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The Charleston Affair







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?"[1] "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.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4] 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,[5] one or two remained out there but the rest came poling back.[6] 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.[7] The Whigs were dying out and. a lot were jumping to the Little Giant.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] Its sure led to a pretty pass. Aunt Pop reared her family to have nothing to do with our set.[12] 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 Cantrell[13] are 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.[14] 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.[15] 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 them Copperheads.

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 Dog.


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."

Slemmons continued, "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.[16] 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 him


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.[17] 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 too.

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.[18] 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,[19] 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[20] 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,[21] 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[22] 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 Sheriff.

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.[23]

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.[24] A stray ball hit him in the groin and he died.

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 harm."

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[25] came and took us to Bud Redmon's[26] 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,"[27] 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 us. It


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,[28] "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 burned."

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 arrested.[29]

Frank Reardon Charleston, Coles Co.

John P. Keller Charleston, Coles Co.

David Jones        Charleston, Coles Co.

Ferdinand McGill             Big Creek, Edgar Co.

John Tracey         Edgar Co.

Isaac Cook       Coles Co.

James Davison Indiana


Lewis Burns         Coles Co.

Michael MurphyColes Co.

Miles Murphy        Coles Co. (Brother-in-law of Sheriff)

Nelson O'HairColes Co. (Brother of Sheriff)

John ReynoldsColes Co.

Vincent Cromwell         Coles Co.

Anderson KingryCumberland Co.

James Hardwick             Coles Co.

D.T. Richardson              Shelby Co.

John R. Tichnor

W. F. Hanks        Charleston

Hiram Renshaw              Shelby Co.

Wm. Hardwick                Big Creek, Edgar Co.

S. Greene Hanks             Big Creek, Edgar Co.

Milton P. Tichnor Kansas, Edgar Co.

James O'Hair Edgar Co.

Wash Derne          Edgar Co.

Andrew B. FoutsParis, Edgar Co.

B. E. Brooks          Coles Co.

David ReardonColes Co.

Greenville McGuire            Big Creek, Edgar Co.

Miron Shelborne Big Creek, Edgar Co.

E. Crowder           Charleston, Coles Co.

Thos. McGuire Charleston, Coles Co.

Wm. C. Batty Charleston, Coles Co.

R. W. Dawson

G. G. Collins

Aaron Bryant

James M. Houck

John W. Harndon

Isaac Higgins

Seth Cook

Jackson Goodman.

John F. Taylor

John F. Redmon

Franklin Daugherty

Wm. Clark

James Bradford

Wesley Daugherty

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 close.

The Great Man sat silent.[30] 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[31] Kansas, Illinois, August 11, 1936

[1] Bishop McIntyre's interview with Dennis Hanke.
[2] Please note the context for facts and probabilities. See History of Douglas Co. 1884, page 114 for unbiased account.
[3] Lincoln himself has said that he was at Palestine.
[4] See Thompson pamphlet.
[5] One party from Edgar County consisted of Berry Hanks, Tom Tichnor, Elsberry O'Hair, and James Huffman.
[6] The late Rolla Wilhoit of Kansas remained at Stockton, California.
[7] A pioneer from Virginia via Indiana to Illinois by 1830
[8] Stephen A. Douglas.
[9] John H. O'Hair of Coles Co. Wm. S. O'Hair of Edgar Co.
[10] See Ill. His. Col. Vol. XIX Geo. H. Clark papers pp. 426-442.
[11] Private papers on Hanks Family.
[12] 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.
[13] Capt. Cantrell was later arrested after midnight on Nov. 7, 1864 in Chicago to break up the Camp Douglas Conspiracy.
[14] Private papers.
[15] Political Dodger, dated October 29, 1862 on the occasion of David Phillips running for Sheriff in Edgar County
[16] Was killed May 22, 1864.
[17] Statement by F. T. O'Hair.
[18] 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.
[19] Married Mary Florence (Polly) O'Hair a sister of the Sheriff. Parents of the late Mrs. John Jelke.
[20] The name Long has not been found in the records, but in tradition.
[21] Located about the center of the east side of the square. Mr. Ike Miles says, "Opposite the gap in the old hitch rack."
[22] A captain had given these arms to Mitchell while in the Clerk's office. See Cinnati Commercial.
[23] Evelyn Swango O'Hair' was born March 29, 1841 in Kentucky, died August 27, 1923 at Paris, Illinois.
[24] Three doors east of the center of the south side of the square.
[25] Jonathan was a cousin to both.
[26] Bud Redmon's wife was a niece of Jonathan.
[27] Berry's pistol is well kept, and Huston H. O'Hair has his grandfather's.
[28] From statement of the Hon. Frank P. O'Hair, May 13, 1932.
[29] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, Apr. 6, 1864
[30] See Art. Ill. His. Soc. Vol. XX #4 p. 547 on Lincoln's Clemency.
[31] The description of the actual fight is as Berry used to tell it.