From the Southeast Missourian newspaper dated Monday July 6, 2020…
“From left: Steven Thrasher of Cottonwood Point, Missouri; Rodney Neville of Cooter, Missouri; and Clint Lacy of Marble Hill, Missouri, protest the potential removal of the Confederate monument from Ivers Square in Cape Girardeau on Sunday. “We’re protesting the removal of American history; it’s no longer just about the Confederacy” said Neville. Lacy added: “If they do move it to Old Lorimier Cemetery, I understand that visits are by appointment only. I hope they open the cemetery during the day, and they don’t place a plaque on it. We know what the monument represents; it doesn’t need an explanation.” Lacy said the group, which promoted the gathering on Facebook, had been protesting daily since Friday and that the most present at any one time was five people. The monument is the white slab over Lacy’s left shoulder. The ground around it is closed because of construction on nearby buildings. Two prominent local historic preservation groups, the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Kellerman Foundation, have recommended the monument be moved.”
Apologies for the low volume of the video. I don’t know what happened other than the fact that my phone got too hot and I had to shut it down. Rodney Neville of Cooter Missouri took the time to stand at the monument, give his own views about the War Between the States and gives his views on the reasons monuments are being attacked and removed.
On Saturday July 4, 2020 the Southeast Missourian newspaper published a Letter to the Editor that I had written detailing why the monument to Cape’s Confederate monument:
“Cape’s Historic Preservation Commission, which recently voted unanimously to remove the monument to Southeast Missouri’s Confederate soldiers has proven that it is not interested in history or preserving it.
Charges made by the commission and some very visible left-wing activists that the monument was placed as a warning to African-Americans is unfounded.
During Reconstruction veterans of the Confederate army could not vote, hold most jobs or political office, therefore it wasn’t until the 1900’s that the ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy could begin fundraising, which was further delayed by World War I. It took until 1931 before the monument could be erected.
Nothing in the newspaper archives or the UDC records indicate the group had any motives other than honoring Confederate soldiers from Southeast Missouri. Most of the men it honors fought for the Confederacy because Union General Lyon, on Tuesday, June 11, 1861, declared that he would kill every man, woman and child in the state. During the war Missouri lost one-third of its population.
The HPC let the public attend their meeting but no input was allowed, giving it an air of legitimacy when in reality it was a farce, as was their charge that the monument’s “historical integrity” was disturbed.
I ask that Mayor Fox and the city council do not give in to those wanting the monument’s removal. Appeasement never works and if the monument is removed, it will only result in more demands by activists to take down more monuments.”
Also found in the July 4, 2020 edition of the Southeast Missourian was an Editorial penned by the highly respected historian Frank Nickell who wants to move the monument to Lorimier Cemetery and place a plaque there putting the monument into “historical context.”
While I agree that Lorimier Cemetery is a better alternative than putting the monument into storage I can think of two disadvantages of placing the monument there:
1: Lorimier Cemetery is fenced off to protect it from vandals (which is good), unfortunately it stays locked up. If you want to visit Lorimier Cemetery you have to make an appointment (which is bad).
2: The last thing needed if the monument is moved to Lorimier Cemetery is a plaque “putting into context”. We already know what the context is. The ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy dedicated the monument in 1931 in memory of the men from Southeast Missouri who served in the Confederacy. Nothing else needs to be said, interpreted or politicized, especially in the final resting place of so many.
Meanwhile Sophia Voss who started the petition to remove the monument is (as predicted) unhappy with the thought of a possible compromise. In a Facebook post dated July 4, 2020 Voss stated:
” I believe compromise is a strong word to choose, seeing as how this ignores the bulk of the arguments presented by those in favor of the monument’s removal. while yes, this does move the CSA monument from our city hall, Lorimer is STILL public land, the monument still has a RACIST history, and is still NOT historically significant. this is little-to-no improvement.”
Voss also stated in the previously quoted Facebook post that she is a liberal and “huge proponent” of Black Lives Matter.
The Cape Girardeau City Council will meet Monday July 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm at 401 Independence St. in Cape Girardeau.
If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to oppose the removal of Cape Girardeau’s Confederate monument:
General Lyon’s threat to kill every MAN, WOMAN & CHILD rather than work with the state government to maintain peace & neutrality:
Planter’s House Hotel Meeting
Tuesday June 11, 1861
At the insistence of Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson, he, General Sterling Price, Nathaniel Lyon, and Frank Blair meet at the Planter’s House Hotel in St. Louis to negotiate a peaceful settlement of Missouri’s status during the secession crisis. Lyon, freshly promoted to brigadier general and to command of the Department of the West, instead says that rather than see a loss of Union control, “I would see you, and you, and you, and you, [pointing to each man in the room] and every man, woman, and child in the State dead and buried. This means war. In an hour one of my officers will call for you and conduct you out of my lines.” With that statement, Lyon makes it clear that he will stop at nothing to keep Missouri squarely in the Union. – Civil War On the Western Border
What this story doesn’t tell you is that while the public was allowed to attend the meeting NO public input was allowed also not reported is the fact that the commission that ruled the monument lost its “historical integrity” when it was moved to the courthouse grounds in 1995. However; the reason it was moved is because of plans to build a new bridge and destroy the old bridge on Morgan Oak street the monument had to be moved. The Cape Girardeau Historical Commission and the local media sought to give the meeting an air of legitimacy when it was all a farce!
Cape Girardeau’s Historical Preservation Commission Meeting Was Rigged!
A screenshot from Sophia Voss’s petition to remove Cape Girardeau’s Confederate monument makes it clear the commission was biased. Voss states that the commission is on her side.
In Words of Missouri Slaves:
Interview with Charlie Richardson, Webb City, Missouri, by Bernard Hinkle, Jasper County, Joplin, Mo:
Do you remember much about the war
“Not very much. I was only seven then, but I remembers that those Bushwackers came to steal my Marster’s money but he wouldn’t tell where he hid it. Said he didn’t have any. They said he was telling a lie ’cause no man could have so many slaves and not have some money. He did have 150 slaves but he wouldn’t tell where the money was hid. So they burned his feet, but he still wouldn’t tell ’em he had hid it in the orchard. No Sah! He jest didn’t tell. Them Bushwackers though, were not so bad as them Union soldiers. They took all our horses and left us old worn out nags; even took my horse I use to ride.”
Interview with “Aunt” Ann Stokes, 91 Years old, Caruthersville, Missouri:
One of the most interesting characters of all Pemiscot County today is an old negro called “Aunt” Ann Stokes. She was born a slave “out hyar at Cottonwood Pint in 1844, a
year of high water”. Nineteen thirty-six brings her to her ninety third year; all of which have been spent in Pemiscot County, except for an occasional visit to relatives.
You cud allas hyar de Yankees at Kennett or Hornersville wen day’s aroun’. One day I’ze over to see Melindy and I say:
‘Melindy, does you all hyar sompin? Soun’ like de Yankees, look out de winder and see if you sees anything.’
“She say, ‘I don’ see nothin’. Dey ain’t no Yankees aroun’ hyar.’
Well, I jest sit thar ’till I caint stan’ it no more. I gets up and looks out de winder myself.
Thar dey come down de road and I knows theys Yanks ’cause I see de blue ob de coats.
Pretty soon dey ride up to de house. Dey yell out:
“You all got any Gurrillers aroun’ hyar?”
“‘No suh!’ sez I, ‘Taint non aroun’ hyar.”
“Know Mr. Douglass?’, he say pointin’ his finger to a house ‘cross de prairie.”
‘’Yes suh,’ siz I, ‘I knows him wen I sees Him.”
“Has he got any Gurrillers thar?”
“‘I don’t know, suh.’
“‘Wal, thars a collad girl thar ain’t they?’
‘’Yes suh, but I don’ go round her no mo. We ain’t speakin’. Reckon I ain’t been on Mr. Douglasses place foah six month. I don’t know nothin’ ’bout it. You all better go see fur Youshsevs.”
He leab den an ride ovah to Douglasses place. I seen Bud come out in de yard. He call Bud ovah to de fence and talk to him. ‘Bout dat time I see men comin’ out de back ob de house an chargin’ ovah de fence into de thicket whar warn’t nothin’ but lots ob trees, tare blanket, an blackberry bushes. Right den and dare dey had a scrummage. De Yanks set fire to ever’ buildin’ on de place. De blaze wuz a-goin’ up to de elements! Not a thing did they take out obde house ceptin’ feather bed for a wounded Yankee. Mr. Douglass, he hear about de shootin’.
He tuk to de woods an stay fur a spell.”
Interview with Mrs. Tishey Taylor, age 77, Poplar Bluff, Missouri:
“Them ‘Blue Coats’ (Northern Soldiers), wus lots meaner than the ‘Brown Coats (Gray), in the South. Them ‘Blue Coats’ come in and steal your chickens and cook them over your fireplace and eat them right ‘fore your eyes.”
“Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
While President Trump’s executive order maintains that governments may erect or take down monuments it prohibits the use of unlawful force in doing so, increases penalties for those who do so, and reserves the right to withhold federal funding to entities who do not try to protect the monuments from anarchists. By not allowing public input at its meeting and recommending the immediate removal of Cape Girardeau’s Confederate monument, Cape Girardeau’s Historic Preservation Commission has attempted to circumvent the rule of law. Sophia Voss (who started the petition to remove the monument) has stated publicly that Cape’s Historic Preservation Committee is on her side. Recently the Cape Girardeau Confederate monument was vandalized with the words “Black Lives Matter” written upon it. The city has failed to protect the monument and therefore has violated President Trump’s executive order.
“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” –Proverbs 22:28
Most “official” sources claim that 110,000 Missouri men fought for the Union and some 30,000 fought for the Confederacy.
I’ve always questioned these figures for several reason:
1: Does this number include Union soldiers from neighboring states whose units were designated as “Missouri” units?
2: Does this number include the number of Missouri men who fought for the South in “irregular” or “partisan” units?
3. Does this number include Missouri men who were forced to join Enrolled Missouri Militia units or face jail time for “desertion”?
I’m guessing this number does not include the number of Southern men forced to join Union militia units and then fled with their newly furnished weapons.
I have stumbled across an example from the latter group in the September 21, 1865 issue of The Weekly Free Press (Atchison, Ks). An article in the paper reports that an election was held in Salem, Dent County, Missouri for the purpose of electing officers of a unit of Missouri Militia (Union) and that after the election the new company of Union militia celebrated by getting drunk, riding out of town and shouting for the Southern Confederacy.
The August 23, 1925 issue of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat covered the counties of Southeast Missouri in its “Travelog” series of the state. Included in the article is a substantial article about Bollinger County and William Mayfield, who the Globe described as “the County’s leading citizen” and “after many hearbreaking experiences and tribulations finally succeeded in founding the Will Mayfield College there.”
The Globe, in its coverage of the counted also painted a picture of what it was like to live in the county during the Civil War.
The July 5, 1928 edition of the Wayne County Journal-Banner carried the story of the [then] upcoming dedication of the Sam A. Baker State Park, even Missouri Governor Sam A. Baker was slated to speak at the event.
The park is an old favorite destination to many of us in the Eastern Ozarks and the story contains accounts of early settlers of Wayne County, the Civil War (including General Sterling Price’s 1864 raid) and the location of “Rocky Battery”, which I have been wondering about since reading Paulette Jiles’ 2003 book “Enemy Women.”
The June 1, 1917 edition of the Natchez Democrat (Natchez, Mississippi) reported on the deadly storms that passed through Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. The paper reported that the storm did the most damage in Wayne and Bollinger Counties, with the heaviest loss in Zalma where 25 lives were lost and 200 injured.
Clint Lacy is an author and publisher and founded Foothills Media LLC in February, 2019. His latest release is “The Rape of Delaware County.” Oklahoma used to be a safe haven for outlaws, in Delaware County it still is. The only difference is that some of them wear badges and others have law degrees. $10 paperback, 145 pages.
Something a little different from me today. A fiction piece titled “Impending War” for an event that paired writers and artists for State of the Ozarks magazinein 2018. I was paired with artist Curtis Copeland, some of you may remember that Curtis and I worked together on a story about the existence of Black Panthers in Missouri.
Cotton was not king in the Ozarks but hard work was. The soil was not suited for farming. If it had been the planters would have bought it up and brought their slaves with them.
Planting was done in small clearings. It was no easy task and the crops grown in the rocky soil were done so for subsistence, not cash.
Some of the corn was used to feed the cattle and some was ground into meal for the family.
News was slow to travel to the Ozarks but when it did arrive it brought word of the impending war.
My father doubted the war would make it to our isolated homestead.
Leaning against a split rail fence he stated, “There is barely enough for us to survive on, much less enough to fight over.”
He was in deep thought. He shifted the rocky soil back and forth with his foot and it was not clear whether he was trying to convince me or himself. With pipe in hand , he pointed at the barn and said, “Harness the mule son. We’ve got a crop to put in”.
From time to time a neighbor would bring news on the current state of affairs. Jim Sutton stopped by one day and stated the Governor had met with Captain Lyon in St. Louis to negotiate a peace and that the meeting had ended with Captain Lyon declaring war on the Governor, the State and every man, woman and child who lived there.
News traveled “through the grapevine” in the mountains, from neighbor to neighbor. Newspapers were a rarity. Partly because of isolation and partly because more than a few settlers could not read and had very little time for such luxuries even if they could. Despite the rumors of war, there was always work to be done. Wood needed to be chopped, livestock fed and fences repaired.
Most of our neighbors were of Scots-Irish who had immigrated from the neighboring states of Kentucky and Tennessee. They were Southerners of a different social class. A working class who placed more emphasis on necessary labor and taking care of their families and neighbors than the politics of the day.
August brought news of a great battle in the Western portion of the state and another visit from Jim Sutton.
I had just finished my chores for the day and had drew a bucket of water from the well. I dipped the ladle into the bucket and was taking a sip of the cool water when I saw Mr. Sutton ride up on his horse.
“Howdy Elijah”, he said with a smile, “Is John around?”
“Daddy’s in the barn Mr. Sutton” , I said.
My father walked out of the barn and said, “Howdy Jim. What brings you around?”
Jim Sutton climbed off of his horse and shook Daddy’s hand. “Can I talk to ya?”
They went to the barn but I could still make out part of the conversation. Mr. Sutton was trying to convince Daddy to join the Confederate forces and Daddy countered with, “Who’s going to take care of this farm and this family? This is no war for us besides you said Lyon was dead. There might not even be a threat to us now.”
“I’m going John”, Mr. Sutton said. “Lyon being killed isn’t going to stop what’s comin’, if anything, those Yankees are going to want vengeance and don’t go thinkin’ we’re gonna be safe here. Mark my words. They’re going to swarm over the whole state like a plague of locusts.”
“I wish you luck Jim”, Daddy said.
“You too John”, replied Mr.Sutton as he mounted his horse and turned it toward the road. Before riding off he stopped and added, “John. There are a lot of families headed down to Green County, across the state line. If the war visits your place take what you can and get down there.”
This article is a continuation of an article that I co-authored with Joshua Heston for State of the Ozarks online magazine which was titled “Black Panthers’ Existence Denied” Which stated , in part:
“There are no black panthers in Missouri. It is a myth like Bigfoot.” — Michael Flaten
Years ago at my grandmother’s house, I discovered an old high school yearbook. Thumbing through the pages, I found my uncle’s senior photo with the usual details of titles, predictions and nicknames.
“Panther,” said the entry. Uncle Phil’s nickname was Panther.
“Your uncle once saw a black panther on your great-grandfather’s farm but nobody believed him,” explained my father when I asked him.
Uncle Phil’s panther sighting took place in Stoddard County, Missouri, in the 1960s. Back then his biggest skeptics were his peers. A brief internet search on the topic of black panther sightings in Missouri will turn up the occasional news story, blog post or photo of the elusive cat.
With today’s new technology, citizens are no longer dependent on the “gate keepers” of old media. Convincing one’s peers of a black panther sighting isn’t nearly as difficult as it was when Uncle Phil was in high school.
Today, if a resident spots a black panther, his biggest critic will be the Missouri Department of Conservation. Officially the MDC has this to say about black panthers in Missouri:
“Black panthers” are not native to North America, but they do exist as melanistic (black color) phases of the leopard (Panthera pardus) found in Africa and Asia and the jaguar (Panthera onca) of Mexico and Central and South America. Throughout its range, no melanistic (black) mountain lion has ever been documented by science….In 1996 MDC established a Mountain Lion Response Team (MLRT) with specially trained staff to investigate reports and evidence of mountain lions.
“The MLRT has investigated hundreds of mountain lion reports. Animals reported as mountain lions include house cats, bobcats, red foxes, coyotes, black and yellow Labrador retrievers, great Danes and white-tailed deer. Almost all reported tracks have been those of bobcats or large dogs.”
The article included other recent eyewitness reports and accounts I found in newspaper articles from the past. I thought I would revisit the archives blow the dust off some old papers (figuratively) and see what I could find.
I decided to explore the archives of Van Buren , Missouri’s Current Local newspaper, I found the following accounts:
From the Thursday February 4, 1926 issue of The Current Local. The headline reads:“Kills Large Panther.”
“A large panther was killed one day last week in the western part of Pemiscot county by Homer Weaver , according to the Dunklin County News. The hide of the animal measured a little over ten feet from tip to tip and is the first of its kind in that section for many years past . The hunter shot the big cat out of a tree from where it had taken refuge from a pack of dogs and when it hit the ground , though mortally wounded, it killed one of the dogs before expiring.”
“From the Thursday December 9, 1926 edition of The Current Local under the heading of “This Day in Missouri History:
“Late in 1816 there was approved an act to encourage the killing of wolves, panthers and wildcats. It authorized a payment of $2 for each wolf or panther and fifty cents for the scalp of each wildcat.”
From the Thursday July 17, 1930 Current Localunder the headline “Hauled Freight to Pilot Knob with Oxen”:
This particular article featured a pioneer of Carter County, Missouri by the name of C.G. Bunn who moved to the area in 1866 and stated:
“When I first moved to Carter County, 14 votes would elect any county officer. Few people resided in the county. An old log shanty was used as the courthouse in Van Buren. There were all kinds of deer, panther, wild turkey and some bear in the Ozark region in my day. Once I thought I was going to get a panther but he saw me and ran just as I was getting ready to shoot.”
The January 8, 1953 edition of The Current Local contains an article bearing the title “Chilton Notes” by Lucile Masnor who writes:
“Well, ever since I saw that big cat-like animal run across the field and leap into the woods , I’ve been I’ve been scared to go very far from the house. If I should meet it face to face, even if I had Pa along, I’ll bet I’d be the last one in the kitchen door. The hunter in me declares that I didn’t see anything, but I still maintain it was a panther.”
My final example (for this article) comes from The Current Local dated March 1, 1973 which includes the article “The Current River Cat” written by Lucile Masnor:
“Some people say there is no such thing as a panther. But we Carter Countians call our big cat a panther.
The first I knew there was a panther in these hills was many years ago. I was preparing supper one evening. My step-father had walked up the valley road. Mother and I heard what sounded like a woman scream up the hill behind the house. My step-father heard it and came running to the house thinking we were in trouble and screaming for him. When it wasn’t us he decided it was a panther.
Later one bright summer morning I saw the big cat crossing the valley field. He was black, about the size of a young calf but longer and slimmer with shorter legs. He did not run but bounded along with cat-like leaps…”
The February 17, 1927 edition of the Greenville Sun newspaper carried the story of a fiddling contest that attracted more than 600 people to the Wayne County, Missouri community more than 200 people were turned away , failing to gain admission to the event.
According to the paper over 20 contestants entered the event, though a few failed to appear for various reasons. A couple of contestants competed with very old fiddles, one of which was found by the contestant’s father on a riderless horse during the Civil War.
Tunes that were played included “Little Brown Jug”, “Drunken Hiccoughs” and “Buffalo Girl”
After the ballots were counted Earnest Woods was declared the winner, Brian Bell was awarded second place and Abner Barrow third. Prizes for first , second and third place were $10, $5 and $2.50 respectively and paid in gold.
The Sun reported that the winner of this contest was supposed to compete in a larger event encompassing the Southeast Missouri area. I am posting the full article below