Archibald J. & Henry B Clements Defenders of Missouri

The officers of quantrillsguerrillas.com are proud to introduce two more Missouri hero's who fought against the oppression of a foreign invader intent on destroying a way of life;  Henry B. Clements & his brother Archibald J Clements. As with many guerrillas in William Clarke Quantrill’s company only a handful are immediately well known and recognized for their conspicuous bravery and noteworthy accomplishments during and after the war. Scores of men who rode with Quantrill were related either directly by blood or indirectly by marriage.

Many groups of brothers rode with Quantrill and mostly are mentioned together if all were equally ranked or equally noteworthy.  Such groups of guerrilla brothers are recognized easily when mentioned: the Berry brothers, the Hall brothers, the McCorkle brothers, the Scholl brothers, the Hudspeths, the Koger brothers, and the Maupin brothers just to name a few. In other cases when two or more brothers rode with Quantrill it was often that only one, either the eldest or the one holding the highest rank that was mentioned in reports of the skirmishes and engagements during the Border Wars. Archibald J Clement was so famous his death image  despite the fact it was 1866.                                           

Research has found that in most instances even if not mentioned by name it can be assumed that brothers were in the same engagements together unless they specifically were not mentioned as noted in accounts that would list all known names of participants in a skirmish or raid. Such is the case with the guerrillas who were the oldest male siblings like William Gregg and his younger brother Jacob Franklin Gregg. Others include Tuck and Woot Hill and their younger brother Tom; Joseph C. Lea and his younger brother Frank; Clark Hockensmith and his younger brother Henry; Bill Anderson and his younger brother Jim; and even Cole Younger and his younger brother James, seldom mentioned until he gained notoriety after the war years.   

A good example of one of these relationships was brothers Archie and Henry Clements. While Archie gained notoriety as Bloody Bill Anderson’s second in command eventually rising to take over Anderson ’s position as captain of the company at Anderson ’s death little is known about his elder brother Henry. Whereas Archie Clements is described as a small man with blond hair and blue eyes, standing just over five feet tall, weighing about 130 pounds, there is no description given for his brother Henry.

Henry B. Clements was born in Kentucky on December 22, 1822. His brother Archie was born in 1846. Some accounts state that Henry was two years younger than Archie but until more time for research is allowed the cemetery records show the former date of birth for Henry as being accurate. Henry’s parents were originally from North Carolina before moving the family to Moniteau County , Missouri on January 1, 1846. The Clements then moved to Johnson County , Missouri in 1853 later moving to Cass County, Missouri living near Kingsville in 1861.

During Kansas Jayhawker raids into Missouri boys like 13-year-old John Fox and 11-year-old Theodore Blythe were cruelly torn from their mother’s arms and mercilessly shot down in cold blood simply for having an older brother that was either in the regular Confederate army or who was riding with Quantrill.  Boys as young as ten years old were reported murdered by the Jayhawkers.  
It might seem strange for young boys barely in their teens to join the ranks of such a hard riding and desperate outfit as Quantrill’s guerrillas but it should be noted as amazing that there were several guerrillas as young as 12 years old riding in Quantrill’s ranks.  Is it any wonder then that 12 year olds like James Millikin and Dick Liddel left home and family to join Quantrill? They really had no choice.  Guerrilla William Gaugh tried to join General Price in the Missouri State Guards early in the war when the old general told him, “As much as I need men I can’t take a boy of sixteen away from his parents.” Gaugh then joined Quantrill.  
With Jayhawkers murdering young boys like Fox and Blythe, it is not surprising that Henry Clements would have followed his brother into Quantrill’s command. Henry and Archie like so many other guerrillas riding with Quantrill shared a common tragedy early in the war. Accounts about Archie and Henry say that Federals killed their younger brother and another Federal soldier burned down their mother’s home but no record shows a younger brother of Archie and Henry Clements. What is interesting to note is that Henry’s son, Robert S. Clements born August 18, 1849 died on August 1, 1861. He was just 12 years old. What has probably been mistakenly reported as Archie and Henry’s younger brother being killed by Federals was in fact Archie’s nephew and Henry’s youngest son. Fighting in Bill Anderson’s company Archie Clements fought back by killing fifty-four Federals. Henry was probably fighting at his brother’s side trying desperately to equal his brother’s record.  
Another fascinating aspect of the struggles along the Missouri-Kansas border is that since the Confederate government did not supply their partisan ranger units with uniforms they wore the Yankee blue uniform taken from a Northern soldier either killed or captured in battle. As noted in the accompanying photograph, Henry B. Clements is wearing the standard nine button Yankee frock coat of a private.  It was expeditious if a Yankee soldier’s uniform could be acquired equal in rank that the guerrilla was holding when operating in Quantrill’s command.                                                                                                                           

Not knowing how many skirmishes Henry B. Clements actually took part in, he was officially credited with fighting in the Lawrence raid, Baxter Springs, Fayette and Centralia. If Henry did indeed fight beside his brother in other battles and skirmishes besides these then he no doubt participated in some of the heaviest fighting along the border. Henry was married to Frances J. Clements who preceded him in death in 1896. They had four sons and one daughter. Henry died on May 22, 1900 and was originally buried in the family cemetery near Lake City. When the family plot was displaced for construction of the Lake City Arsenal the bodies of Henry and his family were re-interred to Mount Washington Cemetery, in Independence, Missouri in 1930. An inscription on the family obelisk simply states, “Please put your trust in Jesus.” Desperate fighters in the war, but God-fearing upright citizens when given the chance to live in peace.

Paul R. Petersen © 2012 Quantrillsguerrillas.com. "Permission should be requested and agreed to before using this copyrighted essay."

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