Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Death Of Bloody Bill
William T Anderson was born 1838/39 in Kentucky. He grew up in Missouri, before moving to Kansas in 1857. Soon after arriving in Council Grove, settling on a land claim which belonged to his father, Anderson found himself involved in the fight that gave the area its name of “Bleeding Kansas”.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Anderson joined a group of pro-Union antislavery men known as “Jayhawkers”. Shortly after though he changed sides becoming a Confederate “Bushwhacker”. Anderson’s father was killed in 1862, and he and his brother Jim, found and killed the man responsible. Moving back to Missouri, Anderson began leading a band of about 40 guerillas. They road often with William Quantrill. When the group raided Lawrence Kansas, Anderson was said to have killed 14. Following the raid Anderson went to Texas for the winter. Returning to Missouri in 1864 with a band of about fifty, he embarked on a summer of violence, coming to a head on September 27th 1864 when they and some other gangs sacked the town of Centralia Missouri, massacring Union soldiers. Anderson’s band was caught just outside of Albany Missouri in an Union ambush. He took two bullets to the head on October 26th 1864. His body was taken to Richmond Missouri were it was placed on display and photographed.
Anderson kept track of the men he killed by tying knots in a rope. At the time of his death there were 54 knots in the rope.