Goodnight, Mary Ann:
The LiveS of Mary Ann Sage
By the time we reached Civil Bend, Iowa, July 4, 1856, we had picked up other wagons, including several at Mt. Pleasant which were loaded with weapons. I would have liked to have stayed in Red Oak, Iowa and left the wagon train, but Alfred was determined to go to Kansas. We spent a night at Tabor, then readied ourselves for crossing the Missouri River the following day, but to our surprise there was no bridge to cross over to Nebraska City. The crossing was a laborious operation. The men worked diligently, day after day, to get one wagon at a time across the river without dumping its contents. We had camps on both sides of the river.
John Brown, himself, rode from Topeka, Kansas to meet with General Lane. The camps spread with horror stories about Brown and his followers coming upon murdered abolitionists in Lawrence. Brown said they had no recourse but to take revenge for wrongs that had been done. After Brown reported that two of the sons, John Brown, Jr. and Jason, had been captured and imprisoned at Camp Sackett, General Lane went crazy! Brown was overheard as saying, "If the question of slavery cannot be handled by the ballot box, then I am ready and willing to handle it with the cartridge box!"
John Brown had brought a Coloniel Eldridge with him from Lawrence and suggested that they put him in charge of the wagon train, thus converting the wagon train's appearance of being an "invasion" to more of an "expedition." That way General Lane and John Brown, along with some of the rowdier young men, could make a hasty departure from the wagon train that night. The "army" was to continue due south. I was uncomfortable with our wagon train being referred to as an army. While some teams were loaded with arms and ammunition, most of us were peaceable people seeking homes in a new land. Those intent on being mercenaries, had ridden ahead.