It was on this date that the pro-slavery settler Franklin Coleman shot and killed the Free Stater Charles Dow at Hickory Point (about fourteen miles south of Lawrence) because of a land claim, with the former contending that he had acted in self-defense.
Prior to Kansas Territory being opened to settlement in May 1854, most of Douglas County was part of the Shawnee Indian Reservation.
In the middle of the century, in the run-up to the Civil War, Northern Democrats led by Senators Lewis Cass of Michigan and Stephen A.
Douglas of Illinois promoted the idea of popular sovereignty as a middle position on the slavery issue.
Branson, however, was eventually rescued by Free-Staters, causing the pro-slavery faction to seethe with anger.
Within a matter of days, the governor of the Kansas Territory, Wilson Shannon, called for the Kansas militia to settle the issue, but this resulted in a small army of 1,500 Missourians entering Kansas.