I was able to find a few more bits related to the Eldridge Hotel (and I’m sure I could find a whole lot more). Various history organizations in the state have put beau coup stuff online. Here’s an image of Sheriff Sam Jones, courtesy of Kansas History Online by way of Google Images.
And here is an image of the ruins of the Free State Hotel after Sheriff Sam burned it down. This is from Territorial Kansas Online.
It turns out that Shalor Eldridge vowed to rebuild the hotel with an additional floor were it ever destroyed by pro-slavery forces, and he was true to his word twice. Here he is with his family, thanks to Territorial Kansas Online once again. Click the image for a full size version.
And here are the rules for guests of his establishement from TKO again (click on the image to get a more legible one).
You see, this is the thing with pulling threads. It’s really not conducive to the completion of a narrowly defined project. I could go on and on with web research alone. There are a number of books written on “Bleeding Kansas”, and here is a recent one. It is by Nicole Etcheson, a history professor at Ball State. I’ve not read the book, so if any of you have, I welcome your comments.
Now, some of you may be asking “What the heck does Kansas have to do with Bull Run?” Well, come back within the next week or so and I’ll tell you. And I promise it won’t be the standard “The Civil War started in Kansas” line (even though it is a valid link). For now, here’s a hint:
I can hear him thinking to himself: “Will it be Delawarians, or Delawarites?”