From Germany to Missouri in the mid 19th Century
This Project is intended to provide the background for the GRUNER and ENDERLEIN PROJECTS, and it expands on the historical information included in the Souders Project. My Great Grandparents, Johann Friedrich Carl Gruner and Anne Margarethe Enderlein, left a turbulent Germany only to arrive in Missouri as it was about to be shaken by Civil War. In order to understand somewhat the lives all my great grandparents (Gruner, Enderlein, Souders, Ridenhour, Hartman, Barnes, Jost, Halmich) it is critically important to understand some of the historical events that shaped their lives, both in Germany and the United States.
Germany in the early 19th Century
Before the Napoleonic era, Germany had hundreds of independent entities. The French conquerors consolidated these for efficiency, and after Napoleon’s defeat, much of the consolidation was retained. By 1815, there were 38 independent states and 4 free cities loosely joined in a German Confederation. Austria, created in 1807 largely to replace the Holy Roman Empire, was the largest and most powerful, but Prussia continued to peck away at the Austrian position for fifty years until it supplanted the Austrians. The medium-sized states (Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, and Württemberg) shifted between these two adversaries in attempts to advance their individual interests. Most of the rulers of the smaller states, caught between the larger players, jealously protected their personal privileges and power by waiting to pile on after a conflict had been nearly decided. The Napoleonic era brought considerable change to Germany, but there was general regression thereafter. Austria, under the leadership of Chancellor (Prince) Metternich was the leader of the counter-revolutionary effort. Metternich believed firmly in the “devine ordination” of monarchs, and he opposed the liberal ideas that were beginning to take root in Europe’s middle classes. Prussia, too, was a counter-revolutionary leader, but Prussian leaders hoped to gain ascendancy over all German territories. To that end, Frederick the Great had introduced some reforms, but at the cost of reinforcing Prussian militarism. Consequently, many reformers hoped (mostly in vain as it turned out) that those Prussian ends could be bent to more liberal purposes, but even some of Frederick’s reforms were subsequently undone by the conservative Junker class.
Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother Gruner both came from East-Central Germany, he from Mellingen in Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Thüringen) - - she from Süss in Hessen (Kassel-Hesse). Both their families were impacted by the Napoleonic wars. The French occupied both Hessen and Saxe-Weimar in the early 19th century. Most of my Great-Great Grandparents in Hessen and in Saxe-Weimar were children during those times, and the hardships would have made up their earliest memories. Probably they witnessed brutality personally, and they saw relatives conscripted for service in the armies, e.g., Great Great Grandfather Barthold Enderlein was taken into the Hessian Army in 1813.
From the first, Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar opposed Napoleon’s armies as a general in the field. The duplicitous Prussian Kaiser, Friedrich Wilhelm, flip-flopped in his relations with Napoleon-- initially opposed, then supporting -- but eventually he came to believe that the survival of his monarchy depended on defeating Napoleon. When Napoleon effectively eliminated the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 by creating the Confederation of the Rhine with almost all its former members except Austria and Prussia, the Prussian Kaisar saw his only chance of survival lay in alliances with Russia, Austria, and Britain. Quickly, Prussia occupied Saxony, and the Russians started an advance westward. The Prussian and Russian armies were expected to push France westward across the Rhine. Napoleon, however, didn’t wait for them to concentrate their forces. He drove his armies north to spilt their forces and threaten Berlin. When the Prussians shifted more troops into Weimar to block him, Napoleon attacked another Prussian fragment at Jena/Auerstadt. The Prussians were routed and lost some 20,000 killed. The city of Jena and the University were devastated and French troops plundered the countryside for miles around, throughout most of Thüringen, including Weimar, the Capital of Saxe-Weimar. After the defeat of the German forces, Napoleon was only stopped from deposing Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar by the skillful negotiations of the Duchess Louise. Her argument went something like this, according to Goethe:
My (Duke/Duchy) is small certainly among the princes of Germania, short and narrow is his country, massive only (for) what he can do. But that turn/action (is) inward, (rather than) a turn/appeal to the outside power of each (competing principality), because it was hard to be German to Germans (i.e., German princes usually sought “outside” affirmation of power and prestige – whereas, Carl August was great as a German, neither desiring nor accepting the approbation of outside powers). Napoleon decided that such a man would not be a threat to his power.
One of the two professors chosen to treat with the French in an effort to spare the University of Jena was Christian Gottfried Gruner. His money and watch were taken by French soldiers and, ultimately, he lost 18,000 Thaler. Gruner (1744-1812) was a professor of medical theory and botany. He wrote several books, was a member of the German Academy of Sciences, and served as Saxe-Weimar Councilor and physician. He was well known for his violent disagreements with the idealistic philosophy of Fichte, a precursor of Nietzsche. Fichte is also remembered for his ultra nationalism and anti-Semitism.
Although Napoleon decided not to close the University at Jena, as he had many of the German academies in conquered territory, many of the best known professors left (Hegel, Schelling, Paulus, etc.). Napoleon promised 30,000 Francs to compensate for university buildings burned, but when the winter term opened in November 2006, there were only about 130 students. Few students meant little money for the town or faculty. Established in 1558 by charter of the Elector of Saxony as a home for liberal religious thought, the heyday of the university was over, in spite of its former association with Goethe, Hegel, Schiller and other notables. However, it did become a center for optics research and conferred a PhD upon Karl Marx in 1841. During the repression following the Napoleonic period, it was closely watched by all the reactionary powers.
France occupied Hessen, Thüringen, and Saxony after the victory at Jena. Consequently, many local men were drafted and endured the disastrous French campaign against Russia in 1812. Napoleon was finally soundly defeated for the first time at the Battle of Leipzig (Battle of Nations - Völkerschlacht bei Leipzig, Oct. 1813), when the clash of over 600,000 troops resulted in about 100,000 deaths. All the citizens of this part of East-central Germany were adversely affected by the events of the Napoleonic Wars, but the Gruners survived with no known losses. Some family members from Süss actually served in the Hessian Army during the Battle of Nations.
Great Grandfather “Charles” (Johann Friedrich Carl) Gruner was born (1825) in the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, at Mellingen, about five miles from the capital city of Weimar. Weimar was already a cultural center, and the Duchy’s proximity to the large, industrialized cities of Leipzig and Dresden (only a few hours away by rail in 1846) influenced the area during Great Grandfather’s maturation. It was a vastly different environment from the small mining village of my Great Grandmother in Hessen. While my great grandparents’ homelands were different in many ways, neither provided freedom nor much opportunity to the young at the time my paternal ancestors immigrated to America, around 1850.
Saxony “… belonged to the most industrially developed regions of Germany, was the most densely settled, and had the highest rate of … population growth. Two- thirds of its inhabitants already lived in towns, whereas only one fifth was maintained exclusively by agricultural employment. The majority of the population was made up of small traders and proletarian-plebeian strata who, due to the high prices of foodstuffs and the incipient cyclic economic crisis with its drastic effects on the market situations during the past years, lived under extremely unfavorable social conditions (Chastain, James. Encyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848. http://www.ohio.edu/chastain/rz/saxonia.htm ) . During this time, though small -- about 1400 square miles, Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach was the leading sovereignty in the Thüringen States. It was increasingly under the sway of Prussia which also controlled Saxony. At mid-century, the capital at Weimar was a town of perhaps 12,000, with limited manufacturing. Apolda, nine miles Northeast of Weimar and of equal or greater size, was developing a successful textile industry and became known as the Manchester of Weimar because of its textile mills. Power looms were introduced in Germany about 1815, and by the 1840’s were well established. Gera, just south of the Weimar District was another textile center. The people were Lutheran (Only a small enclave of Catholics lived in the Eisenach Highlands, making about 5% of the total population. Until 1857, Catholic processions outside the church and churchyards and to places of pilgrimage were forbidden.). There were about 1,000 Jews, whose meetings and practices were closely controlled. In the mid 19th century, over half the people of Saxe-Weimar were still agricultural workers, but the industrial labor force was growing. By 1900, still not quite half the Weimarers lived in towns. Forests covered about a quarter of the land, and many jobs were associated with wood and lumber products. Mining and armaments industries were about 30 miles SW of Weimar. The terrain consisted of rolling hills, with the highest elevation in the South around 2800 feet. The New American Encyclopaedia of 1858 (vol XVI, p335) indicates Weimar … “has a dull antiquated look, with few public buildings to arrest attention.” The palace is decorated with frescoes illustrating passages of the works of Schiller, Goethe, Herder, and Wieland. “A fine park and gardens are attached to it, and it has a library of 130,000 volumes. The court theater, rebuilt in 1825, had under the management of Goethe and Schiller an honorable share in forming the public taste, and good performances are still given in it.” In the Stadtkirche hangs a famous painting by Cranach. Once known as the Athens of the North, the houses of Goethe, Schiller, and Cranach are “shown to strangers.” Since 1653, Weimar maintained an annual festival/market, Weimarer Zwiebelmarkt, which runs three days every October.
Hessen was a “…mid-size German state, strategically located between the main part of Prussia and the Prussian provinces of Westphalia in western Germany, traversed by two Prussian military roads. In the 1830s and 1840s, Hesse-Kassel was known chiefly for its poverty, its archaic agrarian structure, and its acrimonious constitutional politics.” (Chastain, James. Enclyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848. http://www.ohiou.edu/~Chastain/dh/hessek.htm )
A great flood destroyed lives and property in Mellingen and along the Ilm River in 1839. In East-central Germany the harvests of 1845 and 1846 were very poor, and a potato blight raged. As a result of grain and potato scarcity, the cost of basic commodities dramatically increased by the spring of 1847. In 1845, Mellingen attempted to establish a cattle market along with the spring fair that had been ongoing since 1609, but it was unsuccessful. Villagers and the urban proletariat became dependent on charity. Villagers migrated to the cities where unemployment soared and living conditions were terrible. A cholera epidemic raged. Decreased demand for textiles and other products raised unemployment farther. Artisans and journeymen were also impoverished by declining demand heightened by low-priced factory goods which saturated markets. Many went hungry. Bread riots and hunger revolts, directed against usurers and grain speculators, were controlled only by massive military intervention. A bumper harvest in fall, 1847, began to ease the situation somewhat. However, the Paris Revolution of Feb. 1848 caused a panic among the middle classes, resulting in near bank collapses as they fled to hard money. Credit dried up. Bankruptcies and a decline in stocks followed, many losing half their value, and mass firings occurred in some industries. If Great Grandfather Gruner depended on tradesman’s wages to earn his way, it was not a good time. Even if he were employed in the clerical field, it would have been little better. Weavers were among the most threatened workers of the Vormärz (Pre-March – between the Congress of Vienna circa 1815 and the Revolution of March 1848), along with tailors, joiners, cobblers, and other occupations with high numbers. Their wages were the lowest. Masons, carpenters, typesetters, printers, furriers, butchers and bakers received comparatively higher wages. While a minority of workers still lived and boarded with a master (usually when there was a one-to-one master to servant ratio), most were on their own. A comparison of marriage among different tradesmen illustrates the problem. In 1849 Leipzig, 74% of masons were married, while only 23% of locksmiths were. Because of low wages, the tailors, cobblers, and cabinet makers were most often radicalized. The composition of fighters in the Berlin Barricades of 1849 consisted of over half journeymen, but the numbers of low wage earners (tailors, cobblers, etc) were disproportionately high. Conservatism was usually strongest among butchers and bakers. (Chastain, James. Enclyclopedia of Revolutions of 1848. http://www.ohio.edu/chastain/ip/journeym.htm)
During the Revolution of 1848, the Thuringians and Saxons were more generally involved in the disturbances and direct actions than the Hessians to their West, but all suffered equally in the counter-revolutionary, authoritarian crackdown that followed the failure of the ‘democratic’ forces. In 1848, artisans in Thüringen and Saxony attacked the factories and destroyed machines that threatened their way of living. It’s possible that a textile or other mill was operating in Mellingen. The old mill building by the weir seems too large and complex for a grist mill, and it sports double chimneys. Buildings close by may have served as warehouses. In fact, one source refers to it as the “mill complex.” Since some of the Gruners in Mellingen were smithys, they may have worked there, or this may have been the “labor” of Great-Great Grandfather, Georg Friedrich Gruner. Whether these Gruners were the target of the uprising or participants in it are equally possible. There were disturbances in Mellingen at this time, according to the town website, and the water supply may have been contaminated. (http://mellingen-online.de/?page_id=14 ) A peasant uprising in Baden spread north and east. At the start, the urban working and bourgeoisie populations of western Saxony (Leipzig, Dresden) and Thüringen (Weimar/Apolda/Jena) were joined by the propertied and educated middle classes, as well as peasant farmers. Under the leadership of the lawyers, journalists, doctors and teachers, a good part (75,000) of the urban young were organized into a Fatherland Association (Vaterlandsvereine), with goals of a free press, recession of feudal obligations without payment, democratization, establishment of a modern parliamentary constitutional system, and the unification of all Germany into one state. Initially, they made some progress, and a large portion of the younger male population was mobilized during the Dresden Insurrection. It’s possible that Great Grandfather Gruner may have taken part. In Dresden, the capital of the Kingdom of Saxony, the people took to the streets asking Saxon King Frederick Augustus II to engage in electoral reform and social justice. Richard Wagner, the composer (whose mother allegedly was the former mistress of Constantine, Weimarer Grand Duke Carl August’s brother), passionately entered into the revolution. He supported the democratic-republican movement in spite of his anti-Semitism and other unusual ideas. Later in the May Uprising in Dresden, May 3-9, 1849, he supported the provisional government. Together with the leaders of the uprising, Wagner left Dresden on May 9 to avoid the warrant for his arrest by fleeing to exile in Switzerland. As greater radicalism and violence increased, the middle and higher bourgeoisie began to drift sharply to the right. The Saxon king responded by appealing to Prussia for more troops to aid his own in crushing the rebellion, which was done with a vengeance. This undoubtedly increased the pressure on Weimar too. In 1849-50, many lesser-known residents left for destinations across the Atlantic. Charles Gruner was among those who emigrated; it appears he was not far up the social ladder, and his emigration may indicate some degree of involvement in the revolutionary movement. By 1851, most of the freedoms won after the Napoleonic era had been rescinded.
Grand Duke Carl August of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach had represented enlightened leadership, the opposite of what existed in most of the German states. He believed that Germany would have to change to accommodate the aspirations of all its peoples. Still, he didn’t believe that it would be meaningful for him to simply give or endow his subjects with new rights and freedoms. He set up a constitution that would permit change over time, and he put his resources into educating his subjects so that they might take greater responsibility for their own welfare. In politics, he feared the power and motives of both Austria and Prussia, but since the latter was weaker, he generally sided with Prussia to balance the power of Austria. As liberal politics began to challenge the old order, the Grand Duke found himself under increasing pressure from Prussia to clamp down on the University at Jena. He died in 1828, and his son and successor (Carl Friedrich) lacked his charisma and personal influence. Moreover, Grand Duke Carl Friedrich was married to a Russian princess, whose father (Tsar Paul I) had been assassinated during a coup, a memory that hardly promoted innovative government. With no army to speak of and few strategic resources to bargain with, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach exerted increasingly less influence on events in Germany. Grand Duke Carl Friedrich’s daughters married the Prussian Kaiser Wilhelm I (Augusta) and his brother Charles (Marie). The Duchy drifted to the right.
The Kingdom of Hanover (Great Grandfather’s point of departure; perhaps he tried to settle there first) was the 4th largest German entity after Austria, Prussia, and Bavaria. It was created after the Napoleonic Wars largely through the influence of Britain, whose monarch ruled both nations. Except for the independent city-states of Bremen and Hamburg, Hanover was largely rural and almost entirely Lutheran. Although serfdom was ended there prior to 1800, the villagers still struggled under an oppressive system of rents, taxes, and obligations. Population, as in many parts of Germany, was outstripping agricultural production. Many saw their standards of living decline, and as mechanization increased, they were less able to supplement their income through crafts and handwork. The government effort to increase efficiency by dividing common lands was particularly hard on the landless farm workers, who could see that their expanding families would not even be able to subsist on the reduced resources available to them. King Ernst August ascended the throne of Hanover (1837) when Victoria became Empress of Great Britain (since a woman could not rule in Hanover). Ernst August was a political reactionary who unwisely played the Austrians against the Prussians, until Hanover was ultimately absorbed by Prussia in 1866.
While the Saxons and Hanoverians attempted to play off the Austrians against the Prussians as they changed partners frequently with other European nations in efforts to gain land and power, Hessen with fewer people and resources was a less significant player. The ruling family there had come upon the idea of renting out their army for profit. Landgreave Charles (reigning 1670-1730) found this a lucrative way to improve the national finances. Frederick I, his successor, rented 20,000 soldiers to the British for use against the American Revolutionaries in exchange for over 3 million pounds sterling. Military conscription was thorough, but it operated on two-tiers: the younger sons of the well-off and those of the propertied villagers generally were assigned to garrison duties in Hessen, yet the most expendable (including rural peasants, the chronically unemployed, debtors, impressments, and criminals) generally made up the cannon fodder rented out to allies for foreign service. Hessen became the most militarized state in Europe (army size relative to population).
During the Napoleonic era in Hessen and elsewhere, there was a brief flowering of reform when the territory was occupied by the French. French invasion and occupation of large segments of German territory during Napoleon’s reign in the early 1800’s resulted in a number of social, economic, and political reforms. The effects were greatest in the West along the Rhine and least in the East, e.g., Saxony. French occupation ended the confusing patchwork of the multitude of feudal territories, and even where French influence was weak, governments saw the value of ending divided authorities. The abolition of feudal privileges, introduction of the French Civil Code, and reorganization of courts and local government were generally approved by the German peoples. The church was made clearly subservient to civil government. Still, not everyone was pleased. In spite of abuses by their former sovereigns, Hessians saw little difference in the excesses of their new French King, Napoleon’s brother, and conscription for French armies from what they had experienced with their own Hessian sovereign.
When the French were defeated, the strongest of the existing German sovereigns gobbled up whatever territories they could. The unified states left standing when the consolidation concluded were even more absolutist after being freed of the constraints of tradition. The Congress of Vienna expanded the territory of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach at the expense of Saxony, and it was elevated to the status of Grand Duchy. Still, the spirit of French egalitarianism wouldn’t go quietly. Eventually, the arbitrary, avaricious, and amoral William II, Elector of Hesse, had to call the estates and even signed a liberal constitution in 1831 before retiring in favor of his son, Frederick William. Frederick William, however, had the same beliefs as his father and promptly nullified all the reforms instituted as a result of French influence. He abrogated debts and voided the sale of crown territory. He hated the constitutional restrictions and worked unceasingly to undo them. He tried to roll the clock backward and even required the army to dress in pre-Napoleonic uniforms with powered pigtails again. 1848 brought general unrest and Frederick William was forced to accept some democratic reforms: freedom of the press and assembly, trial by jury, abolition of aristocratic privilege (e.g., hunting rights), formation of a ‘citizen’s militia,’ and an elected parliament. By 1850, however, he returned to his old ways, placed the country under martial law, and brought in Austrian and Bavarian troops to control the populace. With the support of the German Confederation, Frederick Wilhelm annulled the Hessian Constitution in March, 1852. He decreed a new one a month later that was heavily weighted in favor of the landed aristocracy.
The land-holding aristocracy closed ranks with the capitalists, entrepreneurs, and civil servants to restore the old autocracies. In spite of a promising beginning, the Revolution of 1848 was a bust. The United States initially offered encouraging words to the revolutionaries, but no tangible assistance. Soon, even the appearance of American support evaporated as fear of foreign radicalism increased. Oligarchs everywhere were frightened by even the smallest advance of ‘socialist’ ideas. Smug America would be facing her own struggle between the forces of reaction and liberalism in little more than a decade.
The paternal side of my family was still in Germany during these upheavals. They were pinched on the one hand by hard economic times brought about by crop failures and panic in markets, while on the other they were stifled by political repression. My Great Grandfather’s homeland, Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach in Thüringen, was more economically advanced than Hessen (homeland of my Great Grandmother), but how that affected him is uncertain. Great Grandfather (and his father too) was shown as a ‘laborer’ in the earliest records we have obtained. Whether that was agricultural or industrial work is unknown. If it were farming, then he faced crop failures in 1846-47 and ruinous prices for the manufactured goods he might need after 1848. If he were a craftsman or artisan, that time period was ruinous because of a contraction of the money supply, which precluded both sales and employment, and the increasing availability of cheaper mass-produced goods with which he could not compete. There was only limited freedom of occupation in Germany because the guilds still controlled most of the trades in the cities, and the apprentice system was often brutal. If he became a journeyman, his position in relation to the master was not unlike that of the peasant to the landowner. If he were part of the growing urban industrial proletariat, unemployment was widespread. Great Grandmother came from a mining town that was being squeezed between advancing technology and synthetic competition, as its mineral deposits were declining. The net result was fewer jobs, less opportunity, and lower wages. Many of her extended family in Grandmother’s village started working in the mines as children on half day shifts when they turned 11-12 years old.
Germany was almost hopelessly elitist, and educated Germans of the middle classes often looked upon the peasant as little more than a brute. “A peasant is worlds away from every sort of modern sentimentality and Romanticism. He is made of material much too rough for that; in affairs of the heart he is often quite crude. Family is sacred to the peasant, but one searches in vain to find among the peasantry the sort of delicate love for parents, siblings, and between spouses that we take for granted in the educated classes.” (Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl, 1851. http://www.germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/sub_document.cfm?document_id=351 ) Another German writer of the 1830’s described the living conditions of German peasant farmers in Franklin County, MO, as little better than wild beasts, their children naked and filthy. Most of those peasant farmers, however, persevered and succeeded. Opportunity, as understood in the United States, was extremely limited in Germany. The instances of “self-made men” were rare. Several books like Gottfried Duden’s Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America (1829) offered possibilities to the ordinary German that were next to impossible at home. These described the lands along the Missouri River as comparable to southern Germany, but lacking the social drawbacks. In Missouri, it seemed, a man could be free to make his own way. During 1830-1860, tens of thousands of Germans came to Missouri, starting as a trickle and growing to a torrent, often a result of these glowing and frequently exaggerated descriptions of the state and its possibilities.
A new round of wars was also on the horizon. Hesse backed out of its alliance with Saxony and Prussia to seek new opportunities with Austria and a revived German Confederation. Prussia responded quickly. By 1850, part of Hesse was occupied by Prussia, and Austria insisted troops be sent to “protect” the ruler’s authority and the rest of the country. There was a brief skirmish near Fulda between Prussian and Bavarian forces (allied with Austria) before Russia threw its weight into the conflict and forced Prussia to back off. Prussian and Austrian ministers met in Moravia in November, 1850, and Prussia agreed to withdraw. This "humiliation of Olmütz" provided a strong symbol to fuel later Prussian militarization that contributed to WWI. Unfortunately, Hessian villagers had to provide quarters for those Bavarian troops of the German Confederation.
Many from Great Grandmother’s village (Süss) immigrated to America during 1840-60. German ideas about America’s possibilities began with the Hessian “mercenaries” and deserters of Revolutionary War times, and these were expanded by the books promoting emigration. Villagers continued to receive encouragement to emigrate from U.S. relatives who sent mail or returned for visits. In Prussia, Saxony, and elsewhere, there was great violence and stern reprisals following the failed Revolution of 1848. Spies and secret police hunted down those who had rebelled or spoke out on behalf of liberalism. The account of Carl Schurz’s escape from Germany reads like a latter-day spy novel. It became apparent to many Germans that there was no opportunity for them where they were. Unlike many of their countrymen who tried their luck in the rising power of Prussia, my ancestors joined the other stream of émigrés who sought refuge in North America.
From the perspective of the 21st Century, some Americans may view Missouri as a somewhat backward state that failed to keep pace as the nation developed. In the mid 19th century, however, Missouri was not only the geographical center of the country but close to its economic and transportation heart as well – the gateway to the frontier west, a jumping off point for the mountain men, wagon trains, and the intercontinental railroad. The Santa Fe Trail began from Franklin, MO in 1821, but its starting point moved to Boonville and then Independence, MO, as steamboat travel on the river increased. The California and Oregon trails of the 1840-1860’s began at Independence, Westport, or St Joseph, MO. The Pony Express galloped out of St Joseph on April 3, 1860. On 16 September 1858, the first Butterfield Stagecoach began its 2,800 mile journey from Tipton, MO, to San Francisco, CA. It cost $200 to ride the stagecoach all the way west and $1,000 to return east. W. A. Mehrhoof (Missouri Life, February 2009) claims “Missouri became the storm front of westward expansion and a major casino in America’s unregulated economic development.” Charles Gruner and Margarette Enderlein, emigrants from Germany, arrived about the zenith of Missouri’s fortunes.
Great Grandmother’s Village in Hessen, Süss
I learned much about the background of Great Grandmother Gruner (nee Enderlein) from Süss - das Dorf und seine Menschen, by Anneliese Krauss-Neumann (2005). The countryside around Süss consisted of rolling hills, most in crops, alternated with mixed deciduous and conifer forest. Süss was mentioned in 744 as part of a gift between the Fulda Monastery and King Karlmann, uncle of Charlemagne. The relationship between Süss and the Fulda Monastery lasted for a long time. For almost 1,000 years, Süss was administratively a division of the township of Gerstungen, which became part of the holdings of Count Balthasar of Thüringen in the mid 1400’s when he bought it from Abbot Johann of Fulda. Next, the village came under the princely house of Saxony for 255 years. The nearby Valley of the Werra experienced losses during the Peasants Rebellion in 1521, and some of the actions spilled over into Süss. During the Thirty years War (c. 1609), General Solani’s army of savage Croats occupied the area, and village populations were decimated. Duke Johann Wilhelm of Saxony directed an inventory of Süss in 1700, no doubt for tax purposes. This indicated there were 304 “souls”, 200 sheep, 47 beef cows, 48 swine, 28 nut trees, 309 acres of common fields, 1 pond, 2 sheep pens, a beer garden, a brew house, a brandy distillery, a grinding mill, 6 toll gates, 54 houses, 47 fireplaces, 14 house ‘comrads’ (outhouses, sheds?), a church, a parsonage, a school, a hospital, 15 drawing wells, a spring, a footbridge, and so on. By 1733, the village was under the rule of Hesse. Two livestock inventories of the 1850’s show an average of about 23 horses, 120 beef cattle, 150 swine, 155 sheep, and 30 chickens -- little growth for 150 years. The village population maxed out at 1004 in 1841 with 139 houses, but declined to 950 by 1852, yet the number of houses increased to 149. The population continued to decline for the remainder of the century (under 600 in 1895), an indication that the mines were not doing well. In 2010, the population might be 300.
I spent several weeks translating Anneliese Krauss–Neumann’s book Süss – das Dorf und Seine Menschen. It is an excellent resource, providing valuable information about the lives of our Hessian ancestors. Unfortunately, my study of German was fifty years ago. Most of my vocabulary had evaporated, but slowly some of the grammar began to come back. I spent too much time looking up words, but it was well worth it. Sometimes, working through the outdated idioms was challenging. For example, some of our Hessian relatives were ‘Scheidearbiters.’ Literally that would be “vagina (or a more vulgar term) workers.” That stumped me for a couple of weeks until I realized, since most of the people were miners, this probably referred to working in the tunnel or shaft, as opposed to the many other jobs associated with stamping, transporting, etc. About half of the book (pp 26-163) deals with listing the residents of Süss by house number (with historical photos), based on available records of the church and village. The exact relationship among villagers is seldom clear, but close examination and comparison with other documents may make some apparent. For sure, in such a small village, everyone with the same family name is related somehow. The Enderleins, Bahrts, Herbsts, Heidenreichs, Webers, Ullrichs, and Vockenbergs are members of Great-Grandmother Margarethe’s direct line; however the Kraus’s, Küchs, Knies’s, Egers, Heyers, Jungs, Zinners, Schwarzs, Schäfers, Siegels, Fernaus, Krells, Kellners, Gerlachs, Oschmann’s, Wolframs etc. intermarry with Margarethe’s direct line to create a large extended family. In fact, if the full extension of families is considered, practically the entire village made up one very large extended family. Emigrants from each house are listed. Although the village experienced considerable immigrant resettlement after WWII, the old family names still were prominent among the residents at the time of publication.
Church and town records show the Küch, Gerlach, and Knies families mentioned as early as 1543. By 1627, the Herbst and Krauss families are listed as residents of Süss, and the Vockenbergs, Wolframs, ‘Heydrichs’, and Schwartzs show up by 1681. The Enderleins, Bahrts, Webers, Ullrichs, Heyers, etc. are relative newcomers. Catholicism was abolished in 1520. Water was a continuing problem in Süss; dry summers and freezing winters cut off the water supply to the village. Progress was made on this during the 1820’s when a new water piping system was installed. Electricity didn’t arrive until 1923. The name “Süss” (literally ‘Sweet’ or ‘Sweetly’) was said “Siss,” short and sharply in olden times. The prevalence of forests and marshes in Hesse precluded most agriculture. The ancient tribes were herdsmen and hunters. They needed pasture land. Consequently the designation “sweet grass” or “hay” seems to be the origin of the name – meaning pasture land. In old High German, “Sioza” meant a ‘pasture convenient in the forest.’ By 1300, the pastures around Süss were closed off into separate fields, and a sales contract was dated 1335. There are a number of place names in the area built around the term “Süss.” For example, an abandoned castle may have been between Rockensüss and Cornberg, … and so on. In 1813, During the Napoleonic Wars, French troops were in Kassel in September and Leipzig in October. On 20 October, French Infantry demanded quarters in the village. The men of Süss were anxious, and the women and children hid in the attics. Soon, however, the Russians came. When Napoleon retreated to France in 1814, a Regiment of Cossacks and Prussians were quartered in Süss. The Prussians reportedly stole more than the Cossacks. Susanne Bahrt Enderlein (greaqt great grandmother) was ten years old then, and the experience must have been life-shaping for her, but future husband, Barthold Enderlein (great great grandfather), actually went off to war.
In 1858, Pastor Emil Dietz wrote a detailed description of the village as it was in the 1850’s – about the time Susanne (Bahrt) Enderlein left with her children for the US. Most of the inhabitants were Lutherans, a result of the villages’ long association with Saxony, although most other Hessians were ‘Reformed.’ In 1853, Süss had 800 Lutherans and 21 members of the Reformed Church. The church was the cultural center of the village. It was built new about 1829, and had an organ, clock, and bell. Pipes brought water to a central fountain. There were two variety fairs/markets annually, one just before Easter and the other in October. There was a dedicated school house with two teachers (for about 140 pupils). This served as a residence for one of the teachers. It appears from Süss - das Dorf und seine Menschen that both Susanne and Margarethe’s teachers likely were distant cousins. From the 1780’s, the Knies family provided three generations of village teachers, and from 1828, Johann Ernst Knies was the Adjunct teacher in the village to an undetermined time (p. 265). The elder Knies served as a subordinate officer among the “mercenaries” in America (1776), and his experiences may have helped spur the subsequent immigration that occurred as mining declined.
There were a series of wars over the centuries which drained the economy and took men away from the village. Some of Susanne’s relatives served as “mercenaries” in America, and they must have brought back stories of the bounty and freedoms of the new country. In the 19th century, there are records of 217 Süss emigrants to America, most coming in the late 1840’s to 1860. Several of the emigrants were related to Susanne and Margarethe, so it’s probable that our ancestors from Süss had friends or relatives in the U.S. to help them when they arrived.
Margarethe was born about the high water mark of the village growth and prosperity. She and Susanne got out just before the mining industry went into serious decline. Of course, the village economy depended on the prosperity of the mines, since that was the only industry of any significance. As mining contracted, so did the village. Between 1840 and 1864, the population of about 1,000 fell by 20%. There was less work for butchers, merchants, shoemakers, etc. when mine work declined. By 1880, the population drop exceeded 40%. It wasn’t just the men who were employed in the mines; children age 11 and up also worked half shifts during the days. The children, however, were not assigned to jobs underground. As it concerns our extended family, Herbst, Vockenburg, Weber, Jung, Küch, and Knies are among the names of the children employed there in the 1860’s. The use of child labor is only one of the indicators that times were increasingly hard for the villagers.
Note: In October 2010, My wife, Rita, and I visited Süss with Jeanette Pitcher, and Nell Gore. Anneliese Krauss-Neumann graciously spent the day escorting us on a thorough tour of the village. Unfortunately, while much was substantially the same as when the Enderleins left, the Village administration had destroyed the old cemetery and some other artifacts/documents were missing.
Missouri’s Osage and Gasconade Counties
Osage County, Missouri (formerly part of Gasconade until 1841), was settled first by Frenchmen who were joined by southern pioneers mostly from Virginia and Tennessee in the early 1800’s. Osage County was subsequently steadily settled by German immigrants from the 1830’s to the Civil War. In 1835, a group of Westphalian Catholics founded a town named for their homeland. They hoped to establish a center for learning, and they actively recruited other Germans to join them over the next decade. Father Ferdinand Helias, a Belgian Jesuit, celebrated the first known mass at Rich Fountain in 1838, and he was responsible for the design of St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Westphalia, Missouri, as well as St Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Taos. Father Helias was active in recruiting both Belgian and German Catholics to Osage County. Protestant Germans settled in Osage County also when they found land too scarce and high priced in Gasconade County. The early history of the county shows acceptance of the southern plantation model of agriculture, but most of the German emigrants had little use for that. As late as 1870, a quarter of the county population was still foreign born. Slavery was clearly an issue in Osage County. During the 1840’s and 1850’s, Osage County generally voted Democratic about 2:1, but the election of 1860 changed that. Breckenridge got 308 votes, but Lincoln scored 258. Douglas got 235 and Bell received 190. This could be interpreted as a 2:1 majority in favor of preserving the Union. Slaveholding in Osage County had declined from the high of the 1820’s to about 200 slaves in 1860. In Gasconade County, there were only 76 slaves in 1860, and it was the only county in Missouri to join St Louis in voting for Lincoln.
Gasconade County received many settlers through the efforts of the Philadelphia-based German Settlement Society. This group hoped to establish a German colony that would preserve Teutonic cultural heritage. They were concerned that German language, traditions, and culture would be lost as immigrants assimilated into American society. After surveying land in four states, they selected a spot where the Gasconade River met the Missouri. When the society’s agent (George F. Bayer, a school teacher) came to buy the land (1837), it was no longer available so he took the nearest locations available to the East. It was a poor choice in some ways, for it was too hilly for most crops. The rugged terrain along the Missouri River was scenic but impractical. The location did have a fine steamboat port, fresh springs, timber, and building stones. Grapes, moreover, were well suited to the lands Bayer acquired, and soon the production of wine was a major industry of the colony at Hermann. The town was named after Hermann der Cherusker, a Germanic leader who dramatically defeated the Romans, annihilating three Roman legions, in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD. George Bayer became ill in Pittsburgh on his return as General Agent of the Settlement Society to lay out the town of Hermann, survey, and distribute farm land to arriving settlers. Consequently, the first settlers arrived before him and spent a difficult winter, 1837-38, on their own. They had arrived by the last steamboat of the season, and they described what they saw as a “howling wilderness.” The lots they had bought back in Philadelphia were often situated on bluffs too steep to build upon. Nevertheless, they managed to survive the winter by digging out shelters in the river’s bank, but they expected special consideration for their sacrifices, and Bayer soon began losing control when he caught up with them. The newly arrived settlers objected to some of the unrealistic requirements that The German Settlement Society had imposed, e.g. requiring a house valued at $300 to be built on each town lot within the first year or requiring town squares in the rugged hills. The local Executive Committee Bayer formed also disagreed, and he resigned in October 1838. In 1839, the settlers and The German Settlement Society of Philadelphia severed relationships, but Hermann still grew and prospered. By May of 1839, there were 450 people in Hermann, ninety houses, five stores, two hotels and a post office, established in 1838.
German Protestant and Catholic clergy were often agents of immigration through their letters or visits to the fatherland. Additionally, many Germans were brought to Missouri (and Gasconade County) through the solicitations of relatives already settled there. In letters, they urged family members to seek a better life in America. At the same time, Germans were inundated by ‘travel’ literature that often described the conditions of the immigrant to the Americas in glowing terms that fell far short of the actual hardships involved. Many Germans returned to Europe to marry or to escort relatives from their home villages to the United States. Jeanette Pitcher even located a document that names some Enderleins as immigrant miners to South America, although they may not be related to our ancestors from Hessen.
Steamboats became the principal means of moving goods on the interior waterways by the mid 19th century. Steamboating on the Missouri River dates from 1819, but the first efforts to navigate the river were so difficult that steamboats did not become commonplace until the 1830’s. By 1849, 58 steamboats were operating regularly on the Missouri River. The first steamboats were side wheelers, with double side wheelers coming after the mid 1820’s, and by 1850, most steamboats were sternwheelers. (http://www.riverboatdaves.com/docs/moboats-2.html) Because of the treacherous snags on the often shallow sand bars, Missouri steamboats were built so that as little of the boat as possible was below the water line. This light construction also made them more vulnerable to damage. The average life of a steamboat was somewhere between 4-8 years. In 1848, of 121 steamboats based in St Louis, one-fifth did not make it beyond three seasons. When a steamboat sank, usually it settled on the muddy bottom as the passengers and crew scrambled to safety on the upper decks. However, when boilers exploded and fire started, the casualties were sometimes very high. Estimated losses from the Saluda explosion near Lexington in 1852 approach 200, and its captain’s corpse was found on a bluff several hundred feet from the site of the explosion. (Reineke, Charles F. “Perilous Journeys” Missouri Life, June 2008, p72-76)
By 1840, the territory now known as Gasconade County had been settled. “Gascon” is a French word for “braggart,” and that term was applied to the original Native American inhabitants by early settlers. A small, new community took shape at the intersection of a St. Louis to Springfield trail and an ox cart path used to transport iron ore from Maramec Iron Works near St. James to riverboat docks at Hermann. At the crossroads, a general store, a blacksmith shop and a few other buildings became the beginnings of a town to be called Owensville by the 1850’s. The partners in the store are said to have determined the settlement’s name by which one of them won a horseshoe pitching contest. Actually, Mr. Owen lost the match to Mr. Luster, but the latter didn’t want to offend his friend, so he insisted they name it Owensville. At one time, Luster briefly owned the land that would become the Gruner farm, just south of Owensville, near Bem.
Bem (site of the second Gruner farm) is located about 6 miles due south of Owensville in Sec. 27, Township 41 N, Range 5 W near Highway 19, the original town-site being about a mile NNE from the present roadside marker. Bem was originally called ‘Beaver’ for the many beaver dams along Dry Creek just to the North. When application for a Post Office was made (1856), there was already another established Beaver in Missouri, so for reasons lost in time the village became Bem.
Note: Johann Friedrich Koewing, the “pioneer German home missionary in the west”, was known to visit a congregation in southern Gasconade County at the site of what was to become Bem’s St John’s German Evangelical Church at least as early as 1851(Schneider, Carl E. The German Church on the American Frontier. 176).
One local story maintains that Bem was named for a Revolutionary hero, Polish General Joseph Bem, a leader in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Some of the early settlers of Bem came from Eastern Germany: Pomerania, Bohemia, or Silesia. Still, most of the European settlers of the 1850’s did not talk much about their homeland with their descendants, probably because these immigrants were escaping various forms of unpleasantness: conscription, political persecution, or economic marginalization. If Bem were named for the Polish General, it isn’t widely known.
Lajos Kossuth was a crusader for peasants’ rights and independence for Hungary. During the Revolutions of 1848, when Austria had been temporarily forced to separate Hungary from Austria, Kossuth was Provisional President of Hungary. He engaged Joseph Bem (a Polish General who had served in Napoleon’s army) to lead the Revolutionary struggle. General Bem was largely successful in retaining control of Transylvania on behalf of Hungary, but he did so by defeating another peasant army of Romanians seeking their own independence. Eventually, Austria combined with Russia to crush all the revolutionaries. Kossuth toured the U. S. attempting to raise money for his cause in 1851-52, and he was immensely popular. After being defeated by the Austro-Russian forces, Joseph Bem fled to Turkey where he became a Muslim, was made a Pasha, and died at Aleppo attempting to suppress an Arab insurrection in 1850. A statue has been erected to his memory in Budapest. Kossuth’s triumphal tour of the U.S. was certainly celebrated in Die Friedensbote, the newsletter of the German Evangelical Church (Schneider, Carl E. The German Church on the American Frontier. 349).
German immigrants during the period 1830-50 had lived through the struggles that followed the Napoleonic era. Germany was among the most repressive regions of that time, but many Germans experienced a brief flowering of better political times during the Napoleonic conquests, and the expectations raised did not die quietly. As political repression was renewed, religious controversy came as well. In 1817, Prussian Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm III (who had studied theology as a young man) determined that the differences separating Lutherans and the Reformed Church (German and Swiss followers of Zwingli) were minor, and he directed their unification into the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union. Of course, as Kaiser, he was interested in having a state church to serve the interests of the nation. The most conservative of the Lutherans (Saxon Lutherans) pursued a separatist path by bringing their congregations to the American Midwest, where they formed the Missouri Lutheran Synod. Osage County received a significant influx of Catholics as Protestant Prussia expanded west. Likewise, some in the Reformed Church also sought escape through mission house activities and emigration also. It wasn’t just the issue of unifying the Lutheran and Reformed Churches, with its resultant changes to rituals and dogma, that separated Germans. Other factors dividing the Germans were the philosophies of Rationalism and Pietism. While not directly in contention, their ways of viewing the world and acquiring knowledge were contradictory. While the former accepted reason as the path to enlightenment, the latter depended on spirit, emotion, and a priori received truths – i.e., the Bible. The Pietist immigrants, both Lutheran and Reformed, were initially served by lay preachers. The Pietist Missions at Basil and Barmen rejected Rationalism and engaged in zealous missionary efforts to win souls. These missionaries were not rigid about confessional affiliation; they worked with the London and American Bible Societies, as well as the Episcopal, Congregational, and Presbyterian Churches, to send missionaries where German emigrants needed them. These missionaries served as itinerant preachers covering wide territories in the US and Canada, sometimes establishing churches.
Note: The struggle between Rationalists and Pietists was ongoing in Saxe-Weimar. During the early 19th Century, Doctor Roehr (Superintendent General of the Lutheran Church for Saxe-Weimar) was a rationalist who “vehemently” opposed a Pietist preacher to the point that the latter “quit the Duchy of Weimar.” (Journal of Rev. Josepf Wolff. 1838, pp 50-51) Some of the Pietists (e.g., Rev Wolff, above) were “literalists,” who insisted that the Bible (as the revealed word of God) was not open to interpretation, but many others were less dogmatic. Herman Garlichs, the pastor of the German Evangelical Church at Femme Osage, St. Charles County, Missouri, also served as the first minister in Holstein. He was a Reiseprediger (circuit minister/traveling preacher), going regularly among the congregations under his charge. For several years he held services once a month in Holstein; on other Sundays, the services were led by local elders. Later Josef Rieger pastored the church at Holstein, in Warren County, which is across the Missouri River northwest of Washington in Franklin County. Rieger also traveled widely and established numerous churches in Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa. Pietism was strong among the Baptists and Methodists too, and they had circuit riders as well. Both Baptists and Methodists had a distinctly ‘German’ branch. Pastor Johann Friedrich Koewing, from his base at Mount Sterling’s St Paul’s German Evangelical Church, covered a huge area. August Rauchenbusch, who occasionally assisted his friend Koewing, reported that on an eight day trip he traveled 180 miles on horseback. He had to cross the Gasconade, Osage, Moreau, Moniteau, and Lamine Rivers; pass through seven counties; and he preached in two towns and six German settlements.
In 1840, to provide support and organization for the fledgling congregations in Missouri, the German Evangelical Church Conference (Synod) was formed (Der Deutsche Evangelische Kirchenverein des Westens) near St Louis, MO. Thus, in effect, an American version of the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union was created, but it was more Evangelical than ‘Lutheran,’ according to Rev. Richard Brueseke. Pastors Josef Rieger and George Wall, of whom more will be said later, were instrumental in its creation, although Rieger missed the “Founders” meeting because he was bringing his new bride back from Germany.
After the failed Revolution of 1848, religion was a lesser factor promoting emigration as aristocrats attempted to retain power by repression of all political dissent, and it was probably much less important than “rationalist” viewpoints about politics and economics. The lower classes, particularly, seemed most concerned with changes that would affect village life; their ties to ‘national’ concepts were weak, and most accepted the notion of a paternalistic ruler. Economic motivations, however, were enough to propel tens of thousands of Germans across the Atlantic to seek a better life for their families. The university-trained middle classes were sometimes more radical. They often sought political power and reform of social and economic conditions. “Among the German immigrants were free-thinking rationalists, who placed their hope in science, education, and culture. Many of them Deists, they clung to their emancipation from the church and, feeling enlightened, instead joined lodges, clubs, and singing societies. Many were disdainful of pastors and churches, contributing needlessly to hardship on the frontier. They were unimpressed by the occasional revivalist who visited their frontier communities. However, when their own children showed signs of illiteracy and irreligion, many were sufficiently disturbed to extend hospitality to a well-trained pastor of true faith, who often had to serve several communities at once” (“The German Evangelical Synod” – www.ucc.org)
The population of Gasconade County in 1850 was 4,996, but grew to 8,727 in 1860 with 76 slaves. In 1870, the population stood at 10,093, showing growth even during the war years. The MO census of 1876 shows 11,059 white and 91 colored. The town of Hermann had a respectable population of 1,500 in 1860. Except St Louis, Gasconade was the only MO County that voted for Lincoln in 1860, even though it was difficult for the Republicans to overcome the stigma of Nativism in so far as the Germans were concerned. Largely, it was the intervention of Carl Schurz that prevented the withdrawal of Germans from the national Republican Convention into a separate convention to nominate a more radical abolitionist. In Gasconade County, Lincoln received 433 votes, Douglas got 188, Bell won 157, and Breckinridge received 51. In 1864, the vote was 862 for Lincoln, but only 185 for McClellan.
In June of 1856, Stephen H. (Hogue) Howser killed William Ferris in Gasconade County. Allegedly, Howser’s first murder occurred on the plains enroute to California, and he was wanted in St Louis for the earlier crime. Howser cut Ferris’ throat when he attempted to arrest Howser. Howser was subsequently arrested in KS, brought back for trial, sentenced to prison in 1859, but released by pardon. With the start of the Civil War, Howser became a lawless renegade. In 1861, he is suspected of killing two people around Warsaw, MO, where his father was a leading citizen. Soon after the War, he killed a man in Bolivar and then rode out of town with D.D. Jones, with the apparent intent to rob him, but shot him dead in the road. He was followed to Vernon County by a posse and killed.
After the election of Lincoln in 1860, as Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson’s southern sympathies became obvious, a well-attended mass meeting was held in January at Linn, Osage County, (with Mr. Zevely, Editor of the newspaper, presiding). The purpose of the meeting was to elect a delegate for the State Constitutional Convention to be held 28 Feb 1861. Governor Jackson had called the state convention to consider the issue of secession. Attempts to justify Governor Jackson’s actions by Southern sympathizers were not well-received, and the free-soilers joined with the anti-slavery group to elect a strong Unionist to the Convention. In fact, not a single secessionist delegate was chosen throughout the state; even most slaveholders and their supporters knew that Missouri could not prosper as a peninsula surrounded by Free states. The Convention expressed the wish of Missourians to remain neutral in the approaching conflict.
During March-April, 1861, the assembly and subsequent surrender of Jackson’s State Guard in St Louis and Price’s appointment as “State Guards” commander (a thinly disguised Confederate force, even though Price initially fought under the state’s ‘Bear’ flag) caused recruitment by both sides to intensify. “Home Guard” (Union) units were quickly filled, and most of these were involved in securing the railroad bridges from St Louis to Jefferson City and scouting for rebel raiding parties. Germans from Gasconade and Franklin Counties used the railroad to reach St Louis, where they joined up with other Home Guard units and prevented Governor Jackson’s attempted takeover of the Arsenal. Ultimately, 109,000 men from Missouri fought in the Union armies, 14,000 of whom were killed. Many of these men were Negroes. A total of 8,344 Missouri Negroes served in the Union Armies during the war. Thirty thousand Missouri men served with the Confederate Army. (Ruth Bardot, Missourian, 1986). Something in the neighborhood of another 80-100,000 Missouri men served in the Union Enrolled Missouri Militia (a significant minority of the EMM were also veterans of active Union units).
The visibility of the federals aided recruiting for the “Home Guards,” while the “State Guards” generally worked in secret. The Rebels’ attempt to raise a company in Osage County failed. Linn became the County Headquarters of the Enrolled Missouri Militia and was held as an EMM post throughout the War, with Koelztown as an outpost. Squads were dispatched out to bridge points on the Railroad, and the militia also patrolled to intercept raiders from the south. Of the 991 Osage County voters in 1860, it’s estimated that about 300 served with the Confederates or State Guard, while over 600 were federal volunteers or militia.
Henry Wieberg was murdered 30 October 1862 by a gang of bushwhackers in Osage County, but 1863 had only minor violence and plundering. In May, 1863, William Corbett was reported by the Osage County Provost Marshall as having stolen some horses and headed south to join Confederate recruiter Col. Crabtree. In Sep. 1863, Bushwhacker Joe Cole was reported in the company of seven accomplices. Then Price’s invasion came in October, 1864. Confederates hoped that success in the west would relieve pressure on Richmond. Price’s main force passed over the old state road from Union to Jefferson City, with flankers on either side. The Confederate cavalry robbed and plundered all the towns along the route, “even taking the lamp burners off and fastening them to their belts.” Price’s entire army of 10-12,000 was essentially cavalry; they had no supply trains, and they had to live off the land. Ultimately the invasion failed: first at Leasburg in Crawford County, then at Union in Franklin County, later at Jefferson City, last at the Battle of Westport, and finally the remnants were driven into the Indian Nations and Arkansas.
Union Brig. Gen. E. B. Brown reported that a Gasconade County militia company of the 34th EMM performed poorly in the defense of the Osage River, surrendering without firing a shot. Companies C and D of the 34th EMM were the units assigned to defend the Osage, and some of these troops figure largely in Gasconade County history. A couple days later, however, the 34th EMM (minus most of A, B, & D companies) was attached to the 7th Cavalry, MO State Militia during the delaying operations west of the Osage River, and Confederate Generals Price, Marmaduke, & Shelby say their advance west of the Osage was fiercely resisted. Shelby wrote that they captured a hundred federal militia with their arms at Linn (no Union record, but this likely refers to A, B & D Companies at the river crossings) but then paroled them with an oath of neutrality, and he denies any looting. According to Shelby (hardly an unbiased source, whose soaring accounts often differed from those of the Unionists), the locals were amazed at how well the rebel force behaved. The fact that Price was facing a court martial for the failure of the Missouri Invasion of 1864 may have colored the Rebel Generals’ reports.
The newspaper in Linn, Osage County, MO, was The Osage Republican. In 1866, however, the name was changed to The Unterrified Democrat. It is one of the longest continuously published newspapers in Missouri. The founder was Lebbeus Zevely from North Carolina, but he was not a Confederate. He worked to preserve the Union. During the Civil War, Col. Zevely commanded the Osage Regiment of federal Home Guards and then the 28th Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM). The 28th EMM even had a “Rebel Company,” composed entirely of men who had formerly served with Rebel State Guard units, but they performed loyally throughout their service to the Union. After the War, Col. Zevely refused to sign the loyalty oath that the Drake Constitution required and spoke out in editorials against it. Consequently, he was called an "unterrified Democrat," and he adopted the sobriquet as the paper’s new name.
Jefferson Township of Osage County consists of 89.2 sq. miles in the southeast corner, separated from the rest of the county by the Gasconade River. Charles Gruner and his family settled there sometime in 1857-58. It had a total population of 938 by the 1860 Census. 796 (143 Households) of these were served by the Cooper Hill Post Office, and 142 (21 Households) were served by the Linn Post Office. There’s a bend in the Gasconade near Rich Fountain that puts a part of Jefferson Township closer to Linn than the other parts. Of the 143 households served by Cooper Hill Post Office, 36 of the households were foreign born: 30 German, 3 Eng, 1 Scot, 1 Dutch, 1 Swiss. Of these Germans, 15 were Prussian, 4 Lippe-Detmold, 4 Bavarian, 2 Mecklenburg, and only one Thuringian. Of the 21 households served by Linn Post Office, only one family was German, from Hanover. Jefferson Twp’s 1860 Census indicated 483 were male and 455 female. 98 people over the age of twenty were illiterate, and 122 kids were in school among the Cooper Hill contingent of 796. The 142 residents served by Linn revealed 25 illiterates and 26 kids in school. Two people were blind, both female: aged 10 and 38. One 14 year old boy was insane. The principal settlement was Cooper Hill. James Cooper was a Physician, and his wife, Mary Ann, was the teacher. The Post Office was named after John B. Cooper, a wealthy farmer. By 1860, Cooper Hill had a general merchandise store, a sawmill and gristmill combined, a Post Office, and a dock and ferry on the Gasconade. William Leach owned the steamer Gasconade which later burned. The original name of the town was Gasburg, but that was changed when the Post office relocated from the Cooper farm on the hill to the store below in the 1850’s. Based on high estimations of “personal” property, there were probably a few slave holders in Jefferson Twp: James Cooper, Stephan Branson, Isaac Backens, James Thornton, David Branson, and L. M. Smith; all born in slave states -- 3-TN, 1-VA, and 1-MO. The Branson, Thorton, and Smith families are recorded in the Slave Census of 1850. The highest value landholders were W. Ousley $3500, Stephan Branson $2500, Isaac Backens $2000, Vincent Stuart $2000, William Haley $1800, Thomas Baker $1700, James Cooper $1600, John B. Cooper $1600, and Henry Baker, David Branson, W. S. Branson, Wm. J. Williams, and Samuel Boyse $1500. Charles Gruner listed real property at $400 and personal property at $150, about the median value listed.
In Gasconade County, the Hermanner Volksblatt was the principal source of information for the German-American majority. This newspaper was founded in the 1840’s by Eduard Muehl, under the name Licht Freund or Volksfreund. Muehl was a free thinker and strongly advocated for emancipation of the slaves; but he died before this happened. The paper maintained its abolitionist stance through two subsequent name changes. As early as 1852 the local turnverein (social club) had joined the “Wide Awakes,” adopting the name Der Verein Freier Manner (The Union of Free Men). Gasconade County furnished some of the first Union troops of the war; they responded enthusiastically to Captain Nathaniel Lyon’s call for military forces and continued to provide infantry for the Union cause throughout the war. A German Evangelical Church was built in Hermann with bricks in 1844, and a Catholic Church of stone was finished there in 1845.
Not everyone in Hermann and Gasconade County was German, but most were – unlike Osage County, where Germans were only a significant minority. The German Settlement Society of Philadelphia had purchased over 10,000 acres for the first wave of immigrants who settled along the Missouri River in the late1830’s. Their descendants and later immigrants subsequently bought government lands in the interior. When Price attacked Hermann in October, 1864, women and children hid in area caves, while the few men left in town (most were away serving in federal forces) used an old, brass cannon to trick Price’s forces. They fired it at the first sight of scouts and then moved it to several different locations, firing and moving, to make it appear there were several guns. When about to be overrun, they spiked the cannon and dumped it in the Missouri River (or maybe the Confederates captured it, spiked it, and threw it in the river – it depends on who is telling the story).
In 1855, the railroad track from St Louis to Jefferson City was completed. A “Jubilee Train” departed St Louis loaded with hundreds of Missouri and St Louis notables. As the train left Hermann, thirteen miles east of where the Gasconade joins the Missouri River, a violent thunderstorm struck. The Gasconade was already in flood because of earlier storms upriver. There was no “bridge” over the Gasconade. Instead the tracks were supported by long piles driven into the soft mud on the river bottom. The piling structure had been weakened by the water swirling around the piles. When the engine and first cars got on the trestle, it collapsed, and the engine and several cars rolled into the flooded river. The engineer and over thirty prestigious passengers perished, while scores were injured. The engineer was said to have warned against trying to cross, but was ordered to do so.
Missouri Militia Organization during the Civil War
Missouri employed a number of different militia organizations during the Civil War to provide for local defense and to augment the U.S. Army and U.S. Volunteers operating under federal control. Many of these overlapped, the old version carrying on while the newer ones were being created. (See full discussion by Kirby Ross, Federal Militia in Missouri. at www.civilwarstlouis.com/militia) (** Charles Gruner served in various different militia unit types)
1. Home Guards (1861): (**) To counter the threat of a state government tilting radically toward secession (and the Southern-leaning ‘State Guard’ militia), the federal commander (Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon) was ordered by the War Department to enlist “loyal citizens” to protect their homes and neighborhoods from rebels. Some were mustered ‘for state service only,’ some served without being mustered, and others simply quit when it was apparent no funding was provided. This confusion about money and control led to their elimination. Almost 20,000 Home Guards were enrolled in two classes: a. Armed by the U.S., but no clothing, rations, or pay. b. Active duty local forces enrolled after recruitment quotas for U.S. Volunteers were met. These units could claim pay from U.S. 2. Six Month Militia (1861): (**?) After Governor Jackson’s secessionist government was chased out of the Capitol, Governor Gamble’s “Convention” government wanted to reassert control over state defense. He issued a proclamation calling for enrollment of 42,000, but only 6,000 enrolled. The Six Month Militia became the primary defense as the Home Guard disbanded. These units searched for rebel camps and concentration sites and acted as guides and scouts for federal forces. They were a huge expense with limited results, and they were disbanded in January, 1862. Pension claims were sometimes granted after the war (but delays in authorization often reduced potential recipients by attrition). 3. Missouri State Militia (1861-1865): (**) was ordered by the War Department and subsequently approved by Congress. These units were to be funded by the U.S. as an active-duty force employed only within the state except in “immediate defense of the state.” There was mixed federal and state control. Governor Gamble appointed and removed the officers, but they reported to federal commanders. Gamble legitimized this by commissioning the federal officers jointly in the state militia. Neither fish nor fowl, 13,000 initially signed up, and Congress then placed a cap on the force at 10,000 to limit costs. Attrition and some disbanding achieved this goal with 9 Regiments of Cavalry and 1 Regiment of Infantry remaining. The MSM saw plenty of action as the main force against irregulars within the state and the first line of defense when regular CSA forces made raids in 1863 and 1864, during which they suffered heavy losses. These troops were eligible for reenlistment bonuses like U.S. Volunteers and were granted federal pensions after the war. 4. Enrolled Missouri Militia (1862-1865): (**) After the cap on the MSM was reached, and in the face of growing guerrilla activity, Governor Gamble directed the organization of an emergency force that could be called up (and paid by the state) for specific situations. Enrolling officers went to work immediately. Enrollment was mandatory for able-bodied men, so fence sitters and secessionist sympathizers had to choose whether to stay or leave the state. Some 52,000 EMM were enrolled (some were disloyal, others were corrupt, and many were vengeful). These men were not eligible for pensions after the war. 5. Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia (1863): By early 1863, the guerrilla crisis seemed to be under control, and the EMM Companies on active duty were relieved and sent home. A new version of the EMM was created to replace them, the PEMM, a reduced force of full-time troops, which would be cheaper than calling out regiments. Men were detailed from the EMM with consideration for their personal circumstances; mostly single men with ‘replaceable’ jobs in the community were signed up. The PEMM were paid by the state but clothed and equipped by the federals and placed under federal command. Conservative Governor Gamble and the Radical legislature fought over their control and use. Most of these units were disbanded before the judicial elections of November, 1863, to prevent them from influencing the outcome, but two regiments converted to U.S. Volunteers. 6. Provisional Enrolled Militia (1864-65): The PEM was created by the federal Department of Missouri Commander (General Order 107) to meet the growing guerrilla threat that preceded Price’s invasion in the summer of 1864. The best men were detailed from EMM (and volunteers) by county committees and placed under the best officers, one or two companies of 100 per county, for a total of 62 independent companies. 7. Missouri Militia (1865): Created by Federal Department of Missouri Commander to replace the EMM which was disbanded March 12, 1865 and the loss of strength through discharges of MSM. Designed to be effective and economical, independent companies were provisioned by the U.S. and paid by the counties and “disloyal citizens who resided therein.” Radical Republican Governor Fletcher issued General Order 3 and sixty one companies were formed. Their role was mostly “repressing lawlessness.” In April, a larger MM based on regiments was to be formed, but Lee’s surrender that month made such a big expense unnecessary. In June and July, the MM was disbanded. 8. In 1865, the Missouri State Convention created a new militia organization firmly under civil control that lasted decades.
Note: The Pawpaw Militia was a derisive name given to the Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM) because many who signed up “took to the brush” rather than fight Confederate regulars, or they even became fugitive guerrillas themselves. The pawpaw grows wild in Missouri, and it is also called the Missouri or Prairie Banana. Many Unionists placed their faith chiefly in the federal “US” forces and stereotyped all EMM as representative of the worst. In some parts of central and western Missouri, the Pawpaw Militia were suspected of collaborating with bushwhackers.
Mark Lause, writing about the forgotten citizen-soldiers of the Civil War, points out that the Enrolled Missouri Militia was the largest single military force in the Trans-Mississippi theater, which, on the basis of scale alone, must be considered a major contributor to the course of the conflict. “Nevertheless, the Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM) remains the most neglected organization in the war's most ignored theatre of operations. Irregularly made reports were badly kept and maintained; the National Archives--like previous Federal authorities--abdicated much of the responsibility for this state organized force. Contemporaries, even its well-wishers, generally referred to it simply as "the militia," failing to distinguish between the various bodies using such a designation. The EMM, in short, became the truly forgotten citizen-soldiers of the Civil War.” (Mid Missouri Civil War Round Table http://mmcwrt.missouri.org/2001/default0107.htm)
“Clearly, the very process of mobilizing the EMM helped bring a much-needed coherence to the Union cause in a badly divided and politically confused state. Its service freed from garrison duties in Missouri tens of thousands of Federal volunteers without whom major military initiatives west of the Appalachians would have been smaller, later and less likely of success. The EMM's role in contesting guerilla operations in Missouri, though more direct, involved innovative approaches to counterinsurgency warfare. Further, it played a major role in driving back several major raids and incursions by Confederate regulars.”
The development of guerrilla warfare on a large scale in 1862 underscored the underfunded, undersupplied, under-equipped, and often unpaid Enrolled Missouri Militia as a major factor in maintaining Union control over the vast territories in the state abandoned by the Union Army. In most of the state, the organization was self-sustaining, and individual unit effectiveness was determined almost entirely by the quality of its leadership. The leadership was generally drawn from prominent men in each county. Unfortunately, these leaders sometimes used their positions for political purposes to the detriment of military effectiveness. The Price invasion of 1864 put the Enrolled Missouri Militia in a major role for which it had never been prepared.
Lause continues (Mid Missouri Civil War Round Table), “Through most of the invasion's course, EMM units provided the key--usually the only--force contesting the Confederate advance. However, being a state rather than a Federal organization, the records note its battles, skirmishes and movements only rather offhandedly insofar as they affected the movements of the "real" troops.”
“Our understanding of what actually transpired in Missouri--or the Trans-Mississippi generally--can scarcely be complete without reference to the largest military force active in that theatre of the war. Nor is that task served by citing the nineteenth century delineations of authority and record-keeping. Those lines initially justified a distinction between state forces like the EMM and those in regular service, but other factors continued to keep the EMM largely invisible in the history of the war that evolved over the ensuing decades.”
“The non-presence of the EMM, per se, obscured the obvious reality that the Federal high command readily subjected the militarily least prepared Unionists to trials and dangers to which they would not subject its own soldiery. It obscured the bravery, even heroism of ordinary citizen-soldiers in order to minimize the losses for which the historical record would hold the Federals accountable. It also eclipsed the "total war" waged by the Confederates upon those Missourians who dared resist them, permitting the Price invasion to appear in the hazy, shimmering glow of a tragic and glorious endeavor in pursuit of the Lost Cause.”
“In short, more serious work on the Enrolled Missouri Militia challenges the long enshrined myths about Federal competence, Confederate honor, and military glory. On many aspects of the conflict, such a price has been too high. What will be won at this cost, however, promises a greater, more rounded understanding of a vital theatre of the Civil War.” (Lause, Mark. http://mmcwrt.missouri.org/2001/default0107.htm
The Gasconade Bridge Incident
According to Captain Eitzen’s self-serving account of the action at the Gasconade bridge, the men of 34th Regiment EMM moved forward into blocking positions during a downpour on October 3rd, 1864. They rode on railway flat cars with no protection from the wind and water. The men had not been issued proper protective clothing, so they arrived at their assigned places in a poor frame of mind. Several were sick, with one near death. Eitzen sent the dying man to Hermann in the company of the unit’s First Lieutenant, who never returned. The other officer, the second lieutenant, had already been sent to Franklin to pick up rations, Eitzen explained somewhat testily. Eitzen presumes they were both cut off by the rapid advance of the Confederate cavalry. Soon Eitzen and his troops heard cannonading from the direction of Hermann, and Eitzen ordered water brought into their wooden blockhouse position in preparation for a siege. Scouts came in, reporting Hermann had been fired and that a train with 2 cannons was coming to attack the railroad bridge. Some men threw down their weapons, and since most of the men of Companies A and B were from the Hermann area, Company B’s men and about half of Company A ran out of the blockhouse. Eitzen claimed he could not stop the panic, so he followed the men until they sought shelter at the first house. There he pleaded with them and ordered them to return to their post, but only about ten responded. The others said they were going home; they would rather be shot on the spot than stay and leave their families at the mercy of the rebels. Eitzen returned to the blockhouse about midnight with ten men and another couple dozen straggled in during the night. The next evening, he polled the men and it was the unanimous position that they should abandon the position. They believed they were surrounded by 6,000 rebels, all but two of their scouts captured, and that they had no chance against cannon that would easily pulverize the wooden blockhouse. They force marched to Medora, losing ten men in the night. A scout told them the country back of Medora was full of bushwhackers, so they decided to try to make Union lines at the Osage River, which is where they were found by Colonel Poser, 34th EMM Regimental Commander. (US War Department, War of Rebellion)
Note: Confederate General Marmaduke claims he sent 400 men with one cannon on October 4th to destroy the railroad bridge at the Gasconade River. Confederate records show the 10th Cavalry Regiment (MO-CSA) reinforced by four companies of the 14th Cav (MO-CSA) attacked and destroyed the bridge. (It’s also said that Marmaduke delayed his departure from Hermann for a day or more while his staff drank up the wine stocks at Hermann Hill. Thousands of grape plants and fruit trees were wantonly destroyed before the Confederates moved on.)
While the Union militia could have been outnumbered by as much as four to one, their situation was less dire than Captain Eitzen presented it. Eitzen was an influential merchant in Hermann. He had friends in state and county government and had served as Deputy Provost Marshal in 1863. Consequently, he didn’t suffer unduly even after failing so miserably at the bridge. In fact, Eitzen and some of B Company stayed on active duty until 21 November, almost two weeks longer than any other element of the Regiment. Eitzen was one of Hermann's first settlers, arriving penniless in 1838, but he died the wealthiest man in the county. At age 19, he went to work as a clerk in Widersprecher's General Store; three years later he owned the store. Eitzen had been in the first car of the Jubilee Train that crashed into the Gasconade in 1855, but he only got a minor head wound during the crash. Eitzen became a millionaire as a merchant and shipping agent. Eitzen began the first ferry service from Herman to the north side of the River, and he controlled the Hermann wharf. He bought and sold pine lumber floated down the Gasconade River and its tributaries in “rafts.” (Missouri’s yellow pine forest was clear-cut and all but eliminated in the 19th century -- at times, as much as 200,000 board feet of lumber were piled up along Wharf Street in Hermann.) In addition, Eitzen was the shipping agent for the Maramec Iron Works near St. James. Eitzen literally made money coming and going. The huge ox-drawn wagons returned to the iron works filled with goods from his store, and the iron was carried on steamboats of which he was the principal shareholder. Eitzen held a number of local elective offices including Mayor, as well as delegate to the state Constitutional Conventions of 1861 and 1875 and representative to the MO General assembly. After the Civil War, Eitzen gave a city park to the community, and the present County Courthouse was a gift to the county from Charles D. Eitzen, built 1896-98 with $50,000 left for that purpose in his will.
In partial defense of Eitzen and his men, the Regiment had received information from Major General Rosecrans’ HQ in St Louis on 29 September that as many as 300 of Bill Anderson’s Bushwhackers were headed in their direction at Hermann and to be alert for them if they crossed the Missouri River. On September 27th, Anderson’s Bushwhackers had committed a string of atrocities in and near Centralia, MO, murdering 21 unarmed union soldiers on furlough in a train they captured and burned. Some victims were scalped and mutilated. On the same day Anderson’s men overran a Union Militia Company of the 39th Regiment and killed a hundred. Most were shot in the head, the officers scalped and mutilated, and one dying man, at least, had his genitals torn off and stuffed in his mouth. Of course, these horrors were magnified by rumors that raced through the Union command, and Eitzen’s men would have been gravely distressed that their families and property were unprotected with such a fiend possibly in the area. Facing an organized military force is one thing, leaving one’s family to the savagery of a gang like Anderson’s is something different.
A controversy continues about whether or not MG Sterling Price actually employed the Bushwhackers as part of a “Terror” tactic in support of regular operations. Of course, he denied this and so did Marmaduke, Fagan, and Shelby (whose own Division called themselves “The Avengers of Blood”). Notwithstanding, Price failed to take disciplinary action when situations like the Centralia incident occurred, and Confederate ‘militia’ commissions were tendered to Bushwhacker leaders. Price certainly recognized Bill Anderson as an asset and complimented him on more than one occasion. The Daily Missouri Democrat commented: "There are certain marauders such as Freeman, Hildebrand, Anderson, Holzeclaw, Willoughby and others following in the wake of Price's army whom he affects to disown; and when any of his officers are spoken to about these wretches he says "they are outside of the original Confederate army." And yet, Freeman, Willoughby and others are conscripting for Price's army. If he disowns them, why does he not protect the citizens of the country he conquers from them?" The following appeared in the Missouri Republican: "In conversation with some prisoners who were captured by Price after leaving Pilot Knob, who were kept by him some three days before being paroled, I learned that Price's force was about 17,000 strong, the horses quite thin and they moved leisurely along. The officers and men, with scarce an exception, had bundles of plunder from stores and houses which they had robbed, attached to their saddles. They said they were going to Jefferson City to reinstate the rightful governor of Missouri; but I think they will find that Gen. Smith and his men have something to say in regard to that little matter. Old Pap (this was Price's nickname) rides in a buggy most of the time, and the prisoners say that they believed as far as they knew, he wanted them treated well; but there were a set of brutes with him who robbed and did not hesitate to murder without stint.” http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~moripley/articles/civil_war_article.htm (Washington County Missouri in the Civil War)
Brevet Major General John B. Sanborn, Commander of the Southwest District of Missouri, argued that the bushwhackers were a carefully orchestrated part of the southern battle plan. “… just before Gen. Price left Arkansas, he sent couriers to the numerous guerrilla bands along the Missouri River, notifying them of his approach , and instructing them to cross the river, to harass the country, and by every means possible to keep Union troops actively employed on the north side of the river. It is a fact that though the Confederate leaders in the Trans-Mississippi department pretended to deprecate guerrilla warfare, and refused to grant regular commissions to the leaders of the numerous bands of guerrillas and bushwhackers in Missouri, yet they looked upon them as auxiliaries and uniformly availed themselves of their services whenever the occasion was presented.” (Sanborn, John B. The Campaign in Missouri: in September and October, 1864. 1894, Missouri Digital Text Collection, p 12. http://digital.library.umsystem.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?sis+46fcae1bdd584d9680c9)
There had been some sharp words exchanged between General Brown and Col Poser prior to the incident at the Gasconade Bridge. On 29 September Rosecrans’ HQ notified General Brown that the 34th EMM had been ordered to report to him, noting strength of seven companies then at Hermann. General Rosecran’s order to Colonel Poser directed that he cancel movement to Rolla, and go instead to Jefferson City and to report to General Brown by telegraph. Poser is cautioned that Anderson’s men may cross the Missouri River near Chamois; he should employ scouts, and he should take possession of a steamboat if he could. Col Poser telegraphed Gen. Brown that he was reporting for duty with 6 companies (about 350 effectives), only one company armed (Eitzen’s), and he sent it to the Gasconade bridge the evening of the 28th. Five of his companies were marching to Cuba, and should arrive on the 30th. On Sept 30, General Brown inquires of HQ in St Louis if the 34th EMM has been ordered to report, and HQ responded that seven companies had been ordered to rendezvous at Hermann and report. General Brown stated that “Colonel R. Poser, commanding 34th EMM refuses to move by my order.” Poser told Brown that he had telegraphic orders to remain at Hermann. Rosecrans’ HQ responded to Brown: “Arrest Colonel Poser if he refuses to obey your orders. You are his superior.” Colonel Poser was ordered to send four companies to the Gasconade bridge and the remainder to Jefferson City. Colonel Poser still hesitated. He warned Brown that if the 34th EMM left as ordered, it would leave Little Berger and Cole Creek bridges unguarded. Little Berger is 4 miles above Hermann, and Cole Creek is 5 miles below. “I received a dispatch yesterday” from HQ St Louis “ordering me to stay at Herman or in the neighborhood.” That dispatch also said that “Anderson with 2-300 men will try to cross the river near Portland (across from Chamois). Five companies have been ordered to Rolla. I am informed that arms and provisions will arrive here today for my regiment.” General Brown’s reply to this is terse: “Move command as ordered by this Headquarters immediately. Acknowledge.” It’s clear that Colonel Poser didn’t want to leave Hermann unprotected, and all his troops probably knew that. The effect of his hesitation on the morale of his regiment was undoubtedly a factor in their failure.
On October 1, Poser became reluctantly more responsive. He reported 20 Officers and 311 men to Brown’s HQ (Central District of MO), and they directed him to leave 45 volunteers at the Gasconade and Osage bridges. Arms and ammunition would be furnished at Jefferson City. Poser replied that he had moved the Regiment to the Gasconade Bridge, and he would complete the movement as soon as transportation was available. He needed transport for 200 men and four horses. Poser asked what to do with the 6 pounder he had with him, and he was directed to bring it to Jefferson City. Brown’s HQ then sent the following message addressed to Commanders of Gasconade and Osage bridge defense. “The commanding General directs me to inform you that the enemy is moving toward you. You will immediately occupy the blockhouses and all other buildings and be prepared for a vigorous and determined resistance in case the enemy should attack. Let me know at once if you need ammunition and what kind.”
By noon on 2 October, the Union command had firmly decided that Jefferson City was Price’s objective. Brown’s HQ issued Special Order #211. “Colonel Poser will order four companies of his command to move at seven AM tomorrow, 3rd instant, by train and take post as follows: two companies at Osage bridge and two Companies at Gasconade bridge. The command will be provided with 10 days rations and 100 rounds of ammunition per man.”
On 4 October, General Brown informed Rosecrans that the rebels shelled Hermann last night. Captain Eitzen 34th EMM abandoned the blockhouse at the Gasconade bridge and ran away. Captain Onken in command of the other company says “he will not leave without seeing some of the fun.” Also on 4 October, Major General Curtis, the Commander of the Trans Mississippi Union Army, headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, warned General Brown that Price must be checked at the Gasconade. Bridges and boats on the river should be rendered useless. Destroy the Eastern span of bridges if necessary. Do not allow your force to be captured.
Captain Francis Onken, Commander of Company A, 34th EMM, told somewhat the same story as Captain Eitzen with important differences. First, Eitzen assumed command of the blockhouse when both units occupied it. Later, when the cannon fire was heard, “two of Eitzen’s men” threw down their arms and swore they would not stay and defend the bridge while their property in Hermann was destroyed.” About 10:00 PM, those same two returned with news that rebels were firing the town and that two cannons were on a train ready to go to the Gasconade railway bridge to destroy it. At that point Eitzen ordered his B Company men out of the blockhouse, saying “We have to fall back to Jefferson City.” Most of A Company’s men also followed him out. Captain Onken called his men back, but only 26 returned. Captain Onken then sent a squad east to destroy the railroad. They took out some rails and threw them in the river. He sent scouts out to the flanks to see if the rebels would use the fords, two men to bring in horses and food, and scouts forward. The first two scouts never returned; he believed they were captured or killed. It was quiet until morning, but then small groups of rebels were seen. Captain Eitzen returned and asked if Onken intended to stay. Eitzen said they were surrounded and that it would be impossible to defend the blockhouse. Onken refused to leave. After a while, Eitzen called all the men together, told them they were surrounded, and asked for a ‘stay or go’ vote. Most militiamen wanted to leave. Then a scout returned and reported having been captured but subsequently making an escape. He said a regiment was around them with 6,000 more coming by boat. Another scout came in and reported rebels firing on him. He saw several squads of rebels on their way back from taking horses and supplies at the farms. The picket reported trees falling on the bluff in sight of the bridge. The men said they were leaving at once, but Captain Onken stayed. He loaded the spare muskets and extra ammunition on a railway handcart and sent six men to the rear with it. He found the hand cart later, burned about a mile from the river, and believed the men with it were either captured or killed. With his remaining ten men, he marched to Medora, where he found Captain Eitzen, and they moved to the Osage together. As an afterthought he added that when Eitzen left the first time, he came back after midnight with four men and others straggled in later. At roll call, Eitzen reported 36 for duty. (U.S. War Department, War of Rebellion)
Note: Francis Onken (b. 1829 in Oldenburg, Germany) came to Hermann in 1853, but left soon for California. He returned to Germany for a visit, but came back to Hermann in 1854. He had a store in Oldenburg, MO, but retired in 1860. During the Civil War, he operated steamboats on the Missouri River and served in the Home Guards and 34th EMM. In 1876 he was elected Probate Judge and served on the County Court as well. The Onkens were cousins of the Widerspechers, who still owned the tan-yard and Mill after they sold the general store to Eitzen.
The commander of 34th EMM, Colonel Rudolph Poser, was humiliated. On October 5th, 1864, General Brown attached the 34th EMM to the 7th Cavalry, MO State Militia, Colonel Phillips commanding. The 7th, 4th, and 5th Cavalry were to regain the West bank of the Osage and hold it if possible. Failing that, they were to contest every foot of ground, holding the Moreau River until the last moment. In effect, Colonel Poser had to go looking for his command, i.e., the 4 companies he sent to guard the railway bridges. He found no enemy between the tracks and the MO River, nor 1.5 miles south of the tracks. When he arrived at Moreau bridge, he sent out skirmishers and moved on to the Osage River. He had three Companies of his command (unidentified, but probably E, L, , and M) with him; it appears they had been engaged in building defensive positions at Jefferson City, and five companies had been sent to Rolla. Colonel Poser reported the bridge and blockhouses on both sides of the Osage had been burned. Witnesses claimed not more than 100 enemy had been sighted, about 15 of whom came across the river and burned McKernan’s warehouse, the blockhouse, and other buildings. Col. Poser found two companies of the 34th EMM (A & B) and one company of the 28th EMM on the other side (East) of the Osage. Col Poser learned that Company D 34th EMM, commanded by Lt Berger, had surrendered on the East side of the Osage River. After being paroled by the rebels at Westphalia, Burger isn’t shown as returned on official records until 26 October (did he go home?). Col. Poser’s best assessment showed a rebel force of 5-800 with 2 or 3 pieces of artillery had been through the area. “The different commanders on the Pacific Railroad retreated under great excitement – Enrolled Militia. General (Brown), I hope you will give me a chance to blot out the stain from the regiment.” Signed “R Poser, COL, Commanding (U.S. War Department, War of Rebellion)
The 34th EMM’s commander, Colonel Rudolph Poser, was a farmer north of Stoney Hill in Boeuf Township of Gasconade County. He had served as a Lieutenant with the Second MO Artillery from August 1861-April 1863. He was a Prussian who emigrated to the U.S. in 1854. The dismal performance of his companies at the railroad bridges against Price’s cavalry must have been a bitter pill at the time. After the war, however, he became Gasconade County Surveyor, married a woman fourteen years his junior, and sired two boys and four girls.
On October 10th, 2LT Slinkman of D Company arrived in Jefferson City with 20 men of Company D, 1 Private from Company B, and two Privates from Company H. Lt. Slinkman reported that the whole command (2 officers and 49 men) under Lt Berger were taken prisoner on the East side of the Osage bridge on October 6. He was marched to California, MO, and there paroled with the group he brought in with him. Lt Berger and 29 men had already been paroled at Westphalia. Lt Slinkman said Company D was attacked at the bridge by a force of about 200 around 7:00 AM. They fired on the rebels from the blockhouse and drove them back. After that, the rebels sent in a flag of truce, and since Burger had been told they were surrounded by a force of about 2500 with 2 pieces of artillery, they surrendered. The rebels took their arms, ammunition, and stripped them of any useful clothes. They were treated roughly by the Confederates. The only rations received were one pint of flour and about a quarter pound of bacon. They had to march mostly at double-time. At Westphalia, they learned that they had killed nine rebels and wounded two during the attack on the blockhouse.
Note: William Berger (born 1832 in Prussia), the D Company Commander, came to the U.S. in 1849. After two years in St Louis he moved to Franklin County where he married Charlotta Schumacher. They settled on a farm in Gasconade County in 1854 and produced 15 children. Berger also had an interest in two stores. He was Sheriff 1864-1868, Probate Judge 1868-1872, and served multiple terms on the County Court, including Presiding Judge. Lt. William Slinkman had been a Sergeant in Dallmeyer’s Battalion, and a Private in the Gasconade County Home Guards before that. Slinkman had a farm in Jefferson Twp, Osage County. Lt Slinkman appears to have been the brother-in-law of my Great Grandfather David Hartman's third wife.
Captain Sullins, commanding C Company, had taken up position on the West side of the Osage, after arriving on October 3 about 3:00 PM. There was no report of enemy until October 5th. Mr. Williams of Loose Creek said buildings there had been destroyed. About sunrise on the 6th, Lt. Berger’s Company D was attacked on three sides by a large force. Enemy in force were seen for a mile up the Osage River. The rebels fired across the river at C Company’s blockhouse and C Company returned fire. After 10-15 minutes, Lt. Berger’s Company ceased firing. Sullins saw a flag of truce come to Berger’s location, and in a few minutes, observed that the enemy had full possession of the East end of the bridge. The rebels marched Lt. Berger’s company to a position where they masked C Company’s fires if they continued to engage the enemy. Then the rebels sent a flag of truce across the bridge and demanded that Sullins surrender his command, but he refused. His men, however, began to panic because they believed the rebels were preparing to fire their artillery on the blockhouse. Since Sullins’ company could not fire across the River without endangering Berger’s men and because they believed it would be impossible to hold out against the artillery, they evacuated the position.
General McNeil’s quick action in moving his forces from Rolla to Jefferson City, starting October 4th and marching at the double in heavy rain, tipped the scales in the Union favor. Not only did he bring over a thousand fresh troops to the defense of Jefferson City, but he also brought several cannon that were used effectively in repulsing Price’s exploratory probes of the defense. In the face of those cannon, Price and his generals knew that another Pyrrhic victory like the one at Pilot Knob would finish them. McNeil had a checkered career, which included the execution of 15 rebel captives at Kirksville and another 10 at Palmyra, and he was even berated for cowardice at Westport by Union General Pleasanton. In the case of the Palmyra “massacre” (which brought outraged demands for punishment from CSA President Jeff Davis), McNeil was retaliating against a string of murders committed by men associated with the Confederate recruiter, Colonel Joseph C. Porter. Regardless, McNeil was promoted at war’s end to Brevet Major General, US Volunteers, for his faithful service.
On 6 October, General Rosecrans issued a General Order commending General Ewing for gallantry in defense of Pilot Knob and the withdrawal to Rolla. In the transmittal, a portion read “Such conduct deserves imitation, particularly when compared to the cowardly conduct of the troops at the Osage Bridge.” (Moore, Frank. The Rebellion Record. 1868) The 34th EMM was assigned to Brigadier General John McNeil’s command on October 6th for the defense of Jefferson City. When Price chose to bypass the Union defense, McNeil returned with his command to Rolla, apparently taking some of the 34th EMM with him.
Note: Major-General Rosecrans was the Union Commander responsible for the debacle at Chattanooga in 1863 (which was subsequently reversed by Grant and Sherman) and had been effectively ‘demoted’ to commanding the Department of Missouri.
Great Grandfather Charles Gruner enlisted in Company H, 34th EMM, andI believe that Companies F, G, H, I and K were the units sent to General McNeil initially by Colonel Poser (under the command of Major Goos). Col Poser’s early October strength reports of troops available to MG Brown from Herman are too small to have included Company H, one of his larger units at 3 Officers and 93 Enlisted men. Companies A, B, C, D, E, L, and M were enrolled mostly in Northern Gasconade County, while Companies F, G, H, I, and K came from the southern areas of the county. Companies A, B, C, D, E, L, & M of 34th EMM were relieved from duty on Oct. 31, 1864 – a total of 33 days from September 28. I doubt that these northern units returned to Rolla with General McNeil after the defense of Jefferson City. They were probably sent home directly from Jefferson City. LTC George Klinge of the 34th EMM reported the first two companies returning to Hermann on October 15th. Companies F, G, H, I, and K served longer periods, to 10-11 November, and it’s likely they returned with McNeal to Rolla. Certainly, that’s true of Company G which served the longest and recorded the skirmish with Bushwhackers on the Big Piney. It’s also likely that Company H defended the Gasconade fords and southern approaches in southwest Osage County during Price’s advance in early October, 1864. Elements of Company H were engaged on 4 October 1864 when 2LT William Diebold was killed in action, so the unit probably returned to Gasconade or Osage County soon after 29 September, when the EMM were pulled back from Railroad guard duty. General Shelby reports an ambush of a Union detachment along the Osage Bluffs with his usual hyperbole. The federal unit’s shocked members leapt off the bluffs to escape the fusillade of shots - even though to do so invited death or serious injury. There were also at least two prisoners of war (unidentified) from Company H taken by Shelby’s rebels in that area at about this time, according to 2LT Slinkman’s report to COL Poser on 10 Oct 1864. It is possible that H Company could have been deployed on the Southern Pacific RR with other EMM elements on 1 Oct, but when they were withdrawn, they probably moved directly to blocking or screening positions in southern Gasconade County. It would have been at least a forty mile ride through rough country to reach the Gasconade and farther to the Osage. It’s unlikely an unseasoned unit could do this in only a day. Gen McNeil didn’t begin the movement from Rolla until Oct 4, so it’s unlikely H Company was in his main column. Shelby’s Confederates reported facing significant resistance (“warmly contested”) in the vicinity of Castle Rock fords on Oct 4. While the only Union troops identified in dispatches concerning Castle Rock ford are MSM cavalry, there were some EMM elements with them.
Note: LT. Col. George Klinge (born 1809 in Hesse) was also a passenger on the first car of the Jubilee train that rolled into the Gasconade River in 1855, and he escaped without injury. During the Mexican War he raised a company, but they were mustered out at Ft Leavenworth. For a decade thereafter, he was Captain of the Hermann Militia Jaeger Company. He was a very successful bricklayer in his vocational pursuits. The Hermann Mutual Insurance Association was organized in January 1860 by George Klinge.
The fighting (and looting) were widespread in northern Crawford, Gasconade, and Osage Counties during the last days of September through October 7, 1864. Colonel John L. Beveridge, commanding the 17th Illinois Cavalry assigned to General McNeil at Rolla reported the following action. Beveridge (a veteran of Gettysberg and later the 17th Governor of Illinois) marched from Rolla to St James on 30 Sep 1864. He learned that the enemy had been reported at Rosati, about 6 miles east. There they had burned some rail cars and plundered a store, but fled on Beveridge’s approach. He captured and arrested a group driving about 75-100 cattle southeast, in the direction of Price’s army. Continuing his march toward Cuba, where the station and warehouse had been burned by rebels, Beveridge’s cavalry cut the trail of a rebel raiding party (2-400 in number) that had moved north along Brush Creek. “Thick woods and darkness prevented a vigorous pursuit.” This group was headed on a line progressing to Oak Hill, then Bem, Owensville, Wollam, and Cooper Hill. They were apparently foragers and forward reconnaissance for the main body, and they stayed in the area about a week, probably draining it of anything that could be carried off. The only opposition to these raiders would have come from the Enrolled Missouri Militia. This threat may have been the reason to move EMM units directly into southern Gasconade and Osage Counties to secure O’Neil’s line of march from Rolla.
Governor Hamilton Gamble created the Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM) to provide a force to counter the growing guerrilla threat in 1862. On the one hand, the federal government had outlawed the ‘Home Guard’ organizations (created by Blair, Lyon, etc. to counter Gov. Jackson’s ‘state guard’) as “undisciplined, unprofessional, ineffective,” not responsive to the federal chain of command, and a hindrance to federal recruiting. Moreover, neither the state nor the War Dept. could afford the expense of more active troop formations if they could be recruited. The EMM was an economical way to provide a force responsive to emergency needs, but which cost little when not needed. On the other hand, federal military commanders were deploying U.S. Volunteers outside the state. The prevailing opinion was that Missouri was behind the main effort and dealing with the guerrilla war was a state problem to be handled with state resources.
Two unintended consequences developed from the creation of the EMM. First, local bullies and ne’er-do-wells could use Union blue to legitimize their activities. Second, dishonest local leaders now had a legal way to steal a man’s real and personal property, since earlier legislation required southern sympathizers to pay for Missouri’s war needs. Local leaders could now designate thousands of new loyalty threats for potential seizure and imprisonment, and they had the militia to enforce their edicts. 52,000 men were sorted into 70 different regiments. In practice, each of the regiments served for brief periods to augment the active-duty Missouri State Militia (MSM) or federal troops around the home area. They could guard vital transportation and other facilities, freeing MSM and U.S. troops for combat operations against CSA forces. The EMM was sometimes untrained and poorly led; EMM blunders and depredations became an embarrassment. Other EMM units were excellent, earning great praise for their courage and accomplishments. The EMM regiments ranged from “laughable to laudable.” (Nichols, Bruce. Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, 1862. www.books.google.com, p.103) Of course, the bullets were just as real to the individual soldier whether his unit was a good one or a bad one, his leader stalwart or corrupt, or the mission just or unjust. Generally, he stood shoulder to shoulder with his neighbors, and that’s where his loyalty lay.
In 1863, Command of the Enrolled Missouri Militia (whether active or inactive) was given to the federal Commander of the Department of the Missouri, MG Schofield, by General Order #24 of the Missouri Adjutant General (26 September 1863). When Major General Rosecrans succeeded Schofield on 30 January 1864, that authority was specifically transferred to Rosecrans by General Order #4, Headquarters, State of Missouri, dated 2 February 1864. On 9 December 1864, General Dodge replaced Rosecrans but did not receive command of the EMM. (US War Department, War of Rebellion, 1902.)
Murder of Charles Manwaring
Charles Gruner may have been a witness to the murder of Charles Manwaring by bushwhackers in 1864. In June of 1863 Captain Charles Manwaring (Quartermaster of 34th EMM) was appointed Provost-Marshal for the Second District and stationed in St. Louis. In May of 1864, during a trip home to Hermann to visit his wife and young son, Charles Manwaring was killed by Confederates while attempting to capture Rebel bushwhackers on the Hermann wharf. The GAR Post in Hermann provided this account: “In the spring of 1864, while on a visit to his family, Capt. Manwaring was killed by a party of rebels as he was attempting to arrest one of them. The rebels were pursued, and one of them killed, while the others, abandoning their horses, made their escape. The horses were sold, and netted the Government $600. Capt. Manwaring lies buried on a high bluff just east of Hermann.”
Note: Charles Manwaring came to Hermann from Geneva, NY. He partnered with George Husman, a successful local vintner and nursery operator in 1858, and they sold grape plants, fruit trees, and exotic seeds from Europe and Asia. At the start of the Civil War, they were among the wealthiest residents of Hermann, but each joined the Union forces without hesitation in 1861. Husman was the Quartermaster of the 3rd Regiment USRC, and subsequently served with the 4th Infantry Regiment Missouri Volunteers.
In the Hermann Historical Society, there is a manuscript that purports to be an eye witness account of the event, written by James Hunter Rigg of Danville in 1877, and allegedly discovered by a relative after his death in 1924. Rigg was born 18 May 1842 to a tobacco planter in the Missouri bottoms of Montgomery County, the Eastern edge of ‘Little Dixie.’ Rigg claimed that his account of Civil War events was merely what he saw with his own eyes, but it is clear that his vision may have been clouded by Southern sympathies, anti-German bias, and perhaps a vivid imagination. For example, he goes to great lengths to decry the repeated excesses of the militia (18 alleged ‘murders’ in his area in three years). He claimed the militia was uniformly led by criminals and the dregs of society (“low, vile men”), but he is tolerant in his discussion of Bill Anderson’s burning of Danville and killing of those who had the effrontery to resist. The militia is invariably cowardly and conniving, while bushwhackers are brave, just, and reasonable – even honorable. He described how his uncle finally smuggled him out of Missouri in October of 1864 to save his life from the marauding militia.
Rigg claimed that his father initially supported the election of Lincoln and opposed secession, but became embittered by continuing militia abuses of power. Rigg asserted that the militia made war on unarmed citizens, stealing blankets, quilts, even children’s clothes. “Many of our best citizens were shot and killed in their own yards and their houses pillaged … their women insulted.” Among those he claimed to have been murdered by the militia were R. P Terrill (editor of the Montgomery News), Granville Nunnelly (hotel keeper), George L Sexton, Edwin Robinson, Owenfield, Jones, Henry Finny (High Hill School), Thomas L. Morrow, Richard Logan, John Anderson, Jonah Hatton, John S. Marlow, David Tatum (age 80), John and William Mearans, Colonel and James Brewer and two strangers. Rigg said that he came to Gasconade County when he worked for his Uncles at their dry goods store in Chamois for a while, and later became the station agent at Morrison, MO. When he got to IL, he became a school teacher.
Rigg claimed that the Gasconade County Militia reorganized in April 1864, and he was ordered to report to Hermann on 10 May 1864. He was called up with others because he was then living at Morrison’s Station on the Gasconade side of the River. Rigg stated that he was sitting in a chair in front of the hotel watching a German unit parade when seven well-mounted men in bright new militia uniforms rode down the street and onto the ferry. Captain Manwaring, the Provost Marshal, asked the men who they were. They said that they were from another militia unit, and Manwaring directed them to get off the ferry and show their papers. One had a pistol in his right hand, and when Manwaring took hold of his bridle, this rider stood in his stirrups and fired, killing Manwaring. All the riders commenced shooting as they raced away. Several militiamen were wounded, a man named “Schlender” the most seriously with his thigh bone shattered. The Germans were thrown into utter confusion, running this way and that and firing ineffectively. It took some time for “Captain Placon” to restore order among the frightened Germans. Everybody was put on alert, even 100 Negroes. Eventually a tramp was brought in from outside of town and charged with being a spy. He was sentenced to be shot by the unit of Militia Negroes. Five were selected, but they all missed their mark. While another five were being selected, the tramp jumped in the river and started swimming. All of the Negroes opened fire and about half the company Riggs had been assigned to did likewise. The tramp was wounded and begged to come ashore, but the Negroes threw rocks on him until he sank. Later Riggs learned that Bushwhacker Colonel Joe Perkins was the man who killed Manwaring.
There is no record of James Hunter Rigg ever serving with the Missouri Militia in any regiment. However, it is quite likely that the militia may have been reorganizing in Hermann, because Charles’ (and several of his comrades) enrollment in the 34th EMM is dated 22 April 1864. There is also no record of any officer or soldier named Placon in Militia Records of Missouri or MOLLUS; Captain ‘Onken’ is the only name remotely close. There was a PVT Herman Schlender in Captain Eitzen’s B Company, but there is no indication in his service record of wounds, and his active service was during August-September, 1862. Christopher and Charles Schlender had militia records, but they both served in 1861-62 at St Louis and then the USRC. There was a bushwhacker named “Colonel Perkins” who operated in North Central Missouri at this time in connection with Anderson, Todd, Thrailkill, and Holtzclaw, but I believe his first name was Caleb. I have found no record of a Negro Militia unit until after the Civil War when they were a commonplace of Radical Republican control (and there weren’t enough blacks in Gasconade County to make a company even if the women were utilized). There were Negro US Volunteers, like the 65th Infantry, but I believe they were serving out of state. It isn’t clear whether Rigg’s account is a hoax, confused memories, or a work of fiction, but I’ve included it to illustrate the mind set of Southern sympathizers (and apologists today), and because, clearly, Manwaring (an officer of the 34th EMM) was murdered by bushwhackers at the wharf in Hermann.
Note: I tracked James Hunter Rigg (1842-1924) through the U.S. Census beginning in 1850 when he was 8 years old. He was apparently an only child, and grew up with Elizabeth Hunter living with the family (likely a grandmother). Neither the 1850 or 1860 Census indicate Rigg attending school. The 1850-1870 Census takers show several ‘Rigg’ families in Loutre Twp of Montgomery County, MO (Alfred, Laurence, Samuel, Samuel P., Townley, and John). James H. Rigg (b. 1842) was included in the 1870 Census, living with parents John & Thomason Rigg (age 56 and 53) in Loutre (near Danville), Montgomery County, MO, but he is not included in the 1880 or 1890 Census. James H. Rigg, a farmer in Loutre, appears again with his wife, Susan, in 1900, 1910, and 1920 Census of Montgomery County, MO. This is probably the alleged author of the ‘Memoir.’ The 1850-1870 Census for Loutre Twp. also lists three Hunter families and a Morrow family (William Morrow is indicated as the uncle who spirited Rigg off to Illinois, but I have not been able to locate him in the Census records). In the Provost Marshal papers for Montgomery County, there are some oblique references to ulitilization of Union troops to protect rebellious slaves at Loutre (probably at the Methodist Episcopal Church) that greatly agitated the southern sympathizers. There was a Dr. Charles H. Rigg (b. 14 Feb, 1851) in Montgomery County. His life story is somewhat similar to what I recall of the “James Hunter Rigg” memoir, and may have been somehow incorporated. Dr. Rigg was the son of Virginia immigrants; he completed high school in Danville (James Hunter Rigg claims he went to school in Chamois); and when his mother (Elizabeth Hunter Rigg) died in 1865, he grew up largely on his own. He began teaching school at age 18, then lived in California five years, before returning and taking medical studies in St. Louis.
Perhaps Riggs’ motivations are revealed by the following report of Southern sympathizers. “List of the Rebel Sympathisers of Montgomery County. Enrolled by Col. Lovelace (CSA recruiter), 1862 - Among the effects of the late T. J. Powell was found a printed list of confederate sympathizers in Montgomery county, and as there are many old familiar names to be found in the list which will interest most of our readers, we publish it as follows: …” [From Montgomery Standard, Montgomery City, Mo., Friday February 21, 1902. http://montgomery.mogenweb.org/articles/rebel.html Transcribed and contributed by COberh3034@aol.com.] The reference above contained a list of “enrolled” Bushwhackers. I compared this list to the names of the murders Riggs described, and included among the 400 plus sympathizer names were James A. Rigg, Jefferson Morrow, James Tatum, Edmund Terrill, John Marlow, Jonah Hatten, 2 Logans, 4 Nunnellys, and some of the other “innocents” mentioned in Rigg’s story. If all the deaths Riggs reports are factual, the militia might be faulted for applying the law of attainder, but not for inaccuracy. Since I am unable to verify names of the so-called ‘militia’ officers Rigg mentions by using MO militia records, it may be that these alleged murderers were merely gangs of vigilantes or outlaws.
Missouri German Americans and the Civil War
It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that the German immigrants in Missouri saved the Western frontier for the Union during the Civil War. Frank Blair said, “… I shall always declare that it was the Germans who saved Missouri. Without the Germans and their volunteer regiments, Missouri would have been lost to the Union… .” (Anzeiger des Westens, 16 July 1861) Missouri sat astride the major lines of communication and commerce between the East and the West, and it dominated travel on the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers. Missouri was the eighth most populous state in 1861. It was the most populous slave state, but it had fewer slaves than all the others (about half of Kentucky’s total and a quarter of Alabama’s). St louis’ population of 65,000 Germans provided a core of Union support to the state, with another 25,000 Germans concentrated along the lower Missouri River valley. Over 31,000 Missouri Germans wore Union blue during the conflict. In 1861, six MO Union regiments were entirely composed of Germans, and 80% of men recruited in St Louis were foreign born (predominantly German). Those German regiments prevented Governor Claiborne Jackson’s State Guard from seizing the St Louis Arsenal. The Germans fought fiercely at Wilson’s Creek in 1861, but Siegel’s cautious retreat kept them from the victory they deserved. Many Germans contributed to the defeat of Price at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in 1862, and that ended major Confederate operations in Missouri until Price’s Quixotic invasion of 1864. Missouri sent more men to war (both US and CSA) than any other state, relative to population (over 191,000 total volunteers), and about a quarter of those in blue were German. Overall, Germans made up just under one-fourth (23.4 %) of the entire Union Army. 145 Union units of company-size or higher were entirely German; the Confederacy had none. Of some 70,000 Germans living in the Confederacy, only 3,500 to 7,000 fought in gray. (Heidler, Stephen, et al. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, 2002, p. 822-4)
Note: General/President Grant fails to even mention the contribution of Germans in his Memoirs. The only German commander mentioned is Franz Siegel, who was dismissed by Grant as incompetent. In describing his failure to receive an appointment as St Louis County Engineer in 1858, Grant made a back-handed slap at the man selected for the position: “My opponent had the advantage of birth over me (he was a citizen by adoption) ….” Shortly thereafter, Grant briefly joined the Know-Nothings, but quit because of the secrecy and rituals. Notwithstanding, he further stated “I have no apologies to make …, for I still think that native-born citizens of the United States should have as much protection, as many privileges in their native country as those who voluntarily select it for a home.” (Memoirs, p 107) This comment seems to indicate deep-seated prejudice. Many natives criticized the German soldiers as mechanical, slow to the offensive, and fond of liquor, while the Germans complained that they were held out of action, mistreated, given inadequate supplies and food, and were passed over for promotion. After the defeat of the 11th Corps (about 2/3 German) at Chancellorsville, they were criticized as “Flying Dutchmen.” On the other hand, General Sherman strongly praised the German 32nd Indiana Regiment for turning the tide at Shiloh, and Confederates commonly considered the German units among the best in the Union Army. In 1855, Lincoln warned, “If the Know Nothings get control, the Declaration of Independence will read: all men are created equal except for Negroes, foreigners, and Catholics.”
In response to increased immigration from both Ireland and Germany, American Nativist politics found expression in the Know Nothing Party. The “Know-Nothings” got their name because they were secret organizations whose members refused to answer any questions about membership or activities. The Know-Nothings tried to lengthen the time required for citizenship from five years to twenty-one years. They wanted to prevent naturalized citizens from ever holding elected office, and they tried to keep the poor and Catholics out of the country completely. The German press ranked Nativism only slightly behind slavery as a problem to be overcome. In 1836, a mob threatened the editors of Anzeiger des Westens because the paper had protested the murder of a black man, Francis McIntosh. In the 1840’s the Nativists won control of city government and cut off public transportation after 2:00 on Sundays in order to prevent Germans from going to parks and beer gardens on their day off. In 1852, there was election violence between Germans and Know-Nothings in St Louis. The Germans took control of a polling station to prevent Know-Nothings from voting. A crowd of 5,000 formed to retake it; rioting followed, resulting in one death and the burning of a German tavern. In 1855, the Know-Nothings elected Washington King as the Mayor of St Louis, and he reinstituted the Sunday closing laws against Germans and Irish. In 1861, the newly appointed Police Commission retaliated against the Germans by closing theatre performances on Sunday.
Missouri Civil War historians, John Bradbury and James Denny, emphasize the role of the German Americans. Their research shows that most of the German immigrants who settled in the west had fled the political and economic upheavals of mid-nineteenth century Europe, and a significant number (5,000 or more) had actually fought against the reactionary nobility in the Revolutions of 1848, then fled to America after being defeated. These “forty-eighters” hated aristocracy and tyranny and viewed slavery and slaveholders as an example of the same evils that plagued Europe. The “forty-eighters” provided the leadership of the German-American communities before and during the Civil War, and they owned and edited the widely read St Louis German language newspapers. They weren’t about to lose again to the reactionary class in America. They aggressively promoted political action on the part of German-Americans to end slavery. They generally supported the Douglas Democrats (free-soilers), who would prevent the spread of slavery in new territories, but they expressly believed it was the “manifest destiny” (to quote an editorial in a St Louis German language newspaper) of the Germans to end slavery in Missouri. Those who were Republicans in 1856 ardently supported John C. Fremont for President because of his outspoken support for emancipation.
The importance of St Louis to the state can be seen by looking at 1860 Census reports for Missouri’s ten largest towns. St Louis - 160,773; St Joseph - 8,932; Hannibal - 6,505; Kansas City - 4,418; Lexington - 4,122; Carondelet - 3,993; St Charles - 3,239; Independence - 3,164; Jefferson City - 3,082; Cape Girardeau - 2,663 St Louis was 4 times the size of the next nine largest towns in the state, and Germans made up about a third of St Louis. St Louis alone represented 13% of the entire state population. A German crowd stopped the last slave auction held in St Louis on 1 Jan 1861 when they created so much noise and disturbance that the bidding was stopped.
Germans arriving in Missouri were split unequally between four basic groups, in descending order of number of members: Catholics, Lutherans, German “Evangelicals,” and free thinkers. The latter three were often mixed, combining all the elements with one strain dominant. Most Americans were Protestants and hostile to Catholics from any country. Neither were ‘Free-thinking’ and rationalism viewed kindly by frontier descendants of Calvinist Protestants. The German escapees from the Revolution of 1848 were linked with the radical doctrines of Marx and other Socialists by the conservative American press. The Germans generally clung to their native language and culture, and they tended to settle in clannish groups that heightened their differences from the native born. Throw in a strong flavoring of Abolitionism among the German immigrants (particularly Evangelicals), and you have a stew of discord among the slaveholding Missourians.
Some of the early Lutherans were the ‘conservative’ branch that refused to accept merger with the Reformed Church ordered by the Prussian Kaiser in 1817. Under the leadership of Martin Stephan, a Pietist Lutheran preacher from Dresden in Saxony (suspended from his church, he left his wife and seven children behind), a colony was planned for Missouri in 1838. The Atlantic passage was difficult, with one ship of five lost at sea in a storm. The group began to break up in St Louis because of Stephan’s failure to purchase lands for settlement. Stephan styled himself a Bishop and spent liberally from the funds entrusted to him in order to equip himself with the accoutrements of office. After two months, 4500 acres were purchased for the colony in Perry County. It was the last of their money, and the first settlers began to leave St Louis by April, 1839. The first winter for these settlers was grim since most started too late to get in a decent crop. Some of these settlers died of exposure, but Stephan lived well in a large two-story house, with a wine cellar and a housekeeper. It was sexual misconduct that brought him down, however, when eight women in the congregation claimed to have had sexual relationships with Stephan. Given his choice of exile to Germany, standing trial, or banishment to Illinois, he chose the latter. He was excommunicated from the church, placed in a boat and rowed to the Illinois side of the River, where he was deposited with a hundred dollars, a few household articles, and the clothes on his back. Subsequently, his long-time housekeeper (Louise Guenther) admitted she had been his mistress for several years, and she left to join him. From these rocky beginnings came the conservative Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. Perhaps events like this helped form a negative view of Germans.
Whatever the causes, the Germans were viewed suspiciously in St Louis and the rest of the state. The Missouri Republican of 20 May, 1861 expressed Nativist views, according to this Anzeiger des Westens’ 23 May 1861satirical summary of the Republican’s editorial. “The Germans who came here before 1848 were a happy, dumb race of feedbags. They came here because they heard that there was enough cornbread and bacon, while all they got to eat in Germany was an old leather sole for beefsteak every two weeks. They were not interested in politics, they allowed themselves to be pushed around by the native born, and they were royally pleased when one of their top goats got a job in the night watch once in a while. If they had enough to eat and no one actually bit them on the throat, they were happy as sparrows in a seed barrel – and a peace reigned between the Germans and the native-born that was like that in Paradise before Eve bit the apple.” “Then the year 1848 snowed on us an entirely new sort of German. Pure desperate wreckers! Pure Robespierres, Dantons, St Justs! Pure red republicans! People rotten from the ground up, red all the way through to their kidneys, who could convince themselves that they were every bit as good as any other American as soon as they were citizens, with the same rights and the same duties that the United States Constitution granted every other citizen; They made an equal claim on all the offices, and they asserted that they had the same justification and understanding to judge the laws of the land as the native-born.” When that got started, all our tranquility was done for. Soon a scarlet-red speaker will give addresses….”
Germans made great changes to Missouri, and some of these were resented by the older, generally southern settlers. The Methodist ‘Southern branch’ was particularly hostile to Germans, both for their life style as well as their views concerning slavery. After the Germans came to Hermann and Washington, grapes became a major product. In Hermann, grapes yielded 10,000 gallons of wine in 1848, but 100,000 gallons in 1856. In 1845, Dr. William Keil established the settlement of Bethel, where his 500 prosperous followers shared all property in common, a procedure used in some other German settlements. In the 1840’s, German workers pushed for the 10 hour day, and many St Louis factories adopted it. Between 1850 and 1860, the value of St Louis’ manufactured goods doubled, but the influx of German laborers clashed with the resident Irish. Germans established 40 breweries in St Louis by 1860, and this alone put them at odds with many social conservatives. German’s did not “keep the Sabbath” like puritanical Americans. Most Germans liked to enjoy themselves on Sundays, and that could include music, dancing, social gatherings, and alcohol, which was considered scandalous by many. Nativist politicians used these differences to promote fear of German radicalism among Americans. Resolutions of the Social Democratic Association of Richmond, Virginia, drawn up in 1850 by Carl Steinmetz, a Forty-Eighter from Baden, caused a furor when nativists circulated them in 1854. Steinmetz' demands included: universal suffrage, abolition of neutrality, intervention in favor of every people struggling for liberty, the eight-hour workday, incorporation of labor unions, nationalization of railroads, free public schools, emancipation of slaves and abolition of capital punishment – all anathema to conservatives. M. Jeff Thompson, Missouri Confederate General, allegedly proposed a solution to the German problem – just shut down all the breweries in St Louis and they would probably all die in a couple of weeks.
Germans represented a threat to the existing ‘oligarchs’ of the slave system. Settlers from the old South, who held the bulk of lands, dominated the state politically and economically. Ken Luebbering told a reporter (News Tribune, sec.B4, 16 Nov 2008, Jefferson City, MO) that these slaveholders were “overrepresented in the political system. … Slave owners comprised 2% of the population in 1860,” but their attitudes shaped the political culture of Missouri. Claiborne Fox Jackson, Missouri Governor in 1860 (and the poster boy of the slaveholding class) didn’t like Germans. In a speech prior to his election, he said “Germans seeking homes in Missouri should be met on the threshold, knocked on the head and driven back.” Lubbering continues, “Jackson understood they were a tide that … (would) change things. And he didn’t like it.” In 1860, the combination of the Germans with the rising class of industrial capitalists in St Louis would, in fact, signal the end of slavery in Missouri, as well as threaten the political and cultural elites who provided its leadership.
Perhaps more than any other group in America, Germans saw through the hollowness of the proslavery myths and rationalizations. They knew from recent personal experience that the bondsman was not happier than the free laborer. They understood that the possessors of huge hordes of capital were unlikely to endanger their status by benevolent redistribution of what they had accumulated from the sweat of laborers under coercion. Germans saw the slave system as inherently undemocratic and primarily concerned with the maintenance of the existing social and economic status quo, and that this affected white laborers as surely as it did black slaves. They understood that slave labor depressed wages (a textile worker in the north earned about $18 a month, while his counterpart in the south earned just over $11 monthly). They saw clearly that their interests were antithetical to the planter class, who despised them. The planter class “was solidly dedicated to the proposition that men were created unequal.” (Stamp, The Peculiar Institution, p.419). John C. Calhoun, the preeminent spokesman for the planter class claimed that the idea of equal rights was nonsense. Calhoun, Virginia’s George Fitzhugh, and others maintained that the best way to protect property and prevent proletarian revolution was to reduce the laboring masses to servitude. Fitzhugh claimed that some men “ are born with saddles on their backs and others spurred and booted to ride them …” Planters wanted to perpetuate the dominance of capital over labor. Strikes, mobs, and revolution were fears second only to slave rebellion to the planters. The Germans, only recently disengaged from the Revolution of 1848, saw that slavery must be ended in America for them to advance. At the outset of the Civil War, both Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens said the South was fighting to preserve slavery. On 21 March 1861, Stephens declared the “proper status of the Negro in our form of civilization” was “the immediate cause of the late rupture.” However, after their defeat, the Southern leaders disingenuously claimed that it wasn’t about slavery at all, but “states’ rights” instead
We have no precise idea what prompted Great-Grandfather’s emigration from Germany, but it’s probable that the Revolution of 1848 had something to do with it. German autocrats had misruled the various entities of the German Confederation for centuries. Yet, the elected representatives at the National Assembly meeting in Frankfurt, 1848, were so divided in their beliefs and so unrepresentative of the German populace (there were very few artisans and farmers in this so-called Professorenparlament) that they were unable to work effectively. In the popular movement of September, 1848, democratic, anti-Prussian, and national political demands mixed with social complaints and economic aspirations. In 1849, when the rump National Assembly passed a compromise German Constitution and offered the crown to Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, he refused with contempt. Movements sprang up throughout Germany to force the Constitution’s acceptance, but the National Assembly disintegrated. In Saxony, ruled by Friedrich August II, who had never recognized even the Saxon Constitution, the Parliament was disbanded. German University students assumed a significant role in the agitation for reform. There were two All German Student Congresses held in Eisenach, near Wartburg Castle, attended by such future leaders of Germans in America as Carl Schurz. The Saxon people reacted to the repression and the May Uprising began. Friedrich August II called in Prussian military help, and Dresden became the main battleground between the autocrats and the democrats. Some of Dresden’s oldest buildings were burnt or ruined, and about 200 of the democrats were killed, along with some 30 soldiers. Afterwards, the autocrats clamped down even tighter. Unfortunately, we have no direct indication of how this affected Great-Grandfather Charles, but Germany was not a happy place at that time. Agents hunted down “revolutionaries.” The “Revolution of 1848” was not confined to Saxony/Thuringia; there was general unrest. Assassinations and riots brought down military repression. A citizen army fielded in the Palatinate was quickly defeated, and German Revolutionaries were forced to flee or face imprisonment or execution.
On arrival in St Louis, Charles was undoubtedly influenced by the ‘radical’ German-American Newspapers. Even in Osage County he would have been able to get them easily enough, or perhaps he preferred the Hermanner Volksblat, which had similar editorial policies. These papers were owned and edited by leaders of the failed Revolution of 1848; many hoped to see their dreams of social and political equality realized in the United States. Charles was probably educated to some degree (he came from Weimar, the cultural center that revered Goethe, Schiller, Herder, etc.). Furthermore, he seemed facile in the use of English, writing and record-keeping. He must have gotten his news from the German language papers like other Germans, and his actions relative to continuing military service for the Union follow their recommended plans of action. Perhaps he was influenced by men like Friedrich Hecker, the Baden Revolutionary turned farmer over in Belleville, Illinois. Papers like the Anzeiger des Westens and the Westliche Post in St Louis were easily available throughout the Midwest and relatively inexpensive. They raised the ethnic consciousness of German-Americans and attempted to keep the goals of the “forty-eighters” alive in the new world. They were openly against slavery, but they were lukewarm about Lincoln because of his long-time association with Whigs who adopted Know-Nothing, anti-immigrant positions. In spite of earlier misgivings, the German press supported the Republican Party in the election of 1860 and during the Civil War, although it was often critical of Lincoln for moving too cautiously.
How much these radical newspapers may have influenced Charles’ other views is unclear. The Anzeiger and Post were fervently anti-Catholic because of the Church’s conservative, hierarchical nature and association with the southern slave aristocracy. These papers stirred the embers of the deep seated animosity between free-thinking or Protestant Germans and the Irish Catholics. While these two groups often differed on the slavery question, it was economic competition for the same jobs that intensified the dislike. The secessionist camp used this antipathy to influence and recruit the Irish. The German language press vilified the Irish, and the Irish responded likewise in their media. The German newspapers were in favor of Eastern capital, railroads and development. While they were against slavery, they were ambiguous about what to do with slaves after being set free. They did not support complete integration of blacks into society. Oozing between the lines (and often stated overtly) are examples of the smug superiority over other ethnic groups exhibited by many German ‘intellectuals.’ The editors regularly chided the “Americans” for wasting resources and living ostentatiously. Whether their readers took this ethnocentrism seriously is anybody’s guess.
Lincoln was nuanced about slavery, always hewing to the pragmatic, much like Frank Blair, his agent in St Louis. Blair used the Germans for his purposes of keeping Missouri in the Union, but he sold them out when he abandoned Fremont. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, Blair and his associates assisted the reorganization of the German social clubs (turnverein) into political paramilitaries called “Wide Awakes.” After Fort Sumpter, when Governor Jackson and associates were organizing pro-slavery, anti-German “Minute Men,” Lincoln responded by providing the “Wide Awakes” with federal arms and munitions, and they received direction from the regular military. Some 6,000 were rapidly reorganized into regiments as Home Guards.
After the defeat of Fremont in the election of 1856, Germans at the Republican Convention of 1860 next supported William H. Seward of New York because of his unequivocal stance against slavery. Seward believed that slavery was morally wrong, and said so many times, outraging Southerners by remarking in 1850 that "there is a higher law than the Constitution". He continued to argue this point of view over the next ten years. He presented himself as the leading enemy of the Southerners, and Lincoln became the compromise candidate of those who wished to avoid confrontation. The Blair faction in Missouri supported Edward Bates, an old-line Whig, as a favorite son most likely to prevent selection of Seward and strengthen the candidacy of Lincoln. Bates was unacceptable to Germans; he was soft on the slavery issue and had made a number of Nativist pronouncements in the past. The Germans might have bolted from the Republican Party except for Carl Schurz and a few other German leaders who held them together until Lincoln emerged as the compromise candidate. Schurz was successful in getting the platform committee to include a plank on immigrants’ rights, an important issue for most Germans. Many Germans, consequently, grudgingly accepted candidate Lincoln and worked hard to get a westerner elected in 1860. In the 1860 election, Lincoln only polled a total of 27,000 votes in the southern states; 15,000 of those votes came from St Louis alone.
In some ways, one might say that some Germans were spoiling for a fight over the slavery question. After relieving the ‘neutralist” Regular Army General Harney (a slave-owner himself who once allegedly killed a slave woman with a whip but was never prosecuted), Lincoln appointed “General” Fremont the Western District commander to placate the Germans. Fremont had to return from a European vacation and then frittered away two months with wasteful military pomp and ceremony while Price was raising a Rebel Army in western Missouri. Fremont dallied when he could have ended the Missouri conflict immediately, and he brought in his California business associates to reap profits from inflated military contracts. His Quartermaster was court-martialed for selling contracts. Fremont betrayed Lincoln by quickly making a proclamation ending slavery in Missouri, exceeding his authority and orders by light-years. Lincoln and Blair realized that this might push all the border states into the Confederacy, so Lincoln rescinded the order and relieved Fremont. It is unfortunate that Germans fixed their hopes on a flawed person of such general incompetence, but the Germans refused to abandon principle for political leverage. Effectively, that is what split Francis P. Blair, Jr., from the Germans and ultimately drove Blair from the Republican Party into the post Civil War, conservative, Democratic Party that came to control the state in the 1870’s. On 10 May 1860, Anzeiger des Westens illustrated the shifting opinion of the Blairs in the Germanic community as it reported the Blairs’ support for Bates, “Stone them.”
Blair, nonetheless, always managed to land on his feet. As a former slave owner and long-time member of St Louis’ elite, he was accepted back into the Democratic fold. Unfortunately, his disaffection from the Germans occurred early in the conflict (1861-62) and was a factor in turning the radical liberals’ greatest victory into a long-term defeat at the hands of southern apologists. By 1862, the German press is noting that Germans were being passed over for General officer and staff appointments. 1861 was a high water mark for German influence, but Nativist reaction was quick to follow. In fact, when Colonel Stifel and the 5th Regiment USRC returned to St Louis from the fighting at Springfield, they were attacked by a mob at 7th and Walnut, with two men killed and seven wounded. By November of 1861, the courtship between Francis Blair and the German press was over. “Betrayal has run its course and the Blair clique has won….the state has fallen victim to Frank Blair’s despicable intrigues. …Blair has bid us farewell – and so we have to him, and we hope never to see him again. He has been tried and found wanting.” (Anzeiger des Westens, 13 November 1861
The Blairs had controlled patronage in Missouri and much of the West since the days of President Jackson. Francis P. Blair, Sr., as the editor of the Globe, was a force in shaping public opinion. He was a close friend and adviser of Andrew Jackson, a member of the President’s ‘Kitchen Cabinet.’ Jackson claimed he was more moved by Francis Blair than the Supreme Court of the U.S. Blair was also close to Thomas Hart Benton, the leader of Missouri Whigs for two decades, and he became the first influential Republican from a slave state. In 1856, Blair endorsed and supported Fremont for President. Blair’s sons, Montgomery and Francis P. (Jr.) and nephew Gratz Brown were supplanting the old man in 1860, and he followed their lead in endorsing Lincoln.
As I grew up, I noticed that my older relatives had an almost visceral distrust of glib politicians, the Blair family in particular, and the Democrats in general. I thought then that it had to do with racketeering and corruption or the antipathy of rural Americans toward the cities, but I believe now it was virtually genetic. How could it be otherwise for the grandchildren of German-American Unionists in Missouri? All my older relatives were, at the least, “closet” Republicans.
The typical pejorative describing the Germans was “the lop-eared Dutch.” I have tried to establish the exact meaning of this term, but I have only been successful in finding others who want to know the same. I infer that it refers to being contrary, hard-headed, and different. In the mid 1800’s, there was a popular traditional fiddle tune called “Flop-eared Mule” that has some challenging passages. Of course, most mules’ ears stand straight up, so being ‘lop-eared’ is immediately different, but the meaning also includes qualities of being difficult to handle.
The Civil War was a huge historical event in Missouri, with over 27,000 Missourians (civilian and military) killed. Everyone was affected. Homes were looted by both sides, buildings and crops burned by raiders and bushwhackers or suspicious militia, and families separated. While Great-Grandfathers Charles and Jacob were on duty fighting the rebels (during late harvest season), Confederate troops occupied both Linn, MO, and Crawford County. Price’s troops burned Cuba, and foragers raided homes and farms throughout both counties. Missouri wives and mothers had to take in the crop and start rebuilding. Price’s 1864 invasion of Missouri resulted in 43 battles and over $10,000,000 (1864 dollars) property destroyed. In fact, the total number of battles and skirmishes during the Civil War make Missouri the third most fought over state in the conflict. No state witnessed more guerilla fighting. Little wonder that the Republican party was favored by our ancestors during that time. Ironically, Missouri’s Confederate Major General Sterling Price is a Great-Great Uncle of my sons, Mark and Steve, on their mother’s side. Her mother’s Grandfather was a brother of Sterling Price.
Esther Carrol has collected some stories from Washington County’s Civil War experience that illustrate the intensity of the conflict. (Washington County Missouri in the Civil War, Daughters of Union Veterans, 1994). The incidents described occurred in Washington County, but they were repeated in broad outline throughout the state.
“COLE, a resident of near Mineral Point and son of well known resident, Joshua Cole, was arrested as a Confederate spy when he came unauthorized within Union lines at Mineral Point and attempted to leave without a pass on Monday, September 26, 1864. The next morning after returning from breakfast, he tried to escape, attempting to shoot a guard in the process and was again arrested. That evening a Union soldier lent his overcoat to Cole because it was raining. Cole offered to return it but the soldier told him, "Keep it, you need it most."
“Cole then drew a pocket knife, which he had borrowed, attacked the soldier and slashed his jugular, killing him. Others came to defend the soldier and Cole cut the eye of one and severely cut the others. He was again recaptured and by order taken to DeSoto. Here, the soldiers’ indignation against Cole prompted them to capture him from the guard and hang him. When he was told of his fate, he maintained a sulky indifference. Someone commented that his wife might like to see him once more, and he replied, "No, she wouldn't." “He was then hung from a tree and after 15 minutes was still alive, his face contorted in agony. The soldiers then took hold of his heels and "jumped him" from the rope, breaking his neck and causing death.
“CAPT. JOHN SITTON (Confederate) found a wounded unconscious Union soldier on the ridge between Hazel Creek and Palmer. He reported to a neighbor woman and asked her to care for him. She took water but the man never regained consciousness. (His grave may still be seen along the roadside.) During Price's raid through Missouri, Capt. Sitton was shot at Blue Spring. He dressed his own wound with unseeded cotton, when left alone between two dead Union soldiers. Although army surgeons gave up on him, he was sent to a hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and later to St. Louis for treatment. When he was partially recovered, he was taken to Johnson's Island and held as a prisoner of war until paroled. While in this prison, inmates killed and ate rats because of starvation rations. Capt. Sitton said the only reason he did not eat them, his wounds prevented him from catching them.”
Aftermath of the Civil War; Post Bellum Missouri
When any society needs to save/invest a considerable portion of its gross domestic product, portions of society share the burden unequally. During America’s post war expansion, the masses were taxed so that public resources could be used to the principal benefit of a few. The Railroads received over 100,000,000 of the best, most productive acres of public land (about a tenth of total US land area) along with another $100,000,000 in loans from the elected representatives that they bribed. In contrast, only about 64,000,000 acres (or about the give-away share of the Northern Pacific Railroad) were “homesteaded.” Of those who actually tried to settle the land under the Homestead Act between 1860-1890, only about a third would succeed. Somewhere between a third and a half of the “homesteads” were fraudulent means for land speculators and mining, lumber, and cattle barons to enrich themselves at the public trough.
The Whiskey Ring trials, held in Jefferson City, MO, in 1876, showed a trail of corruption leading to the Office of the U. S. President. The scheme involved letting distillers evade the full federal tax in return for kick-backs. The “Ring” started in St Louis as a means to raise campaign funds for liberal Republican politicians, but eventually it spread to other states, became a tool for accumulating private wealth, and took in Grant’s Private Secretary, General Otis Babcock. Grant appointed his former military cronies to federal jobs after the Civil War, and many of them accepted their positions for the purpose of enriching themselves. Babcock allegedly took payments and used his office to shield the “Ring” from prosecution. Over 100 indictees were found guilty. General John McDonald, Collector of Revenue for Missouri, served prison time for his participation and subsequently wrote a sensational book in 1880 that claimed Grant himself was involved. While there was no proof of this, Grant did fire the special prosecutor who was intent on convicting Babcock and offered a written deposition, read at his trial, certifying to Babcock’s upright character that was instrumental in his acquittal.
The courts of the 1870’s held that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution did not protect freedmen and small farmers from violence and exploitation, but it could be applied to protect the interests of the corporations. In the so-called Gilded Age, the corporate robber barons and their political henchmen made life hard for the small farmer, worker, or local merchant.
Before the Civil War, agricultural production was primarily subsistence farming, with the great exception being the slave-cotton sector. Improved transportation, growth of manufacturing and the labor force it required, new inventions that mechanized planting and harvesting, and the emigration of the rural population to the cities changed agricultural production to a commercial basis. Crop specialization based on soil and climate became the norm, with the farmer buying food and other products with the cash earned from selling crops. By 1860, sixty percent of Americans were wage earners – ‘mechanics,’ as workers in the factories were called. After the Civil War, commodity prices of crops continued to drop as a consequence of mechanized agriculture and specialization; supply exceeded demand. Individual farmers tried to compensate for falling prices by increasing the volume of their crop, generating even greater supply and dropping prices lower. The farmer was caught in a squeeze between falling crop prices and the manufactured goods upon which he was increasingly dependent. Those goods were all tariff protected, so the farmer paid a premium for them. As mechanization decreased the need for ‘hands’ to produce the nation’s crops and as farm debt mounted, rural migration to the cities increased. Along with this came a cultural shift. Once the pillar of society (and a model for all), the farmer’s image changed to ‘hayseed.’
The hard money policies of the gold standard exacerbated the problem for the farmer. Except when new gold discoveries increased the amount of gold, the money supply was inflexible. Farmers needed an inflationary dollar to service debt. Farmers decried the departure from bimetallism after the Civil War as repeated silver discoveries drove the price of silver down, but they were never able to make political alliances necessary to bring about sustained relief. They were fragmented at the polls by the political “cultural wars” of their times, and they failed to join effectively with labor against the robber barons. The Republican Party generally held sway by “waving the bloody shirt of rebellion” at the Democrats, which had become a mostly regional party after the Civil War. The Republicans gained the support of the industrial capitalists by allegiance to the tariff, and they bought support among the masses by the increasingly generous Civil War pensions they doled out to veterans, dependants, and survivors. The Democrats never really mounted a nationwide appeal, and third party movements merely spread out opposition to the ruling Republicans.
Laissez-faire government and Social Darwinist thought dominated the culture. The labor and farm movements were stigmatized by association with Marxist communal movements by the press (which was primarily owned and manipulated by the robber barons for their profit). Politicians were the property of corporations, and the politicians appointed the judges. The Supreme Court issued anti-democratic rulings that reinforced the elites’ position. In US v. Cruikshank, the issue concerned an instance in which an armed white mob in Colfax, Louisiana, attacked and killed over one hundred blacks during a hotly contested gubernatorial election. Moreover, the action at Colfax was only a particularly egregious example of what was happening throughout the region. Three white ringleaders were brought to trial and convicted under the federal Enforcement Act of 1870, which made it a crime to interfere with any citizen's constitutional rights. The defendants then appealed what they claimed were faulty indictments.
Alarmed by the increase in federal power during the Civil War and Reconstruction, all nine justices agreed that the indictments in Cruikshank were faulty; the indictments failed to allege the denial of specific federal rights. Besides, the court held that: • The right of assembly contained in the First Amendment, and the right to bear arms in the Second only protect against congressional intrusion. • The Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment protect citizens only from state action, not from the actions of other citizens. • Because the indictments did not allege that the defendant's actions were based upon race, interference with the victims' right to vote was also not federally actionable. (Could there have been any other reason for two days of deliberate execution of blacks?)
Politicians, with few exceptions, were the paid for creatures of the Robber Barons. Grover Cleveland, supposedly a “clean” reform candidate, had more than one railroad among his law firm’s corporate clients, as well as Standard Oil and J. P. Morgan. Someone sarcastically described Cleveland as the sort of “reformer … who gives to the capitalist for nothing that which the real politician holds for a price.” As Governor of New York, he vetoed a bill cutting the fare Jay Gould charged to ride his elevated railway. In his inaugural address as President, Cleveland declared, “No harm shall come to any business interest as a result of administrative policy so long as I am President.” Cleveland made railroad men Hill, Huntington, Stanford and Gould millions richer at the expense of the government, but he vetoed a $10,000 appropriation for seeds to assist Texas farmers during a drought. “I do not believe that the power … of … Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service … .” Contrast that to Lincoln’s perspective: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate and individual capacities.” (Beatty, Jack. The Age of Betrayal. New York: Vintage Books, 2008. 192-195)
Race continued as an unresolved issue, with open season on blacks in the South and West. Black aspirations for equality and sometimes just simple justice were frequently met with violence up into the 1920’s. Lorenzo Greene, a professor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City (the capital of Missouri where I grew up) describes his arrival at the campus in 1933. At the train station, one cab driver ignored him and the next told him, “We don’t haul niggers. Get that ‘nigger’ cab over there.” Later, when he attempted to get a sandwich at a drug store, he was informed that “colored” weren’t served there. Only menial jobs were open to blacks; housing was segregated; hotels, restaurants and amusement places were segregated, although Negroes could vote and were permitted to ride the buses. Schools were segregated, and there was no public high school for blacks in the Capital City; however, Lincoln University established a program to provide this opportunity. Civil rights legislation was defeated in the state legislature year after year until 1955. James Blair, a liberal Democrat elected Governor, led the political fight to get the Civil Rights bill passed. Its purpose was to eliminate segregation and discrimination, and it set up a Human Rights Commission to accomplish this. Jefferson City’s Country Club was still ‘white only’ in 1971, when J. B. Banks of the General Assembly filed a petition with the Human Rights Commission. Even though the private club was beyond the reach of the Human Rights Commission, the Country Club voluntarily removed the racial membership restriction from its bylaws. (Greene, Lorenzo. et. al. Missouri’s Black Heritage. Columbia: U of MO Press, 1993) Dr. Greene was my advisor when I attended Lincoln University, 1957-61. Public schools were integrated for my sophomore year in high school (1954-5), but the end of discrimination was harder to achieve.
Even after 1955, many Missouri schools remained largely segregated, and restaurants had to be coerced into following the anti-discrimination laws. Lincoln University was unusual in the degree of desegregation achieved. By the 1980’s, whites made up about 51% of the undergraduates, and of the 189 faculty, 101 were white. At the University of Missouri, only 4% of students were black, and out of 2062 faculty, slightly over 1% were black. By the early 1990’s, student population at Lincoln University was over 70% white. The MO State Penitentiary didn’t integrate until 1973. The Highway Patrol got its first black trooper in 1965, and by 1980, there were only 45 black officers among the Highway Patrol force of 847. The Conservation Department, Department of Natural Resources, and the Highway Department were also resistant to hiring and promoting blacks during the 1970’s. I recall the dust-up when a black person entered the First Christian Church in Jefferson City during services in the late 1950’s. When I was in high school, about 1956, all of us kids walked out of Adcock’s Café in protest of their refusal to serve some of our black football players (Mel West and Don Webb went on to play for the Boston Patriots in the AFL). The slow rate of progress contributed to a riot at Lincoln University in the mid 1960’s, when the new student union was damaged by fire.
Missourians never accepted blacks as equals before or after the Civil War. In the 1820 Constitution, the legislature was given authority to control free Negroes. In 1835, the legislature required free Negroes to possess a license issued by the county court. In 1847, free Negroes and mulattoes were prohibited from coming into Missouri under any conditions whatsoever. In 1868, a state constitutional amendment enfranchising Negroes was defeated by a plurality of 19,000. Before the war, there are many examples of Missourians’ fear that blacks might rebel, and that seems to be why they were so hostile to abolitionists. In 1836, a St Louis mob (perhaps a volunteer fire company) lynched a mulatto who had murdered a deputy sheriff and wounded a constable. He was chained to a tree, wood piled around his feet, and then set on fire. Elijah Lovejoy protested this brutality in his newspaper, the Observer. When a Grand Jury was assembled to investigate, the judge who instructed them argued that somehow abolitionists were to blame for the incident and should be silenced. The grand jury found no criminality. Lovejoy reacted with an intemperate tirade, and he was forced out of St Louis to Alton, Illinois. The trouble followed him however, and after three presses were destroyed by mobs, he was shot and killed defending the fourth. Lovejoy became an instant national martyr. At a memorial prayer service for Lovejoy in Ohio, a young John Brown decided to dedicate his life to the destruction of slavery.
Paul Nagle writes that hostilities were savage during the Civil War in Missouri. Guerrillas devastated entire counties and left perhaps 27,000 citizens dead. Violence was neighbor against neighbor, “who were forced out of desperation to suspect one another of conspiracy and brigandage.” Provisional Governor Gamble steadfastly pursued Lincoln’s hope that Missouri would remain in the Union. He offered amnesty to followers of Price and Jackson, and he created a new militia whose purpose was to release federal troops for duty elsewhere (The Enrolled Missouri Militia). Governor Gamble’s leadership was undermined by the bitterness left by Guerrilla action. “Over a century before the Vietnam War, Missouri had become accustomed to murder, robbery, and pillage against public and private individuals by persons who slipped away unrecognized to reappear the next day as seemingly innocent neighbors. When infuriated citizens played the role of avenging militia, the reprisals were often equally savage and unjust. Shooting and looting became a way of life for some Missourians.” (Nagle, Paul. Missouri, A History. New York: Norton, 1977. p. 129-133) Much of the guerilla violence was directed against German immigrant communities, and hostility carried over into the post-war period.
Missouri ranks third among the listing of states with Civil War battles, actions, and/or engagements. There are 1122 recorded events, and 73 of those took place in a roughly sixty mile radius of Oak Hill. Crops were ruined by horses’ hooves. Foragers, bullets, and shells destroyed young orchards. Farm animals were carried off. The work of a lifetime was destroyed by flames for many. Home life was strained. There was no such thing as neutrality; basically, the entire state population suffered devastating losses. Favorite targets of the bushwhackers were banks, stores, horses, foodstuffs and the U.S. Mail. By 1862, entire towns were deserted, and refugees descended on Rolla, Jefferson City, St Louis and other ‘safe’ havens. (Rolla’s population quadrupled briefly to about 6,000.) The near constant movement of armies muddied the rivers, destroyed the crops, and ravaged towns and farms. Add to this the continuous actions of the militia, outlaw, bushwhacker and guerrilla forces whose depredations will probably never be completely enumerated. The depth of discord in Missouri equals and probably exceeds that trumpeted by the descendents of the sons and daughters of the Confederacy. Old scores, jealousies, and petty hatreds were frequently settled under the guise of war. (Bartels, Carolyn M. Missouri Civil War Engagements, 1861-1865. Independence: Two Trails Pub. 1994) Ken Luebbering estimates that 60% of Missouri’s male, military age population fought some part of the war. When the battles ended, the hatreds continued.
Mark Geiger (http://edt.missouri.edu/Winter2006/Dissertation/GeigerM-050406-D4430/research.pdf) offered an interesting analysis of Missouri’s unique Civil War experience in his PhD Dissertation (Missouri’s Hidden Civil War: Financial Conspiracy and the Decline of the Planter Elite, 1861-1865. U of MO, Columbia; May 2006). Geiger argues that Governor Jackson, southern supporting bankers, and some of the wealthy planter elite conspired to divert money from the banks to arm Missouri’s rebel forces. Personal notes and loans on property with inflated values were arranged without proper security or collateral during 1861-62. This was followed by a huge check-kiting scheme when the loans came due. The bankers fraudulently put their depositors’ funds at risk to advance their private motives. Once the Union had control of the state (1862-63), these loans went into default with real estate and personal property sold at auction. Many banks were near collapse, and their leadership was replaced (sometimes as a result of sudden lead-poisoning). The size of this collapsing bubble led to severe drops in property values. Using forensic accounting techniques, Geiger was able to show the relationships between these forced sales and the growth of Bushwhacking from 1862 through the 1870’s.
“In 1862 and 1863 Union forces gradually tightened their grip on the countryside, allowing the county circuit courts to resume sessions. As soon as they were able, the (reorganized) banks filed thousands of lawsuits to recover the debts defaulted in 1861 and1862. Since southern sympathizers had been purged from the state judiciary as well as the banks, the notes’ signers received victors’ justice in these courts. Still, they had no choice but to petition for relief in the enemy’s courts and state legislature. The lawsuits’ defendants tried to avoid collection three different ways: delay in the lower courts, passage of stay laws in the state general assembly, and appeals to the Missouri Supreme Court. All three strategies failed, leaving the defendants with no further legal recourse to avoid court judgments and sheriffs’ auctions of their property. Only extralegal defenses remained.” (Geiger, p 22-23) Of course, the bushwhacker sympathizers and apologists never connected the dots to the original conspiracy and blamed the excessive greed of the ‘northern’ capitalists. Jesse James and other bank robbers used this sentiment against the “Yankee” banks as justification for their thievery.
The ‘Yankee’ bankers who replaced the old banking elites became a special target of the bushwhackers. Regardless, the net result was that the slaveholding elites in Missouri, unlike the Deep South, lost their control of state politics and economics. Geiger considers the limited resurrection and successes of Marmaduke, Shelby, and a handful of others to be anomalous; the bulk of the Little Dixie, ante-bellum elites and their St Louis allies never recovered from the war. They lost both their lands and control of the financial institutions. Geiger’s data show that family connections were paramount in the state’s antebellum banking. “ In Missouri, this practice of insider lending led to disaster. Missouri’s bankers, pro-southern almost to a man, viewed the banks as their own property, and used the banks’ money to support their personal politics in the form of unsecured loans. Professional managers would have acted instead to preserve the banks’ capital, reputation, and business commitments.” (Geiger p 2-3) Instead, the bankers’ family ties and loyalties compromised their institutions. While the planter elites may have lost control at the state level, they usually retained their position of respect at the local level in rural areas. This contributed greatly to the myths of victimization by the North and heroic lost cause.
During the Civil War, Missouri operated under a hybrid legal system, with the civil justice and military Provost Marshal systems parallel and often overlapping. The Provost Marshal Papers are an ongoing recitation of neighbors tattling on each other, voter intimidation and denial, murder, aiding and abetting the enemy while claiming the protection of the U.S. government, and horse theft. Any intemperate speech was reported as disloyal by some regardless of the real intent of the speaker, and it’s patently clear that fabricating lies to justify involvement with rebels while continuing to enjoy the fruits of more legitimate pursuits was widespread. Much too frequently, the notation ‘killed while attempting escape’ closes out the career of a suspected Bushwhacker. Deserters and ne’er-do-wells from both sides collected in the space between forces, commonly wearing the uniforms of Union soldiers to disguise their depredations. A little authority often inflated the egos of men with otherwise little accomplishment, and they then lorded it over others. Even local prominence was no protection. No less a figure than William Q. Dallmeyer complained to the Deputy Provost Marshal in Osage County (24 Aug 1862) that his horse and tack were taken by a militia Captain named William J. Williams of the Osage EMM and that his loyalty was impugned. Williams didn’t live in the part of Jefferson Township served by Cooper Hill and probably had some grudge against Dallmeyer. Perhaps, he just didn’t like Germans.
Note: There is more here than a simple misunderstanding. W.J. Williams was the commander of Company G of the 6 month “Dallmeyer Battalion,” MSM (AKA 3rd REGT MO Vol Infantry), and Dallmeyer was the Regiment’s Lieutenant Colonel. Most of the men in Company G (including Charles Gruner) were also from Jefferson Township. The unit mustered out in Feb. 1862, and Williams couldn’t have forgotten his superior officer in only six months. Williams joined the 28th EMM as C Company Commander on 15 July 1862, and he was ordered to active duty 24 August 1862 by the REGT’s Lt. Col. He was relieved from Active duty (along with his unit) by order of Col. Zevely, Commander of the 28th REGT EMM, on 26 August 1862. The mission is lost in time, but Williams apparently used it to strike a blow at Dallmeyer
Southern sympathizers hated the Provost Marshal system that was imposed on them by Union generals to replace civil law which had become unenforceable in many parts of Missouri. The Provost Marshal Deputies sometimes denied suspected southern sympathizers the right to vote, perhaps in collusion with friends or family members in the civil government. In fact, Major General Rosecrans General Order #195 (12 October 1864) was directed at preventing ‘rebels’ from voting. In order to insure that the oath was “properly administered,” Rosecrans authorized the use of the military to “supervise elections.” On the other hand, there is a continuing litany of theft, kidnapping, and murder by Bushwhackers, discharged soldiers, or guerrillas posing as militia. In October of 1862, Henry Wieberg of Osage County was “murdered by a gang of 200 rebels.” In February 1865, one Basil A. Graham (a discharged soldier) was arrested in Gasconade County because he was overheard threatening to shoot Captain Jacob Anthony. A citizen in Osage County during 1865 appealed to the Provost Marshal to send troops to arrest a “bad man” who was wearing a revolver and intimidating people. It was commonplace to find citizens arrested and imprisoned for having “served with Price,” even though it was standard practice for Price’s troops to kidnap and “conscript” any citizen they captured (who didn’t ‘deserve’ immediate killing for being a Unionist). The usual practice for those men and boys who tried to remain neutral was to “head for the brush” upon sight of soldiers or raiders coming, while the women often hid in a prepared position. Of course, if anyone was caught attempting to escape (by Militia, Bushwhackers, or U. S. and Confederate forces) that in itself was prima facie evidence of ‘treason’ and the usual sentence was meted out on the spot.
The Provost Marshal network functioned as a kind of ‘secret police,’ encouraging spying and corruption. Nets were cast so broadly they had to drag in the innocent with the guilty. Since there was no habeas corpus, an accused could sit in jail for months without a charge. The net result was to breed distrust and suspicion among neighbors and to inhibit free expression, while grievances smoldered under the surface. The files in Phelps and Franklin Counties are particularly representative of the worst discord, but the others show the same problems in lesser magnitude. The Provost Marshal system continued after the war through 1866. For example, in 1862, William Ramsey of Gasconade County (an alleged Bushwhacker) was reported up the chain as having fled to Illinois where he was using an alias as a storekeeper. Guilty or innocent, Ramsey wasn’t allowed to quit the struggle. Lt. Col. Henry Eitzen (the brother of Hermann’s Charles D. Eitzen) was the Provost Marshal in Franklin County and Lt Col. of the 54th EMM. Lt. Col Eitzen provides some of the most egregious examples of the employment of various sources (scouts, militia, federals, and informers) to root out ‘treason,” as well as insuring election victories for the radical Republicans. Henry worked closely with another Eitzen on the civil side to deny the vote to whomever they thought didn’t deserve it. The same patterns are apparent, however, in Colonel Isaac Warmoth’s (Commander of 63rd EMM) administration of the Provost Marshal office at Rolla, or in Crawford, Gasconade, Osage Counties, etc. in lesser degree. In both Crawford and Gasconade Counties, as elsewhere, the militia was used to arrest alleged ‘traitors’ and southern sympathizers. The bitterness engendered by these activities was immense.
Missouri’s second Constitution (Drake Constitution) was adopted in April, 1865. Charles Drake was the leader of the ‘Radical’ Republicans that favored emancipation of slaves and disfranchisement of persons who were sympathetic to the Confederacy during the Civil War. Earlier, he had been a Democrat, and many called him a chameleon; it’s at least true that Charles Drake never suffered economically on behalf of his politics. The Radicals included an "Ironclad Oath" in the new constitution to exclude former Confederate sympathizers from the vote and certain occupations, severely limiting their civil rights. The enforcement of the Drake provisions prompted migration of many Missourians to the Indian territories, Texas, or beyond, and some historians believe it to have been a contributing factor to the formation of various post-Civil War outlaw and vigilante groups. To tighten their hold on local government, the Radicals passed the “Ousting Ordinance.” Effective 1 May 1865, all judges, sheriffs, county clerks, circuit attorneys (prosecutors), and county recorders were disqualified from office. New officers would be appointed by the Radical Republican Governor, Thomas Fletcher. That meant the radicals could control the administration of justice, courts, and balloting by deciding who could vote. In the fear and suspicion following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, these dictatorial powers squeaked through in the election of 1865, but their abuse quickly developed a backlash. In fact, the margin of victory in 1865 was 11,862 of 85,478 votes cast, and if the Radicals had not provided that all Union Soldiers from MO would be allowed to vote, it might have failed. The military units allegedly used voice votes in some cases, rather than secret ballots. Even in St Louis, the Drake Constitution failed to achieve a majority, and the clergy in general strongly opposed the Test Oath.
When Governor Fletcher attempted to enforce the Ousting Ordinance, Supreme Court Judge Barton Bates resigned in protest, but Judges William Bey and John Dryden refused to vacate. The Governor appointed David Wagner, Walter Lovelace, and Nathaniel Holmes as the new Supreme Court Judges, but the court clerk refused to surrender the court’s records. On 14 June 1865, Colonel David Coleman of the militia was ordered to take the records by force. Judges Bey and Dryden were removed by police and then charged with disturbing the peace. The 48th Regiment, MO Volunteer Infantry was stationed around the courthouse to reinforce the police. When the case against the two judges came to trial, there were neither accusers nor witnesses and the prosecution dismissed the case. Dryden sued for $50,000, but the case was dismissed. This made great grist for the newspaper mill, and the state government looked vindictive and foolish.
The 1865 Constitution also built in future fraud. The Missouri Constitution of 1820 permitted the legislature broad financial powers which allowed the Assembly to run up a $25 million debt in support of various railroad projects, some of which were questionable at best. Under the 1865 Constitution, County Courts were empowered to issue bonds on behalf of railroads if two-thirds of “qualified” voters approved. Since the Radicals had arranged to control the entire apparatus of county government, “often county courts were made up of men who could be induced by dishonest promoters to submit to people propositions for railroads that were never intended to be built. Since so many voters were disenfranchised by the Test Oath, the bond issues were often passed through the use of extensive bribery among the severely restricted electorate.” (History of Missouri. Eugene Morrow Violette. 1918. Reprint edition, 1960 p. 433.) Such a railroad might be built a short distance and then abandoned. $15 million in bonds were issued in this way during ten years.
In 1866, the Radical Republicans passed a voting Registry Act which established many small voting districts and allowed for election of Superintendents for each district that would verify eligibility. This was to insure that the ‘iron clad’ test oaths were being used to exclude southern sympathizers. When some Democrats were elected Registry Superintendents, an 1868 law made all these positions appointive by the Governor. An 1867 decision of the Missouri Supreme Court, which declared the Test Oath for professionals unconstitutional, made these acts moot.
In 1870, the Radical Republicans imploded. The legislature passed a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would remove the voter disqualification sections, but the Republicans in convention failed to endorse its passage by a vote of 439 to 342. In response, Carl Schurz led a party revolt and nominated its own “Liberal Republican” ticket. The Liberal Republicans elected Governor Gratz Brown (a cousin of Francis Blair) and split the legislative seats with the Democrats. The Radicals only elected three Congressmen to five for the Democrats and two for the Liberal Republicans. The Constitutional Amendment to abolish the Test Oath passed by a vote of 127,000 to 16,000. B. Gratz Brown, intemperate of speech and spirits (he was observed in Jefferson City drunkenly trying to butter a watermelon before collapsing into a stupor) won the gubernatorial office in 1870 as a Liberal Republican, but spent his time unsuccessfully trying to become the Presidential candidate to oppose Grant in 1872 (he was nominated for Vice President by both the Liberal Republican and the Democratic Parties).
Unfortunately, the violence didn’t stop just because the Civil War had ended. Bandit gangs like the James-Youngers became the sequel to the renegade rebels. This started with Bill Anderson’s Bushwhacker Lieutenant, “Little Arch” Clement. Clement was about five feet tall and weighed about 130 pounds, but he was a consummate savage. Clement was known as Anderson’s “scalper and head devil.” After stopping the train at Centralia (October 1864) and capturing over twenty unarmed federal soldiers on leave) Anderson then ordered “Little Archie” Clement to “parole” the soldiers, and the guerrillas shot them down. They finished off the dying soldiers by butt stroking them with rifles and hacking their bodies with sabers. The guerrillas also forced the engineer of the train to run over some of the corpses they laid across the railroad track. After finishing off the soldiers, Anderson had the engineer set fire to the rail cars, tie down the train whistle, and put the locomotive at full throttle. Later that fall, after the ambush, killing and beheading of Anderson by Missouri Militia, Clement became the leader of the band’s fragments, including Frank & Jesse James and Cole Younger.
Note: Missouri Militia Maj (later Lt. Col.) Samuel P. Cox, (a frontiersman, Indian fighter, sheriff, wagon master, soldier, adventurer, and businessman) of the 33rd Regt. EMM set a trap for Anderson. After learning his whereabouts from an informant, Cox lured Anderson into an ambush by first attacking with poorly armed troops who quickly withdrew through a prepared killing zone established by the rest of Cox’s force. When Anderson chased after this apparently easy prey, he and many of his gang were cut down. “I had o¬nly about 300 men under my command and gave the word to stand their ground – this fight must be victory or death – and not a man faltered. We dismounted at the wooden bridge leaving our horses in charge of the men with the commissary wagons. Crossing the bridge I stationed my men in the timber and gave explicit instructions not to begin shooting until I gave the command. Lt. Baker was sent ahead to reconnoiter and bring o¬n the fight with instructions to retreat through our line. Cas. Morton, now a retired brigadier general, of Washington, D.C., was sent to Baker with the word to start the fight. Baker dashed up to where Anderson and his men were having meal ground and getting provisions, and opened fire. Instantly Anderson and his men were in their saddles and gave chase to Baker, who retreated under instructions and came dashing through our line. Anderson and some 20 of his men came in their historic manner, with their bridle reins in their teeth and revolver in each hand.When my men opened fire, many of Anderson's command went down. Others turned and fled, but the grim old chieftain and two of his men went right through the line, shooting and yelling, and it was as Anderson and o¬ne of his men turned and came back that both of them were killed. The celebrated Archie Clement, who had gone through our line with Anderson, kept right o¬n across the bridge and stampeded my wagon train and its guards boy [sic] yelling to them to fly as the command was cut to pieces, and thinking it was o¬ne of their men, they ran and kept it up until I was a day or two getting them together again. In the hubbub, Clemens escaped. (Excerpt from Samuel P. Cox’s account of the death of Anderson.) It’s claimed that a silk scarf with fifty-three knots in it, one for each of the men he had killed, was found on Anderson, and there were human scalps on his horse’s bridle. Anderson’s body was taken to Richmond, MO, where it was photographed. His head was cut off and mounted on a pike, and his body was dragged through the streets. (http://www.daviesscountyhistoricalsociety.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Nele=article&sid=90&)
When the War ‘ended,’ Clement’s gang began a series of bank robberies in 1866, especially those banks associated with the hated Unionists. Clement was outfoxed by a militia officer (Major Montgomery) after he and a hundred old Bushwhackers shot up Liberty, Missouri, in November, 1866, to prevent Republicans from voting and winning the election. As he tried to escape, he was killed in a hail of bullets. It’s said that he died trying to cock his pistol one more time with his teeth. The outlaw gangs were encouraged by the partisan Democratic Newspapers that opposed radical Republicanism, and Jesse James seized on the injustices of the Civil War to justify his multi-state pillaging. He became his own press agent (with a lot of help from John Newman Edward’s Kansas City Times). It’s the partisan press that invented and embellished the ‘Robin Hood’ myth in connection with the James-Younger gang. This image makeover worked well because in their old age, after release from prison and shortly after the turn of the 20th Century, Cole Younger and Frank James put together a ‘wild-west’ show to entertain the public. Younger’s parole terms wouldn’t allow him to appear in the action with Frank James and the stagecoach, but he sat in the audience and chatted with spectators and held a reception after the performance. (Edward E. Leslie. The Devil Knows How to Ride.) In 1908, Frank James arranged for a funeral service at Bill Anderson’s grave in Richmond’s Pioneer Cemetery.
Not only did the old Bushwhackers of Northern Missouri continue to ply their trade, but the Ozarks were still infested with irregulars from both sides as well. For men like William Monks and his Confederate counterparts, the war was always personal. They continued to have the same motivations, and the war had merely institutionalized their response. They used violence to influence elections and assure financial gain, and murder continued as a convenient way to settle slights and old scores. Monks even led a group into Arkansas in pursuit of former Bushwhackers in 1868. As late as 1874, Monks was told to leave West Plains in ten minutes or he would be shot. He said of the mob, “If these God damned Bushwhackers haven’t shed enough innocent blood and are still bloodthirsty, … just let them come” (at me). Shortly thereafter, Monks shotgunned an assassin who allegedly came to his house and pointed a pistol at him. (Monks, William. A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. p176-185) The Klan also was active in Franklin, Phelps, and Dent Counties almost immediately after the Civil War, but western Missouri was its stronghold. The Second Imperial Klonvocation was held in Kansas City in 1924. During the 1980’s resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, Grand Dragon Rev. James L. “Betts claimed Kansas City was the most fertile recruiting area in the state for Klan recruitment.” (Greene, Lorenzo J, et al. Missouri’s Black Heritage. c. 1993, p.212. (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=G357gYrd_goC&dq=Lorenzo+Greene%2BMissouri's+Black+Heritage&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=OtU86wqavM&sig=IpfgzvIL70jRXNwAKc1IhvZg0tk&ei=5MCMSf2CKJHItQPsuN2eCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPP1,M1)
John Bradbury and Lou Wehmer wrote in the Preface to Monk’s autobiography “Violence barely slackened after 1865 and crescendoed in 1867 with the advent of Congressional Reconstruction … .” (Monks, Wm. A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. John Bradbury and Lou Wehmer, eds., Fayette: U of Arkansas Press, 2003. p. xxxvi) While the specific reference of that sentence was to the cross-border foray of Monks into Arkansas, the idea also applies to most of the Ozarks and some parts of “Little Dixie.”, where gangs of men sometimes called “baldknobbers” and “anti-baldknobbers” clashed. These were secret groups of vigilantes who sought to either eradicate or promote Bushwhacker influence after the Civil War, depending on the particular group’s leanings. The ‘baldknobber’ term grew out of meeting on ridges or hill tops where they couldn’t be surprised or overheard easily.
Phelps County’s Bill Wilson, the prototype for Clint Eastwoods’ Outlaw Josie Wales motion picture, had been dodging (and attacking) the federals around Rolla, Edgar Springs, Licking, Salem, and Houston throughout the war years. Wilson was reputedly an excellent horseman who carried at least two six-shooters at all times and typically sprang mounted from ambush with guns blazing. When the war ended, he refused to lay down his guns, and eventually he left his wife and family and rode off for Texas. His biographer (apologist, admirer) and descendant, George Clinton Arthur, wrote “Everyone throughout the Missouri Ozarks to the Arkansas line were constantly in fear of their lives. … All this atrocity did happen.” (Arthur, George Clinton. Bushwhacker. Rolla Printing Co., 1938. p. viii) But, it should be said, it didn’t happen very much like the movie . The other event giving rise to the fictional Josey Wales was the Osceola Massacre, in southwest Missouri, Sept. 1861, when Kansas Jayhawkers under Senator/General James H. Lane pillaged, plundered, burned the town, and murdered nine men. A significant haul of booty was taken by the Jayhawkers, but it’s said they got so drunk after the action that they couldn’t march and had to be carried away in wagons and carriages. Redlegs Lane’s share of the booty was purported to include a grand piano and several silk dresses. Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence in 1863 was intended as retribution, but Lane escaped by running through a cornfield in his nightshirt. Forest (aka Asa Earl) Carter combined these and other unrelated events into the western novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales. Subsequently, Forrest Carter was exposed as segregationist Asa Earl Carter by the New York Times. He again became national news in 1991 when a second novel, Little Tree, was alleged to be “autobiographical” but turned out to be another work of fiction.
Federal Scout and MO Militia Captain (later Colonel) William Monks and Lt Col Joseph Eppstein’s 5th Cavalry MSM were among the pursuers of Wilson. By May of 1865, when the ‘official’ fighting ceased, the Ozarks remained a desolate and dangerous place, not a house stood along the road from Rolla to Batesville in Arkansas, and West Plains was completely destroyed. The bitterness of the returning refugees was intense and violence was frequently the result. When Price’s invasion failed, Monks established a headquarters in Licking (January 1865). He ranged in a radius of about fifty miles through the summer of 1865 and killed several ‘guerrillas.’ In response to citizen fears of rebel reprisals if they talked to Monks, he told the local residents that if you fail to report rebels in the area, “I will kill you. … If you are more afraid of them than me, you will have to risk the consequences; for, by the eternal God! If you fail to report them, I have said I will treat you as a bushwhacker, and you well know how I treat them.” (Monks, p. 104)
An outlaw bushwhacker gang called the “redheads” operated in Western Missouri and Kansas, indiscriminately killing and robbing Confederates and Unionists alike. James Bailey, a member of this group, was tracked to Gasconade, MO, by Kansas authorities after he had broken into a county safe and absconded with the Treasurer’s horse, cash and papers in January, 1864. He was taken to Jefferson City where he escaped and was recaptured. When taken back to Kansas, he confessed and gave information about the gang which permitted the authorities to break up its several components. ( http://www.kancoll.org/books/cutler/franklin/franklin-co-p4.html William G Cutler. History of the State of Kansas)
Missourians and Kansans fought for over a decade concerning the issue of slavery. When Kansas troops were on Missouri territory, they often felt justified in taking a few things to make up for inconveniences of the past, and Missouri border ruffians and bushwhackers felt the same. In Nov. 1862, the 12th Kansas Infantry was operating in western Missouri out of Fort Scott. Their orders indicated they could only cross into Missouri in pursuit of bushwhackers. Using that as a pretext, the unit crossed into Jackson and Lafayette Counties between 20-27 November 1862, reportedly stealing between 100-1,000 horses and mules, several oxen, wagons, beds, bedding, household furniture and about 70 slaves. The outcry was intense; charges and countercharges flew, and orders and denials bounced about Union Headquarters. Finally, the 12th Kansas was confronted by Brigadier General Vaughan with troops deployed for battle. It seems that the insurmountable issue was return of the slaves. Col. Charles W. Adams, commanding the 12th Kansas, said they voluntarily entered his lines and they could leave the same way, but he would never forcibly return them to slavery. Col. Adams and Lt. Col. Hayes were ordered to St Louis for court-martial. The effort to punish Adams fizzled eventually (he was the son-in-law of Senator James H. Lane), and Adams was promoted to brevet Brigadier in 1865. (War of the Rebellion, Series 1, vol. 22)
Sam Hildebrand, another old Bushwhacker from the St Francois, Washington, Franklin, Crawford County area, continued to operate after the Civil War for at least three years. Hildebrand preferred to operate as a lone assassin or with a small two-three man team. Depending on stealth, long range, and his rifle “Kill Devil” (reputed to have 80 notches in its stock), Hildebrand often struck as a sniper from ambush; however, he sometimes hanged his victims and occasionally rode as a member of a larger force. His resume included multiple robberies, murders, and rape. After the war, Hildebrand was living as an outcast, using an assumed name, and barely surviving by chopping wood. By 1869, the manhunt was intensified by a $10,000 reward, and Governor McClurg even came down from Jefferson City to investigate the progress of his special deputies. In 1870, Hildebrand wrote a Memoir, attempting to justify his actions and rehabilitate his image, but he was shot in 1872 while resisting arrest by a Constable in Pinckneyville, Illinois, after a brawl in a saloon. (Hildebrand, Samuel S.. Autobiography. ed. Kirby Ross. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2005)
Kathy Wolff’s biography of Philip Landwehr describes the experience of Philip and Elisa Landwehr in western Franklin County after the war was over. “Then came the time the so-called Bushwhackers came through the country. That was after the war was over. It was just a bunch that stole, kill, and done all kinds of sinful things. Men had to flee for their lives and hide. Women who did not have older people with them also had to hide. … word came Bushwhackers were coming this way. All men ran to hide. My father hid in a corn shock for days and days. Mother picked herself and the boy up and took horses and rode about 15 miles to her father at Big Berger. That is all that saved them. The two horses and maybe them too. … Finally the news came they were gone. Everybody was glad to come out of hiding and go home. When my mother got home, lo and behold they had been there. She said it was a sight.” (mikelandwehr.com/philip_landwehr_biography.htm) The Landwehrs lived around Champion City, about five miles north of Strain where the Josts and Halmichs located. The older Landwehr brothers served in the Home Guard defense of the St Louis Arsenal in spring 1861; it’s likely the families knew each other because there was a grist mill at Champion City to attract nearby farmers.
Col. William Monks claimed that the Ku Klux Klan nearly subverted government in Arkansas in 1868, after the bushwhackers and bandits were under control. After killing a militia registering officer, they made an attempt on Governor Powell Clayton. “The Ku Klux were raiding the whole country,” terrorizing it. “…since the rebels at the commencement of the Civil War had had no regard for state lines, I felt we would have the same right to go down and help our loyal brethren enforce the civil laws.” (Monks, History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. pp 157-174) Monks enlisted three companies of volunteers and offered their services to the Arkansas militia. In short order, Monks stopped most of the violence, using his usual methods. Perhaps Colonel Monks ended a second civil war in Arkansas as he claimed, but the net result was to drive the Klan further underground and encourage their spread north into the Ozarks.
The most important governmental document created in the state of Missouri in the decades following the war was the Constitution of 1875. It was an extremely conservative constitution, placing severe restrictions on state Government, and it was a response to what many residents of the state regarded as the excesses of the Radical Republicans during and after the Civil War. While it’s perhaps true that the Radicals used the expanded power of government to line the pockets of a few, the real backlash grew out of their disenfranchisement of whites. The 1875 constitutional convention, and the document that it created, established the tone of political life in Missouri for the remainder of the century. The convention was dominated by conservative Democrats who had waited a decade to reverse the liberal centralizing provisions of the hated Drake Constitution of 1865. Sixty-eight delegates gathered for the convention; only eight of them were Republicans. Seventy-five percent of the delegates had been born in the South. Two-thirds of the delegates were lawyers and thirty-five of the sixty-eight had either served under the Confederacy or had strong sympathies with its cause. Senator Waldo P. Johnson of Osceola (St. Clair County) presided over the gathering. His role in the proceedings symbolized the convention's inclination: he had been expelled from the United States Senate in 1862 after he supported the Confederacy. Subsequently, he served in the Confederate army as a lieutenant colonel under General Sterling Price. Still later, he was chosen as a senator from Missouri in the Confederate Congress.
The Missouri Republican, published in St Louis, was the most widely read newspaper in the state. In spite of its name, it was generally supportive of Democrats. It supported Douglas in 1860, and it blamed Lincoln for the secession of the southern states. During the war, it supported the Gamble Administration and opposed the Radical Republicans of Charles Drake. After the war, it attacked those who would punish the losers, criticizing the “repelling animosity-breeding and hatred perpetuating conduct toward the South by the domineering bigots and fanatics who lead on the radical masses…” (Priddy, Bob. Across Our Wide Missouri, Vol. II. 1984, p. 301)
Gasconade County had two sensational murder cases in the years after the war, Alband and Burchard. In 1875, Henry Hallenscheid, his wife, and daughter conspired to kill Chris Alband on 16 June in Hermann. Alband, the husband of Hallenscheid’s daughter, Wilhelmina, was brained with a club, thrown out of an upper story window, and dragged 150 yards where he was buried in a shallow grave. Henry was hanged on 17 Dec 1875, before a crowd of over 4,000 spectators. The Governor commuted Mrs. Hallenschied’s death sentence, and both women served terms of life imprisonment. In southern Gasconade County, 10 May 1883, William Burchard was gunned down trying to protect his father’s store in Bem. Accompanied by William Collier, William Burchard was killed and Collier wounded in a fusillade of gunshots as the robbers made their escape. Collier killed one robber in the exchange of gunfire, but the other escaped, later to be picked up in Franklin County and jailed in Hermann. On 14 June 1883, the accused (J. W. Fisher) was forcefully taken from Sheriff Bergner’s custody by a mob and hanged from a tree. There were no prosecutions of the mob’s members, although the MO Governor deplored the incident.
It’s not surprising to find that former Confederate General Marmaduke became Missouri Governor in 1884. He had a large house on Capitol Avenue in Jefferson City that I believe was occupied in 1950 by Dad’s boss, Colonel Paul Renz of the Missouri Highway Patrol. In 1893, Confederate General Jo Shelby was appointed U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Missouri. The two greatest threats to Civil War Missouri were resurrected and largely rehabilitated in the public eye. Like Sterling Price, Shelby had refused to surrender and offered his services to Emperor Maxmillian of Mexico, but he was permitted only to settle some land in Veracruz to avoid antagonizing the US. Price became a leader of the Confederate exile colony in Carlota, Veracruz. After the ouster of Maximillian, Price came back to Missouri, financially ruined and in poor health. He died of cholera in St. Louis, Missouri and was buried there in Bellefontaine Cemetery in 1867. Tragically, his daughter-in-law Celeste, wife of his son Celsus, died in childbirth with her newborn child on the same day as Price. Even Missouri’s Lt. Governor who succeeded Jackson as Governor-in-exile during the Civil War made a comeback. After serving as an adviser to Emperor Maxmillian in Mexico, Thomas C. Renolds returned to Missouri in 1868 and was elected to the state legislature in 1874. Not long after that, however, Reynolds committed suicide in 1876 by jumping into the elevator shaft at the St Louis Post Office.
Our family’s Civil War heritage and most details of their immigrant experience were well-kept secrets, unknown to my sister and me, apparently to my parents and their siblings as well. Gayle and I were surprised to find our ancestors were “Yankees.” Recently, I came upon a younger descendant of Captain Henry Souders, who vigorously argued “Cap’s” service on behalf of the rebel cause in spite of all the evidence that he was a Union officer. I can’t help but speculate that the bitterness over wartime excesses and the Drake Constitution combined with anti-German sentiments, aggravated by the 20th century wars with Germany, caused our forbearers to submerge their identities. About two-thirds of Missouri’s population in 1860 was of Southern origin, and the planter elites retained much of their social status at the local level. The excesses of the Radicals during and after the war led to a solidly “Democratic” Missouri in the 1870’s. Even the Union Officer, the Reverend Captain Ing of Cuba, was prosecuted after the war for preaching without having taken the loyalty oath. This is the environment which spawned the James and Younger gangs, other nightrider and vigilante groups, and I believe it lead directly to the growth of the KKK in the Ozarks and elsewhere. Some say Bourbon, Missouri (12 miles East of Cuba), was a Klan center up into the 1930’s. Respect for legally constituted authority was marginalized; there were two lynching’s of suspected criminals in Crawford County during this period, and mobs frequently took the law into their own hands throughout the state.
It’s possible that there were more ‘sinister’ motives behind the family wall of silence. Militia excesses or failure of duty might have created enough shame to make the past ‘verboten’, but I don’t give either much credence. Perhaps association with abolitionists and other ‘radicals’ created fear of reprisal. More likely, however, there was a conscious effort to forget a fearfully ugly time, coupled with a genuine desire to be completely American and avoid the criticism of wartime xenophobes in the 20th century. This is merely speculation. Dad never talked much about the ‘Gruners;’ for whatever reason, they didn’t seem as ‘close’ as the Souders clan. He didn’t seem to know much at all about the lives of his ancestors, although his memory was excellent concerning people and events from his own experience.
Gasconade County is still solidly Republican; only twice since the Civil War has the county voted for a Democrat for state office. Crawford County is similar, but less so. Earlier, I indicated all my older relatives were “closet” Republicans. They didn’t usually avow this publicly after they left the Brush Creek and Bourbeuse areas. In the new places they settled, the old views still controlled, but they had to be suppressed to avoid controversy. There may also be something in Charles Gruner’s legacy, passed through the generations, that suppresses public sentiment and even military service. Timing of national conflicts is a factor in this, but I believe I am the first direct descendant of Charles with a military career of any kind. (Charles Helzer may have been a veteran also.)
Missouri generations once or twice removed from the Civil War, appeared to be in denial or else they were glossing over the old injuries for various reasons. A respected historian like Howard Lewis Conard (Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri) reported that no one was killed nor any home burned in ‘peaceful’ Osage County during the Civil War, when historical records indicate otherwise. Such claims in one form or another are not uncommon, perhaps stemming from a desire to heal the wounds of the 1860’s, or as likely, to excuse the culpability of those in power. Granted that Osage County may have been less severely affected by the war than neighboring Cole, Callaway, Montgomery and Miller Counties, but to say that nothing happened there is to deny the facts. Likewise, glossing over the brutality of the bushwhackers and criminal gangs became a virtual cottage industry, as plausible excuses were offered for their actions. Jesse James, for example, was transformed into something of a folk hero. The facts are strikingly different. Rev. Walter Niewald (b.1890) gave an oral history of his gg grandparents to Stephen Ludwig in 1972: Frederick and Mary Krueger came to Osage County, MO in 1859, settling along the Gasconade River near Freedom. Frederick enlisted in the Union Army when the war started, and Mary was left behind with the children to clear land and farm. “During the War, the people at home lived in constant terror of the bushwhackers … a fearful situation in those days.” During the Price raid, the Rebel Army took three days to pass over the nearby state road, and they cleaned out the Krueger smokehouse, but they missed the money that Mary had wrapped in old rags and hidden under a barrel that they kicked over. (http://thelibrary.org/lochist/periodicals/bittersweet/su78b.htm
Before World War I, Missouri had twenty-eight newspapers and twelve monthly publications printed in German. Church services were held in German and schools taught the language. Second and third generations spoke German at home. When the war broke out in Europe in 1914, most of the ‘American’ press supported Britain, but the German language press was overwhelmingly sympathetic to Germany. German war bonds sold briskly to Missouri’s Germans, and they contributed to the German Red Cross. These German-Americans were shocked when the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917, but most German-Americans stopped patriotic support for Germany and supported their new homeland. Thereafter, Germans bought U.S. war bonds, and the German language newspapers declared their loyalty to the U.S. Many young German-Americans served in the American Expeditionary forces commanded by General Pershing, a Missourian of German heritage.
After the declaration of war, Missouri created a ‘Council of Defense,’ charged with eliminating enemy language and influence. Pressure against using the German language intensified. German organizations were urged to use English as “a national duty” and as evidence of “loyalty.” Of course, there were threats and instances of violence against Germans. The Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church was particularly targeted because of its vocal support for Germany at the start of the war. Services were disrupted and pastors threatened. Anti-German hysteria reached ridiculous extremes; sauerkraut was renamed “Liberty Cabbage,” Frankfurters began to be called “hot dogs”, and the Missouri Council of Defense tried to make use of German on telephones illegal. There were a few sensational espionage incidents in the U.S., and German-Americans were then generally suspected of treason. Most German-American political groups atrophied and disappeared by the end of the war. English replaced German in churches, schools, clubs, and newspapers. St Louis, in 1914, had one-fourth of all high school students study German; by 1922, the number had dropped to below one percent. Some German newspapers ceased publication, and the last German theater in St Louis closed. German culture was weakened. The Red Cross prohibited persons with German surnames from joining. The repression that attended the First World War changed German life in Missouri forever.
German attitudes about alcohol and Sunday activities differed from the American tradition and a strong Prohibitionist movement which crested about the time of WWI. Clashes over differing values were most common in developing St Louis. In 1887, the Missouri legislature passed a law permitting local governments to prohibit manufacture or sale of alcohol. By 1890, fifty Missouri counties had done this. In a direct attack on Germans, the Prohibitionists claimed they were preserving the sanctity of Sunday from “foreign-born saloon keepers and brewers.” When national prohibition went into effect in 1920, German social life was fundamentally changed. The normal gatherings of families and friends in taverns or beer gardens to enjoy food, drink, and music on Sundays ended; it was suddenly illegal. The cultural identity damaged by the First World War seemed lost forever, and the economic dislocation of closing wineries, theaters and taverns affected Germans severely. (Burnett, Robyn & Ken Luebbering. German Settlement in Missouri. Columbia: U of MO Press, 1996) The Stone Hill Winery at Hermann, second oldest in the state, was closed down, and its buildings were used to grow mushrooms. Anheuser-Busch Brewery was able to survive only by switching to manufacture of other products. Most of the smaller breweries folded.
In spite of all the anti-German fervor of the early 20th century, the German Evangelical Churches continued to adhere to policies dictated by conscience. They were among the first to practice the ‘social gospel,’ establishing mission houses and shelters for the downtrodden in America’s industrial cities. In 1934, representatives from eighteen German provincial churches gathered in Barmen to create a "Confessing Synod" of the German Evangelical Church, declaring ecclesiastical independence from the Nazi regime. Perhaps this conference was primarily concerned with saving the Church, but it questioned the moral legitimacy of Hitler’s government and gave impetus to the German resistance movement. (Colson, Charles. “Kingdoms in Conflict.” First Things. Nov, 1996). While some German Christians resisted Hitler, most accepted him as a new ‘Messiah’ and acquiesced to his anti-Semitism. “The Barmen Declaration, 1934, was a call to resistance against the theological claims of the Nazi state. Almost immediately after Hitler's seizure of power in 1933, Protestant Christians faced pressure to "Aryanism" the Church, expel Jewish Christians from the ordained ministry and adopt the Nazi "Führer Principle" as the organizing principle of church government. In general, the churches succumbed to these pressures, and some Christians embraced them willingly. The pro-Nazi "German Christian" movement became a force in the church. They glorified Adolf Hitler as a "German prophet" and preached that racial consciousness was a source of revelation alongside the Bible. But many Christians in Germany—including Lutheran and Reformed, liberal and neo-orthodox—opposed the encroachment of Nazi ideology on the Church's existence. At Barmen, this emerging "Confessing Church" adopted a declaration drafted by Reformed theologian Karl Barth and Lutheran theologian Hans Asmussen, which expressly repudiated the claim that other powers apart from Christ could be sources of God's revelation. Not all Christians courageously resisted the regime, but many who did—like the Protestant Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Roman Catholic Priest Bernhard Lichtenberg—were arrested and executed in concentration camps.” (www.ucc.org/beliefs/barmen-declaration.html) Bonhoeffer took part in a failed attempt to assassinate Hitler.
Note: About 1940, the German Evangelical Church in America united with the Reformed Church, and in the 1950’s the Evangelical and Reformed Church joined the Congregationalists in forming the United Church of Christ.
The Missouri that emerged from the 1870’s was conservative socially, politically, and economically. It reverted to Jeffersonian roots. Big business was anathema; the small farmer supreme. Government should be strictly circumscribed. Organized Labor held a precarious toehold only in St Louis and less so in Kansas City. This environment is probably what moved St Louis back into the second tier of American cities and permitted Chicago to replace it at the top. Missouri’s early primacy as a transportation center was moved to Chicago, Illinois, where the railroads connected to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes and railroads carried more produce of the Midwest than the river system after 1870. Silver Dick Bland, US Congressman from MO, after whom the Gasconade County town is named, fought long and hard for the cheap money that helped farmers escape debt and against the tariffs that encouraged industrialization. Bland was the clear favorite for the Democratic nomination for President in 1896, but 36 year old William Jennings Bryan won it at the last moment largely based on his stirring promise that the gold standard supporters “shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns… and crucify mankind on a cross of gold.” Missouri’s electoral vote went to Bryan, like most of the South and the West, but Mckinley overwhelmed Bryan with the populous East and North (276 to 176 electoral votes).
There was a great Mississippi River flood in 1882, the worst on record up to that time. The Ohio River reached flood stage from Cincinnati to Cairo by late February, but the rain continued to fall. “During the period between January and March of 1882, the rain came down unabated. More than 235 billion cubic yards of rain fell over the Mississippi River and its tributaries. There was no way for the channel to carry such a volume of water to the Gulf without extensive inundation of the entire flood plain.” (“The Big Flood.” Bobby Joe Williams) During the Civil War, the levee system was badly damaged, and after the war, the former slave states no longer had the slave labor to maintain levees nor the economic strength to contract for maintenance. Missouri had done nothing up into the 1880’s. Even a moderate flood would have caused considerable damage with over 150 miles of breaks in the levee system, but the 1882 flood was a record-breaker. There were floods in 1865, 1867, and 1874, but these were localized and of short duration. In 1882, however, flooding along the interior river system, from Ohio to Illinois and St. Louis virtually all the way down to the delta of New Orleans, was extensive. It was the worst to date. Heavy rains started falling in January and continued without sufficient time for drying through March. The 1882 flood was particularly devastating to the lower Mississippi River Valley, which received the combined waters of all the tributaries. The water easily broke through most of the levees, burying entire towns, killing livestock and other animals, and forcing thousands of residents to flee for safety. The Mississippi reached a width of 70 miles for several days from Tennessee and Mississippi through Arkansas and Louisiana. St Louis was cut off from railway communication, and hardly a town along the Mississippi escaped damage.
The Upper Mississippi makes up 14% of the feeder area of the Mississippi River, while the Ohio accounts for 16%, the Missouri for 42%, the Arkansas for 15 %, and the Red River for 7%. The lower Mississippi only adds 6%. The main rise at Cairo from the Ohio River normally comes in February, while the longer Missouri River usually crests in April. When the lower Mississippi basin is already flooded by the waters of the Upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the follow-on effects of the Missouri River can be overwhelming. This is apparently what occurred in 1882. The total number of people displaced and suffering was estimated at 43,000. Only a few points between Cairo and Vicksburg remained above the water. Not until late June did the waters recede, having lasted a full five months. The River didn’t crest at St Louis (15 miles below the mouth of the Missouri) until 5 July at 32.39 feet (30 feet = flood stage). (St Louis District, US Corps of Engineers)
Legislation to assist the affected states was passed by Congress but vetoed by President Arthur, who thought that it was riddled with pork barrel legislation tacked on by representatives to benefit selected communities. He believed it would be a bad precedent, an extravagant expenditure. Subsequently, Congress overrode his veto, and the law resulted in a levee system that was restored in time to withstand the 1884 runoff, which was higher than normal. Moneys were appropriated each year to improve the levees, but the next great flood came in 1927. The Mississippi tributaries were not temporarily harnessed until the depression era programs of the Roosevelt Administration. Even so, the great drainage basin continues to overflow its arteries periodically, like in 1993.
Note: As a boy, I can remember the seemingly annual floods of the Missouri, when houses and barns were seen floating down the river and giant gar were trapped in the sloughs. Yet, when it came time to rebuild, few moved to higher ground. Apparently, I witnessed the third worst flood of all time in 1951 when we lived at Church Farm, and Dawn (my daughter) and I drove through the aftermath of the second worst in 1993. We crossed the Missouri River at Hermann, MO, and followed the Mississippi River down to Memphis, TN. The damage, even with modern dams and levees, was severe.
Problems on the rivers contributed to the demise of the steamboat trade. Lack of river maintenance allowed a huge sand bar to develop near St Louis that wasn’t controlled until after 1879. By then, facilities for transfer of freight were far inferior to those employed by the rail companies. During the best years (about 1836-1860), it was not uncommon to see 160 steamboats tied up at the St Louis wharf, but it was entirely deserted by 1900. Steamboats were destroyed by the hundreds during the Civil War, and the commerce of the West went to the Atlantic seaboard via railroad instead of being shipped from New Orleans. During the steamboat years, the profits had generally stayed in Missouri for reinvestment that enriched St Louis and other river towns, but after 1865, the Railroad era siphoned off the profits to other cities in the East.
During the ‘Gilded Age,’ a time when cut-throat capitalists built up huge monopolistic enterprises at the expense of workers and farmers, the Grange movement grew in popularity. By 1875, Missouri had the largest Grange membership of any state, with a presence in every county. The Grange emphasized cooperative action to offset unfavorable market conditions, but avoided direct political action. Unfortunately, the cooperatives weren’t very effective, and the movement began losing strength in the late 1880’s. In 1887, drought hurt Missouri farm production, but commodity prices remained low. By 1890, the Grange movement had become largely a ‘lodge-hall’ organization, with associated rituals, and it was supplanted by the Populist Party.
A recession began in 1892 and became a panic by 1893. This was aggravated for farmers by drought and insect invasions. Even so, in 1892, the Populist Candidate for President got only 7% of the vote, as Democrat Grover Cleveland won the popular vote in Missouri. The Populist candidate for Governor did even worse. Less than a third of the ‘Grangers’ voted the Populist ticket. (Spencer, Thomas Morris. The Other Missouri. Google Books on-line, p 120-122.)
If you’re longing for the “good old days,” you may want to reconsider. A review of on-line obituaries in Cuba’s The Telephone from January, 1899 through November 1902 (35 months) reveals twenty-two needless, violent deaths in addition to the illnesses that still affected the community. The Telephone tried to cover an area around Cuba that ranged from Oak Hill to the north, to Sullivan to the East, to Rolla in the West and Salem-Licking in the South, perhaps with a total population of 10-15,000. There were three murders: in one, a son shot the father and another where the father shot the son, the third was a dispute between neighbors settled with a shotgun. Five suicides resulted from a deliberate drowning, taking poison, and three gunshots. Trains killed three, Horses or Mules killed three, three drowned accidentally, two children took poison by accident, two hunting firearms accidents were fatal, and one older lady fell to her death. A few of the obituaries relate in some way to the family (see below).
Friday , February 10, 1899 HARTMAN, JACOB Oak Hill. "Uncle Jacob" Hartman, who has been very sick for some time, died Monday morning and was buried Tuesday at the Hartman grave yard on Brush creek. The bereaved relatives have the sympathy of the entire community. (Note: This is the father of David Hartman; Jacob was my great-great grandfather)
Friday, March 3, 1899 SOUDERS, INFANT Died, at the residence of Isaac W. and Lizzie Souders, their infant son, last Monday morning at two o'clock, and was buried at the church cemetery Tuesday at 10 o'clock. There was a large crowd present at the funeral. The bereaved parents have the sympathy of the entire community.
Friday, August 11, 1899
SOUDERS, INFANT Oak Hill. Died, at the home of its parents, the infant child of Isaac Souders and wife Saturday night. The remains were interred in the church cemetery Sunday evening at five o'clock. (Note: Two of their children – see above -died in this same year, five months apart; this is Ike Souders, son of Great-Grandfather Jacob Souders.)
Friday November 14, 1902 SOUDERS, MARGARET Oak Hill. Margaret, wife of James Souders, died Saturday of consumption..) The funeral was preached Monday at noon by Rev. Oels of Bourbon after which she was laid to rest in the cemetery. The husband and family have the sympathy of the community in their sad bereavement. (Note: James was another son of Great-Grandfather Jacob Souders
Note: A descendant of the Blair family, James T. Blair, served as Lt. Governor of Missouri two terms and was elected Governor in 1956 as a Democrat. His term was noted for progress on educational and racial issues, but it was also marred by ‘unfair’ application of the spoils system. Dad had the wrong politics and received a termination notice, but legal action prevented him and others from being fired from a tenured state job without cause. In 1962, about two years after leaving office, Blair and his wife were found dead from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Both were rumored to be heavy drinkers, and it appeared they left their car running in the garage after returning home from a social function. The fumes entered the house via the air conditioning system.