Argument Between Elderly Confederate Veterans Ended in Knife Fight at Higginsville

The Jan. 17, 1924 edition of the Crane Chronicle (Stone County, Missouri) carries the story of an argument between two veterans in the Higginsville Missouri Confederate Soldiers Home which ended in a knife fight.

The January 17 1924 issue of the Crane Chronicle [Stone County, Missouri] carries a shocking ( and dare I say fascinating) story of two Confederate veterans who got into an argument over a spittoon [which the article refers to as a cuspidor].

The two combatants were Mose Scott (age 86) and Jim Cummings (78). Cummings was the last surviving member of Quantrill’s Raiders and was said to have been well acquainted with the James Brothers (Frank & Jesse) as well as the Youngers and the Coles (which the paper refers to as “pioneer outlaws of the Ozarks.”

Apparently when Mose Scott accused Jim Cummings of stealing the spittoon, Cummings called Scott “A damn liar!”. Responding in a fit of rage, Scott then produced a knife cutting Cummings’ cheek and abdomen”

Scott was brought before the court at which time Judge Walker asked what defense he had to offer, Scott responded by exclaiming “He called me a damn liar!”

Not wanting to send an elderly veteran to jail Judge Walker ordered Mose Scott sent to the State Hospital in Fulton (Callaway County) until the feud cooled down and Cummings could recover.

Knife fight between elderly Confederate VeteransKnife fight between elderly Confederate Veterans Thu, Jan 17, 1924 – 3 · The Crane Chronicle (Crane, Missouri) · SHSMO Digital Newspaper Project
Clint Lacy is the author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition” Available in paperback for $15 or Kindle for $2.99

Civil War Lecture

Today’s Banner Press newspaper carried the story of Wayne Klinckhardt of Marble Hill , Missouri who spoke at the February 29, 2020 Stoddard Rangers Camp #2290 , Sons of Confederate Veterans as part of their Civil War in Missouri Lecture Series held at the historic Stars and Stripes Museum and Library in Bloomfield, Missouri.

Harry B. Hawes: Pioneer of Missouri’s Highway & Flood Control Systems

Missourian Harry B. Hawes had family ties to the Confederacy, was elected Commander in Chief of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1905, served as a Missouri state representative from 1916-1917, U.S. Representative from 1920-1926 and U.S. Senator from 1926-1933

The Thursday September 28, 1905 edition of the Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) reported on the election of Missourian Harry B. Hawes to the position of Commander in Chief of the United Sons of Confederate Veterans and as the paper pointed out , his family tree made him well qualified for the position.

Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) September 28, 1905Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) September 28, 1905 Thu, Sep 28, 1905 – 1 · Wayne County Journal (Greenville, Missouri) · SHSMO Digital Newspaper Project

In addition to the information found in the Wayne County Journal , the Political Graveyard website states that Harry Hawes grandfather , Richard Hawes served as the Confederate Provisional Governor of Kentucky from 1862-1865.

Harry Hawes was a member of the Democratic Party and after an unsuccessful bid for the office of Governor of Missouri in 1904, He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives and served from 1916-1917.

A brief history of Harry Hawes on the Wikipedia website states:

“Hawes’ next foray into elective politics was more successful, as in 1916 was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives. While brief [Editor’s note: Hawes served from 1916-1917 before resigning to join the U.S. Army, due to World War I, where he was commissioned a captain] , his career in the House was eventful. Hawes authored bills that created the Missouri Highway Department and revised state traffic laws. He also served as chairman of the Good Roads committee and led the effort to pass a $60 million bond issue for creation of the states first highway system. Pertaining to river transportation and its importance to Missouri, Hawes was one of the chief organizers of the “Lakes to the Gulf Waterway Association”, whose goal was creating a series of locks & dams along the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers that would enable easier shipment of grain and other goods.”

Upon returning home from the war, Harry Hawes was elected as U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 11’th Congressional District and serving from 1920-1926.

In 1926 Hawes was elected to the U.S. Senate serving from 1926-1933 (he resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives to take his Senate seat early due to the death of Senator Selden Spencer.

During his time in the Senate Hawes continued his work of flood control, by advocating the building of dams and levees along the Mississippi River.

After leaving the U.S. Senate, Harry Hawes returned to practicing law , specializing in foreign relations. During World War II , Hawes served as legal council for the Philippine government in exile while the island nation was occupied by Japan.

Harry Hawes, the architect of Missouri highways and flood control efforts, died on July 31, 1947 in Washington , D.C. his remains were cremated and his ashes scattered along the Current River, near Doniphan, in Ripley County, Missouri. He was the product of Southern honor and ancestry, upholding his family’s long tradition of politics, patriotism and military service.

Slavery Was Not the Cause of the War: Another Example

In my previous post “A Northern View on Race” I gave the example of an Indiana newspaper covering the story of whether or not a former slave was qualified to testify in a court of law. The article which was titled “A Henderson County Nigger On the Witness Stand” , was riddled with racial epitaphs and clearly did not consider newly freed slaves as citizens.

While exploring the archives of the Charleston Courier (Charleston, Mississippi County, Missouri) I found another example of Northern views regarding slavery and whether or not Union soldiers were fighting to abolish the institution.

The May 20th, 1864 edition of the paper carried the following news:

“A mob of soldiers, instigated by abolitionists, destroyed the office of a German democratic newspaper at Bellville, Ill., yesterday afternoon.”

A Northern View on Race

I write and post a lot of historical articles mainly related to the Ozarks and the Civil War. Most of it is well received but every now and then and sometimes someone feels the need to dispute what I say. It’s only natural but most of the time when someone is triggered they make a counterpoint by grabbing the first headline that they feel makes their case.

Ironically I rarely discuss slavery because in the Ozarks, it really wasn’t an issue. Those that fought for the Confederacy in the area usually did so for one of two reasons:

1: Their view on patriotism was based on the fact that they believed in loyalty to the State in which they were living first.

2: Their first taste of war came at the hands of local Union militias looking for opportunities to benefit themselves at the expense of their victims.

On one forum someone posted a video from the Washington Post entitled: “How a propaganda campaign to minimize slavery’s role in the civil war became American history

The obvious take away from the video is to place emphasis on slavery as being a cause of the war. Anyone who doesn’t believe this is accused of subscribing to a “Lost Cause” belief.

Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition” Available in paperback $15 or Kindle format eBook for $2.99

My response to these types of accusations is to take a look at how former slaves were treated in the post-war North. The May 18, 1866 edition of Charleston Courier (Mississippi County, Missouri) carries an article originally published in the Princeton (Indiana) Democrat newspaper, which carried the headline “A Henderson County Nigger on the Witness Stand” The article needs no explanation.

Murder in Mississippi County…

Rush Ridge Cemetery near Wyatt, Mississippi County, Missouri

An article published in 1987 by the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans newsletter , “The Missouri Partisan” carried the article of two Confederate soldiers killed near Norfolk, Missouri and that they were buried at Rush Ridge Cemetery near Wyatt in Mississippi County, Missouri.

“Killed near Norfolk, Miss. Co., Mo. Give me the
death of those who for their Country dies, be
mine like their repose when cold and low they lie.
Their loveliest Mother Earth enshrines the fallen
brave, in her sweet lap who gave thee birth they
find an honored grave. The love of liberty with
life is given and life itself the (inf) gift of Heaven.
(See also Strickland. These were two
Confederate soldiers found dead near Norfolk and
buried at Rush Ridge under a single stone.)

An article published by “The Missouri Partisan” newsletter in 1987.

I have yet to find exactly how these two soldiers died but I did find their names on the Rush Ridge Cemetery website, they are W.E. English and the other’s last name was Strickland but no first name is given.

Looking through the records I found something else very interesting. It appears that an entire family was wiped out during the course of the war and buried in Rush Ridge Cemetery:

Ema Heard was born in July 3, 1861 and died on December 16, 1861 she was the daughter of G.A. Heard and Rebecca Heard she was just over 6 months of age.

Her mother Rebecca Heard was born on March 21, 1840 and died on March 19, 1865 at the age of 25.

Emma’s brother M.J.T. Heard was born on January 8, 1862 and died on July 1, 1865 at the age of 3 1/2 years.

The April 10, 1865 edition of the Charleston Courier reported flooding that isolated the residents of Rush Ridge, it also reported the mandatory enrollment of local men into the militia to combat guerrilla fighters.

I have not been able to find the cause of death for the Heard family or what happened to the head of the family A.G. Heard. I did find that the April 10, 1865 edition of the Charleston Courier (Charleston, Mississippi County, Missouri) reported:

“Many of our citizens in the lower end of the County and also on Rush’s Ridge have been blockaded from our town on account of high water, and consequently, are not posted as to the arrangements being made to put down guerrilla warfare in our area for the next twelve months. Gen. Pope issued an order a short time ago for each County in the State to raise at least one company for the purpose of home protection and the carrying out of law and order in our courts throughout the State. In conformity with this order, Mississippi County has raised her Company, who will be mustered on Wednesday next.”

Since the Heard family did not all die at the same time I can only speculate what happened. Was it starvation? The flooding? Sickness? Or did a rogue element of militia from one side or the other take them out one by one? I’m not sure but it certainly seems systematic in nature and something I will continue to research.

– Clint Lacy is the author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition” Available in paperback for $15 and Kindle eBook for $2.99
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Dr. Frank Nickell: Causes of the Civil War

On January 25, 2020 Dr. Frank Nickell was the guest speaker at the Stoddard Rangers Camp #2290 Sons of Confederate Veterans January meeting as part of the camp’s Civil War in Missouri Lecture Series. The event was held at the historic Stars and Stripes Museum in Bloomfield, Missouri. Dr. Nickell spoke to a capacity audience and encouraged dialogue and audience participation. We thank Dr. Nickell for taking the time to speak to the community.

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