William Quantrill
by Brett, Coy, & Sean

His Life Before the Civil War

    William Quantrill was born in 1837 in Dover, Ohio.  Even though he loved his parents very much, he grew up a psycho.  When he was just a child William nailed snakes to trees, shot pigs through the ears to hear them squeal, and he tied cat tails together to watch them claw each other to death.  He also stabbed horses and sliced cow stomachs.  He sure was nasty and he stayed that way his whole life.When he grew up a little, Quantrill became a school teacher and taught in the following places: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kansas.  But one day he got caught stealing horses, so he ran away to Lawrence.  There he became an anti-slavery abolitionist, or Jayhawker.  He took up the name Charlie Hart.
    One night he and a couple of Jayhawkers were going to raid a pro slavery farmer named Morgan Walker.  They hid in a bush, then Charlie went to "scout the area."  A few minutes later Morgan Walker and Charlie Hart ambushed his own friends and were able to kill only one but injured everyone else.  He then went back to his real name, William Quantrill.

Quantrill and Missouri

    In November of 1860 Quantrill was wanted by the state of Kansas for charges of kidnapping, horse stealing, burglary, larceny, and arson.  So he decided to flee to Missouri.   In 1861, after he ambushed his own Jayhawkers, he started his own band of bushwhackers.  Bushwhackers are Confederate guerrillas who fought the Jayhawkers.  At first it was only ten men, but his gang was so successful that it grew very rapidly.  Throughout 1862 Quantrill's gang  reeked havoc on every anti-slavery community in their path.  They robbed the Union's mail, ambushed federal patrols, and attacked boats on the Missouri River.  Before Quantrill's raid on Lawrence he also got his troops ready just a few miles Northwest of our hometown, Warrensburg, Missouri.  He used this campsite many times for raids on Texas too!

Raid on Lawrence, Kansas

    This raid was Quantrill's best moment.  His gang killed 143 to 216 men (it isn't known for sure how many men he exactly killed.)  And suprisingly his notorious gang didn't harm a single woman, but they caused the woman a lot of emotional pain by killing their husbands and kids in front of them.  There was also $1,500,000 in damages on the city too.  After word got to the Union that Quantrill destroyed the town of Kansas, Gen. Thomas Ewing ambushed his gang.  Quantrill's gang then split up in smaller groups.  One of the groups were very successful, because it was headed by another psycho, Quantrill's lieutenant "Bloody" Bill Anderson.  He wore the scalps of yankees he killed into battle.  Even though his gang went from ten members to 400 and back to a few men, Quantrill still destroyed many small towns that were for the Union.

Quantrill's Death

    William Quantrill just happened to die in a skirmish.  Actually he was running away from  Union soldiers in Kentucky.  He was shot in the shoulder and thrown off his horse then thrown into jail.  He stayed in jail because he was known as an outlaw for murdering outside of battle.  Also there was a rumor about a plot he had to assassinate President Lincoln.  He died a couple of days later.
    Even though he died, he still had major effects on people like Jesse James.  William Quantrill was one of the most notorious and dangerous men in America's history.


We Acknowledge:

Johnson County Historical Society
Our teacher, Mr. Scheuerell
William C. Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars
Richard S. Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy