The Civil War from the View of Laboring People: Agrarian Reform or Tragedy?
Old Kentucky Home and Indiana-Illinois-Missouri Migration, 1830-1857. .
Political Activism for Reform. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Baileys' Activism on the Kansas-Missouri Border 1857-1861. . . . . . . . . . .
Reform and the Civil War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Civil War from the View of Laboring People: Agrarian Reform or Tragedy?
The role of laboring people in the American Civil War is sometimes pictured as tragic, with the focus being the 600,000 that died. However, many workers viewed themselves as reformers, not victims. No one wanted to die, but living was not the only or even the main concern. The Civil War for them was the continuation of a long-standing reform struggle, involved political, economic, religious and social demands. They sought free or cheap land, schools and libraries, decent roads, bridges, transportation and mail service, an inexpensive legal system, a homestead exemption in debtor proceedings, public assistance, for asylums and poor houses for the blind, lame, elderly, retarded and mentally unsound and a church that took the side of working people. For reformers the "peculiar institution" was as much Northern corporate interests as Southern slavery, both of which often used state and federal government for personal gain at the public's expense.
This essay looks at the war's reform dimension through the eyes of a laboring family, the Baileys, who lived in Henry County, Missouri, near the Kansas border. Some 27,000 Missourians died in the war, including twelve of the Baileys. Several other family members received life-long ailments. Despite the hardships, the war was viewed by them as part of the reform movement and glorious. In it they achieved much of their reform program.
Reform in their Blood: Migration, 1830-1857. A basic agrarian reform for 19th-century farmers centered on migrating west to cheaper and better land. The Baileys' story began on Clear Creek in the Kentucky River valley near Mortonsville in Woodford County, Kentucky. George Bailey and Judy Howard were married there on October 31, 1825. He was 21, she was 17. The tradition of reform by migration was in their blood. For example, Judy's parents had come to Kentucky in 1791 on the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap from Richmond County on Virginia's Northern Neck in Eastern Virginia. Working people in Eastern Virginia were then being squeezed out by landlords, slave labor and declining tobacco profits. For them the American Revolution won an agrarian reform that opened up western land that had been off limits under British rule.
Woodford County was in the rich bluegrass region of Kentucky. It was already a booming plantation and horse-breeding area in the 1790s. The Baileys and Howards were small farmers. Religion was important to them and gave support to their reform beliefs. Judy's father was one of the 5 original trustees at the Mt. Edwin Methodist Episcopal church on the Oregon Road near Clear Creek. In contrast to the world of the magnates, the Methodist farmers on principle wore plain dress and resisted what they felt was "enslavement to the material," which for them meant wealth monopolization, ostentatious consumerism, slavery, gambling, horse racing, and sexual promiscuity. Their alternative to the market emphasized ministry to less fortunate neighbors. Family hymn singing and prayer were common.
By the time George and Judy Bailey began their family in the mid-1820s, the price of even marginal land in Woodford County was beyond their reach. A recent account summarized the resentment felt by working people against the Kentucky absentee landlord system:
In frontier Kentucky, "the distribution of land betrayed the expectations of most Kentucky settlers. It reflected the stranglehold of landlords, primarily absentee, over Kentucky." Many settlers in Kentucky lived on the margins, as squatters or tenants, and railed against speculators and land jobbers, seeing them as oppressors. They felt a sense of victimization.
As they would do periodically throughout their marriage, the Baileys made their own personal agrarian reform, as their parents had done, by migrating west. This was in 1830, soon after the birth of their first daughter, Louisa. They went to Danville in Hendricks County, Indiana, which lay 20 miles west of Indianapolis. Peter Cartwright, a Methodist lay preacher who migrated at the same time, spoke for many, when he wrote in his autobiography that he moved because he thought, "I could raise my children to work where work was not thought a degradation," and "could better my temporal circumstances and procure lands for my children as they grew up."
One of the reforms for "bettering" the temporal circumstances of subsistence farmers was not to borrow money. The focus was on "self-help," since the government was at best unreliable. To avoid going into debt in Danville, the Baileys did wage labor. George worked as a shoe and boot maker, a trade in which pride was taken. Low-cost shoes were mass-produced but a living could still be made from the trade. They were able to successively purchase and sell several lots with houses on them but it took them 22 years to accumulate enough to buy a farm. This was because much land in central and northern Indiana was held by speculators for prices beyond the reach of most working people.
In 1837 when their daughter Frances Ann was born, the Baileys moved to Greencastle in Putnam County, Indiana. Greencastle was about 20 miles west of Danville, not far from the National Road. In 1840 they again moved. An economic depression at the time caused them to sell their lot in Greencastle for $100, which was half what they had paid for it several years earlier. They went 50 miles further west to Shiloh Township in Edgar County, Illinois, near Bruelette Creek in the valley of the Wabash. The county seat of Edgar County was Paris, with a population of 700. They eventually bought a 120-acre farm on Jan. 3, 1852, some 12 years after moving to Illinois. In Shiloh Township 5 additional children were born. In all, they had 9 children.
Elements of the Agrarian Program. During the antebellum period, self-help migration such as the Baileys' was the main element of their agrarian reform movement. Laboring people wanted free or cheap land. They had to focus on self-help because they had only limited control of the government, especially at the state and national level. Nevertheless, where they were able, they made the demand for free land a legislative issue. One account remarked that, "Land legislation lay close to the Western heart. It was the greatest single interest in the West and it was a vital topic of discussion in the settlers' cabins." There was a continuing hostility to the corporate interests that monopolized the government and its land policy. From the view of farming people, it was their labor that improved the land and gave it value. The land had no value in itself. Speculators added no value. Historian George Stephenson summarized the hostility the reformers had for the "capitalist" control of land distribution:
Agriculture was taxed for the benefit of capitalists who "toil not, neither do their spin." To those pioneers who considered that $1.25 per acre was too high the idea of paying double that amount to corporations "who have neither bodies to die or souls to damn" was exceedingly unpalatable. The great majority of the pioneers, the Free Soilers, the "National Reformers," using that term in its most inclusive sense, and a considerable number of friends of homestead in all sections of the country saw the danger in a policy which would build up a great landed interest whose influence would be used in antagonism to the common welfare and in debauching their legislative bodies.
The market system of farming was recognized by working people as dangerous. Twenty percent of 19th-century farm families went bankrupt. In the antebellum it cost $200 to establish a 160-acre farm, build a cabin, clear three acres and fence it in. If the start-up money was loaned, the family was at risk if drought or flood ruined the crop, if sickness hit, or if panic and depression brought prices to a ruinous level. A family would be without money to repay the loan, and as a contemporary put it, "would lose everything to some land shark who possessed capital."
During the 1850s the reform movement, including the demand for homestead legislation, was helped by the division that arose between the Northern corporate interests and Southern slave interests. These two forces had dominated the Democratic Party and the government land policy in the antebellum. The division itself between Northern and Southern big property arose out of land policy, that is, whether slavery would be extended to the western territory. The Democratic magnates believed they had solved the problem and defeated the reformers in 1854 with the Kansas-Missouri Bill. In exchange for the North getting the terminus of the first railroad to the Pacific, the South obtained squatter sovereignty in the Kansas and Nebraska territories.
It was obvious from the start that Nebraska would be free. The mistake made by the corporate interests was in assuming that labor would stand by and allow Kansas to be slave. The militancy of the Kansas settlers who started migrating to the territory when it opened in 1854 was noted by historian Jay Monaghan, "Political revolution was an ideal of the day and it was noticeable that West-bound travelers affected the faddish full beard and soft felt hat peculiar to the popular Hungarian revolutionist Louis Kossuth."
When the slaveholders lost the battle of the ballet in Kansas, they held a bogus convention. The Lecompton constitution which resulted purported to allow slavery in Kansas. But the constitution needed the approval of Congress to obtain authority. To retain his senate seat in the November 1858 election, Stephen Douglas was forced to abandon the Southern wing of the Democratic Party and pre-empt Lincoln by rejecting the Lecompton constitution.
The resulting split within the party between Douglas Democrats, who supported a free Kansas, and the Southern Democrats allowed the Republicans to win the presidency in 1860. As the coalition against reform in the Democratic Party split, the Republicans gave support to homestead legislation. Reformers at the July 1860 Republican convention talked of the land as belonging to and being a "natural right" of the people. They proposed schemes to protect it, like holding it in "sacred trust," and not granting it to corporations, but allowing actual settlers the use of it without cost. Such grants would be inalienable, thus protecting them from claims for debts.
It was evident in the spring of 1860 that no party which opposed the agrarians could carry critical Northern and Border States. In anticipation of the fall 1860 elections, a Homestead Bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in May 1860. In the House the vote was 115 for to 65 against with 95 Republicans for it along with 25 Democrats. There were 48 Democrats and 17 Know-Nothings against it. It was a compromise measure, stripped of most of its homestead features. Abolishing the old price of $1.25 per acre, it allowed heads of families, after five years of occupancy, to purchase quarter sections at twenty-five cents an acre. One reason it passed lay in the expectation that President Buchanan would veto it, which he did. Working people "cursed the interests that killed the Homestead Bill."
The "interests" that killed the Homestead Bill were both slavery and the Northern iron and railroad corporations. The free grant of 7 million quarter sections would make worthless the massive land grants obtained by the railroads and the land warrants. Northern banks and land companies. The land warrants had been issued to veterans and purchased at a discount and the corporate speculators expected to profit. The Homestead Act was the main issue for agrarians in the 1860 election. Historian Allan Nevins remarked, "Everywhere from Ohio to Kansas the cry of free land had grown immensely popular. People believed that it meant opportunity for the poor man and his children, rapid development of the country, and a growth in the wealth of the whole central valley. The sad situation of many settlers in Kansas and Nebraska, utterly destitute after a summer and fall of drought, was used to drive home the argument." After the Republicans got power in 1861, a homestead measure was enacted.
In addition to cheap free land the agrarian reform program had other elements. Free public education was one of them. Illiteracy was widespread. Private schools and tutors were expensive. It was not unusual for a family to spend $75 or a quarter of their $300 income on education. Despite the expense, the Bailey children all went to school and learned to read and write. It got easier for them after 1845 as a series of free school laws were adopted in Illinois over the opposition of landlords and merchants who did not want to be taxed. By 1860 95% of the Illinois school age population were attending school 6 months out of the year. At the national level with the split between the Northern and the Southern magnates, educational reform was advanced in June 1862 with the Morrill College Land Grant Act. Thirty thousand acres of public land for each senator and representative in Congress was given for colleges. This gave the start to public higher education such as at the University of Illinois.
A third element of the reform program was for the overthrow of laws authorizing the manufacture and retail sale of alcoholic drinks. The corporate, profit-motivated destruction of those that were without impulse control, the youth, and the mentally immature was viewed as wrong. An Illinois temperance convention summarized:
While we sympathize with the inebriate and his unfortunate family, we should not forget to keep before the people those abominable establishments (the fountainhead of all this evil) in their true character, that manufacture and retail alcoholic drinks, and the laws that authorize their existence.
Illinois agrarians in the 1850s backed the "Maine Law" movement, which placed a state prohibition on the sale of alcohol. Such a law was enacted in Maine in 1851. The local Edgar County circuit judge, David Davis, who did not approve of it, described a Methodist-led temperance rally in May 1848 that took place in Paris, "The Sons of Temperance had a procession formed at the Court House & preceded by a brass band. They number 74. Their uniform is a white sash thrown over the shoulders & united in front by a blue bow." To hear the speeches on temperance, the judge went to the Methodist Church, where "U.F. Linder, Esq. of Charleston . . . made a pretty speech." In 1855 the Illinois state legislature enacted a prohibition law; it was later weakened by the liquor industry in Chicago, which mobilized the German vote.
Local Political Activism for Reform. In agitating for their program in the antebellum and Civil War period, agrarians, as a recent historian commented, "breathed collective life into the county institutions." Elected officials worked in government part-time and were farmers fulltime. County commissioners set fair prices at local mills, ferries and taverns. They provided public assistance to the elderly, disabled and orphans. In March 1847 George Bailey, as part of the Edgar county government, was appointed a fence viewer for Shiloh Township, along with neighbors Archibald Myers and Thomas Dougherty. He was reappointed in March 1850. Split rails, not barbed wire, dominated.
In the 1840s and early 1850s small farmers in central Illinois, where Edgar County was located, were called "Henry Clay Whigs from Kentucky." Their support of that party was not because the Whigs were on the side of reform but because the Democrats, both at the local and national level, dominated as they were by big money both in the South and North, were negative. Among the Whig and later Republican leaders who came to support reform and got help in Edgar County was Abraham Lincoln. As part of the central Illinois itinerant bar, he regularly visited Edgar County from 1845 to 1852. When a young Whig representative of Illinois's 7th Congressional District in 1847, Lincoln had been indifferent to the agrarian land reform measure then under consideration. But by the 1860 presidential campaign, he and the Republican Party platform had evolved toward demanding the "cutting up of the wild lands into parcels so that every poor man may have a home." The agrarians had power and they encouraged Lincoln, as one account put it, to become "a believer in the labor theory of value," and of labor "deserving much higher consideration than capital."
Lincoln's conversion to Republicanism and the beginnings of his evolution toward agrarian reform began in the summer of 1856 when he made 50 speeches in behalf of the Republican presidential candidate, John C. Fremont (1813-1890). One of those speeches was warmly received in Paris on Aug. 6, 1856. Several months later on Nov. 4, 1856, 952 (36%) of the Edgar County voters went for Freemont. The Democrat Buchanan got 1342 votes (51%) and the Know-Nothing Fillmore got the rest. The Democrats won Edgar County, but in earlier elections they had gotten as much as 65% of the vote. They were fearful enough of their declining strength in Illinois that some school masters were dismissed because they voted for Freemont.
Lincoln later returned to Edgar County on the afternoon of Sept. 7, 1858 as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate against Stephen Douglas. He spoke from 3 to 5:00 PM and summed up his reform beliefs in terms of the labor theory of value, "That is the issue. It is the eternal struggle between two principles - right and wrong - throughout the world. The one is the common right of humanity, the other is the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, `You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it.'"
Also in Paris on Sept. 7, 1858 was Owen Lovejoy, an abolitionist and Illinois Republican member of Congress during the period 1857-1864. He was chair of the homestead-supporting Public Lands Committee. That evening Lovejoy denounced slavery and promoted the Homestead Act from the same platform from which Lincoln had spoke. Lincoln was on good terms with Lovejoy and they regularly collaborated. But speaking publicly with him ran counter to Lincoln's normal campaign strategy, which was to distance himself from the abolitionists, as well as from his own "House Divided" speech and from ideas about the equality of the races. Lincoln suspended his strategy in Paris because the people demanded it, as historian Mark Plummer summarized:
The next morning [Sept. 7] Lincoln spoke to an audience of a thousand in Mattoon. Later in the day in Paris in Edgar County, Lincoln spoke for two hours. The presence of the abolitionist Owen Lovejoy in Paris was inconsistent with Republican strategy, but he was loudly called for after Lincoln's speech. Lovejoy spoke again in the evening to the approbation of the Chicago Tribune, which reported that the citizens of Edgar County had discovered that he did not wear "horns and a tail."
To Missouri. Despite the Baileys' progress in purchasing and successfully running their farm, Illinois was a difficult place for farming people in the antebellum. Typically, in 1850 Senator Stephen Douglas persuaded Congress to grant to a single corporation some 2,707,200 acres of land, scattered over 47 counties, for the long-awaited Illinois Central Railroad. The Illinois State Register reported that the railroad bill "was prepared in New York and first canvassed by Wall Street men before it was sent to Springfield to secure legislative endorsement." Governor French, Senator Douglas, and many Democratic officials became wealthy because they speculated in railroad stock and land. But the public suffered as land prices increased 50% in value overnight. Railroad land was exempt from taxation so that there was no pressure to sell and it was held indefinitely for the top price.
Several of the Bailey children by the 1850s had grown up, married and were trying to establish their own families. For them to take up farming in Edgar County was not possible because of the land costs. As a result in April 1856, after 9 years of marriage, their oldest daughter, Louisa, and son-in-law, George Craig, along with their 3 small children undertook a self-help reform by migrating to Nebraska. The land was cheaper there. Prior to their move, they had farmed with marginal success a 40-acre plot bordering the Bailey's farm.
The unhappy prospect of seeing their other children being forced to move away pushed the Baileys in the following year to undertake a migration of their own so that their children would be able to have more opportunity. After 17 years in Illinois, they sold off their farm on Aug. 7, 1857 for $2,100. With them on their move further west came their unmarried children and also their married daughter Frances Ann and her family. They settled on vacant land in Henry County, Missouri near Lucas in White Oak Township. This was part of Grand River Valley on Missouri's western border with Kansas. A federal land office had been established in the mid-1840s at the county seat in Clinton. Its administrator was the Democratic slave owner, Daniel Ashby (1791-1878), who by 1860 was the Missouri State Treasurer.
Three-fourths of White Oak Township was prairie with an abundance of timber along the Grand River, White Oak Creek and other streams. Swamp land sold for as little as $.50 an acre. But much of the land was monopolized by absentee speculators. A local historian noted in 1883:
The township has suffered a good deal with its non-resident landowners. At one time nearly half of the township was in their possession. To a large extent the land was held and is now held at too high a figure to bring immigration. It has no towns of its own and its distance to market combined with the high price of its land has retarded its growth to a very great extent. When its landowners show a disposition to take a fair price for their holdings, White oak will take a start and progress will mark her pathway.
A federal reform measure enacted in 1854, the graduation bill, aided the Baileys. Authored by Senator Thomas Benton of Missouri, the law had addressed one of the problems in public land distribution. Big money took the most fertile and best suited lands. This left much land unsold. As a result, the government had to maintain land offices that did not pay for themselves in the older public land states such as Missouri. The graduation bill reduced the land price in these areas according to the number of years the land remained unsold, until it was given away free in 80-acre lots.
To the push of family preservation and the pull of relatively cheap land, there were other factors that motivated the Baileys' migration to Missouri's western border, rather than in the footsteps of daughter Louisa to Nebraska. Three of Judy's siblings, James and John Howard (b. 1820) and Sarah "Sally" (Howard Elliston) Rumsey (1825-1898) and their families, plus her maternal uncle, Silas Hammond, were already on the Kansas-Missouri border. Silas had started farming there in the 1840s in Johnson County, which bordered Henry County to the north. Also making their migration easier was the railroad. Construction of it by 1857 had reached west from St. Louis to Jefferson City, Sedalia and Warrensburg in Johnson County, which was north of Henry County.
The Baileys' Activism on the Kansas-Missouri Border: 1857-1861. Besides family preservation and the prior settlement of relatives, a desire to act on their reform beliefs drew the Baileys to Missouri. Within a few years of their migration, a number of the Baileys had their lives taken for this. Big landlords dominated Missouri in the antebellum and working people suffered disadvantages in taxation, representation, education and other government services. But in the 1850s the dissolution of the national Northern-Southern coalition that had prevented reform had especially positive results in Missouri. Greed, short-sightedness and panic at the increasing success and electoral strength of working people helped bring the division there earlier than elsewhere. Among those who set off the panic were those like the Baileys that moved to the Kansas-Missouri border in the summer of 1857, which was then the center of the reform movement.
Missouri slave owners felt threatened by the militancy on the Kansas-Missouri border because Missouri was the outpost slave state. With what they considered abolitionists to the east in Illinois and to the north in Iowa, Missouri could not survive being surrounded by "abolitionists" on its western side. Sheriff Samuel Jones of Westport, Mo., who sympathized with the slave owners, in recruiting to fight white labor in Kansas in 1856, summarized the problem, "Arm yourselves, for if they abolitionize Kansas, you lose $100,000,000 of your property. I am satisfied I can justify every act of yours before God and a jury." On March 6, 1857 the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision which involved a Missouri slave, tried to guarantee slavery in the territories. But the decision only added fuel to the militancy of the reformers. Lincoln commented, "The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts."
Despite considerable bloodshed and even because of it, by 1857 some 5,000 laboring migrants had won the battle for Kansas, merely by outnumbering the slave forces 4 to 1. Cheap soil had attracted them and, for many, it was also because they were reformers. Historian Oswald Villard pointed out the principled nature of the migration, "By emigrant aid societies, by widespread appeals to the liberty-loving citizens of the North to settle in Kansas, by mass meetings and public subscriptions to the funds raised to forward settlers in large parties to the new territories - in a hundred different ways, some of the necessary thousands were induced to become a living bulwark to the extension of slavery."
Once Kansas was secure, the fight turned towards "Africa" itself, as Missouri and the other slave states were called. Paul Nagel in his history of Missouri described the Kansas Jayhawk raider aspect of the offensive:
Violent encounters [in Kansas] continued until the autumn of 1857 when fresh election returns showed that Kansas had been claimed by free-soil sentiment, despite everything Missouri had done. Then the scene shifted to Missouri as Kansans took their turn in making forays into Missouri, motivated at times by what they only imagined to be threats, and at other times by vengeance. The assailants from Kansas, known as Jayhawkers, included John Brown, who on one occasion carried away eleven slaves after slaying their Missouri owner.
Even more dangerous for the existing order than the Kansas Jayhawks were the reform families who moved into Missouri itself. Shortly before the Baileys' migrated, officials had attempted to blockade Missouri to agrarian reformers to prevent them from settling in Western Missouri. Migrants were diverted to Iowa. The Baileys with their origins in Kentucky, spoke "Southern" and, like many others, evaded the authorities.
Missouri had been a slave state since 1820. By 1840 the 15 most fertile counties, most of which bordered the Missouri River, were dominated by slave owners who had moved there from the South. This became known as Little Dixie. Their landlords were only 2% of the population, but they controlled the Missouri Democratic Party. The small number of slave owners explains, in part, why it took only a small number of principled migrants and native Missourians to quickly bring Missouri slavery to despair. An account by Thomas Goodrich summarized the decline of Missouri slavery beginning in the summer of 1857:
Many Missouri slaveholders now began to voluntarily dismantle the system. While some masters allowed their "runaways" to simply walk away to Kansas and freedom, others shipped their bondsmen to southern markets by the thousands. "At the rate slaves have been sold South for the past six months," a happy Kansas editor reported, "slavery in western Missouri will cease before the end of three years."
If the prospects for the Missouri slave forces in the years before the war were declining, those of the reformers were on the rise. The first year following their move to Missouri, the oldest Bailey boy, 24-year old, William T., married and started his own farm near Urich, not far from the paternal parents. A year later the Baileys celebrated at their homestead the marriage of another child, their 21-year old son, John W. At Lucas the farmers averaged 40 bushels of wheat per acre. Five acres yielded 200 bushels, only 50 bushels of which were needed for a year's bread and seed. The rest was sold or traded. The farm which the Baileys pioneered, was already valued at $1,000 by 1860. The children helped with the farming but they also went to school. In 1860 3 of them were in school.
Beliefs. The Baileys were Methodists and their denomination supported the reform movement. Their religion was important to them. They celebrated big events, such as births, marriages, and deaths within a religious context and recorded them in the family bible. For example, their oldest daughter, Louisa, at age 17, married George W. Craig on Sept. 27, 1847. Family and neighborhood friends attended the ceremony, which was performed by James Flack, who was both a justice of the peace and a Methodist Episcopal minister. He had come to Dudley in the western part of Edgar County from Kentucky in 1830. The first Methodist church was at his house. According to one of his granddaughters, George Craig did not drink and smoked only a little. Abstinence from alcohol and tobacco was part of their religion.
In Missouri the church to which the Baileys belonged at White Oak was called a union church. This was because both the Methodists and Baptists jointly owned the building. It was less expensive that way. Their church made little distinction between clergy and laity. Blacks and women preached, exhorted and disciplined. In turn they were baited by racists, "Would you have your daughters marry blacks?" But in their view, slavery was a system of prostitution. "Race bleaching and amalgamation" had always been part of it.
For many church people, religion was both about the hereafter and about the consequences that flowed in a capitalist-influenced economy from doctrines such as being your neighbor's keeper and the commandments against greed, envy, theft and killing. A consequence was their tendency to maximize subsistence farming and minimize the market economy and what they felt were its evils. A student of such anti-wealth beliefs summarized:
Clearly sporting, indolence, laziness, taking time off, enjoying life, lack of ambition (all the words are loaded with values of one kind or another) had their origins in other things as well as a life outside the market economy. In particular, celebration and recreation had economic functions as well as social. They established connection and obligation. The effect of having relatively few needs was liberating of time as well as paid labor. Having relatively few needs that the market could satisfy meant that commoners could work less. Karl Polanyi might say that thrift spared commoners the "humiliating enslavement to the material, which all human culture is designed to mitigate." In other words: commoners had a life as well as a living.
The widespread anti-wealth sentiments of Edgar county's subsistence farmers were condemned by the circuit judge there, David Davis, "The country between Paris [in Edgar County] & Charleston is handsomer than any I have ever seen in the state, & if Yankees, instead of Kentuckians and Tennesseeans had the control of it, it would blossom as the rose. The houses generally frame, some log, rarely any whitewash or paint - in fact the village looks like a southern village and the people are Kentuckians & have a slipshod appearance." Unlike Judge Davis, the locals did not tend to equate God with money or encourage a reverence for the dignity of wealth or a belief in the existence of a wise overlordship of the affluent. To the contrary, they were more apt to raise doubt that under the kindly guidance of the magnets' intelligent government, justice, mercy and peace would bless their class.
Minimizing market involvement did not mean being lazy or limiting productive work, as Judge Davis believed, it only involved giving second place to profit-oriented activity. Nor did it mean political quietism. Activism against slavery as on the Missouri border in the summer of 1857 was part of the Methodist religion. One authority remarked that the "keystone of Southern Methodist antislavery efforts was the Golden Rule," as set forth in Mt. 7:12 and Lk. 6:31. John Wesley had denounced slave owners because they robbed slaves "of all their labor" in order to live in luxury. This condemnation, as historian Cynthia Lyerly put it, "Fit squarely within Methodist opposition to conspicuous consumption and wealth." Methodist emancipationist Francis Asbury (1745-1816) preached the story of Moses, the flight from Egyptian slavery, jubilee (Lev. 25), and the labor theory of value. As St. Paul (1Th 3:10) put it to the Thessalonians, those that did not work, meaning the slave owners, should not eat. In 1845 the Methodist church split between North and South on the issue of slavery.
In their successive communities, the Baileys found support from like-minded reformers at church. The churches propagandized about slave labor reducing the value of white labor and resulting in the monopolization of the best land by the slave owners. Reformers complained that in a reverse form of carpetbagism, the profits from slavery along with those from Northern capitalism, as Lincoln put it, "debauched" the political parties, the state and federal governments, the courts, the military officials and sheriffs, the educators, media and many pulpits. Not only the blacks, but the whole country was enslaved. Because of these sentiments, the Missouri magnates attacked the Methodist church and its members.
Reform and the Civil War. Reform-minded believers had long been battling against the established order when, on April 12, 1861, the Confederacy seized Fort Sumter. For the reformers the Civil War that ensued was merely a continuation of their struggle. Between 1857 and 1861 "subversion" of the U.S. Constitution by those like the Baileys had made the Henry County, Mo. Democratic machine and its counterparts throughout the South, desperate to secede from and barricade themselves against further invasion by working people. Illustrative of the Henry County Democratic fears had been the resolutions adopted at their convention in the county seat at Clinton on Jan. 9, 1860, the same day the Baileys were celebrating the marriage of their son John about 10 miles distant:
Resolved, second, That we regard the so-called Republican Party of the north as a sectional and fanatical one, whose avowed principles are directly subversive of the constitution, and whose ultimate triumph would be a national calamity - greatly endangering the union of the states; and that we look with extreme reprobation at its attempted organization in our own state.
Resolved, fifth, That we endorse the Cincinnati platform, adopted June, 1856, and the principles in the Dred Scot case. . .
Resolved, eighth, That while we view the recent outrages committed at Harper's Ferry, as the fruits of the teachings and "irrepressible conflict" principles of the Republican Party of the north, and sincerely sympathize with and approve of the course pursued by the state of Virginia, we regard the union meetings recently held in the north as manifesting the spirit of patriotism calculated to check the disorganizing principles of the Abolition party, and preserve the union of the states on true Constitutional grounds.
Election day, November 6, 1860, did not go well for those who opposed reform. In Missouri the Republicans got only 10% of the vote. This matched the vote for the secessionist candidate. Seventy percent of the Missouri vote went to the Douglas Democrats and Bell's Constitutional Union movement. Despite his small support in Missouri, much of which was in St. Louis, Lincoln was elected. The Henry County Democrats then held another meeting at the Clinton courthouse on Nov. 20, 1860. They still controlled the local government, but with Republican appointments expected to the land office, post office, federal courts, marshall's office military and other positions, their power would be diminished. They feared the Republicans would "clean the slaves out of Southern Missouri." Led by the large landlords and Democratic office holders like Daniel Ashby, who would soon be an officer in the Confederate army, and John Williams, the federal district judge in Kansas, who had been run out of the territory by the reformers, they adopted a resolution to establish a militia under their control and to move toward armed-struggle. The militia was called the Missouri State Guard.
In the November 1860 elections, Claiborne Fox Jackson had been elected to the Missouri governorship as a non-secessionist Democrat. Four months later, however, in February 1861 at the same time that a Confederate government was being organized in Montgomery, Ala., Governor Jackson and the Missouri magnates called an election of delegates to a state convention in order to lead the state into secession. But to their astonishment, not a single advocate of secession was chosen. Of the 140,000 votes cast in selecting delegates, only 30,000 went to secessionists. The Missouri majority were not slave-owners and wanted nothing to do with the magnates. When the state convention met starting on Feb. 28, 1861, it ruled against secession and then recessed, but did not disband. When Jackson and the magnates persisted in siding with the Confederates, the state convention reassembled on July 31, 1861 at Jefferson City, declared vacant the state offices, put in Hamilton Gamble as governor, and moved the state capitol to St. Louis.
In June 1861 at the same time the magnates were organizing the Missouri State Guard to defend themselves, the oldest Bailey boys, William T. (age 27) and John W. (age 22), were taking up arms in behalf of reform. They helped form Company "D" of the Cass County Regiment Home Guard, Cavalry Battalion. Their regiment, which was also known as the 1st Missouri Home Guard, fought the slave owners in their own backyard. The Bailey's farm at Lucas was two miles from the Cass County border and 30 miles east of the Kansas border. The Cass County Guard was a full-time organization. It did duty not only in Cass County, but in Henry and the other adjoining counties. They scouted and camped out, often without tents or sufficient clothing. They protected bridges, roads, and towns.
From the early days of the war in 1861 bands of state troops sympathetic to one side or the other were continually in and around Henry County, which was divided in sentiments. Typically, on July 7, 1861 Union Brigadier General Lyon's Army of the West joined up with major Samuel Sturgis and his 2,200 Kansas troops who were camped on the banks of the Grand River west of Clinton. This was near the Bailey homestead. To celebrate their meeting up, a parade was put on, which was described by Lyon's biographer:
First came Lyon on his gray-dappled stallion, followed by his staff and 10 mounted bodyguards in steel-gray uniforms and in lines of five. A company of regulars and recruits, armed with rifled muskets, preceded Voerster's Pioneers. The latter had Sharps' rifles slung across their backs, hunting hats on their heads, and axes, shovels, and picks on their shoulders. Next came Totten's Battery, each section drawn by heavy and well-matched horses, and accompanied by veteran artillerists.
Now came the real show-stopper. The First Iowa Regiment in azure-gray jackets, feathered hats, and marching with such precision that it seemed but the single footstep of a giant. Less spectacular, but equally impressive in soldierly appearance, was Blair's First Missouri led by Lieutenant Colonel George L. Andres in the absence of Colonel Blair whose Congressional duties kept him in Washington. Both regiments were singing "The Girl I Left Behind Me."
Some maintain that the "federal doom of the Confederacy was written in the West rather than in the East," because the Confederates were not able to win Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. But if these were not won by the Confederacy, it was not for want of trying. William Sherman was famous for the devastation his troops caused in the South toward the end of the war. However, death, sickness and destruction were common on the Missouri border both before and throughout the war. In 1861 alone, the Baileys' Co. "D" of the Cass County Home Guard did battles or skirmishes at:
Parkersville, Mo. [Parkerville, Platte Co.?], (July 17-19, 1861)
Harrisonville in Cass County (July 27, 1861)
Jonesborough [Jonesburgh, Warren Co.?] (Aug. 21-22, 1861)
Old Randolph (Lexington?) (Sept. 14, 1861)
Bush Ridge Road (Oct. 14, 1861)
Butler in Cass County (Nov. 20, 1861)
Grand River in Bates County (Nov 30, 1861)
Dayton in Cass County (Dec. 23, 1861)
Wadesburg in Cass County (3 miles west of Lucas, Dec. 24, 1861)
One of the biggest battles and loses for the Union that year, with 15,000 troops engaged and 2,500 dying, was at Wilson Creek on Aug. 10, 1861. The Federals, who were outnumbered 5 to 1, were attempting to protect southwestern Missouri from a force that had been brought up from Arkansas. Wilson Creek occurred less than a month after the first big eastern battle at Bull Run on July 21, 1861, which was also a loss for the Union with 460 federal soldiers dying.
In the midst of the early Civil War, the Baileys celebrated the marriage of their 20-year-old daughter, Amanda, to 27-year-old Samuel Paxton (1834-1902) of neighboring Deepwater Township on Sept. 8, 1861 at their Lucas farm. Officiating at the marriage was justice of the peace, John van Story. The marriage was not recorded because the certificate along with the justice of the peace were captured on the way to the courthouse. The certificate was destroyed. Among those present at the marriage was the Baileys' youngest son, George, Jr. and Samuel Paxton's 16-year-old sister, Nancy Paxton (Miles). Amanda and Samuel eventually had 3 children.
A number of the Baileys had their lives taken in the struggle. The first of the Baileys to die were 57-year-old George and his 18-year-old son, James. They were shot around December 1861 in front of their home by "Southern guerrillas." Among the witnesses was George's grandson and namesake, George Holston (1857-1937), who was 4 years-old. Another witness was Bailey's youngest son, George Jr., who was 11 at the time. He gave a brief account of the incident many years later:
He was shot down by guerrillas at the beginning of the Civil War because of his Union sympathies. He was taken from his home in company with his son, James, and shot down by a band of Southern men. Seven children were left fatherless.
George and James were buried on a farm south of Urich that in the 20th century belonged to Emmett Doll (1899-1997) and Ethel May Long Doll (d. 1980). This was probably the Baileys' homestead in the 1860s.
George and his son were not soldiers but they were not "innocent bystanders." They were attacked because they were known in their neighborhood to have taken sides and worked for the overthrow of the established order. Most importantly, the older Bailey boys and two son-in-laws were under arms against the local magnates. The fighting on the Missouri western border was not random. George's wife and young children were not hurt. The practice of swift "justice" was characteristic of border warfare.
One of John Bailey's comrades in the Home Guard, orderly sergeant Woodson Wade from Creighton, commented on the Baileys' activism in the Guard:
At the outset of the war the guerrillas came in there and killed his father and one of his brothers, and for that reason he and his brother William were always willing to go whether they were able to or not, in the hope that they might get revenge.
Actually, the Baileys' adult sons, William T. and John W. had been active in the Guard for 6 months prior to the death of their father and brother. If they were like their neighbors, they had also been involved in militia activity since coming into Missouri.
William and John Bailey and their brothers'-in-law, Thomas Holston and Samuel Paxton, served for the duration of the war in the Guard and its replacement, Co. "G" of the 7th Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry (SMC). They were in all the major and many of the minor Missouri battles. In all, 1,162 battles or skirmishes were fought in Missouri, 11 percent of those fought in the nation and more than occurred in any other state except Virginia and Tennessee. About 27,000 Missouri citizens were killed, much property was destroyed, and whole counties were devastated. Railroads, highways, bridges, and public buildings were damaged.
About the same time that George and James were killed, John Bailey's 22-year old wife, Mary, also met her end. John and Mary had only been married two years. On Dec. 13, 1861 she was thrown from a horse and died of the injury. William Bailey was among those who attended the funeral. Even before her death, one of her two babies had died. John, in the Home Guards, was left a widower with one child. Blueford Jones, one of John's comrades in the Guards had his father take care of John's remaining baby for a while. Later the child died.
After the 1861 deaths, Judy Bailey and her children initially continued to farm in White Oak Township. Nearby was daughter-in-law Sarah (Grafford) Bailey and married daughter Frances Ann Holston. Judy would go to visit the grave of George and James in the evening. Because she always wore a white bonnet, the children who saw her at the grave thought she was a ghost. She soon had another grave to visit.
Six months after the death of George and James, Frances Ann Holston, age 25, died on June 5, 1862 at the home of her brother, William and Sarah Bailey, which by then was at Warrensburg in neighboring Johnson County. Present at the funeral were her husband Thomas, mother Judy, brothers, sisters and their families. Frances Ann's two children, George Henry and Laura Holston, aged 5 and 2, went to live with their newly married aunt, Amanda (Bailey) Paxton. Several years later Thomas Holston would be killed in battle. But in the midst of death came a new life. Amanda was pregnant with her first child. He was born on Sept. 12, 1862 and named after his recently deceased grandfather, George Bailey Paxton.
By mid-1863 the Confederacy was on the retreat in the West. Union forces under U.S. Grant had beaten the slave owners at Fort Donelson in Tennessee on Feb. 6, 1862 and Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. Some 12,000 Confederate troops surrendered at Fort Donelson and 30,000 at Vicksburg. Nevertheless, on a smaller scale the war on the Missouri border raged onward. As a result, the Baileys and many of their neighbors retreated from Henry County because of safety considerations.
The retreat was precipitated by an attack in August 1863, in which Confederate troops under William Quantrill took Lawrence, Kansas, the abolitionist capital. This was 70 miles northwest of Lucas. They burned 185 buildings, and killed about 150 inhabitants. The violence was nothing new but to curb such raids, Union General Thomas Ewing, commanding the Headquarters District of the Border, issued Order No. 11 on August 25, 1863. It required the evacuation of the 20,000 inhabitants of Cass, Jackson, Bates and part of Vernon County within 15 days. The towns in the area were burned, the crops destroyed and the animals confiscated. For years afterwards it was called the "Burnt District." As a result, the raiders were less able to live off the land. Many of the inhabitants of the proscribed counties relocated near Union garrisons in neighboring counties.
There was no order to evacuate Henry County, which bordered the proscribed Cass and Bates Counties. But Judy and her 3 unmarried children, 18-year-old Sarena, 16-year-old Mary, and 13-year-old George Bailey, Jr., did so, like many others. They moved about 50 miles northeast to Cooper County, Missouri. That was where their in-law, Samuel Paxton, was from. His parents were still there. Along with them came Amanda Paxton and the Holston children. Despite their displacement, the Baileys celebrated several marriages, including John Bailey's remarriage. In the spring of 1864 Judy and her children moved again; this time to a farm in Morgan County, which was 40 miles east of their White Oak homestead. They farmed there for a year until the spring of 1865. They then located on a farm southwest of Warrensburg in Johnson County, Missouri, which was 30 miles north of their White Oak farm. They moved each time to stay close to relatives in the union military forces.
In Oct. 1865 John Bailey's family, which had been living close to Judy Bailey's family in Johnson County, got smallpox. Both his boys, one age 3 and the other a few months old, died. John got it too and had to convalesce. His face had scars afterwards. A neighbor, Andrew Mack, who had already had smallpox and so could not get it, helped them. At the time, with the war just over, John had been working as a farmhand, cutting wheat in the Bristleridge area southeast of Warrensburg in Johnson County.
In the fall of 1865, Judy and her children returned to their White Oak homestead. A number of the Baileys who survived the war incurred permanent ailments such as "lung disease," rheumatism and lameness. John W. Bailey and in-law George Craig soon died from the consumption they had contracted from their service. Samuel Paxton's ailments were chronic. He raised several of his wife's sister's children plus three of his own. He was a laborer and in time, his war-related disabilities made it impossible for him to earn a living. He and his wife Amanda had to live with one of their children. Samuel echoed a common reformer complaint about the inadequate federal benefits, "It is infuriating to me that those who risk life and health for the country's defense in peril fail to have a decent pension."
Conclusion. Agrarian politics involved life and death issues: employment, education, housing, food and clothing. Basic survival required contention against a system that often had not only no regard for these necessities but that worked to strip them away. The Bailey family in their migration, labor, politics, beliefs and armed struggle contended against the established order and what they felt was its unnecessary wealth and its debauching of politicians, media and clergy. They paid a price for their contention, which was not unusual. Their reward was their productive labor, their children, crops, neighbors and their reforms.
Lincoln called the conflict between free and slave labor irrepressible; but for the Baileys, it was reform that was irrepressible. The Civil War was not the beginning of the struggle but a continuation. Laboring people did not choose it, but they made the best of it. At the national level, the first fruits were in 1862 with the passage of the Homestead Act, the Emancipation Proclamation and the establishment of the Department of Agriculture. To obtain labor's help in fighting the war, the government had to make concessions.
At the local level too, there was progress, especially in Missouri and the other slave states. The Missouri Republican Party increased in size after Lincoln's election and split into factions. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 applied only to states that were in rebellion. Missouri was not in rebellion and slavery continued. On July 1, 1863, a property-dominated faction of the Missouri Republican Party obtained passage of a state emancipation act under which slaves would be freed on July 4, 1870 with compensation to the slaveholders for their $40,000,000 investment. But the reformers got control of the party with the 1864 election. They called a state constitutional convention which abolished slavery immediately and without compensation. Missouri was thus the first of the slave states to free its slaves. There was no compensation to the capitalists.
In addition to clearing slavery from Missouri, the reform constitution which was put in force on July 4, 1865, gave generous aid to public schools. Missouri landlords had always opposed this. The aid included funding from the general revenue for Missouri University, Lincoln Institute for Negroes at Jefferson City and normal schools to educate public school teachers at Kirksville and Warrensburg. Other reforms introduced by the new constitution were the regulation of corporations and the prohibition of further aid to railroads. To redistribute wealth towards its producers, taxes were raised to the highest level in Missouri's history. A Bureau of Immigration was established to encourage settlement, particularly of Europeans. A Missouri Department of Agriculture was created, which employed a state entomologist. Finally, a "Test Oath" was designed to keep the old magnates out of power by providing that no one could vote, hold state office, preach, teach, or practice law in Missouri who could not take an oath that they had never in any way aided or sympathized with the Confederate cause.
The Baileys' reformism was not a religion that equated God with country or doctrines of "freedom" "constitutionalism" and "union" that failed to mention freedom, constitutionalism and union for whom and for what. They conceded no "freedom" for the monopolization of land and labor. Preservation of the union was not obtained in order for capitalism to enslave. The odds against their success, at the time, seemed impossible. And the price, even now, seems to have been too high. But they were reformers because that was in their nature, their way of life. This was characteristic of many laboring people.
Toby Terrar is a graduate of Georgetown University and UCLA (PhD, 1991). His focus is family and religious history. He is an adjunct at several Washington, D.C. area colleges and can be reached at TobyTerrar@aol.com. He acknowledges the research and insight into the history of Henry County, Missouri which has been provided him by Mildred Bailey of Leeton, Mo.
Randolph Campbell, A Southern County in Crisis: Harrison County, 1850-1880 (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1983), pp. 221-241.
Abraham Lincoln was among the era's leaders who acknowledged that he rode on the shoulders of the people. For example, he remarked on July 4, 1861, as quoted in Phillip Paludan, "A People's Contest": The Union and Civil War, 1861-1865 (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), p. ix, that, "This [the dispute with slavery] is essentially a people's contest."
U.S. Census, 1850 (Woodford County, Ky.), U.S. Archives, Microfilm, p. 468; "Affidavit of Hester Bailey," in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey, Jr., widow's application no. 275348" (manuscript, Washington, D.C.: National Archives).
See "Marriage Records," Woodford County Courthouse, (manuscript, Versailles, Ky.).
See "Marriage Records," Bourbon County Courthouse, Paris, Ky. (manuscript); George William Bailey, Jr. "Biography of George W. Bailey, (b. 1850)," in Uel W. Lamkin (ed.), History of Henry County, Missouri (Topeka: Historical Publishing Co., 1919), p. 512.
See "Isaac Howard File," Draper Manuscript Collection: Series CC, Kentucky Papers (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin,  1973), vol. 11, Section CC, p. 253; "Howard Family File" Woodford County Historical Society (manuscript, Versailles, Ky.), which gives citations to census, marriage, probate and land records.
Daniel Friedenberg, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Land: The Plunder of Early America (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1992), p. 177. Starting in 1779 Virginia's revolutionary assembly authorized its land office to sell up to 400 acres of unclaimed Kentucky land at $2.25 per 100 acres with pre-emption rights for as many as 1000 adjoining acres. See Cash D. Bond, History of Southern Woodford County (Versailles, Ky.: 1990), p. 5; John Selby, The Revolution in Virginia: 1775-1783 (Charlottesville, Va.: University Press of Virginia, 1988), pp. 144, 231; Thomas Abernethy, Western Lands and the American Revolution (New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1937), pp. 218-219, 224-225.
Thomas Abernathy, "Kentucky" in Three Virginia Frontiers (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1940), pp. 63-96; Malcolm Rohrbaugh, The Trans-Appalachian Frontier: People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775-1850 (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub., 1990), pp. 32, 44; Reginald Horsman, The Frontier in the Formative Years, 1783-1815 (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970), p. 53.
Frank Owsley, Plain Folk of the Old South (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1967), p. 96
James Davis, Frontier Illinois (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), 278.
U.S. Census, 1850 (Edgar County, Illinois), U.S. Archives, manuscript, microfilm roll 105, p. 114.
Peter Cartwright, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright (Nashville, Tenn.: Abindgon Press, 1861), pp. 165-166.
Paludan, "A People's Contest," p. 320. Typical of labor's anti-borrowing philosophy was an article that appeared in the May 1, 1840 Statesman (Paris, Ill.). This was a newspaper for the county in which the Bailey family was then living. Titled "Wages of Labor," the author, George Bancroft, debunked the notion that national monetary and fiscal policies and the banking system had the support of working people:
When I hear asserted that the interests of labor are bound up inseparately with the unstable character of our currency, my heart bleeds within me at the thought of the monstrous deception which is attempted. The argument stripped of its sophistry, is this: high wages can be maintained only by the present elastic credit system; therefore take care of the banks, and by so doing you take care of the laboring classes.
The laboring class in the United States is not dependent on banks, but rests self-sustained, and is safe for these causes: 1. The laboring class is not in debt, and therefore has no sympathy with speculators and men who seek prosperity without labor. 2. The nation has a vast domain, where fertile land is always open to purchasers at moderate prices; where the industrious squatter can, without aid of paper money, achieve an independence.
The U.S. Census, 1840, (Edgar County, Illinois), p. 65; U.S. Census, 1850, (Edgar County, Illinois), p. 147.
Shoemakers commonly had 5 years of training and made and repaired other products besides shoes, including horse collars, saddles and harnesses. Some women were shoemakers, especially widows, but most sold butter or chickens to market or took in washing or boarders. To keep costs down they spun and wove their family's cotton and wool garments, and knitted their stockings and manufactured their soap and candles. This was in addition to their normal scrubbing, clothes washing, cooking and child rearing. See John Faragher, Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), p. 111.
The Baileys successively bought and sold several lots with dwellings on them while in Danville. On Nov. 6, 1833 "George and Juda Baley" deeded lot 4 in square 16 on the corner of Kentucky and Clinton St. for $100. See "Deed Book," Hendricks County Courthouse, Putnam, Indiana (manuscript), No. 2, p. 491. On July 3, 1835 "George and Juda Baley" deeded lot 4 in square 3 on the corner of Jefferson and Clinton St. for $67.50. See "Deed Book," Hendricks County Courthouse, Putnam, Indiana (manuscript), No. 3, p. 248.
See Ray Billington, "The Frontier in Illinois History," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Spring 1950), pp. 28-45; Robert Howard, Illinois: A History of the Prairie State (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm Erdmans Pub., 1972), p. 256.
On Jan. 19, 1839 the Baileys sold their Greencastle lot. See "Deed Book," Putnam County Courthouse, Greencastle, Ind. According to the deed, Judy could not write her name but George could. In the same year that the Baileys moved to Greencastle, DePauw University, which was then called Indiana Asbury University, was established there by the Methodists. In 1838 the state government of Indiana went bankrupt because of a large but corrupt public works program. The government had contracted to make roads, canals and bridges at inflated prices. To repay its debt, Indiana imposed heavy direct taxes, which helped push the Baileys west.
The main trading center was at Terre Haute, Ind. By the mid-1850s the Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Railroad went through Paris. The Baileys stayed in Illinois 17 years (1840-1857), where they were employed, as earlier, both in boot and shoe making and in farming. See Douglas Meyer, Making the Heartland Quilt: A Geographical History of Settlement and Migration in Early Nineteenth-Century Illinois (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2001), p. 127; Richard Heckman, Lincoln vs. Douglas: The Great Debates Campaign (Wash. D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1967), p. 83.
The legal description of the Bailey's land was "T 15, R 13, S 36." On June 23, 1855 they added more land in "T 15, R 13, S 25." See "Deed Book," Edgar County Courthouse, Paris, Ill.
See U.S. Census, 1850 (Edgar County, Illinois), U.S. Archives, manuscript, microfilm roll 105, p. 147.
George Stephenson, The Political History of the Public Lands, from 1840 to 1862: From Pre-emption to Homesteads (Boston: R. G. Badger, 1917), p. 20.
Ibid., p. 123.
Tony Freyer, Producers versus Capitalists: Constitutional Conflict in Antebellum America (Charlottesville: University Press of Va., 1994), p. 37.
Senator A.G. Brown, quoted in Allan Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln: 1859-1861 (New York: Charles Scribner's Co., 1950), vol. 2, pp. 189, 304; Paludan, "A People's Contest," p. 134. Reformers complained that farmers, unable to pay the government $200 in gold for a farm of 160 acres, obtained land by borrowing money to purchase a warrant. A warrant for 160 acres might be had as low as $150. But to get the $150, the borrower had to pay interest at 5% a month. From 30 to 50% of the land cost was the interest paid to capitalists. See Benjamin Hibbard in A History of the Public Land Policies (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1965), pp. 357-358, 362.
King, Lincoln's Manager, pp. 101-101. The Kansas Territory had been opened for settlement on July 1, 1854. The Congressional act organizing the territories of Nebraska and Kansas in 1854 included clauses repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820, in which all territory south of the compromise line of 36 degrees and 30 minutes had been slave.
Jay Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865 (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1955), p. 4.
Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border, p. 5.
Wayne Williams, A Rail Splitter for President (Denver: University of Denver Press, 1951), pp. 139, 202; Frank Vanderlinden, Lincoln: The Road to War (Golden, Col.: Fulcrum Pub. 1998), p. 40.
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, pp. 189, 304. Following the labor theory of value, the reformers at the Republican convention maintained that land was worth no more than the cost of developing it and, hence, the unfairness of demanding a price for it. The view of settlers as paupers or supplicants for public bounty was condemned.
Ibid., vol. 2, p. 189; Congressional Globe, (Washington, D.C.: Blair and Rives, 1834-1873), 36th Cong., 1st Sess., 1114-1115; Roy Robbins, Our Landed Heritage: The Public Domain, 1776-1970 (Lincoln, Neb.: Princeton University Press,  1976), p. 180; Reeve Huston, Land and Freedom: Rural Society, Popular Protest and Party Politics in Antebellum New York (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 4.
John Sanborn, Congressional Grants of Land in Aid of Railways (New York: Arno Press, , 1981), p. 318.
Cong. Globe, 36th Cong., 1st Sess., 3159, 3179.
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 191.
Slave owners were against homestead legislation because the 160 acre plots were too small for slave production. See Stephenson, The Political History of the Public Lands, p. 126.
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, pp. 189, 206; Sanborn, Congressional Grants of Land in Aid of Railways, p. 58. Railroad magnates influential in the Democratic Party in the 1850s included Dean Richmond of Buffalo and Henry B. Payen of Cleveland. Richmond headed the New York Central, owned Buffalo elevators and lake shipping, and led the New York state delegation at the 1860 Democratic convention. George Stephenson in The Political History of the Public Lands, p. 125, summarized, "Capital invested in railroad lands usually opposed a homestead law because it feared that free land would lower the price of their lands." When a Homestead Act came up for consideration in Congress in 1858, it was the Democratic representatives from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois that voted against it. Among the Republicans, there were 82 for and only one against. All 15 Know-Nothings opposed it. In 1860 Pennsylvania's iron and railroad industry representatives were still opposing it.
Republican conventions in every Northern state and in Missouri and Kentucky adopted homestead planks; Democratic conventions in every Northwestern state, four New England states and New York and New Jersey, did the same. See Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 302.
Ibid., vol. 2, p. 189.
Paludan, "A People's Contest," pp. 135-136; Robbins, Our Landed Heritage, p. 178. Between 1863 and 1865, 26,500 homesteads were claimed. At the same time, the corporations did not suffer. In June 1862 Congress gave the promoters of the Union Pacific Railroad Bill 15 million acres and two years later, the amount was doubled. Interest-free government loans were also made. Between 1862 and 1871 the railroads were given a total of 94 million acres of public land.
Philip Racine (ed.), Piedmont Farmer: The Journals of David Golightly Harris, 1855-1870 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Pres, 1990), p. 5.
Cole, The Era of the Civil War, pp. 231-234; Federal Writers Project, WPA Guide to Illinois (New York: Pantheon, 1935), p. 651.
Paludan, "A People's Contest," p. 131.
Faragher, Sugar Creek, p. 195.
King, Lincoln's Manager, p. 83.
Clifford Griffin, Their Brothers' Keeper: Moral Stewardship in the United States, 1800-1865 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1960), p. 231.
Faragher, Sugar Creek, p. 137.
See "Supervisors Book," Edgar County Courthouse, Paris, Ill. (manuscript for 1847), p. 506; (manuscript for 1849-1851), p. 33.
Wayne Williams, A Rail Splitter for President (Denver: University of Denver Press, 1951), p. 50.
Willard King, Lincoln's Manager, David Davis (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960), pp. 61, 80.
John Faragher in Sugar Creek, p. 194, summarized the "support by default" of the Whigs in central Illinois:
Democratic failure to represent the interests of the rural poor was probably more important in accounting for Whig successes than was Whig sophistry. The strength of Whig precinct organization, when compared to Democratic weakness, was also decisive. The party forged an alliance with the leadership of local churches. Whigs and churchmen alike preached "improvement" not only through their economic program but also through the notion of individual reform.
King, Lincoln's Manager, pp. 61, 73, 88.
Donald Riddle, Congressman Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1957), pp. 16, 144; Ralph McGinnis and Calvin Smith (eds), Abraham Lincoln and the Western Territories (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1993).
Abraham Lincoln, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln: 1848-1965, ed. Roy Basler (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990), vol. 4, p. 202; Carol Ayres, Lincoln and Kansas: Partnership for Freedom (Manhattan, Kan.: Sunflower University Press, 2001).
Phillip Paludan, "A People's Contest": The Union and Civil War, 1861-1865 (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), p. 178. Lincoln's copperhead critics, such as Edgar Lee Masters in Lincoln the Man (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1931), pp. 38, 216, 497, treat him as incapable of agrarian-influenced growth. But this was his strength.
Abraham Lincoln, "Speech" Prairie Beacon (Paris: Aug. 8, 1856); Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1926), vol. 2, pp. 88-89.
Abraham Lincoln, Collected Works, ed. Roy Basler, vol. 2, p. 477.
Arthur Cole, The Era of the Civil War, 1848-1870: The Centennial History of Illinois (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries,  1971), pp. 133, 414, 200, 307. In 1824 the Illinois landlords unsuccessfully sought to hold a convention to amend the state constitution to allow slavery. Edgar County was strongly against the convention with 234 opposed and only 3 for it. In contrast Gallatin County in southern Illinois voted 596 for and 133 against.
Federal Writers Program, The WPA Guide of Illinois (New York: Partheon Books, 1939), pp. 35, 404; King, Lincoln's Manager, pp. 80, 104, 110; Allan Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln: Douglas, Buchanan and Party Chaos, 1857-1859 (New York: Charles Scribner's Co., 1950), vol. 2, pp. 124, 189. With Lincoln in Paris on Sept. 7 was the Kentucky-born, newly converted Republican, Richard Oglesby (1824-1899), who was the local 7th Congressional District Republican candidate. The 7th district was heavily populated with former Kentucky Whigs. The practice was for political gatherings to be held in conjunction with the circuit court sessions. Stephen Douglas had spoken in Paris on July 31, 1858. See Heckman, Lincoln vs. Douglas, p. 83.
Mark Plummer, Lincoln's Rail Splitter: Governor Richard J. Oglesby (Urbanna: University of Illinois Press, 2001), p. 35.
Paludan, "A People's Contest," p. 11.
Heckman, Lincoln vs. Douglas, p. 134. Lovejoy, in a different Congressional district, was re-elected along with many other reform candidates throughout the North and West.
In 1851 articles of incorporation were granted by the legislature to a group of Eastern financiers, headed by Robert Rantoul of Massachusetts, on condition that the State be paid 7 percent of the gross receipts annually. In Sept. 1856 the railroad was completed. Seven other roads were also constructed in this period, and one, the Galena and Chicago, was able to pay dividends of 20 percent after the first year of operation.
Quoted in King, Lincoln's Manager, p. 33; see also, pp. 100-101.
Robbins, Our Landed Heritage, p. 255.
See "Deed of George Craig," "Deed Books" (Edgar County Courthouse, Paris, Ill.); U.S. Census, 1860 (Cass County, Nebraska), U.S. Archives (manuscript, microfilm), p. 29.
The legal description of the Craig land was "T 15, R 13, S 25." See "Deed Book," Edgar County Courthouse, Paris, Ill. (manuscript). John Faragher in Sugar Creek, p. 204, suggests the type of farming they did: 25 acres of corn, another 5 to 10 of wheat and oats and 5 more of grass for hay and grazing. They kept two or three draft animals (oxen, horses or mules), two or more milk cows, and a dozen hogs. They produced from 700 to 1,000 bushels of corn, 100 to 200 bushels of wheat and oats, and 10 to 15 tons of hay. Such subsistence farms made up 60% of the farming households in Illinois.
If the account of Samuel Paxton (1834-1903) is accurate, the Baileys migrated in 1856, not 1857. Paxton married the Baileys' daughter, Amanda in 1861. See Samuel Paxton, "Letter," in William M. Paxton, The Paxtons (Platte City, Mo.: Landmark Printing, 1903), p. 283.
Several years earlier at age 16 Frances Ann had married Thomas J. Holston (1833-1864) at the Bailey's home on August 11, 1853. See "Affidavit of Julia Bailey and William Bailey," in "Civil War Pension File of Thomas J. Holston," widow's application no. 82915, certificate no. 180428; minor application no. 201796, certificate no. 180429, (manuscript, Washington, D.C.: National Archives); U.S. Census, 1860, U.S. Archives (manuscript, microfilm), p. 102.
Anonymous, History of Henry and St. Clair Counties (St. Joseph, Mo.: National History Company, 1883), pp. 259, 448.
Ibid., p. 449.
Stephenson, The Political History of the Public Lands, pp. 127-128.
See "Howard Family File" Woodford County Historical Society (manuscript, Versailles, Ky); U.S. Census, 1860 (Johnson County, Mo.), U.S. Archives, manuscript, microfilm, p. 816; ibid., 1870 (Johnson County, Mo.), p. 539.
King, Lincoln's Manager, p. 101; J. W. Starr, One Hundred Years of American Railroading, p. 181.
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 1, p. 214.
Villard, John Brown, p. 80.
Ibid., p. 130.
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 56.
Some 200 people were killed, and $2,000,000 worth of property was destroyed. See Workers of the Writer's Program of the Work Projects Administration [hereafter WPA], Missouri: The WPA Guide to the "Show Me State (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1941), p. 51; Villard, John Brown, pp. 94, 100. In his history of Kansas, Oswald Villard, ibid., p. 146, found that from May 1856 onwards, because of the slave owners' strong-arm tactics and the equal militancy of abolitionists like John Brown, no effort was needed by the free-soilers to raise colonies of emigrants. They raised themselves.
Villard, John Brown, p. 80.
Ibid., p. 248.
Paul Nagel, Missouri, A History (Lawrence, Kan.: University of Kansas Press, 1988), p. 127.
Villard, John Brown, pp. 225, 260.
Two-thirds of Missouri's 114,000 slaves were in Little Dixie. A quarter of the population was black. See R. Douglas Hurt, Agriculture and Slavery in Missouri's Little Dixie (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1992), pp. x-xiii.
Nagel, Missouri, p. 128. In 1860 Missouri had a population of 1.2 million, with 25,000 slave owners.
Thomas Goodrich, War to the Knife: Bleeding Kansas, 1854-1861 (Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Press, 1998), pp. 249-250; Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, pp. 149, 151. Between 1850 and 1860 the Missouri slave population dropped from 15,200 to 11,100. Even before the 1850s slavery was in decline throughout the upper South and proving to be considerably less profitable than further South. Investors made 12% per year on their slaves in Texas and Mississippi and 3% in Missouri.
"Marriage Certificate of William Bailey and Sarah Grafford," "Marriage Book," (Pike County, Mo.: Courthouse), vol. 3, p. 233, no. 869; "Civil War Pension File of William T. Baley (sic),"invalid application no. 746368, certificate no. 862111; widow's application no. 869273, certificate no. 631624, (manuscript, Washington, D.C.: National Archives); "Obituary of William T. Bailey, May 11, 1907," in Kathleen Miles, Annals of Henry County (Clinton, Mo.: K. W. Miles, 1973-1974), vol. 2, p. 233. In October 1858, a month following his marriage, William Bailey became a Baptist, although in his later-life, he was not a steady church-goer.
"Affidavit of George W. Bailey, Jr." in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey, widow's application no. 275348" (manuscript, Washington, D.C.: National Archives); U.S. Census, 1860 (Henry County, Mo.), U.S. Archives (manuscript, microfilm), p. 102. John Bailey married Mary H. Bivens (b. 1839). During the first year of their marriage, they lived with his sister, Frances, and her husband Thomas Holston at Lucas. John worked as a farm-hand there.
John Ise, Sod And Stubble (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1936), p. 68.
Their personal property was valued at $800. U.S. Census, 1860 (Henry County, Missouri), U.S. Archives (manuscript, microfilm), p. 104.
U.S. Census, 1860 (Henry County, Missouri), U.S. Archives (manuscript, microfilm), p. 104. The Bailey children still at home in 1860 were 17-year-old James, 14-year-old Sarena and 12-year-old Mary. Amanda, age 19 was living at home but not in school. Also not in school at that particular time was George Jr., age 10.
When a church was later built, it was called McReynolds Chapel. See Anonymous, Portrait and Biographical Album of Vermillion and Edgar County, Illinois (Chicago: Chapaman Brothers, 1889).
Margaret Maye Gergen Terrar, et al, Gergen Family Interviews with EF (Toby) Terrar: 1969-1979 (manuscript in possession of Toby Terrar, 81 pages), p. 17 (Nov. 26, 1969).
Anonymous, History of Henry and St. Clair Counties, p. 441.
Owsley, Plain Folk of the Old South, p. 96; Donald Matthews, Slavery and Methodism: A Chapter in American Morality, 1780-1845 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), pp. 3-61.
Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border, p. 292.
J. M. Neeson, Commoners: Common Right, Enclosure and Social Change in England, 1700-1820 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 178. Historian Alfred Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999), pp. 28, 68, is negative toward, George Hewes (1742-1840), who, like George Bailey, was a Methodist shoemaker. Hewes, among other things, did not marry with a view toward upward mobility and at age 40 "had little to show for it." But this was not negative in Heweses' view; it simply was operating from a morality common among working people. Heweses' treasure, as in Proverbs 31:10, was his wife and children.
King, Lincoln's Manager, pp. 84-85.
The negative role of such judges and politicians as David Davis was resented by reformers. Davis got paid 10 times what working people made. They felt his job was to protect the market and keep the farmers in their place. Among his cases were those involving putting down the "disruptions" that resulted from political controversies growing out of Methodist gatherings and camp meetings. See King, Lincoln's Manager, p. 82.
Cynthia Lyerly, Methodism and the Southern Mind, 1770-1810 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 129.
John Wesley, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley (London: Methodist Book Room, 1872), Sermon 30, discourse 10 ("Upon our Lord's sermon on the mount").
Lyerly, Methodism and the Southern Mind, p. 131.
Historian Reeve Huston in Land and Freedom, p. 111, remarked, "The labor theory of value - the notion that labor creates all wealth - had been commonplace in American economic thought since the late eighteenth century." Tony Freyer made the same finding in Producers versus Capitalists, p. 4.
Paludan, "A People's Contest," p. 343.
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 56; Villard, John Brown, p. 237. Jay Monaghan in his study, Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865 (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1955), p. 146, remarked concerning the attitude of farming people like the Baileys:
They had seen their meetings spied upon. They had been stopped at night by patrols seeking fugitives. They had had their elections rigged and their statute books defaced with laws abridging freedom of speech and the press. They were determined to crush the last vestige of a system which depended on such tactics for survival.
For their part, the slave owners condemned the anti-slave church as antinomian for believing in the "inner light," for rejecting the doctrine of obedience, and for having "no respect of persons" (Acts 10:34). Methodists were also called armenian for teaching "free grace," universal salvation and for calling each other "brother" and "sister" in accord with the belief that they were all one family united with a "loving God" who watched over their lives. See Lacy Ford, Origins of Southern Radicalism: The South Carolina Upcountry, 1800-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 27; Peter Linebaugh, The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (Boston: Beacon Press, 2000), p. 85.
Nevins, The Emergence of Lincoln, vol. 2, p. 307.
Anonymous, History of Henry and St. Clair Counties, Missouri: Containing a History of these Counties, their Cities, Towns . . . Biographical Sketches (St. Joseph, Mo.: National Historical Co., 1883), pp. 311-312.
Nagel, Missouri, p. 128.
Missouri was the only state which Stephen Douglas won. See Vanderlinden, Lincoln: The Road to War, p. 94.
Among those who spoke at the courthouse on Nov. 20, 1860 was the pro-slave Federal District Judge from the 3rd District of the Kansas Territory, John Williams. He had recently been forced out of Kansas. He summarized his concerns in a letter to the Missouri governor, which, as quoted in Anonymous, History of Henry and St. Clair Counties, pp. 309-310, stated in part:
James Montgomery has been at Boston during part of the summer and returned with plenty of money to enlist recruits. Many of his men are freshly imported. He has taken possession of Fort Scott and other towns on the border near the Missouri line. He has murdered Mr. Moore, a grand Juror; Mr. Harrison, Mr. Samuel Scott, Mr. Hindes, and obliged all of the United States officers, including myself, to fly for our lives. His openly expressed design in a public speech, as he said, "without concealment," is to keep possession of Fort Scott and other places near the state line, to prevent "a fire in the rear," while he cleaned out "Southern Missouri of Slaves." So far, he has carried out literally his declared program. The citizens of Missouri on the Osage, Marmaton, and in Bates and Vernon, are flying from their homes into the interior.
Anonymous, History of Henry and St. Clair Counties, pp. 308-309.
William Connelley in Quantrill and the Border Wars (New York: Pageant Book Co., 1956), p. 207, commented on the slim support which the Missouri slave owners had:
The people of Missouri were for the Union by an overwhelming majority every day of the Civil War, and they demonstrated that fact by enlisting in the Federal army. Including militia, nearly one hundred and fifty thousand soldiers were furnished the Union by Missouri. And, all told, the Confederacy did not get fifty thousand. The man with the farm of medium or small size, the merchant, the business man, and the dwellers in cities were generally for the Union. The man with a plantation and slaves was for the Confederacy. These were the main divisions, and they carried their different influences to the uttermost bounds of society. There were many exceptions in both directions.
Confederate general, Ben McCulloch, as quoted in Hans Adamson, Rebellion in Missouri: Nathaniel Lyon and his Army of the West (Philadelphia: Chilton Co., 1961), p. 282, remarked on Aug. 24, 1861 at Springfield, Mo., "We had as well be in Boston as far as the friendly feeling of the inhabitants is concerned." See also, Albert Castel, General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1968), p. 57.
John Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln: A History (New York: The Century Press, 1890), vol. 4, p. 225; Castel, General Sterling Price, p. 59. The Confederacy in Missouri was not able to collect taxes, have a capitol or control territory, but on Oct. 20, 1861 at Neosho in Missouri's southwestern corner, a rump session of the legislature that still adhered to the deposed Governor Jackson passed without a quorum an ordinance of secession and elected senators and representatives to the Confederate Congress. On Nov. 28, 1861 the Confederate Congress declared Missouri the twelfth member of the Confederate States.
Villard, John Brown, p. 158.
Company "D" was commanded by Sandy Lowe from Wadesburg in Cass County.
One of the Cass County slave owners was Col. H.W. Younger of Harrisonville. His son, Cole Younger became a famous Confederate trooper. See Albert Castel, William Clark Quantrill: His Life and Times (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, , 1999), p. 67.
The Baileys did their marketing at Creighton, which was just over the line in Cass County. The guard members were not paid, which made them unusual in the history of U.S. militarism. See "Affidavit of John Wells" in "Civil War Pension File of John Wells, invalid application no. 906037, certificate no. 894036" (manuscript, Washington, D.C.: National Archives); "Civil War Pension File of Sandy Lowe, invalid application no. 218086, certificate no. 333110; widow's application no. 772624, certificate no. 652717" (manuscript, Washington, D.C.: National Archives).
William Bailey later said that he did not actually "enlist" with the home guard, but he did serve with them. Others who served in it were private John W. Wells from Urich, Jacob Buzan, Blueford Jones, and Elisha Edward Bridges. See Frederick Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (Des Moines, Iowa: Dyer Pub. Co., 1908), vol. iii, p. 1312; "Affidavit of William T. Bailey" in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey."
John McCorkle, Three Years with Quantrill: A True Story by his Scout with Notes by Albert Castel (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), p. 3; Castel, General Sterling Price, pp. 58, 62. Among the dozens of slave-supported partisan bands were those led by Bill Anderson, George Todd, John Thrailkill, Clif Holtzclaw, "Coon" Thornton, Dick Yaeger and William Clarke Quantrill.
Adamson, Rebellion in Missouri, p. 153.
Ibid., p. x.
Ibid., pp. ix, 284.
See "Affidavit of Samuel Paxton," in "Civil War Pension File of Samuel Paxton."
See Anonymous, History of Henry and St. Clair Counties.
The exact date of the killings of George and James has not been found. George Holston's granddaughter, Lorraine Graham, stated, "I remember grandpa saying he was almost 5 when his grandfather was killed and his birthday is in January, so maybe it happened in the late fall of 1861." See Lorraine Graham, "Letter to Toby Terrar" (manuscript, July 8, 2001), in possession of Toby Terrar.
Their death may have been tied to a battle which Co. "D" of the Cass County Home Guard waged at Wadesburg, Missouri on Dec. 24, 1861. This was 3 miles west of Lucas. Judy Bailey survived the war. She died on November 28, 1876 and was buried at Fewell Cemetery in White Oak Township. See DAR Udolphus Miller Dorman Chapter, Henry County, Missouri Cemetery Inscriptions (Clinton, Mo.: 1976), p. 16; "Civil War Pension File of Thomas J. Holston." The Bailey family bible, published in 1836, was in the possession of George W. Bailey, Jr. in the early 1900s. See "Affidavit of George W. Bailey, Jr." in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey."
Bailey, Jr. "Biography," in Lamkin (ed.), History of Henry County, p. 512.
Joseph H. Bailey (1905-1988), who lived in the Walker-White Oak neighborhood of Henry County, was a great grandson of George Bailey. He descended through George's youngest son, George Jr. (1850-1942). Joseph wrote, "GW Bailey born about 1805. Killed by bushwackers along with oldest son. Buried on Emmett Doll farm south of Urich." See Joseph Bailey, "Letter to William Bailey of Leeton, Mo.," (Feb. 28, 1963), in possession of Toby Terrar.
"Affidavit of Woodson Wade" in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey." Vengeance may have belonged to the Lord (Romans 12:19), but many on both sides (and their governments) believed they were God's instrumentality.
After the Guard was disbanded, a similar local organization was formed. John Wells was one of the Bailey's comrades from Urich. He joined the newly reconstituted home guard. He recollected its founding, as quoted in "Affidavit of John Wells" in "Civil War Pension File of John Wells:"
About May 1, 1863 the loyal men in the neighborhood to the number of 50 or 60 organized under a permit from the military authorities into a company of "citizen guards" for self-defense from the guerrilla bands that infested the country. We did this while we cultivated some of our lands to make a support for our families and save the country as well as we could from further destruction.
Several months after George's death the 1st Missouri Home Guard was disbanded at Harrisonville in Cass County. During the 8 months of its existence, the Guard had lost 16 troops, 6 of whom were killed in battle and 10 by disease. Many of the guard troops, including William T. Bailey, age 28, and John Bailey, age 23, enrolled at Warrensburg, Johnson County in Company "G" of the 7th Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry (SMC), which was organized in March and April, 1862. The state militia operated only in Missouri, but, unlike the Home Guard, was funded by the federal government. Also in the new regiment were in-laws Thomas J. Holston, age 30, who was a corporal and Samuel Paxton. During the course of its 3-year existence, the regiment lost 152 by disease and 56 killed in battle. William Bailey's service record stated that he deserted on Aug. 3, 1862. However, he merely transferred, without bothering with formalities, to Company "C," 12th Kansas Volunteer Infantry. He spelled his last name as "Baley," in the 12th Kansas records. He was a commissary sergeant there. See Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, vol. iii, pp. 1308, 1312; "Compiled Service Records of William T. Bailey," (manuscript, Washington, D.C.: National Archives, microfilm); "Civil War Pension File of William T. Baley (sic);" "Affidavit of William T. Bailey" in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey;" Sherman Pompey, Keep the Home Fires Burning: A History of the 7th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry in the Civil War (Warrensburg, Mo.: Johnson County Historical Society, 1962), p. 5.
WPA, Missouri, p. 53.
"Affidavit of Blueford Jones," in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey."
Terrar, et al, Gergen Family Interviews: 1969-1979, p. 13 (Nov. 26, 1969).
Judy Bailey on Dec. 10, 1875, not long before her own death, gave an affidavit about Frances Bailey Holston and her family. The affidavit, in "Civil War Pension File of Thomas J. Holston," was to help the Holston's orphaned children get a pension. Judy stated:
I Juda Bailey of County of Henry State of Missouri being duly sworn state that I was acquainted with Thomas J. Holston deceased late soldier Co. G 7th MSM Cavalry and with the children of said deceased George Henry and Laura M. Holston and with Samuel Paxton their guardian who applies for pension for them No. 207150 and was also acquainted with their mother Frances M. Holston formerly Bailey. I was present when Thomas J. and Frances M. intermarried in Edgar Co., Ill. They were married at my house. She Mrs. Holston died at Warrensburg, Mo. in 1862. I was present at the birth of the children, George Henry was born in Edgar Co. Ill. on the 25th day of January 1857 and Laura M. was born in the County of Henry in the state of Mo. on the 20th day of July 1859. I am sixty seven years of age and am grandmother of the children above named and mother of Mrs. Holston their mother. I have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.
X (her mark)
A few weeks after his wife's death, Thomas Holston was wounded on June 17, 1862 and in the hospital at Warrensburg. But he was back on duty in July 1862. A year later on Nov. 1, 1863 Holston married Martha Jane Harlow. Performing the ceremony was R. A. Foster, a minister of the gospel. Martha was from Girard in Macoupin County, Ill. On Aug. 15, 1864 Thomas's third child, Willan (Willie Ann) Holston was born. Several months afterwards, Thomas was drowned on Oct. 6, 1864 at Castle Rock in Cole County near the state capital at Jefferson City. He was trying to swim the Osage River to escape the enemy. Thomas and 7 others had been on a detachment and were engaged by a force of several thousand Confederates under General Joseph Shelby, a large Missouri slave owner. Three of his comrades died with him. Their deaths were part of the defense against the 12,000 troops of Southern General Sterling Price who had come up from Arkansas, through Pilot Knob, which was to the southeast of Henry County. Confederate raids into Missouri were an annual event. The Confederates hoped to take St. Louis, then move the war into Illinois and on eastward. But they did not have the strength for this. See Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border, pp. 290, 302, 306, 311, 314, 321.
Paludan, "A People's Contest," pp. 74, 293.
Bailey, Jr. "Biography," in Lamkin (ed.), History of Henry County, p. 512.
See "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey."
Bailey, Jr. "Biography," in Lamkin (ed.), History of Henry County, p. 512.
See "Affidavit of John A. Adams" in "Civil War Pension File of John W. Bailey."
Twenty-two year-old Mary A. Bailey married William Henry Blaylock there, soon after. They had 7 children. See U.S. Census, 1870 (Gentry County, Mo.), U.S. Archives (manuscript, microfilm), enumeration district 270, sheet 3, line 14; U.S. Census, 1920 (Gentry County, Missouri), manuscript, microfilm, U.S. Archives, enumeration district 84, sheet 110, line 32.
See "Civil War Pension File of Samuel Paxton."
The Homestead Bill was signed by Lincoln on May 20, 1862. The Emancipation Proclamation was announced on Sept. 22, 1862. Both went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863. See U.S. Statutes at Large, XII, p. 392; Hibbard, A History of the Public Land Policies, p. 385.
The Missouri politician, Edward Bates, for example, represented land speculators who wanted to monopolize western land for the transcontinental railroad and were against the Homestead Act. But in seeking to keep alive politically, he had to endorse the Homestead Act. See Cain, Lincoln's Attorney General Edward Bates, pp. 73, 104.
Paludan, "A People's Contest," p. 257. In the 1864 national election, Lincoln beat the Democratic presidential candidate, George McClellan in Missouri and the Republicans continued to control the state legislature.
Ibid., p. 79. In Sept. 1861 John Freemont, the Federal military commander in Missouri, had issued an emancipation proclamation. But Lincoln revoked it because he wanted to retain the loyalty of the border state slaveholders in Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland, who sided with the Union.
Monaghan, Civil War , p. 15.
WPA, Missouri, p. 55.
Ibid., pp. 54-55. To insure the approval of the new constitution an ordinance was passed limiting the franchise to those who could take the Test Oath. All judges of the supreme, circuit, county, and legislative courts of record, all court clerks, circuit attorneys, sheriffs, and county recorders had to vacate their offices on May 1, 1865, and their places were filled by appointment of the Governor for the remainder of their terms. When the supreme court judges refused to vacate on the grounds that the ordinance was unconstitutional, they were ousted by force. Ministers, priests, and nuns engaged in teaching Confederate propaganda were arrested, and in some cases fined or imprisoned. A Registry Act passed in 1865 provided that a superintendent elected in each county should be the sole judge as to who was qualified to vote; three years later, the office was made appointive.
The Baileys' experience runs counter to studies which find that the Civil War rank-and-file did little thinking, had no ideology and fought merely for reasons of "courage" and "masculine identity. See Gerald Linderman, Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War (New York: Free Press, 1987); Reid Mitchell, Civil War Soldiers (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988). Their experience also contrasts with studies that find rank-and-file ideology was limited to abstractions such as "fighting for maintenance of law and order," "defending the country in her hour of peril" and "duty to God and country." See James McPherson, What they fought for, 1861-1865 (New York: Doubleday, 1995), pp. 32-33.