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August 11, 2020

1860s Kingsville MIssouri Native Archie Clements rides with "Bloody Bill" Anderson

 Submitted by Peggy Nuckles

Archie Clements

The following information is from The Encyclopedia of Quantrill's Guerrillas by Rose Mary Lankford

"Archie Clements was born sometime in 1844 and was from Kingsville, Johnson County, Missouri.  At the beginning of the war, Clements was seventeen years old.  He was called "Litle Archie."  Clements was small, blond, with blue-gray eyes, and always smiling.  He was supposedly the real brains behind Anderson's men."

On August 21, 1863, he took part in the Lawrence Massacre which was planned and headed by William Quantrill.

According to the book, The Devil Knows How to Ride by Edward E. Leslie, on July 15, 1864, "Anderson and his followers made their way through southern Carroll County.  Since this area was a hotbed of Unionism, they killed farmers in their fields and riders they encountered on the roads, five in just the first hour, including an old man named Hiram Griffith, who had been working behind a plow until Arch Clement threw him to the ground and cut his throat from ear to ear with a bowie knife leaving him writhing in a pool of his own blood."

Lankford reports that less than a month later on August 13, 1864, in a skirmish at Flat Rock Ford, "he saved Anderson by taking him up and setting Anderson behind him on his horse.   Clements was wounded in the battle." 

On September 15, 1864, at Boonville, he disobeyed Anderson's orders and was reprimanded severely. But by the next week, he was apparently back in Anderson's good graces. On September 23, he fought with Anderson at the battle of Fayette. The battle was a disaster for the guerillas. According to Lankford, "The Yankees lost only one man - who had been caught out in the open- and had two wounded, but thirteen raiders had been killed outright, and another thirty wounded, some of whom died that night"

Apparently, Clements wasn't hurt because Leslie writes, "On the morning of September 27, Bill Anderson took his band into Centralia." They robbed and looted the town then threatened the passengers of a stagecoach.  Finally, "a cry went up:  'The train! The train'  The thieves broke off their probing for small change and raced to the depot... The railroad train, with three coaches, an express car, and a baggage car, was on its regular run, bound northwest from St. Louis to St. Joseph, carrying mail and passengers... Showers of bullets swept engine and cars, shattering all the windows and killing two male passengers.  The engineer stopped the train and "six raiders climbed into the trail and found twenty-three unarmed soldiers in uniform.  "They were on furlough fresh from the Atlanta campaign, having served under Sherman... They were held up and driven outside with kicks and shoves.  Carried along with them was a German who spoke little English and had the bad luck to be wearing a blue shirt.

"As Anderson came up Arch Clement asked, 'What are you going to do with them fellows?'

"'Parole them, of course," Anderson answered sardonically.

"'I thought so," Clement laughed.  'You might pick out two or three though, and exchange them for Cave, if you can.' Cave Wyatt, the sergeant of the band, had been wounded in a recent engagement and fallen into Federal hands.

"'Oh, one will be enough for that, Arch,' Anderson replied. 'You take charge of the firing party, and when I give the word pour hell into them.'

"Then he called out pleasantly, 'Boys, have you a sergeant in your ranks?'  There were several, but apprehensive that Anderson meant to torture or murder them, none replied.  Anderson shouted the question a second time, adding, 'If there be one let him step aside!'

"Sergeant Thomas Goodman hesitantly came forward.  Anderson assigned two men to escort him to safety. At the signal, the drunken firing squad cut loose."

Clements started shooting them at point-blank range.  He killed the first and last man in the battle and hung scalps of Federal soldiers on his bridle.

Historian J. Thomas Fufer wrote, "A dozen of the prisoners, shot through the brain or the heart, fell dead at the first volley... Another lay with one bullet-hole over the eye, another in his face, a third in his breast.  He was unconscious, his eyes were closed, he did not moan, but, with a sort of spasmodic motion, he dragged his right heel on the ground, back and forth, back and forth.  "He's marking time," said Arch Clement, jocosely."

A month later, on October 26, 1864 Bloody Bill Anderson was killed in battle in Orrick, Missouri.  According to Lankford, "Clements advised Anderson against the Orrick battle.  When Anderson was killed, he took command; he was barely 18 years old.  Clements wanted to join Captain Grooms of Jo Shelby's brigade but Grooms refused.  It infuriated Clements, so he and his men killed Grooms' entire command of fifty-four recruits.

"On March 14, 1865, he attended a conference to talk of surrender.  The next day, March 15, 1865, Clements entered Lexington to talk to Union Major J.B. Rodgers, Provost Marshall.  He was attacked while leaving, Lexington." Then the remnants of Anderson's band fled to Texas. 

 Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 and the war slowly wound down in the West.  Leslie tells of the fate of Anderson's men.  "About one hundred men chose to go back to Missouri. Dave Pool was their leader and their ranks included Arch Clement, and Jesse James.  They progressed slowly through the Indian Territory and southern Kansas, occasionally skirmishing with Federal units, then crossed into Missouri in early May.

"The band entered Johnson County on the night of May 6 and split in two.  One squad rode to Kingsville and murdered four railroad teamsters, the other men struck Holden where they cut the telegraph line and killed a militiaman and known thief named Duncan. Colonel Harding's trooper took off in hot pursuit and actually managed to get close enough to slay three raiders.  The rest rendezvoused near Lexington, having murdered another fifteen men along the way.  They told farmers they did not believe that Lee had surrendered; it was 'a damned Yankee lie.'  The band split again.  Half the men rode into the Sni Hills with Dave Pool, then scattered and burrowed deep into hiding places, the other half put themselves under the command of 'Little' Archie Clement.

"On the morning of May 9, Clement sent a letter to Major B.K. Davis, commander of the Lexington post, in which he threatened retaliation if any of his friends were hurt and promised to 'treat all men who reported for militia duty as public enemies.'.. two days later Clements fired a second salvo.

  "'Six Miles Out The Field, May 11, 1865

Major Davis, Lexington, Mo.:

Sir: This is to notify you that I will give you until Friday morning, 10 a.m., May 12, 1865, to surrender the town of Lexington.  If you surrender, we will treat you and all taken as prisoners of war.  If we have to take it by storm we will burn the town and kill the soldiers.  We have the force and are determined to have it.


I am, sir your obedient servant

A. Clements,

Operator'  

"Nothing came of this audacious bluff, and Clement and Jim Andrson soon joined forces and roamed around Howard County"

Lankford writes, "When Pool surrendered, Clements did not, instead he left for Texas with Jim Anderson in the fall of 1865.  

Lankford and Leslie disagree on the time of Clements' return from Texas.  According to Lankford, "After the war, he was in the Liberty Bank robbery in February of 1866."

However, Leslie says "Arch Clement returned to Lafayette County from Texas in the summer of 1866.  Although he had a price on his head, he made no effort to hide; on the contrary, he was often to be found in some Lexington saloon, drinking with Dave Pool.

"At 11:00 A.M. on the morning of December 13, Clement rode into town at the head of twenty-six heavily armed men. Dave Pool brought up the rear.  They stopped at the City Hotel, repaired to the bar, and drank their fill.  Then, in obedience to a recent order that required all men over eighteen to register for possible muster into the state militia,(if they did not they would be fined $20.00)  they proceeded to the militia office at the courthouse.  Major Bacon Montgomery, enrolled them and then told them to leave town.

"All obeyed, but three hours later 'Little Archie' returned with a friend named Young Hicklin, and resumed his place at the City Hotel bar.  Major Montgomery sent a three-man squad to arrest him.  When they entered the bar, 'Little Archie' drew a revolver and cut loose, then fled through the side door.  He vaulted onto his horse and raced down Franklin Street.  Several riflemen were hidden in the courthouse where Major Montgomery's office was located.  Montgomery must have anticipated Clements' escape and set up an ambush to kill him.  As he passed the courthouse, the sharpshooters opened fire from the windows.  The 22-year-old Clements was riddled with bullets.  His horse slowed to a walk, and his body fell face down in the dirt.  

"His corpse was washed, dressed, and put on display.  The inevitable photograph was taken.  There is disagreement today over where he is buried.  Graves in two different western Missouri cemeteries are said to contain his remains."  He may be buried in Mount Olie Church Cemetery, Napoleon, Lafayette County, Missouri

Archie Clements was notorious for his brutality and sick sense of humor during the war.  Lankford tells this story, "Once he used a German, named Eisenhour, as a guide, and then killed him, cut off his head and laid it in Eisenhour's hands on his chest." 

She also mentions the 'Brotherhood of Death' which was started by Clements.  One man had to avenge the death of a brother or fellow guerrilla by killing Union soldiers.

Archie's brother, Henry, also served under Anderson.  Henry Clements took part in the Lawrence Massacre and fought Johnson at Centralia.  On May 22, 1900, he died in Independence, at the age of 88, at his son's home.  He was buried in a family cemetery near Lake City.

For more details about the life and death of "Little Archie" Clements see https://1973whsreunion.blogspot.com/2012/07/kingsville-missouri-massacre-johnson.html


Arch Clements, Dave Pool, and Bill Hendricks brandishing revolvers in Sherman, Texas, 1863

Arch Clements, Dave Pool, and Bill Hendricks brandishing revolvers in Sherman, Texas, 1863

The books, The Devil knows how to Ride 

and The Encyclopedia Of Quantrill's Guerrillas 
are available at the Johnson County Historical Society Library.

Clement, the outlaw leader

Beginning in 1866, Clement led his supporters into a new profession: bank robbery, especially of banks associated with Missouri Unionists. On February 13, a group of gunmen carried out the first daylight, peacetime, armed bank robbery in U.S. history when they held up the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, stealing more than $58,000 in cash and bonds. The bank was owned and operated by former Union militia officers, who recently had conducted the first Republican Party rally in Clay County's history. The state authorities suspected Archie Clement of leading the raid and offered a reward for his capture. In later years, the list of suspects would grow to include Frank James, Cole Younger, John Jarrette, Oliver Shepard, Bud and Donny Pence, Frank Gregg, Bill and James Wilkerson, Joab Perry, Ben Cooper, Red Mankus and Allen Parmer (who later married Susan James, Frank and Jesse's sister). During the escape through the streets of Liberty, one of the gang shot dead an innocent bystander named George Wymore.[6] A string of robberies followed, many linked to Clement's gang. The hold-up most clearly linked to them was of Alexander Mitchell and Company in Lexington, Missouri, on October 30, 1866, in which they stole $2,000.

Death

As the pivotal election of 1866 approached, political violence flared across Missouri. Much of it was associated with Archie Clement, who harassed the Republican authorities who governed Missouri. On election day in November 1866, Clement led a group of some 100 former bushwhackers into the town of Lexington. Their gunfire and intimidation led to the defeat of the Republican Party in the election. In response, Governor Thomas C. Fletcher dispatched a platoon of state militia, led by Major Bacon Montgomery. Clement withdrew, only to return on December 13, 1866. Seeking to avoid a major battle in the center of town, Montgomery allowed Archie Clements to enroll his men in the state militia (as a joke, it seems); after the bushwhackers left, Clement went to the bar of the City Hotel for a drink.

Seeing his opportunity, Montgomery dispatched a few men to apprehend Clement, who was wanted on a warrant for the Liberty robbery. The major's men found Little Arch drinking with an old friend and called out for him to surrender. Clement drew his revolvers and a wild gunfight ensued. Despite having sustained a gunshot wound to the chest, Archie managed to make it outside and onto his horse. Clement rode up the town's main street in an effort to escape only to be shot off his horse by a militia detachment stationed at the courthouse. Montgomery and his men approached the fallen bushwhacker, who, though mortally wounded, was trying to cock his revolver with his teeth. One of the soldiers asked, "Arch, you are dying. What do you want me to do with you?" Clement replied, "I've done what I always said I would do ... die before I'd surrender." Major Montgomery himself later stated of Clement's final moments, "I've never met better 'grit' on the face of the earth."

After Arch Clement's death, his organization continued to rob and be pursued by government troops. Out of this group rose Jesse James, who first achieved notoriety three years later. Archie Clement is buried in the Arnold Cemetery near Napoleon, Missouri.


Clement, the outlaw leader

Beginning in 1866, Clement led his supporters into a new profession: bank robbery, especially of banks associated with Missouri Unionists. On February 13, a group of gunmen carried out the first daylight, peacetime, armed bank robbery in U.S. history when they held up the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, stealing more than $58,000 in cash and bonds. The bank was owned and operated by former Union militia officers, who recently had conducted the first Republican Party rally in Clay County's history. The state authorities suspected Archie Clement of leading the raid and offered a reward for his capture. In later years, the list of suspects would grow to include Frank JamesCole Younger, John Jarrette, Oliver Shepard, Bud and Donny Pence, Frank Gregg, Bill and James Wilkerson, Joab Perry, Ben Cooper, Red Mankus and Allen Parmer (who later married Susan James, Frank and Jesse's sister). During the escape through the streets of Liberty, one of the gang shot dead an innocent bystander named George Wymore.[6] A string of robberies followed, many linked to Clement's gang. The hold-up most clearly linked to them was of Alexander Mitchell and Company in Lexington, Missouri, on October 30, 1866, in which they stole $2,000.

Death

As the pivotal election of 1866 approached, political violence flared across Missouri. Much of it was associated with Archie Clement, who harassed the Republican authorities who governed Missouri. On election day in November 1866, Clement led a group of some 100 former bushwhackers into the town of Lexington. Their gunfire and intimidation led to the defeat of the Republican Party in the election. In response, Governor Thomas C. Fletcher dispatched a platoon of state militia, led by Major Bacon Montgomery. Clement withdrew, only to return on December 13, 1866. Seeking to avoid a major battle in the center of town, Montgomery allowed Archie Clements to enroll his men in the state militia (as a joke, it seems); after the bushwhackers left, Clement went to the bar of the City Hotel for a drink.

Seeing his opportunity, Montgomery dispatched a few men to apprehend Clement, who was wanted on a warrant for the Liberty robbery. The major's men found Little Arch drinking with an old friend and called out for him to surrender. Clement drew his revolvers and a wild gunfight ensued. Despite having sustained a gunshot wound to the chest, Archie managed to make it outside and onto his horse. Clement rode up the town's main street in an effort to escape only to be shot off his horse by a militia detachment stationed at the courthouse. Montgomery and his men approached the fallen bushwhacker, who, though mortally wounded, was trying to cock his revolver with his teeth. One of the soldiers asked, "Arch, you are dying. What do you want me to do with you?" Clement replied, "I've done what I always said I would do ... die before I'd surrender." Major Montgomery himself later stated of Clement's final moments, "I've never met better 'grit' on the face of the earth."

After Arch Clement's death, his organization continued to rob and be pursued by government troops. Out of this group rose Jesse James, who first achieved notoriety three years later. Archie Clement is buried in the Arnold Cemetery near Napoleon, Missouri.


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