Saturday, December 26, 2009

Current Reading List

I just finished reading William L. Shea’s Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign.Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign (Civil War America) I highly recommend this book.

The following is a list of other books associated with Guerrillas, Jayhawkers, Red Legs and the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi that I recommend:

Quantrill and the Border Wars by William Elsey Connelley Quantrill and the Border Wars

A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War by Daniel E. Sutherland (highly recommended) A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War (Civil War America)

Jayhawkers: The Civil War Brigade of James Henry Lane by Bryce D. Benedict Jayhawkers: The Civil War Brigade of James Henry Lane

Jennison's Jayhawkers: A Civil War Cavalry Regiment and Its Commander by Stephen Z. Starr Jennison's Jayhawkers: A Civil War Cavalry Regiment and Its Commander (Civil War Paperbacks)

Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West by William L. Shea and Earl J. Hess Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West

The Devil Knows How to Ride: The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill by Edward E. Leslie The Devil Knows How To Ride: The True Story Of William Clarke Quantril And His Confederate Raiders

Black Flag: Guerrilla Warfare on the Western Border, 1861-1865 by Thomas Goodrich Black Flag: Guerrilla Warfare on the Western Border, 1861-1865: A Riveting Account of a Bloody Chapter in Civil War History

The Border Between Them: Violence and Reconcilliation on the Kansas-Missouri Line by Jeremy Neely The Border Between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-missouri Line

Wild Bill Hickok: The Man and His Myth by Joseph G. Rosa (highly recommended) Wild Bill Hickok: The Man and His Myth

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"The Widow's God Will Avenge The Wrong" The Strange Case of Albert E. Saviers, Alias Captain Kirk Part II

By August 1863, Albert Saviers was back in Wyandotte. He had spent most, if not all of July, under arrest at Fort Leavenworth. On 8 August, the Wyandotte Commerical Gazette reported that "Saviers was forced to hide in a field while his father, mother and a black man held off Confederate bushwhackers attacking the 'Junction House.'" On 12 September, the same newspaper wrote that, "Captain M. Saviers and Lieut Al Saviers [were] recruiting a company for the 15th Ks. Vol. Cav. It is unnecessary where they are known, to speak of the fighting qualities of Al or his father. The old gentleman, a few weeks ago, defended his own residence (the Junction House) and beat off twenty Bushwhackers, singlehanded and Al has slain more rebels than an active man could shake a stick at in a week."

On 23 Feburary, 1864, Saviers and several other men raided the home of Baptist Minister Reuben Alexander in Holt County, Missouri. The home was located near the town of Oregon. A few days after the assault on the Alexander home, United States Detective James A. Pickett captured Saviers and Charles Bradshaw in Brown County, Kansas.

In early March, Saviers and Bradshaw were brought before a military tribunal at St. Joseph, Missouri. They were charged with robbery, assault with intent to kill and arson, all in connection with the raid on Alexander's home. The minister's wife, Julia Alexander testified at the trial:

"Questioned by Judge Advocate [Colonel John Scott] Do you know them or either of them by name?"

"Answer: The one in the black whiskers, (pointing to defendant Saviers) called himself Capt. Kirk. (In his testimony Reuben Alexander stated that Saviers called himself "Lieut. Kirk)."

"Questioned by Judge Advocate: Were there any others concerned in the outrages spoken of except the two prisoners?"

"Answer: There was a third one present who did not say as much as the prisoners, but helped them and did all they told him and helped search the house. The red [-] whiskered prisoner (alluding to Charles Bradshaw), guarded Mr. Alexander while the other two went and searched the upper part of the house..."

More in Part III

The Strange Case of Albert E. Saviers, Alias Captain Kirk Part 1

In William E. Connelly's list of the original thirteen Kansas Red Legs the name Al Saviors appears. His real name was Albert E. Saviers. He was born in 1842 and in 1857 was living south of Argentine in Wyandotte County, Kansas. According to his own statement his "residence in Kansas, was Shawneetown or rather three miles from Shawneetown on the road leading from Kansas City to Shawneetown. That prior to my enlistment I resided with my father[,] Milton Saviers[,] a farmer and also a carpenter by trade and under him I learned my trade as carpenter." The Wyandotte Commercial Gazette reported on 18 July, 1861, on Fourth of July festivities held at Milton Saviers "at the junction of Shawnee, Wyandotte, and Kansas City roads..." When the war broke out Albert enlisted in Company G, Cass County Mounted Missouri Home Guards. This company was later attached to the 9th Kansas Volunteers. On 5 Febuary, 1862, Saviers was mustered out of Company H, 9th Kansas Volunteers.

On 30 November, 1861, the Leavenworth Conservative reported that "A captured bushwhacker named Fitzpatrick was accused of several crimes, including murder. One of the crimes was stealing a horse or mule from Milton Saviers, and then trying to shoot him. The pistol misfired and Saviers escaped." Fitzpatrick was apparently executed by a firing squad from the 7th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.

In August 1862, Albert E. Saviers was identified as one of the men with Joseph B. Swain when Swain conducted a raid into Clay County, Missouri, to recruit slaves for the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers. During this raid, Albert was shot in the back. In his pension file Albert claimed that the "Ball entered in back[,] passing through right lung & still remain [s] in his body, lodged against brea[s]t Bone [.]

By May 1863, Albert had been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers. However, monthly returns show the young lieutenant as "absent on leave since 24 May, 1863." Interestingly, Albert married Louisa Searl at Leavenworth on 10 April, 1863. Connelley reported that a "Pony" Searl "was said to have been a member " of the Kansas Red Legs.

On 13 June, 1863, the Kansas City newspaper The Western Journal of Commerce reported: "A Robber Caught - A bold robbery was lately committed near the Wyandot [te] Ferry, in the day time, on this side of the river. Captain Sears, commander of the post in this city, immediately set to work to ferret out the guilty parties. A man called 'Al Saviers,' an ex-member of the Red Leg organization, as he says, was apprehended in Wyandot[te], and another by the name Bill Jones. The robbery was clearly proven on Saviers by the testimony of the parties robbed, and by other parties and circumstances...The robbery was a very glaring and aggravated one. An old gentleman, over 60 years of age, accompanied by his niece, were coming from Wyandot[te], where they live, and were met by this scoundrel and deliberately robbed. He took from the old man about $350 in cash, and the horse, leaving the man and women to foot it into town. The horse was found a few days afterward in the timber of Kaw bottom. Saviers is said to be a desperate fellow."

The story will continue in Part II.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Joseph G. Rosa

Joseph G. Rosa, the author of numerous works on "Wild Bill" Hickok, (see below), is looking for information on John "Jack" Harvey. He would like to know if anyone has done any research on him and his association with the Red Legs and Buckskin Scouts, and if anyone has any information on Jack Harvey's Plains service as a scout and courier during the Hancock War of 1867? "Despite several attempts, the National Archives have been unable to trace him, which is very surprising considering the amount of space devoted to him in the Kansas press. His relationship with Hickok as his scouting "mate" and the claim that he was Hancock's personal scout and the recipient of a pair of pistols from the General, would surely ensure that he would appear on the books of the Post Quartermasters of Forts Riley and Harker?" Joe's e-mail is

Friday, September 4, 2009

Harry Truman, "A Noted Criminal" and Kansas Red Leg

In January 1872, a St. Louis newspaper reported the strange case of Harry Truman:

"Alex. Manning representing himself to be a deputy sheriff of Carroll parish, Louisiana, and another man giving the name of Laddy, arrived here yesterday from Lake Providence, La., having in charge Harry Truman, whom they allege is a burglar and murderer, and was an associate of Quantrell in the Lawrence, Kansas massacre during the war, and for whom they state the Governor of Missouri offered $5,000 reward. They left their prisoner with Chief McDonough during the day, saying they expected the sheriff of an interior county to come and take him. Not having any authenticated papers, Chief McDonough suspected something wrong, and visited the prisoner in the calaboose and found him barbarously ironed. He ordered the removal of his shackles and heard his story, from which he (McDonough) believed the man had been kidnapped and refused to deliver him to his captors until they produced properly authenticated papers. To-day Chester Harding applied for a writ of habeas corpus, and Truman was brought before Judge Ewing and discharged, his captors failing to appear to show cause why he was arrested. The man, whose real name is J.W. Thurman, states that he was drugged in Lake Providence some ten days ago, and when he came to his senses he found himself on board a steamer, loaded down with irons, on the way to Missouri. It appears from the man's own statement and from that of others who knew him, that he was a Union scout and spy during the war, and that he rendered valuable service to the Federal cause. He served under Gen. Harding, who was his counsel to-day; also under Gen. Rosecrans and others in the department. It is further stated by those cognizant of the facts that in 1864, he was tried by a court at St. Joseph, convicted of seven different murders, and sentenced to be hanged, but the sentence was commuted to imprisonment in the Alton (Illinois) Penitentiary, from which he was pardoned after nine months' imprisonment. He was one of the original Kansas 'Red Legs,' and is said to have been one of Quantrell's gang. While acting as a Federal spy, he was much in the rebel camps, fought, was wounded in their ranks, was captured by Union soldiers on one occasion, tried as a spy, sentenced to be hanged, but pardoned by the President through the intercession of Gen. Harding, to whom he had always been true, and afterward he was sent to the Missouri penitentiary for passing counterfeit money. After serving two years he was pardoned by the Governor. Since then he has been living in Louisiana and Mississippi, working for Gov. Alcorn in the latter state. Altogether, by his own story and the statement of others, he is, or has been, a most desperate villain, and but for the illegal manner in which he was brought here, would have been held. He attributes his arrest to Quantrell's men living in Louisiana, who, he says, were afraid he would expose them, and took this way of getting rid of him."

For the most part this story is true. Truman was a very bad character and I will have more on him in later blog posts.

"I believe the Red Legs will kill any man in this country for a good horse"

In April 1863, the following letter to the editor appeared in the Kansas City, Missouri, Western Journal of Commerce:

"There are several articles going the rounds, in all the newspapers, concerning Major Ransom and the Red Legs having cleaned Jackson County of bushwhackers, which are greatly exaggerated, and in some particulars wholly incorrect.

One statement, from the Leavenworth Conservative, says that forty rebels were killed; of which number Capt. Hoyt's Red Legs killed thirty-two. The Red Legs only numbered, according to the Conservative, thirty men, and yet they killed thirty-two rebels. It is not very reasonable for the credulous people of this age to believe that thirty men killed thirty-two, and not lose a single man?

The same paper states that 'over twenty rebel houses were burned.' I know of a certainty that one Union man's house was burned, he having been a refugee from home over fifteen months. I know[,] moreover[,] that the Red Legs did steal indiscriminately from rebels and Union men. I am inclined to think that when ever any man did not protest that he was unconditional Union, they shot him, and reported his property captured from the enemy. Some of these Red Legs, who it is alleged, never steal from a Union man, stole two horses from soldiers of the 5th Cavalry at Kansas City, and when the soldiers followed them to Leavenworth to recover their property, the thieves tried to bully them out of it, by saying that 'men had been killed for doing what they were then attempting.' Penick's outlaw, not fully appreciating the friendliness of the remark, drew his revolver, and was bout to let daylight into the beknighted mind of the Knight of the Red Legs, [Hoyt?] when he hastily retreated to a place of security.

The rebels killed were, so far as I have ascertained, persons who were not in arms, but citizens who sympathized with the south. I believe the Red Legs will kill any man in this country for a good horse; and they have glorified themselves considerably over finishing some unarmed sympathizers. They certainly deserved killing, but I would rather be excused from acting the part of executioner in such a case.

Everybody knows that the Red Legs will steal, and it is equally certain that they will lie. But this last one of their having killed thirty-two is a huge story, almost to large for any one to believe.

The Fifth Regiment has hunted the Bushwhackers with a zeal that has rarely, if ever, been equaled. They have adopted all expedients - scouted day and scouted night; lay in the brush and watched, tracked the bushwhackers to their camps, and even found men to betray them - but they never could take thirty men and do such immense execution as the Red Legs report they have done. And I believe that there are as good, brave and loyal men in the Fifth Cavalry as ever used a gun.

The fact is, they have carried on an immense stealing operation, and have endeavored to conceal it by a huge story that would hush the indignation of Union men. We will hear no more, however, of the Red Legs co-operating with the United States soldiers, as [Major] Gen. [James G.] Blunt has taken the matter in hand."

[Signed] Fifth Cavalry

Friday, August 28, 2009

I'm Pickles Damn It! Part I

One of the Red Legs listed by William E. Connelley, was a man identified as "Pickles" or Samuel Wright. In his book John Brown and his Men, Richard Hinton described Pickles as "a reckless young fellow" who participated in a raid into Missouri in 1858 with John Brown. Hinton also claimed that Charles R. Jennison was one of the raiders. Pickles next appeared in the Linn County Herald in August 1859. The Lawrence Republican copied the report:

"The LINN COUNTY HERALD reported that "Pickles" Wright was decoyed to a grocery store located within a short distance of the Missouri-Kansas line, in the vicinity of Barnesville, on 5 Aug. 1859. The man who lured Wright to the store talked him into a game of "Seven Up." Within a short time the store was surrounded by about thirty armed Missourians. Wright told the man who had lured him into the trap to get out, and then barricaded himself inside. After a long parlay Wright agreed to surrender his two pistols and come out if the Missourians would give him a fair trial for his alleged crimes; to which the men agreed. Once Wright came out, however, the Missourians took three votes on the question of hanging him immediately, but could not decide the issue. Wright was taken across the line to Nevada, Mo., and then later to Fremont, in Cedar Co. "Captain" James Montgomery was contacted and went to the site. Montgomery and his men held a parlay with the Missourians across the borderline. About a forth of the Missourians were in favor of letting Wright go." The newspaper reported on September 29, that Pickles had "escaped from the Missouri jail and returned to Kansas."

Both the Fort Scott Democrat and The Daily Times of Leavenworth reported in February 1860, on the lynching of a man named Guthrie. Guthrie was wanted for horse theft near Barnesville, and was strung up by a mob of forty men. The newspapers reported that "Before his execution he made a confession implicating Pickles, Pat Devlin, [the man who supposedly coined the phase jayhawking in Kansas. I will have more on Devlin at some point], Hugh Carlan and others. A letter was found in [his] possession from a school teacher near Osawatomie [it is possible that this individual is Quantrill], which shows the organization to be very extensive and well regulated."

Pickles was arrested by a United States Marshal in May 1860, and taken to a penitentiary on the east coast. By July 1861, however, "Quill," a reporter for The Kansas State Journal submitted the following report from Washington D.C.:

"In my rambles, yesterday, I met with Mr. Wright, or 'Pickles,' of Kansas fame, in full military costume. His term in the penitentiary here expired about a month ago, when he immediately joined...Col. Butterfield's - New York regiment now on duty in the city. He is anxious to be transferred to one of the Kansas regiments, but says he is unwilling to go with any party that will follow plundering on any pretense. He admits that he was led astray when in Kansas, and often committed theft, but thinks his last year's experience the most profitable of his life. He claims to be a better man now, and it is said that he has joined an orthodox church here, a few weeks before he left prison. He was formerly from Pennsylvania, where his family have ever borne a rank of more than ordinary respectability; and this last step will accord far more with his parental training than did his Kansas life..."

By 1862 Pickles had returned to Kansas. The Daily Times in Leavenworth reported in October 1863, that Pickles was fined twenty dollars by the Mayor's Court for "visiting [a] house of ill-fame." A will have the rest of Pickles' story in part II of this blog post.

New Book On Lane's Brigade

Jayhawkers: The Civil War Brigade of James Henry Lane

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Fields of Blood"

William L. Shea's long awaited new book Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign will be released in October. I highly recommend this book. (See link below).

"Shea offers a gripping narrative of the events surrounding Prairie Grove, Arkansas, one of the great unsung battles of the Civil War that effectively ended Confederate offensive operations west of the Mississippi River. Shea provides a colorful account of a grueling campaign that lasted five months and covered hundreds of miles of rugged Ozark terrain. In a fascinating analysis of the personal, geographical, and strategic elements that led to the fateful clash in northwest Arkansas, he describes a campaign notable for rapid marching, bold movements, hard fighting, and the most remarkable raid of the Civil War."
Fields' creativeasin="">Fields'>" as2&camp=" creative=" UTF8&tag=" linkcode=">Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign (Civil War America)

Aunt Betsy's Improper House

I would be remiss in not mentioning a story from The Atchison Daily Globe, published in the late 1870s. According to the article, Marshall Cleveland's "supposed wife" or mistress was employed at Aunt Betsy's Improper House, which for many years was located in Northwest Atchison. The newspaper reported that Cleveland "had a mistress at 'Aunt Betsy's' improper house in Northwest Atchison, and spent his time there when not engaged in raids into Missouri. 'Aunt Betsy' Kingston died in Oklahoma City not long ago, after professing religion, and the local paper spoke quite touchingly of her many virtues." An 1880 United States Census listed Elizabeth Kingston's occupation as "keeping a boarding house." She was born in 1828, in South Carolina, and was married to the notorious John Kingston. The Census listed Dollie Williams, age 20, Hattie Arnold, age 22, Frankie Stevens, age 18, Belle Allen, age 19, Mary Stevens, age 21, Annie Thompson, age 18, Ellen Johnson, age 35, Cora Scott, age 23, Alice Hartiman, age 25, and May Parker, age 24, as boarders. The house was also known as "The Farm." A newspaper ad described "The Farm" as a house of 24 rooms with a summer house and stable. In the early 1860s Atchison was described as "a dirty hole" and a "hog pen." (see photograph).

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Cleveland-Tough Connection Part III

The evidence from Peck, Blue and Moore, suggest that William S. Tough was connected with Marshall Cleveland’s gang. What is undeniable however, is that about six weeks after Cleveland’s death, Tough was operating in the vicinity of Atchison, Kansas, and was recognized by the authorities as a jayhawker. The Atchison newspaper Freedom’s Champion, reported on June 28, 1862 that, “A notorious jayhawker by the name of Tufts was captured on Sunday last by a detachment of the Provost Guard after a chase of some sixteen miles. Captain Shaw is very energetic in pursuing jayhawkers.” The Daily Times in Leavenworth also reported that “Tufts the jayhawker…was arrested on Sunday in Atchison,” and “officers were sent down from St. Joseph to receive him from the custody of the Provost Marshal of the former place.” Captain Leander T. Shaw was the commander of Company D, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, and the acting Deputy Provost Marshal in Atchison. By late June 1862, Tough found himself locked in a jail cell in St. Joseph, Missouri. I will have much more about Tough in later blog posts.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where Did the Red Leggings Come From?

William E. Connelley's interview with Mr. John P. Duke, April 13, 1903. I will have more to say about the validity of the report in a future blog post.

"Red Legs

How the[y] got the name of Red Legs - Statement of John P. Duke, Foremrly [sic] of Independence, Mo.
On April 13, 1903, John P. Duke came to my office in Kansas City, Mo. I was a special Examiner, and my office was in Room #215A, Custom House or Post Office Building.
John P. Duke was born in County Cavan, Ireland, June 24, 1824. He learned the trade of shoemaker in Ireland. He came to America in 1846. He landed in Philadelphia and remained there two years, working at his trade. Then he came to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he worked in the shop of J.H. Deiter or Deeter, from 1848 to 1854, doing what his craft denominate "journey work." In 1854 he came to Independence, Mo., where he set up a shop of his own, beginning in a small way. By the year 1860 he was doing a flourishing business and had some thirty men at work for him. He opened a shop in Kansas City, also and was doing a large business there. He made excellent shoes and boots. Of such splendid material and of such careful workmanship were his boots made that men engaged in the Santa Fe trade would wear nothing but the "Duke Boots" if they could be had. Duke's boots were famous all along the border for their lasting qualities. When the Civil War came on times became dull and uncertain, and he gave up the Kansas City shop. The Government made shoes for its soldiers in Eastern factories, and Duke had a large supply on hand which were of slow sale.
In 1861 he had on hand a large supply of leather and findings, including ten or twelve dozen colered [sic] bright red or scarlet to be used as topping for the tops of the legs of the high boots he made. This red topping was very popular in those days. My father was a shoemaker, and I learned the trade and worked at it in a desultory way for fifteen years. I made myself a pair of red-topped boots about 1869, and the pride that filled my breast when I first drew them on and sallied forth had never been equaled since that time.
Early in the spring of 1861 Jennison came from Leavenworth to Independence, Mo., on what is believed to have been his first invasion of Missouri after the war commenced. He had with him about one hundred hopeful Jayhawkers who had been robbed by border ruffians for years and who now by the change in circumstances found the Government on their side as it had been on the side of the border ruffian up to that time. The Jayhawkers scented a season of glorious reprisal ahead of him, and to such a scientific efficacy did he reduce the border pillage that the work done by the original ruffian seemed coarse and clumsy by comparison. The most deplorable result of both the border ruffian and the Jayhawker was the suffering entailed upon the innocent and those who had no desire to engage in lawlessness in either Kansas or Missouri; they suffered more than did the guilty. In casting about the old town of Independence to see what could be found to suit the fancy of a somewhat fastidious citizen of Kansas who felt that he had been deeply wronged and was now in position to exact retribution Jennison fell upon the shop of Duke, and went in to see what novelties it might afford. The shop was on the south side of the Public Square. Next in command was "Jeff Davis," a peculiarly efficient robber, and at that time Jennison's "right-hand man." Jack Hays was also one of the number, and he was a robber of wonderful resource. "Jeff Davis" was in command of the active operations that day, and he entered Duke's shop in the shadow of his chief. The red sheep skins seemed to strike the plunderers with much favor, a circumstance that [may] be in some measure accounted for by the state of the roads, them [sic] chocked with tenacious mud. The red skins were at once appropriated and distributed to the Jayhawkers, as were also a number of fine calf skins. Each Kansan immediately cut the skin he received, with whatever skill he could command, into a pair of leggins. These he immediately tied on his legs with strips of calf skin cout with much dexterity from Mr. Duke's stock of the same which had been previously distributed. These operations were attended with great good humor and many a joke bandied by the Jayhawkers. If I could but write down the natural wit with which Mr. Duke told me this incident I could have hope for a reputation for humor. Mark Twain is the only man who could do Mr. Duke full justice. But at the time [of] this transaction Mr. Duke did not see all the humorous features of it, being prevented the full enjoyment of the scene by the consciousness that it was all at his expense.
The remainder of the spring the Jayhawkers were seen running over the country along the border with their legs snugly encased in red sheep skin leggins, and they came to be called, from that fact, the Kansas Red Legs.
Mr. Duke said that he became more and more acquainted with "Jeff Davis" as the war progressed, and that he made the bold Jayhawker a pair of fine [c]alf skin boots; and said Mr. Duke "he paid for them like a jintleman." He was not so fortunate with Jack Hays, who also ordered a pair of fine calf skin boots. He drew them on and stalked out saying that Missouri owed him much more than a pair of boots. Duke retorted that Ireland owed him nothing and that with the consent of the Kansan he would just change the account from Missouri to Ireland. "But," said Mr. Duke, "he could not appreciate the fine wit I wasted on him, so I lost the price of me foine pair of boots to the spalpeen, bad luck to him." Mr. Duke is now a resident of Kansas City, Mo., and lives with one of his daughters. He is an industrious man and a good citizen. He gave his photograph. [I have not been able to locate it] He is a jolly son of the Emerald Isle. William E. Connelley"

AbeBooks - Signed Books

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lyttleton Morgan Tough's Letter to Charles E. Murphy

William S. Tough's brother, Lyttleton Morgan Tough, (shown standing to the left of William), was born February 4, 1846. In the spring of 1863, at the age of seventeen, he was hired as a special detective for the District of Kansas. In a letter from Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Moonlight, (Major General James G. Blunt's Chief of Staff), to Captain M.H. Insley, the Assistant Quarter Master at Fort Scott, Kansas, Moonlight wrote:
The General Commanding directs that you employ Littleton Tough as a Special Detective in this District at the rate of one hundred and twenty five dollars per month $125.00. Including all expenses to take effect April 1, 1863, at which time he commenced serving."

In the early 1900s, Lyttleton sent a letter to his friend, Charles E. Murphy, correcting errors in a book he had borrowed from Murphy. The book appears to have been William Lightfoot Visscher's A Thrilling and Truthful History of the Pony Express, published in 1908. Lyttleton's comments shine new light on William S. Tough's operations, the Baxter Springs Massacre and the famous Pony Express rider Johnny Fry. Although Lyttleton Tough's name appears on many list as a former Pony Express rider, this letter seems to suggest that he was never a part of this organization.

"Statement of L.M. Tough Correcting Errors in the 'Poney Express.'"

"In reading your copy of the book entitled "Poney Express" I came across the name of Fry and that of Tough, and as I felt sure that it would interest you in having some mistakes corrected I marked them.

As far as my recollections go of these early times, it is in the main correct except in a few details to which I will call your attention. On page thirty-six he says that poor Jonnie Fry was killed on the Canadian river by Indian bushw[h]ackers. This is a mistake, as he was killed at Baxter Springs sixty five miles south of [Fort] Scott and about a half a mile north of the present town of Baxter Springs. The Government had erected a small log fort at this point as a relay station for the charge of horses by the Poney Express [Tough's express riders], and had garrisoned it for our protection.

Jonnie Fry came to Leavenworth just after the first and original Poney Express had been taken off. He and I ran together until he joined a party of quarter horse men and went riding for them. By the by he was the best quarter horse rider I ever saw. My brother, Captain W. Tough, at the time was chief of scouts and was compelled to make his headquarters at Scott and of course his boys and I went with him and I was placed on the route to carry the mail once a week between Fort Scott and Fort Gibson one hundred and sixty five miles south of Scott. Shortly after the route was opened they found it necessary to make deliveries twice a week. Brother found Jonnie Fry brought him to Scott and started him carrying the mail and riding in the opposite direction to me. You will note that writer says John Sinclair, and it should be Walt Sinclair. [John Sinclair, the brother of Walt Sinclair, had been killed on a scouting mission in Arkansas]. He states that Jonnie was killed by Indian bushwackers. I was in the country for a number of years and this was the first time I have ever heard of there being any Indian bushwhackers in that section. Jonnie was on his way north to Scott and had stopped as usual at Baxter Springs to change horses. Quantrell on his way south [after] the massacre in Lawrence overtook General Blunt on his way south with a small escort at Baxter Springs, massacred pretty nearly all of his command and then attacked the few troops stationed at the fort. Jonnie was outside the fort cleaning up preparatory to his trip north and was shot by some of Quantrell's men as he was climbing up the bank from the springs to get to the post. After killing him, they took all his cloths and arms, leaving nothing but underclothes on the body. On the following morning I made a box and buried him within fifteen yards of the big ditch in which we put all the other men who had been killed during the engagement. I was very fond of Jonnie Fry and have tried to find out where his home was, as I wanted to go and see his people. I can readily believe the writer's statement in regard to Jonnie's nerve for I have seen him in tight places and never saw him flinch. Having heard a great deal from him in regard to the Poney Express, I read this book with deep interest.

Truly your friend"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"The Depredators:" The Cleveland-Tough Connection Part II

While the story told by Blue and Moore contains the usual jayhawker hyperbole, and while they are seriously confused about the dates of certain events, their account closely corresponds with the official report written by Captain Irving W. Fuller of the First Missouri Cavalry:"In pursuance of the above order I left Fort Leavenworth with my command at 2 o'clock p. m. of the 20th January, 1862, and proceeded to Atchison, where I arrived at 8 o'clock p. m. of the same day. I reported immediately upon my arrival to Mayor Fairchild (Special Orders, No. 58, revoking that part of Orders No. 57, not having reached me yet). Mayor Fairchild informed me that the citizens had driven the principal jayhawkers (depredators) out of town, but at the same time requested me to arrest certain parties who were suspected to be in league with these depredators and as having the keeping of stolen horses and cattle. In conformity with his request I arrested several of such persons as he pointed out to me and charged with the above crime, but who from want of evidence and with his concurrence were discharged. On the next morning, January 21, 1862, at 4 o'clock a. m., Lieutenant Sprague joined my command with 20 men and reported for duty. At 8 a.m. of the same day I sent out Lieutenant Sprague with 25 men in search of horse-thieves and depredators and stolen property, who succeeded in capturing 5 of the stolen horses and 2 jayhawkers, and re- turned at 2 p. m. of the same day. I then proceeded with the balance of my command to the farm of Sueter Dixon, a noted jayhawker, and took from his farm 20 horses and 2 shot-guns, the property of citizens of Kansas and Missouri, to whom I restored their property upon their bringing satisfactory proof of ownership. January 22, Mayor Fairchild delivered to me 8 horses taken from the jayhawkers by the Home Guards of Atchison previous to my arrival, which were all claimed by citizens of Kansas and delivered to them as above. January 23, made several scouts and searches in the neighborhood of town. I was informed by Messrs. Brown, Dunlap, and Sumers that several horses were brought to their farms by parties unknown for safe-keeping, but that they supposed them to be jayhawked horses, and would like to have an investigation of the matter. I proceeded to the farms of the above-named men, seized the horses, and brought them into town, when they were immediately claimed by their proper owners and delivered to them. January 24, I was notified by Mr. Irving, of Missouri, at 3 o'clock a.m., that 15 jayhawkers had robbed his farm in Missouri and taken therefrom 40 horses and mules and 6 negroes; that they dragged his family, among whom there are several females, out of bed, insulting them in the most revolting manner, robbed them of their jewelry, and finally left and proceeded in the direction of Elwood. I immediately concluded to go in search of this party, and Mr. Irving offering himself and a few neighbors as guides, I consented thereto, but dispatched him in advance. I overtook him at Geary City, where I found that his party had caught 2 and killed the captain (by name Chandler) of jayhawkers, and wounded another. The rest had escaped, 11 in number, and had gone in the direction of Elwood. I then told Mr. Irving that I thought best for him and his party to go home, as I had a force sufficient to answer all purposes. Accordingly Mr. Irving and his party went home. I took the 2 prisoners in my charge and gave chase to the remainder.
I followed them closely. When I came within 8 miles of Elwood I ascertained that the party I was in pursuit of had divided. Five had gone west of Elwood,in the direction of White Cloud, and 6 had gone to Elwood. Accordingly I divided my command. I sent Lieu- tenant Sprague in pursuit of the party of 5 en route to White Cloud, and proceeded myself in pursuit of the other party en route to Elwood, where I captured them. Two hours after Lieutenant Sprague joined me, having been successful in the capture of the party sent after, with all the stolen property in their possession 5 horses, saddles, bridles, & c. The party I captured had in their possession 12 horses, 3 mules, and 4 wagons, all these the property of Mr. Irving. These are the most material points of my proceedings. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, I. W. FULLER, Captain, First Missouri Cavalry."

The Cleveland-Tough Connection

In a book published in 1893, titled, Scouts, Spies, and Heroes of the Great Civil War, the author, Captain Joseph Powers Hazelton, included a chapter called, “Moore and Blue the Kansas Scouts.” The account describes the activities of Frank M. Blue, formerly of Michigan, and Henry W. Moore, previously of Brooklyn, New York, and their involvement with Marshall Cleveland’s gang. Of particular relevance is their description of the shootout involving the Chandlers, which took place in January 1862, and Cleveland’s twin bank robberies in Kansas City, which occurred on November 16, 1861. Of specific interest is the name of one of the bank robbers, William Tuff of Baltimore. William Sloan Tough was from Baltimore, and during the course of the war most newspapers identified him as “Tuff,”or “Tuft” or some similar spelling. As an example, the reporter C.M. Chase wrote that “The name of Captain [a purely honorary title], Tuft – or according to his own spelling, ‘Tough’ – carries with it a degree of terror in Kansas of which people in peaceable society can have no conception.” As a standalone document, the story of Blue and Moore is rather insignificant. However, when combined with other primary sources, the chapter sheds extraordinary light on Cleveland and his men, as well as the activities of William S. Tough. In a previous blog post I quoted R.M. Peck, who claimed Cleveland’s gang fell apart after his death. Peck also claimed that one of Cleveland’s men went on to become United States Marshal. Interestingly, William S. Tough was a United States Marshal for the State of Kansas from 1873-1876. Below is an excerpt from the chapter on Moore and Blue:

"With the prospect of active service, they could not stand idly by and see others engaged, and accordingly recruited ten men, with whom they joined Captain William Cleaveland's independent company for the defence of the Kansas border. Their first exploit was a dash into De Kalb, Missouri, where they captured twelve or fourteen prisoners and forty horses and mules. A large party, however, pursued them, overtook and captured them at Atkinson's ferry, carried them to St. Joseph, and lodged them in jail. The good people of St. Joseph were very anxious to have them tried and sent to the penitentiary at once ; but there was no court in session, and the only recourse was to lock them up in the jail, where they did not remain long. The guard was made drunk with drugged whiskey, the negro cook was bribed with a twenty dollar gold piece to steal the keys from the jailer, the door was unlocked at midnight, and the whole party walked out just ten days after they had been incarcerated. One John Seelover, a friend, had a skiff near at hand to cross them over the river and a conveyance on the other side to take them to Atchison the same night. The next night, nothing daunted by their recent jail experience, the same party crossed in a flat boat to Missouri, captured from the rebel farmers horses enough to mount themselves, and returned again, after giving the people thereabouts a good scare. The evening following, a negro came to their headquarters at Pardee, eight miles from Atchison, and saidthat his rebel master, John Wells by name, and living twelve miles south of St. Joseph, was to leave the next morning for Price's army with two wagon loads of goods and a coffin full of arms. The company started over immediately, the negro acting as guide. The rebel was found, and so were the goods, consisting of bacon, Hour, sugar, coffee, tobacco, whiskey, powder, and lead, but no arms. Demand was made for the latter, but the prisoner denied having any. A lariat was then thrown over his neck, and drawn tight for a few minutes, when he disclosed their place of concealment - a newly-made grave, with head and footboard - in which were found twenty stands of arms of all kinds, and a box of pistols, all of which were taken to Fort Leavenworth, and turned over to the United States Government. Many other expeditions were made, until Cleaveland and his band were known and feared all over that country. On one of these, it was ascertained that Major Hart, of Price's army, was at his home, fifteen miles from Weston, with ten men. The company immediately set forth to capture them, a woman - Mrs. Chandler -acting as guide. The Major, his men, and the stock on his farm were taken and carried to Geary City, Kansas, where the stock was just put away and twelve men left as a guard over the prisoners, when forty Mis- eourians rode up and demanded their surrender. Chandler, who stood in the porch, said they would never surrender - when he was shot dead, eleven bullets being found in his body. His wife and the remainder fired from the house, and picked them off so fast, that they were compelled to retire to Fort Leavenworth, eight miles distant, hence they brought up a company of thefirst Missouri Cavalry, under Captain Fuller, to their assistance, and finally succeeded in capturing the little garrison. They were taken to the fort, and, no one appearing against them, were speedily released by Major Prince, of the U. S. Regulars, commanding the post.

Not long after this, Moore, Blue, William Tuff, of Baltimore, and Cleaveland, dashed into Kansas City, and levied a contribution of some thirty-three hundred dollars in coin upon two secession bankers who had rebel flags flying at their windows. They were pursued, but made their escape, divided the money equally, and all four went to Chicago to spend it, which they did most liberally ; and in June, 1861, returned to Leavenworth."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Red Legs and the "Buckskin" or "Red Legged" Scouts Part II

For lengthy periods of time during the war, William Sloan Tough, a former Pony Express rider and wagon freighter, served as “Chief of Scouts” for the Union Army on the Border. He told a reporter in 1863, that during the early days of the war he “belonged to no military organization, but ran an independent concern,” and that the “plunder was divided among his men who would sell it and get pay for their service.” It was also recorded that Tough raised a force of seventy-five men at the beginning of the war and conducted raids into Missouri. His motive was allegedly revenge, for Missouri guerrillas had pilfered his wagons and twice attempted to kill him. I am highly skeptical of this later story and in an upcoming blog post will examine a possible Marshall Cleveland – Tough connection. Tough and his men were a completely separate and distinct organization from Hoyt’s crew and were commonly identified as the “buckskin scouts” and occasionally as “Red Legged” scouts. Tough and two of his men, John Harvey and Wallace or Walter “Walt” Sinclair, appear on Connelley’s list of Red Legs.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shameless Plug

Kip Lindberg and I will be giving a talk on the Kansas Red Legs in October to The Civil War Round Table of the Ozarks. Please find below the link to the website:

The Red Legs and the "Buckskin" or "Red Legged" Scouts

There is one person on Connelley’s list of Kansas Red Legs that should not be there. Although he certainly knew many individuals associated with the Red Legs, James Butler Hickok, “Wild Bill,” was never a Red Leg. I will discuss this at length in a later blog and hopefully my friend Joe Rosa will provide his thoughts on the matter. As we shall see, however, there were many men who were left off of Connelley’s list.
The individuals included in Connelley’s Kansas Red Leg list fall into two separate and distinct categories. One group of men, more or less, coalesced around “The Chief of the Red Legs,” George H. Hoyt. (Photo on left) Without doubt, Hoyt was instrumental in forming the original “unofficial” organization. From time to time, these men were employed in an official capacity as scouts, spies and detectives, sometimes under the direct leadership of Hoyt. As an example, Hoyt commanded the following group of men during the summer of 1863:


[Names in bold denote individuals from Connelley’s list of Red Legs]

Albott, Edward, P., Guide & Scout, 5-28 Aug. 1863
Atchison, John, Detective, 6 July-29 Aug.
Bender, John C., Detective, 20 May-10 Aug.
Blachly, John W., Detective, 18 June-28 Aug.
Bliss, J.F., Detective, 20 July-19 Aug.
Bridges, John L., Detective, 18 June-17 Aug.
Carpenter, Samuel W., Detective, 8 July-31 Aug.
Hook, Dawson A., Detective, 16 June-31 Aug.
Hoyt, George H., Chief Detective, 16 June-31 Aug.
Johnson, David, Detective, 6 Aug [Johnson was killed on his first day of employment. I will have the complete story of Johnson’s termination later on in the blog]
Johnson, William Henry Harrison, Detective, 18 June-18 Aug.
Kelsey, Thomas C., Detective, 1 July-16 Aug.
Kingsley, Richard, Detective, 25 July-31 Aug.
Kinsley, George, Detective, 16 June-31 Aug.
Logan, William, Detective, 19 July-18 Aug.
Raynard, Asa, Detective, 26 June-31 Aug.
Shelton, John, Detective, 19 June-31 Aug.
Speer, John L., Detective, 19 July-15 Aug.
Spui, C., [full name missing from document] Scout, 8-29 Aug.
Suley, R., Detective, 14 July-5 Aug.
Tinter, John R., Detective, 12-31 Aug.
Wilson, David, Detective, 1 June-31 Aug.

In my next blog post I will discuss the second group of men to whom the term Red Leg was applied, William Sloan Tough and his "Buckskin" or "Red Legged" scouts.

Friday, August 14, 2009

William E. Connelley's Second Red Leg List

With the publication of William E. Connelley’s Quantrill and the Border Wars in 1910, his list of Kansas Red Legs greatly expanded. In the new list (Pages 412-417) he now incorporated the following individuals:

William Hickok (Wild Bill)
“Red” Clark
Jack Harvey
“Sore-eyed” Dan
James Flood
Jerry Malcom
Charles Blunt known as “One-eyed Blunt”
Jack Hays
Walt Sinclair
W. S. Tough [William Sloan Tough]
“Pony” Searl
John Salathiel

In upcoming blog posts I will examine if all of these individuals deserve to be on Connelley’s register of Kansas Red Legs and who is missing from his list.

William E. Connelly’s List of the Original Thirteen Kansas Red Legs

In a letter dated April 19, 1903, William E. Connelley, who would go on to serve as the Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society from 1914-1930, announced that he had secured the names of the original 13 Kansas Red Legs:

"For fifteen years I have been trying to learn the names of the thirteen original Kansas Red Legs. I secured the thirteenth name on Tuesday, April 7, 1903. I had heard all the names used in connection with the operations of the Red Legs from my first investigation of the notorious band. But the task of determining the original thirteen was a long one. I often gave up the investigation, believing it not possible to identify these men. However, I found myself questioning old soldiers and citizens whom I thought might know. The following list is the original roster beyond doubt:"
Charles R. Jennison
George H. Hoyt
Theodore Bartles
Joseph Guilliford
Al Saviors
John Blachley
Jack Bridges
Harry Lee
Newton Morrison
"Jeff Davis" [Connelley did not know at the time that this was Joseph Bloomington Swain]
"Beauregard" [Connelley did not know at the time that this was in fact Jack Bridges]
"Pickles" [at the time Connelley did not know the real name of this individual. He would later conclude that it was Samuel Wright]

Since Connelley listed "Beauregard" twice, his list actually comprised the original 12 Kansas Red Legs. In the next posting I will compare Connelley's original list with the Kansas Red Legs listed in his book Quantrill and the Border Wars.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Hell is full of such angels!" Part III

When I first examined the gravesite in 2004, the Cleveland tombstone was still standing. It is now resting flat on top of a slab of concrete. Two major items are missing from the tombstone. There is no sign of the “sculptured two hands, each holding a pistol” mentioned in the Liberty Tribune. On this particular point, I believe the newspaper probably embellished the story. If the two hands holding pistols were part of the original tombstone R.M. Peck would certainly have mentioned it. The second missing piece is the famous epitaph. Days after first viewing the tombstone, I contacted Randy Thies at the Kansas State Historical Society. The following is his report:

Observations of Randy Thies, Cultural Resource Specialist and Archeologist with the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka, Kansas.

December 2004.

"Well, here's my observations. I don't think anything got washed away,and I don't think the current gravestone is a new stone. This current gravemarker is the original stone, in my opinion. I make that judgement due to the style of the lettering and associated sculptural characteristics, the fact the gravestone is made of marble, and the fact that gravestone is quite thin and was probably quite tall, all of these being characteristics common to gravestones of that time period. The concrete, however, is obviously new, not something that would have been used back in 1862. The stone is set in the concrete to a depth that brings the concrete right up and even encroaching on the circular sculptural depression that contains Cleveland's name. This is not something that anyone would have done purposely, so it seems obvious that the gravemarker has been reset, probably after being broken off at ground level after being struck by something--maybe vandalism, getting hit by a mower, hit by a log in a flood, whatever. Structurally, because the gravestone is tall and thin, it would have been easily broken. I strongly suspect the "One here less..." epitaph was somewhere below the name but it is impossible to know just how far it was located below the circle. It seems obvious that the gravemarker was formerly quite tall, so it is not certain where the ground-level breaking point would have been. Most likely, the broken upper part of the stone was placed up against the remaining lower part of the stone,and the two pieces were then reset in concrete, a move that probably resulted in the epitaph being covered--and it will be covered forever,because it would be difficult if not impossible to remove the concrete in such a manner as to enable restoration of the stone, assuming the city would ever actually allow anyone to undertake such a project. I was able to get permission from the city clerk to dig soil out from in front of the stone to enable viewing of the hoped-for epitaph, but the city facilities manager was aghast that such permission had been granted tome. I doubt that they would permit any intrusive restoration efforts whatsoever."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Hell is full of such angels!" Part II

When Marshall Cleveland was gunned down by soldiers from the 6th Kansas Cavalry on the morning of May 11, 1862 on the banks of the Marais des Cygnes River, in Osawatomie, Kansas, his “supposed wife” or mistress attracted little attention. While the official report of the killing failed to mention her, (her name still remains a mystery), she was in fact in the house surrounded by Union soldiers that morning. The Atchison Daily Globe would later report that “Cleveland’s mistress by-the-way was the cause of his death. When it became so bad that soldiers were sent in search of him, the women was watched and the outlaw located at Osawatomie when the women went to visit him and he was killed.” While she did not draw a lot of attention on the morning of May 11, Cleveland’s widow would, over the course of the summer, draw quite a bit of interest.
Only a day after Cleveland’s death his widow appeared in Lawrence, Kansas. The Lawrence Republican noting that Cleveland “was buried on Monday” and that his “supposed wife passed through this place on Tuesday swearing vengeance on all United States Volunteers.”Weeks later a Missouri newspaper, the Liberty Tribune, ran a story entitled “The Tomb of Cleveland.” The newspaper reported that “At the marble works of Mr. Bedwell, on the corner of Francis and Sixth Streets [St. Joseph, Missouri], may now be seen an extraordinary work of art. It is not so remarkable as a mere artistic work, as it is when taken in connection with the purpose for which it is designed. The work of which we speak is the tombstone of the late Marshal L. Cleveland, who was killed at Osawatomie, Kansas…by Federal soldiers who had arrested him for his innumerable and heavy crimes as a Jayhawker. The stone was ordered by his wife, and the design of it is entirely her own. It consists of a plain slab of white marble; at the top are sculptured two hands each holding a pistol. The inscription on the stone is as follows:
Marshal L. Cleveland,
Died May 12, 1862.
“Earth counts a mortal less, Heaven an angel more.”

As an aside, the newspaper quoted the St. Jo. Journal’s comments about the tombstone, noting that, “To use a new expression, comment is superfluous.”
The story of the tombstone appeared in numerous Kansas and Missouri newspapers leading many to speculate that since the tombstone was fashioned in St. Joseph, Cleveland was certainly buried there. As an example, United States Senator John James Ingalls wrote in an article published in 1902, that “His temporary widow took his sacred clay to St. Joseph, where its place of interment is marked by a marble headstone bearing the usual memoranda, and concluding with the following:
“One hero less on earth,
One angel more in heaven!”

Ingalls and others however, were mistaken. The authentic story of Cleveland’s interment and of his widow was written in 1904, by a former wagon master and occasional express rider named R.M. Peck. Kip Lindberg and I stumbled across his memoirs in 2004 while researching the Baxter Springs Massacre. Peck and his associate Dan Eckerberger stopped at a hotel in Osawatomie in August, 1862 to feed their mules and procure dinner. Ushered into the men’s parlor to await their meal, Peck eyed a freshly chiseled tombstone propped up in the corner of the room. Curious to determine the inscription carved into the slab, Peck walked over and read it to Eckerberger:
Sacred to the memory of
Captain Marshall L. Cleveland,
Who died May 11th, 1862
“Earth counts one mortal less-
Heaven one angel more.”

“I write this from memory," recalled Peck, “and cannot recall the age given, but I think the name, date and quotation on the tombstone were just as I have given them. The absurdity of such a sentiment on the tomb of such a notorious criminal as Cleveland was known to have been, struck me so forcibly that without thinking where I was, or who might be in hearing, I blurted out impulsively: “Hell’s full of such angels.” I was sorry I had used such ungentlemanly language as soon as I uttered it, for as I glanced through an open door into what seemed to be the ladies parlor, which I had not before noticed, I saw a black-eyed women ‘looking daggers’ at me, and I feared I had hurt her feelings, whoever she was. The landlord hurriedly approaching, as if fearful of another such explosion from me requested: ‘Mister, please don’t use such language in the hearing of the lady in the next room. She’s Capt. Cleveland’s widow.’…The landlord informed me that ‘Mrs. Cleveland’ had recently brought the tombstone from Leavenworth to have it placed at the jay-hawker’s grave. If it still stands there bearing that ‘misfit’ epitaph, it has probably, ere now, provoked many similar rough expressions of opinion from those who knew his reputation in life. It is scarcely necessary to add that Cleveland’s gang of jay-hawkers fell to pieces after his death; but strange to say, some of his men afterwards became respectable citizens of Kansas, with two of whom I became personally acquainted. One was, some years ago, a Justice of the Peace in Leavenworth, and the other was United States Marshal of Kansas.” [I will have more on these gentlemen in a concluding blog]
Peck was able to learn afterwards “that the woman who had passed herself as ‘Capt. Cleveland’s widow’ was never his wife, but had formerly been employed in ‘Ben Wheeler’s Ten Cent Show’- a disreputable ‘varieties’ dive in Leavenworth – as a comedy actress and ‘beer slinger.’ She was there known as the wife of ‘Tommy’ Pell, the comedian, whom she deserted for the jay-hawker.” Peck’s story appears to be right on the mark. Tommy Pell did in fact work for the same minstrel troupe as Ben Wheeler and it is almost certain that Pell performed on Wheeler’s stage in Leavenworth.
After reading Peck’s account, I drove over to Osawatomie, and soon located Cleveland’s grave and tombstone in the Oakwood Cemetery. What I found can be seen in the photograph included with this blog post. In Part III of this story I will reveal what happened to the rest of the monument.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"He Was Perfectly Without Soul:"Jennison's Lecture Tour and the True Story of the Famous Photograph

In a statement to Kansas historian William E. Connelley, Eugene F. Ware left a priceless description of Charles Jennison's grand lecture tour and the true origins of the famous photograph. The statement was probably written in the early 1900s.

"In reply to your request that I furnish you [a] statement concerning Jennison's lecture tour [I] will say: I knew Jennison in the army. He was not a large man but very compactly built and quicker than a cat. His fighting power in hand to hand matters was astonishing because he was so immensely quick as well as strong. He was quick at everything both mental and physical. He liked quick things. He played cards fast and furiously. He was at every horse race that you could hear of. He liked speed of all kinds. He was perfectly without soul [and] had no moral ballast that I ever heard of or ever observed. Brave enough, but somehow or other he never got into danger. That is, he was not a fighter of battles. He was a scouter, going quick, robbing somebody and getting away. If he ever was in a battle or fought one I never heard of it. He was a most inveterate gambler in everything. Always wanted to bet on something. In matters of that kind he had unusually good judgment. He made betting a science and always had plenty of money. Somehow he managed to get it. He was notorious but was not the idol of anybody. His soldiers never idolized him and his superiors never cared anything for him and never gave him any chance. In fact[,] he was wanting always to be on the go, was as a military man erratic, irrational, insubordinate, always doing something he ought not to do and as a military man was of no account on earth. That was the judgement of his superior officers. I had excellent chance to know that for I was an aide de camp with several different generals all of whom well knew Jennison and they used to constantly bemoan the fact that Jennison dishonored his uniform by his senseless, irrational gambling and other propensities. And they were all glad to get him out of the service. He had no following of any kind except of the very lowest. When he got out of the service he ran a large gambling outfit in Leavenworth. It was a very extensive concern. I have heard different theories about it; some say that he had it going while he was an officer of the army but did not connect his name with it for fear of court martial. Others say that he organized it the moment he came out. At any rate, he was scarcely out of the army before he was giving a series of general invitations to army officers to visit what he called his "gambling ranch." I went up there once with a bevy of officers to see what sort of a place it was and he seemed to have pretty nearly all of the upper story of a block in Leavenworth. We were there but a few minutes but long enough to see a great amount of mirrors and cut glass and plate glass and darkies in flunkey costume, and a free lunch, a free bar, liquors and champagne galore, and all kinds of gambling devices apparently in running order with a swarm of tough looking western frontiersmen all spending their money lavishly for at that time there were no railroads west of the Missouri River and the river was the camping ground of vast trains coming and going from New Mexico, Denver and Salt Lake and the great west. It was some time during cold weather in 1866 - if I had to guess it would be somewhere in January or February, that I met Jennison at the corner of the Planters House carrying a large picture in a frame. The picture frame was about three feet high and two feet wide. It was a beautiful bright sunny winter day. He stopped me to show me the picture. It was labeled "Jennison the Great Kansas Jayhawker." It represented Jennison in a fringed buckskin hunters costume with a Sharps rifle, standing at the order arms with a big dog curled up on the ground in front of him. It was a very artistic photographic job of work touched up with color and Jennison asked me what I thought about it and I told him that I thought it was not the thing that ought to be got up. That his make up ought to be of a military cast and then he told me that that would not do because he had a special reason for getting this up. He said that his name had become synonymous with slavery and anti-slavery fights in Kansas and his notoriety was so great that many people wanted to see him and that it had been suggested to him that he should take the lecture platform and he concluded to go onto the platform and satisfy the great popular demand by giving some lectures about slavery and anti-slavery. He said that he did not propose to have these bureau people running him around wherever they wanted to; he was only going to go where he pleased and that he was going to organize his own literary bureau and arrange his own lecture course so that he could go flying and make a lecture every night in the week until he got through, and he said that there was a mint of money in it and that he had a whole lot of these pictures struck off and had started out his advance agent. He told me what the man's name was and that before he went east (because he thought New England would be a great sphere of work) he was going to work off his lecture and try it on the western people until he got it in good shape and then go down and give it to the people of New England. He said that he was having a whole lot of advertising done in the east in regard to his lecture project and that he already had his man out and that he was first going to Quincy, that would be his first date. Then he would be able to give the two next lectures in Chicago and then one in St. Louis to see how it took, and that he had had a large number of these pictures of Jennison the Kansas jayhawker struck off for advertising purposes, a great quantity of them and the man had gone on, and he Jennison, was about ready to go and meet his dates. He said he made his pictures to correspond with his lecture course and hence he wanted the picture to show him in frontier costume although he did not know that he had ever worn such a costume but it was the regular traditional pioneer costume and kind of a one that the people would expect from a Kansas man. I was shortly afterwards sent off on some military orders and it must have been about two months later that I got into Leavenworth by steamboat from Omaha about two or three o'clock in the morning. And I went to a hotel called the Brevoort so as to see Gen. Mitchell in the morning who was stopping there with his family. I was quite chilled and drew up before the fire and a man came in about that time and began taking with the night clerk some funny story about Jennison and I asked this man what his business was and he said that he dealt faro for Jennison down at the ranch and I asked him if Jennison had got back yet from his lecture tour and what success he had and then the man broke out into an immoderate fit of laughter and asked me if I had not heard about Jennison's lecture trip, and I told him no. He then proceeded to tell the story which was in this wise: He said that Jennison started out and first went to Quincy, that he took along about $5,000 in cash with him to pay the expenses of his trip, that when he got to Quincy he found things out of gear and at the lecture room only about half a dozen persons present. He said that it was explained to him that matters had not been well advertised. He then told the audience that it was to small for him to deliver a lecture to and that they could have their money back and as much more for having done him the courtesy to be present, and that he immediately struck out and hunted up a faro bank and won a lot of money before morning and started for Chicago. When he got to Chicago he found that his lecture had been poorly advertised and he had no audience but as he had been billed for two nights he thought he would wait over so he started in with a Chicago faro bank and lost all but $1600 that he had. That he concluded to rest up and skip his second appointment and go to St. Louis. He got down to St. Louis and ran across a friend of his by the name of McClintock who was running a faro bank in St. Louis. He went up with McClintock just to look at his outfit and concluded that he would try a bet or two. The result was that he did not go near the lecture room, lost every dollar he had, got fearfully drunk and McClintock gave him money enough to get home on and put him on board of the train which at that time ran as far as Kansas City from St. Louis and Jennison came home, gave up his lecture tour and wired his traveling manager to get home. Jennison never took the lecture field again."

Monday, August 10, 2009

“Hell is full of such angels!”

I could think of no better place to start this blog than with a short piece on the notorious Kansas Jayhawker Marshall Cleveland. While many of his more iniquitous exploits have been recounted many times, there remain three principal ambiguities concerning the “Phantom Horseman of the Prairie.” The first mystery concerns his name. While some have claimed it was in fact Charles Metz, no conclusive evidence exists to support this. Thus far, no one has been able to provide reliable evidence as to Cleveland’s actual name. The second puzzlement surrounding Cleveland involves his female companion, a woman described by one newspaper as “the most daring” of his gang. The newspaper portrayed her as “a small delicate woman, who left Leavenworth in company with Cleveland. She rides with them, heavily armed, and is always first in every enterprise, whether for plunder or fighting.” In my next post I will shed some light on the woman, Cleveland’s “supposed wife” who after his death swore revenge on the Union soldiers who killed him. The third mystery surrounding Cleveland involves his tombstone and the location of his interment. It’s a remarkable story and I will cover it in detail soon on this blog.

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