The Missouri in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Morgan County Guerrillas
In Response To: Re: Morgan County Guerrillas ()

Homer,

Thanks for coming to my rescue so quickly. I suppose I will carry on with what I have and go easy with the newspaper article since it is "screwy." I will treat "Billy" Chapman solely as a behind-Union-lines recruiter and probably not as a guerrila unless I find more information pointing that way. The fact that he returned to live happily ever after postwar tells me the guy couldn't have been very terrible. Besides, the 1883 Henry County history says he became an attorney in Windsor in 1878 and the city attorney in 1883. If he had been a killer bushwhacker during the war, I can imagine some old radical Republican would have turned that campaign to be city attorney into a real mess. Probably, the advent of the "Lost Cause" popular movement helped elect him. As a learning teacher I performed my student teaching in Windsor some years ago. I was a Missouri Civil War nut even back then, and I didn't pick up any currents that the town endorsed bushwhacking when I was there (except maybe on the basketball court).

My understanding of the newest generation of county histories is that they are "you-write-it-yourself" deals where each family can submit a paragraph or two about what they know about ancestors in the subject county. At least, that is what I have seen with one of Morgan County's neighboring counties and also in my research in the big libraries in recent years. These are fine for genealogy, but, as you indicate, you have to read between the lines very carefully to find Civil War stuff. Besides, the family in many such cases write only what grandpa told them his dad said he did in the Civil War, which probably has some truth and some "who-hit-John" kind of stories. At least they are indexed. For MO CW stuff, I prefer the old 1880s and slightly later county histories. The only problem with a lot of them was no index and the war was still too close and they avoided the topic altogether! I even found one or two of those where they wouldn't print a certain participant's name, but would only give his initials so they wouldn't be sued for libel!

Thanks again.

Bruce

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Morgan County Guerrillas
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