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. 
© 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Cold Snap of 1864

Winter in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky
As temperatures have plummeted this winter to near-record lows, with much of the nation in the grip of polar air masses that have brought snow as far as Florida and Alabama, the question emerges - how unusual is this weather, really? Are there any historic parallels? Look no further than the cold snap of 1864 which was very similar to our current weather in many respects.

The Big Sandy River in Eastern Kentucky froze over in December of 1863 and remained so for nearly three months, until late February 1864. Snow covered the ground and the temperatures hovered right at zero degrees or lower. Things turned worse on New Years Eve 1863 and culminated on Friday, January 1, 1864, a day remembered by all who were old enough at that time, as the "The Cold New Year."

The Louisville Weekly Journal reported on December 31, 1863, that the “weather glasses in our city gave unfailing premonitions of the remarkable change in the weather which accompanied the close of the old year and the opening of the new. At noon on Thursday, the barometer indicated 29.62, when it commenced falling rapidly, accompanied by a rain storm, and the wind a little north of west. At four in the afternoon the temperature was forty-seven degrees above zero, when it commenced steadily and rapidly falling.”

At dusk, the rain changed into snow and the winds began blowing violently. Within five hours, the temperatures dropped thirty-five degrees. At nine o’clock P.M., the thermometers registered twelve degrees above zero which dropped to one degree above zero within ninety minutes.

The severe cold weather arrived at Portsmouth, Ohio, several hours later. New Years Eve was a dark drizzling day and it remained quite warm until 9 P.M. At this time, it was still fifty-three degrees and raining. Things started to change quickly at 9:30 P.M. when the wind started blowing hard from the Northeast. By 10:30 P.M., the thermometer showed twenty degrees and kept falling throughout the night.

The weather deteriorated even further on New Years Day. At 7 o’clock A.M., it was eight degrees above zero, at 2 P.M., four degrees above and at 9 P.M., one degree above. It was reported that heavy winds were blowing all day. In comparison, it was clear and cold at Cincinnati at 8 o’clock in the morning and the mercury stood at seven degrees below zero

One journalist noted, “The New Year was ushered in with a wind that blew almost a hurricane, and reminded one of the stormy nights when witches are said in old nursery legends to be abroad in their work of mischief. The cold was intense, penetrating everywhere, freezing every thing, not guarded by artificial heat, that could be frozen, and exceeding in degree the cold on any New Year's Day ever known by 'the oldest inhabitant'."

The severe cold weather extended throughout the West and Northwest. Two break men on the Oil Creek railroad, in Western Pennsylvania, were frozen to death while standing at their posts!
In Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Northern Illinois and Indiana, the cold was still more intense. At Milwaukee, on the 1st and 2nd, the thermometer ranged from thirty to forty degrees below zero, and several persons were frozen to death. At Galena, Ill., thermometer twenty-five to thirty-three below; at Madison, Wis., thirty-four to thirty-nine below; at Dubuque, thirty below; at Oshkosh, Wis., thirty-eight below; at Rockford, Ill., thirty below; Fort Wayne, Ind., twenty-eight below. Between Springfield and Virginia, a stage-driver was frozen to death on his box. The Mississippi River was frozen over at St. Louis, which people crossed on the ice.

Even the Southern States were affected by the “General Freeze Up.” In Richmond, Virginia, the papers reported that, “Matters and things in general concluded to "wait" on Saturday morning, in view of the sudden descent of the temperature below zero. The water froze up in railroad tanks and locomotive boilers, water wheels refused to "circumnavigate", machine shops ceased their clatter, old clocks stopped at "witching hours", hydrants negatived the reservoirs, the town pumps were in demand, the boards of the floors creaked and weather boarding snapped, frosty network frescoed every window pane, and the universal "ugh" that escaped from every mouth went with icy chilliness to the soul of sympathetic nature.”

At Memphis, Tennessee, the thermometer was reported on New Year's Day at ten degrees below zero. Even Georgia was not spared from the cold weather. The Atlanta Intelligencer reported temperatures of twelve degrees at 10 P.M. on January 1st, 1864, and eight degrees the following morning at 7 A.M. “This is the coldest weather we have experienced within forty years, in this country, with a single exception - the cold Saturday (in 1834), when the Mercury fell below zero. It is with difficulty, therefore, that we can write. Not only has our ink frozen, but with the best of fires that we can command, our fingers become numb before a paragraph can be written.”

The severe weather was especially hard on the soldiers. The newspapers reported that, “at Fort Halleck, Columbus, on the Mississippi, above Memphis, on New Year's eve, many of the negro soldiers were badly frozen; and at Island No. 10, ten negroes were frozen to death, and more were expected to die. On the same night, at the same place, eight men of the 52nd Indiana Infantry “were out on a skiff, and being unable to make the shore, were cast on a sand-bar, where three of the party were frozen to death before they could be rescued, two others died the next day, and the others were not expected to live.” The soldiers at Camp Indianapolis also suffered considerably on New Years Eve when a number had their ears and feet frozen.

According to news from Louisville, three Union soldiers were frozen to death at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, on the night of January 2, 1864. At Camp Yates, Springfield, Illinois, several soldiers met the same fate, as well as two soldiers at Camp Chase, Ohio.

Similar hardships were also endured by soldiers who were stationed in Eastern Kentucky where the temperatures dropped well below zero. According to local citizens, the beginning days of January 1864 saw the coldest weather and most abrupt change to be recorded in this section for many years. 

On New Years Day, a soldier from the 5th Independent Battalion OH Cavalry recorded the following from winter quarters at Poplar Plains, “Turned awfully cold last night, a strong wind began blowing from the northwest about nine o'clock and by midnight everything was frozen up. We left our tents and hovered around blazing fires. Our pickets were all brought in except the one that was sheltered towards Poplar Plains. It is reported to-day that seven men of the 40th Kentucky Infantry were found frozen on their posts east of here. Such intense cold I never felt before.” Another member of the unit wrote, “The night of December 31, 1863, we passed through the cold that ushered in "the cold New Years." The thermometer dropped to 25 degrees below zero, and with difficulty the troops were saved from freezing ... Two soldiers on duty were frozen to death at Mount Sterling below us, and all in all the experience was one not soon to be forgotten.”


Snow covered road, Eastern Kentucky
On New Years Day, the 45th Kentucky Mounted Infantry began to arrive at Mt. Sterling from Paris. “Some of these men were badly frosted and had to lie by at farmhouses,” noted an eye witness, “and it was several days before they all got in, and as they were without tents they were quartered where ever shelter could be found for them, till the cold had abated somewhat, and tents could be procured...”

In an effort to stay warm, the 14th Kentucky Infantry, one of the regiments stationed at Louisa, KY, detailed one of the soldiers as coal digger in the quartermaster department during the months of December 1863 and January 1864.

The cold weather continued unabated. A report from St. Louis noted that, “The weather continues very cold here, the mercury ranging from 5 degrees below to 15 degrees above zero. About one foot of snow lies on the ground, and the sleighing is splendid. Heavily laden wagons cross the river on ice, and there are no indications of a speedy break-up. The weather has been intensely cold throughout the State. Many persons and a large amount of stock have been frozen to death.”

On January 8, 1864, Portsmouth recorded ten inches of snow and the thermometer had not risen above twenty degrees. The Ohio River was full of floating ice and finally closed up firmly on Jan. 13, 1864. It remained ice-bound which prevented the steamboats from running thus limiting the delivery of supplies to citizens and soldiers alike. The soldiers' families were impacted as well and those who had not been able to put up enough food for the winter were in dire straits. In order to alleviate some of the suffering, Catlettsburg merchant William H. Geiger donated two steers and one beef to the poor soldiers' wives and families.


The Ohio River at Greenup with floating ice, January 2014
Photograph courtesy of Nancy Wright Bays
As the frozen Big Sandy River prevented steamboats from supplying the Union post at Louisa with stores, the quartermaster department soon was running low on provisions. Therefore, a detachment of the 39th KY Mounted Infantry was ordered to proceed to Catlettsburg on January 9, 1864.  An attack by the enemy was not expected since the weather was extremely cold.  However, as the men were marching along the west bank of the Big Sandy River, they were quietly followed on the other side of the river by a detachment of about 150 men of the 16th Virginia Cavalry, under the command of Colonel Milton J. Ferguson.

By nightfall, the 39th Kentucky detachment had reached Turman's Ferry at the mouth of Bear Creek, a prominent point on the Big Sandy River about 14 miles above Catlettsburg. Just below, at the present-day site of the Cavanaugh M. E. Church, stood an old log schoolhouse, which the men selected as their sleeping quarters. Still completely unsuspecting of any danger, no pickets were posted, “and the officers were asleep in the neighboring farm houses." 

The 16th Virginia Cavalry, under the cover of night, crossed the Big Sandy River on the ice and quietly approached the quarters of the unsuspecting Union soldiers. The Confederates wasted no time and opened fire on the sleeping men. One of the lieutenants was killed in the fight, nine men taken prisoners, including one lieutenant, and the rest, “were driven out into the snow with weather at about zero or lower." The 16th Virginia Cavalry re-crossed the icy river and vanished as quickly as they had appeared. A Union force from Catlettsburg was later sent out to pursue the Confederates but came back empty handed. Some of the men who had taken to the woods, "became frozen, especially their feet, and suffered greatly." On January 11, 1864, "A part of the wounded left behind arrived at the Ashland Hospital, not only badly wounded, but frostbitten.” The majority of them required amputations. According to Catlettsburg post commander Major Rhys Thomas, twenty men had to be sent to the hospital.  


Snowy  Creek in Eastern Kentucky
In closing, the eloquent remarks of the editor of the Daily Ohio Statesman seem fitting. “The New Year has come in, our brother journalists say, like a Lion - more, we should think, like a Russian or Norwegian Bear. A little snow would have probably moderated the intensity of this Arctic weather; but that was not vouchsafed us. Is this rugged birth of the New Year figurative of the hardships of the mass of people - the laboring poor - will have to endure during its existence, or does it prefigure that, though it freezes us with its cold frowns at its commencement, it will comfort and gladden us with sunny smiles before its close? Let us all hope, and so labor, that we may have cause to remember and bless the year 1864.”

The same thoughts and blessings go out to everyone for the year 2014, as we look outside our windows, shivering from yet another winter storm.



Article researched and written by Marlitta H. Perkins, January/February 2014. 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. © 2014. All Rights Reserved.