John Doy was a homeopathic doctor originally from Hull, in Yorkshire
England. He moved to Kansas Territory in 1854 to help in the founding of
the city of Lawrence, and to make the territory a Free State in the Union.
In January 1859, abolitionist and Stubbs fighter John Doy agreed
to take a group of thirteen African American
Kansans, north to Iowa, on one leg of the Underground Railroad. The
famous abolitionist John Brown, was leading another group of twelve former
slaves that had been rescued from Missouri, toward Topeka to Canada The same day.
The original plan was for the Doy and Brown groups to travel together,
but Brown changed those plans. John Brown's group successfully made the
long trip to Canada, but Dr. Doy and his group were captured 12 miles
north of Lawrence by a group of slave hunters, tipped off to Doy's
John Doy and his 21 year old son, Charles, were placed in jails in
Weston and Platte City, and later to St. Joseph, Missouri. They were
displayed in the streets and hounded, beaten and nearly hanged.
While kidnapped, John Doy kept a diary of his experience living in a
southern prison (in Missouri), with little food or water, and pained to
see the slavery process of brutality and indignity, played out in front
of him day after day.
He was eventually charged with a bogus federal
offense of "slave stealing", awaiting a sentence of hard labor, or death.
In July 1859, ten men (most of which were militia men under the command
of Captain Abbott) were sent from Lawrence to St. Joseph, under cover to
try to rescue Doy and bring him back safely to Lawrence.
University of Kansas collection
The names of the rescuers were: James B. Abbott, Joshua A. Pike, Jacob
Senix, Joseph Gardner, Thomas Simmons, S.J. Willis, Charles Doy (son),
John E. Stewart, Silas Soule and George Hay. (John Doy is seated).