Monday, September 01, 2014
150 YEARS AGO, GUERRILLAS DESTROYED DANVILLE, BY WAY OF WILLIAMSBURG
Capt. William T. (Bloody Bill) Anderson
Maj. Gen. Sterling Price
WILLIAMSBURG, Mo. – In east-central Missouri, Williamsburg and Danville are separated by a mere ten miles, a county line and the Loutre River.
But during the Civil War 150 years ago, the span between them may as well have been the Gulf of Mexico, because the small village of Williamsburg was Southern in sentiment, but Danville – former seat of Montgomery County, population near 1,000 – was a Unionist stronghold.
Thus, Capt. “Bloody Bill” Anderson's guerrillas marked it for destruction, along with railroad stops at High Hill and Florence. They aimed at the latter to help take pressure off Confederate Gen. Sterling Price's September–October 1864 raid into Missouri – but they burned the former for the hell of it, maybe even because of the personal slights of a guerrilla's sisters there.
Whatever the reason, by the night of October 14, 1864, most of Danville lay in smoking ruins, fired by perhaps 80 desperate, heavily armed Rebel horsemen. The guerrillas staged their destructive raid from Williamsburg, the “Gateway to the Boone's Lick” region in eastern Callaway County.
This story and more is told in three interpretive panels on the Gray Ghosts Trail Civil War driving tour, which commences in the east at Danville at the Danville Female Academy – one of few structures surviving from the raid – and in Williamsburg at Crane's Museum. The trail continues west through Callaway County to Centralia, Boonville and Marshall.
The two Danville panels were dedicated in 2006, during the opening of the first three sites on the trail. The panel at Williamsburg was dedicated at an October 22, 2011, ceremony and tells about the raid, Confederate and guerrilla leaders from the area, and the community's key role in aiding settlers traveling the Boone's Lick Road.
The festivities sponsored by Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage (see photos below) were heralded by a skydiver, the audience roused by the music of the Centralia Battlefield Band, and visitors treated to wagon rides driven by Hershel Linnenbringer and Elaine Walker. A color guard was provided by the Elijah Gates Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The centerpiece of the ceremony emceed by KoCCWH's Warren Hollrah was the unveiling of the panel by Joe, Marlene, David and Amy Crane and family, donors of the panel. The day's speakers included Greg Wolk – director of Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation, sponsor of the Gray Ghosts Trail – County Commissioners Gary Jungermann and Doc Kritzer and Boone's Lick Trail expert Ron Kamper.
Today, historic Williamsburg bustles with activity, at landmark Crane's General Store, Crane's Museum and Marlene's Restaurant. Travelers seeking accommodations will find the newly opened Gray Ghosts Trail Inn (www.grayghoststrailinn.com) as well as hospitable motels in Kingdom City to the west and another bed and breakfast in Fulton, the Loganberry Inn (www.loganberryinn.com).
Photos by Don Ernst
Friday, April 25, 2014
MOORE'S MILL BATTLEFIELD REPORT SET FOR WESTMINSTER COLLEGE
FULTON, Mo. - Two top national battlefield investigators will headline the program "Archeology of the Battle of Moore's Mill" at 4 p.m. Friday, May 2, at the Coulter Science Center on the campus of Westminster College. Douglas D. Scott, Ph.D., and Steve Dasovich, Ph. D., will assess the results of a March 22-23, 2013, dig at the site of the July 28, 1862, Battle of Moore's Mill.
The archeological investigation unearthed nearly 200 artifacts at Calwood, Mo., a community about seven miles northeast of Fulton. Led by Scott and Dasovich, the dig was sponsored by Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation and local affiliate Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage.
The excavation involved students and volunteers from the St. Charles, Mo., school as well as those of Assistant Professor of History Cinnamon Brown of Westminster College and Dr. Peter Warnock of Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. The effort was financed by a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program.
Key in local coordination were KoCCWH Co-Chair Bryant Liddle and member Warren Hollrah. Liddle is owner of a portion of the property where the battle occurred. His family also financed one of the two Gray Ghosts Trail interpretive panels at the site.
President of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Scott was an investigator in the famous 1980s excavations at the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn. He also serves on the advisory board of Armchair General magazine. Dasovich is director of Lindenwood's Archeological Research Program and chair of its Anthropology and Sociology Department.
The sharp four-hour battle pitted troops of Union Col. Odon Guitar against the vastly outnumbered Confederate cavalry and partisans of Col. Joseph C. Porter. The result was a decisive Union victory.
Westminster College volunteers at the March 2013 Moore's Mill battlefield dig.
Bryant Liddle and his family at the Gray Ghosts Trail panels dedication at Calwood, July 28, 2012.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
OUR FOUNDING CHAIR EARNS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Photo By: Catherine Cummins
The award "for outstanding community service toward the enrichment and betterment of Callaway County" was specifically for his role in developing the local Gray Ghosts Trail, of which the Hon. Joe D. Holt in his presentation speech said Northway was the "guiding light" director.
"...The Gray Ghosts Trail runs through Callaway County following generally the Boone's Lick Trail … made famous by a book [The Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy] by Richard Brownlee," said Holt.
"...The Gray Ghosts signs here in Fulton and the county marking the trail and sites around Fulton … and the tremendous history in the [interpretive] panels together with the verification of all of that information was largely created and certainly ramrodded into place by Martin Northway.
"The historical information he wrote was vetted through Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation and has been approved by noted historians such as Dr. Bill Parrish, professor of history emeritus at Mississippi State University and formerly of Westminster College.
"Martin never let up on us, pushing forward to get it done."
Holt said it was the notion of Mark Douglas, Don Ernst and Northway back in 2005 to make sure the county was well represented on the trail. They were soon joined by a core group including Bill Conner, Joe Crane, Rob Crouse, Noel Crowson, Warren Hollrah, Barbara Huddleston, Vicki McDaniel, Whit McCoskrie and current co-chairs Holt and Bryant Liddle.
Sadly, valued historian Douglas only survived to research and write the first panel, but in Northway's acceptance of the award he said, "We are confident Mark would approve" of how planning, financing and dedicating each new panel has engaged additional leaders and portions of the community. As an example he cited the dedication of the final "Callaway County Men at War" panel at the courthouse on Sept. 11, 2012.
The panel features a thumbnail biography of Confederate Lt. Col. George W. Law, killed in the line of duty as Callaway County sheriff in 1873. The county's law officers and first responders were invited as honored guests; led by County Sheriff Dennis Crane and Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers, three dozen of these uniformed public servants marched as an honor guard.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
KINGDOM CITY GYM NAMED AFTER TRAILS PIONEER
KINGDOM CITY, Mo. - The gymnasium at Hatton-McCredie Elementary School in Kingdom City, Callaway County, has been named after the man who was the school's principal for nearly a quarter of a century - Joe Crane, a civic and business leader of the community of Williamsburg.
"Crane's Gym" was anointed September 20, 2013, at the school's monthly flag ceremony that began under Crane's tenure from 1970 to 1993.
A committee member of Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, Crane is responsible for locating the Gray Ghosts Trail interpretive panel "Gateway to the Boone's Lick" at Crane's Museum in Williamsburg. The panel tells of the role of the historic Boone's Lick Trail (or Road) in the Civil War - including its use by "Bloody Bill" Anderson's guerrillas in destroying nearby Danville - and identifies prominent "Rebel" leaders. The panel was financed by the Crane family - Joe and wife Marlene and son David (who manages Crane's Country Store) and his wife Amy.
The senior Crane can often be found in the museum or its Marlene's Restaurant. When available, he readily shares his vast knowledge of local history and lore.
In Kingdom City, the Gray Ghosts Trail panel "The Kingdom Comes to Callaway" is located at the Heart of Missouri Tourism Center, 5584 Dunn Drive (573/642-7692), one block north of I-70, just off US 54. The panel tells of the October 1861 agreement local pro-Southern "minutemen" elicited from would-be invading Union militia. The event earned Callaway County the popular sobriquet The Kingdom of Callaway.
Joe Crane, sporting his trademark red suspenders, at the Gray Ghosts Trail dedication at the Callaway County Courthouse, September 11, 2012. Photo by Don Ernst
BED & BREAKFAST INSPIRED BY GRAY GHOSTS TRAIL
WILLIAMSBURG, Mo. - Inspired by the Gray Ghosts Trail, Steve and Jan Gray - a retired couple - have opened a bed and breakfast in Williamsburg named the Gray Ghosts Trail Inn. An ample, restored 1905 home, their B&B is directly on the old Boone's Lick Trail, at 10703 County Road 184 (Main St.). The picturesque B&B is only two blocks from Crane's Museum, home to one of eight Callaway County outdoor Gray Ghosts Trail interpretive panels sponsored by Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, local affiliate of Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation.
Located along I-70, Williamsburg is the eastern gateway to the Gray Ghosts Trail in Callaway County, just west of the Trail's beginning in Danville, Montgomery County. The Williamsburg panel tells of the role of the Boone's Lick Road and of local guerrillas during the War Between the States.
"It's cute and charming, and needed to be restored," Jan Gray told the Fulton Sun about the couple's decision to turn the house into an inn. "It's important to history because it sits right on the Civil War Gray Ghosts Trail. Bloody Bill Anderson came through here and picked up one or two guerrillas on his way to [raiding] Danville."
Information can be found at the Web site www.grayghoststrailinn.com, or call (573) 253-3888.
The Gray Ghosts Trail Inn is not the only B&B on the Gray Ghosts Trail in Callaway County. In Fulton, the lovely, large Victorian-era Loganberry Inn is located immediately east of Westminster College, at 310 W. 7th St. Information: www.loganberryinn.com; (573) 642-9229.
The Gray Ghosts Trail Inn
TRAIL FRIEND ISHAM HOLLAND, 95, PASSES
FULTON, Mo. - With sadness we report the passing of Isham Holland, 95, Fulton, pastor, retired educator and regional historian, and avid supporter of the mission of Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage. He died at home surrounded by family the night of July 3, 2013, only hours after the 150th anniversary of the grievous wounding of his Virginia-born grandfather, Thomas C. Holland, at the stone wall during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Captain Holland survived to move to Callaway County and raise a family. Isham was eight years old when his grandfather died in 1925; Isham was at the funeral.
He was born in Callaway, December 9, 1917, and was married to the former Adelia Carol Yocum, who died in 2004. Earning a certificate after high school, Isham began elementary teaching even before excelling at the University of Missouri and the Kansas City College and Bible School, earning two bachelor's degrees (history and theology) and a Doctor of Divinity.
At the Kansas City institution, he had a long career, as instructor, dean of administration, vice president and president, and at his death was president emeritus. His pastoral and evangelical service spanned most of his life, and he did mission work in Latin America for five decades. He served at one time or another on most boards of the Church of God (Holiness).
He is remembered fondly by his many surviving relatives and by legions of friends, who admired his humanity and active intelligence.
Isham Holland, at right, at the Sept. 11, 2012, Gray Ghosts Trail dedication at the Callaway County Courthouse, with Hockaday House owners Dolores and Bob Holt and keynote speaker Judge Gene Hamilton. Photo by Don Ernst
Friday, June 28, 2013
LOCAL HEROES TIED TO MAJOR CIVIL WAR BATTLES
FULTON, Mo. – In July, the nation will mark the 150th anniversaries of two major events that were turning points in the Civil War – the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863; and the surrender of Vicksburg, the “Gibraltor of the Confederacy,” on July 4, 1863.
Historic figures in Callaway County, Mo., played important roles in both battle campaigns. Their stories are among those told in interpretive panels on the Gray Ghosts Trail driving tour sponsored by Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, local affiliate of overall sponsor Missouri's Civil War Heritage Foundation.
While only one Missouri unit is known to have taken part in the Confederate Army in the East, several Confederate soldiers moved from there to Missouri immediately after the war. “It's remarkable we had two men here who fell just yards apart during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg,” says Martin Northway, historian and KoCCWH chair. “Both survived grievous wounds to have families and lead full lives in Callaway County.”
Elijah P. Blankenship was a private in the 57th Virginia Infantry Regiment who may have gotten the farthest during the Confederate Army's failed attempt to storm Cemetery Ridge, the so-called “High Water Mark” of the Confederacy. Receiving four or five wounds, he was left for dead but survived, and lived with his family in the Calwood neighborhood after the war.
Buried at Old Auxvasse Cemetery, his story is noted on the cemetery's Civil War trail panel. An event dedicating his soldier's stone drew two hundred people and extensive media attention in 2003.
During the same charge, Capt. Thomas C. Holland of the 28th Virginia Infantry fell shot through the jaw only yards away from Blankenship. He, too, lived in Callaway after the war – and remarkably, there is a man alive today who remembers him. Isham C. Holland of Fulton was a boy when his granddad died in 1925. He recalls that the man called “T.C.” cultivated what was known as “Grandpa's Patch” on the farm where he lived with his daughter and son-in-law in his last years.
Isham Holland was recently honored as a “Real Grandson” by the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He is a member of the Elijah Gates Camp No. 570 SCV, based in Fulton. His grandfather died Feb. 11, 1925. Isham Holland recalls, “We stood in deep snow on a very cold winter day as the old soldier was laid to rest beside his wife and among her people in the graveyard in the field across the road from our house.”
As for the Vicksburg campaign, many Callaway men served in the battles that led up to the 47-day siege ending in the city's surrender on July 4, 1863. That event and General Lee's defeat at Gettysburg July 3 marked a dramatic reversal in the fortunes of the Confederacy, though the war lasted almost two more years.
One of the many county men who enlisted in Confederate units serving at Vicksburg was George W. Law, a popular farmer who at the beginning of the war led a company into the Missouri State Guard resisting Union occupation of Missouri. When the legislature that fled Jefferson City with Gov. Claiborne Fox Jackson declared for the Confederacy, many of the same men who had enlisted with Captain Law followed him into Confederate service with the 1st Missouri Cavalry Regiment.
Transferred east of the Mississippi, the regiment was dismounted to serve as combat infantry. Law rose in rank to lieutenant colonel and second in command of the regiment, which saw action in the battles in which the Confederate army unsuccessfully attempted to keep Union Gen. U.S. Grant's troops away from the gates of Vicksburg. In the final battle on the Big Black River, Union forces broke the center of the Confederate army, which fled across the bridge leading to Vicksburg. Many were captured, and Law was shot in the arm, resulting in the amputation of the limb.
Law served for the rest of the war in a staff capacity, but after returning to Callaway after the war was elected county sheriff in 1872. In Fulton in 1873, while transporting the convicted stock thief Peter Kessler – a much-despised local bushwhacker during the war – Law was mortally wounded by mounted vigilantes who lynched Kessler. Law lingered painfully for a few days, long enough for his old commander, Col. Elijah P. Gates, to join him by his deathbed. Gates himself was sheriff of Buchanan County, despite his own loss of an arm during the war.
George Law's life is the featured biography on the Gray Ghosts Trail panel “Callaway County Men at War” in front of the county courthouse in Fulton. The panel telling of both Union and Confederate local soldiers was dedicated Sept. 11, 2012, in an event honoring law officers and other first responders.
Other Callaway soldiers serving in the war – including local slaves who fought for the Union – are featured in the panel “War Comes to Westminster College” below The Columns on Westminster Avenue in Fulton and in the panel “The Kingdom Comes to Callaway” at the Heart of Missouri Tourism Center in Kingdom City.
For information about the Gray Ghosts Trail in Callaway County, consult the Web site of Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, www.callawaycivilwar.org. For more about the entire Gray Ghosts Trail, see www.mocivilwar.org.
Capt. Thomas C. Holland was a brigadier general in Missouri's United Confederate Veterans after the Civil War.
At the March 23 reunion of the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans at which he was honored as a “Real Grandson,” Isham Holland unfurls the Confederate battle flag used at the burial of his grandfather Capt. T.C. Holland. At left is Isham's grandson Kurt Holland.
Lt. Col. George W. Law, 1st Missouri Cavalry, served as Callaway County sheriff from 1872-1873 despite losing an arm in the Civil War.
The May 17, 2003, event dedicating a soldier's stone for Pickett's Charge veteran Pvt. Elijah P. Blankenship at Old Auxvasse Cemetery featured a delegation of Virginia's Jubal Early Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy bringing soil from the grave of the soldier's brother in Franklin County, Va., to distribute on Elijah's grave here.