1868 Benton County Personal Tax Records

The Civil War had a devastating impact on the civilian population. The number of men pouring into the Ozarks from other regions of the Country drained the agricultural resources available to support the region’s population. Soldiers often turned to the country side and civilians to find and provide supplies for their livestock and their own needs. The civilians of the region were left with limited means in which to survive.

In 1871, Benton County, Arkansas provided civilians with the opportunity to places grievances against the United State Army. The civilians provided a description, amount, and value of the property taken by Union Soldiers. Many claims list multiple witnesses attesting to the specifics of the theft and the names and affiliations of the soldiers. Oaths of loyalty accompany the claims attesting to the civilian’s loyalty to the Union.

The records include notation indicating whether the claim was paid or rejected. Not all of the claims were paid, and it is uncertain why some of the claims were rejected. Perhaps plaintiffs were Confederates seeking monetary revenge on the Union, or the appraisal value of the property was too high. Regardless, this collection provides valuable information about living conditions and market values in the Ozarks, and insight to the relationship between soldiers and civilians during the Civil War.

Contributed by the Benton County Archives

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