History of Greene County, Missouri

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian

Chapter 14
History of the County from April, 1865 to 1870

Part 1
1865 — "The Martyr President" — New Appointments — Adoption of the "Drake" Constitution — Vote on the Question in Greene County — The Famous 3d Section — The "Oath of Loyalty," etc. — Miscellaneous Matters in the Summer of 1865 — August — September — The Soldiers' Orphans' Home — Good-Bye to the Boys in Blue — The Last Armed Federal Soldier Leaves the County — October — November — Miscellaneous County Court Proceedings. 1866 — Supervisors of Registration — Radical Mass Meeting — A Shooting Scrape — The Reign of the Regulators — Details of the Murder of Capt. G. B. Phillips — Hanging of Rush and Gorsuch — Parade of the Regulators — Murder of Rev. S. S. Headlee — The November Election — County Court Proceedings — Miscellany


The news of the assassination of President Lincoln was received in Greene county with profound regret. In Springfield many business houses were closed, and the town was generally draped in mourning. April 18th, funeral ceremonies in honor of the distinguished dead were held. There were speeches and addresses, a procession, etc. A few rantankerous Confederate sympathizers in the county expressed their delight and satisfaction because the President had been killed, and a few "tom-fool" Radicals wanted to show their great grief by killing every unarmed "rebel sympathizer," but the great majority of the people behaved with becoming propriety during the excitement. [484]


In April, under the "ousting ordinance" of the State Constitution, Gov. Fletcher removed M. J. Hubble (Democrat), clerk of the circuit court, and appointed R. A. C. Mack (Radical) in his stead. Mr. Mack had previously been school commissioner. Col. J. W. Lisenby was appointed clerk of the county, probate and comnon pleas courts; the last two named courts had been united by another ordinance. Col. L. entered on his duties May 1.

May 11, Hon. S. H. Boyd was appointed by Gov. Fletcher circuit judge for this court, vice Judge Waddill, removed. Maj. Robt. W. Fyan was appointed prosecuting attorney. All of the new appointees were Radical Republicans. When it came to holding offices in those days, no Democrat needed to apply. Judges Bay and Dryden, of the Supreme Court (Democrats), who had been elected in 1863, we're removed by force, being placed under arrest by the police of St. Louis for refusing to vacate when ordered, they holding the ousting ordinance to be unconstitutional. Those who were removed in Greene county submitted without an audible murmur!


On the 18th of April, the State Convention, by a vote of 38 to 14, adopted an entirely new constitution of the State, which was to be presented to the voters for adoption on the 6th of June. For this constitution Mr. Mack, the delegate from Greene, voted. The canvass which succeeded was one of great bitterness. Although the war was practically over, all of the regular Confederate armies having surrendered, and the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, a close prisoner, yet a few guerillas and bushwhackers continued in existence in this State, to the detriment of the peace and safety of the sections which they infested. The presence of these villains furnished an excuse for keeping bands of the military in the field, in many counties, to "preserve the peace," hold the guerillas in check, and punish them for disorders. [485]

All of those who had participated in, or given any sort of voluntary aid or encouragement to, the rebellion or the Confederate cause, were, by the 3d section of the proposed new constitution, debarred from voting or holding office, as well as from teaching, preaching, practicing law, etc. And all such were prohibited from voting for or against the adoption of the constitution! A spirit of unrest and malevolence, hatred and ill-will, prevailed among our people, and the character of the issues discussed, to say nothing of the discussions themselves, was not calculated to restore an era of good feeling or cause the two factions to make haste to clasp hands over the bloody chasm. Hundreds of our tax-payers, many of them old and honored citizens, noncombatants during the war and men of education and influence, were disfranchised by the 3d section, and denied the privilege of the ballot in the decision of the great issue before the State—that issue being the adoption or rejection of an organic law, which was to govern them and their children after them.

On the other hand, the Radicals and friends of the new constitution maintained that citizens who, by overt or covert acts, had attempted to destroy their government; who had, by fighting against the Federal Government, "committed treason," or in deeds, words and sympathy, given encouragement to those who had, were not and could not be proper recipients of the ballot. It was further alleged that, had the Confederate armies succeeded, and Missouri become in fact and indeed one of the Confederate States, then every Union man in the State might have considered himself truly fortunate if he had been allowed to live in Missouri; that no Union soldier, or military man, or those who had sympathized with either, would have been allowed a vote; and that, in all probability, Gen. Price's threat, made in the fall of 1861, would have been carried out and the $250,000,000 worth of property belonging to the Union people of the State would have been confiscated for the benefit of those who had remained loyal to the Confederate cause, and suffered thereby, etc., etc.

In the whole State only 85,478 votes (including soldiers' votes), were cast at the election adopting the new constitution, as follows: For, 43,670; against, 41,808; majority for, 1,862—a very small majority, indeed, to decide so important a question. The constitution went into effect on the 4th of July following. At this election, Greene county cast a much larger vote than many of her sister counties with equal or larger population. The following was the vote by townships, showing an overwhelming majority in favor of the constitution. [486]


Townships and Military Company



Campbell, 1st Precinct



Campbell 2d Precinct


















Pond Creek












Second Battalion 14th Mo. Cavalry






Majority for the constitution, 863.


"The 3d section," frequently mentioned in these pages, referred to section 3 of article 2 of the constitution known as Drake's constitution,1 or the constitution of 1865. This section was as follows:


Sec. 3. At any election held by the people under this constitution, or in pursuance of any law of this State, or any ordinance or by-law of any municipal corporation, no person shall be deemed a qualified voter who has ever been in armed hostility to the United States, or to the lawful authorities thereof, or to the Government of this State; or has ever given aid, comfort, countenance, or support to persons engaged in any such hostility; or has ever, in any manner, adhered to the enemies, foreign or domestic, of the United States, either by contribution to them, or by unlawfully sending within their lines money, goods, letters, or information; or has ever disloyally held communication with such enemies, or has ever advised, or aided any person to enter the service of such enemies; or has ever, by act or word, manifested his adherence to the cause of such enemies, or his desire for their triumph over the armies of the United States, or his sympathy with those engaged in exciting or carrying on rebellion against the United States; or has ever, except under overpowering compulsion, submitted to the authority, or been in the service of the so-called "Confederate States of America;" or has ever left this State, and gone within the lines of the armies of the so-called "Confederate States of America" with the purpose of adhering to said States or armies, or has ever been a member of, or connected with, any order, society, or organization inimical to the government of the United States, or to the government of this State; or has ever been engaged in guerilla warfare against loyal inhabitants of the United States, or in that description of marauding commonly known as "bushwhacking;" or has ever knowingly or willingly harbored, aided, or countenanced any person so engaged; or has ever come into, or has ever left this State for the purpose of avoiding enrollment for, or draft into the military service of the United States; or has ever, with a view to avoid enrollment in the militia of this State, or to escape the performance of duty therein, or for any other purpose, enrolled himself, or authorized himself to be enrolled, by or before any officer as disloyal or as a southern sympathizer, or in any other terms indicated his disaffection to the government of the United States in its contest with the rebellion, of his sympathy with those engaged in such rebellion, or having ever voted at any election by the people of this State, or in any other of the United States, or in any of their territories, or held office in this State or any other of the United States, or in any of their territories, or under the United States, shall thereafter have sought or received, under claim of alienage, the protection of any foreign government, through any consul, or other officer thereof, in order to secure exemption from military duty in the militia of this State, or in the army of the United States; nor shall any such person be capable of holding in this State any office of honor, trust, or profit under its authority; or of being any officer, councilman, director, trustee, or other manager of any corporation, public or private, now existing, or hereafter established by its authority; or of toting as a professor or teacher in any educational institution, or in any common or other school; or of holding any real estate or any property in trust for the use of church, religious society, or congregation.

But the foregoing provisions in relation to acts done against the United States, shall not apply to any person nor a citizen thereof, who shall have committed such acts while in the service of some foreign country at war with the United States, and who has, since such acts, been naturalized, or may hereafter be naturalized under the laws of the United States; and the oath of loyalty hereafter prescribed, when taken by any such person, shall be considered as taken in such sense.

The "oath of loyalty" to be taken pursuant to the foregoing section was as follows:
I, A. B., do solemnly swear that I am well acquainted with the terms of the third section of the second article of the constitution of the State of Missouri, adopted in the year 1865, and have carefully considered the same; that I have never, directly or indirectly, done any of the acts in said section specified; that I have always been truly and loyally on the side of the United States, against all enemies thereof, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States, and will support the constitution and laws thereof as the supreme law of the land, any law or ordinance of any State to the contrary notwithstanding; that I will, to the best of my ability, protect and defend the Union of the United States, and not allow the same to be broken up and dissolved, or the government thereof to be destroyed or overthrown, under any circumstances, if in my power to prevent it; that I will support the constitution of the State of Missouri, and that I make this oath without any mental reservation or evasion, and hold it to be binding upon me. [489]

The following are other choice extracts from Article II of the "Draconian code," referring to the oath of loyalty:

SEC. 9. No person shall assume the duties of any State, county, city, town, or other office, to which he may be appointed, otherwise than by a vote of the people; nor shall any person, after the expiration of sixty days after this constitution takes effect, be permitted to practice as an attorney or counselor at law; nor, after that time, shall any person be competent as a bishop, priest, deacon, minister, elder, or other clergyman of any religious persuasion, sect, or denomination, to teach, or preach, or solemnize marriages; unless such person shall have first taken, subscribed and filed said oath.

SEC. 11. Every court in which any person shall be summoned to serve as a grand or petit juror, shall require him, before he is sworn as a juror, to take said oath in open court; and no person refusing to take the same shall serve as a juror.

No wonder the ex-Confederates and those who sympathized with them hated intensely the Drake constitution, and still retain vivid and bitter memories of the days when it was in force. Happily those days have passed, and with them nearly all of the bitterness and animosities then engendered.

By another section of Article II, every person holding any office of honor, trust, or profit in this State, whether under the authority of the State or any municipal corporation, was required to take the oath within 60 days after the adoption of the constitution. By August 15 no less than 87 office-holders in this county had complied with the law in this particular.

1 So-called because the leading spirit in its construction was Hon. Chas. D. Drake, of St. Louis, who, prior to the war, was a strong pro-slavery man.


Owing to the presence at Springfield of large quantities of government stores, the general hospital for the Army of the Frontier, and the fact that it was headquarters for the district of Springfield, commanded by Gen. John B. Sanborn, troops were stationed here until in the fall of the year, growing smaller by decrees and beautifully less each month, however. On the 18th of May Gen. Mullings accepted the appointment of colonel of the 12th regiment of "Missouri Militia," or M. M., an organization gotten up in 1865 to "preserve the peace." There were two regiments of the "M. M." organized in Greene county. Jacob Hursh was colonel of the other regiment the 18th. Gen. Mullings was placed in command of all the militia in this district. {490]

In June a church building belonging to the negroes of Springfield was burned by an incendiary fire. It had been used as a school building for some time.

About the first of the month there was quite a temperance revival in the place, a reformation badly needed at that time, as there were a great many hard characters in the town then, and consequently much drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Gamblers, thieves, bullies and prostitutes infested the place, and came near running it, despite the provost guards and the orders of the military commandants. On the 20th the soldiers not drunk, quarreled and fought among themselves, and one of them, without provocation, shot a negro named Dick Hornbuckle.

June 9th, the citizens met and passed resolutions complimentary to Gen. John B. Sanborn, who had been ordered from the command of the district of Springfield to go against the Indiana in Colorado. Gen. S.'s administration in Springfield gave very general satisfaction, and to this day he has many friends and admirers in Greene county. Gen. Sanborn was succeeded in the command of the district by Brig.-Gen. McKean, who came in June 20.

On the 25th of June about 75 ex-Confederates, from the old trans-Mississippi army, passed through the county on their way to their homes in various parts of the Southwest. They were kindly treated by the Federal soldiers at Springfield.

July 6th one battalion of the 14th Missouri cavalry, Col. Gravelly's regiment, which had been stationed in this county for some time, left for Fort Riley, Kansas, intending to accompany Gen. Sanborn against the Indiana. During the summer many bodies of Federal troops were ordered to Springfield to be paid off and mustered out of service. July 13, two regiments were so disposed of about the 1st of July the stage made its first regular trip between Springfield and Neosho since 1861. During the months of June and July Col. John D. Allen, 16th Missouri cavalry; Col. Thos. Derry, 2d Wisconsin cavalry; Col. Dudley Seward and Maj. Albert Barnitz, the two latter of the 2d Ohio cavalry, were successively in command of the post or sub-district of Springfield. The 2d Wisconsin left for Fort Leavenworth July 20th —On the 27th the general hospital at Springfield was reduced to a post hospital, and placed in charge of Dr. Moxley. Dr. H. S. Chenoweth had been relieved as surgeon of the post some days before and returned to his practice in this county. [490]

August.—The men in the employ of the government at Springfield were few, but they were turbulent and some of them very wicked. August 4, in a quarrel, Jerome Leeper, a bad character and in the Government service, shot and killed another employee, a man 45 years of age, from Iowa. Leeper had been released from confinement in the stockade, only a few days before. He made good his escape.—August 10, the fourth anniversary of the battle of Wilson's Creek, the siege guns which had been planted in the forts at Springfield were started for Rolla, escorted by two companies of the 2d Ohio cavalry. Other ordnance and the ordnance stores soon followed. In a few days four other companies of the 2d Ohio left for St. Louis to be mustered out. There were left behind four other companies of the same regiment to guard the other government stores left behind, and it was announced that as soon as these stores should be disposed of the soldiers would leave. Military encampments and buildings now began to disappear quite rapidly. The soldier's occupation was gone, and he began to beat his sword into a plowshare and fashion his bayonet into a pruning hook. August 10 a meeting was held at the court-house in Springfield for the formation of a society whose purpose should be the erection of a monument on the Wilson's Creek battle ground to the memory of the Federals who had fallen there four years before to a day. Jacob Baughman presided over this meeting, and Judge S. H. Boyd was secretary. An organization was effected by the choice of R. J. McElhany as president of the association, John A. Mack vice president, and other prominent citizens as members. Nothing ever came of the matter of a substantial character. [491]

September.About the 1st of this month, a school mistress, plying her profession in this county, was forced to give up her school because she could not take the "oath of loyalty" required by the Drake constitution, inasmuch as she had sympathized with the Confederate cause. At the same time it was believed that other teachers were at work with far less scruples about the binding force of the oath. On the 18th there was a great sale of government property at Springfield by Quartermaster R. B. Owen. There were sold for cash 460 head of horses, 35 mules, 17 oxen, 322 sets of harness, 56 wagons, blacksmiths' and carpenters' tools, etc., etc. The horses, many of them good ones, brought an average of about $40 a piece.—During this month corn fell to 20 cents per bushel; meal, 50 cents; potatoes, 50 cents, and other articles of produce sold in proportion. Owing to the fondness of the soldiers for fresh pork, when they were here, there was a great scarcity of stock horses in the county, and these animals were very dear. On the 12th the post hospital at Springfield was broken up, and the sick soldiers, only four in number, were sent to Rolla. Dr. Moxley, the surgeon in charge, started for his home in Ohio the same day to be mustered out of service.—About the 10th Brevet Brig. Gen. John E. Phelps and Capt. Orr, both late of the 2d Arkansas Cavalry, arrived at their Greene county homes.


For some time an association of ladies had been formed in this county whose object was the maintenance of an asylum or "home" wherein the orphans of Federal soldiers who had died in the civil war could be cared for until they reached an age when they could care for themselves. At the head of this association was Mrs. Mary Phelps, wife of Hon. John S. Phelps. For her services in caring for the body of Gen. Lyon, and the valuable assistance rendered the Union army generally, Congress had given Mrs. Phelps the sum of $20,000, and this she had mainly expended in fitting up the "home" and in caring for its inmates. The home was situated at first in the east part of town and then removed south of Springfield a mile or so, and the building still stands.

For the purpose of caring for her charges properly, Mrs. Phelps resolved to get up a fair in Springfield this fall, the proceeds to go towards defraying certain necessary expenses of the orphans. In explanation Mrs. Phelps published the following card in the Springfield newspapers, about the middle of September. [492]


The fair for the orphans will be opened at the court-house on the 17th of October. Since notice was published that there would be a fair to raise funds for the relief of orphans, many inquiries have been made of me. I will here state, that there may be no misunderstanding, the fair is not gotten up by the ladies of the Orphans' Home Association to raise funds to purchase a permanent home; but by myself, with the aid of every lady who feels interested in the comfort of the orphan and half orphan children under my care. The funds raised by the fair are to be put to immediate use. We wish to lay in wood and provisions for the winter; the house must have some repairs, and it is very desirable a fence should be put around the house, and if every lady will contribute the "widow's mite," we shall have abundance to make these dear children comfortable through the winter. All the ladies who feel interested, and will give their assistance will meet Saturday evening, at Mrs. E. M. Bowren's at 7 o'clock, for consultation and arrangements.
Mary Phelps.

Of the fair, and its originator, the following was said at the time by the Warrensburg (Mo.) Tribune:

That excellent lady, Mrs. J. S. Phelps, of Springfield, Mo., is still engaged in deeds of charity. From the day the remains of Gen. Lyon were brought to her house from the battle-field, she has ceased not to give herself to serving soldiers, refugees, the sick and the wounded. The orphans of those who have fallen in this cruel war came in for a large share of her charity and beneficence. She proposes in a card in the Springfield papers to have a fair by the ladies of that city in order to provide for orphans before the coming of winter. How chilly this world would be if there were no good women in it.


During the month of September the last squad of Federal soldiers stationed in this county left for their homes and to engage in other avocations. These troops belonged to the 2d Ohio Cavalry. On the 7th of September the four companies that had remained at Springfield to care for the government property took up the line of march for Rolla, leaving about 20 men behind. Five days afterward Capt. Hillhouse, with 20 more men returned and took command of the post. These 40 soldiers were all that were left in Southwest Missouri at this time, where so many thousands had been but a year before, and they were only waiting "marching orders" to take their departure for their homes off in the Buckeye State.

And at last "marching orders" came. On the morning of the 23d the bugler of the little troop stood out and sounded his bugle a merry fanfare as be blew out the notes clear and strong of the "boots-and-saddles" call. How he blew, that bugler! Blew as if he would. burst his cheeks. Blew till he "set the wild echoes flying" down the now peaceful valley of Wilson's creek, and over and among the Ozarks far and wide, letting all the people know that at last the dreadful reign of blood and madness in Greene county was over, indeed, and for good! [493]

Later in the day the company, Hillhouse at its head, fully equipped for a march, save in the matter of ammunition, road merrily through Springfield, taking St. Louis street that led out upon the wire road which in turn led on to Rolla, and still on to Ohio. As they rode through the town., the men called out, part in jest and part in earnest, part in glee and part in sadness, "good-bye" to everybody they saw. "Good-bye, sweetheart," "Good-bye, judge," "Good-bye, Johnny," "Good-bye, my friend," "Good-bye, Mr. Blank," "Good-bye, auntie," "Good-bye, Springfield." At the top of the little eminence on the St. Louis road, just east of where the poor- house now stands, the little column halted—the little column of 40 men that was the rear guard of the entire Federal army, gigantic in all its parts, that had been called the Army of the Frontier. "Three cheers for the people of Springfield," demanded Captain Hillhouse, and they were given with a will. Then the captain and the bugler rode out and faced the town. Winding his clear-voiced horn loud and melodious, the trumpeter, rising in his stirrups with the effort, blew out the sad notes of the "retreat." When the echoes had died and the strains were floating faintly away, the two men took their places again at the head of the company, and so passed out of sight and away the last of the blue-coats.

The ex-Confederate soldier, at work in his field, striving to repair his wasted farm and mend his broken fortunes, heard the bugle call, saw the little cavalcade in blue, knew what it all meant, and, resting upon his implement, mused a long time. The maiden waved a snowy scarf and gazed after the soldiers until they passed out of sight, although she had seen thousands of soldiers marching before. All the people called out to the men with a queer feeling at the heart they had never felt before, and gazed after them as they ambled away toward the point of compass from whence comes the rosy sunrise. [494]

October.On the 9th a little son of R. G. Strickland, living six miles from Springfield, fell into a kettle of boiling lye, and was scalded to death.— On the 21st there was a Democratic meeting at Springfield, the first since the close of the war. Only a small number of the "unterrified were present, the Democrats in this county at that day being few and full of discouragement. Col. John S. Phelps called the meeting to order, and John Woods presided. Resolutions were adopted endorsing President Johnson's policy toward the subjugated Southern States and approving the, holding of a mass convention of the Democrats at St. Louis. Speeches were made by Phelps and Woods, who exhorted the brethren to hold out faithful and not to be cast down, because of their present forlorn condition and gloomy prospects.— On the night of the 23d John Q. Appleby, living five miles northeast of Springfield, was robbed of $600 in cash and $700 in notes by three men, unknown. The robbers called at the house and asked to be allowed to stay all night. Mr. A. had retired and his two sons went out to the gate and were made prisoners. They were guarded by one of the brigands, while the other two went into the house and did the robbing. The guard said that they were professional robbers, and that the business was fairly profitable.—The proceeds of the soldiers' orphans' fair, held on the 26th, were $442.90, of which Mrs. E. M. Boren received over $200. The fair was adjourned until December 24.

November.On the 16th Capt. R. J. McElhany obtained a charter for the 1st National Bank of Springfield. The capital stock was $150,000.—About the last of the month there was great interest felt throughout the county in the proposed extension of the "South-west Branch" of the Pacific (now the "Frisco" road) to Springfield.


April 3. —S. F. Gibson was appointed county collector for two years, vice A. M. Julian.—County treasurer's salary was fixed at $250 per year, the same as it had been for three or four years past.—R. A. C. Mack, had been performing the duties of county school commissioner for 16 months.—County court justices commenced getting $5 per day.

April 5. — John A. Mack appointed and commissioned judge of the probate and common pleas court, under the "ousting ordinance." In August Al. Demuth was appointed deputy clerk.

April 15. —J. W. D. L. F. Mack, was appointed county attorney until April 1, 1866, at a salary of $400 per year. —The order heretofore made for collector and treasurer to receive tuition military bonds, rescinded, and a new order made, authorizing these officers to receive 50 per cent of the county revenue proper in these bonds.

June 1.—J. W. Lisenby was appointed county agent to collect military claims, vice, R. A. C. Mack.

July 3. —The county treasurer was ordered by the county court to allow the county attorney five per cent. commission, to be taken out of the interest of all money collected by him on notes in favor of the school, road, and canal funds.

October 3. —A vacancy existing in the office of county surveyor, the county court orders its clerk to recommend John L. McCraw to the Governor for appointment.

December 26. —The collector returns his land and personal delinquent list for this year, amounting to $1,973.34, of which $642.57, was county tax, $579.42 State, and $751.35 military tax. Also a personal income tax list amounting to $546.06.

December 31. - The total receipts into the county treasury this year were only $784.62 in the revenue fund., but the collector had on hand over $3,000 not paid over to the treasurer.


March 23, Judge Alexander Younger, in Texas, to which State he had removed prior to 1850, aged 80. —June 22, Rev. Thomas Potter, aged 73. —May 3, Judge John Dade. —November 29, Joseph Farrier, of consumption, aged about 55. —October 5, wife of L. A. D. Crenshaw, aged 37. —About November 1, Col. Jacob Hursh. —November 14, James E. Danforth.


In February the Governor appointed John L. McCraw supervisor of the registration of voters for Greene county. Mr. McCraw appointed the following officers to assist him: For Taylor township, John W. Smith; Clay, Asa Lyman; Wilson, Wm. T. Ward; Pond Creek, Hugh Boyd; Center, L. D. O. Nicholson; Campbell, L. A. Rountree; Jackson, A. J. Potter; Robberson, James K. Alsup; Cass, Stephen H. Julian; Boone, R. S. Waddill.

On the 1st of November the register announced the number of legally qualified voters in the several townships of the county to be as follows:

Campbell township


Jackson township




Pond Creek














Total number of voters entitled to vote under the Drake constitution, 1,651, of which, it was estimated, about 1,200 would vote the Radical ticket. [496]


In the winter of 1866 upon the precipitancy of the quarrel between President Johnson and the Radical majority in Congress, the Radicals of Greene county early ranged themselves against the President. March 3d, a mass meeting was held in the court-house at Springfield to endorse the action of Congress in passing the Freedman's Bureau Bill over the President's veto.

A. B. Matthews was chairman and J. W. Lisenby secretary of this meeting. Speeches were made by R. W. Fyan, Col. Baker, John A. Mack, Lieut. Creighton and Mr. Kneeland, all endorsing Congress and condemning the President. The following resolutions, among, others, were unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That the late acts of Andrew Johnson have been such as to utterly destroy our faith in his integrity, and that we henceforth utterly abjure all party allegiance to him whatsoever.
Resolved, That we are not only proud of the fact that we are Radicals, but still prouder of the fact that we are Missouri Radicals.

The committee on resolutions was composed of Sam. Kneeland, J. H. Creighton, James Vaughan, A. J. Potter and H. G. Mullings.


March 24, a Mr. Wright, a newcomer, from Illinois, living on Mrs. Campbell's farm, south of Springfield, was shot and badly wounded by James Robertson, in a wanton, wicked manner. Robertson and two men named Settles were returning from Springfield, much under the influence of liquor. One of the Settles brothers was so drunk that he could not well sit his horse. Coming up with Wright, who was driving in a wagon, the party demanded that he should haul the drunken man home. He refused, saying he and his team were too tired, whereupon Robertson drew his pistol and fired, hitting Wright in the neck. Robertson was released on $1,500 bail.


During the spring and summer of this year there was much excitement throughout the country occasioned by the doings of the "Regulators." For some time there had been a great deal of lawlessness in this county and in Southwest Missouri generally. Robberies and horse stealings were so common as to be every day occurrences, and even murders were not rare. It seemed that there was an organized band responsible for these depredations, since there was something of method and system about their perpetration, indicating deliberation and much wise planning. Few of the rogues were caught; fewer still were punished. Courts of justice seemed powerless to afford relief; the legal officers were unable to give protection. [497]

At this crisis there was organized in this county, with headquarters at and about Walnut Grove, a band of men called the "Regulators," or "Honest Men's League," whose avowed object was the repression and punishment of crime of all sorts, and by any means. This organization was composed of men of both political parties and of all of the reputable classes. It may have contained some bad men, but it had many good men in it. Ex-Federal and ex-Confederate soldiers were numbered among its members, and, indeed, among its victims. Some of the best citizens of Boone, Cass, Robberson and Walnut Grove townships were "Regulators," and it was publicly and openly announced that the object of their organization was to rid the country of thieves and robbers, through the forms of law if possible, but if necessary to execute justice on the guilty in its own way, on the grounds of necessity and in self-defense.

About the last of May the "Regulators" began to move in earnest, taking the law in their own hands. Their first victim was Capt. Green B. Phillips, of Cass township. Capt. Phillips had been a prominent citizen of Greene, and had been in the Federal service during the war in this county. He was a captain in the 74th E. M. M., and did valiant and valuable service at the defense of Springfield as is noted on other pages of this volume. But he incurred the suspicion and fell under the ban of the "Regulators," as a sympathizer with and an aider and abettor of crime and criminals, and was taken from his family and made to yield up his life as a penalty.

Capt. Phillips lived about two miles northeast of Cave Springs. Early one morning about the 23d of May, in this year (1866) he was at his corn-crib getting corn to feed his stock. A night or two before, the "Regulators" had met in secret conclave, passed sentence of death upon him and detailed three men to carry it out. These three men had come to the captain's premises about daylight and secreted themselves near the stable, where they knew he would come early to attend to his "chores."2 [498]

2 The particulars here given have been obtained from a man, a resident of Cass township, and who says he knows they are true!

About sunrise Capt. Phillips appeared, and, entering his crib, began husking corn. He was unarmed, and the first intimation he received of danger was when, on looking up, he saw three formidable looking revolvers covering him through the cracks between the logs of the crib. Two of the "destroying angels" kept him covered, while the third went to the crib door and ordered him out. He obeyed and was placed between two of the men, each of whom held him by an arm, while the other followed in the rear. They had proceeded only about twenty feet toward the gate leading to the timber, whither they were carrying him, when Capt. Phillips, who was a man of great strength, jerked loose from his captors and started to run. He ran about thirty feet and stumbled and fell over a hog that chanced to lie in his way. As he rose to his feet he was shot by two of the "Regulators," one of the bullets passing through his body, making three, distinct bullet holes. As a stable stood between the crib and the house, none of the captain's family could see and identify the assassins.

There have always been those who asserted that Capt. Phillips was put to death without just cause or provocation; that through friendship he had befriended certain men accused of crime, but that he hid never committed himself or induced others to commit a crime of which he ever shared the profits. This may be true—it may be true.

But the "Regulators" were not yet satisfied. Other victims were demanded, and so a few days later, or on the 26th of May, they visited Walnut Grove, and made prisoners of two men named John Rush and Charlie Gorsuch, who, it was said, were among the thieves and robbers that had so long terrorized the country. The two accused were taken out and in less than an hour their dead bodies swung and swayed in the soft May breezes, and there were but few who cared to honor their memory or express regret either at the fact or the manner of their taking off.

From members of the "Regulators" willing to give information for the purposes of history, it has been learned that Rush and Gorsuch were ex-members of the Federal militia. Gorsuch had married, Rush's daughter. A day or two after the killing of Capt. Phillips, they went to Walnut Grove and in denouncing the murder made threats against two of the "Regulators," who, they asserted, were the assassins. [499]

It chanced that a meeting of the "Regulators" was being held on that day at the Rice school house, northeast of Walnut Grove. Some parties bore word to the meeting of the presence of the two men in Walnut Grove, and their threats were repeated. The "Regulators" immediately went into executive session, passed a sentence of death on Rush and Gorsuch, and straightway proceeded to Walnut Grove to carry it out. They entered the village from four different directions, found their victims in a store, made them prisoners, carried them about a mile southwest of town, and hung them to a red-bud tree.

Other work of the "Regulators" was the assisting of Deputy Sheriff Isaac Jones in the arrest of some parties near Walnut Grove, who were charged with stealing. Seven of those arrested were confined in jail. The names of all arrested were Joseph Mullinax, Jackson Smith, Samuel Richards, Jasper Fly, James Davis, John Perryman, Donnell Cochran, and Marion Fortune. These men were arrested about the 6th of June. Some of them were afterwards bailed out, whereupon the "Regulators" published the following card, being determined that the accused should be brought to trial, without any nonsense about change of venue, continuances, and other devices incident to the " law's delay." As published, the card read:

Headquarters Regulators, Walnut Grove, June 16, 1866
To the Citizens of Southwest Missouri:
We, the Regulators, organized to assist in the enforcement of the civil law, and to put down an extensive thieving organization, known to exist in our midst, having succeeded in arresting and commuting to jail a number of persons charged with grand larceny, robbing and general lawlessness, whom we believe to be bad men; and finding several of them have been bailed out, thereby extending to them all opportunity of again putting into execution their diabolical purposes of robbing, plundering and murdering their neighbors: Therefore, we hereby give notice, that all persons bailing such parties out of jail will be regarded as in sympathy if not in full cooperation with such, and will be held strictly responsible for the conduct and personal appearance at court for trial, of all persons thus bailed out of jail.
Emphatically by the Regulators.

After the banning of Rush and Gorsuch the "Regulators" concluded to make a display of their force and an open defense of their action. About the 1st of June 280 of them rode into Springfield, formed in a hollow square, in front of the court-house, on the public square, and organized a meeting. Speeches were made by Rev. Mr. Brown, a Presbyterian minister; Major Downing, Col. James H. Baker, and Senator J. A. Mack, sympathizing with the purposes and justifying the action of the "Honest Men's League" or "Regulators," although deploring the necessity for such an organization. On the other hand Hon. John M. Richardson and Col. John S. Phelps spoke discountenancing the "League," and condemning its action. They asserted that the civil law was all-powerful for the prevention and punishment of whatever of lawlessness there was in the country, and that all that was needed was its vigorous enforcement. They added that if the laws were not enforced by those whose duty it was to enforce them, the remedy lay in electing men who would do their duty, and not in taking upon themselves the province of court, jury, and executioner. [500]

The meeting adjourned, but the organization existed for some time, and it is claimed did far more good than harm, though in principle it may have been far wrong. Indeed, there are those who have since expressed a wish for the re-organization of the "Regulators."


July 26th of this year occurred the murder of Rev. S. S. Headlee, just across the line in Webster county, but near the northeast corner of Greene. Rev. Headlee was a minister of the M. E. Church South. At the breaking out of the war he espoused, in sympathy at least, the Confederate cause. It was charged that at one time, in 1861, he tore down a Union flag in his neighborhood and dared its friends to attempt its protection.

At the close of the war Mr. Headlee was appointed presiding elder of the M. E. Church South for this district, and began the work of reorganizing churches. He attempted to organize a church at Pleasant View, a church building claimed by both Northern and Southern Methodists. The neighborhood surrounding Pleasant View was at that time intensely Radical, and there was already a congregation of Northern Methodists, under the leadership of Rev. H. W. McNabb, in possession of the church. Rev. Headlee's announcement that he would preach at Pleasant View on a certain day was met by a remonstrance signed by 28 men of the community, notifying him that he would not be allowed to occupy the building, and warning him to keep away. As the Southern Methodists had a deed for the church site, and the building had been nearly completed by them, Mr. Headlee concluded to disregard the warning, which had been given to the press for publication, and make at least an attempt to possess the church building, which in truth had been completed and partially furnished in 1865 by the Northern Methodists. [501]

At the day appointed there was quite a crowd at Pleasant View, and intense excitement. The Radicals and Northern Methodists largely outnumbered Mr. Headlee and his friends, and not only refused to give up the church, but declared that Mr. Headlee should not speak there, and there was a war of words between Revs. Headlee and McNabb for a time, the former reading from the discipline of the church and from certain ecclesiastical authorities to show his right to the church, and the latter maintaining that all rights of Mr. H. and his friends had been forfeited and invalidated by their "treason and rebellion," as he called it. At last ten of the Northern Methodists stepped aside and after a brief consultation approached Rev. Headlee and said: "Mr. Headlee, we have heard enough from you,—it is time for you to leave." Headlee, thoroughly frightened, appealed to Rev. McNabb for protection, and the latter replied that if he (Headlee) would leave and never come back he would not he hurt.

Headlee then asked if he might go upon his own land, half a mile south of Pleasant View, and preach to those who desired to hear him. McNabb replied, "Yes, you may preach to your own rebel brethren, on your own land, as much as you please." Headlee then asked if he would be followed. McNabb and the leader of the ten replied, " No." The congregation then broke up, but Mr. Headlee had not proceeded more than a quarter of a mile when he was fired upon and mortally wounded. Two balls passed through his body, and he died within a few minutes. Rev. McNabb stated that he saw Headlee after he was shot and before he died, and that he declared that the man who shot him had a scar on his face.

This was the way that brethren and followers of the meek and lowly Jesus dwelt together in unity in those days of the reconstruction period.

There was the most intense excitement, not only in Greene and Webster counties, but throughout the State, over the murder of Mr. Headlee, for murder it was, cold-blooded, heartless, and unextenuated. The unfortunate gentleman had many relatives in this county, many of whom had been strong Union men and were then earnest Radicals, and he had hosts of friends and admirers everywhere. The grand jury of Webster county indicted McNabb, but, upon his trial at Hartville, he was acquitted. He was always censured for his connection with the affair, and many believed that although he might not have fired the fatal shot he was the chief instigator in having it fired. Another man named Wm. Drake was also accused of having done the killing, and in August, 1871, was arrested. Upon his trial he was acquitted. For other particulars of this affair the reader is referred to a volume called "Martyrdom in Missouri." [502]


The political canvass of this year was of unusual interest. The "rebels" and the "rebel sympathizers" were all disfranchised, and, like the bound boy at the husking, could do nothing but look on and work while the others danced. None but the "truly loyal" could vote, but not all of the "truly loyal" were Radicals. John M. Richardson, Marcus Boyd, and John S. Phelps, all unconditional Union men from first to last, and all of whom fought at the head of Federal regiments during the war, were now the leaders of the Democratic and conservative Republicans, endorsing President Johnson's policy of reconstruction and claiming that now that the war was over, by-gones ought to be by-gones, the war issues, being dead, should be ignored, and the States lately in hostility to the general government restored to their original positions in the Union, under the constitution, with all their rights and privileges unimpaired.

The Radicals, as the Republicans were called, denounced Richardson and Andrew Johnson as renegades, and the Democrats as copperheads and sympathizers, and declared that "the rebels who brought on the war ought to be made to suffer for it;" that none but those who had always been loyal to the government were fit to govern it, and especially that "no man tainted with the leprosy of treason ought to be permitted to have a share in governing a country which he had tried to destroy, and whose father was George Washington."

In July the Republicans nominated Col. Joseph J, Gravelly, of Cedar county, for Congress. Later the Democrats and Johnson men, without a ghost of a chance of success, brought out Judge John S. Waddill, of this county. For State senator S. S. Headlee, of this county, and J. L. Bush were candidates. The Republicans of Greene nominated a fall county ticket, headed by Lucius A Rountree and Gen. Mullins for representatives. The other nominees were: For county justices, T. A. Reed, Benj. Kite, and Woodson Howard; for circuit clerk, J. W. Lisenby; county clerk, Albert Demuth; probate clerk, J. M. Rountree; sheriff, John A. Patterson; treasurer, James Abbott; supervisor of registration, J. L. McCraw; assessor, J. T. Walker; coroner, F. Scholten. [503]

The Democratic ticket was called the "National Union Ticket," and was made up of Democrats and conservative Republicans, as follows: For State superintendent of common schools, John F. Williams; for Congress, J. S. Waddill; for State senator, Maj. J. L. Rush; for circuit attorney, John R. Cox; for representatives, first district, Z. M. Rountree; second district, Capt. N. D. Jenkins; for circuit clerk, Maj. John Hursh; for county clerk, F. H. Warren; for clerk probate and common pleas court, Lieut. Wm. P. Doran; for sheriff, Capt. J. C. Hurd; for county treasurer, Wm. McAdams, Sr.; for superintendent common schools, Dr. T. W. Coltrane; for supervisor registration, Capt. Alfred M. Julian; for assessor, F. M. Thomson; for county justices, J. R. Earnest, Samuel Piper, and W. B. Farmer; for coroner, Chas. W. Scholten.

During the canvass, Republican meetings were held in Springfield, one of which, July 19th, was addressed by Chas. D. Drake, the so-called father of the "Drake constitution." The Democrats held but few meetings, and they were illy attended and spiritless affairs.

The election in November was of course an overwhelming triumph for the Republicans. Out of about 1,400 votes cast in this county they received an average of 1,075. For Congress the vote stood.



















Pond Creek


















For State Senator, Headlee received 1,068; Rush, 362.

In Jackson township five votes were rejected, by the board on account of the alleged "disloyalty" of the voters, who were C. W. Huff, W. W. Jeffrees, Alexander Grimes, Wm. Ezell, A. W. Parsons.

As showing the relative strength of the two political parties in certain counties of Southwest Missouri, at this time, the vote in this senatorial district, then the 19th, is herewith appended:


Headlee, Rad.

Rush, Dem.





















January 1, J. W. D. L. F. Mack was reappointed county attorney. —Almarine Holloway was appointed keeper of the county poor farm, vice G. W. Haynie.

b, J. M. Richardson was authorized to receive and receipt in the name of the county for $2,500, due from the United States for damage done to the court-house by Government troops during the war.

In March a county tax of 40 cents on the $100, and a poll of $1 were levied for this year.

April 3, John A. Patterson was appointed commissioner of public buildings, vice T. A. Reed resigned.—The county was divided into two representative districts. Thereafter Campbell township was to have only one voting precinct; because the State constitution required every man to vote in his own township.

April 4, Rev. L. M. Vernon was appointed to examine school teachers, and grant certificates.

May 14, H. S. Creighton was appointed county superintendent of common schools until one was elected, and was ordered to proceed at once to visit, organize and set in operation the several schools of the county; salary $3 per day for time actually employed.

July 17, J. M. Rountree was allowed $659.60, for making State and county assessments for the years 1861-5-6.

August 8, H. L. Trantham was reappointed deputy circuit clerk by R. A. C. Mack, which appointment was approved by Judge Fyan.

December 13, T. A. Reed took his seat as county justices and Judge Kite was reappointed justice for two years.


May 25, Col. Marcus Boyd was appointed register and S. M. Kneeland receiver of the U. S. land office in Springfield.

April 5, Hon. H. T. Blow, Judge Bates and Capt. James B. Eads, of St. Louis, visited this county in the interests of the Southwest branch railroad. Mr. Blow made a speech at Springfield.

A public meeting of the endorsers of President Johnson's policy of reconstruction was held at the county seat, May 31. Col. John M. Richardson, the original Lincoln Republican, made a strong speech, indorsing the President, denouncing the Freedman's Bureau Bill, the Civil Rights Bill, Congress, and the Radical Republicans of the North and South. A Col. Foster responded. [505]

A grand 4th of July celebration was held this year at Springfield, in Gott's grove. Addresses were delivered by Gov. Fletcher, Prof. Parker, the State School Superintendent, and others.

August 1, the ex-Federal soldiers held a meeting at the court-house to aid in securing the passage by Congress of the "equalization of bounties" bill. Col. R. W. Fyan presided.

October 20th, Geo. Bryant, living, on Wilson's creek, committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver. He left a family consisting of a wife and some small children.

In August Col. John M. Richardson, Col. Marcus Boyd, and Warren H. Graves attended President Johnson's "reconciliation" convention, at Philadelphia.

The spring of 1866 was very backward. By the 1st of June not half of the corn crop was planted, and May 29th a heavy frost fell greatly injuring early wheat and garden vegetables. In August, owing to its great scarcity, bacon sold at 30 cents per pound.

Among the prominent citizens of the county who died this year were Mrs. Louisa Campbell, widow of John P. Campbell, who died May 29th, and Col. Marcus Boyd, who died November 30th, honored and respected by all that know him. At the time of his death Col. Boyd was postmaster at Springfield. [506]

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