Last evening, Rev. Dr. Crawford called upon us, with a copy of the Kansas Herald
of Freedom for June 27, 1857, which has a lengthy account of the funeral of
David Starr Hoyt, the Deerfield martyr. Mr. Hoyt was murdered by the "border
ruffians," about a year previous to that time, and hastily buried by his
friends, near Rock Creek, eight miles from Lawrence was disinterred on June
23, of the next year, and buried at Lawrence, with military honors. Dr. C. requests
us to finish an article upon Mr. Hoyt for your paper. We readily comply, for
two reasons. First, we were on intimate terms with David Starr Hoyt. Second,
we never feel like saying no- fair argument upon disputed questions excepted-
to the good "Doctor."
Early in 1856, Mr. Hoyt started for Kansas, with several thousand rifles. He
was selected as a proper agent for that work. At that time we were editing the
Chicopee Journal, and "Kansas" was conspicuous in every column of
the paper. Well it might be, for never was there a sublimer fight between right
and wrong that was waged upon that virgin soil. A very few days previous to
his departure, he called upon us, stated his case, and requested us to accompany
him upon what afterward proved an ill-starred mission. Our impulse told us to
go, but we found it impossible to "pull stakes" as suddenly as the
occasion demanded. That was the last time we saw Mr. Hoyt. We received a letter
from him a few days after the rifles he had in charged were seized by pro-slavery
Missourians. In that letter, he stated that he should remain in Kansas, to aid
in her defense.
Mr. Hoyt was an officer in the Mexican war, connected with Col. Hager's famous
battery, and was in every battle from San Juan d' Ullan to the city of Mexico.
He there acquired a good knowledge of the Spanish language, and his inquiring
mind caused him to thoroughly examine many of the peculiarities of Mexican civilization.
We have derived more real knowledge from him concerning Mexico- the nature of
her people, her civil polity and geological formations, her vast undeveloped
natural resources, and many things beside - than from any other source. That
is, his way of stating things, and faculty of illustration, caused those matters
to seem more clear and intelligible than all previous reading concerning them.
He was one of the small parties which planted the American flag upon the summit
of Popocatepetl, and such was the severity of the weather, in that region above
the clouds, it seems a wonder a single man was able to return, to tell the tale
While in the city of Mexico, Mr. Hoyt collected and afterward brought to Deerfield,
many Mexican curiosities. Some of the military implements in the collection
were curious enough to have been used in the days of Cortez. We think Mr. Hoyt's
father has now a portion of those curiosities in his possession, while the remainder,
we have been informed, are with the daughter who resides at the West.
In 1852, Mr. H. was with Stevens' party, in surveying a route for the northern
Pacific railroad, from Oregon to Wisconsin. After his return he gave two lectures
to the Deerfield lyceum, upon his experience in that portion of our western
domain. Then, very little was known concerning that wild section, and our friend's
statements were listened to with much interest.
Very often we think of the last visit made us by the subject of this notice.
All of his thoughts were upon the dedication of Kansas to freedom, and he well
knew he was about to enter upon no holiday tournament. He told us the struggle
would be long and bloody, but had not the slightest doubt of the final triumph
of freedom over the vilest tyranny that degraded man. In a few months, a pro-slavery
bullet laid him loss. There could have been no pain, no struggle, for the fatal
missile pierced the brain. We do not mourn for David Starr Hoyt, but, on the
contrary, rather envy his heroic efforts for freedom, and his painless death.
All men must die, but great principles live through the never ending hereafter;
their onward sweep, constantly increasing in potency, has been from battle-field
to battle-field, stake to stake, and scaffold to scaffold. While remembering
that the "blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church," let us
more firmly impressed with our duties and responsibilities.