On May 21, 1856, a force of around 800 pro-slavery men attacked Lawrence, Kansas. They intended to destroy the antislavery town—especially the Free State Hotel, a headquarters for abolitionists in the region.
But before they did it, the leaders of the invaders, including Douglas County Sheriff Samuel Jones (picture), were invited to a feast at the hotel by its owner. He was hoping the meal would protect his property from damage. The ploy didn’t work. After supper, the attackers set fire to the Free State, burning it to the ground.