Orville Chester Brown was an Osawatomie founder who travelled back east following the destruction of Osawatomie after the Battle of Osawatomie on Aug. 30, 1856, to work to attract new settlers and support for rebuilding the town.

Brown reported to Reverend Samuel Adair in a January 21, 1857, letter from Utica, New York, “I have spoken 23 times to good houses for Kansas. I speak here tomorrow evening. This is the tenth letter I have written this day- so between answering inquiries about Kansas-and talking I am very busy.”

Brown’s efforts were bearing fruit, and he stated, “My health is good, or should I give up- We shall have more people in Kansas than we can take care of I fear.”

Brown’s efforts had even convinced his own family members to emigrate to Osawatomie, and he wrote, “My brother law [sic] Mr. Wood thinks of visiting O-to make a claim when Mr Crane & I return.”

The Democratic Party in 1857 was dominated by proslavery southerners. However, some northern Democrats were supportive of Osawatomie’s recovery, but Orville Chester Brown was skeptical that the Democratic Party was going to follow through on their support to the Free State cause in Kansas.

Orville Chester Brown stated, “The Democrats all talk up Freedom for Kansas — well let them do it. We have had enough of the talk, we want its cider. We must have our rights restored to us — nothing short of this can make permanent peace in Kansas- We must see to it that Geary [ the territorial governor of Kansas] does not demoralize our people , and mesmerize them into a deep and fatal sleep- at the same time we should enjoy the rest he gives us. We have ‘a right’ as the Irish say to watch him since he is an Emanation from so wicked a head as Pierce.”

Orville Chester Brown also reported that other Osawatomie pioneers had travelled back east following the destruction of Osawatomie to regroup, and all intended to return back to the community by the spring of 1857.

Brown wrote, “I received letters from Holbrook & will be back in in Apl. Also from Mr. Hanoway from Pottawatomie in Nov. Saw Mr. Gardner in New York, Mr. Dayton is in Mt. Pleasant Iowa. I hear scarcely none that do not intend returning in spring. D. & G. will ret. probably before fall if at all.”

Orville Chester Brown was an Osawatomie founder who worked to rebuild Osawatomie after proslavery forces burned and looted the town on August 30, 1856, and attracted new settlers to repopulate Osawatomie.

Brown’s efforts following the destruction of Osawatomie helped to rebuild and repopulate the community, and he made a dynamic contribution to the founding of Osawatomie and the town’s recovery from its destruction following the Battle of Osawatomie.

Grady Atwater is site administrator of the John Brown Museum and State Historic Site.

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