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Samuel J. Jones

(1820 – 1880)

Samuel J. Jones was born in Virginia and arrived in Westport, Missouri in the fall of 1854. Having a pro-slavery background, Jones quickly became involved in the pro-slavery activities in the Kansas Territory. Jones would cross the border into Kansas during the first territorial elections on March 30, 1855.

Kansas Territorial Governor Andrew ReederAfter the removal of Kansas Territorial Governor Andrew Reeder in August of 1855, Jones would be appointed the Douglas County Sheriff by Acting Governor Daniel Woodson. Jones aggressively enforced pro-slavery laws passed by “The Bogus Legislature”. As sheriff, Jones would be directly involved in the events leading up to the Wakarusa War near Lawrence, Kansas. When the free-state legislature convened in Topeka in January 1856, Sheriff Jones was there to record the names of the “traitors”.

Missouri Senator David Rice AtchisonIn May of 1856, Judge Lecompte sent the U.S. Marshal for Kansas Territory, Israel. B. Donaldson, to Lawrence to arrest he free-state leaders. Sheriff Sam Jones ws part of Donaldson's posse. Once Donaldson had completed his orders, he released the posse. Jones immediately enlisted the posse to support his plan to disarm Lawrence and destroy the free state newspapers. Jones, along with David Rice Atchinson, led the Sack of Lawrence. Sheriff Samuel J. Jones was later quoted as saying, “This is the happiest day of my life, I assure you.”

In 1857, over a dispute with the territorial governor, Jones would resign as the Sheriff of Douglas County. Soon thereafter, Jones left the Kansas Territory and headed west.

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