Death of the last surviving widow recalls tragic Palmyra massacre
The death of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Haney in La Grange last Tuesday marked the passing of the last surrviving widow of one of the ten Confederate prisoners who were executed at Palmyra on Octover 18, 1862 - sevety years ago. Mrs. Haney was the wife of John Y. McPheeters, having been married only a short time when he was taken prisoner by the union forces and incarcerated in the Palmyra Jail.
The seventieth anniversary of the Palmyra massacre, Tuesday of this week, recalls one of the most regrettable and pathetic incidents of the Civil War. The names of the ten men, inscribed upon a handsome monument erected to their memory by the Palmyra Confederate Monument association on the southwest corner of the court house square about thirty years ago, include:
Capt Thos A. Sidenor, Monroe County
Willis T. Baker, Lewis County
Thomas Humston, Lewis County
Morgan Bixler, Lewis County
John Y. McPheeters, Lewis County
Hiram T. Smith, Lewis County
Herbert Hudson, Ralls County
John M. Wase, Ralls County
Marion Lair, Ralls County
Eleazer Lake, Scotland County
It is hardly possible that an eyewitness to the tragedy is living today, but there are a number of elderly men and women, residents, of Palmyra and vicinity, who remember the incident.
The men who faced the firing squad -- the execution taking place at the old Palmyra fair grounds, located only a short distance east of town on what is now known as the J.W. Head farm -- were prisoners in the Palmyra and Hannibal Jails. They were condemned to be shot by Brig. General John McNeil, the order being carried out by Provost Marshal William R. Strachen, who operated in the distric of Northeast Missouri. The order of McNeil was given because of the disappearance of Andrew Allsman, a man about sixty years of age and a citizen of Palmyra, it was charged, entertained Union sentiments. For a brief time, Allsman had been a member of the federal forces, but by reason of his age he was considered too old for active service, and was discharged. Following his return to Palmyra, Allsman was soon suspected of giving definite information to the military authorities of certain movements of the enemy thus placing him in disfavor with the southern sympathizers.
During the first part of October 1862, Allsman was taken from his home on North Main street by forces under the command of Col. Joseph Porter and never returned. The fact of his disappearance soon became known by the Union forces and then followed the ultimatum of General McNeill, issued through Provost Marshal Strachen, of which the Palmyra massacre was the result. The notice read:
Palmyra Mo., October 8, 1862. To Joseph C. Proter. Sir-Andre Allsman having been carried away from is home by a band of persons unlawfully arraigned against the peace and good order of the state of Missouri, and which band was under your control, this is to notify you that, unless Andrew Allsman is returned, unharmed to his family within ten days from date, ten men, who have belonged to your band, and unlawfully sworn by you to carry arms against the goverment of the United States, and who are now in custody will be shot as a meet reward for thir crimes, retraining of said Allsman of his liberty and if not returned, of presumpltivley aiding in his murder. Your prompt attention to this will save much suffering. Your, etc., W. R. Strachen, Provost Marshall General Northeast Missouri District. By order of Brigadier General commanding McNeil's column.
Possibly Never Saw Order
Palmyra citizens at first refused to believe that the order was seriously intended out as the days passed and Allsman was not returned, it became apparent that the Confederates could not produce him. At the time it was said that Colonel Porter was hurrying to the south and it has always been considered doubtful whether or not he had ever seen or heard of Gen. McNeil's order.
As the days passed the town awaited the tenth day with suppress excitement. Strong men tremble. Many remained in their homes the excitement was running so high. In the Palmyra jail, scores of prisoners had heard of the order and their anxiet might be easily imagined. On the evening of of the ninth day, Strachen appeared at the jail and while a death - like stillness prevailed, he called out the names of ten prisoner, five of whom were in teh jail, the other five being confined at Hannibal. Strachen further informed them that they were to be shot the next afternoon at 2 o'clock. According to the story that has been handed down through the years, the men stood motionless and silent for a moment and then broke down and wpt, with the exception of Willis Baker, oldes of the lot, who muttered curses against the men who had ordered the exection.
Remebers Caption Sidenor
Shortyly afterward the five other prisoners sentenced to death were brought from Hannibal, among them Captain Thomas A. Sidenor, a handsome young man who was to have been married shortly. Captain Sidenor was known to many Palmyra and Marion county people prior to the outbreak of the war. For several years he had been a visitor at the Palmyra fair, exhibiting his fine saddle and show horse. John (Nipper) Lemons, one of Palmyra's oldest citizens, remembers Captain Sidenor well. Mr. Lemons relates that during Captain Sidenor's visit to the fair he was a quest at the Lemons home west of Palmyra. Captain Sidenor died on the very spot where, the year before, he had graciously bowed to a cheeering throng filling the ampitherater, following the showing of his prize saddle horse
Captain Sidenor, who was, a resident of Monroe county, had been assigned to duty at the outbreak of the war under General Price at the battle of Wilson creek. He also had charge of a company under Col. Porter at Kirksville, where he lost heavily in killed and wounded. Following the stampede at Whaley;s mill, it was his intention to go to Illinois and while on his way to Canton, Lewis county, disguised as a woman, he was saptured by the federals, his incarceration in teh Hannibal jail following.
Among the ten who faced the thrty fifles at the fair grounds, some were at the head of large families. Shortly before the hour of execution, the ten condemned men were marched from teh jail under guard of seventy-five soldiers. They were loaded into goverment wagon, each seated on his pine coffin. The procession moved from the jail, located one block west of the court house to Main street, south to the street leading east past the William Suter residence at the souteastern outskirts of the city. Aquarter of a mile was yet to be traveled before the fair grounds was reached. Marching into the arena the men were placed in a smi-circle several feet apart, each staning first at the head of his coffin while a clergyman offered prayer. They were then seated and blindfolded. Following the crash of the rifles, the Palmyra massacre belonged to history. One of the dark chapters of the Civil War was encated. The grounds were abandoned and a new location secured after the close of the war.
Oldest La Grange Woman Observers 91st Birthday
Mrs. Mary Haney is only surviving widow of the Palmyra Massacre'
Baptist 75 years
Mr. Mary E. Vaughn
Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Haney, who was born near La Grange December 5, 1839, celebrated her ninety-first birthday here friday. She is the oldest woman living in La Grange and is the only surviving widow of the Palmyra Massacre. Her parents, Madison Mathew Cardwell and Hanna Stipe Cardwell, were pioneer settlers in Lewis county, coming here from Kentucky. Mr. Haney sustaind a broken hop several year ago from which she never entirely recovered. She has been blind for the last four years, three years of this time being confined to her bed.
In addition to her afflictions, great tragedies have come into her life, but with it all she is cheerful and patient, always looking on the bright side of life. When she was ten years old her father met a tragic death in the Mississippi. He operated a trailor shop in La Grange for five years before his death. He started to drive the road over the frozen ice of the Mississippi, which was commonly used at theat time between the towns. In the late afternoon a small dog which had accompained him, returned home. A search was made and his whip and hat were hound near an air hole in the ice. Nothing more was heard of until his body was washed ashore at St. Louis the following April. It was identified by a St. Louis tailor, who had learned the trade from Mr. Cardwell. The bady was buried in St. Louis.
After his death the widow with her fice small children moved to their farm west of La Grange, whre they lived for seven year. They then returned to La Grange, where Mrs. Cardwell supported her family working at the tailors trade which she had learned from her husband. Her daughter, who is now Mrs. Haney, married John McPheeters in 1856, at the age of seventeen. They were living on a farm near Maywood during the war. In 1862, while home on a furlough, he was taken prisoner by the federal forces and sent to the Palmyra Jail. He was one of the ten men selected by John McNeil to be executed on October 18, 1862.
Unaware of what was to take place, his wife had come to La Grange on Friday to visit her mother and sisters. As she was returning home Saturday she was met with the message that her husband was to be shot that afternoon. A friend of the family, a Palmyra Negro, stealing through the lines, had brought eh message to her husband's father, near Maywood. Instead of retruning to her home newar Maywood, she rode her horse on to Palmyra, arriving there in teh night too late to see her husband live. An uncle of her husband who lived in Palmyra had secured the body and prepared it for burial. Mr. Haney said "Those were the darkest days of my life. People think they have trouble now but they don't know the first thing about it."
She was left with one little girl four years old. They lived in the home of her father-in-lw until her marriage to G. W. Harney in 1870. After her marriage she lived in various places, including Kirkscille, Galt and Quincy. Mr. Haney died in 1900, and ws buried at Galt, Mo. Seh returned to La Grange in 1902 and since that time has lived in teh same house here she lived three quarter of a century ago. Her sister, Miss Matt Cardwell, who is eighty-one years old live with her. A daughter, Miss Florence Haney takes care of her aged mother and aunt.
Another daughter, Mrs. Charles Winters, lives at Great Falls Montana. One daughter, Alice McPheeters Cason died in 1890.
Mrs. Haney has nine grandchildre, six great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Two grandosn, Hary and Marvin Cason live in Quincy. Mrs. Haney has been a member of the babtist church in La Grange for Sevety five years.
Provided by Kathy Tate
Martin Edwin Green from Lewis County, MO , Born: June 3, 1815, Fauquier County, VA
Died: June 27, 1863 Vicksburg, MS, Prewar Profession: Lumber Miller
War Service: 1861 recruited cavalry in Missouri for Sterling Price,
Col. of "Green's Missouri Cavalry Regiment", Lexington, Elkhorn Tavern,
July 1862 Brig. Gen., commanded 3rd Bde at Iuka, Corinth, killed by a
sharpshooter at Vicksburg while commanding 2nd Bde/Bowen's Division. Provided by : firstname.lastname@example.org Dan Kuhn
U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO DIED FROM HOSTILE ACTION (INCLUDING MISSING AND CAPTURED) IN THE KOREAN WAR, 1950-1957 :
Here are the three men listed for Lewis County
ELLISON, EMMETT P PFC ARMY LEWIS MISSOURI 27 SEP. 1951 KILLED IN ACTION
HAWKINS, JULIUS W SGT ARMY LEWIS MISSOURI 13 FEB. 1951 DIED WHILE CAPTURE
RAGAR, LLOYD I PFC ARMY LEWIS MISSOURI 26 JULY 1951 KILLED IN ACTION
U.S. Military Personnel Who Died (Including Missing and Captured Declared Dead) as a result of the Vietnam conflict, 1957-1995 : None listed for Lewis County.