The Chicago Tribune in its January 14, 1864 issue reported an attack on the house of Daniel Critze by “eleven rebels” at midnight in Dallas, Bollinger County, Missouri. Killed in the attack were William Critze (brother of Daniel) as well as James Stevens. Wounded in the attack were Daniel Critze and Sheriff James Frasier [Fraser].
It is interesting that the paper describes the incident as a “massacre” when much worse incidents in which Unionists have murdered Southern sympathizers were never labeled as such. Of course, Missouri newspapers during this time were tightly controlled by the federal government.
The War of the Rebellion records contains a petition signed by Sheriff James Fraser to General Fisk asking for Union troops to be stationed in the Dallas, Bollinger county area. The entry reads:
“DALLAS, BOLLINGER COUNTY, Mo., December 31, 1863.
General CLINTON B. Fisk, Comdg. Dist. of Saint Louis, Mo.;
We, the citizens of the vicinity of Dallas, hereby beg leave to communicate for your consideration the condition of things in our county. We have been harassed and plundered and our best citizens murdered by roving bands of guerillas that infest the swamp south of us. On the night of the 27th instant 12 guerrillas made a raid here at 1 o’clock and killed James A. Stevens, our county treasurer ; also William Crites, a very worthy young man of our community. They took $30 from young Crites’ pocket after he was shot down. They also wounded our sheriff, James M. Fraser, with out halting him in due time. They went to John Lutes’ and forced $25 from him, besides taking many things out of the house. They shot at James A. Crites, a justice of the peace, six times, without halting him. They pressed Mr. Eaker as guide and took 2 horses from him. They took bed-quilts, money, etc, from Mr. Stevens. They were led by the two Bolin boys. Some 4 or 5 citizens fired them and shot one of the Bolins through the shoulder. One of them had his thigh broken in the skirmish, so he is here yet. He is a paroled Vicksburg prisoner; his name is Thomas Roberts. This is but a series of such raids committed amongst us. We do hereby beg leave respectfully to petition to you to grant us a company for this county, to be stationed at this place. Another reason that we urge is that our sheriff cannot collect the revenue without troops, either with him or in easy range, to keep things in proper subjection. If it would not be asking too much, we would suggest that Company K, Third Missouri State Militia, or Company E, Sixth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, be sent to this field. We are, general, very respectfully, your humble petitioners,
J. M. FRASER,
Sheriff. THOS. CRAIG,
A. H. MOUREY.
[And 48 other citizens.]”
It is of interest to note that a number of these men held positions of authority in the community. James M. Frasier was the Sheriff, James Stevens was the County Treasurer and James Critze was Justice of the Peace.
Sheriff Fraser’s petition states that murder of Unionist was the reason he was asking for troops to be stationed in and around Dallas. He also adds a second reason was he was unable to collect taxes without troops.
The Chicago Tribune’s version of the account state that Sheriff Fraser and James Stevens (the Treasurer) were in the house at the same time… at midnight.
These accounts lead to a lot of questions. Were Sheriff Fraser and James Stevens having a meeting at midnight ( or 1:00 am depending on which account is more accurate)? Were James Fraser, James Stevens & Justice of the Peace Critze abusing their powers for financial gain?
I don’t know but I do know a lot of Union men in Southeast Missouri used their positions to enhance personal financial gain.
- Clint Lacy is author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition” paperback is available for $15 , Kindle eBook is available for $2.99. Click Here to order.