Chapter 20
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Chapter 20 - History of Henry County Missouri 1883



The Storm Cloud

      The Lone Star State had seen her Alamo, and from the blood of her murdered sons came forth a glorious state with the banner of freedom and independence proudly floating in the breeze. Then had followed the Mexican War With a large increase of territory to join eventually the noble sisterhood of states. The wave of excitement caused by the golden discoveries of California, had come and gone, and the quiet which followed was like the sleep of death. But this was the hush before the storm, and soon the dark and ominous cloud of civil strife began to hover over the land. Where all was peace the demon of bate and fanaticism sprang up, and our country, unexampled in the world's history for its prosperity, was soon given over to desperate conflict; a struggle which was to deluge our land with blood, and which was not only to rend the liberties of the people, but start an era of corruption the like of which the world had never seen. Hundreds of thousands of people slain, thousands of millions of the people's money stolen. Our fair land was to pass through the trying ordeal of domestic strife that clothed our people in anguish and gloom, and which brought sorrow and mourning into nearly every household in the land.



      The year 1861 is historic. The hydra-headed monster, hate, had taken possession of the hearts of the people and could only be appeased by deadly conflict and carnage upon the battlefield. Peace spread her wings and soared aloft, and the "land of the free" once more attested her devotions to free institutions by sealing that devotion in blood. Right or wrong they attested their sincerity by sacrificing their lives upon the alter of their belief - fighting for principles. The battle was fought, victory won by the Federal arms, and those who did the fighting have clasped hands across the bloody chasm. The blue and the gray mingle in fraternal union.


When It Started

      Very many of the people, both north and south, still believe that the roar of the signal gun at Fort Sumter was the Opening of the dread conflict, but it would seem from the following official record, that Boston was the starting point that inaugurated the terrible civil strife, and that her fanatics furnished the arms, they dared not use themselves to start the unholy contest.

      The following document, when submitted to the legislature at its session of 1860-1 by the then governor of the state, Claiborne F. Jackson, for the action of the legislature, to take such steps as the good name of the commonwealth demanded. The first refers to the action of the people of Henry County, in mass meeting assembled:

      At a meeting of the citizens of Clinton, Henry County, Missouri, held at the court house on the night of the 20th of November, 1860, the following, among other proceedings, were had, to wit:

      After a speech from Judge Williams, of Kansas Territory, and other gentlemen, the following resolutions were adopted:

      WHEREAS, We have received indisputable evidence of the fact that the notorious Montgomery, of Kansas, has lately been receiving large supplies of arms, money and provisions from the East, and he has erected a fort and has supplied the same with munitions of war, and that he has collected a large band of outlaws around him, and that he has published that the United States District Court should not convene at Fort Scott; that the several United States officers in that portion of Kansas Territory should leave the territory or be killed; that these officers have been compelled to abandon their official duties and flee for their lives; that several citizens of the county have actually been murdered, property plundered, negroes stolen and the border counties threatened with invasion, and open and extensive preparations made to carry the threats into execution, for the purpose of murder, plunder and negro stealing.

      Resolved, That a volunteer company be organized for the purpose of defending our own homes, and, if necessary, the western borders of the state.

      Resolved, That a messenger be immediately sent to the governor of the state with a request to provide for the purpose.

      Resolved, That Thomas E. Owen, Norval Spangler, J. C. Alexander J. Davis, A. M. Tutt, B. L. Dozier, T. W. Royston; S. P. Ashby and Burt Holcomb be appointed to enroll such names as may be willing to join a Volunteer company and to effect an organization of the same.

      Resolved, That D. C. Stone and W. A. Duncan be appointed a committee to wait upon the governor and represent to him the emergency of the case, and, if possible, procure a supply of arms.

      Resolved, That a committee of fifteen be appointed to inform the citizens of the county of Henry of the meeting and its purposes, of the 22nd inst., and devise means for the same.


      Tebo - A. C. Avery, J. Davis

      Springfield - R. K. Murrell, E. J. Warth

      Osage - A.T. Bush, N. S. Spangler

      Deepwater - B. L. Dozier, L. Cruce

      Big Creek - B. L. Quarles, J. G. Dorman

      Bogard - Jesse Nave, B.G. Boone

      Grand River - S. P. Ashby, W. H. Cock, J. H. Vance


      Resolved, That a messenger be sent to Warsaw, Osceola, Lexington and Warrensburg, and take with them a copy of the proceedings of this meeting and ask their cooperation.

      Lexington - A. Raney, Hampton Winew

      Warrensburg - T. A. Hust, M.W. Lowry

      Osceola - B. F. Cox, H. C. Tutt

      Warsaw - H. S. Marvin, R. L. Burge

I. M. CRUCE, Chairman

L. B. QUARLES, Secretary

CLINTON, Mo., November 20, 1860


      SIR: I am here to inform the citizens of this place of the following facts; and I have been requested to present them to you as governor of the state.

      The Abolitionists, under the command of Montgomery and Dr. Jennison, to the number of from three to five hundred, armed with Sharpe's rifles, dragoon sabers, navy revolvers and bowie knives each, have suddenly commenced a war of extreme ferocity on the law-abiding citizens of Southern Kansas, in the counties of Linn and Bourbon.

      These arms arrived by the wagon load at or near Mound City, about one month since, in boxes marked as donations for Kansas sufferers. They are all new.

      Montgomery had been at Boston during part of the summer, and returned with plenty of money to enlist recruits. Many of his men are freshly imported. He has taken possession of Fort Scott and other towns on the border near the Missouri line. He has murdered Mr. Moore, a grand juror; Mr. Harrison, Mr. Samuel Scott, Mr. Hindes, and obliged all of the United States officers, including myself, to fly for our lives. His openly expressed design in a public speech, as he said, "without concealment," is to keep possession of Fort Scott and other places near the state line, to prevent "a fire in the rear," while he cleaned out "Southern Missouri of Slaves." So far, he has carried out literally his declared programme.

      The citizens of Missouri on the Osage, Marmaton, and in Bates and Vernon, are flying from their homes into the interior.

      He boasts that he has money and arms to sustain one thousand men. These are facts. "Omne pars fui."

      My court was broken up by them - the U. S. Court for the Southern District. I expect they have seized the records, and also the records of the land office, as he publicly declared he would do so.

      I send this in haste to accompany the proceedings, etc., of a meeting of the citizens here.

      Yours, etc., J. WILLIAMS

      U. S. District Judge, 3d Judicial District of the Territory of Kansas


WARSAW, Mo., November 22, 1860


      Montgomery is at Ball's Mill - stole a number of negroes and murdered six or eight men. Williams is here. Great excitement - meeting to be held tonight - company formed. - J. H. LEACH


WARSAW, Mo., November 22, 1660


      Is it possible to get the military from St. Louis, say five hundred men armed and equipped? Montgomery has actually invaded the state, and is now near Taberville. Reply immediately. - JAMES ATKISSON


      The following extract from a letter written from Papinville, Bates County, Missouri, December 2, 1860, to Gen. G. A. Parsons, was also presented by the governor to the legislature with the others. The extract is as follows:

      "They have been in the state in parties, evidently for the purpose of stealing negroes and other property, and to murder some of our citizens; they have also threatened the Democratic Banner, a newspaper published at West Point, Bates County, Missouri; and wherefore we would state that our county is virtually besieged, our lives and property being endangered by this band of outlaws, compelling us to be armed to repel an invasion, with which Montgomery has threatened us in public speeches. Our state has been invaded and is now in imminent danger of being again visited by Montgomery and his hired band. We would further represent that on account of the present state of affairs, general distress now prevails. Slave owners have sent their negroes to the interior of the state.

      All honest and law-abiding men of Southern Kansas have either left or are leaving the territory, abandoning their all to save life.

      In conclusion we would repeat to you, that we deem this section of Missouri in danger, which we are but poorly prepared to resist successfully. We also believe that they will attack us before Spring ; that this border has been selected as the battle ground of the two great parties, the one for the Constitution and the Union, and the other for Abolition and Disunion.

      The leaders - Montgomery and Jennison - of the latter party openly and defiantly state that their object is to steal and liberate negroes in Southwest Missouri, and to hang or shoot every man who opposes them, being well armed with new and Superior arms, and money supplied from the East; they have now possession of Fort Scott and other important places near the state line, and if not crushed, we may soon meet them in our state with sufficient force to carry out their programme.

      The people of Missouri began to see that if something was not done that blood and carnage would soon begin its terrible work. Union meetings were held in almost every county of the state, but the people, while favoring union to the last degree, had no love for the abolition fanatics who were doing all that devils incarnate could do to precipitate a deadly conflict. In Henry County strong Union sentiments were expressed as above and another meeting called. Its proceedings are here given:


      "Pursuant to a previous notice a large number of the citizens of Henry County met at the court house at Clinton on the 9th of January 1860, for the purpose of appointing delegates to the Democratic State Convention, which convened at Jefferson City on the 9th of April next, when the following proceedings were had:

      Major William M. Wall was made chairman and R.K. Murrell appointed secretary of the meeting.

      On motion of R. L. Burge it was resolved that a committee of six be appointed to draft resolutions expressing the sense of this meeting; whereupon the following gentlemen were selected, to wit: R. L. Burge, L. Cruce, John A. Bushnell, J. G. Dorman, G. F. Warth and James Swindle.

      During the absence of the committee the meeting was addressed by Messrs. Marvin, Williams and Murrell upon the political questions of the day. The committee returned and reported the following preamble and resolutions:

      WHEREAS The United States have advanced more rapidly than any other nation in all the elements that constitute greatness; and whereas, the administration of the general government has been in the hands of the Democratic party for the greater portion of that time; therefore

      Be it Resolved, That we have entire confidence in the principles of the Democratic party.

      Resolved, second, That we regard the so-called Republican party of the north as a sectional and fanatical one, whose avowed principles are directly subversive of the constitution, and whose ultimate triumph would be a national calamity - greatly endangering the union of the states; and that we look with extreme reprobation at its attempted organization in our own state.

      Resolved, third, That in the Democratic party we recognize a truly national party, unwaveringly devoted to the rights and interests of every section of our common country, and to the preservation and perpetuity of the entire union.

      Resolved, fourth, That we hereby pledge ourselves unanimously and cordially to support the nominee of the Charleston convention, and of our state convention, which convenes at Jefferson City on the 9th of April next.

      Resolved, fifth, That we endorse the Cincinnati platform, adopted June, 1856 and the principles enunciated in the Dred Scot case.

      Resolved, sixth, That having full confidence in the ability and integrity of the Hon. Waldo P. Johnson, of St. Clair, we hereby instruct our delegates to the state convention to cast the vote of this County for him as our first choice for governor.

      Resolved, seventh, That having entire confidence in the qualifications and fitness of our esteemed fellow-citizen, Major Daniel Ashby, of Henry, for the office of state treasurer, we hereby instruct our delegates to cast the vote of this county for him as first choice for said office.

      Resolved, eighth, That while we view the recent outrages committed at Harper's Ferry, as the fruits of the teachings and "irrepressible conflict principles of the Republican party of the north, and sincerely sympathize with and approve of the course pursued by the state of Virginia, we regard the union meetings recently held in the north as manifesting the spirit of patriotism calculated to check the disorganizing principles of the Abolition party, and preserve the union of the states on true Constitutional grounds.

      Resolved, ninth, That in view of the eminent abilities and long tried services of that "wheel-horse" of Democracy, Claiborne F. Jackson, we recommend him as the second choice of this meeting as a candidate for the office of governor.

      Resolved, tenth, That the chair appoint seventeen delegates to attend a state convention at Jefferson City and cast the vote of Henry County in obedience to the foregoing instruction; whereupon the following were appointed by the chair, to wit: G.H. Warth, A.C. Marvin, S.P. Ashby, J.G. Dorman, A. Walmsley, L. Cruce, William Johnson, Addison Bronaugh, John A. Bushnell, R.L. Avery, William M. Wall, John W. Williams, James Swindle, William H. Murrell, A.J. Lee, John O. Covington and William Paul.

      Resolved, eleventh, That each township in the county be requested to elect delegates to a convention to be held at Clinton on the first Monday in May, next, for the nomination of county officers and the more perfect organization of the party, and the twelfth resolution called for the publication of the foregoing in the Warsaw Democrat, Jefferson Examiner and Clinton Journal. From the latter and under date of January 13th, 1860, the above proceedings were taken. The report was signed,

WILLIAM M. WALL, President



The Journal's Comments

      "A report of the proceedings of a Democratic convention, which was held in this place on Monday last, January 9th, 1860, will be found in another column. Without expressing any other Opinion regarding the general tenor of the resolutions adopted, and which every one is at liberty to construe as he pleases, yet we must say that the spirit which dictated the eighth resolution is worthy of general imitation. We have not seen before in any portion of the South, a single instance of a public recognition of the conservative principles which prompted the recent Union demonstrations in the North. Can it be that Henry County has taken the lead of the entire South, in a movement which sound policy as well as common sense would suggest?"

      The Journal also copies an article from the Jefferson Examiner, which it apparently endorses. The Journal was an independent and conservative sheet, with an outspoken Union sentiment, but disclaimed any sympathy with the Republican party. He explained that he was opposed to and held in contempt the teachings of the "Helper Book," and that he was for the Union, now and forever, The Examiner article is here given :


Union Meetings

      "Since the Harper's Ferry tragedy, Union meetings have been held in nearly all the principal cities of the East, and glorious, patriotic, and Union-loving sentiments have been freely expressed. No one can have any doubt after reading the proceedings of these meeting, but that there is a conservative element in the free states, and that that element will ever be found upholding the rights of the inhabitants of every portion of our glorious confederacy - knowing no North, no South, no East, no West. Still no person who has the welfare of this country at heart, can be so blind as not to be fully aware that there is an organization north of Mason & Dixon's line, the leaders of which are most corrupt at heart, ready and willing - and we may say anxious - to hurl this beautiful fabric of ours into the abyss of darkness.

      In the present emergency, when the troubled waters roll high, when disaster and shipwreck stare us in the face, it becomes the imperative duty of every true and loyal American citizen to show by his actions not by mere words - that he still cherishes a deep-seated love for the union of the states. Let harmony, peace and good will prevail and we will have:


A union of lakes,

A union of lands,

A union of states, none can sever;

A union hearts,

A union of hands

And the flag of our union forever!


      We hope the good work so bravely begun by our brethren of the East, will go steadily on without faltering until sectionalism is routed from our midst, and until every traitor receives the same punishment so justly meted out to Ossawatomie Brown and his vile accomplices."


The Result

      These meetings and extracts show the temper of the people of Henry County, and of Missouri generally, at the inception of the war, a feeling which afterward moderated by the commencing of one of the greatest civil wars of history. The cool and determined hatred and fanaticism which had assumed the leadership at the North, was met by an impetuous, uncontrollable temper on the part of the leaders of the South, and thirty-five millions of people were led to the slaughter, who really were conservative in their feelings and abhorred the very thought of a fratricidal strife.

      The people of Henry County, as will be seen, were for the Union, from the start, and not until the signal gun of defiance had reverberated through the valleys and over the prairies of our grand old state, did this sentiment change, and the people almost unanimously joined the cause of the South. Not then even was disunion in their hearts.

      Eighteen years have passed, and sectional feeling is fast disappearing before the light of reason and the glory of our noble confederacy of states. The gospel of hate and the spirit of fanaticism is finding its place in the grave, as its disciples are gathered by the reaper of death, on his annual rounds. The unholy anger of an impetuous people is giving way to a nobler effort, for they have seen and felt that a judgment so weak as to be controlled by anger, is manhood debased, and that they have fearfully paid for their unheard of and idiotic folly.

      The war left its bitter fruits in Henry County. Devastation and ruin swept over its fertile fields, hatred and animosity sprang up here and there, and the worst element of human nature held its brutal sway for four long years. Peace, with its angel wings, hovered over, and at last settled upon this stricken land, and the sorrow and desolation of the past and present was softened by the bright and more hopeful future. Henry County contributed her quota to the armies in battle array, and while some joined the Federal forces, by far the greater number united with the army of the confederacy. Some returned, others did not, each and all did their duty, according to their belief.


The Federal Forces

      Three years or the war - December 31, 1863 - Six volunteers in the Eighteenth Infantry, one in the Twenty-fourth Infantry, one in the Twenty-seventh Infantry, nine in the Thirty-third Infantry, three in the First Cavalry, two in the Eighth Cavalry. Twenty-two in all.


Missouri State Militia

      Four volunteers in the First Cavalry, two in the Sixth Cavalry, twenty-seven in the Seventh Cavalry. Thirty-three in all.

      One volunteer joined a Kansas regiment, two an Arkansas regiment, two the Third Arkansas Regiment. Five in all.

      Here was a total of sixty, who joined the federal forces up to January 1, 1864. Undoubtedly there were others, but still Henry County citizens were mostly in favor of the Southern cause.


The Gray Predominates

      Henry County was more devoted to the South than to the Federal cause, and nearly 1,000 of her sons risked their lives and fortunes to the cause they held most dear. One company raised at or near Windsor, was General Price's bodyguard. But the record of those who went into the war on the Confederate side is not to be found. The record of the Federal army can be had, but when the lost cause found its grave, its records were left, in most cases to neglect, or purposely destroyed.

      While bravery and true patriotism had found in the Confederate army thousands of representatives, they were, according to those who believed in the gospel of hate, but vile traitors. So the records of brave men are lost, and history can only be gathered from oral testimony. To be sure the Confederate archives are safely housed at Washington, but they would be of little use in local history, even if examined. Many dark deeds were committed in the county, and Clinton had her court martial, and the bullet did its deadly work.

      A son of Alfred Kimsey was shot as a bushwhacker in 1862, and Howard Hampton gave up his life on Shawnee's beautiful prairies.

      Clinton had a call from the notorious Colonel Jim Lane, and he was going to destroy the county records or carry them off, but changed his mind or was persuaded out of it. Then came Colonel A.M. Tutt, and he was also about to take these records, but did not, and at last they were boxed and sent by wagons to Sedalia under the charge of Judge J.G. Dorman, which, after several mishaps, among which was a break down, arrived safely within the boundary of the "Wind City."

      Henry County was not a battle field, though several skirmishes were had within her border, but armed men of both sides passed and repassed through and over her fertile fields, and devastation and ruin was found everywhere, but not that utter wreck which followed where the contending hosts met in battle array and struggled for supremacy. It would require a volume to detail all the local happenings, and then the record would neither be accurate or add to the welfare of the county. Let the dead past bury its dead, and let the present become a beacon light for future progress. Dwelling on the past, and especially that which can only bring sorrowing reminiscence, is not the duty of the hour, and so long as that record cannot be furnished, because not kept, it is best to pass it by and look not to the past, but to the future.

      The battle for a separate republic was lost and the Union preserved - an imperishable sisterhood of states. Victory crowned the Union army and the contending hosts shook hands across the bloody chasm. To be sure cowards came to the front when the strife was ended and preached the "gospel of hate," but the masses of the people have at last driven them to cover. There is a union of hearts and a union of hands in this year of our Lord, 1883, and the country is making rapid strides towards the front rank of nations. The blue and the gray, the flag of our Union waves over both, and if ever a future conflict shall call our people to arms, the gray and the blue will be found side by side, each in heroic endeavor for the preservation of their common country. They sleep side by side on many fields of battle, the living are once more brothers, the dead are united, and upon the graves of the blue and the gray are placed the garlands of victory, and memory is ever kept green for the loved ones dead.


The Heroes Who Died


God knows who was right,

Ah! yes! it is true,

And the God of the Gray

Is the God of the Blue;

He bore their proud spirits

To mansions above.

And He crowned them at last

With his garlands of love.


The grasses grow green

On the graves where they lay,

The flowers bloom alike

O'er the Blue and the Gray;

And loved ones tears

Are mingled with dew,

While with it God blesses

The Gray and the Blue.


In Heaven above us

God opens his gate

No strife or contention,

No discord, no hate;

The portals are open,

And there, side by side,

Stand the heroes of battle

The heroes who died.


God welcomes them all;

Though in battle array

One bore the bright blue,

And the other the gray.

Though one fought for Union,

The other for State,

One Angel of Mercy

Guided all to God's gate.


And there at the right hand

Of him who is just,

Away from the mortal

And up from the dust,

There, there by God's throne,

Far away from earth's grave,

In raiments unspotted,

Stand the true and the brave.


Shall we, the frail worldlings,

Who yet live and wait

Shall we sit in judgment,

Or cry out in hate,

While a father above us,

A father all wise,

Calls back his loved children

From earth to the skies.


Forgive us, forgive us,

Dear Father above!

Bring back to our conscience

The heart beat of love;

And while we are weeping

For our loved ones today

Let us tenderly cherish

The Blue and the Gray.