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Scholarly Essays

“A Most Cruel and Unjust War:” The Guerrilla Struggle along the Missouri-Kansas Border

An essay by ,
Missouri State University
James Montgomery
Bursheba Fristoe Younger knew better than perhaps anyone the thorough devastation wrought by nearly a decade of guerrilla warfare along the Missouri-Kansas border. The Youngers, like many households, traced their hardships back to the partisan violence of the 1850s. A slaveholding family of southern descent, they owned a dry goods store in Cass County, Missouri, which was repeatedly robbed by antislavery bands of Kansas “jayhawkers.” At the outbreak of the national Civil War, Bursheba’s husband, Henry, remained an avowed Union man, but in July 1862, Unionist militia ambushed, robbed, and murdered the family patriarch as he traveled home from Westport.