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.

| Good Old Days

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.

Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April 27-28, 2019
Asheville, N.C.

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds