Horrible Murder in Missouri!

The January 14, 1864 issue of the Chicago Tribune reported the murder of Bollinger County Unionists in Dallas (Marble Hill) Missouri.

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,

Sheriff. THOS. CRAIG,
[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.


Using the Term “Bushwhacker” to Deflect Blame

Missouri “Bushwhackers” firing on a Union steamboat.

According to Civil War on the Western Border {.org} a “Bushwhacker” is defined as follows:

“The “bushwhackers” were Missourians who fled to the rugged backcountry and forests to live in hiding and resist the Union occupation of the border counties. They fought Union patrols, typically by ambush, in countless small skirmishes, and hit-and-run engagements. These guerrilla fighters harassed, robbed, and sometimes murdered loyal Unionist farmers on both sides of the state line. They interrupted the federal mail and telegraph communications, and (most troublesome to the Union command trying to quell the escalating violence in the border region) the bushwhackers held the popular support of many local farming families.”

In my January 31, 2020 post entitled “Who Murdered the Patterson Family” I noted that:

“In most history books the term “bushwhacker” refers to Southern partisan fighters on Missouri’s western border. Often these Southern partisans formed into “irregular”, “independent” companies of men. That being said, many people relate the term “bushwhacker” to “Southerner” and “Confederate”.

Through my research I have found that in this area of Southeast Missouri the term “bushwhacker” was used indiscriminately to describe Union or Confederate independent units. Cochran’s 90 Day (Independent) Militia was not attached to any other units, nor was it beholden to any other units, which qualifies he and his unit as “bushwhackers”.

In the post quoted above, I make the case that significant evidence exists to point the finger of blame for the murder of the Patterson family in Bollinger County, Missouri during the Civil War at one James Rogers, who was a member of Captain Cochran’s 90 militia.

After the war Rogers was appointed Sheriff of Bollinger County but later fled back to Michigan because, according to one newspaper account, he was charged for murders that were committed in the area during the war.

In my opinion using the term “Bushwhackers” to describe local Union militia units, seems to be intentional , not only to cause confusion in an attempt to deflect the blame from Union forces, but to point the finger of blame at Southern forces.

I have found another example of this. In the book “Revolution in America” author Don Higginbotham writes:

“My mother’s grandfather, Jonas Myers served in the Confederate Army and was killed in Northeast Arkansas after the conflict ended while on his way home to Bollinger County in Southeast Missouri. Some accounts say that he and several other local men on their return journey were robbed and then lined up and executed by so-called bushwhackers, lawless men who preyed on both sides. But the old tombstone that was erected after their bodies were exhumed and returned home says they were “murdered by Union soldiers.”

A Legendary Historian

Left: Dr. Frank Nickell was welcomed by Commander Clint Lacy Stoddard Rangers Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp # 2290

On Saturday January 25, 2020 the Stoddard Rangers Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp # 2290 welcomed Dr. Frank Nickell to the Stars & Stripes Museum and Library in Bloomfield , Missouri (the birthplace of the Armed Forces newspaper).

Dr. Nickell was a professor at Southeast Missouri State University for four decades and dare I say, the most respected historian in Southeast Missouri.

Dr. Nickell spoke to a capacity crowd about the causes of the Civil War and I must say the most impressive thing about his speech was his ability to engage the crowd and let them determine the causes of the Civil War on their own.

We were both happy and grateful that Dr. Nickell graciously accepted our invitation to address local citizens about the causes of the Civil War.

Special thanks to Dr. Nickell and to the Stars and Stripes Museum & Library in Bloomfield , Missouri for allowing us to host this event!

Below is a news article written by Nancy Nelson Vines for the Daily American Republic Newspaper.

Historian seeks to educate, offer dialogue on Civil War history

Friday, January 31, 2020By NANCY NELSON VINES, Contributing Writer

“I always enjoy speaking to an audience that is knowledgeable of the subject matter, and able to engage in meaningful dialogue,” Dr. Frank Nickell observed after his presentation on Saturday, January 25. Nickell, retired educator from Southeast Missouri State University and noted historian, was the guest speaker at a meeting of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Nickell addressed a capacity crowd in the library and research room at the National Stars and Stripes Museum and Library in Bloomfield. In his discussion of Causes of the Civil War, Nickell revealed his belief that historians have no more of a definitive answer today, than when the war ended 155 years ago.

“Historians perpetuate their own views,” Nickell pointed out, “so there are as many explanations for the cause of the war, as there are authors who attempted to explain it.”

As he spoke, Nickell addressed the beliefs of numerous historians/authors, and shared brief overviews of their writings, as well as explanations of different phases of interpretation. He repeatedly sought opinions from those in attendance, and delighted in the thought-provoking conversations that ensued.

Nickell began his discussion by addressing two notable books that were published during and immediately following the Civil War.

“The first book to examine what caused the war,” Nickell explained, “was Horace Greeley’s The American Conflict, which was written in 1864 — before the war was even over.”

According to Nickell, Greeley, a renowned Northern journalist, blamed the war on the power held by the Confederate states. Greely viewed their collective power as a challenge to the Federal Government.

“Southerner Edward Pollard’s book The Lost Cause, published in 1866, presented the opinion that the only way the South could maintain their power, was to go to war,” Nickell observed.

As the discussion continued, Nickell sought input from the audience on their opinions as to the cause of the Civil War. Those responses were as varied as the authors’ opinions. Among ideas suggested by attendees were that causes of the war resulted from: the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, cotton growing, imbalance of tariffs, where people lived at that time, monetary issues, and the idea that slavery was only an excuse to go to war.

“So, in essence,” Nickell summarized, “there is no answer. Every interested person must study the Civil War for himself/herself and arrive at your own conclusions. It is the question that still haunts America.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a non-profit, patriotic, historical, civic and benevolent organization created to preserve the history and legacy of the Confederate soldier. The local organization Stoddard Rangers meets regularly at the Stars and Stripes Museum.

A Giant in the Ozarks

This story comes courtesy of the Oregon County (Missouri) Genealogy Facebook group.

The September 10, 1885 issue of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat carried the story of a discovery of the skeletal remains of what can only be described as a giant, in a cave located nine miles from Thayer, Missouri.

The paper describes the giant as follows:

“The explorers found the skeleton of a man 9 feet one 1 inch in height , which was well proportioned. In removing the skeleton some of the joints dropped loose. The finger nails were found to be petrified. There was also found a considerable quantity of ancient furniture.”

This however, was not the only discovery of giants in Missouri the following was published in:


“Hon J. H. Hainly, a well known and reliable citizen of Barnard, Mo., writes to the Gazette the particulars of the discovery of a giant skeleton four miles southwest of that place. A farmer named John W. Haunon found the bones protruding from the bank of a ravine that had been cut by the action of the rains during the past years. Mr. Hannon worked several days in unearthing the skeletons, which proved to be that of a human being whose height was twelve feet. The head through the temples was twelve inches;  from the lower part of the skull at the back to the top was fifteen inches, and the circumference forty inches. The ribs were nearly four feet long and one and three-quarter inches wide. The thigh bones were thirty inches long and large in proportion. When the earth was removed the ribs stood up high enough to enable a man to crawl in and explore the interior of the skeleton, turn around and come out with ease. The first joint of the great toe, above the nail, was three inches long, and the entire foot eighteen inches in length. The skeleton lay on its face, twenty feet feet below the surface of the ground, and the toes embedded in the earth, indicating that the body either fell or was placed there when the ground was soft. The left arm was passed around backward, the head resting on the spinal column, while the right was stretched out to the front and right.  Some of the bones crumbled upon exposure to the air, but many good specimens were preserved and are now on exhibition at Barnard. Medical men are much interested. The skeleton is generally pronounced a valuable relic of the prehistoric race.”

The discovery of skeletal remains of Giants is not limited to the Ozarks, or Missouri for that matter. Author Jason Colavito has put together an impressive archive of newspaper accounts of giants throughout the years. He has documented accounts from across the United States and the world and if this subject is of interest, you can read these fascinating stories at his website: http://www.jasoncolavito.com/newspaper-accounts-of-giants.html

More on Murder in Marble Hill

Missouri Governor Charles Henry Hardin (1875-1877)

This is a short follow up to my January 29, 2020 post entitled “Murder in Marble Hill!” which covered the story of William Pents who was publicly hanged in April , 1877.

The April 30, 1877 Cincinnati Daily Star reported:

“Wm. Pintz [Ed. Note Pents], 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″

Apparently Pents was scheduled to be executed before this date but was given a temporary reprieve by Missouri Governor Charles Henry Hardin. The January 14, 1876 issue of The State Journal [Jefferson City, Missouri] reported:

“The Governor has respited William Pents, of Bollinger county, sentenced to be hanged on the 14th of this month, until the 11th of February next. Pents was convicted of the murder of a little girl while gathering grapes in the
woods, last fall. Judge, prosecuting attorneys, jurors and a number of citizens petition for a commutation. No doubt as to guilt but think Pents is crazy. Respite Issued In order to examine evidence as to insanity, and if he h is mind enough to understand the consequences of his crime when committed, he will hang but if only an idiot, may commute sentence.”

Crazy or not, William Pents was publicly hanged in April of 1877 in Marble Hill, Missouri.

More on Sheriff Rogers

The February 15th, 1867 issue of the Tama Republican Newspaper (Toledo , Iowa) carries the news of Sheriff James Rogers arresting a local preacher.

In my previous article “Who Murdered the Patterson Family” I made the connection between Bollinger County Sheriff James Rogers (1866-68) and the murder of the Patterson family in Bollinger County, Missouri during the Civil War. Rogers was charged with murder while acting as sheriff, for war crimes he previously committed. In my previous post I stated that there could be no doubt that Sheriff James Rogers was a criminal but apparently the Sheriff hated all things moral.

The February 15, 1867 issue of the Tama County Republican newspaper (Toledo, Iowa) carried the news of an act so embarrassing that Sheriff Rogers felt the need to explain it to the public. It was so embarrassing that the Sheriff opted to inform the public through a card (insert) in the local Cape Girardeau, Missouri paper. According to the Tama County Republican:

“James Rogers, sheriff of Bollinger county, Mo. publishes “A Card” in the Cape Girardeau News, under the head of “New Advertisements,’ (we suppose the editor was ashamed to have it seen in this reading matter) defending his conduct for having arrested a preacher. Mr Rogers can make himself easy on that point his services are no longer needed in that line
the Supreme Court has taken the preacher under its wing, and says, in thc language of the old camp-meeting hymn,
We do declare, without a doubt,
That Christians have a right to shout;
O, glory, glory, hallelujah !”

  • Clint Lacy is the author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition” and “A Beginner’s Guide to False Flags: The Deep State Agenda Behind America’s Biggest Events” which are available in both paperback and Kindle formats and can be purchased on Our Products page.

Who Murdered the Patterson Family?

Brochure published by The Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission.

In my book “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition” I devoted a chapter to personal stories of Civil War atrocities. In this chapter I included the murder of Confederate officer William Patterson and his entire family. I used a pamphlet published by the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission as my source for this particular incident. The brochure states:

“The story of the Patterson family who lived four miles south of Marble Hill, is a vivid reminder of the savagery of the war. Here, along what was once the main trail to Zalma, William Patterson, a Confederate officer, his wife, and their four young children were murdered, and their bodies weighted with rocks and thrown into the deep spring on their farm. The family’s house was burned and it was several weeks before the bodies were found. They were buried on a hill near the spring. After the murders, late travelers on the old trail told of seeing a blue light that seemed to float above the spring on dark, stormy nights, and the spring came to be thought of as haunted. Visitors often spent the night in Marble Hill rather than traveling past the spring at night.”

Though the story doesn’t state exactly who was to blame for this incident, the book “Gone But Not Forgotten” by LaDonna James points the finger at Confederate soldiers. This however, doesn’t quite make sense considering Patterson was a Confederate officer.

Personally I believe the confusion revolves around the term “bushwhacker”. In most history books the term “bushwhacker” refers to Southern partisan fighters on Missouri’s western border. Often these Southern partisans formed into “irregular”, “independent” companies of men. That being said, many people relate the term “bushwhacker” to “Southerner” and “Confederate”.

Through my research I have found that in this area of Southeast Missouri the term “bushwhacker” was used indiscriminately to describe Union or Confederate independent units. Cochran’s 90 Day (Independent) Militia was not attached to any other units, nor was it beholden to any other units, which qualifies he and his unit as “bushwhackers”.

In the Vol. 1, October 1978 issue of “Echo” the Bollinger County Historical Society magazine author Clyde Willis writes that the Patterson family was murdered by “bushwhackers”.

The June 28, 1866 issue of the Daily Union and American newspaper (Nashville, TN) reported:

A clipping from the June 28, 1866 Daily Union and American newspaper reporting Bollinger County Sheriff James Rogers was appointed by Missouri Governor Fletcher and that he was being charged with murder for acts he committed during the Civil War.

“General J.R. McCormack, who is a candidate for the Conservative nomination for Congress in the third district, delivered a speech in Dallas, Webster County [Editors note: mistake by newspaper, Dallas present day Marble Hill, Missouri is in Bollinger County] on the 14th inst. , and he was attentively listened to. Shortly afterward a squad of five or six ruffians surrounded him, when one of them, named James Rogers, without provocation, knocked the Doctor down, the blow for a time rendering him speechless.

On recovering , he found the ruffians had left. Rogers is Sheriff of Bollinger county, an officer of the peace, appointed by Governor Fletcher. He is also charged with committing murder during the troubles in Southeast Missouri, and to have been guilty of swindling the Government in some lead and beef contracts down there.”

By all accounts Sheriff James Rogers was a criminal but what of the murder he committed during the war?

Through some additional research I found a post made by John Russell on the Missouri in the Civil War Message Board that sheds some additional light on James Rogers war-time activity in Bollinger County:

“This all came up as I was trying to catch up on the info re George Rufus Zimmerman who by family lore was killed by James Rogers August 24 1864 in a rather despicable way. Seems that Rogers was a Sargent in the afore -mentioned 6 month militia before becoming a Leut. in Cochran’s VMM (a GO #3 unit maybe????) as of April 1865. Rogers was in charge in Fredericktown in May 1865 when Pete Smith ambushed a supply and pay train at Bessville. He later became Sheriff of Bollinger county in 1866 but fled back to home state Michigan in early 1870’s about the time pre war Democrats started to get elected to office.

Zimmerman may have been in cahoots with Smith and Hilderbrand ala your note about Steakley and 3rd MSM in Autobiography Sam Hilderbrand pg 223, No 6. At the time of that incident July 20th ’64 per Steakley, Cochran’s unit was just getting organized with Rogers, Limbaugh, Lincoln’s etc mustering in on July 24 and 29. About one month later is when Zimmerman was murdered in front of family on the farm on Castor River just a couple miles south of the Peterson farm[ Ed. note: did he mean Patterson?]. Apparently this group of militia caught up with and killed several Southern sympathizers in the same couple days in the area. Zimmerman’s wife related that she continued to raise nine kids in a community where at least 3 who were involved in her husband’s death continued to live. Sure the war ended in 1865 but I’m not sure its anywhere near forgotten by some of these families. I was just trying to get a feel for what Cochran’s Company was doing and what authority it had to do what it was doing. Sounds a bit loose to me.


John R.”

William Patterson and his family lived the Zalma road four miles outside of Dallas (present day Marble Hill) this would have been the most likely route that Rogers and other members of Cochran’s Independent Militia took on their way to murder George Zimmerman and other Southern families in the Castor River area.

James Rogers served as Bollinger County Sheriff from 1866-1868 and returned to Michigan (presumably to avoid the murder charges). Everything points to he and other members of Cochran’s Independent Cavalry Union Militia as the murderers of William Patterson and his family.

One other interesting note is that after James Rogers returned to Michigan, Missouri Governor Fletcher appointed Erich Pape Sheriff of Bollinger County. Pape served in the Third Missouri State Militia Cavalry (Union) and is blamed for the burning of Doniphan during the war.

Post- Civil War Missouri was governed by Radical Republicans , it only makes sense that Governor Fletcher would appoint radicals to prominent positions. This was during the time that former Confederates could not hold political office following the war.

  • Clint Lacy is author of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition”
Available in Paperback ($15) and Kindle ($2.99)

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.