Tuesday, January 22, 2008

John Wesley Willey, Quantrill Raid Survivor - Born Today in 1836

John Wesley was a successful businessman with a stove dealership, but was best known for his flour mills. Several articles were published about his innovations in the fields of flour milling and enriched flour. Milling and Grain News, a trade publication, credited him in 1909 with being the first producer of bolted flour (in 1857) in the state of Kansas.

He enlisted in the army 14 May 1861 as a private in Company D of the 2nd Kansas Infantry, but he served for only three months.


Capture of SKAGGS Sullivan, Illinois
August 7th, 1913.

On August 21st, 1863 I was living on the Chamber’s place one half mile south of Franklin, Kansas.

On that memorable day I had just gotten up and started after water which was an eighth of a mile distant from the house. I met a man from Franklin who told me that Quantrill had gone to Lawrence and that he, was going to inform the people (I thought he was going to the woods).

At that moment I heard firing at Lawrence and immediately went back to the house told my wife what was going on, took my gun and what ammunition I had and started for Lawrence. On arriving at Franklin, I got a horse and started for the scene of the shooting. When I reached the spot where the cemetery now is I fell in with others who were watching the fray and started for town in company with John and Tom McFarland and By. Gilliland. We were the only ones mounted and about the ravine east of the Spears house we met Skaggs (one of Quantrill’s men) and challenged him. He said that he was a southerner and at that we fired on him; however, without effect, except probably, to slightly wound his horse.

He started to run and we told him that we had made a mistake and got him to follow us and led him past where the men were concealed near the Enos house. At that moment the men stepped out into the road back of him and he saw he was in a trap. Wheeling his horse he forced the animal to jump a high gate and started south, we in pursuit. We were obliged to dismount and open the gate before we could follow. We chased him south half a mile then east to a point south of Sparrcy’s with us in full chase. He started east toward Eudora and as we were getting close to him. At this moment a man appeared on the road ahead of him and stopped him. We came up and took him in charge, taking him back to Lawrence where we met a party of citizens near the Spear’s residence they took our prisoner from us and shot him to death. I believe that he was shot by an Indian. (White Turkey.)

We went on into town and passed through and saw the descruction and the dead and then followed on after Quantrill and his gang. We followed them until about Nine O’Clock when in company with others we camped for the night and returned to Lawrence the next day at about 10A.M.

As far as I am able to learn I am the only survivor of the party who assisted in this capture.
J. W. Willey, Jr.

John Wesley Wiley was my first cousin four times removed. His Aunt Mariamna “Abigail Mariamne” Willey Tuttle was my Great Great Great Grandmother.

Her Son William Lewis Tuttle and his wife moved to Douglas County, Kansas (where I live) on April 2, 1966 to be near John Wesley Willey. William Lewis' brothers Leonard and Dela also came to Kansas shortly after William Lewis and bought farms near Vinland. These young men were proceeded to the area by their uncle John Wesley Willey who settled at Blue Mound in 1857 and built a water powered saw mill on the Wakarusa River. William Lewis' farm stayed in the family until 1952.

No comments: