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1865 September 9: An Update on Matters in Missouri

September 13, 2015

The following news from Missouri comes from the September 9, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

Matters in Missouri.

A considerable portion of the clergy in this State refuse to take the oath prescribed in the new constitution.  The St. Louis correspondent of the N. Y. Tribune gives the following account of matters in that State :


There is now some talk about resistance to the New Constitution in disloyal counties.  It is reported from Jefferson city that the Governor has information that a secret shipment of fire-arms was lately received in Callaway county under circumstances calculated to excite suspicion that certain parties intend to organize an armed opposition to the new constitution.  It will not prove a healthy operation, even if undertaken with a large force from Callaway county.  Many Union men, particularly soldiers, believe Callaway got off too cheap at the close of the war any way, and would rejoice to go into the county to assist in the suppression of a new rebellion.  The spirit of opposition in St. Louis  is confined to the refractory preachers.  There is now in session a conference of the ministers of the Methodist Church South, whose proceedings are watched with interest.  Thus far they have merely compared notes as to the extent of the conversions in the rebel army, several rebel Chaplains being present.—Probably the legislature will have to provide the machinery for carrying out the new constitutional provision imposing an oath on preachers, though they are now debarred from performing the marriage ceremony.


About three dozen lawyers have already subscribed to the new oath, and many more will doubtless do the same at an early day.  The rest of the profession are in a quandary.  Probably the most puzzled man in the community, is the Judge of the Circuit Court, who is a rabid anti-Constitution man, and figured as a politician in stump speeches against it.  It is predicted he will allow lawyers to practice who have not taken the oath ;  if he does, an impeachment by the Radical Legislature is threatened, so the Judge is between two fires.  If he requires the oath as a condition precedent to the appearance of lawyers, he will be accused of backing down, and if he does not, his official seat is in danger.


Gen. Pope [John Pope] has had a tilt with Judge Brewer,¹ of the Kansas Circuit Court, by refusing to surrender 40 Indian ponies seized by the military on behalf of the Indians as stolen property.  Judge Brewer has issued a writ for the arrest of Gen. Pope for contempt of court, which he says shall not be returned unexecuted during his term of office.  Gen. Pope has the equities of the case on his side.


There remains only 17 miles to finish on the Missouri and Pacific Railroad, and that space is already far along towards completion.  All the bridges, culverts and grading are finished, and ties and rails are being laid with great rapidity.  The rains of the past four weeks injured the grading somewhat and required several sections to be done a second time, but the prospect is fair for the opening of the road through to Kansas City before October.


A suit has been commenced in the Johnson county Circuit Court, by a Union soldier named Bryan Hornsby, against several distinguished rebels—including Sterling Price, James S. Rains, Stephen Cockerill [sic]² and others—for $50,000 damages, for false imprisonment early in the war.  The result of this suit will be the signal for many others.  Price and Rains both own property in this State, which will amply cover the verdict if one be rendered in the plaintiff’s favor.  This process was successful in East Tennessee, but it has never before been tried in Missouri.

1.  David Josiah Brewer (1837-1910) was at this time a judge to the First Judicial District of Kansas. Upon graduating from law school, Brewer moved to Kansas City, Missouri, to start a law practice. He then left for Colorado in search of gold, returning empty-handed in 1859 to nearby Leavenworth, Kansas. He was named Commissioner of the Federal Circuit Court in Leavenworth in 1861. He left that court to become a judge to the Probate and Criminal Courts in Leavenworth in 1862, and then changed courts again to become a judge to the First Judicial District of Kansas in 1865. He left that position in 1869 and became city attorney of Leavenworth. He was then elected to the Kansas Supreme Court in 1870, where he served for 14 years. In 1884, Brewer was nominated by President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. circuit court for the Eighth Circuit. In 1889, after 28 years on the bench, Brewer was nominated by President Benjamin Harrison to the United States Supreme Court. Brewer was confirmed by the Senate and received the commission the same day, joining a court that included S. J. Field, his uncle. Brewer was an active and influential member of the Supreme Court.
2.  Francis Marion Cockrell (1834-1915) was a prominent member of the famed South-Cockrell-Hargis family of Southern politicians. He practiced law in Warrensburg, Missouri, before the Civil War. In 1861 he joined the Missouri State Guard (Confederate). After transferring to the Confederate army and being promoted to colonel, he was an important leader in the Vicksburg Campaign. Cockrell distinguished himself at the Battle of Champion Hill (May 16, 1863), and also took part in the Battle of Big Black River Bridge (May 17, 1863). Cockrell was promoted to brigadier general on July 18, 1863. He went on to fight in many of the battles of the Atlanta Campaign, and participated in Hood’s Tennessee Campaign. In April 1865, shortly before the end of the war, Cockrell was captured in Alabama, but was paroled after a few weeks. After the War, he returned to his law practice. In 1874 he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri and served from 1875 to 1905. From 1905 to 1910, Cockrell He was appointed to the Interstate Commerce Commission by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. He served on the Commission until 1910. Cockrell then became part of a commission which negotiated the boundaries between the state of Texas and the New Mexico Territory, which was about to become a state. In 1912, he became a director of ordnance at the War Department.

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