Silas S. Soule was a young Massachusetts abolitionist. He was born in 1839. His father, Amassa Soule, was a fanatical abolitionist and religious zealot. Young Silas had defend himself against taunts of being “Bobolishionist.”
In 1854, the Soule family joined the Emigrant Aid Society and moved to Kansas to help settle the Kansas Territory and bring it into the Union as a Free State. Silas, at 15, began escorting runaway slaves from Missouri through Lawrence, and north to freedom.
In 1859 a Lawrence resident named Dr. John Doy was captured by Missouri slave hunters as he escorted escaping Freedom Seekers north. While he was languishing in a St. Joseph, Missouri jail, Major James Abbott and 9 other Lawrence residents developed a plan to rescue Dr. Doy. Silas Soule at 18 years of age was a key member of that rescue. He talked his way into the jail and warned Dr. Doy that he would be rescued that evening. Click here to learn more about the story of the Immortal 10.
Later that same year, a Lawrence abolitionist named James Montgomery and Silas traveled to Harpers Ferry where John Brown was held in a jail. John Brown was waiting to be executed for his raid on the arsenal. Once again young Silas used his wits to enter that jail and tell John Brown there was a plan to break him out. John Brown refused the help and went on to die a martyr for the anti-slavery cause. Silas had gotten himself arrested for public drunkenness. Once inside he charmed the jailer to allow him access to John Brown. Click here for more details.
In December 1861, Silas Soule joined a Colorado Infantry Company. On November 29, 1864, he was in command of a cavalry company. The 3rd Colorado Volunteers, under the command of Colonel John M. Chivington, attacked a group of peaceful Cheyenne. Soule argued with Col. Chivington against the attack and refused to order his calvery troop to join the charge. He called the action outright murder. Chivington and the remainder of his troops killed and mutilated 200 Cheyenne. Soule called the attack outright murder.
Silas Soule was serving as Provost Marshall in Denver while the Army was investigating the massacre. The investigating committee exonerated Soule and condemned Chivington. Before he learned of his exoneration, Silas Soule was killed by another soldier. Silas Soule’s courageous stand stirred outrageous indignation back in Washington and derailed plans for a war of extermination on Indians by the Army.