Our first ancestor in the Ozarks on Mom’s side of the family was Dr. James Madison Dodson. He settled on the Wet Glaize creek in Camden County, though it was then still part of Pulaski County -- near where Uncle Nig’s slab is now -- in Feb. 1832. He died just a few months after he settled there (Dec. 1832). His family stayed on and ultimately built the little town called Glaize City, which was still a town into the twentieth century. Uncle Nig Perkins can remember when it was still a town. All that is left now is the house and the "slave jail." I have photographs of several other of the buildings; they weren’t destroyed until about 1991. This Dodson is the first person buried in the Dodson cemetery. He is my great, great, great, great grandfather (so add one "great" for yourself).

The Dodson family claimed several thousand acres, which they worked with slave labor, all along the Wet Glaize Creek where the Fish Hatchery is now. I don’t know how many slaves they owned; the histories just say they had "numerous" slaves. I do know that when Mary Dodson Donoho claimed her inheritance it included six slaves. If each of the kids got six, that would make a total of about 60, but that’s unsubstantiated speculation. (The last known descendant of the Dodson slaves was a young man who died in the Army during the flu epidemic during WWI. I think his name was Isaac Dodson.)

Dr. William M. Dodson, who dissected Joe in Joe’s Cave in 1837, for which event the cave is named, was James Dodson’s son. He is my great, great, great grandfather. He is the one who donated the land for the Methodist church that used to be at the Ozark Fisheries fish hatchery near the graveyard where Mom’s brother, Roy Joe Perkins, is buried (the Campground Cemetery). Local people have told me that this was the second Methodist church building erected West of the Mississippi River but I have read an official history of Methodism in Missouri and it did not mention this church, which was called the Campground Methodist Church. It was originally a Methodist Episcopal (South) church; at the time, the M. E. Church was split into North and South divisions. There was some nasty little controversy involving ownership of the building after the Civil War, but I’m not sure how it went. Apparently Dr. Dodson tried to take the land back when the church reunited, or something like that. It is my understanding that he wanted to go along with the "United" Methodists and the congregation was refusing. The building was torn down some time in the 1980s. (One of the pews is in the Camden County Historical Museum in Linn Creek; I have a picture of the building.) I can remember the building quite well. Church services were held as early as 1840 in a log cabin just up the hill from where the building was later erected.

Dr. Dodson is also buried at the Dodson Cemetery. His tombstone is that tall spire. He was both a medical doctor and a Methodist preacher. For some reason, I have neglected to write down his death dates.

Doc has a copy of a "biography" Dr. Dodson wrote. I’ll have to get us a copy of it, too.

Mary Dodson Donoho, who was the first Anglo woman to live in Santa Fe, NM, was Dr. Dosdon’s elder sister. Mary Donoho’s husband is the one who bought the three White women back from the Comanches. Mary brought two of them to Glaize City with her and they stayed at her mother’s house about six months (her mother’s name was Lucy Davis Dodson; Lucy was some kind of cousin to Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America) until they could be reunited with their families in Texas. The third woman went to Boonville, where she died. Mary ran a hotel in Santa Fe. It was called "La Fonda" and was on the site where the modern La Fonda now stands on the square in Santa Fe. She and her husband left Santa Fe because of a rebellion. They moved to Clarksville, TX, where Mary lived for the rest of her life. (Clarksville was a very important place for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. It is also rather close to Bonham, which is where Lucy Dodson was living when Dr. Armstrong proposed to her.)

The three women Donoho bought were named Caroline Harris, Clarissa Plummer, and Sarah Ann Horne. One of these women, Clarissa Plummer I think, was a cousin to Quanah Parker’s mother, who was also a Comanche captive. (Quanah Parker was the last Comanche war chief, who finally made peace with the whites. He’s a well-known figure in American history.) I find it sort of neat that our family had connections with these famous people I studied in high school history! I have photocopies of these women’s published narratives of their captivities.

Dr. Dodson served briefly in the Confederate Army as a Chaplain, but was discharged for health reasons after about six months. He moved his family to Bonham, TX, during the War, and didn’t return to MO until July 1866. Guerillas burned his house while he was away. After the War, of course, he had to free his slaves, and his fortune never really recovered, though he was still reasonably well off because of the huge amounts of land he owned.

William Dodson’s daughter Lucy married Dr. John Armstrong in 1865. She is the one who wrote the letter saying she couldn’t marry him because the fact that the South lost the war was proof to her that God considered the Southerners bad people. I have seen the actual letters. One is on blue paper; the ink has turned brown with age. When I saw them -- about 1989 or 90 -- Aunt Elsie Gibson had them. Aunt Elsie, who lives in Alton, IL, is the wife of Uncle Tom Gibson. Tom was the eldest son of Lizzie Gibson (Grandma Gibson); he is the one Mom says is the only person who loved her when she was a small child after her mother died. John Armstrong’s letter is dated April 23, 1865 and is addressed "Army in the field near Collin . . . . ., La." [I couldn’t read the name of the town.] Lucy’s letter was written a couple of months later; Gen. Lee had surrendered between the time he wrote and she answered.

John Armstrong, who married Lucy Dodson, was also a doctor. He served in the Confederate Army for nearly the whole war, though not as a doctor. He was simply an infantryman. He fought in the Battle of Lone Jack, MO, for instance, which is between Warrensburg and Kansas City on US 50. He was wounded at Helena, AR, on 3 July 1863, the same day the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Vicksburg were fought. Family story has it that he ultimately died of the wound, though 20 years later. I have my doubts that that was the cause of his death. I have visited the Battlefield where he was wounded. From the looks of things -- and from what the histories say -- it must have been an awful fight. About 1/4 of the Confederate soldiers were killed. I recently got copies of his existing service records from the National Archives. They don’t give much information, but a little is better than none. Other information I have about him says he entered the Missouri State Guards in May, 1861 and was transferred to the Confederate Army 1 July 1861. [I have recently been following the battle route of the armies he served in. I believe he fought in tthe Battle of Prairie Grove, AR; the Battle of Lexington, MO; the Battle of Helena, AR; the Battle of California, MO, Tipton, MO, the second Battle of Boonville, the Battle of Glasgow, MO, and the Battle of Westport, MO, as well as the battle of Lone Jack, MO, but don’t really know for sure.]

Dr. Armstrong was the founder and publisher of the newspaper The Rustic. He first published it in Stoutland in 1873, then moved it to Linn Creek, then back to Stoutland, then to Lebanon. It was the forerunner of the paper that is still published in Lebanon, and was the second newspaper in Camden County.

He still owned the paper at his death in 1884; his widow sold it after he died. Grandma Gibson was born in Lebanon and lived there until she was about six. Dr. Armstrong’s father, James Mason Armstrong, settled in Sarcoxie, MO, near Joplin, some time before the Civil War. When the Armstrong family first came to MO, they settled at Ellston Station, which is just a few miles northwest of Jefferson City. That was about 1856. (I have visited Ellston Station, but there isn’t much there.) Goodspeed’s History of Camden County says John enlisted in the Army from Camden County, though his service records say he enlisted at "Cherokee Na."-- which would mean Oklahoma. (I believe the "Indian Nations" border was further into Missouri then than it is now, so he was probably living in Sarcoxie when he enlisted.) However, he may have enlisted in the State Guard from Camden County. The house his father owned in Sarcoxie is still standing. I have a picture of it that I took when we visited there this summer (1994); it is two blocks South and one block East of the Sarcoxie town square -- on 5th Street & Church.

Grandma Lizzie (Elizabeth Dodson Armstrong Gibson) was Dr. Armstrong’s youngest child. She had four older brothers and one older sister. Grandma’s brother James ("Uncle Jim") is the one who wrote the article about Joe’s Cave that was published in the Springfield newspaper in 1931. He was at the time -- and for a total of 14 years -- a State Representative. Though I haven’t seen it, there is a picture of him in the State Capitol in Jeff City. I have a very good picture of him. He was Chairman of the Banking and Finance Committee and was a pretty influential man. Uncle Jim died when I was a very small child -- about two -- so I don’t remember him. He is also the one who had the barn where Neva Burd’s house (Bill Burd’s mother) now stands in Richland.

Another of grandma’s brother’s, Uncle Kav (Charles Kavanaugh Armstrong), is the one who was involved in the killing at the revival. He is also the one in whose house the skeleton of Joe was destroyed when the house burned in 1944. That house is the one I pointed to that was off in the woods near the Armstrong cemetery. Nothing remains there except the foundation and some out-buildings. However, Mom remembers the house quite well. She says they had a room upstairs that was used as a school for the small children. Dr. Dodson’s house was just a hundred yards or so from it. His son James, who died in 1991, is the one whose house your Dad bought in Richland. (I have learned that the house actually belonged to Uncle Jim, though Kav was living in it.)

James Evans, of Stoutland, told me that he has seen the skeleton many times, that uncle Kav kept it in a closet at a landing in the stairwell and would get the kids to open it so it would scare them. (James Evans grew up with the next generation of Armstrongs, even worked for Kav when he was younger.)

John Roscoe was another of Grandma’s brothers. He died rather young and is buried at the Armstrong Cemetery. His daughter Lucy Ella Marquis is Mom’s cousin who lives in Huntsville, AL.

Grandma’s other brother was Joe. He died in Tulsa, where he worked as a printer, but was buried in Richland. His wife was Etta Warren, one of the Richland Warrens. Joe probably died of alcoholism from what I gather. I have a copy of his funeral notice from the Richland paper, but it is not dated.

I don’t know what became of Grandma’s sister or her other brother, Ben. I’ll have to check into it.

Grandma married Harley O’Reilly Gibson when she was 16. (I have a copy of their marriage license. It is hand-written in pencil!) They had three children, Thomas, John and Lucy. Lucy is my grandmother -- Mom’s mother (the one you look so much like). Lucy married Ike (James Isaac) Perkins and had five kids. Mom was the oldest and Barney was the youngest. Lucy died at age 31, essentially as a result of childbirth, but perhaps also of breast cancer. When she died, Mom and Barney went to live with Grandma Gibson; the other boys -- Ivan, Joe, and George -- remained with their father. Sometime afterwards, Ike married Ada Boren and had four kids by her: Bonnie Jean, Ruth (Tootsie), Thelma (Babe), and Wanda Lee. Bonnie lives around the Lake of the Ozarks somewhere. Ruth is the mother of the Decker boys that you know. Thelma works for Wal-Mart at St. Roberts. Wanda died several years ago; she was about my age.

Grandpa Harl was a Deputy U. S. Marshal in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Grandma used to tell me exciting stories about living out there when he was Marshal. One of Harl’s brothers also is, supposedly, the man who was one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and planted the flag on San Juan Hill, Puerto Rico, in the Spanish American War. (That’s a family story and probably not true. I’ve searched quite a bit and can find nothing in the history books that mentions him.) Harl died when I was about five. I can only sort of remember him.

Harl was also from a fairly well off family. It was his father who was killed with an axe and left with his beard stuck in a crack in a stump. Harl’s great uncle is the first person to claim the big spring at Waynesville (Roubidoux Spring); he later moved a few miles down-stream, to the place now called Mt. Gibson, where he raised race horses. The Gibson family came from England in the very early 1800’s and settled near Washington, Missouri, on the Missouri River. At the time they came over, Missouri was still Spanish territory; I have a copy of the Gibson land-grant from the Spanish government (written in Spanish). Their land claim was very near where Daniel Boone lived and was first buried.

John Wesley Armstrong (born in Boonesborough, Madison Co., KY, 9/26 1838)


Lucy Elvira, daughter of Wm. M. and Mildred E. (Bagerly) Dodson (born in Camden Co., MO, 1/30/1844)

their children

James William ("Jim") Armstrong (born in Camden Co., MO, 9/21 1866 -- 8 a.m.)

Joseph Sebastian Armstrong, (born in Sarcoxie, Jasper Co., MO, 2/2 1869 --6 p.m.

Mary Elvira Armstrong (born in Camden Co., MO, 11/18 1870 --7 p.m.)

Benjamin Alexander Armstrong (born in Camden Co., MO, 8/26 1872 -- 10 a.m.)

John Roscoe ("Ros") Armstrong (born in Camden Co., MO, 9/3 1874 -- 11:30 p.m.)

Charles Kavanaugh ("Kav") Armstrong (born in Camden Co., MO, 9/19 1876 -- 1:30 a.m.)

Elizabeth Dodson ("Lizzie") Gibson, ne´é Armstrong (born in Lebanon, Laclede Co., MO, 8/26 1878 -- 9:30 a.m. She died in 1974, age 96!)


Harley O’Reilly Gibson

their children

Thomas Harley Gibson

John Gibson

Lucy Paradine Gibson


James Isaac Perkins

their children

Mary Ella Perkins (born April 26, 1920, Camden Co., MO)

Roy Joe Perkins

Ivan L. Perkins

George William Perkins

Barney O’Reilly Perkins