Civil War Anniversary

Bill West of West in New England  put out a Americans in the Civil War Challenge. As tomorrow is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, I thought it would be a way to honor my ancestors that fought for what they thought was right.  Rick and I have been watching the PBS special “The Civil War”, a film by Ken Burns, and it really brings the horrors of the war home and makes me appreciate even more what those ancestors who lived at that time went through.


Elisha Reynolds Sain and his wife Sarah Lawrence Sain were moving with their eleven children in a caravan from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Arkansas at the outbreak of the war. When they reached Jackson, MS all the able-bodied men were enlisted.  Elisha served as a blacksmith, making horseshoes and nails, in the army of General Nathan Bedford Forest, Company G, 1st Mississippi State Troops. His records showed he joined on August 18, 1864 and he was 47 years old. His son, William H. Sain served inCompany F, 43rd Mississippi Infantry. After the war, the family continued on to Arkansas, stopping at Hober Springs for at least a year before settling in Nashville, AR.


John Merrell and his wife Elizabeth Stone Merrell had been in Arkansas for about 1ten or eleven  years when war broke out. They lived with their five children in a log house north of Nashville on what is now the Chapel Hill road. Some of their grown children stayed in Tennessee when they moved. A son, William E. Merrell, was killed on April 25, 1864, while serving in the Confederate army.


John E. Cook and his wife, Cornelia E. Christopher Sain were living in Columbia County Arkansas on the outbreak of the war. They had been married for a little less than one year, having married on May 18, 186o. In the 1860 census they were living with his mother and his evelen sibling and his occupation is listed as a lawyer.  He entered the Confederate States Army (Ouachita Rangers) at Caney, AR on June 1, 1861, the day after his first child, Joe E. Cook, was born.  On April 3, 1862, at DeVall’s Bluff, AR he was elected Lt.Colonel of Smead’s AR Volunteers.


I am not sure where Francis was on the outbreak of the war. But he marries Mary C. (maybe Harrison, according to great uncle Jim, but I have found no proof of this) around 1864 in Washington D.C. In the 1870 census his occupation was listed as a clerk for the Interior Department.

McGraw Family

I do not know where  R. and Betsy McGraw and their family were at the outbreak of the war. Family lore has them in the Atlanta area when Sherman came through.

Johns Family

Daniel Johns and his wife Emily and their four children lived in Union County South Carolina at the outbreak of the war.  Daniel Johns died on  Feb, 10 1862 while serving with 18th regiment. His widow, Emily Johns made an affidavit on May 13,1862 that she was his lawful wife and was the lawful heir. She received his due pay of $14.66.

Jenkins Family

John Ballad Jenkins and his wife Caroline Matilda Rhudy Jenkins were living in the Rome, Georgia area at the outbreak of the war.  In “A History of Rome and Floyd County, Volume I,” by George Magruder Battey, Jr., 1922, on page. 198 there is a description of the Sherman invaded the town on Oct. 29 . And on Nov. 10, they began to leave by burning the places of military value.  and the last of them left on , Nov. 11, 1864.  The 40 men left behind organized a patrol force for the protection of their homes. and included among them was John B. Jenkins.


David Crawford and his wife Sarah were living in Cass County, Georgia at the outbreak of the war. 1864 brought rampant devastation to the county. It witness the full fury of the Union Force’s Atlanta Campaign.  The county seat, Cassville  was destroyed.



More about Joe. E. Cook

As I mentioned last post, I came across some information about my great grandfather, Joe. E. Cook, at Genealogy Bank web site showing his feisty nature. The second article was published in the St. Louis Republic on 06 October 1896.  And the headline read “Carved by an Attorney.”

Of course that headline piqued my interest. The article was about an incident between my great grandfather and W.W. Shuptrine, a prominent grocery merchant in Texarkana, Arkansas. My great grandfather was hired by the creditors of J.W. Hart & Co. and Mr. Shuptrine was the son-in-law of Mr. Hart.  Mr. Shuptrine attacked my great grandfather with an ax handle and knocked him down twice.  My great grandfather got back up on his feet and drew his knife and slashed/ stabbed Mr. Shuptrine about a dozen times. One thrust of his knife came close to the jugular vein and three others made a mess of Mr. Shuptrine’s face and scalp.   The article stated that Mr. Shuptine was near death and my great granfather had been arrested and was out on bond pending  whether Mr. Shuptrine lived.

I never found a follow up article, but my great grandfather continued to practice law until he died in 1913.

From the two articles it is apparent that Joe E. Cook carried a knife. Did he wear at his waist sheathed in leather or did he have it hidden in his boot? I do not know but I scanned this site for what was available at the time.

Of course all the news about Joe E. Cook was not so sensational. In this same newspaper on 08 October 1889, he is mentioned as the defense lawyer  for Ed Spear, who was charged with the murder of H. M. Heldier .  The case was one of the most sensational of that time frame in southwest Arkansas. The paper described my grandfather as “one of the ablest and perhaps the most eloquent criminal lawyers in Western Arkansas.”