Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Martyrs of the Race Course - An Example of Kindness, Respect and Honor

Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day was first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War. After World War I it was expanded to include the men and women of all wars who died while in the military service. It was officially proclaimed to be celebrated nationwide by General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), a Union veterans organization chartered by Congress, in his 11th General Order, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Over the years, G.A.R. posts were instrumental in the implementation of Memorial Day across the nation.

General Order No. 11:
"The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit."

The honor of having conceived and originated the custom was claimed by several parties. According to a newspaper article from the Trenton State Gazette, dated July 20, 1869, it was claimed to have been first observed on May 29, 1864, at Port Royal, Virginia (it being a transfer post for wounded soldiers), by the lady and other attendants of the hospital. The second place that claimed the honor was situated on the James River, in the rear of the Union Army, during the summer of 1864.

The third claim was that it was inaugurated on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina at the cemetery in rear of the race course rebel prison. This particular Memorial Day observance originated from a simple yet powerful gesture of gratitude, kindness and respect and was extraordinary in all respects. The ceremonies took place in the presence of an immense gathering which a New York Tribune correspondent described as “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”

Robert Knox Sneden, Charleston S.C., A.D. 1864
Library of Congress
During the Civil War, captured Union soldiers were held as prisoners at the Washington Race Course (now Hampton Park), in Charleston. Before the war, the track was home of the South Carolina Jockey Club and featured the finest horse racing in the South. After the fall of Atlanta in August 1864, the Confederates began evacuating prison camps such as Andersonville and moved their prisoners to safer locations, including South Carolina, to keep them out of the grasp of the Union Army. The first prisoners arrived in Charleston in September of 1864. The race course was an ideal location for a prison camp. The grounds were enclosed by a seven foot tall fence. Some officers were held in the Club House but the majority of the captured soldiers were kept in an outdoor camp. The already emaciated and sickly prisoners endured much suffering from these deplorable conditions during the last year of the war. 

Charleston Race Course Club House
Library of Congress
Eliza McGuffin Potter, wife of Lorenzo Tucker Potter, a prominent Charleston business man who was a native of Rhode Island, spent days and nights in the hospitals caring for soldiers with her own hands and giving them words of comfort and cheer, despite being ordered to stay away. She brought them food, water, clothing, bedding and did their laundry. Occasionally, Eliza managed to buy fruit from Nassau smuggled through the Confederate blockade. She made a solemn promise to the soldiers that she would erect a fitting monument to their memory after the war was over so their sacrifices would not be forgotten.

Eliza McGuffin Potter
The Phrenological Journal, October 1868
When the Civil War broke out, the Potters stood firmly with the Union. Suddenly, they were seen as traitors and treated like outcasts by their former friends. Their seventeen year old son died from a savage beating by classmates who wanted him to surrender a Union flag. Despite harrowing personal sacrifices, the Potters remained in Charleston throughout the war and devoted their time and means in a most heroic manner, often risking their lives to serve the suffering. At the end of the war, their means were greatly exhausted. Despite the care and attention the prisoners received, the death rate in the open field at the Washington Race Course was frightful. At least 257 Union soldiers died here, mostly from disease and exposure, and were hastily buried in a mass grave without coffins.

One of the soldiers was twenty-one year old Lieutenant Chilton A. Osborne, Company B, 14th Kentucky Infantry. He was born near Blaine, Lawrence County, Kentucky, the son of Walter Osborne, a former Kentucky State Representative and Sarah “Sallie” Edwards. Chilton had no sympathy for Confederates who had robbed his parents of a considerable amount of property which caused financial ruin for the family. To make matters worse, Chilton Osborne was captured in 1863 and spent several months in Richmond. After his release he made it perfectly clear that he did not care for Jeff Davis’ brand of hospitality. 

Lieutenant Chilton Osborne
14th Kentucky Infantry (US)
On June 22, 1864, Lieutenant Osborne, as the senior officer of his company, bravely led his men into battle at Kolb’s Farm, Georgia, against forces under General John Bell Hood. He was wounded, became separated from his men and was generally believed dead by his comrades. However, when a Confederate deserter from the 36th Georgia came into the lines of the 14th KY Infantry a month later, there was a sudden spark of hope that Osborne was still alive. The deserter reported that he had seen an officer during the Battle at Kolb’s Farm who matched Chilton Osborne’s description, “taken off and saw him in camp sitting up after he was taken in. He says the Ball struck him on the arm and ... hitting his side without breaking any Ribs or going inside but stunned him  He says they sent him South to a hospital.” Upon hearing the news, “there was general rejoicing amongst the men and Officers of the regiment.” One of the officers noted, “God grant our hopes are true and Chilton alive.”

It is very likely that Lieutenant Osborne arrived at the Washington Race Course prison sometime in September 1864 with other prisoners from Andersonville. Unlike many others, he did not succumb to disease but died from a head wound on November 30, 1864. It is not known how long he may have suffered from his wounds or what the exact circumstances of his death were. He may have been the victim at the hands of a brutal prison guard or perhaps was injured by Union artillery bombarding the city. One can only hope that he was attended to by Eliza Potter who had extended so much kindness to Osborne's fellow prisoners and that his last moments were not spent alone.

When the Civil War finally came to a close in 1865, Charleston lay in ruins. Years of shelling had destroyed many buildings, and the once proud city was beyond recognition. In anticipation of the arrival of Sherman’s army, the Confederates evacuated the city. On February 18, 1865, the mayor surrendered to Union forces. By the end of the month, few residents remained, with the exception of thousands of former slaves who were slowly beginning to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Ruins of the Circular Church and Secession Hall
Charleston, South Carolina
Library of Congress
During the month of April, 1865, a group of 24 newly freed slaves, calling themselves “Friends of the Martyrs”, resolved to attend to the Union prisoners of war who had perished at the Washington Race Course in order to provide them with a decent burial. They were aided by members of the “Patriotic Association of Colored Men”, formed for the purpose of assisting in the distribution of freedman supplies in Charleston.  Over the course of two weeks, the ground for a cemetery was laid out behind the grandstand which stood on the north side of the race course. The bodies were taken up and re-interred in individual graves which were then marked by wooden head-boards. Finally, the men constructed a ”fine substantial” wooden fence around this new cemetery, which was white washed. A sign over the arched entry bore the words “The Martyrs of the Race Course.” As work on the cemetery neared completion, members of the “Patriotic Association of Colored Men” formed a committee to plan an event to honor these Union martyrs.  The date for the observance was set for May 1, 1865.

1865 view of the Union soldiers graves at Washington Race Course
Library of Congress
On the assigned date, nearly 10,000 people gathered at the Race Course to attend the ceremonies. The crowd consisted mainly of African-Americans – freed slaves, children, Union soldiers – who had made their way to the cemetery to pay their last respects to the Martyrs of the Race Course. According to an article in the May 2, 1865 edition of the Charleston Daily Courier, “The exercises on the ground commenced with reading a Psalm, singing a hymn, followed by a prayer. The procession was formed shortly after nine o’clock, and made a beautiful appearance, nearly every one present bearing a handsome bouquet of flowers. The colored children, about twenty-eight hundred in number marched first over the burial ground, strewing the graves with their flowers as they passed, as did the others in the procession. While standing at the graves, the school children sung, "The Star Spangled Banner," "America" and "Rally Round the Flag," and while marching, "John Brown's Body," &c. At the close of the procession the graves had the appearance of a mass of roses which was some two or three feet high. The children were followed by one hundred members of the “Patriotic Association of Colored Men” and two hundred of the “Mutual Aid Society.” Next were contingents of Union infantry and the citizens generally, black and white, including several hundred black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses.

After the procession, the crowd assembled within the enclosure of the cemetery. The children then joined in singing a number of national and patriotic airs, after which the speaking was commenced. More than 30 speakers addressed the attendees, including Colonel William Gurney (27th NY Infantry), post commander of Charleston, General Alfred S. Hartwell,  Colonel James Chaplin Beecher (35th USCT), half-brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, as well as James Redpath, who had been previously appointed Charleston’s General Superintendent of Education by federal military authorities. Other speakers were Rev. Mr. Lowe and a number of African-American community leaders such as Samuel Dickerson, D. R. Duncan, Vanderhorst, Magrath and Peter Miller.

Colonel James Chapin Beecher, 35th USCT
Library of Congress
James Redpath
Library of Congress
During the exercises, General Hartwell conducted a review of his brigade, consisting of the 54th Massachusetts and the 35th & 104th USCT. The soldiers marched four abreast around the graves and afterwards went through all the evolutions of the manual. Outside and behind the race course a picnic party was present with refreshments. At dusk, the crowds eventually dispersed, and returned to their homes.

Officers of the 54th Massachusetts
Library of Congress
It is sad to note that about one thousand white school children from Charleston elected not to attend the ceremonies at the race course. Instead, accompanied by their teachers, the children “joyously celebrated” the day by embarking at an early hour on board the steamer Gen. Hooker and paying a visit to Fort Sumter and other fortifications in the harbor.

Several years later, the Martyrs of the Race Course were exhumed again for proper military burial in South Carolina’s National Cemeteries at Beaufort and Florence. In 1870, Mrs. Potter fulfilled her promise to the soldiers and erected an obelisk at Beaufort National Cemetery in their memory. It reads, 'IMMORTALITY TO HUNDREDS OF THE DEFENDERS OF AMERICAN LIBERTY AGAINST THE GREAT REBELLION.' She also placed a marble tablet on a brick base, known as the Potter Monument, in section 64 of Beaufort National Cemetery on which are inscribed the names of 175 soldiers from nearly every state in the Union. Lieutenant Chilton A. Osborne’s name is erroneously noted as L. A. Osborne from NY. The individual burial sites of the soldiers are not identified by other than unknown markers.

The story of the first Memorial Day service was almost forgotten until Yale University historian David W. Blight published his research in Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. The story of the Potters, who did so much to alleviate the suffering of the prisoners in the hospitals of Charleston during the Civil War, deserves to be recognized as well. The respect, selflessness and kindness shown to the prisoners of Charleston by these men, women and children should never be taken for granted. Their story deserves a permanent place in our collective memory.

Article compiled, researched and written by Marlitta H. Perkins, May 2016. Images are the author's property, unless noted otherwise. Unauthorized use and/or duplication, including images, without express written notice by the author is strictly prohibited. 
© 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Further sources of interest

Article about the Martyrs of the Race Course

Noble Women of the War - The Story of Eliza Potter

(includes a complete listing of the 175 soldiers’ names inscribed on the Potter marble tablet)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cannons or Veterans? The Tragic Story of Joseph K. Dixon

Joseph K. Dixon, 14th Kentucky Infantry (US)
Today's post is a first for this blog...I'm making it available to a dear friend, Val McKenzie, who has been on a most noble, yet disheartening, quest to right a wrong that has been committed several years ago in Paintsville, Kentucky. It involves the burial site of Joseph K. Dixon, a veteran of the 14th Kentucky Infantry (US).

Before posting Val's article, I would like to add some details about his military service as well as his family in hopes of locating a direct descendant of Joseph K. Dixon. Last week was Memorial Day...the day when we remember our veterans and the sacrifices they have made. It pains me to know that the officials in Johnson County seem to have so little regard and respect for a veteran like Joseph K. Dixon who has done so much, not only for this country, but also for Johnson County.

Joseph K. Dixon was born July 2, 1845, the son of Andrew Dixon and Abigail Kelly. In 1860, he was living with his parents in Johnson County, Kentucky. A month after his 18th birthday, Joseph K. Dixon went to Salyersville, Kentucky and was enlisted in Co. F, 14th Kentucky Infantry, by Captain Gardner, on Aug. 1, 1863. He was mustered in as a private on Aug. 30, 1863. He was 6' tall, had blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion. He was promoted to Corporal on July 20, 1864, by order of Col. George W. Gallup. When the original veterans of the 14th Kentucky Infantry were mustered out on Jan. 31, 1865, he was transferred to the 14th Kentucky Infantry Battalion and served as Sergeant in Co. D. He was mustered out on Sept. 15, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky. Joseph K. Dixon was an examplary soldier who never missed a day of service while in the 14th Kentucky Infantry. On Aug. 26, 1868, he married Jemima Price, daughter of George Washington Price and Sarah "Sallie" Borders.

Children of Joseph and Jemima Dixon
Carl Dixon - died at Frankfort
Fannie Dixon
Victoria Dixon - married Ben A. Preston
Lena Dixon - married a Maxey
Edna Irl Dixon - married Preston Mandalin
Hazel Dixon - married Jillson H. Botts
Gladys Dixon - married F. E. Thompson, Feb 10,1927
Kirker Dixon - lived in Indiana
Ike Dixon - married ? and lived in Indiana
Evert Dixon

Mr. and Mrs Dixon lived for a long time at Paintsville, where Mr. Dixon held many public offices, including that of judge of Johnson County. During his tenure, a court house was built, and Dixon was instrumental in building it over the protest of the public, who claimed it was too large and magnificent for the needs of the county. Mr. Dixon was right, however, as the building became too small to acccommodate handling the official affairs of the county. Mr Dixon served as an officer in the Spanish-American War, assistant arsenal keeper in Frankfort as well as Adjutant General of Kentucky. He was also very involved with the G.A.R. Mr. and Mrs. Dixon spent the last few years of their lives at Louisville, Kentucky, where Joseph K. Dixon died on November 3, 1923. He was buried in the Old Town Cemetery in Paintsville....and here is were the tragedy begins...

Please click on article to enlarge!
Please click on article to enlarge!
Please click on article to enlarge!
Please click on article to enlarge!

Further Reading

Alleged Improper Burials in Old Town Cemetery
Paintsville Herald, July 13, 2012

Please click on article to enlarge!
Please click on article to enlarge!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Life and Times of Moses Cawood

For the Moses Cawood family of Owsley County, Kentucky, the Civil War was, like for so many others, a time of struggles, hardships and tragedy. During the summer of 1864, Moses Cawood met an untimely death. Up to this day, many rumors surround his demise as well as other incidents involving the Cawood family.

Moses Cawood was the son of John Cawood and Nancy Bailey Turner, who had moved from Virginia to the Martins Fork area of Harlan County, Kentucky, by 1815. Moses was born in 1820, the second-oldest child of nine, and spent his youth and young adulthood in Harlan County. In 1840, although still single, Moses had established his own household but soon thereafter married Emily Ann Maddy, dau. of William Maddy and Elizabeth Posey. Over the next ten years, five children were born to the couple, namely Nancy, also called "Nannie" (b. 1840), Drucilla (b. abt. 1843), John (b. abt. 1844), William T. (b. 1845) and Cornelia (b. July 1849). In order to support his growing family, Moses became a merchant and operated a successful store in Harlan County. He was also commissioned as sheriff in 1844, a position he held for several years.

Sometime after 1850, his father died which may have prompted Moses to pull up stakes in Harlan County. He closed his store and move to Owsley County, Kentucky, leaving his mother and siblings behind. Moses bought a large plantation three miles north of Boonville, at the mouth of Cow Creek, on the South Fork of the Kentucky River. Industrious as ever, Moses bid on and obtained two mail contracts in 1858: Route No. 9588 - from Harlan C. H. to Brashearsville and back, every two weeks, as well as Route No. 9599 - from Manchester to Harlan C. H. and back, once a week.

By 1860, four more children had been added to the Cawood family - Henry B. (b. 1852), Jane M. (b. 1854), Emily E. (b. 1858) and Belle E. (b. abt. 1860). At this time, Moses Cawood's real estate was valued at $10,000 and his personal property at $17,000, which included 11 slaves. By any standards, he was one of the wealthiest men in Owsley County. His next door neighbor was William B. Eversole, a member of the Eversole family from Perry County, Kentucky.

When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Moses Cawood's sympathies were with the Confederate cause and although he never officially joined either side, there seems to be little doubt about his loyalty to the South. According to Union Captain Bill Strong, Moses was "a notorious rebel." His large plantation made Moses a natural target for Unionists. A man named Captain Henry Davis and his companion, Lieutenant Jim Cole, payed Moses Cawood's plantation a visit on more than one occasion, taking supplies and horses, presumably for use by the Union Army. Reportedly, Davis had bragged that he was going to kill Moses, a threat that needed to be taken seriously, given Davis' past history. He was a known killer who, on March 10, 1859, stabbed a wealthy farmer named Lewellen Bush to death. The incident took place at Compton, present-day Wolfe County, Kentucky, during the election to decide on the county seat for the newly formed county. The motive of the killing remained unknown and Davis escaped without ever being convicted of the crime. Upon closer examination, no military service records have been discovered for either Davis or Cole but in all likelihood both men were leaders of a local pro-Union home guard company.

Despite his Southern leanings, Moses Cawood managed to keep friendly relations with 2. Lieutenant Wiley Amis of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry (US). Amis kept Moses informed by letter in regard to Union military operations in the neighborhood, which, undoubtedly, offered at least a certain degree of protection to Moses and other Confederates who were living in the area. Amis' letters were delivered to Cawood by the wife of neighbor William B. Eversole, who by now, was a Union captain in the 14th KY Cavalry.

Lieutenant Wiley Amis, 14th Kentucky Cavalry (US)
However, between March 8 and 12, 1863, Amis' indiscretion was exposed. When Major John C. Eversole, Captain William B. Eversole's uncle, discovered one of the letters and realized who it was directed to, he broke it open and read it. In the letter Amis informed Cawood that the Union men under command of Major Smith and Major Eversole, of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry, "were fixing up a scout to come to this country; that they were shoeing their horses." He also advised Cawood, "to look out, that they, the Union forces, would be on in a few days." It is not a matter of record how Major Eversole responded to Amis' letter and if Amis was ever reprimanded for "helping out" his Confederate neighbor. Cawood was not the only recipient of letters by Amis who also kept up a regular correspondence with Red Ned Strong, a lieutenant in the rebel army.

In March of 1863, the 64th Virginia Infantry, under command of Col. Campbell Bascom Slemp, had driven the enemy from the area and encamped at Harlan Court House, described by Edward O. Guarrant as "a little, old, people forsaken village with half dozen houses just at the junction of Clover & Martins Forks of Cumberland River." They were later joined by troops under General Humphrey Marshall on April 17, 1863. Records show that two of Moses Cawood's brothers, John and Stephen, supplied the troops with corn. More importantly, it may have been here in Harlan County, perhaps while on a visit with her relatives, that Moses Cawood's daughter Nannie met Colonel Slemp. If so, fate would have it that their paths would cross again very soon.

Receipt for 93 bushels of corn sold by John Cawood
to the Confederate Army, April 19, 1863

Receipt for seven bushels of corn sold by Stephen Kaywood
to the Confederate Army, May 4, 1863
About July 1863, the Cawood plantation was once again visited by Captain Henry Davis and Lieutenant Cole. Forewarned by Moses' son William who had encountered the men on the road to Booneville, the Cawoods were able to secure the house and were prepared for a fight. Soon, Davis and Cole rode up to their dwelling and kept knocking on the front door. Emily Cawood finally opened the door and allowed them to enter. After some small talk, it appeared that Davis and Cole were on a friendly visit. Letting his guard down, Moses Cawood came down the stairs from where he was hiding, thinking that everything was alright but he was soon to discover his mistake. Davis and Cole informed him that they were taking him back to Booneville. Moses was led from the house and placed on a horse. While in the process of leaving, a shot rang out from a window killing Davis instantly, whereby Lt. Cole left in a hurry.

Moses and his two sons William and John were tried and acquitted in Magistrates Court. Lieutenant Cole testified at the trial that he never saw the shooter and only knew that a single shot rang out from a window killing Capt. Davis. There has been much speculation as to who the shooter was, some believe it was John who was very sick and bed ridden at the time, some suspected Moses' wife Emily, some thought it may have been Wall, one of the Cawood slaves. The general concensus, however, was that it was Moses' daughter Nannie, who was known to be able to handle a gun like an expert. At any rate, Nannie never denied the deed although she never admitted to it, either.

Perhaps triggered by the recent events, Moses' son John went to Virginia in August 1863 and joined the Confederate army. He soon had a commission in his pocket as a 2nd Lieutenant in Co. K, 13th KY Cavalry.

Within weeks after the Davis killing, a young confederate courier by the name of George Brittain Lyttle appeared on the Cawood plantation. While on his way to Breathitt County to deliver a dispatch to John Hargis, a leading businessman and avid Southern sympathizer, he encountered a detachment of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry near Booneville. Lyttle managed to escape on foot after his horse was shot from under him. He was most heartily welcomed by the Cawood family.

Nannie Cawood immediately realized that this was her chance to leave Owsley County and put the whole sordid Davis affair behind her. Perhaps tired of hearing gossip and malicious stories about her, or fearing having to face indictment for Davis's death or vengeance at the hands of Davis' relatives or Union sympathizers, Nannie decided to join Lyttle on his way back to Cumberland Gap. Ellen Jett, John Cawood's fiancee, accompanied Nancy on her trip in order to be reunited with John.

Under cover of darkness, with his two female charges in tow, Lyttle rode off in direction of Cumberland Gap. By daybreak the small party arrived at the house of Colonel Daniel Garrard, near Manchester in Clay County, Kentucky. His son was Union Brigadier General Theophilus T. Garrard, but Daniel was a staunch Confederate and well-known to Union authorities. Noted Major W. D. Hamilton in a letter to Brigadier General Willcox just three months earlier, "his house is the regular information depot for the rebel army in this county. The old gentleman is 80 years old; has one son a Brigadier General in our army, and another State Treasurer of Kentucky."

After resting for one day, the little group started again by nightfall and crossed into the Confederate lines the following morning. Here they were welcomed by General John W. Frazer, post commander at Cumberland Gap. After a short rest, Nannie Cawood and Ellen Jett continued their voyage up Powell Valley to the home of Gen. Chadwell Brittain who lived in Lee County, Virginia and was a relative of Nannie Cawood.

Only a short while later, after being surrounded by a brigade of Union troops under Col. John F. DeCourcy, General John W. Frazer surrendered his troops at Cumberland Gap, on Sep. 9, 1863. Roughly 600 men, led by Colonel Slemp, avoided capture by the Federals and secretly moved out of the Gap, going eastward. They made their way along the north side of the mountain, on the Kentucky side, until they reached a point opposite Jonesville, Lee County, Virginia, where they encountered a pursuing force of Federal cavalry. After a spirited skirmish, the Federal cavalry returned to Cumberland Gap. Somewhere along the escape route, quite possibly in Lee County, Nannie Cawood joined Colonel Slemp and continued with the Confederates on their retreat. They stopped by the plantation of a Mrs. Gose in Russell County, Virginia, to ask directions while still on the run.

Colonel Bascom Slemp, 64th Virginia Infantry (CS)
Photograph courtesy Sherry Baker Frazier
The couple was married less than a year later, on June 8, 1864, at the home of Capt. Jocelyn in Jonesville, Virginia. Back in Kentucky, John Hunt Morgan was conducting a raid in the state which culminated in the Battle of Cynthiana on June 11 and 12, 1864 and ended in a Union victory. Many Confederates were killed and captured, while the remaining troops escaped and were making their way back to Southwest Virginia through the Eastern Kentucky mountains. Giltner's men struck the South Fork of the Kentucky River near Proctor and followed the stream deep into the mountains. On June 16, 1864, William Clark, Provost Marshall of Owsley Co., while recruiting Blacks for military service on Red Bird in Clay County, was captured by part of Giltner's men. Clark who was the father of Colonel Andrew H. Clark, 47th Kentucky Infantry [US], was held prisoner for a time and then shot and killed.

On June 21, 1864, when news of his father's death reached Colonel Andrew Clark at Camp Nelson, he immediately sent a dispatch to Lexington to Captain H. Bates Dickson, Assistant Adjutant General.

The rebels captured my father on the 16th instant, who was provost-marshal of Owsley County, Ky. After keeping him a prisoner for some time they murdered him in the most brutal manner. Will you allow me to take my regiment and go to the mountains to avenge the blood of my father?
A. H. Clark,
Colonel Forty-seventh Kentucky Volunteers, Cmdg. Post.

Clark's commanding officer, General S. G. Burbridge would not return until the following day to make a decision in regard to Clark's request, however, Captain Dickson, replied, "If you desire to go at once to visit your mother come here and I will arrange it for you."

It is unclear whether Burbridge gave Clark permission to take his regiment into the mountains or not. According to eyewitnesses, Clark arrived in Owsley County with only roughly one hundred soldiers. Regardless of the number, within three weeks Moses Cawood was dead. Former Union soldier James W. Sebastian noted in a letter to Major Elisha B. Treadway, Three Forks Battalion, dated July 14, 1864, that the ”most alarming occurrence was the sudden appearance of Col. Clark with a Company of men for the purpose, as all thought of wreaking vengeance on somebody for the murder of his father. And Keywood was killed."

According to family legend, Moses Cawood was escorted across the river from his home at Fish Trap, tied to tree and shot by firing squad. He died in the arms of his wife. Others believe that he was hung. For years, locals would point out the tree where Moses Cawood met his demise. Reportedly, Colonel Clark carried with him a list of ten prominent men who he wanted executed in retribution for his father's murder. Clark's actions were very much in line with the now infamous General Order No. 59 that General S. G. Burbridge would be issuing on July 16, 1864, giving military authorities the power to arrest, or publicly execute, guerrillas for atrocities perpetrated upon Union men. His order signified a shift by Union authorities to a more hard line policy, only topped by General Order No. 8, issued by Burbridge on October 26, 1864, which in essence, raised the black flag on guerrillas. Officers were not permitted to give quarters to any suspected guerrilla, but were expected to kill them without the benefit of a fair trial, under threat of court martial.

In the case of Moses Cawood, who was a rebel sympathizer but by no means a guerrilla, Clark stretched his authority paper thin, yet undoubtedly felt justified in his actions. According to Sebastian, "Besides putting old Mose out of the way, Clark did one thing worthy of note, which I believe gave general satisfaction to all loyal and brave men by securing and carving away the notorious old thief harbored, Zack Wells."

One year later, tragedy would strike the Cawood family again, after Nannie's brother Lieutenant John Cawood was discharged from the service at the end of the war. On June 6, 1865, while on his way home to the plantation, he was robbed and murdered by bushwackers.

Fortunately, Moses' widow Emily Cawood's financial situation was stable enough that allowed her to continue living comfortably on the plantation which she maintained with the help of her sons William and Bascom Henry. Former slaves Nancy Cawood and her children remained with Emily, as did Enoch and Emily Cawood and their children who lived on the plantation in a separate household.

As the years passed, life went on for the Cawood family and assumed a degree of normalcy again. Moses' and Emily's children married into many prominent and local families - the Hamptons, Roses, Crawfords, Jetts and Minters. Moses Cawood was gone but certainly has not been forgotten, even today -151 years later.

Article compiled, researched and written by Marlitta H. Perkins, May 2015. Images are the author's property, unless noted otherwise. Unauthorized use and/or duplication, including images, without express written notice by the author is strictly prohibited. 
© 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Further reading

A Civil War Story, by Winfred C. (Ace) Tipton, January 2004

Andrew H. Clark and the Civil War in Kentucky, by James L. Clark

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oil and Mining Companies in Eastern Kentucky in 1865

Upper Big Sandy Valley
At the time of this writing (May 24, 2015), Eastern Kentucky is yet again experiencing a drilling boom, reminiscent of the swarms of speculators from the East who descended upon the area in 1865 and bought thousands of acres of land from the farmers, leased mineral rights, built derricks and began boring - all in search of precious oil. In this day and age, the speculators and their companies hail from the Gulf of Mexico, from states such as Louisiana and explore gas and oil. Our first oil boom was rather short-lived and had fizzled out by 1867. How long it will be around this time, and at what cost to our area and its people, remains to be seen.

As described in a previous article, the end of the Civil War marked the start of frenzied oil exploration in Eastern Kentucky.  A great number of stock companies were formed to explore the natural resources of Eastern Kentucky, with a number of the leading local men jumping onto the band wagon. Between January and June 1865, no less than 49 oil, coal and minerals companies were chartered in Eastern Kentucky alone. The list does not include out-of-state companies who held mining interests in the Big Sandy Valley and other areas in Eastern Kentucky.

Oil and Mining Companies in Eastern Kentucky 1865
(Names of officers and date of incorporation)

Beaver Creek Oil Company
Edwin S. Graham, H. C. Caruth, Pack Thomas, and Thomas Sheerer
February 24, 1865

Big Blaine Creek Petroleum Company
John M. Rice, Jake Rice, and John B. Hatcher
May 31, 1865

Big Paint Creek Oil Company
Martin Preston, U. B. Evarts, Ross Forward, Roland Whitney, B. M. Anderson, J. T. Boyle, Collis Ormsby, and E. D. Tyler
January 31, 1865

Big Sandy and Great Oil Spring Petroleum Company
Len. A. Harris, A. G. McCook, Ben. Robinson, J. A. Fisher, J. F. Horr, C. Rule, and J. B. Auxier
March 1, 1865

Big Sandy Coal, Oil and Mining Company
Captain A. J. Allen, Col. George W. Gallup, S. J. Henderson, D. M. Johnson, G. W. Dixon
Bef. January 19, 1865

Big Sandy Oil and Mineral Company
George Carpenter, F. Gray, W. L. Scott, J. Hearn, Thomas B. Vincent, R. H. Henry, J. P. Vincent, A. H. Gray, and Orange Noble
March 2, 1865

Big Sandy Petroleum Company
Zephaniah Meek, H. L. Swetnam, J. T. Boyle, Roland Whitney, U. B. Evarts, E. D. Tyler, Collis Ormsby, B. M. Anderson, and J. S. Phelps
January 27, 1865

Boston & Big Sandy Oil Company
Incorporated in Massachusetts. Office in Boston 1865. Property in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Buffalo Mining Company
George T. Steadman, A. C. Vandyke
Principal office in Greenup Co. KY
March 1, 1865

Carter Coal, Iron, and Oil Company
William Wurts, Green H. McAtee, Marinus King
March 4, 1865

Crystal Mining and Oil Company
E. L. Chandler and Robert A. Bradshaw
March 4, 1865

Cliff Springs Mining Company of Kentucky
Wm Reson, Michael West, Thomas Sherlock, George H. Hill, Hamilton Lyon, Henry E. Harper, Thomas S. Brown, R. R. Whitman, David Harper Jr., R. R. Pullam, A. M. Searls, Henry H. Seems, Ref. Butler, Jacob Resart, Matthew H. Coats.
February 4, 1865

Eastern Kentucky Oil Company
B. B. Groom, John M. Riffe, Hugh L. Ray, Allen N. Bush, J. N. B. Hardwick, James Flanigan, Green B. Farney, all of Clarke County
February 22, 1865

Eastern Kentucky Oil and Mineral Company
H. C. Lilly, R. B. Jamison, A. D. Powell,  Isaac N. Cardwell, J. H. Gardner, Joseph Blackwell, Robert Riddell, jr., H. C. Dickerson, Thomas H. Barnes, Jas. K. Barnes, of Estill County, Kentucky
K. F. Hargis, Jas. F. Blount, David Price, J. G. McGuire, of Owsley County, Kentucky
Thos. P. Cardwell, W. D. Cardwell, of Breathitt County, Kentucky
Elijah Patrick and Reuben Patrick, of Magoffin County, Kentucky
March 3, 1865

Eastern Kentucky Oil, Coal, Mining and Iron Manufacturing Company
E. H. Taylor, Jr., James J. Miller, W. A. Gaines, E. H. Watson, and S. F. J. Trabue.
February 23, 1865

Eastern Kentucky Oil Creek Mining Company
F. Gray, R. W. Emerson, R. H. Henry, J. P. Vincent, F. F. Farrar, Geo. Carpenter, John Richards, A. T. Marsh, and W. L. Scott
March 2, 1865

Eastern Kentucky Petroleum Company
John Mason Brown, George W. Gallup, John Henderson, Harman Conley, Winsten Conley, and Laban T. Moore
January 23, 1865

Eastern Kentucky Petroleum and Mineral Company
John P. Winston, W. C. Culbertson, John E. Hamilton, John G. Carlisle
February 22, 1865

Frankfort and Big Sandy Oil, Coal, Mining, and Iron Manufacturing Company
Jacob Swigert, E. H.Taylor, jr., W. A. Gaines, James J. Miller, and R. P. Pepper
February 23, 1865

Greenup and Boyd Coal, Oil, Mining and Manufacturing Company
Benjamin Butterworth, A. M. White and Wm. Stewart
June 3, 1865

Greenup Coal and Oil Company
Labin J. Bradford, George Wurts, W. T. Finch, J. Taylor Bradford, and B. C. Larew
Chartered  February 15, 1860
Michael Ryan, George Wurts
Amended February 27, 1865

Greenup County and Little Sandy Mining and Petroleum Company
Wm. P. Anderson, A. G. Burt, Wm. Dodd, John Bogher, and James C. Moores
March 4, 1865

Greenup County Mining, Petroleum, and Manufacturing Company
Geo. Wents, Samuel G. Wents, Alfred Spaulding, E. F. Dulin, and Wm. C. Ireland
January 26, 1865

Greenupsburg and Cincinnati Petroleum and Oil Company
John E. Winn, William C. Ireland
February 1, 1865
Amended February 25, 1865

Highland Petroleum and Mining Company
E. G. Phelps, T. M. Conditt, and Wm. Berry
May 31, 1865

Kentucky & West Virginia Oil & Coal Company
Office in New York 1866. Extinct.

Lawrence Coal, Iron, and Oil Company
George W. Coons, James A. Johnson, William Wurts
March 4, 1865

Lawrence Oil, Coal, Mining and Iron Manufacturing Company
James J. Miller, E. H. Taylor, Jr., and W. A. Gaines
February 23, 1865

Lick Branch Oil, Mining and Manufacturing Company
Wm. Berry, E. G. Phelps, and T. M. Conditt
May 31, 1865

Little Sandy Mining and Oil Company
Robt. W. Robb, Rich. F. Robb. and W. C. Ireland
March 4, 1865

Magoffin County Oil, Coal, and Manufacturing Company
George Sutherland, J. W. Harding, Parker Artis, Wm. Ecton, H. W. Calmes
March 3, 1865

Morgan County Coal, Oil, Salt, Lumber and Mineral Manufacturing Company
George M. Hampton, William C. Miller
June 3, 1865

Morgan Oil and Mining Company
John Fox, John W. Van Hook, William Fitch, J. F. Boyle, L. M. Flournoy
February 22, 1865

Mountain Petroleum and Transportation Company
M. E. Ingram, H. D. McHenry, Wm. Millward, L. S. Trimble, Wm. McKee Fox, John Woods, J. T. Boyle, L. M. Flournoy, A. H. Hoger, and John R. Thomas
February 24, 1865

North Kentucky Oil Company
Lafayette Devenny, William H. Clement, H. H. Huston, F. B. Rust, C. G Rogers, J. W. Stevenson, and Harvey Myers
June 3, 1865

Oil Creek Oil Company
A. H. Gray, R. W. Emerson, R. H. Henry, F. F. Furror, J. R. Vincent, Orange Noble, J. W. Hammond, W. L. Cleaveland, and F. Gray
March 3, 1865

Oil Spring Fork Oil and Mineral Company
J. W. Hammon, W. L. Cleaveland, John Richards, Geo. Carpenter, R. W. Emerson, J. P. Vincent, F. Gray, R. H. Henry, and A. H. Gray
March 2, 1865

Oil Spring, Kentucky, Petroleum Company
Colonel Sidney B. Jones, Wm. N. Thompson, and J. C. Beck, M. D.
March 4, 1865

Oil Spring and Sand Lick Petroleum Company
Wm. Frazier, Richard P. Rundle, Wm. Kidd
June 3, l865

Old Oil Spring Mining and Petroleum Company
Sam. L. Mitchell, Geo. C. Knight,and Geo. F. Chester
June 3, l865

Paint and Barnett Creek Oil and Mining Company
Frederick W. Jones, William Kidd, and J. Mansfield Davis
June 3, 1865

Paint Lick Oil and Mining Company
F. F. Farror, R. H. Henry, J. P. Vincent,
Geo. Carpenter, F. Gray, J. Hearn, Thomas B. Vincent, Orange Noble, and A. H. Gray
March 3, 1865

Pike Mining and Manufacturing Company
J. M. Montmollin, E. D. Ashford, James G. Hatchitt, James Harlan, Jr.
February 25, 1865

Rush Creek Mining and Manufacturing Company
Robertson M. Biggs, William Biggs, Sr., Andrew Biggs, F. K. O'Farrell, and Ed. F. Dulin
February 27, 1865

Sandy Valley Oil Company
Charles G. Shaw, George W. Shaw, George C. Glass, George F. Sadd, and Harvey Myers
May 26, 1865

Sandy Valley Petroleum Company
Thomas Wallace, Lloyd B. Dennis, Jake Rice, John B. Hatcher, and John M. Rice
January 26, 1865

Star Oil, Coal and Mining and Manufacturing Company of Carter County
W. T. Nicholls, R. D. Callihan, Addison McCullough, William H. Lampton, L. D. Ross, R. W. Lampton, W. L. Geiger, and James Kilgore
February 24, 1865

Tug Fork Lead, Iron, Salt and Oil Mining and Manufacturing Company
Thomas Wrightson, R. T. Baker, Jacob Hawthorn
February 27, 1865

West Liberty Coal, Oil, Lumber, Mining and Manufacturing Company
George W. Hampton, Wm. C. Miller
March 4, 1865

Article researched and written by Marlitta H. Perkins, May 2015. Images are the author's property, unless noted otherwise. Unauthorized use and/or duplication, including images, without express written notice by the author is strictly prohibited. 
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