Scene 13: 1867 -- Onward
[Spotlight on Narrator.]
The war ended with the “Drake Constitution of 1865”. But, Martial Law and the increasingly notorious ”test oath” caused a reign of terror until 1874 when the new Constitution was adopted and the fall of the radicals was complete. The Federal dead were 497,000, Confederate death toll was 165,000 and the total casualties of dead and wounded was 2,766,000.
At the end of the war less than thirty males over the age of eighteen resided in Shannon County. Every family had numerous stories of murder, burnouts, robberies, and narrow escapes. Most of the male population had to flee the area to stay alive. This forced them to pick a side, one army or the other, or hide in camps in the woods. A fairly large portion on the upper river was from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Others married into families of Southern extraction who mostly lived on the lower river. Divided loyalties within a family were not uncommon. Most wished to remain neutral. Enemies were made that would out last these generations.
Those fortunate to have returned home from the war, held a county meeting. County officials Alfred Deatherage, Thomas J. Chilton, and William Mahan were selected until an election could be held. The discussion focused on the desperate financial condition of the county. Someone pointed out that Alexander Deatherage was not in the gathering. He was the County Treasurer before the war, and the burning of Eminence and the courthouse at Round Spring. Deatherage rode up on his horse. He handed over the county’s financial statement and a sack of money. Deatherage had secretly hidden County Funds, and was renamed to the Treasurer’s office until he refused to hold it any longer.
[The following scene DCS, Alexander Deatherage, T.J. Chilton, and George Davis enter from stage right. Jefferson Lewis, and Loon Chitty enter from stage left.]
Now, fellers, where does Eminence want to be?
Well, evidently right about here, where the wagon broke down!
That’s a good spot, anyhow. You can see up river and down from that high point above the ford.
Hey, TJ, you willin’ to donate any land?
The Federals scoped out a Bridge up there on my land, just above the ford, with a road to follow around the bluff to the point. When you hit the end of the bridge, you better make damn sure you turn left!
(Group gets a good laugh from that remark.)
I can give clear title to that quarter section if that is the decided spot.
We’d be needin’ a courthouse and a sawmill.
Alex Chilton & I have been talking about putting in a dry goods store.
Of course, we can’t forget about providin’ a good Saloon.
You-ns’ will be needin’ a boarding house and a hotel. And what about a Bank?
(Silence for a moment)
How long will take before we’d have any money to put in it?
J. W. Tackett is talking about a Livery and Blacksmithin’.
Van Buren’s already started rebuilding the town across river from the old site.
Well, boys, let’s quit talkin’ and get at it!
(They exit stage right.)