A HOUSE BURNER SNATCHES A WOMANS BONNET OFF HER
AND TOSSES IT INTO THE FLAMES
By S. C. Turnbo
In giving the sad experience of his mother in war times Mr. William Robinson, who was born and partly reared in Pulaski County, Missouri, said that 8 years after the death of his father, Mr. Pleasant Robinson, his mother, Mrs. Rhoda Robinson, married a man of the name of Patric Moore. Her second marriage occurred in 1858 when I was 12 years old. Very soon after Mr. Moore and my mother had married they moved into Wright County, Missouri, and settled on the high land between Elk and Stevens Creeks. We lived here until after the war broke out when my step-father raised a company of union men and took part in the battle of Wilson Creek. Soon after the battle and while the southern troops held possession of Springfield Capt. Moore was stationed part of the time at Lebanon in Laclede County. One day while he and his men were at Lebanon a party of horsemen galloped up to our house and with oaths and threats swore they intended to burn the house down. My mother and my two little half-sisters, one of which was 6 years of age named Missouri, the other was Nancy who was 4 years old, were all the ones that were present. These men claimed to be Southerners but I suppose they were robbers and if I mistake not the confederate authorities had small sympathy for marauders and house burners of either side. They nearly all dismounted and were busy in making ready to put their threats into execution. It was a sad day for my dear mother and her two helpless children. She at first pleaded with the men not to destroy her house for it was the only shelter she had. The destruction of it would cast her and her little ones out of doors with nothing to live on and nothing to protect them from the inclement weather.
But with all the piteous begging to these roughfians to save her house her pleading reached stony hearts only. They cared nothing for the suffering of women and starvation of children, war was war and war meant death to men and destruction to property and they were out to burn and steal and they were only following their occupation and with merciless words they informed her that it was useless for her to ask them to desist for they intended to destroy the house and all its contents, and they proceeded to set the dwelling on fire. Knowing now that she was contending against robbers, theives, and men of desperate characters and while they were cursing and abusing her with harsh words she quit talking to them in a humiliating manner and become greatly angered at them and told them they were nothing but mean wretches. She stood off several yards from the burning building. Her two children were clinging to her dress tail crying and sobbing as if their hearts were broken. Mother with tear stained cheeks were hurling cutting words at the heartless men until one of them ran up to her and snatched her bonnet off her head and with a boastful laugh tossed It into the flames. The others cheered this satanic man in humane form finding that it was useless to remain longer she picked up her two children and turned her face toward Lebanon which was more than 20 miles away, and started off leaving the thieves and marauders to exult over their heathen work and after a tedious and tiresome journey for she was compelled to carry Nancy nearly all the way she arrived at her destination and reported the loss to my stepfather.
Springfield-Greene County Library