Palmyra – John M. Wade

The town of Perry, Missouri, bills itself as the gateway to Mark Twain Lake, and it is in southwest Ralls County.  Perry is just west of the intersection of Missouri Routes 19 and 154.  It is the home of the Ralls County Historicial Society.

South from the intersection of 19 and 154, about 2.2 miles (on the east side of Rte. 19) is the Muldrow Cemetery, where is buried John M. Wade.

July 4, 1865

A July sun, in torrid clime, gleamed on exile band, who in suits of gray
Stood in mute array On the banks of the Rio Grande.
They were dusty and faint with their long, drear ride, And they paused when they
came to the river side;
For its wavelets divide
With their glowing tide
Their own dear land of youth, hope, pride And comrades graves, who in vain had
died, From the stranger”s home, in a land untried.
Above them waved the Confederate Flag, with its fatal cross of stars, That had
always been
In the battle”s din
Like a pennon of potent Mars.
And there curved from the crest of their leader a plume
That the brave had followed in joy and gloom That was ever in sight
In the hottest fight
A flaunting dare for a soldier”s tomb, For the marksman”s aim and the cannons
boom, But it bore a charm from the band of doom.
Forth stepped that leader then and said to the faithful few around:
“This tattered rag
Is the only flag
That floats on Dixie ground;
And this plume that I tear from the hat I wear
Of all my spoils is my only share; And brave men! I swear
That no foe shall dare
To lay his hand on our standard there. It”s folds were braided by fingers fair, “Tis
the emblem now of their deep despair.
It”s cause is lost. And the men it led on many a glorious field In disputing tread
Of invaders dread, Have been forced at last to yield
But this banner and plume have not been to blame, No exulting eye spielautomaten online shall behold
their shame;
And—–these relics so dear
In the waters here,
Before we cross, shall burial claim;
And while you mountains may bear name
They shall stand as monuments of our fame.
Tears stood in eyes that looked on death in every awful form Without dismay;
But the scene that day Was sublimer than mountain storm!
“Tis easy to touch the veteran”s heart
With finger of nature, but not of art, While the noble of soul
Lose self control, When called on with flag, home and country to part, Base bosoms are ever to callous to start
With feelings that generous natures can smart.They buried then that flag and plume in the river”s rushing tide, Ere that fallent few
Of the tried and true Had been scattered far and wide.
And that group of Missouri”s valiant throng, Who had fought for the weak against the strong-Who had charged and bled where Shelby led- Were the last who held above the wave
The glorious flag of the vanquished brave, No more to rise from it”s watery grave!
-Col. Alonzo Slayback, Missouri Confederate Brigade

Same Year, Same Facts?

Grant”s Memoirs another grantcontain a very famous passage, when he talks about his first near-encounter with a Civil War enemy.  The enemy was Brig. Gen. Thomas Harris of the Missouri State Guard.  The place was near Samuel Clemens” birthplace, the town of Florida in Monroe County.

Here is what Grant said:  “As we approached the brow of the hill from which it was expected we could see Harris” camp, and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to have been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt and consider what to do; I kept right on….The troops were gone. My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view…I had never taken before; but was one I never forgot afterwards.”

We don”t think its any accident that Mark Twain wrote a short story in 1885 – the same year he published Grant”s Memoirs – that related Twain”s experiences in Northeast Missouri in 1861.  Twain”s story was published in Century Magazine and is called “The Private History of the Campaign that Failed.”

John Yager McPheeters, R.I.P.

There is a cemetery in Lewis County, Missouri, once called the Liberty Methodist Cemetery (a map follows, courtesy Google Maps), and it is here we believe that Palmyra victim John McPheeters is buried.  Someone in or around Quincy Illinois or LaGrange Missouri please see if this is true.  Report of grave condition please!


Where are the Palmyra 10?

Palmyra is a beautiful historic town in Marion County, Missouri.  It is a bit northwest of Hannibal, and about the same distance southwest of Quincy, Illinois.  In October 1862 a Union colonel charged with keeping order in northeastpalmyra Missouri had 10 citizens shot by firing squad.  The news raced around the world.  The New York and London papers wrote scathing condemnations.  The colonel – A Canadian actually who ended the war with the rank of Major General – was John McNeil.  He has quite deservedly gone down in history as the “butcher of Palmyra.”

The names of the men are carved on a monument on the courthouse square in Palmyra:  Willis Baker, Thomas Humston, Morgan Bixler, Herbert Hudson, John M. Wade, Francis Marion Lear, Capt. Thomas A. Sidner, Eleazer Lake, John McPheeters and Hiram Smith.

Shouldn”t we know where these men are buried?

Grant and Twain – The Later Years

Ulysses Grant died in 1885.  He labored through the end stages of throat cancer while he completed his great Memoirs, and one of the people at his side (some of the time) was his publisher.  Mark Twain had become acquainted with Grant somehow – when Grant was President these were two of the most famous people in America.  Twain ?????? ?????? was dabbling in 15_thumbpublishing, and offered Grant a deal that was better for Grant than what the competition offered.  He encouraged his writing.  He probably kept Grant alive for a time, while Grant struggled to salvage his family”s financial health.

We like to point to the coincidences of Missouri history.   This is an interesting one, although neither Grant nor Twain had considered themselves Missourians for many years when they had this encounter.  But how strong was the connection between these men?  Fact is the connection goes all the way back to Missouri”s Civil War.  That”s what this topic is about.

More Connections

sequoWe won”t detour too far from Piedras Negras, but speaking of Shelby”s connections -

JO Shelby”s great-grandfather was a man by the name of Nathaniel Gist.  Nathaniel Gist had two families, one of them Cherokee, and his son by his Cherokee marriage was Sequoyah, the man who invented the Cherokee alphabet.  And how many men have a species of tree named after them?

Sequoyah was JO Shelby”s half-great uncle.  Challenge me on this.  Dare you.

Shelby is "Connected"

Frank Blair

Frank Blair

Joseph Orville Shelby was born in Lexington, Kentucky and was raised by a stepfather, Benjamin Gratz, a hemp merchant and perhaps the richest man in Kentucky.    One of Shelby”s neighbors in Lexington was John Hunt Morgan.  His first cousins included Montgomery Blair (Lincoln”s Postmaster General) and Montgomery”s kid brother,  Congressman and CW Major Genl.  Frank Blair.  Another cousin was Benjamin Gratz Brown, who would be a post-war Governor of Missouri.  Both Brown and Frank Blair were candidates for Vice President on tickets that opposed the elections of U. S. Grant in 1868 and 1872.

Shelby was in Texas on July 4, 1865 because of his family relations.  On orders of Abraham Lincoln.

Shelby”s geneaology can be found at Maria Boswell

Black Rocks, State of Coahuila

Piedras Negras in Mexico is named after the coal deposits that are found there.   This town of 135,000 people sits hard by the Rio spielautomaten online Grande, opposite Eagle Pass, TX.  It claims to be the birthplace of the Nacho, which the town commemorates in a festival every year.

Something more momentous than the nacho occurred on the river at Piedras Negras on July 4, 1865.  Did the American Civil War end right here?

Friend and Foe Alike: What’s it Mean?

Mark Twain said this of Ulysses Grant’s Memoirs:

“I had been comparing the [M]emoirs with Caesar’s Commentaries. . . I was able to say in all sincerity that the same high merits distinguished both books – clarity of statement, directness, simplicity, manifest truthfulness, fairness and justice toward friend and foe alike and avoidance of flowery speech. General Grant was just a man, just a human being, just an author. . .The fact remains and cannot be dislodged that General Grant’s book is a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece. There is no higher literature than these modest, simple Memoirs. Their style is at least flawless, and no man can improve upon it.”MARK_TWAIN

Readers who are very familiar with Missouri’s Civil War history have some idea of the ways that the life of Missouri’s greatest author (Twain) became entwined with the life of Missouri’s most famous military figure (Grant).   This blog is for those who know, and those who want to know more, about the unique character of the Civil War that occurred in Missouri.  It was Missouri, and nowhere else, that saw a full-blown civil war during the years 1861-1865.

If you are a serious student of Missouri’s Civil War, then chances are you tend to side with the South or the North. Regardless of the place from which you began your journey, please mind the lesson that comes to us from Grant through Twain.  Fairness and justice “toward friend and foe alike.”