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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 of daring.

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.


(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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There is currently no available "Beginner" label. The following is the default level label: "Bleeding Kansas" was a term used by Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune to describe the violent hostilities between pro and anti-slavery forces in the Kansas territory during the mid to late 1850s. The Kansas Territory had been established by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, with the intent that Nebraska would be a free state, and Kansas would be a slave state. Northern abolitionists organized and funded several thousand settlers who, it was hoped, would vote to make Kansas a free state. The votes in 1854 and 1855 were pro-slavery, due in large part to the "border ruffians"- men who were pro-slavery and came over the border from Missouri. David Starr Hoyt, from Deerfield, Massachusetts, was an officer in the Mexican War, and in 1856, led several thousand men to the fighting in Kansas. He was killed near Lawrence, Kansas, by "border ruffians" on August 12, 1856. Lawrence had been the site of a raid by the "border ruffians" on May 21, 1856 which made national headlines and is often regarded as one of the first shots of the Civil War. The Gazette & Courier was the newspaper in Greenfield, Massachusetts, from July 20, 1841 until June 24, 1932. Before 1841 the newspaper's name changed quite frequently, with Gazette a frequent part of the title.


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"Deerfield" article on the death of David Starr Hoyt from the Gazette and Courier newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
author   James C. Pratt (1832-1890)
date   May 11, 1868
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   9.5"
width   2.25"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L05.086

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See Also...

"Mass Convention at Old Deerfield"

"Sundry Items"- military figures for states

Slave gives talk in Northfield

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