VISITING THE GRAVE OF HER AFFIANCE
By S. C. Turnbo
Across the hollow west of the Hoodenpile graveyard, the way the old road leads, is a low hill that was once covered with trees and undergrowth. The land is now in cultivation. Just south of this rise toward the river is the site of the old Pete Hoodenpile residence. Just west of this across the hollow is where the Mat Hoodenpile houses stood. The grave-yard is situated on a beautiful plot of ground ¼ mile from the river and is known now as the John Riddle cemetery. Between the graveyard and the bank of the river is a spring where an old cabin stood in which Elijah Barnes and his family lived when the Civil War began. This is on the north side of White River in Keesee township in Marion County, Arkansas.
During the third year of the war a young man of the name of John King was living at Aunt Sally Hoodenpiles who with her married daughter Mrs. Sarah Jane Murphy was living in the Pete Hoodenpile house. John Jones and family was occupying the Mat Hoodenpile dwelling. Mr. King had come across the river from East Sugar Loaf Creek where he was engaged to be married to Miss Pop Wilmoth, a sister of George Wilmoth (not Preacher George). A young horse had run away with him and he got his face badly bruised and was swelled. One morning while he was there a company of mounted men rode up to the yard fence and halted and questioned the young man very closely and threatened to kill him. But Mrs. Hoodenpile and her daughter pleaded with the men not to kill him and the company rode on down the road by the graveyard and crossed the river at the ford where the head of the Ireland lies against the upper end of the old Allin Trimble land. But before the company reached the ford of the river two of the cavalry men dropped out of ranks and rode back to the house and demanded John King. When the two men rode up to the fence King was sitting before the fire eating a cake that had been sweetened with sorghum molasses. Throwing part of the cake in the fire he remarked, "They have come back to kill me, " and got up and went out to the fence where the two men sat on their horses and they ordered him to get over the fence and go with them. He obeyed and passed on and they reined their horses around and followed him. He knew they were unmerciful men and intended to murder him and he said but little. But as they were leaving Aunt Sally Hoodenpile ran and overtaken the two blue coats and begged them not to shoot the young man. One of the men halted and conversed with her while the other man went on with the helpless captive. After they had passed on a short while the report of a gun was heard toward the graveyard followed by the distressing cry of, "Ohoh-" Then a second shot was heard followed by a piteous cry of, "Oh, Lordy." Then all was silent. The man who was talking with Mrs. Hoodenpile sparred his horse forward and galloped on to overtake his comrade in blood. At this moment Miss Adaline Jones, daughter of John Jones, now the wife of George Holt, in company with Mrs. Sarah Jane Murphy who was 14 years old and Adaline 15 years of age, started to the murdered man. When they reached the spot where he lay he was lying on his face just over the rise toward the graveyard. His head was downhill. One shot had took effect in the back at the cross of the suspenders. The second ball had passed into his head between the left ear and the back of the head. The man was still alive but unconscious. Miss Adaline and Mrs. Murphy raised up the nearly lifeless form and turned the head up the hill and placed him on his back. Then Adaline broke off some small bushes and little limbs and putting them together placed them under the dying mans head for a pillow. Sarah Jane now started back to the house for assistance while Adaline remained with him. But she soon met her mother and Mrs. Elizabeth Jones coming and she returned with them, and by the time they got there Mr. King was dead. It was decided that while some of the ladies remained with the dead body to guard it from molestation from the dogs and hogs the others would go and hunt for a wagon and yoke of oxen to haul the dead body to the graveyard which was done as soon as possible. When the wagon was brought to where the dead man lay the women lifted the body into the wagon box. A pool of blood had run out at the bullet holes and Adaline covered the blood from view with dirt and trash and while the dead man was being hauled across the hollow to the graveyard she walked behind the wagon and covered up the blood as it dripped through the openings in the bottom of the wagon box to the ground. When they reached the graveyard some boards were placed on the ground and the body was taken out of the wagon and laid on the board. In a short time other help arrived. The women and children dug a grave and just before they commenced to dig the vault John Jones come and dug the vault for them. When the preparations were made for the burial the body was wrapped in a bed sheet that Mrs. Hoodenpile had furnished and lowered into the grave and some pieces of plank that Mr. Jones had furnished was laid over the vault and the dirt filled in. In a few days after the death of the young man his betrothed learning of his death come over from Sugar Loaf Creek to visit the grave and Adaline and Mrs. Hoodenpile accompanied her to the graveyard where Mrs. Hoodenpile gave the girl a finger ring, a pocket book, and a lock of hair which she had taken out of the dead mans pocket. The ring and lock of hair belonged to the girl which the young man was keeping as a token of love he cherished for the now poor weeping girl.
Springfield-Greene County Library