An Ohio teacher, who came to Kansas in 1857 to farm.
Had been with Price at battle of Lexington, Missouri in September 1861. Quantrell left the army to organize his group of Partisan Rangers. His rides and missions are legendary. Most famous was the "Pay Back" at Lawrence Kansas on Aug. 21, 1863. This Northern born adopted son of the south has been called many things by both sides during the Civil War from a Savage Blood lusting murderer to Saintly Guerrilla fighter.
His comand was responsible for the massacre of over 150 people in Lawrence Kansas on Aug. 21 1863 starting at 5 AM and ending near midnight. At this point even the Confederate Govt. Washed their hands of this boy. Later in his service, he was trapped in barn close to Smiley, Kentucky by Edward Terrell and his cavalry detachment of hired assassins on the James H. Wakefield farm on May 10, 1865. While attempting to escape, he was struck by two Spencer balls, one in the hand, the other paralyzing him from the waist down. Transferred to a military hospital in Louisville, then to a Catholic Hospital in Louisville. He died there at 4pm, June 6, 1865. He was buried in the old Portland Catholic Cemetery at Louisville. In 1887, his mother had his bones brought back to Ohio. The man she paid to remove the body stole some of the skeleton, and years later, parts of it showed up in the hands of a Kansas collector. On October 24, 1992, his mortal remains laid to rest at the Old Confederate Home in Higginsville, MO, and re-interred in the Confederate Cemetery there.
William Quantrell joined the Confederate Army on the outbreak of the American Civil War. He fought at Lexington but disliked the regimentation of army life and decided to form a band of guerilla fighters. As well as attacking Union troops the Quantrill Raiders also robbed mail coaches, murdered supporters of Abraham Lincoln and persecuted communities in Missouri and Kansas that Quantrell considered to be anti-Confederate. He also gained a reputation for murdering members of the Union Army that the gang had taken prisoner. In 1862 Quantrell and his men were formally declared to be outlaws. By 1863 Quantrell was the leader of over 450 men. This included Frank James, Jessie James, Cole Younger and James Younger. With this large force he committed one of the worst atrocities of the Civil War when he attacked the town of Lawrence. During the raid on 21st August, 1863, Quantrell's gang killed 150 inhabitants and destroyed over 180 buildings. The district Union commander, General Thomas Ewing, was furious when he heard what the Quantrell Raiders had done. On 25th August 1863, he issued Order No 11. This gave an eviction notice to all people in the area who could not prove their loyalty to the Union cause. Ewing's decree virtually wiped out the entire region. The population of Cass County dropped from 10,000 to 600. Quantrell found it difficult to keep his men under control and they tended to go off and commit their own crimes. By 1865 he had only 33 followers left. On 10th May 1863 Quantrell was ambushed by federal troops. William Quantrell was shot and died from his wounds on 6th June, 1865.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Civil War Confederate Partisan Leader. The leader first of the Missouri Partisan Rangers, then the "Quantrill's Raiders" guerillas during the Civil War, he won renown for possessing excellent leadership skills, horsemanship and exercised unique warfare tactics. Born in Canal Dover, Ohio (now simply Dover) the oldest of 8 children to a father who labored as a tin smith, he was educated at Canal Dover Union School, of which his father was a Director and afterwards superintendent. After the untimely death of his father, Quantrill became a teacher in one of the lower grades helping to support the family. He went to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and furthered his education and studied Latin, trigonometry, philosophy and surveying. On returning to Dover, his journey to Kansas was consummated by his mother who arranged for neighboring farmers to purchase a Kansas claim in his name and then accompany them west. Upon the start of the Civil war, Quantrill joined the Confederate army. When the defeated Southern forces left the state, he stayed behind and formed his own band of guerrillas. Among them was teenager Cole Younger and Frank James, the brother of Jesse. Their revenge raid on the town of Lawrence, Kansas still lives today in infamy, for they killed 150 townspeople while burning and looting. After four years of operation, Quantrill and remnants of his raiders were cornered in a barn in Spencer County, Kentucky by a Union Cavalry detachment. While attempting an escape, a shot left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was transferred to the Federal military hospital in Louisville, then to a Catholic Hospital. Lingering for a month, he died at age 27. He had made arrangements with the hospital priest for purchase of a lot with marker and burial in St. Mary's Cemetery. The priest, fearing vandals, ordered the grave restored to a natural condition without a marker. Some twenty years later, the strange odyssey and the disbursement of his bones began. Quantrill's mother arrived in the company of her son's boyhood friend. A request made to take the remains back to Ohio was refused. However, it was agreed the grave would be dug up and the contents viewed. Quantrill's friend took the skull to Mrs Quantrill who identified it based upon a chipped tooth. Under cover of darkness, the entire box was stolen. Upon return to Dover, the bones were interred in the family plot in the Dover 4th St Cemetery minus the skull and various bones the unscrupulous friend had removed and kept. Some bones ended up at the Kansas State Historical Society and the skull to the Dover museum until buried in a separate container in the family plot. The stolen parts were repatriated by the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veteran's and are buried among his comrades at the Old Confederate Veteran's Home Cemetery, Higginsville, Mo. Most monuments to William Quantrill's legacy are located in Lawrence, Kansas. With his famous order: "Kill every man and burn every house" the total destruction of the town followed and was left a smoldering ruin. Today much of its Civil War history remains. Many of the buildings constructed following the raid are still in use. Most noteworthy was the destroyed Free State Hotel which was rebuilt using the original corner stone and it became the Eldridge Hotel. After the raid the resilient citizens of Lawrence buried most of the dead in old Oak Hill Cemetery and erected a freestanding Monument. (bio by: Donald Greyfield)
PURPORTED QUANTRELL GRAVESITES: The name on this stone in this Augusta cemetery is L. J. Crocker, but local amateur scholars have been trying to prove for decades that the bones beneath belong to feared Confederate partisan cavalry commander William Clarke Quantrell, or if you prefer, Quantrill (po-tay-to, po-tah-to).
BURIED: Confederate Cemetery
Fourth Street Cemetery
Plot: Flat marker
Saint Mary's Cemetery
Plot: Unmarked [unmarked]
Through the years, there have been many discussions, debates and even arguments on the spelling of William C. Quantrill's name. Is it Quantrill -or- Quantrell?? There are those even today that do not know the correct spelling due to old newspapers, articles, magazines, Field Orders, etc. Well, the answer is quite simple and amazing. We owe this debt of solving the mystery to ex Missouri Partisan Ranger, Mr. George Shepherd.
The legend and spelling of the name QUANTRELL came about by a 20 year old girl named Annie Fickle who lived in Lafayette County. In May of 1862, Annie's family home had been invaded by a company of Federals, and they arrested Annie when she was found to be in the company of a Partisan Ranger. Later, Annie had been rescued by the Partisans, and she never forgot this. As a token of her appreciation, Annie made a battle flag for the Partisan Rangers. The flag was made of four layers of black, quilted alpaca, and was three by five feet. Running edgewise through the middle of the flag was the name QUANTRELL in dark red letters. Annie, in the dead of night, took the flag into Quantrill's camp, wrapped in a piece of plain paper. William C. Quantrill accepted it himself, and gave a deep and heartfelt thank you to Annie. Quantrill's men then gave 3 cheers, waving their hats, and giving full approvals, honors and recognition to this 20 year old Missouri girl who had risked her life to make this gift. The men attached the flag to an eight foot pole of oak, attached with 12 nails, and were quite proud! This flag was carried into many battles, such as Lawrence, Kansas, and was riddled with many bullets. Quantrill even took it with him into Kentucky in 1864, but it has sadly not surfaced since.
Quantrill wrote often to his Mother, who lived in Canal Dover, Ohio. Many of these letters, and other signed ephemera still survive. The author of this publication has examined several of these authentic letters. And in every one of his signatures, Captain Quantrill signs his name: W. C. Quantrill