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George E. Young letter

Call Number: RH MS P620


This letter from George Edwin Young, a survivor of William Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, Kansas, August 21, 1863, was written to his father two days following the massacre. A typed and annotated transcription of the letter is included.


  • Creation: August 23, 1863


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of George Edwin Young (1833-1913)

George Edwin Young was born in Massachusetts in 1833 to Darius Franklin Young and Abigail Young. In 1857 he came to Kansas with other New England emigrants, initially settling in Lecompton. He later moved to Grant Township of Douglas County, Kansas in 1865.

On the night of August 20, 1863, Young was lodged at the Johnson House in Lawrence, Kansas enroute to Lecompton, Kansas for hired work with his horse-drawn mowing machine. He woke on the morning of August 21 to an attack on Lawrence by William Quantrill's guerrilla band, which burned the town and killed many of its citizens. Young survived the raid and wrote of it two days later in a letter to his father.

Young remained on his Grant Township farm until around 1912, when he moved into Lawrence. In 1869 he married Elizabeth B. Crain (1847-1922), with whom he had two sons, Charles and Ernest. George E. Young died in 1913 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.

[Information retrieved from collection materials and newspaper obituaries.]


2 folders

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This unsigned letter from George E. Young was written at Minneola in Franklin County, Kansas on August 23, 1863. Young writes to his father, Darius Franklin Young of Massachusetts, giving his eyewitness account of William Quantrill's raid on Douglas County's Lawrence community two days prior. He describes the occasion for his stay at Lawrence the night of August 20, gives vivid account of events of Quantrill's raid the following day, and describes the circumstances of his survival and his subsequent pursuit of the raiders in a company of men led by General James Lane. He also describes the loss of cash and property that he suffered in the raid and his concern for its impact on his livelihood. Accompanying the letter is a photocopied typescript of it, naming George E. Young as the writer, and also naming his father.

Physical Location

RH MS P620

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Edwin S. Young

Guide to the George E. Young Collection
George E. Young letter
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2004. Finding aid encoded by mh, 2004. Finding aid revised by mh, 2009; mwh, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
George E. Young letter, Kansas Collection, RH MS P620, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States