Marketing vs Facts: Southeast Missouri was Rebel Territory

From the Wednesday June 5, 1864 Chicago Tribune.

This post is historical with a touch of commentary. First I must address the disturbing trend of eliminating everything Confederate out of the history books, the town squares and tourism brochures.

I can only imagine that those in charge have based their decisions on today’s politically charged environments. It’s safer to only publish pictures of Union reenactors , discuss Union achievements and important contributions made by Unionists in certain areas.

It’s safer that way. It keeps protestors out of communities. It doesn’t damage income from tourism and after all, the Union fought against the evils of slavery. Right?

There are a couple of problems with this strategy. Yes it may be safer economically and politically but it damages tourist areas historically.

First of all, if the Confederates never exist, then who did the Unionist fight? Second these economic development strategies could severely backfire on them with this “riding the high horse while taking the low road” strategy.

It’s no different in Southeast Missouri. Our monuments still exist but for how long? If they do remain how long will it be before “someone” demands an interpretive plaque be installed on the monuments to tell you how evil Southerners were?

History can be tricky. Missouri history can be more tricky. Many Unionists were slave owners. Many Confederates were dirt poor farmers who never owned slaves.

Many “home guard” militias affiliated with the Union cause lacked leadership and discipline. That’s what makes a clip from the June 5, 1864 Chicago Tribune so interesting. The paper reported that Southeast Missouri was filled with “rebels” and attempts to stifle them by the forming of “Home Guard” units were unsuccessful, mainly because the (Union) government appointed their leaders.

The Chicago Tribune reported:

“The Rebels are conscripting all able bodied men in Stoddard and Bollinger counties, but as the commodity is scarce the product will be small. Our cavalry is after them but the Southeast [ Missouri -Ed.] is overrun with rebels.

Attempts to raise two regiments of 90 day’s militia for home service promise to be a failure on account of the poor quality of officers usually appointed by the government.”

I promise you won’t see that in any economic development / tourism brochures these days. So what’s the solution?

For starters lets stop sacrificing historical facts for marketing dollars, history can’t be changed and it shouldn’t be changed. The tourism dollars will still follow and possibly generate even more tourist dollars if entities are honest with them. Honesty is a cornerstone of business and it should be the cornerstone for those who are in the business of tourism.

Murder in Marble Hill!

Newspaper clipping from the April 30, 1877 Cincinnati Daily Star

It doesn’t happen often in small towns and rural communities, but when a violent crime is committed in these areas it is shocking. Often people think it is a sign of the times and that this world is getting worse.

Is the world really worse now than it was over 100 years ago? That’s debatable. What isn’t debatable is the fact that violent crime occurred in “the good old days” just as much as it does today.

A case in point is the report of a hanging carried out in Marble Hill, Missouri, reported by the April 30, 1877 Cincinnati Daily Star. The execution of William Pintz (other accounts spelled his last name Pentz) was due to a most gruesome murder of a nine year old girl.

According to the paper:

“Wm. Pintz, who killed Catherine Burr, a child about nine years in Bollinger County, Missouri, on the 15th of May, 1875 was hanged at Marble Hill
Friday, before a great crowd of people, who came for many miles to witness the execution. Pintz confessed that he killed the girl, and had also murdered a man named William Gray, for which he was paid $10″

Violent crime occasionally occurs in the country as it does in the city and in the present, just as it had in the past.

  • Clint Lacy is a resident of Marble Hill, Missouri, is publisher of Foothills Media LLC and is the author of “A Beginner’s Guide to False Flags” and “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition”.

Thar’s Gold in Marble Hill!

A newspaper clipping from the May 26, 1866 Charleston Daily News

Apparently gold was discovered in Marble Hill, Missouri. The source of the news comes from the May 26, 1866 Charleston Daily News (Charleston, S.C.) and at the time Marble Hill was called “Dallas”.

According to the paper a rock which served as part of the foundation of a house that had been burned during the Civil War. The paper states that when the rock was ground up $60 worth of gold was refined from it. The paper also reported that the rock came from a local quarry just outside of town.

This is the first time this writer has ever heard of gold being discovered in the Southeast Missouri Ozark Foothills of Bollinger County, Missouri and as far as I know this was the only time gold was ever discovered here.

An Alcohol Riot in Civil War Ironton

Charles D. Field’s “Three Years on the Saddle 1861-1865”

Typically I have found in my studies of Civil War Missouri I have found that those of German heritage were staunch Unionists but I have found something interesting while sifting through the book “Three Years on the Saddle 1861-1865” by Charles D. Field.

Apparently several soldiers were frequenting a bar in Ironton, Missouri and were laying about all over the place. Field and some other men were ordered to shut the place down. What follows is a story about how quickly a people like the German’s loyalty can change once control of alcohol is asserted. Field writes:

“June 8th, 1862

It was about this time that Captain Danforth was made Provost Marshal of Ironton and surrounding country. Daily arrivals of reinforcements made matters more pleasant for a few days, during which time General Steele was concentrating his forces and rearranging his division, which was to become a portion of Major General Curtis’ army. I was placed on provost guard about a week after our captain’s appointment as Provost Marshal of Ironton and Iron Mountain. Lieutenant G. Allen May was officer of the guard and while at headquarters on duty subject to his orders, we were informed that a brewery was selling liquor to the soldiers between Ironton and Iron Mountain. Officer of the Guard Lieutenant May started with a platoon of Cavalry for the brewery which was located at the foot of Shepherd Mountain. The location of the brewery was such that the inhabitants could easily escape to the mountains. Officer of the day ordered Sergeant Teals, Martin Luther and myself to dismount and arrest the brewery man and his assistant. We dismounted and went to the front door, which we found securely locked, and started around to the rear of the building which was used as a kitchen.

As we left the front door to go around to the back we found the ground covered with drunken soldiers who had become intoxicated from liquor obtained from the brewery. We got into the kitchen and found the wife of the brewery man, a large, muscular German woman about 5 feet 4 inches tall and as stout as a horse.

Our platoon had succeeded in surrounding the house. We asked her where the proprietor was. She said he was up in the mountain. Sergeant Teale ordered her to call him, which she refused to do. Lieutenant May then gave us orders to arrest her and take her to Pilot Knob.

Sergeant Teale stepped up to her and told her to put on her wraps. She was standing near the stove upon which was a kettle of hot water which she seized and attempted to scald him, and, when he threw up his hand to protect himself, he was assaulted in an entirely different way, for in the woman’s quick perception she conceived the opportunity and caught his hand between her teeth nearly severing the thumb from the hand and wounding him to such an extent that he bears the scar yet.

Martin Luther, being a tall man, six feet and four inches, threw his arm
around her neck and held her or she would have killed Sergeant locale, who was in great agony over his wound. Lieutenant May sat upon his horse laughing at the idea of one woman being enough for three of us.

She finally consented to go if we would take a lantern and her children. She kept continually hallooing in German or I’^rench, I don’t know which, loud enough to be heard in town, so that when we reached the main road with her we were confronted by a crowd of German and French armed with clubs and stones.

We were expecting at any moment to be mobbed and I think our chance for a victory would have been slim as they were about five times our number. They did not tackle us, however, and we delivered her at headquarters in safety.

My brother, W.F. Reed was placed in charge of the brewery and also the store in town which had been selling smuggled ammunition.”

Of course the Germans and the French were not the only disgruntle residents of the Arcadia Valley where the communities of Pilot Knob, Ironton and Arcadia adjoin each other.

Pilot Knob was the headquarters for operations against Southern forces in Southeast Missouri. It was the terminus of the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railway, served as a staging area and also stood in the way of any future Confederate movements against St. Louis. The majority of the troops that passed through Pilot Knob were not native Missourians and their occupation was frowned upon by local residents.

Southern guerrilla fighters (partisans) lurked in the surrounding country side waiting to pick off Union occupiers one by one and as Field writes, Union soldiers were starting to disappear:

“Sergeant Teale had command of most of the mounted scouts which were sent out on the main road between Pilot Knob, Patterson and the main army. There had been a number of stragglers and dispatch bearers killed by some means, at this time wholly unknown to us, and were missed from the command near Shut In, or Stony Battery.

Sergeant Teale was ordered out with a platoon to view the country and, as it afterwards proved, a young guerrilla had been the cause of those men being absent. Several efforts had been made to capture him but as many times he had escaped to woods which surrounded the house in which he and his young wife lived.

At last Sergeant Teale selected his men carefully and set out with the determination of taking the guerrilla, either dead or alive. He having been there several times before, was a])le to give us a good description of the house and all the surroundings.

At about lo o’clock our force, consisting of ten or a dozen men, left Fort Hovey and three hours later we were within a mile of the house which was a small log cabin upon a knoll surrounded by a clearing. So leaving our horses with a guide and posting our men as vedettes around the edge of the timber, Sergeant Teale and myself crept some forty rods on our hands and knees that we might be enabled to take him by surprise.

Reaching the door, which Teale knew by previous visits to be unlocked so he could easily escape as he had previously done, Sergeant Teale opened it and advanced to the bed where our man lay, holding his belt light in such a manner that all that could be seen by our prisoner was myself standing
at the foot of the bed with my revolver in hand, and seeing no chance of escape he and his wife clinched and rolled in bed.

It was impossible to get him up by coaxing. Wc took him from the bed
by force and he trembled so much that we had to help him dress.
His young wife screamed so loud that it brought our command out
of the woods where they had been posted as vedettes, also our re- serves with the horses. His wife begged so for his life that we partly promised not to take it unless he’ attempted to escape.

We placed him upon a horse fastening him in the usual way for cavalry
prisoners, mounted ours and started back to Iron Mountain, leaving her alone. For several miles we could hear her screaming above the clatter of our horses feet.

It was nearly morning when we placed him in Iron Mountain jail where his comrade desperadoes had been placed a few days before.”

– Clint Lacy is the author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition”

Just Released: Blood in the Ozarks- Expanded Second Edition

Foothills Media LLC is pleased to announce the release of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition”

Deep in the Ozarks of Southeast Missouri a battle still raises about a massacre committed on Christmas Day, 1863 in Ripley County, Missouri by members of the 3’rd Missouri State Militia Cavalry led by Major James Wilson. While naysayers state that the “massacre” was nothing more than a rescue mission to free Union troops captured days before by Colonel Timothy Reeves and his 15th Missouri Cavalry, CSA, local historical documents, newspaper articles and military records prove bias on their part, painting a picture of a government cover up and the needless slaughter of men, women and children along with Confederate soldiers on the holiest day of the year. In this Expanded Second Edition the reader will find more photos, newspaper archives and other sources of information that paints a clearer picture of this tragedy.

More information, more photos at a more affordable price!

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Will Mayfield College

Note: This story was originally published in the State of the Ozarks online magazine

Will Mayfield College by Clint Lacy

The Arts and Science building of Will Mayfield College

Will Mayfield College

by Clint Lacy

The Will Mayfield College stands as a symbol of a once prosperous era for Marble Hill, Missouri. The small town of approximately 1500 people serves as the Bollinger County seat which lies in the Eastern Ozark foothills of Southeast Missouri.

“The area that would eventually become known as Marble Hill was established in 1842 as New California. Nine years later, it was renamed Dallas in 1851. As the area grew over the years, the First Baptist Church was built in 1856 near the oldest cemetery in Marble Hill. In 1862, the courthouse and town of Dallas was raided by Colonel S.D. Kitchen, along with 120 Confederate soldiers. Finally, in 1868, the name of the town was changed again, this time to Marble Hill, to prevent confusion with the already existing Dallas County.”(1)

The Will Mayfield College began as the Mayfield-Smith Academy in Sedgewickville (originally called Smithville), Missouri in 1878. In 1880 the school was moved to Marble Hill.

“The new campus was in a healthful location with “pure water” and “beneficial zephyrs.”  In addition, it was free of the vice associated with larger towns. The first main building—Academic Hall—was completed in 1885.  In 1903 the name of the school was changed to Will Mayfield College to honor the son of the founder.”(2)

The college was mainly known for producing teachers and at one point produced more teachers than any state college in Missouri.  Though successful the college’s demise came in the form of a fire destroying the women’s dormitory in 1926 and later the Great Depression.

More information for the college can be found in a Department of Natural Resources application to the National Register of Historic Places which states:

“Allegations that the schools endowment was spent without authorization, coupled with debt and loss led to the temporary closure of the school in 1930. It reopened briefly but the deepening of the Great Depression in the early 1930s caused enrollment to drop. The school closed its doors after commencement ceremonies in May 1934. To cover debts the ownership of the school transferred to a bonding company in St. Louis. Franklin Hall, located several blocks from the college campus, was sold as a private residence. The Patton School District purchased the frame gym and moved it out of town and it is unknown if the building still exists.

The large campus (10 acres) was also parceled and portions sold. The school’s two classroom buildings, the Administration Building and the Arts and Science Building, sat empty for several years until purchased in 1941 by Mrs. Lottie James Bollinger. Bollinger, who had briefly attended the college, planned to convert the buildings into a hospital. After the state regulatory board denied her application, Bollinger held onto the buildings and in the 1950s convinced El Nathan, a Christian retirement home originally established in Buffalo, NY, to move to the property.

El Nathan initially used the Administration Building, but later constructed a modern building immediately west. For a time the organization used both buildings and constructed an enclosed walkway between their new facility and the basement level of the Administration Building. El Nathan owned the Arts & Science Building, but never utilized it as part of the larger residential care facility. In 2001 the Will Mayfield Foundation and its offshoot, the Bollinger County Museum of Natural history, entered into an agreement with El Nathan to convert the Arts and Science Building into a museum. The first two floors of the building have been largely restored and HVAC and electrical systems have been updated throughout.

The museum has opened and contains displays on local history and the natural history of the region. In 2010 El Nathan sold the Arts and Science Building and the Administration Building to the Will Mayfield Heritage Foundation. The foundation is repairing the Administration Building and plans to open it as a community center and arts facility.”(3)

Today the Arts and Science building houses the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History while Academic Hall houses the Mayfield Cultural Center and restaurant.

Clint Lacy is author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition “

Source Citations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marble_Hill,_Missouri
https://www.lostcolleges.com/will-mayfield-college
https://dnr.mo.gov/shpo/nps-nr/12001176.pdf 
 

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Book Review-Blood in the Ozarks: Second Edition

Paulette Jiles, author of Enemy Women, The Color of Lightning, News of the World & Simon the Fiddler, very graciously posted a review of Blood in the Ozarks: Second Edition on her blog. In it she writes:

On Amazon there are a great many books (non-fiction) on the guerillas in Missouri during the Civil War, and almost all of them have to do with the guerillas/bushwhackers in Central Missouri; Quantrell, Frank and Jesse James, Bloody Bill Anderson and others.

Blood in the Ozarks by Clint Lacy is a much-needed look at the war in southeastern Missouri. In that area things were quite different and this work makes things about as clear as they are going to get. The geography was different, the terrain and the people and the circumstances were different and other than Jerry Ponder’s books this is one of the few or perhaps only book dealing with the war in the southeast. I don’t have the reference here to hand but I believe it was the only part of Missouri held under martial law/reconstruction after the war was over. I think it was two years under martial law.

Other non-fiction studies; Gray Ghosts, Bushwhackers, Guerillas in Civil War Missouri and many others, almost all dealing with the better-documented activities of Confederate-sympathizing freelancers in Central Missouri. The situation in the Ozarks of the southeast can be simplified more easily than in other places; it was mainly Tim Reeves Fifteenth Missouri State Guard units against Union units, mainly Missouri Militia (Union) and the Twelfth Cavalry (Union). The rivalry and intense, personal animosity between Reeves and the men of the Missouri Twelfth Cavalry (Wilson and Leeper) turn the situation into a terrible years-long vendetta and Lacy documents this extremely well, including civilian deaths.

It occasioned one of the most moving, despairing and yet well-written night-before-the-execution letters I have ever read, that of Asa Ladd. During a reading and book-signing a woman came up to me and told me she was a descendant of Asa Ladd, that it was in her great-grandmother’s house they had found the letter. This book sets out this rivalry and the tragic consequences, and it all took place in the most difficult terrain, far from the notice of “important” people or newspapers, played out, one could say, almost in darkness. My mother’s people were from Central Missouri and we have stories passed down about the bushwhackers — Bloody Bill Anderson came close to killing a distant relative of mine but said relative (George Brownfield) escaped into the thickets surrounding the Pilot Grove post office, dodging Bloody Bill’s bullets. There was a lot at stake in Central Missouri — good farmland, harvests of cotton and hemp, the great commercial highway that the Missouri River had become, not to speak of the extremely rich bottomlands of that great river.

My father’s people came from southeastern Missouri, the Ozarks, which was not in any way a vital area for crops, conscripts, herds or war products. We have no stories, only a confused report that my great-great-grandfather was hung, no details. Leaving a wife and three children and a pregnant wife; Mahala Giles. His name was Marquis Lafayette Giles, justice of the peace, taught the common school in Carter County.

Often in war, I have heard, from the participants, that certain units will develop an intense rivalry and hatred for one another — this happened to my husband in Vietnam. He was with an ARVN unit, as an advisor, spoke Vietnamese and lived with these troops. They got it on with a certain unit of the Viet Cong, and the two units fought each other for years. In the course of which my husband was wounded, got himself repaired and went back to the fight. Also a wonderful man, a world war 2 vet, Charles Meuth, told me years ago that his unit of the Texas National Guard (141st Regiment) developed the same personal and intense rivalry with a certain unit of the German SS tank command and pursued them all the way up the Italian Peninsula and finally into Germany, where the war ended and they surrendered. He even knew their names.

So this is the drama and ferocity outlined in Lacy’s book, very well documented, a fascinating story of conflict played out in a country of great beauty but thin soil, heavy swamps, thick forest that almost nobody wanted, except the people who lived there.