This thread is an extension to my previous thread, "The Very Sad Tail of a Guerrilla's Wife." Two areas of interest that developed from that thread concerned the jail collapse, (the subject of this post), and the loss of the Davis- Smith Cemetery where some of the women who died in the collapse were buried, (a subject of a later post).
The above picture is supposedly that of the "Longhorn Tavern," built originally as a two story building in the mid 1850's by Robert Thomas. I say "supposedly" because as I understand the story, there was another building that shared a common wall with the tavern building, and I don't see that second building in the picture. When Mr. Thomas died in June of 1859, the building was inherited by his daughter, who was married to Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham. After taking ownership of the building, Bingham soon hired an architect, and for the cost of $1800, added a third story to serve as his artist studio.
At the time of the collapse, 17 women and 1 boy, were housed on the second and third floors. Their still exists controversy as to what caused the building's collapse, and rather than get involved in that, (see this article for more on the controversy-->http://civilwar150.kansascity.com/articles/darryls-jail-story-612/ ), I would like to give a list and a little background information of the women involved in the collapse.
Josephine Anderson was approx. 18 years old and was killed in the collapse. Her sisters, Mary (Molly) 16, was crippled for life, while Martha (Mattie) 13 suffered two broken legs. These ladies were the sisters of Wm. (Bloody Bill) Anderson, who had a few weeks prior to their capture, placed his sisters in the household of a Mrs. Lou Mundy Gray. Mrs. Gray's husband served under Wm. Anderson. Living with Mrs. Gray was her two orphaned (twin?) sisters, Susan and Mattie (Martha) Mundy both 21. The Mundy women had a brother serving in the CSA army under Prices' command. Also living in the household was Mollie Grindstaff, who's brother also rode with Anderson. One of the women living in the house (but not the Anderson girls), either purchased or was accused of stealing a large amount of cloth for the supposed purpose of making guerrilla shirts. When the Union troopers discovered a large amount of cloth and shirts at the home of Mrs. Gray, all of the women were arrested, with the exception of Martha (Mattie) Anderson, who they considered as being too young to arrest. But since she had no where to go, she accompanied her sisters to prison.
Also Killed were two of the Crawford sisters, Susan Crawford Vandever, 28, and Armenia Crawford Selvey, 25. Both women had husbands who served under Gen. Joseph O. Shelby. It was determined that the sisters had purchased too much medicine for their families personal use, so accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy they were arrested. With them at their time of arrest was Armenia Selveys' 9 year old son Jabez, who was also imprisoned with his mother and aunt. The Crawford sisters' father, Jeptha Crawford, had been murdered in front of his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) and his family and his farm burnt to the ground in January, 1863. Elizabeth (Betsy) Crawford was left destitute by the killing of her husband and the burning of her house and farm, so she had to break her family up and place her children with various friends and relatives. To have been found to be giving aid to Elizabeth by taking care of one of her children would have subject the caretaker to arrest, and the possible burning of their home. So in the spring of 1863, Elizabeth, after learning that Quantrill was camped nearby, took her four oldest sons and gave them to Quantrill, telling him to "make soldiers of them." The three oldest sons soon left Quantrill and joined the confederate army. But the youngest son, Riley, at 13 years of age, was too young to join the army, so he became one of the youngest member of Quantrills' command. Riley's mother didn't "give up" her four oldest sons by taking them to Quantrill; she gave them to the only men left in her family capable of taking care of them. Her maiden name was Harris, and riding with Quantrill was her nephews, Thomas Harris, the McCorkles, and Youngers and several in-laws; the only male relatives she had left.
Another of the women who was killed was Charity McCorkle Kerr, 32. Charity's husband, Nathan Kerr, and her two brothers, John and Jabez McCorkle, all rode with Quantrill. She was arrested along with her sister-in-law "Nannie" Harris McCorkle, the subject of the "Guerrilla's Wife" post, for possibly giving aid and comfort to the enemy for the load of flour they were carrying in their wagon.
Also in the jail collapse were three of the married Younger sisters; Mary Josephine Younger Jarrett, 23, Caroline Younger Clayton, 21, and Sarah Ann Younger Duncan, 17. I couldn't find the reason for their arrest, but Mary Josephine's husband, John Jarrett and her brother, Cole were well known Quantrill members, perhaps that was enough.
Three other women were in the jail and involved in the collapse, but not much is known about them, to whom they were related, or why the were arrested; A "Miss Hall," a Alice Fey Ness, (or Van Ness), and a "Mrs Wilson." It was thought that Mrs. Wilson may have been a spy and was imprisoned with the other women to provide the Federals with information. She died shortly after the collapse from her injuries.
I'll leave up to you readers if you think the picture is that of the "Longhorn Tavern." I got the picture from Pinterest, but it's clear from the picture where the image originated, (maybe a somewhat biased site?). My main reason for posting this is to add names to the 17 women who were involved in the jail collapse and to show their close relationship to each other, and to members of Quantrill's command. Four women died in the collapse, one died shortly thereafter, all suffered injuries, some for the rest of their life.