Episode Four: The Legacy of Quantrill’s Raid and Order Number 11

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence and the issuance of Order No. 11, KHC is featuring excerpts from the “Quantrill’s Raid and Order Number 11” Shared Stories of the Civil War reader’s theater script. The Shared Stories of the Civil War reader’s theater project is a partnership between KHC and the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.                                                  

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman, Photo courtesy of: Library of Congress.

NARRATOR: In the years that followed, Kansans and Missourians chose to remember Quantrill’s Raid and Order Number 11 by holding public commemorations. In 1888, two decades after the Lawrence massacre, the surviving members of Quantrill’s Raiders met in Blue Springs, Missouri. The distinguished guest of the “Ice Cream Social” was none other than William Quantrill’s own mother, Caroline Clarke Quantrill. Between 1888 and 1929, there were 32 reported reunions of Quantrill’s Raiders. Today, members of the William Clarke Quantrill Society meet annually for reunions in western Missouri.

READER 1: [The guerrillas] were an intelligent and well-behaved lot of men, and did not seem possessed of any of the bloodthirsty characteristics ascribed to them. If they ever had, the refining influence of 23 years of peace and civilization have evidently transformed them into good law abiding citizens.

Kansas City Journal, May 12, 1888.

READER 4: But Quantrill and his men were no more bandits than the men on the other side. I’ve been to reunions of Quantrill’s men two or three times. All they were trying to do was protect the property on the Missouri side of the line.

Harry S. Truman.

Tomorrow, find out how survivors chose to commemorate the victims of Quantrill’s Raid.