Blue And Gray History
The Bragg and McKamey Families of
Lawrence Co. Arkansas
By Mrs. O.H. McKamey, Jr.
Reading recently of the filming in Arkansas of The Blue and The Gray, an epoch of the Civil War, has reminded me of the Blue and Gray history in my husband's family. O.H.'s grandfather, Robert McKamey, served with the Union Army. His grandmother, Susan McKamey, had two brothers, Henry and Will Bragg, who served with the Confederate Army. Ido not have the information concerning Henry Bragg's involvement in the Civil War, but it is known that Will (William A.) Bragg enlisted in the Confederate Army as a volunteer in Company E, 45th Arkansas Cavalry, in May, 1864, at the age of 16. He served until the end of the war. He was with General Price throughout campaigns in Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. His major engagement was the battle of Westport, near Kansas, Mo. He was mustered out of the service at Jacksonville, Arkansas, June 5,1865.
At the same time, Robert McKamey was serving with the Union Army, having entered July 13,1864, at the age of 18, as a Private in the Sixth Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. He was in several hard fought battles in Missouri in the vicinity of Poplar Bluff and Pilot Knob and was discharged as a Sergeant Sf ptember 12,1855, at the close of the war. After his discharge in New Orleans he was shipped to St. Louis and he walked more than 200 miles to his home in Imboden, Lawrence County, Arkansas. According to his son, Oscar, who is now 92 years of age, he stopped for food at homes along the way. At one place, the only food was a large pan of field peas. Also, Oscar McKamey feels the reason his father fought on the side of the North was his memory of a Negro friend being sold on a slave block while the McKamey family was living in Teunessee. This event caused him to hatee slavery. The history of each family is interesting to me. Bragg ancestors first came to America from Glasgow, Scotland.
Descendants lived in North Carolina in the early 1800's. This branch of the family had evidently moved to Arkansas from North Carolina. Henry and Will Bragg were sons of Nathan Ross and Martha Marlowe Bragg. Other members of the family were Asa, Susan, Eliza and Tennie. They lived on the Magness plantation , near Grand Glaize, Independence County, Arkansas, during the mid 1800's. Nathan Ross Bragg was a first cousin of General Braxton Bragg, who led battles in the Civil War and for whom it is said Fort Bragg in North Carolina was named. During the Civil War, Susan Bragg, who later married Robert McKamey, and her sisters were cared for by an aunt in Memphis, Tennessee. An obituary states that their parents had died in Independence County, Arkansas. Afterward, around 1868, she came with her sisters and brothers to Lawrence County. It is known that Will Bragg lived in Black Rock, moving from there to Conway, Arkansas in 1893. Henry Bragg lived near Imboden. Asa Bragg settled in Little Rock. The McKamey family of Scotch Irish descent, came to Lawrence County from Clinton. Anderson County, Tennessee in 1858. Robert McKamey, Sr., O.H.'s great grandfather, settled on land south of Imboden that has been known as the Alcorn place and also the Brightwell place. This land is now owned by Clifford Rorex. Robert McKamey was 13 years of age at the time. It is believed that the move from Anderson County, Tennessee was made because of the slavery issue. After serving in the Civil War, Robert McKamey married Eliza Bragg July 15, 1873. This marriage ended just a month later, August 13,1873 when Eliza Bragg McKamey was fording a creek on horseback near the old Ravenden bridge and drowned in a flash flood. Her sister, Susan, and Robert McKamey were marriéd October 15, 1873, and became the parents of a large family. Ten children lived to adulthood. Oscar McKamey of Imboden is the only member of the family still living. After becoming brothers-in-law, the men who served on opposing sides in the Civil War must have talked over their days of service. It undoubtedly was hard to speak lightly of the conflicts of that terrible war, but perhaps they were like the lady who testified recently on TV of her days at Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. She stated she tried to forget the horrors and think of anything that was humorous. In this case , according to stories passed down, it was humorous to one side to tease the other about receiving a wound in the heel. This, to one , was a sure sign of retreat. May there never be another conflict in our beloved land.
From the Lawrence County Historical Quarterly
Volume 5, Number, 2 Spring 1982
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