Since the war Captain Gregg has lived a very quiet life in Jackson County, Mo., and has respect of the best citizens there. He has held several positions of trust with credit to himself and the satisfaction of the people. He is poor and his health is now failing.
Sometime ago in conversation with Captain Gregg concerning Kansas Territorial days he incidentally remarked that he spent the winter of 1855-56 in what was then Breckenridge County, Kansas Territory. The name of the county afterwards changed to Lyon, and is now one of the most prosperous in Kansas. He told me that his brothers lived there at the time, near a small town called Neosho City, below the mouth of the Cottonwood. He also told me of an outrage committed upon settlers of this little town by free-state men, and when he described the incident to me I recognized it as that mentioned by G.W. Brown as having been perpetrated by John Brown. Knowing the venomous and treacherous animosity borne by G. W. Brown toward John Brown I was certain that the accusations made by G. W. Brown is his book, False Claims Corrected, page 21, was false and malicious. An investigation of the matter confirms my first judgment. In Andreas's History, under Lyon County and the subhead of Neosho City, there is a fair account of this predatory foray of Free-State men and its consequences.
(Here quote both accounts)
The following is what Captain Gregg told me of this atrocity:
In the fall of 1855 my brothers, Dr. John L. Gregg and Josiah Gregg, both older than myself, moved to Breckenridge County, Kansas Territory, settling near the little village then called Neosho City, which was laid out on the Neosho River just below the mouth of the Cottonwood. They took up claims and built themselves houses. Dr. Gregg practiced his profession as well as attending to his farm. Josiah Gregg kept, in addition to his farm, a small store, where he dispensed such articles as are needed in a new country, principally provisions in such quantity as the distance from civilization and his means would permit. The settlement was almost wholly pro slavery in sentiment, nearly all the people being from Missouri. among the settlers I remember David VanGundy, Chris Carver, his son-in-law, Jeff Pigman, a Mr. Elliott, Mr. Evens, Mr. Edmondson, Mr. Addison or Addis, a preacher, who had two sons, one named John. I would remember others if I could hear their names. Elliot was from Southwest Missouri. Pigman was from Iowa, as I now remember. I do not remember that I ever knew the sentiments of the Iowans on the slavery question, but suppose they were Free-State men. addition or Addis was a meddlesome preacher and an agitator and was Free-State.
In the fall of 1855 my brother Josiah Gregg came to Jackson County, Mo., to get provisions and replenish the stock of his store. These supplies had to be hauled by ox-team, and I returned with my brother and remained there with him all winter. I made rails to fence the claims of my brothers, Josiah and Dr. Gregg. I returned to jackson County, Mo., in the spring of 1856. I was not at the pro-slavery settlement any more before the attack upon it of the Free-State men. This attack was made the very last days of August or the very first days of September, probably between the first and the tenth of the month. I often heard the accounts of the attack from the pro-slavery people, especially from my brothers. The people were almost all sick with fevers common to a new country. My brother, Dr. Gregg, was sick and weak from this same fever. A number of the settlers died. The band who made the raid on the settlement was commanded by a man named Roberts, as well as I now remember, and my brother Josiah Gregg, now living at Visalia, California, remembers the name of the commander as Roberts. The attack was at night. The band went to the house of Chris Carver, who had, as I said, married the daughter of David VanGurdy about a year before. They hailed the house and ordered the men to come out. Carver and his wife were both sick and unable to come out. The house was fired upon and the wife of Carver shot in the abdomen as she lay in bed. Carver was out of bed when the shots were fired. When it was known the there were but two people in the house the robbers came in and ransacked the house, taking what they found that suited their fancy. They notified Carver to leave the territory. When they left the house of Carver they went to the home of my brother, Dr. Gregg, and ordered him to to and attend the wounded woman. The Doctor was sick and too weak to walk and carry his saddle bags in which he carried his medicine. They sent a man with him to carry his pill bags, and about daylight he arrived at Carver's house. he soon ascertained that the woman was mortally wounded; and she died in the forenoon of the day after she was shot. All the settlers were ordered to leave the Territory, and they did leave. Some of them returned in 1857. I do not remember that any one but Mrs. Carver was wounded. Josiah Gregg sold out his store and did not return.
It was supposed that Roberts was in command of a band of Montgomery's men, but no one knew anything definite about it. We knew only what the rumor was. I do not know where the band went after they left the vicinity of Neosho City.
(Here account for the whereabouts of John brown during the last days of August and the first days of September. Also comment on the fact that G. W. Brown concealed this knowledge of John Brown's connection with the raid forty-six years and until he was paid by Robinson to malign John Brown. And fail not to show the probability that G. W. Brown lies. In accounting for the whereabouts of John Brown mention the fact that Thayer had proposed to the Directors of the Emigrant Aid Company that men be hired to assassinate D. R. Atchison and Stringfellow. That he had advised Robinson that this assassination should be consummated, and that Robinson propose to John Brown that he do the job; that Brown told Robinson that if he had anything of that sort to do to do it himself. For the day he refused to assassinated the pro-slavery leaders Brown was hated by Robinson who sought his downfall.)
F. B. Sanborn told me at the house of D. W. Wilder in Hiawatha, Kansas, last April, (night of the 30th) that he was present in the meeting of the Emigrant Company when Thayer proposed that Atchison and Stringfellow be assassinated. No one approved of the proposition, nor countenanced it; they would not discuss such an atrocity. Thayer probably acted on his own hook in advising Robinson to have it done, thinking he would be a great hero. He was a depraved scoundrel.