis' presence in Benton County allows us to have someone that was on the "inside" of the Kansas Territorial wars and further expands the educational material found in the QSCR collection and I am very excited and thrilled to have this addition!! Currently, temporary markers are being worked on and will be placed at Silent Grove for Francis and Mary. Hopefully, someday, a marker or plaque can be placed there to let everyone know the importance and relevance of this incredibly historic man and his place in Kansas and Benton County, Arkansas history!
Here is an online article from "Kansas History" titled. "Kansas Shall Not Have the Right to Legislate Slavery Out." Christison appears in it as J. Marion Christison in which the J. is an error. Click the article title to access it.