Area 5: Devil’s Ridge

This area in the far northeast corner of Cass County is still rugged and hilly, an area known in the Civil War era as Devil’s Ridge. Farms in the area were often raided by Union forage teams either from Pleasant Hill or guerrillas in search of food and horses.

November 18, 1861 – Southern guerrillas captured and destroyed a large Union wagon train of heavy ox-wagons and teams headed east near Pleasant Hill. In retaliation, Jennison dispatched Daniel Anthony and the Kansas 7th Cavalry to burn the town.

Federal Forage teams scoured the countryside within about ten miles of their stations in search of food for their animals and themselves as well as firewood and fencing. Farms within this radius were hit over and over. . (Caught Between Three Fires. Rafiner, p. 123. )

September 1863 – On September 1, 1863, the Pleasant Hill Loyalty Committee began issuing Loyalty Certificates. One of the eight members was Barney Dempsey. A 36-year-old bachelor when the War began, he was a native of Ireland. Dempsey owned 178 acres of farmland near Pleasant Hill. As a participant in the loyalty certification process, Dempsey attested for the loyalty of 23 or 15% of the applicants. Of the 169 people who applied, 157 got their certificates. Obviously, known southerners did not apply. (Caught Between Three Fires. p. 367)