This is tough for me because no matter hard I have looked, there seems to be no real black sheep in my close family. The most notorious man related to me is probably Larkin Skaggs. I know he is a Skaggs cousin to me, but how is not exactly clear, due to some deep, yet-unknown ancestry.
By all family accounts, Larkin wasn't that wild as boy and a young man. He was raised in Edmonson County, Kentucky before moving to Missouri after 1850. There he married in 1853 and settled down. Only a few years later came the Civil War which seems to have unleashed his inner demons.
The event for which he is infamous is his participation with Quantrill's Raiders in the bloody Massacre at Lawrence, Kansas on 21 Aug 1863. Quantrill and his men were ruthless as they robbed, killed, and pillaged that day in Lawrence. Among the other raiders were the likes of Jesse James, Cole Younger, George Shepherd , and "Bloody Bill" Anderson. Unfortunately for Larkin, he was the only one to be caught and punished by the residents.
There are various reports of Larkin's activities that day, which differ greatly in detail. Over the years the stories grew and were embellished, so it's difficult to know for which acts of terror he was actually responsible. Larking would have been superhuman to accomplish all the misdeeds attributed to him. Various people have told stories about how they or their families were personally victimized by Larkin and/or how they were responsible for capturing or killing him. There is no doubt that the residents of Lawrence suffered many crimes and indignities that day for which Larkin became a handy scapegoat, and no doubt deservedly.
All reports concur that Larkin was drunk during the raid. Some reports indicate that he returned after the raid because he had left something behind. Others say he was so drunk that he fell off his horse. Whatever the truth, we know that Larkin was the only one of Quantrill's men to be captured that day, and the only one who did not survive.
You will find no marker or grave for Larkin Skaggs in Lawrence, Kansas. There are conflicting reports of what happened to his body, but most accounts agree that it was horribly mutilated in retribution for the damages inflicted. No one knows or cares to remember what finally happened to it.
It's a sad story about a man who allowed himself to be corrupted by the tragedy of a cruel civil war where neighbor fought neighbor, and the deep wounds that were inflicted upon a town in Kansas that fateful day.