Approximate Number of Missouri Homes burned by Jayhawkers & Redlegs

An Approximate Number of Missouri Homes burned by Jayhawkers & Redlegs, (not counting citizens murdered, homes plundered, livestock and possessions driven off, barns and outbuildings burned.

Life along the Missouri-Kansas border during the Civil War was the easily considered the darkest period in American History. William Clarke Quantrill appeared upon the stage of events initially organizing a small band of young Missouri men to guard against wanton attacks on their homes and property mainly by bands of murderers, thieves and robbers from across the border known as Kansas Jayhawkers. Regardless of what anyone's personal views are about Quantrill the most misunderstood event of his career will undoubtedly be his raid on Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863. Rather than debate the merits or denunciations surrounding the raid we would like to exhibit some basic facts for our readers.

Contrary to what previous irresponsible writers have led us to believe Lawrence was an armed camp and most of its male citizens were in the militia and armed with the most modern repeating rifles of their day. The town was home to 5 well-built forts strategically situated with artillery throughout the main streets. Trenches and earthworks surrounded its perimeter and companies of armed pickets were constantly on patrol.

Thanks to University Professor George F. McCleary who has extensively researched the site of Lawrence as it stood on August 21, 1863 we now know that there were approximately 300 buildings in Lawrence on that memorable day and during the raid 86 of those buildings were destroyed by fire, half of those being destroyed in collateral damage. The reasons for the raid are varied but one reason must plainly be, that of retaliation.

Unlike other writers that give either a spurious or sensationalized accounting of the facts, thanks to the historical record we are offering to show an actual accounting of the number of homes destroyed along the Missouri border. Unfortunately we can only give an approximate number that will not take into account the true tally when records stated that "entire neighborhoods were laid waste" or that "hundreds of homes were destroyed" until the border of Missouri came to be known as the "Burnt District." The figures below only show a very conservative estimate. They have been taken from historical records and painstakingly preserved in contemporary books like Quantrill of Missouri & Quantrill at Lawrence by Paul R. Petersen, where the complete stories behind these Jayhawker raids can be found. Permission to use this article has graciously been granted by the author. Below is an autographed image of "Senator" James Lane.                                                                                                                                                                              

Number of Names - Dates - Places - of Homes Destroyed

(800) September 1861-800 homes burned in Osceola, Missouri by James Lane and his Jayhawkers from Kansas

(29) October 27, 1861-Martin & John Flanerys' homes burned along with 27 neighbors homes in Brooking Township, Jackson County Mo

(26) October 28, 1861-26 homes burned in Jackson County Mo. by Jayhawkers

(1) November 1861-home of David Porter near Independence. Mo. burned by James Lane's Jayhawker Brigade

(65) Jennison's first attack on Independence burned 65 homes in November of 1861,

(8) November 11, 1861-7th Kansas Jayhawker Dan Holmes writing from Kansas City, ''I like soldiering first rate. Yesterday we marched to Independence and Jayhawked about fifty horses and mules, as many negros, men, women, and children, pillaged two stores, burnt seven or eight dwellings, and one large mill.''

(12) November 27, 1861-12 homes burned by 7th Kansas Jayhawkers in Crackerneck neighborhood of Jackson County Mo.

(30) November 1861-Jennison killed 12 men for being Southern sympathizers and burned 30 homes in West Point. Mo.

(50) December 12, 1861-3rd Kansas Jayhawker Regiment destroys every business and residence in Papinsville, Mo.

(50) December 1861-3rd Kansas Jayhawker Regiment destroys Butler, Mo.

(50) December 1861-7th Kansas Jayhawkers rode from Pleasant Hill, Mo. to West Point Mo. stealing ten thousand dollars’ worth of livestock and 55 slaves then another 150 mules, 40 horses, and 129 slaves and burning every house but one along their line of march.

(47) January 1, 1862-47 homes in Dayton, Mo. burned by 7th Kansas Jayhawkers.

(42) January 4, 1862-James Lane's Brigade burned 42 homes in Rosehill, Mo.

(2) January 8, 1862-2 homes burned in Columbus, Mo. by Kansas Jayhawkers.

(50) January 9, 1862-The county seat of Columbus and fifty homes were completely destroyed by 7th Kansas Jayhawker Regiment.
(14) January 28, 1862-William Gregg saw 14 homes in his neighborhood in Jackson County Mo. burning at one time.

(200) January 1862-Jennison's Jayhawkers burned 200 homes Lexington, Mo

(150) January 1862-Jennison burned 150 homes in Chapel Hill, Mo.

(50) January 1862-7th Kansas Cavalry rode into Holden, Mo. in Johnson County and burned forty to fifty homes stealing what they did not burn.

(160) January 8, 1862-One resident of Kingsville, Mo. recounted seeing 160 houses on fire by the 7th Kansas Jayhawkers.

(3) March 9, 1862-three homes burned in Cass County by Jayhawkers who were chased off when Quantrill appeared.

(5) March 23, 1862-following Tate house fight Federal patrols burned several homes.

(1)  Spring 1862-Major Emory Foster burned down the house that guerrilla John Brinker and fellow guerrilla Frank Burgess were hiding in for harboring guerrillas.

(30) May 1862-Col. John T. Burris of the Fourth Kansas Jayhawker Regiment led forty Redlegs and two hundred jayhawkers on a Jayhawking raid on Missouri farms. Burris’s men ransacked property, killing more than fifty unarmed men, and burning at least thirty houses.

(10) August 1862-Lt. John T. Burris, in command of the Fourth Kansas Jayhawker Regiment, followed up the Southerners’ victories at 1st Battle of Independence, Lone Jack and White Oak Creek by burning homes of Southern sympathizers.

(8) August 1862-A resident of Independence Mrs. R. T. Bass saw 8 homes burning at one time.

(10) August 1862-immediately following 1st Battle of Independence Kansas Redleg George Hoyt invaded Missouri in Jackson County burning the houses of Southern people on the east side of the Blue River.

(12) September 18, 1862-12 homes burned in Lafayette Co. Mo.

(12) November 1862-a Federal patrol burned from two to twelve houses in the Little Blue neighborhood, leaving the families homeless.
(12) September 19, 1862 the 10th Kansas Cavalry swept through Pleasant Hill again and burned another twelve homes.

(5) October 4, 1862-Lexington, Mo. Redlegs burned several houses and killed seven men after plundering what they could carry off.

(12 ) October 1862-12 homes burned by 4th Kansas Jayhawkers in Pleasant Hill, Mo.

(50) October 1862-7th Kansas Jayhawkers completely destroy Morristown, Mo. only leaving 5 houses left standing

(12) November 1862 a Federal patrol had burned from two to twelve houses in the Little Blue neighborhood, leaving the families homeless.

(5) Winter of 1863 Vernon Co. Mo. Union Col. Obediah Smith was murdering Southerners and burning their homes in that region.

(13) In late January 1863 Colonel Penick sent a patrol from Independence to burn down thirteen houses of Southern sympathizers along with the Baptist church in Oak Grove,

Colonel James Ridgeway Penick was the commander of the Fifth Missouri State Militia stationed in Independence, where this photo was taken. Because of their ruthless plundering, the civilian population called his troopers "Penick's Thieves," Penick refused to take prisoners so the Guerrillas responded in kind.

(2 ) January 1863-Federals burn down the home of John Saunder's and Samuel Kimberland in Jackson County Missouri

(1) Winter of 1863-Federals burn the home of Jeptha Crawford leaving wife and nine children destitute

(2) February 10, 1863-home of Mary Fristoe and Mrs. Rucker in Jackson County burned by Federal soldiers

(5) April 1, 1863-Kansas Redlegs raided Lexington, burning several homes.

(40) In the early spring of 1863 Jayhawkers stationed in Kansas City burned all the stores and destroyed 40 dwellings in the Six Mile Township of Jackson County near Sibley, Missouri.

(11) Spring 1863-Federals burned eleven Southern homes in Bates County.

(50) May 26, 1863 11th Kansas Cavalry burned Nevada City Mo. Vernon Co.

(1) May 26, 1863 Col. John D. Holt's home burned by Kansas Jayhawkers.

(1) September 1863 Elvira Scott described the Redlegs as “the lowest, most desperate looking specimens of humanity it has ever been my lot to witness.” Elsewhere Kansas troops broke into the home of an elderly man named Lawrence. They hanged him from a tree in his yard to get him to tell where his money was hidden. His wife had just died, and her casket was sitting on chairs in the parlor when the jayhawkers broke open the lid and cut off her finger to steal her wedding ring. Two daughters were forced to drag the coffin into the yard while the house burned down around them. They then cut down their father and nursed him back to health.

(20 ) July 1864 Jennison burned 20 homes in Camden Point, Mo. Destroyed entire town.

(20) July 1864 Jennison & Col. Ford burned Platte City, Mo.

(110) September 1864 During Gen. Ewing's Order #11 One Kansas officer boasted that a squad of his men were responsible for burning more than 110 houses, “some of them worth, it is said, as high as $20,000.”

(1) September 1864 Preston Plumb of the 11th Kansas Jayhawker Regt burn down the home of Unionist A. S. H. Crenshaw Independence, Mo.

(1) Daniel DeWitt of Blue Springs had his property plundered by Jayhawkers at least seven times in two years leaving his farm stripped of everything and his house and buildings burned to the ground.

(3) Morgan Walker, Kate King and Reuben Harris's homes burned by Kansas Jayhawkers

(8) Nancy Harris's home burned by Jayhawkers and she saw 7 homes burned in Sni Hills of which 2 were of poor widows.

(5) Thomas Pitcher's home burned along with several others per Nancy Pitcher's letter

(18) Upton Hays and Samuel Hays home 2 miles south of Westport Mo. burned by Jennison's 7th Kansas Jayhawkers and 16 neighbor's houses the same day.

(1) Home of Frances Fristoe Twyman's 70 yr old invalid mother burned. She had neither husband or son.

(1) Home of Charles Coward in Jackson County burned by 4th Kansas Jayhawker Regt.

(1) Home of John Wallace of Independence burned by Jayhawkers

(1) Sidney Scott Johnson County house burned by Kansas Jayhawkers.

(1) Mrs. Maggie English Independence Mo. Jayhawkers burned down her home.

(6) Guerrilla Andy Walker home burned by Union troops and those of 5 neighbors

(1) Guerrilla Richard P. Maddox home burned down by Kansas Jayhawkers
(1) Guerrillas John and Joseph Hall, George Barnett homes burned by Jayhawkers early 1862

(1) Guerrilla Cole Younger' home burned down February 9, 1863 by Jayhawkers forcing his mother to set fire to her own house in the middle of winter at the point of a bayonet.

(1) Guerrillas Robert and Isaac Hall's mother's home burned by Jayhawkers during winter of 1862 when they made her set her own home on fire on threat of death and burned the homes of 4 neighbors the same day

(2) Guerrilla Hiram and John George's home burned by Jayhawkers 7 times and their mother's home burned 3 times and neighbor Ezra Moore's house burned down the same day

(1) Guerrilla Joseph Gibson's home in Bates Co. Mo. burned by Jayhawkers.

(1) Guerrilla John A. Workman's home destroyed by Kansas Jayhawkers, Jayhawkers came to his home and took his wife and young baby out and laid them on a mattress in snow a foot deep and then burn down his house.

(4) Guerrillas Preston Webb, Frank Smith, George Wigginton, Joseph Gibson, homes burned by Jayhawkers

(1) Guerrilla William McCoy's mother's home burned down by Federals

(1) Guerrilla George M. Noland's home burned by Kansas Jayhawkers with him inside but he managed to escape

(1) Guerrilla Dave Poole and his brother John joined after Jayhawkers killed their uncle Archibald Poole, plundered his property then burned down his home and murdered their brother-in-law.
(1) Guerrilla Warren Welch's home burned down by Jayhawkers while he was in the Mo State Guards leaving his mother and her five young children destitute

(3) Guerrilla William McWaters home in Platte County and Guerrillas John House and Dave Hilton's homes burned in 1861 by Jayhawkers

(15) Guerrilla Joseph and Frank Lea from Strother, Mo. had their home burned by Federal troops. Federals murdered their father and burned down 14 homes in the neighborhood.

(1) Guerrilla Archie Clements's mother's home burned down by Federals

(1) Guerrilla William Anderson's parents home burned by Federals.

(1) Guerrilla John McCorkle's house burned down early summer 1863.

(2) Guerrilla William Babe Hudspeth's home burned Spring 1862 and again July 1863 and Federals also burned down the home of his uncle.

(1) Guerrilla Gooley Robinson's widowed aunt's home burned by Federals

(5) Guerrillas Dick Yeager, Ben Morrow, Howard Bragg, William Reynolds, & John Brown, homes burned by Kansas Jayhawkers.
(3) Guerrillas Horace Davenport, J. Stogden and R. Cockrell from Columbus, Mo. Their homes were destroyed by Jayhawkers on January 8, 1862.

(25) Guerrilla Dick Liddel remarked that he saw Kansas Jayhawkers burning and robbing at one time twenty-five farm houses and barns and carrying off the stock and taking away all the negroes who would go.


To this was added the observation of John Newman Edwards: “The militia and the Jayhawkers preyed upon the citizens and the non-combatants, and the guerrillas preyed upon the militia and the Jayhawkers. To the sword the torch had been added. Two hundred houses in Jackson County had been burnt; Vernon County was a desert; a day’s ride in Bates brought no sight of a habitation; Cass was well nigh ruined; a black swathe had been mowed through Lafayette; Butler was in ashes; Harrisonville was in ashes.” To combat these abuses by the Federals, the guerrillas fought back with a vengeance, so much so that there was a price upon the head of Quantrill and every one of his men. Let the facts speak for themselves.

Reference Missouri Historical Review #54
Andreas - History of Kansas pg 1152-53
The Story of the Seventh Kansas by Simeon Fox
Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border by Don Gilmore
Quantrill of Missouri - Paul R. Petersen

Paul R. Petersen © 2012 Quantrillsguerrillas.com. Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay.

Here is an image of Colonel James Ridgeway Penick, commander of the Fifth Missouri State Militia.                                                                                           





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