Volume 32, Number 3, Spring 1993
"Paragraphically Speaking," August 6th edition of the Headlight will be of great interest to many of your readers, especially those references to Jasper, Newton County, Oza Crow and the Shaddox Cemetery. Quite by concidence I was preparing a short article for the paper about the cemetery when your column appeared. Perhaps I may fill in some of the gaps, with some anecdotes having connections to your story.
The account attributed to Oza Crow is of special interest. Oza Arizona Crow was the great-granddaughter of Sion L. Shaddox, who was also my great-grandfather. One of my earlier childhood memories is of a time when I rode a horse bareback behind Sam Crow, Ozas father, from the old bridge at Pruitt across the mountain to his place on the south side of Big Buffalo River. The account of the two soldiers who were killed by bushwhackers, is one that has been around for as long as I can remember, and it has been repeated in a number of versions.
The soldiers were brothers, William Nelson and Jesse T. Atchley. William Nelson was the great-grandfather of the late Elam Atchley of Harrison. The story of their untimely deaths has many variations, depending upon the teller, with a strangetwist just heard in June 1991 while I was visiting Dogpatch theme park. But, in general, a widely accepted account of their ambush is as follows:
William and Jesse wore the uniform of the Confederacy during the Civil War. It is not clear if both were actually on active duty at the time; it is possible that the younger brother, Jesse, was with Wm. Nelson in some sort of civilian volunteer capacity.
They were returning to the Big Buffalo River area to visit their wives when they were "bushwhacked" along the rivers edge. Some versions say they were shot and killed by bushwhackers, who in those days were by definition also those common thieves and rustlers who were abroad taking advantage of women, children and elderly left alone by the war. Some say it was Union soldiers who killed them. They died on September 4, 1864. Wm. Nelson was 38; Jesse was 27.
According to a story related to me by a park tour-guide at Dogpatch in June 1991, the brothers were killed by Ku Klux Klan members! Unlikely, but the rest of the guides account of the history of Marble Falls, Marble City, Wilcockson and Pruitt was accurate and plausible.
The brothers wives, Mary Elizabeth and Jane, learning of the deaths, went to the river bottom in the middle of the night, recovered the bodies and brought them to their house on a two-wheeled cart which they pulled by hand, or was pulled by a horse. Some say they were transported on a horse-drawn sledge of travois. At some later time, the exact sequence unclear, they were buried in Shaddox Cemetery where they lie side-by-side, their graves joined by a stone archway.
This private cemetery is a small plot of 2 112 acres situated on a small ridge near the Buffalo River bridge at Pruitt. Although 3/4 mile by road the bridge is visible from the cemetery in winter when foliage is absent. It is completely surrounded by Buffalo National River land. At one time the Park Service planned to acquire the cemetery, but later abandoned the effort. There is evidence that the state has title to the land, but has no interest in its maintenance. It is believed that the land was originally a part of the Sion Shaddox homestead, and was set aside as a family cemetery.
The little graveyard is kept in immaculate condition most of the time, but only through the volunteer efforts of a small dedicated group of family and friends. A maintenance fund was established several years ago, interest from which has been used to pay for mowing and minor maintenance. But of late, with interest rates at their lowest in years, not enough is being realized to do the job. The committee is in a quan-
dary as to how to continue the task without sufficient funds, and needs a substantial increase in the capital account in order to continue.
Family names on the grave markers read like a census of Boone and Newton Counties: Walton, Waters, Massengale, Smith, Daniels, Harp, Shaddox, Brisco, Jones, Lewis, Jackson, Atchley, Gibson, Dearing.
And Taylor, Ruble, Ervin, Crow, Henderson, Welch, Nixon, Raulston, Pruitt, Houston, Thompson, Vinson and many others.
Some people may not be aware that their ancestors lie in this little cemetery. But their help is needed to build a perpetual care fund. Anyone having an interest in contributing to the ongoing care of the cemetery is invited to send a gift, large or small, to: The Shaddox Cemetery Fund, do Inas Moseley, Newton County Bank, Jasper, Ark. 72641.
Leon M. Shaddox
San Antonio, Tex. 78233-2507
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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