Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Most Despicable Act

More Civil War Family History from Missouri

Terror lasts but for brief moments in one's life during war; but the memory, sorrow, and hatred can go on for generations.....and that was certainly true for one branch of our family in Missouri.

Thomas Logan Johnson, the Confederate soldier in my previous post, was an ancestor on our "Nanny" maternal side of the family.  On Nanny's paternal side, this tale has survived the generations.   I believe the last name of the boy involved was Page but his first is unknown.   One of the mysteries I hope to solve at a cemetery on our upcoming trip.
Bloody Bill Anderson, one of the more famous Pro-Confederacy Raiders located in Misouri.
From Wilkipedia.

During the Civil War, and then for an extended period of time afterwards during reconstruction, Missouri bore the misery of frequent visitors to their homes called "Raiders" in our family.   The family never seemed to recognize any difference in the political leanings of the scourge and so lumped all together under the term Raiders.  Probably some were pro-Confedracy and some were pro-Union but all had Black Black Black hearts and were feared.  They would show up at your house and take what they wanted, heedless to the fact that perhaps you or your children were going to starve to death after they rode off.  While history says the Pro-Confederacy Raiders 'only' visited Pro-Union homes and visa versa, I think perhaps neither side was very picky.  If you had it and they wanted it, political leanings were damned.  They had an open license to steal and were making full use of it.
William Clarke Quantrill, another Pro-Confederacy Raider who gained noriety for being particularly ruthless and for hosting the James Brothers (Frank and Jesse) in his gang.
As I mentioned before, Phelps County, Missouri had a population of over 5,000 at the start of the war and less than 500 at the end.  This was the end result of the 'raids' on people's livestock and food stuffs and probably also included tools such as harnesses and wagons and anything else that wasn't nailed down.  Lack of cooperation while they were stealing you blind resulted in immediate punishment up to and including death.

On one such raid, as they were leading off the last remaining milk cow on the Page family farm, fourteen year old son whom I'll call Sam, called out from the front porch begging the Raiders to not take the cow as there was a young toddler in the home who needed the milk from her.  They shot him dead, on the porch, ..... in front of his mother.  And rode off with the cow.

And five generations later, our family remembers.  And is passing it on to the sixth.   A stain on the land, a strike in the heart.  No punishment is great enough for such men as those.  May they rot in the depths of hell forever.

Missouri has healed from the civil war.  And her families have endured.  May God keep us united and forever from seeing such horrors in our homeland again.


  1. Evil does, indeed, exist in this world.

  2. I had heard of Quantrill and the raiders long ago. I'm a history lover so their noteriety stuck with me. You're right that they were vicious men. Unfortunately those kind of people have always existed and still do. As if the Civil War wasn't bad enough, these men chose to do more to damage these wounded people. So sorry that evil touched your family.