Wednesday, June 6, 2018

William Quantrill On Western Wednesday...!

Many of us know of the man because of his name, but little else. Here is a brief history of the the man simply called Quantrill.

1865 William Quantrill killed by Union soldiers

William Quantrill, the man who gave Frank and Jesse James their first education in killing, dies from wounds sustained in a skirmish with Union soldiers in Kentucky.

Born and raised in Ohio, Quantrill was involved in a number of shady enterprises in Utah and Kansas during his teens. In his early 20s, he fled to Missouri, where he became a strong supporter of pro-slavery settlers in their sometimes-violent conflict with their antislavery neighbors. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the 24-year-old Quantrill became the leader of an irregular force of Confederate soldiers that became known as Quantrill’s Raiders.

By 1862, Union forces had established control over Missouri, but Quantrill’s Raiders continued to harass the northern army and unguarded pro-Union towns over the next three years. Quantrill and other guerrilla leaders recruited their soldiers from Confederate sympathizers who resented what they saw as the unfairly harsh Union rule of their state. Among those who joined him was a 20-year-old farm kid named Frank James. His younger brother, Jesse, joined an allied guerrilla force a year later.

In August 1863, Frank James was with Quantrill when he led a savage attack on the largely defenseless town of Lawrence, Kansas. Angered that the townspeople had allowed Lawrence to be used as a sporadic base for Union soldiers, Quantrill and his guerrillas shot every man and boy they saw. After killing at least 150 male civilians, the raiders set the town on fire.

In May 1865, Quantrill was badly wounded in a skirmish with Union forces, and he died on this day in 1865. Since Quantrill’s men were guerillas rather than legitimate soldiers, they were denied the general amnesty given to the Confederate army after the war ended. Some, like Frank and Jesse James, took this as an excuse to become criminals and bank robbers.

Just one more example of how blood-thirsty things could get back in the early days.

Coffee inside this morning. It's too hot outside.


Rob said...

I suspect that after a couple of years of that the James brothers didn't need a lot of excuses to continue the outlaw life.

Something I'd never really thought of, "the old west". No dispute in my mind that Jesse James was part of the "old west", but is Missouri?

I think my attitude on the "old west" comes from TV & the movies... if it wasn't in Monument Valley or Tombstone, AZ or "The Big Valley" then it wasn't "the west" kinda thought :-)

Then again I have trouble thinking of Ohio (or Pittsburgh, PA for that matter) as the western frontier but in their time, they were.

This was a good one Mr Hermit!

JO said...

Your right I didn't know much about Quantrill until this post. Thank you.

kitchen it is blasted heat