Rose Cramer in her 1972 History of Wayne County relates this story as the seven being killed in the vicinity of Pochahantas AR. Benjamin Holmes, Lt Col 12 Mo Inf, former Sheriff (to 1862 then again in 1870) and Collector of Wayne county, brother to Rufus Holmes one of the killed, survivor, Democrat, and arch political enemy of Leeper, Radical Republican, may have been the one to know the truth of the issue. Cramer relates both the story of the 7 and Young Finis Stephens as oral history passed through the Stephens clan in paricular James Alexander Stephens who married a Rubottom and is known in the book as Alex Stephens. Cramer also makes the comment that the vast majority of men in Wayne county by 1862 had fled, joined the confederates or signed up with the EMM to keep from summarily being shot by Union forces. Not an unusual state of affairs for most of the southeast Missouri counties.
I don't know if we'll ever know for sure what happened. There are Holmes relatives still in Wayne County as well as Stephens and Rubottoms. There is at least one theory that the courthouse records were stolen in 1866 to protect some folks in the recontruction era. At least one circut clerk was murdered to ensure his silence. So I believe the war was still being fought in the Wayne county hills for years to come.