Area 15: East Cass County

This area on the eastern side of Cass County witnessed the same marauding, murdering and unsettled conditions as the rest of the county.

On January 2, 1862, following the first New Year’s Day after the burning of Dayton by Daniel R. Anthony’s 7th Kansas Cavalry, one squad arrived at the farm of James and Mary Jane Richards. They owned 120 acres 5 ½ miles northeast of Dayton on the road into southwest Johnson County, Missouri. When the soldiers entered the Richard’s front yard, an altercation began. James stood on his front porch, holding his ground, refusing entry to his house.

The argument intensified, and tempers flared on both sides. A shot rang out. The bullet hit James Richardson square in the chest and threw him back into the front wall of the house. Mary Jane cradled James as he lay dying on his front porch.

While Richardson bled to death, the Kansas troops emptied the house and set it on fire. The soldiers left with all the farm’s horses, three beds, seven quilts and even her bonnet. (Caught Between Three Fires, pp 160-161.)

This area was home to radical Unionist, A. S. O’Bannon, who was a 51-year-old school teacher and farmer. He came to Harrisonville in 1856 from Kentucky and owned one slave In the Nov. 4, 1862 election, O’Bannon received 142 votes, versus 0 for W.H.H. Cundiff for the Cass County seat in the State House of Representatives.

He was one of the nine men who led the April 20, 1863 Unionist meeting in Cass County. This group submitted a series of six resolutions. Four stated that the government had been far too lenient in its treatment of rebels and threatened to form a local militia to take matters into its own hands. Two resolutions demanded immediate emancipation of all slaves and denied payment to any owner who supported the southern cause.

In September 1863, he was appointed one of three men in Harrisonville who would rule on the veracity of loyalty claims during Order No. 11.. (Caught Between Three Fires.)