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Wild Times in Martin's Creek

by

J. Kurt Matheson

 
 
 
 
 
They lived through some rough times during and after the Civil War. During this period, there was no real local law enforcement, and raiders were a constant threat. On several occasions, gunfire was exchanged between the Martin's Creek residents and the raiders. These raiders were normally AWOL Union soldiers. Once during a raid, George Monteith was taken from his home and forced to round up his horses for the robbers. Afterward, he was pistol-whipped until unconscious and left for dead, near the Martin's Church about 200 yards from his home. Later, his wife Livinia went to search for him and was able to raise him and lead him home.

On another occasion, Hyatt Stalcup, the father-in-law of Mary Matilda Monteith Stalcup (Mary was the daughter of George and Lavinia Garrison Monteith) had some warning about an imminent raid and prepared three rifles and pistols. Hyatt's sister, Phrone was there to assist with the reloading. The seven raiders came and had barely dismounted before the elder Stalcup let go with a volley of shots. When it was over, three of the robbers were dead. Unfortunately, Aunt Phrone was struck in the neck by a raider's bullet and was severely wounded. She overcame the wound; but during the balance of her life, she was unable to hold her head straight. Horace David Stalcup recounted the story and remembered his great aunt's affliction.

William Davis Henry Ricks was the husband of Sarah Monteith. He was a Confederate soldier who had recently returned from the war. During one of the raids, he was taken from his home on Martin's Creek to Persimmon Creek in Cherokee County, NC by the raiders and hanged. He was buried at the old cemetery at Persimmon Creek, NC in Cherokee County. His military marker reads simply "William Henry Rix, Co A 29 NC Inf., CSA."

Upon hearing of the raid on the Ricks home, John Wesley Jessie Stalcup, younger brother of George Young Stalcup (brother-in-law of William Davis Henry Ricks), knew the direction the raiders would travel back to Tennessee and decided to catch them by taking a shortcut. He and another young man from the Martin's area waited for the robbers and, upon seeing one of the men with Aunt Sarah's stolen quilt, he swung down from the side of the hill and immediately shot the man possessing the quilt. Having gained the upper hand against the group, they led the raiders back to Martin's Creek.

There the raiders were identified by Sarah Monteith Ricks as the men who robbed them and took her husband. There were seven raiders, one of which was a Union soldier. Talk of retaliation was imminent and even George Monteith couldn't sway the crowd from violence. The Union soldier was used to gain the release for two of the local boys in a Union prison in Illinois, and the other six were shot and are buried there in Martin's Creek Cemetery.

These were indeed wild times in the lives of our relations!

Many, many thanks to J. Kurt Matheson (third great-grandson of George Alexander Monteith) for sharing this very interesting story!

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

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