Reverend H.D. Fisher, D.D.

Gun and the Gospel: Early Kansas and Chaplain Fisher is mainly an autobiography, but Rev. Fisher's inevitable participation in Free State politics serves to intertwine his personal history with that of the new state. He places particular attention to historical contexts: he traces the roots of the struggle over slavery, and its explosive effect in Kansas. The three chapters included here are personal and political histories of three men who made indelible impressions on the development of the state. Wisely choosing to focus on Harper's Ferry instead of the incident at Pottawatomie Creek, Fisher paints a valiant portrait of John Brown. A similarly heroic-- and therefore equally distorted-- biography of General Jim Lane is also included. Reverend Fisher's greatest personal claim to fame lies in his dramatic escape from Lawrence with Dr. Charles Robinson and other prominent men on the night of William Quantrill's bloody raid; unlike the chapter on John Brown, Fisher's chapter on Quantrill exults in the man's criminal past. In addition to the description of Quantrill and the actual raid itself, this chapter is significant in that it carries the immediacy and emotional outrage of a survivor. Reverend H.D. Fisher's memiors constitute valuable historical material, however biased, specifically because his bias reflects the partisan nature of the conflict between pro- and anti-slavery supporters.

From Gun and the Gospel: Early Kansas and Chaplain Fisher

Chapter II: John Brown
Chapter III: Jim Lane
Chapter XXII: The Quantrell Massacre

Return to the introductory essay

Return to the table of contents