Scattered to the Four Winds

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Transcript of Diary entries kept by John Ament as he and his family traveled east from Harrisonville, Cass County, MO to Illinois in September 1863:

Sept.. the 7 1863

We are bound to leave our house. We was ordered to move to the part the order was that all the people had to move to the nearest post to them and all that was left had to be destroyed after the 9 of [Sept.] there they had changed the /orders to let people go whar they wanted to. Some (prayed or stayed) we would ? we started on and we our tuck all neighbors Mr. Ivans? Mrs. Sares and together where while 3 ? wagons broke down / / / and cough up their rest of our neighbors traveled all day and camped at the Widdow Wills with Mr. Wills family tug. Started out again ? day we traveld all day in the dust and dirt and stop.

on the 3 day we travaild all day and hav a ? sore eyes so bad that I cant hardy stand the dust atal. We stoped and camped at Mrs. Syms. Ther we herd some good news. At and old negros house that the white folks had all gone of and give to them up their farm to them during the war their names was Herris? ? Wills all camp there with us . we ment there a little ? cold chill ? on ?Jonson Parson we roled out the 3 day and travailed on about 5 miles and broke the cut? Puling pole then we camped in Mrs. Jarson? Lot and unpack the wagon and made anew coplin pole loaded up agaian and roaled out . this brought us out of Jonson City

the 11. I started ?? and travailed all we could. That / aloud 10 // Vinis cousin of Talen?

12 we roled out again and travailed all day in the dust and dirt crossing many many hills and bad places. We met mone of our all neighbors Mrs. Baty and Puet. We out travaild them came about ? miles and camped in had a very pleasant place to camp at.

13 we travailed on the same way with a great many we //we traled a day and their was an old woman by the ha? Ravarts with us and . We crossed a bridge over a creek y the name of synelier it had alridge over about 2 hundred yards long some traval aone. 15 miles and ? in Mr. Inoblrter barn Mal and went to the barn to get some water and we had to go about 1 mile for it so by the time we got back it was sun down we got super and was olo done eatin when some of ar old acquantences up and we got the led afor their super we could for them and that was bad enough

14 I roled out again and traveld on over some of the worst rodes I ever saw. We only traveld 10 miles camped at a house on the road who I had staid before. We could not get one bucket of water to use. This ? we had to a hard time of it. We rold out again on the 15 and travald 10 miles crossed 1 bridge came on to Boonville their we crossed the river aat about 11 oclock came upon the bank stoped and eat our dinner. Started again travaild 7 miles farther camped at the Barbeseon. We pastured out stock for nothing Mr. Knight he ///of a further I think

on the 15. on the morning of the ? started out again traveld over hills and bad places crossed 3 bridges it was up one hill and down another until we had traveld about 10 miles. The by this time we was all tired down stoped to take dinner pap went down to a house to get some water….”

They travel on to cross the Mississippi River into Illinois. The original is in the Cass County Historical Society archives in Harrisonville, MO.

Excerpts from Caught Between Three Fires by Rom Rafiner, pp. 459 – 464:

Thousands of refugees followed the Missouri River, by water and road to the east. Most moved east and settled in counties south of the Missouri River for several reasons. The Missouri River formed a natural barrier to the north. No bridges crossed the river in western Missouri. Families desiring to cross the Missouri River and go north had to cross by river ferry or steam boat. Soon after order No. 11, the nearest river ports at Kansas City and Lexington were swamped with refugees. Because the Missouri Pacific Railroad ended at Sedalia, many refugees headed there.

The majority of refugee families (56%) expelled from Cass County who remained in Missouri settled south of the Missouri River in Lafayette, Saline and Cooper or Johnson and Pettis Counties. Jackson County took in 23%, while 21% settled in counties north of the Missouri River: Platte, Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, Howard and Boone. Research documents these minimum numbers:

Platte County 5 Cass refugee families
Clay County 7 Cass refugee families
Boone County 9 Cass refugee families
Lafayette County 24 Cass refugee families
Saline County 17 Cass refugee families
Cooper County 15 Cass refugee families
Pettis County 16 Cass refugee families
Johnson County 16 Cass refugee families

Some families became nomads during the remainder of the War.

Interesting story about Cass County’s own Lady Bushwhacker who showed her feisty side in 1864 when the family was living in Cooper County, MO. Source: Caught Between Three Fires by Tom Rafiner, 2010.

Ruth Briscoe ( Page: 505): Ruth’s husband, William Briscoe, represented Cass County in the Missouri House of Representatives. William was a secessionist. After Order No. 11 Ruth took her family to central Missouri and became associated with the more notorious bushwhackers and guerrillas. She was banished from Missouri in the spring of 1865. She is perhaps the most notable example of a “warrior” woman from Cass County. Even though Wm. Briscoe was in charge of Cass County’s census in 1860 his family was conveniently left out. Ruth Briscoe – husband William, Lt. Col. 8th Division F and S

(pp. 485, 486) Federal authorities had arrested Ruth and prosecutors prepared to accuse her of treason. (1864) Ruth Briscoe was the wife of William M. Briscoe. William, a staunch secessionist, had represented Cass County in the Missouri House of Representatives when hostilities began. William Briscoe had enlisted in the Confederate Missouri State Guard’s 3rd Cavalry serving under Harrisonville’s Colonel R. L. Y. Peyton. Later Briscoe had served as an aide-to-camp on Confederate General James Rain’s staff. Briscoe had been absent with the Confederate Army since early in 1861; he had evidently returned with Price’s Army in early October 1864. Briscoe temporarily left the Confederate Command to see Ruth.

Following Order No. 11, Ruth had taken the family to Cooper County, MO. They settled in the vicinity of Tipton, just south of Boonville. William Briscoe took advantage of the army’s movement through Cooper County to see his family. The same day Price’s forces were preparing to take Boonville, William and Ruth Briscoe, along with 25 bushwhackers visited the Reaves General Store in southern Cooper County. The bushwhackers identified themselves as being part of Bill Anderson’s band.

A. J. Reaves, the store’s owner, was working in the store on Oct. 10 when the Briscoe’s arrived with their 25-man gang. While the bushwhackers were “robbing and plundering” Reaves’s store, Ruth Briscoe was gathering $125 worth of groceries and dry goods. William Briscoe explained he “must have the goods for his family,” and attempted to pay in Confederate Bonds. Although the store did not normally accept Confederated currency in payment, under the unique circumstances they agreed to do so.

After the Briscoes left Reave’s store, along with the bushwhackers, he filed a complaint with the local Provost Marshal. Now alone, William having returned to the Confederate Army and the bushwhackers back in the bush, Ruth was arrested. During the inquiry, Mrs. Briscoe was charged with robbery and “aiding and encouraging rebellion against the Government of the United States.” Described as “a dangerous woman to the Federal cause in aiding, giving information and no doubt about it she as richly deserves being sent south as the worst rebel that has ever done. Her husband is an officer in the Rebel Army.” Ruth Briscoe remained in Federal custody, her future uncertain as December 1864 came to a close.

(p. 496) Ruth Briscoe, the wife of William M. Briscoe. Ruth Briscoe and family had been banished south through Federal lines, along with Tabitha Rider and Mary Vaughn. Ruth Briscoe had been in Federal custody since late in 1864. At Warrensburg, March 17, 1865 Ruth Briscoe was charged with (1) robbery and (2) aiding and encouraging rebellion against the government of the United States. By virtue of Special Orders No. 87 Ruth was banished:

Mrs. Ruth Briscoe, a citizen of Missouri, having forfeited her right of citizenship by her continued acts of disloyalty towards the U.S. Government, by persistently encouraging, harboring and feeding bushwhackers and guerrilla bands and neglecting to report these outlaws to the U.S. authorities is hereby banished beyond the Federal lines by way of Gaines Landing, Arkansas, not to return during the continuance of the rebellion under the penalty of being treated as a spy. She will be permitted to take with her such articles of household goods, and wearing apparel as may be required for her comfort.

Ruth Briscoe left Missouri with three children. Ruth settled in Sherman, Texas. William M. Briscoe, her husband and companion, had died in Texas during the War. Ruth never returned to Cass County.