Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of 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 fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Murder of Thomas Budd

I have mentioned before that the murder of Thomas Budd is one of the crimes often attributed to notorious Taney County guerrilla Alf Bolin. Budd is usually referred to as "Old Man Budd" and his age given as about eighty years old in the legendary accounts, but he was actually only about fifty-five years old at the time of his death, which no longer seems particularly old to this aging writer. According to the legend, Budd had made a trip from Christian County into Taney County to get a load of corn, was on his way back home, and had just crossed the White River when he was waylaid by Bolin's gang. He was supposedly forced to get out of his wagon and wade back into the river, where he was shot several times, and the current carried his body away after he was dead.
It may be true that Budd had ventured into Taney County from Christian County when he was killed, but the 1860 census lists him as living in Taney County. At any rate, he lived close to where southwest Christian County borders Taney County, in the present-day vicinity of Spokane. About the only other things that are known with some degree of certainty about this incident come from a statement given by Jacob Aleshire to a Union provost marshal.
Although the exact date of the document is unknown, the murder happened, according to Aleshire, sometime near the end of September 1861. Aleshire, who himself lived in southwest Christian County, said that Budd was at his house when about thirty men under David Jackson came to the house and took Budd away. Aleshire's statement is somewhat contradictory in that he first seems to say that Jackson himself was in charge of the band that came to his house. This cannot be true, however, since David Jackson was killed at Forsyth in July of 1861 during the skirmish in which Union general Thomas Sweeny ran the Southern forces out of town. Aleshire later says that Dan Hilliard was in command of the men who took Budd away. At any rate, Aleshire makes no mention whatsoever of Alf Bolin. It's quite possible that Bolin was among the band, but he almost certainly was not its leader.
Aleshire said that three days after Budd's abduction, he and some other men went out and found Budd's body on Camp Creek in Christian County (near present-day Highlandville) about a quarter of a mile from Green Gideon's place. The body had been burned and disfigured, the ears and nose having been cut off. Aleshire complained that, in addition to kidnapping and killing Budd, the gang also stole some store goods and some clothing from him and his family, including some shoes and a table cloth that belonged to his daughter. They also took Budd's horse and saddle.

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