Judge Jenkins' History of Miller County

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


CONTENT continued



South of the Osage river, before Miller county was organized, Stephen A. Blevans, in the Big Richwoods, served as a Justice of the Pulaski County Court for a number of years.  North of the river, as early as 1829, Alfred M. Houston served as a Justice of the Peace in the new Township of Clark, Cole county.  Later, on May 7, 1833, Saline township, Cole county, was formed, with the election precinct and meeting place established at the house of William Brockman, east of present day Eldon.  At the first township meeting, in June, the voters elected Houston a Justice of the Peace in the new township.

In the election of 1834 in Cole county, Edmund Wilkes, living in territory later Miller county, received 356 votes.  John English 387, and George W. Miller, 417 votes for State Representative.  John Hensley, the first tavern keeper in Cole county, was Cole county’s first State Senator.

The rallying cry of the followers of Andy Jackson in the campaign of 1828, Down with the Aristocrats! Still rang in the ears of the inhabitants when Miller county was organized; the earlier settlers believing themselves the unwashed back woodsmen and Indian fighters referred to by Jackson’s opponents in that campaign.  However, Jackson’s tyranny gave rise, in 1834, to a new party, known as Whigs.

The first election in Miller county was held on July 1, 1837.  Justices of the Peace and a Constable were elected in each municipal township; the County Court having established Pleasant Mount as the voting place for Saline township, Tuscumbia for Equality township, the home of John T. Davis for Osage, and the home of Zachariah Price for Richwoods.

In 1839, the Whig convention nominated William H. Harrison, the hero of Tippecanoe, and John Tyler of Virginia, as candidates for President and Vice-President.  The Whigs adopted the cider barrel and log cabin as emblems of the campaign.  Political rallies were held with men yelling Tippecanoe and Tyler too!

In 1840, the population of Miller county was 2,282.  In the first Presidential election ever held in Miller county, the Jacksonian Democrats carried the county better than 15 to 1.  Van Buren, the Democrat candidate for President, received 317 Votes to 21 for General Wm. H. Harrison, the Whig candidate.  In 1844, Polk, a Democrat, received 369 votes to 74 for Clay, the Whit candidate for President.  Even a great and popular hero like General Taylor, of Palo Alto and Buena Vista fame in the Mexican War, could not shake the hold of the Jacksonian Democrats on Miller County.  In 1848, Governor Lewis Cass, of Michigan, Democrat candidate for President, received 373 votes in Miller county, to 76 for General Taylor.  In 1852, Pierce, a democrat, received 279 votes for President, to 62 for General Scott, the Whig candidate.

However, in 1856, the political climate commenced changing.  Fillmore, the candidate of the Know Nothings or American party received 108 votes to Buchanan’s 224, the Democrat candidate.  No ballots were cast in Miller county for Fremont, the Republican1 candidate for President.

1.  On July 6, 1854, disgruntled Whigs, Democrats, and Free Soilers met, in a grove of oaks, on the edge of Jackson, Michigan, launching the Republican party.



In 1846 William N. Harrison and Thomas W. Whitaker were opposing candidates for the office of Representative in the Missouri General Assembly from Miller county.

William N. Harrison, having first served Miller county as Sheriff from 1837 to 1840, was the county’s Representative in the legislature from 1840 to 1842.

Thomas W. Whitaker, in the general election of 1840, was elected to the office of Sheriff, serving until 1844; then elected to the office of Representative, having won over Harrison.  He was the incumbent in the contest for the office in the general election of 1846.

Harrison’s greater political strength was situated in Saline and Equality townships; Whitaker’s in Glaze and Richwoods.  Harrison moved by horseback and ox-wagon over the south side of the county, where the political hold of Whitaker upon the inhabitants appeared unshakable.

Just before the election, friends of Whitaker, having angered Harrison and his followers, Harrison immediately retaliated by passing along information of Whitaker being a horse thief.

In this era of time, the stealing of a horse was the greatest crime known.  The affection of a man’s wife could be enticed away by another, a human life taken, and many other things done, but the stealing of a horse, never!  Always a horse thief was pursued until overtaken then a rope around the neck, pulled taut until the body swung free, or a leaden bullet between the eyes, ended the affair.

A rumor circulated that while Harrison and Whitaker were together in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1838, Whitaker carried away certain goods and chattels of one Colbert, being a horse of the value of $50.  Also, while in Tennessee, according to rumors, Whitaker carried away a blanket belonging to Harrison of the value of $3; and in 1844, in the County of Pulaski, carried from Wade Liscomb goods of the value of $3.

Serious charges?  Please believe it, but hear one more!

A few days before the election it was rumored that until a crop could be gathered in the first year after coming to Miller county, Whitaker was in such desparate circumstances, a neighbor’s jackass and a mule colt were taken, the animals slain, dressed, and eaten by the Whitaker’ family.

Whitaker won the election.

Personal feelings immediately intensified into sizzling white-heat!  Stringfellow, Edwards, and Kounslar, attorneys for Whitaker, at Tuscumbia, in circuit court, entered a plea of trespass against Harrison.

Whitaker complained that Harrison, well knowing the premises, without even consulting his neighbors and others, but envying only his good name, fame, and credit, contrived wickedly and maliciously to injure him and create public scandal, infamy, and disgrace by saying in the presence and hearing of Dr. George W. Lansdown, that he (meaning Whitaker) stole a horse.  He (meaning Whitaker) keeps company with horse thieves, his friends (meaning Whitaker’s) are no better, and (Whitaker) was guilty of grand larceny.  And afterward in the presence of others he was heard saying Whitaker stole a horse; harbored horse thieves; relished horse flesh; and his friends were no better for they elected a horse thief over me.

Whitaker stated he had been a good, true, and honest citizen, and always, until the committing of the several grievances mentioned, was respected, esteemed, and accepted by his neighbors and the other citizens of Miller county.  He was not guilty, nor until the time of the speaking and publishing of the false, scandalous, malicious, and defamatory words, not even suspected of being guilty of the many crimes imputed upon him.  Now, being seriously injured, he was commencing suit for damages against Harrison for $10,000.

In court, the cause continued; personal feelings increasing in bitterness.

On August 4, 1848, citizens commenced gathering in the morning near the house of Emly Golden, in Glaze township, for a huge political rally.  By high noon citizens among the great grove of elm trees some 200 yards from Golden’s house, included Oby D. Dyer, James C. Reed, John Armstrong, Robert Reed, Atly Wyrick, A. Coker, George W. Bilyeu, John E. Warnell, Jno. Workman, M.H. Harrison, Joshua Shockley, Matison Jeffrey, Joseph R. Barnett, Alfred Devore, William Wilson, Andrew Ulman, O.T. Atkinson, Isaac Wilson, George Wilson, Hugh A. Bryant, Reuben Short, L.S. Osburne, James Bowlin, Abraham Brazier, John G. Witten, John Burris, William P. Dixon, William Miller, John Balance, Champion Smith, Dr. George W. Lansdown, William Blize, P.C. Brumley, Josiah Birdsong, Jacob Barnhardt, Adam Shirley of Osage county, and many others.

Harrison and Whitaker were there.  Their grievances immediately erupted into conversation between a number of parties.  At first, groups merely joined together, then, slowly, sides were taken; words flowing freely between individuals and groups, with corn whiskey flowing freerer from a large barrel under the great elm tree.  Sooner or later, so to speak, the bung would be pulled from the hole by this combination, -and it was.

Old man John Armstrong, having in the memories of many persons, always carried a walking stick of one-inch hickory, well-seasoned, with an ornamental protruding knot near the crook, the size of a gray squirrel’s head, suddenly commenced flailing away, his walking stick landing again and again upon the head of young James C. Reed.

Reed, staggering, soon commenced falling, but while going down, swung viciously, his right fist landing under the old man’s jaw.  John Armstrong, falling to his knees, was beside Reed, upon his right knee, but neither gentleman remained down for long.

Old man Armstrong came up with a knife in his right hand.  Young Reed came up with a rock in his right hand, a knife in the other.  The distance between them closed, and John Armstrong fell, blood gushing from an immense wound upon his head.

Afterward, Atly Wyrick, A. Coker, and others, although having noticed no weapons during the affray, stated, old man Armstrong’s head was very, very bloody!  Near the house of Emly Golden, Dr. George W. Lansdown commented, it did not appear to me a man’s fist could of cut such a gash as I saw on Armstrong’s head!

These physical wounds healed rapidly, but wounded personal feelings failed in mending.

Whitaker continued action against Harrison in Circuit Court, until, on the 12th of April, 1850, William N. Harrison publicly apologized.



“This is to certify that whereas Thomas Whitaker has instituted a suit of slander against me in the Miller Circuit Court, for words charged to have been spoken by me, entertaining a wish to respond and make good any injury that may have accrued to Mr. Whitaker from words I may have used when under the influence of anger; I state I have never known him to be guilty of any of the acts mentioned in his declaration, nor did I ever intend so to state or charge.  I only spoke of what I had heard others say and did not intend to be understood as vouching for the truth of any of them nor do I now pretend to aver the truth of any thing mentioned in said declaration, as having been stated by me.  And I do hereby withdraw all said charges as above stated.
                                                                                 Signed:  William N. Harrison
                                                                                  Attest:  G.W. Miller.”        



In the August, 1860, state election, James Gardenhire, Republican, a candidate for Governor of Missouri, received one vote.1   This was the first Republican vote ever cast in Miller county.  Phillip R. Robinson, in Glaze township, was the man who cast this ballot, and it almost cost him his life.  The Black Republicans were hated and bitterly despised by the inhabitants.

Without any doubt, the Presidential Campaign of 1860 was the most exciting ever known in Miller county.  Four candidates were in the field.  Throughout the country, the issues of the 1860 campaign were slavery, secession, and civil war.

The Democrats, meeting at Charlestown, immediately divided on the question of slavery.  The Southern State’s Rights delegates, leaving the convention, met first at Richmond, then at Baltimore, where John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, was nominated for President.  Northern Democrats nominated Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois.  The Constitutional-Union party, an amalgamation of Whigs, Know-Nothings, and the old American party, nominated John Bell, of Tennessee.  The Republicans chose Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois.

In the November election, Breckenridge, Southern Democrat, received 495 votes in Miller county; Bell, Constitution-Union, 193 votes; Douglas, Northern Democrat, 94 votes; and Abraham Lincoln, 23 votes.  Breckenridge received 61.4% of the total vote cast in Miller county, with the other three candidates receiving only 38.6% of the vote cast.  Miller county favored secession by a resounding margin.

Those who voted for Lincoln included Wincelaus L. Ponder, Isaac Lesem, Marks Lesem, Joseph J. Johnston, William Anderson, James L. Long, John Bennage, James A. Moore, Benjamin Groff, Charles Tallman, William Tallman, John B. Tallman, W.A. Kelley, Edward W. Moore, William H. Moore, W.S. Irwin, J.J. Williams, J.W. Dramond in Richwoods township; Dr. A.P. Nixdorf in Osage township; D.R. Calef and Phillip R. Robinson in Glaze township; Orlando Lawton in Saline township; and Lewis Riley in Equality township.  These were the first Republican votes ever cast in Miller county for a presidential candidate.

1.  County Court Record Book C, page 244


1840 Van Buren Democrat                 received
  Harrison (President) Whig                               "
  Birney Anti-Slavery                   "
  President Harrison died in April, 1841, having been just one month in office.  His successor in the Presidential chair, Vice-President Tyler, although elected by the Whigs, was a Democrat.
1844 Polk (President) Democrat                 received
  Clay Whig                               "
  Birney Liberty                            "
1848 Cass Democrat                 received
  Taylor (President) Whig                               "
  Van Buren Free-Soiler                      "
  President Taylor died in July, 1850.  His successor in the office of President, was Vice-President Fillmore.
1852 Pierce (President) Democrat                 received
  Scott Whig                               "
  Hale Free-Soiler                      "
1856 Buchanan (President) Democrat                 received
  Fillmore American                         "
  Fremont Republican                       "
1860 Breckenridge Southern Democrat          received
  Bell Constitutional Union                "
  Douglas Northern Democrat                  "
  Lincoln (President) Republican                               "



Events leading directly to Civil War in Miller county commenced in January, 1861.  Huge mass meetings were held at Tuscumbia, Iberia, Ulman’s Ridge, and Pleasant Mount.  At these meetings the citizens of Miller county discussed Governor Jackson’s call for a state constitutional convention.  Since a question on secession was involved, the election of the delegates to this state convention was soon the bitterest and most heated subject in the discussion of the inhabitants.

In a special election, held on February 18, 1861, Thomas Scott of Tuscumbia, J.W. McClurg, and Proctor Knott, strong Union men, were elected as delegates to the Constitutional Convention from this area.1

Miller countians who supported secession included Wilson Lenox, Peter Taylor, Daniel Etter, E.B. Farley, Rev. Abraham Castleman (Methodist), and Rev. William McCubbin (Baptist).  Others who supported the Union included Rev. Jacob Capps (Baptist), Rev. Thomas J. Babcock (Methodist), William Hawkins, Tolbird Bass, W.H. Payne, and John K. Hall.

In March, 1861, during court at Tuscumbia, the citizens of Miller county met at the Courthouse.  Here affairs of the state were vigorously discussed by the inhabitants and others.  The Union was defended by Judge Ross of Versailles; Thomas Scott of Tuscumbia; and State Senator Proctor Knott.  Attorney Parsons, later a Confederate General; Peter Singleton Wilkes, afterward a member of the Confederate Congress, and Daniel Etter, made strong speeches for secession.

Wilkes declared the President aught to be impeached, for Abe and the Black Republicans wanted war.  He denounced Lincoln’s course in language as blunt and pointed as he could command.  Wilkes prophesied no army would ever pass over the soil of Miller county for the purpose of coercion of the South.  Volunteer companies would defend “ourselves, our homes, and our properties.  Miller countians were of the South, with and for the South, and the Black Republicans were traitors!”

Daniel Etter, of Glaze township, manifested his adherence to the cause of those engaged in exciting rebellion, and did declare, “I would have the State of Missouri out of the Union in the twinkling of an eye and my interest are all with the South, and I trust and believe the South will succeed and gain their Independence.”

State Senator Miles Vernon, of Laclede county, a legislator of ten years service, first elected in 1850, and a fiery orator, toured Miller territory, beginning at Ulman’s Ridge.  He informed the people that the “Dutch” under captain Lyon would bring robbery, murdering, and despoiling of property upon the citizens of Miller county.  This excited the people, and immediately State Guard companies were formed for the protection of the inhabitants.

Captain William McCubbin, with Lieutenants John Abbott and T.B. Wheeler, formed the first State Guard company, at Ulman’s Ridge, in March, 1861, followed by Captain Abraham Castleman, with Lieutenants Jesse W. Burks and William R. Wright, at Iberia.  Captain James Johnston formed a company at Tuscumbia.  These State Guard companies favored secession and upheld State’s Rights.  To these Captains, Governor Jackson sent much powder and shot for use and safekeeping later when he fled from Jefferson City.

This powder was taken from the magazines where it was stored in the city of St. Louis, and removed to Jefferson City, by Captain Joseph Kelly, in Frost’s Brigade of State troops, who afterward, and until the close of the war, was an officer in the Confederate service.  This powder from the magazines in St. Louis was distributed, as far as possible, wherever Secesh companies could be found.

1.  County Court Record Book C, page 303



On April 13, 1861, Fort Sumpter fell.  When news of this breach in the Union by hostile rebellion reached Miller county, a few joyous citizens in Tuscumbia, hoisted a rebel flag to the top of a tall tree standing near Atkisson’s store building, under the hill.  Even a rebel flag was hoisted on the Leeward of the ferry landing; the Stars and Stripes flying on the right.

On April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 men to suppress rebellion.  This call was denounced by Governor Jackson of Missouri, as “illegal, unconstitutional, revolutionary, diabolical,” etc.

Captain Nathaniel Lyon, United States Army, afterward Brigadier General of Volunteers, commanding at the St. Louis Arsenal, commenced organizing Union troops.  He enrolled the German citizens in St. Louis, previously formed into military organizations through the influence and exertions of F.P. Blair, Jr., and armed them.

On May 10, 1861, Captain Lyon, with five or six thousand of these German troops, and a few Regulars, captured the State Guard troops at “Camp Jackson,” near St. Louis.  When officers and men of the State Guard were marched by Lyon’s troops from the encampment, under military arrest, a huge crowd of angry citizens commenced hurling sticks and stones upon the German soldiers.  The military retaliated by firing into the crowd, killing fifteen persons, and wounding many more.  The following day, more innocent persons were killed when Lyon’s troops fired upon an unruly group of citizens at the corner of 5th and Walnut, St. Louis.

The Governor, members of the General Assembly, and many other Missourians believed these actions by Lyon and his German troops deliberate outrages upon the people.  They demanded revenge, so to relieve tensions and abate anger, Captain Lyon was removed from command at the St. Louis Arsenal.  General William Selby Harney of the United States Army, replaced him.

On May 21, 1861, General Harney entered into a peace arrangement with Major-General Sterling Price, commanding the State troops, in which it was agreed order would be maintained and the peace preserved in Missouri by Price’s State Guards.

Many Union men believed this celebrated peace arrangement over-reached the authority of the Federal Government.  They immediately exerted such profound and powerful influence upon Federal Officials in Washington, D.C. that, nine days later, Captain Lyon was again in command of the Arsenal and Union troops in St. Louis, -even promoted by President Lincoln to Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

Knowing previous arrangements with General Harney for  peace now would be forgotten, Governor Jackson and Major-General Sterling Price, hastened the enrollment of State troops.

A week later, prominent citizens in Missouri arranged for Governor Jackson and Major-General Sterling Price to meet with Brigadier-General Nathaniel Lyon, at Planter’s House, in St. Louis.  Their confrontation, on June 11, dashed all hopes for peace in Missouri.  General Lyon’s declaration of war upon the Governor, dissolved the meeting.  Open hostilities commenced.



The impact of these activities in the state and nation in the spring months of 1861, created the most intense excitement throughout Miller county.

Since the State Guard companies in Miller county were “Secesh,” persons upholding the Union were told to “either join up or leave the county.”

At Iberia, the “Secesh” State Guard company included Wilson Lenox, Andrew B. Corley, John L. West, William Smith, Neander Carroll, William R. Wright, Benjamin Castleman, John Rhea, Thomas Carroll, Abraham Castleman, Henry Dickerson, William Carroll, Joseph Carroll, Jesse W. Burks, and others, who threatened, in certain inflammatory speeches and statements, “to hang or shoot the Eastern people or Pennsylvanians, in Richwoods township, loyal to the Union.”  The Pennsylvanians were informed by the officers of this company to come out and immediately sign the company’s Articles of Confederation, and subscribe to an Oath of Allegiance to the Southern Confederacy –or else!

When the Pennsylvanians refused to do this, a select committee,1 appointed by the company, waited upon the loyal families, one at a time.  Many of the Pennsylvanians still repudiated the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, but the visiting committee and company warned them “they had better be getting away from Miller county.”

The Pennsylvanians in Richwoods township, first alarmed, soon feared for their lives.  A number of these families did leave the township, others left the county, some remained away from home in hiding, while a few joined with the company in the Southern cause.

Above is a portion from one of many petitions submitted by Pennsylvanians, and others,
in Richwoods township, to civil and military authorities for relief.
Click above image for a larger view

The “Secesh” State Guard company at Tuscumbia, Captain James Johnston, commanding, included, among others, Peter Taylor, Creed P. Goff, Henry E. Dixon, David P. Taylor, Samuel Johnston, William Burks, Joseph Stephens, James Simpson, William Wadley, and Alexander Colvin.  This company informed officials at the Courthouse that the Government of Miller county was a part of the Southern States.

While preparations were being made to defend Miller county against Lyon’s “Dutch” troops, more than twenty-five inhabitants of Saline township petitioned the County Court for a company of Patrol, to remain in office one year.  Minor hostilities having already commenced, the patrol company was formed in all possible haste.  The County Court appointed Phillip Bell, Captain of the company, with John M. Miller, Stanford Moore, Pinkney S. Miller, Jasper N. Henley, and Joseph D. Taylor, members.  They were ordered to patrol in Saline township at least twelve hours in each month.2

At Ulman’s Ridge, the State Guard company, Captain William McCubbin, commanding, included, among others, Henry McDowell, Arty Bilyeu, Jr., Hiram Whiningham, John Bilyeu, John Cross, Samuel Steward, Reuben H. Stewart, William Cross, John Bowlin Ripley Wilson, Edmund Hawks, Ewing Barnett, Samuel Caulk, Barnabus Reed, Ward Reed, John Ulman, Samuel Ulman, Joseph Ulman, John Davidson,  Jacob Davidson, Flemon Willis, and William Hoskins, Jr.

The citizens of Glaze township were told by this company to either support them in the Southern cause or leave the county.  Theodore B. Robinson, W.H. Payne, and William Hawkins were among those persons told “to either get in or get out.”

This was too much!  The citizens of Glaze township loyal to the Union, now fully aware of the necessity of defending themselves against the acts of those who believed Miller county a part of the Southern Confederacy, proposed a course of action.

1.  Wilson Lenox, A.B. Corley, and Abraham Castleman
2.  County Court Record Book C. pages 325 & 326



In May, 1861, Theodore B. Robinson, W.H. Payne, and William Hawkins issued a call for a mass meeting to be held approximately one-half mile east of present day Brumley, below the Union Church house.  Here, on the appointed day, before a tremendous crowd, J.W. McClurg, William Hawkins, Theodore B. Robinson, and others, made rousing speeches for Union organization.  The womenfolk of the families of Hawkins and Robinson, having torn old dresses of vivid colors into proper strips, made of the cloth a National Flag. –the first Stars and Stripes ever seen by many persons in Glaze township.

On May 22, 1861, Union Home Guard companies, later becoming companies D, E, K, and G, were organized.  The officers of Company D were Benjamin Jefferies, Captain; William Hawkins, 1st Lieutenant, and Andrew S. Ulman, 2nd Lieutenant.  The aggregate strength of this company, 95 men.

The officers of Company E. were Charles D. Martin, Captain; James McMillen, 1st Lieutenant; Zebedee Spearman, 2nd Lieutenant.  The aggregate strength of this company, 94 men.

Company G’s officers were William A. Bradshaw., Captain; Felix Jefferies, 1st Lieutenant; Daniel Shipman, 2nd Lieutenant; aggregate strength, 76 men.

The officers of Company K were John W. Canady, Captain; Hugh Snelling, 1st Lieutenant; and Samuel Salsman, 2nd Lieutenant.  The aggregate strength of this company, 95 men.

These companies established “Camp Union,” on Mill creek, below the Union Church house; and for field officers, elected Emly Golden, Colonel; and John K. Hall, Major.

In the same week, a Home Guard company upholding the Union was organized North of the river, at Fair Play, east and south of present day Mary’s Home.  The officers of this company were Jacob Capps, Captain; Silas Capps, 1st Lieutenant; William W. Miller, 2nd Lieutenant.  This company had an aggregate strength of 114 men, and was later designated Company H.

Another company was organized South of the Auglaize creek in Camden county.  The officers were William N. Harrison, Captain, George Graham, 1st Liettenant; and Ezra Green, 2nd Lieutenant.  This company had an aggregate strength of 102 men, and was later designated Company F.

Captain Daniel Rice organized the Miller County Cavalry at Locust Mound.  He afterward joined the Regiment of Cole County Home Guards, in which Rev. Thomas J. Babcock of Miller county was Major.  Captain John Salsman organized the Miller and Camden County Rangers.  His company included men from the southern side of Miller county and in the country of kinderhook.



On June 10, 1861, Home Guard companies D, E, F, G, H, and K, joined other companies, forming the Osage Valley Regiment and Hickory Battalion Companies.  Joseph W. McClurg, of Camden county, was elected Colonel.  He established regimental headquarters at Linn Creek.

The companies of the Osage Valley Regiment, having an aggregate strength of 1,649 men, were mustered into official service in July, 1861, by authority of Major General John C. Fremont, and performed duty in Camden, Miller, Hickory, Benton, and Cole counties.

The Regiment of Cole County Home Guards, organized by Allen P. Richardson, afterward Colonel, entered official service under authority received from General Nathaniel Lyon, dated June 11, 1861.  Captain Daniel Rice’s Miller County Cavalry, designated Company I, joined this Regiment on June 17.  Company I continued scouting, and preventing the organization of Secesh companies in Miller, Moniteau, and Osage counties.



After the middle of June, 1861, many members of the State Guard Companies in Sympathy with the South, left Miller county for Southwest Missouri to fall-in with the forces of Governor Jackson.  Captain James Johnston took most of his company into the Fifteenth Missouri Cavalry, Parson’s Division, under General Sterling Price.

Perhaps this was a fatal, move for the Secession cause in Miller county.  Companies of the Osage Valley Regiment to the South, and the Cole County Regiment on the North, armed with knives, pitchforks, muzzle-loading rifles, shot-guns, pistols, and rocks immediately proceeded to round-up Governor Jackson’s powder and shot secreted in Miller county.

The local war was on in full force, and from faded circuit court records in the Courthouse at Tuscumbia, and other sources, the seriousness of the times can be glimpsed upon.  This period from 1861 to 1874, was one of the most vicious and lamentable intervals in the history of the county.

Colonel Emly Golden’s forces secured the South side of the county, finding Claib Jackson’s powder in houses, barns, cellars, and caves.  Captain Jacob Capps’ forces, and Captain Daniel Rice’s Miller County Cavalry, secured the North side of the county.  Then Golden and Capps moved upon the Miller County Courthouse.

E.B. Farley, the County Clerk, having secretly stored a tremendous quantity of the Governor’s powder in the Courthouse, at Tuscumbia, favored secession.  In a minor skirmish, in which no one was killed, the Courthouse was taken by Union troops, with the powder removed from the building.  Also, a small iron cannon, obtained in this raid, was planted at Camp Union, where, when fired, its great boom bolstered the morale of the troops, but terrified many of the inhabitants.



Before proceeding with the story of the Civil War it is important we visit the earlier villages in Miller county.

Mount Pleasant, the first village, was surveyed by Marquis Calmes on June 29, 1837.  One month later, on July 29, Marquis Calmes presented to the Miller County Court a survey of the County Seat of Justice.  This was Tuscumbia, the second village established in the county.

The town of Chouteau was surveyed on March 6, 1840; the Town of Williamsburg on February 18, 1847; the Town of Iberia on September 1, 1859; and the Town of Centerville on April 5, 1860.



In 1829, Andrew Burris arrived in Central Missouri.  On September 1, 1830, he purchased land from the government of the United States in Clark township, Cole county.  The following year Andrew Burris and Company commenced buying and selling goods, wares, and merchandise on the extreme frontier, doing business with immigrants arriving from Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Virginia.  Hardin M. Williams was associated with Burris in this enterprise.

Immediately, three or four log cabins were erected near the storehouse.  The following year there were more.

Beautifully situated on a small knoll by a large spring of clear, flowing water, shaded by giant elm trees, the inhabitants not knowing any sickness, the Burris settlement and trading post was soon an important stopping place for immigrants seeking homes upon the prairies and in the forest of Southwestern Cole county.


So ambitious were Burris and Williams, so bright seemed their future, they even considered laying out a town.

By the time Miller county was established.  February 6, 1837, the settlement contained ten or more log houses.  The Burris, Williams, Vernon, Balance, Franklin, Harrison.  Shipley, Bartlett, and other families were there.

The increase having occurred so rapidly, the ox wagons now clanging by in ever increasing numbers, with a view toward increasing their trade and business.  Burris and Williams waited no longer.

On June 29, 1837, Marques Clames, surveyor of Miller county, appointed by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs on April 13, 1837, filed for record at the county seat.1  A plat of the Town of Mount Pleasant, situated upon the land of Andrew and Sally Burris, in the following manner:

“Surveyed for Andrew Burris fifty two town lots included in the Black lines.  The Red lines are not surveyed but merely laid down to show how to number the others.  Length of each lot, running North and South, 120 feet; width East and West, 60 feet, containing within a fraction of 1/6 of an acre.”

Calmes noted Main and Cross streets were laid down 72 feet in width; each alley 2 feet in width.

“Length of the tract surveyed inside the Black lines,” Surveyor Calmes continued, “from one extreme to the other, East and West, 55:3 poles; North and South, 34:2 poles; containing A. 11:39:11 poles, this 29th day of June, 1837.”

The first village in Miller county was upon the map; the lots and blocks clearly defined, and laid out.

The first trustees of the new Town of Mount Pleasant were John S. Franklin, Reuben Harrison, Andrew J. Harrison, George Shipley, and Andrew Burris.

The County Court designated Mount Pleasant the polling place for Saline township in the first election ever held in Miller county.  Ballots were cast by the voters at the store of Andrew Burris on July 1, 1837.  Judges of election were John S. Franklin, Hiram B. Russell, and Andrew McCasland.

Hiram B. Russell was elected a justice of the peace, and John S. Franklin, a constable of Saline township in the election.

It might be pointed out here, the earlier inhabitants never fancied using the name of “Mount Pleasant.”  They reversed it, calling the place “Pleasant Mount” until after the Civil war.

During the autumn of 1837 a road was surveyed from Tuscumbia to the northern boundary of Miller county near the South Fork of the Moreau, passing Thomas Sarter’s mill on the Saline Creek2 on its way to the Burris store, from there edging by the points of timber putting up to the prairie to a path leading from Hale’s old improvement to James Mason’s place.  The surveyors then followed this path until it junctioned with the Jefferson Road near Gregory’s old improvement by the South Fork of the Moreau.  Eventually this road was the main inland route from Tuscumbia and Pleasant Mount to Boonsborough3 in Moniteau county.

1.  Deed Book A. page 19, Courthouse
2.  Near today’s house of Judge Paul Martin
3.  California, Missouri



Previous to this time, the federal government, having shattered the paper currency and credit of the entire country by demanding payment for public land only in gold and silver, caught Mount Pleasant, in 1838, in the throes of the worst financial panic ever known.  This sudden depression almost destroyed the new town.

On February 24, 1838, Thomas L. Price and John W. Wells, of Jefferson City, secured judgment in Miller Circuit Court, against Andrew Burris, Harden M. Williams, John S. Franklin, Reuben Harrison, Andrew J. Harrison, and George Shipley for a sum of $2,052.28, and “by reason of detention of the debt, the sum of $243.70,” with cost and charges about the suit, bearing 10 per cent interest, subject to a credit of $13.75 paid on the 22nd day of February, 1838.1

Price and Wells, having financed Burris and Company’s mercantile pursuits, and the purchase of the land upon which the Town of Mount Pleasant was situated by Burris himself, now demanded satisfaction of their notes in full.

Immediately, by virtue of executions issued from the office of the clerk of the Circuit Court of Miller county, the Sheriff commenced selling the Town of Mount Pleasant.

He executed sheriff’s deeds to Thomas L. Price for Lots 2 & 3, Block 1; Lot 3, Block 2; Lot 3, Block 3; Lots 1, 2 & 4, Block 8; and Lot 2, Block 10; one deed to William Barclay Napton, attorney general of Missouri, for Lot No. 2, Block 6; and sheriff’s deeds to attorney Benjamin M. Lisle for 13 lots.

The new Town of Mount Pleasant was soon sold out.  Andrew Burris and Company, bankrupt, ceased to exist.  The place fell into a serious decline.

1.  Circuit Court record Book A, pages 10 & 11



In 1839, Miller countians commenced buying back the town, and the future of the place was assured.  Purchasers included Elihu Gregory, James Mason, John L. West, David Enochs, William Wilson, John S. Franklin, Abraham Castleman, later, Samuel Etter, Sarah Mulkey, John Balance, Daniel Etter, and Thomas W. Williams.

In 1840, George Thomas and Henry Dean built a store and tobacco shed at Pleasant Mount.  Youthful gentlemen and enterprising merchants, Thomas and Dean hauled hogshead after hogshead of tobacco, the main cash crop in this era, to Jefferson City for $4 a wagon load, or to the Tuscumbia landing for $1.50.  They used large freight wagons pulled by huge bull teams.  The established Pleasant Mount as a place of commercial importance.  A number of stores were built in the settlement before they ceased their mercantile pursuits in 1845.

In 1846 Dr. G.W. Lansdown was Pleasant Mount’s practicing physician.  Samuel Dresser was gunsmith and blacksmith.  A public house was kept by Samuel J. Jones for travelers.  Other places of business included William Turner’s store, Doyle’s store, and Morten’s grocery store.  There was no school in the town, and a majority of the inhabitants wanted none.  Sub-district township schools were nearby.  The children mingled with the cows, hogs, and horses on the streets, wading the dung heaps for entertainment.

On December 10, 1846, the citizens of Saline township gathered at Pleasant Mount to petition for a post office.  John Balance, on a motion from the crowd, was elected chairman of the meeting; Henry W. Long, secretary.  A name for the post office was chosen, an Indian name, Multnomah.  A post office was secured in 1847, but like the town was called Mount Pleasant.  Samuel J. Jones was the first postmaster.  The post office was established at his residence.



Amusement and pleasure in the era consisted of house-raisings, log-rollings, corn- shucking, or quilting bees.  There was only one holiday, the Fourth of July.  During the 1840’s, 50’s, and early 60’s, the big event each year in Miller county was the Fourth of July picnic at Pleasant Mount.  This annual affair attracted citizens of Miller, Cole, Morgan, and Moniteau counties in large numbers.  Nothing kept the inhabitants from the barbecue on that day, where everyone feasted on whole sheep and shoat roasted over a deep pit.

The event was the fashion show of the year.  Mothers and grandmothers made clothing during the winter months, and in the spring and early summer fitted up their youngsters, so they would be properly dressed for the occasion.  Just before Independence Day, the local gentry spruced up their mustaches and chin whiskers.

Always a prayer by some preacher opened these celebrations, followed by some distinguished person’s reading of the Declaration of Independence.  Afterward the best orators of the day delivered eloquent addresses which stirred the minds of the people, and sometimes, their tempers.

In 1844, George W. Claybrooks and John S. Franklin celebrated Independence Day in grand style.  Franklin testified Claybrooks struck him many violent strokes and blows about divers parts of his body with his fists, knocking him down, greatly hurting, bruising, and wounding him, leaving him so sick, lame, and sore and disordered for a space of five weeks he was hindered and prevented from performing and transacting his ordinary course of business, and was obliged to expend a sum of $20 to effect a cure!  William Hix, Andrew J. Harrison, David Enoch, A.P. Doris, Samuel Dresser, Samuel J. Jones, Sr., Seth Harrison, Francis Simpson, and others, witnessed the affray. 

At these celebrations, the formal program almost always ended at high sun.  Immediately, the roasted shoats and lambs were carried from the deep pit to properly prepared places under the spreading limbs of the great elm trees where the spits were hung for serving.  The womenfolk, spreading cloths upon the ground, placed bounteous supplies of eatables upon them, and everyone ate till filled.

The afternoon was a time for visiting.  The younger set enjoyed dancing if parents approved.

As the sun moved westward, persons from afar commenced journeying homeward, until suddenly all of the celebrants were gone for it was milking time.



In 1847 a state road was established from the ferry landing at Lisletown, on the Osage river, near the present day hwy 50 bridge, through Spring Garden and Pleasant Mount into Morgan county.  Two important inland routes now crossed at Pleasant Mount, the Tuscumbia-California road going northward, and the St. Louis-Lisletown-Versailles road going westward.

At Pleasant Mount in August, 1847, a Patrol Company was organized with Joseph D. Taylor, Captain; Elijah Spence, Wm. G. Burks, Stephen Routen, and George C. Adcock, members.  They were ordered by the County Court to patrol in Saline township at least 12 and not more than 24 hours in each month.

William D.P.M. Nolen was the leading merchant of Pleasant Mount in 1850.  James. W. Harrison and brothers, William and John, opened the first dram shop in the town in 1851.  By 1853 four dram shops flourished in the place, settling the gold dust and abating the fevers of western adventurers.  Usually a thirst was the only possession of persons returning from the California gold fields.  Dram shop proprietors included Flanagan & Long, James M. Burris, Samuel & James Long, James W. Harrison & bros.

The first grist mill run by steam power in Miller county was erected at Pleasant Mount by John Hume in 1853.  Later, John Hume and son, Berry P., in association with Tuscumbia businessmen, Daniel Cummings and Emanuel Godlove, built a carding machine house of three stories, the tallest building in Miller county.  The grist mill engine furnished power for the Carding machinery.

At this time Johnson C. Sullens owned the sole and exclusive patent rights on a new and useful improvement in thimble skeins for axel-trees in wagons, which he sold and installed in his wagon shop at Pleasant Mount.

Wm. J. Livingston, an enterprising young man, opened a store in the town in 1853.  James Long, Joseph Swanson, and C.O.C. Musick were Pleasant Mount’s dram shop proprietors in 1856.

In 1858, Dr. William Rufus Kennard commenced the practice of medicine in the village.  On August 27, 1861, he married a local girl, J. Livonia, a daughter of William P. and Nancy Wilkes Dixon.  With a brother-in-law, Price Dixon, Dr. Kennard, immediately after his marriage, enlisted in the Confederate Army.




The Baptist missionaries, Methodist circuit-riders, reforming Campbellites, and other preachers traveled to Pleasant Mount and held religious services in the middle and late thirties. 

The Methodist circuit-riders were most active in this era, with Reverends John H. Robertson, Jehu Carnes, David Dutcher, John Monroe, B.A. Parrott, John Carnes, Martin E. Paul, Albert Rhoads, H.K. Litsinger, D.J. Marquis, William R. Litsinger, and John D. Reed preaching to the inhabitants.  The first Methodist church-house, a log building, was erected on the farm of Marshall Dresser, approximately three-quarters of a mile south of the village.  William P. Dixon, Claiborn Still, Joseph Sullivan, William Ragsdall, A.M. Smith, John Sons, and John T. Davis were the first Board of Trustees.  Rev. John Monroe was the first pastor.

Baptist missionaries included Andrew McCastland, Blueford Scott, Andrew Kingery, James W. Maxey, Snelling Johnson, Lewis Shelton, George O. Morris, John Brockman, Martin D. Noland, Carrol Nevell, Thomas W. Cotton, George T. Tolle, and D. W. Johnson.  Early meetings were held on the hill east of Blythes creek, then in 1840, the Missionary Baptists established the United Baptist Church at Mount Vernon.  This congregation immediately raised a log building in the Blythes creek’ bottom approximately two miles, and almost due west, from Pleasant Mount.

The followers of Rev. Alexander Campbell, known as the Disciples of Christ, were early active in the Pleasant Mount’ community.  Reverends Asbury (Pete) Cartwright, John M. Davis, Phillip Mulkey, Jeremiah Stubblefield, Nelson A. Davis, Isaac Stubblefield, Cyrus P. Arbuckle, E.P. Belche, and James W. Sappington preached to the inhabitants.

In 1841, a congregation of Campbellites commenced using this church building erected by their Baptist brethren at Mount Vernon, but the two congregations quarreled from the beginning, so in 1851, the Disciples of Christ moved away, building the Salem Christian Church, approximately one-half mile westward.

In 1858 the Methodists built a church house and parsonage of logs in Mount Pleasant, the buildings costing more than $700.  The Rev. John D. Reed, a Methodist preacher active in this work, died in his home at Pleasant Mount on Jan. 1, 1864.  He was buried with Masonic honors.

William P. Dixon, Larkin Norfleet, William Swanson, W.R. Litsinger, John B. Daivs, John H. Sullens, Thomas J. Marshall, Isaac J. Dodds, and William Grandstaff were the first trustees of the Pleasant Mount Methodist Episcopal Church, South.



In 1859 property owners, residents, and businessmen of Pleasant Mount included James Burris, William Balance, Daniel Cummings, Thomas L. Bolton, Stanford Moore, Oliver P. Bond, William P. Dixon, W.T. Franklin, John S. Franklin, Wm. P. Franklin, John Hume, W.J. Livingston, Thomas J. Marshall, F.M. Spalding, Jesse Poore, Joseph Swanson, Johnson C. Sullens, Nicholas Woolfe, James M. Waters, F.M. Swanson, William Monroe, J.Z.W. Witten, Hardin M. Williams, John B. Hinds, Wm. Etter, and Samuel J. Jones.

Thomas J. Marshall was the village school teacher; Samuel J. Jones, postmaster, John Hume operated a grist mill and carding machine house.  F.M. Swanson was in the saddler business.  W.J. Livingston, Dixon & Sullens, Franklin & Shipley were the storekeepers.  Joseph Swanson, John B. Hinds, and Wm. Etter were the proprietors of Pleasant Mount’s three dram shops.  F.M. Spalding was the innkeeper, blacksmith, and wagon-maker.  Jacob Addler was the local peddler; Martin Cox a clock peddler, and B. Aaron, auctioneer.

Slave owners included Thomas L. Bolton, with five slaves assessed at $3200 for tax purposes; Oliver P. Bond, one slave, assessed at $800; William P. Dixon, two slaves, assessed at $1400; John S. Franklin, one slave, assessed at $700; W.J. Livingston, one slave assessed at $700; and Johnson C. Sullens, one slave, assessed at $700.  Slave auctions were events of great importance in Pleasant Mount before the Civil War.

On February 10, 1860, L.E. Williamson organized Pleasant Mount Lodge No. 134. A.F. and A. Masons.  Charter members included Phillip Bell, W.J. Livingston, J. Goff, D.J. Marquis, John Hume, James Johnston, C.H. Bentley, D. Williams, H. Dennings, P.C. Blanchett, and J.D. Brashears.

D.J. Marquis, W.J. Livingston, and Phillip Bell were the first master, senior, and junior wardens, respectively.



The map made by Franquelin, in 1684, and called Carte de la Louisiane, was the first to indicate the existence of a river afterward named the Osage, and one of the more important tributaries to the Missouri.  This map embodied the results of LaSalle’s explorations.  The name Osage first appears in 1703, in LaHontan’s maps, portions of which are copied in Winsor’s History of the United States, Vol. 4.

As early as 1719 the French ascended the Osage river into present day Bates county.  At this time the powerful Osage Indians hunted the Osage valley, but tribes of the wily Sac, treacherous Fox, and the raiding Shawnee, were in the Western and northern reaches of the valley.

In 1787, Clement D. Treget built a house on the Osage river, probably in Bates county.  In the 1790’s, August and Pierre Chouteau formed Fort Carondelet around this dwelling.  This was the second Fort established in out-state Missouri.

In the early 1800’s, an Indian Trading Post was located at present day Tuscumbia.  A village of Indians occupied the bank of the Osage river at the foot of the bluff and by the spring.

In 1806, during the first week of August, Zebulon M. Pike, the famous explorer, accompanied by Dr. John W. Robinson, a physician and surgeon, Lieutenant James Wilkinson, a son of General Wilkinson under whose orders they were traveling, one sergeant, two corporals, fifteen privates, and one interpreter, passed the present site of Tuscumbia.  In company with Pike were fifty-one Indians of the Osage and Pawnee tribes.  These Indians, having been removed from captivity among the Potawatamies by the Government of the United States, were being returned to the wigwams of their own people on the upper reaches of the Osage river.

In August, 1831, Colonel Bledsoe, with his large family of Kentuckians, passed the present site of Tuscumbia.  His retinue of slaves were pulling a number of flatboats laden with household goods and many mules.  These Kentuckians were searching for the promised land.  Colonel Bledsoe eventually stopped at a favorable cove, where a ferry was established by him.  Bledsoe’s Ferry, on the Osage river, near Warsaw, was immediately an important river port.

About this time, two bachelor brothers, James P. and John B. Harrison raised a log trading post on the left bank of a slough, now known as the Shut-In branch.  This was at a big spring, in the midst of a dense wilderness, by the Osage river.  They traded with the Indians and settlers until the dim trails sprawling over the Ozark highlands became established roads of commerce, even running a ferry across the river at their landing, licensed by the Cole County Court in 1836.

The location of present day Tuscumbia was early a river landing of importance.  In the early 1800’s the keel and flat boats were the chief means of transportation, having replaced the Frenchman’s bateau and pirogue, and the Indian’s canoe.  Later, as settlements developed along the river, it was by flatboat merchandise was brought into the valley and produce taken out.  Until the Civil War, but in the earlier days especially, a dozen or more flats at the Harrison or Tuscumbia Landing were merely part of the pioneer scene.

In 1821, the Congressional Township in which Tuscumbia is located was surveyed by Abner Rector, under instructions from T.C. Rector.  This survey, filed for record in the Government Land Office on December 20, 1821, was made so the land could be sold by the Government of the United States to private persons.  James P. Harrison patented the land on which Tuscumbia later was situated, February 18, 1836.

On February 6, 1837, Miller county was established by an Act of the Missouri General Assembly.  On April 6, Judge Wm. Scott of the First Judicial Circuit appointed James P. Harrison as Clerk of the Circuit Court.  This made him the first county official.  On April 13, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs appointed other Miller county officials.



The site for the Permanent Seat of Government of Miller county was established by a Commission appointed by the Missouri General Assembly.  On April 17, 1837, the Commissioners, David Fullbright, of Pulaski county; Zacheus German, of Morgan county; and John Hensley, of Cole county, met at J.P. Harrison and brother’s log Trading Post.  Two sites were offered to them, King’s Bluff and Harrison’s store.  The latter place was selected by the Commissioners as the site for Miller county’s Permanent Seat of Government.

William Miller, having been instrumental in the formation of Miller county, the first term of the County Court, held in May, 1837, and the first two terms of Circuit Court, held in June and October, were convened at his home.  William Miller lived in a log house on the hill at the mouth of the Saline creek.  William Miller’s original log cabin home is this very day a part of the modern home of the Taylor’ family, on the old Tellman’ farm, at the mouth of the Saline creek.

At the June term of Circuit Court, 1837, the Commissioners reported:

Zaccheus German, John Hensley, and David Fullbright, Commissioners appointed by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri for the purpose of selecting a Seat of Justice for Miller county this day made report of their proceedings, accompanied by a deed to said County for fifty acres of land donated by James P. Harrison for the Seat of Justice of said County, together with the abstract and evidences of title to the land aforesaid; which being seen and by the Court fully understood; the Court doth approve the report of the said Commissioners and the title of the said James P. Harrison to the land aforesaid; and doth order that this decision of the Court thereon be certified to the Tribunal transacting county business for the said County of Miller.1

On June 19, 1837, the County Court met in a log building by the storehouse of J.P. Harrison and brother, John B.  On July 11, the County Court ordered the Seat of Justice in Miller county named TUSCUMBIA.  The first sitting of the Circuit Court by Harrison’s store was on the 22nd of February, 1838.

1.  Circuit Court Record Book A, page 3



The County Court ordered the town of Tuscumbia surveyed by Marquis Calmes, the county surveyor, on land donated by James P. Harrison to Miller county.  The County Court appointed Alfred M. Houston as Commissioner of the Miller County Seat of Justice.  This made Mr. Houston the first official of the town of Tuscumbia.

On July 29, 1837, Marquis Calmes had the exterior boundaries of Tuscumbia completely marked out.  James P. Harrison immediately executed a deed to the County of Miller for fifty acres of land.  On August 28, 1837, Alfred M. Houston, Commissioner of the Seat of Justice, presented a plat of the town of Tuscumbia to the County Court.  Tuscumbia was the second town surveyed in the county with lots and blocks clearly defined and laid-out.

On August 8, 1837, the first license granted by the Miller County Court to keep a ferry across the Osage river was issued to Cornelius P. Davidson, at Tuscumbia.

On December 21, 1837, the first post office in Miller county was established at Tuscumbia, James P. Harrison was postmaster.  The next year, in 1838, Squire Jesse Kendrick opened a dram shop; and Josiah Birdsong opened a hatter’s shop.  These were the second and third places of business in the town.



On January 1, 1839, James P. Harrison, Mastin Burris, Abel W. Armstrong, and Burrell W. Burris wrecked the log building situated in Tuscumbia, under the hill, by Harrison’s storehouse, in which the Circuit and County Court met, and two other buildings used by the County Court for stables.

The County Court ordered the culprits arrested, and Samuel Mansfield Bay, Attorney General of Missouri, filed in Circuit Court a charge of trespass against the men for having “with force and arms broken and entered a certain close of the County of Miller, and then and there prostrated, thrown down, and destroyed three houses, the property of the County of Miller, and then and there carried away, converted, and disposed of the same to their own use, and then and there committed other wrongs contrary to the form of the statutes in such cases made and provided, and then and there injured the County of Miller, which hath sustained damages to the amount of five hundred dollars.”

This letter, found in old files at the courthouse, was mailed on June 14, 1837, to Wm. Dixon in care of
the postmaster at Tuscumbia.  This was 27 days before the County Court named the Seat of Justice,
Tuscumbia and prior to the establishment of a post office at the place.  At this time, William P. Dixon
was a merchant at Spring Garden.

Harrison, Armstrong, and the Burris’ boys answered the charge of trespass by pleading the buildings were situated upon a public highway or street in the town of Tuscumbia, rendering the street impassable, and having a right-of-way over the street with others of the traveling public, removed the buildings as public nuisances.

On March 31, 1840, in Circuit Court, a jury composed of Josiah Stewart, John Brumley, Charles Swanson, William McKay, Thomas W. Whitaker, Josiah Birdsong, and John S. Franklin, upon hearing the cause, found issue for Miller county “and do assess her damages to the sum of seventy five dollars.”1

Immediately Harrison petitioned the Circuit Court to set aside the jury’s verdict.  A new trial granted to him was over-ruled on August 4, 184, and the Court ordered Miller county recover against Harrison and others a sum of $75, “together with her costs and charges about the suit.”

Not giving up, Harrison, Armstrong, and the Burris’ boys petitioned the County Court to allow the cause heard by a board of arbitration.  Agreeing, the County Court appointed three citizens, whom were sworn, and charged to investigate the matter, fully, fairly, and without impartiality.

After an investigation, the Board submitted the following:  “We, William Tinsley, Benjamin Wiseman, and Samuel Etter Report:  To the Honorable The County Court that in the case of the County of miller against J.P. Harrison and others for Trespass committed on certain buildings claimed by said county that we find the said J.P. Harrison to be justifiable and acquit the said Harrison and others of all costs and charges, This 10th day of August, 1840.  William Tinsley, Benjamin Wiseman, Samuel Etter.”

In the Autumn of 1840, a log Courthouse was raised upon the hill, situated slightly to the rear of the present modern home of Tuscumbia’s congenial merchant, Leonard Kallenbach.  The Circuit and County Courts never again met under the hill.  Also, at this time, the county jail was completed, with a dungeon, and a debtor’s room, and walls three logs in thickness.  The jail was located across the street from the present day Christian Church.

At this time the chief motive power for land vehicles were oxen; and the road by the jail and courthouse went over the hill and down in a powerful plunge by the side of today’s concrete steps.

1.  Circuit Court Record Book A, page 51



During the time the land was being surveyed by Abner Rector in 1821, a White man in conversation with an Indian at the Big Spring was told that a building raised above a certain mark on the bluff side would be safe from floods.  In 1844, Daniel Cummings followed this advice.  He erected a large building between the spring and bluff which stood for more than a half century.  In this building Daniel Cummings and James P. Harrison engaged in the mercantile and trading business.  Here, in 1856, Cummings and Riggs operated the Tuscumbia Cheap Store.  In the late 1840’s, Daniel Cummings erected the Tuscumbia Hotel, in which Emmanuel Godlove was host.

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The lumber for these large buildings, walnut and pine, were hauled by bull teams from Texas county.

In 1856, Champ Smith and Daniel Cummings erected a log school building having a puncheon floor and a stone fireplace.  The building and grounds were purchased from them by the school district in 1857 for $112.  The first teacher at this school was Edward A. Henry, of Pleasant Mount.

In the 1850’s Emmanuel Godlove and Champ Smith had a storehouse in Tuscumbia.  George Godlove and Jefferson Smith were clerks in this store.  Also, Daniel Cummings and G.W. Wood had a storehouse, in which Everett W. Golden was the store clerk.  William P. Dixon’s livery barn and stables were under the hill.  John F. Atkisson had a storehouse and warehouse by the Osage river.

Dram shop proprietors in Tuscumbia after Jesse Kendrick, and prior to the Civil War, included, among others, William N. Harrison, Robert Gillespie, John Francis, Davis & Dixon, Elisha Glass, John Brumley, Samuel C.H. Witten, Witten & J.H. Harrison, Brumley & Harrison, J.P. McCubbin, Metheldred Bass & J.P. McCubbin, Calaway Wyrick, Joseph Wyrick, George W. Elder & Samuel Gilleland.

Early physicians included G.W. Lansdown, C.O. Curtman, Dr. Glass, and A.P. Nixdorf.

John B. Harrison and Daniel Cummings had a cooper shop, and Cummings had “upper and lower stables” for the traveling public.  Later, Samuel T. Harrison owned stables, eventually purchased by the County Court.  In June, 1849, John B. Harrison reported to the County Court that “the cooper shop occupied by Harrison & Cummings I found to be nearly all in street.”1

1.  County Court Record Book A, page 423



In the summer of 1852, one hundred sixty seven citizens petitioned the Miller County Court to erect a bridge across the Shut-In branch.

In November the County Court appointed David P. Taylor, James Winfrey, Sr., and Robert E. Simpson, Commissioners, to meet in Tuscumbia on the second Monday in December “and examine the road leading from Tuscumbia up the river towards Erie and report as to the utility of said road, and the necessity of erecting a bridge across the Shut-In branch, and the probable costs, should a bridge be necessary.”

On the third Monday in December the Commissioners informed the Court a bridge should be built.  On December 21, the Court ordered a bridge erected across the Shut-In Branch at Tuscumbia of solid rock ten feet high and 10 feet in width, and to extend on the North side of said branch to the second bank, and as far on the South bank as said bridge running straight will strike said South bank of the branch.  Bridge to be arched over, leaving an opening for water to pass through not less than four feet.  To be of strong and substantial stone, with two good sills 10 inches square placed on top of the wall, with three or more pieces of cross timber 10 inches square.  All of said timber to be of good sound white-oak, the cross pieces to be even with the top of the bridge, well fastened to the sills.  Good and substantial railing on each side of bridge.  There is appropriated a sum of $150 for building the bridge, with Champ Smith appointed Commissioner to let out, and oversee construction.  The bridge to be let out on the first Monday in February, and completed by the first Monday in August, 1853.”1

Later, the Court amended this order, by words “to leave a space of 10 feet in center of bridge instead of four, and instead of being arched over, to be covered with good hewn timber 10 inches square, said timbers covered over with good rock or stone two feet deep.”

The building of the bridge was let to Daniel Cummings.  On August 2, 1853, Cummings reported the bridge still incomplete.  He requested more time to finish the work for “I cannot get men to work,” said Daniel, “owing to the exceptional hot weather, but assure the Court I will finish it as soon as the weather gets a little cooler.”

The County Court, honoring his request, allowed him a warrant for one hundred dollars; pay, in part, for material and labor.

On November 14, 1853, Daniel Cummings reported the bridge finished, the County Court allowing him a warrant for $50, the remainder due him on the contract.

This was the first bridge across Shut-In branch, situated under the hill, near the Big Spring, in Tuscumbia.

1.  County Court Record Book B, page 88



Tuscumbia was early a river landing of importance, being one of the main ports before the Civil War for the Southwest Missouri and North Arkansas Trade.

Of course, professional people and business men were at the place, but others came because a steamboat of several hundred tons burden, with adequate machinery, was one of the more inspiring sites of the time.  The clanging of the pilot’s bell for the engineer to put machinery in motion excited the imagination in the minds of children, for great clouds of steam, at every revolution of the engine, issued forth from the everlasting and majestic bursting of the escapement pipes.  The clanging of the fire doors, the engine’s hoarse coughing, the rumbling of machinery, and the steamer’s great whistle echoing over the valley quickened the pulse of every person on shore, from an infant in its mother’s arms to older and feebler men and women.  Like a tonic, for some unknown reason, watching a steamboat made everyone feel strangely alive.

River Merchants, 1854
River Merchants, 1854



On October 9, 1848, John B. Harrison and Daniel Cummings doing business under the firm name of Harrison & Cummings, leased from James M. Richardson a parcel of land on the South bank of the Osage river, opposite Tuscumbia, on the east side of the “State Road now established from Tuscumbia to Springfield, forming one acre, for a term of five years for rent of $50, and bind ourselves to build a log house of hewn logs (oak or other good timber) at least 20 x 40 feet, of sufficient height to admit the storing of goods or other freight in the second floor; to be covered with clap boards in any way that will best suit for the protection of freight and goods, and such doors, windows, locks, and floors as best suited to above mentioned purposes, and deliver back to Richardson free of charge at end of term.”

In the 1850’s John F. Atkisson raised a log warehouse on the North bank of the river, near Daniel Cumming’s storehouse.  In the early 1860’s Obermayer & Co. erected a large ware house on the North bank, west of the ferry landing.



At Tuscumbia, the most important event, from 1839 to 1847, was Muster Day for the Miller County Militia.  To watch the parade of the military, and to hear the speeches of important persons seeking elective offices, men, women, and children thronged into the place when the Militia assembled at Tuscumbia in Battalion strength.  Often, more than one thousand inhabitants, with as many horses, and vehicles for travel would be at the County Seat.

Other large events included political rallies, election days, shooting matches, religious meetings, and the sale of slaves.

In 1859 slave owners in Tuscumbia included Daniel Cummings, with one slave, assessed at $1,000 for tax purposes; Emanuel Godlove, four slaves, assessed at $2,000; Millie A. Harrison, one slave, assessed at $500; James M. Richardson, five slaves, assessed at $2,400; and Champ Smith, one slave, assessed at $1,000.



In 1857 the County Court relinquished control of the Miller County Seat of Justice.  More than two-thirds of the taxable inhabitants at the County Seat petitioned for the establishment of a police for local government.

The County Court declared the Town of Tuscumbia incorporated, with metes and bounds as follows:  Beginning at the N.E. corner of the town tract, thence south with said town plat to the S.E. corner, thence due south across the Osage river to the foot of the ridge dividing Dog creek and the river, thence west along the ridge far enough to include the house now occupied by J.B. Roberts, thence in a northern direction across the Osage river to the eastern boundary of M.H. Burris’ little field, thence in a straight line to Daniel Cumming’s stables situated west of the N.W. boundary of town tract, being his upper stable, thence to the N.W. corner of town tract so as to include the school house, thence east to beginning.

The County Court appointed Daniel Cummings, Emanuel Godlove, Dr. A.P. Nixdorf, W.W. Martin, and E.B. Farley as the first Trustees of the Village of Tuscumbia, on March 3, 1857.



In March, 1857, John Humes, Emanuel Godlove, and Daniel Cummings entered into a co-partnership for five years for the purpose of erecting a steam saw and grist mill, and such other buildings and machinery deemed expedient, under the firm name of John Hume & Company.

It was agreed that John Humes would devote his undivided time and attention to the business of the concern, erecting the necessary buildings, operating the machinery, and performing other required duties, with Daniel Cummings and Emanuel Godlove each furnishing one hand.

This company erected a milling complex at Tuscumbia, and a large carding machine house at Mount Pleasant.  When these enterprises were completed, the co-partnership was dissolved, Humes assuming control of the business at Mount Pleasant; Cummings and Godlove at Tuscumbia.  The latter immediately sold the steam saw and grist mill at the county seat to G.W. Woods and Darwin Bennett.  The mill was located in the “crackerneck” section of town.

It should be mentioned here the inhabitants very early divided Tuscumbia into four distinct sections.  South of the Shut-In branch, and northwest of the Tuscumbia-Erie road, was Goose Bottom.  Westward, from where the first schoolhouse stood, north of the Shut-In branch, was Possum Flat.  The Courthouse stood on The Hill; The easterly side of town, under the hill, the Crackerneck section.  Under the hill, between the Big Spring and the ferry landing, lay “Harrison’s Reservation,” purposely laid out by J.P. Harrison and brother when the town was platted, so Indians would have a place for camping when visiting Tuscumbia.



In 1856 the citizens of Miller county petitioned the County Court to adopt such measures for the building of a new courthouse as would insure the speedy completion of the same.  Many petitions were submitted, and many remonstrances against building a courthouse filed with the County Court, but the Justices eventually decided a new courthouse would be in the better interests of the county.

Owen Riggs, appointed Superintendent, commenced the work by seeking suitable ground upon which to erect the building, with the “Publick Square” in the village finally chosen.  Red clay, locally mined, was placed in kilns north of the village and baked into bricks, Riggs promised the building would be completed in as good and substantial style as The Jefferson City Female College.

The contract for the building of the courthouse was awarded to Robert McKim, with Robert Ainsworth associated in the work.  E.B. Farley replaced Owen Riggs as Superintendent in May, 1858, Riggs having resigned to pursue spring plowing. 

The building was completed on December 21, 1858, and the County Court accepted the new courthouse in February, 1859.



In February, 1860, a Methodist Church-house was built in Tuscumbia, by Champ Smith.  This church house, a frame building, was erected on lot numbered seven and ten, in block numbered 36.  Its erection cost ninety-nine dollars and sixty-one cents.  Members of the Church Board of Trustees were John D. Reed, James Johnston, Robert H. Davis, John H. Melton, J.B. Challes, Abraham Casey, and Champ Smith.

This was the first church building in Tuscumbia; the congregation was immediately disrupted by Civil War.  From then until October, 1888, Tuscumbia was the only County Seat in the State of Missouri without a church-house.  However, religious services were held in the Courthouse and other buildings.


LODGE NO. 169 A.F. & A.M.

In the Spring of 1860, Tuscumbia Lodge No. 169, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons was organized.  The first treasurer was Daniel Cummings, other officers were unknown.



Prior to the Civil War, many scenes of violence occurred at Tuscumbia.  Men died on the village streets; often much blood flowing as the sunlight flashed on the cold steel of barlows and slashing dirks.

Jefferson Smith1 before his death in 1929, said, “There are not many who can tell what happened about Tuscumbia in the years from 1850 to 1860.  I saw a white man sold to the highest bidder by the Sheriff.  I saw my father and Daniel Cummings hasten up the hill to the Courthouse and warn preacher Bob Wilson to leave, for a crowd gathering under the hill intended to lynch him.  Preacher Wilson did leave, but his young assistant, remaining behind, was tied to a post at the Courthouse and given twenty lashes on his back by the Sheriff with a cat-o-nine tails.”

Until the Civil War, Tuscumbia continued to grow under the hill in a haphazard and irregular style until a couple of raids upon the town by Confederates, in the middle sixties, brought everything to a standstill.

1.  His father, Champ Smith, was Sheriff of Miller county and a storekeeper at Tuscumbia prior to the Civil War.



The Town of Chouteau, at the mouth of the Little Tavern creek, was established by Alphonson Boone, and three associates, in 1840.

Having hunted for deer and bear in the area of the Tavern creeks as early as 1834, Alphonson Boone on such an expedition in 1838, with Daniel, Jonathan, Israel, John, and Jesse Boone, all relatives of the famous Daniel, crossed the Big Maries river to the Osage river via the Big Tavern Creek.

Upon reaching the mouth of the Big Tavern, they built a raft, and after placing their furs upon it, peltries, and other spoils of the hunt, crossed the Osage river, putting in at the fur-buying station and trading post by the mouth of the Little Tavern; Grant, Warren & Newsom, proprietors.

Alphonson was so impressed with the place, he decided to lay out a town.  He believed its significant location would soon make it the metropolis of the Osage valley.

On September 17, 1839, he purchased the N.E. fractional Quarter of Section 1 in Township 41N, Range 13W, north of the river, “including the mouth of the Little Tavern creek.” From Samuel and Mary Richardson.1

On September 19, he sold to Elias Barcroft, Hiram H. Baber, and James G. Minor, each an undivided fourth part of the tract; George Tompkins, a Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, certifying the affidavit of sale.

Alphonson Boone and General James G. Minor commenced surveying the place, and when finished with the work, reported:  “The lots within the Town of Chouteau are all one hundred feet deep by sixty six feet front, except lots 2, 3, 4, 5, and six, which are each 132 feet deep by forty four feet front.  The streets are each sixty six feet wide, and the alleys each, twenty feet wide, which are herewith reserved for public use.  Water street varies in width, being sixty feet in the narrowest place.”

On March 6, 1840, H. Bartlett, a Justice of the Cole County Court, officially established the Town of Chouteau.  He noted “Be it remembered that on this day personally appeared before me…. .Elias Barcroft and Margaret his wife; Hiram H. Baber and Hariett M. his wife; Alphonso Boone and James G. Minor.. personally known to me as the persons whose names are signed to the plat of the town of Chouteau as proprietors... and severally acknowledged all the parcels of ground in said town reserved for public use, by their boundaries, courses, and extent, as the same are intended for streets and alleys, and also all lots intended for sale by their numbers, and their precise length and width….. and….. Margaret Barcroft and Harriet M. Baber being by me examined privately and apart from their husbands, and having the.. map and reservation for public use fully explained unto them acknowledged and declared that they executed the said map and relinquished their right of dower….. freely, voluntarily, and without the compulsion or undue influence of their husbands.”

The proprietors reserved the right of ferry.

General James G. Minor was first, and the last, resident of the Town of Choutear.  He moved upon the lots reserved for him as one of the proprietors; mosquitoes driving him out.

Town of Chouteau

1.  Deed Book A. page 186



Williamsburg, another prospective city of long ago, was established on the trail leading from Tuscumbia through the Big Richwoods to Waynesville, 18 chains and 48 links south of the half-mile corner between Sections 25 and 26, Township 39N, Range 13W.  Situated upon the section line, the survey of the town commenced 9 links west of the section line at the southeast corner of the Public Square.

Proprietors of Williamsburg were Squire and Jane Williams; the surveyor, Samuel Cecil Holiday Witten.

On November 12, 1847, Squire and Jane Williams sold the Town of Williamsburg, containing ten acres more or less to Phillip T. Miller and Thomas M. Winston, of Jefferson City.1   Miller and Winston, engaged in the Santa Fe traffic and mountain trade, intended to establish a trading post in the Big Richwoods.

Upon finding the place unsuitable for such a purpose, they purchased of Squire and Jane Williams, at a sheriff’s sale, the real estate surrounding the town, and after giving Squire and Jane a life estate therein, erected a trading post about half a quarter mile southeast, near Rabbithead creek, where the Tuscumbia-Waynesville road crossed the Jake’s Prairie-Iberia-Kinderhook road.

Surveyed February 18, 1847

On November 26, 1849, Phillip T. and Mariah Louisa Miller, Thomas M. and Sarah Winston sold their holdings in the Big Richwoods to Wilson Lenox.

Lenox established a postoffice at the place, Washington Barnhurst, postmaster2 and innkeeper; and a trading post, known as Lenox & Corley, until destroyed by Home Guard troops in the first year of Civil War.

The Town of Williamsburg, established on February 18, 1847, vanished from the map before internecine conflict, but Lenox & Corley’s trading post, revived during the Civil War under new management, was named Oakhurst by Jimmie Barnhurst, postmaster for a time.

1.  Deed Book A, page 533
2.  For a time known as Iberia


The present site of Iberia, in the Big Richwoods, was described by Deputy Surveyor, Elias Barcroft, in April, 1834, while surveying in Pulaski territory, north between Ranges 12 and 13 West, Township 38 and 39 North.  His official party included William Stone, hind chainman; Robert Misee, fore chainman; Carter T. Craig, flag man; and William C. Scruggs, axe man.

At the adjoining corners of Sections 19 and 30, Range 12W, and Sections 24 and 25, Range 13W, Barcroft recorded in his field notes:  “Set a flint stone corner to Sections 24 and 25, Township 39, Range 13 West, from which a pin oak 12 inches in diameter bears South 4º West 154 links, and a pin oak 12 inches in diameter bears North 41º West 34 links distant.  From this corner the house of I. Bellows bears a little east of south about 20 chains, and the house of George Tolbar bears a little north of west 8 chains.  Land moderately rolling, rich soil, fit for cultivation.  Timber of hickory, pin oak, hackberry, ash, elm; and undergrowth of oak, hickory, red bud, hazel, etc.”

From the section corners mentioned in Barcroft’s field notes, the house of Isaac Bilyeu, Jr., was situated a quarter mile southeast, with the house of Indian Tall Bear situated five hundred twenty eight feet northwest.

Tall Bear, an Indian having adopted the ways of the White man, was the first person living on the site of the present city of Iberia; Stephen A. Blevans, a Justice of the Pulaski County Court, the second person.

They were followed by Isaac Bilyeu, Jr., Reuben Short, Zachariah Price, and Elijah Dyer before 1836.

Zachariah Price was licensed a merchant and grocerer by the Miller County Court on May 8, 1837.  In the first election held in Miller county, on July 1, 1837, the County Court designated the house of Zachariah Price the polling place for Richwoods township.

Justice of the Peace elected were Jesse Kendrick, James Scott, Peter Bilyeu, and Josiah Birdsong, the latter having purchased Indian Tall Bear’s Improvement for a guord of powder and a hunting knife.

As early as 1834 a trail led south from the Big Richwoods’ Settlement to Bell’s Mill on the Gasconade river.  Another trail led from Bilyeu’s grist mill on the Big Tavern creek to the Osage river.  Two other trails led from the Smyrna Church, one westerly to the Little Richwoods’ settlement, the second northerly to the Wilson’ cave, where goods often were taken and freighted by canoe down the Big Tavern creek to the Osage river.

On February 5, 1838, the County Court ordered a road laid out from Tuscumbia through the Big Richwoods to the county line in the direction of the Little Piney river.  On May 8, 1838, the road was established.  It commenced at the ferry landing opposite Tuscumbia, across the bottom by way of the bridge to the foot of the hill, over the ridge to Dog creek, across said creek and up Cattail fork to near its head, down a ridge toward Judge Blevans in the Big Richwoods, across the Barren Fork at James Brumley’s, on by Judge Blevans southeast to Woodford Jones on the Big Tavern, passing Shelton Davis and Isaac Bilyeu, Sr., thence to Josiah Sim’s field at the county line, to the Harrison’ Settlement at the mouth of the Little Piney.

Immediately, this trail became one of the Big Roads in Miller County.



As a name, Iberia first appeared in January, 1840, when a post office was established in the Big Richwoods at the house of Rev. Reuben Short.

The first time Iberia, as a name appeared in Miller County
The first time Iberia, as a name appeared in Miller County

On February 8, 1840, Peter Bilyeu, Shelton Davis, William H. Wade, John Clark, Mordecai Lane, Reuben Short, Josiah Steward, John Bilyeu, John W. Davis, Wm. Reed, William Henderson, John Shelton, Wm. Wood, David McClain, T.W. Whitaker, James M. Ballengee, John Wislon, T.C. Degraffenreid, John Davis, Wm. S. Willson, Daniel Brumley, Joshua Harges, Jacob Manes, Pleasant D. Hackleman, Joel Thacker, James Snelling, O.T. Atkinson, George Hawks, Robert Boyd, Greenville Boyd, Enoch McCarty, and Hardin West petitioned the County Court for a road leading from the Iberia Post office by way of Joel Thacker’s shop and West’s mill on the Tavern creek, to the Davis’ ferry on the Osage river “on the direction to Jefferson City.”

In March, 1840, Elijah Dyer was licensed a grocerer at Iberia and the County Court established the polling place in Richwoods township at his house, Elijah died in 1841,1 but for nine years his house continued as the polling place in the Big Richwoods.

1.  First person buried in the Iberia Cemetery



In 1843, Reverend Reuben Short organized the Big Richwoods United Baptist Church of Christ at Iberia.  A church building, by a small cemetery, was erected on the land of Samuel P. Tucker.  The first members of this church were dismissals from the Smyrna’ congregation, and the Smyrna’ group labeled the new congregation “bigoted, selfish, and sulky!”  This label stuck.  For many years the Baptist Church and Cemetery at Iberia were known as the Sulky church and cemetery.

In 1843, a State Road was established from Jake’s Prairie in Gasconade County through Iberia to Oregon in Kinderhook county.  Two important inland routes now crossed at the place, the Tuscumbia-Little Piney road and the Jake’s Prairie-Oregon road. 

On May 1, 1843, Iberia, as a name, appeared in the Record Books of Miller County Court, a first time.1  On June 21, 18343, James T. Rolin married Ann Eliza McDaniel, and on July 10, Enos Kissenger married Polly Lite; wedding ceremonies performed by Reverend Reuben Short, at Iberia.2

In 1850, Jesse W. Burks was a merchant at the place; Samuel Short, a clock peddler; Dr. P.Y. Stewart, a pill depositor.

In 1850, the Iberia Post office was moved to the Lenox’ Trading Post, southwesterly on Rabbithead creek; and the County Court immediately established the polling place for Richwoods township at this site.  The election precinct remained near the Post Office until the Lenox’ Trading Post was destroyed in the summer of 1861 by Home Guard troops.

In 1854, Samuel P. Tucker was a merchant at Iberia.  He sold his stand in March, 1858, to J.H.C. Branham and Samuel Short, Samuel sold his part of the partnership to Branham in April, 1859, and the same year J.H.C. and Elizabeth Jane Branham sold their holdings in the Big Richwoods to Henry M. Dickerson.

This deed may be found recorded:   Beginning in the middle of the county road where the east line of NW ¼  of the NW ¼ of Section 30 crosses the same, thence northwestwardly in middle of said road 1447 links near store house, thence southwesterly 244 links to post near hen house, running four feet east of southeast corner of store house to said post, thence north westerly 625 links to the range line, thence due north on said range line 280 links to corner of Sections 19 and 30, Range 12W, thence north on said range line 599 links to W. post, thence south easterly to N.E. corner stone of the NW ¼ of NW ¼, Section 30, thence due south to beginning, all in Township 39N, Range 12W, containing 15 acres more or less.

Upon this tract of land, on September 1, 1859, Henry M. Dickerson, as proprietor, laid out the Town of Iberia.  The Town consisted of 8 blocks, each 120 ft. by 240 ft.  Each block was divided into 4 lots.  The Tuscumbia-Little Piney road was Main street; the Jake’s Prairie-Erie road St. Louis Street.

The exact location of the corner beginning the town may never be known.  Notes of the survey described the point of beginning in this manner “the North West Corner of Lot 2, Block 1, bears North 77º 20’ East, 92 ½ links from the N.W. Corner of Section 30.”  The plat described the point of beginning in this manner “the North West Corner of Lot 2, Block 1, bears North 77 ½ º East, 92 ½ links from the N.W. Corner of Section 30.”  The two descriptions placed the point of beginning away from each other several feet.

Nevertheless, the Town of Iberia prospered.  In 1860 Jesse W. Burks opened a dram shop; Tucker and Burks, Dickerson and Noyes, Haman Dyer, Marks and Isaac Lesem opened stores; and by the great elm tree stood the smith shop, Samuel Caulk, blacksmith and wagonmaker.

Reverend Abraham Castleman preached to the Methodists; Reverend Reuben Short to the Baptist.  Jacob Gardner, a tanner, was shoemaker; Lewis M. Dyer, a horse peddler.  Dr. Mitchell was the Village’ physician.  Zac Bourne kept a house for travelers; Thomas H. Mooreland erected stables.  Edwards and McCubbin freighted to the Osage river, Jefferson City, and southeast to the railroad.

After a number of houses were erected in the Village, board sidewalks were put down so inhabitants could avoid the mud and dung heaps in the streets.  Board fences were erected on both sides of Main Street, and on the business side of St. Louis Street.

Plat of Town of Iberia
Plat of Town of Iberia
Click image for larger view

Iberia was jolted by Civil War.  Many inhabitants in the Big Richwoods were slave owners, especially loyal to Governor Jackson, and in sympathy with the southern cause.  However, the Pennsylvania Dutch, having emigrated to the Big Richwoods in the 1850’s, were loyal to the Union.  The inhabitants, bitterly clashing, suffered.

1.  County Court Record Book A, page 158
2.  Marriage Book A, page 44



In 1861, Rocktown, as the name for the village, appeared on the pages of history.  It was caused by a rock throwing incident between a lone supporter of the Union, and a group of young men loyal to Governor Jackson.

While feelings between many of the inhabitants were running at white heat, one of the younger Black Republicans1 entered Iberia from the southwest, plodding beside an ox-cart loaded with a grist for Stephen’s Mill on the Big Tavern creek.  The Iberia’ boys, before his return, having decided upon scaring him, tamped powder and ball into their pistols while awaiting his appearance.

For some reason, having sensed unknown danger, the young Republican, upon departing from the mill, carefully placed upon his cart, between the barrels of meal, many rocks of a proper size for throwing.  Thus armed, he entered the village, watching every opening and crevice in the board fences along the streets for movement.

At the corner of Main and St. Louis, a young gentleman, appearing from behind the east fence, suddenly raised a pistol, and leveling it upon the young Republican in a hostile manner, was felled immediately by an accurately thrown rock.  Another armed gentleman, appearing nearby, suffered the same fate.

Although fired upon a number of times, the young Republican was not struck, -pistols then, at a distance, being none too accurate, -but his hurling of missiles were accurate, the rocks striking his assailants with devastating effect.  Too, any glimpse of movement through crevices in the board fences created sudden and terrible crashing noises, as splinters flew from the force of rocks hitting the planks.  The tormenting Iberia’ boys suffered a bombardment like never before known!

The young Black Republican escaped from the town unharmed, his meal intact, his oxen unhurt and suffering no fright.

1.  Inhabitants having voted for Abraham Lincoln were called Black Republicans



In 1859, Tolbird Bass opened a store on the Tuscumbia-Iberia-Little Piney road, by the Cattail fork of Dog creek.  Immediately his place of business prospered for inhabitants south of the river could now handily sell their produce and obtain goods without payment of ferriage for crossing the river to trade at the County Seat.

On April 5, 1860, as proprietor, Tolbird Bass, around his storehouse, laid out a town.  Since the site was situated near the center of the county, he appropriately named the new town Centerville.

The town consisted of 8 blocks, each 120 feet by 100 feet, divided into four lots, 60 feet by 100 feet.  Main Street was the Tuscumbia-Iberia-Little Piney or Waynesville road, with a street 60 feet wide for hitchrails.

In 1860, John M. James was a blacksmith and wagonmaker at the place, Rial Murcersmith an innkeeper attending to the comfort of travelers; William Abbott, proprietor of a dram shop; and a Mr. Stapp the keeper of stables.

The place prospered for a time, but after the Civil War slowly faded away.

Centerville was located approximately 2 ½ miles southeast of Tuscumbia, between modern Highway 17 and Cattail creek, near today’s residence of John Setser.

Plat of the Town of Centerville
Plat of the Town of Centerville
Click image for larger view



A mass meeting was held at Iberia, near the house of Haman Dyer, on March 6, 1861. At the first session of this meeting, early in the morning, a dispute arose between Charles Wolf and Walter B. Mansell. They commenced fighting almost immediately, slashing at one another with cat-o-nine tails. Leather thongs popped in the still morning air, until a wicked report, landed upon Wolf’s head. Wolf’s cap, sailing away, revealed blood spurting from his forehead, sprinkling his comfort.

This was too much! Wolf, tossing away his whip, rushed in, using his fists upon Mansell, soon evening the contest. A hard right jab felled Mansell to his knees.

James Madden, Jr., standing nearby, having watched the affray, picked up a rock, and moving toward Mansell, threatened to heave the missile upon him. Thomas Denton, rushing in, smashed Madden’s nose with the butt of a whip.

Mansell, now standing up, pulled a revolver from his comfort. He levelled the weapon upon his assailant. James Madden, Sr., jumping between Mansell and his son, whose nose was bleeding profusely, indicated Mansell would have to first kill him before shooting his son, Jim.

Attorney J.A.F. Schefferly said, “Jesse W. Burks, Charles Wolf, and myself came into Iberia, early in the morning, and later, when coming from Haman Dyer’s house, I heard a loud talking going on. When I came to where the persons stood, James D. Madden, Jr., was angry with a man. James had a rock, and when his father and myself spoke to him, he dropped the rock. At that time I saw a pistol raised by Mansell. I rushed up to Mansell, placing my hand upon his arm, and told him to put up the weapon, which I saw was loaded.”

Jesse W. Burks took the firearm from Mansell. Burks indicated the weapon was the make of E. Whitney, N. Haven, with a barrel of seven inches, and loaded.

Charles Wolf said, “I was with Mr. Denton in dispute the same time I saw my father-in-law jump in between Jim Madden and Mr. Mansell. I cast my eye around and saw Mr. Mansell have a pistol in his hand. He had the pistol leveled at somebody. James Madden, Sr., said if you want to kill any of us, kill me. I am old. Don’t kill any of the young ones. I saw Jess W. Burks, Mr. Schefferly, and my father-in-law jump in and prevent the shooting.”

In the further proceedings of this meeting it was resolved to adjourn to meet again on the last Saturday in March, at Lenox and Corley’s storehouse, in the Big Richwoods.



On the appointed day, citizens having come from far and near, were there at an early hour. Wilson Lenox, nominated chairman, was by acclamation, unanimously elected.

A motion that a committee of five be appointed to draft a resolution to express the true sense of the meeting was made, and approved, without a dissenting vote. Afterward, reporting, the committee recommended for passage, the following:

Be it Resolved if troops march against the South, we are for immediate secession.
Be it Resolved we are against the convention.
Be it Resolved the legislature must repeal the act calling the convention, and pass a secession question and submit it to the people.
Be it Resolved that this meeting adjourn to form a military company.

This resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote. Immediately, adjournment called for, was approved, and a military company formed, having an aggregate strength of 83 men. Abraham Castleman, a Colonel in the old Mustered Squads, was elected Captain; William R. Wright, 1st Lieutenant; Jesse W. Burks, 2nd Lieutenant.



On May 15, 1861, this company met at Lenox and Corley’s storehouse, ready for business. Word of the capture of Camp Jackson by Dutch troops having been received, there were Dutchmen in Richwoods township to be dealt with for having in the last election supported Abraham Lincoln for President.

Articles of Confederation, and an Oath, were drawn-up by officers, and riders, with messages, dispatched to the Tallman’s, Irwin’s, Bennage’s, Graff’s, Ponder’s, Moore’s, Jarrett’s, and others, demanding they come in forthwith to sign the company’s Articles of Confederation, and subscribe to an Oath of Allegiance, or else!

None came!

At Iberia, Wilson Lenox, Andrew B. Corley, Henry Dickerson, and others, made inflammatory speeches implying the Pennsylvania Dutch or Eastern people, the German immigrants, and other Abe-litionists, in Richwoods township, ought to be hung or shot.

Wincelaus Ponder, riding horseback into Iberia at this time for provisions at Lesem’s storehouse, was knocked from his horse with a musket’ barrel. A rope was sent for. An example would have to be made of someone, and Wincelaus was handy.

Ponder, while lying upon the ground, regaining his senses, reached up, grasping a saddle stirrup, pulling himself up. When steady on his feet, he realized former friends meant to do him harm, so he pleaded for his life to be spared. Three members of the company, sympathetic toward the feelings of a good neighbor, lifted him upon his horse, informing him to get going.

This he did! While riding away as fast as his horse could carry him from the place, Wincelaus heard muskets firing behind him, the balls missing, on purpose, maybe! A young man by the name of Bond, having returned with a rope, quietly stood, watching Ponder, on his speeding horse, disappearing from view.



The Pennsylvanians, and others, sent for by the company, not coming in, company’ members appointed a select committee to wait upon these families one at a time. The Committee, and company, proceeded to the home of William Tallman.

Mr. Tallman refused to sign the company’s Articles of Confederation. He refused to subscribe to the Oath of Allegiance. The Committee advised him “he had better be getting away from Miller county,” that if he did not, he and his family would be killed, their home and buildings burned, their property taken for the benefit of the Secesh company.

William Tallman, with his family, left Miller county the following morning.

His leaving Miller county, Tallman said, “prevented my breaking up and fencing 20 acres of ground then ready and prepared to be taken in as a field; I was compelled to sacrifice my livestock by leaving; in removing my family I had to lay-out and expend a large sum of money; that while staying away from home I incurred large expenses for the support of my family and teams; I lost a crop of corn on thirty two acres of land on account of not being able to attend to it; that I was prevented from putting up my winter grains; that I lost the services of two grown boys, two smaller boys, my wife, and daughter, for a long period of time.”

William Tallman remained away from home for two months.

The select committee, and company, proceeded to the home of Benjamin Groff. Benjamin would sign neither the Articles of Confederation nor swear Allegiance to their cause. Until it pleased him to do so, the company believed his farm a splendid place upon which to camp. His meat, meal, corn, hay and oats were carried away or eaten by animals and the men. His fences were thrown down; rails burnt in campfires.

Groff, not heeding the demands of the company, was cause for other action to be taken. He was assaulted, and beaten.

With the company on his farm, in camp, Benjamin Groff, with his family, slipped away during the night. They returned home in the last week of June, 1861.

The select committee, and company, proceeded to the place of James Long. Mr. Long refused to have anything to do with the company, especially the select committee. He informed the men he was unafraid of them or of the Dutch, since many of the Pennsylvanians in Richwoods township were his better neighbors. He indicated he was not leaving home; they could kill him if they wanted to do it, but having suffered death, they would be ambushed at every turn by the entire tribe of Long’s.

The Committee stated, “We have failed to appreciate this attitude, so appropriate to the benefit of the company, one sorrel mare, saddle bags, bridles, tools, and other sundry items, one load of oats, hay, and other feed for 96 horses, five middlings of bacon, and a barrel of molasses.”

The women of the Long’ family forced by the company to prepare supper, served 80 men.

By now word was out the company was after the supporters of Lincoln in the Big Richwoods, the Pennsylvania Dutch, especially.

When the company arrived at John Bennage’s place, he could not be found. Very quietly Mr. Bennage had taken his family, farm equipment, cattle, oxen, horses, and foodstuffs to a place of refuge and safety. For two months he remained away from home in hiding.

John Bennage said, “On account of this, by the doings of this company, keeping me in constant terror and fear, I lost the services of my boy Walls five months, the services of Andrew two months, and on account of being kept from attending to it I lost my corn crop, and fifteen acres of wheat I intended to harvest.”

Until June 16, 1861, the company continued visiting citizens in Richwoods township of uncertain loyalty to the Southern cause.



On the evening of June 16, the company received by courier, an ominous dispatch from Jefferson City. The hated Dutch under Captain Lyon were in Jefferson City; the Governor having fled to Boonville. And something else! Three wagon loads of powder and shot sent by the Governor from Jefferson City were intercepted by a company of Miller County Cavalry, under command of a Captain Dan Rice, south of Hickory Hill. Only one wagon ever reached its destination in the Big Richwoods.

Without any doubt confusion reigned supreme in the minds of the officers of the Secesh State Guard company, at Iberia, and more so, even, when advised a Union Military force under Judge Emly Golden was on the prowl in Southern Miller county. The company no longer would find enjoyment in merely chastising the hated Dutch; they would now have to deal with their own Scotch-Irish, Anglo-Saxon kind. They realized Judge Emly Golden, a slave owner, a Southern Democrat, and a gentleman, meant business!

Captain Abraham Castleman called a Council of War. At the foot of Smith’s Hill, late at night, around a slow burning campfire, council was held. Captain Abraham, an old Methodist Circuit Rider, expressed thankfulness to Almighty God, commending their noblest of causes to His continued care; imploring Him to protect the company from evil, while guiding the members toward promoting the truest good.

The following morning, nearly one-fourth of the company’s members returned home. The men separated from the boys, so to speak. It was time for action!



On March 16, 1861, there was a public meeting at the house of Joseph Ulman, in Glaze township. A huge crowd of citizens from Southern Miller county, and elsewhere, were at the place very early in the day. Rev. William McCubbin, Chairman of the meeting, indicated there were people in Miller county like the Dutch in St. Louis, supporting the Black Republicans and abolitionists against the rights of the states and the common inhabitants.

At this time, a slow-moving horse and rider, having approached the crowd, stopped nearby. From the saddle dismounted Phillip R. Robinson, an enterprising farmer in the Little Richwoods, 64 years of age. With his father, John Robinson, he floated down the Ohio river in 1803, settling in French Missouri, coming to the Little Richwoods in 1849. Phillip R., a native of Kentucky, married Miss Margaret Moore, from east Tennessee, who, before her death in 1856, gave birth to eleven children.

Philip R. Robinson was probably the most hated man in Glaze township for in the 1860, August election, he cast the first Republican vote ever tallied in Miller county. He was a pro-Lincoln man, espousing the cause of the Black Republicans. No doubt his neighbors would have hung him on the spot, -a limb and a rope suitable for the purpose were hunted, but he quickly left the meeting.

With the South seething in revolt, the Convention unfaithful to the Governor in his bid for secession, Rev. McCubbin believed every person upholding the State should be counted. He proposed, after meditation and prayer, an adjournment for the purpose of forming a military company. Upon ending his supplication to the Lord, loud shouts of Amen, in all directions, resounded in the morning’s still air.

Immediately a rebel flag was hoisted into a tree, and each man, offering his services to the Governor, stepped forward, standing at attention before the flag, pledging allegiance to the State of Missouri. The men of the company elected Rev. William McCubbin, Captain; John Abbott, 1st Lieutenant; and Tarlton B. Wheeler, 2nd Lieutenant.

This was the first Secesh State Guard company formed in Miller county. The company’s aggregate strength was over 100 men.



Word of the fall of Camp Jackson, in St. Louis, shook the inhabitants in the Little Richwoods like ten thousand thunderclaps. On Monday, May 13, officers and men of McCubbin’s State Guard company, and other citizens, met on the Joseph Ulman’ farm. State Senator Miles Vernon, of Laclede county, a fiery orator, was there. He warned everyone that the Dutch under Captain Lyon would bring robbery, murdering, and despoiling of properties upon the inhabitants of Miller county.

The following day, in a shady grove, near the Hickory Point Meeting House, Captain McCubbin and his Lieutenants, received, for the use and benefit of the company, two wagon loads of powder and shot, dispatched from Jefferson City. It was agreed the company would rendezvous at Ulman’s Ridge, Wednesday, May 15.

On Wednesday the company decided an inquiry would be made as to the loyalty of inhabitants to the Southern cause in Glaze township, and elsewhere, by calling upon certain families, one at a time.

Captain McCubbin, with a number of men, going south and west to the Wet Glaize, would head up Roland’s creek, cross to the Barren Fork, and return to the Hickory Point Meeting House. Lieutenants John Abbott and T.B. Wheeler would travel North to the Osage river, proceeding easterly across Osage township, then southwest to the Hickory Point Meeting house. In one week, at the shady grove, the men would rendezvous to determine a course of action.



With his men, Captain McCubbin proceeded to the house of Phillip R. Robinson. Mr. Robinson could not be found, but members of his family were informed the Robinson’s better join-up with the state’s forces or suffer their lives for it. Mr. Robinson, a Black Republican, aught to be hung like a common horse thief.

At this time, William Hawkins, Bill Payne, Phil R. and Tom Robinson, Ben Jefferies, Sam Salsman, John Salsman, Hugh Snelling, John Canady, and others, rode up, horseback, their belts bristling with side-arms, barlows tucked in their bootlegs, muskets primed with caps in the firing pins, ready for action.

William Hawkins informed Captain McCubbin to quit tormenting the citizenry, and making them fearful of their lives. A military company was being formed to put a stop to it.

In the first known confrontation of Southern and Northern forces in Miller county, opposing parties separated, departing peaceably.



Jacob Workman occasionally hauled freight from the Landing at Tuscumbia, to various places in South Miller county. On May 20, 1861, early in the morning, his wagon was loaded with merchandise at the Tuscumbia Wharf, for Hall’s storehouse in Glaze township. In the afternoon of the same day, the storehouse yet ahead about one mile, two armed men dashed, suddenly and unexpectedly, out of the woods onto the big road, wearing cloths over their faces, flourishing pistols, and stopping his team.

The men ordered Mr. Workman from the wagon. He immediately stepped from the wagon onto the Big Road, and the men, dismounting from their horses, pulled his arms behind his back, tying his wrists with leather thongs, covering his eyes with a cloth. Workman heard them, from the wagon, ungearing one of his horses, and having led it near, he was lifted by the men upon the animal. A vicious slap on the horse’s rump sent the mount running and bucking up the Big Road. At the crossroads, near the house of Emly Golden, the horse finally Whoaed.

Helping Jacob Workman from his horse, Emly Golden removed the blinder from his eyes, untying his arms. Together, in all possible haste, they returned toward the wagon. Near the scene, John K. Hall, riding a sorrel beast, appeared, informing them having heard nags a whinnering in that direction, he was curious of the reasons for it.

Upon reaching the wagon, only spoils could be found, the valuables having been carried away. A hogshead, upon the ground, was broken; boxes opened, and scattered about.

Jacob Workman indicated the men spake very few words while near him, but upon reflecting a moment, recalled one of the voices reminded him very “much it did come nigh it did like that McCubbin preacher.”



Lusinda Birdsong revealed a brief account of Lieutenants John Abbott’s and T.B. Wheeler’s expedition.

In the spring of 1861, Lusinda Birdsong lived at the house of John Shockley; Mrs. Shockley being her sister.

Lusinda and Mrs. Shockley, early one morning, unaware of anyone being near, John having left the house, before daybreak, in a hunt for meat, were suddenly startled by horse’s hooves outside, pounding loudly, and running, and a rapid firing of guns. Unexpected, this assault upon them was without reason.

“A large group of men, riding up, went on both sides of the house, running their horses and hollering Shoot Him! Shoot Him! Shoot Him! I don’t know whom they meant to shoot?” Lusinda said.

After a time the men stopped yelling and running their horses, and in the quietness then outside, Lusinda and Mrs. Shockley could hear men talking.

“When they did come into the house,” Lusinda continued, “Mr. Shockley was with them. The men asked Mr. Shockley if he had any guns? He said only an old pistol, but the main spring is weak. One said, we must have it!”

“My sister went to the fireplace, taking the pistol off the wallplate,” Lusinda said. “She handed it to Mr. Abbott. He took it, showing it to the men.”

Lusinda continued, “I heard Mr. Abbott speak to one of the men about the pistol. Mr. Wheeler said we will bring the pistol back or pay for it. Mr. Abbott said yes, we will.”

For a time, according to Lusinda, the men talked, then Mr. Abbott declared “I did not know Mr. Shockley belonged to the Guards, so he is an innocent man, and I don’t want him further interrupted.”



James Johnston, living north of Tuscumbia, near the Big Saline creek, issued a call for a mass meeting to be held at Johnston’s Mill, on March 30, 1861.

While serving in the Mexican War, James Johnston crossed the plains from Fort Leavenworth in 1846 to Santa Fe under General Phil Kearney, then going to Monterey under Colonel Donipahn, was at Mattamoras. In June, 1847, he was discharged from the service, at New Orleans. Elected to the office of Assessor of Miller county, he later served as Deputy Sheriff, and Sheriff. It may be written James Johnston, in 1861, was the most qualified military man in Miller county.

On the appointed day, a huge crowd gathered at Johnston’s Mill, by the Saline creek. A military company was formed; the men electing James Johnston, Captain; George Johnston, and John Bond, Lieutenants.

Immediately following the fall of Camp Jackson, this company met at Tuscumbia, under the hill, by the spring. State Senator Miles Vernon, of Laclede county, before a tremendous crowd of citizens, addressed the officers and men. Following the noon meal, prepared and served by local ladies, the company paraded up the hill to the Courthouse, visiting with county officials. Then, following a big booming drum, the company proceeded to Pleasant Mount, afterward going on to Tipton.

About this company, little is known. Being a military man, Captain James Johnston’s group became Company A, Fifteenth Missouri Cavalry, Parsons’ Division, under General Sterling Price. The company fought in the battles at Carthage and Wilson’s creek. However, after Price abandoned the Missouri State Guard, joining the Confederate Service, Captain James Johnston, and many of his men, returned home.



It might be said State Guard companies South of the Osage river pushed Miller county into the Union. At first these companies merely chastised the hated Dutch, then decided all citizens who failed to support them aught to be punished. The first Union Home Guard companies were organized merely to protect inhabitants.

After May 10, 1861, Miller county was a crossroads for State Guard forces going to Jefferson City. These men usually lived off the land, taking cattle, crops, and other items if needed, and often if not needed, many times without compensation to rightful owners.

Examples, in this period of time, were a mule and several cattle belonging to Callaway Wyrick, shot and killed. One mare, one gelding, and a horse were stolen from Robert Reed by a group of armed men. J.C. Casey lost a black sow with a small white list, a boar shoat, black and white spotted, in company with the sow. Swine belonging to Levi Whittle were carried from his sty by armed men.

Daily the inhabitant’s grievances increased, until Colonel Emly Golden ordered his forces rendezvoused, June 10, 1861, at Camp Union.

On Monday, June 10, Colonel Golden’s troops, and Home Guard companies in the counties of Camden and Hickory, for such a period of time necessary to restore the peace and quiet in neighborhoods of South Central Missouri, organized themselves into the Osage Valley Regiment and Hickory Battalion Companies. The men of this new military organization elected J.W. McClurg, of Camden county, Colonel.

At Camp Union, on Tuesday, June 11, Colonel Emly Golden held a Council of War. He informed his Captains he doubted assistance ever would be received toward overcoming the almost limitless power of the State Guard companies, southern sympathizers, and cohorts, but proposed an effort made toward restoring law and order in Miller county. For this to be accomplished the State Guard companies in the Little and Big Richwoods would have to be smashed. Captains were ordered to have companies ready for movement, Friday, June 14, at sunrise.



At the time Camp Union was established, Home Guard companies had no official status. The officers and men had no assurances of pay; no clothing, except their own. They had no tents and very few blankets. Their commissary department was supplied with little besides corn meal and meat, obtained in many cases, from their own farms, occasionally from the farms nearby of Union sympathizers, or stolen from others. Cooking was done over open fires, and usually consisted of roasting beef, pork, mutton, and sometimes venison on ramrods, with corn bread prepared in frying pans placed over hot embers. Eating was done with knife and finger.

The Home Guard troops presented no soldierly appearance, but it must be said, each man was skilled with his weapon.

Every man usually carried a number of small arms, with fine-edged barlows tucked in bootlegs.

The men traveled light, mostly by horseback, with a jug of water at the saddle. Their arms, with very few exceptions, were muzzle-loading Austrian rifles and Mississippi shotguns. These were very poor arms for mounted men, for they were compelled to dismount to load them. Too, such weapons were long, unwieldy, and heavy to be carried in rapid pursuit of an enemy. Every mounted soldier suffered the risk of being himself disarmed by his piece becoming entangled in the undergrowth, or wrenched from his grasp in passing at a rapid pace over the uneven surface of the country, which was the character of the land in Miller county. Every man used a home-made cap pouch, each carried a powder horn, with paper wadding stuffed into every available pocket on comfort, shirt, and panteloon.

There were no hospitals for the wounded, no transportation for the sick, only corn whiskey for medicine.

The men who joined the Home Guards left their families unprotected in neighborhoods infested with hostile bands. They left their crops of grain ungathered, their accounts unsettled, indeed everything they were possessed of were left to the mercies of marauding bands threatening ruin and death to all who did not join with them in the southern cause.



On Friday morning, June 14, Colonel Emly Golden, with Captains Charles D. Martin and John Canady by his side; Major John K. Hall, with Captains Benjamin Jefferies and William A. Bradshaw beside him, moved out of Camp Union, horseback, with approximately 400 mounted men on their flanks. This was the greatest array of military power ever known in Miller County.

Colonel Golden, and his troops, moved toward Ulman’s Ridge; Major Hall, and his men, toward the Hickory Point Meeting House.



Immediately Colonel Golden was approached by William Abbott and brother, Daniel, seeking permission to go after their father, Lieutenant John Abbott, serving in Captain McCubbin’s State Guard company in the Little Richwoods. “For us to do this,” they informed the Colonel, “would make us feel privileged.”

After some moments the Colonel approved the undertaking, but required twenty men accompany them for strength and mutual protection. Carelessness now, even in a family affair, was intolerable; the game being in play for keeps.

William Abbott and brother, Daniel, hunted during the morning, and the entire afternoon in the Little Richwoods for their father, without result. He could not be found, but at sunset, a scout chanced upon the enemy. Lieutenant John Abbott, with a number of confederates, were encamped in Dick Reed’s barn.

William ordered the place surrounded. He instructed his men to quietly lay upon their arms until darkness fell, then under night’s covering, they would surprise, and capture the whole works.

A rapidly moving thunderstorm suddenly appearing in the southwest, threatening severe weather in a very short time, caused William to commence a general firing upon the place, continuing until enemy gunfire ceased.

William, easing himself alongside the barn, cautiously entered the building only to find the place deserted; his father, and others with him having vanished into the night. Now raining, the men entered, and after posting sentries, they all slept in the barn until morning.

At the breaking of dawn, William Abbott noticed a knife in a pile of straw on the barn floor. Picking it up, he hollered, “Fellers, Pa was here last night, alright, but he must have left in great haste! Here’s his damned barlow!”

On June 15, Colonel Emly Golden halted a company of State Guard from a Southern county on the Springfield road, whose officers informed him they were going to Jefferson City. Pledging to go in peace, committing no depredations in Miller county, the Colonel let them pass.

After crossing the Osage river, at the Tuscumbia ferry, this company of State Guard took the Boonville road in great haste, Daniel Cumming’s informed them “Lyon was on their tails.” Captain Jacob Capps engaged this company in minor skirmishing from due south of Pleasant Mount to near old Rocky Mount.

On June 15, early in the evening, Colonel Golden received information from Jefferson City concerning Lyon’s capture of the place.



Golden’s and Hall’s men searched in the Little Richwoods’ country for McCubbin’s company. Men were sent down the Barren Fork to the Tavern creek, inquiries everywhere made, but the Captain and his men could not be found.

Searching up the Barren Fork, Hall’s men found powder and shot in a cave. An entire wagon load of the stuff, and more, concealed in a cavern situated in Section 16, Township 39N, Range 13W. Immediately appropriated by the Home Guard, powder and shot were carried to Camp Union.

Near this cave, Colonel Golden placed men, in hiding, concealing other troops, nearby, and waited, quietly and patiently. At last, the men of McCubbin’s State Guard company coming down from the South, were sighted. Major Hall ordered a charge upon them, and his mounted men, dashing from the woods in full gallop, yelling, and firing their muskets while still out of range, were almost too much for the enemy! The sight and sound of them struck such terror in the hearts of McCubbin’s tired troops, that confusion, for a time, at least, reigned supreme, as the men of the Little Richwoods company, wheeling their chargers about, fled rapidly up the Barren Fork’ valley, escaping without losing a man.

Later, in the evening of the same day, Captain McCubbin, having concealed his men, - or what was left of them, many having gone home, - on the Dog creek’ ridge, opposite Tuscumbia, decided to return to his home, before leaving for Jefferson City.

He moved upon the Hickory Point Meeting house, passing from the North down into the Bear Rogue’es. Here, dismounting from the saddle, and concealing his horse, he walked on, reaching home very late in the evening of June 16.



At the breaking of dawn, one of Major Hall’s scouts, noticing fresh horse tracks at a path crossing a ravine leading into the Bear Rogue’es, followed them up, finding a horse. Examining the place, the scout found a twig broken late in the day before, for the leaves were withered but very little. From here, in a south direction, he discovered bark slipped off a fence at two or three panels. Opposite the fence, a branch coming down the hill, formed a muddy place. Tracks discovered in the mud, were made by some person going south.

The scout hurried out of the place, for it might be the Secesh Captain McCubbin. Meeting a number of Home Guard near the cemetery, they rushed to McCubbin’s place, but the Captain could not be found in his house.

Searching outbuildings, one of the men, peering through a crack in a log stable, noticing movement inside, near a manger, motioned guardsmen nearby, over. Coming a-running, they grabbed up pitch-forks standing by the door, entering the building.

Captain McCubbin surrendered, “Don’t fork me, men,” he begged in an humble tone.

Captain McCubbin, taken to a rail fence near the stable, was ordered by the men to sit upon it. The men, quickly mounting their chargers and riding away, fully expected the Captain to flee, affording them the pleasure of running him down. However, soon returning, the Captain was found still sitting upon the fence, waiting. Disappointed, they fired upon him. Making motions as if mortally wounded, McCubbin fell backward; and the men, believing him dead, hurried away.

Captain William McCubbin, unharmed, went into hiding.



The next morning, McCubbin’s State Guard company rode up to the South bank of the Osage river, opposite Tuscumbia, to board the ferry. Daniel Cummings, wanting to know where they were going, was informed “to the City of Jefferson to join the Governor.”

“My God!” a startled Cummings replied, “haven’t you all heard? The Governor has went somewhere. There are Feds in Jeff City, and on all the roads. They will kill you, for the Dutch are killing anyone in the state’s forces.”

Cummings refused crossing them, begging the men to go home, which they did.

Emanuel Godlove and Daniel Cummings, ferrymen at Tuscumbia, informed everyone they would sink the ferry boat in hell before crossing a Dutch soldier over the river.



Colonel Golden and Major Hall now moved upon Captain Abraham Castleman’s Secesh State Guard company in the Big Richwoods. Colonel Golden, with the Dickerson boys leading the way, headed for Dickerson and Noyes storehouse at Iberia. Major Hall and Captain Benjamin Jefferies moved upon Lenox and Corley’s storehouse in the Big Richwoods.

At daylight, on June 18, a few former members of Captain Abraham Castleman’s company, returning to their homes in Richwoods township, were captured by Golden’s men; while Major Hall’s forces charged upon Lenox and Corley’s storehouse, yelling and whooping like hyenas; ransacking the place.

Starling Shelton informed Captain Benjamin Jefferies of having in a prior year, broken some ground for Lenox, as agent for Carneyham, and hauling 800 rails on the same contract, therefore, Lenox owed him a considerable sum of money. Captain Jefferies allowed Shelton aught to make himself safe.

Starling Shelton appropriated a wagon, hauling away a pair of bellows, an anvil, a large hammer, a smaller hammer, a large 2 horse plow, 2 new spades, a piece of plow steel, and other sundry items. Captain Jefferies informed the men to take anything they could lay hands upon, and they did! Wilson Lenox and Andrew B. Corley lost merchandise and hardware valued at over $3,000.

The next day, June 19, at noon, Colonel Golden and Major Hall were entering the village of Iberia. At Dickerson and Noyes storehouse they appropriated supplies, then, in approximately one hour, moved from the village, traveling in a southeasterly direction toward Smith’s Hill.

About one mile southeast of Iberia, two pickets were captured, and a mile further, a rolling picket or patrol was parted and run off the road. Surrounded, and captured, the pickets, at gunpoint, revealed the location of Castleman’s camp.

Colonel Golden, when near the camp, divided his forces into two columns, one to himself, and one with Major Hall and upon a pre-arranged signal, charged upon Castleman’s encampment in separate assaults, approximately 400 strong.

The men of the Big Richwoods State Guard company led with their lives. A number were wounded in the initial assault, a half-dozen captured, with a quantity of ammunition, many arms, camp equipage, including 14 horses, taken.

Colonel Golden and Major Hall, pursuing the company into Pulaski county, gave up the chase near the residence of Pleasant Smeltzer. Here, Alfred Goodman, on foot, hove in sight. Goodman informed them Castleman and Isaac Tebals, with other armed men nearby, having appropriated his horse, saddle, and bridle, moved rapidly south.

Colonel Golden, moving his men to the Klinkingbeard, followed the creek down into Miller county, returning to Camp Union. Here, obtaining provisions, and a further supply of powder and balls, they moved westerly.

On the evening of June 24, Colonel Golden and his troops were encamped near the Osage river, by the mouth of Little Bear Creek. Major Hall, and ten men, were near the ford at Reuben Burnett’s, on a scout.



Confederate and State Guard companies crossing Miller county to Southwest Missouri, used the Russellville-Springfield road more than any other public way. This road crossed the northwestern corner of Saline township, and the northwestern corner of Franklin township.

Around June 15, a Secesh State Guard company, under a Captain McKinzer, or similar name, and a Lieutenant, entered the northern edge of Miller county for the sole purpose of keeping this road open to sympathizing forces going south.

George Shipley saw the men on the evening of June 19, between sundown and darkness. He saw them in the road about 500 yards the other side of Preston Taylor’s residence. “I was riding at a slow pace,” Shipley said, “and called to them. One of the men wore a long gray beard.” The next day this company was seen by a number of persons going down the big hill near Moore’s storehouse, in Franklin township.

This Secesh company was sustained by citizens in Franklin and Saline townships. Loyal to the cause of Governor Jackson; furnishing them food, clothing, blankets, and other items, but apparently this was not enough.

It was alleged this company took a mare, saddle, bridle, martingale, and blankets from the residence of John Simpson, blankets from the house of Francis Hale, and a saddle from the stable of Delaware Simpson.

They entered the home of Mr. Starling, and at the points of their pistols demanded his money, which he, overpowered and defenseless as he was, delivered over $190. After receiving the money, and plundering his house, they took Mr. Starling outside. At the yard fence, he was ordered back into the house, where, having stepped through the front door, he was fired upon. Although uninjured, he was scared so much that for some time afterward, he remained in bed, suffering from a fever.

Captain Jacob Capps decided this nonsense aught to be stopped. With his men, he quietly surrounded this Secesh Company, in Franklin township, and at gun point, quickly forced the company’s surrender.

Captain Jacob Capps ordered the men disarmed by his 1st Lieutenant, Silas Capps. Finally, disarmed by him, Silas approached Captain McKinzer for his weapons. Tossing his pistols upon the ground, McKinzer dismounted from the saddle, challenging Lieutenant Capps. “I can whip you,” he said, his full-flowing gray beard flashing in the breeze.

As Capps walked toward the Captain, old gray-beard flipped a knife, and Capps, jerking a barlow from his bootleg, took his stance.

Captain Jacob Capps ordered anxious men, eager to join in the affray, out of it, for by himself his Lieutenant would answer the challenge of the Secesh Captain.

A shout went up, as Lieutenant Capps said, “You damned old gray bearded son of a bitch, I’ll whip you!”

Captain McKinzer struck three licks at Capps, twice cutting his shoulder, blood flowing freely, coloring his clothing, but on the third lick, Capps knocked McKinzer’s knife from his hand. Having struck at the Captain’s hip, missing, Capps, upon a reversed lick, connected on the arm, causing the Captain’s knife to fall.

Captain Jacob Capps said, “Old greybeard jumped about two feet high, and hollered, God-a-mighty, I’m ruined!”

Escorted to Pleasant Mount, Capps asked McKinzer the location of stolen properties. The Secesh Captain indicated he was unable to remember locations. Captain Capps informed him he better remember, for if unable to, his men would be taken out into the head of one of the nearby hollows, and filled with lead. “We’ll use the rope on you!” Capps informed the Captain. Stolen properties were recovered.



At this time, German troops by the hundreds, out of St. Louis, were streaming over the Rolla-Lebanon-Springfield road, on their way to Southwest Missouri.

The 3rd Regiment of Missouri Volunteers, Companies B, C, E, F, G, H, and I, Colonel Francis Sigel, commanding, passed through Waynesville on June 18; Lebanon, June 21. About this time three companies of the 5th Regiment U.S. Reserve Corps, suppressed insurrection of prisoners at the Missouri Penitentiary. On June 20, nine companies of the 1st Regiment U.S. Reserve Corps, Colonel Almstadt, commanding, marched into Jefferson City. General Lyon was at Boonville.

Except for the Home Guard companies, and a few U.S. Regulars, the whole of these Union forces in Missouri, on June 1, 1861, 10,370 strong, it is due to our fellow citizens of German ancestry to say, they furnished four-fifths of it. These were the hated “Dutch” in outstate Missouri. Now on the move, their presence in Central Missouri strengthened the efforts of local Home Guard companies in overcoming the many powerful State Guard and Confederate organizations.



Before dawn on the morning of June 25, 1861, Colonel Emly Golden’s forces broke camp near Little Bear creek, by the south bank of the Osage river. At daylight they were joined by Major Hall who had driven down the Osage valley during the night from opposite Reuben Burnett’s place. Hall, and his men, had captured four horses and some provisions belonging to a small secession force going south.

The companies proceeded to Brockman’s Ford, crossing the river. From the north bank, they moved down the Tuscumbia road. Near Lick creek a horse and rider approached, and although the rider appeared friendly, the forward scouts kept him under their muzzles until having ridden up.

The rider asked for Cap’ Jefferies, being an old acquaintance, and the Captain, some distance behind, was sent for, and upon coming forward, immediately recognized the man as a scout for Captain Jacob Capps, and his friend.

The scout gave Colonel Golden information that Captain Capps and his company were in the Big Flatwoods to the North, making preparations to move at high sun upon the Miller County Courthouse. Captain Jacob Capps intended to swing over to the Boonville road, cross over it, then with his men, approach the Courthouse by way of the graveyard.

Colonel Golden indicated his men were ready to do their share toward restoring order in Miller county. He informed the scout he would fall down the river bottom to the water course of Gum creek, travel up the creek a short piece, then move to the ridge alongside Shut-In branch to observe what measures had been taken for the defense of the county seat. He would move in close, then wait for a signal, fired by Captain Capps, and upon hearing it, dash upon the courthouse.

Colonel Golden inquired in regard to what Capps and his men were doing in the Big Flatwoods. The scout reported of having received intelligence on the previous day, while patrolling near Pleasant Mount, of a wagon moving southward probably laden with contraband articles, and being dispatched to stop it, had done so, and found powder, shot, and provisions purported to be destined for Camden county. The wagon, drawn by two yoke of oxen, was taken possession of, the owner arrested, and was now being escorted to Pleasant Mount.

By high sun, Colonel Golden, and his men, were down in the Shut-In branch, moving down the stream into the northwestern edge of Tuscumbia. Captain Capps and his men had reached the graveyard.

Near the grave-stones, Captain Capps dismounted and abandoned his horse. He ordered his men to attack when they heard the firing of his gun. He wanted no one killed or the Courthouse damaged unless absolutely necessary.

Seeking refuge and cover in the thick wood, Captain Capps crept down the ridge until the Courthouse and surroundings were in view. He noticed Secesh men, about 20 in number, with arms, strolling near the building. Just as his gun was raised for firing the signal to attack, an alarm was spread at the Courthouse of Colonel Golden and his men being under the hill, moving up. Captain Capps squeezed the trigger!

A clattering of hoofs echoed from within the woods to the north; and a cloud of dust arose in the direction of the river as Golden’s forces charged up the hill.

The defenders at the Courthouse showed a most decided willingness to get out of the way; the Secesh guards fleeing in great haste down the ravine on the eastern side of the Courthouse. As the men rode up, a few shots were exchanged, and as the men dismounted, sunlight flashed on the cold steel of barlows drawn from bootlegs. Four of the men were taken; the others having made their escape through the thick brush.

Later, in lower sun, the tree under the hill, flying the Rebel Flag, chopped through with axes, was felled by the Colonel’s men.

Miller county was with the Union!



At sundown, many of the inhabitants in the village of Tuscumbia observed two wagons, drawn by four horse teams, moving up the big hill, followed by a number of men, to aid as well as cover, in the removal of a number of barrels of gun-powder from the Courthouse, placed there by Evi B. Farley, County Clerk.

At the Courthouse, by the front porch, the barrels of powder were cast upon one of the wagons, while upon the other a small iron cannon was placed. Under armed guard, powder and cannon were removed to Camp Union.



Colonel Golden, and his men, having been in the field from June 14, deficient of forage for horses, and food for proper nourishment of the men, even without a change of clothing, prompted the Colonel to move to Camp Union.

Early in the morning of June 30, the Colonel instructed his Captains their companies should be ready for movement at sundown. At the noon hour, he detailed a number of men, having requested to remain at the Courthouse, to the command of Captain Jacob Capps, as part of the post garrison at Tuscumbia.

On the evening of June 30, at the ferry landing, the Colonel mustered his men. The hospitality of the local saloons not yet enjoyed in the fuller extent, the men were reluctant to leave at sunset. Favorably disposed toward his men, the Colonel allowed them proper refreshments; crossing the river at approximately eleven o’clock.

Moving over the hill toward the hollow of the Dog creek, Colonel Golden was suddenly surprised, then awed, by a great light which burst upon them from the Northwest. It was a brilliant, glowing streak in the heavens, stretching from near the horizon to the North Star.

To such an extent did this strange phenomena overwhelm many of the men, the Colonel halted everyone for better viewing the wonderfulness of it.

Colonel Golden indicated the magnificent light was a sign of great victory, while Major Hall predicted it was an omen of the old slave devil rattling his arms.



And arms were rattling! On July 3, General Lyon left Boonville for Springfield. On July 5, the Battle of Dry Forks or Carthage was fought. On July 20, Captain Jacob Capps’ men scattered a group of Confederates on the Springfield road, west of Pleasant Mount, capturing a wagon, and two men.

One of the prisoners reported that on July 17, about four miles south of Fulton, the Dutch attacked General Tom Harris, routing his force of approximately 1000 men, entering Fulton with but little opposition. Defeated, many of Harris’es men were heading South to join-up with the forces of General Sterling Price.

On the morning of August 14, Captain Jacob Capps, sitting at his desk in the Courthouse, was approached by a messenger who reported to him Dutch troops, by the hundreds were streaming through Waynesville toward St. Louis, for on August 10, a great battle, having been fought near Springfield, the Dutch forces were routed and defeated, with General Lyon killed.

The effect of this statement on Captain Jacob Capps, shook him, for a time, at least, visibly. No doubt he envisioned Claib Jackson and General Price moving upon Jefferson City across Miller county.



Captain Jacob Capps believed his men aught to be tested for bravery. He called William Carroll Brumley, his new Lieutenant, before him, informing him of his plans. The men would be tested by a fake attack.

With hostile forces expected in the area at any time, Capps and Brumley informed everyone an assault upon the Courthouse was imminent. An attack was expected early in the evening, but in no case, later than the following morning. When launched upon them, the assaulting forces were to be expelled from the Courthouse, with no quarter given by any man until all were dead.

At each of the windows in the Courthouse, Captain Capps stationed four men. Two of the men, firing upon advancing troops, the other two loading, would allow a galling fire upon the enemy until the Courthouse was overrun, or the attacking forces repulsed. Other troops, stationed inside the building under the command of Lieutenant Brumley, would fill places at the windows vacated by men killed or wounded.

The next morning, at the breaking of dawn, west of the Courthouse, a rapid firing of guns aroused the sentries. Greatly alarmed, drowsy troops stirred instantly, running and occupying their places. In the excitement of the moment all of the windows in the Courthouse were battered out with musket’ barrels, the men wanting unhindered shots at the enemy.

Without any doubt, this conduct of the men fully satisfied Captain Capps and Lieutenant Brumley as to their bravery.



The Courthouse was a barracks for this company of Home Guard from the last of June until August 1, 1861. During this time the building was much defaced and injured, the furniture badly damaged, some of the records totally destroyed. The Justices of the County Court requested removal of the troops, by Captain Capps, and he obliged them. Immediately, the Justices of the County Court cleaned up the building, as thoroughly as possible with the means at their command, fixing the furniture, repairing doors and windows.

In the last week of July, Miller County Home Guard companies in the Osage Valley Regiment were officially recognized by Major General John C. Fremont, in command of the Department of the West; having arrived at St. Louis on July 25, 1861.



After the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, the condition of the State was truly deplorable. Secession enthusiasm at the defeat and death of General Lyon caused a general uprising, and produced a reign of terror, which was met by a Federal declaration of martial law. Federal authorities promised confiscation of properties owned by southern sympathizers and freedom to their slaves.

Tolbird Bass, of Centerville, appointed Provost Marshal of Tuscumbia, enforced orders of martial law in Miller county.



About this time, several hundred Union soldiers, Colonel Mulligan, commanding, camped on the Saline township prairie, north of Pleasant Mount. The Colonel proceeded to round up and chastise southern sympathizers. Many men active in the southern cause saved themselves only by disguise and concealment.

A number of men contented themselves with spinning, knitting, and cooking beside fireplaces, clothed as women, several days. William P. Dixon, Edmund Wilkes, some McCasland men, with others heavily armed, moved into a cave on the south bank of the Saline creek. In this place of concealment the men suffered many hardships and privations.

The inhabitants and southern sympathizers, especially, in Saline township, were informed they were under martial law.

Nancy Dixon, William P.’s wife, upon receiving information Union soldiers were planning to move into the valley of the Saline creek to scout the area for persons hiding there, devised a plan to warn her husband of approaching danger.

Summoning her daughter, Mary Louella, eleven years of age, and informing her of the danger to her father, instructed Mary Lou to proceed to the cave, three and one-half miles south, with a message. If approached by Union soldiers she was to put the small piece of paper carrying the message into her mouth, chew it up, and swallow it immediately. She would have to enter the cave, unseen by Union soldiers. Her father would be found in the little ante-room on the left of the large cavern past the opening of the cave.

Mary Louella, at sunrise, casually riding her little pony, galloped out of Pleasant Mount toward the Saline creek, carrying the written message. Near sundown of the same day, Nancy Dixon observed the pony, her daughter riding side-saddle, slowly approaching Pleasant Mount from the South. Coming nearer, the smile on little Mary’s face, eased Nancy’s trembling heart.

Having found her father, Mary delivered the message, unseen and unmolested by Union soldiers.



At this juncture of affairs, a new state government was formed. This was done by the State Convention.

Created by an Act of the General Assembly, with delegates elected on February 18, 1861, the State Convention met first at Jefferson City in February, adjourning March 22, subject to call. A second meeting of the Convention commenced July 22, 1861. With General Sterling Price, the Convention’s President, and Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson out of the way, the Convention acted with the energy which the crisis demanded. Both the Governor and General Assembly were deposed; a Provisional Government established.

The Convention elected Hamilton R. Gamble, Governor of Missouri; Willard P. Hall, Lieutenant Governor. This was a unique assumption of power, but quietly the people submitted to the new authority as a military necessity. The result of this action left the State without a legislature which could make provisions for emergencies and other needs, so the Convention passed ordinances which partook the character of ordinary legislation.

Hamilton R. Gamble, upon assuming the Governor’s chair, issued a proclamation, forgiving those in the State Guard, under General Price, if they would only come home.



The Missouri State Convention, in its second session, in July, 1861, believed it necessary for the loyal inhabitants of Missouri to be organized for mutual protection. Accordingly, on August 24, 1861, the Governor called for 42,000 volunteers, to serve for six months, but only six thousand men answered the call.



Soon after the organization of this feeble force, it became apparent arrangements would have to be made for an organization upon a different basis. The Governor, calling upon President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. made arrangements for raising a force of State Militia, to serve during the war, fully maintained by the United States.

Under this arrangement, 13,000 men were immediately collected and organized, but Congress limited the number of this force which the United States would pay to ten thousand men.



Ignoring the State Convention, Governor Jackson convened the General Assembly at Neosho, on October 21, 1861, admitting Missouri into the Confederacy. Here, the State Guard ceased to exist. Many persons having joined the organization under authority of the State and the call of Governor Jackson, now returned home, many entering the Union military forces.



In the last week of August, 1861, Captain Daniel Rice’s Miller County Cavalry captured and hauled into Jefferson City two Secession Captains, James Johnston, of Tuscumbia, and B. Barnd, of Cole county. Johnston was a Captain of Company A, 15th Missouri Cavalry, Parson’s Division, under General Price, having fought in the battles at Carthage and Wilson’s Creek.

William Matthews, Aaron Bell, and John Hicks, of Miller county, informed their Lieutenants, Captain Barnd wanted a settlement of the slavery question with the sword and cannon!! He was placed under military arrest.

Captain James Johnston informed the officers it was the proclamation of Governor Gamble, forgiving those in the State Guard under Price, which led him to return home. Upon taking the loyalty oath, he was released, but on his way to Tuscumbia encountered trouble near the Saline creek.

Riding horseback down the State road, he was challenged by Captain Wesley A. Hackney, and failing to halt, Captain Hackney hit the saddle, pursuing him. In full chase, the distance between them finally closed enough Hackney shot Johnston from his horse, although his life was not endangered by the wound.



Many members of various Home Guard companies throughout the county, by the first week in September, 1861, relieved themselves from duty. Poorly clad, poorly armed, poorly fed, and with little prospect, either immediately or remote, of ever obtaining any pay for their service, they returned to their ordinary avocations and civil pursuits. Too, many were concerned about means of support for their families with the fall season and winter months approaching.

Too, the crisis having called the Home Guard to arms, seemed to be passing away. The danger of an attack upon Miller county seemed rather remote. The secession forces, having eased their activities, even the Pennsylvanians returned to their homes in Richwoods township. A condition of quiet prevailed, but this was merely a lull before the storm.



On August 26, 1861, General Sterling Price moved northward from Springfield for Lexington by way of Warrensburg. He invariably routed Home Guard and Union forces wherever a fight could be gotten out of them. On September 18, General Price launched an attack upon Colonel Mulligan’s Union forces at Lexington, commencing a 52 hour artillery bombardment.

Short of ammunition, out of water, and surrounded by forces five times greater in number, on September 20, Colonel Mulligan surrendered.

Elated by these successes, secession companies spread over Missouri like prairie fires fanned by high winds. The extent of these activities in Miller county may be illustrated in one instance alone. Secesh General Crabtree, with Captains Revis and Schumate, in the space of a few days, recruited a considerable number of men in Cole and Miller counties, taking many horses, before leaving for Southern Headquarters at Thomasville, Missouri, near the Arkansas line.

Other secession sympathizers, daily recruiting companies, moved them out to join General Sterling Price in the West.

Remnants of the Big and Little Richwoods State Guard companies, entering the county, commenced committing outrages upon the people, and robbing, in all neighborhoods south of the river.

Colonel Golden summoned Home Guard forces to Tuscumbia to help Tolbird Bass, Provost Marshal, defend the county seat.



In the last week of September, 1861, remnants of the Big and Little Richwoods’ State Guard companies, with others, entered Miller county, nearly two hundred strong. Riding up to the home of John Martin, in Glaze township, they demanded their supper. When informed he was destitute of meal and meat, Mr. Martin was assaulted, and put in fear of his life. The men took what could be found in the house, then removed from the stable his horse and saddle; leading away a mare belonging to Aaron Roberts.

In the afternoon of September 25, 1861, the men rode up to the house of William Hawkins. William was gone. Catherine, William’s wife, watched the men lead the big mare and the little bay mare away; carrying from the house, smokehouse, and log stable other sundries.



Events of the day were brought to light by William Carroll Brumley. Riding horseback up the Barren Fork-Tavern trail, he entered the Big Road near the Castleman cemetery, heading for Tuscumbia, about three hours before day.

Near the crest of the hill, ahead of him, William Carroll Brumley saw a man crossing the road riding a sorrel horse, and leading a gray mare. The mare being led was of an iron gray color, with hips, shoulders, and legs somewhat darker than her body. “In truth,” Brumley said, “The mare’s neck looked rather flea-bitten!”

The man riding the sorrel horse “had on a dirty looking coat, with two or three drab colored capes draped around his shoulders,” Brumley said.

At the top of the hill, off to his right a piece, Brumley noticed five men lying by the side of a small stick fire, with a number of horses tied to trees around the fire. The nearest man to him was lying with a hand under his left jaw, his head away. A blanket was over him, or rather wrapped around him, down to near the knees.

Riding by, Brumley noticed a man getting up, wearing a cap drawn almost below his eyes. “Thinking this very strange, I stopped to make inquiry,” Brumley said, “and when I spoke I noticed the countenance of the man was much drawn.”

Immediately Brumley was surrounded by armed men who, ordering him from his horse, took his horse, saddle, saddle-bags, about twenty dollars in coin from his pockets, as well as a pooch of tobacco from his panteloons. He was told to get going, and I did! Brumley said.

At sundown, William Carroll Brumley was across the river from Tuscumbia, walking toward the ferry landing; having traveled through thick woods to avoid being seen by anyone.



At Pleasant Mount, a public meeting was held by men having returned from the Lexington fight. Andrew J. McCastland advised every able-bodied man to enter the service of the Confederacy. “The Southern Army is at Warsaw,” he said. “Let us join the Rebel Army. My sympathies are with the South, and I will do all I can to help that cause.” By early evening, a secession company was organized.

This company, upon passing through the Blue Springs’ country, commenced appropriating horses.

Thomas Gier, working in a field near his cabin, with his plow nag, was breaking new ground. His daughter, little Nancy, 9 years of age, was with him in the field. She noticed men riding up, even before her father was aware of it. She hollered to him, but the plow ripping in the new ground was very noisy. He did not hear her.

The men rode up, dismounting. They were armed, and presented revolvers. Nancy, frightened, ran over to her father, standing by his side. She recognized four of the men, “Jack Wadley, Edward A. Henry, David Wadley, and Little Bill Wadley.”

Nancy A. Gier said, “Mr. Henry came into the field and told my father if he did not give up the horse he would shoot his brains out!”

Nancy stated her “father just stood there until Ed Henry knocked him down. The men then ungeared his horse, and threatened father to say nothing about it, to save his life. They led the horse off by the mane.”

As the men passed Dennis Conner’s place, Dennis recognized the horse. Martha A. Gier, Thomas Gier’s wife, was his daughter. Dennis Conner stopped the men, inquiring about his daughter’s plow nag. When informed they had just taken it, Dennis Conner said, “Mr. Henry, I want you to know I have never been afraid of you and hain’t yet! I want you to pay my daughter something for that horse.”

The men rode on, with the horse, but Dennis Conner said, “Ed Henry turned powerful red in the face!”



Starlin Conner, traveling in his wagon along the old trail near the Little Gravois creek, was hauling a load of freight from the Osage river to his home in Morgan county. South of the Blue Spring’s church house, casually glancing over his shoulder to look at the freight in the wagon, he noticed a number of armed and mounted men about a quarter-mile distant, rapidly advancing upon him.

Believing the men intended to do him personal harm, a panic seized Starlin. He commenced running his team, although aware the heavily loaded wagon would prevent escape. In a matter of moments he was surrounded by many men, his team reigned up, and stopped.

The men appropriated his team, wagon, and valuables. They took from his person his comfort and suspenders. This made Starlin very angry. He struck one of the men with his fist, a very hard lick in the face.

The man, knocked to his knees, upon regaining his countenance, informed Starlin his insolent manners were very offensive. Other men nearby, agreeing, seized Starlin, and overpowering him, led him to a little grassy knoll, south of the trail, where he was tied to a sapling and shot.

Captain William Conner, Lieutenant G. McClure, and other Union men, soon informed of Starlin’s death, chased this Secesh company through Franklin township into Morgan county. A hard shower of rain ended the chase on the banks of Indian creek.

Taking refuge from the sudden deluge, Lieutenant McClure crawled under the supply wagon. When comfortably seated, in the dryness under the wagon box, a shot rang out like a thunder clap. Lieutenant McClure, a Minnie-ball deep in his chest, slumped forward. He was dead!

Rallying his men, Captain Conner pursued the assailants northward until overtaken. Near the old homestead of Hugh B. and Julia Ann Kelsay the men were fired upon. Hugh and James Kelsay, falling from their horses never moved again. Marion Kelsay, a brother of Hugh and James, shot in the leg, was captured.

While returning toward Captain Conner’s camp, Marion kept begging, “You have already shot my brothers, why donja me?” The men informed him they would kill him soon enough. Captain Conner said, “Since you Kelsays are all Rebels justice will be done!”

Passing a very deep ditch of twelve or more feet in width, and of considerable length, Marion, easing his horse to the edge of it, suddenly, spurring his mount with much vigor, was carried in an obstinate lunge over the crevice. His horse, killed in a hail of lead, fell with him on the other side into a dense thicket, from which he crawled, rolling into a deep ravine.

Realizing if he fled from the place on foot his leg would commence bleeding profusely, revealing his trail, Marion, seeing a large, hollow log nearby, crawled into it. While concealed in the log Marion heard men above him talking in utter amazement how a wounded man could disappear without a trace in so short a period of time.

Near midnight, Marion, crawling from his place of concealment, proceeded painfully and slowly to the house of his father. The next morning, concealed in a wagon box under a load of fodder, William Kelsay carried his son, Marion, to Versailles, where old Dr. Williams, a Universalist, removed the leaden ball from Marion’s leg. During removal of the Minnie ball, old Dr. Williams commented, “If there is no hell, there should be!”

Charlotte Landrum, an expert seamstress, having made the coats worn by the Kelsay’ boys, was asked to identify the deceased brothers by the authorities of Morgan county. Later, buttons from the coats worn by the Kelsay’ boys at the time of their deaths were found in a little branch bottom near the present day junction of routes AA and W in Morgan county.

William Kelsay and his son, Marion, after the wound in his leg healed enough, rode South, joining the main Confederate Armies. Following the war they returned to Missouri, residing some time in Hickory county. Here, Marion Kelsay vowed he would never rest until the persons responsible for the deaths of his brothers were in the graveyard.



On September 28, 1861, following sunset in the Big Richwoods, Wincelaus Ponder heard his cattle lowing, more than usual, it seemed. He also noticed, after hearing guns fired, for some reason, the lowing ceased.

The next morning, in a northerly direction from his house, in a little clearing on a small ridge, Wincelaus learned why. Nearby, in a little opening among the trees, he found carcasses; sixteen of his fattest cattle flayed by a group of men afterward enjoying roasting beef over a roaring campfire.

His two work oxen coming up at this time, commenced bellowing, pawing, and snorting. The odor of fresh blood crazed the huge beasts of burden, making them skittish and dangerous, putting Wincelaus to flight.

At the log stable, Wincelaus discovered his faithful saddle mare gone, but the young gelding, still unbroken in the harness or to the saddle was standing, nearby.



The same day, a company of men with guns, fired a number of times into the cabin of Evan L. Short. Mr. Short, an attorney-at-law, took his family, fleeing into the woods.

After nightfall, his courage having returned, Evan and his family sneaked home. The contents of his dwelling were found outside, scattered from the front door to the rail fence. His meal, meat, and molasses were gone. A piece of paper, found upon the cabin door revealed, written in longhand, these tantalizing words:

      Evan Short is a lawyer; Reuben Short is a Squire
      Ike Short will be a President; When he gets a little higher

The same day, on the Big Tavern creek, the cabin of William Carroll Brumley was raided. A gray mare and a sorrel mule were led from his stable.

William, in Tuscumbia, trying to raise a company of men, was encountering considerable difficulty for most of the active Home Guard were in Jefferson City. General Fremont, in the capital city, was organizing the Grand Army of the West.



Netheldred Bass, sitting by the fireside, was in his cabin on an autumn night in 1861. His wife, Permelia, was beside him tending to her knitting. The cabin was situated on a little rise near the Big Tavern creek.

Suddenly, without any warning, there was a rapid firing of many guns, Leaden balls, ripping into the log walls outside, even raised shingles off the roof.

“Old Dredful,” as he called himself, leaping to his feet, lifted the muzzle-loader off the wall pegs above the fireplace. Grabbing the powder horn, he poured in a dab, jerking the ramrod and quickly tamping a load. Permelia, while he was doing this, grabbed a full water bucket, dowsing the fireplace. This eliminated firelight in the room.

Dredful, opening the cabin door, eased himself outside, in the darkness standing beside the building. His keen eyes soon perceiving a flash of gun-fire, he lifted the old muzzle-loader, returning a Minnie ball toward its location.

Out in the darkness a voice bellowed I’m struck! I’m struck! Like a frightened ghost it echoed through the woods.

Metheldred Bass continued loading as rapidly as possible, firing upon his assailants until, finally, a Minnie ball grazed his neck.

“Old woman,” he yelled to Permelia, “come out here and tie up my damned burnt neck while I reload!”

His assailants fled!



The following morning more than 100 men rode up to the log cabin home of John J. Jarrett, situated on the south bank of the Big Tavern creek, by a large spring. They dismounted about four hours before day. Weary animals, at the bluff spring, were watered by the men, then led to the wheat stack by the log stable where hungry animals commenced jerking bundles of wheat from the stack for nourishment.,

John J. Jarrett, 69 years of age, was a prosperous farmer, owning over 1000 acres of land. His daughter, Elizabeth, and his son, Ambrose, were with him at home; his wife having died some years before. Also, his grand-daughter, Orvasseenie Lusinda Cidoney Jarrett, 10 years of age, was at the place, having walked in the afternoon of the previous day from her father’s house. David Jarrett, Orvasseenie’s father, lived a mile or so down the Big Tavern creek.

”Men bashed in the front door, and upon entering the room, grabbed grandpa and handled him pretty severely,” Orvaseenie said. “He barely had gotten up his panteloons before led outside.”

The men demanded of Mr. Jarrett his money. He informed them he had none. “The men ransacked the house,” Orvaseenie continued, “but finding nothing for what they were looking left for grandpa.” The men told Mr. Jarrett he aught to tell them where his money was hidden or he would regret it a long time. He informed them many times of having no money, and even though assaulted, and beaten, still had no money!

Breaking dawn, one of the men by the log stable at the wheat stack hollered “Everyone come here!” The horses, jerking bundles of wheat from the stack while eating, revealed something. It was a sock containing over $200 in silver. This was Mr. Jarrett’s money; placed in the stack of wheat, a place of safety, it was believed.

The men appeared very angry with the old man. They informed him of dealing with liars only in a certain way. A rope was called for, a noose turned, and placed around John J. Jarrett’s neck. Led by the men to the big box elder tree beside the spring, the loose end of the rope was thrown over the first tree limb, about ten feet up. Three of the men, grabbing the rope, hoisted Mr. Jarrett off the ground, fastening the rope taut to a dead snag on the tree trunk.

The men, quickly hitting the saddles, rode away rapidly up the creek road, that is, everyone except a man by the name of Grady. Rushing his horse under the box elder tree, and jerking a barlow from his boot-let, Grady cut the rope; Jarrett falling to the ground.

John J. Jarrett lived a number of years, but until his death, he could only whisper; the noose around his neck having permanently injured his vocal chords.

These men took from Mr. Jarrett his money, a black horse, a saddle, bridle, halter, and ropes, but most important of all, his voice. Grady spared his life.

The Hanging Tree
The Hanging Tree


Judge William Jarrett viewing the tree in which his Great-Grandfather was hung
Judge William Jarrett viewing the tree in which his Great-Grandfather was hung



The men rode up to Hazen S. Burlingame’s place. Napoleon and Bashaiam were there. Napoleon was aware of the Jarrett’ hanging, having met Orvaseenie going after her father, near David Jarrett’s house. Napo didn’t like this kind of an affair one bit, and the Burlingame men were unafraid of any one person or a hundred of them.

When dismounted from their horses, the men were immediately confronted by Nap. He wanted to know whom of them had done the foul deed to his old friend, John Jarrett? Calvin Grady pointed toward three of the group, one of the three standing near Napo.

Napoleon, jerking a barlow from his belt, went for the juglar! He didn’t make it. Hazen plowed in! He didn’t make it either. They were beaten to the ground by whips and the fists of many men.

Beaten into a state of helplessness. Nap and Hazen lay upon the ground, watching, while Nap’s shot-gun was carried away; a mare belonging to James Long, a mule and three horses belonging to William Carroll Brumley led away. Brumley, in Tuscumbia, trying to muster a company of men, would have assistance the following day. Napoleon and Hazen would be at the County Seat, raising hell for help.



Secesh General Crabtree and his men, having been in Cole county, raiding North of the river, on September 30, 1861, were moving up the Big Tavern creek into Richoods township. His spies, having been sent into Jefferson City, upon returning, reported a great army being formed at the Capital. Crabtree deemed it expedient to deliver recruits to the Confederacy by dashing for Thomasville, but sorely needed wagons, supplies, and other provisions for the trip.

Combining his forces with others on the prowl in the Big Richwoods, he ordered out in every direction small squads of men to hit every place opposed to the South, appropriating provisions for the trip, regrouping on the Klinkingbeard creek.

The action commenced!



The place of Wincelaus Ponder was struck again. His sorrel mare, his gray mare, a bay horse, even the young gelding, taken. A good blanket, his rifle gun, household utensils, and other items were carried from his cabin.

Horses were stolen from Samuel Moore, William and Sayles Brown. James E. Rouden lost a horse, a mare, and a gelding. Francis Burlingame lost a mule.

At the home of William S. Irwin, the men took a wagon, two mares, harness and bridles, 160 bushels of corn, a saddle, and one rifle gun.

From John Williams they carried away a rifle gun, four lasso ropes, a saddle, four horse bridles, one mule bridle.



On October 1, 1861, in the afternoon, William Long was in the Big Richwoods, plowing on the prairie, turning wheat ground. He was in a field near the house of James Long.

Five armed men rode up. They spoke to Mr. Long about his team of fine horses. Dismounting, they observed the animals very closely.

One of the men asked Mr. Long if he wished to sell the horses? Mr. Long made no answer. Asked again, he made no reply. In a very loud tone of voice the question was repeated, and Mr. Long answered, softly, “Them nags haint for sale.”

Here the countenances of the men darkened. Pulling their weapons, they inquired of Mr. Long if he expected to reach home by darkness? They commenced ungearing the team from the plow.

“You haint takin’ them nags,” someone said. Upon turning about to see whom had spoken, the men peered into the ominous muzzle of a double-barreled shotgun. Harriett C. Long stood away some 50 feet holding steady upon them. She used firearms like a man; the men aware of it. Getting upon their horses, they rode away, but turning his horse in leaving, one hollered “You all going it hot with darkness!”


William Tallman, emerging from the door of his smokehouse, was grabbed by a number of men. Unaware of their presence, he was slammed hard against the smokehouse’ wall, then pummeled rather severely.

His team, a horse and a mare, were taken from the barn, harnessed, and hitched to his wagon. The wagon, covered, with large bed bows, and good sailing, was a new one.

They took his saddle and martingale. They found, and removed, his powder keg. They appropriated his powder flasks, shot pouches, double and single barrel rifle guns.

One of the men put on William’s broadcloth coat, keeping it on while other men carried from the house his panteloons, shirts, blankets, comforts, carpets, and kitchen utensils.

They removed Tallman’s hams, bacon, and meat from the smokehouse. They used, and carried away, his corn, hay, and oats as sustenance for men, and provisions for horses.

Before leaving, the men dispossessed William Tallman of everything, except his family, and buildings.



At the home of John B. Tallman, the men took a horse, a mare, bridles, harness and lines. His wagon, a new one, having large bed bows and a fine covering, was pulled away. They removed his saddle, and martingale. They took his two rifle guns, powder flasks, shot pouches, and a keg of powder. They seized his coat, panteloons, and other clothing.

John B. Tallman, having been forewarned by a member of William’s family the men were coming, fled into the woods with his family, and for some time, remained away from home in hiding.



The main force of the secession companies camped on the land of Benjamin Groff. They destroyed his corn fields, feeding the ears to their horses. They turned his swine upon four acres of his finest clover. The animals, after having eaten and destroyed his crop, were butchered by the men. They dug from the ground his late potatoes, carried away his garden stuff, hauled from his crib 100 bushels of wheat.

The men took Groff’s two mares, and a colt, 1 ½ years of age. They took his wagon and harness. They carried away his rifle gun, shot pouches, powder flasks, and ammunition molds. They carried away his finest pair of panteloons, fancy suspenders, a coverlid, three comforts, one buffalo robe, even taking $1.50 in coin from the fireplace’ mantle.

Threatening everyone with guns, the men caused Benjamin to fear for his life, and his families’, for they were Eastern people or Pennsylvanians. The womenfolk cooked supper for 75 men, at three sittings. Following the last serving of food, cooking utensils in the fireplace were removed, the case knives, forks, plates, a large butcher knife, and a smaller one from the kitchen safe carried away by the men.



Secesh Captain Revis went after the Long’ boys in the Big Richwoods, taking a large number of men with him.

The Secesh company, in the course of the night, commenced firing upon the house of James L. Long. The place was garrisoned by James L., George, Nicholas, William, John, young Jim, and Harriett C., who maintained their ground against overwhelming odds.

The firing continued, without loss of life, until early in the morning. Finally, in an act of desperation, the Rebels charged upon the house, yelling and whooping like hyenas, firing on the run. When near the house, Harriett C. scared the men very much by her sudden and unexpected firing of a double-barrel shot gun from a loft widow, compelling the men to retire with stinging buckshot wounds.

This made Captain Revis very angry. He ordered the cabin put to the torch! A fagot prepared, and lit, was handed to a man on a horse. At full gallop he charged upon the cabin. As the blazing fagot was heaved upon the roof, a musket ball pierced the rider’s left breast. The torch bearer, falling to the ground, never stirred again.

Something now would have to be done. The flame on the roof, igniting the shingles, the dry wood commenced burning, rapidly. A plan was devised. Harriett would attract the men’s attention by going out the front door. Being a woman, maybe they wouldn’t shoot her. Upon Harriett’s opening of the door, the men, jumping from a loft window, out the back way, would run with their lives.

The house now burning rapidly, suddenly Harriett C. appeared in the doorway. Someone shouted, “Here they come!” Almost instantly, another shouted, Yonder they go!

No horses being near, the men, unable to mount up and chase, watched Captain Revis, upon his horse some distance away, charge after the Long’s, running some three hundred yards.

Showing anger, and much disgust, Captain Revis reigned-up hard, halting his mount; the Longs having escaped into the woods.

The next day, at the ferry landing, in Tuscumbia, the Longs joined a company of men. William Carroll Brumley, Lieutenant, commanding.



On October 2, 1861, the confederates struck at the farms of Andrew and John Bennage. From Andrew they took a sorrel mare, a bay horse, a saddle, bridle, and martingale. They surrounded the home of John Bennage. Calling him outside, they threatened to kill him, holding him in constant terror and fear. When John objected to their taking his household goods, he was assaulted and beaten. Toward his family menaces and threats were made, including the womenfolk, for being Eastern people or Pennsylvanians, they were not born to know the pleasures of living.

The men took thirty yards of Ingrain carpets from the floors of the house, ripped cords and tassels from the windows, carried away seven blankets, kitchen utensils, dishes, corn meal, meat, bread, clothing, including one man’s fine cap, and a pair of fancy boots and spurs.

John’s rifle gun and shotgun were carried away; his powder, powder horns, and ammunition molds taken. They took his horses, wagons, saddle, bridles, and martingale. They carried away or fed to their horses most of his grain, then placed a torch to his hay and wheat stacks, burning them to the ground.

Finally, going away, the men left John Bennage, and his family, destitute of provisions, and other necessaries of living.



Horses were stolen from Edward W. Moore, and James A. Moore. Robert Reed lost a gelding, and a horse. A mare, a gelding, and a horse were taken from John Allen’s enclosures. Joseph Knatzer lost a bay horse from his stable; a rifled musket, and a shotgun from his cabin.

Five horses were taken from the place of Joseph J. Johnston, northeast of Iberia. Joseph fired upon the confederates leading his horses away, with a shot gun. Severe buckshot wounds were inflicted upon two of the men, and for this, he would die three years later.



Lieutenant William Carroll Brumley, and his men, in pursuit of the secession forces, upon entering Iberia, captured John L. West and Wright Shelton at Lesem’s storehouse. These two gentlemen were in the place fetching tobacco and other sundries for the trip to Thomasville.

Brumley’s company, upon disrobing the men and removing their shoes, informed them, upon setting them free, if caught again, they’d slip their skins.

South of Iberia, barefooted, feet sore, and in their nakedness, shivering, West and Shelton were picked up by men on their way to Klinkingbeard creek from the home of Joseph J. Johnston.



Lieutenant William R. Wright, and his men, moving up the ridge between the Barren and Brushy Fork creeks, leaving the county to rendezvous with the Southern Armies, were joined by William Shelton Watkins.

Watkins, born May 14, 1829, was a native of Virginia. When 21 years of age he participated in the California Gold rush, striking it rich.

Upon returning to Virginia from the California gold fields only to find his family, and many of his relatives living in Tennessee and Missouri, he left for Colorado.

Following the Watkins’ trail westward, upon entering Miller county, he visited with an aunt, Mrs. Margaret C. McCubbin, who persuaded him to remain in God’s country; so with his gold from the California diggin’s he commenced buying and entering land in the Hickory Point community. Early in the year of 1855, he married Miss Mary Jane Livingston.

A public minded citizen he gave twenty acres of land toward the formation of a sub-district township school, and did most of the work when the Hickory Point schoolhouse, a log building, was raised.

He made his own farming tools out of wood. A wagon having solid wooden wheels, a wooden plow, harrows, grain cradles, cane mill, and other items, and for Mary Jane, a spinning wheel, weaver’s loom, tables, chairs, and other necessary household utensils needed in that era.

Of Southern heritage, the issues of the day in 1861 were so overwhelming, he decided something aught to be done about it, so on his best horse, rode south with Lieutenant Wright, and others, in the cause of the Southern Confederacy.

Before leaving, the gold he possessed was taken by him and buried on the farm; revealing its location to no one, not even his wife.

Near the Wet Auglaize creek, in Camden county, encountering the combined forces under Brigadier General J.B. Wyman, commanding the First Brigade, First Division Western Department of the Federal Armies, after a hot skirmish, Lieutenant Wright ordered a full retreat.

While riding at full speed, Watkins’ mount stumbled, and the horse falling, plunging headlong upon rough and rocky ground, the force of the fall knocked Watkins unconscious. When overtaken by Federal Cavalry he was shot through the head.

The body, returned to Mary Jane, by friends, was interred just beyond the yard fence at the family home.

The gold, including one very large and four smaller nuggets buried by Watkins, although hunted for, many times, was never found.



The outrages committed by Secession companies upon unoffending citizens in Richwoods township, and other places, in the last week of September, and during the first week of October, 1861, permanently bound Miller county to the Union.

Many young men sympathetic toward the southern cause were driven into the Union service merely because of having witnessed, with their own eyes, the perpetration of outrages upon friends and neighbors.

J.A.F. Scheffeler, an attorney-at-law, in Osage township, a rabid southern sympathizer prior to the late summer of 1861, after these raids, changed his attitude, in fact, he suffered a complete reversal of thought. He commenced upholding the Pennsylvanians in the Big Richwoods, whom he believed should not be threatened, menaced, intimidated, assaulted, beaten, robbed, and humiliated merely because they were Eastern people and Republicans.

A memorandum written by attorney Scheffeler to fellow attorney Evan L. Short, at this time, follows:

Mr. E.L. Short, Iberia
Dear Sir:
I have heard that some of the defendants in the case of James Long and Dr. Jefferies have taken an appeal. I am not opposed to their having taken an appeal. I am of the opinion that under the present law, they are entitled to it, when according to the statute they file bond with solvent securities to be approved of by the Justice. Statute of Missouri p. 972. The question is who is solvent? Webster says, one who is able to pay all just debts. Under the present state of affairs who can be called solvent? Nobody but loyal men, with enough property, because the rebel, their property being subject to be seized by the government, though they have ever so much property, in fact, nothing belongs to them who are Secesh, not only those that have been in arms, but also such as are sympathizers. The general law is, that a person belonging to a Government being at war with our Government, can not sue, it will be at his cost. Chitty 1 Vol. page 447. When an appeal is taken, those that go security and the person taken the appeal, certainly are the same as though they commenced suit, because they bring up a cause in any court for trial, next the Military power reigns in Missouri. The Governor proclaimed that the Southern people shall be protected while they are sent to their friend. This proclamation will be carried out. What then, if any, of them go, on any bond for an appeal, and a Justice allows it? It is only to the injury to the creditor, who must be a loyal man. In order then to have everything straight all securities must be sworn that they never took up arms against the Government, that they never aided or assisted either directly or indirectly the enemies of the government.
                                                                                            Your friend Scheffeler

Evi B. Farley, Miller County Clerk, filed this memoranda or letter, writing upon it, the following words:

Important Dicha!
From the learned &
Eminent Jurist
J.A.F. Shoughfellforght, Esqr.
Barrister of the inner Temple
& privy counsel to his Royal highness
Prince Gobble, em, up
Read, learn, ponder well & inwardly digest.

Farley was peeved at Scheffeler’s new allegiance to the Union.



In the first week of October, 1861, the Grand Army of the West commenced moving from Tipton, Rolla, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Syracuse, and other places to share in Union General Fremont’s campaign against General Sterling Price, and others, of the Confederate forces moving South from Lexington. On the way General Fremont, relieved of command, was succeeded by General David Hunter. General Hunter, having left Tipton, via Warsaw, for Springfield reached that place on the 26th.



Secession forces moving South under Wright, Thurman, Bell and Fair, Hawthorne, Churchill, Summer, and others, rendezvoused on the Wet Auglaize creek in the first weeks of October, Colonel M. Johnson commanding the entire forces. They intended to check the advance of the Federal Army on the Waynesville-Lebanon road, and might have succeeded had not one of their captured sentries revealed the location of secesh troops hidden in the brush.

Brigadier General J.B. Wyman, commanding the First Brigade, First Division, Western Department of the Army, reported putting his command on the march at 7 o’clock on the 13th, with Major W.D. Bowen, commanding First Battalion Missouri Cavalry in front, Lt. Colonel Gorgas, commanding 13th Regiment Illinois Volunteers in the middle, followed by the commissary department, and Major Clark Wright, commanding Fremont Battalion of Cavalry, bringing up the rear.

”Reports from my scouts during the night induced me to believe the enemy might attack us during the day,” Major Clark Wright said, but “nothing of importance occurred until we reached Justice Remington’s, where I learned 2nd Lieutenant Henry Laughlin, of rebel Johnson’s command, having come home, lived about a mile north, having a lot of McClurg’s goods in the house. I detached Captain Crockett, with his company, to take the Lieutenant, and search the place.”

Major Bowen, in the advance, after traveling some 3 miles contacted the enemy, “Our skirmishers reported a large body of the enemy in our front,” he said. “I immediately ordered Co. B to the right of the main road, Co. C to the left, Co. A to advance.”

Within less than a mile Bowen’s Co. A took after about 40 of the enemy in full retreat, pursuing them some 3 miles, when the enemy stopped and formed a line of battle. After the first fire, Bowen’s men charged in and dispersed the group, pursuing them approximately a half mile further. At Monday’s Hollow, Major Bowen discovered his 40 men of Co. A surrounded by 1000 of the enemy, hastily retreating.

At this point, Co. B and C coming up, and Major Clark Wright, with Captains Switzler and Montgomery appearing, surveyed the enemy in a formidable position on a hill covered with trees which concealed their movements. Major Wright circled to the right of the hill, Major Bowen to the left. Brigadier General Wyman and Lieutenant Colonel Gorgas having arrived with one company of cavalry and five companies of infantry, marching nearly five miles in 45 minutes, advanced upon the center.

The Secesh forces were routed; the Federal cavalry driving them nearly 12 miles toward Lebanon.

Brigadier General J.B. Wyman ordered proper and respectable arrangements made for the burial of the dead left upon the field of battle before devoured by swine, beasts of prey, or vultures.

Major Clark Wright reported as “near as we could ascertain without occupying too much time to hunt through the bushes, rebels killed 27, mortally wounded 4, severely 5, slightly 3, prisoners 36, horses 2, guns 81 –mostly old shotguns and rifles which were doubled around black-jacks on the field. Officers and men agree there were many more killed and wounded, but we did not hunt them up. Our loss was 1 killed, and 2 horses slightly wounded.”1

William Shelton Watkins, of Miller county, was carried from this field of battle, to his wife Mary Jane, in the Hickory Point community. Colonel William W. Summers, Lieutenant Laughlin, six non-commissioned officers, and others killed by Federal troops, unless carried away by friends or relatives, were buried in mass graves upon what may be known as the Bob Oursborn’ farm in Camden county.

Seven men besides Watkins’, killed in this battle, also were buried in Miller county. On October 14, 1861, early in the morning, widow Roseanna Carlton, upon hearing horses a-whinnering at her yard gate, and peering outside, observed seven horses standing at the fence, heads over the top railing, intently looking toward the house, begging for attention, asking for someone to come and get them. Upon each horse a man was sitting, crumpled in the saddle, hands tied to the saddle horn, feet tied under the animal’s belly, dead.

Separate mounds of rock on the old Carlton’ place near the Grand Auglaize creek, later owned by George S. Wright, now in the Kaiser State Park, marked seven graves for many years.

1.  Official report listed killed: 62 Confederates, 1 Federal; captured, 37 Confederates.



In the latter part of October, 1861, companies of Merrill Horse, several hundred strong, entered Tuscumbia. Their prancing mounts, and their long rifles carried in perfect order, won the hearts of the local ladies, who served them refreshments. Captain Henry, of Co. B, visited with Colonel E. Golden, at the Courthouse.

The companies of Merrill Horse on their way to Springfield, via Syracuse and Warsaw, arrived at Springfield on November 4, 1861.



In November, President Abraham Lincoln ordered Union forces withdrawn from the Springfield area, so General Hunter pulled his men back to Rolla, Sedalia, Syracuse, Otterville, and other places.

During the latter part of November, General Sterling Price moved North to spend winter months near the Missouri river. At Marshall, he issued his famous Proclamation, calling on the people of Central and North Missouri to come forward fifty thousand strong!

“Commend your homes to the protection of God, and merit the admiration and love of childhood and womenhood, by showing yourselves men, the sons of the brave and free who bequested to us the sacred trust of free institutions… I will ask for six and a half feet of Missouri soil in which to repose, but will not live to see my people enslaved!..Are you coming?”



With General Sterling Price moving North, Secession spies, and others, commenced crossing Miller county in ever increasing numbers.

Captain Wesley A. Hackney, Captain William Hawkins, Captain Charles G. Martin, and Captain John B. Salsman, organizing companies of volunteers for the federal service, mustered the Home Guard, but few came; Colonel Emly Golden having returned to his duties as a Justice of the Miller County Court.

At this time, a company of fifteen Confederates, having been on a scout in the vicinity of Jefferson City, entered Miller county above the community of Spring Garden. At dusk they stopped near the Etter Plantation in Saline township, two of their men riding into Pleasant Mount for supplies.

A Union soldier in the village, home on a furlough, halting the men, was shot and killed where he stood on the boardwalk in front of Dixon’s and Sullen’s storehouse. This event was witnessed by Alexander Sullens, a drummer boy in the Union Army, stationed at Otterville, home on a furlough.

The following morning, approximately one mile south of the Etter Plantation, Captain Wesley A. Hackney, and his company picked up the trail of these men, pursuing them toward the Saline creek, passing Frederick Hoecke’s cabin on the left hand; advancing rapidly.

Hackney found the Confederates at Harbison’s still-house, by the mill, on the Big Saline creek, quickly surrounding the place. Seeing their horses being led away, the Confederate Captain ordered his men to throw their arms down, remaining at their peril, while he sought to escape.

“I saw the mill door close,” Captain Hackney said, “and the mill was not running. I saw some of my boys about half-way between where I was and the mill. I walked toward the mill and saw a man’s back going from me in a trot. I then saw him coming toward where I stood calling for help to catch him. The blood was streaming down his face and breast and running to the ground. He had a cut or wound over his right eye. I could have put my thumb in the wound one inch. The eyebrow had dropped down. He had another cut to the left of the mole of the head and a little in front, about an inch long, bleeding very profusely. I washed his face and head, and bandaged the Captain’s eye.”

Nathaniel Hicks said, “I saw the reb coming out of the back house door. I had a couple of rocks in my hand. They weighed about four pounds apiece. Old reb ran behind the mill and I took after him and ran him under the forebay. I threw one rock and missed. It hit the millhouse or the work bench beside it. I ran up, throwing again, and the rock connected at about twenty steps.”



At this time an event in Glaze township occurred, which produced an effect worse than an actual invasion, in great force.

Captain William Hawkins, organizing companies of Cavalry for the Missouri Volunteer Service, was at Camp Union. With General Sterling Price moving North, Hawkins kept his forces in readiness for an immediate assault, the Cavalry bivouacked ready to ride upon a moments warning from the pickets around the Glaze’ cavalry area.

On picket duty at the junction of the three roads by the Lee Thornsberry residence, was Zachariah Meredith, of Glaze township.

Dick Reed, accompanied by two Confederates, ascending the road from Dean’s creek to the junction at the residence of Thornsberry, was unaware of the picket ahead. Having approached his post closely enough, Zach challenged their passing.

“Who goes there?” Meredith yelled. “Give the countersign!”

Dick Reed answered, “We are your friends!”

“Friend or foe,” Zach responded, “Give the countersign!”

Dick Reed and his Confederate friends having no way of knowing this bit of intelligence, could not answer.

Now realizing a strong Union encampment was near, Dick Reed eased off on the reins to his horse. When challenged again, Zach asking for the countersign, Dick Reed yelled, Dixie! By God! At the same moment spurring his horse into an obstinate lunge, charging at full gallop upon Zach, his Confederate friends following closely behind him. Crossing the picket line, they fled with their lives.

Zach, unlimbering his guns, poured upon them a galling fire, with great effect; two of the men falling from their horses.

Having lost his friends, and seriously wounded through the hip, Dick Reed pushed on to the home of his Aunt Nancy Martin, in Glaze township. By Nancy Martin’s noble efforts his life was saved, and tis to her honor, it may be said, for he was of the enemy!

With the cry of “Dixie! By God!” ringing in his ears, as his position was charged upon by the three horsemen, Zach Meredith reeling, staggered back, aghast, his gunfire echoing appallingly upon the morning’s still air. Zach immediately ascertained a strong movement was about to take place, that Price, like an apparition, was descending upon Glaze township in all his power and glory!

Leaving his post with great dispatch, Zach, mounting his horse, rode into the encampment at full gallop. Here the ears of his comrades were filled with terrible, devastating, and frightening words. Having just shot it out with Price’s advance guard, a large force was moving upon them; Price, and his army, were coming!

To challenge the first bold dash of Price’s troops, captain Hawkins immediately ordered a picket line established in the lane at Lev Thompson’s, with other cavalrymen moving their horses into lines, some 500 yards apart, from the first line in the lane. Cavalrymen yet without horses, grabbing the pack mules, hurriedly rode them out of the encampment; others following on foot. Timid souls, fully expecting every moment to hear the thunder of Price’s vengeance upon the front line in the lane at Lev Thompson’s, gathered to the rear of the last cavalry line.

During this period, confusion reigned supreme, with many false rumors circulating. It was reported a small corps from Price’s army were hid in the woods nearby; that scouting parties were reconnoitering the place, cutting off their supplies; that Price, having halted his troops, would sally forth before sundown to overrun, and conquer, the Glaze’ encampment.

Amidst these calamitous consequences of rumors, and impending doom, considerable notice was given a cloud of dust, rising, forming, and approaching over the road toward the Auglaize, probably caused by two or more fast moving teams pulling wagons.

Suddenly, someone commenced yelling, “Here they come!” whereupon Captain William Hawkins, spurring his charger forward with wild impetuosity, ordered his cavalrymen to break ranks, instructing “Every man to save himself!”

The whole body, struck with general panic, commenced running in every direction, abandoning their positions, seeking safety in the woods.

Many of the men, believing they were eagerly pursued, kept fleeing until they reached Jefferson City. Several men, because of the hot pursuit upon them, abandoned their arms, and packs. Reaching the Osage river, the men crossed, riding swimming horses or mules; many swimming the river on their own initiative.

In less than a day, Miller county companies in Glaze township of the 6th Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, were scattered from Jefferson City to Waynesville.

So ended this scene of desultory warfare, unattended with glory, but complete with action, enterprise, and some danger.



In the month of December, 1861, many men having served six months in the State Guard and Rebel Armies, returned home. Most of these men claimed their return was due to Governor Gamble’s proclamation, and demanded protection. Most of these men were heartily sick of the southern armies, ready to return to their allegiance.

However, as would be expected in such circumstances, some men banded together in small groups, for the purpose of recruiting for the Southern armies. Much excitement was caused by these men in various places. They were hunted day and night by small squads of Home Guard cavalry and mounted infantry, and the parties having harbored or sustained them severely punished.



In June, 1861, the Government of the United States sent to the St. Louis Arsenal, for distribution among the “loyal inhabitants of Missouri,” ten thousand stand of arms and sets of accoutrements. These were placed in the hands of Home Guard forces in different parts of the State, but an accurate account cannot be given of arms delivered to Miller county, if any, for the Home Guard seldom reported to authorities of the Federal Government.

On December 18, 1861, at Jefferson City, Captain Daniel Rice’s Company I, in the State (6 months) Militia, and Colonel McClurg’s Home Guard forces, in the Osage Valley Regiment and Hickory Battalion Companies, were mustered out of service; McClurg’s Home Guard companies having been active in the service longer than similar companies elsewhere in the state.

The Union men of Miller county, and others, having rallied at the outset of hostilities to form a military force local in character, and temporary in nature, were now out of service ending the first phase of Civil War in Miller county.



The second phase of the war commenced with the organization of companies of Volunteers for the United States Service, “for the term of three years or during the war,” and the formation of a State Militia, armed, equipped, clothed, subsisted, transported, and paid by the United States.

Captains Wesley A. Hackney, John B. Salsman, Charles G. Martin, and William Hawkins of Miller county, and Captain William M. Hackney of Cole county, took their Miller county boys into the 6th Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers.

At Helena, Arkansas, on September 14, 1862, Lieutenant William Hawkins was shot and killed. Captain Wesley A. Hackney, and 25 men, on a scout near Helena, in December, 1862, were captured and kept for some time in a Confederate prison before exchanged, and paroled.

In the latter part of 1862, and until the end of the war, Miller county boys in the Federal Service were found largely in the 26th Infantry, 32nd Infantry, 33rd Infantry, and 6th Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers.



In August, 1861, Governor Gamble, having issued a call for 42,000 men to volunteer into the active service of the State to form a militia consisting of 10,000 cavalry, and 32,000 infantry, was answered by approximately 6,000 men.

This force, afterward known as the “Six Months Militia,” consisted almost entirely of Home Guard companies from the interior of the State.

The duties performed by the Six Month’ men were varied and difficult, principally acting as scouts and guides to the various companies of Volunteers in the Federal Service then in Missouri. Notwithstanding the almost utter inability of the state’s Provisional Government to provide arms and supplies, or even offer a promise of remuneration, the men performed all services willingly.

The State Convention, at its October session, in 1861, for the purpose of providing for and supporting the State Militia, passed an ordinance authorizing issuance of “Defense Warrants.” These warrants, subject to a heavy discount from the beginning, were receivable for all taxes due the state; the best compensation a bankrupt state could offer its fighting men.



In the latter part of October, 1861, President Lincoln granted Governor Gamble authority to raise a force of State Militia maintained at the expense of the Federal Government. The organization of this force commenced in the month of December, 1861, under the most trying circumstances.

The various organizations of Home Guard throughout the state having relieved themselves from duty, or disbanded by orders from competent authority, and men in the six months’ militia, paid with warrants subject to a heavy discount, viewed with distrust a permanent organization.

Major General Halleck, “ex-officio” commanding, under the President, assigned the command and detail of organization to Brigadier General John M. Schofield.

General Schofield and Governor Gamble addressed themselves to the organization of the new militia with such enthusiasm and determination that in the first few months of 1862, fourteen Regiments of cavalry, two Battalions and one Regiment of infantry, besides other unattached companies, were enlisted, organized, equipped, and put into the field, having an aggregate strength of over 13,000 men.

Captain Daniel Rice took his Company I into the Fourth Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavlary. Colonel J.W. McClurg commanding the Eighth Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry, established headquarters at Linn Creek. By the latter part of 1862, Miller county boys in the State Militia were found largely in the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 8th Regiments of Cavalry.



For a time, early in the year of 1862, Miller county returned to a condition of quietness. Major secession forces having left the state. Federal troops in Central Missouri were withdrawn to prosecute the war down the Mississippi.

In 1862, Colonel Emly Golden, upon adjournment of the February Term of County Court, dismissed the old Home Guard Force, very few in number, having remained with him. This left the county seat with only the citizens to defend the place.

A condition of quietness might have continued if Tolbird Bass, of Centerville, Deputy Provost Marshal of Tuscumbia, under Federal appointment, would have been more lenient in enforcing orders of martial law, for he ruled with an iron hand. Men returning to their homes from the Southern armies at this time were placed under heavy peace bonds signed by friends, neighbors, and relatives “to prevent mischief,” or immediately arrested, and confined.

Men of Southern sympathies retaliated. Guerilla bands commenced committing robberies, and outrages, upon peaceable citizens, especially Union sympathizers, in every neighborhood.

On March 15, 1862, late at night, Tolbird Bass, sitting at a table in his office near the Courthouse, was working upon his books. The warmth of the fireplace having made him drowsy, he dozed, then slept for awhile. A loud knocking upon the door, interrupting the night’s stillness, awakened him. Arising, he walked to the door, opening it. Beside the door stood Samuel Johnston, a large pistol in his right hand, leveled upon Tolbird.

“Aha! Now we got the old Bird Bass!” Johnston said.

Tolbird, surprised, replied, “Sam, if you want to fight you aught to go into some army and fight honorably.”

“You can go to hell for aught I care,” Johnston answered. “You know I’d fought Secesh,” then, “come on boys, let’s get the old Bird warm for all of it!”

Creed P. Goff, D.P. Taylor Jr., Benjamin Taylor, George A. Taylor, Joseph Taylor Jr., and Bennett Leewright, with other men outside, entering the office, piled Tolbird’s books and papers into convenient bundles, and carrying them outside, placed them in a wagon box.

Reaching for his pistol on the fireplace’ mantel, Tolbird halted movement when cold steel touched his neck under the chin. Immediately the men flung him over a table, and holding him fast, strong hands removed his shirt and panteloons, amidst much laughter, and more laughter, even, when forcibly stood upon his feet, and pushed through the door.

Outside, Tolbird, lifted by strong hands upon the wagon, was shoved into the seat, his right arm jerked by the men over the backrest, his left arm under it; wrists securely lashed behind with leather thongs.

“Any utterance from you,” Johnston informed him, “makes you all a dead bird! Tol!”

Hitting the saddles, the men commenced riding into the darkness, the wagon, pulled by a fast moving team, clunging and clanking behind them. Upon this wagon, beside the teamster, sat Tolbird Bass, Deputy Provost Marshal of Tuscumbia, the supreme authority of the Federal Government in Miller county. As the night’s chill air brushed over him, he shivered in his nakedness, except for his hat and leggin’s.

Later, Bass reported that “they did by great force and violence seize upon and compel me to leave my home and business, accompanying them to the house of one Michael Chism in the County of Morgan, where they imprisoned and detained me, and restrained me of my liberty for a long period of time. While imprisoned and restrained of my liberty, I was viciously maltreated, abused, threatened, insulted, and injured by men threatening and drawing cocked guns and presenting them at me at a distance the guns would carry, threatening to shoot and kill me, and often firing toward me so the balls would strike very close to my body.”

“They took from me,” Tolbird continued, “one watch of the value of $30; one pistol of the value of $25; gold, silver, and current bank notes of the value of $40; one scroll book of the value of $150; two blankets of the value of $8; and one pair saddle bags, $6 in value.

A Commission belonging to Bass as provost Marshal of Tuscumbia, was destroyed by the men, by which “I was enabled alone to draw my pay from the Government of the United States of the value of $500.” Tolbird said.

When released by the men, Tolbird found himself deprived of everything but his life.

Bass, reporting this incident to the local military authority the following weekend, was rebuffed by Evi B. Farley, the County Clerk, who “believed the press of business upon Bass, and the difficulties of the time, have placed him in such a state of mental derangement, anything he might say is purely hogwash!”



William Carroll Brumley said, “I was coming to Golden’s mill, when accosted by Mark H. Whitaker. Whitaker told me to get off my horse, and wait until he had driven his steers into the shade.”

“When he came back,” Brumley continued, “Whitaker told me he would go on to the carding machine for he had 20 or 30 hanks of wool in his wagon, and would talk to me then.”

Arriving at the mill, Brumley found Alexander and William Wilson, Joseph Allen, Lafayette Crane, Allen P. Giffin, Napoleon and Bashaiam Burlingame, and John F. Barr there, some of them waiting for grist. When Whitaker came up with his steers, Brumley, stepping from the mill house, met Mark, exchanging pleasantries with him

“in the course of our conversation,” Brumley stated, “the names of John L. West and Wright Shelton were mentioned. I told Whitaker of having some difficulty at Iberia one time between myself and these men, and believed John L. West a pretty clever man.”

“Whitaker, denying that he was,” Brumley continued, “commenced calling me a damned liar, declaring he could whip me for it, and started making the trial. Taking hold of the sack I had across my shoulders, he almost got it off, so I threw it down myself, upon which motion, Whitaker picked up a rock about the size of a man’s fist, threatening to kill me if I didn’t get off quick. The rock, if applied against me in the right places, and if thrown hard enough, would have killed me very dead!”

“William Wilson,” Brumley stated, “prevented Whitaker from executing his threat. Wilson took Whitaker by both arms upon which, Whitaker remarked that if he had his revolver, he would shoot me, and further, that if he didn’t do it now, he would kill me in the field!”

Alexander Wilson, with other men in the mill house when the fighting commenced, said, “I saw them first when Whitaker, having a rock drawn, was about to fight. I told the others in the mill not to go out, for they could settle it better between themselves without interference. Everyone stepped out anyway when Whitaker drew back to throw the rock. Brother William, catching Mark, told him to quit, and upon an attempt to throw the rock again, I stepped in and prevented it.”

John Barr laying hands upon Alexander Wilson, jerked him loose from Whitaker, exclaiming in an angry tone of voice, “Let ‘em fight!”

“Here they dropped the matter,” Alec Wilson continued, “Brumley going into the mill house, Whitaker to the carding machine.”

Later, coming from the carding machine, Whitaker and Brumley met each other, Brumley having stepped out of the mill with a bar of iron in his hand.

“I told Mark to get out of the way,” Alec Wilson said, “and he did. Going to the creek, he filled his pockets with rocks. Then he called for Brumley to come over and talk with him, and Brumley went over.”

“Carroll,” Mark said to him, “I have taken more off you than any man, but I cannot scare you.”

“Here,” Napoleon Burlingame commented, “Whitaker and Brumley made friends. They shook hands, and Whitaker putting his hands upon Brumley’s shoulders, looked him in the eyes, and said, See here, Brumley, I was hired to kill you, but I won’t do it.”

“Who hired you to do this deed?” Brumley inquired.

Whitaker replied, “They swore me not to tell it, Carroll. If I told you I would have to leave the county.”

“Would you tell it on an oath?” Brumley inquired. “No Sir!” Whitaker replied.

Upon entering the mill house, the men inquired of Mark whom it was having hired him to kill Carroll, but he would not tell them. Later, Brumley and Whitaker, after much conversation, stepping outside, squatted beside a little horse, continuing their conversation in subdued tones.

Napoleon Burlingame said, “While they were talking, Whitaker stood up, pulling a revolver from his comfort. It was a navy revolver, and a six shooter, able to kill at some 200 yards, hurling a half-ounce ball when fired.”

“Whitaker informed me,” Brumley said, “of a plan laid to kill me that night at my house; John L. West and Wright Shelton having offered him a mule, saddle, a navy revolver, and $300 for my life. Being a young man, with no family, he could kill me, and safely escape.”

“After he told me this,” Carroll said, “I was no longer afraid of him, and let him go home with me, Mark staying all night. He continuously informed me of the great danger I was in, for they meant to get me, and would make the attempt. We lay on our arms, and kept our guard!” Brumley concluded.



“I was at work on John K. Hall’s house,” Joseph Adams said, “when Heziah George, and another man, coming up from toward the bar, seated themselves on a plow beam about twenty feet from where the Major was riving shingles,”

“After having sat a few moments,” Joseph continued, “Heziah spoke.”

“Major,” Heziah said, “we might as well make up our agreement. I hear you have been talking about me, and cussing me to other people, questioning my allegiance?” Then Heziah repeated some of the things told by others from the mouth of John K. Hall.

“Mr. George, that I have not done,” the Major tartly replied, “And anyone who says that I have said what you heard is a liar!”

Hall’s sharp reply so provoked Heziah, he jumped off the plow beam, and picking up a rock charged upon the Major, yelling, in great anger, “Now, God Damn you, if you want to fight, Pitch IN!”

“When he started at me,” Hall stated, “I jumped and picked off a hatchet lying six feet from me. When he rushed up, I stepped back a little. He had the rock in his right hand, and was shoving me back with his left. As he shoved me with his left hand, I kept pushing him back with the hatchet. Stepping away from him, I threw down the hatchet, retreating toward the north corner of the building.”

“Heziah, following the Major,” Joseph Adams said, “picked up an ax lying near the corner of the building, and raising it above his head, hollered at the Major, Halt! God Damn you! Halt! Or I will kill you!”

Hall, picking up a rock, threw it at Heziah with great force, missing him by inches; Heziah continuing his rush, the ax held high in his hands, and when close enough made a full-handed blow upon the Major.

“He struck at me,” Major Hall said, “with all his power, the blow glancing off me by my springing toward him at the same moment and throwing up my arm.”

“At this time,” Hall continued, “William Wright coming up with old man Adams, jumped in, taking the ax from Heziah, and throwing it away, pulled us apart. Here, Heziah jumped to the work bench, grabbing a draw knife. As he got it, I run at him, and drawing it up, he was in the act of striking, when Adams and Wright again got ahold of him, taking the knife away, then Wright pulling me till he got me to the south side of the house.”

Joseph Adams indicated “Heziah, turning, ran into the north door of the dwelling house, and when inside, seeing Hall’s gun on the rack, took it from the hooks, and rushing out of the south door, confronted the Major and William Wright about ten feet from the door steps, presenting the gun cocked, loaded, and caps on it at Hall, it being a double barreled shot-gun.”

Major Hall, seeing Heziah with the gun to his shoulder, retreated rapidly around the corner of the house; Heziah pursuing him to the north side of the building. Hall tried to run into his dwelling, but Heziah, jumping into the door, presented the gun by putting it to his shoulder and sighting at Hall, and informing him, “God Damn you, don’t attempt to get in the house, or I will blow your brains out!”

For many minutes Hall stood not more than six feet away from the muzzle of his gun, cocked, capped, and loaded, Heziah swearing he was going to kill him, while Wright and Adams kept begging him to put the gun down.

“When Wright drew his attention,” Major Hall said, “I jumped in, grabbing the gun in my hand. Heziah kept trying to get the muzzle against me, having his finger on the trigger, and swearing he was going to get me finally!”

While scuffling for the gun, Joseph Adams disarmed it by pulling the caps from the tubes, and Wright, wrenching it from their hands, handed it to Rube with instructions to hide it in the woods.

“After that,” old man Adams continued, “they run together again!”

“We clinched,” the Major said, “and I, having got hold of a hand mall used for riving shingles, struck at him. Someone grabbing my arm, allowed Heziah to catch the mall with both hands, and heaving upon it, jerked it away from me.”

“Heziah then struck Major Hall a stunning blow,” Joseph Adams said. “Blood flowed pretty freely.”

“He hit me on the head,” ventured the Major, “it was a terrible, star lit blow! Old man Adams, trying to pull me in the house, allowed Heziah to run off near the store, about 25 steps, where, picking up two rocks of about three-quarter pounds, he threw them at me, while the old man, my wife, and William Wright were pulling me into the house.”

In a short time Heziah George left toward the Auglaize.

Major Hall, regaining his senses, sent son Reuben into the woods for his gun, and when fetched, put caps in the tubes, and immediately commenced looking for George.

As the Major entered upon the Big Road, near his dwelling house, he noticed Heziah in conversation with a stranger, a tall, thin man, in the road some distance past the storehouse, standing by a spotted dog. This same man, the Major remembered, was with Heziah when he first came up.

Heziah, and the stranger, upon the appearance of the Major, turning to go, did go, even with the dog, amidst a cloud of dust, for the Major fired upon them.



In the late spring of 1862, disturbed and warlike conditions in most of Missouri caused extreme and harsh measures to be taken by Union authorities against every one having the slightest secessionist tendencies.

Union Headquarters, District of Missouri, St. Louis, on June 23, 1862, for the purpose of destroying the rebellion, issued General Order No. 3. This order held confederates and secesh sympathizers of every shade responsible in their persons and properties for the damages many lawless bands roaming the countryside were committing against the inhabitants. To say the least, this order was unfair, for many of the bands owed allegiance to no person, party, or principle.



The Military Headquarters in Central Missouri, by Special Order No. 126, appointed Charles Tallman, Thomas Scott, James A. Moore, William Duncan, and Daniel Bliss, members of the Military Board in Miller county. They were sworn into office by Col. J.W. McClurg, Commanding, 8th Regiment, Missouri State Militia, at Linn Creek.

They commenced the Board’s work by assessing the active secessionists and southern sympathizers, making levies upon them when requested by the military.

It is known the Military Board took from Joseph Ulman, $100 in money; from Samuel T. Harrison, $60; from Jasper N. Henley, $410; from Edmund Wilkes, $400; from Samuel Etter, $60; from Daniel Etter, $300 from Robert M. Wyrick, $80; from Wm. M. Lumpkin, $13.50; from John Lumpkin, $75; from Robert E. Simpson, $320; from Evi B. Farley, County Clerk, $160; from Sovereign Popplewell, $250; from William F. Stephens, $60.

Persons unable to pay in cash when levied upon would have enough property seized to satisfy the assessment. A sorrel mare, 5 years old, and a saddle were taken from Wm. M. Lumpkin. A bay horse, 9 years old, and a sorrel mare, 5 years old were taken from John Lumpkin. The Military Board seized all the property of John H. Barton, and in the presence of the members, at the Courthouse, in Tuscumbia, sold the property at public venum. Owen Riggs purchased two yoke of oxen, the animals about six years of age, for $75. Barton, suing Riggs later for the value of the oxen, eventually the case reached the First District Court of Missouri in the City of Jefferson. Barton lost! The Board seized real estate, and often, growing crops, belonging to many people.

Public sales of secesh properties were held at Locust Mound, Pleasant Mount, and Iberia.

Tallman, Scott, Moore, Duncan, and Bliss, members of the Miller County Military Board, were among the ablest men in the county. They believed in the maintenance of the Union, but they also upheld Law and order. That there was much of the demagogue in the character of these men, is probable; but that there was justice and reason in most of their operations, is certain. They could have acted with excessive rigor and inaugurated a system of murder and plunder for opinion’s sake. They could have put to death persons who differed with them, for their power was unlimited. They were protected and assisted in the execution of their duties by all military commanders, including the State Militia, individually and collectively, wherever and whenever necessary.



Martial law failing to stop the civil strife in Missouri, the Governor authorized Brigadier General John M. Schofield, commanding the state’s forces, to organize the entire Militia of Missouri for the purpose of putting down marauders in every community.

Immediately the “Enrolled Militia of Missouri,” fifty thousand men strong, serving only within the State, were mustered into seventy-five regiments.

Men from Miller county serving in the enrolled Missouri Militia were mainly found in the 42nd and 47th Regiments; continuing organized during the war. The Captains were William Madden, Josiah Goodman, A.J. Green, James H. Karr, Sayles Brown, James Long, and William Long. Lieutenants were Ludwell Bacon, James L. Wright, Elijah G. Miller, A.J. Thompson, Henry Bear, William Pemberton, William Carroll Brumley, Napoleon B. Wood, Zebedee Spearman and Thomas Babcoke.

In Miller county, men in the companies of Enrolled Militia were armed with ordnance such as could be furnished locally, but eventually better weapons were furnished by the Quartermaster Department of Missouri, although few in number 200 Long Enfield rifles, complete, were issued to the 47th Regiment, E.M.M. in 1862. Additional arms, amounting to several stand, were issued to local troops by the United States, and a number of double-barrel shot guns, very desirable weapons for combatting bushwhackers, were obtained from various sources.

Suddenly called into active service in Miller county, the Enrolled Militia needed subsistence for men; forage and provisions for mules and horses required in the service, and the Military Board obtained these necessaries by additional levies and assessments upon southern sympathizers.

Headquarters, State of Missouri, St. Louis, discontinued this means of support, by Special Order No. 4, on January 13, 1863, as follows: “Provision having been made by the United States authorities for the supply of subsistence and forage to the Enrolled Militia of Missouri, when in active service, you are therefore ordered to suspend at once all assessments made within the limits of your command for the support of the Enrolled Militia.”

First serving without pay, the General Assembly eventually proposed paying the Enrolled Militiamen; then, passing a bill, approved March 9, 1863, authorized the issuance of “Union Military Bonds” especially for that purpose.

On July 9, 1863, the Deputy Paymaster General received the first bonds, for payroll purposes, in denominations of ones, threes, and fives, but officers and privates expressed considerable dissatisfaction over the apparent inability of the state to pay them. One of the chief reasons for this was that many of the officers of the Enrolled Militia, unable to read or write, were incapable of making out payrolls.

About this time, men with secessionist leanings commenced enrolling themselves into companies of Militia, but the military quashed such proceedings by having all such persons “enrolled” as “Southern Sympathizers.”



Colonel Emly Golden and Tolbird Bass enrolled the male inhabitants of Miller county, qualified by age and health, into the Militia; enrolling, but exempting from military service, the Southern Sympathizers.

One day, at the Courthouse, Golden and Bass, while enrolling men, placing Union men on one side of the room, and Southern sympathizers on the opposite side, were approached by a young man who informed the officers he was a Confederate. Bass, taking his name for enrollment, informed him he was not a confederate to get over with the Union boys where he belonged. The young man informed Tolbird he would appeal the case, and Bass inquired, furiously, “Now, just too whom in Hell would you appeal to?” “To Abraham Lincoln at Richmond,” the young man replied.

Persons in Miller county enrolling as Southern Sympathizers included Evi B. Farley, John Lumpkin, Alexander Colvin, Daniel Etter, Abraham Castleman, Wm. M. Lumpkin, Joseph Ulman, Ed Williams, John Davidson, Flemon Willis, William F. Stephens, Samuel Allen, Merideth Anderson, Reuben H. Steward, John T. Livingston, Sovereign Popplewell, Hezekiah McCubbin, William Wadley, James Rush, James H. Adcock, Thomas W. Martin, Wayne W. Stapp, Joseph Stephens, James M. Brockman, James C. Reed, Edmund Wilkes, Samuel Etter, James Etter, Joseph D. Tayor, Clifford Bays, Jasper N. Henley, John H. Barton, George W. Etter, John Martin, John Abbott, Esom B. Dooley, and Many others.

Even though many Southern Sympathizers afterward served honorably in the Volunteers, the State Militia, or the Enrolled Militia, once having associated themselves with the Southern cause created many difficulties for them.

In June, 1862, the State Convention declared any person ever in arms against the Union or the Provisional Government of Missouri, aiding, comforting, countenancing the enemies thereof, directly or indirectly, could not vote. This provision was enforced with guns at the November election in 1862. The Military were at the polling places in Miller county. Afterward, soldiers were removed from elections with the people enforcing the authority of the government.

Alexander Graham, reared in the vicinity of the Glenwood Church in Saline township, after having come, at an early age, to this country from Scotland, with his parents, served as a Judge of Election at Pleasant Mount a number of times in this era. According to Alec, the Judges of Election sat in the polling place with guns across their laps, allowing no unnecessary talking, joking, laughing, or foolishness of any kind, enforced with arms, if necessary.



In late 1861, Sheriff Samuel T. Harrison, unwilling to take the Oath of Allegiance required of all public officers by the Provisional Government, tendered his resignation to the Miller County Court. Thomas W. Whitaker, a former Sheriff, appointed in his stead, being of southern sympathies, could not fill bond. The County Court declared the office vacant on August 18, 1862, notifying the Governor. On September 15, 1862, the Governor notified the County Court of having commissioned Thomas Thompson, Sheriff of Miller County, and the court approved Thompson’s bond of $12,000, with I.M. Goodrich, A.T. Reinhart, John Bear, Sayles Brown, Jacob Capps, William Matthews, and Rial M. Smith, as securities thereon, all strong Union men.



George Bear, living south of the Osage river in the vicinity of the big bend of the Dog creek, being a strong Union man, viewed with pride the record of his six sons in the union Armies.

His closest neighbor, John Martin, living approximately one mile eastwardly, having sons in the Confederate Armies, was a dedicated rebel.

To say the least, during this time, these men were none too neighborly, but their boys, each having an eight year old son in the home, were very fond of each other. Often, the Bear and Martin youths met, usually in the woods, secretly, where they discussed their mutual problems, earnestly, frankly, and honestly.

“My Pa is a rebel,” the Martin youth informed his playmate many times, for John Martin was leading a small band, bushwhacking south of the Osage river.

According to custom in that day, young Martin, in the log house of his father, slept in an attic room floored with loose planks. He slept above the room where John Martin met with the gang when planning raids upon the countryside.

Eavesdropping through a knot-hole in a plank of the bedroom’ floor one night upon the proceedings in the room below, young Martin over-heard the gang planning a raid upon George Bear’s farm the following evening.

The young boy didn’t like this at all, so very early the next morning, he was in the woods above the Bear’ home, desperately whistling for his young friend to come up. When at his side, Martin informed his playmate of the raid certain to occur following sunset, who would be in the gang, and the things they were going to take.

With the falling of darkness, many Bears were in the woods, on the prowl, armed and ready, but nothing happened!

At the breaking of dawn, on the ridge above the Bear’ home, a shrill whistling was heard, and the two boys were soon together.

“The raid is off,” young Martin said. “The men met last night at my Pa’s house, and they objected. They informed Pa of George Bear having six sons in the Union Army, and asked Pa what he thought their hides would be worth when the boys returned home? Pa hadn’t thought of that, so the raid was called off!”



Eventually the Bear’ farm was raided by Union soldiers passing through Miller county. On June 5, 1862, Companies A, B, C, and F, 13th Regiment Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, several hundred strong, Colonel Albert Sigel, commanding, rode into Tuscumbia, on their way to Waynesville.

After crossing the Osage river, these cavalry companies, meeting old man Riggs, a person of secessionist tendencies, were informed by him to safely cross the county a scout would be needed. There were many rebels, and knowing them all, he could guide them safely through for a small fee; the Colonel graciously accepting his services.

Moving down the trail, south of the Osage river, toward Capps’ Landing, Riggs informed the Colonel a strong Confederate by name of George Bear lived on a farm by the Dog creek. Upon this information, the Colonel seized some of Bear’s livestock for sustenance.

The next morning George Bear rode into the Colonel’s camp at the breaking of dawn, presenting the officer the enlistment papers of his six sons in the Union Army. Immediately the Colonel paid him for his livestock taken in the previous day, and said, “I only wish I had one more hour to tarry. I would make a short trip;” old man Riggs having disappeared!



As the summer of 1862 advanced, the State Militia, and the few regiments of Federal Cavalry, found it difficult to protect the citizens of the State against the hordes making a diversion in favor of the Confederacy.

Coffee, Quantrell, Cockerill, and many others, kept Missouri’s Union forces busily engaged. In the months of July and August, 1862, Union forces in North Missouri participated in the remarkable, and somewhat romantic pursuit of the Confederate forces under Colonel Poindexter and Colonel Joe Porter. By September these Confederate forces were scattered from the Iowa line south to the Missouri river, often gathering into large and small parties, usually heading South. Many crossing Miller county.

On October 18, Confederate forces were dispersed at Avonix Church in Callaway county, while on the same day, approximately eight miles west of Waynesville, near California House, men of Porter’s command, moving South, were attacked by Col. Sigel of the State Militia.



A strong guerilla force, maintaining headquarters in caves in the vicinity of present day old Hoecker, thrived in Miller county, Secesh General Crabtree, commanding. Especially devoted to horse stealing, this guerilla force allowed no interference with its main work of recruiting men in Central Missouri and escorting them to Thomasville near the Arkansas line.

On August 17, 1862, an encampment of Crabtree’s men on the upper reaches of the Little Tavern creek, near present day Henley, stirred with movement, for having filled with recruits, preparations were being made for departure.

Past midnight, on the morning of the 18th, these men, gathering into small groups, and scattering, commenced dashing south through Jim Henry township.

Two sets of bedruffles, both with lace around them, one green bonnet, green veil, one yellow pitcher white ring around it, size about one-half gallon, some pins and needles, one white pillow slip, and a pair of cotton cards were taken from the home of James M. Carrender, and left on the front porch at Isaac Bond’s cabin by Crabtree’s men. In turn, Isaac lost a claybank nag, and a bay nag. From the house of Gordon Stephens the men took two guns, and from his stable led away a mare, one gelding, and a gray horse six years of age, the latter animal belonging to Esq. Hugh Gartin.

This act of daring was not appreciated by either James Carrender or Justice Gartin. Militia Scout R.F. Hill, picking up the trail of the men the following morning near Carrender’s place, took the left hand across a field, down a muddy ravine, up to the head of a small hollow near Isaac Bond’s house.

Harrison H. Jenkins said, “I tol Esqr. Bond we endered the house to surch for plunder sed to be takend from carenders so we cummenst takend down sum close ofen a close rack an Mistes Bond sed don’t tar down the close, Mister Bond comnenst tankend down sum close and Mistes Bond takend down at the other end. We cummenst lookend under the steds. Mistes Bond sed don’t tar up the steds. We turned up the steds an thar was shoad the cards.” Other properties were found at the old abandoned house on the place of William Jenkins.

Squire Hugh Gartin inquired about his horse until he was certain Wiley Schumate, a member of Crabtree’s gang, was the person in possession of his animal. Sheriff Thomas Thompson searched for Schumate, but was unable to find him in the county. Eventually, before Justices of the Peace John Bear and William H. Harbison, jointly sitting as a Court, Schumate and some of Crabtree’s men appeared, their testimony voluntarily given.

Mark Jones informed the Justices he was with Crabtree on August 18, crossing the river the same day somewhere near the Wet Bottom of the Big Tavern. “Mr. Schumate was with Crabtree,” Jones said. “I first saw the horse about the time we were crossing the river. Schumate was riding Mr. Gartin’s horse. This was on the 18th day of August, 1862. I am acquainted with Mr. Gartin’s horse, and have been some three years. Schumate held possession of the horse for two days after we crossed the river. Two days later I saw Milton Stepp in the company.”

Milton Stepp said, “I have no idea who took Garten’s horse. I intercepted the company above William Russell’s, then crossing the river to the Wet Bottom. On August 21, I saw Schumate with Gartin’s horse, in the Wet Bottom.”

Thomas Williams knew both Schumate and Gartin. “I was in Reveses Company commanded by Crabtree. I entered the Company on Tuesday, August 18, 1862. I went in a foot. I saw a large gray horse in the Company. I will be nineteen years old on the 7th of May, 1863. I was told that Reveses company was in the Wet Bottom of the Tavern creek. I wanted to go with them. I saw Schumate riding a bay horse a year previous to his joining the company. I saw Schumate in headquarters in the South about two weeks and a half afterward, and to the best of my knowledge he was riding a bay horse then.”

“I intercepted Crabtree at James Smiths, in Cole county.” John Bond said. “I joined Crabtree of my own free will and accord. I went with Crabtree to Thomsaville. The day before I left home I saw Schumate, and he had no horse then. I know Mr. Gartin’s horse. I saw him in Crabtree’s command. The first man I saw in possession of the horse was Crabtree. I also saw Joseph Stephens riding the horse. I never saw the horse in Wiley Schumate’s possession. He rode a bay horse, and I was with him every day in the Wet Bottom. I had a bay nag that Reves gave me.”

Hanna J. Jenkins testified, “I heard Crabtree say he took Mr. Garten’s horse. The night the horse should have been taken Wiley Schumate was sick in bed. There were two rooms there at Schumate’s. I was there. Mr. Schumate was at home after the horse was said to have been taken.”

Harden Schumate informed the Justices, “My son left home about August 16, 1862. I saw Captain Reves about the 16th. I saw Crabtree. My son and John Bond came to my house. They were riding bay horses. My son was sick.”

“I saw Captain Reves at my father’s house,” James Schumate said, but when Esq. Harbison inquired if the meaning of an oath was understood by him, and he not understanding, his testimony was rejected. So was the testimony of Rutha Hill for the same reason.

Captain Wiley Schumate informed the Court “Mr. Gartin’s horse was not in my possession when in the Company. There were several gray horses in the Company. I rode some of them during the time I was in the Confederate service. I did not take Mr. Gartin’s horse.”



Let’s briefly follow 1st Sergeant Asa Burlingame, with Privates Robert Hawk, Daniel Kinworthy, Charles P. Myers, James R. Myers, and Orval Bays in Captain Frank G. Schoenon’s Company D, of the 26th Infantry, Missouri Volunteers, on their tour of duty.

In March, 1862, these Miller county boys were in the body of troops advancing against New Madrid, Missouri, and nearby fortified Island No. 10, in the Mississippi river. On April 7, southern forces trying to escape, were cut off by the 26th Mo. Inf., and others, at Tiptonville, Tennessee.

On September 19, 1862, these Miller county boys were fighting at Iuka, Mississippi. Here they tangled with another Missourian, Confederate Major-General Sterling Price, and immediately afterward, attacking Corinth, Mississippi, fought Price’s forces again on October 3. Here, Private James R. Myers, wounded through the right thigh, was sent to the Mound City hospital. He returned to Co. D for duty in March, 1864.

The 26th Mo. Inf., and others, hoping to get around the Vicksburg’ batteries, waited for the opening of a canal being dug across a bend in the Mississippi river, so Union gunboats could pass downriver, but a rise in the Mississippi totally destroyed this effort.

On the night of April 16, 1863, the Union gunboats, running the Vicksburg’ batteries, passing downriver with little damage, were immediately joined below the town by the Miller county boys, and others.

On May 1, Co. D tangled with a Confederate force under Brigadier General John S. Bowen, in the Battle of Port Gibson, and on May 12, with Confederate Brigadier General John Gregg, in the Battle of Raymond. Again, on the 14th of the month, a decisive battle was fought near Jackson, Mississippi, the Miller county boys entering the capitol of the State of Mississippi.

Now, Vicksburg was heavily besieged. On May 10, an assault launched upon the outer works, was repulsed with terrible losses. On May 22, another assault was made with an even greater destruction of life. The 26th Mo. Inf. Was in the front ranks. Here, Daniel Kinworthy, one of 24 children of William Kinworthy, of Miller county, was wounded in the left breast by a Minnie-ball. Private Charles P. Myers was shot through the wrist.

On November 24 and 25, 1863, the boys were on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge; then, on March 2, 1864, having lost their top commander, -General U.S. Grant becoming Commander-in-Chief of all the Armies of the United States,- they fell in with another General named Sherman.

On June 28, 1864, some of the boys were leaving Chattanooga, moving a drove of seventeen hundred head of cattle to Marietta, Georgia, a distance of 125 miles, for General Sherman’s army. After a hard march, through the most terrible heat, they arrived safely at Marietta, with the cattle, on the evening of July 9.

On November 16, 1864, leaving Atlanta, Georgia, burning behind them, the Miller county boys, with others, 60,000 strong, commenced marching through Georgia, from Atlanta to the Sea. Five days before Christmas they were upon the seacoast at Savannah.

The guns carried by Charles P. Myers from Miller County to Savannah; Held by grandson Calvin Myers, of Ulman
The guns carried by Charles P. Myers from Miller County to Savannah;
Held by grandson Calvin Myers, of Ulman

The Miller county boys, with others, in five weeks, having desolated a region 60 mile in width and 300 miles in length, wrecking 300 miles of railroad, and appropriating 10,000 horses and mules, broke the back of the Eastern Confederacy.

At Savannah, Georgia, the campaign of Company D ended. The boys from Miller county in the 26th Infantry, Missouri Volunteers, returned home.



On July 28, 1862, an order of the military permitted exemptions from service in the Enrolled Militia for a period of one year on payment of ten dollars, and one-tenth of one per cent on the tangible property of the person otherwise qualified for military service.

A commutation bill passed by the General Assembly, approved March 3, 1863, increased this amount to $30 per annum, and one per cent on tangible property. In many instances a man without property could escape both service and commutation, -for any able-bodied citizen who refused to perform militia service with no property, could not be made to pay commutation.

In February, 1864, orders were issued for the “Commissaries of Exemptions” in each county to give public notice to all persons within their respective counties, subject to military duty, to appear and enroll for military duty for the year 1864, on or before the first day of May.

On March 15, 1864, Captain James H. Karr, 4th Provisional Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia, commenced the enrollment of all able-bodied men in Miller county. He appointed Dr. A.P. Nixdorf, surgeon, for the purpose of examining all persons who claimed exemption from the militia service because of physical disability.

Persons who failed to pay commutation were thereafter required to perform military service. Also, it was ordered “All persons subject to military duty in this State, who desire to cross the plains west of Missouri during the present year, are notified to pay the commutation tax to the Collector of the proper county, before leaving the state; and all persons so failing and attempting to leave the State will be arrested and held in custody until their commutation tax is paid.”



On June 28, 1864, Major General W.S. Rosecrans, Commanding, Department of the Missouri, issued General Orders No. 107, calling upon the inhabitants of Missouri to organize citizens committees in townships and counties, to choose and organize out of the Enrolled Militia, companies of 100 or more men, to put down groups of Confederate soldiers, guerillas, and bushwhackers.

Pursuant to General Orders No. 107, citizens “Committees of Public Safety” were organized at Pleasant Mount, Tuscumbia, and Iberia, and upon their recommendations Provisional Companies were organized under command of Captain Thomas J. Babcock at Pleasant Mount, Captain Sayles Brown at Tuscumbia, and Captain John Long at Iberia.



At Centerville, on January 18, 1864, there was an affray settled by the military. What the difficulty was is unknown, but Dr. A.P. Nixdorf, and Orderly Sergeant Quinn, with his company, were examining men for military service. Suddenly there was a jawering between William Hauenstein, Isaac McBride, George Salsman, and John M. James. Rial Messersmith running up was struck upon the side of the head with a revolver by George R. Harriett, knocking him to the ground. Upon getting up Messersmith struck John M. James in the face with his fist, then, running into the grocery, called for a gun with which to shoot Mr. James. One Mr. Stepp, handing him a revolver, he took it, hastily returning to the scene, presenting the revolver in the face of John M. James.

Further proceedings were arrested by Orderly Sergeant Quinn, who informed Rial Messersmith “My mission is the putting down of such work.” Mr. James continued talking with the officer for some time, then left for the shop.

Dr. A.P. Nixdorf, standing nearby, thought Messersmith said “I’ll be damned, if I would not like to kill him like a dog!” while Isaac McBride told Messersmith said he “wished I might die, if I did not, I’d as leave shoot him as a dog!”



After the Battle of Lexington the main war was far removed from Miller county, except for the marauding bands of guerillas and the isolated Confederate squads, many going South. But Confederate General Sterling Price, having in his white-thatched head an obsession the Ozarks were filled with dedicated Confederates, kept waiting for an opportunity to enter Missouri. He believed the people, rallying around his banner, would help him conquer the State for the Confederacy.

In the Spring and summer of 1864, old grandpappy Price, back in Arkansas, kept sending messages into the counties of Missouri he was coming North, inviting bushwhackers and the guerilla forces to join him. This whipped to a high heat bushwhacker and guerilla activities in Central Missouri, and this was so in Miller county.

Upon the Enrolled Militia fell the defense of the territory for the main fighting forces were out of the State. Captain Thomas J. Babcock at Pleasant Mount, Captain Sayles Brown at Tuscumbia, Captain John Long at Iberia, and others, were hard pressed to maintain order in Miller county.

On September 19, 1864 General Sterling Price of the Confederate States of America, riding North, crossed into Missouri, with an army of 12,000 cavalry and mounted infantry veterans, and 14 pieces of artillery at his side. Famed Cavalryman General Jo Shelby, General James F. Fagan, and the son of a former Missouri Governor, General John S. Marmaduke, were with him.

Price’s hordes moved upon Fredericktown, to Pilot Knob, then to the outskirts of St. Louis. Here, he poised his cavalry, as if to strike, but wheeling about, moved rapidly westward in the direction of Jefferson City, his forces cutting a swath from 20 to 50 miles wide, with Shelby’s flankers swinging out and covering territory of greater width.

Price, crossing the Osage river near Prince’s place, pulled up in front of Jefferson City in the first week of October. Firing a number of cannon balls into the city, he maneuvered around the place for position, then moved westward.

His forces roamed the North side of Miller county for several days, and before their coming, the bushwhackers and guerilla forces ravaged the county with ever increasing severity. In this conflict of rage and passion the forces of the Confederacy were bitter with old grudges and postponed vengeances.

In June, July, August, September, and October of 1864, the Civil War spilled much blood on the soil of Miller county.



Captain Josiah Goodman, Company C, Enrolled Missouri Militia, while at his home near present day Olean, was surrounded by Crabtree’s men, who took from his kitchen safe all of his money, a considerable sum, and from his bedrooms, all of his clothing, then, from his enclosures, led away about 10 head of good milk cows, approximately 90 head of other cattle, 4 team of horses, and 3 span of mules. They made life so miserable for him, he dared not return home in several weeks.



On June 26, 1864, William Matthews, in his home on the hill near the Saline creek, south of present day Highway 17 Saline Bridge, was sitting in his favorite chair, by the fireplace, writing and figuring. A former Treasurer, he was preparing his books for final settlement with the County Court. At this time no banks were in the county, so the county’s revenue was kept by the Treasurer on his person or in his home. Deeply involved in his work, his thoughts were rudely interrupted by a loud pounding upon the front door.

William, of course, immediately opening the door, looked with startled anxiety upon the stern countenances of 10 or 12 armed men in company with one Schumate, a member of Crabtree’s gang.

One of the men commenced conversation by saying they had been sent to get the funds of the county for the benefit of Crabtree and the Confederacy. He further said, it was thought they had a better right to this money than any one else. They were prepared to get it by force, but if this was done, Matthews would be immediately shot. All they asked of Matthews was for him to remain quietly in his home; and for his own safety, William honored their request.

The men, ransacking his cabin, lifted his clothing from the antler racks along the wall, throwing pants, shirts, and coats out of the door, each item picked up by persons outside and placed upon their horses. Blankets were removed from his bed, rolled up, and carried away. His corn meal was appropriated; a flask of powder taken. Finding nine hundred ninety dollars in a little cupboard above the fireplace, the men kept searching, but Matthews, assuring them calmly and quietly that was all the money he had, the men eventually believed him.

The whole search was accomplished in a very short time, and without further activity, the men left. Just here, it may be said, Matthews, a few days before, having buried a sum of money under a large rock used for a door step, turned in a sum of seven thousand nine hundred seventy-one dollars and seventy five cents upon his final settlement with the County Court.



This Confederate band set off like hounds in full cry, South, down the ridge toward Tuscumbia. The next morning they were entering into the County Seat, quietly spreading themselves over the village so that, by personal observation, they might learn the exact strength of the place. When having gained knowledge enough to know the people were quite off their guard, they fell upon the unfortunate inhabitants, taking possession of the town without a struggle, immediately plundering the stores, homes, and Courthouse, loading their horses with the booty.

The capture of the town being so sudden, no preparation could be made for checking it, even by a number of Union soldiers and Militiamen in the place. The menfolk of the town, about fifty in number, forced at gunpoint to retire to the river bank, were lined up with their backs to the river. One bearded gentleman determined when shot, he would pitch over the steep bank into the deep water below.

Mike Wyrick said, “I knew my life wasn’t worth a plug Nickel! With guns in my face, and men threatening and expected to use them, I was standing on the very edge of the steep bank past the ferry landing, waiting to be shot and lost in the current of the Osage.”

Article - 2 July 1864

Sergeant John Bear, captured by the men, was placed upon a horse, his hands tied to the saddle horn. Anxiously inquiring as to the meaning and purpose of his treatment, the men informed him he was their prisoner, “Besides, one of the men said, “you are the first bear we have captured for some time, and will treat you no worse than the other wild critters in the woods.”

The menfolk of the village, having their weapons taken from them, helplessly watched as their rifles and shotguns were bent and smashed over the hull of a steamboat, moored by the warehouse; their side-arms tossed into the river.

Undoubtably the citizens would have been sacrificed by the insaneness of the men had not a rider, galloping into the village, saved them, for he carried information a force of Militia, of about sixty horsemen, were riding toward Tuscumbia from the north.

Immediately, at gun point, the men of the village, along the river bank, swore an Oath of Allegiance to the Confederacy. Then Crabtree’s men dispersed, taking Sergeant John Bear with them; afterward paroled, unharmed.

As the Militia charged through the village, in hot pursuit of the fleeing confederates, the frightened people of Tuscumbia returned to their looted homes and places of business.



The Enrolled Militia, very superior in numbers to the bushwhackers and guerilla forces, would have been successful in every battle in the open field. But the great difficulty was obtaining this advantage. These troops, mounted on horses, passing very rapidly from one place to another, even quite distant, were very elusive.

The larger part of the bushwhackers, carrying light arms, packed all of their baggage upon their person or horses. Their chief subsistence was the cattle which they seized, and their cooking was as expeditious as all their other operations. After flaying an animal, the beef was placed over an open fire, and roasted.

The smoke and flame of burning buildings, or of their campfires, or robberies, would direct the Enrolled Militia to the place of their activities, or encampments, but before arriving at the scene, the bushwhackers already were far away. Many times the Militia, in hot pursuit upon a band, would lose them altogether, having to wait for an account of their movements and activities in some other sector of the county or part of Central Missouri, often several days.



On July 4, 1864, a squad of Enrolled Militia, protecting the Spring Garden Landing on the Osage river below Tuscumbia, were on a scouting expedition downriver. Having heard cries for help, they proceeded toward the source of calling. They were slightly below the later day C.P. Tellman farm, now owned by Charles L. Taylor. All of a sudden, confronting Crabtree’s men, a lively skirmish ensued. Five guerillas were shot and killed, but the Militiamen were outnumbered. After about two hours, completely surrounded, the Militiamen were obliged to surrender.

Having their weapons immediately taken from them, they were lined up along the river bank, Crabtree placing their lives in jeopardy. Yet some good arose out of all the evil; Crabtree performing an act of generosity, which, knowing his character, was not to be expected of him. Crabtree ordered Boyd S. Miller, because of his youth, to run with his life, if he wanted it. Boyd, the youngest son of Elijah and Hanna Gartin Miller, took out, with Confederate’ guns blazing at him, but he escaped, unharmed, into the woods.

While the confederates were shooting at Boyd, Samuel Gilleland chanced to flee. Jumping over the river bank, about twenty feet in height, he landed near the edge of the water, and running with his life alongside the high bank, gained his freedom.

Samuel Gilleland was a man of middle height, well-built; his hair was coal black, and very thick. In a week’s time, after this incident, his hair was snow-white, caused by fright, it was said.

Here, Crabtree’s conciliatory conduct toward the Militiamen ended. A burst of rifle fire dropped the men where they stood. Of the group of militiamen, only Samuel Gilleland and Boyd S. Miller lived to tell of this disastrous affair.



Captain Thomas J. Babcock, continually after Crabtree and his men, captured a number of men in Wiley Schumate’s company, Crabtree’s command, in the early part of the summer. John P. Wilcox was one of the men. On July 6, 1864, the Military District of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, issued Special Orders No. 141, as follows:

“It having come to the knowledge of the General Commanding that a band of Guerillas, led by one Schumate, having committed depredations, such as robbing and plundering peaceable citizens in Miller and adjoining counties, and to the end that quiet and safety may be restored to the people of this district, it is hereby ordered that, upon the first overt act of lawlessness committed by this or any other band of Guerillas or Bushwhackers, upon the lives or property of the people of this district, the prisoner, John Wilcox, a member of said Schumate’s band, now confined at Jefferson City, Mo., awaiting trial by the Military Commission, will be immediately shot.” By order of Brigadier General Brown, J.H. Steiger, Asst. Adjutant.

Guerilla activity not ceasing, the State Times, a newspaper published at Jefferson City, in the second week of August described the execution, at Weir’s creek, of John P. Wilcox, captured in April, in Miller county, and subsequently convicted as one of Schumate’s gang, the perpetrators of outrages in Cole, Miller, and Moniteau counties.



The Confederate Guerilla, General Crabtree, very angry when the military executed one of his men at Jefferson City, immediately determined his revenge would be attended with unexampled wickedness. His forces moved out of the Wet Bottom of the Big Tavern creek with ever-increasing frequency. Death and tumult were spread in every quarter. Instead of an open contest, it was a cruel kind of hostility, displaying all the worst evils of civilization.

If opposed by a superior force, he retreated into the woods, and if pursued, concealed himself in the caves in the Wet Bottom of the Big Tavern creek, then moving off, invaded some distant quarter, where he was not expected. All Miller county was kept in continual alarm by the plundering, burning, stealing, and murdering; nor did the people of one community go to the assistance of another, lest their own families be exposed to the fury of his men.

Crabtree’s cruelty made a deep impression on the minds of the inhabitants. Long after he was shot and his life ceased, impatient mothers would bring their children to obedience with the threat of Hush, Crabtree is coming!

Captain Thomas J. Babcock, commanding the Provisional Company at Pleasant Mount, kept the Enrolled Militia hot on the trail of Crabtree. In August, Militiamen were hunting for Crabtree in his own backyard, the Wet Bottom of the Big Tavern creek.

On August 30, 1864, 16 men, under First Lieutenant John Starling, were on Curtman Island, in the Osage river, scouting the dense willow thickets, on information that Crabtree was hiding there. Seven of the 16 men were members of the Union League, all having enlisted in the Enrolled Militia of Pleasant Mount.

At the noon hour, the men stacked their arms, to rest and enjoy their provisions, but this was a fatal mistake. Suddenly, without any warning, on all sides, the Militiamen were surrounded by Crabtree’s men. At gun-points, their stacked firearms were taken away. Totally helpless, they placed themselves upon the mercy of Crabtree, who was eager for revenge.

The 16 men were lined-up, Crabtree looking them over, one at a time. Boyd S. Miller, captured in a previous encounter below Tuscumbia, was passed because “You are too young to die,” Crabtree said. Joseph Hicks, who was just a boy, caught Crabtree’s gaze. “Young man,” the Guerilla said, “you are sure a little feller. Why don’t you just take out runnin’, and don’t look back!” The boy did take out, and Hicks related, later, “Making the longest steps I ever took in my life. Nor did I look back!”

After Crabtree satisfied his curiosity in regard to the prisoners, the seven men who were members of the Union League were ordered to stand aside. These were Samuel McClure, John Starling, W. Gibson, Richard Crisp, Nathaniel Hicks, Yancy Roark, and F.B. Long. A firing squad, called up, were made ready. Crabtree inquiring if the men had anything to say, and the militiamen having none, were immediately shot. All, except one, although he was presumed dead at the time, were instantly killed.

Crabtree warned the other members of Babcocks company if they kept bothering him, their fate would be the same; then he and his men, 25 in number, disappeared into the willow thickets.

The remaining Militiamen, visibly shaken, took out, on foot, for Pleasant Mount. During the night they arrived at the village.

Immediately, the killings were a subject of great concern; and by daylight, a posse was organized, ready to go. Before noon, about 30 men, heavily armed, moved out of the village for Curtman Island; accompanied by six wagons, for carrying corpses, besides eight packhorses loaded with provisions.

Six of the seven bodies on the island were found, and returned to Pleasant Mount. Nearby, later, the bones of the seventh man were found. It was assumed he had crawled from the place of execution as the agonies of death descended upon him.

In the present day Allen Cemetery, east of Olean, the tombstone of John P. Starling bears the inscription “Murdered by Bushwhackers in 1864.”

From present day locations F.B. Long and John P. Starling lived east of Olean; Yancy Roark, northeast of Olean; Richard Crisp, south of Etterville, and Nathaniel Hicks due south from Pleasant Mount.

The cruelty of this affair on Curtman Island doomed Crabtree’s men, although for some time, they continued destroying and laying waste everything which came in their way. In Miller and Cole counties many buildings by which they passed were put to the torch, and many persons executed.



On September 8, 1864, I.M. Goodrich, Clerk of the Miller County Circuit Court, at Tuscumbia, received the following communication: “City of Jefferson. I take this early opportunity to inform you that I will not hold my next term of the Miller County Circuit Court. It would be a trip for nothing, and I do not conceive it my duty to expose my life when no good could result from it. I regret that the condition of things is such as to induce the necessity of not holding the Court. If living, I hope to be at your next term. Hon. G.W. Miller, Circuit Judge.”

In the month of September, 1864, the 4th Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, established regimental headquarters at Russellville, in Cole county. Captain Daniel Rice’s Company I, with others, swept the territory from Russellville, south to the Osage river.1

With savage ferocity, the Militia subdued Confederate leaders, and Southern sympathizers in the area.

William P. Dixon, at Pleasant Mount, was arrested and sent to Military Prison at Jefferson City. Nancy, his wife, sent a letter to Abraham Lincoln protesting his confinement, and the President ordered William released. Evi B. Farley left the county. William Miller, who lived north of Pleasant Mount, the grand old man whose influence earlier contributed much to the formation of the County of Miller, was held for several days at the Muster Ball, on present day Wilson’s ridge, southeast of Etterville. Because of his advanced age, he was released, unharmed. Others were arrested and imprisoned or confined at military stockades. To be accused of Sympathy with the South in 1864, was cause for imprisonment, loss of property, arson, pillage, and death.

Embittered brothers splashed their blood until the hour of decision arrived. And it came!

1.  Captain Daniel Rice was not with them, having been dismissed for incompetency by Special Orders No. 78, Department of Missouri, March 19, 1864. In August, he was enrolled as Captain, Co. E, 48th Infantry, Mo. Volunteers, with Jerry W. Tallman, and John P. Rice, Lieutenants. W.T. Franklin was enrolled as a Lieutenant in the 48th at this time.



“There was no Court on account of the invasion of this State by the Rebel Army under General Sterling Price.” Record Book of the County Court, Monday morning, October 3, 1864.



In the first week of October, 1864, Confederates, singly and in groups, commenced crossing Miller county. One Confederate, James “Gundy” Simpson, visited his mother and sister, then living in a log cabin, in the Gageville community. Gundy informed his mother he was on his way to Jefferson City to help old pap Price take the capitol.

The late James P. Miller, who lived in Miller county for many years, was there when Gundy came home. Uncle Jimmie, as he was affectionately known by everyone in his later years, often told how Gundy’s mother, and her daughter,1 stood in the front yard of the homestead listening to the booming from Price’s and Sutter’s cannon at Jefferson City, echoing over Miller county.

“Gundy’s mother wrung her hands on every report of the cannon,” Uncle Jimmie said, “greviously exclaiming, Poor little Gundy! Poor little Gundy!”

Uncle Jimmie further told that while the women were crying, a panther of very large size, jumping over the rail fence into the front yard, raised its front paws upon a large tree, and yawning, lazily, in the bark, sharpened its claws.

1.  Uncle Jimmy’s mother.



Colonel Mathew M. Flesh, commanding the 42nd E.M.M., ordered Captains William Madden, Josiah Goodman, and Andrew J. Green; Lieutenants James L. Wright, Elijah G. Miller, and Ludwell Bacon to Jefferson City. On October 6, they were assigned to the 4th Brigade, Colonel Hickox commanding, and on October 7, ordered to the front by General Fisk.

Major Thomas O’Halloran, commanding 1st Battalion Provisional E.M.M., at Linn Creek, ordered Company B, at Iberia, Captain John Long commanding, with Lieutenants Nicholas Long, Zebedee Spearman, and 88 men to scout the country and disperse the Confederate companies expected in the area. They didn’t have long to wait. Men of the Confederacy were eager to move in and settle old grudges and postponed vengeances.

Secesh Captain Reves rode out of Pulaski county into the community of Pleasant Hill. Captain Reves and his men stopped for provisions at the home of Katherine Keeth. The men refreshed themselves with water from the spring, and corn whiskey from a keg found under the lean-to of the cabin. They proposed enjoying a meal of roast beef. Grabbing the old milk cow, standing nearby, they made preparations to flay the critter.

Katherine didn’t like this one bit. Grabbing a fence rail, and putting all her strength into it, she viciously swung upon the Captain, knocking him from his horse.

With much mirth at the Captain’s misfortune, who was very pleased by her act of bravery, the men moved on to settle other scores.

They advanced directly upon the Whittle’ farm, south of Iberia, where the menfolk were in a field, shucking ears from shocks of Corn. When almost upon them, one of the Whittle’ boys, having found a red ear, upon getting off his knees and standing to show it, looked up; giving the alarm! A stampede for the woods was on, in earnest, for all, except one, who took refuge in the shock of corn. Surrounding the shock, and aiming their guns upon it, the men fired into it, a number of times; riding on.



Near sundown of the same day, the confederates were surrounding the home of Joseph J. Johnston, in the community of Brays, in the Big Richwoods. Two of the men, carrying lead shot in their bodies from Joseph’s gun for three years, secreted themselves in some shrubbery by the side of the house. Another man, riding up on his horse, hallowed at the yard gate. Mr. Johnston, coming out of the house and walking toward the yard gate, slowly, was almost there, when two shots rang out. Joseph J. Johnston, falling down upon his face in the yard, was instantly dead!

Captain John Long, pursuing this band into Maries county, drove them east to the Gasconade river, then northward. Ten miles downriver, near Vienna, the rebels opened fire upon them from behind a natural breastwork of logs on the opposite side of an unfordable slough.

Notwithstanding the many obstacles, Captain Long, dismounting his men, moved in, fighting Indian style, firing from behind trees, rocks, logs, and embankments, taking every precaution to protect themselves.

Eventually the concentrated fire of the militiamen, moving unflinchingly upon them, compelled the band to flee, and a galling fire was poured upon them. A number were wounded, with one man killed.

Captain Long pursued the fleeing rebels south 20 miles, then returned to Iberia. On September 4, the Captain and his men arrived at the Union warehouse.

On October 1, the Captain, his Lieutenants, and 70 men of the company hastened to Jefferson City, where they remained, on duty for 15 days; returning to Iberia on October 18.



Since it was thought Price’s army would make an assault upon the Miller County Courthouse, Captain Benjamin Jeffries, with over 300 men, were sent to Tuscumbia to assist the Provisional Company at the County Seat, over 100 strong, Captain Sayles Brown, commanding.

Upon a raised platform, in the front door of the Courthouse, Captain Jeffries’ regiment mounted a large cannon, positioned so the weapon’s barrel pointed straight down the road leading up the hill to the Courthouse; the only road to the hill-top at that time. Jeffries’ regiment, encamping in the woods east of the graveyard, built ovens for the baking of bread, erecting tents, and standing their arms around the trees.

Soldiers occupied the Courthouse, with a number of men stationed at each of the windows in the building; guns readied for immediate action. Over the hill, in strategic positions, troops were placed for the proper defense of the place. On the State Road, pickets were posted north to the Saline creek. Under the hill, along the river, sentries were stationed to warn of an approaching enemy force.

By the old warehouse, near the river, in which a large quantity of whiskey was stored, a sentry was posted; an Irishman by the name of Mike Gleason. The odor emanating from the barrels whetted Mike’s thirst so much, he bored, with his bayonet, a hole in one of the barrels; consuming a considerable quantity of spirits.

However, while intoxicated, he remained alert; the sentries under absolute orders to halt every moving thing. Approaching midnight, noticing a large object advancing upon his position from in the direction of the river, Mike yelled Halt! Once, twice, three times, but to no avail.

The loud report of his gun aroused troops upon the hill.

A straying cow, very dead, afterward was dressed by a number of men. The following day, a dinner of roast beef, with plenty of warm broth, was enjoyed by the militiamen at the County Seat.



On October 18, word was received concerning a company of Rebel Cavalry riding north, last seen west of Waynesville. Captain John Long, with Lieutenant Nicholas Long, and 35 men, rode south to intercept them. They picked up their trail near Waynesville, but ten miles northwest lost contact with the fast moving band.

Captain Jeffries and his men picked up the Cavalry on the old Waynesville-Mining Port road, near the Wet Auglaize creek. Sending skirmishers to feel the enemy, upon becoming slightly engaged, Captain Jeffries ordered his whole command to their assistance.

Upon this maneuver, the Rebels, swinging around in full force, charged upon the Militia line in the lane near present day Kaiser. Captain Jeffries, Joe Worth, Albert Harrison, and Sam Salsman were shot and killed, although two of the men suffered some time before their demise.

Jeffries’ regiment, chasing these troops north to the Osage river, came upon them at the old Mining Port ford, above present day Bagnell Dam, crossing the river; pursuing them into Franklin township, where sixteen of the men were captured, and hanged.

Richard Boyce, coming to Miller county in 1866, settling in Franklin township, found these men still hanging in the trees. With the help of neighbors the sixteen withered and decomposed bodies were removed from the trees, and decent burials provided them.

On their way back to Jefferson City, Jeffries’ regiment camped one night on the prairie where the City of Eldon is located.



The Provisional Company E.M.M., at Pleasant Mount, Captain Thomas J. Babcock, commanding, with First Lieutenant Thomas G. McClure, and 85 infantrymen, 60 mounted, fell back on Jefferson City, September 30.

The Provisional Company E.M.M., at Tuscumbia, Captain Sayles Brown, commanding, with 50 men, approximately one-half of the company, escorted the records of Miller county, carried by County Clerk I.M. Goodrich, from the Courthouse to the capitol building in Jefferson City for safekeeping; Captain Sayles Brown, and most of his men, returning to the County Seat with Captain Benjamin Jeffries.

In connection with orders issued by Federal Brigadier General E.B. Brown, commanding at Jefferson City, Captain Thomas J. Babcock, with 30 men, 15 belonging to Captain Brown’s Company, and 3 to Captain Long’s, because of their knowledge of the country, were detailed to carry dispatches to Rolla. Armed with new Smith & Wesson’s rifles they crossed the Osage river at Tuscumbia, early in the morning of October 3.

At this time guerillas and bushwhackers were in the area by the hundreds, acting as scouts and the advance guard for the main columns of the Confederate Army, under command of General Sterling Price, approaching Prince’s place, on the Osage river.

Captain Babcock, and his men, pursued by mounted men, were fired upon a number of times, but having scouted the country so frequently, every path and by-road was known to them, and constantly, by changing the direction of their travel, successfully avoided capture, reaching Rolla, October 4.

On the evening of October 8, near sundown, Captain Babcock, and his men, were opposite Tuscumbia, on the south bank of the river. With low water before them, they forded the Osage, riding into the village. In less than an hour, having paused for refreshments and provision, they rode north to the Big Saline creek, passing up the lick branch, taking the left hand to the ridge east of present day Etterville. Here Captain Babcock, dismounting his men, encamped for the night.

At the breaking of dawn, the militiamen were aroused by peculiar noises; sounds of a fiddle playing, a dog barking, a horse neighing, some men yelling, and guns firing not too far distant. Captain Babcock, ordering his men to mount up, moved along until the dirge exploded upon their ears in all its fullness. By the present day home of Col. Max Atkinson, near the breaking of the ridge, east of Etterville, they came upon a Confederate hanging party.

It was a strange sight!

A human body hung from a rope thrown over a tree limb about ten feet up. Around this body circled a number of men dancing or keeping cadence with the rhythm of a tune played by a long-haired fiddler, standing and stomping, on a large flat stump, close by, some four feet above the ground. A little dog, jumping inside the circle of dancing men, kept growling and barking, keeping crude time, almost, with the fiddler’s rhythm. To the right, and slightly behind the fiddler, stood a number of worn and shaggy nags, looking upon the scene or nibbling grass.

Lemmuel Miller observed the scene before his eyes for only a few moments. Raising his gun, he took careful aim, firing it. From the large tree stump the fiddler fell, dead! Gunfire rang out and three more men fell, as the Confederates, scattering from the hanging tree, hastened to their horses. Upon touching the saddle, they plunged their mounts down the ridge, while Babcock’s company poured a galling fire upon them. A horse falling under one of the men, somersaulted, staying down, killed; the rider, hitting the ground a-runnin’, picked up by another horseman passing at great speed.

Captain Babcock, and his men, removing a Swanson’ lad of Pleasant Mount from the hanging tree, having suffered death, rode north, down Brush creek, into Cole county. Here, the Captain commenced noticing, for some reason unknown to him, the main roads were filled with soldiers of the Confederacy.

Upon hearing the firing of cannon, the reason dawned upon him in complete fullness. They were in the path of the main Confederate Army under command of General Sterling Price. It was certain they would be fired upon and killed, or captured, at any moment.

The Captain, frequently approaching large rebel columns, by quick maneuvering, passed around them, until, near Stringtown, Babcock eased his men into a dense grove of wild cherry trees, stropping. For some time they listened to the many strange sounds in the north. Men were talking, laughing, and yelling; hundreds of horses were blowing, neighing, and plodding; moving vehicles were clunging and clanking. Also, sporadic gunfire could be heard. Actually, they were within one-half mile of over seven thousand Confederates.

Captain Babcock, informing his men of the dangerous predicament they were in, indicated escape might be effected by returning toward Pleasant Mount, and the men agreeing; they commenced moving out, cautiously, southwest.

In heading up a little hollow they came upon 14 Confederates roasting three squirrels over a small stick fire. The militiamen rode upon them, almost unnoticed by the hungry Confederates who, without any doubt, believed them of their own army.

Captain Babcock said, “men, you are my prisoners!”

One of the Confederates, grabbing a roasting squirrel, broke for the woods, running rapidly. As guns raised, Babcock yelled, “Hold your fire, men!” Gunfire might attract attention.

Babcock ordered the arms of all Confederates tied behind their bodies. He ordered their weapons taken from them. Then having the Confederates mounted upon their own horses, and moving by way of thick woods and by-paths to avoid capture, entered Miller county, moving rapidly south. By nightfall the Confederates were in a barn, on the present day farm of Sam Graham, near the Glenwood Baptist Church house.

A stake-and-rider fence, of great height, around this barn, made it easier for the prisoners to be watched and guarded by Boyd S. and Lemmuel Miller, of Babcock’s company.

That evening, Boyd S. Miller’s mother, Hanna Gartin Miller, and her two daughters, Anna and Polly, visited Boyd and Lemmuel, and talked with the Confederates. Hanna lived on the present day farm of John Curty. Her daughter, Anna, later married J.J. (Jeff) Haynes, and Polly married a Mr. Wyrick.

The following day the prisoners were taken by Babcock’s men to Vienna, in Maries county, reaching there by dodging the many Confederate companies and marauding bands of guerillas then in the area. Afterward, within a few days, Captain Babcock, and his Miller County boys, reaching Jefferson City in safety, delivered the 13 Confederate prisoners to proper authority.

William Sims Gartin, then just a chunk of a boy, found a belt and pistol on the stake-and-rider fence by the barn aforementioned, left there by one of the militiamen. He put on the belt, taking the pistol. Since the weapon was in excellent condition, Mr. Gartin used this pistol many years for shooting squirrels, rabbits, and other small game.



On the evening of October 8, a company of Confederate soldiers from Price’s main army, several hundred strong, marched through the settlement of Spring Garden. The men in the area who sympathized with the Union took to the woods for protection.

Confederate soldiers camped the north side of the county, driving away cattle, appropriating horses and mules, but especially looking for Southern Sympathizers in the militia forces, or soldiers in the regular Union service. Such men were shot on sight, or hanged, without question.

A number of men in Saline township, led from their homes by these men, were never heard from again.

John Reynolds, a Union soldier, living in the northwestern corner of Miller county, was home on furlough at this time. Two Confederates, knowing of his presence in the community, sought him out. John, having hidden himself in an old mining hole, fully concealed under a covering of tree limbs, leaves, and brush, was not found, but the Confederates plundered his home.

Captain Sims, of the Versailles Provisional Company, sent Sergeant Williams and 19 men after these Confederates in Morgan county. They overtook them feeding and shoeing their horses at a grist mill. The Confederates were surrounded, and upon the first fire, were surprised so much, they fled, leaving behind 12 horses, 9 mules, and five negroes stolen in Miller county.



As the forces of the main Confederate Army roamed the north side of Miller county, marauding bands of guerillas spread terror south of the river. Very few homes escaped the ravages of these men.

During this time, Daniel Etter, living southeast of present day Ulman, was opposite Tuscumbia, approaching the ferry, when a fast moving horse and rider coming up, informed him his house was rapidly burning. Daniel, hurrying home, knowing his wife and family could have suffered death, found them safe upon arriving at the yard gate.

Many men, having entered his house to obtain money, plundered the place; tearing open the featherbeds, ripping the strawticks apart, destroying the furniture in each room a piece at a time. Finding no money, the men informed Daniel’s wife to hand over the silver and gold, or else! Grabbing Jim, a son of tender years, the men threatened to bash open his head against the hearthstone of the fireplace, but did not do so.

The men, failing in their mission, placed a torch to the building; hurriedly leaving.

And so it went. Family after family were threatened, their homes plundered, the torch put to many dwellings.



By order of Colonel Zevely, commanding Second District E.M.M., 2nd Lieutenant N.B. Wood, and all over 50 of the enlisted men of the Provisional Company at Tuscumbia were relieved from active service on December 3, 1864. This was affected about December 13, the delay being in consequence of the absence of the Captain and about twenty men, away on a scout.

Captain Sayles Brown, 1st Lieutenant William Carroll Brumley, and 50 of the best, most reliable and trustworthy enlisted men were retained in service, becoming Company C in the 1st Battalion Provisional E.M.M., Major Thomas O’Halloran, commanding, Linn Creek.

On December 8, 1864, before the return of Captain Sayles Brown, 1st Lieutenant William Carroll Brumley, commanding at Tuscumbia, was surprised in an unexpected way.

A company of more than 50 men, dressed in full Federal uniforms, even including shoulder straps, rode into Tuscumbia early in the morning.

Daniel Cummings said, “When the men rode up to the dram shop and dismounted, their presence in the village was announced by the braying of a big, white ass.”

“I stepped outside the door,” Lieutenant Brumley said, “and saw Regs’s. They were tieing up their horses, and when I inquired of one of the soldiers whom their officer was, he replied Captain W.C. Clarke, 1st Colorodo Cavalry.”

According to Daniel Cummings, Captain Clarke looked very proper, “sitting upon a big, white ass, stiff like a ramrod.”

Captain Clarke, dismounting, saluted Brumley, then exchanging pleasantries, the officers entered the dram shop, taking benches at the same table. While occupied in eating and drinking Brumley noticed Regular Cavalrymen commenced leaving the place one at a time, usually calling one or more of the local militiamen outside with them. Eventually Brumley inquired of Daniel Cummings, proprietor, “Why have the boys departed? Why have they left us so lonesome?”

“About here,” Brumley said, “Captain Clarke appeared rather nervous, but he was calmed by our exchanging pleasantries, amidst much laughter.”

“Clarke and Brumley commenced an imaginary swapping of horses,” Daniel Cummings continued, “while continuously calling for more swap medicine, Clarke inquired of Brumley how many horses would he swap for his jack? Brumley informed him the Rebels had taken his jacks, jennets, and mules, with others in the county, early in the war. Clarke allowed they had a right to them.”

Here, Cummings said, Brumley jumped up, angrily inquiring “Just what is your meaning by that? Sir!”

Captain Clarke laughed heartily, and said, “I am a son-of-a-bitch on asses, and born to raise hell!”

Brumley replied, “Well, I’m a son-of-a-bitch on stilts, and can scoot through hell without getting burnt!”

“Upon this remark,” Cummings said, “Captain Clarke hit Brumley a right smart lick, making him stagger, but he didn’t go down.”

Brumley continued, “The next think I knew I was looking into the muzzle of the biggest revolver I’d ever seen in my lifetime. The officer said to me, Sir, Captain W.C. Clarke, Confederate States of America, addressing you! You are my prisoner!”

From then on Captain Clarke treated Lieutenant Brumley with the utmost scorn.

An unbroken horse standing near the dram shop, Brumley was led to it. Several men, while restraining the animal, sat Brumley upon the animal’s bare-back, and when astride, tied his feet under the horse’s belly, as if he were a common criminal. Clarke compelled him to ride three times to the ferry landing and return, the horse bucking severely, with the citizens and militiamen forbidden to show him any marks of respect or compassion under penalty of death.

The militia having been round up, -24 men of the company at Tuscumbia, and 2 men of the company at Pleasant Mount- were told to fall in at the ferry landing. Here, their weapons were taken from them, broken-up and thrown into the river. Their coats and horse-blankets were appropriated, with the storehouses in the village, especially Captain Hackney’s, and five houses, generally plundered.

Loading the loot upon horse of the militia, and ferrying the whole works to the south bank of the Osage river, Captain Clarke bid Lieutenant Burmley a fond farewell. Immediately, paroling Brumley, and captive members of the militia. Captain W.C. Clarke, Confederate States of America, departed, crossing the river upon the ferry boat, pausing long enough on the opposite side for his men to sink the ferry and skiffs before heading South.



The Confederate guerrilla, General Crabtree, commanding the most active group of bushwhackers in Miller county, continued stealing and plundering for some time after Price’s raid. However, his fate was sealed when he entered the home of Herman Scheuler, and stole, among other items, Herman’s wedding suit.

This made Herman Scheuler very, very angry, so with his half-brother Adolph Loethen, Ben Bax, and others, they followed Crabtree for several days. Eventually, late at night, a favorable opportunity presenting itself, they surrounded Crabtree and his men in a barn, situated in the midst of a large field of corn.

With a full moon brilliantly illuminating the countryside, Herman and Adolph eased themselves down the rows of corn. Near the doorway to the barn, they paused long enough to carefully observe the place. They noticed men and horses in the hallway, then recognized Crabtree, standing in the hallway, in full view, against the light of the moon, about midway in the building.

Arising from crouched positions, to fire, they were jumped by two huge sentry dogs. This sudden attack knocked the caps in the firing tubes from Scheuler’s gun, and he yelled, Shoot, Adolph, Shoot! The blast from Adolph’s gun shattered the night’s still air; Herman and Adolph immediately leaving the place, making the longest strides ever in their lifetimes.

The next day, with reinforcements, they returned to the place, finding the barn abandoned, except for a lame horse. In the horse’s right eye was the leaden ball from Adolph’s gun, first having passed through Crabtree’s body, then a heavy barn timber, before striking the animal.

Even though seriously wounded, the old guerilla got to his cave home in the north bluff of the river opposite the site of later day Hoecker; Crabtree having lived in this cave for some time with his woman.

Loethen, Scheuler, and Bax, tracking Crabtree to his cave home, were informed by the old Confederate’s woman, “You have killed my husband.”

Crabtree, immediately after his death, was secretly buried by his men, and by some means unknown to this day, Herman and Adolph located his burial place. With the help of friends they exhumed the body. They wanted to know if Crabtree was there,. The old General was there alright, wearing Herman Scheuler’s wedding suit.

Crabtree was buried some distance South of the residence of the late Arthur Smith, in Cole county.

Crabtree killed more people, burned more buildings, stole and destroyed more property, than any man in Miller county before or since the Civil War!

Other members of his gang were wiped out. A few years after Crabtree’s death, a man shot and killed near present day Bagnell was the last member of his band involved in the shooting of militiamen on Curtman Island, August 30, 1864.



The Provisional Company at Pleasant Mount was relieved from active service on December 23, 1846, by order of Colonel S. Zevely, commanding and District E.M.M., on unanimous recommendation of the Committee of Public Safety for Miller County. The Provisional Companies at Tuscumbia and Iberia were relieved from active service in January, 1865.


To add to the distresses which Miller county suffered from the conduct of soldiers, militiamen, confederates, and bushwhackers, there occurred a most grievous famine. Many persons in the county were almost destitute in regard to the necessaries of life. All able bodied men, subject to Military duty, gone from their homes in 1864, made it utterly impossible for many of the citizens to raise corn, or even plant a garden. Too, the winter of 1864-65 was cold, snowy and miserable.

The financial condition of the territory was in such a mess most people were unable to pay their taxes, so the General Assembly released Miller county from a part of the taxes due the state.

On July 14, 1864, Paralee Roberts, widow of a deceased soldier, and Mrs. Joseph Brown, wife of a soldier in the United States service, were found in destitute circumstances, and allowed fifteen and ten dollars, respectively, from county funds. On August 1, 1864, Mary A. Witt, widow of a deceased soldier, found in indigent circumstances, was allowed ten dollars. Hanna L. Jenkins, and Martha A. Gier, widows of soldiers, found by their neighbors near starvation, were allowed fifteen and ten dollars, respectively. There were many others. Many people deprived of everything, often turned robber to obtain the needs of living.



“There was no Court on account of invasion of this State by the Rebel Army under General Sterling Price.” Record Book of the County Court, Monday morning, October 3, 1864.

“Being the Regular Term of the Miller County Court. Present: Thomas Thompson, Sheriff; and I.M. Goodrich, Clerk; neither one of the Judges being present Court was adjourned by the Sheriff.” Monday morning, November 7, 1864.

“Court met pursuant to adjournment, present the same as yesterday, and there being no judge present, Court was adjourned by Proclamation of the Sheriff of Miller County, until Court in Course.” Wednesday morning, November 9, 1864.

“Be it remembered that at a regular term of the Miller County Court begun and held at the Courthouse of said County on the 6th day of February, 1865, were present the Honorable Charles Tallman, Judge; I.M. Goodrich, Clerk, and Thomas Thompson, Sheriff, and there not being a quorum present in the business, and the other two Judges, the Honorable Silas Capps and Ludwell Bacon being absent in the military service of the United States, it is hereby ordered by the Judge present that the Court adjourn until Court in course.”

“Be it remembered that at a regular term of the Miller County Court begun and held at the Court House of said County in the Town of Tuscumbia commencing on the 1st day of May, 1865, were present the Honorable Charles Tallman and Ludwell Bacon, Judges; I.M. Goodrich, Clerk, and Thomas Thompson, Sheriff of Miller County, when were had the following proceedings, to wit:

“Now, at this day, the Court proceeded to organize by appointing Charles Tallman, President Pro-Tem.

County Government was re-established seven months after the invasion of Miller county by the rebel army under Price. I.M. Goodrich, county Clerk, was allowed a warrant “for removing the records to Jefferson City and back for safekeeping.”



The Civil War ended in the Spring of 1865, but the fatal and ruinous warfare continued some years longer. Indeed, it seemed as if the people, having become so accustomed to fighting, did not know how to leave off!

A decade more of violence would follow.


President Abraham Lincoln

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate –we cannot consecrate- we cannot hallow –this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us –that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion –that we here highly resolve that these dead men shall not have died in vain –that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom –and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.



Page 33- 2nd paragraph: The land entered by William Miller located in Section 23 of Township 42 North and Range 14 West (Part 1, First Land Owners segment, 3rd paragraph)

Page 45- 2nd paragraph: The Base Line mentioned here eventually labeled the “Old Standard Line.” It is now the northern boundary of Richwoods township, but only a portion of the northern Boundary of Glaze township. (Part 1, Lost Territory segment, 2nd paragraph.)

Page 387: Dennis Conner, mentioned here, must have been Demus Conner. (Part 3, Confederate Activity North of River segment, 7th paragraph)



Not being professional printers, it is admitted some of our work is more than ragged. The second volume aught to show improvement.

Clyde Lee Jenkins    


We are very grateful to the family of Clyde Lee Jenkins for granting permission to post this copyrighted volume.


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