Jim Lane Shoots Gaius Jenkins

Thursday, June 3, 1858

Gaius Jenkins. Courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society.

Free-State settler and future U.S. Senator from Kansas, James H. Lane, shoots and kills Gaius Jenkins over a land dispute. The  dispute had divided the Lawrence Free-Stater community, with each man having his own supporters. According to accounts, Jenkins approaches Lane's house with a revolver, and Lane warns him off with a shotgun. One of Jenkins's men shoots Lane first, in the knee, before Lane returns fire, killing Jenkins. A mob (Ex-Sheriff Samuel J. Jones among them) gathers outside Lane's house and considers lynching him. The current sheriff, Samuel Walker, warns Jones that the mob may lynch him instead, because he had led the Sack of Lawrence just two years before. This saves Lane, who is driven to jail and later acquitted of all charges.


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