"Was L.J. Crocker Really William Clark Quantrill?"
By Rebecca Lane Boyles
And so Crocker began to tell Ferguson Quantrill's story..
Crocker, acting as Quantrill was ambushed and shot on May 10, 1865. He and one of his men were taken prisoner by the Union Army. Since the army was convinced he was dying, his wife was allowed to see him one last time.
On her arrival, she found the other prisoner dead on his cot. An escape plan was devised. She put on the dead man's clothes, Quantrill exchanged clothes with her, then they dressed the dead man in Quantrill's clothes. She was then bound and gagged. Quantrill walked out dressed as a woman and she swore the dead man was her husband - William Clark Quantrill!
Crocker asked Ferguson not to divulge his secret until after his death. This was a promise he kept.
Harewood Army Hospital - Ken Burns Collection - It is not know the exact location Quantrill was held
Ferguson was not the only person who knew Crocker was Quantrill. One day my Great-Grandfather E.J. Billingslea was in the livery stable with Crocker when an Union Officer came in. The man took one look at Crocker, turned white, and exclaimed, "My God, it's Quantrill"!
Crocker replied, "I'm sorry Sir, but you are mistaken".
"Don't you remember me? You took me prisoner and I thought you were going to kill me! But, you let me go!"
Crocker was quiet for a moment. Then he sighed saying:
"Yes, I remember you Captain Hutchison. I was acting for Quantrill that night. I saw your Masonic Ring and I could not kill a fellow Mason.
Now, as one Mason to another I ask that you never repeat what transpired."
Hutchison and Billigslea (also a Mason) agreed.
Etsy listing for "Civl War Era Masonic Ring"
My Grandmother Pearl Daniels, had a hard time believing the story. She knew Captain Crocker as, "a nice, grey-haired, gentleman who always bought the graduating class ice cream".
But, it's up to you to decide. Was he or wasn't he?
Join us tomorrow for a look around Crocker's Family Plot on Crescent Hill.