General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861

General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861

by

James Peckham, 1866

Introduced by G. E. Rule

James Peckham was a St. Louis Unionist and Republican member of the Missouri legislature in the period leading up to the Civil War. During the war he joined the Union army and eventually became Colonel of the 8th Missouri Infantry. Peckham’s connections to the group centered around Francis P. Blair, Jr. in early 1861 were extensive and close. In many instances it is clear that he is working directly from the personal papers and recollections of Blair, James O. Broadhead, and other members of the “Committee of Safety” and its allies. Peckham is listed on the roster of the “parent company” of the Union Home Guards in January 1861 —a company whose captain was Blair himself. Peckham is not just a chronicler of the events he describes; he was often an actor and first-hand observer as well.

In many ways, “General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861” is an unfortunate title for Peckham’s book. Indeed, a much more accurate title and authorship credit for this book would read “The Struggle for St. Louis in 1861” by “The Union Committee of Safety and Friends.” While of necessity any treatment of events in Missouri in 1861 must have Lyon near the center of the story, Peckham’s book is much more than the bio of Lyon that its title implies. It contains a wealth of anecdotes about lesser-known but interesting characters like J. Richard Barrett, Elton W. Fox, Charles Elleard, and many others that are not to be found anywhere else. Additionally, there are rosters of Union Home Guard companies, lists of financial contributors to the Union cause in Missouri, and just a general wealth of detail of interest to Civil War scholars and genealogists.

For 1866, well before the publication of any of the other well-known accounts of Missouri during the war, Peckham’s book is nothing short of amazing. Consider all the sources that were not available to Peckham yet –no Snead, McElroy, or Galusha Anderson. The publication of the Official Records of the Rebellion are still far in the future. Peckham’s book is clearly the “granddaddy” of much Missouri Civil War scholarship, relied on extensively by many of the authors who came later—sometimes to the detriment of the historical record in those instances where Peckham got it wrong.

Of course the downside of such an early account by an unapologetic Unionist, is that his access to Confederate sources was limited to rumor, spy reports, newspaper accounts, and captured correspondence. While this was often valuable and reasonably accurate, clearly Peckham is not the best source for what was going on inside secessionist circles. Additionally, there can be no doubt which side Peckham was on, and he is rarely in the mood to be fair-minded about Confederate actions, aims, and personalities. Peckham’s book is not, and makes no attempt to be, an uninterested and balanced account of events. Nevertheless, it is a very valuable contribution and should be read by anyone interested in St. Louis or Missouri during the Civil War.

Peckham’s book is 447 pages, organized into an introduction, four “books”, and an appendix. There are no chapters per se. We will be posting the entire text over time, separating each “book” and the appendix into three parts, and posting a part from time to time.

General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861

by James Peckham, 1866

Introduction
Sumter Part IPart IIPart III
Camp Jackson Part IPart IIPart III
The Harney Regime Part I – Part II – Part III
Wilson’s Creek Part I – Part II – Part III
Appendix Part I – Part II – Part III
Return to Civil War St. Louis



THIS MEMORIAL

OF

THE HEROIC ACTIONS AND DEATH

OF

NATHANIEL LYON

IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED TO

CHARLES M. ELLEARD, Esq.,

ONE OF HIS EARLY AND STEADFAST FRIENDS,

BY

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE.

I SUBMIT this volume to the considerate attention of my countrymen. It is published in order that those who succeed us may know how the men of this generation regarded Truth, and the attitude they assumed in its fearful struggle with Error. No period has been fraught with more momentous interests to humanity than this in which we are living. And no man ever more generously sacrificed himself in the maintenance of Right, or exhibited more religious deference to Justice, or a more gallant soldiership for Truth, than Nathaniel Lyon. No man ever sustained himself with greater nobility of personal deportment. The story of this hero and patriot will stimulate Age to regard patriotism with pious tenacity in the council, and Youth, in the spirit of real chivalry, to buckle on impervious armor for its defense in the field. In unfolding the stupendous drama of the time, the different characters necessary to the plot must find deliberate portrayal, and it is to the greater grandeur of the central figure that it is not obscured by such frequent mention of others. By Americans everywhere, but more especially by MISSOURIANS, the beautiful character of this son of Connecticut will be spoken of with pride, and treasured with reverence, while memory shall remain an attribute of man.

INTRODUCTION.

1860.

THE political contest in Missouri, in 1860, was between those who yielded unqualified obedience to the slave-power, and those who longed for relief from the impositions of the oligarchy. There were in the Democratic party leaders with sufficient influence to induce the party itself to espouse the cause of Douglas; but the selection for governor fell upon one of the most virulent nullifiers who had hounded the great Benton to his grave. Without the possession of more than ordinary sagacity, those leaders saw that the majority of the people, while tolerant toward slavery, were yet averse to secession, and, as Douglas was looked upon as a middle-man, they adopted the cheat of carrying into the gubernatorial chair, under his banner, one in whom they felt they could trust the interests of the South, in any emergency that might arise.

The results of the canvass in 1856 had awakened in the slaveholders gloomy apprehensions as to the security of the “institution.” That there should have been found in Missouri such a numerous body of citizens, forming almost a majority, arrayed against the “time-honored party,” in whose bosom slavery found the necessary aid and comfort, struck the oligarchy with fear and astonishment. Under the circumstances, (the national canvass of 1856,) a position against the Democracy in 1860 indicated alliance with the “Free-soilers.” The vote for Rollins, for Governor, in 1857, caused the tocsin of alarm to be sounded, and slavery, aroused to action, mustered into its service those fiercer passions of human nature, which subjugate the finer sensibilities, and tend to degrade the civilized man.

In 1860, the slaveholder determined to profit by experience. The bitter hate and the opprobrious epithets, which, in the old time, had been hurled against the far-off Garrisonian abolitionists, were launched with renewed force against any freeman who dared to differ from the Democracy. The support of Douglas was considered a sufficient concession to those who were afflicted with the possession of conscience; and when the obtuse voter failed to discover a satisfactory principle under the new guise, he was too often cowed down by a studied ruffianism, and if still persistent in his opposition, it was only to serve the pro-slavery policy from the Bell-Everett platform. While they opposed the Democracy, which they claimed to do as an organization, the Bell-Everetts were as bitter against the Republicans as were the slave-drivers themselves, making the extent of their abuse the measure of their apology for their points of difference from the oligarchy.

But in the whole State there were some twenty thousand Republicans, who were not to be deterred from the performance of their duty by any threat, not to be dismayed by the appearance of any danger. Only in St. Louis, however, did they maintain any kind of an organization, but in that city they were not only splendidly organized, but presented a very formidable front. It may have been that, by reason of three parties being in the field in each canvass, they generally held possession of a majority of the city and county offices; but there were wards in the city, where opposition to them was useless. In 1858 and 1859, Republican meetings were invariably disturbed by the partisans of slavery, who, from their hiding-places in the dark, frequently hurled missiles at the speakers, or rent the air with noisy exclamations of passionate hate or gross obscenity.

The leading spirit and chief adviser of the Republicans in 1860 and 1861 was Frank Preston Blair, Jr. who in the canvass of 1856, had whispered the magic word, EMANCIPATION. No history of Missouri in the momentous crisis of 1861 can possibly be complete without having that name stamped upon its pages in characters of splendid coloring. Himself a Southerner, and a slaveholder, the stereotyped cry of “Yankee prejudice,” “New England education,” and “Nigger equality” could not be raised against him in efforts to intensify passion and excite hate. His own personal courage and coolness, silenced the pretensions of the insolent, and forced opponents from the employment of abuse into the arena of debate, and there, before his exhaustive arguments and array of facts, the mailed squires of slavery were speedily unhorsed. Even in his personal intercourse with opposing partisans, in whose breasts were lurking the twin passions of hate and fear, he exhibited not only the courteousness of an affable gentleman, but an equanimity of temperament and apparent forgetfulness really wonderful. The antagonist who expected at the first meeting a rupture, because of bitter attacks made upon Mr. Blair in recent speeches, was surprised, in passing, at the placid countenance and nonchalance of manner of his political foe. This power over self, made Mr. Blair powerful with others. Serving a great cause in the interests of humanity, warring against an institution deep-seated in the hearts and purposes of a powerful class, he knew exactly the work before him, and the depths he would necessarily stir into fermentation. He made it his purpose to disregard passion, to answer declamation with argument, and to act in self-defense against ruffianly attack. His example was infused into his partisans. The effect was visible in the rapidly increasing growth of the Republican brotherhood and the permanent radiancy of the Republican idea.

Previous to 1860, the element which, in that year, formed the “Republican Party,” was known in St. Louis as the “Free Democratic Party,” but it was determined, in the winter of 1860 and 1861, that the name “Republican” should be adopted, and the party identify itself with the great anti-slavery party of the north. It was determined in a council of leaders, composed principally of O. D. Filley, John How, B. Gratz Brown, H. B. Branch, James O. Broadhead, Samuel T. Glover, Henry Boernstein, Charles L. Bernays, J. B. Gardenhire, Carl Daenzer, Allen P. Richardson, Ben. Farrar, Barton Able, Charles M. Elleard, James Castello, R. J. Howard, P. T. McSherry, Henry T. Blow, Alexis Mudd, Franklin A. Dick, Bernard Poepping, Wm. Doench, John H. Fisse, John O. Sitton, John M. Richardson—men representing different sections of the State, and who agreed with Mr. Blair—who corresponded from Washington City freely with his friends—that a State convention should be called, to meet in St. Louis, for the purpose of selecting delegates to attend the Chicago National Convention, and perfecting a State organization of the Republican party in Missouri.

The first convention of men in Missouri who were determined to take public position with the anti-slavery element of the North met, in obedience to a call which originated with the above gentlemen, in the small hall of the Mercantile Library building, on Saturday, May 10, 1860, and organized by choosing B. Gratz Brown, Chairman, and N. T. Doane, J. K. Kidd, Theophile Papin, and Charles Borg, Secretaries. In all the speeches and resolutions, there breathed nothing but the spirit of genuine freedom, and there was inaugurated an open and relentless warfare upon the project of slavery extension. Delegates to Chicago were chosen, and instructed to present the name of Edward Bates as the first choice of Missouri for the presidency of the Union.

Upon the return of the delegation from Chicago, a mass meeting of Republicans was held, at the south end of Lucas Market, to ratify the nomination of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Blair while speaking was frequently interrupted by yells and blasphemies from political opponents, but his successors upon the platform met with severer treatment. Some were hit by stones, others completely interrupted by gangs of rowdies, who rushed wildly through the crowd, causing indescribable commotion. Several fights occurred, in which several of the rioters were severely worsted, the meeting finally breaking up in a grand row. These scenes were terribly suggestive to some persons who were present, and resulted in an organization, which, in ability for self-defense, in thorough system and perfect understanding and purpose among members, has never been surpassed by any political club in America.

Thus originated the celebrated club of “St. Louis Wide Awakes.” When the summer canvass of 1860 opened, the Republicans were assured of complete protection at all their public gatherings. From their headquarters, (furnished gratis by a devoted friend, August Loehner, Esq.,) on the southeast corner of Seventh and Chestnut streets, the Wide Awakes marched in procession to the places of appointed political gatherings, and while the meeting continued, (if at night,) each man, with a lighted lamp placed securely on the end of a heavy stick, stationed himself on the outside of the assembled crowd, thus depriving ruffianly opponents of their hiding-places in the dark. At the first two meetings which the Wide Awakes thus attended, the enemy, not understanding the purposes of the club, began their usual serenade of yells and cheers, but they were speedily initiated into the mysteries of the new order; which initiation consisted in being besmeared with burning camphene, and vigorously beaten with leaded sticks. The least sign of disorderly conduct was the signal for an assault upon the offender, and if he escaped unmaimed he was lucky indeed. As the Republicans never disturbed the meetings of their adversaries, they determined to enjoy quietly their own, and this coming to be understood, there began to be perfect freedom of speech. Public meetings in St. Louis were now more orderly than in any other city in the Union.

It will be seen that this club of Wide Awakes was the basis of a military strength, which in the following year gave prompt response to the call of President Lincoln; and even earlier than that call, not only saved the arsenal, but maintained the cause of freedom and union at the February polls.

The Democracy—both wings—also had their clubs; the “Douglas Club,” “Constitutional Guards,” “Broom Rangers,” &c. The latter organization, in the Douglas interest, was the most effective of any on that side, and adopted the plan of the Wide Awakes in marching with lighted lamps to places of public meeting. The several clubs named, during the summer and fall campaigns of 1860, were upon the street every night (Sundays only excepted) for three weeks previous to the election day, and during the whole time, such were the admirable arrangements of their leaders, never once collided. But the Wide Awakes did not escape insult from bitter partisans on the sidewalks. Once only were they assailed with more than words, and on that occasion some rowdies threw stones into the Wide Awake procession, as it was returning to their headquarters from a public meeting. The latter chased their opponents to the Berthold mansion, on the corner of Fifth and Pine streets, the head quarters of the Douglasites. A brisk showering of stones soon demolished several windows of the building, and consequences still more serious would have ensued, had it not been for the personal efforts of J. Richard Barrett (the Democratic candidate for Congress) on the one side, and Charles M. Elleard, Esq., on the other, both of whom labored diligently to quiet the excited partisans.

In St. Louis, in the summer canvass of 1860, Mr. Blair was the Republican candidate for Congress, Mr. Albert Todd the Bell-Everett, and J. Richard Barrett the Democratic, both wings. There was also an election to fill a vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Mr. Blair, who had obtained a seat in the then Congress, by a vote of the House of Representatives ousting Mr. Barrett. Mr. Blair was defeated for the short term by a combination of causes, the principal of which were, first, a coalition between the Bell-Everetts and the Democrats, and secondly, a fraud in the circulation of a bogus ticket, which declared for Blair “for Congress,” but did not state “to fill vacancy.” Enough of such tickets were thrown out, which, if they had been counted, would have elected Mr. Blair. The latter was successful for the long term, by a large vote.

In that canvass the question of union and disunion was fully discussed and understood. While the Breckenridge wing of the Missouri Democracy made but a feeble public show, the majority of those who had places upon the ticket were known to be warm friends of the Southern cause. The difference in the attitude of the two wings of the Democracy was simply this: The Breckenridgers desired the election of Mr. Lincoln as a means of breaking up the union of the States; the Douglasites, boasting of political power in that union, maintained that it was their interest to remain there so long as they held such power, but they agreed with the Breckenridge men that, when that power passed away, the necessity for a dissolution would become immediate. I assert, without fear of contradiction, that there was not a single Democrat who remained with the party in 1860, who declared for unconditional unionism; and I assert with equal confidence that there was not a speaker who addressed the people from Democratic platforms in that canvass who did not encourage conditional secession. There was not a speaker in the Democratic party who did not add to secession tendencies by the most vulgar and inflammatory orations against the Republicans, while many declared themselves for the South. Some few of those men have since atoned for their fatal teachings by grasping Union muskets in the Federal army, while many others, warmed into repentance by the sheen of Northern guns, have further illustrated the temper and spirit of the apostate, in frothy declamation and bitter invective against the thoughtless youths whom they had led astray. The Bell-Everetts were as abusive as the Democracy.

But while in St. Louis, under “Wide Awake” protection and Blair example, the Republicans enjoyed comparative security, it was vastly different in every other place in the State. Mr. Blair and Judge William V. N. Bay arranged to speak at Ironton upon the topics of the day, but in order to secure them protection against murderous assault, some three hundred Wide Awakes accompanied them by special train of cars, engaged for the occasion. The slaveocracy attended the meeting with a predetermination to break it up, but they were so largely outnumbered that they acknowledged themselves flanked, and most of them dispersed, muttering in suppressed tones curses upon the “Abolitionists.” Samuel T. Glover, one of the most finished orators in the State, appointed with Mr. Blair to speak at Hannibal, but no Wide Awakes were there to protect them, and they were effectually interrupted by the opposition. Missiles hurled at the speakers broke up the meeting. No other efforts were made to canvass the State. The opposition had it all their own way,

Even as early as 1860, organized persecution drove many “plain-speaking” people from their homes, and cowed down others less self-sacrificing. Any appeal to the courts for protection, any hope of assistance from neighbors, were useless. In many instances Democratic postmasters refused to deliver anti-Democratic newspapers sent through the mails, and complaints forwarded to Washington, or published in the public prints, were unheeded. The success of Mr. Lincoln drove the oligarchy to desperation, and the great majority of the people, just from the teachings of the hustings, were inclined to sympathize with the cause of slavery, against that “sectional party, against which the South is almost in arms in self-defense,” and which they were taught to believe to be “the author of unimaginable ills.”

During the canvass, Claiborne F. Jackson and Thomas C. Reynolds, the Douglas candidates for Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, pretended to some little affection for the American Union; and even after the election, Jackson, in a speech at Boonville, deluded many into the belief that he was averse to secession. But his profession of loyalty was merely a pretense. Events prove that he was cordially in the interests of the South, even before his inauguration as Governor, and that he was ready to throw off all disguise the very moment it should be safe and proper to do so.

[NOTE.]

In order that the reader may know the actual result at the polls, in 1860, I give the following:

IN THE STATE.

Douglas………… 58,361 C. F. Jackson …….73,372

Bell …………….. 57,762 Orr………………….. 65,991

Lincoln………….17,017 Gardenhire ……….. 6,124

Breckenridge….30,297 H. Jackson ………. 11,091

IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY.

For Congress (long term).

Blair…11,453. Barrett…9,967. Todd…4,542.

The following Democratic officers were elected in St. Louis county, by the assistance of Bell-Everett votes:

County Marshal, County Recorder, County Jailer, County Coroner; and Barrett was placed, for the short term, so near Blair in the count, that a small fraud was sufficient to secure for the former the certificate of election.

The Republicans elected the Congressman for the First District, County Sheriff, County School Commissioner, and the entire Legislative delegation (one Senator and twelve Representatives).

Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator Part 2

Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator – part 2

by

Frederick L. Anderson, Author

Elbridge R. Anderson, Publisher

1933

Go to Part 1

Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I now available

The Fight for Missouri by Thomas L. Snead, 1886

The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy, 1909

The Story of a Border City During the Civil War by Galusha Anderson, 1908

The Crisis by Winston Churchill, 1901

Basil Duke in Missouri by Gen. Basil Wilson Duke, 1911

The Brown-Reynolds Duel, 1911

Cost per CD ROM is $24.95 + $4.00 priority mail shipping

Introduction: What follows is a biography written in 1933 by the son of Galusha Anderson, a minister who spent the Civil War years in the volatile, divided city of St. Louis, Missouri. In a city of often ambiguous loyalties, Galusha Anderson was one of the devoutly loyal Unionists and one of the most committed abolitionists. In 1908 he wrote “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War,” his remembrances of the war years in St. Louis. The book is one of the most valuable records of these years in the city, with many of the major players in the events of the war years appearing in its pages. The perspective is very decidedly Union with Galusha Anderson giving no quarter to the opposition’s viewpoint. But he is a fine writer with a lively, very readable style, and a fine eye for detail. His view of events is uniquely his own and shaped by his own biases so the critical reader must balance the accounts of “The Story of a Border City During the War” with other reading. This is one of the reasons for the particular selection of texts offered in the Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I, to provide that balance.

The biographical narrative on these web pages, written by Frederick Lincoln Anderson, born in St. Louis in 1862, offers an interesting background perspective on Galusha Anderson, the person, that he didn’t include in his own book. His background as an abolitionist, the tragic loss of his first family shortly after arriving in St. Louis, and additional events in St. Louis, help round out the character of Reverend Galusha Anderson.

The text of “Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator” by Frederick L. Anderson is copyrighted material not in the public domain. It may not be copied, reproduced, or distributed without permission. Contact George L. Thurlow for information.

Thanks to Mr. Thurlow for making this account of his great-grandfather possible on these pages. –D. H. Rule

Bio of Galusha Anderson

Pages on Civil War St. Louis excerpted from “The Story of a Border City During the War”:

Charcoals and Claybanks

Home Guard

Missouri Oath of Loyalty 1865

Go to Part 1


GALUSHA ANDERSON

COLLEGE PRESIDENCIES

Then my father in February, 1878, was asked to accept the presidency of the University of Chicago, that institution, founded twenty years before, had reached its lowest point. “Its creditors were clamorous, its current expenses unmet, its professors unpaid. A huge mortgage debt of $200,000.00 rested on its property, on which no interest had ever been received. General opprobrium was visited upon it. The press of the city was unwilling to give it a respectful mention. The disastrous controversies and intricate dishonesties of years had made it a term of reproach.” In this crisis the trustees turned to my father, the most prominent Baptist minister in Chicago, to lead the forlorn hope and save the University. The task appealed to his chivalry, courage, and faith in God and in himself. He believed the promises made by the trustees, and feeling that the call was of God, as I have no doubt it was, he thought that it was “his duty to enter on this arduous and difficult work.”

He left the largest, pleasantest and most fruitful of his pastorates and a salary of $ 5,000.00 to embark upon a sea of troubles at $3,000.00 a year. This was guaranteed him by three or four of the trustees, but they paid it in full only for the first quarter and none at all after the first year of the seven years’ war. For the last six years, as he himself expressed it, “The President of the University had no stated salary; he skirmished for it.” The actual facts were worse than he had supposed. The University reported $160,000.00 of assets. On examination these proved worth $1,500.00. An endowment of $500.00 was discovered. The University had no credit. My father’s first experience was ordering coal. No one would sell the University coal, for which it then owed $1,000.00. The first thing he had to do was to go out and raise the $1,000.00; after that the University could get coal. Every year the President himself raised from $6,000.00 to $10,000.00 for current expenses. When he resigned, there were no unpaid bills of his contracting and he had paid $20,000.00 –practically all of the old bills. he carried a subscription book in his pocket, made a business of buttonholing the business men of Chicago, and he got the money. He wrote, “It is hard and repulsive work. Sometimes it seems that I can no longer endure it.” For current expenses, the mortgage debt, and endowment he begged unceasingly and in every quarter. Some of his letters to possible donors give us insights into his feelings. He writes, “This is the hardest work I ever tried to do.” He declines to speak at the May Anniversaries. “My ship is in a terrible storm and I cannot leave her.” “I am like a man at the pumps; I must pump or drown.” He writes to his father-in-law, “I never yet failed in any enterprise in which I engaged, and I cannot make up my mind to fail in this. I have lots of plans to work out yet before I say die. I am just getting my teeth in. That it is a tough, ugly job no one can doubt for a moment, but it is a very important one and must not be abandoned.” He wrote Dr. Bright, “I am sometimes, not to say often, at my wit’s end, but I feel determined and gritty. And as I see no light on the right hand or on the left, before or behind, I look straight up and the heavens are full of light.” A year after he had begun, Mr. N. K. Fairbank, the President of the Trustees and his good friend, advised him to quit since “his treatment by the Trustees had been far from generous.” This my father admitted, but wrote, “Since a great educational task has been committed to me, I do not think that I ought to abandon it so long as there is a vestige of hope.” These sentences give the mental background of the long struggle.

The University had good buildings, somewhat run-down, a student body of about 150 on the average, and a fine faculty, some of whom later became college presidents. They were heroes all, working enthusiastically for small pay out of sheer loyalty. When they learned my father’s policy of never paying; himself a cent of his month’s salary till the last teacher was paid in full, they rallied around him with a warmth and affection seldom equalled. Rarely has a President been more popular with students and Faculty. He taught Psychology, Ethics, Logic and International Law and often a term of English History. Every morning he walked or rode two miles with me to the University, taught and attended to his administrative duties there and disappeared about ten for his downtown office and his begging. Free evenings and often midnight hours, as well as the time on trains and horse cars, he devoted to the subjects he taught. But it was a good school and he did high-grade teaching. As he said in leaving it, “The University has done more on less money in the last seven years than any institution in the United States.”

He tried everything after the Chicago Baptists left him in the lurch at the start. He went to California and besought the big Bonanza kings to endow the University. He became well acquainted with Flood, Fair, Lucky Baldwin, old Senator Jones, the Nevada silver king, and Leland Stanford. They received and entertained him finely. He spent much time in their homes. He was a new sort to them and they rather liked to be considered possible patrons of learning. But they did not give him anything. Still Leland Stanford most seriously considered his proposition, and it was my father who planted in his mind the seed thought which later grew into Leland Stanford, Jr., University.

Then he tried the brethren in the East. He got nothing except rebuffs in Boston, but the New York Baptists were kinder. They helped considerably on current expenses, not much for the debt, but they promised that if Chicago would raise the debt, they would contribute liberally to endowments. They felt that otherwise they would be sinking their money in a hole. Again and again he felt that of Baptists he alone saw the importance of the task. He once semi-humorously called himself the President of the University that “nobody on earth cares for,” which was not quite true, for the Faculty and Oscar Barrett and his fidus Achates, Dr. Justin Smith of the Standard, and, in the East, Dr. Bright, did care.

He became convinced that if Chicago did not pay the debt, no one would and so he began to cultivate the great Chicago millionaires, and to preach to them in season and out of season the value of higher education, until finally even the magnates who smelled of the Stock Yards began to think; that possibly there was something worth thinking about besides hogs. The more he met these men, the better they liked him in spite of his begging. He lifted the University to a new level in their thinking. The newspapers began to speak respectfully and then sympathetically and finally in praise of him and his work. He was admitted to some fine clubs and inner circles, and made a host of friends and admirers entirely outside the Baptist constituency. These people gave him the bulk of the money for current expenses.

When every one else failed him, he conceived the idea of paying the debt himself. To that end, he went into silver mines. He made some money and lost more. Then he became the President of two electric light companies. These succeeded better. Just as he was leaving Chicago, he managed to realize on his holdings in electric light and got enough to pay all his debts and go to Salem with $1,000.00 in his pocket. During the seven years’ fight he had put into the University all his savings and had sometimes been as much as $3,000.00 in debt due to unpaid salary, but electric light took care of all this, though it did not pay the University debt.

l have told the inside history first to give the personal background, The initial public act of my father’s administration was an attack on the debt of $200,000.00, secured by a mortgage given by the Trustees of the University in 1876 to the Union Mutual Life Insurance Company of Portland, Maine. Much of this debt was compound interest. The actual loan was $109,000.00 and the debtor was really bankrupt. The Company was finally induced to compromise for $100,000.00, and a very active campaign was made for it. But 1878 belonged to the “hard times,” and with all his energy and persistence, the President raised only $25,000.00. A continuance of the offer of $100,000.00 for another year was asked, but was refused, and all propositions of compromise were brusquely rejected, and the creditor even refused to foreclose. In these circumstances, at my father’s suggestion, the University regents, not trustees but representatives of the State of Illinois, brought suit to discover the validity of a mortgage on property which in the deed of gift was forever dedicated to educational purposes. This action had not the slightest purpose of repudiation, but was meant to force the creditor to compromise or at least foreclose and to disclose in court the exact legal and business status. The bill was drawn under the direction of one of the regents, Mr. I. N. Arnold, one of Chicago’s leading lawyers and a citizen of unblemished reputation for the highest integrity and on the advice of Hon. Joseph L. Bailey, afterwards Chief Justice of Illinois, a leading Baptist and a most consistent Christian.

This suit, brought in the State courts, forced the hand of the Insurance Company, and it immediately brought suit for foreclosure in the United States Court. This was resisted by the University on the grounds of the inalienability of the property and the excessive compound interest demanded in the bill. This again was only an attempt to get a reasonable adjustment, which the Insurance Company President for personal reasons well known to the University opposed. These cases dragged their slow length along for several years in the Courts, until finally the regents’ suit failed and the Federal judge gave the decision in favor of the Insurance Company. In this suit in the Federal Court, one of the counsel for the University was Melville W. Fuller, afterwards Chief Justice of the United States, who was such a friend of the University and of my father, so convinced of the soundness of the legal contention of the defendant and of the justice of its cause that he served without pay. Mr. Fuller’s advice after the decision was to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, and it must be noted that, if the appeal had been made, the Chief Justice of the United States could not have sat on the case, as he had already expressed an opinion in favor of the University.

But this appeal was never asked although my father heartily favored it. During this litigation, the cry that the University was repudiating its obligation was raised by the Insurance Company and its lawyers and the basest motives were ascribed to my father and his coadjutors. This cry, strange to say, was taken up by some Baptist brethren in the East, and was supported by the editors of the Watchman and the National Baptist of Philadelphia. In both papers, my father carried on a long and painful controversy. He was the soul of honor and honesty and nothing in his public life ever hurt him like this charge, especially as he knew himself to be perfectly innocent. His last sentence on the subject in the Watchman was, “I sleep well, a good conscience makes a very comfortable bedfellow.” Some Chicago papers, probably paid by the Insurance Company, joined in the man hunt. Even the Chicago Methodist organ reviled my father and all his friends. But most of the Chicago papers, the Western Baptists unanimously, the Chicago business men, and Dr. Bright of the Examiner and Dr. Justin A. Smith of the Standard stood by the University President through thick and thin. It was a great comfort to him that such a pure soul, such a sensitive spirit, such a clear mind as that of Justin A. Smith supported him without any ifs or buts.

But nevertheless the leading Chicago Baptist ministers, Lorimer, Lawrence and Henson, were finally frightened by the bitterness of the controversy, and under the leadership of Dr. Lorimer, by a majority of one vote, the Trustees voted not to appeal the suit to the United States Supreme Court, and this this was approved by a narrow majority in a very lively mass-meeting of Baptists. The results were that the University property was taken under foreclosure, and the University buildings subsequently pulled down, that my father resigned in May, 1885, and Dr. Lorimer was elected acting President of the University, that he raised no money and resigned at the end of the year, that the University, after going on for two years in hired rooms under the direction of the Faculty, finally expired in 1887.

Was this Chicago Presidency a failure? At the time of his resignation my father and nearly everybody else thought so. It had been a long, hard, gallant fight against overwhelming odds, and without the aid of the reinforcements, which, though persistently requested and long awaited, never appeared. So the soldier at last laid down his arms and surrendered the fort, defeated but not dishonored. But God’s thoughts are long thoughts, and looking back now, we see that it was a really advantageous battle in a long war, which was finally crowned by victory. We need not speak of the excellent educational work done in the University and the noble characters formed and molded there under my father’s influence. We know now that his holding of the fort, so much longer than any one expected he could, disarranged and defeated well-formed plans for a great agnostic University of Chicago, that he held on long enough to make the new Christian University of Chicago a possibility and finally a reality. During seven weary years, he sowed the seed of a real interest in higher education in the minds of the moneyed men of Chicago. And some of these men, who had become my father’s friends, were the first to contribute liberally to the new University. Mr. Cobb built its Cobb Hall; Mr. Kent, who had always helped largely on current expenses, built Kent Theater; George C. Walker put up the Natural Science Building; Mrs. Annie Hitchcock, Hitchcock Hall; Mrs. Beecher, Beecher and Green Halls; and Miss Helen Culver, who had received her millions from her uncle, Mr. Hull, with the expressed wish that they might be used for higher education, built Hull Court. It is probable that my father’s long and frequent talks with Mr. Rockefeller about the old University prepared his mind for the propositions of the founders of the new University. Mr. Rockefeller was my father’s fast friend and a liberal giver to current expenses.

Had the struggle for the old University been given up after one year in 1879, as many advised, the new University would probably never have existed. God raised my father up to fill the gap.

But in an account of his public services, mention must be made of his political activities in Chicago. In the Blaine-Cleveland campaign of 1884, the Democrats controlled the election machinery in the city, reduced the number of polling places in the Republican wards, and placed the polling places in the down-town Democratic wards in dark alleys and rough saloons, to scare away respectable voters. My father took the initiative to remedy this situation and headed a Citizens Committee of One Hundred to do it. They put great electric lamps in the dark alleys till they were as light as day, they organized Republican bands to occupy the rough saloons, they brought the Republican voters in hundreds to each of the polls before the voting hour, and saved the State to Blaine 18,000 majority. In this election, there was great fraud in the use of tissue ballots, but this Committee sent the rascals, including the leading Democratic boss of Chicago, Joe Mackin, to State’s Prison. Thither they also sent the corrupt County Commissioners of Cook County in which Chicago is situated. And, as if time hung idly on his hands, my father exposed the corrupt ring which had long dominated the suburb in which he lived, Hyde Park, and soundly defeated them in a very bitter and nasty political campaign. The best men of Chicago rallied almost unanimously to him in these contests and he had some political victories to assuage the sting and mortification of what seemed to him his educational debacle.

When he was about to leave Chicago, the Nominating Committee of the Vassar Trustees unanimously recommended him to their Board for the vacant Presidency. After a long and exceedingly disgraceful fight on him by a little clique whom he had offended in college, he was defeated on the grounds that he had tried to repudiate the debts of the University. The files of the Examiner for 1885 tell the whole unvarnished tale.

After a brief period of refreshment in the Salem pastorate, my father undertook his second college presidency, going to Denison University, Granville, Ohio, January 1, 1887, on the unanimous invitation of the Trustees. Here he quickly put things in order. He built the oak steps up the hill, improved the roads, properly lighted the buildings, and brought a new spirit of liberty and discipline to the institution. He catalogued the library and made it accessible to the young women of Shepardson College. He reorganized the institution, making Granville College and Shepardson College constituent parts of Denison University, with mutual privileges, and separating the preparatory department from the College under the name of Granville Academy. He attracted many excellent teachers and the student body rapidly grew in numbers. But after two and a half years, the health of his family required a change of climate and he accepted in 1890 the call to teach Homiletics and Pastoral Duties in the Baptist Union Theological Seminary at Morgan Park, which two years afterwards became the Divinity School of the new University of Chicago. We should say in passing that his going to Denison six months before Dr. Anderson’s resignation at Rochester deprived him of the Presidency of the University of Rochester, a consummation which had been long desired by President Anderson and the University Trustees.

His college presidencies filled ten years of his life, and showed his great executive talents. He was an excellent teacher, he had a large, sane and healthful influence on the young men and women in college, he dealt firmly, wisely and kindly in cases of discipline, he always bound his faculty to him with the warmest ties, he knew how to manage Boards of Trustees so as to secure their cordial assent to his policies and to make them friends. He clearly analyzed situations, knew just what he wanted, and went right on to get it. It was open diplomacy, and yet there was often a dash of natural shrewdness in it. My father was fundamentally a practical man.

PROFESSOR OF HOMILETICS

Twenty-one years my father occupied the Homiletical Chair, seven years in Newton, 1866-1873, and fourteen years in Chicago, 1890-1904. In addition, during his Second Church pastorate, and afterwards during his Chicago University Presidency, he taught Homiletics as a side issue at the Baptist Theological Seminary. He also taught the subject three years in the Gordon School, now Gordon College, in Boston. To this work he gave the largest fraction of his public life. I cannot say that it was his favorite occupation. He seemed to me to enjoy the pastorate, the College Presidency and the Homiletical Chair almost equally and never expressed any decided preference. Only one thing he disliked and that was begging. Yet he did a good deal of that not only in Chicago, but in St. Louis and Newton and at Denison. I think that my father would best have enjoyed the presidency of a good-sized college, like Brown.

When it comes to his work in Homiletics, my materials become scanty. My father was my pastor in Brooklyn and Chicago and I remember him well in the pulpit and the prayer-meeting. During the long struggle in the University of Chicago, he was my College President. I lived in the house with him and, young as I was, he made me one of his confidants, but I never entered his homiletical classroom. Many of his pupils could give a more intimate view of him in this capacity than I can.

In his view of the homiletical department, theory was of slight importance compared with practice. At the beginning of his service at Newton, he studied profoundly in the original and by the aid of the best commentaries, Aristotle on Rhetoric, and he often said that later writers had never added anything essential. He always refused to write a textbook on Homiletics, declaring that he had nothing new to say. He considered that one term was enough for theory, that the rest of the time should be devoted to the construction and criticism of sermons. His great labor, and incredible labor it was, was the criticism of sermons, a criticism thorough and minute, as the thousands of red-inked manuscripts returned to students can testify. This and the personal conference with students in elaboration of the criticism was the bulk of his task. Constructive Homiletics was his great course and many a preacher has been born there.

His criticism was always kindly, but it was thorough. Nothing slipshod or superficial was allowed to pass. He could be and often was severe. My only experience with him in Homiletics was during my seminary course in Morgan Park. My professor was an excellent preacher, and one of the most lovable of men, but he could not teach, in fact he was afraid of his classes. So I asked my father to give me a correspondence course. I shall never forget the first plan I sent him. By some inscrtable fate, I hit upon the obscure text, Rev. 22: ”11, “He that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.” He wrote in reply, “There is only one good thing about your sermon: it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You do not know what your text means. Your introduction has nothing to do with your discourse. Your proposition is false. Your divisions do not flow out of your proposition and are not mutually exclusive. Your application is weak. Try again. Your affectionate Father,

Galusha Anderson.”

It is needless to say that, having been somewhat petted in the Seminary, this gave me a rather lively shock. Nothing ever did me more good.

My father always insisted on thorough exegesis of the text, sound definition, clear analysis and a real presentation of truth. As a teacher he was kind but firm, tenacious of his points, lucid in exposition, strong in analysis. From the students he insisted on accuracy and fulness of statement. He encouraged debate in which he was always happy and sensible. He relentlessly stuck to the subject under discussion, refused to be diverted, and usually managed to go through the assigned task in the assigned hour.

Until he came to Newton, sermons had been written and read there. He insisted on preaching without notes, and was one of the greatest, simplest and most philosophical teachers of extempore speaking in the country. His theory at this point seems to me unassailable. He also required written sermons for criticism, but all sermons delivered in the classroom or the chapel were delivered without paper. At Newton, he also taught elocution and with eminent sanity and success. There were no blackboards at Newton before his day. He had them installed against the grumbling protest of solve of the Trustees, and used them copiously. During his stay at Newton, he preached a great deal, took a large and active part in raising the endowment, which at his insistence was made double what was first proposed. In these years, he declined a call to the First Church of San Francisco and the Presidency of Shurtleff. Dr. Barnas Sears also, on his resignation at Brown, indicated my father as his choice for the succession there, but another got more votes.

At Chicago, he pursued the same course as in Newton, but amplified his teaching with courses on Ancient and Modern Preachers, and on Hymnology. Both at Newton and Chicago, he also taught Church Polity, on which he wrote a pamphlet. In later years at Chicago, his position grew more difficult, as he was not so liberal in his doctrinal views as the most of his colleagues. He finally retired on an old-age pension, though he sensed the fact that at seventy-two he still had ten good working years left.

EVENING

The evening of his life was long and peaceful. He preached a great deal but not so much as he desired. He was often called upon for set addresses. Two outstanding speeches should be mentioned. At the Chicago dinner at the Los Angeles Convention in 1915 he gave a remarkable prophecy of the outcome of the war, which has been almost literally fulfilled and deeply impressed all who heard. At the inauguration of President Barbour at Rochester, in his charge to the new President, he easily carried off the palm in two days of addresses. It was his last great public address and one of his very best. He rendered very valuable service on the Board of the Foreign Society, 1903-1909, and served on the Committee which took the initial steps for the union of Baptists and Free Baptists.

But the principal work of his old age was authorship. Already in his last year at Chicago, with the aid of Dr. Edgar Goodspeed, he had published the “Sermons of Asterius.” In  1908, he sent forth “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War,” an account of the fight for St. Louis, illumined by his personal experiences. A great deal of careful historical research lies behind this book, and it is greatly appreciated and much used by the professors of American History in the colleges of the country. Only Snead’s “Fight for Missouri” and Winston Churchill’s “Crisis” rank with it [all three of these important classics of Civil War St. Louis history are available on the Missouri Civil War Reader]. In 1910, he gathered some interesting anecdotes of his pastorates, already published in the Standard, in a little volume called “Hitherto Untold.” In 1911 he set forth the story of his country neighborhood in western New York under the title “When Neighbors Were Neighbors.” This was his most delightful and most successful book. It was widely circulated and sold for some years: The simple, objective, playful style and the oldtime life portrayed make it exceedingly attractive, especially to older men brought up in the country, and it has been highly valued by some eminent professors of American History.

With this book, he felt his literary labors at an end, but urged by my mother and myself, in 1915 he collected what he considered his best papers in “Science and Prayer and Other Papers,” and in 1917, the last year of his life, he laboriously selected the best of my mother’s poems, wrote her biography with tears, and published the book as a memorial to her. He finished with it only a month before he. fell sick. . . . So he worked on to the end. The last meeting of any kind which he ever attended was the meeting of the C. C. Club in January, 1918, after preaching twice in Lexington the day before, and in the City Club of Boston he suffered the initial and deadly chill which presaged his long, painful and fatal illness.

THE MAN

My father received from his parents a priceless heritage, more to be desired than gold or rubies, the result of generations of pure, godly living, viz.: a frame of oak, an iron nerve, a serene spirit, a gracious presence, and a sound common-sense. When I recall him, sturdy, rugged strength is my first thought, a strength on which men learned to rely and in the shadow of which the weak and helpless found a sure and kindly refuge. No one knew that refuge better than I, and when I saw him in the dawn of that beautiful summer morning peacefully breathe out his life, the whole earthly background of my own living suddenly disappeared.

The root of this strength of his was an indomitable will, for, after all, the will is the man. He was usually slow in making up his mind, but, his mind once made up, he was slower still to change. Inflexible purpose, unswerving determination, tireless perseverance are the words to describe, it. All this involved a glorious courage, and that finest kind of patience, which is courage long drawn out. Dangers could not daunt him. He did not turn aside when he heard that there were lions in the way, difficulties were only a challenge to his resourcefulness and, as he loved to call it, his stick-to-it-iveness. In all his long career, he never failed but once, and that we see now was a triumph of character, and a triumph in fact. When he took up a thing, he carried it through to the end, and men knew he would and trusted him on that account. This meant thoroughness. He hated sloppy, half-baked performances. On taking the Chair of Homiletics on Newton Hill, he prepared himself for the task by reading all the great works on rhetoric in their original languages, beginning with Aristotle, and he often told me that after reading Aristotle, he did not learn much from the rest. Once at twelve years of age, a very immature and half-formed boy, I went to my father about eight in the evening with a lesson, which I had found impossible, in a subject with which he was unfamiliar. Bitterly I rued it. He would not let the lesson or me go till both he and I had absolutely mastered it to the last detail. It was after midnight when we at last went to bed. I had not only learned that particular subject so that I shall never forget it, but that night 1 learned my father too.

It is now almost superfluous to say that he was a tireless worker. His superb constitution and great nervous energy made work and plenty of it a joy to him: He was always busy in his thorough way, but rarely hurried. He accomplished a vast deal because he was always at it. In the long evening of his life, he still devoted himself to literary labor, and the result was the books, which have made his name known far and wide. On the back of the title page of his last book stands the quotation, “At eve hold not thy hand.”

Still he was not an obstinate man. To be sure, he would not change his ideas and purposes merely to accommodate others, and they sometimes complained. But when the situation changed, he was quick to recognize it, and changed to suit it, and was ever ready to compromise on non-essentials. The only time he was really beaten, he knew it and quit, but generally when his friends and opponents said that he was beaten, he prepared another campaign, which clinched the victory. He was the shrewdest and most persistent fighter in a good cause that I have ever known. He was the most independent of men in thinking and action, little swayed by fashions in opinion or by the conservatism of his environment. He did his own thinking, and did not follow the leadership of others unless he had maturely considered and approved it. He was a leader himself. A few months after their marriage, my mother said, “You must.” He looked at her with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, and said, “Did you say ‘must’ to me? I do not know what ‘must’ means.” She never said it again. He was open to all appeals to reason, but the appeal to fear or compulsion always had the opposite of the desired effect. Threats only made him shut his mouth the more firmly and strengthened his resolution. He carried his sovereignty under his own hat. His self-respect was perfect and few ever attempted to invade it. He never could be forced against his will.

My father had a strong will, but he had a great heart, too. Though outwardly he always showed the calm of strength, and never was carried away by his emotions, he was a man of deep and tender feeling. As some one said, he was a great lover. He was never in the slightest sentimental. I never saw him until over eighty-four shed a tear, but he had in him a wellspring of the truest and purest sentiment, and this grew with the years.

He was at his best in the family circle. He loved his home, his wife, his children. He was a most affectionate husband, a tender and loving father. He had a remarkably even, cheery, sweet disposition. He was never irritable or fussy. Generous and considerate to a fault, he had an unselfishness, which never obtruded itself as such, which just made life easy, nobody knew just why. And he was the center of the home. Many brilliant circles knew him as a prince of story tellers, but he reserved his most delightful conversational treats for the home. When of an evening he began with reminiscence, anecdote and tale, punctuating them all with hearty laughter, there was no better entertainment in town. Even in the most dreadful hours of his life, his delicious humor never failed him. Indeed, like Abraham Lincoln, he took refuge in it. He was very fond of little children and they loved him. Though he never learned to take care of himself, he was one of the best sick nurses I ever knew. That strong, wholesome spirit seemed to irradiate health and cheer. And he depended on his home. Strong as he was, he needed its sympathy and support, and in later years, after my mother died, was quite wretched without it.

To such a man the deepest sorrows were the loss of loved ones. In his early manhood he buried in one grave two beautiful boys, and fourteen months afterwards in another single grave their mother and brother. Nothing was left him; his all was swept away. This was his Gethsemane, where he learned to say not with the lips, but with the heart, “Thy will be done.” A few months before his death he told me the whole story for the first time in detail, and I could see that while the dreadful wound of sixty years before was healed, it still pained. This terrible affliction made him wonderfully sympathetic with the bereaved, none of them could feel that he was more deeply afflicted than his pastor had been. None knew better what to do or say in the house of mourning than he.

Later he married my mother, and when, after fifty-five years of wedded life, she left him one evening, his sense of loss and loneliness was overwhelming. He found solace only in his work and in his faith. The last night of his life his thoughts were full of her, and he kept repeating, “I am coming, Mary. I am coming soon.”

My father was a great lover of nature. He delighted in his garden, especially his roses, and was an expert in raising sweet corn. He delighted in travel when once he was started, and he had set foot on every continent except South America, and on the soil of every American State. He gloried in the beauties unfolded by nature, whether at the North Cape or in the Lebanons, at Winnepesaukee or in the Yosemite. He was a lover of art and especially of the best music. He could not be kept away from the great annual rendition of the Messiah in Symphony Hall. He was there his last December as usual.

My father was always the friend and lover of the poor, the lowly, the oppressed. Those who had no helper found help in him. His heart grew quickly indignant at injustice and wrong. He had not a particle of race or class prejudice. He was himself a common man, a farmer’s boy sprung from the soil, and he was always proud of it. He was as good as anybody and everybody was as good as he was. This was his true Americanism, his deep democracy. Though he was a college president and professor most of his life, he never grew away from the common people, or developed the slightest scholastic pride. Though profoundly versed in his specialties, my father was always the practical man of affairs rather than the scholar. He loved his kind. He easily moved among men of all classes and races and treated all alike. Contempt for those beneath him in the social scale was wholly foreign to his nature, and condescension too. His father had been one of the first Abolitionists and voted for James G. Birney in 1844. My father’s heart bled for the Negro slaves, sold like cattle in the slave pens of St. Louis, and he was always the sincere friend of the Negro race. Looking over his old papers the other day, I noted also his rather elaborate study of the Chinese problem in California and his long-continued efforts in behalf of justice to them. He was always interested in Foreign Missions, but during and after his service on the Foreign Society Board in his seventies, the burden of the heathen world seemed rolled upon his spirit and I never knew him to pray for anything so earnestly and comprehensively as he did for our mission lands, and especially for Africa. Finally, he began lying awake nights thinking and praying about mission problems, until I found it necessary to urge him to resign front the Board. It is needless to add that he was generous with his money, almost to a fault, but in obedience to his Lord, he never let his left hand know what his right hand was doing. Few, therefore, knew of this trait in his character.

THE CHRISTIAN

Much of what I have described sprang from his life in Christ, and now I wish particularly to describe that. His father was a good Baptist deacon, his grandfather a good Presbyterian elder and his mother had been soundly converted some years before he was born. He had an inheritance of religion and he listened to very excellent preaching in his boyhood from Elder Zenas Coleman at the old Sweden and Bergen Church. He had long been seriously thinking on the subject of personal religion, when, at the age of twelve, one afternoon in his father’s barn, he kneeled down alone and gave himself to the service of Christ. He soon joyfully confessed this devotion of himself to the Savior in baptism, and always thereafter firmly believed in child conversion. So far as I ever heard he never had any period of backsliding but grew normally as a Christian, early taking up work for the conversion of others and public testimony for Christ. In early years he had a strong ambition to be a lawyer and statesman, but before graduation from college he became convinced that God wanted him in the ministry and he gladly followed the divine leading.

His Christian life was remarkably steady. I began to know him pretty intimately when he was about forty-five, and though it is heretical to say it, I never saw any growth in grace in him. He seemed to me as good and pure and devoted then as at eighty-five, no more, no less. Indeed his Christianity never seemed anything added to his character. It was his character, if I may so speak. He was fundamentally and through and through Christian. His Christianity was therefore perfectly natural, and it was perfectly natural for him to think and speak of it to any one. His sturdy commonsense and delightful sanity governed his religious life. I never heard one word which tended to asceticism or fanaticism, or any morbid or extravagant emotionalism. In thought he never went to extremes, but, taking the middle road, he kept making progress with the times even during his seventies and eighties. It was remarkable to see a man of eighty receptive to new religious ideas.

But, though all this is true, his religion was deep and warm and glowed with a steady fire of devotion. He loved God and his Son, Jesus Christ, the Church, and especially “the brethren.” I never saw any one so in earnest with his religion. It was the one great business of life to him. He was not much given to loud professions or long prayers, but he had a genius for doing, loving and helping. After his retirement from active life at seventy-two for some time I could not understand his zeal till it dawned upon me that he had made up his mind never again, unless actually under the doctor’s care, to refuse a call to preach or do any other service, nay he counted such opportunities as though they were priceless. His text must have been, “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work.”

In fact his power as a preacher did not fail at all in old age in my estimation. Two or three years before his death he preached in the Newton Centre pulpit the best sermon I ever heard from him, and the last. I can see him yet as he stood erect, gracious and commanding before us. The first sentence enlisted the attention of all and he kept it rapt till the end. Fresh in treatment, bright in style, pellucidly clear; it led us on with deepening conviction and feeling to its noble climax.

He had his dearest wish. He worked in harness till the last. The day before he took to his bed with his long, last illness he preached twice at Lexington on a zero day, filling the pulpit of his grandson, Mr. Thurlow, who was working in France. He did it for Christ, and he did it as his share of war work for his country, without compensation, the last labor of love. We made one mistake at his funeral–the American flag should have draped his casket. No one ever loved it more devotedly or had fought more bravely for it. Rightly did the Veterans of the Civil War elect him an Honorary member and send representatives to his burial.

In ending this brief sketch, I should fail in a sacred duty, did I not repeat at his own behest the last connected words he spoke to me, two or three days before his departure to the better country, “Tell the brethren that there is no hope for any man except in the mercy of God as revealed in Jesus Christ; a man must rest in that alone. I would not now have a scintilla of hope, if I did not trust in Christ.” The better a man is the surer he is that that is the only way.

Noble man of God, good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ, brave soldier of the right, may we all share your spirit, which was the spirit of Christ!

Excitement at Alton Prison

True Tales of the Tenth Kansas Infantry:

Excitement at Alton Prison

by Howard Mann

Duty as prison guards at Alton Prison in April 1864 was monotonous and a repetitive daily routine. The Tenth Kansas had drawn the laborious, unrewarding duty in January 1864 after hard marching and campaigning in Missouri, Arkansas and Indian Territory. Not all prisoners at Alton were confederate rebels. Alton was the first Illinois State penitentiary built in 1833 but closed on the eve of the Civil War in favor of the newer and more modern Joliet prison.[ 1] The large numbers of civilian, women and Union soldier prisoners that were kept in the general population distinguished the prison from other military prisons during the conflict. Among the prisoners were a band of horse thieves from Jersey county, Illinois with a penchant for escape.

The regiment was lauded as veteran troops by the local citizenry.[2] Yet by April the Tenth Kansas had been ravaged by smallpox losing twelve men in March alone.[3] The regiment was also undergoing a severe political crisis that would reach a head in April with the arrest and court-martial of Colonel William Weer for misappropriation of prisoner funds and several incidents of drunkenness and neglect of the prison’s needs.[4] In spite of the turmoil the guards had their orders. On April 1st the local newspaper published “Instructions Concerning Prisoners”.

“…The Secretary also enjoins that sentinels shall be instructed in regard to the rules and regulations of the prison, so that when a sentinel shoots a prisoner, the reason for so doing shall be known.”[5]

The same day ended with an attempt at escape on April 1st.

“Strange as it may seem, prisoners are not always content with the reward of their crimes, and now and then there are those who seek to take “French leave” of their quarters, and commit themselves to the world’s cold charities. Such an effort was made last night by several of the prisoners in the military prison here. It seems that soon after dark the guard on the north end of the prison had his fears excited, or rather the vigilance increased by hearing certain ominous sounds in the earth beneath him. About midnight he could distinctly hear the voices of the would be fugitives. He supposed they were coming out in the second ditch from the wall, and was on the lookout for them there, but on turning discovered a man’s head – with body attached of course – rising from the first ditch. The sentinel immediately fired, the ball just grazing the top of said head, causing it to disappear on double quick.”

“The hole was found full of Jersey county horse thieves – seven in number. Had they succeeded, many of their boon companions from the Sunny South would doubtless have followed. But the plan failed and all still remain in “durance vile”. The tunnel is about forty feet long and well suited to the purpose, the only fault with it being that it opened near the beat of one of the watchful boys of the 10th Kansas”[6]

Tragedy increased the tension between guards and prisoners when on April 6th an altercation occurred.

“Some days since, one Hiram Miller, a prisoner in the Military Prison in this city, attempted to escape thro’ the roof of the building, and was shot at by the guard. He afterwards threatened to kill the guard, private Rice of Co. H, and last night made an attack on him with stones when Rice snapped his gun, which refused to go off. Miller then came at him with a bar of iron, when he ran his bayonet into him, and called for help. The guard outside placed his gun through the grating and shot Miller thro’ the heart.”[7]

Private Hiram Miller had been returned from the hospital on February 1, 1864. The Tenth Kansas guard, Private George Rice, Company H, had enlisted from Terre Haute, Indiana on July 16, 1863. He continued with the regiment by transferring to Veteran Company D until mustering out on August 30, 1865.

The announcement of Colonel Weer’s Court of Inquiry must have given the prisoners a nudge towards a second attempt towards freedom. On April 7th a second attempt was made by some of the ringleaders of the Jersey county prisoners. Two are successful, one, Henderson is a guerilla leader from Jerseyville, Illinois.

“It will be seen by the Military Prison Report published in another column – that four prisoners made their escape last night from Bluff Castle. We understand that they filed the iron grating out of one of the cells on the west side of the building and made their escape in that way. There was a number of others all ready to make their exit in the same manner when they were discovered.”

“Henderson and Needham, who are mentioned in the report as having escaped, are old offenders. The former escaped from the prison once before and was afterwards retaken with the Jersey county horse thieves a few weeks since. Needham was sent here a sentenced prisoner from Memphis, and claims to be a British subject. Both of these desperadoes were engaged in the attempt to escape by digging a tunnel, as published by us a week ago last Saturday. It is very much to be desired that they may be retaken and confined again as, it is unsafe to have them running at large.”[8]

The very next night a second malcontent tried to follow suit.

“We have been informed that Mahlon Bright, a citizen of Jersey County, Illinois, tried to bribe one of the guards to let him escape from the Military Prison last night. But the noble soldier reported the matter to his officers, who gave orders for the place to be closely watched. Very soon the prisoner made his appearance at the same grating from which the prisoners escaped the other night, and commenced letting him self out, but when he heard the guard cock his gun, he made an attempt to get back, but too late to escape the effects of the discharge of the piece. He was wounded in several places, but not dangerously, but sufficiently so to keep him quiet for some time.”[9]

Even prisoners incarcerated in St. Louis heard of the escape. Griffin Frost, a prisoner in the Gratiot Street prison noted in his diary:

“April, 12. – Heard last week that a number of prisoners had escaped from Alton. My brother John has been sent from there to Fort Delaware, it seems he finds the later place a little too tough eve for his philosophy. Says he very much prefers Alton.”[10]

Colonel Weer, even though facing pressure from a petition to remove him from his command, must have felt that the Jersey county rebels had inside assistance. He made allegations against a popular and well-known young lady. Unfortunately he incurred the displeasure of his commanding officer, General William S. Rosecrans. Rosecrans was also pushing along Weer’s inquiry. On April 16th Colonel Weer called his female suspect to his office.

“Upon this subject we place before our readers a communication from a mutual friend. We learn that the lady has gone on a visit to her friends in the East. The following is the communication”

For the Democratic Union

Mr. Editor: – I see in your last issue the statement of the arrest of Miss ANNA FLETCHER (with others) by order of Col. Weer. They were charged with assisting the Jersey County prisoners to escape, by furnishing them with a watch-Spring saw. As regards Miss Fletcher, the above charge was not made against her, at all, before the Provost Marshal General of St. Louis, but a mere request of Col. Weer, that she should be made take the oath of allegiance and give bond. “General Rosecrans, being present laughed and said “It was ridiculous,” and released her without complying with Col. Weer’s request.”

J. F. Griggsby

“We hope the assertions in the above communication taken from the Jerseyville Democratic Union, in reference to Miss Fletcher is true. We cannot help but feel a strong interest in this young lady, and a sincere desire that the charges made against her should prove false, from the fact, that we were well and intimately acquainted with her father, whom we knew to be a noble, high-minded, and intelligent gentleman, and a sincere and devoted friend to his country.”

“It will be recollected, by our citizens, that mainly through his efforts, a company of volunteers were raised in this city for the Mexican war. A man by the name of Baker was chosen captain, and Fletcher, Robbins and Ferguson chosen lieutenants. In the battle of Buena Vista all three of the lieutenants were killed, and the captain lost his right eye. The bodies of the brave and noble fellows were brought to this city. A large crowd turned out to their funeral ceremonies. Patriotic and buncombe speeches were made in abundance, and it was resolved to erect a fine monument over their graves. But nearly twenty years have passed, and there is nothing to mark the spot where these patriotic braves are to be found, except a pine board with their names inscribed thereon. But their memories are ineffaceably engraven on the hearts of a few friends, which is far better than a costly monument erected by a cold and unfeeling world.”

“These being the facts in the history of Miss Fletcher’s father, we shall be very lo(a)th to credit any damaging reports against her character, and are rejoiced to learn from the above communication that there was no substantial reason for her arrest.”[11]

By the end of August 1864, Colonel Weer would be court-martialed and cashiered from the service. The notorious Henderson was gunned down with another southern Illinois rebel Colonel Carlin while planning a raid on Jerseyville. The normal tedium of prisoner of war guard duty did not hold true for the Tenth Kansas during the month of April 1864.


[1]Alton Military Penitentiary in the Civil War: Smallpox and Burial on the Alton Harbor Islands, Cox, Jann, 1988, page 47.

[2]Alton Telegraph, “The 10th Kansas”, April 29, 1864

[3]Listing of Alton National Cemetery Interments by Date, Don Huber Collection

[4]Alton Telegraph, “Court of Inquiry”, April 8, 1864

[5]Alton Telegraph, “Instructions Concerning Prisoners”, April 1, 1864

[6]Alton Telegraph, “Attempted Escape from ‘Bluff Castle”, April 1, 1864

[7]Alton Telegraph, “Prisoner Killed”, April 8, 1864

[8]Alton Telegraph, “Escape of Prisoners”, April 8, 1864

[9]Alton Telegraph, “Another Attempt to Escape”, April  8, 1864

[10]Camp and Prison Journal, Frost, Griffin, 1994, page 122

[11] Alton Telegraph, “The Arrest of Miss Fletcher”, April 29, 1864

Raid on a Nest of Nymphs

True Tales of the Tenth Kansas Infantry:

Raid on a Nest of Nymphs

by Howard Mann

In August of 1864, the Tenth Kansas had almost completed its obligation to the Union. After a tenuous start as part of the Kansas Brigade in 1861, consolidation in early 1862, weathering the tests of battle throughout the fall and winter months of 1863, and enduring the tedious pursuit of guerillas until assigned the grueling duty of prison guards at Alton Prison in Illinois in 1864, the Tenth was about to muster out. The most wearing aspect of the Tenth Kansas’s tenure was the inconsistency of its officers. Colonel William Weer was undergoing a court-martial for embezzlement of prisoner funds. Lieutenant Colonel John T. Burris had been detached from the regiment since the Indian Expedition on administrative duties at Fort Leavenworth and Kansas City. Major Henry H. Williams, while remaining with the regiment had been detached in St. Louis on the staff of Brigadier General Thomas Ewing.

Gratiot Street PrisonThe original posting of the Tenth Kansas as prison guards at Alton Military Prison did not require all of the regiment’s ten companies. Other companies were assigned to provide guards at St. Louis’s two prisons, Gratiot Street Prison (the old McDowell Medical College) and the Myrtle Street Prison. Some of the soldiers under the command of Captain Mathew Quigg were assigned to provost guard duty in the city of St. Louis.

Mathew Quigg was one of the premier officers of the Tenth Kansas. Originally a militia officer of “Lane’s Fencibles” from Atchison, Kansas, Captain Quigg led his stalwarts to Fort Leavenworth at the outbreak of war. His unit was uniformed, armed and well-drilled, unlike many of the eager young farm boys who would join Lane’s Brigade in search of adventure. Quigg’s men came prepared for war. Captain Quigg was frequently placed in command in tight situations at Locust Grove and Prairie Grove specifically. At one point he was being backed to replace a colonel in another regiment who was being cashiered. Captain Quigg was a recognized leader. But even a recognized leader can come up against a formidable opponent.

The St. Louis Democrat, August 18, 1864 reported one of Captain Quigg’s last encounters before mustering out the same month.

“RAID ON A NEST OF NYMPHS — A week or two ago, we noticed the visit of Colonel Baker and Captain Quigg to the five-story building on Fifth street, between Pine and Chesnut, the upper stories of which are occupied as dens of prostitution by a happy family of white and black men, women and children. The occasion of this official visit was to inquire into the truth of complaints that had been made to the military authorities in regard to the nuisance committed by the occupants of the house in “Harrolson Alley.” Colonel Baker cautioned the persons found in the rooms, that if any more complaints were brought to him he would proceed to turn them out and take possession of the premises. For a few days the occupants of the rooms gave no cause of complaint, but soon relapsed into their old habits, and so annoyed the females employed in the Government workshop on the opposite side of the alley that they could not endure it, and reported the facts to Colonel Baker. One Tuesday the Colonel sent a Lieutenant of the Provost Guard to notify the nymphs that they must vacate the premises before night. The girls obtained a respite until Wednesday morning, when the Lieutenant took a guard and turned them out of doors. Eighteen rooms were confiscated. Some of the inmates had taken time by the forelock and skedaddled, but others being unable, like Noah’s dove to find rest for the soles of their feet, had returned to the ark and abandoned themselves to their fate. One lady, however, was permitted to remain undisturbed, because she represented herself as the wife of a Lieutenant of the 11th Missouri cavalry, at Little Rock; two or three others were found in bed with haggard countenances, moaning in great apparent distress, and complaining of being exceedingly sick, and of course the officer was too chivalric to turn sick women out into the streets, and they too were allowed to remain. One young girl was sitting on her trunk, with a despairing countenance; she had not found other lodgings, and declared that she intended to end her woes by taking “pizen.” A large sized Amazon, called “Noisey Belle” had been unable to get away because the landlord held her furniture for back rent and would not permit her to remove it. The soldiers settled the dispute by tumbling Belle’s furniture, bedding, crockery-ware, bonnets, bundles, etc., out upon the sidewalk. The upper story was occupied by colored people, who were not molested.

The portion of the building cleared out is owned by the Tyler estate, and is leased to parties who sublet the rooms to any one who will pay for them. This example will doubtless be a sufficient warning to the large congregation of lewd women in other parts of the building, but if they do not conduct themselves with more propriety in (the) future, they also will be ejected by the military arm.”

Captain Quigg returned home and mustered out with about half of the existing regiment by the time the article was published. The remaining veterans of the Tenth again consolidated into four companies of the Veteran Tenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry. The Veteran Tenth would plunge into the nightmarish last days of Hood’s Franklin/Nashville campaign and end up charging the earthworks at Fort Blakeley, Alabama. Added to the Tenth’s honors should be the storming of “Harrolson’s Alley”.

Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator Part 1

Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator

by

Frederick L. Anderson, Author

Elbridge R. Anderson, Publisher

1933

Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I now available

The Fight for Missouri by Thomas L. Snead, 1886

The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy, 1909

The Story of a Border City During the Civil War by Galusha Anderson, 1908

The Crisis by Winston Churchill, 1901

Basil Duke in Missouri by Gen. Basil Wilson Duke, 1911

The Brown-Reynolds Duel, 1911

Cost per CD ROM is $24.95 + $4.00 priority mail shipping

Introduction: What follows is a biography written in 1933 by the son of Galusha Anderson, a minister who spent the Civil War years in the volatile, divided city of St. Louis, Missouri. In a city of often ambiguous loyalties, Galusha Anderson was one of the devoutly loyal Unionists and one of the most committed abolitionists. In 1908 he wrote “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War,” his remembrances of the war years in St. Louis. The book is one of the most valuable records of these years in the city, with many of the major players in the events of the war years appearing in its pages. The perspective is very decidedly Union with Galusha Anderson giving no quarter to the opposition’s viewpoint. But he is a fine writer with a lively, very readable style, and a fine eye for detail. His view of events is uniquely his own and shaped by his own biases so the critical reader must balance the accounts of “The Story of a Border City During the War” with other reading. This is one of the reasons for the particular selection of texts offered in the Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I, to provide that balance.

The biographical narrative on these web pages, written by Frederick Lincoln Anderson, born in St. Louis in 1862, offers an interesting background perspective on Galusha Anderson, the person, that he didn’t include in his own book. His background as an abolitionist, the tragic loss of his first family shortly after arriving in St. Louis, and additional events in St. Louis, help round out the character of Reverend Galusha Anderson.

The text of “Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator” by Frederick L. Anderson is copyrighted material not in the public domain. It may not be copied, reproduced, or distributed without permission. Contact George L. Thurlow for information.

Thanks to Mr. Thurlow for making this account of his great-grandfather possible on these pages. –D. H. Rule

Bio of Galusha Anderson

Pages on Civil War St. Louis excerpted from “The Story of a Border City During the War”:

Charcoals and Claybanks

Home Guard

Missouri Oath of Loyalty 1865

Go to Part 2


GALUSHA ANDERSON

Date Age Event
1832 Born March 7, in Clarendon, Orleans County, N. Y.; son of Seneca and Lucy Webb Anderson
1844 12 Converted and baptized.
1851 19 Graduated from Alfred Academy.
1854 22 Graduated from University of Rochester.
1856 24 Graduated from Rochester Theological Seminary.Married Selina Dorr of Dansville, N.Y.

Pastor of Baptist Church of Janesville, Wis.

1857 25 Martin Dorr Anderson born.
1858 26 Pastor of Second Baptist Church, St. Louis.William McPherson Anderson born.
1859 27 William and Martin Anderson died January 1 and 3.
1860 28 His wife, Selina Dorr, and John Anderson, his infant son, died March 8 and 10.
1861 29 Married Mary Eleanor Roberts, April 23.
1862 30 Frederick Lincoln Anderson born.
1863 31 Trip to England.
1864 32 Elbridge Roberts Anderson born.
1866 34 Resigned pastorate in St. Louis.Thomas J. Calvert, adopted son, died.

Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Duties in Newton Theological Institution.

1867 35 Lucy Caroline Anderson born.
1868 36 May, 1868-August, 1869, a year in Europe and
1869 37 Palestine to recover his health.
1871 39 Mary Freeman Anderson born.
1873 41 Resigned at Newton.Pastor Strong Place Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.
1876 44 Resigned at Brooklyn. His wife very ill.Pastor Second Baptist Church, Chicago.

Norman Kendall Anderson born.

1878 46 Resigned at Second Church.President of the University of Chicago.
1885 53 Resigned Presidency of University of Chicago.Pastor First Baptist Church, Salem, Mass.
1887 55 President of Denison University, Granville, Ohio.
1890 58 Professor of Homiletics at Baptist Union Theological Seminary, Morgan Park, Ill.
1892 60 Transferred to Divinity School of University of Chicago.Vacation in England, Scotland and Norway.
1904 72 Emeritus Professor, University of Chicago.Published “Ancient Sermons for Modern Times” (Asterius).

Resided thenceforth principally in Newton Centre, Mass., with some winters in Florida and California and summers in New Hampshire.

1908 76 “Border City During the Civil War” (St. Louis).
1910 78 “Hitherto Untold”
1911 79 “When Neighbors Were Neighbors” (stories of his boyhood and home)
1915 83 “Science and Prayer and Other Papers”
1916 84 His wife, Mary Eleanor Roberts, died June 11, at Winnetka, Ill.
1917 85 Published her “Poems and Biography”
1918 86 Died July 20, at 5:30 A.M., at the home of his son, Elbridge R. Anderson, at Wenham, Mass.

GALUSHA ANDERSON

EDUCATION

GALUSHA ANDERSON was the son of a western New York farmer. He graduated at Alfred Academy in Allegheny, County in 1851, at the newly-founded University of Rochester in 1854, and at the Rochester Theological Seminary in 1854. He was one of the leading men in college and seminary, one of those students whose future seemed to the professors likely to be brilliant. A deep and permanent impression was made on him by that truly great educator, Martin B. Anderson, President of the University, and also by A. C. Kendrick, Ezekiel G. Robinson and Thomas J. Conant. As my father had more of a practical than a metaphysical cast of mind, President Anderson, no relative of his, had by far the greatest influence with him. The President was his beau ideal, and from the day of my father’s graduation his intimate and trusted friend. No other man in all my father’s career exercised such molding power on his character. When my father graduated from the seminary, he was a very handsome young man of twenty-four, perfectly sound in body, with a well-trained analytic mind and the highest scholarly ideals, bouyant, hopeful, courageous, sure of himself, an indefatigable worker, and a Christian devoted unreservedly to Christ and his work in the world. Under the tutelage of the two greatest Baptist educators of the time, princes among men, he had acquired a breadth and liberality of mind and taste which he never lost.

PASTORATES

While the whole world lay before him where to choose, two calls came, one to the prominent, well-established First Church of Auburn, N. Y., at $ 1,800.00 a year, and the other to the smaller, more distant church at Janesville, Wisconsin, at $800.00. With little hesitation, against the advice of nearly all his friends, he accepted the latter call, married and moved to Wisconsin.

His first service was a prayer-meeting. It was a dark, rainy night, and the run-down church greeted its new leader with an attendance of seven women and one man. But in a few weeks all was changed. The energy, sympathy and manliness of the young pastor, together with superior preaching, quickly attracted the people. The house was packed at every Sunday service, the Sunday school and the prayer-meeting suddenly took on new life, and soon a gracious revival of religion broke out in the church and the community. Many of the more intelligent and well-to-do began attending the Baptist Church, and the wife of the Governor of the State, Mrs. Barlow, was converted and with many other happy candidates was baptized in the Rock River. The whole two years of the pastorate were marked by mutual love and uninterrupted spiritual and material progress. My father made lifelong friends in Janesville who were a continual blessing to him. He built up the church so solidly that it has ever since been one of the strong Baptist churches of Wisconsin. As he himself said after years of retrospection, he was “successful beyond his most sanguine expectations.”

This happy work ended when, in the fall of 1858, he left to become the pastor of the Second Baptist Church of St. Louis at a salary of $3,000.00. St. Louis was then, as now, the greatest city in the Mississippi Valley, and the largest in the United States west of the great river. His church was at that time the largest Baptist Church west of the Mississippi and probably the largest Baptist Church west of Cincinnati.

He immediately plunged into the work. He carefully kept up his biblical and theological studies and his general reading, but his afternoons and evenings were full of pastoral and denominational labor. He was the faithful friend of the sick and the poor. He always attended the Sabbath School before church and usually taught a Bible class. He preached at 10.30. In later years, he added a Bible class at 2.30. He often preached at missions, colored churches, or union services at 4,00, and then preached again in the evening at 7.00. In addition to the prayer-meeting, he gave an expository lecture weekly on Wednesday evenings. One of his great features was his monthly sermon to the Sabbath School children, taking the place of the usual morning sermon, and popular alike with the children and the adults.

He was deeply interested in City Missions. He constantly visited and strengthened the Jefferson Mission of the church, until it had 400 pupils, a good house, and regular preaching. He revived the dying Fourth Church, cleaned out the secessionists, put in a new pastor, built them a new house, and set them on their way rejoicing. He got a new house built for the Third Church, and started them on the road to their present prosperity. He brought substantial help to the German and Negro Baptist Churches and made them strong. Under his leadership the men of his church in one year raised as much as $12,000.00 for City Missions. All this involved great and taxing labor and many weary and discouraging days, but he won at list. He put the Baptists of St. Louis on their feet. In addition to all this, he was the faithful friend of Shurtleff College and aided in raising its endowment.

But the Civil War was the determining factor in this pastorate. Missouri was a slave state and a border state and St. Louis was its great city, the prize for which the Confederates strove again and again. The fight to hold St. Louis and to keep Missouri in the Union was bitter and often desperate. Sharp and bloody battles were fought on her soil, and were not always won by the Union forces. The people of the city and the state were divided into two hostile camps, continually plotting to secure the advantage in the great contest.

My father was a western New Yorker, “the meanest kind of Yankee,” as a St. Louis neighbor told him. His father had voted for John P. Hale, the original free soiler, for President in 1852, and my father, like him, was an enthusiastic antislavery man. He protected a fugitive slave in his house in Janesville, and was cognizant of the Underground Railroad and its stations in Wisconsin. Yet at first in St. Louis, he restrained his feelings, but voted for Lincoln with 5,000 other Missourians in 1860.

As soon as Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated, my father, alone among St. Louis ministers, began to pray for him in the public services as he had for Mr. Buchanan. This brought forth vigorous protests from the Southern contingent in the church membership, but they were of no avail with the unyielding pastor. Seven days after Fort Sumter surrendered, my father took his stand in a city seething with secessionist intrigues and without a single supporter among his ministerial brethren. He preached on the “Duty of Loyalty to the Government,” and closed by singing, “My Country, ’tis of thee.” In that sermon he said, “There are those here who have assumed the task of dictating what this pulpit shall say. They belong to a class of men who suppose that when a man becomes a minister, he ceases to be a man, to be a citizen, to have an opinion, that he gives his conscience and judgment up to the pew holders, that he speaks, like the puppet on the stage, when some one in the pews pulls the wires. I do not belong to that class of ministers. When I became a Christian minister, I was not conscious of laying aside my manhood. Permit me to say to all such dictators that I shall not bow down to them nor serve them.” Again, “You may differ with me in judgment upon this question, you have your opinions and the right freely to express them and 1 shall have mine. There is no sufficient reason for this rebellion and revolution. It is the most wicked and condemnable of any recorded in the history of nations. The anarchy, conflict and bloodshed, which it has brought upon us, must rest on the heads of those who, without just cause, have inaugurated and carried it forward.” That was a crucial morning in my father’s life, and in the history of the Second Church and of the State of Missouri. The Southern members of the church, slamming the pew doors, marched out in anger. They never came back, nor were they ever asked to do so. Some who requested letters were granted them. The others were excluded.

The results were important. The secessionists of the city, who had been having it all their own way, realized that a leader of the Union sentiment had appeared and all friends of the United States took heart and rallied around him. The final result was that the Second Church became the great Union Church of St. Louis; the great Union generals, who commanded in St. Louis, Halleck, Sumner, Lyon, Hancock, and Scofield, often attended it with their subordinate officers; the new immigration from the North at the close of the war inevitably gravitated to it, and the future of the church for over fifty years was made by that one sermon.

The immediate result was that threats of assassination were freely made, plots were laid to kill my father, secessionist roughs broke the windows of the church during the next Sunday evening service with bricks. Another minister, named Anderson and curiously enough himself a rebel sympathizer, was attacked and seriously wounded by mistake for my father. One of my father’s deacons was shot through the head and killed. The leading opposition daily newspaper advertised that the Devil would preach at the corner of Sixth and Locust Streets (location of the Second Church). But he wrote in his journal for no eye save his own, “None of these things move me. I am in God’s hands and it is my business to speak His truth and leave the consequences to Him. If my poor life is demanded for the sake of establishing an untrammeled pulpit, it could not better be offered up. This unholy rebellion shall receive nothing but condemnation from my lips. May God help me to do my duty.”

His public answer to these threats was his sermon on the “Sanctity of an Oath,” preached June I5, 1861, in which he denounced the oath-breaking all around him as perjury and firmly maintained his position. The reply of the secessionists to that sermon was taken in a raid on their headquarters. A rebel army was approaching St. Louis and, in hope of speedy victory, their sympathizers in the city had drawn up a list of one hundred Union men whom they would immediately arrest if the city was taken. Ninety names were written in black ink. These men were to be given the favor of a trial. The first ten, whose names were written in red ink, however, headed by Frank Blair, were to be seized and hung to lampposts without ceremony. My father stood third on that first list. I think that he was prouder of that recognition than of any other honor that ever came to him. In imagination and memory he cherished it as a decoration, as the red badge of courage and loyalty.

He was one of the leaders of the Union cause in Missouri, loved and honored by all patriotic men. Nicolay and Hay in their “Life of Lincoln” name him as one of five men who kept Missouri in the Union. How much he had to do personally with the taking of the arsenal, and with the bringing of the Constitutional Convention to St. Louis, the decisive act in the whole drama, I cannot discover. But the implications of his words are that he was not only privy to these important plans, but had a subordinate part in them. He was a member of the Home Guard. He drilled and carried a gun when the Union men manned the earthworks against the oncoming rebels.

General Quimby, who was sent by the Government to clean up Arkansas and Louisiana in 1862, offered him a place on his staff with the rank of Colonel, but he thought that he could do more for the cause in St. Louis and declined. Here he often sounded the trumpet note which heartened and inspired the whole loyal population. Mention should be made of his careful and yet passionate testimony against rebellion and slavery in his Thanksgiving Sermon of 1862. He always believed in the ultimate victory of the Federal cause, even in the darkest days, though sometimes in the earlier months he doubted the continuance of the loyalty of Missouri. This courage and optimism were contagious and extremely valuable. They put hope and heart into all good Union men. Their highest expression is found in his Thanksgiving Sermon of 1864, after a dark summer, when even brave men began to despair and to wonder if the war must not end in compromise.

Here is the peroration of that sermon, whose topic was “Peace and the Sword.” “There are those, however, who cry out for peace. Who does not desire it? Have we not had enough of internal strife? Has not enough blood been shed? Yes, a thousandfold more than ought to have flowed. Have we not had enough of lamentation and tears? Let the Rachels, who weep for their children and refuse to be comforted, answer. He has a stone for a heart, who looking on the desolation of war, does not sigh for peace. But peace at what price? At the price of truth? Shall we give up the principle that good government must be obeyed for the sake of peace? Shall we tamely yield the truth that all men are equal in God’s sight and have a right to the products of their own labor? Shall we timidly assent to the tyrannical doctrine that the normal condition of a portion of our race is slavery? We cannot purchase peace at so great a cost. God giving us strength, we never will. Let our wives be widows and our children orphans; let them beg their bread from door to door; let them die without care in almshouses, and be buried uncoffined in the potter’s field; yea, let a conflagration sweep over our land and an earthquake sink it before we yield one rood of our territory to those who, without cause, lifted up the red hand of rebellion against the Government of our fathers in the interest of slavery. And why all this? Because the truth for which we contend is worth more than your life or mine or more than the lives of a generation of men. When peace shall be obtained that is based in righteousness, which flows forth from justice established and exalted in the midst of the nation which grants to all classes of men their inalienable rights, we will sing pæans of joy over it. But if we are to have a peace based on a compromise with iniquity, which will be as deceptive as apples of Sodom, involving our children in disasters more dire than those which have befallen us, every lover of truth and justice and good government will hang his head and in shame shed bitter tears. O God, save us in mercy from such a peace. Give us anything rather than it. Grant us eighty years of war like that waged by the Netherlanders, rather than pour into our cup such an insidious curse…. This is no time for fear or faltering. We must quit ourselves like men, like Christian freemen. Christ, the Prince of Peace, anticipated such conflicts, and his words, corning across the centuries, shall cheer us till the last blow is struck, truth vindicated, and righteousness immovably established.”

Probably the greatest thing my father ever did was his contribution towards keeping Missouri in the Union. It had a mighty influence in keeping Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland there. It cheered and strengthened Abraham Lincoln, who watched this struggle with observant eye and anxious heart. It encouraged the whole North. It put 109,000 men into the Union armies. It is quite possible that this great military force added to the Federal Army really decided a conflict that often trembled in the balance; and equally it disheartened and weakened the enemies of the United States.

But in addition to these activities, the war imposed on my father many extra burdens. Besides ministering to his own large congregation, he cared for the refugees, who poured into St. Louis by the thousands before the advance of the rebel armies, and for the Union and rebel wounded and sick. Almost every day he visited the great Sisters’ Hospital until he was given the entire charge of the religious work in the Fifth Street Hospital. He took charge of preaching to the soldiers in one of the camps. He served on the Christian Commission, which carried through the great Sanitary Fair among other things, and finally he took his part in establishing negro schools throughout the city. More than this, he carried on a campaign in behalf of the loyal Baptists out in the state, organized and became President of the loyal Baptist State Convention, and established a loyal denominational paper.

These labors at length broke down even his frame of oak, and he finally resigned in April, 1866, and took the Professorship of Homiletics at Newton. During his pastorate in St. Louis, he had become well known to the denomination and had received urgent calls to the First Church of Philadelphia, the Ninth Street Church of Cincinnati, the Second Church of Rochester, the Chair of Old Testament in Chicago, and the Associate Secretaryship of the Home Mission Society.

After seven years in the Newton professorship, which we will discuss under another head, my father was greatly perplexed by simultaneous calls to the First Church of Cambridge, the First Church of Rochester, and the Strong Place Church of Brooklyn. After long hesitation, he finally decided to go to Brooklyn and began a three years’ pastorate there in September, 1873, at a salary of $6,000.00. Here he found a church, which had been long ruled by an exclusive clique of would-be aristocrats, on the edge of one of the poorest districts in the city. The central thing in the pastorate was a successful contest against this clique and the transference of control to a group of younger successful business men, who were desirous of winning the common people of the neighborhood. Excellent audiences always greeted my father. Many were baptized, among them some who for many years were pillars of the church. An effective constructive work was done. But here my mother lingered at death’s door for months with cerebro-spinal meningitis, and the physicians assured my father that she could never recover her health on the seacoast.

He therefore in 1876 accepted a call to the Second Church of Chicago, which at that time was the largest white Baptist church in the country except Tremont Temple, a harmonious, simple-hearted, working church. This was the happiest period in my father’s career, except perhaps the pastorate at Janesville. He was now in his early maturity, forty-four years of age, had entirely reestablished his health, had great audiences, wide influence, was sincerely loved by his leading men, had the best of helpers in Aunt Lizzie Aiken, nomen semper vererandum, and a church which devoted itself to its Christian business gladly and wholeheartedly. There were no crises in this happy two years, but a steady, fruitful, growing work.

In February, 1878, my father was implored to help save the old University of Chicago, and thinking it his duty consented, much against the unanimous wish of his church. This Presidency of the University, which we shall describe later, was followed by his last pastorate, at the First Church of Salem. My father came to this brief pastorate of eighteen months, July, 1885-January 1, 1887, a weary, discouraged man, after what seemed to him his first and only great defeat. It was to him a haven of refuge and rest, where in the midst of genial surroundings, his spirit gradually revived. The hearty welcome which he received from the Boston brethren, after his hard usage in Chicago and in the Vassar affair, made him feel that he had not lost the esteem of his brethren. His election to the Foreign Board was especially gratifying to him. All this, of course, was subjective, known only to the family circle. Outwardly he was calm, genial, courageous. The Salem church recognized that a master hand was at the helm and the little city soon began to honor him. He built up excellent audiences. The Sunday School and prayer-meeting responded to his touch, and he gave himself with delight to the preaching of the gospel which he loved. But he was too big a man to spend his years in Salem, and in the fall of 1886, Denison University called him to its Presidency and Richard was himself again.

These five pastorates, all but one very short, occupied nearly seventeen years of my father’s life. They were a joy to him. He loved to proclaim the gospel and to shepherd the flock. As a pastor, he was diligent, faithful, sympathetic and sensible. He was equally at home in the houses of the poor and the rich. He was a good leader of the church, because he saw clearly, expounded his policies patiently and convincingly, was persistent in urging them, took a large part of the burden of them himself, and carried them through with conspicuous ability. He was a good administrator, broad in conception, careful in detail, forceful in execution. But my father’s glory was in the pulpit. He was a master of the art of preaching. This is high praise, but it will stand every legitimate test. He always had large audiences. Even when he began pastorates with practically empty houses, it was only a short time before they commenced to fill and soon were full. And the people were always interested and attentive. The common people heard him gladly, and the more scholarly were equally delighted. Although he never used any claptrap or indulged in sensationalism, he was a popular preacher in the best sense. And the highest tribute was that the people did not so much praise the sermon, but went out with hearts stirred to adoration, devotion and duty. Unlike many to which it is a pleasure to listen, my father’s printed sermons read as well as they sounded. Standing there upon the printed page, they are still clear, pungent and eloquent. This is an acid test.

Many of the best churches of our denomination coveted my father for his preaching and urgently called him. The Hyde Park Presbyterian Church of Chicago, which he served for over a year, offered to give up infant sprinkling, if he would be their pastor. The leading Universalist church in Chicago, Robert Collyer’s, was loath to let him go at the end of three months. He charmed Dr. Little’s church in Dorchester after he was eighty, and they asked him to be their stated supply. He was the preacher at the May Anniversaries in 1891, was often asked to preach at State Conventions, was a favorite at the University of Chicago, and when over eighty was preacher at Wellesley. One of the greatest comforts of his old age was that the historic First Church of Providence invited him to be their sole summer supply for his last two years, and during his last illness, he received a request to serve them in like manner for the third time.

Allow me to quote from a letter written in 1916 by a distinguished Congregational theological professor and author, who stole away from his own church while a Harvard student to hear my father at the Old Cambridge Church in the 70’s. “Your preaching has always remained in my mind as the greatest which I ever heard. Always uplifting and full of inspiration, it left me on the mountain tops of religious thought and feeling. Delivered without notes, the address was direct, simple, chaste and beautiful in diction, guided and borne on by a distinct current of definite, original and beautiful thought. And it was religion in its clearest, most essential and universal elements. More than any one thing, those addresses made my ideal of preaching and have been the model on which I have formed my own poor efforts…. Nor were my impressions of that preaching the results of immaturity and lack of knowledge of great men and great speaking. Years afterwards, when I entertained you at _____ and heard you preach all one Sunday, I hung entranced on every word. You were for me and you are now the unexcelled preacher, not only perfect in form, but unequalled in thought.” If we discount this somewhat extravagant encomium fifty per cent, we shall still be right in calling my father “A master of the art of preaching.”

And what was this preaching? Behind it was a forceful, well-balanced man of wide sympathies and deep and varied experiences, capable of great emotion which was always under admirable restraint. Great labor had been bestowed on the sermon and it had been carefully prepared for delivery, always without notes. My father lead an excellent voice, a clear enunciation and insisted on a conversational tone in preaching, speaking directly to the hearers. Sermons, to his mind, must always be conceived in the second and not in the third person. The language was simple and the exegesis carefully worked out and plainly presented. Definition was always a strong point. My father insisted that both he and the people should know exactly what he was talking about. The main thought or proposition was then clearly stated and more thoroughly analyzed, the points of the sermon sticking out conspicuously and therefore sticking in. Application of the truth presented was always a large part of the sermon, for my father was above all a practical preacher. He used all kinds of sermons, but expository, practical and historical sermons were his favorites, and he carefully avoided going too far into metaphysics or the technicalities of theology. He always preached as if the subject was of profound and perhaps decisive importance. President Strong wrote to him in 1903, “You know how to preach. That direct, incisive, sensible, sympathetic style especially befits the gospel message.”

The greatest sermon I ever heard my father preach was on “Eternal Life,” a new sermon for the Newton Centre Church in 1915. Of his published sermons I can hardly chose between “Peace and the Sword,” preached Thanksgiving Day, 1864, and “The Kingdom That Changed Rulers,” preached before the Baptist Young People’s Union in Providence in 1903.

Go to Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator PART 2

Elijah Alexander Mays by Larry Thomas

Elijah Alexander Mays

by Larry Thomas

Alexander Mays was born about 1820 in Maury County, Tennessee. He was the son of John and Eleanor “Nelly” Dorton Mays. Little is known about his father, John Mays including when or where he was born or who his parents were.  In fact about the only thing known for sure is that on April 16, 1818 John married Nelly Dorton in Maury County, Tennessee. John died, or left, in the 1820’s while they were living in Maury County, Tennessee leaving no will. Alexander would have been under 10 years old when his father died.  Alexander’s mother, Eleanor “Nelly” Dorton was born about 1798 in North Carolina, probably Cabarrus County, the daughter of Charles Dorton.

After John’s death, Eleanor was living in Maury County in 1830 with her three children, including Alexander, next to Robert Mays. What relationship Robert Mays was, if any, is unknown.  In 1840, Nelly was in Marshall County, Tennessee, and was still living there in 1850. Alexander was living elsewhere, and only Nelly’s daughter Gracey was living with her. Alexander had one other sibling, a sister, but her name and what happened to her is unknown.

The first record of Alexander on his own is on September 7, 1840 in Marshall County, Tennessee when he is named on the record for work on the McColums Gap road. A few months after that, on December 28, he married Sarah Hopwood Beck, the widow of Ebenezer Beck who was about 10 years his senior.  Sarah Hopwood was born about 1811 in Bedford County, Tennessee, the daughter of the Reverend Willis and Penelope Moore Hopwood. Her father, the Reverend Hopwood was a Baptist circuit rider, but later converted and became one of the leaders of the Disciples of Christ faith movement in middle Tennessee. About 1828 Sarah had married Ebenezer Beck and had seven children before his death in 1839.  Ebenezer is buried in the Hopwood Cemetery in Marshall County, Tennessee, near Sarah’s grandparents. Sarah’s father traveled a wide area from almost Nashville, TN down into Alabama to help spread the Disciples of Christ faith. While a devout minister, he also had no difficulties with owning slaves. His granddaughter, Mary Beck Dorton, told that he didn’t believe in whipping the slaves, that if they caused trouble, he just sold them.

The next time Alexander appears is in 1848 when he is named to work on the road with his father-in-law, Willis Hopwood. It must be understood that work on the road also means that you furnish hands to work on the road. It is doubtful that Willis, a minister and slave owner, was actually helping clear the road himself whereas Alexander probably actually did work.

The first child of Alexander and Sarah that we know of, was Thomas, born in 1841 in Marshall County, Tennessee. Three to four years later, in 1845, a daughter, Gracie Ellen was born and in 1847 their son John Alexander was born, also in Marshall County. The fourth child born of this union was William, born on August 5, 1850, a few months before Sarah’s father died.

On July 19, 1852, their youngest son William Mays died, just short of two years old.  He is buried in the Hopwood cemetery in Marshall County, Tennessee near the resting place of his great grandparents, William and Nancy Willis Hopwood. Shortly after this, Alexander, Sarah and their three remaining children left for Missouri along with Alexander’s mother, Eleanor and her slaves and most likely some of Sarah older children from her prior marriage. They had arrived in Missouri by January 22, 1854 when their last child was born, Andrew Craig Mays.

On July 13, 1858, Elijah made his mark on a statement for the purchase of 124 and 1/2 acres in Madison Co., Missouri. He stated that he had been living there since July 27, 1857 and that he had a dwelling house and other appurtenances with six acres in cultivation.  Elijah stated that he was 36 years old and was the head of a family. Living in nearby counties were Sarah’s children by Ebenezer Beck, Clark, Mary Polly who married William Sennekey Dorton, and probably Malinda Jane who married Harvey Dorton.

For whatever reason, Elijah and Sarah moved a little further west and were living in Reynolds County, Missouri on March 11, 1859. On February 15, 1860 Elijah made a claim for the purchase of 120 acres for 12 1/2 cents per acre in Reynolds County. He stated that he was living on this land and that he had about four acres in cultivation as well as a dwelling house. He also stated that this land was for his personal use and for the purpose of actual settlement. As late as 1871, only eight other families had settled in the valley besides Alexander’s family in one household, and his mother Eleanor in another.

The land they settled is in a small, quiet valley surrounded by fairly steep hills on what is now highway HH just south of Ellington. Located in the valley was the Bethlehem School and Church.  The first full-time pastor was Rev. Jacob Lewis who arrived shortly before Alexander and Sarah, in 1852. It is likely that their families attended service at the Bethlehem Church as we know Sarah’s father was a devout preacher and that her son Andrew was a member of the Philadelphia Baptist Church after he moved to Arkansas. Later on, just before moving, Andrew was attending school at Bethlehem, as well as his older brother John’s children and the former slaves of Alexander’s mother Eleanor.

In 1860 Alexander, or E. A., and Sarah Mays were living in Reynolds County with their four children, including Thomas. Ironically, Thomas also shows up in the St. Francois County, Missouri census which was taken a few months earlier, living with Clark Beck, his half brother from his mother’s first marriage. In this census Thomas was listed as a coal miner, a job which undoubtedly didn’t have much appeal since he was now a farmhand in Reynolds County. Across the road was Eleanor Mays, Alexander’s mother.  On this census she stated that she was a farmer with $200 worth of personal property, that she could not read or write, and that she owned 2 slaves. While Alexander and his mother were unable to read or write, Sarah was, and any papers signed together, had Alexander’s mark and Sarah’s signature. Another interesting fact was that while in Tennessee he used the name Alexander, but after arriving in Missouri he began using E. A. or Elijah A.  It is known that there was another Elijah Mays living nearby in Tennessee, possibly a cousin or uncle, and our Elijah went by Alexander to avoid confusion.

A story passed on to the family by Elijah’s grandson Charles Edgar Mays was that while living in Missouri, Elijah was loading the wagon to make a trip to town, his son Andrew wanted to go but Elijah told him “You cannot go this time.” Andrew told his father, “Pap if you don’t let me go, I will cut up your deer hide.” Elijah gave him a little switching and told Andrew, “There will be plenty more if you touch my deer hide.”

The Civil War was a tough time for southern Missouri, having troops from both sides patrolling the area. The town of Barnsville (Ellington after the war) was actually abandoned and ceased to exist during the war. One night in 1863, Union troops came through the area and, according to history books, raided the homes of several families in the Bethlehem area. The history books show that Andrew Chitwood, an older man was shot on his porch. Up the valley a Mr. Bowers, while trying to escape out his back door was shot in the back and died shortly thereafter from his wounds. William Murril and David Angel were persuaded to join and fight with the Union army. But records show that Murril later died in the Alton, Illinois prison in December, 1864, listed as a conscript.

On December 30th, 1862 E. A. Mays was captured by Captain Bruett of the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry.  The Union Captain stated that Alexander had refused to take the oath to the United States and to give bond.  He stated that Alexander said he would not care if he had to work his lifetime at the fortifications. He was taken to Van Buren, Missouri for a few days and on January 6, 1863, when his youngest son Andrew was only 8 years old, Elijah Alexander Mays, civilian, Reynolds County, Missouri, was confined to the Gratiot Street, Union prison in St. Louis, Missouri. On January 26th, Alexander was listed as “unaccounted for”. There were a great many escapes made from these prisons and it might be that he tried, but on February 5, 1863 he was back and made a statement to the authorities. He stated that he was born in Maury Co, Tennessee, was 43 years old, a farmer, married and had four children. When asked why he was arrested, he stated that “I don’t know-Have no idea-thought I had always been a good loyal citizen.”  When asked if he was a southern sympathizer he stated that “I hate to see the south crushed as it is spoken of – I rather think I am.” The interviewer stated that he did not make a good impression and doubted that he was truthful. He also stated that he was mild, firm, vigorous and healthy. It was also stated that  “No doubt a traitor at heart, but too ignorant to do much harm.”

In November 1862, shortly before Alexander’s arrival, the Gratiot Street prison had 800 prisoners, when it’s maximum capacity was around 500 prisoners. Captain Griffin Frost, a Southern officer, who kept a diary throughout the entire war, wrote that he arrived at Gratiot on the last day of 1862, one week before Alexander’s arrival, that they were escorted to their quarters, “a very dark, gloomy place, and very filthy besides.” The prisoners found that the Gratiot Street prison was a hard place and the “fare so rough, it seems an excellent place to starve.” In March of 1863 smallpox broke out among the prisoners causing them to wonder that “every disease under heaven does not break out in the lower quarters, half starved and crowded together as they are in dirt and rage.” On February 26th Alexander was sent to the Burnett Hospital. It is possible that he too had smallpox but there is no record of his ailment.  In April two physicians were appointed by the Sanitary Commission and declared the prisons to be a disgrace “to us as a Christian people.” “In these rooms the prisoners spent day and night, for the small yard of the prison is scarcely sufficient to contain a foul and stinking privy…. it is difficult to conceive how human beings can continue to live in such an atmosphere as must be generated when the windows are closed at night or in stormy weather. Here were persons lying sick, with pneumonia, dysentery and other grave diseases awaiting admission to the hospital.” The records are confusing but on either March 9th or April 25th, 1863 Alexander was sent to the Alton, Illinois prison.

While in the Alton prison, Alexander fared no better. The prison was so bad that it had been condemned two years prior to the war and it too had an epidemic of smallpox in 1863. Overcrowding in the prison made the disease impossible to control or eliminate.  Captain Frost, who was also transferred to Alton, stated in his diary that “…this is a much harder place than Gratiot-it is almost impossible to sleep on account of the rats, which run over us all through the night…  There is much sickness’ the small-pox is prevailing, and many are dying daily.” A nearby island in the Mississippi river, called Ellis, was used for a burying ground. Since the building of the Alton lock and dam this grave site is now under water. Guards transported the wrapped bodies to the island in the darkness where they were placed in common graves. Prisoners, guards, even the doctors feared going to the island, afraid they would never return. No one knows the number buried on the smallpox island. Records indicate 1,613 deaths, but other estimates place the total as high as 5,000.  Other bodies were taken to the old prison burying ground near North Alton.

It appears that on August 3rd, Alexander was sent back to the Gratiot Street prison, where by October, there were nine hundred and sixty prisoners, many without bunks. On September 2d, the Judge Advocate recommended that E. A. Mays be kept in prison during the bushwhacking months (September and October) and then released on bond of one thousand dollars. Through all this Alexander survived, for on November 27, 1863, while in the Gratiot Street prison, is a single final entry, “Sent South of the U.S. lines.” It appears that Alexander never made it back to his family and home.

At this time Sarah Hopwood Mays’ daughter, Polly Beck Dorton was living in Farmington, Missouri and her husband William was away fighting for the Southern army. It is unknown if the tragedy in her mother’s household was the cause, or some other reason, but in a story related by Elsie Dawson, Polly’s granddaughter, Polly decided to travel to Tennessee to visit her mother.  Since the Mays family had long since moved to Reynolds County, Missouri, it was undoubtedly there that Polly traveled and not Tennessee.

“She (Polly) had a big old mare, with an enlarged knee, about as big as a gallon bucket.  It was caused by another horse kicking her. She also had a fine young mare, but the Captain of the Home Guard told her that his men had their eyes on her and was going to take her. She let the Captain take her to ride himself. He kept her until the war ended. So she and the children made the long trip to Tennessee.

“On the way, the soldiers would stop her to take the mare. But when they saw the ‘big knee’, they would let her keep the mare. She had to get ‘Passes’ along the way, to get by the armies. The Captains would tell her to hurry, there might be a battle at any time.

“All three of them rode the mare sometimes but most of the time Grandma walked and let the children ride. She found her Mother OK, visited a while and returned home to Missouri.” After the war Polly and her family moved to Craighead County, Arkansas.

It is likely that the family never knew what had happen to Elijah, but sometime prior to 1870, Sarah had married for a third time to James Stallcup. At this time the only child left at home was a 15 year old Andrew. The same year, 1870 her Sarah’s mother in law, Eleanor is listed as Ellen Maze, Maze being a common misspelling in Reynolds County, especially among those that were unable to read and write. She names Rythe, Nancy and William as “whites” and as domestic servants, but in 1860 they were listed as slaves. The courthouse in Reynolds County burned in 1871 so all records before then have been lost. The last record found of Eleanor is when she appears on the 1871 Enumeration of Residents for the Bethelem School. Since Eleanor does not appear on the 1872 Enumeration, and no other record’s can be found naming her, it can be determined that she passed away about 1871.  Eleanor had been a widow for over forty years, had traveled half way across the United States. She is probably buried in the old Mays cemetery or the Bethlehem Church cemetery, both south of Ellington. In 1872 Andrew was attending the Bethlehem school but shortly after his grandmother’s death Andrew left Missouri for Craighead County, Arkansas where he married Rosley Caroline Sullins in 1874. James Stallcup died a short while later, around August, 1875.

In 1876 Sarah appears on the county tax list living next to her son Alex Beck. But in September 1876 she and her daughter Gracie, whose husband James McMillin had also recently died, sold the 120 acres of land Elijah had purchased in 1859 to her son, John Mays. Tradition says that Andrew moved his family to Arkansas, so it can be reasoned that he returned to Reynolds county to help move his mother and sister. Sarah moved in with Andrew and his family while  Gracie bought the land next to Andrew on Lost Creek in Craighead County, Arkansas.

John remained in Reynolds Co., Missouri after everyone else had left for Arkansas. He served in the Missouri Militia for two years after the Civil War and was described as 6 foot tall with dark eyes, hair and complexion. About 1865 John married Cisley Chitwood, the daughter of Andrew Chitwood, who was shot on his porch, probably in the same raid that took John’s father away. Later he was elected to the local School board for several years in the 1870’s.

Interestingly, Eleanor must have been very close to her one time slaves, for from 1876 forward, these slaves are listed as having taken the name Mays, and continued to live next to John Alexander Mays, her grandson. It appears that these individuals were living on the land that Eleanor was farming in 1860. In the early 1880’s when the last of the Mays family, John, moved to Craighead County, Arkansas and bought land from his sister Gracie, the former slaves moved with him. Nancy Cooper, John Alexander Mays’ granddaughter, remembers her father Charles Edgar talking about “Mammy Blythe” (Rythe on the 1870 census) as taking care of the children when growing up. Several of this family of former slaves are buried on the outskirts of the Ransom cemetery outside Jonesboro, where several of Eleanor’s descendants and in-laws are buried.

Sarah lived out the rest of her days with Andrew. She died on October 5, 1899 and is buried in the Shiloh Cemetery with a stone that says only “Mother of A.C. Mays”. Her obituary appeared in the Jonesboro Sun on October 12, 1899 stating “Grandma Mays died Thursday, October 5, 1899 at 6 o’clock at the residence of her son A. C. Mays, two miles north of this city, at the ripe old age of 87 years and was buried Friday at 6 p.m. in Shiloh Cemetery.” Her grandson, Charles Edgar described her as “…about 5’8” tall, large frame, stood fairly straight and not too fat. Her complexion was that of a high sun tan.” “She wore dresses of many yards of cloth as was the custom in those days.  Her top dress had a deep pocket, I knew she was preparing to smoke. I would get all excited and say ‘Grandma can I get you the light for your pipe? She always smiled and would say, ‘Yes.’” “Besides being kind to me, she was strange and intriguing.”


Sources:

Marriage License of John Mays and Nelly Dorton, issued Maury Co., TN, April 16, 1818, Book W-1, page 27.

1830 Census Maury Co. TN     AGLL Film M19-177, Page 349.

1840 Census Marshall Co. TN       AGLL Film M704-531.

1850 Marshall Co. TN Census   Oct 24, 1850, Page 131.

Letter from Elsie Dawson, granddaughter of Mary Beck Dorton.

Marshall Co. TN Court Minutes Vol A, page 414,  Sept 7, 1840, Alexander Mays appears in Marshall County records for the first time in record for McColums Gap road.

Record of License from Marshall Co., TN, FHL 0024762-Marriage Bonds Marshall Co., TN, license of Alexender Mays and Sarah Beck, December 28, 1840.

Marriage Record of Willis Hopwood and Penelope Moore, Pittsylvania Co., VA

Christian Magazine, Vol. IV, Sept. 1851, p. 288 ; Jesse Ferguson, Editor, “Obituary of Reverend Willis Hopwood”.

Tennessee Christians  A History of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tennessee; by Herman A. Norton, 1971, Pg. 12-15.

The Story of the Churches The Disciple of Christ, Electronic Version, by Errett Gates, Ph. D.   1905 The Baker and Taylor Co.  pages 164-168

Marshall County, TN Will Book, page 242-246, Will of Willis Hopwood

Marshall County Tennessee Court Minutes 1845-1848,  page 361 Record road work of Alexander “Mase”.

Tombstones of William Mays, William Hopwood and Nancy Hopwood, Hopwood Cemetery, Marshall Co., TN.

Death Certificate of Andrew Craig Mays.

1900 Jonesboro Township, Craighead Co., AR Census.

Madison Co., MO. Land Deed Book G,  Page 731-732

1860 St. Francois Co., MO Census.

National Archives, General Land Entry Files, Patent 37329, Reynolds Co., MO.

Reynolds County, Missouri, ‘Sesquicentennial Year’ 1845-1995, Vol. I, Page 24, 31-32.

Annual Enumeration of Local (School) Board, 1871 and 1872.

1860 Reynolds Co., MO Census, Barnsville PO.

Camp and Prison Journal by Griffin Frost, Reprinted 1994 by Press of the Camp Pope Bookshop, P.O. Box 2232, Iowa City, IA  52244.

Missouri Prisoners of War, From Gratiot Street Prison & Myrtle Street Prison, St. Louis, MO and Alton Prison, Alton, Illinois Including Citizens, Confederates, Bushwhackers and Guerrillas,  By Joanne Chile Eakin, 1995, Printed in Independence, MO  64055.

National Archives and Records Administration, Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group 109, Union Provost Marshals’ File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, Roll 179.

The Cole Family Allied Lines, by Kathe Hager Hollingshaus & Peggy Ann Silva Shumway, Page 276 by granddaughter Elsie Dawson.

1870 Reynolds Co., MO Census, Barnsville, Webb Township

Index of Reynolds Co., MO Probate Records, Reynolds County Genealogy Society.

1876 Reynolds Co., MO County Tax List.

Obituary of Sarah Hopwood, The Jonesboro Sun, Oct. 12, 1899, page 5.

The Jonesboro Evening Sun, Thursday, July 7, 1938, “Over 100 Attend Reunion of Mays Family near City”.

Obituary of Andrew C. Mays, Jonesboro Daily Tribune, Nov. 13, 1937.

Post Civil War Missouri Militia Enrollment List 1865-1866, Reynolds County Missouri, Transcribed by Marcia V. (Moyer) Branstetter, California, MO  65018.

Various Craighead Co., AR land deeds.

Statement of Nancy Cooper, granddaughter of John Alexander Mays.

The Craighead County Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXIII, Spring 1985, No. 2, April 1985, “The Mays Family” by Charles Edgar Mays, page 9-14.

Father Bannon – Bio by James M Gallen

Father Bannon

by James M. Gallen

Jim Gallen is an attorney practicing in St. Louis. He is a member of the Wm. T. Sherman/Billy Yank Camp No. 65 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. He has written numerous articles on the Civil War and other historical topics which have been published in newsletters and posted on websites across the country.

“John B. Bannon: Chaplain, Soldier and Diplomat” previously published in “The Christian Banner”, Vol. XV, #1, 1999; Bushwacker (Civil War Round Table of St. Louis), Vol. IV, #93, October 25, 2000; Bugle Call Echoes, San Joaquin Valley Civil War Round Table, Vol. IX, No. 3, March, 2001.


JOHN B. BANNON:
CHAPLAIN, SOLDIER AND DIPLOMAT

by
James M. Gallen
Father BannonRev. John B. Bannon was one of the most prominent and respected chaplains to serve in the Civil War. General Sterling Price, whose men he served, remarked: “I have no hesitancy in saying that the greatest soldier I ever saw was Father Bannon.” Father Bannon’s service to the Confederacy as chaplain, soldier and diplomat makes his story one worth telling.

Like so many of the troops who fought in the Civil War, Father Bannon’s story did not begin in America. He was born on December 29, 1829 in Roosky, Ireland. He was ordained into the priesthood at Maynooth, County Kildare, in May, 1853. He volunteered to follow so may of his countrymen who had fled famine and sought a new life in America. He chose to serve the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri whose Archbishop, Peter Kenrick, was also a son of Ireland.

St. John's Catholic Church, St. LouisFather Bannon was soon recognized as one of the leading clergymen in St. Louis, and in 1858, was assigned as pastor of the new parish of St. John the Apostle on the then west end of the city. While there he supervised the building of the church building.

In the St. Louis area, which Father Bannon served, he became a prominent leader of the Irish community, many of whom joined him when he went to war. The coming of the War found St. Louis, a deeply divided community. Archbishop Kenrick attempted to guide his divided flock by adopting a policy of neutrality toward the war which surrounded him. In support of this policy Kenrick discouraged his priests from serving as chaplains for either army. Father Bannon, however, could not be dissuaded,

Father Bannon’s military career commenced in November, 1860 when he joined Captain Kelly’s Washington Blues as a chaplain in its response to a call for militia troops to defend western Missouri from raiders from “Bloody Kansas.” The campaign was short and Father Bannon was back in St. Louis by the first Sunday of December, 1860.

After the firing on Fort Sumter, St. Louis began to polarize into two armed camps. In early May, Bannon remained close to Captain Kelly’s troops at Camp Jackson on the western edge of the city. After the surrender of Camp Jackson its troops, including Bannon, became prisoners of the Federal forces until release on May 11, 1861. Bannon returned to St. John’s where he remained until December 15, 1861. At the time of his departure Bannon was targeted for arrest by Federal authorities due to the views which he had expressed from the pulpit. On the night of the 15th, Bannon snuck out of the back door in disguise and a false beard, while Federal officials entered the front door. He then continued his clandestine journey across Missouri to Springfield where he became a member of the “Patriot Army of Missouri,” under the command of General Sterling Price. He then commenced his service as a chaplain, initially voluntary, to the First Missouri Confederate Brigade.

Bannon remained with the First Missouri Confederate Brigade until August 4, 1863. He and the rest of the Brigade had been taken prisoner at the fall of Vicksburg. Although not officially paroled, Bannon was released and went to Mobile and then on to Richmond.

Although his main service was to the Irish Catholic members of the First Missouri, some of whom had been parishioners at St. John’s, Bannon was widely respected in the army. He quickly earned the title of “the Catholic priest who always went into battle.” In accord with instructions to remain in the rear, it was the practice of may Confederate chaplains to pray with their men before battle and then remain in the rear to comfort the wounded  Bannon, however, believed that the chaplains who shared their men’s hardships and dangers “were much respected by all the men, whether Catholics or not; for they saw that [I] did not shrink from danger or labor to assist them.” In his view the practice of many chaplains caused them to become “frequently objects of derision, always disappearing on the eve of an action, when they would stay behind in some farm house till all was quiet.”

At the battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas, Bannon was seen to be in the thick of the action. As firing continued, Father Bannon was seen to be blessing, standing or kneeling with soldiers, and administering the last rites to the dying. His service during this battle led General Price to comment: “The greatest soldier I ever saw was Father Bannon. In the midst of the fray he would step in and take up a fallen soldier. If he were a Catholic, he would give him the rites of the Church; if a Protestant, and if he desired, he would baptize him.” Toward the end of the battle Bannon met general Van Dorn who ordered him to the rear. Bannon refused an order to move to the field hospitals, even under thereat of arrest, responding, “I can attend there later. I must attend now to those who are not able to be removed from the field.” Bannon explained his understanding of his duty when he wrote, “I am doing God’s work, and He has no use for cowards or skilkers. A Catholic priest must do his duty and never consider the time or place. If I am killed, I am not afraid to meet my fate. I am in God’s keeping. His holy will be done.”

The nights before a battle were busy ones for Bannon. Throughout the night he, “Would go up to a watch-fire, and waking one of the men, called him aside, hear his confession, and send him to summon another. The whole night would be spent thus in going from campfire to campfire. The men were always willing to come, generally too glad of the opportunity; some would even be watching for me.” When the night was over and the hour for the battle had arrived, Father Bannon had to substitute group for individual service. “When the time came for advancing, I made a sigh for them all to kneel, and gave them absolution (and) I then went to the second line, or the reserve, till it was their turn also to advance.” It was reported that “no men fight more bravely than Catholics who approach the sacraments before battle.” Bannon only reported one soldier who evaded his service.  An Irish Catholic artillery gunner declined because he had been long from the Sacraments and was afraid of confession.” Father Bannon tried to win him over with the assurance: “Come, man, I know what a soldier’s confession is.” Unfortunately the soldier refused reconciliation and was killed the next day.

Father Bannon’s support of the Confederate cause was based on deeply felt principles. His feelings derived from three influences, ethnic, religious and a general observation of the state of America in his day.

Among many Irish-Americans of his day, a parallel was seen between the British desire to impose its culture and will on Ireland and the efforts of the North to impose its standards on the South. This identification of the North as the oppressor led many Irish-Americans to support the Confederacy.

The circumstances prevalent in St. Louis led some Catholics to identify abolitionism with anti-Catholicism. Many Germans who had participated in the revolutions in Europe in 1848 had immigrated to St. Louis. In their struggles in Europe for freedom and the unification of Germany, their main enemy had been the Austrian Empire, which was identified with Catholicism. The hostility of the German community toward the Irish and its prominence in the Union cause in St. Louis drove many Irish Catholics, including Father Bannon, into the Confederate camp.

His observation of Northern and Southern society also led Bannon to his decision to support the Confederacy. In Bannon’s view the issue could be defined in terms of good versus evil and the forces of light against the darkness. His view of the struggle was revealed in his sermons. The Southerners were God’s chosen people while the Unionists were the Egyptians or philistines. He preached that the struggle was on between “the cross and the crescent, for which the last, the Yankee substitutes the dollar; a war between materialism and infidelity of the North, and the remnant of Christian civilization yet dominant in the South.” The clash between an industrial and an agrarian culture, again reminiscent of the struggle between Britain and Ireland, was on over the future development of North America. Bannon clearly shared the Southern vision.

Jefferson DavisFather Bannon’s service to the Confederacy did not end when he left the First Missouri Brigade. At the time of his visit to Richmond, one of the main military problems facing the Confederacy was the growing imbalance in military strength due in part to the influx of immigrants, many of them Irish, into the Union Army. On August 30, 1863, Bannon was surprised to receive a request from President Jefferson Davis to meet him at the President’s house.  During the visit President Davis asked Bannon to undertake a secret diplomatic mission to Ireland to discourage Irish immigrants from enlisting in the Union Army. In further conversation with Davis and Secretary of War Judah Benjamin, Bannon suggested that his mission be expanded to include an attempt to persuade the Papal States to extend recognition to the Confederacy. It was hoped that recognition by one European state would induce others to follow.

Bannon left America on October 3, 1863 aboard the Robert E. Lee. After arriving in Liverpool, England, Bannon headed for Italy. While in the Vatican he was accorded several long audiences with Pope Pius IX, during which he argued the Confederate cause. Although formal recognition was not obtained, the Pope did speak warmly of the Confederacy. In early December, Pope Pius did send a letter addressed “to the Illustrious and Honorable Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.”  This was taken as a defacto recognition by many and generated widespread outrage in the North.  It would also be helpful in Bannon’s mission in Ireland.

VaticanAfter the conclusion of the Vatican effort, Bannon returned to his native Isle in October, 1863. His first duty was to write long letters to the families of fifty or sixty Irish natives who had died while fighting for the First Missouri. Bannon them approached his diplomatic mission with zeal.  He found that his mission to the Vatican increased his acceptance among the Irish clergy to circulate handbills at the major ports of departure. The handbill reported that the Irish immigrant would be cajoled to join the union Army and be sent to be slaughtered in a “fight for a People that has the greatest antipathy to his birth and creed.” Besides the handbills, Bannon employed a series of large posters which were  nailed up in major ports and on the Churches of Cublin. The most effective poster, employed in 1864 contained the exchange of letters between Pope Pius IX and Judah BenjaminPresident Davis and a letter from Bannon. After he had won over the upper and middle classes, Bannon made an effort to reach the common people, who provided the recruits. To do this he sent a copy of his poster to every parish priest in Ireland. The poster was entitled “remnant of Christian civilization was yet dominant in the South.” He concluded his statement with the assertion; “As a priest of the Catholic Church, I am anxious to see the desires of the Holy Father realized speedily, and therefore have taken this means to lay before you the expression of his sentiments on the subject of the American War, knowing that no Catholic will persevere in the advocacy of an aggression condemned by his Holiness.”

The campaign by Bannon was highly effective. It is estimated the Irish recruits for the Union Army dropped two-thirds between December, 1863 and May, 1864. On May 28, 1864 Bannon reported to Secretary of State Benjamin that his money was exhausted and his mission complete. Benjamin had expressed his gratitude for the services provided by Bannon.

Bannon never returned to America. After the war he was prohibited by law from preaching at St. John’s Church. He joined the Jesuit order, of which he was one of its most distinguished Irish members until his death on July 14, 1913. Although he is little remembered in America, his legacy lives on in St. John’s Church which continues to serve the people of downtown St. Louis.

For more information of Father Bannon see:

Rock Champion

Rock Champion

Knight of the South

by Robert L. Durham

Robert L. Durham works as a computer specialist for the Defense Logistics Agency , mainly working Security Assistance for foreign countries. He has recently returned to college studying for a history degree. He has had articles published in “The Alamo Journal,” and in “The Journal of the Alamo Society.”  The two articles in “The Alamo Journal” will be included in a “best of” compilation due out in March 2002. He’s also had book reviews published in “True West,” “Muzzleloader,” and “The Alamo Journal” and is on the book review staff of “The Civil War News.”

Robert L. Durham has an article currently available in the February issue of “Wild West” titled “Flashing Sabers at Solomon’s Fork.”

J. Rock Champion was destined to become a hero — with such a name, how could he be other? In his short life, he won the hearts of his superiors in the Confederate Army, and became almost a legend among the men he served with. When his body was carried off the field of his final battle, the gray-clad soldiers who had served under him or beside him, took note of his passing almost as if he had been a famous commander, of much higher rank than a mere captain of cavalry.

Practically nothing is known about Rock Champion’s early life. There is not even a certainty about his first name, being recorded as both John and James. Rock may not even have been his middle name, but a nickname for Rockne. The only thing that can be said with any degree of certainty is that he was an Irish immigrant. [Note: I recently found him listed in the 1857 St. Louis Directory. Champion was a steamboat mate listed as living at the King’s Hotel. –D. H. Rule]

Missouri, a border state, was fairly evenly split between settlers from the northern states and those from the southern states. In the months preceding the Civil War, St. Louis, Missouri was a hotbed of conflicting passions, sharply divided on ethnic lines. Many settlers from Europe settled in St. Louis, most of them from Germany and Ireland. The German immigrants, by and large, sided with the Union while their Irish counterparts sided with the newly forming Confederacy.

The majority of the German immigrants were Lutherans, refugees from the 1848 Peasant Revolution, many of them anti-Catholic. The Peasant Revolution was an attempt to establish a centralized government in Germany, based upon Marxist principles. They naturally sided with the strong Federal Government advocated by the Republican Party of the middle 1800s. The Irish immigrants, on the other hand, opposed a strong centralized government because they had fled a strong British government in Ireland. Almost exclusively Democratic, the St. Louis Irish supported the rights of the states to leave the Union. [1]

The Missouri governor, Democrat Claiborne Fox Jackson, and most of the other Democratic legislators threw their complete support to the seceded states. In a State Convention, they declared that any effort to try to coerce these states back into the Union would cause Missouri to rally to the side of those states, in resistance to the Northern invaders. However, an effort to force a vote for Missouri’s secession met with failure because it failed to win support from conservatives, among them the future Confederate general, Sterling Price.

Francis P. Blair, Jr., leader of Missouri’s Republicans, formed the St. Louis Unionists into militia units, called Home Guards or Wide Awakes. The majority of the members of these units were Germans, and a great many had European military training. In response, the secessionists formed their own militia units, calling themselves Minute Men. Two of the southern leaders were Kentuckian Basil W. Duke and South Carolinian Colton Greene. Another leader of the Minute Men was J. Rock Champion. Described as “a big-hearted, big-bodied Irishman”, the six feet two inch giant was a natural leader of men. [2] On 13 February, he was elected Lieutenant of Company F, the Jackson Grays.

The opposing units started drilling soon after the election of Abraham Lincoln. The Minute Men were casting covetous eyes on the huge stash of weapons stored in the U. S. arsenal in St. Louis. Not trusting the loyalties of the arsenal commander, Frank Blair succeeded in getting Captain Nathaniel Lyon’s Company B of the 2nd U. S. Infantry transferred to St. Louis from Fort Riley, Kansas. The Minute Men felt they had to do something in retaliation. Since a Confederate banner had not yet been adopted, they had improvised two secessionist flags, on which they had “blazoned . . . every conceivable thing that was suggestive of a Southern meaning.” They mounted the flags over their headquarters building. In the pre-dawn darkness of the morning of 4 March 1861, Rock Champion, Basil Duke, Colton Greene, Arthur McCoy, and James Quinlan went quietly through the city to the Federal courthouse. “Champion and Quinlan undertook to place one of these flags on the very summit of the courthouse dome, and did so at great risk to neck and limb.”

The next morning, when the Unionist elements of the town discovered the secessionist symbols, there was no question of the identity of the guilty parties. The Wide Awakes assembled and marched to the headquarters of the Minute Men, where they demanded the removal of the improvised flag. The St. Louis police department, fearing that they would not be able to prevent a conflict between the Wide Awakes and the Minute Men, called on the state militia for assistance. The mayor of St. Louis, O. D. Filley, appealed to the leaders of the Minute Men to take down the flag to prevent needless bloodshed. Rock Champion helpfully “suggested that the mayor should call on his fire department and turn out the engines to throw water on the crowd, which he . . . thought would certainly cause it to disperse.” The mayor, naturally, refused to except his proposal. There was much yelling, some pushing and shoving, and some fist fights between individuals. Finally, the Wide Awake mob abandoned the fight, and left the Minute Men to fly their flag unhindered. [3]

In the aftermath of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln called for troops to help suppress the rebellion. Governor Jackson, an ardent southern sympathizer, refused. Jackson then sent a letter to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, requesting cannon to use in an assault on the Federal arsenal. He sent Basil Duke and Colton Greene to Montgomery, Alabama to receive delivery of the arms and transport them to St. Louis. [4]

President Lincoln appointed Nathaniel Lyon a brigadier general, and assigned him the task of circumventing the plans of the southern sympathizers. Under orders from the War Department, Lyon formed five companies of U. S. Volunteers and five companies of U. S. Reserves. Lyon emptied the arsenal by using the weapons it contained to arm these troops, transporting the few remaining firearms to Alton, Illinois for safe keeping. Since the Governor’s plans for capturing the arsenal were effectively stymied by Lyon, Jackson ordered state militia general Daniel M. Frost to establish a training camp, which he named Camp Jackson. On 10 May 1861, Lyon led 7,000 troops to capture the camp, which contained less than 700 men. General Lyon succeeded in taking the camp, but a short, bloody struggle with secessionist protestors resulted in the deaths of 28 citizens, two women and a baby among them. [5]

Camp Jackson riot

riot following Camp Jackson, illustration from Harper’s Magazine

Outmaneuvered at every turn, on 1 June, Governor Jackson called for 50,000 volunteers for the Missouri State Guard, and sent a request to President Davis to send an army to Missouri to support the secessionists. Two weeks later, on 14 June, General Lyon moved against Jefferson City, the state capital. The state government fled without a fight. [6]

The Confederates, under the command of newly commissioned General Sterling Price, regrouped in southwestern Missouri. Price busily organized his men into regiments and brigades. Champion was elected Captain of Company B, Joseph Kelly’s “Fighting Irish” Infantry Regiment, 6th Division, Missouri State Guard. Brigadier General Mosby Monroe Parsons was appointed to command the 6th Division. On 5 July, the Missourians attacked and defeated a Federal volunteer force at Carthage, Missouri. General Parsons reported, “it is due that I should call to your excellency’s especial notice the ability and daring of Colonel Kelly, of my regiment of infantry, and all the officers under his command.” [7]

Troops from Arkansas under Brigadier General N. Bart Pearce, and other soldiers from Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana commanded by Brigadier General Ben McCulloch, soon joined the Missourians. In early August, the Confederates were ready to strike back at the Federals, and moved toward Springfield, Missouri. On the morning of 10 August 1861, the combined Federal forces of Lyon and Franz Sigel attacked the Confederates, resulting in a bloody clash of arms at Oak Hill, or Wilson’s Creek. Colonel Kelly temporarily commanded Parson’s Division during the battle and Lieutenant Colonel Stephen O. Coleman led his regiment. When Coleman was mortally wounded, Captain Champion assumed command of the regiment for the remainder of the battle. [8]

The independent minded Ben McCulloch refused to cooperate further with General Price, and Price’s Missourians went on alone to reoccupy Springfield. Sterling Price now led his command north, gathering new volunteers for his army along the way. On 2 September, a Kansas Brigade under Brigadier General J. H. Lane attempted to halt Price’s column at Dry Wood Creek, Missouri. General Parson deployed his artillery and ordered his infantry to charge the Kansans. Colonel Kelly had been wounded in the hand at Wilson’s Creek, [9] so Champion still commanded the regiment. Encouraging his men, “forward my brave boys of Carthage and Springfield,” he led them against the Jayhawkers. A history of Vernon County, Missouri tells of him, standing six feet, two inches in his long cavalry boots, “raging like a mad bull up and down the line of file closers, yelling ‘aim low!’” The Northern soldiers retreated, abandoning the road to the Missourians. [10]

General Lane, afraid that Price’s soldiers were embarked on an invasion of Kansas, posted his Kansas Brigade at Fort Scott and Barnesville, in hopes of blocking the Missourians. However, Price moved, instead, toward Lexington, Missouri. Lane received intelligence, on 5 September, that this was happening, but he was still convinced that the move on Lexington could be no more than a feint, and that Price would soon be “moving to the rear for the purpose of crossing over to the north side in detail.” [11]

Price reached the outskirts of Lexington, in northwest Missouri, on 12 September. A force of approximately 2800 men, with seven six-pounder cannons and two mortars, garrisoned Lexington. Ironically, one of the Federal regiments was the 23rd Illinois Volunteers, known as the “Irish Brigade,” so the siege of Lexington would be partly fought out between opposing Irishmen. [12] The Union forces contested the Confederate advance with skirmishers positioned in cornfields and hedges along the roads into town. [13]

Division Commander, Brigadier General Parsons, formed a line of battle. He placed his artillery under Captain Guibor in the center, Colonel Dills’ Infantry Regiment on the left, and Kelly’s Regiment, with Champion in command, on the right. Brigadier General John B. Clark’s Third Division of the Missouri State Guard, under command of Colonel Congreve Jackson, supported Parsons’ line. Parsons stated, in his Official Report, that Champion “led the Kelly infantry . . . immediately forward after the formation of the line of battle and engaged the enemy in the corn-field, and after a short conflict the enemy were dislodged and retired in the direction of the city.” [14]

Parsons and Clark followed the retreating enemy closely, until they retired within the fortified grounds of the Masonic College. Parsons ordered his artillery to open fire on the Union trenches and the college buildings, keeping up a brisk cannonade until twilight, when he was ordered to withdraw to the Fair Grounds for the night. [15]

The next morning, Wednesday, 18 September, Parsons was ordered to lead his men back into action, and the Confederates began the siege of Lexington in earnest, with Parsons’ division covering the southern approaches. Throughout the 18th and 19th, Guibor’s Artillery Battery pounded the Union defensive works, and Champion’s men skirmished with the Federals, keeping them pinned down. Champion’s men, according to Parsons, “advanced within 150 yards of the enemy’s works and succeeded in firmly establishing themselves on College street, from which they kept up a murderous fire upon the enemy as they would show themselves upon the entrenchment.” [16]

On the morning of 20 September, the Confederate Missourians came up with a novel method of attacking the Union trenches. They constructed a breastwork of hemp bails, which they soaked with water so the enemy could not set them afire with hot shot. Sheltered behind this barricade, covered by sniper fire from the skirmishers of Rock Champion and others, the Rebels began rolling the bales forward toward the enemy line. With ammunition low, and no way of stopping the inexorable Confederate advance, the Union defenders raised a white flag and surrendered unconditionally. In his Official Report of the battle, General Parsons commended “Captain Champion and the officers and soldiers of the Kelly infantry, who rendered most efficient and precious services as skirmishers.” [17]

General John C. Fremont was assigned to take over command of the Union troops in Missouri on 25 July. Fremont commanded almost 40,000 men, and Price abandoned Springfield, retreating back to the southern limits of the state before Fremont’s overwhelming advantage in numbers. Price put his army into winter quarters along the banks of the Sac River near Osceola, Missouri. McCulloch settled in with his troops across the border in Arkansas. Fremont was preparing an advance against the forces of Price and McCulloch when, on 2 November, General David Hunter replaced him. Just before Christmas, Hunter evacuated Springfield and Price reoccupied the town. [18]

On 7 January, Champion was transferred to the cavalry, being appointed captain of Company K, Colonel Robert “Black Bob” McCulloch’s 2nd Regiment, Missouri Cavalry. [19] On January 29th, 1862, Major-General Earl Van Dorn was assigned to command of the District of the Trans-Mississippi. According to Price’s Chief of Staff, Colonel L. Snead, “We Samuel R. Curtis Missourians were delighted; for he was known to be a fighting man, and we felt sure he would help us to regain our State.” [20] Van Dorn’s plans and preparations to retake all of Missouri for the Confederacy were interrupted when the newly formed Union Army of the Southwest, under General Samuel Ryan Curtis advanced against Price’s forces at Springfield. Price abandoned Missouri, moving his troops into Arkansas, arriving near Van Buren on 21 February. Van Dorn linked Price’s Missouri State Guard with McCulloch’s Division, and Brigadier-General Albert Pike’s Indian and Texan brigade. [21]

On 7 March, Van Dorn attacked the Union forces of General Curtis that were gathered around Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Generals McCulloch and Pike led their Confederate units against the Union left flank, troops under Brigadier General Franz Sigel, Colonel Peter J. Osterhaus, and Colonel Jefferson C. Davis, positioned around Leetown. Price’s Missouri State Guard advanced on the Yankee right, against the Union division of Colonel Eugene A. Carr assembled around a picturesque inn called Elkhorn Tavern. Pea Ridge isolated Elkhorn Tavern from Leetown, so the battle developed as two separate conflicts, with no Confederate coordination between their two forces. [22]

Carr’s Federals concentrated their defense around the tavern and outbuildings, placing twenty cannons there to solidify their position. Guibor unlimbered two of his guns in the road in front of the tavern and began an uneven artillery duel with the Yankees. A member of Guibor’s Battery, Hunt P. Wilson, described what happened next:

Now came the crisis. A regiment of United States infantry moved out of the timber on the left front of the guns, about one hundred yards distant, with a small field intervening, the fences around it leveled to the ground. On Guibor’s right was the tavern, on his left a blacksmith’s shop, and in the lot some corncribs. Behind these buildings “Rock” Champion had placed his company of cavalry to protect their horses from thickly flying bullets. Rock’s quick eye saw the bright bayonets as they were pushing through the brush, and, riding up, he yelled in his rough-and-ready style, “Guibor, they’re flankin’ you!” “I know it, but I can’t spare a gun to turn on them,” was the reply. There was no supporting infantry on his left. Said Rock, “I’ll charge them!” This meant to attack a full regiment of infantry advancing in line, 700 or 800 strong, with 22 men. . . Galloping back a few paces to his little band, his clear, ringing voice could be heard by friend and enemy. “Battalion, forward, trot, march, gallop, march, charge!” and with a wild yell in they went, their gallant chief in the lead. . . Within thirty seconds they were right in the midst of the surprised Federal infantry, shouting, slashing, shooting. . . The result was precisely what Champion had foreseen, and proved his reckless courage was directed by good judgement. The attack was a clear surprise, the result a stampede; the infantry fired an aimless, scattering volley, then, expecting a legion of horsemen to fall on them, fled in confusion. Champion did not follow. Knowing when to stop as well as to commence, he secured their flag and quickly returned to the battery which he had saved, with a loss of only three of his gallant rough-riders. [23]

The Confederate troops on the left successfully captured Elkhorn Tavern, their first objective, but the troops on the right were defeated, with the loss of General Ben McCulloch. The battle faded as night came on but continued the next day, with the Rebels ultimately being forced to retreat. Missouri had been saved for the Union. The Confederates would continue to fight for Missouri throughout the remainder of the war, but would never again pose a serious threat to the Federal forces there.

With the war in the trans-Mississippi Confederacy at a stalemate, Van Dorn was ordered to cross the Mississippi River with most of his troops, and join the Confederate soldiers of General Albert Sydney Johnston in Corinth, Mississippi, where they might have a greater effect on the war. They moved as quickly as possible, but did not reach Johnston’s army in time to participate in the Battle of Shiloh. [24]

In the early summer of 1862, the 2nd Missouri Cavalry was attached to General Martin E. Green’s Infantry Brigade, as the thinking in the early stages of the war was that the most effective force was one of combined arms, infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Later, in June, they “were organized into a brigade of cavalry and placed under that brave and efficient general, Frank C. Armstrong . . . The brigade consisted . . . of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, about one thousand strong . . . of brave young Missourians, without a conscript in the ranks . . .; the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry, some eight hundred numbers, commanded by Colonel Slemmons; the 1st Mississippi Cavalry, about one thousand in numbers, commanded by Colonel Pinson; also the 7th Tennessee Cavalry, a full regiment, commanded by Col. William H. Jackson . . .; and Wirt Adam’s Battalion, and a small battalion commanded by Colonel Saunders. In all, a magnificent body of fighting cavalry, ready and eager to measure arms with the Federal cavalry.” [25] On 20 June, Champion was transferred to command of Company C of the same regiment. [26]

On the 1st of July, Champion’s regiment was involved in a sharp little skirmish with Federal troops at Booneville, Mississippi. On 18 July, the brigade left Tupelo, Mississippi for a raid into Alabama, surprising the Federal garrison at Courtland, Alabama on the 25th. Again, Captain Champion distinguished himself.

Armstrong’s after-action reports states, “Having arrived near Courtland, avoiding all roads as much as possible, I sent two companies under Captain Roddey and a detachment of 60 men, with long-range guns, selected from the several battalions, under Captain Champion, to advance upon the flank. I succeeded, through corn fields and by-paths, in getting within 500 yards of the enemy’s camp, when I charged them with the main body of cavalry, the two commands of Captains Roddey and Champion moving promptly to the positions previously assigned them. The enemy’s infantry fell back under cover of the railroad and fired a volley, but I soon crossed the railroad and charged down it on the north side, which drove them from the trestle work and forced them to take shelter under the bank of a creek, where it was impossible to get at them on horseback. I immediately pushed around some dismounted men to charge them on foot. Seeing this they ceased firing, threw down their arms, and surrendered.” Armstrong’s men succeeded in capturing 133 prisoners, and destroyed the railroad depot and a bridge. [27]

A vital duty of the Confederate Cavalry under General Armstrong was the constant patrolling of the no-man’s land north of Corinth. Troopers from both sides often visited a plantation between the lines, and the Federal Cavalry had taken everything worth taking. On one occasion, the Colonel of a Union Cavalry Regiment “insulted the young lady in a manner so gross that she caused it to be circulated among our cavalry that she would give her hand and fortune to any officer or private who would bring to her satisfactory proof that he had killed this colonel.” [28]

Rock Champion, a knight errant at heart, could hardly resist the plea of this fair Southern maiden. Soon, Colonel McCullough’s 2nd Missouri and the offending colonel’s “regiments faced each other in a hot and furious engagement, during which Cpt Champion, in a hand to hand conflict, killed the Federal Colonel, whose command immediately retreated. The young lady was properly informed of the fate of her enemy and the name of her avenger; she promptly returned a note expressive of her obligation, and declared her readiness to fulfill the pledge she had given. After a brief correspondence, the Captain waited upon the youthful beauty, and was as much struck by her charms, grace and fascination, as he had been by the romantic incidents of her history.” As in every good romance, they were soon betrothed. [29] Edwin C. Bearss believes this story is apocryphal, since there is no record of any senior Federal officers being killed during this time period. [30] This is a good story nonetheless, illustrating how his compatriots were weaving Rock Champion’s daring adventures into a legendary tapestry.

In August, Armstrong led the Missourians and the rest of his brigade on another expedition. Their mission was to “threaten Bolivar [Tennessee], and, if possible, take Jackson and destroy the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.” [31] The brigade left Baldwyn, Mississippi on 22 August with 1600 men, and were reinforced by 1100 more troopers under Colonel William H. “Red” Jackson when they reached Holly Springs. [32] Armstrong pushed on across the Tennessee line on 27 August, moving through Grand Junction and Van Buren, Tennessee toward Bolivar.

Colonel Marcellus M. Crocker commanded the Union garrison at Bolivar. The road south of Bolivar split, the west branch passing through Middleburg to Grand Junction, and the east branch toward Van Buren, Tennessee. On the morning of 30 August, receiving word of the Confederate approach, Crocker ordered Colonel Mortimer Leggett to advance his brigade, consisting of two infantry regiments, one cavalry regiment, and an artillery section, to meet the Confederates on the Van Buren Road. They ran into the 7th Tennessee under “Red” Jackson.

Ordering Jackson to fight a delaying action on the Van Buren Road, Armstrong sent the 2nd Missouri and 2nd Arkansas on a flanking maneuver in an attempt to outflank the Federals on the Grand Junction Road through Middleburg. Leggett shifted part of his force to meet the threat to his flank. The Confederate Cavalry charged three times, but were stopped each time.

Coincidentally with the developing action south of town, a regiment of Federal cavalry, the 2nd Illinois under Colonel Harvey Hogg, arrived in Bolivar by train just in time to lend a hand. Crocker ordered Hogg to reinforce Leggett, and he arrived just as the Rebels of the 2nd Missouri were preparing for their fourth attempt. [33] Colonel Leggett “discovered that a full regiment of cavalry was forming in the rear of those firing upon us, evidently with the determination of charging upon our cavalry and that portion of the infantry on the left of the road. I said to Colonel Hogg if he had any doubt about holding his position he had better fall back and not receive their charge. He promptly replied, ‘Colonel Leggett, for God’s sake don’t order me back.’ I replied, ‘Meet them with a charge, colonel, and may Heaven bless you.’ He immediately ordered his men to draw their sabers, and after giving the order to ‘Forward’ he exclaimed, ‘Give them cold steel, boys.’” [34]

Armstrong, at nearly the same time, ordered his bugler to sound the charge. The 2nd Missouri Confederate Cavalry, with Colonel McCulloch and Captain Rock Champion riding side by side at the head of the column, rode to meet the Federal cavalry, with their sabers drawn. C. Y. Ford, of Company G of the 2nd Missouri, remembered that “our sabers glittering in the bright sunshine made an imposing line of battle. The Yanks were game, and plainly we could hear their bugle sounding the charge.” [35] The two forces met in a confusing tangle of revolver and carbine shots, and clashing sabers. [36] Among the first to fall was Captain Rock Champion, killed instantly with a shot through the forehead. [37]

The Confederates were driven back in this charge but rallied and finally emerged victorious, forcing the Union soldiers back into the defenses of Bolivar. The Official Report of General Sterling Price, commanding the Army of the West, said that Van Dorn’s troopers “drove them back with heavy loss, killing and wounding a large number and capturing 73 prisoners.” Armstrong bypassed Bolivar, going on to cross the Hatchie River, take “possession of the railroad for more than thirty hours, during which time he destroyed all the bridges and a mile of trestle work. Returning, he encountered the enemy in force near Denmark, attacked and routed them, killing and wounding about 75 of them, capturing 213 prisoners, and taking two pieces of artillery, after which he returned to Baldwyn.”

Captain Rock Champion was not among those who returned to Baldwyn. Price’s report concludes, “The entire loss upon the expedition was, in killed, wounded, and missing, 115, among whom I regret to mention Captain J. Rock Champion, whose reckless daring and intrepid boldness have illustrated the battle-fields of Missouri, Arkansas, and Alabama, as well as that of Bolivar, in which he fell far in advance of his command.” [38] C. Y. Ford, who served with him in the 2nd Missouri, described him as “a most distinguished looking soldier, so much so as any soldier I saw in my four years service.” [39] Rock Champion died as a true son of Missouri, and a knight of the South.


Bibliography

Anderson, Ephraim McD., Memoirs: Historical and Personal; Including the Campaigns of the First Missouri Confederate Brigade. Dayton, Ohio, 1972.

Brewer, James D., The Battle of Britton’s Lane. Internet Address: http://www.brittonlane1862.madison.tn.us/battle_history.htm

Brewer, James D., The Raiders of 1862. Westport, Connecticut, 1997.

Confederate Service Records, National Archives, Register of Officers and Soldiers of the Army of the Confederate States who were killed in battle, or who died of wounds or disease. Washington, D. C.

Confederate Service Records, National Archives, Roster of the Second Missouri Cavalry, P. A. C. S.; Organized August 17, 1862; mustered into Confederate service different dates, for during the war. Washington, D. C.

Duke, Basil W., Reminiscences of General Basil Duke, C. S. A. Garden City, New York, 1911.

Dwight, Henry, “The War Album of Henry Dwight.” Albert Castel, ed., Civil War Times Illustrated (June 1980).

Eakin, Joanne Chiles and Donald R. Hale, Compilers, Branded as Rebels: A list of Bushwhackers, Guerillas, Partisan Ranger, Confederates and Southern Sympathizers from Missouri during the War Years. Independence, Missouri, 1993.

Ford, C. Y., “Fighting With Sabers.” Confederate Veteran (Volume 30, 1922).

Gottschalk, Phil, In Deadly Earnest: The History of the First Missouri Brigade, C. S. A. Columbia, Missouri, 1991.

Hancock, Richard Ramsey, Hancock’s Diary: or, A History of the Second Tennessee Confederate Cavalry, With Sketches of First and Seventh Battalions; Also, Portraits and Biographical Sketches. Dayton, Ohio, 1999.

Johnson, Robert Underwood and Clarence Clough Buel, Editors, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I. Secaucus, New Jersey, .

Missouri State Archives, Civil War Confederate Service Record for Champion, J. Rock, Capt., Co. K, Second Reg’t Mo. Vols. C. S. A. CAV. Jefferson City, Missouri.

Piston, William Garrett and Thomas P. Sweeney, “‘Don’t Yield an Inch!’: The Missouri State Guard.” North & South (June 1999).

Snead, Thomas L., The Fight for Missouri. New York, New York, 1886.

United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, DC., 1880-1901.

Williams, Scott, Father John B. Bannon and the St. Louis Irish Confederates. Internet Address: http://www.geocities.com/~sterlingprice/kelly.htm

Winter, William C., The Civil War in St. Louis: A Guided Tour. St. Louis, Missouri, 1994.

Young, J. P., The Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, (Confederate.): A History. Dayton, Ohio, 1976.

Young, R. E., Wilson’s Creek: The Great Battle Fought 39 Years Ago Today. Internet Address: http://www.missouri-scv.org/html/bjul1998.htm


[1] Scott Williams, Father John B. Bannon and the St. Louis Irish Confederates (Internet Address: http://www.geocities.com/~sterlingprice/kelly.htm ).

[2] Thomas L. Snead, The Fight for Missouri (New York, New York, 1886), pp. 108, 109. Phil Gottschalk, In Deadly Earnest: The History of the First Missouri Brigade, CSA (Columbia, Missouri: 1991), p. 6. Joanne Chiles Eakin & Donald R. Hale, Branded as Rebels: A list of Bushwhackers, Guerillas, Partisan Rangers, Confederates and Southern Sympathizers from Missouri during the War Years (Independence, Missouri, 1993) p 66.

[3] Basil W. Duke, Reminiscences of General Basil Duke, C. S. A. (Garden City, New York: 1911), pp. 38-41.

[4] Ibid., pp. 43-44.

[5] Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, Editors, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, (Colonel Thomas L. Snead, The First Year of the War in Missouri), Secaucus, New Jersey, p. 265; Gottschalk, p. 13.

[6] Johnson and Buel, (Snead), p. 267.

[7] Government Printing Office, War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols (Washington, DC: 1880-1901), Series I, Volume III, p. 37. Hereafter cited as OR.

[8] Ibid., p. 101; R. E. Young, “Wilson’s Creek: The Great Battle Fought 39 Years Ago Today,” Missouri State Tribune, August 10, 1900. Internet Address: Missouri Battle of the Month, http://www.missouri-scv.org/html/bjul1998.htm .

[9] OR, Series I, Volume III, p. 101.

[10] Ephraim McD. Anderson, Notes and Foreword by Edwin C. Bearss, Memoirs: Historical and Personal; Including the Campaigns of the First Missouri Confederate Brigade (Dayton, Ohio: 1972), pp. 50-52.

[11] OR, Series I, Volume III, pp 163-164.

[12] Johnson and Buel, (Colonel James A. Mulligan, The Siege of Lexington, MO.), p. 307.

[13] OR, Series I, Volume III, p. 448.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., p. 449; Johnson and Buel (Mulligan), p. 308.

[16] OR, Series I, Volume III, p. 449.

[17] Ibid., p. 450; Johnson and Buel (Mulligan), p. 308.

[18] Gottschalk, pp. 36-37, 42; Johnson and Buel (Snead), pp. 274-275.

[19] Missouri State Archives. Civil War Confederate Service Record for Champion, J. Rock, Capt., Co. K, Second Reg’t, Mo. Vols. C. S. A. CAV. Jefferson City, Missouri.

[20] Johnson and Buel (Snead), p. 275.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Gottschalk, pp. 73, 84.

[23] Johnson and Buel (Hunt P. Wilson account, reprinted from the “St. Louis Republican”), p. 323.

[24] Gottschalk, pp. 73, 84.

[25] C. Y. Ford, “Fighting With Sabers,” Confederate Veteran, Volume 30, 1922, p. 290.

[26] Confederate Service Records, National Archives, Roster of the Second Missouri Cavalry, P. A. C. S.; organized August 17, 1862; mustered into Confederate service different dates, for during the war. Washington, DC.

[27] OR, Series I, Volume XVI, Part I, pp. 827-828.

[28] Anderson, p. 215.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., Notes, pp. 503-504.

[31] OR, Series I, Volume XVII, Part II, p. 688.

[32] OR, Series I, Volume XVII, Part I, p. 120.

[33] James D. Brewer, The Raiders of 1862 (Westport, Connecticut: 1997), pp. 17-27.

[34] OR, Series I, Volume XVII, Part I, p. 48.

[35] Ford, p. 290.

[36] Ibid, p. 290. Brewer, The Raiders of 1862, pp. 24-27. Young, J. P., The Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, (Confederate.): A History (Dayton, OH, 1976), p. 45.

[37] Ford, p. 290. Confederate Service Records, Register of Officers and Soldiers of the Army of the Confederate States who were killed in battle, or who died of wounds or disease. Washington, DC.

[38] OR, Series I, Volume XVII, Part I, pp. 51-52, 120.

[39] Ford, p. 290.

Manly Missouri Crossdressers of the Civil War

One of our visitors’ all-time favorite articles!

Manly Missouri Cross-Dressers of the Civil War

by

John N. Edwards,

John Fiske,

Cole Younger,

Absalom C. Grimes

Excerpted and introduced by G.E. Rule, from “Noted Guerrillas or the Warfare of the Border”, by John N. Edwards, 1877; “The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War”, by John Fiske, 1900;  “The Story of Cole Younger”, by Himself, 1903; “Confederate Mail Runner”, by Absalom C. Grimes, edited by M. M. Quaife, 1926

Introduction to John N. Edwards

Introduction to John Fiske

Introduction to Absalom C. Grimes

Introduction to Cole Younger


The Manly Missouri Cross-Dressers of the Civil War, both Union and Confederate, engaged in a time-honored tradition. In 62 B.C., the Roman politician Clodius put the empire on the road to civil war when he disguised himself as a woman and snuck into Caesar’s house.  Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart heir to the British throne, dressed as a woman to escape the English in 1746 after his invasion to reclaim the throne of his father failed.  In modern times, early in his army career, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak cross-dressed (complete with explosives-packed purse) in order to carry off an attack on a terrorist group suspected of being responsible for the 1972 attack on Israel’s Olympians at Munich.

The curious thing is, every one of the accounts given below –told by four different authors– has the same thing in common.  Apparently, in Missouri, wearing your cavalry boots under your dress signified a fellow who was just engaging in a stratagem as opposed to one who was indicating an alternative lifestyle choice.  Or possibly they all just really liked the feel of leather against their skin beneath their frillies…. on second thought, let’s stick with the stratagem theory.


We start with the purtiest guerrilla of them all; Jesse James, courtesy of John N. Edwards:

Four miles from Independence, and back a little from the road leading to Kansas City, a house stood occupied by several women light of love. Thither regularly went Federal soldiers from the Independence garrison, and the drinking was deep and the orgies shameful. Gregg set a trap to catch a few of the comers and goers. Within the lines of the enemy, much circumspection was required to make an envelopment of the house successful. He chose Jesse James from among a number of volunteers and sent him forward to reconnoiter the premises. Jesse, arrayed in coquettish female apparel, with his smooth face, blue eyes, and blooming cheeks, looked the image of a bashful country girl, not yet acquainted with vice, though half eager and half reluctant to walk a step nearer to the edge of its perilous precipice. As he mounted, woman fashion, upon a fiery horse, the wind blew all about his peach colored face the pink ribbons of a garish bonnet, and lifted the tell-tale riding habit just enough to reveal instead of laced shoes or gaiters, the muddy boots of a born cavalryman. Gregg, taking ten men, followed in the rear of James to within half a mile of the nearest picket post, and hid himself in the woods until word could be brought from the bagnio ahead. If by a certain hour the disguised Guerrilla did not return to his comrades, the picket were to be driven in, the house surrounded, and the inmates forced to give such information as they possessed of his where­abouts. Successful, and Gregg neither by word nor deed, was to alarm the outpost or furnish indication in any manner that Guerrillas were in the neighborhood.

Jesse James, having pointed out to him with tolerable accuracy the direction of the house, left the road, skirted the timber rapidly, leaped several ugly ravines, floundered over a few marshy places, and finally reached his destination without meeting a citizen or encountering an enemy. He would not dismount, but sat upon his horse at the fence and asked that the mistress of the establishment might come out to him. Little by little, and with many a gawky protest and many a bashful simper, he told a plausible story of parental espionage and family discipline. He, ostensibly a she, could not have beaux, could not go with the soldiers, could not sit with them late, nor ride with them, nor romp with them; she was tired of it all and wanted a little fun. Would the mistress let her come occasionally to her and bring with her three or four neighbor girls, who were in the same predicament? The mistress laughed and was glad. New faces to her were like new coin, and she put forth a hand and patted the merchantable thing upon the knee, and ogled her smiling mouth and girlish features gleefully. As she-wolf and venturesome lamb separated, the assignation was assured. That night the amorous country girl, accompanied by three of her young female companions, was to return, and the mistress–confident in her ability to provide them lovers–was to make known among the soldiers the attractive acquisition.

It lacked an hour of sunset when Jesse James got back to Gregg; an hour after sunset the Guerrillas, following hard upon the track made by the boy spy, rode rapidly on to keep the tryst­ing. The house was gracious with lights, and jubilant with laughter. Drink abounded, and under cover of the clinking glasses, the men kissed the women. Anticipating an orgy of unusual attractions, twelve Federals bad been lured out from the garrison and made to believe that bare-footed maidens ran wild in the woods, and buxom lasses hid for the hunting. No guards were out; no sentinels were posted. Jesse James crept close to a window and peered in. The night was chill and a large wood fire blazed upon a large hearth. All the company was in one room, five women and a dozen men. Scattered about yet ready for the grasping, the cavalry carbines were in easy reach, and the revolvers handy about the person. Sampson trusting everything to Delilah might not have trusted so much if under the old dispensation there had been anything of bushwhacking.


Next up, that grand dame with a commanding presence; Nathaniel Lyon, as given by John Fiske:One of the visitors [to Camp Jackson, St. Louis] next day came in a light open carriage then known as a “Jenny Lind,” and was leisurely driven by a colored servant up and down the avenues “Jeff Davis”, “Beauregard”, and “Sumter”, and the rest. This visitor, dressed in a black bombazine gown and closely veiled, was a familiar sight on the streets of St. Louis, as she took the air daily in her light carriage. Everybody recognized her as Mrs. Alexander, the mother of Mrs. Blair, but nobody accosted her or expected recognition from her because she was known to be blind. What should have brought this elderly lady to Camp Jackson? Was it simply the Negro coachman gratifying some curiosity of his own?

A couple of hours later, as Blair was sitting in the porch of the southern house of the arsenal, chatting with Colonel Simmons and a few other friends, the Jenny Lind carriage drove up, and the familiar figure, in its black gown and veil, alighted and came up the steps. It was natural enough that Blair should greet his wife’s mother and escort her into the house. But as they stepped upon the threshold, a slight uplifting of the bombazine skirt disclosed a sturdy pair of cavalry boots to the eyes of Colonel Simmons and another gentleman, who glanced at each other significantly but said never a word.

Had the close veil been lifted, it would have revealed the short red beard and piercing blue eyes of Nathaniel Lyon, the “little Connecticut abolitionist,” as some called him.


Cole Younger, the crone, from his memoirs:

The Story of Cole Younger by Himself : Being an Autobiography of the Missouri Guerrilla Captain and Outlaw, His Capture and Prison Life by Cole Younger

Next morning there rode up to the picket line at Independence an old apple-woman, whose gray hair and much of her face was nearly hidden by an old-fashioned and faded sun-bonnet. Spectacles half hid her eyes and a basket on her arm was laden with beets, beans and apples.

The left rein was leather but a rope replaced the right.

“Good morning, grandmother,” bantered the first picket. “Does the rebel crop need any rain out in your country?”

The sergeant at the reserve post seized her bridle, and looking up said: “Were you younger and prettier, I might kiss you.”

“Were I younger and prettier, I might box your ears for your impudence.”

“Oh, ho! You old she-wolf, what claws you have for scratching!” he retorted and reached for her hand.

The quick move she made started the horse suddenly, or he might have been surprised to feel that hand.

But the horse was better than apple-women usually ride, and that aroused some suspicion at Col. Buell’s headquarters, so that the ride out was interrupted by a mounted picket who galloped alongside and again her bridle was seized.

The sergeant and eight men of the guard were perhaps thirty paces back.

“What will you have?” asked the apple-woman. “I am but a poor lone woman going peaceably to my home.”

“Didn’t you hear the sergeant call for you, d–n you?” answered the sentinel.

A spurred boot under the ragged skirt pierced the horse’s flank; the hand that came from the apple basket fired the cocked pistol almost before the sentry knew it, and the picket fell dead.

The reserve stood as if stupefied. That night I gave Quantrell, for Col. Hays, a plan showing the condition of affairs in Independence. The morning of the 11th the attack was made and Col. Buell, his force shot to pieces, surrendered.

The apple-woman’s expedition had been a success.


Edwards again, this time with a Union soldier who’s a real cutie-pie.  The Confederate guerrillas raided a bawdy house and used a trick to separate the 11 Federal soldiers inside from the 5 prostitutes.  However, this resulted in only 10 dead Federals. . .and now there were 6 women.    According to Edwards, Frank James spared the imposter’s life.

East of Wellington four miles there was a large house occupied by some lewd women notorious for their favors and their enticements. Poole knew the situation well, and suggested to Jarrett that a sufficient detour should be made to encompass the building. Arriving there about eleven o’clock at night, it appeared from the outside as if some kind of a frolic was going on. Lights shone from many of the windows. Music could be heard occasionally and the sound of dancing feet. Frank James crept to a back door, peered in for a few moments, and counted five women and eleven men. Some of the men were in the laps of the women, and some were so close to them that to risk a volley would be murderous. The Guerrillas waited an hour for a more favorable opportunity to fire, but waited in vain. At no time without hitting a woman could they make sure of shooting more than a single man, but Jarrett solved the problem speedily. He was dressed in Federal uniform, and after placing his men so as to cut off from the house its occupants if they once came outside, he rode boldly up to the fence in front of the premises and cried:

“Hello!” A soldier came to the door with a gun in his hand and answered him. Jarrett, authoritatively and positively, continued: “Who are you that come to this place in defiance of every order issued for a month? What business have you here tonight? Who gave you permission to come? Where are your passes? Come out to me that I may read them?”

Thinking Jarrett a provost captain scouting for runaways from the Lexing­ton garrison, ten of the eleven militiamen started confidently for the fence, receiving when half way the crushing fire of twenty concealed Guerrillas. In a space four blankets might have covered, the ten fell and died, only one of the lot discharging a weapon or making the least pretence at resistance. Frank James counted them, stooping to do so, and as he arose he remarked, sententiously: “There are but ten here; awhile ago there were eleven.” The building was entered, searched from bottom to top, minutely examined in every nook and corner­-no soldier. The women were questioned one at a time and separately. They knew only that when the man at the fence called the whole party went out together. Frank James, whose impassive face had from the first expressed neither curiosity nor doubt, spoke up again and briefly. “Awhile ago I counted but five women, now there are six.” Save four sentinels on duty at either end of the main road, the Guerrillas had gathered together in the lower large room of the dwelling house. The fire had burned low, and was fitful and flickering. Where there had been half a dozen candles there were now only two. “Bring more,” said Poole, “and we will separate this wolf from the ewes.” “Aye, if we have to strip the lot,” spoke up a coarse voice in the crowd.” “Silence!” cried Jarrett, laying a hand upon a pistol, and turning to his men in the shadow, “not a woman shall be touched. We are wild beasts, yes; but we war on wild beasts.

More lights were brought, and with a candle in each hand Poole went from woman to woman, scanning the face of each long and searchingly, and saying, when he had finished, “I give it up. If one of the six here is a man, let him keep his dress and his scalp.” Frank James, just behind Poole, had inspected each countenance also as the candles passed before it, and when Poole had done speaking, he laid a finger upon a woman’s shoulder and spoke as one having authority. “This is the man. If I miss my reckoning, shoot me dead.”  The marvelous nerve, which up to this time had stood with the militiaman as a shield and a defense, deserted him when the extremity came, and he turned ghastly white, trembled to his feet, and fell, sobbing and praying, upon his knees. Horrified by the slaughter of his comrades in the yard, and afraid to rush from the house lest he be shot down also, he hurriedly put on the garments of one of the women, composed his features as best he could, and awaited in agonized suspense the departure of the Guerrillas. Almost a boy, his smooth, innocent face was fresher and fairer than the face of any real woman there: His hair, worn naturally long and inclined to be brown, was thick and fine. The dress hid his feet, or the boots would have betrayed him at the start. Not knowing that an observation had been made before the firing, and the numbers accurately taken of both men and women, he hoped to brave it through and laugh afterwards and tell to his messmates how near death had passed to him and did not stop.


Lastly, Ab Grimes, on a Confederate attempting to escape from Myrtle Street Prison in St. Louis. This same story, without naming the prisoner, is also in Churchill’s THE CRISIS:Among other prisoners who received much attention was Captain Hampton Boone, a very handsome young man and a great favorite with the ladies. One day some of his lady friends brought in a suit of feminine attire, and dressed Boone in it, to attempt an escape. He refused to take off his cavalry boots and don the slippers they had provided for him. He thought the boots would be of value to him if he succeeded in escaping. At the outside door a guard stood on either side of the three steps leading to the street. As Boone passed out with a lady on either side of him the wind blew his dress to one side and exposed his boots to the gaze of the guard. After Boone had walked a few steps the guard started after him and Boone ran down Broadway. When he started running he began tearing the dress off with both hands. He tore off the outside skirt, but a big, old-fashioned hoop skirt, then the height of fashion, was like a birdcage and he could not tear it off. As he sprang from the street to the pavement one foot went through the hoop skirt and he turned a double somersault upon the pavement, one guard falling over him. This ended his exhibition of speed. It was in the afternoon and the streets were filled with people. Everyone laughed, including Boone. He came back swinging his poke bonnet by the strings, a guard on each side of him.

John Charles Fremont – Bio

A bio of John Charles Fremont

Fremont


Fremont, John C., major-general, was born in Savannah, Ga., Jan. 21, 1813 and was educated at Charleston college, from which he was expelled before graduation, although subsequently, in 1836, he was given his degree by the college authorities. He became teacher of mathematics on the sloop-of-war “Natchez” in 1833, on which he took a two-year cruise, and, on returning, passed the necessary examination and was appointed professor of mathematics in the U. S. navy.

He was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in the U. S. topographical engineers in 1838, while engaged in exploring the country between the Missouri and the northern frontier, and in 1842, having suggested a geographical survey of all the territories of the United States, he was sent at the head of a party of 28 men to explore the Rocky mountain region. In accomplishing this he ascended the highest peak of the Wind River mountains, which was afterwards known as Fremont’s peak. He next explored the territory between the Rocky mountains and the Pacific, then a region almost unknown, and early in 1843 started with a party of 39 men, and, after a journey of 1,700 miles, reached Great Salt lake. It was his report of this region which gave to the Mormons their first idea of settling in Utah. He proceeded thence to the tributaries of the Columbia river and in November started upon the return trip, but, finding himself confronted with imminent danger of death from cold and starvation, turned west, and, after great hardship, succeeded in crossing the Sierra Nevada range and in March reached Sutter’s fort in California. His return journey was conducted safely by the southern route, and he reached Kansas in July 1844.

He went on another exploring expedition in 1845, spending the summer along the continental divide and crossing the Sierras again in the winter. Upon refusal of the Mexican authorities to allow him to continue his explorations, he fortified himself with his little force of 64 men on a small mountain some 30 miles from Monterey, but when the Mexicans prepared to besiege the place he retreated to Oregon. He was overtaken near Klamath lake, May 9, 1846, by a courier with dispatches from Washington, directing him to watch over the interests of the United States in the territory, there being reason to fear interference from both Great Britain and Mexico. He promptly returned to California, where the settlers, learning that Gen. Castro was already marching against the settlements, flocked to his camp, and in less than a month Northern California was freed from Mexican authority. He received a lieutenant-colonel’s commission, May 27, and was elected governor of the territory by the settlers July 4. Learning on July 10 that Com. Sloat, commanding the American squadron on the Pacific coast, had seized Monterey, Fremont joined him and, when Com. Stockton arrived with authority to establish the power of the United States in California, Fremont was appointed by him military commandant and civil governor. Near the end of the year Gen. Kearny arrived with a force of dragoons and said that he had orders also to establish a government. Friction between the two rival officers immediately ensued, and Fremont prepared to obey Stockton and continued as governor in spite of Kearny’s orders. For this he was tried by court-martial in Washington, and, after a trial which lasted more than a year, was convicted, Jan. 31, 1847 of “mutiny,” “disobedience to the lawful command of a superior officer,” and “conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline,” and was sentenced to dismissal from the service. President Polk approved of the conviction for disobedience and mutiny, but remitted the penalty and Fremont resigned.

In Oct., 1848, Fremont started on an independent exploring expedition with a party of 33 men, and reached Sacramento in the spring of 1849 after more severe sufferings than those experienced on any of his earlier expeditions. He represented California in the United States senate from Sept., 1850, to March, 1851, and in 1853 made his fifth and last exploring expedition, crossing the Rocky mountains by the route which he had attempted to follow in 1848.

FremontFremont’s known opposition to slavery won him the presidential nomination of the Republican party in 1856, but in the election he was defeated by Buchanan, who received 174 electoral votes to Fremont’s 114. Soon after the beginning of the Civil war Fremont was appointed major-general in the regular army and assigned to command the newly organized Western Department with headquarters at St. Louis. Soon after the battle of Wilson’s creek, Aug. 10, 1861 he proclaimed martial law, arrested active secessionists, suspended the publication of papers charged with disloyalty, and issued a proclamation assuming the government of the state and announcing that he would free the slaves of those in arms against the Union. This proclamation he refused to withdraw, and on Sept. 11, the president annulled it as unauthorized and premature.

Fremont was relieved of his command, Nov. 2, 1861, many complaints having been made of his administration, but in March, 1862, he was placed in command of the Mountain Department of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Early in June he pursued the Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson for 8 days, finally engaging him at Cross Keys, June 8, but permitted him to escape with his army.

When the Army of Virginia was created June 26, to include Gen. Fremont’s corps, with Pope in command, Fremont declined to serve on the ground that he outranked Pope, and for sufficient personal reasons. He then went to New York where he remained throughout the war, expecting a command, but none was given him. He was nominated for the presidency, May 31, 1864, by a small faction of the Republican party, but, finding but slender support, he withdrew his name in September.

He subsequently became interested in the construction of railroads and in 1873, was prosecuted by the French government for alleged participation in the swindles connected with the proposed transcontinental railway from Norfolk to San Francisco, and was sentenced on default, to fine and imprisonment, no judgment being given on the merits of the case.

Gen. Fremont was governor of Arizona in 1878-81, and was appointed major-general on the retired list by act of Congress in 1890. He died in New York City, July 13, 1890.

The Union Army A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-65

Federal Publishing, 1908