William Elsey Connelley (1855-1930), avocational historian and author, was born in Kentucky but spent his adult life in Kansas as a teacher, county clerk, businessman (wholesale lumber) and banker. From 1914 till his death in 1930, he was
Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society.
In the 1890s, Connelley began researching and writing histories and biographies. One of his biographies was Quantrill and the Border Wars (Cedar Rapids: The Torch Press, 1909). Results of his extensive research and correspondence for the book may be found in numerous manuscript collections around the country. Most of these are the collections of other historians who corresponded with Connelley, but some are documents from his own research. The majority of his papers are with the Kansas State Historical Society. The description of their collection is as follows:
William Elsey Connelley, Papers, 1878-1931. Collection No. 16. This collection contains the papers of Connelley, author and secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society from 1914
to 1930. The collection contains personal papers, manuscripts, and research materials collected and used by William Connelley in his published works. An unpublished guide is available.
Pickler Memorial Library's collection consists of Connelley's interviews with five persons who knew Quantrill or who survived his August 21, 1863 raid on Lawrence Kansas. Each of the persons interviewed had a different perspective of Quantrill or of the raid; two also mention John Brown and his activities of 1856; none is cited in Quantrill and the Border Wars. The three 1909 reports, all in Connelley's handwriting, are accompanied by typed transcripts of the written documents; both versions are signed by Connelley. Those dated in 1906 are not signed but are in the same hand as those of 1909.
(these short abstracts indicate the perspective of the persons interviewed)
C 4/1 : Mrs. Frances Beeson Thompson and her husband George Thompson
Topeka, Kansas, Sunday April 8, 1906. Called on Mrs. Frances Beeson Thompson and her husband George Thompson, of 1030 Morris Avenue, Topeka. Mrs. Thompson is the daughter of H.V. Beeson, with whom
Quantrill came to Kansas. Mrs. Thompson says the young men with whom Quantrill took up claims in Johnson County, Kansas were all well known to her and her family in Canal Dover [they] would come to her father's for
Sunday dinner almost every Sunday.
Topeka, Kansas, April 8, 1906. Mrs. Frances Beeson Thompson directed me to Mrs. B.F. Jackson of Topeka, a person who lived at Stanton at an early day, who might give me some
information. I saw her to-day, also her two sons. Quantrill turned south after sacking Lawrence. His intention was to sack Osawatome and Paola. The Jacksons could see Quantrill's command on the high land
between the waters of the Marais Des Ceynes and Bull Creek as it migrated from Lawrence toward Paola. They were in sight an hour or more. They numbered about 500.
A.J. Phillips lives at No. 333 Mississippi Street, Lawrence, where he has lived since Territorial times. He was hospital steward of the Ninth Kansas, but was so familiar with the country that
he was often sent out with troops and did regular military service. I saw Phillips in Lawrence, September 27, 1909, but did not then have time to get a full statement from him. Phillips was with the company of
Captain Coleman. When Coleman heard that Quantrill had crossed into Kansas he started on the trail of the guerrillas. Phillips went along.
The following statement was made to me in Lawrence, Kansas, September 27, 1909, by Charles H. Hoyt. On September 14, 1856, he was one of the citizens who defended Lawrence from the border-ruffians
and was actively engaged on the firing line. He saw John Brown that day. He was in the Lawrence massacre; was at home at No. 745 Indiana Street on recruiting service. Hoyt's sister told the guerrillas that
there were no men in the house. He left the house by the back door and jumped over the fence into the alley and ran west. The guerrillas were all the time firing at him.
Saturday, October 16, 1909, at Lawrence, Kansas, I saw Mrs. Jane R. (Hicks) Oliver, wife of Adam Oliver, a survivor of the Lawrence Massacre, and had from her the following. At the time of the
Massacre they lived at 623 Indiana Street. On the morning of the massacre the family was awakened by the firing of the guerillas; a guerilla rode up to the door. The ruffian left, and in a few minutes
another appeared. The second guerrilla had not been gone long until another stopped at the door. He finally determined to burn the house and said to her son Adam, then a very small boy that he must get the