Ray County Genealogy

A Missouri GenWeb Project

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Roster of Ray County Soldiers

Southwest Expedition
(Kansas-Missouri Border Troubles)

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Ray County - Military Records

Southwest Expedition (Kansas-Missouri Border Troubles), 1860

During the antebellum period, many Missourians advocated for the organization of the territory west of the state's border. The land, home to many Native American tribes, was fertile and undeveloped. More importantly to Missouri, as a slave state, was the possibility of sharing a border with a territory that allowed slaves, thus protecting and defending their own interests in that institution.

President Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act on May 31, 1854. The act organized the land west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska, with the provision that popular sovereignty would determine if the territories were slave or free.

That act set the stage for a decade of border warfare. Missourians from the western counties began by raiding Kansas's territorial elections, attempting to establish a pro-slavery government through illegal voting and violence. Finally, in October 1857, with federal troop protection, a legal free-territory government was established; in January 1861, Kansas was admitted as a free state.

From the spring of 1858 through December of 1860, western Missourians suffered many depredations from Kansas invaders, referred to as "jayhawkers." The attacks were in retaliation for offenses inflicted on Kansans by aggressive bands of "border ruffians" from Missouri. Vehemently opposed to slavery, the jayhawkers engaged in acts ranging from looting to murder.

In February 1859, the Missouri state legislature appropriated $30,000 to suppress the troubles in western Missouri and bring the jayhawkers to justice. That April, Governor Robert Stewart instructed the state's attorney general to organize militia companies in Bates and Cass counties. There was a brief cessation of hostility during the spring and summer of 1859; James Montgomery, the Kansas guerrilla leader, and his forces were scattered.

Governor Stewart received calls for aid and protection along the border during 1860, as sporadic violence continued. The hostility only heightened with the election of President Abraham Lincoln. In late November, Stewart sent a body of troops from St. Louis and Jefferson City to Vernon County to suppress Montgomery's increased activities. The force was known as the Southwest Expedition, commanded by Brigadier-General Daniel M. Frost. Order was somewhat restored by December, but the border turmoil continued throughout the Civil War.

Source: Soldiers Database: War of 1812 - World War I

Ray County Soldiers in the Kansas - Missouri Border Troubles War

Last Name First Name comments

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Last Updated 7/2/2008