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The Narrative of John Doy

The Narrative of John Doy
of Lawrence, Kansas
"A Plain Unvarnished Tale"

2004 (SOLD OUT)
ISBN 0840057067
168 pages


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This book tells of John Doy's experiences in Missouri, early life in Kansas, the founding of Lawrence, and secret lives of the "Stubbs Men" who made Kansas a free state!

John Doy was a homeopathic doctor originally from Hull, in Yorkshire England. He moved to Kansas Territory in 1854 to help in the founding of the city of Lawrence, and to make the territory a Free State in the Union.

In January 1859, abolitionist and Stubbs fighter John Doy agreed to take a group of thirteen African American Kansans, north to Iowa, on one leg of the Underground Railroad. The famous abolitionist John Brown, was leading another group of twelve former slaves that had been rescued from Missouri, toward Topeka to Canada The same day.

The original plan was for the Doy and Brown groups to travel together, but Brown changed those plans. John Brown's group successfully made the long trip to Canada, but Dr. Doy and his group were captured 12 miles north of Lawrence by a group of slave hunters, tipped off to Doy's journey.

John Doy and his 21 year old son, Charles, were placed in jails in Weston and Platte City, and later to St. Joseph, Missouri. They were displayed in the streets and hounded, beaten and nearly hanged. 

While kidnapped, John Doy kept a diary of his experience living in a southern prison (in Missouri), with little food or water, and pained to see the slavery process of brutality and indignity, played out in front of him day after day.

He was eventually charged with a bogus federal offense of "slave stealing", awaiting a sentence of hard labor, or death.

In July 1859, ten men (most of which were militia men under the command of Captain Abbott) were sent from Lawrence to St. Joseph, under cover to try to rescue Doy and bring him back safely to Lawrence.

"Immortal Ten"

University of Kansas collection
The names of the rescuers were: James B. Abbott, Joshua A. Pike, Jacob Senix, Joseph Gardner, Thomas Simmons, S.J. Willis, Charles Doy (son), John E. Stewart, Silas Soule and George Hay. (John Doy is seated).

Editor (bio)

Mark Volmut is historian and secretary to the Underground Railroad Association of Douglas County Kansas, and secretary to the Friends of the Blackjack Battlefield. He is a long time resident of Lawrence, Kansas and is currently finishing his degree in archaeology at the University of Kansas.


Kansas John Brown Bleeding Kansas Sharps Rifle Kansas History Silas Soule Underground Railroad Jayhawkers