George Todd was a daring young Bushwhacker during the Civil War serving under William Quantrill – and a participant in numerous raids, including Centralia, the Lawrence massacre, and both the First and Second Battles of Independence.
Captain Todd's father, also named George, was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada with his young new bride, Margerit. They resided in the region of Montréal. There were three children born to this marriage, the oldest being a boy named Tom, then a little girl who was named after her mother, Margerit, then the youngest, named for his father, George Jr.
By the time young George turned 10 in 1849, the Todd family had picked up and moved to Missouri, settling here in the Kansas City area. At the beginning of Civil War, young George, Tom and their father were bridge and railroad contractors.
Why young George took to the “bush” will always remain a mystery, as he had no knowledge of the issues involved in the war, no grievances to redress, no wrongs to avenge, nor property interests to protect. One would think from his origin he would have been an enemy of slavery, but then who knows. If he had lived in Missouri since about age 10, then it's easy to see how he might have grown up in a circle of friends from Missouri families with pro-slavery leanings. If that is correct, it's easy to see how he might have joined the State Guard with his friends.
Indeed, George did join the Missouri State Guard shortly after the beginning of the war where he got acquainted with Quantrill. The Missouri State Guard of course was a state-affiliated organization with strong allegiance to the Southern cause.
Following his tour of duty, George returned home and went back to work with his father and older brother, Tom. They were awarded a contract to construct a sewer in the bottom of a deep ravine, and during the progress of this work Tom was struck and killed by a stone that rolled down the embankment to the bottom of the ravine.
Tom Todd had married a young woman from St. Louis shortly before this incident. As he lay there dying from his injuries, he made his brother George promise to take good care of her and see that she was well protected. Of course, George promised.
This must have worked a number on his mind, and George was getting itchy feet and quite restless, so to speak. So, in late December 1861 or early January 1862, Todd joined up with Quantrill's Bushwhackers and was elected the unit’s 3rd lieutenant early on. Before long, Todd became Quantrill's right-hand man and earned a reputation as fierce fighter. But he was also worried about that promise made to his brother, so soon after George joined up with the Bushwhackers, he returned home and married his sister-in-law.
George rose to become one of Quantrill's principal lieutenants, and participated in numerous raids. During the First Battle of Independence on Aug. 11, 1862, Todd was the one who led the liberation of several Bushwhackers locked up in the county jail.
Then, George Todd, now a captain and commanding Quantrill's old band, joined his fortunes with General Sterling Price during his 1864 Missouri raid, and the following day during the first day's fighting at the Second Battle of Independence, on Oct. 21, 1864, Todd was gravely wounded, shot in the neck, while leading a charge. Todd's men carried him to safety, where he died two hours later. Todd was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery on Noland Road in Independence, where his grave is a local historical attraction.
His wife married a third time and removed herself to California.
Reference: Tim Kent’s Civil War Tales
To reach Ted W. Stillwell send an email to Ted@blueandgrey.com or call him at 816-896-3592.