State of Arkansas, County of Benton. June 1925.
J.G.H. History #3 - # 4 - # 5
The Federals burried my brother
in a field on north Spavinaw. We found his grave a few days afterwards
and taken him up and brought him home and burried him in the family cemetary
on the Heaslet Homestead. This was my first real grief that fell
accors my path. My long cherished playmate brother was dead.
We had been together nearly all our lives and never apart but very little
till the civil war. It is so sad. Previous to this time there
had gotten up a personal difaculty between my brother William and a man
by the name of John Ingle. Him and some of his mob walayed my brother
a short distance from his house and fired several shots at him from the
brush. He was hit with three bullets but none of them very
serious. A little over a month after this brother William and my
brother-in-law, William Rogers was traveling the road after night and all
atonce they were halted and ordered to surrender, my bro. thinking they
were some of our own men surrendered, and when he found who they were,
behold it was John Ingle and his mob. The taken my brother and Rogers
back in the hills and kept them all night and all next day and my brother
mistrusting they were going to kill them. My brother told John Ingle
that he believed they were going to kill them, and if they were , all I
ask of you is to give me back my pistols and tell me when you commence.
And John Ingle said, “Bill Heaslet, By G—do you think I would kill you
when if it hadn’t been for you and Francis Heaslet I would of been dead
and in Hell long ago.” Having referance to some exploit that occurred
whilethey were in the battle at Wilson Creek. In the evening of this
memorable day, Nov. 28, 1862 as dark began to hover over the earth, the
mob said they were going to move camp. My brother and Rogers were
ordered to get on their horses and started to move. Rodgers rode
up to the side of my brother and he told Rodgers that they were going to
kill us, and for us not to ride together so they can kill us both at one
shot and Rogers pulled back behind as they were going along. John
Ingle was on one side of my brother and Reese Mitchell on the other side.
Jo Ingle on one side of Rogers and Henry Mitchell on the other. They
had came to a very steep hill and John Ingle said, “Bill Heaslet, do you
think you can go down this hill?” And my brother told him, “No” and
said I am to go the ridge, and as he said that, he popped the spurs, and
the horse jumped and they shot at him as he ran off but didnt hit him.
He heard Rogers hollowing while they were killing him as he ran.
Rogers body was brought to the Heaslet cemetary and buried. A short
sketch of T. S. Thomason, my brother-in-law who left Benton Co. Ark. in
the spring of 1862 and went east with the army and in Jan. 1863 was on
his way home and had gotten within 5 miles of home when he was taken prisoner
and they started on the road with him and they hadnt went but a short distance
till they begin shooting him as he ran on his horse till he got to the
house of Patton Burgin on south Spavinaw where he jumped off his horse
and ran in the house and told the folks that they were killing him.
They followed him in the house and killed him and threw his body out in
the yard. He was burried temporaly for a short time when he was taken
up and brought it theHeaslet cemetary and burried. In Dec. 1862,
Capt. Harden sent word over the country for his company to meet at a certain
place on a certain day and go south for winter quarters and I had failed
to get the word till the day they was to start and they sent Frank Eller
one of my company in haste to let me know to come. When Eller told
me I fixed as quick as I could and we started on an lively gait and before
we got to the place they met, the Company had moved out on the march ans
was a mile or two ahead so we quickened our pace a little and directly
we fell in with two more of the boys that was trying to catch the company.
Wm. Sooter and Jack Haywood. Now at this time we had come to a very
short crook in the road and brush on both sides till you couldnt see any
distance ahead, and as we were rounding the crook we came in full view
of a Federal Scout about 25 or 30 ft. from us. I was in the front
and the first thing I knew one of them had his gun pointed at me, and ordered
me to lay that gun down which I did. The taken us to Ft. Scott, Kans.
and kept us there a little over a month when they moved us to Ft. Lincoln
about 15 miles
from Ft. Scott where we was put under a guard of a company of black negroes and two white men as officers.
We tried to keep them negroes
in a good humor with us for one of them shot a prisoner for no cause
at all so he died in a day or so. We were kept at Ft Lincoln till
the 24th of April 1863 when a good amny of us prisoners were taken out
and moved down to the army at that time stationed a few miles southeast
of Ft. Scott. We hadnt been with the army but a few days till they
started on a march east thru Mo. We were allowed considerable privaliges
on this march. More than we had at any time while we
were prisoners. Now at this time we had marched about half way thru
Mo. and was in Texas Xo the largest Co. in the State and the army had camped
and stretched their tents and cooked their dinner and it being about 3
P.M. on May 10, 1863 that three of us namely, Frank Eller, Burkette M.
Lightfoot, and myself would make a break for our liberties. The spring
where they got water was two hundred yards or more from camp and was in
a very brushy place and while the soldiers were resting a good many of
them laying down and all was quiet in camp, Lightfoot, Eller and I picked
up some canteens and started to the spring for water and when we got to
the spring and got water and as there was no one in sight, we made a break
thru the woods in a S.W. direction. We hadnt went but a little ways
when we heard men talking just a little in front of us in the path we were
traveling. We dodged out in to the brush till they passed.
They had on citizens clothes. As it was, they didnt see us when they
passed. We traveled all that evening and all that night. It
was a very rough country. We were in pine hill and ridges some of
them so steep we had to hold to bushes as we went down. I have often
though of this memorable trip and especially the night we traveled that
we didnt plunge off of some bluff and it would of been the last of us.
I have thanked the Lord many a time we were permitted to pass on.
I was not quite 19 yrs. old at this time and was the youngest of the three.
I was made the leader and guide for the reason I knew how to travel by
the stars and the other two hadn’t studied the planets. We had a
nice time as far as the weather was concerned. It was clear and warm.
No rain or high waters to bother us on our way. When the 2nd night
came we had been traveling about 28 hrs. and we concluded to camp.
So we got in a deep hollow pretty thickly set with brush and made up a
little fire and all layed down side by side on mother earth for our bed
and the canopies of heaven for our covering for that was the kind of a
bed we used for 5 nights. Now this being the second morning of our
trip as the day began to dawn we got up considerable refreshed as we all
had slept well. We didnt tale tin to eat breakfast for there was
not a mouthful of any thing to eat in the crowd and all we had ate up to
this time was wild onions and young tendrills of grape vines. Now
about this time Frank Eller began to complain of being sick and about gave
out. So we had to stop and wait on him to rest and then we would
go on till he would want to stop and rest and then and so on and as we
were going along we ran accross a bunch of quails and I threw a rock and
killed one of them and I took it and dressed and cooked it and gave it
to Eller and it seemed to revive him considerably and then we would go
on till he would want to stop and rest and it went on this way for 2 or
3 days and we was making slow progress on our journey and Ella had almost
gave up and begged Lighter and me to go on and leave him, and said he had
rather die there in the woods than to be back with the army, but we could
not think about leaving him, and stayed with him and all got through together.
While we were in this condition we came to White River a considerable stream
some 30 or 40 yds. wide, and from 2 to 3 ft. deep as clear as a crystal
and we concluded to cross it and I picked Eller upon my shoulders and clamped
my arms around his lefs and I started to wade accross and Lightfoot following.
I had got about half way accross when I saw two women come rifling up the
river bank on the side we were going out on in plain view, their backs
being turned toward us I had stopped about the middle of the River while
passing by they never saw us as they passed. We got out and went on our way rejoicing as we were not detected.
J.G.H. History #5
As we were going along one day we came to a good sized creek and a farm on it and there was fresh plowed ground in the field and it was about the noon hour we concluded to conseal our selves at the ford of the creek and see who it was doing the work in the field and it was not long till we saw a wagon coming with a yoke of steer hitched to it and some women in it. We waited till they were about half way crossinf the stream when we steped out in full view and begin talking to them, but they wouldnt talk a word to us, and turned their team around in the river and when they got out they loosed their team and started in a run to the house. We concluded to go to the house and get our dinner. When we got to the house we found out we had stampeeded some men from the house and the women wouldnt tell us which side they were on and we left there in a hurry, we didnt know whether they were friedns or foes. After we left the house a little ways we took to the hills and crags as fast as we could go for two miles or when we stopped and rested and watched and listened to see if any one were after us. After we had rested awhile and considered our escape a very close call we started on our journey to the south land. As nothing more of note transpired while we were in Mo. our next stop will be at Capt Goforths on Marion Co. Ark. This was the sixth day we had traveled without any thing to eat and hunger had about worn out on us when the folks set a splendid meal for us and we sit down to eat our stomachs had failed to keep up the relish of former days and we couldnt eat but very little , we had to quit. Capt. Goforth and family treated us very kindly and we stayed there two or three days and rested after our fast of six days. Now as the time had come for us to resume our journey, Eller and Lightfoot concluded to go on down to Batesville, Ark. and take boat down White river to the Ark. river and then up the river to Ft. Smith, then to the army in the Indian Country. Now I concluded to go by home a hundred or more due west thru the Mts. at that time not considered very safe and had got to Huntsville, Ark. about half was when I concluded I would stop and see a cousin of mine, a Mrs Vard Ivie that I had never saw and never saw her afterwards. She was old enough for my Mother. Had children older than I was. She seemed like a very nice woman living in a big fine brick house burned by the Federals afterwards. I stayed with them a week and had a very nice time with them. I left Huntsville on the morning of May 30, 1863. And now I had 50 miles to travel which I wanted to acomplish by the next evening and so I did and when I got pretty close to the house and my heart jumping up and down with joy, I saw Marths my youngest sister a little girl of 11 yrs. and I had got up in 20 or 30 yds. of her I said, “Martha you can put on the pots for I am coming”, and she turned and saw who I was and then started in a run to the house as fast as she could hollowing, Its Joe, Its Joe, Its Joe, and before I got to the house the most of the folks had got out in the porch where we had a happy hand shaking mingled with tears of great joy. “A home sick boy had got home who was mourned as dead” The Lost Treasury. I will speak of the insident, it is too good to pass by. In the summer of 1862 my father and mother had saved three or four hundred dollars nearly all in gold coin and as times were getting risky, they went and burried the money. Some time after this I came home and father went and showed me where it was burried. Now after I had come home asn hour or so and had talked over my trials and escape from prison, father asked ,e if I had moved the money and I said , No, I never was back at the place ever afterwards,and father said some body has stole it. Come and I will show you. And we went to the place and where he had showed me they had dug out and several other places had been dug and I concluded sure enough the money was gone. After I had been home 2 or 3 days a thought struck my mind and to pass off the time I thought I would go down to the gold diggins and investigate a little myself and the first place I dug I found the tin box 4 or 5 inches under the ground.
If you have any questions or comments or if
you would like to have more information about the Civil War and
Pension Records of the men who served in these Companies, contact Bryan Howerton or Jeri Helms Fultz
to part three of the Heaslet story
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