Philetus Hotchkiss

Born: December 17, 1828                  Died: May 15, 1873

Burial: Oak Grove Cemetery             Place: Rogers, Benton County, Arkansas 

  Phil and his wife, Eve were one time residents of Osawatomie, Miami County, Kansas, moving there in December of 1856 with their family. Now, to some that know their Kansas history, the name "Osawatomie" rings a loud bell! Chiefly because of the August 30, 1856 battle of Osawatomie. That battle was fought between about 40 abolitionists, and approximately two hundred and fifty to four hundred pro slavery Border ruffians. Leading the Missouri ruffians was John W. Reid. And leading the abolitionists...Ol' John Brown himself! 

  Now what does this have to do with Phil and Eve? Well, when they took up residence at Osawatomie, they just happened to have moved into some right noted and famous neighbors. Here are some of their most known neighbors that have went down in Bleeding Kansas history..... 

  *REV. SAMUEL ADAIR - Samuel was their closest noted neighbor. He was the very man that turned his cabin over to John Brown during some of the turbulent days of Bleeding Kansas. When Brown came to the Osawatomie area, he started building a cabin with his sons, but Samuel and his wife, Florella, John's half sister, allowed him to stay there when needed or during times of illness. The Adair home would turn out to be John Brown's "headquarters" or hiding space in a pinch! Samuel continued to stay in this same cabin through his wife, Florella's death and up until his death. If Philetus ever visited Samuel, it was the exact same cabin that is preserved at the John Brown Park and Museum in Osawatomie and has went down in Kansas and John Brown history as the famous Adair cabin! Take a look at it here:

  *W.W. UPDEGRAFF - A John Brown follower and fighter, Updegraff was designated a Captain and fought with Brown in the teeth of battle! He was also a member of the Kansas Legislature with our own QSCR member, Francis Christison!

  *ELI SNYDER - Eli was a blacksmith and weaved his way through Kansas and Quantrill history gaining a reputation as a brutal Jayhawker. He led raids into Missouri  and burned the homes of pro slavery men, managed to escape the wrath of Charles Hamilton, who planned to include Snyder as a victim of the infamous Marais Des Cygnes massacre in May of 1858, and for being in on the capture of Quantrill in 1860. He had an insatiable distaste for Quantrill and almost killed him. Snyder had his gun aimed at Quantrill's chest and was just about to shoot when someone deflected the barrel of the gun. Border war history would've been incredibly altered had the shot gone off as he wanted!

  *HENRY H. WILLIAMS - Henry was an ally of John Brown, participant in the battle of Osawatomie and a member of the Pottawatomie Rifles. The Rifles were an armed militia of anti slavery men, led by John Brown Jr., who formed in an effort to counter the growing pro slavery cause in Kansas. They participated in a good bit of the violence during the Bleeding Kansas era. Though several members of the PR were present at the Pottawatomie Massacre, Williams was not one of them. He was also one of the six "Free State prisoners" at Lecompton, Kansas in May of 1856. These six men were charged with treason by the Lecompton pro slavery Legislature. He is second from the right in this picture of the prisoners:

  *REV. BENJAMIN REED - One of the few survivors of the Marais Des Cygnes massacre executed by pro slavery ruffian, Charles Hamilton. His wife, Sarah followed the Hamilton posse and their prisoners and was the first upon the scene after the massacre had happened.

  *WILLIAM SEARS - Another of John Brown's men and participant at the battle of Osawatomie.  

  *RICHARD MENDENHALL - Along with John Brown, he was one of the "conspirators" against the Bogus Legislature's taxes. He would soon be released.

  *AMOS ALDERMAN - Member of John Brown's 5th Regiment, 1st Brigade of Kansas Volunteers during the Wakarusa War, November 27 - December 12, 1855. 

  *CYRUS TATOR - Cyrus was a probate judge and another of those that fought alongside Brown at the battle of Osawatomie. He was hanged in Nebraska on August 28, 1863 for the murder of Isaac Neff, a man who joined Tator in a freighting trip between Colorado and Kansas/Nebraska territory. Some thought the hanging was unjust thinking the evidence was circumstantial. He was the first execution in Nebraska "under the process of United States law."

  *HENRY ALDERMAN - Another member of Brown's 5th Regiment, 1st Brigade of Kansas Volunteers. 

  *SAMUEL WRIGHT - Abolitionist fighter with Brown at the battle of Osawatomie.

  *ROBERT REYNOLDS - With Brown at the Osawatomie battle and was captured by Reid's forces.

  It's a good bet that Philetus and wife, Eve, got quite the eye and earful during the days of Ol' John Brown and Bleeding Kansas! There's no doubt that they experienced the fear and horror in such an unstable place. Before their move to Benton County, Arkansas, they found themselves in a historic spot. And in the company of some of Kansas' most recorded and famous names!


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