Bloody Bill Anderson
- The following is the Henry C. Fuller interview of William C. Anderson
as it appeared in the Brownwood Bulletin's "Scrapbook" series written
by Lorene Bishop who was the historian of the Brown County Historical
Society. This article appeared October 1, 1989.
"In the 1920's Henry C. Fuller was a staff writer for the Banner-
Bulletin, a Brown County weekly newspaper. He interviewed many of
the pioneers of Brown County and printed their stories in the weekly
paper. One man Fuller interviewed was William C. Anderson of the
Salt Creek community. Anderson told Fuller that he was "Bloody Bill"
Anderson of the infamous Quantrill Guerrillas of Missouri. Fuller
began to write letters and send pictures back to Missouri trying to
prove if Anderson was "Bloody Bill" Anderson. Many in Missouri said
that he was the Anderson others said that it could not be the
On Aug. 24, 1924 the San Antonio Express carried this story written
by Henry C. Fuller:
'Six miles from Brownwood, on the banks of Salt Creek, a pretty
stream, that flows between rocky banks through pecan groves and
lovely valleys to the Colorado River, lives Uncle Bill Anderson, now
85 years old, and one time member of the famous Quantrill band of
guerrillas. The writer formed the acquaintance of Uncle Bill about
five year ago when he came to
this part of Texas and has spent many hours talking to him about the
stirring days of the past, at his home on Salt Creek. Uncle Bill, as
everybody knows him, is a familiar figure on the streets of Brownwood
on Saturday, and spends most of his time when in town at the
courthouse, conversing with old time friends and acquaintances. He
seldom talks about his connection with the famous band of William
Quantrill, and it is only to the closest friends that he talks at all
on this subject.
He joined Quantrill at the beginning of the tragic career of that
stormy petrel of the Civil War and was with him in practically [all
his] raids against the armies of the Union. Uncle Bill Anderson is
supposed to be dead, and the official reports in the office of the
secretary of war at Washington, signed by Major Cox of the Union
army, show that he was killed in Ray County, Missouri, about the
close of the Civil War, and was buried near where he was killed.
In a book written some time ago by a man named Connelly, who is now
president of the Kansas Historical Society at Topeka, Kansas, pains
are taken to show just how Bill Anderson was killed by Union
soldiers. The story is that on a certain occasion while Anderson
with a small band of guerrillas was raiding in Ray County, Missouri,
far removed from the main band under Quantrill, the Union forces
found it out and sent Major Cox with a detachment of soldiers and
under sealed orders to go to Ray County and Cox was not to open his
orders until he had reached a certain locality, which he was to do by
night, using the utmost secrecy and stealth in doing so and not
intimating to his men where he was going.
Major Cox followed the directions, and on reaching the lonely spot in
Ray County, he opened his orders and was surprised that they told him
he was now in the immediate vicinity of the camp of Bill Anderson,
right hand man of Quantrill, and that while most of his men were to
ambush or conceal themselves behind a fence on both sides of a long
land that opened from a wooded area, a small detachment was to go
forward, locate the band of Anderson and as soon as they had done so,
beat a hasty retreat, running back through the lane, and the rest of
the men under Cox were to fire upon the guerrillas and kill them as
they came by.
The plan worked fine, but when the scouts located Bill Anderson, and
Anderson's men gave instant pursuit, Anderson himself did not go.
However, one of his lieutenants mounted on the fine horse of Anderson
had joined in the chase. Every man was killed in ambush in the lane,
just as the orders of Cox anticipated, and the one on the big horse
known to belong to Anderson, was taken for Anderson.
As soon as Bill Anderson heard the shooting he knew that an ambuscade
had told the story, and mounting another horse in camp he plunged
into the woods and escaped. This was his last escapade of the war.
Leaving Missouri, he rode southward and kept on riding, riding until
he reached what is now the State of Texas, and then he rode on and
on, intending to go to Mexico and locate there. By and by he reached
the lovely valley of Salt Creek, in what is now Brown County. Nobody
lived here then, and once in (a) while roving bands of Indians passed
through the country. It was a charming place on an extreme feather
edge of things. Bluebonnets were in bloom as far as the eye could
see. Antelope and deer and an occasional buffalo and wild turkeys
and prairie chickens added to the interest and beauty of the
landscape. Through this lovely valley the little stream that Uncle
Bill named Salt Creek wended its way, between great groves of pecan
In the distance great hills formed as attractive and satisfactory
background. As Bill Anderson, then a young man, looked upon the
peaceful scene, far removed from strife and from human habitation, he
made up his mind at once to go no further in search of a place in
which to locate and build a home. So tethering his horse in the
midst of as fine grass as was ever tasted by the equine species, and
after broiling a fine steak from a deer which he shot, the wanderer
spread his blanket and with his saddle under his head was soon
sleeping quietly, and dreaming perhaps of the stirring days with
Quantrill back in Missouri. On the following day he rode up and down
the valley, and at last selected the place on which to build his
The house was built of logs - a double-roomed affair, and still
stands, although he has added to it as the years passed, covering it
by and by with lumber hauled on ox wagons from Fort Worth. In time
Bill married and children came to bless the union as the old saying
goes. These children grew to manhood and womanhood, married and now
in Brown County, all good people and doing their part toward making
the world and humanity better in every way.' "
Thank you, Dick, thank you, thank you and thank you.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Dick Weeks
Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2007 8:57 AM
Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Bloody Bill Anderson
Carl, you are correct. This thread was closed. We have already lost a
couple of members because of it and I don't want to lose any more.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Williams" <carlw4514@yahoo. com>
To: <civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com>
Sent: Sunday, June 24, 2007 7:46 AM
Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: Bloody Bill Anderson
>I see this thread is not closed, I must have misunderstood. Perhaps
> some posts were deleted I never even saw.
> Most of the time, when the "partisans" of this topic post something, I
> don't have a clue what their point is. Forgive me but the below is a
> perfect example! The thread has come around to discussing whether
> Bloody Bill deciding to become a peaceful man has credibility or not,
> and we get a seemingly irrelevant snip from the ORs.
> Perhaps it was in reply to a different point altogether. If so, why
> not explain what you are trying to say? I can't just read this bit
> from the O.R. and say aha! as you seem to think I will.
> Assuming that your purpose, Fran, was not just to mystify me, I have
> to suggest that some folks are getting so wrapped up in the minutia of
> the arguments that they don't realize the rest of us aren't with them
> at all. A certain assumption that we are following the argument is
> being made, and that assumption, in my case at least, is not valid.
> I'm still trying to get the big picture and failing. Earlier requests
> I made that some confusion be cleared up have been ignored as well.
> That makes me feel that no one really cares, that this is just some
> sort of shouting match. I'll repeat, in particular I'd like someone to:
> *Please give a synopsis as to what the Census Records issue is, for
> and against.
> *Please someone explain why anyone would have a vested interest one
> way or the other regarding whether this Texas person turns out to
> really be Bloody Bill or not. A very bold charge was made that it
> matters financially to some people. We need to know what that's about.
> --- In civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com, "franbolton" <franbolton@ ...> wrote:
>> See this about Bloody Bill's death in MO: (typos due to choosing TEXT in
>> the pull down at top left of page)
>> "Lieutenant- Colonel CHRISTENSEN,
>> A. A. G., JIfil. Div. of West Mi.s~sissippi, New Orleans, La.
>> A DDE NDA.
>> GENERAL ORDERS, ~ IIDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSouRI,
>> No. 216. AS~aint Louis, Mo., December 2, 1864.
>> I. The conduct of the militia under Actg. Lient. Col. S. P. Cox and
>> Major Grimes in pursuing Bill Anderson's band of bushwhackers, kill-
>> ing Anderson and dispersing his band, as reported by Brig. Gen. James
>> Craig, Enrolled Missouri Militia, displays so much spirit, energy, and
>> braver~* on the part of citizens, giving their services and risking
>> lives for the public good without fee or reward, as to call for the
>> thanks of the major-general commanding the department.
>> II. In consideration of their gratuitous services, and as a reward for
>> their gallantry, it is therefore ordered that the property taken by
>> citizens from the robbers be distributed under the direction of
>> General Craig, as follows:
>> The horse ridden by Bill Anderson and the watches and arms taken
>> will be given to the several officers of the command, to be retained as
>> honorable trophies. The money capture(l will be given in just propor-
>> tioiis to the wounded of the command and to the families of such as
>> were killed in the affair.
>> III. Brigadier-General Craig will furnish these headquarters with a
>> certified list of all property disposed of nn(ler this order, reporting
>> manner of its distribution and the nanies and rank of the officers and
>> soldiers who have received it.
>> By command of Major-General Rosecrans:
>> FRANK ENO,
>> Assistant Adjutant- General."
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