Civil War Memories

Henderson, Kentucky
January 1929


At the beginning of the war I was just a kid. My father, MAJOR GEORGE CRAIGHEAD HATCHETT, was a staunch southern states man, and I, although a boy, was Rebel in my sympathy. I never shall forget the first time I ever saw a Yankee. In those days when they wanted meal they would put a boy on a horse with a sack of corn and send him to the mill.

I had been to mill on this occasion and had left my sack of corn to be ground. When I got to the main road I saw a long line of blue coats coming towards me. My first impulse was to run (remember these were the first Yankees I had ever seen). I was riding a young horse -- his name was Jim. I knew the blue coats could not catch me on Jim with their old Cavalry Horses. I knew Jim could run because I had tried him. All the boys could ride in those days. But while I knew they could not catch me I knew they would shoot me if I ran.

So I decided to face the music. I rode on until they passed. The Captain spoke to me very friendly and asked me if I had seen any guerrillas lately. I of course told him no.

When ADAM JOHNSON, MARTIN, and OWEN fired on the Yankees they went to my father's house that night but there was no one on the place but the Negroes, my father having gone to my grandmother's to stay a day or two. It happened that one of the three men -- OWEN it must have been -- had on a blue coat. So the Negroes thought it was Yankees come to capture "master" knowing that the Yankees were arresting southern sympathizers. So the old cook -- old Mammy as we called her -- put one of her boys on horseback and sent down to my grandmother's to tell my father that the Yankees were after him. This shows how true some of the old slaves were to their people.

My father had a friend in the neighborhood who claimed to be a Union man. Father got word to him to go to his home and find out how things were. Soon (as) he found out who they were he went home delighted to find they were friends, as he was always pleased to do something for the south. JOHNSON and MARTIN were only scouts then, but were distinguished men afterwards.

I carried their meals to them for they hid in the woods as they thought if they were seen about the house it might get my father in trouble. If anyone reads "Partisan Rangers" by ADAM R. JOHNSON, he will see that he says that they went to MAJOR HATCHETT'S farm after they left Henderson that night. I never saw GENERAL JOHNSON any more.

At the time they were at our home OWEN was a boy sixteen years old. I never saw him for years afterwards. Then he had grown to a large man. I made myself known to him as the boy who carried his meals to him, and he was delighted to see me.

I shall never forget one night on the farm when there was no one there but mother, the children, and the Negroes. My father had gone to Mattoon, Illinois to sell some farm land he had inherited from his father DR. ARCHER HATCHETT of Virginia. When he left Rangers' Landing by boat there were a good many people there and some of his friends inquired when he was coming back and told him to bring lots of money back with him. The night we were looking for him back we heard the Green River packet whistle. We had been looking for him back on it, but he did not come. Then about 12 o'clock that night someone hallowed "Hello" in front of the house. My mother and I went to a window, and there two armed men stood in front of the house. The moon was shining bright and we could see their guns. They wanted my father. My mother told them he was not there. They wanted to know where he was. She told them he had been gone a week. Then the third man came from behind the house. They parlayed for awhile and then left. My mother, being fearful that they might come back, sent two of the Negroes to the house of the man who was working as overseer for my father that year. He came back with the Negroes. I never saw more courage than this man displayed that night. He had been in the house but a short while when looking out he saw some more men. They seemed to be dressed just as the others were and we thought they were the same. This man, whose name was THEO. FOULKS asked me if we had a gun. I told him I had a double-barreled shot gun -- a very effective weapon at short range. Loaded with buckshot, I carried the gun to him. He sat down and laid the gun across his lap. I started to shut the door. He said, "No leave it open. I will get two of them when they come in." This man was cool and deliberate as if we were sitting down to eat a meal. Boy though I was, I was struck with his courage, for we all thought it was the robbers. But joy! it was my father and some men who had come with him from Henderson. He had missed the Green River packet at Evansville and taken a boat down to Henderson. This goes to show that God does look after his people for if my father had taken that Green River packet those men were waiting for him, and without doubt would have robbed and murdered him.

One more incident, and I am done. One of our neighbors during the war owned a Negro who was said to be a spy for the Yankees. His master and all his family were strong southern sympathizers. This Negro on one occasion piloted a squad of Yankees down to Pleasant Valley Church in an attempt to catch RENS FISHER, a noted guerrilla, as FISHER and a pal of his called TENNESSEE GEORGE were in the habit of going to the Valley. Church had just been dismissed. The people were out getting their horses. The Yankees fired a number of shots at Fisher and his comrade. Firing toward the crowd as they did it was fortunate they did not kill any of the people. There were several balls in the old log church.

FISHER and his pal got away but FISHER was afterwards killed near his father's place. The old FISHER place between Robards and Anthoston is now owned by TOM EBLEN. But the sequel to the tale of the Valley Church was that the Negro was riddled with buckshot and it was thought he would die, but he finally recovered and lived a number of years.


By John Steinrock

This article was found in an old scrapbook donated to the Historical Society by Netta.

On Third Street, near the present YMCA building, a group of soldiers were marching a captured Henderson man to the firing squad.

A group of youngsters had followed the procession down the street, waiting to see what happened. The prisoner, captured for spying, was stood up in a coffin, then shot. When the order to fire was given, the youngsters turned and fled.

One of the youngsters was JEROME DUCKWORTH, father of CHARLES H. DUCKWORTH, 77, who farms near Poole. Duckworth told the story as it was told many times by his father.

The incident happened during the Civil War, according to Duckworth. His father was a carpenter by trade, and lived in Henderson during the 1860s.

His father also told him about the time a cannon ball came sailing down the street, when Henderson was under seige. As the story goes, the cannon ball hit the street and came spinning to a rest in front of his grandfather's cafe somewhere on Third Street.

Around the turn of the century, as a boy, Duckworth remembers riding on a mule-powered streetcar. He said he waited for the streetcar at a livery stable on Elm Street, located across from what is now Norris Hardware Company. The streetcar took him to the showgrounds on South Green Street, where Barret Stadium now is located.

"I'd like to start a mule-powered streetcar club," said Duckworth. He said there probably aren't many people around today who rode on one in Henderson.

Duckworth lives with his brother-in-law on a 101-acre farm about three miles south of Poole. A gravel road winds about a half-mile off old 41, and crosses farmlands, that according to Duckworth are some of the best in the state.

He lives in a four-room concrete block house that he built 23 years ago.

"We don't farm heavy," said Duckworth; "we're in the grain program." This past week he set out a small field of barley, now that his tobacco is cut and hanging in the barn.

Across the gravel road is a 35-acre portion of Duckworth's farm. Close to the road sits an oil well slowling bowing to the earth. Duckworth said it doesn't bring much; "just enough to leave a bad taste in your mouth."

One of his biggest yields for which he is most noted for around Poole, is his watermelon crop. They must be good, because according to Duckworth, he sells out without taking them off the farm.

Louis Sellers
From Turkey in 1988 to his niece about his family

I have no way of verifying this information but I think it should be added to this page. "Remember" there are many "back porch tales" and "fireside chats" in little children's heads.- * Betty

"So by the 1850's to early 1860's you had relations with names like Sellers, Eakins, (the E is silent). A good many of these folks are buried in Sebree, including Roy, Bev, and Martha, and Dad's mother Anna Effie Eakins, Big Ike also. Around the Civil War times the trouble in the family started.

As you know the Civil War put family against family and brother against brother. The Sellers' Clan were slave owners as were the Eakins'. Henry Sellers and Isiah (Big Ike) Eakins fought with Cantrells Raiders for the South as most folks in the area did. Henry Sellers is your Great Great Grandfather on one side and Big Ike was your Great Grandfather on the other. Big Ike was as the word means. He was about 6 ft 6 inches and weighed close to 300 pounds. It is said that he had to ride a dray horse (one bred for pulling wagons and plows because aregular horse couldn't hold the weight). He was bullheaded and mean as a snake. The Sellers' and Eakins' fought side by side with the James Brothers, Cantrell, Clantons and the like through the Civil War and even for a while after. Hence most were consider renegades. At the end of the Civil War the Sellers' refused to sign a paper taking a pledge of allegiance to the U.S.A. (who they considered as enemy) so the carpetbaggers took all their property and money and treated them as outcase. They got their land back but as the tales of the history books tell us other things happened. The Clantons and the James gang became outlaws. Your Great Uncle Claude Eakins rode with them for awhile. Then he disappeared along with your Granddad's Uncle who was a Sellers. Some say they made it to Eastern Oaklahoma where there are many Sellers' and Eakins. (this is near Arkansas - Texas - Oklahoma boarder area.)

Back in Kentucky there was some feuds going on. Your Great Grandads (both Henry and Ike died in their 40's) not bad considering they were teenagers while fighting in the Civil War. Some say they were bushwacked and shot.

"Captain Dick" Yates
by Terri McDonald Hauk

My curiosity has been piqued by the discussion of Civil War vets of Henderson Co., KY. I have heard a bit of family lore about one of my YATES ancestors from Spottsville, Henderson Co., KY and have always wondered how to confirm the info. Maybe someone can help or offer suggestions as to how to research this.

Richard YATES, b. 1839 in Preston, Lancashire, England, emigrated with his parents William and Sarah (Wilding) YATES to Evansville, Vanderburgh Co., IN in 1842. They eventually moved to Spottsville, Henderson Co., KY by ~1848 and can be found in the 1850 census there. I believe they settled right on the Green River--family lore says they owned a 'boat store' on the Green. I've found Richard in the 1860 Henderson Co., KY census as a 21 yr old, living with farmer James BUNDY and family.

The story goes that Richard enlisted with Confederate?/Union? forces in KY and served a full round of duty. He came back to Henderson Co. briefly but got bored and so gathered up an army of his own. They hired themselves out as mercenaries during the latter part of the war. Richard was evidently called 'Captain Dick' but I don't know if he was truly a Captain before getting into the mercenary business or if it was just a name he made up or was given by others.

If anyone can suggest how I might find any further information about 'Captain Dick' of Henderson Co., I'd appreciate it.

If you have a clipping from the Civil War about life in Henderson County during the Civil War or a memoir of someone would you please share it with us? Please send it to: Tina Hall


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