THE JAYHAWKER CLEVELAND
Phantom Horseman of the Prairie.
“Clawed from the dust and given breath, The Jayhawker Cleveland presents an historic figure now largely forgotten who grew from a naïve youth to a man of ruthless courage fit to a violent age. Fast paced and gripping, the story takes you to the bloody border of Kansas and Missouri at the outbreak of the Civil War. No doubt our hero, Marshall Cleveland, would be pleased by his dramatic portrayal herein.”
—Melvin Litton, author of Caspion, I Joaquin, Geminga, The Kansas Murder Trilogy
Some called him a hero. Some called him a villain.
David Hann is a writer of adventure and misadventure from central U.S.A. to Central Asia. The Jayhawker Cleveland, his latest YA historical fiction, follows River Memoir and other stories, 2011, and Kansas Past: Pieces of the 34th Star, 1999.
Hann established himself as an aficionado of the strange wonders of Kansas in Sampling Kansas: A Guide to the Curious, 1990. David lives in Lawrence, Kansas, where he retired from the University of Kansas in 2009.
Hann is a retired professor of history who enjoys teaching and discussing history with young people. He will be traveling to do talks at high schools, and The Jayhawker Cleveland will be offered as a text book in schools.
The Free State of Kansas and the slave state of Missouri are the backdrop of this tale of heroic deeds and fatal mistakes. David Hann takes the reader on a trail ride through a gritty time in the American West when people were pitted against each other and some had to choose sides in a life-and-death battle of ideas.
A legend in his own time, Cleveland rode into Leavenworth alone in June, 1861 to view his own “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster. No one in that town of 12,000 inhabitants, nor any soldiers from Fort Leavenworth, attempted to collect the reward, and Cleveland rode slowly out of town, tipping his hat.
The Jayhawker Cleveland is a story of a man and his times. Culled from 1860s newspaper articles and published reports of a tumultuous and violent era in American history, Hann describes how this liberator of slaves and horses found brief but deadly fame during the Kansas Missouri Border War. Intended for the Young Adult audience, older folks will surely enjoy the bravado and adventure portrayed so adeptly in Hann’s The Jayhawker Cleveland.
David Hann’s The Jayhawker Cleveland’s…”description of the stage coach, pistols, and riverboat were informed and interesting. …I like the numerous references to horses, as having a good horse may have been one of the most important things an active Jayhawker could own. …quick, interesting, and informative story.”
— Dr. John S. Hetlinger, Historian
“In 1861, two young soldiers on Shawnee Street in Leavenworth, Kansas, pass a Wanted: Dead or Alive poster of one Marshall Cleveland, a Jayhawker at war with the Missouri Bushwhackers. Then they see a tall, handsome horseman riding towards them, and recognize Cleveland himself, proud and fearless. From this story, recovered in archives at the Kansas Historical Society, and from bits and pieces of information about Cleveland gleaned from newspapers of the 1860s, Hann weaves his compelling tale of this outlaw who seemed to be best represented by the carving on his gravestone of an angel with a pistol in each hand. As Hann suggests, there’s plenty of debate about whether Cleveland was an angel from heaven or hell.”
—Brian Daldorph, Author of Words Is a Powerful Thing: Twenty Years Teaching Creative Writing at Douglas County Jail, University of Kansas Press, 2021
“Weaving history and imagination into a compelling story, David Hann’s The Jayhawker Cleveland is hard to put down.” —Wayne White, author of “Biosequestration and Ecological Diversity: Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change and Environmental Degradation”
“In an era of historical reckoning, David Hann excavates a hero from the Kansas-Missouri border wars, the Free-State guerrilla fighter Marshall Cleveland. Hann, a writer, poet, Kansan and Marine, writes in lean, powerful prose, bringing that fraught time to life. He hews close to the historical record, and his meticulous research takes us from the forgotten New York cholera epidemics to the fields on Bleeding Kansas. … The reader will never look at the Kansas Jayhawks the same way.” —Ron Kuby, Lawrence, Kansas
“This is a fun and informative biographical fiction with a strong western flavor, both as a result of it’s language choices and the deeds of its bad-boy hero. And it’s biographical fiction in the best sense of the term, with an author who has stayed true to the known facts and worked within them to create a plausible story line. My only wish is that it was longer—I found everything about this book enjoyable.”
—Loretta Tollefson, NetGalley Reviewer
The Jayhawker Cleveland “unfolds with much drama and historical information, but involves young people in issues ranging from political and legal decision-making to the story of how one man’s versatility and changing presence influenced the outcome of slavery and freedom in two states. … provides discussion material and food for thought as it follows this vivid personality through his last ride.
The Cleveland legend comes to life under David Hann’s hand. It is highly recommended reading for all ages…anyone that looks for research-based fiction on early legal, political, and social issues in 1800s America.
— Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer Midwest Book Review