Guthrie, Missouri, Family's Log Cabin Invaded by Opposing Army During the Civil War

Story has a happy ending as saddles, food hidden under floor in log cabin escapes search by soldiers.
CAPPER's Staff
Good Old Days


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Below you will find a true story of the Civil War days with a happy ending. It happened in this community of Guthrie, Callaway County, Missouri. I am the granddaughter of a Civil War veteran, Robert W. Emmons. My father, Sterling Price Emmons, was 7 months old when things were in a bad condition in this community. Grandfather had been working all day hiding his and Grandmother's new saddles (one a sidesaddle), bridles, two or three cured hams and all their most prized possessions under the floor of their two-room log cabin 1 mile west of where we (my husband and I) now live. He had taken up some of the oak flooring (which was not tongue and groove) in the comer next to the kitchen and under the bed. There they hid their things, then nailed down the flooring again. The other army would take whatever they wanted if it could be found.

Grandfather was called for duty the same evening only a few miles away. He grabbed his musket, put some biscuits and fried ham in his pocket, kissed his wife and sick baby and went out into the cold, snowy, late November night.

My father was sick with a cold, croup and ear trouble, and he cried all night long.

About 10 p.m. the same evening, soldiers from the opposing army came and took all the food they could find and two of Grandfather's best riding horses from a nearby pasture. (Grandmother was a great horsewoman so Grandfather kept good riding horses.) They found the old saddles and bridles at the barn, so off they went, not knowing about the new ones.

About midnight, a young man of the community knocked on the door and called Grandmother by name, saying, "Nancy, Bob has been shot. I think he is dead by now, and some of us will get the body home when daylight comes."

Grandmother lived a thousand years during the next five hours with her husband dead and her only child very sick. By now she thought he had double pneumonia. She had no food in the house, just hams under a nailed down floor. Their only heat was from two fireplaces, they cooked on the one in the kitchen. There was no more cut up wood at the woodpile. The coal oil jug was empty and the lamp was getting low after an all-night burn with the sick child. No telephone in those days, and by now, the snow was six or eight inches deep and not a neighbor within two or three miles.

About five o'clock that morning, someone knocked on the door. She said, "Who's thar?" The knocker said, "It's me, Bob." She said, "The law me, I thought you were dead."

He said, "I was only slightly hit in my left arm, but I thought I was sure to die out in that awful weather and told them to get you word next morning, but they came right on."

What a happy reunion, and my father was soon better.

Many times we heard our grandparents tell of this terrible experience of the Civil War days with such a happy ending.

Mrs. Wallace H. Jones
New Bloomfield, Missouri


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 


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