Sarah (Sallie)   YOUNG (married McKINNEY)1846

Sarah (Sallie) YOUNG (married McKINNEY) 1846

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Additional Information
Date of Birth 1st Jan 1846 (circa)
Date of Death 14th Dec 1909


  • Sarah “Sallie” YOUNG (married McKINNEY)


    “Sallie Young: Heroine or Foe during  the 1863 Quantrill Raid of Lawrence, Kansas?”

    Sallie YOUNG, a pretty young Irish woman from Bagenalstown, County Carlow, Ireland was born about 1846. Sometime prior to 1860 she and her family moved to the USA. 

    By 1860 she was 16 years old and living with her parents, Elizabeth Betsy” and William Young and her siblings Robert, William, Jr., and Bertha [?] Young in Lecompton Township, Douglas County, Kansas Territory.  Not long afterward, she moved to Lawrence, Kansas, a free-state town about fifteen miles to the east, where she worked as a milliner’s apprentice

    It was her habit to rise early in the morning and take a horseback ride south of Lawrence with friends.  On the morning of August 21, 1863, about 5:30 am, she and a friend, Lieutenant Donnelly, were riding horses when they spotted about 400 mounted troops to the east headed toward the town of Lawrence. 

    It soon became evident from their wild shouts and the shooting of guns that these troops were not friendly Union troops but rather pro-slavery guerrillas led by the notorious William Clarke Quantrill.  Sallie begged her companion to flee and save himself as she knew he was in danger of being killed. She told him that they wouldn’t harm her, a woman. Lt. Donnelly did not want to leave her, but finally took her advice and fled to safety.

    Not long afterwards the troops reached Sallie and forced her to accompany them to downtown Lawrence. Their plan was to kill the unarmed free-state men and burn the town. The next few hours were full of horror. Sallie watched helplessly as man after man was killed in cold blood. This was the largest civilian massacre of  the Civil War.

    But, despite her own trauma, Sallie was able to save the lives of several young men that day. One man, whom she did not know, ran toward her and begged for help from his pursuers.  Sallie dashed into the street and put her arms arounds him, pleading with the raiders not to shoot “my brother.” Soon afterward she saved the life of another man whom she also claimed as a “brother.” As the morning progressed she convinced the raiders to spare many “cousins,” “uncles,” and other so-called relatives. 

    That day more than 150 Lawrence men and boys were killed and most of the downtown business district was burned. 

    After the Raid, some Lawrence residents suspected Sallie of being in collusion with the raiders considering that she had accompanied the raiders into town and that she had two brothers who lived in the pro-slavery town of Lecompton. She was  arrested and taken to Leavenworth, Kansas for questioning. But, finally the authorities found no evidence that she was guilty of any wrongdoing and she was released "absolving her of all blame" and noting that she had in fact selflessly saved the lives of several Lawrence men.

    By 1870 Sallie was working for Mrs. Butts at the Butts milliner’s shop in downtown Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas.  Two years later on May 14, 1872, Sallie married Abraham/Abram McKinney, a clerk in a bank in Topeka who was originally from Pennsylvania. The couple had no children. By 1875 they were living in Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas.

    Sallie (Young) McKinney, described as a “very bright and witty Irish girl and excellent company” by a friend, died on December 14, 1909  in Emporia, Kansas. She was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, Kansas next to her husband.

    History, researched and submitted by Judith Sweets, February 2020


    Sources:  [gravestones for Sarah "Sallie" McKinney and Abraham McKinney]

    1860  US Census, Lecompton Township, Douglas County, Kansas, USA

    1870 US Census, Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas, USA

    1875 Kansas State Census, Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas, USA

    "Woman Who Led fiend on Infamous Raid is No More, The Butte Daily Post, Butte, MOntana, 15 Dec 1909, p 2

    Letter No. 1 , Experience of Jr. H.S. Clark, "The Only True History of Quantrell's Raid Ever Pulished: Reminiscences of. . . "


    Wednesday 19th February 2020 05:02PM
  • I have Young ancestors and I believe they may be from Carlow as well. I wonder if there is a connection here, similar time frame? Do you have other family for Sallie?


    Sunday 7th January 2024 05:45AM
  • I am sorry, but I do not have any more information about Sally (Young) McKinney's relatives.




    Sunday 7th January 2024 05:57AM

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