Monday, July 20, 2015

Caught In The Middle

Crittenden County played no commanding role in the Civil War  and there were not any battles fought on the soil of Crittenden County, but the county was over run by the troops of both armies.  

All known military actions were confined to the northeastern corner of the county, and represented a spilling over of the military activities in Union County.

Guerrilla activity was sustained within the county and the largest military action involved an attack on a Federal troop transport at Weston in early September 1863.  There were also several scrimmages around and near the community of Bells Mines, with several being killed from both sides.

Horses were stolen and all the people's food and supplies, that could be found, were taken.  All families tried to hide their stock, food and supplies, in secret places, but many times the plundering soldiers were able to locate the hidden goods.  They soon learned the favorite place to hide food and family items by the housewives of the day. 

The sufferings of the family of Robertus Love Moore were well recorded.  Moore had a two-story homestead located on the northern ridge of Mattoon at the junction of the Marion-Morganfield and the Flynn's Ferry Roads.  He operated a dry goods store.  He became a target for Federal raiders and his store was cleaned out, as was his smokehouse, all of the metal and farm implements were taken. 

Also in this same area of the county a few politically motivated murders took place. 

 On January 13, 1863, William Brantley, an older gentleman, as at his well in his yard, when Capt. F. P. Hawkins and his men came riding through, plundering the neighborhood.

When Mr. Brantley refused to pledge his allegance to the Union side, he was shot.  He is buried in the Brantley Family Cemetery in the Cave-Spring area of the county.

Hawkins was arrested and committed to the Crittenden jail, but was gotten out by his band of robbers and not captured again.

A few years latter, not too far from the Brantley homestead, another innocent man was murdered by a band of Union men.

Dr. Green Crowell was a local country doctor.  His descendants tell the story that was handed down through the family.  One night, a band of Union soldiers stopped at their house and ask for the Dr.  they said they had a wounded man that needed his help.  Once outside, the Dr. was asked to pledge his support to the Union side, when he refused he was shot and killed. 

Dr. Green Crowell died on May 6, 1865 and is buried in the McKinley-Phillips cemetery located on a bluff above the community of Nunn Switch.

A terrible fate for two innocent men.  William Brantley was my 4-great grandfather.

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