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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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OTHO OFFUTT, a respected citizen of Holden, was born and reared at Offutt’s Knobs, twelve miles north of this city, the date of his birth being February 11, 1840. His parents were Reason R. and Amelia (Simpson) Offutt, who were married in Logan County, Ky., in 1825, and subsequently moved to Missouri, being among the early pioneers of this county.

The great questions which led up to the war were discussed, and were the topics of interest during the boyhood of our subject. His father was a farmer and owned a few slaves, and the grandparents on both sides were Kentucky slave-holders. Reared under these influences, it is not strange that young Offutt believed in the institution of slavery, or at least did not consider it wrong. He acquired the rudiments of his education in private schools, and when eighteen years of age drove six yoke of oxen from Leavenworth, Kan., to Salt Lake City, receiving $40 per month wages. He had listened to the stories of his brother’s experiences in the West and was fired with the ambition to seek adventure for himself. He was four months making the trip, and besides driving a team all day had to take his turn at guard duty at night. He continued to go back and forth between Kansas and his home, and at one time was with a company which went to Kansas for the purpose of capturing a drove of wild horses. They were successful, and Mr. Offutt broke in several of the horses afterward.

Otho Offutt was about twenty-one years of age when the war came on, and as he had been trained to reverence the Flag and at the same time believed in slavery, he did not feel disposed to fight on either side. He remained at home, and in 1861 raised a crop. He was careful in conversation, and his own neighbors did not know what his convictions were. Thus matters stood until January, 1862, when Lane’s “jayhawkers” came into the vicinity of Holden and began to lay waste the country. As his house was on an elevation, our subject could see his neighbors’ houses burning in every direction, and some of the unfortunate assembled to take counsel. An appeal was made to our subject, he being asked if he was not going to help rid the country of the marauders. His response was to take down his old flint-lock musket, and on horseback he went with others to intercept the party on their way to Columbus. They stationed themselves in ambush and gave Lane’s men a warm reception, and the soldier at whom Mr. Offutt aimed fell dead from his saddle. Our subject exchanged his old flint-lock for the deadly Sharp’s repeating rifle and took a belt and revolvers. Lane’s men fled and left that portion of the country, and Mr. Offutt returned home in peace. He soon received word that he must bring his plunder to the commander of the Union forces at Lexington and give it up. He refused to do this, on the ground that Lane’s men, whom he had helped to drive out, were not United States soldiers. The result of his refusal was that an order was issued to the Federal soldiers to capture him dead or alive. He was now in deep water, and at once took to flight. He could not join the Union forces, and the Confederate troops were three hundred miles distant. It appeared to him that his only chance was to try and reach Quantrell’s band, and a friend took him to that noted guerrilla’s camp. He had not been there long until a proclamation was received by which Quantrell’s band were declared outlaws,
and their leader read the paper to his supporters, telling them that any who wished to do so might leave at once. Though there were but twenty of the number at the time, they all determined to stand together in life or death.

After going on a raid in the vicinity of Independence, Mo., Quantrell’s men took a trip to Jackson County and stopped at night at Tate’s House, on the Big Blue. About one hundred and fifty Federal soldiers surrounded the building and demanded the little band (then numbering only nineteen) to surrender, and on receiving a decided negative, the family were taken out of the house, which was a double log cabin, and the building was set on fire. The flames lighted up the scene and the few determined and desperate men inside the building picked off as many of the Federals as possible with their sharpshooters until the roof began to fall in. Then Quantrell commanded his men to make a charge, and they made a dash for liberty, with the loss of a few, while they had killed many of the Union men. They lost their horses, but soon supplied themselves with others. In the spring of 1862 they had a battle at Walnut Creek, in this county, where they killed several men, but lost none. Next they proceeded to Cass County and had camped at Surencey’s horse-lot when an advance party of the Federal forces, about one hundred and thirty-five men, surprised them, but were driven back. Quantrell’s band then took to flight, as they were but sixty-one against eight hundred soldiers in the main body of the advancing Federals. They were hotly pursued, being compelled to take refuge in a ravine, and here Mr. Offutt was in the hardest fight of the war in that section. The Federals made charge after charge, but were kept at bay for three hours. The situation of Quantrell’s men then became desperate, and their leader told them they were just out of ammunition and must cut their way to safety. Mr. Offutt took Capt. John Brinker on his horse, and they fought their way through the lines. Thirteen of our subject’s party were killed or wounded, while the losses of Union men were four hundred and fifty killed and wounded. The next noted fight that Mr. Offutt participated in was at Lone Jack, Johnson County, and from that on until the close of the war he took part in many battles and skirmishes. On three different occasions he was in skirmishes in which all were killed except one or two of his companions. The operations of the Quantrell band were generally in central and western Missouri, but sometimes they went over to Kansas. Mr. Offutt was in service about three years and a-half, or from January 1, 1862, until June 11, 1865, when he surrendered at Rocheport, Boone County, Mo. During his service he was wounded seven times. After the war he went to Kentucky and lived two years, and from there went to Texas, where he lived fifteen years and where he was successfully engaged in the stock business.

In Grayson County, Tex., Mr. Offutt was married, in November, 1867, to Mrs. Emeline Adams, who was, however, a native of Jackson County, Mo. They had one son, but he is now deceased. In February, 1879, he married Mrs. Eleanor (Offutt) Coffman, of Johnson County, but a native of Logan County, Ky.

In November, 1892, Mr. Offutt opened a livery stable in Holden, where he is carrying on a good business, and by his enterprise and energy he has made a financial success. Politically he is a Democrat. His wife is a member of the Christian Church.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Johnson County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Johnson County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Johnson County, Missouri family biographies here: Johnson County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Johnson County, Missouri here: Johnson County, Missouri Map

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