History of Greene County, Missouri
1883

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian


Chapter 6
From 1860 to the "Goose Pond" Meeting, June 11, 1861

1860 — Miscellaneous Matters — The Presidential Campaign of 1860 — Character of the Contest — A Greene County Man Nominated for Governor, Hon. Sample Orr — His Race Against the Foxy "Fox" Jackson — Two Greene County Men for Congress — The August Election — Official Vote — The Republicans of Southwest Missouri in 1860 — The November Election — Official Vote of Greene County — The Bell and Everett Men Sweep the County — Forty-two Lincoln voters —Names of Some of Them — After the Presidential Election —Cruelty to a Slave Punished. 1861 — Miseellaneous proceedings of the County Court — The Last Negro Patrols Appointed — The Legislature of 1861 — Election of Delegates to the State Convention — Official Vote of Greene County and of the 19th Senatorial District — The Work of the Convention — The Winter of 1861 — Secret Meetings of Union Men and of Secessionists — The Union Conference of March 31, Near Old Delaware Town — Names of Prominent Union Men and Secessionists — After the Firing on Ft. Sumpter — Great Excitement — Preparing for the Fight — A "Black Republican" Takes Possession of the Springfield Post-Office and Hauls Down a Secession Flag — The Union Men Alarmed — Important Letters — The Union Men on Guard in Springfield.


1860-MISCELLANEOUS.

In January, Frank J. Abernathy, took the office of county clerk in the room of A. G. McCracken, who had held the office for many years. J. W. D. L. F. Mack, then circuit clerk, was appointed county attorney, and Thos. C. Rainey, county assessor. On the 10th the Legislature passed the act enabling the county court to borrow money to discharge its indebtedness and complete the new county buildings, and in June the court appointed R. B. Owen and J. W. etc., Mack, agents, to borrow $10,000 from the Bank of Missouri, or any other bank or corporation, on bonds which were to run until April 1, 1863.

The assessors' books for this year showed 2,618 names of persons owning property liable to assessment. The tax for county purposes was fixed at 40 cents on the $100.

On the 3d of April, Springfield was placed in telegraphic communication with the outer world by way of Bolivar and Jefferson City. The first telegraph operator was W. H. Parsons. The line was afterward extended to Fayetteville, Ark., and from thence to Ft. Smith.

Prominent among the deaths in this county in 1860 were Judge Jacob Bodenhamer, who died May 14; Ex-Sheriff and Representative Thos. B. Neaves, June 15; J. Erskine Danforth, September 3 or 6. [267]

THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1860.

In very many respects the Presidential campaign of 1860 was the most remarkable, not only in the history of Greene county, but of the United States. Its character was affected not only by preceding but by succeeding events. Among the former were the excited and exciting debates in Congress over the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the Kansas-Nebraska controversy; the passage by the Legislatures of various Northern States of the "personal liberty bills," which rendered inoperative in those States the fugitive slave law; the John Brown raid on Harper's Ferry, Va., in the fall of 1859, and various inflammatory speeches of prominent leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties in the North and in the South.

There was the greatest excitement throughout the country, and when it was in full tide the Presidential canvass opened. The slavery question was the all-absorbing one among the people. The Republican party, while it had not received a single vote in Greene county, had carried a large majority of the Northern States in the canvass of 1856, and every year since had received large accessions to its ranks, and under the circumstance of there being great dissension in the Democratic party, prognosticating a split, bade fair to elect its candidates. The Democratic convention at Charleston, S. C., April 23, after a stormy and inharmonious session of some days, divided, and the result was the nomination of two sets of candidates—Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson for President and Vice-President, by the Regulars, and John C. Breckenridge and Joseph Lane, by the Southern or States rights wing of the party.

The "constitutional union" party, made up of old Whigs, Know Nothings, and some conservative men of all parties, nominated John Bell, of Tennessee, and Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, on a platform composed of a single line—"The union, the constitution and the enforcement of the laws."

The Republican party was the last to bring out its candidates. It presented Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin, on a platform, declaring, among other things, that each State had the absolute right to control and manage its own domestic institutions denying that the constitution, of its own force, carried slavery into the territories, whose normal condition was said to be that of freedom. Epitomized, the platform meant hostility toward the extension of slavery, non-interference where it already existed. [268]

It was to be expected that Missouri, being the only border slave State lying contiguous to the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, should be deeply concerned in the settlement of the slavery question.

Her people or their ancestors were very largely from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and other slave-holding States, and many of them owned slaves or were otherwise interested in the preservation of slavery, to which institution the success of the Republican party, it was believed, would be destructive. There were many of this class in Greene county. There was not only a selfish motive for the friendliness toward the "peculiar institution," but a sentimental one. It was thought that it would be unmanly to yield to Northern sentiment of a threatening shape or coercive character. If slavery were wrong (which was denied), it must not be assailed at the dictations of Northern abolitionists.

The canvass in the State was very spirited. The division in the Democratic party extended into Missouri. The Democratic State convention nominated Claiborne F. Jackson, of Saline county, for Governor. The Bell and Everett party nominated at first Robert Wilson, of Andrew, and on his withdrawal, Hon. Sample Orr, of this county. Judge Orr was selected in the room of Mr. Wilson by the central committee. Very soon the politicians began a series of maneuvers designed to develop Jackson's views on the main questions before the country, and especially as to which of the two Democratic presidential candidates he favored. For a long time the wily Saline county statesman succeeded in evading the question and in defining his position; but at last the Missouri Republican and other Douglas organs "smoked him out." He announced in a well-written communication that he was for Douglas, because he believed him to be the regular and fairly chosen nominee of the party; but at the same time he announced himself in favor of many of the principles of the Breckenridge party. He was called by some who disliked him "a Douglas man with Breckenridge tendencies," a squatter sovereign on an anti-squatter sovereignty platform," etc.

When Jackson's letter appeared, soon thereafter the Breckenridge men called a State convention and put in nomination Hancock Jackson, of Howard, for Governor, and Monroe M. Parsons, of Cole, for Lieutenant Governor. [269]

Being encouraged by the feuds in the Democratic party, the Bell and Everett men had high hopes of electing their gubernatorial candidate at the August election, and of carrying the State for "Bell, of Tennessee," the ensuing November. To this end they did everything possible to foment additional discord and widen the breach between the two wings of their opponents; but they over-did the business. The Democrats saw through their tactics, and, agreeing to disagree as to Presidential candidates, practically united in the support of C. F. Jackson and Thos. C. Reynolds, at the August election, and triumphantly elected them by a plurality of about 10,000. C. F. Jackson, Douglas Democrat, 74,446; Sample Orr, Bell and Everett, 64,583; Hancock Jackson, Breckenridge Democrat, 11,415 ; J. B. Gardenhire, Republican, 6,135.

In Greene county the Bell-Everett men were largely in the majority. The people of this county had generally concluded that in the Constitutional Union party alone there was safety for the country and a guarantee against the dissolution of the Union. The nomination of Judge Orr, a citizen of the county, well and favorably known, on the Bell-Everett ticket did much to attract voters to that party from this locality.

For Congress there were three candidates in this district (then the 6th). Ron. John S. Phelps was the regular Democratic nominee (Douglas); Hon. James S. Rains, of Jasper county, was the Union or Bell-Everett candidate; and Judge Wm. C. Price, of this county, ran as a Breckenridge man. The canvass was very spirited. Meetings were held in the counties by all three of the parties, and these were addressed by nearly all of the leading candidates. The August election demonstrated the superiority in numbers of the Bell-Everett men in Greene, every candidate on the ticket carrying the county. The following is an abstract of the official canvass of the votes cast for Governor and Congressmen by townships, and in the aggregate of those cast for county officers:

AUGUST ELECTION, 1860.

Twp.

Sample Orr

C. F. Jackson

Hancock Jackson

Phelps

Rains

Price

Boone

52

21

41

18

46

55

Campbell

529

187

29

229

428

80

Cass

114

59

 

49

107

25

Center

98

49

 

48

88

25

Clay

24

50

9

55

19

9

Pond Creek

81

15

4

15

67

17

Jackson

117

9

1

11

119

7

Robberson

186

40

18

39

166

33

Taylor

83

37

17

30

80

29

Wilson

53

35

 

32

48

10

TOTAL

1,337

502

119

526

1,168

290

James B. Gardenhire, Republican, received one vote for Governor in Pond Creek township. [270]

Representatives in the Legislature.— Marcus Boyd (Union), 1,092; S. W. Headlee (Union), 1,052; John W. Hancock (Dem.), 705; John Kenney (Dem.), 692; R. E. Blakey (Ind.), 145; Wm. B. Garoutte (Ind.), 82; A. J. Ragsdale (Repub.), 44.
County Justice.— John Murray (Union), 1,223; Franklin White (Dem.), 576.
Sheriff.— Thos. A. Reed (Union), 1,061; Samuel Fulbright (Dem.), 734; Jabez Owen, 188.
Treasurer.—Wm. McAdams, 1,199; Wilson Hackney, 45.
School Commissioner.— B. H. Bills, elected by 123 plurality over J. E. Wright and R. S. Kelso.
Assessor.— Jesse H. Kelly, elected over J. M. Ramsey.
Coroner.— A. F. Church (Union), elected over several competitors.

For the first time in the history of the county, straight Republican votes were cast in Greene county to the great disgust and indignation of politicians of all of the other parties. The Republican party had a State organization this year, and as stated had put a ticket in the field. It had also nominated a full set of Presidential electors, the candidate in this district being Hon. John M. Richardson, a former Secretary of State, and a leading Benton Democrat. Mr. Richardson was at the head of his party in this part of Missouri, and to him the few members, scattered here and there, went for counsel, guidance, and instruction.

The Republicans in Southwestern Missouri in 1860 were few in number and widely scattered. Greene county contained about 50 of them, but only a few knew it until after the election. Republicanism was in bad odor among the people of this section in that day, and its professors did not go about with a brass band and proclaim their principles to everybody. They held meetings, it is true, but they were for the most part convened in secret, and the proceedings were not published in the daily papers.

In shady nooks, among the dells of the Ozarks, in cabin's isolated from other human habitations, were the places, and at nights, when other men slept, were the times, when the Republicans of Southwest Missouri met in 1860, and struck hands to support Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. They knew each other. There was a system of hailing signs and grips, as among the Know Nothings, by which one Republican recognized another, whether he lived in Benton, or Polk, or Greene, or Stone county. A few of these were Northern men who had moved into Missouri, but the majority were originally from Kentucky and Tennessee, and, reared amidst slavery, they had grown to dislike it, and to be opposed to its further extension. [271]

Nothing daunted by their defeat in August, the Bell and Everett men in Missouri kept up the fight for their presidential candidates, and came within a few hundred votes of carrying the State for them in November, the vote standing:

For the Douglas electors

58,801

For the Bell electors

58,372

For the Breckenridge electors

31,317

For the Lincoln electors

17,028

Douglas' majority over Bell

429

Douglas' majority over Breckenridge

27,484

It is said that many Democrats voted for Bell because they thought be was the only candidate that could defeat Lincoln. In the October election the Republicans had carried Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, and Lincoln's election was almost inevitable. Fusion tickets against the Republicans had been formed in New York, New Jersey, and other States, and many thought the Tennessee statesman might be elected after all.

In Greene county the vote for President was as follows:

Twp.

Bell

Breckenridge

Douglas

Lincoln

Campbell

515

183

182

21

Robberson

99

29

18

 

Jackson

86

8

12

 

Taylor

44

18

8

 

Clay

5

11

24

 

Wilson

9

22

11

 

Pond Creek

54

13

21

10

Center

70

24

16

 

Boone

31

60

 

 

Cass

73

66

6

11

TOTALS

986

414

298

42


For prosecuting attorney of this circuit J. A. Foster received 963 votes, W. W. Turner, 285, and Julian Frazier, 279.

Great was the astonishment of everybody when it was learned that in Greene county 42 votes had been given to "Abe" Lincoln. It was known before the election that there were a few Republicans in the county, perhaps a dozen, and it had been contemplated by certain over-zealous "Southern rights" men to wait upon them, if they should vote for Lincoln, inform them that their room in this county was vastly preferable to their presence, and invite them to leave for a more congenial clime; but upon learning there were so many of them, and that there were many more who would have voted the Republican ticket had they voted at all, and that they all would be protected in the right to vote as they pleased by hundreds of the Bell and Douglas men, the contemplated waiting upon was dispensed with, and the invitation to leave was postponed. [272]

Among the Republicans of Greene county in 1860 were Hon. John M. Richardson, Benj. Kite, H. F. Fellows, A. J. Ragsdale, "all of the Ragsdales," Charles Starks, Archie Clark, J. D. Holcomb, — Barnum, John Reynolds (murdered afterwards for his politics), Joseph Goodwin, Alexander Goodwin, George Cooper (killed by guerillas), Joseph Cooper, Wesley Matherly, Alexander Hammontree, John Hammontree, Joe Mullinax, J. R. Mullinax.

AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

The news of the election of Lincoln and Hamlin was received by the people of Greene county generally with considerable dissatisfaction; but, aside from the utterances of some ultra pro-slavery men, there were general expressions of a willingness to accept and abide by the result at least to watch and wait. A large number of citizens declared themselves unconditional Union men from the first—as they had avowed themselves every year since 1850, when they had been Benton men, opponents of the "Jackson resolutions," of nullification, of fanaticism of every sort, and from every quarter, and when they had met in convention at Springfield from time to time, and so avowed themselves and these now were the men who had voted for Bell, and men who had voted for Douglas, and even men who had voted for Breckenridge. Upon the secession of South Carolina and other Southern States, however, many changed their view. Indeed, there was nothing certain about the sentiments of men in those days, but one thing they were liable to change! Secessionists one week became Union men the next, and vice versa. There was withal a universal hope that civil war might be averted.

A majority of the people of the county, it is safe to say, believed that the interests of Missouri were identical with those of the other slave-holding States, but they were in favor of waiting for the development of the policy of the new administration before taking any steps leading to the withdrawal of the State from the Federal Union. "Let us wait and see what Lincoln will do," was the sentiment and expression of a large number. And they waited.

While many of the people of the county were slaveholders, the majority of the class was merciful toward this species of their chattels and treated them with much consideration. A hard and cruel master was almost unknown. There was a stringent law against mistreating slaves, and in this county it was enforced. In January of this year (1860), the grand jury of Greene county indicted C. S. Bodenhamer for "cruelty to a slave," and he was duly arrested and held upon the charge.

1861— MISCELLANEOUS.

In February the county court appointed John Lair, Benj. Kite, and M. J. Hubble patrols for Campbell township, to keep order among the slaves for twelve months, "provided they will serve without pay, and free of charge." These were the last patrols ever appointed in Greene county. In a few months there came into the county a force of patrols several thousand strong, whose captains were Nathaniel Lyon and Franz Sigel; and there were others under Sterling Price and Ben McCulloch, and the movements of these patrols were on so large a scale that they obscured the proceedings of Messrs. Lair, Kite and Hubble.

By the 1st of April three rooms in the new court-house were completed, and the clerks of the three courts, county, circuit, and probate, moved in and took possession. The circuit clerk, "Alphabet" Mack, was appointed county attorney for one year.

In July the county court held its last session for the year. A State and county tax of 712/3 cents on the $100, a county tax of 40 cents, and two poll taxes were levied. J. W. Mack was appointed justice of the peace for Campbell township, vice Nick F. Jones, who had joined Gov. Jackson's Missouri State Guard, and was with the Southern army in Barry county. The court adjourned to meet the first Monday in October, but subsequent events made it necessary to postpone this meeting until April 7, 1862.

THE LEGISLATURE OF 1861.

On the last day of December, 1860, the 21st General Assembly of Missouri met at Jefferson City. The retiring Governor, "Bob" M. Stewart, delivered a very conservative message, taking the middle ground between secession and abolitionism, and pleading strenuously for peace and moderation. He declared among other things that the people of Missouri "ought not to be frightened from their propriety by the past unfriendly legislation of the North, or dragooned into secession by the restrictive legislation of the extreme South." He concluded with a thrilling appeal for the maintenance of the Union, depicting the inevitable result of secession, revolution and war. Many of Governor Stewart's predictions were afterward fulfilled with startling and fearful exactness. [274]

The inaugural of the new Governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, indorsed the doctrine of his famous resolutions of 1849—that the interests and destiny of the slave-holding States were the same; that the State was in favor of remaining in the Union so long as there was any hope of maintaining the guarantees of the constitution; but that in the event of a failure to reconcile the differences which then threatened the disruption of the Union, it would be the duty of the State to "stand by the South," and that he was bitterly opposed to the doctrine of coercion in any event. Gov. Jackson concluded by recommending the immediate call of a State convention, in order that "the will of the people may be ascertained and effectuated."

In accordance with the Governor's recommendation, the Legislature, on January 17, passed a bill calling a convention, to be composed of three times as many members as in the aggregate each senatorial district was entitled to State Senators—that is, three delegates from each senatorial district in the State—and appointing February 18 as the day on which they were to be elected, and February 28, the day on which the convention should assemble. Hon. F. T. Frazier, of this county, and State Senator from this district, and Hons. Marcus Boyd and S. W. Headlee, the county's representatives voted for the convention bill, the 10th section of which contained the following important provision:

No act, ordinance, or resolution of said convention
shall be deemed to be valid to chance or dissolve the
political relations of this State to the government
of the United States, or any other State,
until a majority of the qualified voters of this State,
voting upon the question, shall ratify the same.

The author of this section was Charles H. Hardin, then a Senator from the Boone and Callaway district, and Governor of Missouri in 1874-6. Thus the secession of the State was made an impossibility without the consent of the majority of the voters. After a much disturbed and very turbulent session, the Legislature adjourned March 28.

ELECTION OF DELEGATES TO THE STATE CONVENTION.

Pursuant to the provisions of the act of the Legislature, the election for delegates to the State convention was held Monday, February 18, 1861. The candidates from the 19th senatorial district (composed of the counties of Greene, Christian, Stone, Taney and Webster) were Sample Orr and Littleberry Hendrick, of this county, and R. W. Jamison, of Webster, who were "unconditional Union" men, and opposed to the secession of Missouri under any circumstances, and Nick F. Jones and Jabez Owen, of Greene, and T. W. Anderson, who were understood to be in favor of secession in certain emergencies. S. H. Boyd, of this county, was at first an unconditional Union candidate, but withdrew in favor of Judge Jamison. A brief canvass was made throughout the district, by the leading candidates, the public pulse felt and found to beat warmly in favor of the old Union and against secession. Meetings were held at Springfield and well attended by the Unionists. Those who favored secession were in the minority, but they were outspoken, and made up in zeal and spunk what they lacked in numbers. The following was the vote of this county by townships, and of the entire district by counties at this election:

VOTE OF GREENE COUNTY AND THE
NINETEENTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT
AT THE SPECIAL ELECTION, FEB. 18, 1861.

 

Unconditional Union

Conditional Union


Tpw.

Sample Orr

R. W. Jamison

L. Hendrick

Nick F. Jones

T. W. Anderson

Jabez Owen

Campbell

567

568

566

133

120

120

Robberson

156

169

157

23

21

20

Jackson

131

133

131

7

7

7

Taylor

89

92

91

10

10

10

Clay

37

38

38

19

19

19

Wilson

30

30

30

1

 

1

Pond Creek

85

87

86

 

 

 

Center

98

101

101

34

30

31

Boone

95

97

96

52

52

52

Cass

149

150

150

27

27

27

TOTAL IN GREENE CTY

1,437

1,455

1,466

306

286

287

Christian County

791

801

804

107

104

103

Stone County

191

208

206

17

18

15

Taney County

222

231

236

216

207

208

Webster County

675

735

697

216

210

162

TOTAL IN DISTRICT

3,316

3,430

3,389

862

825

775


It will be noticed that the vote of this county and of the senatorial district was overwhelmingly in favor of the unconditional Union candidates, and the election, by a vote of four to one, of such men as Sample Orr, Littleberry Hendrick, and Robert W. Jamison, settled the political status of the people of this district beyond all question. In Pond Creek township, this county, the secession candidates did not receive a vote, and in Wilson two of them only had a single ballot cast for them. Some of those voting for the Union candidates afterward became secessionists, or sympathizers therewith, and not a few eventually fought gallantly for the "lost cause."

THE WORK OF THE CONVENTION

The convention assembled at Jefferson City, February 28, 1861. Sterling Price, of Chariton county, afterward the distinguished Confederate general, was chosen president. On the second day it adjourned to meet in St. Louis, where it re-convened March 4, continued in session until the 22d, when it adjourned to meet on the third Monday in December, subject, however, to a call of a majority of a committee of seven. Before adjourning, a series of resolutions was adopted, two of which were of superior importance, and here proper to be noted:— 1. Containing the explicit declaration that there was no adequate cause to impel Missouri to dissolve her connection with the Federal union. 2. Taking unmistakable ground against the employment of military force by the Federal Government to coerce the seceding States, or the employment of military force by the seceding .States to assail the government of the United States.

It is believed that in these two resolutions the convention reflected the sentiment of a very large majority of the people of the State at that time. Judges Orr and Hendrick, the members of the convention from this county, upon their return home, were warmly commended by the people and press for their course.

THE WINTER OF 1861

During the months of January, February, and March, 1861, there was great interest manifested in public affairs by the people of the county. A few public meetings were held, but no important proceedings were had. The prospect of war was freely discussed, and many prepared for it. A few openly sympathized with the seceded States, but the majority preferred to take no decided steps to aid either side. Many declared that Missouri had done nothing to bring on a war, and should do nothing to help it along should one break out. "We are neither secessionists nor abolitionists," said they, "and we are neither fanatics nor fire-eaters." [277]

Meantime, and especially in February and March, numerous secret meetings were held in the county by both Union men and secessionists. Every man's politics was known (or was thought to be), by every other man, and invitations were sent out to attend these meetings only to those who were known to be "sound." Each side knew that the other side was meeting secretly, and yet there was no attempt at interference. Both parties met and were friendly. The policy seemed to be that of the "I'll let you alone, if you'll let me alone" kind. Few attempts were made at sending out spies.

On one occasion, in March,—about the 31st,—a secret meeting of the unconditional Union men was held near the Christian county line, about where the battle of Wilson Creek was afterward fought. This meeting was attended by delegates from several counties in this part of the State. Col. J. J. Gravelly, afterward a member of Congress and Lieutenant Governor of the State, was a delegate from Cedar county. Col. Marcus Boyd and Judge Hendrick represented Greene; Asa G. Smith was from Stone; John M. Filler was from Lawrence. The meeting was a conference between the leading Union men of Southwestern Missouri to determine what was best to do, to interchange opinions, to exchange information relative to the condition of affairs in their respective counties, etc., etc. It is said that there was at this meeting a secret agent of President Lincoln's, and that the result of the conference was a determination to "stand by the Union" at all hazards, and if necessary fight for it, which it was asserted hundreds of men in Southwest Missouri were willing to do.

The secessionists met from time to time, and deliberated with closed doors. Honestly believing that the best interests of Missouri would be served if she should sever the legal ligament that bound her to the Federal Union and unite her fortunes with those of her sister Southern States, these men worked zealously and faithfully. They met in secret conclave from time to time at each other's houses. They got ready for any emergency that might come. They were encouraged from time to time by emissaries from Gov. Jackson and the secession cause in the central portion of the State, who promised them plenty of arms if the time should come to use them, and plenty of powder when the time should come to burn it. Very many of this class of our citizens deprecated civil war and sincerely hoped that it might be avoided, but resolved that, if come it did, they would bind their fate to that of the Southern cause, allied as they were to that section by ties of kinship of birthplace, of self-interest, of commonalty of sentiment, of sympathy. It may be that no men were ever more mistaken, but certainly no men were ever more in earnest and more honest in opinion than were the secessionists of Greene county in the late winter and early spring of 1861. [278]

Without making invidious distinctions, it is but fair to say that the leading Unionists of Greene county in the winter and spring, of 1861 were Mordecai Oliver, Col. Marcus Boyd, S. H. Boyd, Sample Orr, Littlebury Hendrick, R. B. Owen, R. J. McElhany, John S. Phelps, Dr. T. J. Bailey, Benj. Kite, S. W. Headlee, John M. Richardson, Henry Sheppard.

Among the leading "Southern" men, or secessionists, were John W. Hancock, Hon. F. T. Frazier, W. C. Price, Sam'l Fulbright, Jo. Carthal, D. D. Berry, sr., John Lair, Dr. G. P. Shackleford, Rev. Chas. Carleton, Henry Fulbright, Junius T. Campbell, O. B. Smith, R. B. Weaver, Peter S. Wilkes, Col. Freeman, Nick Fain Jones, Esq., Capt. Don Brown, Thompson Brown.

AFTER THE FIRST GUN AT SUMPTER.

The firing on Ft. Sumpter by the Confederates, April 12, 1861; the proclamation of President Lincoln calling for 75,000 volunteers; Gov. Jackson's refusal to respond to the requisition on Missouri; the affair at Camp Jackson; the great excitement throughout the State and the country,—these are incidents the particulars of which are too well known to need setting forth in these pages.

The news of the firing on Sumpter was received at Springfield by telegraph, causing the most intense feeling and excitement. The Advertiser issued an extra announcing the event, and the people assembled in crowds and squads and discussed the incident itself and its probable consequences. Very soon thereafter, April 22, Gov. Jackson convened the Legislature to meet in extra session May 2, and at that session a "military bill" was passed, providing among other things for the organization of the military forces of the State, called the Missouri State Guard. One company of the State Guard was organized in this county, under orders from Gov. Jackson and was commanded by Capt. "Dick" Campbell.

PREPARING FOR THE FIGHT.

The Unionists of the county, largely in the majority, were bold and outspoken and disposed to be aggressive. A military organization was soon effected. Arms were procured from the Overland Stage Company and from the gun racks at home. Ammunition was obtained when and where it could be. Leaders were not wanting. For weeks certain prominent men of the county had been in correspondence with the Union leaders at St. Louis and Washington and had received instructions to prepare for the direst emergencies as best they could, and to patiently bide their time.

The Union men of Greene county were of all political parties. Hon. John S. Phelps, the member of Congress from this district, a Douglas Democrat, returned from Washington to his home at Springfield early in the troubles and at a conference of Union men held in the bank building, on the north side of the square, gave as his opinion that the honor and interests of the people of Greene county commanded them to stand by the old Union. In this view he was joined by other Democrats. The Bell-Everett men were nearly all Unionists, Hon. Sample Orr, their late candidate for Governor, having declared himself months before,1 to be not only a Unionist, but a coercionist—that is, in favor of making war upon the seceded States at once and coercing or whipping every "rebel" back to his allegiance.

A "BLACK REPUBLICAN" POSTMASTER IN SPRINGFIELD.

Early in May Benj. Kite, a Republican, who had voted for Lincoln, received a commission as postmaster of Springfield. Mr. Nathan Robinson, a secessionist, was the then incumbent, and Mr. Kite states that a secession flag was flying over the post-office. The new commission had been sent to Kite at an obscure country post-office between Springfield and Bolivar, and the fact was unknown at Springfield that a change in postmasters had been made. It was understood that such a change would be resisted. With his commission and a loaded revolver in his pocket, Mr. K. states that he entered the post- office one morning, and presenting, both of his evidences of authority to the astonished gaze of Mr. Robinson, demanded possession of the office in the name of the pistol and by the authority of the commission. Mr. Robinson made no resistance, but gave up the keys, and by Kite's orders struck his colors—that is to say, took down the secession flag. [280]

—————
1 At a political meeting in Franklin county.
——————

THE UNION MEN ALARMED—IMPORTANT LETTERS.

After the agreement between Gens. Price and Harney, that no more troops were to be armed or organized in Missouri on either side, the minds of the people in this quarter were easy for some days, but they very soon became disturbed and feverish when reports were received that the secessionists were arming, organizing and preparing for war all the time, regardless of the Price-Harney treaty. In the stage-coach at Springfield, a letter, dropped by Hon.. J. S. Rains, showed that negotiations were pending, with the Cherokee Indians to induce them to enter the conflict on the Southern or secession side. The following are copies of letters and telegrams written by prominent Union men in Springfield about this time, and explaining themselves:

May 24, 1861.
To Stebbins, President Mo. River Telegraph Co.,—I sent dispatch on yesterday, as follows:
"General Sterling Price—I hope you will forthwith
order General Rains to cease the organization
of militia under the military law. Answer.—
Phelps"

——————————————

"And another to Governor Jackson,
and another to-day to General Price.
They refuse to reply. What does it mean?
John S. Phelps."

To Stebbins— Is it fully understood that the execution of the military law is to be suspended? If no invasion from Arkansas and Indian country, there will be no difficulty in Southwest. It is reported Governor Reynolds passed on his way to Arkansas—why? Colonel Freeman, of Polk, has also gone to Arkansas. Is Reynolds in St. Louis? He said near this place: "The military law shall be enforced." There is rumor that guns and men are expected from Arkansas. The following letter was found in one of the overland stage-coaches after General Rains passed:

Sarcoxie, Mo., May 3, 1861
"General J. S. Rains: Dear Sir—
From latest advice we learn that the Cherokee Indians,
and probably other tribes, are anxious to lend their aid
to our States. Ross states that he can furnish fifteen
thousand men well armed. I suggest the propriety of
Governor Jackson appointing commissioners to visit them
and secure their services. Things are about as when you left.
The Republicans are all leaving for Kansas.
We fear there is a bad motive in view.
arm us as quick as possible. (Signed)
A. M. Patterson."


On the back of the letter is this endorsement to Governor Jackson:
"I would advise you opening a correspondent
at once with Ross. (Signed)
Rains."

The document is here in hands of county clerk.
Governor Reynolds was in the stage for Fayetteville,
and Major Russell, formerly of Arkansas,
was with him, entered on way-bill—"Major Russell
and friend." Governor R. pretends to be frightened,
and says the people of St. Louis would not permit him
to go home and see his sick wife, etc., but that he intends to avenge himself on the people of St. Louis and the submissionists of Missouri. A reliable gentleman states,
from expressions used by secessionists, he is convinced a
movement on us, from the South, is expected; hence stopped the telegraph in Arkansas. I have appointments till
Tuesday; will be here tomorrow night, and will leave Sunday morning for Hickory county.
John S. Phelps

[281]

General Barney telegaphed General Price relating what had been told him, and intimating the probability of his sending a regiment to Springfield to protect peaceable citizens. In reply to this, Price sent the following:

Jefferson City, May 24, 1861.
General W. S. Harney, U. S. Army
:—-I am satisfied your information is incorrect. It cannot be that arms or men are crossing into Missouri from any quarters without the knowledge of the Governor or myself, and we have no such information. I advise that you do not send a regiment into the Southwest—it would exasperate our own people. I have attended to dispatches enclosed me by you, from Springfield and St. Joseph. I am dismissing my troops, and I will carry out my agreement faithfully. [Signed]
Sterling Price.
Major-General Commanding M. S. G.

On receipt of Gen. Price's telegram Gen. Harney sent the following note to Frank P. Blair:
Friday Morning, May 24, 1861.
Dear Colonel:—
I send you a copy of a telegraph just received from General Price. It is what I expected and hoped. I consider it entirely satisfactory. Don't you?
Yours truly,
Wm. S. Harney, Brig.-Gen.

In a few days after Phelps' telegrams had been sent and acted upon, the following letters were written by prominent Union men of Springfield to O. D. Filley of St. Louis:

Springfield, Mo., May 30, 1861.
O. D. Filley, Esq.
: Dear Sir:— Everything is quiet here, but both parties appear feverish and restless. The Union men hope the Price and Harney arrangement may be carried out, but they have no confidence in its being done. Rains has commenced organizing under the military bill, and if he once gets his secession bands armed we will, no doubt, have war in our midst. Some of our secessionists from Missouri are in Arkansas, soliciting aid, but to what extent I am unable to inform you. Arkansas is doing what she can to concentrate troops near our borders. They are entrenching themselves at Harmony Springs, near Maysville.
Your friend,
John M. Richardson [282]

Springfield, Mo. May 30, 1861.
O. D. Filley, St. Louis:
My Dear Sir:— Gentlemen of respectability and of unquestioned veracity, residents of our place, heard Reynolds and Russell make speeches in Arkansas, urging Arkansans to come to the rescue of Southern men in Missouri. Five thousand of them are assembling on the Missouri line. Reynolds went to Little Rock in furtherance of these damnable purposes. There now rests no doubt in the minds of the people out here of the business of Reynolds, Freeman and Russell into Arkansas. I saw a young man on my way home, near Warsaw, and he told Kimbrough and myself that three or four wagons had started for Arkansas for arms. I received a letter from Colonel Williamson, of Mellville, Dade Co., Mo., yesterday, and he says a military company of Cedar county, headed by Captain Walker (under the late military law), has ordered his (Willamson's) Home Guards, to disband, and on refusal to do so they will march upon them. Since my return home I have messengers and letters from all parts of the Southwest, inquiring of me what the government will do for their safety. The people are overwhelmed with terror and fright. Rains is still enlisting men. On the 11th of June a general mass meeting of secessionists is advertised to come off at this place. Deviltry is intended by it, we greatly imagine. The Monday after I left here for St. Louis, our Home Guard mustered into service 800 men, 300 of whom had tolerably effective arms. Yet the secesh have better arms than we. They are ordering good citizens throughout the Southwest to leave. Governor Jackson telegraphed to Hancock and others, living here, inquiring who it was informed Harney about Reynolds, Freeman and Russell going into Arkansas. They told him in answer it was all a lie. I have since them taken the statements of four gentlemen, over each of their signatures, to the correctness of the statements made. Richardson and others are writing to our friends in St. Louis for some definite action in our behalf. We feel confident of the treachery of Price and Jackson.
Yours,
S. H. Boyd.

The following is added to the above: "Every word of the statement sent Harney on Monday is fully confirmed."
Owens.

THE UNION MEN ON GUARD.

In a day or two the Unionists of Springfield determined to guard the town to prevent the Secessionists from coming in and carrying away powder and other stores, and consequently details were made and the streets patroled and the roads leading into town carefully watched for some days. The patroling of the town, however, was done after nightfall and kept up from dark till daylight. [283]


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