“Old Age,” written by Clinton Owen Bates in 1949, reflects on the life of a young boy growing up in Arkansas during the Civil War, and his career as a teacher. Bates was born in 1857, and grew up on a farm in Fayetteville. The Bates family had split loyalty among the North and South, and even as a young child, Bates remembered the tension that the War brought into their home. Bates recalled the bloody conflict along the border of Missouri and Kansas, encounters with runaway slaves, and various Trans-Mississippi Theater battles. After the War, Bates began his career as a teacher. He taught at the Cherokee Headquarters on the Tahlequah Indian Reservation and later held a position in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Collections in the University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Special Collections Category
The Minos Miller letters are a collection of correspondence written by Miller to his mother, Martha Hornaday, in Indiana. Miller served in the 36th Iowa Infantry, and his letters home describe the strange and often life altering events that he experiences in the Arkansas. Stationed at Helen, Miller resigned from the 36th Iowa Infantry, and accepted a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Arkansas Infantry (African Descent). He wrote his mother about the condition and development of the African American soldiers. Miller participated in the Battle of Helena on July 4, 1863, but spent the remainder of the war in a support capacity.
The Stirman Davidson Collection is a spirited group of letters written to Rebecca Stirman Davidson, of Fayetteville, Arkansas. The bulk of the letters are from her brother Erasmus “Ras” Stirman, while serving in the Civil War. The letters tell the story of Erasmus service in the Confederate Army, his fears and doubts about winning the War, and leading his company of sharpshooters into certain death. Erasmus loved meeting new women, and his letters to Rebecca are full of candor and humor, often telling a larger tale of the social and cultural customs of the era to which he opportunistically flaunted. Erasmus’ successes in the military, coupled with his family’s access to political and societal privilege, combine to tell a wonderful story of upper class life in the Civil War of the Ozarks.
The Sarah Jane Smith collection consists of documents related to her imprisonment for guerrilla activity in Southwest Missouri. Sarah destroyed the telegraph line between Rolla and Springfield twice in 1864. Sarah and her noted guerrilla cousins destroyed three to four miles of telegraph wire and cut down several telegraph poles outside of Springfield in May 1864. In August 1864, she was paroled in Rolla. She destroyed another section of telegraph wire outside of Rolla in September of 1864. After the second incident, Sarah was sentenced to imprisonment for the duration of the War, and sent to Alton Military Prison in Illinois.