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 regiment. 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 at Danville. 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 family. 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 times.
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