Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society
It is the objective of the Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society to collect and preserve genealogical and historical information with a focus on Washington County, Arkansas. We wish to encourage and provide training to those interested. We champion ethical and accurate research and publication of genealogical and historical information.
December 7, 1862
December 7th is a day that will live in infamy. To everyone today that infamous day did not occur in 1862 but 79 years later.
Don Montgomery, historian for Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, recounted the events of the Battle of Prairie Grove, December 7, 1862, at WCAGS’ August meeting. The Battle of Prairie Grove was between Confederate General Thomas C. Hindman’s Army of the Trans-Mississippi and Union General James Blunt’s Army of the Frontier. The last major Civil War battle in northwest Arkansas, it is the story of forced marches and incredible stamina on both sides.
The Federal Army of the Frontier entered northwestern Arkansas on October 18 and briefly occupied Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Cross Hollows. Early in November the command of the scattered Army of the Frontier passed to General Blunt, a self-confident and aggressive amateur soldier from Kansas. Blunt led his division south down the Military Road that ran along the border between Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Two other Federal divisions, commanded by Brig. Gen. Francis J. Herron of Pea Ridge fame, remained near Springfield.
On December 3, 1862 Confederate General Thomas C. Hindman led eleven thousand men and twenty-two cannon of the First Corps of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi north from Van Buren toward the Boston Mountains. The ragged Rebels were a makeshift army thrown together and rushed into battle without adequate training and equipment. Many men were conscripts of dubious reliability. They were armed with a mix of rifles, smoothbores, and shotguns, carrying only enough ammunition for a single day of combat. Hindman was optimistic despite the obvious weaknesses in his command. His plan was simple: Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke would create a diversion from the south. With General Blunt’s attention fixed on Marmaduke, Hindman and the main body of the First Corps would swing around Blunt’s left flank and strike him from the east. The Federals would be overwhelmed on the spot or be driven into the wilderness of the Indian Territory. It sounded good on paper, but it demanded a great deal of inexperienced officers and men
During the night of December 6-7, Hindman learned that General Francis J. Herron had left Springfield, Missouri with his entire force and was hastening to Blunt’s relief. Early the next morning, December 7, the Confederates struck out across the rolling terrain north of the Boston Mountains, giving a wide berth to Blunt’s position at Cane Hill. The Confederate troops moved slowly and straggling became epidemic. Shortly after sunrise Marmaduke’s cavalry division, riding several miles ahead of the sluggish infantry, encountered a small Federal cavalry force near the Illinois River (west of present-day Farmington). The Federals were the vanguard of Herron’s column. They were easily routed and retreated in disorder to the outskirts of Fayetteville, where they reached the safety of Herron’s main body. Marmaduke fell back before the advance of Herron’ s infantry. Ten miles west of Fayetteville the Confederate cavalry retired across the Illinois River to a low wooded hill surrounded by rolling grasslands. On top of the hill was the Prairie Grove Presbyterian Church. Marmaduke halted to await the arrival of the rest of the First Corps, which came up from the south and deployed along the hill facing north. Hindman reached Prairie Grove at mid-morning with the intention of attacking Herron’s force, but his men trickled in so slowly it would be afternoon before he had sufficient strength to do the job. Then his scouts reported that Blunt was stirring and preparing to march. Afraid that if he went after Herron, Blunt would strike him in the rear, Hindman simply stopped at Prairie Grove, unable to decide upon an appropriate course of action in this crisis. The Confederates were now between two converging Federal forces whose combined strength was roughly equal to their own. Furthermore those Federal forces were led by two of the most combative officers in the Department of the Missouri. The coming battle would determine whether the First Corps of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi would survive to return to Van Buren.
During the morning of December 7, Herron and his two shrunken divisions forded the Illinois River and deployed on Crawford’s Prairie opposite the Confederate right. Herron was outnumbered better than two to one and his line was less than half as long as the Confederate line. Herron ordered his twenty-four rifled cannons into action against the lighter Confederate artillery planted on the forward slope of the hill. Around ten o’clock the Federal artillery roared to life. The bombardment lasted two hours. By noon all of the Confederate guns on Hindman’s right had been disabled or abandoned, and most of the Confederate infantry and dismounted cavalry had taken cover on the reverse slope of the hill.
When the Confederate batteries fell silent and the infantry disappeared from sight, Herron mistakenly assumed that the Confederates had retreated. The Federals advanced and they were met by a furious counterattack from two divisions of Confederate troops commanded by Marmaduke and Brig. Gen. Francis A. Shoup. Half of the Federals were killed or wounded within minutes. The Rebels then advanced from three sides and drove the surviving Federals back down the hill in disarray. Wildly yelling Confederates, barely under the control of their officers, swept down the slope and across the prairie after the fleeing Federals, only to be cut down in heaps by Herron’s artillery. Despite the bloody repulse of the spontaneous Confederate counterattack on Crawford’s Prairie, Hindman saw his chance. With the Federal infantry decimated by the slaughter on the Confederate right, he had only to wheel forward his center and left and overwhelm Herron’s command. A quick decisive victory might be possible after all. It was mid-afternoon, however, before the Confederates advanced down the slope toward the prairie. As they commenced the maneuvers required to swing around to approach Herron’s position, they were struck by artillery fire from the northwest. Blunt’s division was on the field. Blunt unleashed his artillery against the surprised Confederates and drove them back to the hill. He then sent his fresh infantry forward. Severe fighting raged at the base of the hill, but the Federals were unable to dislodge the numerically superior Confederates and eventually fell back. Neither army was able to dislodge the other and there were no more major assaults, though artillery fire and volleys of musketry raged along the line until dark.
By the morning of December 8th the battle was over, tactically it was a draw, but was classified as a Union victory. The rag tag remnants of the confederate force withdrew in the night over the Boston Mountains, leaving their dead and most of their wounded. They reached Van Buren on the December the 10th. The federal forces were in control of the land and they had not followed the Rebels in their retreat. The total casualties of this one small battle were about 2700. Of that number 600 to 800 were killed. The 20th Wisconsin (Federal) and the 29th Arkansas (Confederate) both lost 49% of their men.
Washington County Courthouse
Not to long ago a trip to our mailbox brought a touching surprise. Opening a letter, we found the following message:
Enclosed is a small check to apply to the restoration fund for the old courthouse.
During the 1950’s, I was a court reporter for Judge Maupin Cummings. At that time we worked in the four counties of northwest Arkansas, with two courts in Carroll County. I was with Judge Cummings for fifteen years, retiring at the age of sixty-five.
You are doing a good work to continue to remind all of us old timers of the good days that we spent in the old courthouse. I am grateful to know that Judge Gunn has restored our old courthouse and is continuing court there.
Thank you for the good work you are doing.
Florence Parker Rains
Enclosed was a check for $50.00, which we have forwarded to the Courthouse Restoration Fund. We also sent a message of thanks to Ms. Rains. It has been suggested that it would an interesting project to try to locate other former employees of the Historic Courthouse and interview them about their times there. This has been proposed to the WCAGS membership and will be discussed further at the September meeting.
In the outskirts of Fayetteville, 1/10 of a mile north of US 62, just a little west of IH 540, there is a tiny forgotten cemetery. It is on Old Farmington Road but is so overgrown with head-high weeds it cannot be seen from the road even though it lies just a few feet from the roadway. There are at least 7 graves there, some are marked with headstones. This forgotten little cemetery is in danger because of proposed development in the area and the need to widen the existing roadway. It is on private land, which is held for investment, but is also in an easement granted to a neighboring landowner. On August 22, Cheri Coley, Barbara Lewis, Lisa Carper, Marcia Connors, Deana Smith, Ethna Billings, Mary Cotton and new member LaNita McKinney, all of WCAGS met with Susan Young of Shiloh Museum and Gary Medley, former Washington County Coroner, to discuss the plight of the cemetery. A check of the county records shows that it was last recorded on a map of Washington County in 1908 with only with the designation of “graves”. Mr. Medley has initiated steps to register the land as a cemetery with the State of Arkansas. John Goddard of the City of Fayetteville has assigned it an address location of 3824 Old Farmington Road. Steps are being taken to contact the local developer and the county road department to advise them of the cemetery location.
Mr. Medley has named the cemetery the Graham Cemetery as most of the graves are those of the Littleton F. Graham family. Littleton Foster Graham was born in Casey County Kentucky in 1799 and died in Washington County Arkansas in 1889. He married Catherine Carson, born in 1804, in Casey County Kentucky on December 23, 1822. According to Goodspeed’s History of Northwest Arkansas, the family moved to Lincoln County Tennessee in 1836 and from there to Washington County in 1852. Catherine died in 1857. Hers is one of graves in the tiny cemetery and is marked with a legible, but broken tombstone. The couple had 10 children; Ewing, John C., Riley, Minerva, Cyrena, Clarinda, Melvina Adeline, Cyrus M., Catherine, and America. When Goodspeed’s was published in 1888, Catherine, America and Cyrus were deceased. Cyrus died at the battle of Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862. There are several small graves including one marked as the daughter of Ewing Graham. There is an adult grave next to and to the right of Catherine. Although it has no tombstone it is probably that of her husband Littleton. His obituary was published in the, Fayetteville Democrat May 31, 1889.
“Ere this a notice should have been given of the death of L. F. Graham, the father of Ewing I. Graham, at whose house the funeral services were held. Brother Graham lived to the ripe old age of a little more then four score and ten, being at his death 90 years and 14 days of age. He leaves seven living children, fifty-five grand children and thirty great grandchildren….”
One son, Riley was a prominent citizen of Washington County in the late 19th century, serving as a county judge and also as a state legislator. One descendent of the Graham family has been located and notified of the endangerment of the cemetery. We are currently seeking other descendents, especially those who may still be in the Washington County area. If you know of any of this family please let them know of this project to protect the graves of their ancestors.
Who was Harry Burn?
On August 18, 1920 history was made by way of a telegram sent by a mother to her son. Harry Burn, age 24 and a member of the Tennessee legislature, heeded his mother’s plea and fundamentally changed America
During World War I women took jobs in factories to support the war, as well as taking more active roles in the war than in previous wars. The National American Woman Suffrage Association, headed by Carrie Chapman Catt reminded the President, and the Congress, that the women’s war work should be rewarded with recognition of their political equality. President Wilson responded with his support. In a speech on September 18, 1918, he said,
“We have made partners of the women in this war. Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of right?”
Less than a year later, the House of Representatives passed, in a 304 to 90 vote, a proposed Amendment to the Constitution:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any States on Account of sex.
The Congress shall have the power by appropriate legislation to enforce the provisions of this article.
On June 4, 1919, the United States Senate also endorsed the Amendment, voting 56 to 25, and sending the amendment to the states. Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan were the first states to pass the law; Georgia and Alabama rushed to pass rejections. Arkansas ratified the amendment on July 28, 1919 – the 12th state and only the second Southern state to do so.
When thirty-five of the necessary thirty-six states had ratified the amendment, the battle came to Nashville, Tennessee. Anti-suffrage and pro-suffrage forces from around the nation descended on the town. And on August 18, 1920, the final vote was scheduled.
24 year-old Harry Burn, a Republican who was the youngest member of the General Assembly, had previously sided with the anti-suffrage forces. But he had not told anyone of a letter he had received that morning from his mother, Febb Ensminger Burn, of Niota. She had written: “Dear Son: Hurrah, and vote for suffrage! Don’t keep them in doubt. I noticed some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet. Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification. Signed, Your Mother.”
When he saw that the vote was very close, and with his anti-suffrage vote it would be tied 48 to 48, he decided to vote as his mother had urged him: for the right of women to vote. The next day, Harry Burn rose on the floor of the House and responded to critics:
“I want to take this opportunity to state that I changed my vote in favor of ratification because: 1) I believe in full suffrage as a right, 2) I believe we had a moral and legal right to ratify, 3) I know that a mother’s advice is always safest for her boy to follow, and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification.”
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and deciding state to ratify and on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution became law. One hundred and forty-four years after the Declaration of Independence, American women had earned the constitutional right to vote–thanks in large part to a woman named Mrs. Burn and her son, Harry. The first nationwide election in which women voted was the Presidential election of 1920.
How Many Did You Find?
I know that some of you thought that I had really lost it. You also wondered what had happened to the proof-reader for Family Links. All of those “names “ in the articles that just didn’t make sense! Well, by now you know they were the names of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. Did you find all 56 of them? A list of all 56 is on the last page of this issue of your Family Links.
By Cheri Coley
I remember my grandmother going to the flower garden, cutting fresh flowers, putting them in her wooden basket, loading everybody into the car and heading to the cemetery. There we would put the flowers on the graves of loved ones, and long lost friends and neighbors. It was called “Decoration.” For years growing up I hated it!
I’m not sure now why I hated it but I have changed my tune. I now cherish the memories of Grandmother’s beautiful flower garden and her Sunday dinners. (I still won’t eat chicken and dumplings, but that is another story.) I won’t miss “Decoration” now. I just might meet the one person with a key to that “brick wall” I can’t seem to overcome.
Like my parents and grandparents before me I am bound and determined that my child is going to go once a year to this event called “Decoration” just as I did at his age. Just like me, he hates it! He has to greet people he doesn’t know, people who think that they should be able to hug and kiss him and pinch his face and tassel his hair. Some are family members that he sees once a year. Some are children and grandchildren of dear friends of my own grandparents. He too will survive and in 25 years he will probably be bringing his own reluctant teenagers to this thing called “Decoration.”
In honor of “Decoration” this month, I am listing some of the tombstones in McCord Cemetery. McCord is a large cemetery located on Arkansas Highway 16 East just east of Elkins. At one time, it was known as the Robbins Cemetery. Decoration Day is the third Sunday of August every year. WCAGS member, Barbara Lewis also has many ancestors buried in McCord Cemetery, who are not included in the partial list enumerated below. These are just some of the many markers.
Carter, Anna Belle, daughter of Elmer and Dewey
July 27, 1932-June 22, 1944
Carter, Samuel Elmer
Carter, Dewey Anderson
ssw/ Samuel Elmer
Jones, Charles A age 27 y 6 m 22 d
Lt USN Air Reserve, who lost his life while on a routine flight
December 1, 1912-June 23, 1949
November 25, 1865-May 1, 1947
October 22, 1872-December 3, 1939
Sines, Gertrude Collins
Carrigan, Martha J.
April 23, 1855-February 2, 1881
February 27, 1822-August 23, 1896
Pool, Mary Ellen
November 29, 1889-
Pool, John Noel
December 19, 1873-April 24, 1947
Pool, Sarah Frances w/ JK
April 23, 1853-September 25, 1933
Chief Trumpeter 1st Ark Cav USA
September 9, 1843-May 21, 1932
Pool, B.F. father
February 17, 1870-September 24, 1966
Clark, Elbert father
February 12, 1883-June 1, 1955
Clark, Irma ssw/ Elbert
December 8, 1891-1985
Clark, David C son
Od April 23, 1956
Warford, Darlene ssw/ Betty
Warford, Zonia ssw/ Betty & Darlene
Warford, Elmer ssw/ Betty & Darlene & Zonia
Warford, Dorothy ssw/ Betty & Darlene & Zonia & Elmer
Warford, Claud ssw/ Betty & Darlene & Zonia & Elmer & Dorothy
February 14, 1830-May 8, 1858
April 13, 1832-November 15, 1860
Foster, John Bee
Robbins, Dollie Ann
Hanna, Augic C. ssw/ Aron
Clark, Ambros ssw/ Salina father
April 28, 1818-May 28, 1896
Fritts, Lon ssw/ Elnora
Pool, Ruthie Theola
December 3, 1902-June 9, 1904
Pool, Lewis L.
Pollock, Orvis C.
August 23, 1886-June 23, 1973
Pollock, Jessie R. ssw/ Orvis C.
July 2, 1886-March 10, 1977
February 3, 1918-October 15, 1971
Ed note: Cheri Clark Coley, the president of WCAGS and the author of the article is a 5th generation Washington County resident. Her son, Kyle, is a senior at Fayetteville High School.
Certain To Cure or To Kill Ya!
Pam Redfern came across this old recipe in a family Bible. She has no idea what the concoction is for, but one thing is for sure, it will either cure “what’s ailing you” or kill you in the process. It also looks like it could probably strip paint!
Gum Camphor –2 oz
Oil Sassfrass –2oz
Oil Cedar –2oz
Oil Organum –2oz
Oil Capcilium 2oz
Put in quart bottle and fill with alcohol, 85 proof.
This is both heat producing and aromatic and is probably a liniment or a liquid for a poultice of some kind. Does anybody recognize it? Tell us what you think it was used for.
Ed Note: DO NOT INGEST!!!!
Our next meeting will be on September 11, 2005 at 2:00PM. We will be sharing ways to organize our genealogical records. So bring your ideas and plan to share. See all of you all there.
In the meantime, happy hunting y’all!
Editor, Family Links
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton, William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton, John Hancock, Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton, Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross, Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean, William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris, Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark, Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery, Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott, Matthew Thornton.