Daviess County, Missouri Genealogy Trails

Civil War History

(Daviess County portion by John C. Leonard and Buel Leonard – Printed by Historical Publishing Company, 1922 – Transcribed by Veneta McKinney

Civil War History

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the people of Daviess County were divided in sentiment, probably the majority of them, however, being Southern sympathizers. Major McGee reports that while there were plenty of Union men in the county, in Gallatin there were only 20 men who, in the fall of 1860, favored standing by the Union and only eight would declare it openly. Judge S. A. Richardson, S. B. Cox, John Ballinger, Harfield Davis, Owen H. McGee, William V. McGee and Joseph H. McGee. James McFerran, councellor of the group, kept in the background. The southeast corner of the square in Gallatin, occupied by Davis and Son, druggists, was known as "Secession Corner." While Harfield Davis was a Union man his father was a violent rebel. Finally the firm dissolved, Baalis Davis going into business at Chillicothe.

The activities of the Union men during 1861 are told by Major McGee in the following paragraphs :
"Dr. C. C. Hogan, my old family physician, had raised a company for the rebel army, had them camped on Grand River bottoms, about three miles from town. Rebel companies were now organizing and drilling all over the country. Many of them would come upon the platform in front of my office while Judge Richardson and I were in there and talk so that we could hear them. They would purpose taking out what few Union men there were in Gallatin and hang them. They never did. This kind of life could not be borne always. We decided to put an end to it. Upon consulting Major Cox, Captain Ballinger, brother William, John Shriver and myself, we concluded to leave town and raise one or more companies, then come back, take possession of the place, keep it. * * * We set the time for us to leave. It was arranged that all should get an early dinner, then meet at my house promptly at 12 m. At 12 o'clock sharp we all mounted our horses, laid our rifles before us on our saddles. Two abreast we galloped up the street and by "Secession Corner." More than 20 rebels were standing looking at us as we galloped past. They had never dreamed of such a thing. Their eyes bulged out to such an extent that you could have almost thrown a lariat around them. I had part of a company enlisted who were to meet us at Honey Creek. We went by, got them, went on to Cameron. Dr. Folmsbee had enlisted a company on the east side of Grand River and met us at Cameron. I had about half enough to organize a company.

"Learning that Colonel Craynor was disbanding his men at St. Joseph and knowing that all the Civil Bend boys who were with him would reenlist, Capt. Ballinger and myself got on the train. We went to St. Joseph to see them ; found that they had all started for home across he country. We returned to Comeron the same night. Early next morning we mounted our horses and struck across the country to intercept them. We halted them late in the evening, made arrangements with them to meet at a neighbor's the next morning and go with us to Comeron to enlist. We all met the next morning an went to Cameron. We were mustered into six months' service under the call made by Governor Gamble. Col. James H. Birch was our mustering officer. As Dr. Folmsbee had his company first made up, his was Company A. Mine was Company B. Major Cox was mustered in as Major over our two companies. Meredith Morris was my first lieutenant, McLain Wilson my second lieutenant.

"We were mustered in Sept. 18, 1861. We had no arms but our old shot guns and rifles. * * * We got word that Price had sent troops across the river to tear up the H. & St. J. R. R. The objective point would be Cameron. We kept our horses saddled and bridled for two nights ; had pickets out for five and ten miles on the Lexington road.

"Judge Birch, father of Colonel Birch, our mustering officer, got on the engine with the engineer, (it was not safe to run a train on the railroad on account of Bushwackers) and went to Hannibal, got on a steamboat there and went to St. Louis ; gave his individual bond for guns with which to arm our two companies ; did not leave the city until he saw them boxed and shipped to us. They were nothing but old Springfield muskets. We were supplied with fixed ammunition, which made them a great improvement on our former arms. We still remained at Cameron practicing our arms and scouting through the country.

"Captain Folmsbee and myself concluded we would take a survey of the county around Gallatin. When we started, I supposed we were coming to Gallatin. When we got as far as where the Round school house now stands, four miles west of Gallatin, Captain Folmsbee, being the ranking captain, ordered the command to take the road leading to Esquire William Everly's, near where the Crab Orchard church now stands. I was anxious to see home. Tried to get him to change his order. He declined doing so. It was probably well enough that he did not, as I afterwards learned that Dr. Hogan's rebel company was expecting us and had concealed themselves on each side of the road west of Major Cox's and intended bushwacking us as we came in. We went to Squire Everly's and struck camp, which was afterwards known as Camp Everly.

"We remained at Camp Everly until we had seen our families and learned all we could as to the intention of the rebels. It is singular how numbers can be magnified. In Captain Folmsbee's company and my own we had probably 150 men all told. Yet the rebels at Gallatin who could by occupying the cupola of the court house and using a field glass take in our camp, as it was only four miles off, had magnified our number to 1000 men. We did not try to undeceive them. After we had remained in camp as long as we thought best, we concluded to break camp and return again to the railroad where we could get our supplies. We camped the first night after leaving Camp Everly at old Uncle John Castor's on Marrowbone Creek. We were treated to the best he had on his farm. Next day we moved to Kidder on the H. & St. J. R. R. Made our quarters in the depot. Major S. P. Cox now took command of us as our major. We remained at Kidder some two or three weeks drilling. It was determined to return to Gallatin even if we had to fight our way in. We broke camp at Kidder early in the morning and started for Gallatin. We were not interrupted on the way, entered, took possession of Gallatin without opposition. To say that we were joyfully received would be partly true and partly false. By our families and Union friends we were joyfully received but by the rebels of the town, they would rather, as one woman expressed it, "have seen the devil coming into town." The drama was now changed. For the last two months the town and country had been under the control of the rebels. Union men fared badly. Now that we had possession they expected there would be a retaliation.

'I forgot to state that before we left Kidder some of the boys whilst on a scout duty had captured Dr. Hogan. He had taken his company off south to Price's army, had returned to recruit others. We countermanded his orders. Captain Ballinger and myself took him to Hannibal, where he was confined as a prisoner of war until he took the oath. He was paroled. It took the rebel portion of Gallatin some time to settle down to the conviction that they were still in the Union. They finally gave up all hopes of Price coming to relieve them, accepted the situation hoping and praying for the success of the Southern Confederacy."

Major Samuel P. Cox established his headquarters in Gallatin. In addition to the companies commanded by McGee and Folmsbee, Captain Brumfield's company from the northern part of the county and two from Harrison County were stationed there. The rest of the winter was passed in scouting through the country, keeping out Confederate recruiting officers, arresting Confederates and requiring them to take the oath.

Service in the six months militia being ended in January, 1862, plans were made to organize a regiment of cavalry of the Missouri State Militia. In April the regiment was formed with James McFerran as colonel. Three of the companies were raised in Daviess County, Company A, under Captain Joseph H. McGee, Company B, under Captain W. H. Folmsbee, and Company G, under Captain John Ballinger.

On April 9, 1862, the field and staff officers were commissioned. The batallion was perfected March 26th, except companies G and H, which were added April 9, 1862. On May 28th, two new companies were added. In February, 1863, the Fifth Missouri Cavalry (ten companies) was broken up and three of the companies added to Colonel McFerran's regiment, while Companies A. and D. were broken up.

Only one engagement took place in Daviess County and it was only a slight skirmish - a sort of game of hide-and-seek. The, official account of the encounter is found in the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Vol. 13, p. 207:

"Headquarters, Breckenridge, Mo., Aug. 16, 1862.
I have the honor to report that on the 5th instant 14 men of the First Regiment of Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, under Lieutenant Goodbrake, and 21 militia, under Captain Vickers, making in all 35 men, near Cravensville, in Daviess County, Mo., were fired upon from the brush by 85 guerrillas, under Davis and Kirk. The engagement lasted for about an hour and a half, and resulted in the defeat of the guerrillas, with a loss of six killed and ten wounded, 15 horses, and ten guns. We had three severely and two slightly, wounded. Our wounded are all doing well and will recover.

"On the 6th a notorious guerrilla and outlaw named Wicklin was shot and on the 7th a notorious guerrilla named Daniel Hale was also shot by our troops in the forks of Grand River."

James McFerran, Colonel Commanding First Regiment Cavalry, M. S. M.

Major James Rainsford, Assistant Adjutant General, St. Joseph, Mo.

A more detailed and widely varying account of this skirmish is given by John F. Jordin. He says :
"Jesse Clark, who father was a Presbyterian preacher, and one of the pioneers of Livingston County, came into this section from Mercer County where he was then living, and having many friends and acquaintances in this and Livingston Counties he organized a small company of volunteers for the rebel service. Clark represented to his friends that there were many adherents to the cause of the South in Mercer and Schuyler Counties and that if a company could be formed and invade those counties these men would flock to their standard. The company was formed, that is, a few adventurous spirits were gotten together and started on this wild goose chase. They invaded Mercer, passed through Schuyler, back across Harrison, over into Worth and Gentry Counties, but the expected accesion to their ranks did not materialize, so the expedition turned and headed for Daviess County and home. The original number augumented by some 30 or 40 recruits nearly all of whom were unarmed were met near Di-Ammon by a considerable force of Federal troops under the command of Captain Woodrow.

"A skirmish at once ensued. About 15 of the rebels who had guns held the Union soldiers in check until their unarmed companions got away. Among those on the firing line were the men before mentioned. It was their first baptism in the fire and smoke of battle but not a man flinched. A desultory fire was kept up by both parties until nightfall. Charles Goben was the only man hit on the Confederate side and in the darkness the little band became separated and he was not missed until the next day when it was found that Goben and Thomas Hicklin had been left behind. Hicklin was unhurt but his horse had given out and he had wandered about in the darkness and became lost. The next day he and Goben were captured by the Federal troops. After his capture Hicklin was questioned about the fight and as to whether or not he had taken part in it. He admitted at once that he had. He was then asked to give the names of those who were with him. This he politely, but firmly, refused to do. Threats and persuasion alike failed to move him and he remained steadfast in his refusal to betray his comrades. At last he was given to understand in unmistakeable language that if he persisted in his refusal to answer his life would pay the forfeit. His answer to this grim ultimatum was characteristic of the super-courage and unfaltering loyalty of the man; "Be not afraid of them that kill the body," said he, 'and after that they have no more that they can do, but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear ; Fear him which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say to you, fear

him.' " Thomas Hicklin had been a devout student of the Bible, and it was fitting that the final answer that was to decide his fate was given in the words of the Master. He was taken out on the prairie upon or near the present farm of Robert Johnson in Grand River Township and there a platoon of soldiers were drawn up and Hicklin was placed in position to receive their fire. An attempt was made to blindfold him but at his request this was not done. And so it was with a courage that never faltered and a firmness that the terrors of death could not shake this loyal soul calmly met his fate. Truly, 'Greater love hath no man than this : that a man lay down his life for his friends.' "

Some of the Daviess County Federal troops took part in various engagements in northeast Missouri in pursuit of Porter. Others were engaged in the pursuit of Poindexter's men in Livingston and Linn Counties. In August, 1862, the first regiment was sent to Lexington. For some time these men took part in various engagements in Layfette, Johnson, Jackson, Cass, Bates, Vernon, Cooper and Saline Counties. In 1864, the regiment was sent to Sedalia and then on to Jefferson City, reaching the latter place in October and taking part in various engagements in the vicinity. Early in 1865 the regiment helped exterminate guerillas in central Missouri.

The county must have been quite thoroughly scouted. An examination of the history of the various organizations shows that the following Union troops were on scouting duty : Livingston County Home Guard, Cox's Batallion, James' Batallion, Burris' Batallion. The last named organization was mustered out of service at Gallatin March 14, 1862. A Harrison County Batallion was mustered into service at Gallatin Oct. 5, 1861, and discharged at the same place on March 14, 1862.

In 1864 the county offered a bounty to all who would volunteer in the service of the United States. The county's quota under this call was 169. A tax was ordered to be levied in 1865 to pay a bounty of $100 to each volunteer. 82 names were reported as joining under this act.

The Adjutant General reported that up to Dec. 31, 1863, the number of men reported in the services from Daviess County was distributed as follows :

18th Infantry ………2
23rd Infantry…….. 39
25th Infantry ……..60
35th Infantry ………2
2nd Cavalry ……….3
11th Cavalry ……..32
12th Cavalry……….1
Total …………….139

Illinois Regiments ….7
1st Nebraska Inf ……1
Total……………….. 8

Missouri State Militia:
First Cavalry ……..467
Sixth Cavalry ……..14
Total ……………..481

In the abstracts of quotas and credits for the state of Missouri during 1864 and 1865, 261 men had been called before Dec. 19, 1864, while the county was credited with 284 enlistments. Under the call of Dec. 19, 1864, the county's quota was 90, but only 30 responded to the call.

Special Order No. Six. -
Among the orders which were issued applying to the county, Special Order No. Six was probably the most drastic.

Headquarters, Sub-district of Chillicothe,
Chillicothe, Mo., Dec. 17, 1864.

Special Order No. Six:
The committees named below are hereby appointed for Daviess County whose duty it is in their respective townships to prepare and put in the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel P. Cox at Gallatin with the least possible delay a list of all persons of their respective townships who have been in the rebel army designating those who are or have been attached to guerilla or bushwhacking organizations, also including all persons against whom evidence of aiding armed rebels or bushwhackers and the withholding of information concerning their presence and movement can be furnished. This list will give the name, age and residence of each person, when he joined the rebel army, what family he has and where they are now living, the age of the eldest child at home, present value of personal property, number of acres of real estate and such additional remarks touching each family as to enable the military to arrive at just conclusion in the premises.

Committees :
Gallatin Township: Joseph H. McGee, William Bristow and Jacob Woodruff.
Jackson Township: Lieut. Mounts Nichols, W. G, Eads, George N, Smith.
Harrison Township: John H. Tuggle, Thomas R. Tuggle, Manuel Martin.
Jefferson Township: James L. Powell, G. M. Lile, G. M. Tipton.
Pattonsburg Township: Dr. William Pyle, Capt. M. Morris, Henry Dilley.
Salem Township: Judge B. M. Coffey, Capts. W. B. Brown and Andrew Barr.
Grand River Township: Judge Peter Bear, J. P. Brown, M. Netherton.

The closing events of the war are chronicled in the Gallatin North Missourian, established in 1864. On Nov. 17th of that year, an account was published of the fight with Price near Independence, and the Big Blue in which many Daviess countians took part.

On April 5, 1865, news reached Gallatin that Petersburg and Richmond had surrendered to Grant. At four o'clock a meeting was held in the court house and enthusiastic speeches made. Committees were appointed to plan for the proper celebration of the event. All citizens were requested to illuminate their homes. Postmaster Taylor, Bob Graves and Major Cox hurriedly collected enough money to brilliantly illuminate all the windows in the court house and get up an oyster benefit. The banquet committee was composed of S. A. Richardson, Major McGee and Dr. Givens. The paper reports that most every house was illuminated.

On April 8th, Salem celebrated the surrender of Richmond on a grand scale. The speakers were Captain Brown, J. H. Hardin, R. H. Vandivert and others.

During 1864 and 1865 a great many new settlers came into the county. Fearing that the newcomers might have disloyal tendencies, a meeting was held Jan. 28, 1865, and a resolution passed that a committee be appointed to find out the political affiliations of those proposing to settle in the county, and that none but loyal persons were to be allowed to come into the county to live.


Civil War Incidents –
Along toward the beginning of the war. Will Jordin was recruiting for the Confederate army, and some six or seven of them started south. They were seen by Captain Mounts Nichols and his company of militia, who at once started in pursuit. The recruits kept ahead until Grand River was reached. The river was frozen over, but there was considerable doubt as to whether it would bear them and their horses, Jordin, who was small and was riding a small horse, got safely across. Mr. John F. Jordin's account of the incident continues : "Next came Tom Bradshaw on a mule and the mule skated across in good style. The others encouraged by scattering fire from their pursuers who were now within shooting distance made an attempt to cross, when a powerful horse ridden by Ed McClung broke through the ice and stopped the retreat. Jordin was the only man in the crowd that was armed and seeing that it would be useless to attempt to rescue his companions turned reluctantly away and with Bradshaw continued on their way. The only casualty in this engagement was the wounding of Bradshaw's mule, which was shot through the ear, Bradshaw soon tired of soldiering and returned home and afterwards served in the 'Mackerel Brigade' as the Home Guards were called, for a sufficient length of time to entitle him to a pension, which he still lives to draw with more pleasure than he did his gun in the days of '61."

This incident is related by Mr. Jordin in his "Memories": "In November, 1863, George and Frank McCue and a comrade named Markham left the Confederate army, undertook to make their way north in order that Frank, who was suffering with serious wounds, might be properly cared for. As the boys reached the old neighborhood, a cold drizzling rain set in, turning into sleet. They went into camp at a place near Uncle Isaac's, known as the 'rock house.' They had made the trip thus far on horseback but Frank was now thoroughly exhausted by the suffering and exposure incident to their long and tiresome journey. The weather continued to be inclement and George decided to go to Uncle Isaac and make their condition known. He did so and uncle at once directed them to bring Frank to the house, which they did at once. George and Markham continued their journey, but Frank remained for some days resting and recuperating his strength. Then one night Tom Bradshaw came with a covered wagon and took Frank to Iowa where he was cared for at the home of a friend until some time during the following year, when he died.

"Uncle was not ignorant of what the probable consequences of this act would be. He knew that in giving food and shelter to Frank McCue he was violating the military law, which forbade the giving of aid and comfort to those in rebellion. He knew that to reach out the hand of mercy and try to save this battered piece of flotsam cast up by the waves from the crimson sea of war was an offense so grave that he who committed it endangered his liberty, perhaps his life. But knowing all this, be it said to his credit, he never hesitated for a moment. Let the consequence be what they may,' said he, 'it shall never be said that I turned one of my neighbor's children from my doors when he was hungry, sick and without shelter.' There was a committee in each township, composed of three members, whose duty it was to promptly report offenses of this kind. The names of the men composing these committees as I write but I have no desire to open old wounds. The matter was, however, promptly reported to Lieut. Col. S. P. Cox, at Gallatin. But Col. Cox possessed that generous nature that always characterizes the truly brave man and friendly warning was given and uncle bade farewell to his home, and left, never to return."

In account of Jefferson Kelley, a jack-of-all- trades who made a meager living by doing odd jobs for the neighbors, Mr. Jordin tells the following story :

"It was the custom during the war to hold prayer meetings at private residences, and a man's welcome more often depended upon his political faith rather than his religious convictions. Here the gray-haired father invoked the divine protection for his boy who was battling at the front, and for the ultimate triumph of the cause he believed to be just. While Kelly had neither boy nor political convictions he always rose to the spirit of the occasion and if prayer could have saved the day and turned the tide of battle the Southern Confederacy would have won hands down. At one of these meetings, held at Uncle Isaac Jordin's, Kelly was called on to lead in prayer. He opened up all right and got through with preliminary matters in his usual felicitious manner, but somehow when he came to discuss political issues he seemed to lose his grip. Isaac Oxford and I were small boys at the time and were devoutly kneeling in a dark corner of the room. It occurred to us that Jeff needed encouragement and we began to supplement his feeble petitions with hearty 'Amens,' 'Do, Lord,' and 'God Grant It.' Kelley did not know the source of the endorsement which he was receiving, but it revived him at once, and he fairly outdid himself, much to the delight of two small boys. But the sequel for one of us at least was not so amusing. Mother was present, recognized my voice and gave me one of the worst whippings that I ever received. That settled the matter so far as I was concerned. I never encouraged Kelley after that. He might have got stuck in the middle of a prayer, and stayed there, .for all I cared."

Irresponsible bands of militia frequently went about the county subjecting the Southern sympathizers to petty annoyances. During a meeting at Ketron Chapel a group of these men passed and decided it would be great sport to put a flag over the door, so that those coming out of the church had to pass under it. The people were indignant, but were wise enough not to protest. But when one young woman walked out, she seized the flag and tore it in two. She was arrested and taken to Chillicothe, where she was forced to take the oath of allegiance. Having taken the oath to support the Union, she turned to the authorities and announced, "I'll keep that if I want to."

Jonathan Oxford was an avowed Southern sympathizer, and made no effort to conceal his feelings. He was arrested and taken to Breckenridge. He was paroled by the military authorities and ordered to report again in 30 days. A few days later, on April 3, 1863, a group of armed men came to the house and told him he must go to Breckenridge to answer his parole. Since it then lacked about 15 days until he was supposed to report, he objected, but was forced to go. Next morning he was found dead by the roadside, his body riddled by bullets and no clue was ever found as to the identy of the murderers.

James Weldon had served in the Confederate army, but had returned home, taken the oath and was a member of the Home Guard. A captain from Caldwell County, with a group of his men, was passing through the country, and knowing that Weldon had once been a Confederate, had him taken from his home and murdered.

No less tragic was the death of William Crews, which occurred in 1866, but was the direct outgrowth of Civil War enmities. A debate concerning the doctrines of the Universalist church was being held at Clear Creek church and a large crowd was in attendance. During the noon hour. Crews was standing with his back to a tree talking to a group of girls. A man approached and offered him an apple, which he laughingly accepted. Two men were waiting for the signal, and now approached with drawn revolvers. Miss Ann Weldon, seeing them, gave a warning cry to Crews and struck the pistol so that it was discharged in the air and injured no one. The other man, said to have been Broomfield, fired and Crews fell dead. The murderers rode away unmolested and no effort seems to have been made to arrest them. The events which lead up to the murder go far back into the Civil War. The father of William Crews was a strong Southern sympathizer, and was compelled to leave home. Crews, at that time, a youngster of about 14, said and did a good many things calculated to arouse the ire of the military authorities. He was arrested and taken to Breckenridge, but was soon released. Later he was again arrested. His mother became anxious about him and induced his brother and Thomas Perry to attempt his rescue. The plan was discovered and when the attempt was made, George Crews and Perry were killed. The boy saw the killing and vowed to avenge their deaths. He made no secret of his intention and it was no doubt because of these threats that he was sought and murdered by men who had reason to fear him.

Among the persons arrested after the ironclad oaths provided for in the Constitution of 1865 went into effect, was the Rev. B. F. Kenny, a well known Baptist minister. He was charged with preaching without having taken the oath. Justice Daniels held that he was not guilty because he did not take a text - that he did not preach but simply stood at the side of the pulpit and talked to the people.

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