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John Henry Vansickle papers

Call Number: RH MS P170


This collection consists of letters describing incidents of the border raids during the Kansas Territory-Missouri border wars just before the United States' Civil War in detail, including references to John Brown, William Quantrill, Jim Montgomery, and Fort Scott. The collection also includes a deed to land in McLean County, Illinois owned by Vansickle.


  • Creation: 1858 - 1863


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of John Henry Vansickle

Vansickle was a settler in Bourbon County, Kansas Territory near Xenia. He farmed and ran a dry goods store. He joined the 3d regiment of the 1st Kansas brigade, Company K in 1862. He was killed arresting a thief in 1863. [An account of his death is given in Robley's History of Bourbon County, with 1862 given as year of death.]


3 folders (2 folders + 1 oversize folder) ; Oversize folder measures 39x49 cm.

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The letters relate incidents of the border raids in detail, including references to John Brown, William Clark Quantrill, Jim Montgomery and Fort Scott. Vansickle also gives descriptions of the land, crops, business, prices, health, and weather, and mentions the drought of 1860, as well as the locusts and measles in 1862. After his death, his wife wrote a few letters to his family giving details of his death and funeral.

A supplemental deed to land in McLean County, Illinois, made to replace a missing deed mentioned in the letters, has been physically separated and is available at RH MS Q12.

Physical Location

RH MS P170

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, source unknown.

Guide to the John Henry Vansickle Collection
John Henry Vansickle papers
Finding aid prepared by kpz, 26 March 1973. Finding aid encoded by mg, 2004. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
John Henry Vansickle papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS P170, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States