THE CHARLESTON AFFAIR
BEING A NARRATION OF THE AFFRAY AT CHARLESTON,
BETWEEN UNION SOLDIERS AND SOUTHERN SYMPATHIZERS
MARCH 23, 1864, AS POSSIBLY RELATED BY DENNIS
HANKS TO ABRAHAM
LINCOLN ON THE OCCASION OF HIS VISIT TO THE WHITE
Tall hats and a shawl
strap and shawls flung aside, and two tall kinsmen met. Both were products of the frontier of a
nation advancing to its manifest destiny, the one, a man of sorrows and a master
of men, the other, calling no man master.
"Well Dennis, is that
you?" "Hello Abe."
"How are things back home in Illinois?"
"Oh, well as common. The boys in
Charleston have had a little fracas.
That is why I am here, to tell all, no holding back, to let the tail go
with the hide. I will tell you what I
know, and what I have heard from men who were there, and their friends and
families. I will tell only what I
believe to be true, and you may have your own conclusions.
There is plenty of time
now that it is all passed, so I will name it to you from the beginning. You mind the spring of '30 when we crossed
into Illinois at Vincennes and headed north up the Chicago trace, that we found
no Yankees? All the settlers of the
Wabash valley had come in from south of the Ohio. But when we stopped at the land office at
Palestine, we learned that the New Englanders were pouring into the upper parts
in great shakes. They were building stores and mills and kilns
at which to burn lime and brick. The
Southrons were putting out patches of corn and raising stock. These two waves
of settlers began to
overlap about where we headed west across the prairie to Decatur. In
general these folks seemed to get along together fairly well; the Yankees sold
the licker and the Virginians drank it, the Kaintuckians raced their hosses and
the Yankees won the bets. Remember Henry Clay had to fetch his boys home from
Edgar County because Spence Hunter...but that's another story. When Blackhawk began to cut up didos you had
storekeepers and squirrel hunters all marching together in your company. When Tom Smith organized his company under
the big tree in Grandview to go to fight the Mexicans for Polk even the Whigs
joined up. The Tates and Hites and
Allysons and the balance of that Presbyterian crowd cheered them off to
war. Came '49 and all the restless
ambitious sons of the first pioneers hear the call of GOLD. Singing "Oh Susannah don't you cry" the boys
from Sugar Creek to Hitesville crossed Death Valley hanging together to the
diggings in California, one
or two remained out there but the rest came poling back. Leander Munsell at Paris, who has a lot of
books written in Latin, says that it was a meeting of the Cavaliers and the
Roundheads, but it seemed to me that they all had been poured from the same
mold, and that old feuds could have been forgotten, but no-.
Last fifteen years, ever
since the Big Crickers have been running Mike O'Hair for sheriff of Edgar
County the Whigs have been agin them, and over in Coles it has been no
different. The Greasy Pointers vote like
a democratic clan come election time.
Then Fremont came along with his fandangos and all the radicals jumped
into the new Republican Party. Old
George Baber, who was so stout for you last election, was one of the chief
organizers of the new party from Round Grove to Catfish. The Whigs were dying out and. a lot were
jumping to the Little Giant. He developed a big following in Coles and
Edgar, but he never expected them to go the whole hog against the Union. So he stumped the state, but stumped his toe,
and fetched up holding your hat.
But when the off year
elections came around two years ago, and the War Democrats turned away from the
Union men, and the whole ket' and bilin' went democratic, lock stock and
barrel, it put two O'Hair cousins in as sheriffs of Coles and Edgar counties. They are grandsons of old Michael O'Hair who
named Morgan County, Ky. after his General in the Revolutionary War. He got run out of County Down, Ireland so he
came over here and fought with the Morgan Riflemen in every engagement from
Quebec to Guilford Court House. And, he
was out west with Gen. George Rogers Clark, and got a piece of land, of poor
land in Clark's Grant in Indiany for all his troubles. The O'Hairs have never run from fights. Aunt Pop Hanks is one of them too. She married Billy Hanks. He was Sarah Hanks' boy. She had him before she married Old Andy
Varvell, Billy is about the age your sister Sarah would have been, and was born
near Enloe's Mill. Perhaps that is how
come all that talk back there in Kaintuck.
All we Hanks are kin, but who knows how?
Aunt Pop's bro-in-law, Trimble at Hazel Green, Ky offered a thousand
dollar nigger to not marry Billy. But
she did. Its sure led to a pretty pass. Aunt Pop reared her family to have nothing to
do with our set. It has
added fuel to the beat of the anti-war crowd around home.
They have been carrying
on pretty high and mighty the last couple of years, talking loud, and resisting
the draft, and some say, carrying guns.
There have been queer goings on down around Castle Finn. It is reported that a man named John
Powderhorn, possibly a deserter from the Southern Army, and a man named
drilling men at night. R. M. Tate's boy,
Jim, said that he saw a group of horsemen, all smutted and muffled, ride east
thru Grandview one night. He said that he later heard that they went
down by the Hickman farm.
Sarah Perisho claims that
one night last year they came to her house four miles north of Martinsville,
looking for a boy just back from the army, and threatened to burn her house
down. Some have accused our sheriffs of drilling
with them, but I do not think so. The
sheriff at Paris is too busy making money another way! These southern sympathizers call themselves
Knights of the Golden Circle. Their
badge is a butternut. The Union men call
They call the Union men
Black Republicans and Nigger Abolitionists, and taunt the soldiers with being
Nigger lovers. The soldier boys don't
take much joshing when it isn't in fun.
They don't seem to be the same boys who marched away. They are more mature and hard and bold. Some are talkative, but the ones who have been
in battle don't say much. You know Bill
Gano. Well, it seems he and Jim Cale
were eating a meal at the Shultz Hotel in Dudley while they waited for a train
to take them to the war. One ventured an
opinion, rather current at the time, that they would not be gone long, that it
would not take long to whip the Rebels.
"Oh, I don't know," said the old lady Shultz "Lots of people back there
around Thompson's Mill." (Va.) They caught the train, and Gano went in to
the Cavalry and Cale into the infantry, and they never heard more of each
other. At the battle of Stone's River
(Tenn.) Gano's troop was trotting forward into position for a charge. They were passing some reserve infantry, when
Bill heard, "Oh Bill Gano, Oh, Bill Gano" and twisting around in his saddle got
a fleeting glimpse of Jim Cale, and heard him yell, as he pointed towards the
enemy, "Yonder are those bastards from Thompson's Mill.'
Some soldiers are like
fighting cocks. They have chips on their
shoulders. They are careless of life and
property, and go round winking at the giggly girls, and drinking. Some are so nervous that their hands shake
and spill their whisky. Hypo, the
doctors call it, Bill Baber came home from Murphreesboro, and could not
sleep. Said that Old John O'Hair's fox
hounds kept him awake at nights. He went
to a dance at Barlow Flemmings, and the Daugherty girls called him a Lincoln
All the boys were crazy
about the Daugherty girls; there was Green Hanks, Nelse Wells, and others. I do not know if Oliver Sallee was there or
not. But plenty of soldiers were looking
for trouble same as the boys.
There was Dr. Shubel York's boy Milt. He came home on a furlough, and Billy
Slemmons got him out of trouble. Slemmons says that you shot a game of marbles
with him and some other boys in your Circuit Court riding days. Says that you
came out of the east door of the Court House at Paris, and entered their game a
moment, and made a hit, and went off carrying your saddle bags. Now he says,
"A man named Milt York
had an altercation with a man named Cooper, on the east side of the square in
Paris, just north of the alley, and after some words Cooper tried to strike
York with an axe handle, and York shot Cooper thru the left side with a small
caliber pistol, and then York ran down the alley to a house on the alley
running south. (Across from the present Hotel France.) Soon after the occurrence, a man came up and
told it, and myself and four or five other soldiers went down to see York for
the purpose of getting him into a carriage and out of town before any trouble
started. We were going to take him to
Vermillion, and let him take a train to Peoria, and wait until his company got
there. Before our arrangements were
perfected the Sheriff came up to the front gate and had a man with him, I
stepped out on the porch, and there were some other soldiers there, one of them
and I, and I am not saying at this time, which one, pointed his pistol at the
Sheriff and said "Halt." The Sheriff,
being a man of discretion, stopped and one of the soldiers told him to go on
about his business. When he went away we
put York in a carriage and did send him to Vermillion and he joined his company
later in Peoria."
"in the month of February, (1864) Company E of the 66th Illinois, and
Company E of the 12th Illinois, both companies raised principally in Edgar
County, was home from the service on a thirty day furlough, that furlough was
to expire at a given date in February, and the two companies were ordered to report
to Joliet, Illinois, preparatory to going back to the south and joining the
army, then in Tennessee. The day was
announced by the paper when those two companies were to entrain for Joliet. Mr. W. S. O'Hair was Sheriff. The result of what I may narrate further
along, I ascertained a part of it from a man by the name of Alfred Kennedy, who
was shot and fatally wounded in the trouble that
occurred in the
southwest part of the city of Paris.
Said Kennedy passed out the following day. He gave his version of the situation that
existed and came about, and how it happened that he, as well as the others,
were engaged in that trouble.
"The Sheriff of the
county, or somebody representing him, selected a group of men, some eighteen or
twenty in number from a section of the county southwest of Paris, mostly in the
west end of Symmes township and the east end of Grandview township, extending
over the Clark line, summoned or requested these men, I don't know which, to
come to Paris on the day set apart for the two companies of soldiers to depart
from Paris, informing them that it was definitely understood that some soldiers
contemplated burning some buildings in Paris, and supposedly doing other
actions in defiance of law, on the day of their departure. This posse cometatus, as it was termed, was
here to protect, and to prevent anything in the nature of a riot or disturbance
before they departed.
"During the forenoon of
the day the soldiers were to depart on the afternoon, a nine or ten year old boy
(Wm. S. Logan) coming from the southwest corner of the city, came on to a group
of soldiers on the southwest corner of the square. Myself and four or five other soldiers were
engaged in conversation. This boy
reported that there was a wagonload of arms with quite a group of men out
beyond the old Ten Broeck homestead.
That part of the city was about all vacant. He reported that a group of men with arms
drove there at about a certain point.
The group of soldiers, of which I was one, started in that direction,
merely on a trip of inspection to see what we might see. We got nearly opposite to the Ten Broeck home
to the northwest, and there was a gunshot or two came from the southwest into
our group. No one was hurt. We started on a run in the direction from
which the shot came. There was an old
log stable standing in a vacant lot beyond the old Ten Broeck home. Two shots or three came from the direction of
that stable. As we ran toward that
building we spread out and scattered a little, heading in the same
direction. Before we got to the building
there was a wagon and team standing in the road a little beyond this old stable
building, and we seen several them jump into that wagon, and the team was
started at a gallup away. Myself, a man
by the name of Trowbridge, and Mark Boatman, a young man of this town, ran
directly towards this old stable.
Boatman and I ran around to the east side of the building where the door
was, Trowbridge remained at the other side.
By the time we got close up to the building Mr. Trowbridge received a
pistol wound in the left wrist. The
chinkings in the old log
building were out, with wide cracks, possibly ten inches wide. Mr. Boatman stooped and looked thru one of
these cracks, and covered a man who was in the building with a revolver,
demanding surrender. The man in the
building says "I surrender". Mr. Boatwan
withdrew his gun from the crack, and the man inside the building grabbed his
gun that he had taken down, and shot a shot that struck Mr. Boatman about the
center of the left shoulder, as he was standing in a stooped position. Several shots, I won't attempt to say how
many, were shot thru the cracks of that building in a very short space of time. When the firing ceased, and the door was
opened the body of a man lay there in the stable, wounded, which proved to be
fatal. Conscious, he realized his
situation, and was ready to talk. He was
removed and brought to the Court House yard, medical aid was called, and I
don't remember who the doctor was. The
doctor caused his removal to the Paris Hotel and he expired the next morning in
the forenoon, but, before his death he gave his version of the circumstances
surrounding the whole situation of the events, and why they were there, and
said that the program, as mapped out, and given to him, was when these two
companies of soldiers got aboard the train, to go west up the grade toward the
west end of town, knowing that the soldiers would most likely be sitting at the
windows and on the platforms, and that the group of armed men would be within
shooting distance, and in range, they expected to give the train a volley from
their guns, as the train was passing out of town.
"The result of the occurrences
of that day caused communication with the Adjutant General's Department at
Springfield, upon which an order was issued delaying the trip of these veteran
soldiers to a future date, to remain in and around Paris until the excitement
from that occurrence had subsided, at least partially. . . . . we remained at
least eight or ten days, and took our departure for the rendezvous at Joliet."
These are Slemmon's exact words.
Slemmons got back to the
front, and is a mounted forager with Sherman now. Milt York was killed at Rome Cross Roads, Ga.
a few days later. But the soldiers who reenlisted for the duration of the war, were given
thirty days furlough, and kept returning home. The 54th Regiment came to
Platoon, and Company-C came to Paris, leaving men off along the way. At Charleston, a soldier had an altercation
with Ben Dukes, who lives east of town.
Dukes was knocked down. The Sheriff
debated the arrest of the soldier, but enough trouble was brewing. Some of the Sheriff's friends prevailed upon
to leave town for a few
days until the soldiers had departed. He
did so, and some thought that he was drilling with the "Mighty Host", but I do
not think so. Several members of his
immediate family have told me that he was at his father's house on Big Creek in
Edgar County. "The soldiers were
expected to leave on Saturday, so he returned to town, to get ready to open
court on Monday, only to learn that the departure of the soldiers had been
postponed until Monday, and a few were making threats to clean out the
"Butternut Court" before they left. So
on Sunday he went up north of Charleston, and deputized Berry Hanks and Jesse
Swango to come into town the next day, to help preserve order. Berry had a mature mind, he had been a '49er
and had walked across Nicaragua on his return.
No one who knows ever accused Jesse of being excitable. They came in, and also came James and
Henderson O'Hair, brothers of the Sheriff, and Will and John Frazier,
cousins. Then too, there was a party of
young kinsmen from Edgar County, who claim that they had started out west to
the mines, but I suspect they were leaving the country to evade drafts, and
escape troubles. They drove down town
too, instead of going on, and hitched their wagons at the south side of the
square. They had food, blankets, guns,
etc. This party included Nelson and
Frank Wells, Green Hanks, Ogden O'Hair, and Nelson O'Hair. Came too the soldiers to return to their
regiment. Then there were all the
officers of the court, attorneys, litigants, grand jury, venire men, and
hangers on. Every livery barn and wagon
yard was full. So the pot was set to bilin', and soon the
fat was in the fire.
Court was convened with
Hon. Charles H. Constable on the bench.
The Hon. John R. Eden, and John Schofield were present. The Sheriff, John H. O'Hair, and the Clerk
George W. Teel, and the deputies were present.
The Bailiff opened court.
Outside at the northeast
corner of the square, Martin Hill and John Frazier got into an argument. David Johnson said that he overheard Frazier
tell Hill "Keep still, for if
they get into a fight,
you will get hurt." Henderson O'Hair
then said to James McCrory that, "The soldiers have been running over the
citizens long enough." Joseph B. Hutchison
overheard James O'Hair come up and tell John Frazier, "Not to be talking such
trash." Marcus M. Hills heard it
A little after this, the
noon train arrived from Paris and the east, and the officers, Dr. Shubel York,
and Col. G. M. Mitchell, accompanied by some soldiers, went from the depot to
the square, to round up their men. Some
of the soldiers were lickered up. It is possible that when the train stopped at
Kansas on the way over, some of the men got a little too much at the Dutchman's
grog shop. He usually ordered a barrel at a time, and with a little judicious
watering could sell an extra barrel or two, but the soldiers resented being
served this weakened whiskey, and wrecked the place, and carried off, and
spilled the stock. In order to salve his injured feelings he filed a claim for
six barrels, but the Notary's quill was scratchy, and he made a bad six, So he
backed up and made another, and now I do hear that his claim has been allowed
for sixty barrels. Guess that he will buy the farm that he has been wanting.
About four o'clock in
the afternoon, Will Frazier, who
was always a quiet peaceful gentleman, and John Frazier, who had been talking
loudly, got on their horses, and started home, Oliver Sallee, a soldier who
lived with his mother, over the store at the south end of the east side of the
square, went with two or three companions thru the gate of the Court House
yard. He met Nelse Wells, and placing
his hand upon Wells' shoulder, asked, "Are there any Copperheads in town?" Wells answered, "Yes, God damn you, I am
one," and both men reached for their pistols.
Berry Hanks said,
"Someone came into the Court room, and said young Wells is out there and about
to get into trouble". I said, "Go tell
him to come in here." He said, "He
can't." At that I started out the east
door, and turned toward Nelse. I
shouldered thru the crowd that was collecting around him, but just as I got
there a fellow named Sallee and a fellow named Long
were pulling guns. Two shots sounded as
one. Nelse missed, but an instant later
Sallee was shot from another direction, and fell, but raising himself up, he
fired at Nelse, who ran out thru the east gate with Long after and shooting at
him. Just as Long reached the gate a
ball from the pistol of Nelse's friend got him.
Nelse ran on across the street to the Chambers & McCrory store, but
some one slammed the door in his face, and he fell on the steps." Berry heard shots and bullets and turned and
saw Doc York standing in the Court House doorway, firing his pistol towards
Nelse and himself. They emptied their
pistols firing at each other, and every time that Berry fired, Doc would slap
himself. York started to reload, and
Berry ran towards him. Thomas Jeffries
was falling. Col. Mitchell was firing a
pistol at Ben Dukes who was firing at William Oilman. Dukes wounded Oilman and turned to return
Mitchell's fire. Mitchell had discarded
and was peppering away with a derringer at
Berry who was closing in on York. Dukes
fired at Mitchell, and the ball tore his watch to smithereens and glanced. Just as Berry reached York the Court House
door jerked open and a pistol in an unseen hand exploded. Berry grabbed a pistol out of York's hands,
and York fell on the doorstep, and Mitchell clubbed the man in the doorway with
his empty derringer. By this time firing
was becoming general. Cole Briscoe says
that his father was about the only person in town without some sort of firearm,
and he tried to get under the wagon seat, but his legs stuck
out, and he pulled them
in, but his head was out. Berry was
running along the south side towards the west end, looking for John, the
Coles County Court House
1858 (Looking west at the south side).
Tracing from an Old Photograph.
At the first shots a
bullet had gone thru a court room window, and cut a nick and whiskers off of
the Sheriff's chin. The Judge cried out,
"What! Is it possible that they are killing
people out there?" "It would seem so,"
said the sheriff, jumping up. Court was
continued by common consent, yes, there was no dissent. The Sheriff pulled two pistols, and ran
towards the west door, at the same time calling upon Deputy Swango to guard the
east door. The Judge and two eminent
attorneys were hard at his heels, leaving the jurors to scramble for
themselves. I have heard that they were
trying a hog stealing case, and I have often wondered what became of the
prisoner at bar. They all got to the
west door on the run at about the same time that the east door had been jerked
open. The Sheriff was in front and saw
two soldiers at the foot of
the stairs. One of the soldiers cried, "There's that God
damned Butternut sheriff," and three bullet holes popped into the sheriff's
best coat, which was ruined anyway by blood from his chin. The Sheriff was seen to fire three times, and
one soldier ran, and one, Alfred Swim, was carried to the office of Drs. Allen
& Van Meter. Berry said, "I saw the
Court leaving, and the Sheriff was covering a good retreat, but he was having
trouble keeping up with the Judge." Eden never stopped until he got ten miles
west, and there he caught a train.
John Frazier, who had
heard the shooting, had galloped back into town, and was riding wildly around
the square, yelling and shooting. Hent
(Henderson O'Hair) was flailing around with a fence picket when he had grabbed
off. By this time others had got guns
out of wagons, and were rallying behind Judge Edward's office building, at the
east end of the Court House yard. The
soldiers had cut loose, and were firing at the Court House. One of the boys said later that it looked as
if it had broken out with the smallpox.
Someone saw Evaline, the
Sheriff's wife, running towards the Court House. He knew that she was expecting a baby, and
tried to stop her, "My God woman, don't go up there; they are having trouble."
"I know it, and John's in it," and on she went running and crying and carrying
something in her apron. Berry said later
that it was caps and powder. She is from
Kentucky, and had nine brothers and uncles in the southern army, and all have
been killed but her youngest brother and he has had his ear shot off.
By this time Col.
Mitchell had succeeded in forming his soldiers and some citizens at the
southwest corner of the square, and had sent some soldiers for their
rifles. William Hart and James Goodrich
had fallen. Also John New. Young lad Ike Miles was watching from an
upper window at the north side of the square.
Felix Landon, the tailor ran away.
A score were wounded. The
Butternuts got their wagons and horses, and skedaddled east from the southeast
corner of the
square. Ben Dukes ran up to a man and cried, "Horse
or your life," and the man said, "Horse, of course." A couple of blocks east they hesitated in
front of Mrs. Dicksons', and John Cooper was heard exhorting them to return to
the fray. They moved on, and as they
passed Ann Shoot's house at 11th St., she came out to see what was going on,
and heard a man say, "I want two more," and a soldier raised up from the
sidewalk and shot him. They left town in
a northeasterly direction. Bob McClain
cut the telegraph wires. They met a
soldier Levi Freisner coming into town, and took him back as a hostage.
The doctors began
tending to the wounded. Wells was
dead. Swain was dead. York was dead. He had two fatal wounds, one ball had entered
his breast in front, and one had entered his back. There were powder burns on his coat
back. Goodrich and Hart and Sallee
died. Other known wounded were: Col.
Mitchell, Thomas Jeffries, William Oilman, William Decker, John Trimble, George
Ross, Sanford Noyes, Young E. Winkler, John Henderson, and others. Cooper and Jenkins were killed later. It was this way: Col. Mitchell had sent to
Mattoon for reinforcements, and about five o'clock they came, in charge of Col.
Brooks and Lieut. Horner. They formed
posses, and soon captured John Cooper, and sent him in by a soldier and W. A.
Noe. When they arrived at the southeast
corner of the square he saw the soldiers lined up, and started to run. A volley crashed out, and he fell. A woman was carrying a baby, and young John
Jenkins was helping her get into his father's store. A stray ball hit him in the groin and he
The posses scoured the
countryside, and brought in a passel of suspects. When they went to Jesse Swango's home the
next morning, the boy Harlan met them.
He said, "The soldiers came in big blue coats, they had me come and open
the gate, Uncle Adin Baber came out from the barn; he had come in early that
morning to see about the stock, and I did not know that he was there. He had a big black hat pulled down over his
eyes, and one soldier said, "There's the son of a bitch now," but another
soldier said, "I know that man, we don't want him."
Uncle Adin said to them
that there was no one there they wanted.
One said, "Any good horses," and he said, "No, two old ones," and the
man said, "Hell, we don't want trash."
John (the Sheriff) and Berry
(Hanks) had gone by Adin's the night before on their way to Big Creek. Berry is Mary Ellen's brother. Mary Ellen's husband is a Republican. His father is a Republican. You won his only lawsuit for him. Mary Ellen said, "We were all sitting at the
fire place and were ready for bed. There
raised a whoop from out in front, and Mr. Baber put out the light, and opened
the door juberous like, and went out.
Pretty soon he stepped back in and said, 'Molly, step to the back door,
and is there anything to eat?" I stepped
out, and Berry was there. Said there had
been trouble in Charleston that day, and Nelse was shot. Said that he had tried to save Nelse but was
too late, but he had emptied his gun at York, and old York would do no more
Berry says, "That night
we went over to Old John O'Hair's house, then to Jordon Hardwick's, and then to
Ferd McGills'. They were afraid, so we
stayed in a ravine back of their house for two nights. Jonathan Ogden
came and took us to Bud Redmon's
house near the Grandview road. Bud took
a white horse, and we followed on two dark ones across the prairie to the
northwest. At daylight he waited for us
to come up. He said, "See that
smoke? That is my place. Go there and ask for me and tell them that
you want to cut posts. I will come, and
we won't agree as to terms, and you can go on," Bud took the horses, and said,
"Now let me have your guns Boys, pass them over," and
we did, but I never hated to do anything any worse. We went to the house, and within a half-hour
Bud came, and we went out and talked, and went on to a station on the Wabash
Railroad, and bought tickets for Detroit.
The train came along, and we got on, and it was full of soldiers, so we
sauntered on thru and got off the rear platform when it started. Another train came along, and we got on. I bought a paper, and it offered a reward for
said Sheriff O'Hair was
entrenched at a mill southeast of Charleston, but by the time the paper went to
press he would be captured! At Detroit a
man came thru, and said, "All out for Detroit, Sarnia passengers stay on." We stayed on, and after a while we ventured
to ask the conductor where we were. He said, "It's all right now Boys,
get off any time." We got off at the
next stop. Went to a hotel, and asked a
clerk the name of the place. The clerk
said, "You are safe here, go ahead and register!" We worked around, and in August my boy Frank
was born, and Pappy sent me money to come home."
John had some one send a
team and wagon to Charleston to fetch his wife and girl baby Emma to Big
Creek. But before they had arrived, as a
close relative of his has told me,
"Dishonest rascals who were disposed to pillage in the name of patriotism, had looted
the house of every vestige of property, except her baby and her cradle, not
even leaving the carpet on the floors.
All livestock, milchcows, chickens, and pigs were driven and carried
away. The food from the kitchen and the
meat from the smokehouse was taken away.
Nothing was left except the dress on her back. They then proceeded to the farm a few miles
from Charleston, and there they burned every building, even including the fence
rails that had recently been hauled and not yet put into a fence were all
John has not
returned. Jesse and Frazier are
away. None of the actual participants
has been caught, although many suspects were brought in the first few days
following the trouble. I do not know how
many of these were put into Fort Delaware, but here is a list of those
Reardon Charleston, Coles
P. Keller Charleston,
Jones Charleston, Coles Co.
McGill Big Creek, Edgar Co.
Tracey Edgar Co.
Cook Coles Co.
Burns Coles Co.
Murphy Coles Co.
Murphy Coles Co. (Brother-in-law
O'Hair Coles Co.
(Brother of Sheriff)
Reynolds Coles Co.
Cromwell Coles Co.
Kingry Cumberland Co.
Richardson Shelby Co.
F. Hanks Charleston
Renshaw Shelby Co.
Hardwick Big Creek, Edgar
P. Tichnor Kansas, Edgar Co.
O'Hair Edgar Co.
Derne Edgar Co.
B. Fouts Paris, Edgar Co.
E. Brooks Coles Co.
Reardon Coles Co.
McGuire Big Creek, Edgar Co.
Shelborne Big Creek, Edgar
Crowder Charleston, Coles Co.
McGuire Charleston, Coles
C. Batty Charleston,
The dead were taken to
their respective homes for burial. I
think Sallee is buried near Charleston.
Swim left a wife and two children near Casey. Dr. Shubel York was buried in the cemetery at
Paris. It was a big military funeral. A
shaft was erected:
Major S. York
of the 54 Ill. Vols.
Assassinated by traitors
at Charleston Ills.
Mar 28, 1864
aged 47 years
erected by the members of his
regiment and Union citizens
of Edgar Co.
Nelson Wells was taken
to the Elledge Graveyard, northeast of his home in Edgar Co. His stone says:
David N. Wells
Mar 28, 1864
Aged 23 yrs 3 mo
& 14 da
"Oh sad the thought my son is dead
In silence rests his peaceful head
His soul removed by early grace
To heaven has sought thy resting place"
There is no doubt that
many of these men are southern sympathizers.
Many of them have kinfolks and friends in the southern armies. No doubt some are guilty. But many of them have families who need
them. The leaders are not in this
list. Many are farm hands. Many that had farms have had their property
confiscated. The war will soon be over,
we hope. The elections are coming on - -
- - - -. Dennis brought his story to a
The Great Man sat
Coming problems – Reconstruction - starting over - with malice toward
none -- "Dennis you may have this watch,
I have carried it a long time, take it home and take care of it."
Retold by Adin Baber
Kansas, Illinois, August 11, 1936
 Bishop McIntyre's interview with Dennis Hanke.
 Please note the context for facts and probabilities. See History of Douglas
Co. 1884, page 114 for unbiased account.
 Lincoln himself has said that he was at Palestine.
 See Thompson pamphlet.
 One party from Edgar County consisted of Berry Hanks, Tom Tichnor, Elsberry
O'Hair, and James Huffman.
 The late Rolla Wilhoit of Kansas remained at Stockton, California.
 A pioneer from Virginia via Indiana to Illinois by 1830
 Stephen A. Douglas.
 John H. O'Hair of Coles Co. Wm. S. O'Hair of Edgar Co.
 See Ill. His. Col. Vol. XIX Geo. H. Clark papers pp. 426-442.
 Private papers on Hanks Family.
 Aunt Pop Hanks, as she was familiarly called, was born Mary O'Hair in Wolfe
County, Ky., July 25, 1809
and died in Edgar Co., Illinois, August 26, 1901.
 Capt. Cantrell was later arrested after midnight on Nov. 7, 1864 in Chicago
to break up the Camp Douglas Conspiracy.
 Private papers.
 Political Dodger, dated October 29, 1862 on the occasion of David Phillips
running for Sheriff in Edgar County
 Was killed May 22, 1864.
 Statement by F. T. O'Hair.
 All accounts agree in this: Tradition, Butternut reports. Berry Hanks.
Charleston Plaindealer, March 29, 1864.
Coles Co. Histories. Douglas County History. Connelly's Letters in Ill. His.
Soc. Pub. #35 page 320.
 Married Mary Florence (Polly) O'Hair a sister of the Sheriff. Parents of
the late Mrs. John Jelke.
 The name Long has not been found in the records, but in tradition.
 Located about the center of the east side of the square. Mr. Ike Miles
says, "Opposite the gap in the old hitch rack."
 A captain had given these arms to Mitchell while in the Clerk's office. See
 Evelyn Swango O'Hair' was born March 29, 1841 in Kentucky, died August 27,
1923 at Paris, Illinois.
 Three doors east of the center of the south side of the square.
 Jonathan was a cousin to both.
 Bud Redmon's wife was a niece of Jonathan.
 Berry's pistol is well kept, and Huston H. O'Hair has his grandfather's.
 From statement of the Hon. Frank P. O'Hair, May 13, 1932.
 Cincinnati Daily Commercial, Apr. 6, 1864
 See Art. Ill. His. Soc. Vol. XX #4 p. 547 on Lincoln's Clemency.
 The description of the actual fight is as Berry used to tell it.