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History of Hickory County, Missouri


B. B. Ihrig



General View.—There were few localities in the United States that felt more keenly the prolonged agony of the Civil War than did Hickory County. It has been stained with brothers’ blood-assassinations in cold blood of neighbor by neighbor, and the awful resort of slaughtering unarmed prisoners without any form of trial; house burning, robbery, and theft- every able bodied man in the county driven by awful times from home and family; and the destitute and impoverished people left at home to sleep in the brush, and inthe open day to prowl and move cautiously in the often vain effort to find something to eat. Those who were small children here then will never need further telling that all war is a scourge and cruel calamity, but that all civil wars are the most unholy things that ever maddened men's brains or shed brother’s blood. Even common salt could notbeobtained in many localities and the dirt under where they hung their meat in the smoke houses was dug up and drained with water toobtain salt. The people of Hickory County did not divide on the question of slavery. It was rather a question of Union and State's rights. The strongest and most outspoken men, in many instances, were the largest slave owners, while the H1051 active rebels were men who never even expected to own slaves} but who believed in State's rights;and today, between those whr believed in State's rights and had the courage of their con- victions and went into the regular armies of the South, and the volunteer soldiers, there existed as high respect by their old neighbors who thought the other way, as there was before the blood issue was joined.
On the other hand, there were men on both sides who seized upon the disrupted state of society, and who, in the false name of fealty to their respective sides, made the fair face of the county a blackened hell.
The emigrants to the county had been poor men-farmers and stock-raisers mostly-—who had gone to work, and had just begun to conquer their way toward comfort and competence, all to be wasted and destroyed, many killed and many crippled and then to gather their families together and commence the work of life anew. This was the condition in which they emerge from the six years of horrid nightmare.
Organizations.-Nearly a thousand men from the county, from first to last, were in some way connected with the respective
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Civil War Camp

armies. Major John Cosgrove was a leading spirit on the Union side. The Union men had all been ordered to leave the county, and a large number started for Jefferson City to join the Federal forces. Upon reaching Warsaw, stories were heard to the effect that Hickory County was swarming with armed rebe1s; that a lot of Texas rangers were overrunning the country. Maj. Cosgrove and Lt. L. Lindsey called for volunteers to return and drive them out. A squad was raised which came down to Cross Timbers; finding no enemy, they pushed on to Preston, where a rebel squad was camped, and dispersed them.
One man named Mooney was killed, and the Union forces then burned the town. In December, 1869, John Cosgrove raised Company B, Eighth Regiment Calvary, Missouri State Militia. He was first Captain, and, then promoted to Major, was succeeded by John Lindsey; the first lieutenant was Lycurgus Lindsey, and the second Iieutenants, William W. Owens, John Lindsey, and William R. Rains. This company made up of Hickory County men and there were a few from the county in Company C., same regiment. The second lieutenant was Preston Richardson.
In Company 1, B. A. Reeder was captain, succeeded by Jacob Cossair; Ethan Paxton was second lieutenant. This regiment was mustered out in May, 1865.
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In the Sixtieth Regiment, E. M. M., Joel B. Halbert was lieutenant colonel, entering the service October 13, 1862, Of Company C. William A. Liggett was captain; first lieutenant, William A. Pitts; second lieutenant, Hiram Dixon. Company D (second lieutenant, Joseph Whitaker) was composed mostly (partly) of Hickory County men.
Company B, in this regiment formed mostly of men from Hickory, had John A. Pare as captatn and W. V. Murray, lieutenant, Capt. W. L. Snidow succeeded Capt. Pare.
In another Company, Willliam L. McCracken was second lieutenant.
Among the first Union troops raised in the county may be mentioned 300 Home Guards under Major Hastain.
In the early part of 1862 occurred the attak on the invalid Iowa soldiers, mostly at Quincy, under the noted Capt. Rafter. The men took refuge in a building which the rebels surrounded and set on fire. One of them killed Rafter with a small pistol. On the Union side, John T. Frames was killed, and Lt. William Charlton wounded.
On the retreat of Shelby through the county, a part of his command went into camp near Hermitage. Capt. James Coissart called soldiers and citizens and charged upon them, scattermg and killing a large number, who were left unburied where they fell.
At one time Capt. Robert Allen’s company was camped in Hermitage, and had four prisoners guarded in the courthouse. A man entered town on horseback at full speed and announced that the rebels were coming in force. The prisoners were shot and killed except one, and the company retreated south across the river. The alarm was a false one. One of the prisoners, the only one known to be a Hickory County man, though badly wounded, recovered.
Review. -some of the richest farming neighborhoods, especially in the southeast part of the county, presented but a sad scene of desolation at close of the war. It is said that there were roads on which one could ride for miles and see nothing but the blackened chimneys left standing to mark the spot where were once happy homes. The people had learned to sleep in the brush, and very few dared sleep in their houses. Light ceased to shine through windows: women barred the doors,
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and, when their men would be on their chance visit to their families, there was one of the family on watch to warn of the approach of any party. If they were not dressed when the signal warning came, they went without clothes, as their lives depended upon the quickest possible movement. About all property had been destroyed; horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, and provisions and feed for domestic animals; rails about the farms went to carnpfires, and armies had eaten up and destroyed the sustenance of the people. Besides this was the loss of six years of time, and from this point, all or nearly all had to commence life and its labors anew.
The Confederates generally went off to join Price's army or Claib Jackson’s. The only regularly enlisted organization in the camp on that side was Capt. John Mabary’s company. The estimates by those on the grounds were that about a equal number went to the respective armies. When the cruel war was over, there was no bitterness of soul between those who chose to go south and those who went to the opposite side. They crossed bayonets in civilized war, and, then the war was ended, the conqueror respected the vanquished, and on both sides, no old scores or old sores remained. It was the irregular bands on both sides who seized upon the times to assassinate and rob and destroy. Their days for evil were over, and then the vanquished Confederates in line laid down their arms and surrendered.
None of the people here on either side had any hand in plunging the country into war; on the other hand,they had done all they could to prevent it. The cruel calamity was forced upon them. And, when the storm had passed, the respectable elements in society had no criminations to make, but shoulder to shoulder, they went to work to rehabilitate the county, to heal the wounds, rebuild their homes and be good and loyal people.
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