Born: 1816 Died: June 5, 1908
Burial: Gentry Cemetery Place: Gentry, Benton County, Arkansas
Alexander H. Watson's military career, however brief, was full of the events and atrocities that enraged Quantrill's Missouri guerrillas and fueled retaliation! Alexander was a member of the notorious Charles Jennison's 7th Kansas Cavalry Jayhawker regiment, Company C! Enlisting on October 5th, of 1861 before being discharged on March 27, 1863, Watson was part of, perhaps, the most famous (or infamous) regiment of the entire Kansas Union cavalries!
Their brand of government "order" smacked of bullying and intimidation over the meekest and strongest of Southern sympathizers and their families and they would burn down or kill whatever got in their way! One of the most telling descriptions of the way the 7th Kansas worked was written in the book, "Caught Between Two Fires: Cass County, MO., Chaos & Order No. 11, 1860-1865" by Tom A. Rafiner.
Here is an excerpt that includes Company C:
"Lt. Colonel Anthony ordered Dayton (Mo.) burned to the ground. In short order every structure in town was put to the torch. Fourteen year old, Charles Kimberlin watched the town burn, an image that stayed with him the rest of his life."
Here is an excerpt were a murder is forthcoming:
"Eighty cavalrymen, members of the 7th Kansas Cavalry, arrived in front of Gunn's home and filled the barn yard. Lt. John Tanner of Christian County, Illinois, commanded the company."
The above John Tanner was a Lieutenant of Watson's Company C. Whether Watson is in on this cannot be proven though it is his company. The passage later says:
"Sunday morning, the ground was white with snow. The sky, as the day before, was cloud covered, and the air carried a heavy cold. Gunn along with several other unknown men were marched into the open air.
All of them were summarily murdered by Anthony's command."
Alex Watson is buried in the same cemetery as Quantrill guerrilla, Jesse Carl. This combination of both sides of the Kansas-Missouri border wars is quite an educational opportunity as both men are not far from each other in the cemetery. And Watson gives us a chance to see the side of the guerrilla's rage as he represents a regiment that has gone down in Civil War history as one of the foulest of them all.