Black Devils of the Civil War

During the Civil War, 1861-1865, Daviess County furnished over 900 men for the Union Army and something over 300 for the Confederate Army. The following account published on June 18, 1936, of the Gallatin Democrat reveals an incident of murder and courage at a home near Pattonsburg, MO.

During the Civil War, 1861-1865, Daviess County furnished over 900 men for the Union Army and something over 300 for the Confederate Army. The following account published on June 18, 1936, of the Gallatin Democrat reveals an incident of murder and courage at a home near Pattonsburg, MO.

During the Civil War, a band of marauders, called bushwhackers, pillaged and terrorized the country. In 1864, this group murdered David Lockwood at his home in the western part of Daviess County. It is believed to have been this same group of murderers who called at the home of John Meadows, three miles north of the present site of Pattonsburg. The courage displayed by John’s wife, Nancy, has become a tradition in that family’s history.

Mrs. Meadows sat in the doorway of her home holding a butcher knife in one hand and a lighted candle in the other, and held the marauders at bay long enough to allow her husband to get away from the back entrance and see help. When sufficient time had elapsed, she allowed the band to enter to keep them from setting fire to the house.

She held her lighted candle in their faces, which had been painted black, and announced, “I know every one of the black devils.” They searched the house, missing $800, which had been hidden near the fireplace. They left amid curses and threats.

Mr. Meadows and the aide he had secured traced the group to a nearby well where the pillagers had washed the black from their faces. The house in which this incident occurred was destroyed by fire in 1881; the house which was built to replace it now forms the front part of the Charley Meadows home north of Pattonsburg.

— presented by Frosty Meadows