Arkansas


Regnat populus
Arkansas declared its succession from the Union on May 6, 1861. Arkansas formed some 48 infantry regiments for the Confederate Army in addition to numerous cavalry and artillery battery units. A conservative estimate is that one eighth of the male population of Arkansas died and another eighth were permanently disabled during the Civil War. The four year Civil War comprised the greatest human and economic disaster in Arkansas history.

Pvt. William Henry Watts

By Aileen Ezell

William Henry Watts was born January 3, 1841, in Union County, North Carolina, the son of W. Watts of Anson County, North Carolina and Mary B. Timmons from the Chesterfield District of South Carolina. William Henry had ten brothers and sisters.

In 1860, Henry Watts joined a group of his aunts and uncles, including his Aunt Elizabeth Timmons, that moved west from the Chesterfield District and they were recorded in that year’s census as living in Cleveland County, Arkansas.

It was from Cleveland County, Arkansas that he enlisted in the Army of the Confederacy on June 10, 1861, joining General Hindman’s Legion of Infantry, Army of the Mississippi. He was wounded at Shiloh on April 6, 1862 and furloughed home to recover. As soon as possible he re-enlisted and served in Company A, Nineteenth Arkansas Infantry.

Henry next participated in the Battle of the Arkansas Post. At the surrender of the Post in January 1863, to avoid capture, he and a buddy, Lawrence Blackwell, escaped at night and swam the Arkansas River, said to be nearly a mile wide at this point, and made their way through snow covered swamps to the Blackwell home near Pine Bluff. Those who knew Henry were not surprised by this feat as he was an excellent athlete, runner, jumper, swimmer, and rifleman despite being only five feet seven inches tall and about 145 pounds.

He surrendered at Marshall, Texas in May of 1865 and then walked home with others from the area, a trek of several weeks without benefit of shoes or food, except berries and fruit from the woods.

On March 26, 1866, he was married to Miss Sarah Lavisa Sinclair, the daughter of Calvin R. Sinclair and his wife Sarah McNeill Sinclair.

Henry returned from the war determined to help rebuild his country. He took an active part in his community and faithfully served in several capacities from justice of the peace to originating a petition to keep “strong drink” out of the Moore’s Church area. He was the owner of 320 acres. He built the Watts School on his property.

Henry was a merchant and farmer. Henry was proud to declare himself a Democrat. He cast his first vote for Horace Greeley in 1872. He was a Mason, a member of the Wheel (a voluntary group of organizations that provide social and public services).
Both he and his wife were active members of the Methodist Church.

Lavisa died July 12, 1901. Her obituary in the Rison paper stated that her walk in life had been blameless and that she never had an unkind word spoken about her. Henry died January 20, 1903 and both are buried in the Niven Cemetery on the property settled by his Aunt Elizabeth Timmons and her husband John Niven.

Today, the old home place is gone and mostly forgotten from memory. The Confederate Iron Cross given to honor Henry’s service in the war and place on his grave by the United Daughters of the Confederacy has been stolen. The Watts school exists only in faded photographs and those in the Niven Cemetery sleep in the deep woods. There is no trace today of the once thriving community of pioneers who came out of the Carolinas and forged new homes in the wilderness. A heavy growth of timber covers the once cleared fields and the roads to the old homesteads have disappeared beneath the trees. All that remains are the scattered cousins who are discovering each other via the Internet and who have come to realize the heritage and legacy they left to us is everlasting.

Robert Jameson

Robert Jameson was born 1835 the son of Robert Jameson (Jemison) and Mary Ann Cooper. The family won a land lottery and moved to Arkansas prior to the start of the War between the States. Robert married a lady by the name of Mary whose last name is unknown.

In May, 1861, Robert enlisted in Columbia County, Arkansas, in Company C, 19th (Smead’s-Dockery’s) Arkansas Infantry. He participated in the battles of Corinth, Hatchie Bridge, Port Gibson. Part of the unit was captured at Vicksburg in July, 1863.

Following the war, Robert and his wife moved to Navasota, Grimes County, Texas where he served as the Justice of the Peace.

Thomas Carmichael Hindman

Major General Thomas Carmichael Hindman was born on January 28, 1828, at Knoxville, Tennessee, one of six children of planter and Indian agent Thomas Hindman and Sallie (Holt) Hindman. In 1841 the father bought a new plantation in Ripley, Mississippi, where Thomas went to local schools and private schools, graduating with honors from Lawrenceville Classical Institute near Princeton, New Jersey.

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At the age of seventeen he joined the Second Mississippi Regiment under Colonel Clark in Tippah County, Mississippi, to fight in the Mexican War. His company was assigned to garrison duty at Monterrey and saw no action. This did not prevent him from working his way up through the ranks. His writing skills earned him a position as adjutant and he mustered out as a lieutenant.

After the Mexican war Hindman returned to Ripley and passed the bar exam. His brother Robert was engaged in a gunfight with a fellow named William Falkner. Robert’s gun misfired and Falkner stabbed him to death and was subsequently found not guilty of murder by reason of self-defense. Shortly afterwards, Falkner killed a Hindman family friend and was again acquitted. Thomas Hindman and Falkner then engaged in a gunfight and neither was wounded.

Hindman moved to Helena, Arkansas, in 1856 and established a law practice. His marriage to Mary Watkins Biscoe, the daughter of a wealthy planter, enhanced his financial status and his political opportunities. He and fellow future Major General Patrick Cleburne formed a friendship and became business partners. Hindman and Cleburne were both wounded in a gunfight on the streets of Helena with the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic Know-Nothings. They were exonerated and, afterwards, went to Hindman’s parents’ house in Mississippi.

Hindman received praise for his actions and became a force in Democratic politics after the Know-Nothings were defeated.

Hindman ran successfully for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 1858 and was reelected in 1860. He became a strong advocate for secession and when Arkansas withdrew from the Union he resigned his seat. After Fort Sumter, he helped raise the Second Arkansas Regiment and was named as its colonel.

By September of 1861 he had been promoted to brigadier general and was a brigade commander at the Battle of Shiloh where he received a minor wound when an artillery shell struck his horse. After this battle he was promoted to major general. He was dispatched to Little Rock and charged with the task of organizing the state against a Union invasion. His extreme actions of burning all the cotton fields, declaring martial law, and harsh treatment of troops made him very unpopular with civilians and troops. But he was credited with saving Little Rock from a Federal invasion. He was moved to Tennessee where he was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga and again at the Kennesaw Mountain, the last leaving him partially blind and unable to return to duty.

In 1866 the Federal Government indicted him for his activities during the war and he fled to Mexico City with his family. At first he tried to practice law in Mexico City, but soon joined other Confederate refugees in Carlotta where he again tried to practice law and engaged in coffee planting. Conditions in Mexico were unfavorable to Hindman’s efforts, and in 1867, he returned to Helena. His combative spirit quickly embroiled him in Reconstruction politics. In the 1868 election, he urged conservatives to take the oath of allegiance so that they could vote against Republican candidates. He was unique among conservatives, however, in encouraging acceptance of African-Americans suffrage and organization of black voters into support of the conservative cause.

On September 28, 1868, an assassin fatally shot him through a window at his home. Law officials never arrested anyone for the act. The motive of the killer was never determined, although political opponents, personal grudges, and even domestic problems were among the reasons considered. He is buried at Maple Hill Cemetery in Helena.

Seaborn Jameson

by Lynn Crawford

Seaborn Jameson was born on August 27 1818, the son of David James Jameson (Jemison) and Mary Gates. The family won a land lottery and moved to Arkansas prior to the start of the War between the States. Seaborn married Sarah Ann Childs March 26 1848.

Seaborn enlisted on February 24 1862 in Columbia County, Arkansas, in Company C 19th Infantry Regiment for a period of 12 Months. He was discharged on 1 September 1862.

In June 1864, after his Unit was disbanded, he returned to his home in Arkansas where he remained until his death on October 22, 1868. Sarah Jameson Hawkins applied for a Confederate Pension in 1913 from the State of Arkansas.

John Veazey Browning

By Tom Todd

John was the son of Francis John and Sarah Veazey Browning and married three times over his lifetime. On July 26, 1866. He married Sarah Elizabeth Beare-harris in Clark County, Arkansas. They had two children, Eunice Elizabeth and Jesse Oliver. Sarah died in 1871, and in the same year he married Martha Bunn. They had four children; Lucy Louisa (my grandmother), Sarah Frances, Permelia Charity, and Scott Browning. Martha died in 1905.

John joined the Confederate Army on September 1, 1861, five months after Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter. He serviced in Company C, 4th Arkansas Battalion, later known as Rose’s Battalion. His first action was in Kentucky where 24 of his comrades died, 22 from measles. They saw action in Memphis, Tennessee; Corinth, Mississippi; Richmond, Kentucky; Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and Farmington, Arkansas. On December 31, 1862, he was wounded in the side at the Stone’s River Battlefield, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He remained with Company C through October 31, 1863.

In 1906, John moved to Texas and married Ella Vance in 1909. The couple came back to Arkansas around 1922 and lived in the Sweet Home Confederate home in Pulaski County, Arkansas.