Thank you Freddie! Long after the smoke clears, two Kansas B&Bs have historic ties

During the 1863 Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence Kansas, one pony led chase that has a profound effect on ensuing history, and connects two beautiful B&Bs in Lawrence and Topeka.
     The Lawrence B&B ‘Runaway Pony’ is located on the property where Freddie’s stable once stood. The Woodward B&B in Topeka would not be there were it not for Freddie.

Runaway Pony B&B photo by Serina Kearn

Runaway Pony B&B
photo by Serina Kearn

Historic ties
     The connection between Runaway Pony and The Woodward ties to Quantrill’s Raid, also known as the Lawrence Massacre, August 21st 1863.
     William Quantrill was the leader of a pro-Confederate guerrilla army. He led an attack on Lawrence, a city that was a noted bastion for anti-slavery supporters. Quantrill’s men sieged Lawrence shortly after dawn. Gangs of raiders spread strategically throughout the city streets and attacked via orders to “burn every house, kill every man.” They also robbed local businesses, and looted residences for food, water and horses.
     A gang of rebels arrived on the West Lawrence homestead of J.G. Sands, a saddler who ran a shop downtown. The rebels were on mission to set fire to Mr. Sands’s and his neighbors homes and kill the men. First, the rebels looted the horses.
     They captured Mr. Sands’s carriage horse, and his pony Freddie. Yet Freddie broke capture and provoked the raiders to chase. In their determination to abduct the rambunctious pony, they were inadvertently drawn away from the area. As a result, Mr. Sands’s homestead buildings were spared being set afire, as was the house owned by is neighbor B.W. Woodward. The men of the households were spared their lives.
     Quantrill and his guerrilla army fled Lawrence around 9 a.m., leaving in their wake most the buildings ablaze and almost 200 men slain. The day was among the most tragic in Lawrence history. Survivors were determined to rebuild. Because of Freddie, Mr. Sands and Mr. Woodward were among them.

The Woodward photo by Jacquée T.

The Woodward
photo by Jacquée T.

Thank you, Freddie!
     Mr. Sands’s saddle shop was burned down. He rebuilt it and put out a sign that read “Established in 1855; stood the drought in 1860; totally destroyed in 1863; defies all competition in 1864.”
     Thirteen years later, on August 24, 1876, B.W. Woodward sired a son, Chester. Chester grew up to be a young man and moved to Topeka. He built a chateau for his wife, Fredrica. Today, the chateau is  The Woodward Inn Bed & Breakfast.
And now, two historic B&Bs, one in Lawrence and one in Topeka, have in common old neighbors who survived an historic ordeal thanks to a pony named Freddie.

For information on these B&Bs today:
As of 2015, Runaway Pony Bed & Breakfast closed, as the owner moved out of the country. Still, here is info and photos: Runaway Pony Bed & Breakfast
The Woodward Inns on Fillmore remains open today, and is fabulous.

*Did Freddie survive? Documentation suggests that Freddie was re-captured. Therefore the raiders would have taken him with them as they fled. His feat remains — he lured the raiders from his master’s home.

More information regarding Quantrill’s Raid
— with mention of Mr. Sands and Mr. Woodward: “The Lawrence Massacre.”*
— The Lawrence Convention and Tourism Bureau offers a Quantrill’s Raid self-guided tour.

* this particular article uses the spelling “Quantrell.” The spelling via most references I’ve found is “Quantrill.”

Leave a Reply