William Quantrill is perhaps Dover’s most infamous native son. Fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War he developed a national reputation for his ruthlessness.
Born July 31, 1837 in Dover and educated in the local schools, Quantrill’s father, Thomas, was Dover’s first Superintendent. Shortly after his father’s death in 1854, Quantrill moved west for the first time. He would eventually spend time travelling the western frontier of the United States in what is today Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Colorado, and even Salt Lake City, Utah.
After the outbreak of the United States Civil War, Quantrill joined the Confederate side serving first as a Captain. He would eventually end up as a Colonel leading one of the war’s most ruthless bands of guerilla fighters. He is most famous for his raid on Lawrence, KS in 1863 when he had nearly eight hundred men under his command. During the raid Kansas’ capital city was burned to the ground. Two years later, Union troops cornered Quantrill in Kentucky and he was mortally wounded. He died a month later on June 6, 1865.