I was doing a little reading about Sophia Porter (colorful character, lady and Confederate spy) from the Red River area and how one of her four husbands; George Butts, a Confederate conscription officer; was shot and killed outside Sherman, TX. This murder was blamed on Quantrill’s men. Some accounts blame Fletch Taylor, others just say Quantrill men or man etc. General McCullough tried to arrest Quantrill and his men for it and they escaped into Indian Territory out of McCulloch’s jurisdiction.
Supposedly Fletch confessed, escaped to Anderson’s camp and claimed Quantrill ordered him to kill Butts.
One account said that McCulloch wasn’t a good man like his elder brother, Benjamin McCulloch and lived comfortably throughout the war on Confederate rations.
This is from a letter written by W.L. Potter to W.W. Scott which is also quoted in the book ‘Quantrill and the Border Wars’:
“Gen Henry McCullough The Feather Bed General of the Northern Sub District of Texas. A Brother of the Gallant Ben McCulloch and a General Who had nothing to Recommend him but the name of his Gallant Brother who fell in leading a charge of Texas cavalry at the Pea Ridge. Battle also known as the Elk Horn Battle Field.”
“col Martin, Stated that he had no Jurisdiction in the Indian Territory Neither had McCullough. and that he had no authority to follow him any farther. and With his Regiment went back to Bonham & along With Gen McCullough feasted on confederate Rations Until the collapse of the so called confederate States of America in April 1865.”
“When McCullough & his staff with several Ambulances well filled with the Most Valuable confederate supplies, took the road through Dallas to his home in Southern or in central Texas What became of him after that I never heard.”
Grayson County; an illustrated history of Grayson County, Texas.
After reading that statement I thought, if true then it sounds as if McCulloch was making a profit off supplies meant for soldiers. I would imagine Quantrill, Anderson and the others didn’t like what they were seeing and directed some frontier justice towards Mr. Butts ?
All the Quantrill and Anderson bashers find it easy to just chalk it up to unruly killers who just rode around killing and stealing whenever the mood struck them. I don’t believe Quantrill, Anderson or their men were unruly killers but in regards to Mr. Butts and McCulloch, could they have been skimming off the top and lining their pockets? When the late Mr. Butt’s widow, Sophia left the Red River country; she went to stay with friends in Waco, Texas. One account says she took what sounds like quite a bit of gold along with her. From the book ‘Legendary Ladies of Texas’:
“One day she loaded a small fortune in gold coins into buckets, poured hot tar over them, strung the buckets under her wagon and headed south. When she reached Waco, two hundred miles south of her plantation, she stopped.”
Now in all fairness to Sophia Porter, her previous husband was a former politician and Indian agent who it is said, used his position to increase his wealth. So the gold that Sophia took with her to Waco could have come from there as well.
One more piece of unflattering information in regards to Henry McCullough comes from the Texas State Historical Association:
“After the Civil War he [McCullough] remained in the limelight. In 1874 he assisted the newly elected governor, Richard Coke, in removing Edmund J. Davis from the executive offices. Early in 1876, as a reward for his years of service, McCulloch was given the superintendency of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum (later the Texas School for the Deaf ). Here his lax and inept administration brought about a legislative investigation that made him resign his position in 1879. He was married to Jane Isabella Ashby in 1840. He died on March 12, 1895, in Seguin, and was buried in San Geronimo Cemetery.”
My point in this? I got mad reading all the self-appointed experts constantly berating the guerrillas and just wondered what the other side of the coin might look like. I have no proof but then neither do they and a person could use the info I pieced together to build a strong theory or case against McCullough and Butts for all the unlawfulness and in doing so, clear Quantrill’s Guerrillas of the wrong doings in that part of Texas during the Civil War.