DEPRIVING CHILDREN OF THE LAST MORSEL OF FOOD
By S. C. Turnbo
Osage County, Missouri, borders the south shore of the Missouri River. It is the next county below Cole County and is the third county west of St. Louis County. The Gasconade River flows through the southeast part of it. Mrs. Annie Long, wife of Willie Long, related the following account to me in the Indian Territory one day in 1906. said she, "I am a daughter of Jacob E. Hufstealer. My grandmothers maiden name was Polly Ann Cox and she married Bailiff West, my grandfather. Among their children was Mary Jane West who when she was grown married Jacob E. Hufstealer. These are my father and mother. My grandfather, Bailiff West, and his wife owned a large farm on the public road on Painters Creek, a tributary of the Gasconade River. Their farm was situated near the town of Linn, the county seat of Osage County. A large number of people traveled over this road during the great conflict between the north and south. Part of them who passed over this road were irregulars or in other words were bushwhackers, robbers, horse thieves, and would steal almost any kind of property they could lay their hands on. They would stop on their way and rob houses of provision, beds and wearing clothes. My grandparents were troubled a great deal by these wicked men. Grandfather dared not stay at home for fear of being murdered. The war brought great destitution and suffering to numbers of women and children in Osage County especially for the need of bread. " Mrs. Long in repeating accounts of the hardships that her grandparents encountered in Osage County in war days said that her mother informs her of a sad experience they had with robbers one day. "I was Just 10 years old and I had two little brothers named Jim and Albert that were younger than I was, " said my mother. "I also had a baby sister named Nancy but she was old enough to walk and talk a little. One forenoon we were all begging my mother for bread for we were all very hungry, There was only meal enough in the house for one mess and we did not know where we could procure anymore. It was hard to bear in listening at hungry children cry for something to eat especially if you have but little to offer them. A mothers heart sinks in despair when she is not able to furnish them enough to eat to satisfy their hunger. Mothers in war days have shed many hot tears at the terrible thought of their children being on the brink of starvation and this was the case with my mother and we children and while we were crying for bread my mother made up what meal she had into dough and made it into pones with her hands and put it into a hot skillet them placed the heated lid on it and heaped live coals of fire on the lid to bake the bread in a hurry so that she could divide the bread among us. But Just before the dough was half cooked a band of armed men rode up to the Yard gate, halted and dismounted and come into the house. They were rough and rude and unmannerly fellows and when the noticed the skillet they kicked the lid off and snatching case knives from the table they gouged the partly cooked dough out of the skillet onto the hearth then beat and stamped it to pieces and raked it into the fire. My mother and we children begged and cried to them not to destroy all we had to eat but they turned a deaf ear and went out of the house and mounting their horses galloped away." Mrs. Long said that her grandfather and grandmother were buried on this same farm.
Springfield-Greene County Library