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Will we join the Jayhawkers?

We reached St. Joseph Missouri, on the east bank of the Missouri River about sun down of the third day and camped without tents beside the train. A strong wind had prevailed all day, and with the light clothing with which we had left home, we felt it keenly. To make it worse for me, the wind had taken my hat off while I was on top of the car in the afternoon, and as the train was in motion, I was minus a hat when we reached town. All of my money had been stolen while we were in the hotel at Quincy, and I was in a quandary as to how I was to get another hat. I went up town thinking that some of the stores would give me one. If I had known when I went what I knew later, I would have known better than to have gone alone and unarmed, for it was a hot-bed of succession, and it was a wonder that I did not lose my head as well as my hat. However, on my way back to the train a union man hailed me and kindly gave me a hat. During the afternoon of the day on which we reached St. Joseph, a union man boarded our train at one of the stations, and I got into conversation with him. Among other things, he asked me if we were going to join the Jayhawkers. I had never heard the word Jayhawkers before, and did not know whether it related to beasts, birds or men, but I did not let on but what I knew all about it, and simply said, " I do not know whether we will join the Jayhawkers or not. " the next morning or train preceded down the east bank of the river to Weston, about two hours run, which was the end of the railroad. There we unloaded the horses. The town of about five hundred population was infested with rebels and we had to keep a strong guard posted while the remainder of the man handled the horses. It was a half mile or more through the town to the ferry where we were to cross the river. The unloading was slow work from one chute, and the crossing of the river was slower, as the ferry was small. The horses were fractious from their long ride, and their strange surroundings. We had nothing but ropes with which to handle them and we had a lively time with them, but being country lads, we managed to keep them in hand. Each man rode one horse with a rope around the horse’s neck and nose and led two other horses. It was well towards night when we finally got across the river onto the free soil of Kansas. We felt quite a relief to have the river between us and those who would have consigned us to the “nether regions,” if it had been in their power to do so.

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