Missouri and Ozarks History

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

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Wild Bill and Disloyal Teachers

As regular readers of this blog have probably figured out by now, I spend a considerable amount of time just browsing through old records, looking not necessarily for anything in particular but for anything that strikes me as interesting. I recently ran across a couple of brief but interesting items from Union Provost Marshals' records.
The first concerns Wild Bill Hickok. On February 15, 1865, S.A. Harshbarger, a lieutenant in the 16th Missouri Cavalry Volunteers, wrote to the Southwest Missouri District headquarters at Springfield asking whether James B. Hickok, or "Wile Bill as he is cald," and another man named Jenkins were in the official employ of Brigadier General J.B. Sanborn, commanding the district. Harshbarger, who was stationed in Lawrence County, said Hickok and Jenkins had showed up at his camp claiming to be U.S. scouts on their way to Fort Scott but he thought they were acting suspicious. For one thing, they had started off to the north as though they, indeed, might be headed to Fort Scott but had turned back to the southeast as soon as they were out of sight of the camp. I don't know whether Harshabarger ever got an official reply to his letter of inquiry, but Hickok was, in fact, employed by Sanborn as a scout during late 1864 and early 1865.
The second item of interest concerned two female teachers accused of being disloyal. A man named J.W. McCullough reported on July 17, 1862, from Lawrence County that a Mrs. Trantham of Stone County was teaching "a regular Secesh school." McCullough said the woman was the wife of a strong secessionist and a strong rebel sympathizer herself. She was reportedly teaching "none but children of secessionists, for which she is pledged to take Confederate money." A Miss Haden, McCullough reported, was conducting a similar school in Lawrence County, where "treason is fully taught to the young."


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