The Tracy Family History
Order No. 11
As Luck Would Have It
When doing family research sometimes you do things right, sometimes you make mistakes, and sometimes you get lucky. Here is a story of getting lucky.
Somewhere along the line, a Proctor cousin of ours decides to do research on the Proctor family. He descends from William Proctor, a brother to my Benjamin. But, he decides to research the Benjamin line. He does a very through job and researches and writes 36 pages on this line.
To refresh your memory, Thomas Moon’s wife was Lusany Proctor. That is an interesting line, soon to come.
On page 25 he says, "The Thomas Moon, Archibald Moon…are all on the 1860 census in Clear Creek twp, Vernon Co MO." How he was able to find them in 1860 when I could not find them is a mystery to me. But by placing Thomas and Archibald Moon with their families and other relatives in Vernon CO. during the Civil War, he would make our people unwilling participants to one of the darkest chapters in American history…the burning.
If tell’st this heavy story right,
Upon my soul the hearers will shed tears;
Yes, even my foes will shed fast-falling tears,
And say,-Alas!, It was a piteous deed.
To understand why our Moons were burned out of Missouri, we must go back a few short years to 1854, when Kansas was opened as a territory. The eastern boarder of Kansas joined that of Missouri, which had been a slave state for 40 years.
The western land of Missouri was ideal for slave labor, as was the one-third of Kansas that joined Missouri. The Missourians desperately wanted Kansas to be a slave state.
But the decision for Kansas to be slave, or free, would be dependent on the choice of the voters of that territory. The solution to the problem was simple. The Missourians crossed the border in mass and voted in Kansas to make the territory a slave state. But the Missouri method of stuffing the ballot boxes was countered by the abolitionist in the northern states, who paid their members to travel to Kansas and vote to make it a free-soil state. The Northern abolitionist poured into Kansas.
It is not my purpose to retell the interesting story of the struggle between the believers in slavery, and the abolitionists, for the control of Kansas. Let me just say, that in the end, the abolitionists won and Kansas came into the Union as a free soil-state.
You will remember that in California they would pit the wild bulls against the grizzly bears that were natural enemies. So were the pro-slavery and the abolitionists natural enemies. They absolutely hated one another... to the point of violence.
When the Civil War broke out, in 1861, the people of the solidly secessionist Western Missouri were ecstatic. Although the veterans of the Mexican War were "strangely silent."
On the western edge of Missouri, none were more pro-Confederate than those who lived in the counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates ... and Vernon. These counties had the heaviest concentration of settlers from the Southern States, mostly from Virginia, Kentucky, and you will remember our Moons came from Tennessee.
Besides sending troops to the regular armies of the Union and Confederacy, the boarder people of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas also formed irregular army bands. On the Confederate, Missouri side, they formed into groups called Bushwhackers or Guerrillas. On the Union, Kansas side, they formed into groups called Jayhawkers and Red Legs.
As time went on, both the North and the South wished for the irregulars to disband and join the regular armies. However, the irregulars believed they could serve their country best by fighting close to home where they could be supplied by neighbors and relatives. Also they preferred fighting in a region where they knew every inch of the ground.
The Kansas Jayhawkers would raid the Missouri towns and farms. Horses, mules, any wagon in good condition, household goods and furniture, anything of value was taken back to Kansas, where they were openly sold in the streets of the Kansas border towns. Most of the stolen goods were taken to Lawrence, where they were sold in the City Square. Sometimes the wagons loaded with plunder would stretch for miles as they came out of Missouri.
Along with the plunder were slaves who were stolen, taken across the border into Kansas where they were given their freedom. Remember, Missouri was technically a Union State, which means that slavery was legal during the war, and the Kansans were obliged by law to respect the slave owner's rights. The law was simply ignored.
On the Missouri border, slaves were as good as gold. The slaves were the ones who kept the Confederate farms operating. By stealing their slaves it was an indirect way of destroying the enemy farms.
The rabble-rousing abolitionists, Daniel Anthony, brother of Susan B. Anthony, with his gang, would raid into Border Missouri. He writes of one raid, "On our route…we took 150 mules & 40 horses--129 Negroes and gave the negroes 60 Horses & mules, a lot of oxen, 10 wagons & two carriages and all loaded down with house hold furniture--The negroes train into Kansas was over a mile long--"
It was observed that the freed slaves were better fed and dressed than those who saved them.
Daniel Anthony, and his gang, would leave many a border town smoldering.
Most of the raids were into the four counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates, and where our Moons lived in Vernon.
What I have told you so far is not the worst. The Kansas Jayhawkers would not hesitate to burn towns and farms. The reasons given for all of these atrocities were "military necessity."
Even more terrible were the wanton murders. Fathers would be hung or shot down in front of their wives and children pleading for their lives.
"Men are shot or hung every few days on the most trivial pretexts.”
And that is the type of men who road with the Kansas Jayhawkers. The Kansas Red Legs were even worse!
As for the Missouri Bushwhacker, they were just as bad. They resorted to the same tactics. Whatever the misdeeds were committed by the Kansans, the Bushwhackers raided across the Kansas boarder and repaid in kind, with the exception that you did not see long wagon trains of plunder.
Then, there were the Missouri Guerrillas who were even worse than the Bushwhackers. But, most of the people in our part of Missouri looked upon the Guerrillas as avenging angels and the defenders of the Southern way of life. Most had friends and relatives serving with the Guerrillas, which in this part of the country meant the famous, or infamous, Quantrill. They would wholeheartedly support the Guerrillas in anyway they could, which included feeding and shelter, providing with supplies, and acting as spies. Young men poured into the Guerrilla ranks simply because it was not safe for them to live at home.
Quantrill would raid into Kansas, then return into the four counties and simply vanish. The Guerrilla bands were usually small, not more than 25 men at a time would make a raid, although there were exceptions. And then, there were the White Rags from Northern Missouri who were even worse than the Guerrillas.
However, there was a price to pay for helping the Guerrillas. Houses were burned of known families of Bushwhackers, Guerrillas, and anyone suspected of aiding or even being sympathetic to the Guerrilla cause.
It was an impossible situation for the citizens on either side of the border, whether you were pro-Union, Confederate, or even neutral didn't matter. If the Confederate sympathizers helped the Confederate soldiers by something as simple as feeding them, then the Union soldiers would kill them. If the Union families fed the Union soldiers then the Confederates would kill them. Yet, it was the policy that if you failed to feed anyone of any side then you would be killed. And, if one side discovered that you were feeding the other side, then you would be killed. So you had Confederates helping Union soldiers and Union families helping Confederate soldiers just to keep from being killed.
Even if you were totally innocent, you stood the chance of being killed. Both sides would use deception. A band of Confederates may approach a Confederate farm, but lying, they would tell the farmer that they were Union men and wanted to know which side he was on. If he said, truthfully, that he was a Confederate he would assume he would be killed. Wishing to save his life, he would lie and strongly declare his loyalty to the Union. Then the band would tell him they were in truth Confederates.
The poor farmer would now be led to his death while, truthfully, telling them that he also was a Confederate. So you have these crazy, and true stories, of Confederates killing Confederates and Union men killing other Union men. Both sides routinely killed prisoners "...while trying to escape."
Strangely, when raiding, the Kansans didn't care if they were attacking Union supporters or Confederate supporters. They would mistreat equally the same, looting, burning, and killing Union people as if they were the enemy. This made many of the loyal Union men... loyal Confederates. "The course pursued...has turned against us many thousands who were formerly Union men.”
Then, there were the bandits who were after gain only. They would appear as either Confederates, or Unionists, whichever suited their purpose at the time. Even the thin veil of "military necessity" could not justify their killings.
It was only safe for a woman to go to town to get provisions with an ox and old cart. Any man of military age found on the roads, or on a farm, would quickly be picked up by either side.
Rape, virtually unknown in the other theaters of the war, was not uncommon in the Boarder War. There were barbarity, and atrocities, committed by both sides that are hard to believe. There was no chivalry in the Boarder War. For our Moons, living in Vernon County during the Civil War was sheer hell! By January 1862, most of the four counties had been devastated.
Now you can see how our Moon's lost their property in Vernon County, Missouri, during the Civil War. The Unionists burned out our people. Others might not be burned out simply because they had a good piece of property, and the enemy wanted the property for themselves. So you would loose either way.
But, our story is not finished yet.
As the war progressed, there would unfold a chain of events that would eventually end in the burning. General Thomas Ewing was in command of the Department of the Boarder. Ewing ordered that hundreds of families of the worst known guerrillas, that would be mostly women and children, were to be arrested, with some being imprisoned and others banished to Confederate States.
Some women who were close relatives of the most notorious Guerrilla leaders were imprisoned in a building in Lawrence.
George Caleb Bingham, was a famous frontier painter of his time. It was within his three storied building in Lawrence, Kansas, that the women were imprisoned, on the top floor, which was the artist's studio. Bingham was away on government business at the time and apparently was not aware that his home was being used as a prison.
Everyone knew that the building was unsafe. The weight of the women on the top floor was too much, and the building collapsed killing five women and crippling several others for life. Remember, these were the relatives of the top Guerrilla leaders.
The Guerrilla leaders were enraged, and in retaliation planned a raid on Lawrence itself. On 21 August 1863 Quantrill with 400 Guerrillas attacked Lawrence, sacking the town, burning 185 buildings and massacring 142 civilians. This was one of the few times the Guerrillas would fight in mass.
In punishment for the Lawrence raid, four days later, General Thomas Ewing issued his infamous Order Number 11. Simply put, every person living in the four counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates, and Vernon, were to remove themselves from the State of Missouri within 15 days…and everything was to be burned to the ground. This order meant every person: that included those pro-Union as well as the pro-Confederates, the loyal along with the disloyal, friends as well as foes, including neutrals, the innocent with the guilty, the rich as well as the poor, men, women, and children, the healthy with the invalid, the old with the young… and then the four counties were to be burned to the ground from the magnificent mansions to the humble slave cabins.
There was nothing to protect the people; no laws, no constitution, no rights. Theirs would be but a desperate struggle to get out of Missouri by a date certain.
President Lincoln approved Order Number 11.
Our painter, George Caleb Bingham, was not only a state government official, but at the age of 50 he had enlisted in the Union army as a private and quickly rose to the rank of brigadier general. He was enraged when learning of Order Number 11, believing it to be unjust. Demanding a meeting with General Ewing, Bingham screamed to have it revoked. Ewing refused. Leaving, Bingham shot back his famous words, "…I will make you infamous with pen and brush…"
The women in the four counties were panicky. It was the custom for all important decisions to be made by the husbands who were now all away at war. The families had no means to escape, having had all the good horses, mules, and wagons previously taken.
To make matter worse, the order was to be enforced by Kansas troops.
"The news of the order quickly reached the remotest corners of the district affected. In a few days the highways of the land were rife with fugitives, courageous women and little children, decrepit old men and young boys. They drove small herds of cattle, or a few flocks of sheep, belonging to two or three families which for mutual assistance usually went together. The household goods went in rickety wagons drawn by oxen or by superannuated horses, exempted from army service because too feeble to carry a soldier."
There were no horses or mules and oxen were scarce so the women would use milk cows and hitch them to the rickety wagons, and if milk cows were not available they would use calves. One man was able to keep a good horse because he trained it too limp whenever anyone (Union troops) road up on.
One Union officer chronicled their escape, "It is heartsickening to see what I have seen since I have been back here. A desolate country and men and women and children, some of them almost naked. Some on foot and some in old wagons. Oh God!"
"Bare-footed and bare-headed women and children, stripped of every article of clothing except a scant covering for their bodies, were exposed to the heat of an August sun." "...and compelled to struggle through the dust on foot. All their means of transportation had been seized by the spoilers…"
"The road from Independence to Lexington was crowded with women and children, women walking with their babies in their arms, packs on their backs, and four or five children following after them--some crying for bread…O, how sad!"
Children begged to go home. Little girls clutched their dolls.
Union General Richard C. Vaughan, witnessed the implementation or Order Number 11 and wrote. "The torch was freely used, and dense columns of smoke from burning dwellings were seen far and wide over the scourged district and men were ruthlessly shot down in the very act of obeying the order."
Just one small squad of Kansas men burned 110 houses. A Kansas soldier wrote, "…Chimneys mark the spot where once stood costly farm houses…"
In total, 3600 square miles were wiped off the face of the earth. So complete was the burning that even the fence post were pulled from the ground and the stumps burned. As many as 20,000 to 100,000 people were put on the roads, their homes burned and made refugees. No one knows the number for sure because all of the records were destroyed in the burning.
To make the suffering even worse, most of the refugees had no where to go. Some huddled on the riverbanks where passing riverboat captains took pity on them and took them aboard. Others would find only caves to live in.
None who suffered through Order Number 11 would ever forget, including our three year old Lousannie, Grandma Elam as mom knew her.
So bitter were her memories, that 40 years later Louisa Young refused to allow her grandson, Harry S. Truman, to appear in front of her wearing his blue military uniform. (At age 11 the future president’s mother and her family were also burned out of their home.)
Ever since, this land has been known as the “Burnt District.” Two years later, a minister who traveled through the “Burnt District” described it simply and truthfully, "Man no longer existed there."
There were those in Jackson County who remembered that some 30 years earlier that the Mormons, as were their habit, were driven out of Jackson County by the mobs. The Mormons embittered prophet, Joseph Smith told his persecutors:
"God's wrath hangs over Jackson County. God's people have been ruthlessly driven from it, and you will see the day when it will be visited by fire and the sword. The Lord of Hosts will sweep it with a besom of destruction. The fields and farms and houses will be destroyed, and only the chimneys will be left to mark the desolation."
Frank James, brother to Jesse, tells the story of a man he knew who made a fortune by going into the “Burnt District” and rounded up abandoned cattle. “A high toned cattle thief!” Frank James comes back into our story later.
And what happened to the man who caused it all, General Thomas Ewing? This is an interesting story and brings back into the story our painter, George Caleb Bingham. After the war, Ewing ran for governor of Ohio, which was his positioning for his true ambition which was to be president of the United States. Perhaps he would have gone down in history as president if it were not for our artists.
Shortly after the war, Bingham fulfilled his promise to destroy Ewing on canvas, and he started his famous painting "Order Number 11." Only when the painting came out and prints were made did the American public know the true horrors and the suffering of the people caused by Ewing's military order.
When one looks at the painting, you see several stories all at the same time. Central to the whole picture is a bearded Thomas Ewing himself, astride a horse as he views his carnage. In the upper left hand corner is a Kansas soldier stealing household goods and throwing them off the balcony to soldiers below who are loading the loot into a wagon. At the bottom left is the body of a young man who has been shot trying to defend his home. Lying over him is the prostrate body of his young wife. A gray-haired grandfather defies a soldier who is about to draw a gun on him as a young woman tries to keep him from being shot. A scared child pulls on the grandfather's leg. Another young woman begs for mercy. The mother faints and is held in the arms of their black mammy. In the lower right, a slave and his son flee in terror. In the distance we see the smoke rising from hundreds of burned farms as a long line of refugee wagons goes towards the west.
(Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri.)
With this one painting Thomas Ewing's dreams of being president were crushed.
Bingham made two different versions of this famous
painting, Order No. 11 (also known as Martial Law). One is in the collection of
the State Historical Society of Missouri, in Columbia, MO, which is housed at
the University of Missouri-Columbia campus.
The other version is at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio.
The Jackson County Historical Society in
Independence, MO., has an old photo of the painting which used to hang on
someone’s wall. Someday I would like to look at this old wall photo.
In addition, “A number of copies of this paint were made–not by the artist but by other craftsmen.”
How were our Moons affected by "Order Number 11?" I am not 100% sure. The History of Vernon County (1887) says, "Near the year 1856, came…Thos. Moon, Archibald Moon…all of whom settled in the vicinity of Schell City." (That city is located in the extreme NE corner of Vernon County in Bacon Township close to the Bates County border. Bacon Township only had a dozen families at the beginning of the war.) "Thos. Moon died about the commencement of the Civil War. Arch Moon removed to the Pacific coast during the war…"
It does not say how Thos. Moon died, nor does it tell us that Arch Moon and family were burned out, and run out of Missouri under penalty of death. One can only wonder if Thos. Moon died a natural death.
Order Number 11 was given in August of 1863. I still believe that the best estimate for Archibald's wagon train crossing the plains was in 1863. So Archibald and family would have been arriving at Uncle Billy's ranch almost at the same time that Order Number 11 began. Order Number 11 covered the three counties of Jackson, Cass, and Bates…and the northern top (2 miles) of Vernon County. The rest of Vernon County had, by piece meal, been totally burned out the year before. Thus, the burning of Vernon County was the prologue to Order Number 11.
We do know that Archibald's family had been burned out, all of the possessions stolen, and “We will leave you only with your lives." Archibald did own land in the northern part of the county and he did own land in Bates County. These farms definitely fell under Order Number 11.
They would have been luckier than their neighbors in two respects. They had been able to save the good mule by hiding it in the ravine during the burning of their house, and they had the old broken down mule that Archibald was riding when he found the house burned. One wonders if they were able to keep the good mule during the exodus from Missouri. Second, it is reasonable to assume that they lost everything in the burning, but were fortunate to have relatives and friend who were able to finance their, costly, trip to California.
The order did not require the people to leave the state, only the four counties. Many fled east into the neighboring Confederate counties. Our people fled west, 2,000 miles.
Did Archibald also have a farm in Vernon County that was burned out a year before Order Number 11, or was he burned out earlier in upper Vernon County and Bates County by a roving band before Order Number 11 finished the job? We don't know. I think he was burned out early while in the Order Number 11 area.
A year after the war, in 1866, Archibald, in Tehama County, California, tried to regain his land in Missouri by making out a two page Power of Attorney giving his younger brother, Thomas N. Moon, a resident of Vernon County, Missouri, the right to sell his land in Bacon Township, Vernon County, also his land in Bates County, and any other land that he might own.
Was he successful in regaining his land? Pat Brophy, curator of the Bushwhacker Museum, in Nevada, Vernon County, tells me that the people were driven from their land, but they still owned the land. Their land could not be taken for non-payment of taxes because the tax records were burned…and the tax collectors were also driven from the state. (The staff at the Bushwhacker Museum were most helpful.)
It would appear that when you count the uncles, and cousins, and children, etc.…that we had a lot of Moons in Missouri. It is possible that Archibald was burned out of one farm, decided, wisely, to get out of Missouri early and left his other farms under the care of relatives, who shortly thereafter were burned out.
These are the possibilities. One can only guess as to what actually happened. But no matter what happened our Moons were definitely affected by Order No.11.
I told you that the official records for these counties were destroyed in the burning. That is except for Vernon County where the County Clerk stole the records, put them in hiding and only returned them after the war…so I could do my family research.
Lately, I have suspected that there were two wagon trains, one year apart. Archibald purchases land at Paskenta a few months before Order Number 11 was issued. Yet, from research, I strongly believe our people were burned out under the order.
Recently, I had a meeting with the two remaining descendants of George Wm. Moon, Elizabeth Cleek, and her daughter Bette Trainor. They tell me that the Cleeks came over in the Moon wagon train, and that it is believed that there were two wagon trains a year apart.
Who came over in which wagon train, first or second, and what age each crossed the plains is anyone’s guess. The 1860 census of Vernon County, as is the custom of taking censuses, is done in geographical order. That is, the census taker goes from one farm to the next farm. Census are not done in alphabetical order. The census shows Archibald and Thomas farms to be next to one another.
It is reasonable to assume that when Archibald’s family was burned out, then his father’s family was burned out at the same time and suffered the same fate.
I have told you enough of the story to wet your appetite. If you would like to know more then I have some recommended books on the subject.
A good little 18 page booklet is titled
Order Number 11, by Joanne Chiles Eakin. It only cost $2.50.
By the same author, is a 111 page book titled Tear and Turmoil, Order Number 11. This is a compilation or individual stories of people who suffered through Order Number 11.
There is a 172 page book on the history of the Guerrilla War on the Western Boarder by Thomas Goodrich titled Black Flag, Guerrilla Warfare on the Western Boarder, 1861-1865. It is a more complete story of the history of the war, but it also gives the events leading up to Order Number 11, touches on the story of the Order, and what happened afterwards.
All three of the above can be purchased through the Blue & Grey Book Shoppe, 107 W. Lexington, Independence, MO 64050.
A good book on the Guerillas, specifically Quantrill, is The Devil Knows How To Ride, by Edward E. Leslie. You should you be able to get this through your local library.
If the story I have told you about the tragedy of Order Number 11, brings tears to your eyes, then I would advise that you do not read any of the suggested books, for the full story is even more heart wrenching.
Bingham's famous painting 'Order Number 11' is melodramatic and certainly not considered a masterpiece. It is controversial. Some say that it destroyed Ewing's dreams of being president, yet, there are others who say it had no effect on Ewing's political career. I prefer to believe the version that it did indeed destroy his political ambitions. It makes for a more interesting family history.
The “Burnt District” ran for 120 miles in length and 30 miles in width. You can only appreciate the magnitude of this section when you drive your car out of town on a trip. It should impress you that it will take you 2 hours at 60 miles an hour just to cover the length. As you drive, look left and right and imagine that the width was 15 miles in both directions…and all you can see are standing chimneys.
Our cousin Lillola (Bonnie) Horning of Las Vegas, NV., provides us with the following information:
Two people died in the Archibald wagon train of 1863. One was a little girl, previously mentioned, and the other was a woman, whose name is unknown. I do not know if they both died in the same wagon train as there were two different wagon trains to get our people to California.
In California, Archibald was considered the “Great White Father” to the Indians. He was greatly respected by them and they would come to him with their problems. He was especially helpful in their dealings with the government.
Bonnie's mother told her the story of Archibald's funeral in 1908. She was 7 or 8 years old at the time. The Indians came in full ceremonial dress and put on dances at the funeral. When word was known of the Indians intentions to perform at the funeral in full ceremonial dress, the white people from all over came to see the show.
Bonnie's mother was terrified and viewed the scene hiding behind her mother and peaking around her dress.
Uncle Joe, Joseph Moon, son of Archibald who appears in the famous funeral photo, had a gold mine, hit gold and never worked another day of his life. He hired professional genealogists to research the Moon line. Thomas Moon, who I could not trace any further, was his grandfather. Therefore, he was a lot closer to the family tree than me. The family tree goes way back, probably hundreds of years, to the Norse people, the old Scandinavians. Originally, the family name was “Mun.”
However, Grandma Tracy said the Moon's were German.
Obviously, Uncle Joe had the family tree printed up in more than one copy and distributed them to the family. Only Bonnie has told me this story. I told Bonnie that the family tree done by Uncle Joe would be in someone's attic in a trunk. My feelings tell me that one-day this family tree will show up somewhere.
Bonnie says, "I don't know. Knowing Uncle Joe he would have burned them!" Apparently, Uncle Joe was a very nice person…but very erratic!
Unmarried he would leave some of his estate to relatives, but most went to charity. He was a Shriner
Bonnie has an antique photo album which she believes came down from the Moons. She is sure of one photo being a Moon. There are several photos of “Comstocks” (believed to be from the famous Comstock mining family). It is possible that one of our Moons married one of the Comstocks.
Cousin Flo, 94 years old, living in Petaluma, CA., says that
Archibald was a Confederate spy. According to staff at the Bushwhacker Museum,
this could mean anything from one who was sympathetic to the Confederate cause,
to passing information to the enemy. We have reason to believe that Archibald
was more than sympathetic to the cause and probably rode with the guerrillas.
Bushwhacker Museum Newsletter, Jan. 1, 2002.
"There were several hundred murders in Vernon County before and after the war. Most were never solved and were considered acts of war." By Derald Linn, historian.
"General Order No. 11 was perhaps the harshest act of the U.S. Government against it's own people in American history." Thomas Goodrich, Black Flag, Indiana University Press.
BACK HOME, APRIL, 1865 -- Tom Lea
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