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February 23, 2018

1956 College High School Yearbook Rhetorette Warrensburg, Missouri UCM

Click on the photo to enlarge...enjoy the memories....

Coach Clarence Whiteman, Dr. Emmet Ellis, 1956 Warrensburg, MO

Dr. Ammon D. Roberson, 100, Independence formerly of Warrensburg, passed away Feb. 14, 2015.

Ammon was born June 3, 1914, in a log cabin in Franklin County, Ill., the fourth of nine children of Ernest and Anna (Phillips) Roberson. He graduated from Benton (Ill.) High School, earned an Associate’s Degree from Graceland College and a B.S. in Music from UMC in Warrensburg before he was drafted into the U.S. Army during WW II. Shortly after induction, he formed an Army band in Abilene, Texas, whose members have kept in touch with each other every year at Christmas time. After serving in Italy during the war, he earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa and then his Doctorate in Music Education from Indiana University. He paid for all of his degrees by working his way through college. He lived in Warrensburg from 1955 through 2009, when he moved to the White Oak Living Center in Independence where he was assisted by his three nephews: Blake, Scott and Kent Roberson of Independence and Liberty.
He was a professor of music at the University of Central Missouri for many years. While at Indiana University and UMC, he trained future band directors. He was a member of the Community of Christ Warrensburg Congregation and had organized and led many church choirs over the years. He was a member of the Missouri Retired Teacher’s Association. Ammon was preceded in death by his wife, Nora Roberson.
He is survived by stepdaughter, Anne Johnson and husband, Mike, Baltimore, Md.; sister, Thelma Fugate, Charlotte, N.C.; grandchildren, Sarah Johnson, Ian Johnson; great-grandchildren Adrian Kaczmarek-Johnson, Emory Kaczmarek-Johnson; many other family members; and Ammon’s special friend, Susan Peterson.

David "Dave" Tackett bottom right

1861 August 4 William Menefee Gowin Enlists at Johnson County MO 27th Infantry

William Menefee Gowin / Missouri 27th Mounted Infantry - Union Army

William Menefee Gowin, son of Pollard Gowin & Polly Conner and 
William Menefee Gowin
Grandson of Joseph Gowin and Judith Pollard, enlisted in the Missouri 27th Mounted Infantry, Company E, under Captain Applegate on August 4, 1861 in Johnson County, Missouri. He was captured at the battle of Lexington (also known as the Battle of the Hemp Bales) on September 20, 1861. His company was mustered out of service on 27 Jan 1862 and he was listed at age 29.
This is the story of the 27th Infantry and what transpired during William’s service, the account of which was taken from the Missouri Historical Review, v. 8, by State Historical Society of Missouri, Published by State Historical Society of Missouri, 1914, original from Harvard University.
The people of Johnson County were almost evenly divided between the Whig and Democratic parties. The location of the county was outside of the great slaveholding belt of the country along the Missouri river, and, therefore, there was a large number of substantial small farmers settled there from the mountain regions of East Tennessee, Kentucky and the Carolinas, as well as a small number from the free states, who refused to own slaves and who were at heart opposed to that institution. The majority of these men were uncompromising Whigs.
On the other hand the Democrats were mainly large land owners and slaveholders, and were chiefly from Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and the other slave states. The prestige of wealth and social position was largely on the Democratic and also the secession side, but the Whigs, and Union men as well, were an uncompromising and numerous body of men, whose undaunted spirit could be depended upon in any emergency.
Early in 1861 an independent military company was organized in Warrensburg, for the avowed purpose of serving in the Union army. Emory S. Foster was the captain and Thos. W. Houts its first lieutenant. No military clothing was obtainable, and of necessity a uniform was adopted of red shirts and black pants, so the company was known as the "Red Shirt Company."
At that time there was stored in a room in the courthouse at Warrensburg one hundred muskets belonging to the state, which had been furnished to the county under the militia law of 1857, then in force. These arms were intended by the secession leaders to be used in overawing the Union men. But Foster and his men secured possession of them, and stood guard over them day and night. A demand was made on Foster for these arms, and he was threatened with prosecution if it was not acceded to, but he kept them fully loaded all the time for the use of his company, and afterwards turned them over to Col. Grover, who used them in arming his regiment.
By this time the Union men in Johnson county were fully organized, and what was afterwards the Twenty-seventh regiment of Missouri Mounted Infantry, United States Volunteers, was formed. B. W. Grover was unanimously chosen colonel, but declined the place in favor of his friend, Jacob Knaus. Grover was then chosen lieutenant-colonel; Emory S. Foster, major; Thomas W. Houts, quartermaster; and John J. Welshans, commissary.
Captains McGuire, Isaminger, M. U. Foster, Duncan, Applegate, Turley, Parker, Miller, McCluney, Ijams, Taylor, and Brown; and Lieuts. Shanks, Hall, Box, Starkey, Pease, W. L. Christian, Bird, Burnett, Gallaher, Keaton, Smiley, McCabe and Van Beek, with a thousand of the best and bravest young men in Johnson and Pettis counties, were organized into a regiment, which was called, for want of a better name, the Johnson County Home Guards. There were no United States mustering officers nearer than St. Louis, and no communication with them by rail nearer than Otterville, in Cooper county, with the state government in secession hands, so that nothing could be done but appoint rallying places and devise a code of signals, leaving each company in the neighborhood where it had been recruited.
Captains McGuire and Applegate were, therefore, stationed in what is now Grover township, in the northeastern part of the county, Capt. M. U. Foster at Warrensburg, Capt. Duncan at Kingsville, Capt. Turley at Dunksburg, Capt. Parker at Sedalia, Capt. Miller at Windsor, Capt. McCluney at Fayetteville, Capt. Isaminger in the southeastern part of the county on Clear Fork south of Knob Noster, Capt. Iiams at Cornelia, and Capts. Taylor and Brown at Chilhowee and Rose Hill. Such was the situation when Fort Sumter fell and also when Camp Jackson was taken on the 10th of May, 1861, by General Nathaniel Lyon and Colonel Frank P. Blair.
Then came a change in affairs. The crisis had come, and the Union army found its general in Nathaniel Lyon, who, had his life been spared, would have ranked among the greatest soldiers of the war. After capturing Camp Jackson, Lyon immediately organized a small command in St. Louis, and proceeded with it up the Missouri river.
Claiborne F. Jackson, then Governor, a secessionist, abandoned Jefferson City and fled south, first taking the precaution to empty the state treasury, and steal all the blankets from the state lunatic asylum at Fulton.
On the 17th of June, 1861, General Lyon reached Boonville with a small infantry and artillery force recruited in St. Louis, and there attacked and defeated a large number of secessionists, who were commanded by John S. Marmaduke, afterwards a Confederate general.
By this time, though the Twenty-seventh regiment had been enrolled, organized, and in active service, since the latter part of April, it had not been mustered in by any one possessing any authority from the United States to perform that act. In order to get into the service properly and regularly, Col. Grover rode alone across the country from Warrensburg to Boonville, a distance of seventy-five miles, to meet Gen. Lyon and procure the necessary authority from him to muster in his command. He arrived in time to act as volunteer aide to Gen. Lyon in the battle of Boonville, and received authority from that officer to immediately muster the Twenty-seventh into the service of the United States.
While he was thus absent, Gen. Sterling Price, then in command of the Missouri State Guards, as the secession troops were then called, arrived in Warrensburg on his way south from Lexington, retreating from Gen. Lyon's advance. Gen. Price was accompanied by only a small escort and was very sick, necessitating his riding in an ambulance. He remained in Warrensburg during the afternoon of June 18th, at the Bolton House in Old Town. Major Foster, Capt. Foster and Lieutenant Houts were in town that day with about twenty-eight men, but none of them had any legal authority to order the men. All matters were at that time submitted to a vote and the majority ruled, the ranking officer simply carrying out the will of the majority. The younger men in the command proposed to capture Price at dusk and hurry off with him to Lyon, but the older men would not agree to it, fearing reprisals from the large rebel force then retreating south. In the twilight, in the Colburn pasture in Old Town at Warrensburg, a vote was taken in Major Foster's hat. Thirteen voted yes, the three officers above named being among that number, and fifteen, no. Not long afterwards, Gen. Price and his escort left town in a hurry. Col. Grover arrived about midnight that night with ample authority, and at once ordered a pursuit. We chased that ambulance to the Henry county line, where, in the gray dawn of the 19th, it safely reached a rebel camp too large for our little squadron to attack. So passed away a great opportunity.
As soon as the men could be collected from the various parts of the county, a work requiring nearly two weeks' time, the entire regiment assembled in New Town, at Warrensburg, in the grove east of where Land, Fike & Go's mill now stands, and there, on the 4th day of July, 1861, it was mustered into the United States service by Col. Grover, for "three years or during the war." It then marched to Lexington, thirty-five miles distant, to meet a detachment from St. Louis of Gen. Lyon's rear guard and procure arms. Upon arriving there, it was found that the troops then due had not arrived, so Col. Knaus encamped the regiment near the Fair grounds south of town, and remained there several days, without terits or camp equipage, officers and men alike sleeping on the bare ground, in a drenching rain storm, with a scant supply of food, arms and ammunition.
In the meantime the rebels in Lexington, who could still muster a large force, formed a plan to capture the camp, and did seize and hold Capt. Foster, James M. Shepherd and several others who had gone into town for supplies. But, upon the appearance of two squadrons galloping into town, on parallel streets, one led by Col. Grover and the other by Major Foster, the prisoners were quickly released and their captors fled to the brush without firing a shot.
The storm, perhaps, prevented the attack on the camp that night, but on the next day Col. Chas. G. Stiefel arrived on a steamboat with a regiment of infantry from St. Louis, and supplied Col. Knaus with a lot of Belgian muskets, of an antiquated pattern, far more dangerous to the men using them than to the foe. A report was circulated over the rebel ' 'grapevine telegraph" that Col. Knaus had received no arms, so when the command arrived the next day but one, at Atkinson's, fifteen miles from Lexington, on the Warrensburg road, it was fired on from the brush by a large rebel force, and several men wounded. But the line soon formed, Col. Knaus leading the center, Col. Grover the right, and Major Foster and Captain Fred. Neet, of the Fourteenth Missouri, the left.
The rapid fire and spirited charge of Col. Knaus and his men soon dislodged the enemy, who broke and ran in all directions, closely pursued all that afternoon as far as Chapel Hill by Capt. Foster and Lieut. Box, with detachments of the mounted men. Upon arriving in Warrensburg the regiment went into camp at Camp Lyon, three miles southeast of town, in the Bear Creek valley, and there remained on active duty, scouting incessantly day and night until about August 20th, when it was ordered to Jefferson City.
It marched to Sedalia, and there the main portion, under Col. Grover, went east by rail, while Col. Knaus followed with the mounted detachment via the wagon road. While passing Lookout Station, or Centretown, on the railroad, while the train was moving through a deep cut, a band of rebel guerrillas fired from behind piles of cordwood on the edges of the cut on both sides down upon the heads of the men who were closely packed in stockcars. Several men were badly wounded, and one, Dan. Cecil, one of the best and bravest boys in Foster's Company, mortally.
Col. Grover, who was on the engine, rallied and formed the men as soon as possible, but the guerrillas, being well mounted, escaped, with the exception of three, whose horses broke loose before they could mount. These three were captured and shot, and several houses where the guerrillas had harbored were burned, and the train then moved on, reaching Jefferson City the same afternoon. On the next day but one, Col. Knaus arrived, not having been molested en route.
Soon after his arrival in Jefferson City, Col. Knaus, then advanced in years, resigned and went home. Col. Grover succeeded to the command of the regiment and was again tendered the colonelcy by an unanimous vote, but declined it in favor of his friend, James D. Eads. Major Foster recruited a picked detachment from the regiment under the personal supervision of Gen. Grant, and called it the Fremont Scouts. He was ordered into active service with this detachment in western Missouri, and Capt. William Beck succeeded him as Major. Col. U. S. Grant was then in command of the post at Jefferson City, and to him Col. Grover reported for duty. A strong friendship sprang up between them and there was also a marked personal resemblance, as they were almost exactly the same size, with the same complexion and the same colored hair and eyes. So, when Col. Grant received notice of his promotion to Brigadier-General, he gave to Col. Grover his uniform coat, which he had never worn, which the latter wore all through the battle and siege of Lexington, and was afterwards buried in it.
By order of Gen. Grant, the regiment was fully mounted, uniformed and equipped on the 1st day of September, 1861, and its proper name and number recorded, the Twenty-seventh Mounted Infantry Missouri Volunteers. It remained at Jefferson City, doing active and incessant service in the field as scouts, until Col. Mulligan, of the Twenty-third Illinois Infantry, who had succeeded Gen. Grant as post commander at Jefferson City, was ordered to Lexington by Gen. Fremont, who then commanded the department of Missouri. Col. Grover was detailed with parts of five companies, commanded by Capts. Maguire, Duncan, Applegate, Parker and McCluney, about three hundred men in all, to accompany Col. Mulligan to Lexington.
On the march, about one hundred men were cut off from the command at Dunksburg, and were dispersed and a large number captured by an overpowering rebel force, so that less than two hundred of the Twenty-seventh actually participated in the battles and siege of Lexington from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20, 1861. These men, however, were at the front, and led by their brave officers, fought Price's advance, themselves forming Mulligan's rear guard all the way from Georgetown, via Warrensburg, to Lexington, a distance of sixty-five miles, without rest or rations, and without dismounting a man, except those who were killed and wounded in the repeated and sharp engagements. When the heroic Mulligan fortified Lexington in order to hold it, as he was directed to do, the Twenty-seventh were stationed, with the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Missouri and the First Illinois Cavalry, on the bluff overlooking the river, while the Twenty- third Illinois Infantry occupied the works surrounding the college.
The most desperate hand-to-hand fighting then ensued around these works, between the little band of less than three thousand Union soldiers, every man a hero, and Price's army of more then twenty thousand men. For eight days and nights, without cessation, this unequal contest raged. It was terminated at last by the capture of the brave Mulligan and his devoted men, through the cowardice of an officer who did not belong to either the Twenty-seventh, Thirteenth or Fourteenth Missouri, the First Illinois Cavalry or the Twenty- third Illinois Infantry, who, without any orders, ran up a white flag, and let the enemy into a commanding position inside of the works.
No better fighting was ever done by any soldiers, in any war, than by the Twenty-seventh at Lexington. Of its officers, Col. Grover and Capt. McCluney received mortal wounds, from which Col. Grover died in St. Louis on the 31st of October, 1861, and Capt. McCluney at his home in Johnson county afterwards. Captains Duncan, Maguire, Parker and Applegate were all wounded, and about one-half of the command were either killed or wounded in this siege.
Long before the surrender, the whole force had been completely surrounded and cut off from water, so that, when Col. Grover fell, never to rise again, in the thickest of the fight, on the afternoon of September 20, he had been continuously on duty and in the battle for sixty consecutive hours, during all of which time not a morsel of food nor a drop of water had passed his lips.
While their brave comrades were thus being overpowered at Lexington, Col. Eads, in command of the remaining seven companies of the Twenty-seventh, formed the advance guard of Veatch's brigade of Hovey's division of the army of the west, afterwards the frontier, then being organized, and marched to Lamine bridge, near Otterville, where it was encamped. Col. Eads was detailed as Post Commander at Syracuse, and Major Beck sent to Sedalia, leaving Capt. Isaminger in command of the regiment.
There were, at this time, two splendid divisions of Indiana Infantry with Cockifair's Battery of four twelve-pound Napoleon guns, all under the command of Col. Jeff. C. Davis, at the Lamine bridge. The regimental officers were such men as Cols. Davis, Veatch, Hovey and Benton, who afterwards rose to high rank in the service. With these were the seven companies of the Twenty-seventh, under Col. Eads, well drilled, mounted and equipped, and thoroughly familiar with the country, the whole command numbering nearly eight thousand men. That these troops would have raised the siege at Lexington and defeated Price, there can be no question. So eager were they to go that their officers could scarcely restrain them. Major Foster, at the head of the Fremont Scouts, drove in the enemy's pickets on the Warrensburg road, close to Lexington, a week before the surrender, and sent one of his men, Frank Johnson, of Warrensburg, into the entrenchments with a message to Col. Mulligan concealed in the sole of his shoe. Johnson went in and out safely, and brought a message back in the same manner from Mulligan to Fremont, stating that he, Mulligan, was surrounded by an overwhelming force, but was "holding the fort," as ordered, and would do so until overpowered, and calling for immediate re-inforcements.
Major Foster took that message to St. Louis, and was turned away from the door of Fremont's headquarters by his Hungarian guard, to whom the English language was an unknown tongue. He then hunted up Col. Frank P. Blair, who was an intimate friend of Col. Grover, and the two were finally admitted to Gen. Fremont's presence, and the whole situation laid before him.
Col. Davis, on the 16th, sent two scouting parties of the Twenty-seventh, under the command of Capt. Foster and Lieut. Box, from Lamine bridge to see if the roads to Lexington were clear. Foster chased in the enemy's pickets five miles from Lexington, on the Sedalia road, and Box did the same thing on the River road, and both returned on the morning of the 18th to Sedalia, and reported those facts to Col. Davis. Davis almost burnt the telegraph wire down with repeated messages to Fremont, beseeching him for marching orders, yet they never came. Had they been issued as late as the 18th, the siege would have been raised, and Mulligan saved on the morning of the 20th beyond a doubt, as the surrender did not take place until late in the afternoon of that day. This useless sacrifice of these brave men at Lexington is a stain upon the military record of John C. Fremont that time will never efface.
The distance between Lamine bridge and Lexington was only sixty-five miles. The roads were in good condition, and the country abounded with ample supply of both food and forage. Blair, who up to this time had been the friend of Fremont, now became his relentless foe. The speech of Blair in Congress, entitled: "Fremont's one hundred days in Missouri," aroused the country and drove Fremont from power. It has no rival in English literature, except the great arraignment of Warren Hastings, by Edward Burke, in the English Parliament. The survivors at Lexington in the Twenty- seventh could not be exchanged at that early day, so their services were lost to that regiment.
Col. Eads was then assigned to duty as Post Commander at Georgetown, and the regiment remained in the field under Major Beck and Capt. Isaminger, taking part in the vainglorious march and inglorious retreat of Fremont from Sedalia to Springfield and return. No one in the army or out of it were more heartily rejoiced over the downfall of Fremont than the remnant of the gallant Twenty-seventh, when that news reached them on the road between those two places.
The Fremont Scouts were engaged in a number of brilliant fights with the enemy in the Fall of 1861. They met the Whitley family of guerrillas, in a hand-to-hand set to, on Clear Fork, and completely routed them, driving them into Henry county in wild confusion. In this fight Morris Foster's horse ran away with him, causing him to outrun his comrades, and overtake and capture the Rebel Captain, who was acting as rear guard for his retreating companions. They went to the relief of Col. Hough at the California ford, west of War- rensburg, riding the forty-two miles from Sedalia to that place in less than six hours, and rescued that brave officer, after he had received a disabling wound and had been completely surrounded by a superior force. Foster, with ten of them, captured Col. Lewis, a Confederate officer on recruiting service, and fifteen of his men, at Holden, and brought the whole party safely into our lines. They joined forces with a squadron of the First Missouri Cavalry under Major Henry J. Stierlein, and recaptured 1,200 cattle belonging to a government train, the wagons having been burned before their arrival, rescued the guard, put the guerrillas engaged in the affair to flight after a sharp encounter, in which Dave Greenlee, a former resident of Warrensburg, was killed, and drove the herd overland to Fort Leavenworth, there turning over to the United States quartermaster at that post 1440 head of work oxen in tip-top condition.
The remainder of the regiment fought guerrillas, from the Missouri to the Osage rivers, almost every day in the week. In December, 1861, it took part in the Pope expedition, and participated in the engagement at Milford, where a part of two of its companies (Isaminger's and Foster's), with four companies of regular United States Cavalry, under Col. J. C. Davis, and without either infantry or artillery support, surprised and captured a recruiting camp of 1300 rebels, under Col. Alexander, and marched the whole of that long line under guard to Sedalia, sleeping most of the time on the bare ground in the snow, with the temperature near zero.
In this campaign Capt. Foster, with seventeen men of Company C of the Twenty-seventh, attacked a picket of thirty-three Confederates near Bear Creek, on the Sedalia road, one night, and chased them more than three miles to the outskirts of Warrensburg, killing five and wounding several more, without the loss of a man. He surprised the "Johnnies" around their camp fire, and they fled pell-mell into town at the first fire, with the report that Pope's whole army was coming and not far away.
Col. Clarkson (Confederate) had 1500 men at Warrensburg, but he immediately struck out for Rose Hill, and thus escaped capture by Pope's advance guard, who were moving up the Fort Scott road, some twelve miles south of Warrensburg. Instead of receiving any credit for this exploit, Foster was sharply reprimanded for flushing the game before it could be bagged. But if the First Cavalry on the Fort Scott road had moved as promptly according to orders as Foster did, Clarkson would have been surely captured at Warrensburg.
Upon its return to Sedalia the regiment was ordered to Benton Barracks, St. Louis. Upon its arrival there it found Gen. W. T. Sherman in command. This great soldier was temporarily shelved, because in an unguarded moment he had said that it would require a force of 600,000 men to suppress the rebellion. There, on the 27th of January, 1862, the remnant of the Twenty-seventh Missouri was mustered out. So continuous and severe had been its service since April, 1861, that only 469 men answered to their names on the muster-out roll, as the remaining 531 had been killed, wounded or captured while serving in the field and at the front.
For William, the specific details of this battle and the service provided by Company E are provided on the muster-out rolls. Written at Benton Barracks on 27 Jan 1862 is the following from the muster-out roll card for Company E, 27th Missouri Mounted Infantry:

"After the organization of this company, upon a three year basis, they processed their arms from LieutCol. Grover by order of Gen. Lyon and commenced service 4 August 1861 until the command of Capt. Applegate after their organization were marched to Jefferson City, MO. August 19, 1861 under the command of LieutCol. Grover from Jefferson City, August 20th, 1861 marched to Osage river to guard Railroad bridge across that river. About August 24, 1861 returned to Jefferson City on the 26th of August such members of this company as were mounted were detached under command. LieutCol. Grover with the 1st Illinois Cavalry Col. Marshall to march to Lexington to re-inforce the union forces at that city Dunksbury (sp), Pettis Co., MO. this company was ordered on a scout to Johnson County, MO ten miles south at Knobnoster were attacked by a body of the enemy lost several horses but no men killed or wounded. Overtook the main command north of Blackwater and proceeded with them to Lexington attached to the command of Col. Marshall. Marched to Warrensburg in Johnson Co., about Sept 8th, 1861, but finding the enemy in force in the vicinity of that place fell back the same evening closely pursued by the enemy burnt Blackwater bridge which retarded their progress this detachment of Company E participated in the nine days fight defending that city against a vastly superior force, but were finally obliged to surrender losing their arms and equipments and horses on the 4th day of August in connection with the Regt. was doing services wholy without tents or clothing sufficient to shield them from the weather or of equipment to hold their ammunition or utensils to properly cook their rations."
Anonymous said...
Thomas Jefferson Gowin is my Great Grandfather, how do I get in touch with you? Very well researched and written. Thank you
RG said...
Regarding Thos. Jefferson Gowin as your great-grandfather, please send me an email to: familyblogpost at gmail dot com

February 19, 2018

Charlie Richardson Emancipated Slave born in 1854? at Warrensburg, Missouri - 1938 Interview

Charlie Richardson, Warrensburg, Missouri Slave
Johnson County. 1938 Recorded Interview
Slave narratives, a folk history of slavery in the United States from interviews with former slaves. Missouri Narratives, Volume X--Charlie Richardson. Ex-slave. 
Charlie Richardson, an ex-slave from Warrensburg Missouri, had some very blunt comments about the institution (of slavery):
Audio Quote from Transcript
"We called it 'putting them on the stump.' But the 'stump' was neither a block or a stump, it was a big wooden box. We always knew when they were going to sell because they would let them lay around and do nothing. Fattening them up for market." 
Audio Transcript Link 5.34 length

Charlie Richardson followed his master, a Confederate officer from Virginia, through several battles in the Civil War before the officer returned home and Richardson drifted to Fayetteville.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks Slavery's Echoes: Interviews with Former Missouri Slaves. Please give credit to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Missouri State Museum. Link
Missouri Narratives, Volume X--Charlie Richardson. Ex-slave.
Glasgow, MO Paper  25 Aug 1859, pg.3
100 Negroes Wanted
CHARLIE RICHARDSON Ex-Slave 1938 Interview (at residence)
Mother: Ann Dowle Smith Richardson
512 N. Rone Street

Webb City,Missouri
By Bernard Hinkle, Joplin, MO  1938
Well, Charlie, let us sit right down here on this bench and chat awhile. Mr. Hal M. Wise, editor of "The Sentinel" here in Webb City, told me about you.

You won't mind if I ask you a few personal questions about the days of slavery will you? No Sah I'd be glad to tell you anything I know. 
Thank you Charlie. 
The first thing I would like to ask is your name Charles, Charlie or Charley? Everybody calls me Charlie.

Where were you born Charlie? I was born at Warrensburg, Missouri.

What year were you born in Charlie? They always said I was born in March. Didn't never give no day. Jest March.

The Missouri Compromise

A serious argument over slavery took place in Congress when Missouri asked to be admitted to the Union in 1819. Missouri was a territory making up part of the Loui­siana Purchase. Many settlers in Missouri came from southern states. Slavery was allowed in Missouri.

At that time, there were exactly the same number of "free" states (states which did not allow slavery) as there were "slave" states (states which did allow slavery). This meant that there was a balance of power in the United States Senate, where all states are represented equally. The "free" states had a majority in the House of Representatives because the northern states had a larger population than the southern states.

When Missouri's request to be admitted reached Congress, a northern Congressmen proposed that it should be admitted only if it promised to free its slaves. Southerners in Congress angrily replied that the North had no right to require this.
In December 1819, Maine also asked to be admitted to the Union. The House of Representatives was ready to approve Maine's request. There was no slavery in Maine. However, at first the Senate would not allow Maine to enter the Union. Southern senators refused to admit Maine as a free state unless the northern senators would agree to admit Missouri as a slave state.
In 1820 Henry Clay of Kentucky helped arrange a compromise that allowed both Maine and Missouri to enter the Union. By means of the Missouri Compromise, as the new agreement was called, several laws were passed. Congress admitted Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. Slavery had now spread to one more state. At the same time, Congress drew a line westward across what was left of the Louisiana Purchase. This line, set at 36° 30' North latitude, divided free and slave territory. In the future, any states formed north of the line would be free states. Any new states formed south of the line would be open to slavery. Link
How old were you when the Civil War broke out? I don't remember exactly but I were seven they said.

How old are you now? The old-age pension man said I was 86 this year.

Now Charlie, please give me the name of your parents and where came from? My Ma's name was Ann Smith, the first time, cause my Pappy was Charlie Smith. Then my Pappy died and my Ma married a man named Charlie Richardson. He was my step-Pappy so I took his name. Both my own Pappy and my step-Pappy were were just plain negroe's and born in Warrensburg, but my Ma was a Black Hawk Indian girl, kinder light in color and purtty. Her Ma was a full-blooded Black Hawk and she married to Grandaddy Richard Dowle,which was my Ma's name 'fore she married.
Tell me Charlie, did you have any brothers or sisters? Yes Sah, I had two sisters and five brothers but none ain't here now.
Describe your home and "quarters" the best you can? Log Cabins that's what they was. All in a long row-piles of'em. They was made of good old Missouri logs daubed with mud and the chimney was made of sticks daubed with mud. Our beds was poles nailed to sticks standing on the floor with cross sticks to hold the straw ticks.

How did most of you cook—in the cabins or in the "big house"? Most of the negroes cooked in the cabins but my Mammy was a house girl and lots of times fetched my breakfast from the Masters house, Most of the negroes, though, cooked in or near the cabins. They mostly used dog irons and skillets, but when they went to bile anything, they used tin buckets.

What food did you like best Charlie. I mean, what was your favorite dish? It warn't no dish. It ware jest plain hoe cake mostly. No dishes or dish like we has nowadays, No Sah, this here hoe cake was plain old white corn meal battered with salt and water. Hoe grease.

How much grease? Jest 'nough to keep it from stickin'. This here hoe cake was fried jest like flap-jacks,only it were not. Hot flap-jacks I mean. When we didn't have hoe cake we had ask cake. Same as hoe cake only it was biled. Made of cornmeal, salt and water and a whole shuck,with the end tied with a string. We never had no flap-jacks in the cabins. No Sah! Flap-Jacks was something special for only Master Mat Warren and the Missis. That makes me remember a funny story about flap-jacks. My Ma brought some flap-jack stuff down to the cabin one day you knowt jest swiped it from the house where she worked. Well, Ma was frying away to git me something special like when she hears the Missis comin' with her parrot. So, Ma hides them flap-jacks right quick. Soon the Missis come in our cabin and was talkin to my Mammy when that crazy old parrot he begin to get fussy like something was wrong. He were a smart parrot and outside, generally called us all "niggers, niggers". Well Sah, he kept squawking and the Missis kept savin, shut up! shut up!, what's the matter with you?"

Purtty soon the Missis go over to sit in a chair Ma had with a big pad in it. and before the Missis could set down that crazy parrot begun to yell, "Look out Mam,it hot', look out, Look out!". The Missis turned to my and said "What's the matter here?" My Ma answered,"Taint. nothin" the matter Missis. And then that fool parrot hollows agin,"It's hot! It's hot's And sure'nough the missis she get a peek at a flap-jack stickin'

through under the pad, where Ma hid them. And Ma almost got a good lickin fer that. That parrot could out-talk Marster Warren and wouldn't eat anything we would give him cause he was afraid of being poisoned by us "niggers". They use to tie him out in the field to watch the negroes at work, and when he went in the house at night Ma said he would hollow and yell the most unholy lies about those "niggers" and what they tried to do to him. Sometime we'd get him to drink some whey milk, the Marster bad given us when it was so sour it would make a hog squeal. The parrot would call us some awful' names for doing that.
Clothing of Slaves
What clothing did the older boys and men wear Charlie? Big boys and grown folks wore jeans and domestic shirts. We little kids wore jest a gown. In the winter time we wore the same only with brogans with the brass toes.

You said awhile ago that they gave you "Whey" milk. That's a very poor grade of milk isn't it? Yes Sah, It's the poorest kind of poor milk. It ain't even milk. It's what is left behin, when the milk is gone. 

And coffee. How about coffee. Didn't you have any coffee to drink? We has coffee some time, but it ware made of burned corned meal. Once in awhile the slaves while makin' coffee for Marster Mat out of the wheat would burn a pan purposely and he would give it to them to make coffee with. That was purtty good coffee. Some time they got whupped for burnin' it, cause he knowed they burned it too much for his coffee, on purpose—jest so they'd git it.

Now Charlie, you said you were born in Warrensburg, Missouri. Were you born on Mat Warren's place? Yes Sah.
How many slaves did Mr. Warren have?
150 I understand they sold off attractive women slaves and husky men. 
How is it they didn't sell your Mother? She ware a house girl. Purtty and light in color,so they wanted to keep her for that job.

Did they sell your father? "Yes Sah, they did. That is, they sold my step-Pappy as my own Pappy was dead"

Speaking about your step-Pappy being sold reminds me: They say that the expression" selling slaves on the block" is not true. That is not always true? We never had no "block" on Mat Warren's place. We calls it "puttin'em on the stump". But the "stump" were neither block nor stump, it were a box. Big wooden box.
I have heard it said that some slaves brought big prices. Tell me, if you will, how much your step-Pappy was sold for?
Well Sah, there was some buyers from south Texas was after to buy my step-Pappy for two years runnin!, but the Marster would never sell him. So one time they comes up to our place at buying time( that was about once every year) and while buying other slaves they asked Mat Warren if he wouldn't sell my step-Pappy, cause he was a sure 'nough worker in the field—the best man he had and he could do more work than three ordinary men. But the Marster tried to git rid of that buyer agin by saying I don't take no old offer of $2,000 for Charlie, and I won't sell under $2,055. The buyer he said right quick like. "Sold right hare". So that's how he come to leave us and we never seed him agin. Like to broke my Mammy up, but that's the way we slaves had it. We didn't let ourselves feel too bad, cause we knowed it would come that way some time. 

Slave auction flyer
But my Ma she liked that Charlie and she feeled it mos, We always knowed when they was going to sell, cause they would let them lay around and do nothing. Jest feed them and git fat. They even smeared their faces with bacon rine to make 'am look greasy and well fed afore the salt. They never had no grease to eat only now and then Mat Warren he makes it look like them nigger is well fed and cared for the buyers would stick pins in 'em and examine their teeth like horses.
By the way Charlie, what kind of jails did they have in those days?
They never had no jails. Your back was the jail, When you done something serious Marster Mat Warren called in the "whuppers" and they made your back bleed and then rubbed salt into the skin. After that they chained you to a tree and let you suffer.

What did you do as a child around the place? I carried in the water and wood to the Missis house and helped Ma.

What time did you all get up in the morning? A big bell hanging in the center of all the cabins rang at 4 A.M. and then most of the grown folks worked from dawn till eleven at night. We never had no Saturday's off like they do now. Nor no Sunday's off neither.

What kind of house did the Master live in?

The Marster he have a very fine home. About ten rooms, built of common brick. It ware a very purtty house; great big like.

What did you do,Charlie, after work at night? Mostly, go to bed. We kids did early. But I wake up lots of times and hear my Ma and Pappy praying for freedom. They do that many times. I hear it said that Abraham Lincoln hears some slaves praying at a sneaked meetin' one time, askin' the Good Lord for freedom. And it is believed that Abraham Lincoln told them, that if he were President he would free them.

Did you ever play any games or dance any? No! No games, no play, only work. We had to be mighty careful we I didn't use a pencil or any paper or read out where the Marster could see us. He would sure lick us fer that.

What do you think of Abraham Lincoln?

I think he ware the greatest man in the world.

Do you remember much about the war Charlie? Not very much. I was only seven then, but I remembers that those Bushwhackers came to steal my Master's money but he wouldn't tell where he hid it. Said he didn't have any. They said he was telling a lie cause no man could have so many salves and not have some money. He did have 150 slaves but he wouldn't tell where the money was hid. So they burned his feet, but he still wouldn't tell 'em he had hid it in the orchard. No Sah! He jest didn't tell. Them Bushwackers though, were not so bad as them Union soldiers. They took all our horses and left us old worn out nags; even took my horse I use to ride.
What was the first thing you done after the war was over and you found yourself free, Charlie? We went right to next farm and rented land from Buck Towers and farmed, until Ma died. Then I went to Fayetteville and worked at odd jobs there awhile. I worked too, on the Fayetteville College building. I stayed around Fayetteville 40 years. I was married when I first went there to a light colored woman. A Cherokee Indian. We had seven children, all girls. Only one is livin' now. She is the one I live with in Webb City, Missouri. I don't live with my wife now. My daughter's name is Mrs. Sam Cox. Her husband Sam Cox works at a garage in Webb. They have seven children too. Two girls, five boys, all living.
When I was married I was a coachman and wore my coach clothes—Bee-gum hat (colloquial high silk hat), black double-breasted flap tailed coat and black broadcloth pants. My shoes were low and had beads all over the front. I looked like Booker T. Washington. 
Charlie Richardson's Coachman's Outfit would have
been similar to this. Beegum /Bee-gum Hat
And I like him most next to Abraham Lincoln.

I use to work for Judge Brown in Fayetteville as coachman.Then I come here and worked for Mrs Louise Corn of Webb City for 13 years. I ain't workin' now, only firin' the boiler for the First National flank in winter. My son-in-law Sam Cox, he works at the Bank on the side and I help him a little. Mostly, I'm jest a man about town.

Now, tell me in passing, Charlie, do you remember any men passing through your place in Warrensburg, looking for escaped slaves? Yes I remember some tough men driving like mad through our place many times,with big chains rattling- We called them slave hunters. 
Slave Patrols Link
They always came in big bunches. Five and six together on horse back. Patrollers they was. 
They were almost as bad to us as them outlaws who used to come by and eat up all Marser Warren's chickens. There was some Texas bad men, too. John Held, The Webb Boys (history), and Little Preston Smith. But, I'm sure glad it is all over now, but we didn't git nothin' out of it like we expected. We thought they was go in to divide up the farms and give us some of it. No Sah. They was so mad at us for beg being freed that they got rid of us as soon as they could, and we was only too glad to go. I gits a small old-age pension now and live purtty quiet like, but I tell you Sah, times ain't like they use to be. These her young negroes—I don't think so much of anyhow.
Bernard Hinkle
Joplin, Missouri
January 27, 1938
1820s         0
1830s         0
1840s    556 
1850s    879 
1860s 1,896*
Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Missouri State Museum.
*Slaveholders in Johnson County 465
April 10, 1954
Charles "Charlie" Richardson, 94 years old, died today in a hospital at Fulton, Mo., where he had been a patient for the last eight years. He was widely known in Webb City, where he lived with his daughter's family for 18 years, and was employed by the late Tom Coyne. He was born in slavery near Warrensburg, Mo., to Sarah and Charles Richardson in 1857. When he was 6 or 7 years old the slave owners moved to a farm near Neosho. After he was grown, he worked as a horse trainer at Fort Smith, Ark., and could recall Belle Starr and many notorious characters of the early days. In 1920, he came to Webb City to make his home with his daughter, and lived here until senility made it necessary that he be admitted to the Fulton hospital.

Title  Emancipation Ordinance of Missouri. An ordinance abolishing slavery in Missouri. Allegorical print commemorating the ordinance providing for the immediate emancipation of slaves in Missouri. (See also no. 1865-1.) The ordinance was passed on January 11, 1865, three weeks before the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was proposed by Congress. Female personifications of Liberty (left), Justice (below), and Missouri (right) are set in the niches of an ornate architectural framework. Liberty wears a blue cape and liberty cap, holds a sprig of oak leaves, and is accompanied by an eagle. Missouri, in a red cape, raises a palm branch in her right hand and with her left grasps a yoke that she breaks under her foot. Justice is seated, blindfolded, and holds a sword and scales. She is flanked by two putti, one white and one black, each holding a document. The white child's document is labeled "Natural Philosophy" and the black child's "Rights of Man." On the left is a small vignette of a rural scene with a man, woman, cow, goat, vineyard, and wheat field. On the right is the state capitol building at Jefferson. In the topmost register are the Missouri state arms and other emblematic devices. The printed legend continues: "Be it ordained by the people of the State of Missouri in Convention assembled That hereafter in this State there shall be neither slavery not involuntary servitude, except in punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, and all persons held to service or labor as slaves are hereby DECLARED FREE," followed by signatures of the delegates.