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  • Jacob Sowder (1734 - c.1819)
    Jacob Sowder was a Revolutionary War Veteran, serving in the 4th Virginia Infantry at Valley Forge, PA, and New York. He married twice and produced at least 15 children. He is buried in an unmarked gra...

Jim Souder of Moutain Grove, MO, wrote that “the earliest known record of a Sauter/Sowder family in America is a land deed dated 16 May 1719, in which Jacob Sauter purchased 300 acres of land from Hans Graff and his wife, Susanna, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.” (Hans Graff was a Swiss Anabaptist who started a settlement in PA about 1712.) “The will of Jacob Sowder, dated 8 March 1733, was written in German. It makes mention of his wife, Anna, and his two daughters, Mary Sowder, wife of John Sowder, and Susanna Martin.” Lancaster County Deeds (Bk. B, p. 583) show that Susanna Martin, daughter of Jacob Sowder, of Lampeter Township, sold 300 acres of land granted to her father by Hans Graff to John Roser of Lampeter Township on 26 March 1740. This Jacob Sowder is believed to have deceased in 1736. He may be our ancestor. Ann Groff Sowder (born c. 1690) is said to have lived one hundred five years until 1795.

(See also the Gruner Project and the Enderlein Project. These concern my paternal Great Granparents and their ancestors/decendants.) (My family tree at Geni.com is now as complete as I can make it, stretching back into the 1600's for both Gruner and Souders branches.)

A 1945 version of the Souder story comes from Stanley Souders (Mother’s cousin). It is reproduced verbatim, except for some punctuation for clarity, but I added numbers for reference and a few italicized parenthetical comments. At first blush, this account seems authentic and detailed, but closer examination produces questions and casts doubt on its accuracy. Much of what Stanley has to say about Christian Souder may well be true, but the timing is off and it does not appear to be relevant. I think it’s the wrong Christian Souder, but perhaps a relative still. “Christian Souder emigrated to America in the ship Harle of London, Ralph Harle, Master, from Rotterdam, last of Cowes, and landed at Philadelphia, PA on September 1, 1738. The ship carried 156 men, 65 women, and 167 boys and girls, 388 in all. Christian purchased a farm in New Britain township, Becks (Bucks?) County, PA from John James in 1744, and sold the same to Henry Wireman in 1747, when he moved to Franconia Township, Montgomery (then Philadelphia) County, PA. There he had purchased a farm from Michael Hentz on December 1, 1746. This was the farm now (1945) owned and occupied by Paul K. Fisher, near the Indianfield Lutheran Church. In 1755, Christian purchased the farm now owned by Preston A. Souder, near the Indian Creek Reformed Church, known as “Pioneer Farm.” Here he resided until his death. He was naturalized on 25 September 1747, and he died in 1774. His wife’s name was Margaret. They are buried in unmarked graves, probably at Franconia Mennonite cemetery. Their ages are not known. They had six sons; no record of daughters has been found. All Six sons served in the American Army during the Revolutionary War, also had three daughters. Children of Christian Souder and wife Margaret: 1. Jacob Souder, married Barbara Funk born 1752, lived on homestead in Franconia Twp. They had eight children: Christian, Susan, John, Anna, Barbara, Marie, Elizabeth and Catherine. 2. CHRISTIAN SOUDER: died in 1822, married Mary Oberholzer. She preceded him in death. They are buried in unmarked graves, probably at the Franconia Mennonite Cemetery. They lived on the Edwin J Moyer farm on East Chestnut Street, Souderton, PA. They had five Children. a. CHRISTIAN SOUDER, born May 6 1808 b. Abraham Souder married Hester Brenner, lived in Franconia Twp. Children: Christian, Elizabeth, Abraham, Barbara, John c. Catherine Souder married Christian Hunsberger d. Magdalena Souder married Abraham Yeakel, 1777- ?. Children: John, Elizabeth, Abraham, Jacob, Anna, Mary, Kate, Christian, Henry, Lena e. Susanna Souder married Jacob Yeakel, 1771-1847. Children: Anna, Mary, Elizabeth, Magdalen 3. Abraham Souder married Catherine Freed, lived in Rockhill Twp. Among their children were: Susanna, Mary, Catherine. 4. Isaac Souder, 1736-1805, married Maria Groff, lived in Franconia Twp. They had only one child, Elizabeth, who married Joseph Freed. 5. John Souder married Mary Brenner, lived in Germantown. 6. Henry Souder, died 1830, married Ann Clemner, lived in Franconia Twp. Among their children were John, Mary, Ann, and Susanna. 7. Susanna Souder married Abraham Sonantz. 8. Barbara Souder, 1745-1835, died unmarried. 9. Catherine Souder, died 1787, married John Moyer (1756-1814). Children: Margaret, Henry, Maria, Barbara, and Catherine. There’s a handwritten note at the bottom of the page (probably from one of mother’s siblings) that reads “1st page of Stanley Souder’s book on Souders History. We evidently are related to the first Christian Souders. He would be our Great-Great-Great-Great maybe huh!” Whatever that meant (Was it serious or sarcastic?); I can’t make the connection positively between these folks in Pennsylvania and what we know of the family antecedents as factual at locations in Virginia, Tennessee, and Indiana. Jacob (#1above in Stanley Souders’ account) may have served with the New Jersey cavalry during the Revolutionary War, but his wife’s name doesn’t match what we have been told, nor is there any indication of living in Virginia. Moreover, since Christian (#1 above) may be a Revolutionary War Vet, that means he had to have been born by 1763-65 at the latest, and if “Barbara” was his mother, then she would have been aged 11-13 at his birth. Actually, his war record shows his birth as 1750 (DAR Patriot Index), meaning Barbara probably couldn’t be his mother. ‘Christian’ (#2 above) doesn’t have a wife named Polly as our ‘Christian’ did (although ‘Polly’ was a nickname for ‘Mary”), and he died a year too soon in the wrong place, but might be the Revolutionary War Veteran. Our ‘Christian’ was born in Frederick, MD, and was buried in Washington County, IN, 1823. It’s true that there was a Jacob Souder still in Lancaster County around 1800, and there are possible links to the Oberholtzers in PA and Funks in VA; however, this Souder clan appears to be people who stayed in Pennsylvania for an extended period, unlike our ancestors. Perhaps they are cousins. ‘Christian Souder’ (#2a above) has the same birthday as our ancestor, but the parentage and place of birth don’t match with what we know as fact from other sources. It’s also possible that some combination of related Pennsylvania families joined together to make the trek to Virginia.

While our family may have started in Pennsylvania and certainly associated with Mennonites, I can’t positively identify what relationship, if any, they had with the religion. Coming from southwest Germany, it’s as likely they were followers of the Reformed (Zwingli) Church or Anabaptists. The report by Stanley Souders that purports to trace the Missouri Souders to Pennsylvania, has inconsistencies that make me question its applicability. I can’t see precisely how our known, recorded ancestors fit in. I think Stanley Souder’s account has flaws or misunderstandings, e.g., only one of Christian and Margaret Souder’s sons (Christian, 1750-1822) is listed in The Daughters of American Revolution Patriot Index (vol. III, P-Z), along with our known Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather Jacob Sowder (Souder) of VA (b. 1734- d. 1819). Other Souder veterans, Jacob (born 1749, in PA, d. 1804) and John (b. 1726 in PA-d.1788) might be members of this PA family.

Another possible candidate for the first Sowder in our line is one Jacob Sowder (b. 1687-1695 in Germany or PA) who married Anna Rosenberger (b.1697 in Dilsberg, Baden-Württemberg). She died in Milford Twp, Bucks County, PA. Their alleged children included Susanna (b. 1712?), Mary (b. 1715), Christian (born 1713-6 in Rotterdam), John (1724-1784), Henry (born 1727 in Berks Co., PA), Sarah (b. ?), and Jacob (b. ?). The subsequent generations (according to over sixty on-line family trees) are filled with Yeakels, Oberholtzers, and the like, but it is a pot-puree of fusions between persons identified in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, and Missouri that fails to match the few records available or the family legend. If Anna Rosenberger Sowder is the mother of Jacob Sowder (II, born 1712?, probably in Baden or Rotterdam), then her son Henry could hardly have been the ‘Henry Sowder’ head of family in the Virginia land grant of 1735 – he would still have been a child. Anna Rosenberger’s family (Heinrich and Barbara Rosenberger) were Swiss from around Zurich (Landikon, Birmensdorf). Anna’s grandparents (Rudolf Rosenberger and Adelheid Mueller) moved the family to Baden sometime after the birth of her father (19 Nov 1678). Eventually, Anna’s father immigrated to Pennsylvania. The family roots were in the same Swiss village for at least five generations to about 1550, so something must have prompted their relocation. It could be that they were Anabaptists and kept moving to avoid persecution. Anabaptists were considered anathema by the intertwined religious and political hierarchies because they threatened stability by rejecting the idea that anyone was “born into a church.” They saw “salvation” as a conscious choice which had to be maturely made, and thereafter, baptism by immersion was required.

Swiss and German leaders were determined to rid themselves of the dissident Anabaptists, as they increasingly exhibited aspects of political liberalism and rising economic expectations. In the early 1700’s, Queen Anne of England decided to offer aid to these persecuted Protestants by allowing them to settle in the colonies. Refugees flocked into Dutch ports to take advantage of the Queen’s offer. Even after every ship available was pressed into service (including some that were marginally seaworthy), hundreds died from exposure and starvation while awaiting transportation to America. The voyage, once commenced, took seven weeks, and disease spread quickly aboard the overcrowded vessels taking a particularly heavy toll among the children. Those without money to pay for transport had to sign “indentures,” for specified years of servitude which were then sold by the ship owners to colonists who needed laborers. In Pennsylvania, at that time private property owned by the Penn family, the need for labor was reinforced by a desire to assist fellow religious dissenters, and the number of Swiss-German immigrants to Philadelphia soon began to overwhelm the English there. Because this influx of German speaking immigrants frightened some of the colonials, after 1727 Pennsylvania required each newcomer to swear an oath of allegiance to the British monarch. Unfortunately, these records don’t help for ancestors arriving earlier.

Another Souder/Sowder was a Hessian mercenary captured by Washington’s Army at Trenton (or maybe deserted, according to English records; however, these records also disingenuously attempt to cover the fact that the British fleet callously marooned many Hessians in their haste to evacuate after the war). Records indicate he stayed in Virginia and received a land grant in the eastern part of the state, but he’s probably not our guy. Some of the Souder descendants in Indiana believe this Adolph Souder had four sons: Frederick, Christian, Jacob, and Christley, the first two born in Germany. After his capture he was taken to North Carolina and labored making shoes for the Continental Army. At the end of the war he was given a land grant the Hoosiers presumed to be in Greene County Tennessee. This may be based on the coincidence of those four names being in the 1812 tax records of Greene County. Other Hoosier Souders claim that they were told the four were cousins. It’s possible that some of the Souders in Pennsylvania and/or Virginia may have immigrated to America before their relative, Adolph, was conscripted in Hessen and sent to America, or he could have sent for family members after the war. The western part of Hessen and the Palatinate abut, and families often overlapped the national borders. Sauters/Souders from either country could be part of the same family. The relationship between Christian Souders and Frederick Souders has never been explained, but they held land jointly in Greene County, TN. My Great-Great-Great Grandfather (Christian) was commonly known by the nickname “Christley,” and his land was in a different district from Frederick’s and “Christian’s.” Since the tax rolls show both a Christley and a Christian, I’m speculating that “Christian” (another person entirely) actually was Frederick’s brother and a son of Adolph, while Jacob is our Christley’s brother. The fact that Frederick came to Indiana is probably just coincidence; furthermore, the naming of Christley’s son “Frederick” was likely more of the same.

Mary Fern Souder (http://myweb.cableone.net/wallies/souder-y.htm) reports in 2009 that DNA testing establishes that Jacob Sowder and Anna Groff could not be the ancestors of Jacob Sowder (1734-1819) of Virginia. In spite of all the speculation about such a connection, it appears to be inaccurate. Perhaps Jacob Souder and Anna Rosenberger will someday be shown to be his ancestors or maybe it was Adolph Souder/Sauter the Hessian Soldier captured at Trenton by Washington’s Continentals. Mary Fern Souders' assertion, however, is refuted by the DNA test results (Family Tree DNA; 2010 #N88308) of a direct descendant of Jacob Sowder (d. 1819 Copper Hill, VA) which showed him to be related to the Souders of Lancaster, PA. While I lack any expertise in this field, I can only speculate that Mary Fern Souders' "participants" were not actually descendants of Jacob Sowder of VA.The DNA of the descendant of Jacob Sowder of Copper Hill, VA, traces to Hirzel in northeast Switzerland near Zurich. There are indications of the family there back to the 1300's. The DNA tests of Souders at Lancaster, PA, are related to the village of Koelliken, some 50 miles east of Hirzel, and records go back to 1414. These Souders/Suters were Anabaptists that were forced out of Switzerland to Elsass and Pfalz in the mid 1600's. Whether the Souders in Lancaster, PA, and those in Copper Hill, VA, knew they were related is unknown. The Swiss word "Suter" refers to sewing leather -- a shoemaker.

Clarence Souders, my mother’s brother, believed that Jacob Sowder (I, the original “Souders” settler in America, b. 1688) came from Southern Germany (Rhine-Palatinate) or Switzerland, but as likely it might be Baden-Württemberg. In fact, I have discovered one family tree (Ball – ancestry.com) that asserts he came from Cungfeld, Mannheim, Württemberg. Religious and territorial wars devastated Germany during the mid 1600’s; the Palatinate’s population was reduced by 60%, Württemberg’s by 80%, and Bohemia’s by 35%. Population loss in Hesse and Thuringia was about 50%. (Some modern scholars think these casualties were exaggerated by local officials in order to acquire welfare aid and tax reductions; however, even they consider casualties of 40% possible.) Elsewhere, Berlins’ population declined by over half, and Frankfurt lost about 80%. The devastation was greater in the countryside than the cities, where walls provided a small degree of protection. The economy was ruined. German peasants, indis- criminately slaughtered and tortured by both sides (Catholic and Protestant), neglected the fields. Famine spread, along with disease. When the Thirty Years War ended in 1648, French Armies returned to devastate Southwestern Germany in the later 1600’s for decades. To make matters worse, the Little Ice Age hit Germany hard in the early 1700’s. Autumn of 1708 was the worst of it. Stories claim that, by November, firewood wouldn’t burn in the open air, and by January, liquor was freezing in the bottle. Birds fell out of the sky dead on the ground; spit froze before it hit the earth; rivers all froze over; and the oceans froze deep enough along the coast to support a loaded wagon. Grape vines and orchards were ruined. Recovery from these effects took many years, even when temperatures began to move toward normal. The extreme cold came on the heels of the Black Death. From the mid 1660’s to about 1670, the Bubonic Plague hit the Rhineland severely. To increase the dismal effect, the political system took no note of the people’s distress. The commons literally starved, while the nobles lived gaily on taxes they squeezed from the peasants.


It’s noteworthy that the born 1688 Jacob Sowder’s (I) oft recorded wife’s father (Johannes/‘Hans’ Jacob Groff) came from the Cungfeld, Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg area of Southwest Germany, but her grandfather, Hans Graf, was from Switzerland. Ann Groff’s records aren’t clear about whether she was born in Germany or Pennsylvania. Baden-Württemberg is the lower Rhine Valley and “Black Forest” country adjacent to Switzerland. It’s also a place where Anabaptists-Baptists-Mennonites still faced persecution about the time of immigration, and Lancaster, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties, PA, (where various web family trees show the Sowder family living) were areas of resettlement. Many special restrictions were put on these dissenters in Europe, e.g., special taxes, no church buildings, and meetings limited to a few people. Consequently, they were eager to take advantage of William Penn's offer of cheap land and the free exercise of religion. Since many of these groups (not all) were Pacifists, William Penn and his agents actively recruited Germans in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.

 

In the eighteenth century, 100,000 Germans from the Palatinate, Württemberg, and nearby areas, known collectively as the Pennsylvania Dutch (a corruption of Deutsche), immigrated to Pennsylvania. Of these, around 2,500 were Mennonites, 500 Amish, and many others were Baptists. My maternal great-grandfather Jacob Souders (born 1829) is remembered in family legend as being strong to fanatical in his religious beliefs (perhaps a carryover of family upbringing?) and may have descended from such a group. He also may have been strongly affected by the frontier Evangelical movement. Frontier Pietism among Methodists and Baptists, particularly, is a major cultural feature of the Western frontier.

In 1714, Germanna, about twenty miles west of present-day Fredericksburg, VA, became the first settlement west of the Blue Ridge. It was planted by Alexander Spotswood employing German miners from Württemberg, the Rhineland-Palatinate, and Switzerland who had been ‘recruited’ (fled to England) by Queen Anne to immigrate to America. The first group settled near Germanna in Orange County, VA, about 1717, but the second group moved into the new Spotsylvania County. The first group was members of the Reformed Church, and the second group was mostly Lutherans. Economic conditions seem to have been the chief motivator behind this emigration. The only familiar names among these settlers are Weber and Lang, in that other associations with these family names occur.

The Lutherans thought they were going to Pennsylvania, but they were hijacked by the ship’s captain in collusion with Spotswood. The captain landed the Germans in Virginia and demanded more money to take them to Pennsylvania. Spotswood had explored the lands west of a gap in the Blue Ridge after the first group of German settlers arrived and filed a claim on the land. He needed settlers to justify his claims on new western lands. The Germans had little choice but to become indentured servants of Spotswood. Subsequently, they abandoned him as soon as they could and resettled on the Piedmont in Madison County, VA. (http://www.germanna.org/history)

Settlers sought cheap land, and Virginia offered a good land deal. “The Penns charged from ten to fifteen pounds the hundred acres [while in Virginia] the public price during the eighteenth century was ten shillings for the same amount" (http://www.virginiaplaces.org/settleland/8frontier.html) Governor Spotswood, relying on a map that showed the French settlements to be closer than they were, aggressively sought to fill up the western Virginia frontier with foreign settlers. In order to attract settlers to the western frontier in the 1720’s, Spotswood proposed that land in newly created Spotsylvania and Brunswick Counties be “free of duties” for ten years. This imprecise language led to later litigation, but to the German immigrants it meant “free land.” (http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~george/johnsgermnotes/germhis2.html) In the first part of the 18th century, a lesser known group of German religious dissenters came to America; they became known as the Old German Baptist Brethren. The Brethren left Pennsylvania for the Upper Shenandoah Valley (Rockingham County), some moving further south to Floyd County, VA, (where Jacob Sowder III lived) or North Carolina and others pushing on to Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and farther west. There are still “Brethren” Churches in Copper Hill and Bent Mountain, VA. The Old German Baptist Brethren dressed in conservative black, turned the other cheek when attacked, and maintained their old language, crafts and ways much like the Amish. They did not vote, take part in politics, or swear oaths. The Church began in 1708, with eight people under the leadership of Alexander Mack, drawing beliefs jointly from Pietism and Anabaptism. “These men and women believed that Jesus had intended for his followers a different kind of life—one based on peaceful action, plain and compassionate living, and a shared search for truth.” (http://www.brethren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=visitor_about_history)

 

The Brethren began immigrating to America in the 1720’s to escape persecution, and their first settlement was at Germantown, PA in 1729. They moved southwest in search of cheap land. The Brethren’s first permanent settlement in eastern Franklin County, VA, led by Jacob Miller, was in 1765, although there had been some settlement there by Brethren before 1740. William Smith, a former Revolutionary War soldier, converted, was elected to the ministry, and joined Miller in missionary work in the neighboring areas. Working together, they could preach in both German and English. The Brethren were hard-working, lived simple lives, and became successful farmers. They became particularly successful in establishing profitable dairy operations in the hill country using Holstein cattle. There were no ‘Sowers’ or ‘Sowders’ in the Brethren Cemetery at Copper Hill when I checked in 2008, but the markers there only dated from the mid 19th century. (Moreover, the Sowder family had a cemetery on their farm near Copper Hill.) However, there are a bunch of Poffs and De Weese’s buried at the Brethren Cemetery in Copper Hill, and there were some marriages between the Sowders and the Poffs-De Weeses in the early 1800’s . Note: It’s difficult for a 21st century researcher to keep a sense of place concerning frontier territories where county lines were frequently redrawn as population expanded. For example, modern Floyd County, VA, where Jacob Sowder died at Copper Hill, was frequently “reorganized.” From the beginnings of exploration to 1692, parts of it belonged to ten different private land companies. Then, in 1721, it became part of a huge Spotsylvania County, which was modified to Orange County in 1734, Augusta County in 1745, Botetourt County in 1770, Fincastle County in 1772, Montgomery County in 1777, and in 1831 a portion became Floyd County along with another eastern part that came from Franklin County. In Fact, “Copper” Hill itself was called Cooper Hill in the 1850 Statistical Gazetteer of the State of Virginia. Incidentally, ‘Shenandoah’ has twenty different spellings.

The German Reformed Church, headquartered in Heidelberg in southwest Germany, was also influential among the German settlers of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Many Swiss, German, and Swiss-German tradesmen and laborers arranged their passage by coming as indentured servants to Pennsylvania or other Mid-Atlantic colonies. They were refugees from the effects of European wars. Their reasons were mostly pragmatic, rather than religious. They didn’t bring pastors with them; they worshipped at home and were guided by their faith and the Bible. Before churches were built, laymen led services in a home. Often, they allied themselves with Lutheran congregations, sharing churches. At White Marsh, PA, (near Germantown in Montgomery County; Whitemarsh Twp is about ten miles north of Philadelphia along the Germantown Pike) William De Weese was instrumental in holding the Reformed followers together until a church was established in 1725. Perhaps related, the De Weese (Dewees, DeWesse) family is very active in the settlement of southwest Virginia around Copper Hill and includes a minister in Botetourt County during the time the Sowder family lived there.


“Another layman, tailor Conrad Templeman, conducted services in Lancaster county, ministering to seven congregations during the 1720s. Schoolmaster John Philip Boehm had maintained a ministry for five years (in) Pennsylvania without compensation. Responsible for the regular organization of 12 German Reformed congregations in Pennsylvania, although not regularly ordained, he reluctantly was persuaded to celebrate the sacraments for the first time on October 15, 1725, at Falkner Swamp, with 40 members present. Boehm -- orderly, well educated, devout -- spent the ensuing years traveling the country on horseback, 25,000 miles in all, preparing Reformed Church constitutions.”

“Meanwhile, the Heidelberg-educated and regularly ordained pastor George Michael Weiss arrived from Germany in 1727 to minister to the Philadelphia church founded by Boehm. He carried the Word and the Lord's Supper to communities surrounding Philadelphia. Weiss' strong objections to Boehm's irregular ministry caused Boehm to seek and receive ordination by the Dutch Reformed Church by 1729.” In 1746, when … “Michael Schlatter, a Swiss-born and Dutch-educated young pastor from Heidelberg, arrived in America, congregations of German settlers were scattered throughout Pennsylvania and New York. German immigrants had followed natural routes along rivers and mountain valleys, and Reformed congregations had emerged in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. The spiritual and financial health of these 40 congregations was watched over by the Dutch Reformed Church in Holland, assisted by the German Reformed center at Heidelberg, Germany.”

Michael Schlatter came … “to America to organize the ministers and congregations into a … Synod… (Union). Schlatter did this within a year of his arrival in Pennsylvania…. The Kirchen-Ordnung placed discipline and care of the local church in the hands of a consistory of elders, deacons, and the minister, elected by the congregation. Members were charged with "fraternal correction and mutual edification."... , always to adhere to the Heidelberg Catechism ... to hold catechetical instruction ... [and] give special attention to church discipline. The minister was to preach the pure doctrine of the Reformed Church according to the Word of God and to administer the holy seals of the Covenant.” (http://www.ucc.org/about-us/short-course/the-german-reformed-church.html)


This confrontation between Weiss and Boehm occurred just about the time that Jacob Sowder’s name stopped appearing on Lancaster County tax records (1726). Perhaps this type of old world-new world controversy provided a motive for some Pennsylvania Reformed Church members to seek a different venue to practice their beliefs. Certainly, in America, the Bible and Pietist spirit quickly displaced the Catechism and the more formal practices.

I suspect that the Montgomery County, VA, “birthplace” indicated in many of the on-line family trees for Jacob III (born 1734) was someone else’s incorrect supposition, i.e., the researcher wrote in VA (where he ended) instead of PA where he was born. Franconia Township (one of the alleged birthplaces) was in Montgomery County, PA, which was created out of Philadelphia County. Maybe Jacob was born as the family left PA and traveled down the Shenandoah Valley into VA, a common migration route, but it’s uncertain. The family may be in VA by 1733, according to land grant records. However, Jacob III’s birth year (1734) may not be accurate. If Jacob III is indeed the son of the Jacob Sowder II (b. 1712), whose mother was Ann Groff or Anna Rosenberger, that would establish the Pennsylvania starting point. There is a Jacob Sowder who is listed as an immigrant into Virginia in 1733 (but there’s no indication of where he originated), and I think this is very likely Jacob Sowder I (b. 1688) come from PA, with “Jacob III” being born (c. 1734) in Virginia (but it likely would have been Rockingham County instead of Montgomery County). It is logical to assume that the young “Jacob II” would have come with his father or maybe an uncle. Perhaps he brought a wife with him or married a local girl. The Souders’ record before Virginia is not at all clear, and it’s still difficult to follow once they move south. Most Souders’ descendants subscribe to the family’s Pennsylvania roots, and although I began a skeptic, I’m now more tolerant of that opinion.

Eventually, one of the major problems these early settlers faced was dealing with the Indians. Virginia’s interior highlands were the stronghold of the Cherokee. As contact with the English grew, the Cherokees became somewhat dependent on trade goods. By 1680, most of the tribe had firearms, and they were allies of the British against the Spanish to the south and the French to the west. The Cherokees also had friction with the Chickasaws to the west, the Iroquois to the north, the Creeks and Choctaws to the south and the Catawbas to the southeast. About 1660, a group of Shawnees were forced south by the Iroquois and were permitted to settle in the Cherokee area. In 1692, the Shawnees raided a Cherokee village when the warriors were off on a hunt. They sold the women and children to British slave traders. The treacherous attack made the Cherokee distrust the Shawnees, even though they had the same enemies and seemed like natural allies, and active warfare between them broke out in the early 1700’s. The Indian slave trade eventually grew so bad that colonial governments in the Carolinas tried to stop it. Surrounded by enemies, the Cherokee had nowhere else to turn but the British.

Soon, however, the Cherokees and the British argued, each side accusing the other of treachery and committing atrocities in retaliation. Full-scale war raged during 1760-62. Enlisting the help of Cherokee traditional enemies, the British commander destroyed fifteen Cherokee towns with their winter food supplies. Consequently, the Cherokee were forced to sign a new treaty ceding more lands across the Appalachians. Because of this treaty, the Cherokee did not support Pontiac’s uprising. However, Cornstalk, a Shawnee Chief, raided into western Virginia. When the smoke cleared, the Shawnee had given up all claims to lands south of the Ohio River.

The Indian wars started about 1754 as a result of the power struggle between Britain and France, each attempting to use the Native Americans to advantage. The preceding year, northern tribes sent emissaries to the tribes south of the Ohio, and the Virginia tribes mostly withdrew to the west of the Alleghenies. The few stone houses of the western Virginia settlers served as forts when the Indians returned on the warpath. Most of these had vaulted stone ceilings in their basements, sometimes with a layer of sod on top that provided protection even if the house burned to the ground. Some were surrounded by a small stockade where animals could be kept. Many were built over a spring.

After General Braddock was defeated at Fort Duquesne in 1755, the settlers on the frontier west of the Blue Ridge were attacked by the hostile tribes. The English were safe enough on the eastern side of the Mountains, but many of the Pennsylvania Dutch and the Scotch-Irish in the Shenandoah Valley and the New River Valley were forced to flee from places such as Hans Meadow (now Christiansburg) and Dunkards Bottom (now covered by Claytor Lake). From Winchester, VA, to North Carolina, the Indian troubles persisted. Around 1776, Jacob Sowder (III) moved his family south near Christiansburg, but there was still danger from Indian attack. Many of the pioneer stories of these troubled times are available on line, e.g. the following website provides several links. http://www.virginiaplaces.org/settleland/settlewest.html).

“Mary Draper Ingles was captured in an attack by the Shawnee on her cabin, located just downstream of the modern Duck Pond at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg). (1755, Ingles traveled 800 miles after being kidnapped and arrived home naked, skin and bones, with white hair at the age of twenty-three) James Burk, a Quaker, had to flee Burke's Garden (1756, when Indians killed neighbors around Christiansburg and almost captured Burk). … (Southwestern Virginia experienced Indian raids up into the middle 1790’s.) In the Shenandoah Valley, Rev. John Rhodes miscalculated when it was safe to return. He had moved into the valley in 1748, fled a decade later, and then returned in 1764 to near modern-day Luray. That year, he and some of his family (wife and 6 of 13 children) died in what was perhaps the last attack in the region.”

Luray, VA, is just east of the Sowder farm near New Market. Rhodes original name was likely Hans Derik Roodt (Roth). He was a Mennonite Minister. The attacking Indians were said to be led by the renegade frontiersman, Simon Girty. John Rhodes was shot while standing in his doorway. Eve Albright Rhodes and a son were killed in the yard. Five other children also died. Eight children survived; five were away from home that day. Either Henry Sowder or his son was possibly still living in the Massanutten area as late as 1783, indicated by land transfers that took place then. An early NC census also listed Henry Sowder; perhaps he or his son went there.

In 1757-58 the raids were increased, and they continued intermittently until 1766. A Baptist church (that was attacked in 1757 and 1758) in the New Market area recorded that people either forted up or crossed the Blue Ridge to safety whenever attack was imminent. 

In 1758 about 50 Indians and 4 Frenchmen attacked the Painter farm about 15 miles north of New Market. Painter was killed trying to escape; the house was plundered and burned, with Painter’s body thrown back inside. “While the house was burning, four infant children” were seized from their mothers. “They hung them up in the trees and shot them in savage sport.” They burned a stable containing sheep and calves, and marched away forty-eight captives. After six days travel, the captives arrived at the Indian village. There the Indians tortured to death an overweight boy of about 13. After three years, some of the captives were allowed to return home. At least three of the Painter girls remained in the Indian camp, and the youngest, Mary, didn’t get away until eighteen years later. A ‘Mrs. Smith’ returned with an infant sired by a war chief. (Wayland, John Walter. A History of the Shenandoah Valley. p 65-66)

About 1758, John Stone was killed by Indians on Massanutten Creek; his wife and children were taken captive. Jacob Holtiman’s wife and children were killed, and the Brubakers barely escaped. Several Indians seized the house of the Bingaman’s near New Market. Though wounded badly, Bingamen killed two before his end. Indians killed his wife and captured a nephew, who was to grow up among the Indians. In 1759, the raids stopped as forces were drawn north to counter Wolfe’s capture of Quebec. In 1760, after sighting and pursuing two Indians, one was killed after a desperate fight. The other escaped, took a young woman hostage, and killed her about twenty miles away. In 1763, there was another raid, and several attacks came in 1764, one near Luray, about ten miles east of the Sowder farm. Several people were killed and a woman taken captive, but she was rescued after her infant had been killed.

The attack on the Rhodes family (a Mennonite preacher) came in 1764. Rhodes, his wife, and a son were killed at the house. Two sons working in the cornfield attempted escape. One climbed a pear tree, but he was discovered and shot down. The other tried to run through the river, but was killed in what was known thereafter as “Bloody Ford.” Elizabeth, an older daughter, took the infant, Esther, and hid in the barn, later escaping through a hemp field to a neighbor’s house. Two boys and two girls were taken captive, but three were killed on Massanutten Mountain. Michael Rhodes, however, survived and was allowed to return after three years.

In 1765, an old man (George Sigler) was killed by Indians about fifteen miles north of New Market as he tried to defend a group of twenty women and children traveling to the fort in wagons. He shot one Indian and brained another as the women fled, but his rifle broke and he fell mortally wounded. When found, his body had been “horribly mangled by the savages.” In 1766, Sheets and Taylor were killed trying to get to the fort with their families, but their wives took up axes and fought their way through.

Things weren’t any better in the southern area of Jacob Sowder’s farms in Montgomery County. ” If the settlers of Southwestern Virginia (around Christiansburg) had been deliberately looking for Indian trouble, they could not have done better than they did, grouping together on centuries-old Indian trails, in a region disputed as a hunting ground by the Cherokee and Shawnee Indians, and overlorded by the Five Nations (the Iroquois), the fiercest and most powerful of the tribes of North America. … On the thirtieth of July, 1755, three weeks after Braddock's defeat, Draper's Meadows (present Blacksburg), the advance settlement of the Virginians, on Strouble's Creek, a branch of the New River, was attacked by a raiding band of Shawnees, from the Ohio River, and destroyed. ... The Indians attacked again and again in the years 1755, 1756, and 1757. Vass's Fort, near Shawville, Virginia, was stormed in fall of 1755, by about one hundred French and Indians and twenty-four persons were killed or carried into captivity, not a single man, woman or child escaping. A register of the persons who were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner in the years 1754, 1755, and 1756 of the New and Holston rivers and Reed Creek has been preserved…. It includes the names of twenty-nine killed, ten wounded, and forty-three taken prisoners. … The Indians still kept up their raiding, even though a treaty had been concluded with the Iroquois and Shawnees in 1768, and with the Cherokees in 1769. … The Cherokees continued occasional raids during and after the Revolution and it was not until after General Anthony Wayne crushed the Indian tribes on the Wabash and Maumee rivers, in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, August 20, 1794, and concluded the Treaty of Greenville (1795) with them that the red men ceased to harass the settlers of Southwest Virginia. “ (Ralph M. Brown, “A Sketch of the Early History of Southwestern Virginia” in William & Mary Quarterly, 2nd Ser., Vol. 17 No. 4(Oct. 1937), pp501 513, as shown in: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/_Topics/history/_Texts/journals/WMQ/2d_ser/17/4/Southwestern_Virginia*.html


Once the French were defeated and their land claims passed to the British, the Native Americans had no European ally in their struggle against colonial expansion. Pontiac’s rebellion stunned the British government (all British Forts captured west of the Alleghenies except Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Niagara), and the Proclamation of 1763 was issued prohibiting settlement beyond the Appalachians. This policy was reversed in about five years due to pressure from land speculators and settlers.

During the American Revolution, the British attempted to organize the Indians as a threat to the Colonial’s west, taking pressure off the Redcoat forces in the east. Initially, this proved successful, until the victories of George Rogers Clark in Illinois and Indiana caused the Shawnee to sue for peace in 1779. The frontier warfare continued, however, for a year after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, until the British government finally ordered a stop in fall 1782. Even so, there were still clashes in western Virginia until 1794, when Anthony Wayne’s victory over the Indians at Fallen Timbers put an end to Native American land claims south of the Ohio River.

Note: Frederick Sowers, who lived on the east side of Massanutten Mountain between New Market and Luray and was probably related, was selected as one of the frontiersmen and experienced Indian fighters who went with the George Rogers Clarke Expedition in 1778 on the long trek to take British Forts St Vincent and Kaskaskia in Illinois. He enlisted in the bitter cold of January 1778 and endured the hardships of the long trek through Indian Country in winter. The grateful US government offered grants of land in the captured territories to the brave men who made this sacrifice. While Frederick Sowers (b. 1732?) can’t be verified as a ‘Souder/Sowder’ relative, it’s possible that this might have figured into the family’s eventual move to Indiana.

JACOB SOWDER III (1734?-1819)

There’s very little known about the first thirty years of Jacob’s life, just the suppositions above, his first marriage, plus the names, birthdates, and birthplaces of his children. It seems that he lived the life of a frontier farmer. He was a soldier for at least a year. He associated with Mennonites and Brethren, although his denomination is unknown, and he wasn’t a pacifist nor seemed distrustful of the law and courts. He was somewhat successful in his efforts because his agricultural holdings increased. He followed the traditional path of the German Separatists in producing a large family whose efforts likely made the increase possible. Jim Souder gives the starting point for most Souders (Sowder, etc) researchers: “According to family tradition, our Souder line descended from Jacob Sowder, a native of Pennsylvania, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Nothing can be confirmed about his parents, and it is not known for certain when and where he was born.” Until someone unearths a hitherto unknown document that sheds some new light on the family, we have to understand that everything before Jacob (III) is really just guesswork.

Jacob Sowder III (b. 1734) is the first Souders’ marriage recorded in America (US and International Marriage Records 1590-1900), but time may have worked against the survival of earlier records. Jacob Sowder married twice: first, Elizabeth, married in 1754-55, no surname given --but possibly ‘Sowder/Souder’ also -- and later Anna Prillaman in 1788. They must have moved around frequently because of the locations where their children were born. He went from Rockingham County, VA, to Montgomery County, VA, to Frederick, MD, then back to Montgomery County, VA and finally western Franklin County, VA, (which became Floyd County in 1831). While, I cannot verify Jacob’s birth location or the location of his parents’ births, many believe that his father was born in Lancaster Co., PA and his grandfather in Germany. The Jacob Sowder who is listed as a “passenger/immigrant” coming into Virginia in 1733 is possibly the “Jacob I” born 1688,” origin of the Souders branch in VA. With him could have come Jacob II, age 21, with “Jacob III” being born shortly thereafter. The record doesn’t indicate Jacob Sowder’s origin; it could be Pennsylvania, Maryland, or Europe.

Jacob Sowder’s (Sowter) name is listed as a settler in connection with a land grant to Jacob Stover in what is now Rockingham County, VA, about 1733, in an early history of white settlers of the Shenandoah Valley. Jim Souder’s account of family history indicates there were two Sowder families (Jacob and Henry) that settled in St Mark’s Parish colony among the 100 first settlers, and that is supported by other sources. Quite possibly, the two Sowders were brothers or at least related. St Mark’s was a southwestern extension of the German colony at Germanna. The Jacob Souder who settled there had both a Christian and a Jacob in his family group (sons, nephews, cousins?). Jim Souder also records Jacob’s (III) 140 acre grant from Governor Beverly Randolph in 1789 at the head of the Little River. Between 1790-1816, I found several other transactions on the part of Jacob Sowder (sometimes spelled Sowers) and his wives (Elizabeth & Anna) concerning acreage on the Pine Run branch of the Little River, then in Montgomery County, near Christiansburg, in southwest Virginia. These transactions appear to clearly concern our ancestor. George, Henry, and Michael Sowder/Sowers also participate in land transfers in this area during this period. Likely, they are relatives since families tended to travel/migrate together. Jacob III (b. 1734) had a son named Michael who was the executor of his estate in the will filed 1818. (There were two ‘Henrys’ recorded in the St Mark’s Parish colony; ‘Michael,’ born 1768, and ‘George’ were probably both born after the 1733 date of the Rockingham County document.) For certain, the Montgomery County ‘Jacob Sowder’ is our ancestor. The question is: where did he come from and how did he get there?

Marilyn Sowders Lowe wrote the following in an email to Gary Scheel. “In 1733 Jacob Stover obtained a patent for 5000 acres around Spotsylvania, VA, on the Shenandoah River for the importation of 100 people. Among these were two Sowder families. They are listed on the patent by name -- head of families first then wife and children. There may be some daughters-in-law included as well: 1.Henry, Catherine, Henry, John, Isaac, Catherine, Anna, Rachel; 2. Jacob, Frina (Trina?), Christian, John, Isaac, Rudy, Matthew, Stopher, Peter, Joseph, David, Jacob, Jane, Dorothy, Christina. Jacob Stover's son lost the patent for non-payment of rents. The Sowder families were Mennonite and did not believe in going to court to regain the patent. However the rest of the families did and recovered the patent. I don't know if the Sowder families stayed or moved on.” The common practice was to list the wife immediately after the husband, then the children. If that is the case here, we might question ‘Trina” (Katarina?) a name not otherwise mentioned anywhere. The remaining names of children and sons/daughters-in law don’t include Mary or Susanna, daughters of Jacob Sowder of PA.

Again, in another email to Derlene Funk, Marilyn Sowders Lowe wrote “In 1719 Jacob and Anna Sowders received a land grant from Hans Graff. When Jacob died, Anna sold the grant to their 2 daughters, Mary and Susanna and their husbands John Sowders and Martin Funk respectively. In 1723 Jacob Stover settled two Sowders families and a Funk Family on his grant in VA When Jacob Stover died his son did not keep up the payments and the Sowders being Mennonites did not want to go to court to reclaim their land and left. Whether they returned to Pa. or moved on to Ky. or Ind. is unclear.” If this is true, and Marilyn seems pretty sure of her facts (which match some records I have found), then the Barbara Funk who married Christian Souders in the Stanley Souders ‘History’ is likely a sister or other relative of the Martin Funk who married Susanna Sowders in Marilyn’s account above. Marilyn hasn’t pursued this; it was incidental information she picked up researching her ancestors. She continued: “I do know that my line, David Sowders came from Pa. along with his brothers, Peter and Michael, to Kentucky. David moved to Indiana and died in 1830. His son, Andrew Jackson Sowders, came back to Kentucky, but moved on to TN. and then to TX. The two heads of families in Virginia were Henry and Jacob. By the way, Hans (John) Adam Soulders (Sowders) came over on the Pink Mary with 3 Funks from Rotterdam in 1733.”


Marilyn Sowders Lowe may be correct, but there’s more to the story. According to Dale E Souders’ version, the original Jacob (b. 1688) married Ann Groff about 1710-13 in Martindale, Martic Twp, Lancaster County, PA. Jacob and Ann had a son, Jacob, born about 1712-14 in Martindale, as well as daughters Susannah and Mary born in Lampeter Twp, Lancaster County, PA. There is a Soudersburg in southwest Lancaster County, but it is a few miles south of Lampeter Twp., although closer to Martic Township. Others say all this happened in Franconia Twp, Montgomery County, PA, or even Bucks County, PA (just a little farther northeast). There is a Souderton in Franconia Twp which was first settled by immigrant Welsh, but they were followed by German Mennonites beginning around 1719, and by 1750 the Germans held most of the land. The town was eventually named for one of its pioneer settlers, Henry O. Souder. This ‘Henry’ wasn’t born until 1807, however, and he died in Pennsylvania, so I think this is a false lead. There are Sowder/Sowter/Souder/Sauter ‘spores’ in four Pennsylvania Counties: (East to West) Bucks, Montgomery, Berks, and Lancaster. They lay like a large capital ‘L’ lying on its front, with the top in the East and the end of the ‘leg’ in the Southwest.

Dale Sowders (http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/s/o/w/DALE-E-SOWDER/GENE2-0001.html ) claims the daughter ‘Mary’ (in Marilyn’s email above) became the wife of John Rohrer (AKA Johannes Roer) instead of John Sowders (unless he assumed his wife’s surname). Other family trees have Roher (Roer) marrying Maria Graff in Cungfeld, Mannheim, Württemberg, and then having a daughter Mary in PA. Stover’s 1733 grant was for two 5,000 acre tracts up the South Fork of the Shenandoah at Massanutten Mountain between modern New Market and Luray, and it was part of a huge Spotsylvania County in 1733. I have found a Rockingham County record that confirms that Henry Sowter bought 300 acres from Jacob Stover on the south side of the Shenandoah River near Massanutten Creek dated 16 Dec 1735 (That is supposed to be five miles west of Luray Cave.); however, he appears to have sold that same acreage to Ludwig Stine on September 26, 1736. (Wayland, John Walter. A History of Rockingham County, VA. pp 40-41) Was this the same 300 acres that the family first settled (that was entered 15 Dec. 1735, according to Jim Souders) or a subsequent acquisition? The Sowter (Sowder/Sowers/Souders) family may have pulled back to the Winchester area or even Frederick, MD for a time. Perhaps Jacob (I) never left Pennsylvania or returned after giving Virginia a try. There’s a 1733 will of a Jacob Sowder that was probated in 1737 in Pennsylvania; many believe this was Jacob (I). The legend is that Jacob (II) married Ann (last name unknown) about 1732 in Virginia, and Jacob III was born shortly thereafter in 1734. Another child, John, was probably born in 1737, but after that Jacob II seems to disappear. Some family trees show Maria Groff marrying a Johann Jacob Sauter/Souder in Württemberg about 1710 and then coming to PA. Most family trees indicate a son John, and a few show Jacob, both born in Germany. In fact, if you look at undocumented family trees long enough, you can find almost any kind of scramble.


Let us suppose that Jacob Sowder III, son of a Mennonite (Anabaptist? Reformed?) Jacob II, was born about 1734 in Southern PA, Western VA, or even Frederick, MD, along the migration route of pioneer frontiersmen through the Shenandoah Valley that runs between the Blue Ridge on the East and the Appalachians on the West. The alternative is that the Sowder family in Pennsylvania and the one in Massanutten, Virginia, are different persons. If the movement began in Montgomery County, PA, then it’s only about 100 miles SW to Frederick, MD (Lancaster County, PA would be 40 Mi. closer), and then another 80 miles SW to just east of New Market where the first records of Henry and Jacob Sowder in VA indicate they settled.

Jacob II would have been in his early twenties in 1735, and he may have lacked the resources of Henry to purchase land. The actual relationship to Henry Sowder is unknown, but a relationship is probable. It’s also probable that they all came from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania because of the presence of John Funk and, later, Mathias Selzer in the Massanutten settlement; neighbors tended to migrate together and both were from Lancaster.

The settlement of the Shenandoah Valley was north to south, because the Blue Ridge precluded travel with wagons upon which the pioneers depended. In a short time this ancient Native American pathway became the ‘Great Wagon Road’ as more immigrants followed in the footsteps of the first settlers. The interior valleys were good for corn, wheat, and livestock, but they were not suitable for the plantation system. Consequently, there was limited interest from the seaboard and few slaves. This area was first opened to settlement in 1719, and Jacob Stöver (Stauber) was one of the first to attempt to exploit it. Jim Souders claims that, failing to get the Virginia Governor’s support; Stöver went to London and put his case before King George II, indicating that he had already settled many families on the Shenandoah. He came back with a grant for 5,000 acres to be called “Massanutten,” a hundred miles from the nearest town. (Massanutten Mountain is about ten miles northeast of today’s Harrisonburg.) Henry Sowter (Sowder/Sauter) bought 300 acres of this grant on the South Fork of the Shenandoah, entered 15 Dec 1735, but Sowter may have had possession of this land for years prior to its registration. Perhaps he and Jacob worked it together, or Jacob may have been a squatter nearby -- or other pertinent records could have been lost or destroyed. The location of this farm was about 5 miles East of New Market, VA. It appears that Henry may have sold this same farm a year later.

Stöver (Stauber), a Swiss, was something of a ‘wheeler-dealer’. There are some claims that he may have sold land he didn’t own yet. It is likely the settlement of Massanutten Colony began 1729-1730. It’s also possible that the Sowders didn’t actually arrive in the colony until after 1733. A Swiss, Stöver would have had some credibility with the Groffs, and he likely ‘recruited’ settlers in the Lampeter, Martic, Conestoga, PA, area from among the Mennonites living there. Certainly, there were both Mennonites and settlers from the Lancaster area.

There are lots of records for “Sowers” from Winchester down to the Christiansburg area, if we can believe it’s mostly the same family with different spellings. There were serious Indian troubles west of the Blue Ridge from 1750 through the 1760’s, which may have driven the family farther south and into the hills where the later records exist. Starting around 1735, about 100,000 mostly German and Scotch-Irish settlers pushed down the Shenandoah Valley successively farther until the trail split at Roanoke, some moving south to Salem, NC, and others continuing west into TN, KY, OH, IN, and IL -- there are Souders in all these places too.

The Massanutten settlers were described by various missionaries. The Moravians (Perhaps they could be called an 18th century version of the Jehovah’s Witnesses because it’s said that they even left scripture messages carved on trees for Indians.) visited twice. A pair of Lutherans passed through, and a German Reformed pastor also came. In 1748, Rev. Michael Schlatter came into the Shenandoah Valley on behalf of the German Reformed Church. He stopped at the Reformed Church in Winchester and continued on into Rockingham County. He was generally impressed with what he saw and hoped to return. In 1748, two Lutherans also came to the Shenandoah Valley and spoke poorly of the settlers at Massanutten. “Germans of all denominations live (there) – Mennonites, Lutherans, Separatists, and Inspirationists (Pietists?) … Brother Joseph spoke to some of them, but they are a very bad people. It is a dead place where their testimony found no entrance.” The Moravians weren’t complimentary either. Their first visit was in 1743, and they were threatened with arrest because they weren’t licensed in New Market. They commented that both Reformed and Lutherans shared the same church. Of the Massanutten colony, they claimed, “Many Germans lived there, most of them are (Mennonites) who are in a bad condition. Nearly all religious earnestness and zeal is extinguished among them.” The Lutherans and Reformed were visited occasionally by Rev. Klug from East of the Blue Ridge. “They do not want to hear the preaching of the Brethren.” Their local leader, Mathias Selzer (formerly of Lancaster), was rich and respected, and he was “a bitter enemy of the Brethren.”  In 1749, another pair of Moravians described their travels in the Shenandoah Valley. “On Dec. 6th we came to (Massanutten). We stayed with Philip Lung, who had his own religion. I intended to preach, but he would not let me have his house, assuring us that none would come since Rev. Mr. Klug had warned the people to be on their guard against us. We had soon an opportunity to see how bitter the people were against us. Hence we concluded to leave…” Later, after going north around Strasburg, VA, they stayed overnight with Caspar Funk and his four sons. Four years later, another group of Moravian travelers mention staying at “Justice Funk’s Mill at the lower end of Strasburg…one of the first in the valley.” They stayed the next night with a Mennonite who was drunk. (Wayland, History of Shenandoah Valley, p 80-92)

Note: Philip Lung (Lang/Long) was one of the Massanutten pioneers, along with Jacob and Henry Sowder and John Funk. Lung was probably a Mennonite or possibly a Lutheran. A descendant of Lung’s became the wife of Missouri’s Governor and Civil War General, Sterling Price. Caspar Funk may be one of the Funks from Lancaster County, PA. Reverend Klug was a Lutheran Minister residing in Madison County, and he occasionally rode over the mountains to provide pastoral care for Germans who lived in the Shenandoah Valley. Pastor Klug was supplied with a parsonage and seven slaves to do the work in the fields. It’s also recorded that he drank too much alcohol.

To further muddy the picture, Thomas Kemp Cartmell in Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and their Descendants (p.445) describes pioneers to the parts of Frederick County now in Clarke and Warren Counties, (several coming when it was part of Spotsylvania, later Orange, County). “They were known for many years as the English immigrants. This is misleading; for though they were shipped from the English coast, the emigrant ships carried families of every nationality. We find in those lists, Germans such as Sowers …. … the pioneer … Jacob Sowers … is found on the land in 1737 where Winchester Village arose.” (The Ball family tree and some others give 1712 /14 to 1737 as Jacob Sowder’s (II) lifespan.)

There is more about Jacob Sowers in Cartmell’s discussion of the German Reformed Church, which was known in local records as “Reformed Calvinist Congregation.” The church records themselves identify the group as the “Reformed Calvinist Ministry” from the Palatinate in Germany. They held first services in 1743. Apparently they used the same church as the Presbyterians (who settled in 1736) and Quakers. In 1753 they built their own “Reformed Calvinist” church on land secured from Lord Fairfax. The church trustees were “Philip Bush, Daniel Bush, Henry Brinker, Jacob Sowers, and Frederick Conrad.” The log church was built on lots 82 and 83 in the “addition to the town of Winchester” – that is in the eastern part bounded by Philpot Lane and East Lane. (Cartmell, 197-198) This may indicate that Jacob I was still alive in 1753 (age 65), and it’s possible that Jacob II (age 41) was also. If they were, it’s also likely that they continued procreating, and that might help explain the profusion of Sowers, Souder, Sowder families in western Virginia. Still, in this instance, I’ve come to believe ‘Sowers’ is a corruption of ‘Sauer.’ A Jacob Sauer, born 1696 in Germany, settled in Winchester. He and his wife had at least five children: John, Daniel, Jacob, Elizabeth, and Susanna. A will for Jacob Sowers in Frederick County, VA, is dated 1785. There is a Michael Sowers mentioned as well, probably a grandson, and this Michael wed Ann Gibson in 1812 in Orange County, VA. The similarity of the names, combined with the atrocious spelling practices of the day compound the problem of tracing the family.

Note: Prior to the American Revolution, only the Church of England (Episcopal) or one of the few other licensed ministers could legally sanctify a marriage in Virginia, and that wasn’t changed until 1784. Marriages outside these churches might be recorded in a Bible or a dissenting Church’s records. The Church of England and the Virginia legislature vigorously prosecuted dissenters, i.e., Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, etc. In the 1760’s, dissenting preachers were arrested by the scores, often for “disturbing the peace,” an offense that was very broadly defined by colonial law. The laws vesting public property in the Episcopal Church continued in force until repealed in 1794. However, the force of law was weakened across the Blue Ridge, and dissenters were largely free to proselytize. Methodists became the most successful, followed closely by Baptists, but the Old German Baptist Brethren were among the first settlers of what became Floyd County, VA, and the New River Valley to the southwest.

Jacob Sowder (III) (b. 1734, possibly in VA, PA, MD, Palatinate or in-between?) had up to 16 children from two wives, (our ancestor, Christian Souders, Senior, came from the first wife, Elizabeth). My uncle, Clarence Sowders, wrote that Jacob fought in the American Revolution with the 4th Virginia Continental Infantry (Gen. Scott’s Brigade). That is confirmed by the DAR Patriot Index and Virginia Military Records, which show his rate of pay as 6.67 dollars per month and an inventory of clothing and equipment. He was stationed at Valley Forge, PA, and White Plains in New York. The story goes that Jacob and a neighbor were ‘enraged’ by British soldiers who trespassed on their land, and that prompted his enlistment on March 6, 1778, which would mean he missed the worst of the Valley Forge experience because the weather began to improve in February, 1778. There was a “Scott’s Brigade” mentioned by General Washington in his reports at Valley Forge during the summer of 1778. They were among those trained by Baron Von Steuben. John Slaven, who served in Scott’s Brigade, claims they fought at Brandywine, Germantown, and White Plains. It’s possible that Jacob may have mustered out in Feb.1779, after Scott’s Brigade returned to Virginia, but he might have reenlisted or joined the militia.

Near the end of the Revolutionary War, Scott’s Brigade and the 4th Regiment were included in the surrender of 5500 Colonials by General Lincoln at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1780. The 4th Regiment had been consolidated with the 2nd Regiment and assigned to Woodford’s Brigade. A handful of the Virginians escaped and returned home under the leadership of Captain Alexander Parker. Others were with Col Abraham Buford when he surrendered at Waxhaws, South Carolina, and were present when Tarleton’s dragoons massacred a hundred men who were trying to surrender. Scott went on to fight beside “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion. Jacob’s personal experience in all this has been lost in time, but since enlistments were for various durations, he may have been in some part of the South Carolina debacle. At the least, he knew those who were. Near the end of the War, militia from Southwest Virginia, where Jacob lived, joined other frontiersmen from southeast Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee to defeat the eastern wing of Cornwallis’ army at King’s Mountain in western NC. Over 150 Redcoats were killed, 800 captured, and twenty-five Tories hanged. Although Congress provided a pension for Revolutionary War veterans in 1818, Jacob would not have qualified because he was a landowner.

Jacob Sowder was buried on his farm at Copper Hill, VA, during 1819 in an unmarked grave. (That’s about twenty miles East of Christiansburg, VA or 15 miles SW of Roanoke, VA) The presumption is that he moved farther up into the hills to avoid Indian troubles. Copper Hill is located on US Highway 221; the highway continues SW into North Carolina and then Tennessee, almost to Greeneville. The land west of Copper Hill is rough; some of it is not arable. Pine Run drains to the west. This area is best suited for livestock grazing. Only a small part of the land on the eastern plateau of Floyd County was suitable for the production of tobacco, and there were a couple of small plantations that employed seven to twelve slaves in the early1800’s.

There is some information about what happened to Michael Sowder (Sowers) and the relatives who remained in Copper Hill. Jim Souder reports that Michael Sowder’s descendants claimed that his wife recalled that Jacob III spoke of his Revolutionary War service. Michael married Elizabeth McNeeley on 6 March 1805. She and Michael lived in Montgomery County, VA, until she died on 28 May 1859. Michael was the executor of Jacob Sowder’s (III) will filed in Montgomery County, 25 Nov 1818 (Michael’s older brothers Jacob, Christian, and Adam had already left Virginia for Tennessee, while Anthony had been sold the Little River farm for a dollar). When Floyd County (named in honor of VA Governor John Floyd) was formed in 1831, tax records don’t show Michael, but they do list the following: 1831 Floyd County Tax List White Tithes - Black child - Blacks 16+ Horses Tax Sowers, Jacob 1 2 .12 Sowers, William, Jun. 1 1 .06 Sowers, Henry 1 2 .12 Sowers, John 1 2 .12 Sowers, William 1 1 .06 Sowers, George 1 3 .18 Sowers, John 1 4 .24 Sowers, Henry E. 3 3 .18 Sowder, Daniel 1 2 .12 Note: None of the Sowers/Sowder shown were slave owners, but just under ten percent of those on the tax list were. Only 1 percent of those on the County Tax List owned five or more slaves. The 1836 Mortality Schedule showed John Sowers died in April, 1836. The largest church denomination was the Old German Baptist Brethren (called ‘Dunkards’), whose churches outnumbered the American Baptists and Methodists, but these were growing rapidly.


The US Census of 1850 shows Michael Sowder (age 70) and his wife Elizabeth (age 67) still with Lucinda (age 31), Adam (age 22) and Joseph (age 11, a grandson?) living at home. The 1860 U. S. Census for Floyd County, VA, shows there were twenty-one households headed by a ‘Sowers’ and two headed by a ‘Sowder.’ There were three ‘Sowers’ living in other households, and Catherine Sowers, age 80, was a pauper living in the Poor House. Most were farmers, but three were shoemakers, one was a wheelwright, and Hannah, wife of B. W. Sowers, (born in Westminster, England?) was a school teacher. The 1860 Floyd County Mortality Schedule shows that Floyd Sowder, aged 3, died of croup in March, and Catherine Sowder, aged 75, died of old age in July. In 1855, Michael and Elizabeth Sowder’s son, James, died of piles at the age of 46 in Raleigh County, VA. His wife, Cynthia, followed in 1857 at age 42 from consumption. Her parents were listed as Elias & Phebe/Phoebe Sowder.


During the Civil War, Floyd County experienced considerable conflict between Confederate Home Guards and Unionists. …”Numerous Floyd inhabitants were Unionists, and they openly and actively participated in action defined as disloyal to the Virginia and Confederate governments. Many county residents eventually became war weary and apathetic in their commitment to the Southern cause, displaying disloyalty to the Confederacy by not actively supporting it. Hundreds of Floyd residents, the relatives or friends of county soldiers, engaged in disloyal activity by supporting the men when they deserted and returned to the county. … This community-wide turmoil deepened throughout the Civil War and eventually resulted in the collapse of Floyd County as a useful or positive portion of the Confederate homefront. … The resultant indigenous strife led to widespread local eruptions of intimidation, brutality, and even homicide. The discord and violence between county inhabitants with opposing loyalty postures eventually also elicited a series of actions initiated at the highest levels of the Confederate and Virginia governments against Floyd residents they deemed disloyal.” During 1864, Confederate detectives were told that most (probably an exaggeration) of the county’s residents were members of a secret Unionist Society, Heroes of America. (Dotson, Paul Randolph. Sisson’s Kingdom, Loyalty Divisions in Floyd County, Virginia, 1861-1865. Masters’ Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Sate University, 1 May 1997 p 1-2)

Note: Jacob Sowder III had a son Antony (1790-1863) whose son Jacob Sowder (1819-1862) was killed serving in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Jacob’s grandson ‘James’, son of Michael, was killed near Richmond in 1862. Louis Sowder was ordered to active duty (CSA) from the Roanoke area in 1864, but the actual relationship is unknown. According to Rockingham County Death Schedules, another grandson, Jacob Sowder, aged 27, died of burns on 6 Feb. 1858; he was the son of D. (Daniel) and Martha Sowder. Jim Souder discovered Michael Sowders’ Death Certificate (filed at the Montgomery County, VA, Courthouse in Christiansburg) indicating he died at Elliot’s Creek on 19 June 1868 at the age of one hundred.

Probable Timeline for Jacob Sowder III: 1734 born in VA, possibly New Market area

                    1737 	Possible death of grandfather in PA (Jacob I born 1688); family may have moved north, maybe Winchester or Frederick, MD. Also possible death of Jacob II.

1754-5 married Elizabeth in Frederick, MD (likely that Elizabeth was from Frederick, MD)

                   1755-60  Adam (Addam) born in Frederick, MD (married to Elizabeth McFarland; died 		    21  March 1840, probably in TN. Daughter, Catherine Owens died 1855 in KY)	                 

1757 Jacob, Jr. born in Frederick, MD (died 31 Jan 1851, Scott Co., TN) 1759-65 Christian, Sr. born in Frederick, MD; (died in Washington Co. IN 1823)* 1763 Mary born in Frederick, MD (called Polly; married Jesse DeWeese and went to KY. 1768 Michael born in Frederick, MD (died 1868 in Montgomery-Floyd Co, VA) 1773 ?? **Adam Frederick born in Frederick, MD. (died in Pekin, IN 1843) ** 1776 moved to Montgomery County, VA 1778-79 4th VA Regt, Revolutionary War - Valley Forge, PA & White Plains, NY.

                    1783	Barbara born in Montgomery Co. VA (called Barbary; married Josiah Beckett; died 16 Apr 1857 in Albany, KY)
                    1785	Acquired 110 acres in Botetourt County
                    1787	Elizabeth (daughter) born in Montgomery Co. VA (called Betsy; married George Bond). First wife, Elizabeth, died about 1787 on Hoff farm in Montgomery County, VA. 
                   1788	Married Anna Prillaman in Franklin Co. VA
                   1789	Daniel born in Franklin Co. VA (born on Christmas Day; married Martha in KY; died in VA) 
                   1790	Anthony born in Franklin Co. VA (died 20 Nov 1853 at Copper Hill, VA)
                   1794	Sarah born in Franklin County, VA (called Sally; married Henry Poff). There is a village of Poff a few miles south of the Sowers Village on the Christiansburg Pike Road north of Floyd.
                   1796	Anna P. born in Franklin Co. VA (married Josiah Terry; died 1844)
                   1789	Granted 140 acres at 15 shillings per 100 from VA Commonwealth in Botetourt County (later Floyd) on the head of Little River.
                   1790?	Bought 116 acres on Little River from Moses Brown.
                   1798	Acquired 170 acres on South Fork of Roanoke River in Botetourt County.
                   1799	Bought 200 acres on Pine Run Branch of Little River from Humphrey Smith for $100. I think this is the Copper Hill property. There may be more than one “Pine Run.” Probably it drains south into the Little River which runs into the New River near Claytor Lake. There is even a village named ‘Sowers’ a few miles north of Floyd,VA, and a few miles east of VA Hwy 8. Another, less likely: “Pine Run flows southward into the New River, almost opposite Little Reed Island Creek, in what is now Wythe County. Close by are the Lead Mines, upstream on the north side of the New River between the mouths of Cripple and Mine Mill Creeks.” (Schreiner-Yantis, N. Montgomery County, Virginia -circa 1790. 1972)
                   1800 	Catherine born in Montgomery Co. VA (called Caty; married Richard Sumpter and/or Matthew Owen according to another account); d. 1879) 
                   1802	Cina (Chinea) born Franklin Co. VA (married Shadrack “Shade” Barnes and/or James Marsee according to another account)
                   1803	John P. born in Franklin Co. VA (died 1864 at Daniel’s Run, Calloway Co. VA)
                   1807	Rebecca (Rebekka) born in Franklin Co. VA (married Cary Gray 6 Jan 1829)
                   1808	Joseph born in Franklin Co., VA. (d. 1863)
                   1815	Sold 140 acres on the head of Little River to his son Anthony for $1.00 (according to Jim Souder)
                   1816	Acquired 181 acres on Little River
                   1818 	Last Will, Nov. 25th in Montgomery County
                   1819	Jacob died, and Michael inherits the Copper Hill Farm.
  • Christian Souders, Sr., is my ggg grandfather.
    • Not mentioned in Jacob’s will of 1818. This may be a bogus descendant, erroneously attributed to Jacob by some researchers, or perhaps a grandson.

It’s puzzling to understand Jacob’s thinking in the 1818 will. Most offspring received only one dollar, standard practice to avoid challenge by someone with a claim who could say he or she was overlooked. One dollar recipients were: Adam, Jacob, Christian, Polly (DeWeese), Barbary (Beckett), Anthony, Sally (Poff), Anna (Terry), and Caty (later Sumpter). Michael received $50, and Betsey (Bond) received L.10 (which would be about $50) only after the death of Jacob’s wife, Anna. These last two were the only children of his first wife, Elizabeth, to receive a bequest of any significance, and Michael was to be the Executor of the will along with Jacob’s wife, Anna. $100 was bequeathed immediately to Cina (later Barnes) and Rebeckah (later Gray), and $200 was designated for Daniel, John, and Joseph. Generally, it is the younger children that receive the larger cash sums. Anthony would be the exception; however, Jacob had effectively ‘given’ him the Little River farm in 1815. Not all the younger children were remembered by substantial bequests though. Caty, only 19 at Jacob’s death, received a dollar, while her sisters Cina (age 17) and Rebeckah (age 12) received $100 (perhaps because they weren’t yet married, but neither was Caty at the time of the will). Joseph (aged 10 at the writing of the will) and John (aged 15) were provided for in the same amount as Daniel (aged 29). Granted that Adam (Addam), Jacob, and Christian had gone west and Polly, Barbary, Anna, and Sally were married, it still seems strange that Caty was ‘disinherited.’ Michael, as the elder son in the local area, makes sense as the executor and effective inheritor of the Copper Hill Farm. Perhaps Caty was ‘engaged,’ and Jacob knew she would be secure.

Christian Souders (Sr.), born 1765 in Fredrick, MD, moved to Greene County, TN, somewhere along Caney and Lick Creeks, between 1790 and 1798 (based on birth records of children). The first permanent settlers in Greene County arrived about 1788, after the defeat of the Cherokee and allies, and by 1790, most of the land along Lick Creek and the Nolachucky River was taken. Some of these early settlers were ardent supporters of the proposed state of Frankland, later renamed Franklin to solicit support from America’s elder statesman. Christian’s third son (6th child and my Great, Great Grandfather), Christian Souders (Jr.), was born in Greene County, TN, 6 May 1808. Jim Souder reports that Christian (Sr) jointly owned 200 acres with Frederick Souders and that they were engaged in frequent litigations in the local court.

Greene County, TN, is the southern part of a region including the valleys created by the Holston and Clinch Rivers in the Cumberland and Appalachian mountains. This rugged territory was a refuge for frontier families before and after the War of Independence. Near Greeneville is the birth place of Davy Crockett (1786-1836); he would have been a small farmer just starting his family when the Souders family lived there, although he was already well-known as a marksman at county fairs and other shooting competitions. Greene County’s other celebrity was Andrew Johnson, a tailor who went into politics, finally becoming a Union General, a Senator, and Lincoln’s Vice President and successor. Arriving in Greeneville in 1826 (after Christian Souders left the area), Andrew Johnson often debated the issues of the day with residents and visitors.

Greeneville and Greene County has an interesting history as the abortive state of Franklin. The State of Franklin was set up in 1784 out of the western portion of the colonial state of North Carolina. Shortly after the War of Independence, the original colonies were asked to pay for the war efforts in order to create a country with a sound financial policy. Since taxing the population was difficult and cash was in short supply, North Carolina ceded the western portion of the state to the federal coffers. Before the Congress could accept, North Carolina withdrew the offer. The citizens of the region decided that federal rule in the meantime was probably a good idea since North Carolina had given this remote region little support in its fight with the Indians or protection from criminal refugees. They saw other benefits as an independent state in terms of taxation, representation and an understanding attitude toward local problems. Representatives voted to secede from North Carolina and try for statehood. Their first attempt at a constitution forbade lawyers and preachers from elective office. However, the statehood effort failed to get the necessary two-thirds support in Congress. The state of “Franklin” existed for only four years in a comic opera of disputes and battles with North Carolina and finally merged with the new state of Tennessee. Note: In Eastern Tennessee, about the time Christian Souders, Sr., got there, currency was rare. Sometimes foreign money was used to settle debts (e.g., Spanish Dollars), or frequently, corn, tobacco, brandy, and skins were used as money.

The Souders family carried perceptions about secession away from Greeneville, just as they had to have been involved in discussions about slavery and church doctrines. About 1790, a large number of Quakers began to come into the county from Pennsylvania and North Carolina. A church house was erected on Lick Creek at an early date. While a few of these Quakers were slave-holders, the great majority was opposed to the institution of slavery, and it was among those Quakers that the first society for the abolition of Negro slavery in America originated. The first branch of the Tennessee Manumission Society was organized at Lost Creek Meeting-house in neighboring Jefferson County, TN, on February 25, 1815. The second annual convention was held on the 19th and 20th of November, 1816, at Greeneville, TN.

The first Methodist society in the State was organized in Greene County. The first Methodist church building was erected prior to 1795 (It was called Ebenezer), and in that year the Western Conference held its annual meeting there. For several years this church seems to have been a favorite meeting place of the conference, convening there in 1801, 1805, 1807 and 1822. One of the largest camp-grounds ever built in the Holston Conference was erected about one and one-half miles from Ebenezer. Evangelical sessions there were very popular. The Methodist tradition played a significant role in the settlement of Missouri. The first Baptist Church in the county was organized in 1793 or 1794 on Lick Creek. Greeneville College, the first college in the State, was incorporated in 1794.

The earliest Presbyterian Church in Greenville had a large congregation drawn from a ten mile radius. In 1796, after the return of Dr. Balch (of Greeneville College) from his fundraising trip to New England, he began to advocate the Hopkinsian doctrines. (Hopkins's theological views had considerable influence in 19th century America. Though Hopkins was originally a slave owner, he was the first among the Congregational ministers of New England to denounce slavery.) This produced a schism in the church, and after a long contest before the Presbyterian Synod and general assembly, the faction opposing Dr. Balch withdrew and organized into a separate congregation with Rev. James Witherspoon as pastor, under the old name of Mount Bethel.

Christian Souders, Sr., moved the family near Pekin in Washington County, Indiana, about 1816 and died there in 1823. The Census of 1820 shows Christian, Frederick, and John Souders living in Washington County with their families. The family name is spelled as Souders. There is no record of why the traditional Sowder spelling was abandoned. There’s also no record of why they moved to Indiana, but East Tennessee soils were poor. Terrain restricted commerce. Severe winters inhibited industry during the winter months. The demise of the Bank of the United States in 1811 tripled the number of state banks that issued cheap paper dollars, and the money supply doubled in five years. The rampant inflation that followed meant debtors could pay off obligations with dollars worth less than those they borrowed. The War of 1812 had left the nation with huge debts, and government land sales were encouraged as revenue. Crop prices rose sharply during the Napoleonic Wars. Profits were available for those who could produce and get the crop to market, a big problem in the East Tennessee Mountains where roads were scarce and streams not navigable. One resident, thinking of moving west, wrote “the enterprise, prospect of wealth, and comparative ease of living in (Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri) … seems inviting to us of poor East Tennessee where we are barely living, without prospect of growing speedily rich.” (Hsiung, David. Two Worlds in the Tennessee Mountains. p. 99-100) Jim Souders jests that the Souders perhaps were motivated to avoid the many lawsuits that concerned them in Greeneville Court.

Indiana achieved statehood in 1816, and the Souders were among the first residents. Even so, the land speculators always preceded the settlers and snapped up the very best parcels. These were boom times in Indiana, as the population soared and prices rose. But, it’s also likely that the economic conditions of the Panic of 1837 (Bank failures, crop and land market deflation) had more than a little influence on their next move, when parts of the family continued their westward migration. It’s possible that inability to service debt left them little choice. If they had borrowed substantially to take advantage of the boom times, they would be unable to repay their loans when the economy bottomed. Christian Souders (Jr.) pushed on to Missouri in 1839, according to family tradition. In some ways, that was unfortunate because the rolling hills and prairies of Southern Indiana were more productive than the Ozark Plateau.

Jim Souder describes the substance of Christian Souders’, Sr., will. It was filed on 13 Jan 1823 in Washington County under the name Christley Souders. His son Jacob received cloth for a coat; Sally, Betsy, and Rachel each received $2; his three youngest daughters (unnamed: Nancy, Polly, and ?) each got a cow and a bed; and his youngest sons (John, Christian, and Frederick) were bequeathed his property upon the death of their mother. John and Christian, Jr., signed a quit claim in favor of Frederick on 16 March 1839 before leaving for Missouri.

It’s possible that Christian Jr. (often called ‘Chrisley’), may have had a twin brother Frederick. Frederick’s birth dates are not clear; he was either a twin or the next younger sibling. Frederick moved to Washington County, IN, with the family, but he didn’t come to Missouri. After Christian Sr’s death, Frederick moved with his mother to Hendricks County, Indiana, and then settled in Freedom, Wisconsin, where he died on Christmas day 1852. There remain pockets of Souders in PA, VA, KY, TN, NC, IN, and MO, wherever the family stayed a while before pushing on to greener pastures.

Rachel (Tesch/Tash) Souders was also of mostly German stock. After her Great Grandparents immigrated from Rheinpfalz-Rheinhessen (Palatinate), they went first to York, PA, but then moved on to Emmaus (about 5 miles SW of Allentown). Adam and Heinrich Peter Tesch, sons of Johann Peter Tesch (born 1683 in Külz-died 1753) and his wife, Maria Elisabeth Müller (1685-1753) arrived in Philadelphia, Pa, on 23 Oct 1753 aboard the Rawley (Bawley?) from Rotterdam out of Plymouth. Adam died soon, but Heinrich Peter Tesch joined the German Lutherans and Reformed congregants that had relocated to Emmaus to gain access to an ordained pastor from the Moravian Church at Bethlehem. After these German settlers had erected a log church and school and the congregation had grown to 43 families, the Moravian Brethren provided its first minister in 1747. Heinrich Peter Tesch married Anna Margaretha Jaeger at Emmaus in 1754. By 1757, Emmaus had become a closed congregational village regulated by the Moravian Church. In 1771, Heinrich Peter and Anna Margaretha Tesch moved to the new Moravian settlement at Friedberg, North Carolina, where they died, age 70 and 74 respectively. Their son, Adam (2 Feb 1757-13 Aug 1819) married Rosina Ebert (11 Dec 1857-10 Feb 1831) on 24 March 1779, and it was their son, Jacob Tesch (2 Feb 1790-13Apr 1881), who became the father of my Great-Great Grandmother Rachel (Tesch) Souders. Her mother was Mary Stanley (1793-1834), daughter of Thomas Stanley and Rachel (Hanes) Stanley. Mary Stanley and Jacob Tesch were married 27 Jan 1812 in North Carolina, and they later left the Moravian community and settled in Indiana, undoubtedly by way of Tennessee. It is likely that Jacob Tesch, reared in the Moravian community, provided the deep legacy of Pietism, passed through his daughter, which was exhibited in the life of Great Grandfather, Jacob Souders.


Notes: Emmaus was first settled in the 1740’s as Maguntsche by Lutheran and Reformed Germans in hope of receiving a dedicated pastor from the nearby Moravians at Bethlehem, since their own churches were unable to provide one. Its official establishment as Emmaus dates from 1759, and it remained a closed Moravian community until almost Civil War times. It was named for the biblical town of the same name where Jesus was reportedly seen by his disciples after the crucifixion, according to the Gospel of Luke.

(http://www.moravianchurcharchives.org/thismonth/09%20oct%20emmaus.pdf) 
 

Heinrich Peter Tesch was born in Külz, Palatinate, and Anna Margaretha Jaeger was born in Wetterau, Rheinhessen in 1730. Johann Peter Tesch is shown on the Militia Muster Rolls of Rowan and Surry Counties, in North Carolina, as required of all men aged 16-50. “Bishop Augustus Spangenberg led a party to survey a 100,000 acre tract of land in North Carolina, which came to be known as Wachau after an Austrian estate of Count Zinzendorf. The name, later anglicized to Wachovia, became the center of growth for the church in that region. Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem (now Winston-Salem) were the first Moravian settlements in North Carolina in the early 1750s.” The first settlers were about a dozen single men in Nov. 1753. “The road was poor, food was scarce, and river crossings with their loaded wagon were very difficult. By early November the weather was cold and rainy or even snowy, and near the end they were delayed for two days, unable to cross the flooded Dan River just south of the Virginia-North Carolina border. They finally reached their destination on the evening of November 17, taking shelter in a deserted cabin and celebrating their arrival with a Lovefeast (a shared simple meal with singing and prayer, a Moravian tradition). The wolves howled loudly outside.” Others followed shortly, including a group of 16 single women (with a married couple and the wife of an earlier settler) in 1766 that walked the entire distance from Pennsylvania, taking almost a complete month. Included among the names of these early settlers were Sauter, Gruner, and Hartman, but they do not appear to be members of our family. The Friedberg (or South Fork) Society was formed in 1771, and Heinrich Peter and Anna Margaretha Tesch were among the initial 28 settlers. (http://www.carolana.com/NC/Royal_Colony/nc_royal_colony_moravians.html) The original ‘Moravians’ were the followers of Jan Hus (1369-1415), a professor of philosophy and rector at the University of Prague. Hus led a protest against the abuses of the Roman Catholic clergy a century before Martin Luther. Hus advocated communion for the laity, marriage for clergy, reaching out for a common community of all Christians, as well as an end to Latin services and the sale of indulgences. Much of this harkened back to earlier times when Czechoslovakia was part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Hus believed that grace was achieved by faith alone, rather than good works, and he rejected the concept of Purgatory.

Initially, he received royal support, but soon the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy demanded retraction. He was tried for heresy, convicted, and burned at the stake July 6, 1415. By 1437, his adherents had founded the Moravian Church (Czechoslovakia is composed of two territories: Moravia and Bohemia). Within thirty years the Church had its own established clergy, and by 1517, its membership was about 200,000 in some 400 parishes. The Moravians had their own printing presses and published the Bible in the local dialect. By 1550, about 90% of Czechoslovakian lands were Protestant. An effort to reestablish Roman Catholic control led to a revolt led by Protestant aristocrats, but the rebels were defeated in 1671. Their leaders were executed or exiled, and a brutal counter-reformation began which persecuted both Protestants and the Czech language almost to extinction. Only the illiterate peasants continued to speak their native language; German became the language of the aristocracy and middle classes. Adherents of Hus were driven into hiding. In 1727, the Moravian Church began a renewal from the safe haven of Count Zingendorf’s estate in Saxony. This original group of thirty was able to reinvigorate the faithful, and by 1775, they had organized the first large scale missionary effort (using lay persons instead of clergy) and were proselytizing around the world, being particularly successful among native peoples. They had launched the first successful Moravian settlement in the US at Bethlehem in 1741. During the period of their suppression, the Moravians had developed distinctive beliefs. They were Pacifists in the affairs of men, but soldiers in the war against Satan. Faith demanded a daily battle against sin. While private property was accepted, Moravian settlements emphasized simplicity of lifestyle and communal living.

Rachel (Tesch) Souders had an equally strong religious tradition passed on to her from her mother’s side. Mary Standley was the granddaughter of Joseph Standley, a follower of Joseph Nichols. A posting on Ancestry.com (below) gives detailed information about the sect which settled about 25 miles east of Winston-Salem, NC at Deep River Township in Guilford County, NC, close to the Moravian settlements. Rachel’s youngest brother, David Tash, married Catherine Souders, and her sister, Martha Tash, married Isaac Hinkle and became Christian and Rachel Souder’s neighbors in Missouri.

“The Nicholite movement was founded by Joseph Nichols about 1760. Nichols lived in Delaware near the Maryland border. Nichols had not been a religious person and spent his free time partying with his friends. During one of these escapades, one of Nichols' best friends became ill and died. This experience so shook Nichols that he began preaching to his friends of the light that he had come to believe shown in the understanding of man and to obedience to an "Inward Director." The area in which Nichols and his friends lived was populated by Quakers. This movement was greatly influenced by and had many similarities to the Society of Friends. They may have taken a stand against slavery even before the Quakers did. They did not believe in paid ministers; all marriages, births, and deaths were to be recorded. Marriages were performed in the same manner as Quakers and marriage to an non-Nicholite would cause one to be disowned from the meeting. Nicholites, like Quakers, did not believe in fighting and suffered many hardships because of this belief during the Revolution. Nicholites even referred to each other as Friends and were often called by others "New Quakers." 

“One major difference between Quakers and Nicholites was evident however. While Quakers were great believers in education and operated schools for that purpose, Nicholites saw evil in too much education and seldom had their children taught beyond the ability to read and write. In fact, from the number of Nicholites who make marks instead of signing their name on documents preserved n the public records, it would seen that many of them lacked even this basic education. Woolman, Nicholites, apparently influenced by Quaker John Woolman believed in austerity and plainness to the extreme. They wore only undyed cloth, would not even mix natural colors of yarn in woven cloth, would not wear black leather or black their shoes. Their furniture was very simple and there were no flowers in their gardens. Whenever possible they would travel by foot.”

“Joseph Nichols died in December, 1770, after only a few years of his ministry. He was survived by his wife Mary who married Levin Charles and migrated to Guilford County, his son Isaac and one daughter. Nichols' followers did not scatter or disband after his death but instead, in December 1774, organized themselves into a monthly meeting to meet at the house of James Harriss. It was this James Harriss who assumed the leadership role among the Nicholites. Meetings were held in various members' houses and sometimes they attended meetings for worship at nearby Quaker meeting houses. By 1775, the Nicholites had three meeting houses of their own in the border area of Maryland and Delaware.” “In the 1770 's there was a migration of people into the Deep River section of Guilford County that has been completely overlooked by historians. These people belonged to an obscure sect known as Nicholites. They have been so overlooked that even their descendents do not even know of them.” Prominent families in the area who were Nicholites include the the family of Joseph Standley, father of Mary Standley. (http://www.fmoran.com/mdstand.html)

Rachel (Tash/Tesch) Souders’ recorded birth was 26 Nov 1810 in North Carolina, and she died 12 Oct 1877 in Oak Hill, MO. She married Christian Souders, Jr., in Washington County, IN, 24 June 1828. Since her parents' marriage wasn't recorded until 27 Jan 1812, some people have thought that Martha Row was her mother (thinking she was the first wife of Jacob Tesch). However, Mary Stanley was Jacob Tesch's first wife. Mary Stanley Tesch died in 1834 in Washington County, IN; Martha Row Tesch died in 1881 in Scott County, IN. Martha Row is indicated as moving from Washington County, IN, to Scott County, IN, with Jacob Tesch (her husband) and step son, David, about 1860-1870. David Tash/Tesch (the last child delivered of Mary Stanley Tesch in 1830) returned to Washington County and married Catherine Souders. Since Mary Stanley's parents were Nicholites, I anticipate she and Jacob were "married" by someone making an entry in the family Bible over in Guilford County, where the Standleys lived. If her parents were really strict about marrying outside the Nicholite community, they may have disowned her. In that case, Jacob and Mary may have "dropped out" for a while. The "official" marriage was done among the Moravians who seemed much more conscientious about such legalisms. Whatever records the Nicholites kept seem to have disappeared, along with the followers of the sect. Of course, her birth record might be erroneous. If she were really born in 1812, then there would be no issue. The 1850 Census indicated her age at 2 years younger than what was recorded otherwise, perhaps the census recorder got that date from her sister, Note: Jacob Tesch’s obituary (Salem Democrat, 4 May 1881) indicates he was a Baptist for about fifty years and that he never had any children with his second wife, Martha Roe/Row.

Dr. William H. Wroten, Jr., writing for the Salisbury Times, 11 Oct. 1963, states: "Forbidden by their ministry to acknowledge a "man-made ministry", the Nicholites adopted a marriage ceremony closely resembling that of the Quakers. The engaged couple, after receiving permission from the society, publicly exchanged vows without benefit of clergy, and all present at the ceremony were asked to sign the marriage certificate."

"THE NICHOLITES also showed their opposition to an employed ministry by objecting to the Maryland tax of that period for benefit of the clergy and Church of England. Dr. Carroll (Kenneth L. Carol, Professor of Religion at SMU) gives a good example of Nicholite opposition. "William Dawson, apparently something of a zealot, expressed himself vigorously against a "hireling ministry." As a result of his outspoken opposition to the 'priests' tax' he was arrested and suffered imprisonment in the Cambridge jail which was about 30 miles from the place where he lived ... Dawson's arrest soon became widely known, and the reason for his imprisonment was quickly noised around-so that great crowds gathered on the lawn outside the jail. Dawson had some of the apostolic zeal that marked Christians in the New Testament period. Always eager to make known his convictions, he took advantage of this opportunity to explain his principles and to exhort his listeners to follow his example. Finally the authorities felt it better to release him than have him preaching to multitudes through the windows of the jail." In many other ways the Nicholites were like the Quakers, and thus it was that they were often referred to as the "New Quakers." http://nabbhistory.salisbury.edu/resources/wroten/wroten_jnichols.html

There was even a Sowder-Turner Feud that took place on the Tennessee-Kentucky border during the 1870’s. For what it’s worth, the Souders’ supporters claim the Turners started it, and more Turners got shot than Souders. Apparently, “General Sowder” (born about 1859-61) was a ‘dead shot’ and not a man to be taken lightly. One old-timer recited a story that General killed twelve men, but assured his listener that General’s son said it was no more than six. There are at least two different versions of the beginning of the feud. One version is that General Sowder whipped a Turner in a fistfight after an accident with a crossbow. The Turner swore revenge, bought a Winchester rifle, but General Sowder had a Winchester too and killed Turner when he discovered him peeking out from ambush. The other version claims that General Sowder broke his wife’s thumb while the two were wrestling around, and the Turner’s (relatives of the wife) thought he was abusing her, therefore the grounds for the feud. General Sowder also blew away his two best friends when they came up unannounced and unexpected on his porch. General fired through the door, thinking his life was in danger. General Sowder was tried for murder and was acquitted; he died of natural causes in old age. After the coal companies came in and bought up the land, the feud seemed to wither away. The “feuding” General Sowders’ father was allegedly named Jacob Sowder, and he had an aunt named Nancy Sowder. Using Census and genealogical data, I discovered a link to the original Jacob III (b. 1734). Adam (Addam) Sowder (b. about 1760), son of Jacob Sowder III, moved to Claiborne, TN, and had a son named Jacob (b. 1786) and a daughter named Nancy (b. 1813, whose daughter ‘Nancy’ was born 1834). Jacob (b. 1786) and his wife Elizabeth McFarland had a son named Daniel (b. 1808), who married Nellie, and the 1850 Census for Claiborne, TN, showed a ‘Jacob’ Sowder, aged 14 living with Daniel (b. 1808) and Nelly Sowder (born 1810). Daniel Sowder was the grandson of Adam Sowder and great grandson of Jacob Sowder (I, b. 1734), and his son, Jacob, was born about 1835-36. The Census of 1870 for Claiborne, TN, shows a Jacob Souder (born 1835 in TN) and his wife “Biddy’ living with a son named ‘General’ Sowder, born in 1859, the great, great, great grandson of Jacob Sowder III (b. 1734).


The Tennessee Court of Pleas rendered a guilty verdict against Adam Sowder’s son, Jacob Sowder, in “May 1808: State vs. JACOB SOWDER in charge of "bastardy", child of Rachel McFarland; Jacob to pay $8/month. Nov 1807:” (http://www.geocities.com/~jdanielson/sow-court.htm) Mcfarland was the family name of Jacob’s mother, so his transgression was likely with a cousin. Adam had a son named Emmanuel and two grandsons with that name. Lonnie Fink submitted an article from the Mountain Echo (published by Laurel County Historical Society) ” July 7, 1899 CARVED WITH A KNIFE at Pittsburg, a few days ago Emanuel SOUDERS and Frank REED fell out over $2.00 which SOUDERS claimed that REED owed him, in which difficulty REED was considerably carved up and his recovery is doubtful.” Several Sowder descendants (including Adam’s son Emmanuel) served in the War of 1812 with Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky units. Christian Souders, Jr., had a brother John whose seventh son was named General Taylor Souders, born 1848 in Washington County, IN. I can locate the boy in the census of 1850-IN and 1860-MO, but not thereafter (there’s conflicting information about his death date: either 1870 or 1890 in Gasconade County, MO). It may be unrelated, but about 1869, the rest of the John Souders family (except his oldest son, William Harrison Souders) left Gasconade County for Ozark County and dropped the ‘s’ from the end of their name. Could this be a response to the trouble ‘back East’? It appears that some degree of contact was maintained with the portions of the family ‘back East’. Christian Souders (Jr.) [my great-great grandfather] moved with part of the Souders clan from Washington County Indiana about 1839 and settled first in North-central Gasconade County then later along Brush Creek (near Oak Hill) in Missouri. It’s likely that the Lockhart and Naugle families came with them. The three families continued to intermingle through marriages in both locations, and it was common for pioneer families to travel together when seeking better land and opportunities. Probably, economic conditions prompted the Souders family move to Missouri. The Panic of 1837 was preceded by a speculative land bubble fueled by paper bank notes, and crop failure in 1835. Farmers failed to meet interest payments to banks; bank reserves were weakened, credit was curtailed, and property values fell. President Jackson’s closing of the Bank of the United States and his demand for specie payments for government land led to contractions of the money supply. Almost half the banks in the U.S. failed. Indiana, having spent hugely on internal improvements (canals & roads) in the previous decade, was hit hard and defaulted on its debts. A deep five-year depression followed as money supply continued to contract. It is claimed that the price of wheat fell so low that steamboats on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers burned it for fuel. Nationwide, US Government land sales fell from $20 million in 1836 to $1 million in 1841. Solid recovery didn’t come until the discoveries of gold in California, 1848-49.

Regardless, other members of the Souders family in Indiana would also make the trek to Missouri over the next twenty years, but some have remained Hoosiers to the present day. Washington County’s most prominent citizen was John Hay, private secretary to President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Hay was born in Salem, Washington County, IN. During the Civil War, Confederate John Hunt Morgan’s raid on Salem was big news throughout the country in the summer of 1863. Most of the Souders’ men in Indiana were Union soldiers, but the womenfolk and children would have been affected when Morgan’s men burned the railroad depot, bridges, and looted the town. The Confederate cavalry extorted money from the town’s three mills, burned all the train and passenger cars at the depot, and stole about $500 from the citizens. Of the brief action at Salem, IN, Col. Basil W. Duke, Morgan's second-in-command and brother-in-law, later said: "They did not pillage with any sort of method or reason; it seemed to be a mania, senseless and purposeless. One man carried for two days a bird cage containing three canaries. Another rode with a huge chafing dish on the pommel of his saddle. Although the weather was intensely warm, another slung seven pairs of skates around his neck. I saw very few articles of real value taken; they pillaged like boys robbing an orchard."

The 1830’s were highlighted by the election of Andrew Jackson and the ascendancy of the Democrats. The U. S. then was a raw land of unusual personalities, illustrated by Martin Van Buren’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1836. Richard M Johnson of KY was denied the Vice Presidency in the Electoral College by electors who refused to follow state instructions because of Johnson’s notorious sexual affairs with slave women. The Vice Presidential contest was settled in the Senate by a vote of 33-16 for the hard-drinking Johnson, who responded by seducing the wives of four sitting legislators. In 1840, the Democrats refused to nominate anyone for Vice President, so Johnson ran as an independent. Both he and Van Buren were overwhelmed by the Whig candidate, Harrison. Harrison, a military hero and member of the planter elite, was celebrated by some perverse form of illogic as the ‘champion of the common man.’ Log Cabin Clubs sprang up all over the frontier, and liquor flowed freely during the rallies and parades for Harrison. Harrison, of course, did nothing to correct this man-of-the-people image. Van Buren had been born to a solidly middle-class Dutch farmer, tavern-keeper, and slave owner in New York. He spoke Dutch at home in his youth, but began the study of law as a teenager. He didn’t match the image of Jackson or that created for Harrison, and he was blamed for the hard economic times. “Van, Van….is a used up man” the newly enfranchised frontiersmen chanted. Cartoonists depicted him drinking champagne from crystal purchased by taxpayer dollars. Harrison was elected in a landslide victory, caught pneumonia at his inauguration, and died a few weeks after taking office . About 1839, Christian Souders (Jr) came to Missouri with his brothers Jacob and John, his sister Rachel Strain (b. 1800), his wife, also named Rachel (b. 1810 in NC – d. 1877 in MO), and all their families. It’s possible that Rachel and Barney Strain preceded the others. Barnot/Barnett (Barney) Strain, a native of Ireland, married Rachel Souders in 1819 during the family’s stay in Indiana. Many Strain descendants believe the family moved to Greene County, TN, before 1820 and began their association with the Souders there. In Western Franklin County, MO, there is a village called ‘Strain,’ and some of Barney Strain’s relatives may also have come to Missouri. For example, Joseph Strain established a grinding mill in Crocker, MO, about 1840. A daughter of the Strains, Roseanna Souders (married Christley Souders, son of Jacob & Sally), has a death certificate indicating birth in Sullivan, MO, in 1837. The Census of 1880 indicates that Missouri was the birthplace of another daughter of Rachel’s in 1832 (Rachel Strain Renick - married John E. Renick); however, errors by census takers and death certificate informants are not uncommon. Another of Rachel’s daughters, Betsy Strain Hamby, committed suicide by hanging. Rachel and Barney Strain are included in the Gasconade County, Brush Creek Township Census of 1860, but they must have died or moved before the 1870 Census because they are not included, perhaps victims of one of the frequent epidemics or bushwhackers.

John Strain, Barney and Rachel’s son, served as a corporal in Co. D, 55th EMM during 1862-63 and as corporal with Frazer’s Franklin County Company (PEMM) during Price’s invasion. He was ‘active’ from 30 Sept.-15 Nov. 1864. A John L. Strain, probably a cousin, served with Harris’ Washington County Company (PEMM) at Pilot Knob 14-29 Sept. 1864, during the battle there. Corporal Joseph Rennick served in the same PEMM Company as John Strain; however, Thomas Renick was a private in Co. G, 1st MO (Gordon’s) CSA Cavalry. He was reported AWOL 18 Oct 1863 and was captured by Union forces 1 Nov, 1863, at Waverly, MO. He was interned at Gratiot Military Prison, St Louis, on 17 Dec. 1863; recorded in hospital at Alton, IL, 15 Sept-3 Oct 1864 and returned to quarters, but no later records have been found. The Renick family came to MO from KY, and Jim Souders says Rachel Strain’s daughter Rachel married Thomas Renick (perhaps a first marriage); possibly he was the rebel soldier above.

One of the things that mother remembered learning about from her parents, John and Lena Souders (who heard it from John’s father Jacob), was how difficult the trip to Missouri was for the family. There were only rough trails that sometimes were more like paths, game was scarce, and at least one child (some say two, perhaps twins) died and was buried along the trail. Christian Souders, Jr., and his wife, Rachel Tash, had eight children that survived: Jacob (1828-1895); Henry b. 1832; Emily b. 1835; Sally or Polly b. 1840; Martha (c.1843-1912); Nancy Ellen (1844-1912); Rachel Ann (1846-1925); Sarah J.(1848-1913); and Isaac Newton Souders (1853-1913 --this last child’s name implying something about their values).

It isn’t clear how long the family took to get from Indiana to Gasconade/Crawford County, MO. William Souder (b. 1815, son of Jacob and Sally (Davis) Souders) is included in the 1840 Census for Gasconade County, but none of the others from the Souders clan are listed. Generally, it would be expected that they would leave after harvest, while the trails and weather were still good, so that they could get settled in the new location in time to get in a crop the next year. The Census was taken in the summer of 1840, so where were they? Perhaps they went to Franklin County with the Strains first. I also have seen a handwritten document that indicates Christian & Rachel’s daughter, Emily Souders, was born in Indiana in 1840. By the 1850 Census, the families of ‘Christley’ Souders (age 32? at the time), Jacob Souders, and Thomas Lockhart are counted in Bourbeuse Township, Gasconade County; however, only two persons are listed with Christley: a 28 year old female named ‘Kesiah’ Souders and a 29 year old male named ‘Wm.’ Jacob Souders and Sally Davis had a son “Christley” whose first wife was “Kissiah Hamby,” and Christley should have been about 25-30 at the time of the 1850 Census. William was another son of Jacob and Sally. What happened to Christian Jr. and Rachel Souders during this time period, as well as John Souders, etc.? There’s a story that John Souders went back to Indiana for a while about this time and that Christian Souders, Jr., purchased some property there in 1844 from Walter Lockhart which he sold in 1845 (Jim Souders ‘history’), so maybe they all considered going back. However, graveyards in Crawford County, MO, are well stocked with Souders, Naugles, Lockharts, and other Indiana émigrés. Later, I discovered Christian Jr. had business interests in Montgomery County, MO, in 1850. That’s across the Missouri River from Hermann, so I had to expand the search for him. This period is not as clear and simple as it first appeared to be, and I stumbled upon part of the answer later.

Somewhere I found a connection between Christian Souders and “Boulware,” which I thought was probably a misspelling of “Bourbeuse.” When I looked it up, however, Boulware was a former township, no longer existing, in the middle of Gasconade County about 1.5 miles SW of Bay and 6 miles NW of Drake – not far from Cooper Hill. When I checked the “Boulware” Township portion of the Gasconade County Census of 1850, Christian Souders is the very last family entered. But directly above him are four other Indiana families: 1. Walter and Jane Lockhart with their grown sons, Walter and John, 2. Benjamin Shoemaker, with Elizabeth and three children, 3. Eli ? (not legible) with wife and four children, and Isaac Henkle with Martha and seven children. These were Christian’s ‘next-door’ neighbors. It’s apparent that the census taker didn’t actually talk to Christian or Rachel, because he estimated Christian’s age at 45 (he was 42) and Rachel’s at 35 (she was 37), and he wrote in ‘Tennessee’ as the place of birth for everyone in the family. Rachel was born in NC and the children were born in IN. The childrens’ ages, however, are very close to exact: Jacob 21, Henry 18, Emily 15, Polly 10, Martha 8, Nancy 6, Rachel Ann 4, and Sarah 2. The Henkles had a 13 year old son born in Missouri, so they were probably the first to arrive (1837). Based on the births and locations of Ben Shoemaker’s children, it seems clear that the rest of this Hoosier enclave was in Missouri no later than 1842, perhaps earlier. No one had ever indicated that Christian Souders lived in a more northerly part of Gasconade County, but the information about his business north of the Missouri River suddenly made more sense.

According to the Industrial Census of 1850, Christian was engaged in the blacksmithing business of making wagons and plows in Montgomery County, MO. The report says that he employed two men and 40 (?) women in making 7 wagons, plows, etc. These had a finished value of $600, and his investment was estimated at $300. The value of raw materials was estimated at $300 also. http://montgomery.mogenweb.org/census/1850indu.html Either his “investment” duplicated the cost of raw materials, or he made no profit. Probably, this is how Jacob learned the blacksmith trade, and it’s tempting to speculate on a thread spanning the generations back to Conestoga, in Lancaster County, PA, the ‘capital’ of wagon-making. By 1860 the Census records Christian on the farm near the Crawford-Gasconade County line, along with Rachel, Martha, Nancy, Rachel Ann, Sarah, and Isaac – all with the correct ages. Jacob, Emily, Polly, and Henry had started their own families by then. The 1870 Census shows Christian and Rachel at that same farm.

It was a changing frontier that Christian and his children faced, both economically and geographically. The advent of the steamboat on interior waterways reduced the cost and time of transportation for manufactured goods, and it also opened up markets for foods and raw materials to be shipped to industrial cities. In the era of Christian’s father, prior to 1800, the Appalachian Mountains separated America into two nations, East and West. There were only three unimproved wagon roads winding through the highlands of Pennsylvania and Virginia. By water, the Appalachians separated river commerce even more completely into the Atlantic ports and the interior basin draining to New Orleans. Transportation costs (wagon, team, driver, lodging and fodder) meant that a farmer could not profitably sell corn beyond a radius of forty miles. It is estimated that cost of transporting one ton of product one mile ran about thirty cents. By boat upstream, the cost fell to six cents a mile and to 1.3 cents per mile by raft downstream. During the early years, the internal trade of the United States was carried by ship from Atlantic ports to the Caribbean and up the Mississippi to New Orleans. Vessels discharged finished goods there and took on the raw materials and agricultural commodities for transport back to the Atlantic ports and the emerging factory economy.

The Eerie Canal, opened in the mid 1820’s, provided a new avenue for manufactured goods to move West and commodities to move to New York City. The cost of shipping a ton of grain from Buffalo to New York City by canal was only five percent of the cost of shipping by wagon, and the time was cut from twenty-six days to six days. However, the cost of building a railroad was about half that of building a canal, and speed was more than doubled. By 1852, the travel time between New York and Chicago had fallen from three weeks to three days. Transportation costs fell with each mile of rail completed. In 1850, there were about 7,500 miles of track with no one line exceeding 250 miles. By 1854, Chicago replaced New Orleans as the major port in American East-West trade. Rails ran out from Chicago on Lake Michigan, like spokes on a wheel. The rails brought in raw materials and agricultural goods which were then moved by ship on the great lakes, while manufactured goods were distributed from the East on the return trip. By 1860, the railroad track mileage had quadrupled, and sixteen major lines exceeded 250 miles length. The nation was on the verge of joining the Atlantic and the Pacific by rail and telegraph. New ways to finance the railroads led to a huge expansion of the stock market, and after the telegraph arrived in Chicago in 1848, the commodities exchange flourished there. The old chartered companies, the norm from colonial times, began to be replaced by the corporation as businesses grew beyond the ability of one-man management. Everywhere, economies of scale were sought. The ‘businessman/entrepreneur’ was replacing the merchant on the social status scale. The old times when one could work and save, then buy a store or farm – bootstrapping into the middle class -- would be limited after the maelstrom of the Civil War.

There was opportunity for the quick-witted, but there were pitfalls for the unwary too. Dr. James Henry McLean arrived in Saint Louis in the summer of 1849. Rather than devoting himself to control of the Cholera epidemic then raging, he made a fortune buying and selling real estate, turning over a property in less than twenty-four hours on the day of his arrival. He soon partnered with Dr. Addison G. Bragg, creator of Mexican Mustang Liniment, making and marketing a variety of nostrums that sold briskly among the unsophisticated. The partnership was short-lived, and McLean opened his own store, sending agents out into the country to sell McLean’s Volcanic Oil Liniment, Mclean’s Strengthening Cordial & Blood Purifier, Indian Queen Vegetable Anti-Bilious Pills, etc. As his fame in St Louis grew, he started his own newspaper, The Spirit of the Time, which he added to his product line. In a short time, the ‘store’ was expanded to Dr. J. H. McLean’s Grand Tower Block. He became the Stewart of the First Methodist Church and held other offices. Looking for new worlds to conquer, the doctor partnered with writer Myron Coloney to publish a book of 200 newly invented weapons of war so horrible that the nations of the world would be forced to give up conflict for fear of what they might unleash. The doctor planned to create a great new company capitalized at $20,000,000 to produce these instruments of war, and he appealed to capitalists the world over to see the fortunes that could be made in the service of humanity. He urged Americans to invest $300 million over the next five years to create an “Impregnable Fortress.” While the scheme never completely matured, it did receive an endorsement from Victor Hugo, and the Turkish Sultan offered McLean a position as Director of his artillery works. (“Dr. J.H. McLean’s Peacemakers;” http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1963/4/1963_4_109.shtml)

The gathering storm of the Civil War would shortly shake the old order to its foundations. Some resisted the changing times, preferring to harken back to the ‘good old days.’ Many idealists, perhaps Charles Gruner and other German immigrants coming to America after the failed Revolution of 1848 among them, viewed the Civil War as a “Second American Revolution.” Such citizens saw the war as a means to establish greater democracy and a more just distribution of wealth. While the War temporarily expanded the powers of the federal government, the forces of reaction moved quickly to harness those powers to their own benefit. It would be a bitter pill for the idealists to swallow when the Southern-Democratic counter-revolution achieved success about a decade after the guns were silenced.

Government land was auctioned at a minimum price of $1.25 an acre, but bidding normally made the sale price double that. In fact, cleared, fertile land in a good location sold for as much as $8 to $20 an acre in ante bellum Missouri. The minimum public sale was 80 acres in the beginning, but later 40. Many settlers who couldn’t raise the $200 or more required to buy would squat on the land and try to make enough cash to buy it. The Ozark Highlands had the poorest land and were the least settled. Ozark Plateau ridges were only slightly better, but well-watered valleys were suitable for commercial farming. Generally, cattle and hog herding were the mainstays of the uplands, which permitted only subsistence cropping. Yet, the timber, water, and mineral resources of the Ozarks were extensive.

Iron production began at Maramec Iron Works in 1829. About 1825, Ohio iron maker Thomas James learned of the possibility of good ore in Missouri. He is said to have recognized the color of face paint worn by Shawnee Indians, and he asked where they had obtained the pigments. Based on what the Indians told him, James explored the area, found a site, and sent his foreman Samuel Massey to get the operation started in 1826. A major problem was getting the iron to markets. The ore had to be hauled by ox carts weighing over two tons some 60 miles through several smaller rivers and creeks to the Missouri River where it could be loaded on barges. Fortunately, the larger rivers flowed from south to north in this part of the state, but smaller streams like the Bourbeuse and Dry fork could still make for a fording problem when rain fell. Of course, supplies (lumber, groceries, clothing, and wine) for the iron works and its employees had to be hauled back. After 1860, when the railroad was completed through Crawford County, it was no longer necessary to haul iron to the Missouri River or bring supplies on the return. Maramec Iron Works had a problem getting labor at the outset when the land was sparsely populated. A great quantity of wood was needed to fuel the furnace, so James and Massey rented slaves from their owners for as much as $100 a year; they thought this saved them about 20% over free labor if it were available. Purchasing slaves would have required too much capital outlay. The work was so hard that many slaves escaped and returned to their owners, some of whom refused to return them. After the area began to fill up with people, farmers and their sons were hired to cut wood during winter months at 50 cents a cord, and the rented slaves were used to mine ore and flux.

Before 1850, bridges were rare. Ferries were used to cross streams that couldn’t be forded. A typical charge to cross a significant stream in the 1840’s was 25 cents for horse and rider in low water, 38 cents in high water. Hogs and sheep ranged 3-4.5 cents a head, and a person ranged 12.5-25 cents. In spite of this drawback, Missouri’s population rapidly expanded: 1820 - 66,586; 1830 - 140,455; 1840 - 383,702; 1850 - 682,055; and 1860 - 1,182,012.

Missourians faced many outbreaks of Cholera. By the year 1849, Saint Louis had become a boomtown. Easterners were traveling west to the gold fields of California. Huge numbers of German immigrants, mostly refugees of the recent revolution in that country, poured into an already cramped city. With these Germans came invisible bacteria, cholera. Very little was known of the true cause of the disease, and even less was known about how to treat or prevent it. Physicians’ ‘cure’ involved purging the patient of contaminated ‘humours.’ They employed bleeding and Calomel, a purgative. Certain strains of cholera can cause death within two hours of the onset of symptoms (violent vomiting, diarrhea, and cyanosis – a bluish tint to skin caused by lack of oxygen in the blood). To combat the typical uncontrollable fecal discharges, patients were often placed on cots with a large hole cut out under their buttocks and a bucket placed directly below. The stench was horrid. In 1853, the mayor of St Louis warned the city council that sanitation conditions had to be improved. Their inactivity guaranteed the outbreak of 1854, and the disease then spread up the river to Washington and Hermann. In 1854, the Gasconade County Court house had to be turned into an infirmary. Cholera is a disease that progresses quickly after it enters a host. Ultimately, the effort to control cholera led to the creation of the first practical sewer and drainage system in Saint Louis. But, in the summer of 1849, cholera claimed approximately thirteen percent of the city's population and ten percent of the entire state. By June, 1849, 100 persons a day were dying in St Louis. By the time the epidemic of 1850 was over in Osage County, about 50% of the population was gone.

Newspapers were read universally, while novels were confined to a much smaller audience (Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the main exception). Newspapers grew with the population: 1820-5; 1840-35; 1850-54; 1860-148. There were papers in most towns of 500 or more, and a few publications were distributed regionally. Both English and German language papers were widely available. In addition to the commercial press, many churches also published a newspaper.

The first two murder cases handled by the Crawford County Criminal Court involved slaves. “Ben” was acquitted in 1834, but in 1835, “Mary,” aged 16, was accused of murdering Vienna, daughter of John Brinker. Mary allegedly drowned the child in the family spring, while the parents were away in town, because the Negro maid thought she was to be sold. The Brinkers were suspicious, but Mary admitted nothing when questioned. On the next trip to town, Brinker claimed that he returned and hid to observe whether she would attempt to harm the other children. He claimed that he caught her carrying a second child towards the spring to compound her crime. When a neighbor tied her to a log and threatened to whip her, Mary confessed. Brinker and his neighbor claimed that after Mary threw the girl in the water, she kept her down by hitting her with a stick, ergo the mark on her head. Attorneys were appointed to represent Mary, but a jury found her guilty of murder. The case bounced around, was scheduled for retrial, but a second jury delivered the same verdict, and Mary was executed in Steelville in August, 1838. It was a singular social event, with families traveling many miles from all directions to witness her hanging.

The Cherokee Trail of Tears ran through Steelville along the Meramec River in 1837-39. One group of about 400 Cherokees passed through Crawford County roughly paralleling Missouri Highway 8. The party stopped somewhere west of Steelville for ten days because of sickness. Four persons died, including three children. The Indians were permitted to use the school house as a hospital, supplies were donated, and some of the women from the area helped as nurses. A newspaper account describes the Indians’ passage through Missouri: … many of the aged Indians were suffering extremely from the fatigue of the journey and the ill health consequent to it … the sick and feeble were carried on wagons … a great many ride on horseback and multitudes go on foot … even aged females, apparently nearly ready to drop into the grave, were traveling with heavy burdens attached to their back …on the sometimes frozen ground and sometimes muddy streets, with no covering for feet … (Breuer, James Ira. Crawford County & Cuba, 1972.) Breuer may be indicating the “Cannon” detachment of Dec. 1837 that stopped nearer Viburnum and the Palmer School before going on to the Meramec. They passed the Maramec Iron Works 5 Dec, after burying 2 children, a man, and a “black boy waggoner.” Overall, deaths during and just after the 800 mile trek are estimated to be about 10%. (http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM43T8_Trail_of_Tears_Mark_Twain_Forest_Palmer_MO) In 1839, there was a plague of squirrels. They came from the north, swam the Missouri River, and attacked the corn crops planted in the valleys south of the river, making it a lean year for the early settlers. Settlers had barely recovered when drought in 1840-41 ruined many crops as well.

A brief war of extermination was waged against the Mormons during the winter of 1838-1839. Earlier, Mormons settled in Jackson County. However, their success at proselytizing their Indian neighbors (who were suspected of homicidal natures by other ‘Christians’) and the opinions expressed in the Mormon newspaper, Evening and Morning Star (about God’s preference for Mormons) inflamed anger among the other settlers. A mob gathered outside the courthouse in Independence in 1833 for the expressed purpose of destroying the Mormons. However, the mob’s members proceeded to get drunk and fought among themselves. Western Missourians were convinced that Mormons threatened the institution of slavery. “More than a year since, it was ascertained that they [the Mormons] had been tampering with our slaves, and endeavoring to rouse dissension and raise seditions among them. . . .” (Trexler, Harrison A. Slavery in Missouri, p. 123) In the Mormon newspaper published at Independence, there was an article inviting free Negroes and mulattoes from other states to become Mormons, and “remove and settle among us.” The next spring the Mormon newspaper printing office was razed, the press thrown in the Missouri River, and Bishop Partridge and another man were tarred and feathered. (Shoemaker, Floyd C. Missouri and Missourians, Chicago: Lewis Pub., 1943)

After being driven out of Jackson County, Mormons tried again in Caldwell County. Joseph Smith established another safe haven for the Latter Day Saints in Northwest Missouri called Far West, but many of their neighbors still disliked the Mormons for their clannishness and unusual religious practices, not to mention their economic power. Since the Mormons were usually Democrats, Whigs in adjacent Davies County attempted to prevent Mormons from voting. Several clashes featuring clubs, rocks, and butcher knives followed. Joseph Smith mobilized a Mormon militia to force the County officials to accept the Mormon votes. An opposition force formed and there were raids on isolated farmsteads, theft of property, and even murder. Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs, a resident of Jackson County and actively opposed to the Mormons, called up 400 militia.

	

After a skirmish between the militia and the Mormons, resulting in three dead Mormons and one militiaman, Governor Boggs issued an order: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state …” Some 200 MO militia attacked a group of Mormons that had gathered for safety at Jacob Haun’s Mill. Seventeen were killed by gunshots or hacked to death with corn knives, including small children. Thinking they were going to a negotiations conference, Joseph Smith and other leaders were imprisoned; the Mormon town of Far West was raided and looted, and Mormons were forced to forfeit their land and property “for the trouble they had caused.” A court martial sentenced Joseph Smith and four other leaders to be shot. However, Brig. Gen. Alexander Doniphan of the MO Militia refused to let it be carried out, saying “It is cold-blooded murder.” New trials were held and some accused were acquitted, while others, including Smith (who bribed his jailer with a jug of whiskey), escaped. The Mormons set up a new settlement in Illinois, where similar troubles soon began. Missouri newspapers were filled with strong opinions about these incidents, both pro and con. When Brigham Young led the Mormons west from Illinois, he stayed north of the Platte River to avoid “the rowdy Missourians.” Central Missouri did sustain one casualty in this ‘first Civil War:’ In September, 1838, after the volunteers for the Mormon War were mustered out at Boonville, they came to Jefferson City, near which town Walter S. GARNER, the pioneer blacksmith of old California, was killed by a drunken associate. (History of Cole County, on-line at www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mccole)

Note: Alexander Doniphan, a celebrated defense attorney, practiced law in Clay County from 1830-1860. He was elected to the General Assemby as a Whig three terms (1836, 1840, and 1854). He raised a Regt of Mounted Volunteers for the Mexican War, campaigned against the Navajo, and defeated a Mexican force four times his numbers near El Paso, TX in late Dec. 1846. In 1861, he was a delegate to the “Peace Conference” in Washington, D. C., and he was elected to the Missouri Constitutional Convention as a ‘Conditional Unionist.’ During 1863-68, he left Liberty for St Louis, during the most heated period of rebellion, but returned and retired. Doniphan, KA, (where gg Grandmother Enderlein settled) was named to honor his achievements.

Governor Lilburn Boggs also engaged in the “HoneyWar” with Iowa Territory over the disputed border between them in 1839. A Missourian cut down several bee trees in the disputed zone; he was sued in Iowa court, found guilty, and assessed a fine of $1.50. This, however, was “in absentia” since he had already fled the area. When Boggs ordered that Missouri law be enforced in the disputed territory, a Missouri sheriff stirred the pot by trying to collect taxes in the disputed zone. He was arrested by the Iowans, jailed, and the situation escalated. Gov. Boggs of Missouri and Gov Lucas of Iowa called out militia to settle matters by force of arms, but the militia wanted no part of bloodshed. The two commanders met and negotiated a truce. It cost Missouri $20,000 to activate the militia, but only about 700 of the 2,200 called up reported. In Iowa, Lucas tried to raise 1,200 defenders, but only 300 showed up. In the 1840’s, Missourians frequently sang a popular song (to the tune of Yankee Doodle) that poked fun at this tempest in a teapot. Here’s a fragment: “Old Governor Lucas, tigerlike, Is prowling round our borders, But Governor Boggs is wide awake,

                                          Just listen to his orders:

Why shed our brother’s blood in haste, Because big men require it; Be not in haste our blood to waste, No prudent men desire it. Now if the governors want to fight, Just let them meet in person, And when noble Boggs old Lucas flogs, Twill teach the scamp a lesson…..” (Meyer, Duane G. The Heritage of Missouri. Springfield: Emden press, 1963. 8th ed. 1998. pp. 184-204)

A Slicker War, which began as a homicidal feud between the Turk and Jones families around Warsaw in 1840, spread across most of the Ozarks and lasted over a decade. “Slicking” was a beating administered, sometimes fatally, with hickory switches to a victim bound to a tree. Gangs of vigilantes struck against criminal elements, who in turn struck back. Across the state, men were killed and wounded in a series of Slicker Wars, some small and others large.

The Capitol Burned during Lilburn Boggs term as Governor. The legislature set aside $75,000 to build a new one. Boggs, however, wanted a better building, and the construction cost rose to $200,000. Since the attempt to sell bonds to finance the construction had been unsuccessful, Boggs borrowed the money from the Bank of Missouri that had recently been created. A legislative committee found no ‘corruption’ even though he had violated the law. In 1842, Boggs was shot by an assassin, but he survived and moved to California. The very next Missouri Governor, Thomas Reynolds, committed suicide at his desk 9 Feb. 1844 in the executive mansion by placing a rifle against his head and manipulating the trigger with a string. He left a note for his shocked constituents: “I have labored and discharged my duties faithfully to the public, but this has not protected me from the slanders and abuse which has rendered my life a burden to me…I pray to God to forgive them and teach them more charity.” Reynolds had been vilified by the advocates for issue of inflationary paper money. (http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Thomas-Reynolds-(Governor)

In 1844, there was a great flood of the Missouri River, the worst of all time in terms of volume of discharge, although the 1993 flood was “higher.” Heavy rain pelted the lower Missouri River Valley (St Joseph to St Louis) during the months of May and June, and that combined with the spring thaw in the upper Missouri River. In June, St Louis got 18” of precipitation, and Ft Scott, KA, received 27” (causing flooding on the Osage River, a tributary of the Missouri). All the tributaries and their feeder streams were backed up, and lowlands throughout the state were inundated. The Missouri River ran 12-17 feet above bank full, with 30 feet above flood stage at the worst spot. Houses floated down the river intact with chickens crowing from their roofs. Hundreds of cattle, horses, mules, and hogs were lost. Farmers suffered severe hardship. Some of the most productive bottom lands were rendered useless for several years. Disease followed the flood, with fever and chills causing death of hundreds. The town of Nashville in Boone County was 8 feet underwater, while East St Louis (Illinoistown) was 10-20 feet underwater. Steamboats tied up in Cahokia, IL. Congress responded in 1849, passing an act to encourage building levees.


The Mexican War in 1845 heated up the slavery controversy. President Polk alienated the Whigs by failing to support tariffs protecting manufactured goods. He alienated the Westerners by failing to support development of infrastructure and internal improvements. A Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, David Wilmot, introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill regarding the West known as the Wilmot Proviso. The proviso stated that slavery should be outlawed in all territory other than Texas ceded to the US by Mexico. Supported in the North, the proviso passed the House of Representatives because the population was centered in the north, but it stalled in the Senate because the slave states and free states were evenly balanced. Southern Democrats responded violently to any suggestion that slavery be abridged south of the line set by the Missouri Compromise of 1820: 36 degrees, 30 minutes latitude. Many Whig members of Congress, like John Quincy Adams and freshman Congressman Abraham Lincoln, believed that Polk’s war with Mexico, which escalated a deliberately sought small skirmish into a call for general war, was created primarily for the purpose of expanding slavery into the West. Henry David Thoreau and other intellectuals and abolitionists were outraged. I have been unable to find any relative who took part in the Mexican campaign.

Missouri raised a brigade for the Mexican War commanded by Alexander Doniphan, with Sterling Price as second in command. When Doniphan took most of the men south into Mexico, Price remained behind in New Mexico as commander of the occupied territory. After a rebellion broke out in Santa Fe, he ruthlessly crushed it. He was promoted to Brigadier General, although many thought it only a “political” appointment. Price, the son of a Virginia tobacco planter, had come to Missouri in 1830 at the age of 21. He was handsome and personable and fit well into society and politics. At age 23, he became colonel of the county militia. He married the daughter of a wealthy judge and allied himself with the wealthy planters and merchants who supported MO Senator Thomas Hart Benton. Price was elected to the state General Assembly at age 29 and became Speaker of the House two years later. He became wealthy in his own right, with a prosperous tobacco plantation and commission business. He was elected to Congress in 1843; later, Benton used his influence to get Price appointed a colonel of volunteers to lead a regiment in the Mexican campaign. In the waning days of the conflict, Price needed a big battle and a victory to justify his promotion to Brigadier and strengthen his political standing. In February of 1848, learning of a planned rebellion in northern Mexico, he ignored orders to remain in Santa Fe and pushed his men by forced marches south to Santa Cruz de Rosales, where he located a Mexican Army unit. Although the peace treaty had already been signed, Price attacked and killed 200 Mexicans, while only losing four Americans. The Democratic newspapers hailed his success, and he was appointed Governor of Chihuahua. In October, 1848, he returned to Missouri a hero.

In the election of 1848, Zachary Taylor won the presidency as the Whig candidate. Both the Whigs and the Democrats tried to skirt the issue of slavery: the Whigs presented no clear platform, and the Democrats endorsed the concept of popular sovereignty which would let the people of territories decide the slavery question. Soon, the discovery of gold in California changed the territorial environment. Within months, a frantic gold rush was in full stampede. Overland immigrants to California totaled 400 in 1848, 25,000 in 1849, and 44,000 in 1850. Soon new states would be forming in the western territories seized from Mexico.

The question of slavery in the West became the major focus of US politics after the Mexican War. President Polk saw the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery in all land north of 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude, as a sufficient solution to the issue of slavery. Some antislavery Whigs, especially abolitionists from New England and Ohio, opposed the extension of slavery into the territories on moral grounds. However, a more important challenge to the expansion of slavery came from northern Democrats (including Wilmot) who feared that extending slavery into New Mexico and California would deter free laborers from settling there, intensifying class struggle in the East.


The issue of slavery in the territories raised Constitutional questions. John Calhoun and southern Democrats asserted that since slaves were property, property should be protected anywhere by the Constitution, meaning that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional and slaveholders could take their slaves anywhere they wished. Northerners, on the other side, cited the history of regulation of slavery by the federal government and the wording of the Constitution, which gave Congress the power to "make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States."

In 1849, Claiborne Fox Jackson authored Assembly Resolutions instructing Missouri Senators to oppose any effort to restrict slavery in the territories. This was a trap laid for Senator Thomas Hart Benton, who had consistently spoken out against the further spread of slavery as a threat to free labor. Benton was an old-school Jeffersonian and later a supporter of President Jackson. He believed in cheap land, hard money (to discourage farmers from incurring debt), and simple government. He mistakenly believed his fellow Missourians would continue to support him, and he stumped the state reiterating his beliefs and opposing the extension of slavery. In January, 1851, after 40 ballots, the MO General Assembly ended Benton’s career in the U. S. Senate. David Atchison was chosen to succeed him. Only in St Louis was Benton still popular (certainly among the growing numbers of Germans), and he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. When the other Senate seat came open, Missouri was unable to agree on a Senator in 1854-55, and the office was vacant for two years – an indication of deepening divisions in Missouri. Benton tried for Governor in 1856, but he came in a poor third. (Nagel, Paul. Missouri, a History. N.Y.: Norton & Co.,1977)

These disagreements would be exacerbated by the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court. The Compromise of 1850 was a series of bills that tried to resolve the territorial and slavery controversies arising from the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). Henry Clay (KY), Stephen Douglas (IL), and Daniel Webster (MA) supported these measures and John C. Calhoun (SC) opposed them. There were five laws which balanced the interests of the slave states south of Missouri against the free states to the north. California was admitted as a free state; Texas received financial compensation for relinquishing claim to lands west of the Rio Grande in what is now New Mexico; the territory of New Mexico (including present-day Arizona and a portion of southern Nevada) was organized without any specific prohibition of slavery; the slave trade (but not slavery itself) was terminated in the District of Columbia; and a stringent Fugitive Slave Law was passed requiring all U.S. citizens to assist in the return of runaway slaves regardless of the legality of slavery in the specific states. The Compromise was possible after the death of President Zachary Taylor, whose opposition was uncompromising. (He promised to personally lead the Army against secessionists and hang them.) Millard Fillmore, who succeeded Taylor, was a strong supporter of the compromise. It temporarily defused sectional tensions in the United States, postponing the secession crisis and the American Civil War. The Compromise endorsed the doctrine of "Popular Sovereignty" for the New Mexico Territory. The various compromises lessened political squabbling for four years, until the relative calm was shattered by the divisive Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.

The election of 1852 was easily won by the Democrats, since the Whigs were fragmenting into Free-Soil and Know-Nothing factions. The Whigs nominated Winfield Scott, a war hero. Unable to choose between Stephen Douglas and James Buchanan, the Democrats put up Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire on the 49th ballot. Pierce was acceptable to southerners because he supported the Compromise of 1850. Both candidates avoided the major issue of slavery, and the campaigns were noted mostly for their mudslinging and personal attacks.


The impetus behind the Kansas-Nebraska Act was the desire for a transcontinental railroad. A bill to organize the territory had been put forward almost annually since 1845. This was necessary so that public lands could be used as an enticement to private capital that would actually build the railroad. Senator Douglas of Illinois was the committee chair trying to get favorable action. In late1853, the House passed a bill to organize the territory, but it became clear that Southern Senators would not support the bill unless it permitted slavery. Missouri’s Senator Atchison said that he would rather see Nebraska sink in hell before seeing it overrun by free-soilers. In order to move the bill, Douglas sought to placate the Southerners by postponing the status of slavery until statehood, leaving the final decision to the citizens in the Constitution they would write. This is the same concept used for the territories ceded by Mexico, but Nebraska was part of the Louisiana Purchase covered by the Missouri Compromise. The result would be that slavery, currently prohibited from Nebraska territory would become permissible.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which had prohibited slavery in territories of the Louisiana Purchase (and new states) north of Missouri’s southern border. The Kansas Nebraska Act, championed by Stephen Douglas, would let the settlers of the territories decide the issue by voting, “popular sovereignty.” Antislavery forces and most Northerners were furious. Southern leaders aggravated tension by insisting on a formal amendment which specifically repealed the slavery provisions of the Missouri Compromise. A bitter debate followed in Congress, ending in May 1854 in a narrow victory for the South and Douglas (who stood to make a fortune as a big speculator in western lands). President Franklin Pierce signed the measure at once. The result was a flurry of unintended consequences. First, “Bleeding Kansas” became a literal battleground between abolitionists and slave-owners. Second, Pierce’s chances for reelection were quashed, and the new President, James Buchanan, was poorly equipped to deal with the issues which faced him. Third, the major political parties had an almost complete metamorphosis, with slavery the catalytic issue. The Whigs ceased to be effective, retaining just the support of Nativist Know-Nothings, while the Republican Party emerged as the free-soil champion. The Democrats lost credibility in the North and became a regional proslavery party.

Missouri “border ruffians” under leadership of men like future Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and Senator David Atchison rode into Kansas to stuff ballot boxes in favor of slavery. When abolitionists began to arrive in Kansas in response, Atchison said these “Negro heroes” should be treated like the Mormons, i.e., burning, shooting, and hanging. In 1856, Atchison was part of the band that raided Lawrence, the abolitionist stronghold, pillaging and killing three. Although the new President Buchanan was prepared to wink at the fraudulent vote permitting slavery and the subsequent violence it precipitated, the anti-slavery men in Kansas were not. John Brown retaliated by killing five Missourians on Pottawatomie Creek. Atchison then raised a force of 1,000 men to put down Brown, and Kansas Free-Soilers organized for defense. Violence continued to autumn 1857, when fresh elections showed a Free-Soil victory. Even afterward, Jayhawkers raided into Missouri; John Brown killed a slaveholder and freed eleven slaves. Atchison retired to his farm, and the Dred Scott Decision made all the moves and counter-moves moot. Competing constitutions, internecine murder, and open warfare in Kansas between the factions couldn’t convince President Buchanan that eliminating Brigham Young’s bastion in Utah was anything less than the nation’s top priority.


The official White House biography of James Buchanan states, “Presiding over a rapidly dividing Nation, Buchanan grasped inadequately the political realities of the time. Relying on constitutional doctrines to close the widening rift over slavery, he failed to understand that the North would not accept constitutional arguments which favored the South. Nor could he realize how sectionalism had realigned political parties: the Democrats split; the Whigs were destroyed, giving rise to the Republicans.


Born into a well-to-do Pennsylvania family in 1791, Buchanan, a graduate of Dickinson College, was gifted as a debater and learned in the law. He was elected five times to the House of Representatives; then, after an interlude as Minister to Russia, served for a decade in the Senate. He became Polk's Secretary of State and Pierce's Minister to Great Britain. Service abroad helped to bring him the Democratic nomination in 1856 because it had exempted him from involvement in bitter domestic controversies . As President-elect, Buchanan thought the crisis would disappear if he maintained a sectional balance in his appointments and could persuade the people to accept constitutional law as the Supreme Court interpreted it. The Court was considering the legality of restricting slavery in the territories, and two justices hinted to Buchanan what the decision would be. Thus, in his Inaugural the President referred to the territorial question as "happily, a matter of but little practical importance" since the Supreme Court was about to settle it "speedily and finally." Two days later Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the Dred Scott decision, asserting that Congress had no constitutional power to deprive persons of their property rights in slaves in the territories. Southerners were delighted, but the decision created a furor in the North.

Buchanan decided to end the troubles in Kansas by urging the admission of the territory as a slave state. Although he directed his Presidential authority to this goal, he further angered the Republicans and alienated members of his own party. Kansas remained a territory.


When Republicans won a plurality in the House in 1858, every significant bill they passed fell before southern votes in the Senate or a Presidential veto. The Federal Government reached a stalemate. Sectional strife rose to such a pitch in 1860 that the Democratic Party split into northern and southern wings, each nominating its own candidate for the Presidency. Consequently, when the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln, it was a foregone conclusion that he would be elected even though his name appeared on no southern ballot. Rather than accept a Republican administration, the southern "fire-eaters" advocated secession.


President Buchanan, concerned but hesitant, denied the legal right of states to secede but held that the Federal Government legally could not prevent them. He hoped for compromise, but secessionist leaders did not want compromise. Then Buchanan took a more militant tack. As several Cabinet members resigned, he appointed northerners, and sent the Star of the West to carry reinforcements to Fort Sumter. On January 9, 1861, the vessel was far away.

Buchanan reverted to a policy of inactivity that continued until he left office. In March 1861 he retired to his Pennsylvania home Wheatland--where he died seven years later--leaving his successor to resolve the frightful issue facing the Nation.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents)


Note: Seeking Southern support for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Stephen A. Douglas delivered a speech in the Senate (1860) in which he berated “nigger-worshippers.” On another occasion, he chastised Lincoln for selling whiskey. Lincoln readily admitted selling whiskey by the drink, and noted that while he was busy selling it, Douglas was busy buying it. In 1845, Andrew Jackson, allegedly, was so disgusted when he learned James K. Polk had made Buchanan his Secretary of State that Old Hickory told Polk his only reason for making Buchanan Ambassador to Russia was that it was as far away as he could send him out of sight where he could do no harm – and that he would have sent Buchanan to the North Pole if the US had a minister there. (Shenkman, Richard and Kurt Reiger. One Nights Stands with American History. 2003.

In March of 1857, the United States Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (from a wealthy family of Maryland slave owners), declared that all blacks -- slaves as well as free -- were not and could never become citizens of the United States. The court also declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery in all of the country's territories. The case before the court was Dred Scott v. Sanford. Dred Scott, a Missouri slave who had lived in the free state of Illinois and the free territory of Wisconsin before being taken back to the slave state of Missouri, had appealed to the Supreme Court in hopes of being granted his freedom. Taney -- a staunch supporter of slavery and intent on protecting southerners from northern meddling -- wrote in the Court's majority opinion that, because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue. The framers of the Constitution, wrote Taney, believed that blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it." Referring to the language in the Declaration of Independence that includes the phrase, "all men are created equal," Taney claimed that "it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . ." Some Abolitionists were radicalized. John Brown and his followers felt justified in using violence to bring about the end of slavery.

An interesting aspect of the Dred Scott Case and its connection to other important events is the fact that Scott’s wife Harriet was probably induced to file suit for freedom by John Anderson, a free black, who had worked as a printer for Elijah Lovejoy’s Observer. Anderson was the pastor of the St Louis Baptist church Harriet joined. Elijah Lovejoy was the founder of the Anti-slavery Society, and Scott’s owner was the daughter of a founder of the Anti-Abolition Society. The martyrdom of Lovejoy was the catalyst for John Brown’s battles against slavery. Scott’s attorney before the Missouri Supreme Court was Charles Drake, and his attorney before the U.S. Supreme Court was Montgomery Blair, both of whom figure largely in the war years. Charles Drake became the author of the hated 1865 Missouri Constitution that disenfranchised southern sympathizers and sought to punish them for disloyalty. Drake briefly became Missouri’s U.S. Senator after the Civil War. Montgomery Blair, the brother of St Louis’ Francis Blair, was Postmaster General under Lincoln. It was through Montgomery that Francis Blair became Lincoln’s agent in Missouri, and he was also the means by which the President was manipulated on behalf of Francis. Justice Hamilton Gamble of the Missouri Supreme Court dissented from the 2-1 majority opinion against Scott, which had warned against the “dark and fell spirit of abolitionism.” Gamble, a moderate, became the Provisional Governor of Missouri, 1861-64. Gamble was the brother-in-law of Edward Bates, Lincoln’s Attorney General during the Civil War. The Scotts were finally manumitted by Taylor Blow, son of the man who first owned Dred Scott.

Note: General/President U.S. Grant’s father had lived with the Brown’s while working at Deerfield, Ohio. Grant recalled that he “often heard my father speak of John Brown …. Brown was a boy when they lived in the same house, but he knew him afterwards, and regarded him as a man of great purity of character, of high moral and physical courage, but a fanatic and extremist in whatever he advocated.” (Grant. Memoirs, p 4-5)

By 1860, ‘Little Dixie,’ a string of counties from Callaway to Clay along the North bank of the Missouri River, was home to most of Missouri’s approximately 115,000 slaves. Hemp and tobacco were the principal plantation crops, but the real money was in slave breeding, and Missouri was known for it. These were the counties that provided most of the regular Confederate forces that operated in the state, and they were the most difficult for the Union authorities to control. The Ozarks, where slavery was rare, provided both men and territory for the irregular forces that ravaged the state. Missouri’s north and west saw larger battles between organized forces and outlaw gangs, but the south and east experienced murder and brigandage in greater proportion. The election of 1860 showed that the secessionist vote was stronger in the Ozarks than it was in the Little Dixie Counties, an indicator of the strength of the caste system.

In 1852, Sterling Price was elected Governor of Missouri as a Douglas Democrat. He governed as a fiscal conservative, vetoing pork-barrel legislation and winning the respect and affection of Missouri voters. He tried to stay in the neutral zone between the abolitionists (whom he feared) and the planters (who were inciting violence in Kansas). He was a plantation and slave owner. He supported the institution, but he was not a supporter of secession. As extremists took control of Missouri politics, Price returned to tobacco planting and railroad projects. The Panic of 1857 nearly wiped him out financially. Friends got him appointed bank commissioner (a job for which he was imminently unqualified) to ease his financial problems.

On a lighter note, a New Yorker named Joseph Gayetty is credited with inventing toilet paper in 1857, but since it sold for fifty cents per 100 sheets, it’s unlikely many Missourians were able to take advantage of this new product.

The election of 1860 went poorly for the Republicans in Missouri. Missouri vote totals show Douglas with 58,801-- almost tied with Bell at 58,372. Breckinridge, the Southern Secessionist, received 31,317, and Lincoln polled only 17,028. While it shows that most Missourians were skeptical of Lincoln and the anti-slavery movement, less than one in four actually supported secession. Only in Gasconade County and St Louis, with their high proportion of Germans, did Lincoln carry the majority. With the election of Lincoln, South Carolina announced its withdrawal from the Union in Dec. 1860, and the Confederate States of America followed in Feb. 1861. Still, Lincoln’s Inaugural Address was conciliatory. He said he wasn’t opposed to slavery where it already existed, only to its extension. He argued that separation was impossible, but he promised not to use force to coerce the Southerners unless they did so first. In response, after attempted negotiations failed, Fort Sumpter was fired on by Confederate Artillery on April 12, 1861, and surrendered April 14. On April 15, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to reassert U.S. authority throughout the nation, and on April 29, 1861, Jefferson Davis issued a Declaration of War against the United States. Governor Jackson of Missouri assailed Lincoln as a tyrant.


Elected Governor in 1860, Claiborne Fox Jackson pretended to follow former Governor Stewart’s policy of “armed neutrality,” but he was an ardent secessionist at heart. He referred to Lincoln’s call for troops as an “unholy crusade,” and he called a state convention in Feb-Mar, 1860, to consider secession. When delegates were chosen to the convention, not a single secessionist was elected; the vote was 110,000 for the Union, 30,000 for secession. Sterling Price was elected the Convention President. As a “Conditional Unionist,” Price was pleased with the outcome of the sessions and their sense of compromise. The delegates unequivocally supported neutrality; they did not consider secession a viable alternative. Jackson was livid. He denounced Lincoln repeatedly, and he hatched a plot to seize weapons and force Missouri into the Confederacy. On the Unionist side, Frank Blair was using his connections in Washington to keep Missouri in the Union by reinforcing Captain Nathaniel Lyon’s authority over federal troops in St Louis, working to eliminate Lyon’s ‘neutralist’ superior Brigadier General Harney, and getting arms for the German anti-secessionists in St Louis and nearby counties.

W. S. Harney was an officer whose Tennessee birth made Unionists nervous. He was a Democrat who had been favored when that party was in power. He had a contentious history with Brevet Lt. General Winfield Scott (a Whig), who was the Army’s highest commander in 1861. When Col. Harney was made the senior cavalry commander during the Mexican War, General Scott relieved him because he didn’t trust Harney’s judgment – too hot-headed. Democratic President Van Buren intervened on Harney’s behalf, and he was restored to the position. In 1858 there were two more scrapes. Brigadier General Harney initiated Court-Martial charges against Col. Edwin V. Sumner, Cdr of the First Cavalry. Apparently, Harney had criticized/insulted Sumner, who then demanded an apology or face-to-face satisfaction. Since dueling was against Army regulations, Harney demanded punishment for Sumner. On March 16, the Court-Martial found Sumner not guilty. The War Department review of the Court-Martial, however, dismissed the findings, indicating that Harney spoke injudiciously and that Sumner’s response was a de facto challenge even if it failed to meet the definition of regulations. The results were, therefore, inconclusive, and Brevet BG Harney was promoted to Regular BG in June 1858. General Scott assured Sumner’s advancement when he assigned Sumner to accompany Abraham Lincoln to his inauguration. Sumner was appointed Regular BG in March 1861. More seriously, Harney almost started a war with Britain over disputed San Juan Island at the mouth of Puget Sound in June, 1858.

The uneasy peace between US and British settlers on San Juan Island was ended 15 June 1858 when American Lyman Cutler shot and killed a hog rooting up his garden. The boar was owned by Brit. Charles Griffen, who demanded the British authorities punish the ‘murderer’ of his pig. The authorities in Victoria sent a warship to arrest Cutler, but Cutler appealed to Brigadier General Harney for protection. Harney dispatched nine companies of infantry, supported by 8 pieces of artillery and some of his intemperate language. The British responded with five Dreadnaughts mounting 167 guns and over 2100 infantry. Before the tinderbox ignited, General Winfield Scott arrived in time to relieve Harney and restore the status quo. (The island was awarded subsequently to the US in 1872 as a result of arbitration by Kaiser Wilhelm I).


Governor Jackson took the initiative and called for the annual muster of the Missouri Militia on May 3, 1861, about 6 miles from the St Louis Arsenal, where he believed vast supplies of arms were stored. Moreover, he was engaged in a conspiracy to confiscate them. (Actually, most weapons were secretly removed to the security of Illinois in anticipation of such an attempt). On May 6, Captain Nathaniel Lyon, temporarily in Command during the absence of General Harney, learned that Arkansas had joined the Confederacy and that fifty armed men (in fact, MO State Guard militia) had broken into the Army storehouse at Liberty and stolen a significant number of muskets, carbines, pistols, sabers, and 34,000 rounds of ammunition. Lyon was convinced that the St Louis Arsenal would be next. Captain Lyon disguised himself in woman’s clothing, with a heavy veil to conceal his beard, and had himself driven around the militia’s “Camp Jackson.” (He kept two Colt revolvers hidden under a lap warmer). Lyon saw the Missouri militia dressed in Confederate uniforms and company streets named after Jefferson Davis, PT Beauregard, and other southerners. He decided he must act at once.

Note: Enroute to Washington, D.C., for Lincoln’s Inauguration, BG Harney had been arrested by Confederates at Harper’s Ferry and taken to Richmond. Generals Lee and Johnston tried to persuade him to join their cause, but he refused. When he returned to St Louis, he warned the people against secession. Still, he had married into the Southern-sympathizing St Louis elite and alienated the ranking federal generals, so he saw no more active service. He officially retired in 1863, lived at his estate in Pass Christian, MS or the city of St Louis, and he was brevetted to Major General at the end of the Civil War.


Union “Home Guards” (hastily constituted, largely German, federal militia) were marched by several routes through St Louis until the “State Guard” militia at Camp Jackson was completely surrounded. The State Guard militia commander, General Frost, had no viable choice but to surrender. In the meantime, however, large crowds of curious city dwellers and southern sympathizers carrying weapons converged on Camp Jackson too. Lyon was kicked by a horse shortly after the surrender, leaving his troops without direction for several minutes while he was being treated for the injury. During this time a crowd assembled that soon became a mob. The operation was slowed further by the need to get the captives organized into units for surrender of weapons. The crowd started throwing rocks and bottles; then someone in the mob fired shots, killing a soldier and wounding Home Guard Captain Constantin Blandouski (also fatally, as it turned out). Discipline broke down and the Home Guards fired into the crowd indiscriminately. It took hours for the Home Guards to reach the relative safety of the Arsenal. Near the Arsenal was a small Anheuser brewery; a band played there to welcome the Home Guard back, and Germans living in the area decked their windows and porch railings with bunting. This no doubt had something to do with the fact that Home Guard Corporal Adolphus Busch had married the daughter of Eberhard Anheuser; soon he would be a partner in the firm.

Missourians were shocked by the violence attending the Camp Jackson affair, and many (most?) blamed the Germans. A song composed by an Irish southern sympathizer generally captures the sentiment of numerous Missourians, even those opposed to rebellion. It is indicative of the bad feelings between Irish and Germans and generally demeans the latter. It ignores the fact that the violence probably was begun by a drunken southern sympathizer who started the shooting. "Invasion of Camp Jackson" Song Lyrics (http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/cj/campjack.htm) [By Joseph Leddy, c. 1861. Leddy was Irish; a St. Louisan that sided with Gov. Jackson] "It was on the Tenth of May, Kelly's men were all away, When the Dutch surrounded Camp Jackson; Lyon was there, with Boernstein and Blair, to take our men from the happy land of Canaan."

Chorus (repeat after each verse): "Oh! Oh! Oh! Ah! Ah! Ah!—The time of our glory is a-coming. We yet will see the time, when all of us will shine, And drive the Hessians from our happy land of Canaan."

Lyon came into camp with such a pompous tramp, And said, “Frost, you'll have to surrender; One half hour I'll give, that is, if you want to live, To get out of this happy land of Canaan.”

"Our boys looked so nice and neat, when they formed upon the street, You could tell that sauerkraut was not their feeding; Our men were straight and tall, the Dutch were thin and small And a disgrace to our happy land of Canaan."

"The people gave three cheers for the handsome Volunteers, Which raised the Hessians' indignation; They fired upon our brothers, killing sisters, wives and mothers! But we'll avenge them in the happy land of Canaan."

"With Col. Kelly at our head, we will fight till we are dead Wherever he goes we will sustain him; He has led us on again, to fight with might and main, To whip the Dutch from this happy land of Canaan."

"Twas just three months that day, since the gloomy 10th of May, When Lyon once again had us surrounded. But we were fighting for State-Rights, and we proved it in the fight, For we shot him in this happy land of Canaan."

Note: General Grant was visiting St Louis at this time, and noted in his Memoirs (c.1885; p 119-121) that he had gone to the Arsenal to wish Blair success at Camp Jackson, witnessed the removal of the Confederate’s flag at their headquarters near 5th and Pine, and returned to the Arsenal in the evening to congratulate Blair. Prior to the Camp Jackson surrender, he described the “enemies of the government as “bold and defiant,” but the Union men had been “quiet and determined.” Curiously, he mentions nothing of the rioting, but describes the returning Unionists as “… rampant, aggressive, and … intolerant,” while describing the Rebel sympathizers as “quiet … filled with suppressed rage … and muttering their resentment.”

After Union Captain Lyon’s capture of “Camp Jackson” in St Louis and the two-day street riots that followed (St Louis Massacre: resulting in the deaths of twenty-eight civilians --including a baby in its mother’s arms --and wounding of over ninety), Sterling Price offered his services to Governor Claiborne Jackson as commander of state military forces. Price thought the actions of Captain Lyon and the Home Guard were illegal. Although Jackson distrusted Price’s moderate stance, he needed General/Ex-Governor Price’s popularity and prestige if he were to carry out his plan of secession. In spite of misgivings, Jackson appointed Price the Major General in command of the “State Guard” militia.


Following the “Camp Jackson” incident, Harney (having returned to St Louis) agreed to respect Missouri’s “neutrality” and promised not to interfere with the MO State Guard as long as it committed no overt act against the U.S. The Unionists thought Harney had sold out to his southern roots though, and it resulted in his removal. Governor Jackson (anything but ‘neutral’) went to the state legislature for comprehensive military powers that virtually made him a military dictator. The legislators primarily represented the state’s slaveholding elites and were, consequently, much more sympathetic to southern secession than the constitutional convention elected by the masses, so Jackson got what he asked for. Later, when Jackson and the legislature were driven out of the Capitol by Lyon’s forces, the Governor organized a ‘rump-session’ of the state government at Neosho that declared secession from the Union (even later the Missouri “Capital” was moved to Marshall, TX). After Price’s retreat into Arkansas, Jackson would use his military powers to continue the fight in Missouri until he died of cancer in Dec., 1862. Subsequently, Lt. Gov. Thomas Reynolds (not related to the earlier Governor Reynolds) would attempt to carry on until Price’s 1864 invasion fizzled, ending any possibility of success.

Note: Slavery was the core issue when Thomas Reynolds (above) fought a duel with Gratz Brown (Francis Blair’s brother-in-law) in 1856, wounding Brown in the leg and leaving him a lifelong limp.

After Jackson and supporters fled Jefferson City, the delegates to the state convention reassembled 22 July 1861, assumed Constituent power, and continued to function as a provisional government. The next week the Convention appointed Hamilton Gamble as Governor and agreed to furnish troops requested by President Lincoln. Governor Gamble tried in vain to maintain Missouri’s neutrality in the face of powerful forces inciting violence, hatred, and bloodshed. On 30 August 1861, General Fremont officially placed Missouri under martial law. His proclamation ordered "all persons who shall be taken with arms in their hands within these lines [of military occupation] shall be tried by court martial, and if found guilty will be shot. Real and personal property of those who take up arms against the United States, or who shall be directly proven of having taken an active part with their enemies in the field, is declared confiscated to public use ..." By September 1862, Lincoln felt forced to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus in order to combat the guerrilla forces. Subsequently, military commanders continued to pursue a hard line in spite of the President’s and Governor’s attempts at reconciliation. On 31 Jan. 1864, Governor Gamble died in office, and Thomas Fletcher, a prominent Lincoln supporter and formerly the commander of the 31st Missouri Volunteer Infantry, was elected Governor. Fletcher, who also commanded the 47th MO Infantry that played an important role in General Ewing’s action against Price at Pilot Knob and Leasburg, was very popular among the Radical Republicans. The policies of reconciliation were ended.

Still, a conservative backlash was building that would work against the Germans, blacks, and Radical Republicans. While the moderates in St Louis had won the February 1861 ‘Convention’ vote by 5,000, a few weeks later Daniel G. Taylor was elected St Louis Mayor on a “Union Anti-Black Republican” ticket with a decisive majority of 2, 600. This was primarily due to growing fears about the German Home Guards. Governor Jackson appointed pro-southerners to the police board, and Southern sympathizers were then in control. Mayor Taylor ordered the Sunday closing of saloons and other places of entertainment. Anzeiger des Westens (a German language newspaper) saw this as thinly disguised Nativist bigotry. 

Crawford County, Missouri

By 1860, a small town, Oak Hill, had grown up along Brush Creek, near Crawford County’s northern border. The original site is a mile or more from where it finally was permanently established. The first site is one-fourth mile east of the junction of the old Highway CC on the south side of the road at the crest of the hill. The many oak trees were the source of the name. Oak Hill reached its maximum population in the 1880 census with about 30 people. Unfortunately for Oak Hill, the population and development center of Crawford County was its southern mineral deposits and the railroads that serviced them. The Pacific Southwest intercontinental railroad, later called the “Frisco,” built through Crawford County in 1859-60, following the ancient Osage warrior trace (and thus missed Oak Hill). In the 20th century, when the paved highway bypassed Oak Hill, its fate was sealed. A post office was established at Oak Hill in 1859 with Thomas Silliman as Postmaster. Jacob Souders and Miles Pease partnered to erect a mill in 1862. A cording machine was associated with the mill, and a turbine engine was installed in 1864.

“Soon after the post office was moved to the present site of Oak Hill a little village began to develop and a gristmill was inevitable. The gristmill, sawmill, and carding machine were set up in 1862 by Miles Pease and Jacob Souders, senior. The gristmill was operated by Jacob Souders, senior, and the wool carding machine by Henry Merk. This pioneer establishment served the village and the surrounding communities for many years. It was operated by water power; a wooden overshot wheel set the machinery in motion and ground the corn into meal. The wool carding machine had a burr picking device which separated the burrs from the wool. The wool came from the machine in long fluffy sheets. These were cut into short lengths and from these pieces the farmwomen spun their yarn. (Breuer, James Ira. A History of Crawford County and Cuba, Missouri, Cape Girardeau: Ramfire Press, 1972. pp. 118 following).

   

Crawford County political preference in the early days seemed to be almost evenly split between Democrats and Whigs, illustrated by the votes cast in elections through the 1840’s and 1850’s. In 1860, however, the Constitutional Union candidate was the clear favorite: Bell got 353 votes to 192 for Breckenridge, 169 for Douglas, and 35 for Abe Lincoln. Bell (a conditional Unionist) was not against slavery, but would not accept secession or nullification, unlike Breckenridge, the southern candidate, who supported absolute state’s rights. Douglas emphasized popular sovereignty in the territories, without fundamental changes to the institution of slavery, and Lincoln (the ‘anti-slavery’ candidate) was as ambiguous as possible to avoid alienating slaveholders. It’s always difficult to characterize Lincoln’s positions, but it seems safe to say that even though he preferred an end to slavery it would not be purchased at the price of fragmenting the nation. Still, he did not see blacks as the equals of whites. He supported exportation of blacks after the conclusion of slavery.

The Oak Hill Union Chapel of the Methodist Episcopal Church (established about 1840 by James Burke) may have been the source of some of the votes for Lincoln. The Methodist Episcopal Church (Northern branch after 1845) took an unequivocal stand against slavery and secession. Since the church at Oak Hill probably had slave owners in the congregation, it may very well have stayed in the Southern branch. There was a large seven acre campground that was very popular with locals and evangelists up to 1885. In Cuba (13 miles South on Oak Hill Road), a Methodist Episcopal pastor, Rev. Ing, was threatened by a pro-slavery mob, and his congregation carried weapons to church to protect him. Rev. Ing was outraged. If he couldn’t preach, he would fight. He enlisted a company, joined the Union army at Rolla, and served with distinction in the rank of Captain/Major until the end of the war. In 1845, the Missouri Methodist Church split into ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ branches, but the in-fighting and hatred between the branches continued to grow. Such pressure was brought on the ‘northern’ Methodists that they attempted to defend themselves when Jackson County established an ordinance prohibiting them from having their conference there.”That while we regard the system of slavery as a great moral, social, and political evil, we do most heartily protest against any attempt, directly or indirectly, at producing insubordination among slaves; we do heartily condemn . . . the underground railroad operation, and all other systems of negro stealing.” At a Warrensburg meeting in May, 1855, they protested that “the constitution and the laws guaranteeing to us the right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience we regard as sacred, and the course pursued at meetings held in our own and sister counties in proscribing ministers of the Gospel of certain denominations, is tyrannical, arbitrary, illegal and unjust.” (Trexler, Harrison A. Slavery in Missouri. p.130) During the 1850’s, violence against the ‘northern’ Methodists was not uncommon; Rev. Holland was murdered in Andrew County in 1856, and in 1857, the Missouri Legislature refused a charter for the ‘northern’ Methodists to establish a university.

Congregationalists and Quakers were viewed by Missourians as abolitionists, although they were few in numbers. Late in the 1850’s the Presbyterian Church nearly had a schism, although the rancor didn’t approach that of the Methodists. Once hostilities began in earnest, Pastors became the targets of both bushwhackers and militia. More than a few were murdered during the course of the war in Missouri. Rev Green Woods of Dent County (Methodist, Southern Branch) was arrested by Kansas Volunteers in 1862 while plowing his field. On the pretext of sorting things out in Salem, he was taken from his wife and children, but his body was found several days later about two miles from his house. Woods was shot and left to rot. (Leftwich, W.M. Martyrdom in Missouri. St Louis: Southwest Book & Pub. Co., 1870. pp365-66)

Cuba, MO, often saw friction between Unionists and Confederates. In 1861, the little town consisted of six houses and 75 people. A meeting was held in 1861 by sixty secessionists who vented strong opinions and passed equally strong resolutions. The one dissenting voice (E. A. Pinnell) was the only man there who actually entered the regular Confederate military service (Captain, Company D, 1st Missouri Brigade, CSA). Even though a troop of Union “scouts” under command of Captain Rudder were stationed at Cuba in a rough log “fort,” after southern secession, a mob of largely Confederate recruits raised the rebel flag at the Farmer’s Exchange on Main Street. A confrontation developed with the Union supporters, ending with the rebels slipping away into the woods and the rebel flag destroyed. Even before that there were armed skirmishes in the southern portion of the county. Gangs of armed men, sometimes claiming military affiliation, rode through the night. A rough estimate of enlistments during the conflict favors the Union by about 2 to 1. Recruited at Cuba in September, 1862, Company F of the 31st Missouri Volunteer Infantry Regiment fought battles in seven rebel states and marched through four others (serving with Sherman’s forces at Vicksburg, Atlanta, Savannah, and parading with the Grand Army of the Republic at Washington D.C. in 1865).

In spite of setbacks in the early months of the war, the federals tenaciously held Rolla, western terminus of the Pacific Railroad’s southwest branch, and attempted to secure the rail and supply lines to St Louis. About 300 rebel ‘State Guards’ attempted to capture Salem, county seat of neighboring Dent County, on the night of 3 Dec.1861. Major W.D. Bowen, at the head of about 120 Federals drove off the attack. Even though the territory surrounding both Rolla and Salem remained infested with rebel guerrillas, the towns themselves were never surrendered. Although Salem was held by rebel bushwhackers for a few hours in 1864, it was quickly retaken.

Confederate General Sterling Price’s invasion of Missouri in 1864 resulted in the burning of most of Cuba’s buildings by Brigadier General Shelby’s Confederate cavalry, while farms and homes along the path of the railroad were looted or destroyed. After the Confederates costly victory at Pilot Knob, they were stalled at Leasburg, hesitated at Union/Washington, and were unsuccessful in capturing Jefferson City. Price’s hope that fresh troops would rally to his banner in Western Missouri was not fully realized, and he lacked supplies, arms, and ammunition for those who did respond. After his defeat at Westport, he attempted a ragged withdrawal to the south west, but it was just a matter of time before the end. Of the 12,000 troops at the start of the invasion, only 6,000 made it back to Arkansas. A considerable number of his irregulars fled to Dent County, where they burned the Salem courthouse and jail in summer, 1864, before being driven off. However, they stayed in the hill country and continued to make trouble for years.

Guerillas or Bushwhackers were not generally part of the military command and control of either side. While bushwhackers conducted a few well-organized raids during which they burned towns, most actions involved ambushes of opponent individuals or families in rural areas. In areas affected by bushwhacking, the struggle between neighbors was insidious; your neighbor in daylight could be an enemy at night. Since the attacks were non-uniformed, the government had to determine first whether they were legitimate military attacks or criminal actions before any official response was made. The guerrilla conflict in Missouri was, in many respects, a civil war within the Civil War. The State Historical Society of Missouri in Marking Missouri History (Goodrich & Gintzler, ed., Columbia, 1998. p232) claims “guerrilla raids and troop movements devastated the (Crawford County) area. The Southwest branch of the Pacific Railroad (now Frisco) built through Bourbon, Leasburg, and Cuba in Crawford County (in) 1860 was almost destroyed.” The outbreak of war was also a boon to the shiftless and the vengeful. It gave license for theft and murder. During the Civil War, Bushwhackers raided the store at the Maramec Iron Works; they made off with boots, clothing, and groceries. Rachel Souders Simpson (daughter of Christian Jr. and Rachel Tash Souders) told her relatives about hiding out in a recess in the basement under their big, two-story cabin whenever raiders struck.

A group of Colonel William O. Colemen’s rebel irregulars engaged in a killing spree toward the end of June in 1862 in Crawford County. They shot and killed an old Unionist on his way home from church, as well as a furloughed Union soldier standing in his yard. In Dec, 1861, E.D. Harris was sought by the Provost Marshal for “murder, outrages” and aiding rebels, while rebel guerrilla, Marion Wyatt, was accused of stealing horses in Dec. 1862. Individual bushwhackers and guerrillas weren’t the only problems; poorly trained and undisciplined militia and state forces were guilty of the same kinds of atrocities as the partisans. In Apr. 1862, Henry Wallis, a “mean and desperate secessionist…terror of the county” was reported killed by Lt Hermann Moll as Wallis “attempted escape.” Tart Wright, who lived just west of Cuba, had enlisted in the rebel army, but was discharged in the East and given transportation to St. Louis. At about the same time a Union officer was murdered in Eastern Missouri, and it was thought that Wright was wearing his clothes. Soon after he returned home, some Union men arrived and marched Wright, his three brothers, and father several miles from home and deliberately gunned them down. Further roiling the pot, many of the out-of-state troops (mostly from Illinois and Iowa) treated all Missourians as rebels, and this alienated many who were lukewarm Union supporters or those attempting to maintain a precarious neutrality. St Louis-based German Regiments also stirred up antipathy. A federal regiment commanded by Colonel Herman Kallman, moving along the Pacific railroad in 1862, is accused of whipping men in Sullivan and Bourbon, stealing, and “causing trouble at St James.” During part of September 1864, at least, Captain Frederick Steines, commanding a company of Franklin County Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia, was stationed at Oak Hill, perhaps to protect the Maramec Iron Road. Capt. Steines first served as corporal in Co D Pacific Home Guards with Charles Gruner. His family was prominent among the first German settlers of Franklin County. John G Coy, traveling from Oswego, NY, in 1861 to visit an uncle in Cuba, MO, by way of Nebraska-Kansas, was captured first by Jayhawkers west of Kansas City. After he convinced them he wasn’t a Confederate and set out again, he was captured by rebels at Warrensburg, MO, and had to convince them he wasn’t a federal spy. In 1862, Coy outfitted for travel to California and set out from Cuba with his new bride. In Fort Kearney, Colorado, half their stock was stolen, so they settled there and homesteaded.

Central Missouri was cleared of most violent southern sympathizers by the end of 1862, but the summer months brought raids from Bushwhackers and Confederate irregulars. Only the winter months of 1862-3 were relatively secure. Southern Missouri’s border with Arkansas, to include the Ozark highlands in Missouri, remained a largely depopulated “no-man’s land” between the regular Military forces, and its periphery was, therefore, exposed to regular depredations from guerrillas, bushwhackers, militia, bandits, and irregulars of every persuasion. Thousands of refugees from the depopulated areas of the Ozarks and Western Missouri poured into St Louis, Rolla, Springfield, St Joseph, and other towns. Many Southern sympathizers fled to Arkansas, Texas, or Oklahoma. The Provost Marshal in Crawford County remarked that many abandoned rebel farms were occupied by refugees. These provided lucrative targets for returning bushwhackers. Soldier irony/sarcasm in song captures the principal events of the times quite well in ......... The War in Missouri in ’61.

       Come all you jolly Union boys, the truth to you I’ll tell
       About old Governor Jackson, of whom you know so well.                                                                
        He undertook a project, and he didn’t quite succeed			     In forcing of old Missouri from the Union to secede

. The next step of the government, I don’t think it wise; It was a violation of the Harney Compromise. If you want to know how he did it, I’ll tell you on the square, The raising on a large scale, the means of warfare.

Old Claiborne for to show his hand, he swore he’d cut a dash

                                       He stepped up to the Treasury and stole away the cash.

He toddled off to Booneville, in order to cut a swell, And in his proclamation, a lie he did tell.

                                         The Lyon close pursued him, he traveled night and day

In order to get to Booneville before Claib ran away. They saw the Lyon coming, with Blair by his side, And said to one another, “Boys, it’s time for us to slide.”

All through old Jackson’s camp, they heard the Lyon roar. Another such a racket was never heard before. They opened up their batteries, in order to have some fun, And the third round that they fired, boys, the Dixie boys run. (www.bartonpara.com)

The Souders in Oak Hill, Missouri

Jacob Souders (my maternal great-grandfather; 1828-1895) was a miller and blacksmith in Oak Hill, MO. He built the mill in 1862 on a land grant taken in 1856. The mill was powered by water, and a wooden dam was built on Brush Creek to form a mill pond for this purpose. At first, the mill was used to grind corn into meal. People came great distances to get their grain milled and often camped near the mill. As the earliest area mill, it served a radius exceeding 25 miles. In those early days, the mill pond became the community swimming hole in summer and ice rink in winter. Jacob built cabins near the mill so farmers would have a place to stay (hunt and fish) while they waited their turn at the mill. It was common for one farmer to bring in wool and grain for several neighbors. Jacob brought in the first mechanical turbine (1864) west of the Mississippi River to speed up his milling process.

Among Great-grandfather Jacob’s other business interests were cording wool, farming, a sawmill, and lumberyard. The wood used for making the pews in the Oak Hill Union Church (built about 1883) on Oak Hill Road was sawed in his sawmill and donated by him. Great-grandfather Jacob was such a devout Christian that he once refused to prosecute a man who broke into his mill to steal flour. He said if a man would do such a thing, he must need it badly to feed his wife and children. There are five transactions with the US Land Office during the periods 1845-1860 for Jacob Souders in Crawford County totaling over 457 acres in cash transactions. Some of these were Great-grandfather and others may have been his Uncle or cousin, also named Jacob Souders, but they lived just over the border in Gasconade County. His original purchase was 340 acres in 1856 -- at $8 per acre according to legend. The soil was fertile and suitable for commercial agriculture. Subsequently, he added to his holdings.

Note: The original Jacob Souders mill (1862) was taken down in 1895, and a new roller mill was built closer (East) to the village. Brush Creek was diverted to provide water power.

Jacob Souders was a Union supporter during the Civil War, even though his wife employed slaves. It cost lots less to rent a slave than own one; girls/women could be rented for $25-50 yearly. After 1850, however, it became harder to rent slaves because excess slaves were shipped south where the demand and price was high. The railroads also employed slave labor, paying as much as twenty dollars a month ‘rent’ to the slave’s owner. Many of the Unionists had little concern about the plight of blacks and/or showed ambivalence about the institution of slavery. Even General Grant rented the labor of two slaves at his Farm near St Louis (he borrowed a third slave from his wife’s family, whom he later bought and freed).


Early on, Missourians were forced to choose sides. A letter from the Adjutant General ordered all “Militia” to report in August of 1862. Unless a person was clearly infirm or unbalanced, the choices were either sign up or head for the hills and hide out. An example of the letter sent in various forms to all counties is below. “All the Enrolled Militia within this Sub-District (composed of the counties of Cole, Osage, Miller north of the Osage River and Maries west of the Gasconade River) are hereby summoned and called into active service and will assemble without delay in Jefferson City. The militia duly enrolled and not yet organized into companies will immediately upon their arrival at this post be organized into companies of not less than sixty-seven nor more than one hundred men. Parts of companies will be consolidated. The militia when organized into companies will be subsisted, their horses foraged, and transportation taken when needed from Rebels of all shades and Union men when necessary, giving the latter receipts for what is taken which will be claims against the State of Missouri. All who do not now enroll and organize for the defence of the State will be regarded and treated as traitors and hereafter can claim no protection from the Federal Government. By order of Lt. Col. Williams, Commanding L. T. Hayman, Post Adjutant”

In 1862, Jacob gave the middle name “Lincoln” to his newborn son (Jacob Lincoln Souders), indicating the strength of his Unionist beliefs. I discovered that great-grandfather Jacob had a cousin “Jacob” with a middle name of “Davis” (from his mother, Sally Davis, who married Jacob Souders, the elder brother of Christian, Jr.). I doubt that Sally Davis Souders was related in any way to Jeff Davis, but it is ironic that cousins would have middle names of the Presidents of the Confederacy and the US who were at war. Any connection to Jeff Davis is really remote, since the Indiana branch of the Souders clan were Union loyalists too, with many serving in the Union Army.

Jacob was clearly associated with the Union Commander at Rolla, who issued him a permit to carry a weapon during the Civil War, and he enlisted in the Union Missouri Militia on Aug 25, 1862. It was a felony to be armed in Missouri without authorization. It’s likely that he participated in local activities to control bushwhackers and raiders. His unit (Company G, 34th Enrolled Missouri Militia) served on federal duty at skirmishes at the Osage River, Jefferson City, and Big Piney during General Price’s Confederate invasion of Missouri in 1864. There is some oral/anecdotal reference to action against Confederate raiders by this unit in 1863 and Captain Henry Souders Militia record shows a corresponding thirty day period, but I have found no official records describing combat actions. However, such activity would be consistent with the known conditions of this part of Missouri at that time. Two cousins, George C. Souder (1838-1924) and William H. Souders, sons of Christian Jr.’s brother, John, also served in this unit, and Great-grandfather’s brother, Henry Souders, commanded. George C. Souder was more than a cousin; he was Jacob’s brother-in-law; he first married Emily Ridenhour, sister of Jacob’s wife Ellen, and later another sister, Louisa Ridenhour. Company G also had three Naugles, one of whom, Joseph, was Jacob Souders son-in-law (married Nancy Tash Souders). Abrahm Souders, another cousin, was also in Co. G, 34th EMM. Abrahm Souders was born 1844 in Washington County, IN, son of Benjamin and Nancy Teague Souders. Abrahm was the grandson of Frederick Souders, a brother (twin?) of Christian Souders, Jr. Abrahm owned the first steam thresher in the area, and he once trashed 80,000 bushels in a single day. His farm was just north of the Bourbeuse on the East side of today’s Highway 19, about four miles from Oak Hill. John W. Souders married another sister of Ellen. Ellen Ridenhour Souders eventually collected a widow’s pension in the 1890’s for Jacob’s military service. Jacob died of heart failure in 1895, experiencing a fatal cardiac seizure while walking from home to work in Oak Hill.

Jacob and Ellen Souders produced eleven children: Sarah Lula m. Jacob Carr 17 Mar 1870 and died 5 Oct 1911; Rachel Ann (b. 11 Sep 1853-1902) m. Ebenezer Simpson; James L. m. Margaret E. Hethcock; Joseph S. died unmarried; Mary Arilla m. Benjamin Hethcock and died 1931; Jacob Lincoln m. Rosa Benson and Lula Tyree; Mariah married James Rennick; John H. (my grandfather, 1866-1938) m. Lena Jost; Charles m. Mamie Merk; Isaac W. m. Lizzie Rutz; and Sammy died in infancy.

Ellender (Ellen) J. (probably Jane) Ridenhour came from an early pioneer family in Missouri. Ellen was the daughter of Bernard Ridenhour (born c. 1792 and died 25 Nov 1856 in Gasconade County) and Susannah Effie Jane Williams, Bernard’s second wife (born July, 1802 in TN and died 9 Apr 1892 in Denlow, Douglas County, MO). Bernard was the son of John Ridenour, born 1767 in PA and died 3 April 1803 near Point Labadie, St Louis District, Upper Louisiana, where he was killed by Osage Indians. John Ridenhour brought his family from Virginia to Missouri about 1799, just before the territory passed from Spanish to French control. Bernard’s mother was Christina (Tina) Zumwalt (1769-1825), and her parents were Heinrich Zumwalt and Mary Catherine Hiatt.

Note: Louis Houck indicates that an early settlement at Point Labadie on the Missouri River (near the present St Louis and Franklin County line) was made after the floods of 1796 brought the abandonment of Creve Couer, but war with the hostile Osage came in 1802-03. In April 1803, John Ridenhour and his wife were out hunting for horses when they came upon a party of Osage. The Osage demanded they give up their livestock, but John refused and rode off. The Indians shot him, and he fell to the ground. His wife dismounted and scared her horse away The other horses followed it. The Indians slapped her for making the horses run away, but they let her go. (Houck, Louis. History of Missouri. Chicago: R.H. Donnellely and Sons, 1908. p73)

John Ridenhour’s parents may have been George and Barbara Ridenhour (they could be an extra, erroneous generation), his grandfather/father was Johann Adam Reitenauer, and his (great) grandfather was Balthasar Reitenauer, son of Nicolaus Reitenauer, an immigrant to PA in 1738. The Ridenhour/Ridenour family has diligently researched their past, and much of their discovery is posted on line. An excellent resource, presenting the work of Mel Ridenour, Mona McCown, Nona Harwell and Jim Ridenour, is found at http://webpages.charter.net/eeridenour/ridenour.html .

The Ridenhours/Ridenours were Swiss who became Mennonites and resettled in German Alsace (Elsass) on the West Bank of the Rhine River in the 17th century in order to be free to practice their beliefs. There are many legends that concern the family, some going back to the 9th century and the controversies over the division of Charlemagne’s empire. Some of their ancestors may have been warrior knights. There is no agreement about the meaning of the name. Some believe it refers to a rider across a meadow, while others believe it is derived from a locale, the village of Reitnau in Switzerland (or the town may be named for the family). Several descendants of Nicolas Reitenauer, who stayed briefly in PA before moving to Maryland, were Revolutionary War soldiers. Some of the Ridenhour family settled along the New River in Virginia at the same time the Souders were there, and they likely crossed paths again in Greene County, TN, on their way West.

A family story claims that Ellen (Ellender) Souders, my great-grandmother, didn’t like housework so she kept three slaves busy cleaning, etc. She spent her time carding wool at the mill. Christian Souders, Jr. (my great-great-grandfather, died 1875 in Oak Hill) is said to have manumitted his two slaves (Henry, called Nigger Hen, and Dusty) during the time of the Civil War. Missouri passed an emancipation law in January, 1865, considerably before the U.S. Congress did in December. Christian gave his former slaves land and helped them get started. He provided a cow, chickens, and other necessities. It’s said that Dusty complained that her cow was doing poorly. Apparently she had been pulling off oak branches for it to eat. The tannic acid was making the cow sick, so Dusty was given some instruction on proper feeding of cattle, and everything worked out well. There was a pond on Henry’s new place that was very popular with fishermen, so that helped him with a source of food and income. Sarah Gibson Souders, the wife of Henry Souders (brother of great-grandfather Jacob), had two slaves (Henry & Adeline) that she brought with her from her parents (Gibsons). They were freed, worked at Maramec Springs Iron Mine, and they were eventually buried in the Gibson family Cemetery somewhere off Hwy 19 north of Cuba. I have not verified Christian’s ownership of slaves; the story above about manumission could refer to Henry and Adeline Gibson.

Note: A descendant of Rachel Ann Souders (daughter of Jacob & Ellen) claims that Ellender ‘Ellen’ Ridenhour’s real name was “Farilender.” Henry Souders’ third wife, Ella Souders, was the grandaughter of Rachel (Souders) Strain and also the granddaughter of Jacob and Sally (Davis) Souders. The first wife, Martha Ann Hinkle/Henkle, appears to be the daughter of their neighbors in Boulware Twp, Gasconade County, whose father may have been the first of the Hoosiers in MO.

Henry Souders (a great-great uncle, b. June 11, 1832- died 1910) seems to be the more adventurous brother of Christian Souders, Jr.’s, sons. He was a scout and guide for wagon trains starting at age 16. He enlisted in Company G, 34th Enrolled Missouri Militia (Infantry) on 25 August 1862 and was selected Captain. The unit may have been active in resisting bushwhackers and raiders throughout the war and was ordered to federal duty in September 1864 to resist Price’s invasion of Missouri. In 1863, a company of militia (including Captain Henry Souders) drawn from the 34th EMM by Brigadier General Thomas Crawford were brought together for a month to secure the area from bushwhacker incursions that spring. Since the comings and goings of bushwhackers were irregular, ad hoc groups of troops, militia, and civilians would be hastily formed to attack them or defend against them as opportunity or need arose.

For example, on 13 May 1864, General Oden Guitar, Missouri State Militia, reported that “16 men of the 15th Cavalry MSM and some EMM, suddenly called together, fell upon a party of 30 guerrillas going north about 6 miles northeast of Cuba at 1:00 o’clock p.m. today. The rebels had dismounted to get dinner when they were surprised and fired upon by our men. Two were killed, and several horses, a number of guns, saddles, blankets, etc. were captured.” (War of the Rebellion) Any number of our Souders ancestors might have been involved because of the proximity of the skirmish to Oak Hill, but Great Grandfather David Hartman didn’t join the militia until September of that year. In spring and summer of 1864, during the build-up for Price’s anticipated raid, five companies of the 34th EMM (likely F, G, H, I, and K) under command of Major John E. Goos were attached to the District of Rolla. Services performed would have been under state authority. Brigadier General McNeil was the commander of field forces, but it appears that he left the EMM under the control of Colonel Isaac S. Warmoth, Phelps County Provost Marshal (and 63rd EMM Commander). The usual employment was to have the EMM provide security for the railroad and bridges, but elements could be used to defend against sudden threats or attack targets of opportunity. Thus, three of my Great Grandfathers (Jacob Souders: G-34th, Charles Gruner: H-34th, and David Hartman: D-63rd) were involved in the defense of Rolla and the rail lines.


Note: Odon Guitar’s father emigrated from France in 1818 and moved to Boone County in 1827. Odon was both intelligent and spirited. As he grew up, he became known as a “roistering young man … addicted to sprees and carousing.” He particularly enjoyed cards and cock fighting, but also excelled in school. Odon Guitar entered the first class at Missouri University, and instead of staying to deliver his prize-winning commencement speech at his graduation, he marched off to the Mexican War with Alexander Doniphan’s 1st MO Mounted Vols. Returning in May 1847, Odon Guitar studied law and was admitted to the Bar in 1848. In 1850, he left for California and panned enough gold to have a watch made that he carried for the rest of his life. He again took up law practice and became active in Whig politics, serving two terms in the General Assembly. He became the first President of The Missouri University Alumni Association in 1856, and he warned of the impending conflict over slavery in his speech that year – a speech that is said to have impressed Abraham Lincoln. In May 1861, in a speech delivered at Columbia, he said that even though he had owned slaves and had been raised to believe slavery was divinely ordained, he would gladly give up its benefits to preserve the Union. “He predicted war would pit brother against brother, father against son, and neighbor against neighbor. Soldiers and Bushwhackers would plunder and burn homes, farms, schools, churches, and bridges.” He closed with: “If the glorious old ship of state shall be dismasted by the storm, deserted by her crew, and left to flounder amid the waves of anarchy which will engulf her, it would be glory enough for (me) to go down with the wreck.” (Christiansen, Lawrence. Dictionary of Missouri Biography. p 367)

In May 1862, Odon Guitar raised a Regiment of Cavalry (9th) at the request of Governor Gamble. In August 1862, he was promoted to Brigadier as a consequence of victories over the rebels by the “bloody ninth.” He was designated the Northern District Commander (counties north of the MO River) in July 1863 as the federal forces were withdrawn. He resigned from the militia in 1864 and returned to law practice. Odon Guitar was known as a great orator. Legend has it, of 140 homicide cases he defended, only one defendant was executed and five sentenced to serve time. In August, 1853, Odon Guitar was the state prosecutor in a case involving ‘Hiram,’ a slave accused of attempting to rape a fifteen year-old white girl. The slave’s owner hired James S. Rollins, a founder of Missouri University, to defend. Already acquitted by two justices, Hiram was tried again in Columbia. A mob rushed the court, dragged him outside, and prepared to lynch him. Rollins and others persuaded them to let the trial continue. The next day, Hiram confessed. A citizen’s committee, led by the county’s largest slaveholder, removed Hiram from jail and lynched him on the outskirts of Columbia. Odon Guitar urged the mob to hang Hiram “coolly, and do it in decent order.” (Greene, Lorenzo. et.al. Missouri’s Black Heritage. Columbia: U of Mo Press, 1993. p 45-46)

Captain William Monks, Captain of Scouts at Rolla, claimed that in 1862-63, he was almost continually scouting from his post at Rolla. “The company rarely saw an idle day; it was kept continuously fighting and scouting. The Counties of Texas, Dent, Wright, Crawford, LaClede and Phelps (beyond five miles from the post) were completely under the control of the rebels.” (Monks, William. A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, Fayetteville: U of Arkansas, 2003. p71) The Bushwhacker pattern was to infiltrate up from their base in northern Arkansas and concentrate somewhere near the wagon road from Rolla to Springfield. When a lightly defended party offered a lucrative target, they would swoop down on it, kill all the accompanying detail, or if they lacked the ability to annihilate them, separate what wagons they could and pack the booty on the mules they freed and head for the brush. Once they got cover, the irregulars would separate into small teams and begin the process of exfiltration. Of course, they still had ample opportunity to plunder targets of opportunity or settle old scores while coming or going. Bushwhacker William O. Coleman (formerly a resident of Rolla) had a regiment of about 200 men mostly from Phelps, Dent, and Crawford Counties operating out of Arkansas up to the Rolla area during 1862. During the winter, he recruited as far north as Maries and Osage Counties, but Maries, Osage, Gasconade, and parts of Franklin Counties were mostly Unionists, so Coleman didn’t get the local support that partisans needed to operate. They needed mounts and forage, as well as shelter, rations and information. Individuals or small teams could steal enough to survive on raids, but larger Bushwhacker formations were at a disadvantage in those counties that were overwhelmingly Union. Thus most of his mischief was confined to the Phelps, Crawford, and Washington tier southward. During July of 1862, Coleman had 68 men killed in four separate attacks by Union Missouri Militia south of Rolla, with probably twice that many wounded, and he was driven back to Arkansas, but he continued to raid the following summers. In 1864-65, William Monks took the war to rebel supporters, suppliers, and informants. Monks succeeded to the extent that he was able to deny the bushwhackers a base of support.

In June 1863, rebel and federal scouts skirmished about 20 miles northwest of Rolla, which would be in the vicinity of High Gate-Oak Hill. The rebels were forced to abandon their wagons, and the federals tasked a local farmer to keep them and their mules until they could return for them. Later a company-sized scouting party was sent out from Rolla to bring in the teams. As they neared the farm, the federals saw a group of about 250 men in federal uniforms that they mistook as another scouting party from Jefferson City. They marched right into their midst before they realized they were surrounded by rebels outnumbering them five to one. Resistance was futile, so they surrendered. Local citizens reported that the rebels had them strip and then marched them where they claimed there would be rations. Instead, they surrounded them and began firing into the mass of naked troops. When the Federals realized their fate, they tried to tackle the rebels and wrestle weapons away from them. The rebels executed the entire federal unit; many had their throats cut. When the rebels finished, they ate their dinner, took the mules and wagons, and left. Even hardened troops on the burial detail were sickened by the horror.


Federal records show the 34th Enrolled Missouri Militia Regiment saw action at the Osage River, Jefferson City, and a skirmish at Big Piney in the fall and winter of 1864. Captain Henry Souders’ service record shows a period of active federal service in spring of 1863, after the Confederate raid near Owensville, as well as the entry concerning the period of Price’s invasion of 1864 (the name is spelled ‘Sowders’ for the second period). Henry was a successful farmer (accumulating over 800 acres in Crawford and Gasconade Counties) and local politician (postmaster, justice of the peace for 16 years, and county judge). It’s said by his descendants that he donated the land for the Oak Hill Church. However, I’ve found documentation that the land was purchased about 1883 from the San Francisco Railroad for $10, and the church records indicate Harrison C. Souders (son of John Souders, Christian Junior’s brother) contributed the donation to buy the land. Harrison C. Souders also bequeathed money to maintain the Oak Hill Cemetery. Whatever Henry did for the church appears to be lost in time. My Mother indicated some competition between the descendents of Henry and Jacob, but the brothers likely got along well.

Note: Harrison Carter Souders (1838-1924) enlisted in Company H, 3rd MO Cavalry. He was honorably discharged as Corporal at Little Rock, Ark., 14 June 1864.

On 30 June 1864, Brigadier-General Brown, HQ Central District Missouri, reported a summary of 32 actions between 10-19 June 1864. In ten engagements, 27 rebels were killed or mortally wounded, 7 horses, and six stands of small arms captured. Union loss was 23 killed or wounded, 1 horse and 2 revolvers lost, 2 wagons burned, and 12 mules killed. Scouts covered 3810 miles in ten days, some of it on foot. The losses came primarily from ambushes of a scouting party and an escort. In one instance the loss was largely due to the negligence of the Corporal in charge. Escort and guard details were large because forage had to be hauled 35-50 miles for half his command. (War of the Rebellion. Official records…) On 30 June 1864, Brigadier-General Odon Guitar reported an action near St James, MO. “About 4 PM yesterday Captain Herring and Lieutenant Roberts, 3rd Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, stationed at St James, riding out near their camp, encountered a gang of 25 rebels in the act of crossing the railroad in federal uniform. They were fired upon and Captain Herring was seriously wounded (he died later). The gang was pursued and scattered. Five came back to Dillon and set fire to two box-cars, and were in the act of firing the tank when scouts from here (Rolla) came upon them and drove them off, capturing three of their horses, one being a horse captured by them from Lieutenant Roberts. No other damage was done to the road as far as I can tell.” (War of the Rebellion, Official Record)

A daughter of Christian Souders, Jr., (Martha Ann Souders, 1842-1920) married a Union soldier (Milton Murphy) who was a prisoner at Andersonville, GA, during the Civil War. PVT Murphy (b. 1842) served with the 10th Missouri Cavalry Regiment (US Volunteers); he was captured, held at Andersonville, survived, and escaped Aug 24, 1864. This probably was facilitated by the distraction of Sherman’s march on Atlanta at the same time. Milton F. Murphy initially enlisted in Captain Preston H. Collier’s Company B of Gasconade County Home Guards (2d Battalion) on 12 July 1861. This unit was disbanded 4 Sep 1861, and he enlisted in Captain Collier’s Company C of Dallmeyer’s Battalion, Gasconade County six month militia on the same day. His record states “in hospital on date of muster out, 10 January 1862.” Next he enlisted with Captain McGlasson’s Company I, 10th Missouri Cavalry Regiment at Rolla, with rank as Corporal, and mustered in 2 Oct 1862 at St Louis. His record notes, “transferred to 2nd Cavalry, (Company) H, reduced to ranks on account of being sick.” He mustered out 30 Aug 1865. If the reduction came after his escape from Andersonville, it was cavalier treatment indeed. Milton F. Murphy and Martha Ann (Souders) Murphy are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery.

John Souders and Lena (Jost) Souders (daughter of Peter Jost of Franklin County)

John Souders (11 Jan 1866-7 Apr 1938, my grandfather) was a Postmaster (three terms totaling ten years), Justice of the Peace, and general merchandise store owner in Oak Hill. His first wife, in 1885, was Laura Mitchell; she died in childbirth. They had one child, Iva, who was about age seven when John married Lena Jost. Iva would marry Harry Iseman and live in Ava, MO. My Grandmother, Lena Francis Jost (6 Mar 1878-5 July 1956) was John Souder’s second wife; they married on 6 Oct 1897. John and Lena Souders had six children: Jesse Orvel (b. 7 Sep 1898), Anna Pearl (30 Nov 1901-26 Nov 1967), Elsie Rachel (22 Nov 1903-1989), Ruby Ellen (b. 21 Dec 1906), Jewell Estella (b. 9 Mar 1910) and Clarence Emory (b. 9 Oct 1912). Aunt Ruby Souders stated that Elsie, my mother, was born in the “Meineke House,” named for the doctor who settled there in 1888. This house was subsequently bought by John Souders, and it is where Grandmother resided at the time of her death. Aunt Ruby also indicated that John and Lena Souders had another daughter who died as an infant in 1902. In a letter to Ira Breuer, dated 4 June 1973, Aunt Ruby Souders Orr described her Dad’s life in Oak Hill.

John Souders started out as a farmer along the Bourbeuse River in Gasconade County, but moved to Oak Hill in 1902 to engage in the General Merchandise store business, although he retained the farm. John built a one-room house in his yard for his mother, Ellen Souders, who was paralyzed. This allowed John and Lena to see to her needs, and they hired girls to stay with her during the day to assist her. Lena would sometimes take her infant daughter, Ruby, and place her on the bed beside Ellen. Ellen would pat the baby’s hand and say, “innocent little angel, she has no idea of the troubles ahead.” John got a big wooden wheelchair for Ellen’s use, and after her passing in 1907, it was used by anyone who needed it.

In 1904, the entire family visited the World’s Fair in St Louis. About this time, John built a canning factory for vegetables and fruit, but it was no longer functioning by about 1910. In 1905, he built a bigger, new store, but it burned in 1912. John was concerned because he ran the Post Office from the store. The Post Office safe was rescued, but otherwise the business was a total loss, and John had no insurance. (The Cuba newspaper estimated the loss at $10,000.) Men came from miles around to fight the fire and keep other buildings from burning. The wells were pumped continuously, and big quilts were soaked and hung from the second story porch of the Souder’s house across the street to keep it from catching fire. The fire changed life for the family, and some suspected arson. John and Lena had been planning to build a bigger house for their growing family, but that had to be postponed. It’s said that John gave credit freely to anyone who needed it, keeping few if any records. This was his undoing because few paid back what they owed, and he had no physical evidence that would stand up in court.

Nonetheless, John decided to start over from the little house he had built for his mother. He also ran the Post Office from there and served as Justice of the Peace. Later he moved his store to a larger building. John and Lena decided to remodel the store as a dwelling and added eight large rooms. Later still, he bought Jim Simpson’s store building across from the mill. With his farms and other businesses, John was a major employer in the Oak Hill area. During those good times, John and Lena liked to spend a week in Cuba for the Crawford County Fair. John had prize studhorses and jackasses that he liked to show, and he drove his sulky in the races. He took several Blue Ribbons at the fair. He was a respected horse breeder, and mares were brought from many miles away for stud service. John was not pleased by the appearance of the automobile and Sears Roebuck Catalogue service. He saw in them the end of small towns and small town life, and he considered them “the ruination of the country.”

John and Lena Souders lived at Oak Hill the rest of their lives except for 1928-31 when they were at St James helping out their oldest child, Jesse. Jesse had continuing difficulties, and the parents were frequently called upon to assist him. When John gave up the store business, he concentrated on agricultural real estate and rental properties. When the great depression hit, he had over-speculated on land, which fell as low as ten cents per dollar of previous value in Crawford and Phelps counties. He worried about his losses, which didn’t help his heart condition. In 1938, when he had his fatal heart attack at home, Aunt Ruby stated he had a letter in his pocket indicating he had lost his last rental property in Owensville.

Lena Francis Souders’ name is a compound of two generations of her grandmothers’ names: Helene (Geier) Jost and Mary Francisca (Halmich) Jost. Lena was active in the Oak Hill Baptist Church, the Royal Neighbor Lodge, Oak Hill Extension Club, and served as both Secretary and Treasurer of the Oak Hill Cemetery board. She was Committee-woman for Oak Hill Township, and contributed local information to the newspaper in Cuba, MO. Grandma Souders was the only grandparent with whom my sister and I had any meaningful relationship; the others died before or shortly after we were born. I have fond memories of visits to Oak hill and staying with Grandma in the summer, kerosene lamps and a wood stove for heat and cooking. Water came from a well. We used a chamber pot for nature’s call at night, and the outhouse did have a Sears Roebuck catalogue for toilet paper. I recall trying to catch crawdads in Brush Creek, Box Socials at the church, hide-and-seek with the Bayles kids across the road, and putting lightning bugs in a Mason jar. Grandma Souders lived with us for a period after her surgery for colon cancer, but she returned to Oak Hill prior to her death from heart attack and the metastasized carcinoma.

Note: Royal Neighbors of America is a non-profit fraternal membership organization with a more than 100-year history of helping women and their families. The organization insures lives, supports women, and serves communities by offering insurance and annuity products. Its members also participate in a variety of locally based volunteer opportunities and are eligible to apply for many member benefits such as scholarships and disaster aid. (http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org90436.jsp)


All of John and Lena Souders’ children left Crawford County in search of better opportunities. Clarence Souders (my mother’s brother) graduated from St James High School in 1931and then attended college. Uncle Clarence completed his baccalaureate (at Central MO State, I think, although he also attended SW MO State) prior to induction in the Army and was propelled quickly through the ranks. He served in WWII as a sergeant with Army Air Force intelligence. He witnessed first-hand the liberation of the German Concentration Camps and the pitiable condition of the people freed. Clarence’s military awards include the Bronze Star; however, I have not found the citation describing the basis for the award. After the war, he returned to law school at Missouri University, but when he failed to pass the bar exam, Clarence went to work for the United Nations resettling refugees from Czechoslovakia and Austria. During the war, he met Janet Jack in Britain, daughter of an Anglican minister, and she later worked for the United Nations also. Clarence and Janet married, and (after being dropped from the UN staff during a reduction in force) he went to work for US Air Force Schools in the Azores. Later they settled in Woodbridge, England, where he was a principal of a public school, and had two children: Judith and Jonathon. Following the death of John Souders, a Missouri Court assigned all his debts to Clarence. Later, Clarence filed suit against his mother and siblings to share the debt equally. I assume this was done amicably and cooperatively, because there was no tension between them at that time or thereafter. About 1950, Clarence took his sister, Pearl, on a tour of Western Europe.

Jesse’s wife was Gladys, and their children were Helena, Hazel, Connie, George, Jesse, Bill, and John. We had very limited contact with them. Mother’s oldest sister, Pearl Souders, was an executive secretary with the International Shoe Factories Headquarters in St Louis, and her younger sisters Jewel and Ruby Souders were, respectively, a nurse and a teacher. Pearl seemed more sophisticated than her sisters; she always dressed in the height of fashion (conservative and business-like) and spoke very precisely, using invariably correct grammar. Pearl never married. I recall a story that her sweetheart or fiancé was killed in “the War.” Only Ruby had children in her first marriage to Arch Franklin: a son, Donald Franklin, and a daughter, Sara Franklin. Gayle Belshe, my sister, remembers, “Uncle Arch worked for the Borden company and the reason I remember is that one time when we were at Grandma's he brought a stack of 8X10 advertising sheets in full color on heavy gloss paper of Elsie and her family (Elmer, Elsie, and Beauregard -- the Bordon Jersey Cows) for us to use to draw and color on the back. I've always wished I had saved one.” Jewel married Don K Spalding, a county agent who rose to President of the St Joseph Stockyards.

Don K. Spalding was a graduate of St James High School (1930) and the University of Missouri (agriculture), a leader in St Joseph’s Rotary Club (President and member of the Board of Directors) and Grand Potentate of Moila Shriner’s Temple. During the Civil War, there were clusters of Spaldings around St Louis, St Joseph, Hannibal, and Central Missouri (Franklin, Cole and Miller Counties), the latter of which provided Don’s ancestors. Most of his people served in the Union forces, although a few were rebels. 2LT Norman C. Spalding served with the PEMM and the 54th EMM of Franklin County, while half a dozen Spaldings enlisted from Cole and Miller Counties. In the early days, when Don did the farm market report on the radio, he would use a special phrase to let Grandma Souders know if he and Jewel would be coming to Oak Hill that next weekend. Don had a friendly, likeable, hail-fellow personality, while Jewel played the role of ditsy wife (a la Lucille Ball). Don was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican Conservative, the self-made man type, and he was a great story-teller. Don and Jewell were great fun to be around, and they were especially kind to Gayle and me. Jewel and Don never had children. I remember fondly the time that Aunt Jewel took me fishing on a pond near St Joseph. I pulled out a bunch of carp on cheese balls that she made up. Of course, they were too bony to be of much value as a meal, but I was very proud of the catch. Jewel probably cooked a catfish or something we could eat and threw away the carp. I stayed with them in St Joseph for four months before my Army service. When Jewel and Don died, Mother and Dad received a significant share of their estate.

Elsie Rachel Souders and George Fredrick Gruner: A section about my mother’s and father’s life together is placed at the end of the Gruner Project narrative narrative.

There is an interesting ‘ecumenical’ aspect of the Oak Hill Union Church built after the Civil War. It was used as a meeting site by several local denominations. While John Souders donated the wood for the Church pews, I believe Charley Rutz actually made them. The Rutz family is intermingled with most of the families of Oak Hill and Brush Creek Townships: Souders, Bullingtons, Tayloes, Josts, Ruwwes, Gruners, Brandenburgers, Isemans, Simpsons, Hartmans, Colliers, Ridenhours, etc., even including the Irish ‘Strains’ and ‘Murphys’. “Charles Rutz is one among the oldest men of Oak Hill township. He is a German by birth, aged 81 years. He came to America in 1851 and has lived on Brush creek 49 years. His wife, with their two children died of cholera on the voyage. "Uncle Charley" as he is familiarly known first located at Hermann and for a short time worked at his trade, cabinet making, and then moved to Brush creek and bought a farm. By hard labor he made farming and stock raising a success. He is now living with his son, William, the proprietor of the Oak Hill Roller Mill. He spends most of his time reading, is a great talker, well posted and says that he is proud that he is an American citizen.” (Cuba, The Telephone, Oct. 4,1901.) Charley Rutz enlisted 4 Sep 1862 and served honorably with Company F, Dalmeyers Six-Month Militia to 10 Jan 1862.

After the success of Jacob Souder’s mill, Oak Hill began to grow slowly. First there was only one doctor, then two. One was an allopath, the other a homeopath. Jacob began a general store in the granary of the mill, but soon there was a competitor. When the farmers of the area cleared more land, they began to grow wheat as well as corn. A market for wheat became necessary as well as a mill to grind a portion of it for bread.

   “In 1895 Isaac Souders and William Rutz. senior, built a large rollermill. The carding machine was then moved from the old gristmill building on the banks of Brush Creek to the new building only a few yards away.”
   “In 1905 Isaac Souders sold his share of the mill to his partner, William Rutz, senior.  The mill was enlarged and remodeled.  New machinery was purchased in the east and shipped to Bourbon.  Ebenezer Simpson, who operated a large store at Oak Hill, hauled the sixty foot boiler from Bourbon to Oak Hill by oxen.  A large steel flywheel, fifteen feet in diameter, was a part of the shipment.  The transportation of this machinery could not be accomplished until the road was cleared of trees along the way.  This old ox trail followed the general course of present Highway C and CC.”
   “In 1908 Wi11iam Rutz, senior, sold the mill to his sons, John W. and Charles F. Rutz.  Again in 1913 the business was sold to Logan E. Ferris and William D. Bell who only operated it for a short period.  In 1921 the Oak Hill Milling Company was formed with John W. Rutz as president, and Doctor W. D. Henderson, secretary-treasurer.  The Iast operator of the Oak Hill Milling Company was Walter Rutz, a brother of John W., Charles F. and Louis Rutz.”  (Breuer, James Ira. CRAWFORD COUNTY AND CUBA MISSOURI. 1972 p. 118-127)

A couple decades after Oak Hill began to thrive as a village, a mail route was established between Cuba and Oak Hill. The route was established on April 15, 1904, and the first delivery was made by mule. The “roads” in those years were hardly fit for wagons. Two rural delivery routes were established to service the outlying areas, and Uncle Oscar Jost was one rural mail carrier until he retired. In 1909, Oak Hill got a bank that continued until 1937, when it was absorbed by Peoples’ Bank in Cuba. In 1915, a sudden flood of Brush Creek brought water up to the windows of the bank. This led the county to dam Brush Creek about ten miles south of Oak Hill. A steel bridge with wooden decking was finally constructed over Brush Creek in 1918, eliminating the difficulties of fording; it was closed to auto traffic about 1960 and County highway CC has been rerouted to a new bridge about a mile south.

Ira Breuer describes the coming of the telephone: “About 1905 or 1906 telephone lines were first built to the Oak Hill community as they were built from Cuba and from Bourbon. A switchboard was installed at Oak Hill and continued in service until about 1940 when the Bell System purchased the rural lines and completely reorganized the service. During the era of the rural telephones several separate telephone lines led into the local switchboard. Disputes often arose at the annual and special telephone meetings over rules, dues, and maintenance, disputes which sometimes lasted for several years. Often fist fights and free-for-alls were the features of the meeting. Mrs. Nellie Simpson Landuyt relates, "When all the people came to town to elect a director for each line we children were not allowed to go up town. My mother was afraid there would be a free-for-all fight, which did happen once, and more times, a disagreement."

Ira Breurer continues explaining the demise of Oak Hill. “Because of competition with the large flour mills in the country handling hard wheat, all the small mills were eventually compelled to close. Some of them continued to operate as feed stores. This was true of the one at Oak Hill. Norman T. Rector purchased the mill, engaged in the feed business, and stocked a sizable amount of staple groceries. This business closed in 1956.” That was the last business to serve the people of Oak Hill, ironically the year that Grandma Lena Souders died. I can remember taking my pennies to Mr. Rector’s store in the late 1940’s for candy or bubblegum. The “sizeable” amount of groceries Ira Breuer describes above was pretty limited in my recollection, less than most gas station snack offerings today. The town has wasted since; only three of its original buildings and the mill are still standing, and what remains is a sad reflection of what used to be.


The Josts of Franklin County Lena (Jost) Souders (1878-1956) was born in Boone Township, Franklin County, MO. Her father was Peter Jost 1856-1929, and her mother was Anna B. Halmich (1857-1919); they are buried at the Schmidt Cemetery along County Hwy H near Strain, MO. Jost may mean “just” or “experienced in warfare.” It could also be a variant of Joseph meaning “may Jehovah increase in number.” One branch of the Jost family claims that the common ancestor was a French General who fled Paris after the Napoleonic era, settling near the German border in Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen). Since Peter Jost’s father (Peter Jost Sr.) was likely born in Paris, it could be that our Josts are related to that group somehow. Notwithstanding, Peter (Sr.) and Helene Jost’s native language was German.

Great Grandfather Peter Jost (Jr., b. 1856) and Great Grandmother Anna Halmich/Helmich were born in Franklin County Missouri. They had seven sons and three daughters. Peter’s father was also named Peter Jost/Yost (6 Mar 1818-21 Nov 1902), probably from around Strasbourg according to family legend, but born in Paris, France, according to information on his son’s death certificate provided by his grandson. Peter’s mother was Helene Geier (Gier/Geyer) from Alsace, Lorraine (29 Sep 1821-5 July 1910). Peter Jost/Yost (the elder) served as a Private with Company F, 54th EMM. He was enrolled 15 Aug 1862 at Washington, Franklin County by Captain Stantenburg, commanding Company F. His name was initially spelled as “Jost,” but the J was scratched out and replaced with a Y, indicating current (German) pronunciation. He initially served 33 days of federal active duty (23 Apr 1863 to 26 May 1863), and later 46 days with Company I from “Beoff Town” (Boeuf, today’s ‘Detmold’; 1 Oct 1864 to 15 Nov 1864). I Company’s Captain, Peter Koenig (King), was killed 2 October 1864 by “guerrillas” in Franklin County, and he is buried at Ebenezer Stone Church, but the grave is unmarked. 1LT Michael Bauer assumed command of Company I and was later promoted to Captain. Peter Jost’s I Company service record specifies 46 days active duty, but someone lined through the printed “Oct 1” and wrote by hand “Oct 12.” Perhaps Peter was transferred from Company F to Company I in the middle of his service. This appears to be the case for a few others in the unit. I infer that Companies F and L were disbanded in early October, 1864 (probably by SO 126), and their men reassigned. Perhaps these were the companies that sustained significant casualties at Union. Most of the men in I Company lived in northwest Franklin County, but Peter Jost lived in the west central part, only about 6 miles from Union. Germans made up less than a fourth of Company F, but Company I was almost entirely German. The first period of Peter Jost’s active duty corresponds to the Confederate raid near Owensville, and the second duty period is during Prices’s Missouri Raid. Price’s army was in Franklin County from Sept 30 to Oct 4, 1864. Goodspeed’s History of Franklin County estimates about $500,000 (1864 dollars) of property damage occurred during those few days with about 60 men killed by the rebels.

Note: Bruce Nichols indicates one purpose behind S.O. 126 was to eliminate officers who were “too hard on rebels.” This came about as a victory by the ‘Moderate Republicans’ in the political in-fighting against the hardline Radicals. All the officer positions in F Company 54th EMM were vacated by S. O. 126, and the 54th EMM lost about half its officer corps overall. The 54th EMM was hard-core Union, with no tolerance for rebels. When the Radicals seized total control after Price’s invasion, this became some of the legacy they wished to overturn.

Peter (Sr.) and Helene Jost came to the U.S. in 1850, according to Census data (1900). How long they knew each other before marriage is unknown. They were married on August 7, 1855 by Jos. Petochowski, a Catholic Priest at St Joseph’s near Jeffreiesburg. They had eight children (seven still living in 1900), and they owned their farm in Boone Twp, Franklin County, MO, free and clear in 1900. There was a brother, John Jost, who also lived around Jeffriesburg, but whether he arrived before or after Peter is uncertain. Peter Jost’s daughter, Katerina (b. 7 Jan 1860) married Conrad Schlitt (b. 16 July 1855), and Conrad’s father appears to be Corporal Henry (Heinrich) Schlitt (b. 6 Oct 1825 in Ruhkirchen, Hessen) who enrolled in Company C, 54th EMM on 18 August 1862 and served three stints of federal active duty during the crisis periods of guerrilla activity in Missouri: 19 Aug-31 Dec. ’62, 23 Apr-26 May ’63, and 1 Oct-14 Nov 1864. Peter’s son, George Jost (1862-1925), is buried with his wife, Mary K. Jost (1867-1890) at the ‘old’ Holy Martyrs Catholic Cemetery in Southwest Franklin County. Actually, one descendant of George Jost says he married five times: 1. Mary Valentine Voss, 2. Elizabeth Voss, and numbers 3-5 were mail order brides from Germany. “Mary K.” must be one of the latter.

Peter and Helene Jost settled around Jeffriesburg (about 6 miles west of Union on US Hwy 50), but it longer exists. In the 19th century, however, it had its own school district, at least two churches, and a mutual fire insurance association. The town was named after E. B. Jeffries, a member of the legislature from Franklin County, elected in 1854, who was killed in the Gasconade Bridge disaster of 1 Nov 1855. A descendant of Peter Jost in Colorado said there is a family story that Peter went ‘west’ with a couple of brothers first but came back to Missouri. Peter and Helene Jost appear to have attended St Joseph’s Catholic Church on Neier Road (established 1849 as a log church by Fr. Ieseifoegel; current Church built 1866-67) where they were subsequently buried.

Franklin County had some good soils in the valleys and prairies, with stands of hardwood timber on the ridges. Parts of it (mostly in the north) were well suited to commercial agriculture. The Boeuf Creek area consists of well-watered prairies where repeated flooding has deposited rich topsoils. Daniel Boone liked to hunt there; it was filled with grazing buffalo, deer, and smaller game then. The early French gave the area its name because of the large numbers of bison there (Boeuf Savage). The county’s geography also led to friction during the Civil war between the slaveholding planters along the Missouri and the more recently arrived immigrants in the southern and western hills.

There were two lynchings in Franklin County prior to the Civil War. In March 1847, a slave Eli murdered Mrs. Teaman after an attempted rape and then attempted to kill her young son. After his indictment, he was taken from the jail in Union during daylight by angry citizens and hanged. In 1858, William L. Hall was found guilty of the stabbing murder of Andrew Bullock. He received a sentence of fifteen years in prison, but was transferred after a couple to the insane asylum at Fulton. Ten months later he was discharged as having “returned to reason.” Upon release, he taught a term in St Louis (providing a commentary on teacher recruitment) and then returned to Washington. Soon thereafter he went to the house of his dying father, shot and killed his sister through an open window, and went on to the house of his brother, where he attempted to lure him out for the kill. His purpose was to clear obstacles to inheriting his father’s property (the old man died of shock within six hours of the murder of his daughter). After Hall’s arrest and return to Union, about fifty unmasked and determined men took him from the jail to a large nearby elm, where they exacted summary judgment with a rope. His body was left hanging for three hours before being taken down and buried.

Three of our extended family sat on the jury that delivered the verdict in Franklin County’s sole legal execution before 1890: Thomas E. Renwick, David M. Tyree, and Joseph P. Woodruff. In Jan 1856, W. D. Worrell and an accomplice murdered Basil H. Gordon. The trials were separated, and Dan Q. Gale was the prosecutor (subsequently the Colonel of the 54th EMM). After a long trial, Worrell was found guilty 31 Jan 1857 and sentenced to hang on 17 Mar. A stay prevented execution on schedule, but the sentence was carried out in June 1857 by Sheriff R. R. Jones, who had a scaffold built at Union for the purpose. An orderly crowd of about 500 witnesses watched Worrel swing. Worrell’s accomplice (William H. Bruff) was acquitted and returned to the Army from which he had deserted. About three months later, Bruff was shot dead at Ft Leavenworth, KS, during his second attempt to desert.

Franklin County’s 1860 Presidential election vote was 888 for Douglas, 597 for Bell, 494 for Lincoln, and 108 for Breckinridge. Union sentiment might be calculated from the overwhelming vote against Breckinridge, almost 20:1, but that would underestimate the southern strength. The elections for delegates to the state constitutional convention in Feb. 1861 showed that for every person advocating secession, there were about four supporting the Union. As early as January 1861, militia began forming for drills in support of both positions. The election for delegates to the state constitutional convention in February, 1861 was raucous. The secessionists attempted to steal the show while the Republicans were at a dinner. News of this reached the Republicans in time, and they rejoined the meeting. A trickily-worded secessionist resolution was hotly debated, and a division of the house ended in a struggle. Sheriff Maupin resolved this by waving an American flag and shouting, “Rally ‘round the flag.” The rebels tried but failed to seize the flag, and the Union clearly carried the day. In 1864, the vote for Lincoln was 1717, more than four times the vote for McClellan.

Note: Maupin was a southerner and a slave owner, but he remained a strong Unionist throughout the war, eventually rising to the rank of COL, U.S. Vols. Maupin was elected Franklin County representative to the Missouri Constitutional Convention in February 1862, defeating the secessionist candidate C. S. Jeffries.

Francis Blair in St Louis maintained contact with the Republican militia in Franklin County. Around the middle of April, 1861, he warned them about the danger to the St Louis Arsenal and asked for troops to defend it. Very quickly, a company of Franklin County militia assembled and boarded the train for St Louis, but they didn’t go to the railway station. The engineer stopped the train nearer the arsenal, and the men infiltrated by ones and twos, reaching the safety of the arsenal without being observed. Meanwhile, a regiment of militia was being raised for local defense of Franklin County, and by mid June Captain Lyon had provided them with enough muskets to arm two companies. When armed, the company under Captain Wilhelmi took control of Washington, and the company under Captain Maupin marched on Union. Maupin placed guards on all roads leading from the town and marched in to secure it from the dozen or so rebels who had claimed it. When the rebels saw Maupin’s unit coming, they tried to flee, but they were arrested as they left town on various roads and brought back. It’s said that there were seven rebel flags flying in Franklin County that day, but by night they had all disappeared.

In the early portion of the Civil War, Martin Bournes was killed by Home Guards for resisting arrest. Benjamin Horine was killed by some troops from Jefferson County. August Dolle killed two of Captain Maupin’s men who were going home after discharge from their 3 Month enlistment. Dolle fled the area but was captured in Rolla and returned to Franklin County, where he was turned over to the militia. Shortly thereafter, Dolle was shot and killed “while attempting escape.” Confederate recruiter, Captain James H Barnes, was also shot and killed by Captain Fink’s militia Company, C-54th EMM, “while attempting escape.” Barnes’ friends claimed it was murder, but although two indictments were handed down, the cases were ultimately dismissed. Hermann Gehlert was one of those indicted. The Gehlerts were prominent around Jeffriesburg, most attending the German Evangelical Church at St Jordans. During Price’s invasion in 1864, Hermann Gehlert was captured October 1st, but paroled Oct. 3rd.

In 1862, Franklin County raised two regiments of Enrolled Missouri Militia, the 54th and 55th, twenty-four companies totaling about 2,200 men. The 54th EMM’s commander and deputy (Col. Dan Q. Gale and Lt. Col. Henry C. Eitzen, who was also the Provost Marshal) were staunch Radical Republican Unionists. Franklin county slave owners complained that the Regiment was ‘freeing’ slaves in violation of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (which exempted the slaves of the Border States).

The Price raid of 1864 was the most serious engagement of the Civil War in Franklin County. Shelby and Marmaduke’s cavalry camped in Sullivan on 30 September. Strength was liberally estimated from 10-15,000 troops and six batteries of artillery. There seemed little possibility of the militia defending Washington, although breastworks had been erected along the Missouri bluffs. They had arms, but no “commissary stores,” so the 54th EMM abandoned the town to its fate just prior to the advance of the rebels. Colonel Gale commandeered two steamboats and had about 600 (roughly half) of the regiment taken over to the north side of the Missouri River, where they would march to St Charles to consolidate the defense of St Louis. As they marched away, rebels got close enough to fire several shots at them, but only one militiaman was hit. Citizens were in a panic as the Confederate Cavalry approached; they hid or even burned possessions to keep them from the rebels. Some hid in an old covered bridge, where they were fired upon without effect. The Railroad station was burned; homes and stores were looted. The rebel soldiers tied ribbons they had stolen from the stores on their bayonets, paraded through the streets, and they destroyed the food and furniture they couldn’t carry off. Some larger items, like spinning wheels, were taken as booty. Almost every horse was confiscated and two civilians were killed, one boy was shot when he attempted to run tell his parents of the rebel approach. (http://washingtonmo.org/history+of+Washington+MO/historychap4.htm)

Confederate Brigadier John B Clark described the action at Union in a report. “We arrived in Union, Franklin County, Oct. 1; found a small body of the enemy, some 200 strong, posted in the town to dispute our entrance. Dismounted my command, and opening my artillery, I moved forward rapidly to the attack, routing the enemy, killing 32 and capturing seventy prisoners.” Clark sent a regiment on toward Washington about midnight, and rejoined them with the rest of his brigade in Washington by 8:00 the morning of Oct 2. (“Washington, Missouri History”, Chapter 4) It’s logical that the 54th EMM militia companies of western Franklin County would have defended Union. Thus, this may be where Captain Peter Koenig of I Company 54th EMM died. However, stories indicate that two members of Ebenezer Stone Church were “maliciously killed by bushwhackers,” and Capt. Peter Koenig and Pvt Henry Kohsfeld are the only burials recorded in church cemetery records of early October 1864. Consequently, it seems likely that these two men were assassinated by foraging bushwhackers screening the flanks of the attacking Confederates rather than dying in an engagement. Notwithstanding, it is likely that Company F, including Peter Jost, was engaged in the battle at Union.

Franklin County’s most sensational murders during the Civil War concerned the execution of Union troops by Confederates. After the Battle of Fort Davidson near Pilot Knob, Major Wilson and six troopers from the 3rd Cavalry MSM, who had been captured, were turned over to Confederate Colonel Tim Reeves by General Price. All the prisoners from Fort Davidson were brought to Franklin County, and most were paroled. However, Reeves had a score to settle with Wilson in the aftermath of events from December 1863. On 23 Dec, Reeves’ Confederate 15th Cavalry had attacked Centerville, Mo, where they burned the courthouse and took about 100 Union captives. Major Wilson, 3rd Cavalry MSM, following hard on their heels as the rebels returned to Arkansas, surprised the 15th Confederate Cavalry as they sat down to Christmas dinner with their families on the 25th. Some of the southern civilians were likely killed and/or wounded during the attack (although the actual numbers are hotly contested), and in revenge for this, Wilson and his men were executed. Union General Rosecrans subsequently executed six rebels in custody at St Louis in retaliation, but Reeves (a Baptist minister) was never punished.

On 28 Aug 1880, Fritz Haase and his pregnant girlfriend killed his wife by cutting her throat and beating her about the head with a heavy stick. After a sensational trial, Haase spent twenty years in prison, but the girl and her baby died soon after conviction.

An article at emissourian.com by Karen Cernan, Honoring Franklin County’s Honorables , describes the judges of Franklin County. “One of the interesting things about these earlier circuit court judges to serve Franklin County, … is that they were "true circuit riders. They came in for a term of court, maybe a week, and then moved on,…. And attorneys rode along with them. The Honorable John H. Stone (1844-'62) sympathized with the Confederacy . . . he was eventually charged with disloyalty and thrown into the Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, …. After he was released, he settled with his family on a small farm in St. Charles and Warren counties. The Honorable James William Owens Sr. (1863-'68) was the son of Washington foundress Lucinda Owens. He was instrumental in Franklin County sending a pro-Union leaning delegation to the 1861 Missouri convention to decide whether Missouri should stay with the Union or go with the Confederacy." … "He was an outspoken champion of emancipation and helped write the Missouri emancipation legislation which was passed in early 1865." The Honorable Rudolph Hirzel (serving 1887-1900) was born in Württemberg, Germany, in 1845. http://www.emissourian.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20204659&BRD=1409&PAG=461&dept_id=544656&rfi=6


Franklin County had a public school system prior to the Civil War. In 1857, the teacher’s salary was $50 per month. Students from outside the district were charged tuition of $1.25 monthly. By 1871, there was a separate ‘colored’ school, where the teacher received a monthly salary of $25. In 1875, the board hired German teachers. In 1880, there were 922 boys and 894 girls in school; the ‘colored’ school had 65 boys and 52 girls. Teachers received a raise to $70 dollars a month, but the teacher at the colored school only got $35.

Lena Jost Souders’ maternal grandparents (Florian Halmich/Helmich, 9 Aug 1821-1 May 1893 and Mary ‘Francisca’ Hetsoke, 1821-12 Jun 1887) were from Prussia. Mary apparently used her middle name, which was recorded at the port of entry as “Francisco,” but was probably Francisca or Franchesca). They arrived in New Orleans from Bremen on the ship Mary Florence on 5 Nov 1849 with their first born son, Charles Augustus (called ‘August,’ b. 28 Nov 1846 in Germany-d. 8 June 1906 in Franklin County, MO). Charles August Halmich and his wife, Elisabeth (nee Mitchell) are buried in the Schmidt Cemetery near Strain, MO, close to Peter and Anna Bertha (Halmich/Helmich) Jost. Florian (or Floren) Halmich indicated that his occupation was ‘cooper,’ i.e., barrel or bucket maker, at the port of immigration. Florian and Mary Francisca had four sons (Charles, Peter, Louis, and Wilhelm) and three daughters; their descendants still are plentiful in the southwestern corner of Franklin County around Sullivan. Four Halmich’s still owned property south of Japan in southwest Franklin County in 1930. Florian Halmich’s father, Amendus Halmich (1794-1860), and his wife, Johanna Brutzel (1794-1873) also immigrated to the United States, but they settled in Michigan with some of their children. I located Mary F. Halmich’s (1821-1882) grave tucked away in the woods at the old Holy Martyrs Cemetery west of Japan, MO, south of the old Jake’s Prairie Road at the end of what is now called Schmidt Cemetery Road. Jake’s Prairie Road runs directly to Oak Hill, 6.2 miles to the west. Several stones in this old cemetery were illegible, and there appear to be unmarked graves as well. It is likely that Florian Halmich is buried there too.

The town of Japan took its name from the Church of the Holy Martyrs of Japan (established 1872) located nearby. The church’s name memorializes the six priests and twenty converts who were crucified at Nagasaki on 5 Feb 1597. After the introduction of Christianity in Japan during the 16th century, early success was achieved in making converts -- perhaps as many as 300,000. The political intrigues of the Spanish and Portuguese governments, however, resulted in the Japanese government suppressing Christianity for over 250 years. The victims at Nagasaki were tied to crosses, which were raised upright, and then a soldier stabbed them to death with a javelin. Torture, imprisonment, and death became the fate of many of the early Japanese converts. Notwithstanding the brutal suppression of the religion, 250 years later, when Japan reopened to the west, it was discovered that small groups of Japanese ‘Christians’ had survived in secret without Bibles or clergy to aid or guide them.

There was some controversy about the name of the town of Japan during WWII. Many locals pronounced it Jay-pan, emphasizing the first syllable. However, once the origin of the name was understood, this flap faded away. Today the store is closed, and the “town” identity is quickly fading.

The death certificate for ‘Helena’ (Helene Geier) Jost indicates she was buried in St Joseph’s Cathloic Cemetery at “Leslie” (actually closer to Union), and cemetery records indicate Peter (misspelled ‘Gost’) is buried alongside her. The first generation in both the Jost and Halmich families was Catholic. From the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Lutheran Prussia continued to expand west and south, absorbing several areas of predominantly Catholic inhabitants. There are at least two Halmichs and a Jost buried at the ‘new’ Holy Martyrs Catholic Cemetery as well. In July 2009, I found the headstone of Peter and Helene (correct spelling) Jost was broken and badly weathered; it is laid on top of the grave behind theirs. I have mixed feelings about replacing it. If I do, in a few centuries, the replacement will be illegible or damaged also. (“All is vanity” Eccl. I-14).

Note: Amendus Halmich had sons named William J. and William F. I have found no record of the former, but the latter was born in 1841 in Prussia, married, and died in Warren Twp, McComb County, Michigan. There may be no connection, but a William Halmich enlisted with the 5th MO Cavalry Volunteers as saddler with Co. K on 8 Oct 1861 and mustered out 25 Sep 1862. This unit was part of Brigadier General Franz Siegel’s command at the Battle of Pea Ridge where it sustained 3 KIA, 11 WIA, and 3 MIA. Some of its men came from Franklin County.

Two of Grandmother Lena Souder’s brothers served in World War I, Oscar Antone Jost (21 Mar 1895 -16 Mar 1978) and Frank Jost (8 Mar 1887-29 Dec 1918). Oscar served in Europe and was “slightly wounded.” Yet, after returning home, Frank Jost may have been so unbalanced by his military experience that he hanged himself in the barn on 29 Dec 1918, which is the way Mother told the story. There is no ‘record’ of him having served at any other locations than Camp Gordon, GA, and Camp Merritt, NJ (Company L, 4th Replacement Regiment). Frank is buried beside his parents (and brother, Walter) at the Schmidt Cemetery at Strain, MO on County Hwy H. Frank’s brother, Walter Henry Jost, was committed to the Missouri State Hospital for the insane at Fulton for thirty-eight years from 6 Feb 1918 to his death 5 Dec 1945. Perhaps the breakdown of Walter was the catalyst to push Frank to suicide, rather than war trauma.

William Peter Jost, another brother (19 Feb 1885-27 Jan 1964), married Ida Victoria West, daughter of George Marion West. In West’s will of 28 Nov 1932, Ida was to share the balance of his estate with her sister, Minnie Pearl Ware, after payment of specific bequests to other siblings. George M. West was married twice (1. Henriette Ficke, died after birth of a second child and 2. Martha Brown) and sired 13 children, Ida was third from last. George M. West was born at a farm on the Bourbeuse River in southwest Franklin County, and his father left to enlist for the Civil War when George was only five years old – but he never returned from the war. George West remembered the departure of his father and the conflicts among his neighbors with sadness all his life, according to relatives. There were frequent raids by Bushwhackers resulting in loss of livestock and anything of value in the homes. Frequent skirmishes took several lives. He grew up in a fatherless home in extreme poverty, “kicked from pillar to post,” working hard wherever food and shelter were available. In mid-life, he traded his Franklin County farm, straight even, for one in Crawford County near Oak Hill, it is said, to rescue a friend from a blood feud with his brothers on the neighboring farm.

Grandmother Sowder’s other brothers were: George F. Jost (19 Mar 1980-10 Jun 1957), John F. Jost (Oct 1881-1950), and Louis D. Jost (21 Feb 1893- 28 Aug 1945). She also had two sisters: Josephine Kleager, born 6 Jan 1888-?; and Della A. (8 May 1898-10 Nov 1899). George Jost married Mary Ellen Souders (22 Nov 1886-15 Feb 1955), daughter of Jacob Lincoln Souders (a brother of Grandmother’s husband, John Souders) and Louise Tyree. I can remember both Uncle Oscar and Uncle George from their visits to Grandmother’s house, but only slightly.