Civil War Stories: A Martyr for His Country

Doctor hanged by Confederacy during the Civil War.

| Good Old Days

My husband and members of his family often mention this incident which took place during the early part of the Civil War. In July of 1862, a large band of Southern troops came into our county, taking three men as prisoners. One of the three, a doctor, was an uncle of my husband's grandfather.

The story is told in our family that this relative was seized from his bed one dark, rainy night and charged with some offense against the Confederacy. Apparently the charges were serious, for the Southern soldiers killed the doctor during the night. The other two prisoners were released the following morning. The doctor met his death by hanging, and the elm tree where this took place is still standing. His body was thrown over a fence into a patch of weeds, to be found later and buried. The inscription on his tombstone says, "Died a martyr for his country."

I have heard this story repeated many times; and though the memories have become dim and details have been lost, it has remained a source of pride to our family through four generations. 

Marion Aylward
Arbela, 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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