Lawrence In Ashes
150 of her citizens butchered and burned
$2,000,000 worth of property destroyed
Quantrile has carried out his Threat
The oft-repeated threat of the rebel cutthroat Quantrile,
that he would burn Lawrence, has been executed. Almost
the entire city was laid in ruins, and its streets made to run
with innocent blood, on the morning of Friday, the 21st
Never, since the days of the Wyoming Massacre by the
savages, (except, perhaps, those of Minnesota), have the
pages of history been made so bloody and barbarous as the
21st of August 1863. The sacking of Lawrence, just seven
years and three months previous, was nothing in
comparison to this. Not since the war broke out, in all the
raids of the Border States, by the rebels, has there been
anything approaching this in blood-thirstiness, inhumanity,
in cowardice, in black-heartedness, in cold-blooded murder.
It equals the bloodiest days of Robespierre, when men’s
head were taken off by the guillotine for having opinions.
the shrieks of women and children; the pleading of wives,
sisters and mothers for their husbands, brothers and sons,
only seemed to increase the savageness of the demons.
They entered the town between daylight and sunrise, and
by nine o’clock the city of three thousand inhabitants,
of happy homes and prosperous businesses, was laid in
ruins, and 125 to 150 of her best people massacred. We
learn from persons that were there, that after entering town
they scattered about the place in squads, each squad having
their work laid out for them; that is, what houses they should
burn and what citizens they should murder, In one instance,
one of the leaders took from his pocket a paper and read
over a list of houses his men were to burn.
We could fill our whole paper with details and incidents
which make the heart sicken with contemplation. Two of
our citizens were there at the time, A. R. Bancoft and M.M.
Murdock. The former gentleman had gone there with a
carriage, to bring his brother, E.P. Bancroft, who has been
sick at Lawrence for some time, to this place. He was shot
several times, and had his money and one of his horses
stolen, and his carriage burned.
His loss was about $300. Mr. Murdock was several times
fired at, but made his escape by crawling into a well, which
had been dug in the cellar of one of the new buildings on
We are indebted to the Conservative of the 23rd for most
of the particulars of the affair, and for the list of killed and
It may seem strange to a great many that no resistance was
made, especially when the people of the city had expected an
attack previously, and had made preparations to meet the
rebels when they came. The papers, even, had said they were
ready for them. We suppose resistance would have been
useless. When they entered the town, Quantrile said if one
of his men were shot, the blood of the women and children
should atone for it..
The force of the rebels is variously estimated from 250 to
400. Reliable parties place it at 350.
They entered the town on the gallop, firing into every house,
and when the occupants appeared at the door, they were
shot down like dogs. The arms of the town were in the
armory, of which the rebels took possession, although they
did not carry them off.
About one hundred and twenty five houses in all, were
burned, and only one or two escaped be ransacked, and
everything of value carried away or destroyed. Six or eight
soldiers, camped upon the north side of the river, and
who forded across at every rebel who appeared upon the
bank, deterred the cowards from destroying some of the
houses near the ferry, and from cutting down the flag pole.
In West Lawrence, Dr. J. F. Griswold, whom kept a drug store
in the Eldridge block and was one of the best men of the city,
had a happy home, surrounded with all the comforts
and conveniences the country could afford. Boarding with
him were J. C. Trask, of the State Journal, and H. W. Baker,
of the firm of Ridenour & Baker, (both of who were
recently married); also S. M. Thorp, formerly State School
Superintendent, and Senator from Douglas county, and one
of leading young men of the State. These young men were
called out and shot before the eyes of their families, by a
man named Todd, who was second in command of the
villains. Mr. Trask and Dr. Griswold died immediately.
Mr. Thorp lingered all day and Mr. Baker was still living,
at last accounts. Dr. Griswold had returned Thursday evening
from the East.
Judge Carpenter, brother-in-law to Rev. Mr. Morse of this
place, was wounded in the yard and fell, when his wife and
Mrs. Morse (who was there on a visit) threw themselves
upon his body, begging for mercy to no avail. The fiends
dismounted, stuck the pistols between the persons of his
protectors and fired, killing him instantly.
Eighteen of the twenty-two unarmed recruits for the 14th
regiment, mostly boys, camped south of town, were murdered
in their tents.
Five bodies, burned to a crisp, near the ruins of Eldrige House,
could not be recognized.
Samuel Jones, a blacksmith, was shot down at his anvil, one
of the first victims.
In the Eldridge House were forty or fifty guests. It was the in
tention of these fiends, in the first place, to burn these people
in the house. R. S. Stevens argued with Quantril, and finally
they were permitted to march out, after being robbed, and
were furnished with a guard to the City Hotel. Mr. Stevens
did a most noble work in saving the inmates of Eldridge
House from massacre. To his intrepidity and sagacity many
are indebted for their lives.
Two men from Ohio were wounded in the Eldridge House,
and are now in Leavenworth.
Only the presence and peremptory orders of Quantrile
prevented the massacre of all the occupants after they had
been marched out on the street. the rebels were told there
was a negro baby still in the house, but they said,
“We will burn the G_d d__d little brat up”, and they did.
General Collamore, one of the best men in the State, went
into his well to hide, and the bad air killed him. His son and
Pat Keefe lost their lives trying to get the father out. Miss
Stone, daughter of the proprietor of the City Hotel, had a
diamond rings stolen from her finger. Quantrile obliged the
man to restore it. In revenge for this, the ruffians afterwards
came back and shot her father before her mother’s eyes.
They also tried to kill Miss Stone.
Mr. Lynch, brother to C. C. Lynch of this county, who slept in
the express office, saved a large amount of money by
throwing in into the vault of an out house nearby. He also
saved all the horses of the Kansas Stage Company by cutting
them loose and whipping them out of the stable. A little
presence of mind proved a good thing just then.
Several cases of remarkable bravery of women are related
by the reporter of the Conservative. The wife of Sheriff
Brown three successive times put out the fire kindled to
burn the house. Her husband was hidden under the floor.
The house was saved by this heroine. The life of S.A. Riggs,
District Attorney, was saved by the heroism of his wife,
who seized the bridle of the rebels horse, who attempted to
shoot him as he ran. Miss Lydia Stone was busy letting
horses loose, etc.
Mrs. John Speer put out the fire on her dwelling after it had
been twice lighted; and Mrs. Judge Carpenter acted bravely
as Pocahontas, but the rebels were more brutal than the
Indian Powhatan, for they killed her husband after she had
thrown herself upon his body. Jacob Pike of the Eastern
House, saved himself by jumping into the citern, and was
taken out almost frozen.
A rebel who was caught, and tried to make his escape by
breaking away and running, was brought to the ground dead
by the musket of Wille Speer, a son of U. S. Collector Speer,
aged about 12 years.
Offices of the Journal, Tribune and Republican, were leveled
to the ground. John Speer, Jr. of the Tribune, started for his
home from the office after the rebel came in. A printer in the
office tried to induce him to accompany him into the well
nearby, for safety, but he would do nothing but go home to
defend the house, and was killed.
James Eldridge and James Perrine clerked in T. B. Eldridge’s
store, better known as the “Country Store.” They were
promised protection if they gave up the safe key, and were
supposed to have been saved. Every safe in the city was
All the hotels were destroyed except the City Hotel. The first
one set on fire was the Mansion House, where the rebels
expected to find a large number of Red Legs, but there was
only one, and he escaped.
The loss in cash is estimated at $250, 000, and in property
and all, at $2,000.000. that is a low estimate.
The number of bodies found up to the time the reporter left,
was 113, of which about 20 were so badly burned as to
render recognition impossible. There were a large number of
strangers in town, and when the entire loss in ascertained
we think it will reach 150 killed. Many were doubtless killed
by the rebel pickets in the brush.
The people have not yet recovered from the terrible blow
sufficiently to appreciate the full force of the desolation; and
when they do recover from the shock many bore will
doubtless be missing.
Many men who commenced in Lawrence poor, and on little
capital, had built themselves up to be well off. They are now
impoverished. Many have lost all they had of earthly riches.
The entire draft enrollment and papers of the Provost
Marshall were destroyed, so that this job will have to be done
over in this State.
Capt. A. R. Banks escaped. Bill Anderson, who is third in
command, took his military suit.
We give below a list of seventy-six killed and several
wounded, but which is not complete. The fiends finished
their murderous work in nearly every case. This is a list
all of white men. A few negros were killed, but we have not
learned their names.
Disclaimer: This was transcribed exactly as it appeared in the
Dead and Wounded List
newspaper article. In keeping with the integrity of the time
period, all spelling, language and phrases have been left intact..
The surnames have been highlighted in red for your convenience.