Rockville and the Civil War,

Miami Co. Kansas

At the time of the Civil War, there were about 60 families living in Sugar Township. All able-bodied men were called into the service during that struggle. Even the men too old for service, were ushered into the State Militia. Missouri fought on the side of the confederacy and this little band of people settled on the Kansas side, proudly flew the union flag for Abraham Lincoln.

A stockade was built around the old stone church at Rockville. Then the land was almost bare of trees, and today, with its dense underbrush it is hard to visualize it as a prairie with these high bluffs. A lookout tower was built at the top of the stockade and from this vantage point you could see for miles. When Prices army was defeated at the Battle of Westport, they began retreating down the state line. The main armies staying on the Missouri side; but he sent skirmishing troops scattered over the Kansas side. From atop the lookout on the stockade the troops were sighted, long before they arrived.

All the people of this little community were residing within the stockade; that was: boys, girls, little children, women, and men too old to fight. When Prices troops were sighted coming their way, everyone began carring everything they could down the hills and hid it along the banks of Sugar Creek.

As they had several hours advantage by seeing the troops from the lookout, they had hidden much of their possessions and food, and themselves. The State Militia called to Old Mission during the Battle of Westport were hard on the heels of Prices' armies, but the troops of the enemies were between them and their homes, wives, mothers and children.

The troops raided the stockade of Rockville, but were in such a hurry, with the militia coming, that they no doubt would have searched the hills too, but instead took the horses. William Shannon lost five horse to them.

Fifteen men were killed during the Civil War from this area. That meant one man in every four families. That was a high mortality rate. Doc Binkley was killed at the battle of Lone Jack. Prices armies were caught up within Linn Co. and were again fighting a retreating battle. This took place near Pleasanton, Kansas.

Taken from Early History of Sugar Creek, by J. H. Rhea in 1919 Star Files, Drexel, Mo.

J. H. Rhea was my g.g.uncle. He was a Methodist Episcopal minister, a school teacher, justice of the peace, farmer and the 1888 Miami Co. representative to the Kansas State House of Representatives. and he wrote the Early History of Sugar Creek for the Drexel Star newspaper. His son George Rhea was the editor of the Drexel Star.

Patricia Hines Hall Olathe, Kansas

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