Pages 21-24, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 21

The War Period

As soon as the news of the breaking out of the Rebellion reached Allen County nearly all the ablebodied men hastened to enlist in defense of the Union. In 1861 the Iola Battalion was formed, and from the county were three companies, commanded by Captains Coleman, Flesher, and Killen, which served in the Ninth Kansas. In the Tenth Kansas Regiment were two companies, one commanded by Capt. W. C. Jones, and the other by Capt. N. B. Blanton.

The county being on the southern border of the State, it was considered in danger of invasion from the Missouri guerrillas and the hostile Indians of the Territory. The scene of most of the military operations in the county were in and about Humboldt. In the summer of 1861 a company was organized there with N. B. Blanton, Captain; S. J. Stewart, First Lieutenant. J. H. Signor was afterward Second Lieutenant. Capt. Isaac Tibbets organized a company of infantry, and Capt. I. N. Phillips a company of Cavalry. During the same summer a regiment was organized in Allen and Woodson counties. Orlin Thurston was Colonel; James Kennar, Lieutenant Colonel; and N. S. Goss, Major. This was the Seventh Kansas Regiment, for the defense of Kansas, and was under the command of Gen. J. H. Lane. While this regiment was with Lane in Missouri there were but very few men left at home to protect the settlements, and the most of the farming and other work for the maintenance of the families of the soldiers was done by the women and children.

SACKING OF HUMBOLDT.—While the Allen County soldiers were away with Lane, a raid was made on the unprotected settlement of Humboldt on September eight, 1861 by a band of Missouri guerrillas, Cherokee Indians, and Osage half-breed Indians, under command of Captains Matthews and Livingstone. Matthews had been a trader among the Indians, had married an Osage squaw, and lived where Oswego now is. He had great influence among the Osages and incited them to take sides with the Southern Confederacy. At Humboldt they sacked the stores and dwellings, carrying off all the money and valuables they could find without resistance, all the men being absent.

BURNING OF HUMBOLDT.—At the time of the raid in September, Dr. George A. Miller was absent trying to obtain authority to organize a company of Home Guards. He succeeded in this, and on his return organized a company of infantrymen in the town, which was composed of old men, boys, and a few of the militiamen who had returned to Humboldt as soon as they learned of the raid, to help protect their defenseless families. A company of cavalry was also organized in the neighborhood, composed

22 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

of farmers, and commanded by Capt. Henry Dudley. These companies accompanied by Col. J. G. Blunt, went in pursuit of the guerrillas, and succeeded in overtaking them, when a skirmish took place, during which the outlaw, Capt. Matthews was killed. The Home Guards returned, and for several days the cavalry was sent out regularly as a scouting party, it being feared that another attack would be made on the town. The infantry remained at home and were always upon guard. Soon, however, there appearing to be no danger, the cavalry were allowed to return to their homes. Late in the afternoon of the Fourteenth of October, 1861, a body of Rebel Cavalry under command of Col. Talbott, dashed into Humboldt. The Home Guards, comprising less than 100 men, were taken completely by surprise, and it was impossible for Capt. Miller to get them together. The town was soon filled with armed men, who kept up a continual firing of guns and pistols. A few of the men by running succeeded in making their escape, but the others were soon captured and placed under guard. It was supposed they would all be shot by the outlaws and the Indians who accompanied them. The only resistance offered was by Capt. Miller and Charles Baland. The Captain finally gave up his arms, pleading that the women and children might be saved, even though he expected to be murdered. The town was then set on fire, but before this was done, the Rebel officer ordered his men to allow the women and children to remove their valuables and household goods from their dwellings, and even ordered them to assist. The rebel officers claimed that Humboldt was burned in retaliation for the burning of Osceola, by Gen. Lane, and the killing of Matthews. Nearly all the buildings were then set on fire. The churches were saved, also the Masonic Hall. Of the other buildings not set on fire was the house of Dr. Wm. Wakefield, who, when he saw that he was in the power of the enemy, invited the officers to take supper with him. Among them was Capt. Livingstone. A few other houses were saved where there were women too sick to be moved. Among these was the residence of Col. Thurston, whose wife was unwell, and Mrs. Goodin, the wife of Hon. J. R. Goodin, who sent her to bed and told the Rebels she was too sick to be moved. The land office and court house building was set on fire, but after the departure of the Rebels the fire was extinguished, but not until many valuable papers among the records were destroyed. Coffey's store was set on fire, but the Rebels had in their excitement poured out a barrel of black molasses, thinking it to be tar, and this did not burn very well, besides which Mrs. Coffey had just been washing, and the wet clothes were thrown over the burning portion, extinguishing the fire. The raiders did not stay long, departing early in the evening. The men they had captured were taken a short distance and then released. They returned in time to help save some of the burning buildings. During the entire time the women behaved nobly. By their coolness they succeeded in making the invaders believe an armed force was on the way from Iola, therefore they hastened their departure. The land office had just been opened, with J. C. Burnett, Register. He managed to speak to his sister Miss Kate Burnett, now Mrs. S. N. Simpson, telling her to save

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 23

$25,000.00 in land warrants that were in the office. Obtaining permission to go to the office for a candle, she secured the warrants and dropped them on the prairie in the high grass. Judge J. R. Goodin and his wife had been absent all day, gathering wild grapes, and were just approaching the town from the west. The judge jumped out of the vehicle and told his wife to drive away, but instead of this she went to Mrs. Thurston's residence and aided in saving it. Numerous other heroic acts were performed by the women. The better portion of the town was entirely destroyed. There were only a few buildings left, and some of these were badly damaged by the fire. The only man killed was a farmer, Seachrist, who was running away trying to save his mules. He was ordered to stop, but not doing so, he was shot and fatally wounded. All the horses that could be found were taken by the Rebels. Besides this but little property was stolen, and outside the town no damage whatever was done. The Rebel force numbered 331 men who were all well mounted and thoroughly armed.

After the burning of Humboldt it was considered to be in danger, and a military post was established there. There were no events of note until the Price raid in 1864. The militia of the county was organized into a battalion, known as the Allen County Battalion, and was composed of six companies, three from Iola and the northern part of the county, two from Humboldt, and one from the extreme southern part of the county. The officers were: C. P. Twiss, Colonel; Watson Stewart, Major. Among the Captains were J. M. Moore and G. DeWitt of Humboldt, and D. C. Newman, of the southern part of the county. This regiment comprised all of the able bodied men in the county, between the ages of sixteen and sixty years. The militia force of the entire Neosho Valley were commanded by Major General J. B. Scott, of LeRoy, and under him the Allen County Battalion was ordered to Fort Scott. At the military post of Humboldt a block house was built, and a small force of the eleventh Kansas stationed there under command of Major Haas. Besides this force, Captains Moore, DeWitt and Newman, under command of Major Watson Stewart, were left to protect the town against invasion. All remained at Humboldt except Captain Newman's company, which acted as scouts and was stationed at Big Creek. Major Haas ordered this company to come to Humboldt, which Captain Newman refused to do. This gave rise to considerable difficulty between the two officers. Major Haas had charge of the government supplies of rations, etc., which he refused to issue to the Big Creek company until it should remove to Humboldt. The stores were kept at the German Church, in charge of a Sergeant. Newman's company being out of rations Major Stewart made a requisition on the post commander for five day's rations for the company which was refused. Major Stewart then ordered the Captain to help himself to the rations and receipt to the Sergeant. This was done, upon which Major Haas ordered Major Stewart and Captain Newman under arrest. It was impossible, however, to carry out this order, as the militia all took sides with their own officers. After the militia disbanded Captain Newman was arrested but was released the

24 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

next day. After the companies under Major Stewart had remained in camp three weeks they were ordered to Ft. Scott, leaving Captain Newman and his company, and a few colored men under Captain E. Gilbert at the Humboldt post. During the entire period of the war there were a great many loyal Indians scattered over the county, they having been driven from the Indian Territory by the Indians who were in sympathy with the rebels.

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Pages 21-24, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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