William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas


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This was the most memorable battle of the Border War. It was fought August 30, 1856. Capt. John Brown, Dr. W. W. Updegraff and Capt. Cline commanded the defense, and Gen. John W. Reid the attacking party of 400 Missourians. Gen. Reid's command, after crossing the Marias des Cygnes, at Bundy's Ford, four miles northwest of Osawatomie, approached the town about daylight, Rev. Martin White acting as guide. Frederick Brown was making preparations to return to Lawrence that day, and on his way to Rev. S. L. Adair's, met Gen. Reid and Rev. White with a small body of men in advance of the main force. He saluted them with "Good morning, boys; are you going to Lawrence to-day?" Rev. White replied:"Why, I know you!" and taking deliberate aim with his rifle, fired at Brown, shooting him dead in the road, about a mile west of town. This was twenty minutes before sunrise. Messengers were immediately dispatched to notify the people in town, and Capt. Brown, who was a half-mile east of town. He, Dr. Updegraff and Capt. Cline collected their men together as rapidly as possible. At first it was designed to make use of the block-house as a defense, but learning that Reid had a cannon with him, this plan was abandoned and Brown and his men, forty-one in number, all told, took up their positions in the timber along the south side of the Marais des Cygnes, facing south; Capt. Brown, with seventeen men, on the right, Dr. W. W. Updegraff with ten men, in the center, and Capt. Cline, with fourteen men, on the left. There was also an independent command still further to the left, in the Emigrant Aid Company's mill, consisting of "Pap" Austin, an ex-regular soldier, and his large rifle, to which he had applied the fancy name of "Kill Devil", carrying an ounce ball. When the forces were arranged in the woods the enemy was passing within about 600 yards of them, Mr. Holmes, a volunteer, advanced towards the top of the hill, on the southwest of the town to reconnoiter, and finding the enemy close at hand, fired at them, striking one of them in the mouth or chin and causing him "to bleed like a pig" as one of his companions afterwards expressed it. He then retreated to the woods, the enemy following him closely and forming a line from O. C. Brown's house to William Chestnut's premises-the high ground west of where the "John Brown monument"now stands. They then fired three guns, as they afterwards stated to Robert Reynolds, one of the prisoners whom they took, as a signal to the State force to surrender. Capt. Brown had given orders to his men not to fire a shot until he gave the orders, but when these alleged signal guns were heard, the men became so impatient, believing the enemy had opened fire upon them, that they could not be restrained. Jason Brown raised his gun to fire, and the rest under Capt. Brown's immediate command did the same, although as one of the number states,"they knew it was contrary to orders." This first attack, which was made on the right wing of the Free-state line, was partially repulse, when the enemy brought up their cannon and placed it in position within about 400 yards of the timber where Capt. Brown's men were stationed, at each successive shot moving it farther east to scour the timber. The cannon was loaded with grape shot but did no damage, the missiles passing over the heads of the men. During this time the Free-state forces kept moving east and returning the fire of the enemy, who finally ceased firing the cannon, dismounted and made a charge in to the timber when the main body of the Free-state men, having gallantly held their ground for an hour against ten times their number, were compelled to surrender or retreat. Most of them escaped across the Marais des Cygnes, some swimming and others in a skiff. Robert Reynolds, H. K. Thomas and Charley Keiser were taken prisoners by Capt. Warren Harris, of Platte county, MO and taken under guard to the town. While attempting to swim his horse across the river, George Partridge was shot. Samuel Wright sprang into the river on the same horse, swam across, and, by means of the bushes climbed the steep bank on the north side of the river and escaped. The Missourians, on entering the town, commenced to pillage and burn it, first firing on the block-house, in which were stationed several men, who escaped before the cannon was brought up. There were no women in town except those belonging to the families of Messrs. Chestnut and Sears. Every house but four was burned-Mr. Starkey's, Mr. Woodbury's and two small cabins. The invaders left town with twelve covered wagons, two filled with wounded men and a large part of the remainder of the plunder.

As General Reid's command approached the town in the morning, David R. Garrison and George Cutter, who remained in the house of Mr. Carr over night, attempted to escape to the timber along the Pottawatomie, and give the alarm to the town. A detail of Missourians was made to pursue them, Garrison was killed, and Cutter seriously wounded and left for dead. The invading force retired from the town about 10 o'clock a. m., taking with them as prisoners William Bainbridge Fuller, Robert Reynolds, Charley Keiser, H. K. Thomas, Mr. Morey, young Spencer Brown, who was taken prisoner at the burning of his father's house, and William Williams, from Miami Village. Of these prisoners, Williams, formerly of Westport, Mo., which place he had been forced to leave on account of his free-state proclivities, was taken to the edge of the town site and there shot; Charley Kaiser was shot September 1-the second day following. Keiser was one of the party under Captain John Brown who captured F. N. Coleman, the murderer of Charles W. Dow, at the battle of Black Jack, and Coleman had then made threats against him. When therefore, Keiser found that Coleman was among his captors, he declared to his companions his belief that he would be killed. The party encamped, Sunday night, on the east side of Cedar Creek, on the old Sante Fe road, and Keiser was taken out on Monday morning to a guard of Kickapoo rangers and shot. Besides the Free state losses mentioned, must be added Theron P. Powers, who was, at the time of the invasion, lying sick in a house near the timber. He crawled out of the house and into the woods for protection, and was lying there completely exhausted, when he was found by the ruffians and shot. Among those who participated in the defense of Osawatomie were John Brown, Sr., Captain; Dr. W. W. Updegraff, Captain; --Cline, Captain; Harrison Updegraff, Charley Keiser, Cyrus Tator, George Ferris, August Bondi, Robert Eaton, George Grant, George Partridge, William Partridge, Samuel Wright, J. M. Anthony, William Quick, Hugh Kilbourn, William A. Sears, ____Mills, R. W. Wood, D. W. Collis, Capt. Holmes, H. K. Thomas, James Clark, J. J. Holbrook, Jacob Benjamin, Caleb Shearer, __Baker, __Woodbury, Henry Kilbourn, Freeman Austin, Luke Parsons. As before stated, Frederick Brown and David Garrison were killed on the approach to the town, and George Cutter badly wounded; George Partridge and T. P. Powers were killed during the progress of the battle and the retreat; William Williams on the outskirts of the town and Charley Keiser at Cedar Creek. Dr. Updegraff and D. W. Collis were wounded. The Freeman Austin, or "Pap Austin," alluded to, was encountered on the return march of the Missourians. After burning and sacking the town, they started eastward, with the purpose of crossing the Marais des Cygnes, in the vicinity of the Emigrant Aid Company's mill. Here they encountered Austin and the "kill devil" Austin opened fire upon them, calling out "Come on boys, plenty of men here," loading and firing as rapidly as possible. Not anxious to encounter :plenty of men" Reid faced about and left Osawatomie by the way he came, crossing the Maria des Cygnes at Bundy's Ford, four miles above.

The Free-state men who escaped re-assembled at a log house north of the river, Brown and Updegraff among them. The next day they removed to the south side, and commenced fortifying another camp, but were prevented by sickness from carrying out their design.

The losses of the Missourians are not generally known--probably not much greater than those of the Free-state men. There are numerous surmises and guesses as to what those losses were; but according to Reid's own statement, it was two killed and a few wounded. The disparagement in number-ten to one - and with but eighteen of the number armed with Sharpe's rifles, was too great for Capt. Brown or any of his men to reasonably expect to win a victory, even if they had had plenty of ammunition. The most that could be done under the circumstance was to make a show of resistance, and to retreat across the Marais des Cygnes when their ammunition was exhausted, which they did.

Nothing was ever done by the Free-state forces to punish Gen. Reid for thus attacking and destroying a defenseless town, or to interrupt his return march to Missouri, except a faint feint by Gen. Lane, at which he was adept.*


William Clark Quantrill, was born at Canal Dover, Ohio, July 19, 1837. His father was Thomas Quantrill, of Hagerstown, Md. His mother was a native of Chambersburg, Pa., her maiden name being Caroline Clark. These two people were married October 11, 1836, and moved to Canal Dover, in the following December. Thomas Quantrill died December 7, 1854, being at the time, principal of the Canal Dover Union Schools. Mrs. Caroline Quantrill is still living at Canal Dover, and is respected by all.

William C. Quantrill was educated at Canal Dover Union Schools, of which his father was a Director and afterwards superintendent. William C. himself became a teacher in one of the lower grades of the school in the fall of 1853. He then went to Fort Wayne and studied Latin, trigonometry, philosophy, and surveying. Early in 1856 he returned to Canal Dover, and on the 25th of February, 1857, started to Kansas with H. V. Beeson, who paid his fare to St. Louis. Here Mr. Beeson waited for Mr. Torrey, who leaving Canal Dover on the 23rd of February, had started to Kansas via New York city. Upon Mr. Torrey's arrival at St. Louis, the party proceeded on their way to Kansas. Mr. Torrey paying Quantrill's fare the balance of the way. They arrived in Lykin's County, and settled near Stanton on the 22nd of March, each one of the three taking a claim, or rather buying a pre-emption right of a squatter, Beeson and Torrey each paying $500 for their claims, and also paying $250 for the claim standing in Quantrill's name. Some time afterwards Quantrill desired to sell out his interest in the claim; and as he and Mr. Torrey could not agree as to what was rightly due Quantrill, the matter was submitted to a "squatter's court" for arbitration. The court decided that Beeson and Torrey owed Quantrill $63. The financial relations between Messrs. Beeson and Torrey were such that the understanding was reached between then that the latter should pay Quantrill the $63. Torrey had no money to pay with, and in order to raise the money it was necessary for him to go to Lecompton to sell some land warrants he held. On account of sickness he was unable to go to Lecompton. In consequence of this delay Quantrill became impatient, and in order to get his pay, stole a yoke of cattle belonging to Mr. Beeson. Some few days thereafter Beeson met Quantrill about sunrise on the prairie. Quantrill turned to avoid Beeson, when the latter, bringing his rifle to bear upon the former, who was about ten rods distant, hailed him with "Bill, stop! I want to see you." Quantrill turned towards Beeson, when the latter again commanded, "Lay your gun down in the grass!' This order was also obeyed, when Beeson said, "You must bring my oxen back by three o'clock this afternoon, or I shall shoot you on sight!" Quantrill promised to return the oxen, and did so about four o'clock that day.

In the winter of 1857-58, he taught school in Judge Robert's district in Stanton Township, and in the following spring went to Salt Lake City. In 1860, he returned to Kansas, making Lawrence his headquarters, and going by the name of "Charlie Hart." While here he made frequent incursions into the country, kept bad company, gambled somewhat, and became a suspicious character. This drew upon him the surveillance of the civil authorities. Up to this time his sympathies had been with the Free-state men; but his downward course which drew upon him suspicion and surveillance, as naturally led him towards the Missourians. In order to ingratiate himself into their affections and confidence, he conceived and carried out one of the basest betrayals of confidence known to the annals of history. He induced three or four young men, one of them a distant relative of Capt. Snyder, of Marais des Cygnes Massacre fame, to join him in robbing a Mr. Walker's house, in Jackson County, Mo. Having completed his plan for the attack, he next informed Walker that he had discovered a plat among certain parties in Kansas to rob him (Walker) of his money and slaves, and that he had joined the party for the purpose of defeating its object. Upon approaching Walker's house at the head of his little company of dupes, they with the real purpose, he, with the pretended purpose, of robbing it, he went on ahead to "enter the house and get matters properly arranged for the attack." Upon the attack being made, he stepped to the porch and shot one of the attacking party with his own hands. All were killed but one, who severely wounded, crawled away and recovered. As a reward for this enterprise, undertaken to gain the confidence of the slaveholders of Missouri, he was presented by Walker with a magnificent horse and saddle.

Soon after this affair he came to Miami County, and stopped at the house of John Benning, near Stanton. Capt. Snyder, with a company of men surrounding Benning's house, with the purpose of taking Quantrill out and killing him for the part he had played in betraying the above mentioned young men to their death, but failed to accomplish his purpose. Snyder, however, did succeed in arresting him on a charge of grand larceny and having him confined in the Paola jail for a time. Being furnished by his friends with his pistols and bowie-knives, he made an attempt on the life of his jailor. April 2, 1861, he was released on a writ of habeas corpus. At the court house door he found his horse awaiting him, and in a few hours he was safe among his friends in Jackson County, Mo.

Accounts of his raids upon Aubrey, Olathe, Lawrence and Baxter Springs, will be found in their proper connections. This sketch may properly close with an account of his death, copied from a Louisville, Ky., paper:

"On the 1st of March, 1865, Quantrill stopped at Wakefield's barn, near Fairfield, in Nelson County, in order to find shelter from the rain, which was pouring down. His command was then reduced to fifteen men. While in the barn, and not suspecting the enemy, Capt. Ed Terrell, at the head of forty-five Federal guerrillas charged down upon him which took the whole party completely by surprise. Just as Quantrill was coming out of the door he received a mortal wound. Richard Glasscock, who had rejoined him after making his escape from Louisville, and Clark Hockersmith, while attempting to Quantrill on his horse were killed. All the balance of the guerrillas succeed in getting away. Quantrill was left at a farm house close by and his wounds were considered of such a dangerous character, that Terrell left no guard over him. He was afterward visited by one of his own men, who endeavored to get him to escape, but he declined, saying that he knew he was mortally wounded, and desired to be left quiet. He was soon after removed to Louisville and in about a month, died of his wounds. He was generally known here in Kentucky as "Captain Clark" and that was the name he gave when he was captured. His men also created the impression through the country until after his death, when they acknowledged the "Captain Clark" was none other than Quantrill, the famous guerrilla of Missouri."

The following letter is introduced as showing that at the time it was written the writer had in him somewhat of a noble ambition.

Stanton, Kansas Territory,
February 8, 1860
My Dear Mother

It is a pleasant morning this; the sun is just rising, its light causing the trees, bushes and grass to glitter like brilliants, while the hanging sheets of frost drop from them, announcing his warmth, then silently melting away. I stood in my schoolroom door alone, and viewing this it made me feel a new life, and merry as the birds. But these feelings and thoughts are soon changed and forgotten, by the arrival of eight or ten of my scholars, who come laughing and tripping along as though their lives would always be like this beautiful morning, calm and serene. And I wish that I could always be as these children. But I have been so no doubt, and I have no reason to expect it a second time. Every year brings its changes and no two are alike.
* * * * * * * *
School is now closed for the day, and I am again left alone with my thoughts. I am thinking of home and all the happy days I spent there; and then of the unhappy days I have spent since and those you have spent. In a few days it will be three years, though it only seems like a few months. The sun is shedding its last rays, and the chill of the air of evening still declares that summer has not yet arrived. Every now and then a blast from the north holds all nature in check, in spite of the warming influences of the sun to revive it.

How different now to me it is from one year ago, when I was amidst the snow-covered mountains of Utah. It seemed that a summer of sunshine would not be sufficient to break the icy fetters of winter. We should have died of ennai in the Mormon society if it had not been for the excitement attendant upon a camp of soldiers.

You perceive, I suppose, that I am writing at different time between my school hours, which causes my letter to be somewhat broken.

It is now noon, and the sun shines warm, with a pleasant south wind; and my scholars are enjoying themselves as scholars did when I was one. And they, like all children, are enjoying more happiness now than they will at any other period of their lives. I sometimes wish that I was again a scholar in the old brick schoolhouse at Dover; and again with my companions on the playground. But scholars and companions are far from me now, and I am left alone to contemplate. It all seems to me but a dream, a very little of which I ever realized; or, more like a sheet of paper on the first page of which there are a few signs, showing that something has commenced, and then all the rest left blank, telling you not what was the purpose of the writer, and leaving you to surmise; though if it had been continued it might have been of benefit to some one. Thus my mind is ever recalling the past, and my conscience tells me that if something noble is not done in the future to fill up this blank, then it had better be destroyed, so that none may take it for an example.

But as this is leap year, I think it advisable for those who intend to turn over a new leaf, to take their leap with the year, and then keep moving with it, and then probably they may have something more than a blank. I think I can insure it if there is a firm resolution.

I can now see more clearly than ever in my life before, that I have been striving and working really without any end in view. And now since I am satisfied that such a course must end in nothing, it must be changed, and that soon, or it will be too late. All the benefit that I can see I have derived from my past course, is that I have improved my health materially, which was none of the best when I came here. I have also learned to do almost any kind of outdoor work which experience will serve in the future to preserve my health, and also enable me to get along much better than if I was only fitted for the schoolroom or other indoor business.

When my school if finished, I will be able to tell you better what my plans are for the coming year. One thing is certain: I am done roving around seeking a fortune, for I have found where it may be obtained by being steady and industrious. And now that I have sown wild oats so long, I think it is time to begin harvesting; which will only be accomplished by putting in a different crop in different soil.

There is no news here but hard times, and harder still coming, for I see their shadows; and "coming events cast their shadows before" is an old proverb. But I do not fear that my destiny is fixed in this country, nor do I wish to be compelled to stay in it any longer than possible, for the devil has got unlimited sway over this territory, and will hold it until we have a better set of men and society generally. The only cry is :"What is best for ourselves and our dear friends".

I suppose Dover has changed a great deal since I was there, but no more than I have, and probably not as much; for I think there are few there who would know me if I were to come unexpectedly. I suppose the boys have grown to be almost men and likely I should hardly recognize them if I were to see them any place but home. Well, surely I have changed around a great deal the last three years, and have seen a great many people and countries, and enough incidence to make a novel of adventures.

When I get a letter from you, and some of the others, I will write again, but now I must close, hoping that this bit of scribbling may find you in as good health as the one who is writing. My love to you all, and respects to those who inquire of me.

Your son,
W. C. Quantrill
To Mrs. Caroline Quantrill, Dover, Tuscarawas County, Ohio


The Origin of the Name--Since this epithet has become synonymous with Kansan, its origin is a question in which all Kansans are interested. the following, is the true story of its origin: Before sunrise, one morning in the autumn of 1856, during the existence of the troubles throughout the State, Pat Devlin, a noted character of those times, was seen entering the village of Osawatomie, riding a horse or mule laden with no inconsiderable amount of articles of various kinds, and of different degrees of value. The animal Pat bestrode was almost hidden from sight by the load. A neighbor meeting him said:

"Good morning, Pat; you look as if you had been out on some kind of a foraging expedition."

"Yes," said Pat. "I've been out jayhawking.."

"What do you mean by 'jayhawking,' Pat? I never heard that word before."

Pat, who was a bold Free-state irishman, at once developed into an etymological neologist, and replied:

"I have been out foraging off the enemy," meaning the Pro-slavery party, and while riding home on me baste, I bethought me of the bird we have in Ireland, we call the jayhawk, which takes delight in worryin' its prey before devouring it and I thought 'jayhawking' a good name for the business I was in meself."

The word became generally known during the War of the Rebellion from the application of it to himself and his soldiers by Col. Jennison of the Seventh Kansas. From his regiment it passed to all Kansas soldiers and finally was applied to all the inhabitants of Kansas themselves.

Pat Devlin, the originator of the term "jayhawking" was killed in the fall of 1860, in Aurora, Col. And it is a remarkable coincidence that "Marshall Cleveland," the last and by no means the least of the "jayhawkers" should have been killed on almost the exact spot where the name originated. Marshall Cleveland was known at different times by different aliases. His real name was Metz, and he came to Kansas from Ohio. He was a man of commanding stature, tall and muscular, and brave to a fault. He first made his appearance on the border in 1861, as one of Jennison's jayhawkers. On the 14th of October, he was mustered in as Captain of Company H, Seventh Cavalry, but unable to bear the restraints of army life, he resigned his commission November 1st. Gathering about him a number of men of his own class, he commenced a course of robbery and plunder in the name of "Liberty." Having stolen $125 from H. L. Lyons and considerable property from Joseph and John Beets, himself and two of his confederates, named respectively "Buckskin" and "Rabbit Ear" were indicted for robbery at the March term of the district court. A State warrant was issued for Cleveland, and the sheriff made several ineffectual attempts to arrest him. He laughed at the civil authorities and defied the military. He was declared an outlaw and Capt. H. S. Greeno, Company C, Sixth Kansas Cavalry, in command at Paola, sent out two soldiers in citizens' clothing, to ascertain his whereabouts. On the 10th of May they found him at the Geer Hotel in Osawatomie. On the same day the Sheriff attempted to arrest him, but failed to procure a posse equal to the task. Capt. Greeno proceeded to Osawatomie in the night. Approaching the town he picketed the roads with a portion of his forces under Sergeant Morris. As daylight approached Sergeant Mooris drew in his men, surrounded the Geer Hotel, and before Capt. Greeno reached the hotel, had received Cleveland's surrender. Cleveland being allowed to dress and come out of the house, sprang upon his horse, which some friend had brought him, broke through the guards and dashed off in the direction of the Pottawatomie, followed by the whole command. Capt Greeno and Private John Johnson, being finely mounted, rapidly gained upon the outlaw, and when within range were fired upon by him several times. On arriving at the bank of the creek he dismounted and ran down the steep bank. Johnson also dismounted and approaching the bank, fired a fatal shot at Cleveland from above. He was buried in the Osawatomie cemetery and some time afterwards his "wife" caused to be erected at the head of his grave a monument bearing the following inscription:

MARSHALL L. CLEVELAND May 11, 1862 Earth counts a mortal less Heaven an angel more

This is not so much "a new departure in gravestone literature," as it is considered by an excellent local historian as it is an apotheosis inspired by a woman' love.

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