Tuesday, August 18, 2009

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."

1 comment:

  1. I suspect that Union Bank was one of them?

    "Shortly after his marriage, in 1858, [George Elliott Simpson] moved to Kansas City, and became assistant cashier of the Union Bank, of which Hiram M. Northrup was then president, in 1861, while he was alone in the bank, the "Red Legs" a band of desperadoes attempted to rob the bank but were frightened away by the approach of United States troops, two years later Rev. Thomas Johnson, who had succeeded Mr. Northrup as president of the Union Bank, was murdered on his farm near Kansas City, by this same band of 'Kansas Red Legs.'"
    --Emma Siggins White, "The Kinnears and their Kin" (1916) p469.

    And yes, that entire paragraph is one big long sentence. And when the same story is told two pages later, the 'Old Union Bank" was actually robbed...