William Quantrill’s Turn To The Proslavery Cause In 1860

William Quantrill betrayed four associates of Eli Snyder, an Osawatomie blacksmith and cohort of John Brown, in December of 1860 to convince proslavery forces that his desire to serve the proslavery cause was genuine. Quantrill had to do this because he was known in the area as a Free State advocate and proslavery forces had good reason to mistrust him. Quantrill planned to lead Charles Ball, Chalkley T. Lipsey, Edwin S. Morrison, Albert Southwick, Ransom L. Harris and John Dean into a trap at the Morgan Walker Plantation in Jackson County, Mo.

Quantrill’s plan was to ride ahead to the Morgan Walker Plantation and warn the Walker family about the raid on their slaves and set up the abolitionists that he had recruited for the raid for an ambush. First, he had to convince the abolitionists to go along with his plan. At this point Eli Snyder appeared as a snag in Quantrill’s plan. Snyder knew Quantrill, and distrusted him. Quantrill was a school teacher in nearby Stanton, and frequently visited Osawatomie, which had given Snyder enough experience with Quantrill to give Snyder a negative impression of his moral veracity. The path to Morgan Walker’s plantation went through Osawatomie, for Snyder was a leader in the abolitionist movement, and his blessing was necessary to motivate the abolitionists to raid the Morgan Walker Plantation and free its slaves.

Snyder flat out told the men that Quantrill was not to be trusted, and Quantrill quickly lost some of the abolitionists he planned to lead into ambush. Charles Ball, Edwin S. Morrison, John Dean and Chalkley T. Lipsey disregarded Snyder’s warning, and rode off on a raid to free slaves that would be a disaster for the abolitionists. John Dean found a wagon to transport the slaves that he believed would be freed during the raid on the Morgan Walker Plantation.

Quantrill rode ahead of the abolitionists and warned the Walker Family about the raid, and the trap was set, with a plan for Quantrill to join in attacking the men he had led to the Morgan Walker Plantation. In the evening of that fateful December night in 1860, Quantrill led Dean, Ball, Morrison and Lipsey into the ambush, and the duped abolitionists found themselves in a murderous crossfire. John Dean escaped and lived to tell the tale of Quantrill’s betrayal, but none of the other abolitionists survived Quantrill’s betrayal.

However, Quantrill’s gamble paid off. After surviving the immediate suspicions of the proslavery advocates he had betrayed his abolitionist companions to, he was regarded as a hero and became a renowned leader of Confederate Guerillas during the Civil War.

Quantrill’s skill at deceit and subterfuge served him well as he outwitted and out maneuvered Union troops in Missouri during the Civil War.

Osawatomie played a part in changing history when Quantrill switched sides in 1860, adding another colorful and historically important chapter to Osawatomie’s nationally important history.




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Posted by admin on May 11 2011. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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