Granville Addison and Mary Ann (Spears) Bishop Family
Murder of Terrill, Nunnelly and Bishop by the Federals
History of St Charles, Montgomery, and Warren Counties, Missouri, 1885
The murder of Sharp and Yager by the secession partisans of Alvin
Cobb roused the soldiers in this quarter, or at least the Germans among
them. The Union citizens of the county were greatly indignant and called
for retaliation. Nearly everybody denounced the act in unmeasured terms.
It was reported that Granville Nunnelly, a hotel proprietor in Danville, had
said that, "as for the Dutchman he ought to have been killed, and as
for Ben Sharp, if he had stayed at home minded his own business he wouldn't
have been hurt." Mr. Nunnelly was an ardent secessionist, though he had
never taken up arms.
Col. Morgan L Smith moved his command down from Mexico to Montgomery
City. Here he halted, one night ordered a captain of the Zouaves to take
his company and go over to Danville and make prisoners of Robert P. Terrill
and Granville Nunnelly, and some young men who had been in the Fulton fight.
This officer is remembered to have been Capt. Dennis T. Kirby, an ex-police
officer of St. Louis, who afterwards became lieutenant-colonel of his
Late at night the company marched on foot, with Esq. David Bruner,
of Montgomery City, as guide. The road from Montgomery to Danville then was
not the one now in use. The old road went more in a southerly direction and
intersected the Boone's Lick road, a mile or so east of Danville. The
company reached Danville after a somewhat toilsome tramp, which Capt. Kirby
considered an unnecessary long one, and once warned Esq. Bruner that if he
was guiding them out of their way he "had better not."
A negro pointed out where Robert P. Terrill lived, and that
gentleman was taken from his bed and hurried into the street. Granville
Nunnelly was arrested, and as he was somewhat fleshy and not well able to
walk he was allowed to ride his carriage, and Terrill was permitted to ride
with him. Duncan Hughes and two or three other young men were taken along.
Hughes had been in the Fulton fight. Capt. Kirby now started back to
Montgomery. A mile from town he released one or two of his prisoners.
Just before daylight, July 22, in the edge of the prairie, south of
Montgomery City, and a mile and quarter from the town, Capt. Kirby halted
the command. Terrill and Nunnelly were made to get out of the buggy, with
Duncan. Hughes and John Winters, another young man who had been "out in the
rebellion," were ordered to march eight paces to the front, the party being
on the prairie at the side of the road.
"Take off your coats." demanded Capt. Kirby.
"Captain, can I speak with you a moment?" asked Mr. Nunnelly.
"No." surily answered the captain, "the time for talking has passed.
You only have a minute to live! Go out there and kneel down."
The four men obeyed. A file of soldiers with their muskets and
bayonets were in front of them.
"Ready-aim-fire!" called out the captain. At the word
"fire", Terrill and Nunnelly fell back and were dead in a few seconds. At
the word "aim", Hughes and his companion sprang away into the murky dawn,
determined to escape if it were possible. Fortunately they succeeded and
both are alive to this day. But they did not escape unscathed. Duncan
Hughes received a fearful wound from a minie ball in the shoulder, and fifty
shots were fired at the fugitives.
Hughes made his way to the timber and ran south-east a mile or more
to the residence of Robert Nelson, where he made his appearance covered with
blood and greatly agitated. Nelson refused him shelter, fearing the
vengeance of the Federals, and Hughes was compelled to go on to his friends
When the sun rose he shone upon two ghastly, bloody corpses lying
out upon the green sward there by Montgomery town. The war had begun, and
Montgomery County was already feeling its effects. Two of its prominent
citizens had been slain in retaliation for another murder with which they
had no sort of participation or connection, and which they would doubtless
have prevented if they could. Certain Union citizens of Danville came and
hauled away the bodies, and they were given careful sepulture.
Robert P. Terrill was a lawyer of Danville, and a man of more than
ordinary ability. He was a secessionist almost from the beginning, and had
made secession speeches in different parts of the county, and it was said
had been in the Fulton fight with other Montgomery men. He was of high
character and generally respected. His widow is now the accomplished wife
of Col. L.A. Thompson, who was a gallant Union officer, and the present
editor of The Ray newspaper, the organ of the Republicans of the
county. Granville Nunnelly was a man of middle age, and left a considerable
Murder of Granville Bishop [21 July 1861]
But the vengeance of the Federals did not stop with the killing of
Terrill and Nunnelly. It sought and found another victim. Granville
Bishop, who lived five miles west of Montgomery City, just across Loutre,
was a successionist. He came into Montgomery and got intoxicated, and when
in that condition gave utterances to some expressions that offended the
Unionists. He and Dominic Byron, a Union man, had a fight and Bishop was
badly worsted. He started home, but stopped about three miles from town,
and that night some of the Zouaves followed him and took him out on the
prairie and killed him.
The Soldiers layed to catch Alvin Cobb, but he continued to keep out
of their way. They were forced to content themselves with burning his
house, and uttering terrible threats against him. In some respects Alvin
Cobb was a remarkable character. His relatives were old settlers in the
western part of the county where he lived. He was a man of middle age when
the war began. He had but one arm, the other having been shot off
accidently. Upon the outbreak of the war he raised a band of desperate
fellows like himself and from the start pursued a guerrilla warfare. It is
not believed that he ever held a commission. He was in many small fights in
skirmishes in this part of the state -- Mt. Zion, Fulton, Moores Mill, and
in one or two others in 1862 with Col. Joe Porter. His wife joined him when
he was in the Indian Territory, and also abandoned him there and returned
home, riding an Indian pony all the way.
For a one-armed man, Alvin Cobb did the Federal cause considerable
injury. He roamed about in this and Callaway County, killing now and then a
Federal soldier or a Union man, and caused a force of troops to be kept in
the two counties for a year or two. He had from six to 100 men at different