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November 22, 2016

1865 - A Heroic 19 Year Girl. Mary M. Bedichek, Kills One Intruder and Stabs Another Saving Her Father at Columbus, MO



Mary Bedichek's Cabin would have looked
similar in Columbus, MO, Johnson County's First Settlement
The following is a story of a heroic girl as given by her brother: "On the night of January 8, 1865, two men knocked at the door of an old gentleman's house by the name of Bedichek, living near Columbus, in this county, asking admittance to warm.
The daughter, a girl nineteen years of age, on going to the window, saw that the men were armed with double-barrel shotguns. She told them one might come in if he would lay down his gun. He did so, saying, "If that's all, I can do that.' Walking in, he refused to be seated, and went to the beds and examined them, inquiring if the old man and his daughter were the only inmates of the house. On being told that they were, he drew a revolver and presenting it to the old man's breast, said, "Old man, I came to kill you.' 


Possible Border Ruffian - Missouri Kansas Border

The Border Ruffians were pro-slavery activists from the slave state of Missouri, who in 1854 to 1860 crossed the state border into Kansas Territory to force the acceptance of slavery there. The name was applied by Free-State settlers in Kansas and abolitionists throughout the North.

No sooner said than the old gentleman seized the pistol with one hand and threw the other around the ruffian, and being very strong for his age, the old man succeeded in preventing him from shooting. By this time the daughter had concealed by her side a very heavy corn-knife,
Typical Corn Knife

and when the would-be-murderer wrenched the pistol from her father's hand, she struck him on the head with the knife. Her fiery indignation arose, and with valor she went to work with her corn-knife. The first stroke cut off one ear and disabled the hand that held the deadly weapon. Then she commenced her work on his head. In the meantime the old man had disengaged himself and walked back and procured a sword which he fortunately possessed, and pricked the miscreant through three times about the stomach. By this time he was shouting, 'Murder! murder! please let me alone. I'll trouble you no more.' His comrade outside, hearing this, broke open the north door. The brave girl immediately rushed there and struck him a severe blow with the corn-knife, backing him out of the house and bolting the door. She then put up a window shade that had fallen down. He then went around the house and fired two shots into the window and one in the door. The window being high from the ground carried the ball into the joist above. He then succeeded in breaking open the outside door, and took his wounded comrade out. Next morning his hat was found by the hen-coop, hacked to pieces. Here it is supposed he died, and the corpse was taken off on horseback. The valorous girl did her work well, and deserves a name in the constellation of those who defend their homes. With her it was not only self-preservation, the first law of nature, but the saving of the life of a dear father. This, noble act fully comprehends the fifth commandment of the Decalogue. 

Picture of a young lady about 1880
Marcia Pascal
Warrensburg was the nearest military post, and word of the tragedy had reached the station. Capt. Box, accompanied by a scout of thirty militia came out to see what was done. The father and daughter on seeing the scout approach, not aware whether friend or foe, decided to remain in the house and fight if necessary. The soldiers came in peacefully, and the young lady took her large knife from its scabbard, which had concealed in her dress, and placed it on the mantel shelf. The captain taking notice, remarked, 'What a brave lady!' She had been whetting her knife to fight all thirty of us.' Col. Crittenden was then in command of the post, and on hearing of the lady's bravery, made her a present of a good Colt's revolver, something better than a corn-knife with which to defend her home.

Col. Thomas T. Crittenden
in the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, on the Union side.
Several ladies of Warrensburg made her nice presents, and she won the universal praise and best wishes of all good citizens." This noble hearted lady, Miss Mary M. Bedichek, married S. W. Campbell, in the fall of 1867, and is living near the spot of the tragedy of 1865. She is a lady of high moral culture, and a consistent, devoted, faithful member of the church of Christ. She is the same extraordinary lady, that the papers said so much about, who fasted forty-one days in the winter of 1879. She is now enjoying good health and a sound mind.

24th Governor of Missouri. Col. Thomas Theodore Crittenden, Warrensburg Attorney
Thomas Theodore Crittenden
During the American Civil War Crittenden was appointed a Colonel in the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry, fighting on the Union side. Governor Willard Preble Hall appointed Crittenden to the post of Missouri Attorney General in 1864. Following his term, Crittenden moved his law practice to Warrensburg, Missouri in partnership with Francis Cockrell. Crittenden was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the 7th Congressional District in 1872 and again in 1876. In 1880, he helped to found the Missouri Bar Association. Crittenden was elected Governor of Missouri in the 1880 election. As governor, Crittenden wanted to suppress the robberies and violence committed by the James Gang. He authorized a reward of $5,000 (which was paid for by railroad corporations) for the capture of Jesse James and also for his brother Frank, dead or alive, which resulted in Robert Ford killing Jesse in 1882. Following Ford's conviction for the murder, Crittenden pardoned him. On October 5, 1882, Frank James surrendered in Jefferson City.

Footnote; The community of Columbus, Missouri was known as a southern enclave and most farms and buildings suffered from torching and raids during much during the civil war. William Quantrill used the Columbus area as a rendezvous point many times and started the massacre, Raid on Lawrence, Kansas from the Capt. Purdee farm less than 1 mile west of Columbus, Missouri in Johnson County in 1863 to avenge Jayhawkers. Jayhawker bands waged numerous bloody and gruesome invasions of Missouri and also committed some of the most notorious atrocities of the Civil War, including the massacre on September 23, 1861 at Osceola, Mo in which the entire town was set aflame and many of it's residents killed which inspired the 1976 film "The Outlaw Josey Wales."

Jayhawkers also engineered and implemented the August 13, 1863 collapse of the jail in Kansas City in which innocent civilian female relatives of The Missouri Partisan Rangers were incarcerated by Yankee soldiers because of their connection to the pro-Confederate guerrillas. Supports beams of the jail had been intentionally weakened and sabotaged, and the ensuing collapse of the structure killed four women including 14 year old Josephine Anderson, sister of William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson. Bill's other sister, Mary Anderson was badly injured (both legs broken). Also arrested and incarcerated during the collapse were Charity Kerr, sister of John McCorkle (killed), Mrs. Nannie McCorkle, sister-in-law of John McCorkle (uninjured), Susan Vandever, cousin of Cole Younger(James Gang) (killed), Armenia Whitsett Selvey, cousin of Cole Younger (killed).

These two incidents of the Osceola Massacre and the Kansas City Jail Collapse were prior to, and set the stage for the "Pay Back". Also known as the Lawrence Raid, in Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863, led by William Quantrill and his men. William Quantrill link The origin of the term Jayhawker is widely believed to signify a mythical bird which is a mongrel cross between a blue jay and a sparrow hawk. Significantly, a bird that ambushes and attacks a weaker prey. The term came to prominence just before the Border War, in Kansas, where it was adopted by militant abolitionist groups known as jayhawkers.

Mary M. Bedichek Married Samuel W. Campbell on 28 Jul 1867. Mary was born in November 1846 in Green Ohio. Samuel W. Campbell was born in February 1836 in Ohio.  

Re: Samuel W Campbell & Mary Bedichek



By Carolyn Miller March 27, 2003
I have learned that (Mary's children) James died at 18 or 19 of age and Elvin married but had no children. It is sad that this wonderful family ended with Mary.

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