Watch out, you could get bush whacked. Who were the bush whackers? And
what were they? I heard my people speak of them years ago. Were they Civil
War guerillas? Were they Civil War criminals masking as Civil War soldiers?
Was old Tom Henry a bush whacker? Were the James brothers, Frank and Jesse,
bush whackers? Did the bush whackers try to interrupt the underground railroad???
And what was the Union practice of having prisoners (Confederate) of war
draw from a hat a marble, and if one drew the black marble he would be
put to death?? Was the practice instituted to stop the shooting of Union
soldiers? And how much hate and revenge was caused by the practice
of drawing for that black marble?? And as one old-timer told me, for all
the farms within five miles of the Ohio river, the soldiers (Union and
Confederate) ransacked, stole, carried off, all the livestock, horses,
chickens, valuables, groceries, canned goods, guns, money, gold and silver
ornaments they could find. Thus, very rich, pre-Civil War farms in the
Caseyville area and lands were stripped bare of goods and necessities.
The young men sympathizing to the south had joined the Confederate armies;
the north had instituted the draft to take the rest of the young men 18
to 40; what was left here were young children, women of all ages to carry
on and young boys and very old men. Thus, the Caseyville area suffered
much loss. It is doubtful if it ever recovered it's pre-war strength.
The money and capitol and leadership was destroyed. But there were
the vast outlying areas -- still hidden in the remote places of the great
forests. Half the Wallaces were dead on the battle field -- never
again to rise.
Thus, the post-war era o preaching and small farms began to sustain the
culture. Ex-veterans drove oxen, cut away at the old mature forest, and
some began mining a little coal. Borderly prospered as a community
until the railroad came through in 1886. Then the merchants moved
to Sturgis. I interviewed an elderly lady one time and she said her
father had a fine business in old Borderly when she was a girl. Then
the railroad came through in 1886, so he sold out and came to Sturgis --
built a house on Monroe St. and prospered. She lived in the same house
until about 1965 or 1970. She had a portrait hanging on her wall.
The man had a high collar -- the style worn in 1824-1836 She said
it was a portrait of David Adams of New England (1824-1828) David
Adams went to Washington City to visit the president, John Q. Adams, during
his term as President. The name of the elderly woman was Nell Royster.
She had worked in St. Louis and would return to Sturgis several times a
year. Nell had no children -- that I know of. I suspect all
the older citizens knew her well. I recall my kin speaking of her.
Her heirs took the old portrait to St. Louis with them. But one could
see in her the decisive and sure character of the New England Adams blood
In those years an old wily lease hound and land buyer came to Union County.
His name was Col. Giles. I don't know if he was really a colonel
or if he just assumed the name. He lived by himself and worked in
the county buying coal rights. -- really stealing valuable coal lands from
unsuspecting citizens -- who had no idea of the value of the 11 lakes of
coal under their farms. But old Col. Giles built a reputation as
a philanthropist. He dedicated land for a City park, City well, City
exhibition and park center; and land for the Ohio Valley Baptist College
and set it out in the old deeds. Tom Christian, a small lad, served
as his stable man and drove his buggy for him -- the story goes.
A street in Sturgis was named for old Col. Giles.
Is there any enterprising citizen, young scholar, who might research the
life and times of Col. Giles and write his biography? Union County High
School writing class? Maybe? Perhaps David Adams would be more exciting?
Old elder Emil Hoerth told me the whole Col. Giles story one bright morning
as I sat on his porch steps across from the old Ohio Valley Baptist College.
Emil Hoerth was a professional butcher for West Kentucky Coal Company,
and an elder in old Cumberland Presbyterian Church before it split in 1906.
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