DOUGLAS COUNTY, KANSAS
A HISTORY OF LAWRENCE, KANSAS
FROM THE FIRST SETTLEMENT TO THE CLOSE OF THE REBELLION
BY RICHARD CORDLEY, D.D.
Who came to Kansas in 1857; Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church at Lawrence from 1857 to 1875 and 1884 to Present Time an Eye Witness of the Quantrill Raid
Published by: E. F. CALDWELL
The Lawrence Raid - The Approach - The Charge and the Surprise - The Surrender of the Hotel - The Burning and the Killing Begin - Four Hours of Slaughter - Marvelous Escapes - The Heroism of the Women
It is not easy to get any inside view of Quantrill's movements. When not in motion his men were in hiding. He laid his plans in secret and executed them in the night, and neither plan nor execution was open to inspection. Since the war closed what remained of the raiders were scattered all over the country, and most of them are very shy of saying anything of the part they played. A gentleman of Kansas City, who was a citizen of Lawrence at the time of the raid, has recently interviewed one of Quantrill's men who has lived a quiet life since the war and become a respected citizen. From him a more full account of Quantrill's approach has been gathered. Quantrill assembled his men at Columbus, Johnson county, Missouri, August 19th, and moved over to Lone Jack in Jackson county. Here the organization was completed and the final orders given. The roll was called and two hundred and ninety-four responded to their names. They were organized in four companies under four captains. Two of these captains were the notorious Bill Todd and Bill Anderson, the most desperate and bloodthirsty of the border chieftains. The writer of this sketch once came up the Missouri river on the same steamboat with Bill Anderson. It was before the war, and Anderson had not yet developed into a bushwhacker. But his capacity in that line was easily seen. He was playing the part of a gentleman just then, and seemed to be the favorite companion of some southern ladies who were coming up the river at the same time. He was easy, affable, well informed and entertaining, and was evidently in good humor with himself. He was somewhat tall with rather long dangling arms. He was well dressed, and when he walked on deck he always wore one of those circular broadcloth cloaks which were then common. He had long, black, flowing hair, sharp features, a hooked nose, and an eye such as one will see but once in a life time. The writer did not know anything of him then, and judged simply from his appearance. But his eyes impressed him as being a sort of a cross between an eagle and a snake, the most vicious looking eye he ever saw. Over his features continually there played a look of infinite conceit and a sneering smile of ineffable contempt. This pictures him in his character of a gentleman. A picture of him later, in his character of bushwhacker, was drawn by another hand. It gives the same general form, the same hooked nose, the same flowing locks, the same sinister eye and the same diabolical sneer. But now he is dressed in homespun butternuts; he is coatless and hatless and sits upon a horse which is almost a counterpart of himself. The horse goes without guidance, and the man rides without support. The horse is dashing after men as they run, just as a hunter would follow a fox. His rider sits erect with a revolver in each hand, and fires with either with unerring accuracy at any poor fellow that comes in sight. Such are two pictures of the most coldblooded and brutal of all the guerrilla leaders. Before the war closed he was killed as he dashed along in the manner indicated in the second picture above. Besides these four captains, there were with Quantrill all the noted guerrillas of the border, Dick Yeager, the James boys and others. Jesse James was but a boy of sixteen, but he boasted of having killed thirteen men in Lawrence. But all stories with "thirteens" can safely be discounted. Thirteen seems to have been a favorite number with them, and enough of them boasted of having killed thirteen each to have exterminated the entire population of Lawrence. But his killing was probably limited only by his opportunities.
After all arrangements were completed the band moved from Lone Jack and marched towards the Kansas border. They crossed over into Kansas about five o'clock in the afternoon. They passed in plain sight of a camp of United States troops some miles away at Aubrey. The troops made no attempt to intercept them. It would have been madness to do so, as the raiders outnumbered them four or five to one. This camp was in command of Captain J. A. Pike. He sent word at once to Kansas City, but why he did not also send word to Lawrence has never been explained. The raiders proceeded a short distance when they halted to rest their horses and to eat supper. The horses refreshed themselves on prairie grass, and the men on such as they had. Some of them even went to the farm houses near by and procured milk and other things they wanted, and some of them ordered supper. After a good rest they mounted and rode on. They struck directly across the prairie toward Lawrence. About eleven o'clock they passed Gardner on the old Santa Fe trail. Here they burned a house or two and killed a man. But even from here no word was sent in to warn those in danger. The citizens were probably too much occupied with their own perils to think much of the dangers of others. The troop passed through Hesper about three o'clock in the morning. The moon had now gone down and the night was dark and the way quite doubtful. Quantrill took a boy from a house near Captain's creek and compelled him to lead them to Lawrence. They kept this boy during their work in Lawrence, then Quantrill dressed him in a new suit of clothes and gave him a horse and sent him home.
Somewhere along here a man whose name ought to have been preserved attempted to give warning to the doomed town. As soon as the troop had passed his house he mounted a horse and started for Lawrence by a circuitous route. He had proceeded but a few miles, however, when his horse stumbled in the darkness and fell forward and killed himself. The man could do no other than abandon his heroic purpose and return home on foot.
It is a very singular thing that during all these hours no word should come to Lawrence of the danger which was approaching her. As Hovey E. Lowman says in his account of the affair, the bushwhackers "passed leisurely from their hiding place in Missouri through the federal lines, and almost within shooting distance of a federal camp in the day time, then just as leisurely made their way over forty miles of traveled road through Kansas settlements at night, and halted, called the roll in early dawn within pistol shot of the houses of the residents of Lawrence, and yet no warning voice rang through her quiet streets, "Quantrill is coming!" All the while he was coming the people slept as peacefully as if there had been no foe within a thousand miles. One of the strangest of the many strange things of this strange affair was that every thought of help or warning was frustrated, and the foe that had been coming all night pounced upon an unsuspecting people in the morning.
Quantrill and his men entered Franklin, four miles east of Lawrence, at the first glimmer of day. They passed quietly through the village, leaning over upon their horses so as to attract as little attention as possible. A few persons saw them, but in the dimness could not make out who they were. The command was distinctly heard however: "Rush on, boys, rush on! It will be daylight before we are there. We ought to have been there an hour ago."
It was growing lighter now and they traveled faster. As they drew near to the town they grew eager for blood. About two miles east of Lawrence they passed the farm of Rev. S. S. Snyder, a minister of the United Brethren church. Here a couple of them left the main body and rode through his gate, found him in his barnyard and shot him. He was a very quiet man and very highly respected. He had been commissioned as a lieutenant of colored troops and this was doubtless the reason they singled him out.
About a mile from town they met young Hoffman Collamore, the son of Mayor Collamore. He was riding out early to his father's farm to spend the day shooting game. He was riding a pony and carried a shot gun. He was a young lad of about sixteen. When he met them in the dim dawn he supposed that they were a body of United States troops, and he turned aside to pass them. They halted him and asked him where he was going. Suspecting nothing, he made an indifferent reply and kept on. At that they began firing at him. He put spurs to his pony and dashed out into a field. They continued firing and soon one bullet hit the boy and another the pony, and they both fell headlong. The boy lay as if dead until they had passed and then crept away. He was severely wounded in the thigh, but recovered.
Just outside of the town two of them turned aside and rode into the yard of Mr. Joseph Savage, who then lived at the Hanscom place. They went up to his front door and knocked. Mr. Savage had the good fortune to be suffering with weak eyes at the time. He had just risen and was in the rear part of the house bathing his eyes. He heard the knock but could not go to the door till he had washed his eyes. He had seen the troop going by the house, but supposing them to be Union soldiers, he gave the matter no thought. As soon as he was able he went to the door and opened it just in time to see two horsemen riding out of his gate. His weak eyes undoubtedly saved his life.
As they drew near to the town they seemed to hesitate and waver. Coming from the east the town appeared in its full proportions as the first light of the morning shone on it. It is said some of them were disposed to turn back. But Quantrill' said "he was going in, and they might follow who would." Two horsemen were sent in advance of the troop to see that all was quiet. They rode through the main street without attracting attention. They were seen by several persons but excited no suspicion. They returned to the main body and reported the way clear. They now moved on quite rapidly, but quietly and cautiously. When they came to the high ground facing Massachusetts street, not far from where the park now is, the command was given in clear tones, "Rush on to the town." Instantly the whole body bounded forward with the yell of demons. They came first upon a camp of unarmed recruits for the Kansas Fourteenth regiment. They had just taken in their guards and were rising from their beds. "On these the raiders fired as they passed, killing seventeen of the twenty-two. This diversion did not check the speed of the general advance. A few turned aside to run down .and shoot the fleeing soldiers, but the main body swept on down Rhode Island street. When the head of the column came about to Henry street the command was heard all over that section, "On to the hotel! On to the hotel!" At this they wheeled obliquely to the left, and in a few moments were dashing down Massachusetts street toward the Eldridge house. In all the bloody scenes which followed nothing surpassed for wildness and terror that which now presented itself. The horsemanship of the guerrillas was perfect. They rode with the ease and abandon of men who had spent their lives in the saddle amid rough and desperate scenes.. They were dressed in the traditional butternut, and belted about with revolvers. Their horses seemed to be in the secret of the hour, and their feet scarcely seemed to touch the ground. Their riders sat upon them with bodies erect, and arms tree, some with a revolver in each hand, shooting at each house or person they passed, and yelling at every bound. On each side of this stream of fire were men falling dead and wounded, and women and children, half dressed, running and screaming, some trying to escape from danger, and others rushing to the side of their murdered friends.
They dashed along Massachusetts street, shooting at every person on the sidewalk, and into almost every window, until they came in front of the Eldridge house. The firing now ceased and there was a silence for a few moments. They evidently expected resistance at this point, and sat gazing up at the long rows of windows as if doubtful of what might come. In a few moments Captain A. R. Banks, provost marshal of the state, opened a window and displayed a white sheet and called for Quantrill. Quantrill rode forward and Captain Banks surrendered the house, stipulating for the safety of the inmates, mostly strangers. At this moment the big gong of the hotel began to sound through the halls to arouse the sleeping guests. The whole column fell back at the sound, evidently thinking it to be the signal for attack. But as nothing came of it they soon pressed forward again, and began the work of plunder and destruction. They ransacked the hotel, taking what they found in the rooms and robbing the guests of their valuables as they came out. The guests were not long in assembling at the head of the stairs, and thence they went down to the sidewalk. They were marched to the corner of Winthrop street when Quantrill appeared and ordered them to go to the City hotel, and they would be safe. He had boarded there some years ago and had been well treated, and should spare the hotel on that account. He ordered them to go into the house and stay there and they would not be harmed. The prisoners were as obedient as Quantrill's own men, and lost no time in seeking their house of refuge. In marked contrast with what followed, Quantrill kept his word with the Eldridge house prisoners, and they were not molested so long as Quantrill remained in town. He evidently regarded the Eldridge house as the citadel of the place, and considered its surrender equivalent to the surrender of the town. He was looking for resistance, and was relieved when the white flag appeared. He therefore felt inclined to abide by the terms of capitulation. Among the guests at the Eldridge house were James C. Horton and Carmi W. Babcock. They came down as soon as the alarm was given, and met the raiders in the hall. They persuaded them to delay the pillage till the guests could get out. As soon as they reached the City hotel they discovered that a brother of. Colonel Eldridge, the proprietor of the Eldridge house, was not with them. They feared he had not been awakened, and would perish with the building. Mr. Horton and Mr. Babcock asked for a guard to go back and get him. A horseman returned with them, but the building was already in flames and they could not enter it. Their guard then escorted them safely back to the City hotel. Mr. Eldridge was afterwards found safe.
The other hotels and the other houses had no such experience of clemency or honor as was accorded to the Eldridge. house. The treatment of the Eldridge house guests was in marked contrast with all the dreadful scenes that followed.
As soon as the Eldridge house had surrendered, the raiders scattered all over the town. They went in bands of six or eight, taking street by street and house by house. The events of the next three hours find no parallel outside the annals of savage warfare. History furnishes no other instance where so large a number of such desperate men, so heavily armed, were let perfectly loose upon an unsuspecting and helpless community. They were not restrained even by the common rules of war, and went about their work of death with the abandon of men with whom murder was a pastime and pity a stranger. Instead of wearying of their bloody work, they grew more brutal as the work proceeded, for they secured liquor at some of the stores, and added the recklessness of drunkenness to the barbarous purpose for which they came. The carnage was all the worse for the fact that the people were not expecting an indiscriminate slaughter. The general feeling was that they would do what they had done elsewhere-rob and burn the town, shoot a few marked men if they could find them, and then leave. No one dreamed of such wholesale butchery as followed. Hence many who could have escaped remained in their homes and were killed. They naturally thought that there would be more danger in running through the streets filled with armed men than in quietly waiting in their homes and taking their chances. For this reason the men who were specially marked for slaughter fared the best, for they knew what to expect and took themselves out of the way. There was a large number of military men in town, but scarcely one of them was killed, except the unarmed recruits who were shot in their camp, almost in their beds, at first onset. Soldiers knew they could expect no quarter, and so took care of themselves. The same was true of the colored people. They knew what kind of men slavery had made, and they ran to the brush at the first alarm, and comparatively few of them were killed. But the raiders made no discrimination. They came to kill, and it was a butchery from the first. Those who were naturally marked for slaughter mostly escaped, while those killed were mostly quiet, unoffending citizens. They killed whom they met without knowing who they were or caring what they were. They said their orders were '' to kill every man and burn every house." They did not. quite do this, but they went to work as if this was their intent. They were not all alike of course. Some reveled in the work they were doing, some recoiled from it, and some were touched with pity. But even their pity did not often effect much. For if one gang was touched with pity, the next would be pitiless, and the result was often the same. A gentleman who was con-sealed where he could see the whole, said it was the most vivid realization of the slang phrase "Hell let loose" that could be well imagined. They were a desperate looking lot of men, rough in dress, and coarse in speech and brutal in conduct. They carried from two to six revolvers apiece while many also carried carbines.
The attack had been perfectly planned. Every man
seemed to know his place and what he was to do. Detachments scattered to every part of the town, and it was done
with such promptness that before the people could gather the meaning of the first yell every part of the town was
full of them. They flowed into every street and lane like water poured upon a rock. Eleven rushed up to Mount Oread
to keep watch of the country round about. From here they could see over the whole country for several miles, and
note any gathering among the people to come to the rescue. Another and larger band struck for the western part
of the town, where they had more reason to fear the organization of the citizens for defense. So quickly were they
dispersed to every section that any concentration for resistance was out of the question. The surprise, was so
complete that no organized resistance was possible. Before the people could comprehend the real meaning of the
affair, every part of the town was occupied by the raiders. The attack could scarcely have been made at a more
unfortunate hour. People were just awaking from their sleep, and could hardly comprehend what had come upon them.
The men of Lawrence were organized in a militia company, but the mayor had insisted that the arms should be kept
in the armory instead of being carried home by the members. From the very first attack, therefore, these guns were
inaccessible. Even if the company could have got together they had no arms, and there could be no resistance from
the houses themselves. It is not likely, however, that any other
There were a few individual attempts at resistance, but most of them resulted disastrously. Mr. Levi Gates lived in the country about a mile away, and in the opposite direction from which the rebels came in. As soon as he heard the firing he seized his rifle and started for town. He supposed a stand would be made somewhere by the citizens, and he could join them. When he reached the town he saw at once it was in possession of the rebels. Being an excellent marksman he could not leave without trying his rifle. His first shot made a rebel jump in his saddle but did not kill him. He loaded again and fired one more shot, but by this time the rebels were all around him, and he soon fell a victim to their bullets. After he was dead they brutally beat his head to pieces. Captain George W. Bell was county clerk. He lived on the hill overlooking the town. He saw the raiders before they made their first charge. He seized his gun and started out with the hope of reaching the main street before them, and joining the citizens in defending the town. His family tried to dissuade him, but he only replied, "If they take Lawrence they must do it over my dead body." With a prayer for courage and help he started on the run. But he was too late. Before he could reach the main street the raiders had possession. He endeavored to get round by a back way and came to the ravine west of the street. Here he met other citizens and asked them: "Where shall we meet?" They assured him it was too late to meet anywhere, and urged him to save himself while he could. He turned back as if intending to go home again. But the raiders had now scattered all over and he was in the midst of them. Finding escape impossible, he went into an unfinished brick house and climbed up on the joists together with another man. A raider came in and began shooting at them. He interceded for his friend, and soon found that this assailant was an old friend of his who had often eaten at his table. He appealed to him in such a way that he promised to spare their lives if they would come down. They came down, and the man took them outside where about twenty of his companions were waiting. "Shoot him, shoot him!" was their cry. He asked for a moment to pray, which they granted him, when they shot him through with four bullets. Mr. Bell was a man of excellent character, widely known and everywhere respected. He left a wife and six children to miss and mourn him.
The two Rankins, Lieutenant John K. Rankin and
Captain William A. Rankin, cousins, were military officers at home on a short furlough. Being out for an early
walk when the attack was made, they started for home. Turning a corner they came upon two raiders attempting to
shoot a man lying in a yard. They drew their revolvers and rushed toward the two horsemen. Just then four others
came up behind them, and they all began shooting. John K. Rankin feels sure he wounded one man severely for he
saw him jump up in his saddle and then ride off in a hurry. How many shots were exchanged it is not known, but
the Rankins had emptied their revolvers, and the six raiders had kept up a constant racket. One shot was deliberately
aimed at William Rankin and would doubtless have ended his part in the affair, had not the bullet hit the muzzle
of his own revolver which he fired at the same time. Just as their ammunition gave out the raiders somehow got
parted from them, and the Rankins escaped unhurt.
In marked contrast with the experience of the Eldridge house was that of the Johnson house, the next largest hotel in the place. The raiders came here after they knew they were in possession of the town. They had no further need of making terms. As soon as they entered the house they ordered all the men to surrender, "If they would do this they would not be hurt, but the house must be burned." Trusting this the men gave themselves up, and were marched across the street to the alley back of where the G. A. R. hall now stands, there they were shot. They were all killed except Mr. Hampson, who fell as if dead, and lay quietly until he could escape. Mr. Ralph C. Dix lived next door to the Johnson house. His own house being of wood, he thought it would be safer in the hotel. When the hotel was taken he was taken prisoner and shot with the rest. A, brother of his, Stephen H. Dix, was killed while trying to escape from the rear of the hotel. Another brother was shot three times and fell almost helpless. The building he was in was on fire and burning rapidly over him. With great difficulty he managed to drag himself out and kept concealed until they were gone.
George W. Collamore was mayor of the city. He lived in the western part of the town, but his house was attacked almost at the first onset. The raiders evidently knew who he was and knew he would be likely to organize resistance if possible. They planned, therefore, to forestall any action of this kind. He was awakened by their shouts, and looking out of the window he saw the house was entirely surrounded. There was no possibility of escape and there was but one hiding place. In the rear of the house there was a well quite close to the back door. He and Pat Keefe had just time to slip down into the well as the raiders came in at the front. They searched the house from top to bottom, swearing and threatening all the while. Failing to find him they set fire to the house, and waited about until it was burned to the ground. Mrs. Collamore went to the back door while the house was burning, and spoke to her husband and he responded. She knew he was alive and safe when she left the house which she was soon compelled to do. After the flames had subsided and the ground was clear, she went again to the well and spoke but there was no response. As soon as the raiders were gone, Captain J. G. Lowe, a warm friend of General Collamore, went down into the well to seek him. He also lost his life and the three bodies were drawn out together. The cause of their death could only be a matter of conjecture. The common supposition was that the heat of the burning house exhausted the air from the well and suffocated Mayor Collamore and Mr. Keefe, and that Capt. Lowe, in his eagerness to rescue his friend, lost his footing and fell.
A block south of Mayor Collamore lived Dr. J. F. Griswold. There were four families living in the house, Dr. Griswold and his wife, and three couples who were boarding with them. These were Hon. S. M. Thorpe, state senator; Mr. Josiah C. Trask, editor of the State Journal, and Mr. Harlow W. Baker, grocer; and their wives. The house was attacked about the same time as Mayor Collamore's. They called for the men to come out. As the men were armed, and were vigorous young men, they were disposed to remain in the house and defend themselves. But the raiders were very plausible. They assured them they would not be harmed. "We have come to burn Lawrence, but we do not want to hurt anybody, and we do not want to get hurt. If the citizens will make us no trouble, we will do them no harm. We want you to go with us over to town where we can keep you under guard till we are through, then you can go. It will be better for everybody if you quietly go with us." Mr. Trask said to his companions, "If it is going to help the town we had better go with them." Then they came down stairs and went out. The raiders ordered them into line, and marched them towards the town, they themselves following on their horses. They had scarcely gone a dozen yards before they were shot. All four fell as if dead. The four wives were on the balcony looking on, but were not permitted to come out and minister to their husbands or even to know whether they were dead or alive. After the shooting the ruffians went in and robbed the house. They demanded even the personal jewelry of the ladies. Mrs. Trask begged to be allowed to retain her wedding ring. "You have killed my husband; let me keep his ring." But the ruffian snatched it from her hand with a brutal oath. The men lay in the hot sun outside, and no one could go to them. About half an hour after the shooting, some horsemen rode up to them, and shot them again. Mr. Baker received his only dangerous wound at the second shooting. It was not till after the raiders had left the town that the friends could know who was dead and who was alive. Dr. Griswold and Mr. Trask were found to be dead. Mr. Thorpe was mortally wounded and lingered in great agony till the next day. Mr. Baker was shot the first time through the neck. At the second shooting a ball passed through the lungs. He received besides one or two other slight wounds. For many days his case was in doubt, but having a strong constitution, he finally recovered, and is still a member of the firm of Ridenour & Baker, leading wholesale grocers at Kansas City.
One of the most shocking murders was that of Judge Louis Carpenter. Judge Carpenter was a young man of marked ability, and had already won some distinction. He had been judge of probate for Douglas county, and the year before had been a candidate for attorney general of the state. He had been married less than a year and had a delightful home in the eastern part of the town. Several gangs came to his house, robbed him of his valuables and took what they pleased from the house. But his coolness and self possession, his genial manner and tact every time diverted them, and they left him unharmed and his house unburned. Towards the last another gang came who were harder to divert than the others had been. He accosted them in his usual pleasant way, hoping to engage them in conversation. One of them asked "where he was from. " "New York," he replied. "Oh its you New York fellows who are doing all the mischief." The fellow drew his revolver and Carpenter ran into the house. The man dismounted and followed. Mr. Carpenter ran first one way and then another, and finally escaped into the cellar. . He was already badly wounded and the blood lay in a pool where he stood. His hiding place was soon discovered, and he ran out into the yard. The man followed and shot him again. He fell mortally wounded. His wife ran to him and threw herself over him to protect him from further violence. The brute deliberately walked around her to find a place to shoot once more. He finally raised her arm, thrust his revolver under it, and fired so that she saw the charge enter her husband's head. They then set fire to the house, but Mrs. Carpenter's sister extinguished the flames and saved the house. There was nothing in Judge Carpenter's character or life which could give any reason for the venom with which he was pursued. He was moderate and conservative in his views and had taken no special part in the early conflict. There is no evidence that they even knew who he was, or anything about him beyond the fact that he lived in Lawrence.
Another case of singular brutality was the murder
of Edward P. Fitch who lived a couple of blocks from Judge Carpenter. He was up-stairs when they came to the door.
They called to him to come down and as soon he appeared they shot him, and he fell in his own doorway. Although
he was evidently dead, they continued to shoot until they had lodged six or eight bullets in his body. They then
came in and set fire to the house. Mrs. Fitch endeavored to drag her husband out from the house but they forbade
her. She then tried to take his picture from the wall, but she was forbidden to do even this. Stupefied by the
horrors of the scene and the strange brutality exhibited towards her she stood in a half dazed condition looking
at what was going on about her. As the fire progressed one of the ruffians came up and drove her out of the house.
Otherwise she might
But even these atrocities were surpassed. Mr. D. W. Palmer kept a gun shop on Massachusetts street south of the business portion. It was a small wooden building and stood alone. He was so surrounded by them that it was not possible to escape and he was compelled to remain in his shop while they were doing their work. For quite a while he was not disturbed. Towards the last a gang of ruffians who had become drunk on the liquor they had found in the saloons of the town, came to the shop on their way out. Mr Palmer and another man were standing in the door of the shop, and they fired upon them wounding them both. They then set fire to the shop, and the shop being all of wood, without plastering, burned rapidly. While the shop was burning, the brutes took up the wounded men, bound their hands together and flung them into the flames. They rose to their feet and tried to come out from the fire, but their assailants pushed them back with their guns. After the bandages were burned from their wrists they threw up their -hands and begged for mercy, but were answered only by shouts of derision from their merciless tormentors. As soon as the poor fellows were dead the brutes passed on with a shout of triumph, and joined their comrades who were now leaving the town.
Mr. J. W. Thornton, a laboring man, was awakened by the shooting all around him. He remained up stairs till his house , was on fire, and then came down and ran out and tried to escape. The ruffians fired at him and inflicted three ugly wounds in his hips. He still went on, however, but as he was trying to get over some bars into a yard, another ball struck him just back of the shoulder, and passed down the whole length of his back and came out at the hip. His wife ran to him and tried to protect him from further violence. One of the men sat on his horse over them, and finally got his pistol between the two and fired again, the ball grazing his eye and passing through his cheek. The fellow then cried "I can kill you," and began beating him over the head with the butt of his revolver until the poor man fell senseless to the ground from sheer exhaustion. The brute not yet satisfied, leveled his revolver to shoot again, but the wife flew at the man and pushed the revolver aside. The fellow soon left, supposing his victim to be dead. But strange to say the poor fellow, after being shot with six bullets, two of which always remained among the joints of the hips, and pounded over the head with a revolver, still lived for many years, a cripple and a great sufferer, yet able to get about and to do some sorts of work.
Age was no protection, and many old people were brutally killed. Mr. Otis Lonley lived about a mile from town to the southwest. He was a quiet, peaceable Christian man, about sixty years of age. He had never taken any special part in public affairs and certainly never could have given any offense by extreme views. He and his wife were a kindly couple living alone in a cottage on a little farm. Two of the pickets stationed on the hill to watch the country, came down to their house. The wife, a charming old lady, begged them to be merciful. "We are old people" she said, "and cannot live long at the best." They paid no heed to her entreaties, but shot the old gentleman in the yard. The first shot not doing its work, they shot him again and again, until he was dead. They then attempted to burn the house, but by the energy of the old lady the house was saved.
While the entreaties of women sometimes availed for the saving of property, they very seldom availed for the saving of life. In many cases men were shot with their wives clinging to them. Mr. George H. Sargent lived in a house on New Hampshire street. He came out in front and they at once assailed him. His wife clung to him and begged for his life. She tried to keep between them and him. But one of them at last shot by her so close that the passing ball burned her neck. The bullet struck him in the face and he fell mortally wounded.
All the persons thus far named were private citizens, quiet and peaceable and moderate in their views and speech and action. None of them had been connected with the army, and none of them had been active in the early trouble. There could not possibly be any personal reason why any of them were attacked. In most cases the murderers could have known nothing whatever of them, as to who they were or what they were. They killed them simply because they found them in Lawrence, and they came to kill.
The colored people were pursued with peculiar malignity,
but they knew what they might expect from their old masters, and they all ran who could at the first alarm. As
a result they fared better than the white people. One active young colored man ran at the first charge, and made
for the Wakarusa river four miles south. In describing his flight, he said "the prairie just came to me."
Reaching the Wakarusa he climbed into a tree to watch operations. After a while he was startled to see the whole
troop coming away from town on the road which passed right under his tree. There was no getting away, so he concealed
himself among the leaves and branches and luckily was not seen. He said "they were a mighty long while passing
under him." Most of the colored people who were killed were old and decrepid. "Old Uncle Frank"
as he was called was about ninety years old. He was born in "Old Virginny." He said he was the first
slave to come to Lawrence after the war opened the way. "When I was a slave I pray de Lord to let me go somewhere,
so I could tend meetin all I wanted to. And now de good Lord has answered my prayer." He was a short heavy
set man, crippled with "rheumatiz," and compelled to hobble about on a cane. In spite of all this he
would work, getting a job of chopping at one place and a job of hoeing at another. In this way he earned what little
his simple habits required. He always worked faithfully and did his work well. When the raiders came he was too
lame to get out of their way. He was .seen hobbling away and they shot him. He fell and they left him for dead.
After a little when he thought himself unobserved, he got up and began to hobble off again. But some of them saw
him and dashed upon him and killed him.
As a rule the raiders took good care of themselves. While full of bluster and brutality they were shy of danger. They came to kill and not to be killed. While tearing about like tigers among helpless people, they took good care to keep away from all places where resistance might be developed. They were especially shy of brick and stone houses, and seldom entered one until they knew it was unguarded.
Mr. A. K. Allen, an old gentleman, lived in a solid looking brick house. A gang of them came to his door and ordered him to come out. He replied, "No, but you come in if you want to see me. I am good for five of you." For some reason they did not accept his invitation and he and his house were not molested any more.
Ex-Governor Charles Robinson was an object of special search among them. He was one of the men they particularly wanted. During the whole time they were in town he was in his large stone barn on the hillside. He had just gone to the barn to get his team to drive out into the country, when he saw them come in and saw them make their first charge. He concluded to remain where he was. The barn overlooked the whole town, and he saw the affair from beginning to end. Gangs of raiders came by several times and looked at the barn and went round it, but it looked so much like a fort, that they kept out of range.
On the opposite bank of the river there were twelve soldiers stationed for some sort of police duty on the Indian reservation. When the raiders first came in they filled Massachusetts street right up to the river bank. But these boys in blue on the opposite side the river made free use of their minnie rifles and shot at every butternut that came in sight. Their minnie balls went screaming up the street and soon cleared the whole region along the river side. Two or three tiers of houses all around the "bend of the river" were thus saved, as well as those who were fortunate enough to take refuge in them.
There was a deep wooded ravine running almost through the center of the town, to which scores of men escaped. The raiders often chased men to the edge of this ravine, but never followed them into it. To their wholesome fear of some hidden foe, many a man owed his life. A large cornfield just west of the town was also full of refugees. The raiders came to the edge of the field a number of times and looked in but did not venture among the corn. They asked a lady who lived just outside, "What there was in that cornfield." "Go and see, and you will find it the hottest place you were ever in." Having been in several times to carry water to the men, she could speak from experience as to its being a "hot place" on a warm summer morning. They put another meaning on her words, however, and did not care to make any personal examination. Whenever they had occasion to pass by the wooded ravine or the cornfield, they were careful to keep at a safe distance. In like manner every little ravine and thicket about the outskirts of the town became a refuge to those who could reach them, for the raiders shunned them as if an ambush lay in each one of them. Had they been as brave as they were brutal, and dashed into these hiding places, the number of victims would probably have been doubled. But men who are brutal are seldom brave, and brave men are never brutes.
There were many remarkable escapes. Anything served for a hiding place in the stress, and often the least promising proved the most effective. Some fled to the cornfields near town, others to the "friendly brush" by the river bank. The cornfield to the west and the woods to the east were all alive with refugees. Many hid in what has since become "the park," but which was then a field of corn. Some who could get no further, laid among the plants and weeds of their own garden. Mr. Troy Strode, a colored blacksmith, had a little patch of tomato vines not more than ten feet square. He took his money and .buried himself among the vines. The raiders came and burned his shop not more than ten feet from him, but did not discover him. Old Mr. Miner ran into the park and hid among the corn. Hearing a great racket near by, his curiosity got the better of his judgment, and he came to the edge of the corn to see what was going on. They saw him and began shooting, and he ran back into the corn.
He heard them breaking down the fence and knew
they were coming after him. He ran through the corn therefore and hid himself in a little patch of weeds beyond.
They dashed through the corn after him, but not finding him where they expected they turned back, never thinking
to look into the bunch of weeds at their feet where their horses must almost have stepped on him.
Hon. Samuel A Riggs, district attorney, was set upon by one of the most pitiless wretches in the whole troop. He encountered him in the street in front of his house. His wife ran out and stood by his side. A few words passed between them, when the man drew his revolver and took aim. Mr. Riggs knocked the revolver aside and ran. The man whirled his horse and started after him. Mrs. Riggs instantly seized the bridle rein and clung to it till she was dragged around the house, over a wood pile, through the back yard and round to the street again. Mr. Riggs was not yet out of sight and the man took aim again. Mrs. Riggs seized the other rein and whirled the horse about and clung to him till Mr. Riggs was out of reach. All this time the man was swearing at her in the vilest fashion, beating her over the head and arms with his revolver, and threatening to shoot her.
Perhaps the most remarkable escape was that of Rev. H. D. Fisher. 'Mr. Fisher had been pastor of the Methodist church in Lawrence, and for some months had been chaplain of a Kansas regiment doing service in Missouri. For this and other reasons he was one of the men the raiders particularly wanted. He was at this time at home for a few days and the raiders knew of this fact. As soon as he heard their charge on the town, he started out for a place of safely. He soon saw he had little chance of escaping by flight, and returned to the house and hid himself in the cellar. It was not many minutes before his house was surrounded, and they came in and demanded that his wife tell them where he was. Of course she would not tell. They then said they knew he was in the house and they would find him. They insisted that he was in the cellar. She lit a lamp for them, and told them to I go down and see for themselves. The cellar was unfinished, being only partly excavated. He had climbed upon a bank and was lying in a drain by the farther wall. They searched the cellar, held the lamp up to the bank so that it shone in his face, but it did not reveal him to them. They went up and still insisted that he was certainly in the house, and they would smoke him out. They began to kindle fires about the house, and Mrs. Fisher put them out as they lit them. But the fires grew too many for her, and it was evident the house must be burned. They then went out and stood round the fence waiting for him to come out as they knew he soon must. Mrs. Fisher kept pouring water over the spot where Mr. Fisher was lying to keep the fire from him as long as possible. At last she whispered to him that she could do no more, and he must get out in some way. The cellar had a small window right by the kitchen door, so Mr. Fisher crawled out at this window, his wife threw a carpet over him, and rolled him up in it and dragged the whole bundle into the yard, and threw it under a peach tree. Then she brought out other pieces of furniture and piled around it, and there they were all left. The raiders meanwhile were yelling and screaming all around the place, watching for him to appear. They did not leave till the house was consumed.
Some saved themselves by their ready wit. An officer
in the camp of recruits which was fired upon at the first charge, ran for his life. Several horsemen gave chase,
firing at him as they followed. Finding escape impossible he dashed into the shanty of a colored family, seizing
a dress that was hanging on the wall, he threw it over him and putting on the woman's sunbonnet, he went out at
the back door and deliberately walked away. His pursuers burst in at the front door as he went out, and searched
the house. They did not find him of course, but never thought of questioning the old woman who walked out as they
One man was shot at as he was running away, and fell headlong into a gutter. His wife thinking him dead began to scream and wring her hands. From her grief the raiders thought her husband was dead and rode off. As soon as they were gone the man said: "Don't take on so, wife, I don't know that I am hit at all." And so it proved to be. The cashier of the Lawrence bank crawled under a sidewalk. Nearby was an old colored man who had sought the same refuge. Being a pious old man, he called mightily upon God to save him. His cries could be heard half a block away. The cashier suggested to him that "the Lord would hear him just as well if he did not pray quite so loud, and the raiders couldn't." He hushed for a minute, but soon began to "cry aloud" again. The cashier thought it prudent to find a quieter, if less pious hiding place.
Mr. Winchell, being hard pressed, ran into the house of Dr. Charles Reynolds, formerly rector of the Episcopal church. The doctor was away from home, a chaplain in the army. Mrs. Reynolds and two other ladies were in the house. They at once set their wits at work to devise a plan for saving Mr. Winchell in case the raiders came to the house. They finally hit upon a plan which proved successful. Getting a razor they shaved off the man's whiskers, put a lady's wrapper over him, and tied an old woman's cap on his head. They then placed him in an invalid chair with a stand beside it, covered with cups and spoons and medicine bottles. One of the ladies sat by his side fanning him. This was to be their "Aunt Betsie," very ill. It was not long before a band of the raiders came in. The ladies bade them take anything they could find, but begged them to be as quiet as possible, so as not to disturb "Poor Aunt Betsie." They helped themselves to what they wanted, looked suspiciously several times at the invalid chair, but finally went away without disturbing the poor invalid.
The women of Lawrence always proved themselves heroes when the occasion presented itself. Their brave deeds and shrewd devices did very much to lessen the calamity of. the raid. Their courage and vigilance were a marked feature of that terrible day. It was said that Quantill made the remark "that the women of Lawrence were a brave lot, but the men were a set of 'blank' cowards." The fact that the women had nothing worse to fear than brutal oaths and vile threats, while the men knew they would be shot at sight, possibly had something to do with the difference, but the conduct of the women was worthy of all praise. Some of them by their tact and ingenious conversation diverted the ruffians till their husbands had made good their escape. Often they met the raiders at the gate and entertained them with bright and witty talk. Others boldly faced them and extinguished the fires as they were kindled. But for this the number of houses burned would have been doubled. In fact there would have been very few houses left. One woman hid her husband in a safe place in the house. The raiders set fire to the house and remained near by to see it burn. She did not dare extinguish the fire for fear they would come in again and make sure work of it. So she kept it smouldering and smoking until they moved away. Then she extinguished it.
The house of Mr. F. W. Read was visited some seven
times, and fire kindled three or four times. Each time Mrs. Read
Just north of Mr. Read's on New Hampshire street lived Mr. L. Bullene. He was in New York buying goods, and Mrs. Bullene and her children were at home. A sister of Mr. Bullene, afterwards Mrs. Major Warner, of Kansas City, was with them. New Hampshire street being next east of Massachusetts street, was full of raiders continually. They made the Bullene house a sort of rendezvous. Captain Bill Todd came in with a lot of men and ordered breakfast. Captain Todd promised that the house should not be burned. Other bands came and wanted breakfast and Mrs. Bullene cooked for them as long as anything was left in the house. The two ladies displayed consummate skill in getting them into conversation and diverting them. One raider called for a drink of milk. When they brought it he compelled them to drink of it first. Then a band came in and said they must burn the house. Mrs. Bullene said "you must help me carry out my invalid mother." As soon as they looked into the room where the old lady was, they were touched by her pale and feeble look, and went away. Another band insisted on burning the house, and Mrs. Bullene assured them that Captain Todd had ordered it spared. "In that case we will not burn it, we obey orders." Though constantly overrun by them it escaped the torch, and was the only house left standing in that neighborhood. William L. Bullene the son, was a lad old enough to take it all in, but too young to think of being in danger himself. He was out among them all the time in front of the house. He saw the whole thing in the very center of it. He saw nine men killed. Young John Speer was killed not far from him. The man who first shot him had an American flag tied to the tail of his horse, dragging in the dirt. Young Speer fell and lay as if dead, but was not seriously hurt. Soon another came along and shot the boy through the head. One of them a little later drew a revolver on young Bullene, but his mother seized the fellow's arm and pushed him back. The raiders dropped two guns in the yard, which young Bullene picked up and kept as mementoes of the day. One was a musket, the other a shot gun.
Young Bullene witnessed one very remarkable escape. There was a recruiting office on Massachusetts street just across from their house. The officer in charge found himself shut in when the raiders came. He could not stay in his office and to show himself in his uniform was to invite death. The building which his office was in ran back to the alley just in front of Mr. Bullene's house. It was a cheap wooden extension standing on blocks. The officer went to the rear end, and slipping out, crawled under the building. But the building. was soon on fire and he must leave. New Hampshire street was full of horsemen and there was no place to conceal himself. There was nothing to be done but to dash through them and take his chances. He dared not attempt that in his uniform. So he threw off all but his shirt and drawers, then ran for his life across the street. Every man that saw him running shot at him, and the bullets rattled about him like hail. But he dashed through it all to the rear of the Bullene house, where young Bullene disguised him in woman's clothes and he remained safe to the end.
Another singular event occured right here, showing the power of imagination and fright. A young printer was staying in the same house with Mr. Sargent. He came out of the house and a number of the raiders fired at him. He fell headlong and they supposed him dead. He himself supposed he was mortally wounded, and made no attempt to rise. He lay so close to the burning house that he was nearly roasted. Yet he did not stir and those who saw him left him never thinking he was alive. After it was all over some friends came to remove him, and found him still living. They asked him where he wTas hurt, but he could not tell them. He did not know, but thought he was badly wounded. They looked him over carefully, and found he had not received a scratch. He was so badly burned, however, that he had to be carried away in a sheet, and was several weeks before he recovered. The strange thing is that he all the while supposed he was dangerously wounded.
Many men escaped by a very narrow margin. Mr. Gurdon Grovenor lived at the corner of Berkley and New Hampshire streets. He was standing on his porch when one of them rode up within ten feet of him and snapped his revolver in his face. He aimed it again and a second time it missed fire. Just then some more of them came up and the leader compelled the ruffian to desist. He advised Mr. Grovenor to keep out of sight. That was not an easy thing to do as the house was on fire. But he hid in the back cellar as long as he could, and then kept in background as much as possible.
General Lane was naturally in demand among them. They seemed to know he was in town, and were determined to get him. General Lane also knew they were in town and were looking for him. Before they reached his house he slipped out and went into the cornfield just back of his house. Lest they should suspect this, he passed through the field and went on "Over the hills and far away."
They were soon at his door and were met by Mrs. Lane. "They wanted to see the general." She told them "he was not in." They broke up his furniture, smashed the piano, and then set the house on fire. On leaving Quantrill tipped his hat to Mrs. Lane, and "wished her to give his compliments to General Lane and tell him he would have been very glad to meet him."Mrs. Lane assured him that "Mr. Lane would be no less glad to meet him under different circumstances, but it was not convenient that morning."
The number left wounded was very small. In battle the wounded outnumber the killed some three to one. In this slaughter the killed outnumbered the wounded five to one. Only about thirty were left wounded, while one hundred and fifty were left dead. They came to kill, not to cripple.- Most of those wounded were left for dead, and lived either by feigning death, or recovering from wounds which are usually fatal. They intended to finish their work every time. If the first shot did not do its work a second was fired, and sometimes a dozen. Sometimes they returned and fired into a heap of dead bodies, lest some of them might still be living. Whenever they passed a body they thought showed signs of life, they would pour into it some more lead. One of the most brutal features of the whole affair was their treatment of the wounded. They would fire charge after charge into a man, and return again and again till they felt sure the work was completed. In spite of all this a few of the wounded survived and recovered. The few slightly wounded were those shot on the run, or able to run before the fatal shot.
How long this went on is only a matter of conjecture. If any man noted the time of Quantrill's coming or going, he has kept the matter a profound secret as far as the writer of this has ever heard. A very close estimate can be made, how ever. When they came in the flash of the pistols could be plainly seen, yet their dress and carriage could be readily noted.
At the season of the year this condition would
indicate that it was not far from five o'clock. From many circumstances it is evident that they left about nine
o'clock. This scene of slaughter and burning, therefore, went on for four hours. They took their time to it and
did thorough work. During these four hours the work of destruction and death went on unchecked. The business street
was burned first, and then the destruction was carried to the furtherest limits. Very few houses were omitted except
those along the river bank, which were omitted because of the squad of soldiers across the river who kept firing
at everyone who came in sight. About nine o'clock they began to leave all parts of the town at once and to come
together at the center. It is supposed they got knowledge of the coming of Major Plumb, who was on his way from
Kansas City with a body of mounted troops. By some concerted signal they were all notified, and they left their
murdering and their burning and came together, and began to move off in a body. It was not all over yet, however.
As they were receding in the south part of town, one of their number not satisfied with his share in the bloody
work, galloped back to the City hotel where the Eldridge house prisoners had been kept. Thinking themselves now
safe they were out in front of the house. The brute galloped up and fired several shots into the crowd, killing
the landlord, Mr. Stone, and wounding two others. He then whirled his horse and galloped back. He had miscalculated
his chances, however. A son of John Speer, two of whose brothers were dead, had just picked up a loaded rifle which
one of the raiders had dropped. Seeing the fellow hurrying off he leveled the gun and fired and brought him to
the ground. This was said to be "Elder Scraggs," the hard-shell preacher, who was the hardest of all
that hard company. It was said that his motive in going back was to fill out his number. "He had killed twelve
and he wanted to kill thirteen." But so many claimed the thirteen limit that the whole idea was probably an
after invention. Another motive assigned is more probable. This was that he was dissatisfied with Quantrill for
keeping faith with the Eldridge House prisoners and protecting them.