My parents divorced in 1981 and I went with my mother to a little place called Highfill, Arkansas to live on my grandparents property until my mother could get established with her own home. It was then that I was catching the school bus to a small town eight miles from Highfill called Gentry. Later on, my mother and I would move into Gentry and it would be my home for a few years until I came back to Kansas City as a teenager. Fast forward to 2003.
In 2003, I began doing my own research of people with famous or well known backgrounds and I happened to stumble upon a man buried at Elmwood Cemetery named Clay Crenshaw. Low and behold, this would be Henry Clay Crenshaw who rode with Quantrill and was at the raid on Lawrence, Kansas. I became intrigued by Quantrill's men and the Kansas-Missouri border wars and the rest is, well....history. I had an idea to turn Elmwood into an educational library as well as cemetery and asked people for donations of books to get things rolling. One of the first I asked was Quantrill historian and author, Donald Hale. Don was very generous in donating "Branded As Rebels" and "The William Clarke Quantrill Mens Reunions, 1898-1929." As I was perusing the "Reunions" book, something made me do a fast double take when I came across the 1908 reunion. The name "J.J. Carl, Gentry, Arkansas" caught my eye! I would later ask Don if he had any info on this Carl fella and, after much looking, Don didn't have any more than just what I read. I put Carl on the backburner for a long time and, in 2007, I would be gone from Elmwood without seeing my educational library come to light.
A few years ago, as I continued doing Quantrill research, I came across Carl again. I dug and dug trying to add to the mystery. I had found that he was around the Kansas City area during the border wars and also fought at Wilson's Creek. Then...I came across a Missouri soldier ALSO buried in Gentry, Arkansas named Joseph Coyl and the regiment listed on his pension application was...."Quanturell's." Long story short, my educational library idea had never died and I had capitalized on that by thinking of a way to let northwest Arkansas know that they too were a part of the Kansas-Missouri border wars. I wanted to bring Kansas City, Independence, Lawrence, Baxter Springs and the like to them. And that, my friends, in brief, is how it all started. Below is the articles and passages from "The William Clarke Quantrill Mens Reunions 1898-1929" book that made me do the double take and start this whole thing!
THE INDEPENDENCE EXAMINER AUGUST 25, 1908
The elected officers were Ben Morrow, Capt., Levi Potts, 1st Lt., Warren Welch, secretary, William Green, A.F. Hays, and Dr. Lee Miller, committee.
These men answered roll call: Gabe Parr, William Jones, Franklin Smith, Edmon Jones of Blue Springs;
Wm. Gregg, George Noland, James Tatum, A. F. Hays, Dr. M.C. Jacobs of Kansas City, Missouri.
Dr. Lee Miller, Knobnoster; J.C. Ervin, Marshall, Mo.; Wm. Greer, Lexington, Mo.; Capt. Ben Morrow, Buckner; Ves Akers, Sibley; J.L. Brown, Bates City; Cole Younger, Lee's Summit; Robert Jack, Sheffield, Mo.; James Campbell, Pleasant Hill, Mo.; Hiram George, J.H. George, C.T. Duncan, Oak Grove, Mo.; John Koger, Lone Jack; Wm. Patterson, Smithville; Levi Potts, Grain Valley; J.C. Crock, Kearney, Mo.; J.B. Webb, Higginsville; J.C. Mundy, Oak Grove; J.J. Carl, Gentry, Arkansas; J.G. Vaughn, Kingsville, Mo.;J.N.Haun, Oak Grove, Mo.; G.T. Stone, St. Joseph; Thomas Webb and W.W. Welch, Independence, Mo.
OAK GROVE BANNER, AUGUST 28, 1908
IN INDEPENDENCE NEXT. The Quantrell Survivors Held a Successful Meeting in Blue Springs Last Week. The annual reunion of the Quantrell survivors held at Blue Springs August 21-22 elected the following officers: Ben Morrow, Captain. Levi Potts, first lieutenant, Warren W. Welch, secretary. William Green, A.F. Hayes and Dr. Lee Miller committee.... These men answered the roll call at the reunion: Gabe Parr, William Jones, Edmon Jones, Franklin Smith, of Blue Springs; Wm. Gregg, George Noland, James Tatum, A.F. Hayes, Dr. M.C. Jacobs, of Kansas City; Dr. Lee Miller, Knobnoster, J.C. Ervin, Marshall; Wm. Greer, Lexington; Cap. Ben Morrow, Buckner; Ves Akers, Sibley; J.L. Brown, Bates City; Cole Younger, Lee's Summit; Robert Jack, Sheffield; James Campbell, Pleasant Hill; Hi George, J.H. George, C.T. Duncan, Oak Grove; John Koger, Lone Jack; Wm. Patterson, Smithville; Levi Potts, Grain Valley; J. C. Crock, Kearney; T.B. Webb, Higginsville; J.C. Munday, Oak Grove; J.J. Carl, Gentry, Arkansas; J.G. Vaughn, Kingsville; J.N. Haun, Oak Grove; G.T. Stone, St. Joseph; Lee Stone, Thomas Webb and W.W. Welch, Independence. The next reunion will be held in Independence.
What's great about knowing that J.J. was actually with Quantrill is that it confirms and solidifies that he actually rode with someone famous like Cole Younger and it's not puffed up family lore. Through next year, I will have more entries like this to show the solid proof of the Quantrill guerrillas that rest in the northwest Arkansas area. You can find the Donald Hale book, "The William Clarke Quantrill Mens Reunions, 1898-1929" in the QSCR collection at the Benton County Historical Society in Bentonville, Arkansas!
In closing, I hope you all have enjoyed the past year here on Josephine and have found something interesting in this year's posts. May you all have a very Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season and a joyous Happy New Year!
Jesse Carl picture credit to Zelda Capehart at FindAGrave