Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written eleven nonfiction books, two novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Springfield: The Seamy Side of the Queen City, Murder and Mayhem in Missouri, and The Siege of Lexington, Missouri: the Battle of the Hemp Bales.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Absalom Stonecipher Humbard

There seems to be a common misconception that the Missouri guerrillas during the Civil War were little more than outlaws. Of course, that's how Union authorities tried to brand them, but the truth is that many, if not most, of the guerrillas were respected citizens before the war (or, in the case of the younger guerrillas, came from respected families). An example is Absalom S. Humbard of Jasper County. Humbard got married in Jasper County in 1856 and was an established farmer when the war came on. In the years immediately preceding the war, he was a member a group calling themselves the Minutemen who formed in Jasper County for protection against Kansas jayhawkers. Leader of the group was county judge John R. Chenault. At the outset of the war, Humbard joined the Missouri State Guard but declined to re-enlist when his initial six-month term was over. Many of the men who initially joined the State Guard did so with the limited goal of protecting their own soil, and this was true of Humbard. By the end of the six-month enlistment, though, most of them were being asked to join the Confederacy or were being otherwise expected to fight outside Missouri. Like a lot of his fellow State Guardsmen, Humbard balked at this idea and instead returned to Jasper County, where he began recruiting his own small squad. Not long afterwards he fell in with Tom Livingston and became an officer in Livingston's command. Although officially affiliated with Standwatie's Cherokee Indian regiment as part of the Confederate army, Livingston's men were usually referred to as a guerillas. At one point during the war, Humbard was taken prisoner and held at Springfield for six weeks. At the end of the war, he moved to Texas and became a prominent farmer. Humbard's story is probably more typical of the Missouri guerrillas than that of the men we tend to hear about--men like Frank and Jesse James, who became post-war outlaws.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Jack Lyle said...

Thanks for your comments about my great-great grandfather, Absalom Humbard. As you say, most folks class the "bushwhackers" as little more than murderers and thieves, but Absalom was obviously very proud of his service; his headstone designates him as "Captain, C.S.A."

April 16, 2011 at 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather's great grandfather (who was an old man at the time) was shot dead by Mr Humbard on the front steps of his house in front of his family. (see pg184 of Jasper county, Missouri, In the Civil War, by Ward L. Schrantz) Some of my family historians report that Mr. Humbard was almost raised by my relative. Proud of his service? hmmm...that depends on who killed who....a long time ago.

April 27, 2011 at 10:08 AM  

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