WILLIAM CLARKE QUANTRILL became the most famous and feared of the Missouri guerrillas. Yet he was not a Missourian, but had been born in Ohio in 1837 and had spent most of his adult life in Kansas. He came to Kansas in the spring of 1857 and for a while worked on a farm near Stanton in Johnson County. In 1858 he joined an army expedition to Utah as a teamster. Then, after a period in the gold fields about Pike's Peak, he returned to Kansas and taught school briefly at Osawatomie. Next he went to Lawrence, where under the assumed name of Charley Hart he joined up with a band of jayhawkers and engaged in horse stealing, burglary, and the kidnaping of Negroes. Eventually the Douglas County authorities indicted him for his crimes, but were unable to arrest him.
Quantrill achieved his first real notoriety in December, 1860. He persuaded four Kansas "practical abolitionists" to accompany him on a raid into Missouri for the purpose of "liberating" the slaves of Morgan Walker, a prominent Jackson County farmer. Prior to the raid, however, he forewarned Walker, with the result that the four abolitionists walked into a trap and were all killed, except one, who escaped badly wounded. Quantrill remained in Jackson County the rest of the winter, during