YELLVILLE IN THE DARK DAYS OF CIVIL WAR
By S. C. Turnbo
This is one of North Arkansas noted places, part of the town is located on a bluff of Crooked Creek and is the county seat of Marion County. The first settlement by white people here dates back to the early thirties. The beautiful groves of timber, ornamental trees, handsome dwellings and substantial business houses form a lovely picture. The surrounding scenery is fine and romantic. The ripling waters of Crooked Creek flow along just on the south side of the town which helps to make the view of the town and vicinity more beautiful.
Yellville is increasing in size and business every year, and has been an important place of trade ever since its existence as a white mans town.
The first railroad meeting in Marion County was held by the citizens at this place in 1860 for the purpose of agitating the coming of a railroad through the picturesque hills of Northwest Arkansas. Since the close of the Civil War and after the opening of mines in Marion and adjoining counties the citizens Of Yellville and other towns of North Ark. have been offering inducements from time to time for the construction of a railway for the benefit of the business men. farming class and people of other occupations and now the rumbling of the train and the shriek of the iron horse is heard at Yellville and up the valley of Crooked Greek which is encouraging to the merchant, the miner, the stock dealer., farmer and other classes that stand in need of railroad facilities.
Where Yellville now stands or a part of it at least, was once occupied by an Indian village called Shawnee town, while this village was being evacuated by the red men the white men took Possession of it which began about the year 1832. Productive farms and prosperous people are found all around this little north Arkansas city. Yellville was named for Colonel Archibald Yell, a soldier who commanded an Arkansas regiment of gallant men in the war with Mexico; and was slain by a Mexican lancer in the hard fought battle of Bunavista while so nobley defending the rights of his country. The people of the noble state of Arkansas and those of Marion County in particular should not forget Colonel Yell and his regiment of Arkansas boys who so willingly offered their services to preserve the honor of the United States and the pioneers of Texas. Arkansas ought to build a monument at some place in the state in memory of her heroic men who fell in war. If any of us cherish an ill feeling engendered by war let us drop it and treat the memory of all the old soldiers alike who belonged to the state of Arkansas whether they served in the Mexican war or on either side during the bloody conflict between the states.
Yellville was quite a little town when the Civil War with its fiery darts struck the state of Arkansas, during that awful strife nearly every building in the town was reduced to ashes. To give an idear of the destruction of property in Yellville and neighborhood we will make a brief statement of the burning of the town as gleaned-from a reliable source. There is a hill south of Crooked Creek known in the pioneer days as Bald Jess which was named for Jess Everette who in time of the Everette and King war at Yellville would frequently ascend to the top of this hill and watch the village to note if there were any disturbance in town between the two factions. If there were any trouble in sight he would stay away from the village until quiet prevailed. But if the villagers seemed to be at peace with each other he would venture into town.Mr. Brice Milum who was a resident of Yellville and who was a merchant there at the breaking out of hostilities informed me that when part of the town was set on fire he was standing on the summit of this same hill and saw thirteen houses burn down at the same time. The beautiful little town, where once was life and activity, vanished in smoke and cinders. It was a sad day for the surviving residents to view the dense volumes of black smoke as it floated high above the burning town, and drifted over the crests of the neighboring hills. This is not written to stir up sectional strife or cause the old sores which have healed to break out afresh and again hear the moans of the dying and witness the devastation and destitution of the beautiful sunny landfar from itbut to give warning to future generations to look and reflect before they leap. Civil War should never be encouraged or tolerated in our land and country. If our great republic has to engage in war let it be against a foreign foe and never that unless it is compelled to save its honor and integrity. It is much better to keep out of war if we can avoid it in an honorable way than to plunge Into it uncalled for. If war must come let it be against a foreign enemy, and not against ourselves. Just think of the hundreds and thousands of men who enlisted in the armies of the blue and grey from 1861 to 1865 who perished from exposure on the march and in camp and on the field of slaughter. Remember these men were from North and South. They were Americans. Yet they fell out over a matter that could have been set right without the force of arms. But the agitators of the north and south could not be satisfied until the people of the United States divided against them-selves and the result was that a bitter war was stirred up and the men of north and south met each other on the battle-field and fought it to a finish. I shudder every time I think of it. In Civil War, or war between nations, many individuals become speculators and grow rich through crookedness. While others have to stem the current of battle and the mass of people living in the territory involved are forced to bear the horrors f destitution and suffering imposed by the contending armies. What a grand thing it would be for all nations to be at peace with one another, and it ought to be that the people of every nation should live in peace with each other. But as long as one class of people or nation domineers over another there will be strife, contention, strained relations, rumors of war which may ultimately culminate in real war.
It should be the duty of rulers of the civilized nations to promote peace among their people by having them taught the principal of true Christianity and all those that would willingly accept the love of God would lay down their carnal weapons and put on the armor of God and do all they could to prevent war and its awful results. It should be the desire of every one from tie highest official down to the humblest citizen to strive for a good government independent of some of the policies of political parties, There is too much craving and pulling for the almighty dollar. Money is all right in its place and it is all wrong when it is improperly used. In many cases the dollar is used to the advantage of one class of people and to the disadvantage of another. To much politics and the hunger and greed for the accumulation of money creates dissatisfaction among the people which usually brings on bad results.
Now let us return to our subject. I well remember being at Yellville one day in the month of July, 1861, when a call was made for volunteers to join the confederate army. A company of men raised in Marion County and the southern part of Taney County, Missouri, were present. Those patriotic citizens had volunteered their services to defend the southern cause. Their commanding officer was Captain Wm. C. Mitchell, whose company afterward formed part of the l4th regiment of Arkansas Infantry. Capt. Mitchell marched his company back and forth-through the streets to the music of two violins in the hands of Dan Coker and "Yellville" Bill Coker who were members of the company. As the soldiers marched along with the colors flying at the head of the column, both officers and men extended invitations to the men present to enlist in their ranks. A number of those gallant young men responded to the call of their friends and fell in line to shed their blood for the sunny south. Most all of them gave up their lives on the battlefield or fell victims to exposure to the wintry weather and ravages of disease. In many cases their bones repose in unmarked graves. Oh let us not forget to honor their names by remembering their patriotism in a cause they believed was right.
I recollect a weeks stay at Yellville in war days. Our regiment the 27th of Arkansas with Colonels White and Shavers commands were on their way from Pokahontas to join General Tom C. Hindmans division at the mouth of Mulberry River. We arrived at Yellville on Wednesday evening at 3 oclock on the 22nd of October, 1862 and pitched our tents in a field on the opposite of the creek from town where we rested a week and procured supplies. This camp was known to us as Camp Adams.
On the day of our arrival here we found the town crowded with Missouri confederates who were drawing their pay in "Clabe Jackson money" and this sort of currency circulated plentiful among those warm hearted men. Their pay master occupied Isaac Wilsons hotel and this is where the soldiers were receiving their money. On the second night after we reached here a remarkable snowfall struck us, which lasted until Friday morning the 24th. The snow was 6 inches deep and is the greatest snowfall on record so early in the fall in North central Arkansas. It went off quickly however and the weather turned off bright and warm again. The majority of the men in our company lived in Marion County and the camp was always full of relatives and friends bringing sup-plies of needed woolen clothing from the home spinning wheels and hand looms.
Springfield-Greene County Library