During the Civil War, Missouri and Tennessee were claimed by both the Union and the Confederacy. The Union dominance in each of these states was achieved by a difficult struggle on many fronts, and my great-great-grandfather William Ivans (1842-1908) lived through the most terrifying years of the war in these two states. He served for almost the entire duration of the war before emigrating to California as part of a new age brought about by technology.

It is not clear exactly where William Ivans was born or raised. He was certainly born in Tennessee, probably in February 1842.1 But considering the explosive environment in Tennessee as he came to age, whether he was living in Western, Middle or Eastern Tennessee would have made a huge difference in why he left the state.

His parents were William Ivans and Easter White, both also born in Tennessee.2 But census or other records of this couple have not yet been discovered. This suggests that young William did not live with his parents, perhaps due to some tragedy.

An 1850 census record3 provides a possible compatible story: a young William Ivans, age 5, living with much older female relatives; Julia Ivans, age 70, and Prudence Ivans, age 50. There are no other members of the household. This would make his birth year about 1845, which fits into the range of ages reported for William through the years, and there is no other likely record for him anywhere in Tennessee at this time. Sadly there are no other records as yet that would indicate who Julia and Prudence are. Is Prudence his mother? His aunt? Is Julia his grandmother? We don’t know.4

Tennessee in Crisis

The location of this record, in Greene County, possibly places a young William in East Tennessee, which may help to explain the trajectory of his later life. Because if William came of age in East Tennessee, his environment would have played a major role in his decision to fight with Union forces against the Confederate States of America.

When South Carolina seceded from the Union in December of 1860 in order to maintain the “peculiar institution” of slavery,5 and subsequently launched an attack on the United States at Fort Sumter on 12 April 1861, it set in motion a process whereby each Southern state would have to decide whether to remain in the Union or join the Confederacy.

Tennessee was hopelessly divided on this question.

Flag of Tennessee

Flag of Tennessee

Tennessee was carved out of South Carolina in 1790 as the Southwest Territory. Six years later it was admitted to the Union as the 16th state, and many residents of South Carolina emigrated to the new state to take advantage of the vast expanse of free farmland, much of which was basically stolen from native Americans.

The state flag of Tennessee has three stars representing the three regions of Tennessee, unique among all states in that these regions not only are different in culture and geography, but are also constitutionally recognized as separate and distinct parts of the state, known as Grand Divisions.

  • East Tennessee is a mountainous region within the Appalachian range. At the time leading up to the war, there were virtually no slaves, and this region was strongly pro-Union. Its major cities are Knoxville and Chattanooga.
  • Middle Tennessee is characterized by great flatlands called the Cumberland Plateau. This region was almost evenly divided pro- and anti-slavery sentiment. The current capital, Nashville, is in this area.
  • West Tennessee was sparsely populated, but most of the homesteaders had brought slaves with them to work on large farms. This area was a hotbed of ardent Confederate support. Its major city today is Memphis.
The Grand Divisions of Tennessee: West, Middle and East

The Grand Divisions of Tennessee: West, Middle and East

We don’t know when William left Tennessee for Missouri. There is a gap between the 1850 census when he was 8 (if that is our William) and the first time he shows up in Missouri, which was when he enlisted in the Union army in November 1861.6

If he had not left East Tennessee by then he would have received a powerful incentive in August 1861, when the Confederate Congress required that citizens of a hostile nation over the age of 14 were subject to arrest and expulsion, and to having their property confiscated by the Confederacy. Because East Tennessee had voted pro-Union in the most recent election, even daring to elect representatives to the United States Congress rather than the Confederate Congress, this draconian law was applied to them.7 Roving mobs of secessionists rounded up suspected Union loyalists and demanded they take oaths of allegiance to the cause of secession; they stormed trains and pulled of those they suspected of being loyalists fleeing Tennessee.8

Loyalists had little reason to stay and last out the terror. The average wealth per household in East Tennessee was 60 percent below the rest of the state.9

In the summer and fall of 1861 many East Tennesseans fled to join the Union army in Kentucky, but many also went to Southwestern Missouri, a region known as the Ozarks. By 1870 (the first census to include this information), one quarter of the residents of this region were born in Tennessee, Virginia (including West Virginia, which broke away from Virginia during the war to remain in the Union) or Kentucky.10 Southwest Missouri, along with urban St. Louis (due largely to the revulsion of slavery among German immigrants), were Unionist strongholds while much of the rest of rural Missouri supported the Confederacy. William, like most Southwest Missourians, was a farmer, likely impoverished.11

Missouri counties associated with the life of William Ivans and family.

Missouri counties associated with the life of William Ivans and family.

Civil War Service

The Civil War Campaign Medal is considered the first campaign service medal of the United States military. The decoration was awarded to members of the United States military and Confederate military who had served in the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. The medal was first authorized in 1905 for the fortieth anniversary of the Civil War's conclusion.

The Civil War Campaign Medal is considered the first campaign service medal of the United States military. The decoration was awarded to members of the United States military and Confederate military who had served in the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865. The medal was first authorized in 1905 for the fortieth anniversary of the Civil War’s conclusion.

It was in the Ozarks that William Ivans wound up settling and joined the Union army, whether he had come due to the recent conflagration in East Tennessee or had escaped earlier. On 18 November 186112 he began service as a private in the Phelps’ Regimental Missouri Infantry, Company F. This infantry regiment was organized by Col. John S. Phelps13 at Rolla. The term of service was six months, and the purpose of the regiment was to fight Confederate guerrillas, known as bushwhackers, who were terrorizing the people of Southwest Missouri.14

The Southwest Missouri bushwhackers were among the most blood-thirsty men of American history, including names such as William Quantrill, Bloody Bill Anderson and the James Brothers (the more famous brother was Jesse James). They unleashed mass murder, torture, massive destruction of property and terror on an unimaginable scale.

The counties of Southwest Missouri had suffered for years leading up to the Civil War. Radical Unionists known as jayhawkers would mount raids into the area from the free territory of Kansas, racing into fields on horseback, picking up enslaved African Americans, and whisking them off to freedom in Kansas before their oppressors could react.15 This helped to inflame passions of slaveholders against Union sympathizers, resulting in brutal retribution against Unionist Missourians by the Confederate bushwhackers. Their attacks tended to be seasonal, beginning in the spring and ending in the fall.16

The Confederate guerrilla was a terrorist of a type unknown as yet in the United States:

More than any other man who fought in the Civil War, the Southern guerrilla was the most contradictory, contested, and arresting of them all. Sitting atop his horse in one of Missouri’s dark timber bottoms, the guerrilla’s hair dangled down to his shoulders like that of his sister’s, while his beard dropped to his chest like that of an Old Testament patriarch. His face was hard to see, obscured in shadow by a large slouch hat that was bedecked with ribbons, metal stars, shiny crescent moons, squirrel tails, and feathers. On his chest he wore a beautifully embroidered shirt made for him by his sweetheart or mother. Over his shoulders, he sported the blue jacket of his Union enemy. Darkening this colorful image were the scalps that dangled from the bridle of his thoroughbred horse, bloody reminders of his vanquished foes.17

During his service against the Confederate bushwhackers, William sustained an injury that would affect him for the remainder of his life. According to his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension of 10 May 1880, he stated that on 15 December 1861, he

received a wound of the right eye ball from the explosion of a gun cap, permanently injuring vision of said eye, and causing more or less constant pain, and inconvenience and ill comfort from almost constantly running water

He stated that he was treated “In the field.”

In a subsequent Declaration for Invalid Pension,18 William further explained that during the winter of 1861-1862 he suffered

disease of lungs, loss of right eye affection of left eye, [illegible: jules?], deafness both ears, and partial loss of use of right arm

and that these disabilities were caused

by exposure during guard duty and force marching from Rolla Mo to Springfield Mo being 4 weeks in the months of Feby and March 1862 unable to speake from Cold in my lungs

In February of 1862 the Phelps’ regiment joined the Second Brigade, Fourth Division, Army of Southwest Missouri, under General Samuel Curtis. Their mission was to drive out the Confederate-allied troops of General Sterling Price, who occupied Southwest Missouri until March 1862. This would have been the period when William suffered the debilitating consequences of a long march (111 miles) over some four weeks in pursuit of Price’s men. This long trek was necessary because the railroad ended at Rolla, and so the only connection to Springfield was by marching and tending to supply wagons.

William Ivans and his fellow Missourians drove Price from Missouri, but then the pro-slavery forces turned back upon them at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Benton County, Arkansas, one of the major battles of the war (also called the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern).19 Pea Ridge was significant because it forced the Confederacy to realize they could no longer sustain their claim to Missouri and Arkansas, too far west from the heart of the South for scarce rebel resources.

By this time William was already clearly debilitated. His fellow soldiers were likely in dire straits; while 25 were killed in action, 94 died of sickness.20 Yet they pressed on.

Leading up to the battle the Missourians had a skirmish at little Sugar Creek, just over the Arkansas border, on 16 February. This was likely their first encounter with the actual Confederate military.

Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas by Kurz and Allison, late 1800s, Collection of Eric Stoltz

Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas by Kurz and Allison, late 1800s, Collection of Eric Stoltz

Then finally, on March 7 and 8, the 10,500 U. S. troops met 17,000 Confederates near Elkhorn Tavern, with the forested face of Pea Ridge serving as a backdrop. There are many detailed accounts, readily available, of what happened over those two days; suffice to say that when it was all over, 3,384 men lie dead on the battlefield. Most of the dead were Confederates, and many of the Confederates, Missourians.

In the aftermath,

He [Curtis] did not speculate, as others would surely have done in his place — especially [his Confederate counterpart] Van Dorn — on what the future might reveal as to the importance of the victory he had won at Elkhorn Tavern, in the shade of Pea Ridge. That was not his way. Besides, he had no means of knowing that Van Dorn would be called east, beyond the Mississippi, and would not be coming back. He did not claim, as in truth he could have done, that he had secured Missouri to the Union for all time; that guerrilla bands might rip and tear her, that raider columns of various strengths might cut swaths of destruction up and down her, but that her star in the Confederate flag, placed there like Kentucky’s by a fleeing secessionist legislature, represented nothing more from now on than the exiles who bore arms beneath that banner.21

Elkhorn tavern, near Pea Ridge (Benton County), site of one of the most important Civil War battles in the state; July 1907. Courtesy of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History/Bob Besom Collection (S-82-170-51)

Elkhorn tavern, near Pea Ridge (Benton County), site of one of the most important Civil War battles in the state; July 1907. Courtesy of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History/Bob Besom Collection (S-82-170-51)

A few days after this terrifying experience, on March 9, William was involved in a skirmish near Mountain Grove, Missouri (in Texas and Wright Counties). Here is the official account of that event:22

Report of Captain Josephus G. Rich, Phelps’ Missouri Infantry.
MARSHFIELD, MO., March 12, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have just come in last evening from a scout. I learned that a party of rebels was on Fox Creek, some 10 or 15 miles from the Mountain Store. I started from here with Lieutenant Flint and 30 men; was re-enforced at Lick Skillet with some 30 Home Guards. Formed a junction on the head of Clark’s Creek, at Todd’s, with some 50 cavalry from Lebanon. Marched from there to the Mountain Grove Seminary. There we came on the rebels on Sunday, the 9th. The victory was complete. There was some 35 or 40 in number. We killed some 13, wounded 7, and took the balance prisoners. Among the prisoners were Colonel Campbell and Captain Holt. The captain was badly wounded. There was but one or two escaped that we know of. Not a man of us was hurt.

The bearer is waiting and I cannot give particulars. You will soon them. we returned last evening late and heard of your victory over Price, but was sorry to learn of so many of our men being lost. We heard that 37 of our men were lost.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain Co. B, Phelps’ Regiment Missouri Volunteers, Commanding Post at Marshfield, Mo.

A month after his eventful six-month commitment to the infantry ended (15 May 186223), on 8 June 1862, William married Mary P. Wilson in Douglas County, Missouri.24 The officiant was the Rev. James Kerr, a Baptist minister whose son James would later serve in the Missouri legislature and eventually serve as a Texas Ranger and member of the Texas legislature; Kerr County in Texas is named for him.25

Mary was born 6 December 1837 in Tennessee. She was the daughter of Ballard Green Wilson (7 November 1804-13 February 1895), a blacksmith from Rutherford County, South Carolina26 who migrated to Tennessee;27 and Mary Dugen (25 October 1800-bef 1880), who was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina.28 By the 1850 Census the family had relocated to Grundy County in East Tennessee29 and by 1860 they were settled in Southwest Missouri, in Campbell, Taney County.30

Refugees from Southern Missouri, Frank Leslie's illustrated History of the Civil War, 1895, Collection of Eric Stoltz

Refugees from Southern Missouri, Frank Leslie’s illustrated History of the Civil War, 1895, Collection of Eric Stoltz

Most likely the new couple experienced considerable fear and hardship from the constant incursions of the Confederate guerrillas.

Guerrilla warfare in southwest Missouri exposed the people of that region to a uniquely brutal and personal kind of fighting, which impacted the daily lives of ordinary people in the area in a variety of ways. First, the war subjected them to immense suffering and deprivation. Not surprisingly, the war forced large numbers of farmers to leave southwest Missouri, which temporarily interrupted agricultural production in the area. For example, in 1860 farmers in Christian and Taney Counties reported 23,800 and 12,600 acres of improved farmland, respectively. Just two years after the war a special report by Missouri’s commissioner of statistics showed only 18,900 and 3,000 acres of improved land in those counties, although these figures would improve markedly by 1870. Those who remained at home during the war faced the prospect of repeated robbery, which left many on the brink of starvation. Some even resorted to eating wild onions, wild salad, or flat cakes made from ground tree bark in lieu of bread.31

Enrolled Missouri Militia Broadside, courtesy Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield; WICR 31302

Enrolled Missouri Militia Broadside, courtesy Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield; WICR 31302

Around the time William and Mary were married, the situation had become so severe that a draft was instituted of all men between the ages of 20 and 35 to constitute new state military units, called the Enrolled Militia, to combat the bushwhackers.

The 73rd Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia began registering men between 10 July 1862 and 30 September 1862. This was a six-month, part-time commitment. It’s not exactly clear when William signed up for this new duty; his pension applications, completed decades later, seem to have dates that don’t quite line up with when the enrollment actually occurred. William was a lieutenant in Company F, headed by Captain Pleasant T. Green. Many men from Douglas County and Taney County made up this company.

“The formation of the Enrolled Missouri Militia was an arrangement between [Major General] Schofield [of the Department of Missouri] and [Provisional Governor Hamilton R.] Gamble that had not received the full consent of the Federal authorities. As a result only a few would later be eligible for Federal pensions.”32 This is why, despite serving three tours of duty in the war, only William’s service in the Phelps infantry would later qualify him for a pension.

The 73rd Enrolled Missouri Militia was involved not only in ousting guerrilla bands, but also participated in the routing of the forces of Confederate Major-General John S. Marmaduke from Missouri December 31, 1862, to January 25, 1863.33 William would have been discharged by 28 November 1863.

The Enrolled Militias were compulsory except for Southern sympathizers, who had to declare their allegiance to be exempted from service. But many Confederate supporters didn’t want to make their allegiance public, so they just joined the Enrolled Militias. As you can imagine, this made for a less-than-enthusiastic fighting force. As a result, Missouri instituted the Provisional Enrolled Militias, drawn from the most trustworthy members of the Enrolled Militias. Accordingly, in November 1863 William registered for Company B of the Sixth Provisional Regiment of the Missouri Enrolled Militia, at the age of 21, a resident of Campbell,34 where he served as a second lieutenant. Members of this unit would have been mustered out by no later than 31 October 1864.

Beginning a Family

Probably William and Mary had hoped their life together would have started out less chaotic. But luckily William was out of the army in time for the birth of their first child, Marion Ballard Ivans, on 1 December 1864.35 Clearly he was named after his grandfather Ballard Green Wilson, but we do not yet know if the first name Marion was a tribute to another family member.

Alice Laura Ivans followed on 25 March 186836 and William G. (G for Green, perhaps?) around November 1869.37 William does not appear with the family in the 1880 Census,38 when he would have been about 11, and there are not subsequent records of him, so it maybe that he died in childhood. At this time the family was living in Finley, Christian County.39 Finley no longer exists, but presumably it was at some point along Finley Creek in Christian County. There William seems to be prospering. No longer a farmer, he was then a miller, and owned $200 in personal property — worth about $3,600 in 2017 dollars.

The Ivans family was in California at least by 1873, because we know that Cora Belle was born in California 12 March 1873.40 How did the family get to California?

At the ceremony for the driving of the "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869

At the ceremony for the driving of the “Last Spike” at Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869, courtesy Wikipedia.

1871 ticket for the transcontinental railroad, courtesy California State Railroad Museum Library at sacramentohistory.org

1871 ticket for the transcontinental railroad, courtesy California State Railroad Museum Library at sacramentohistory.org

Up to 1870, when we know they were still in Missouri, the usual way of migration to California would have been by wagon train, a grueling, dangerous and expensive 3,000-mile path across the plains and over mountains. Most of those taking this path began their journey in Independence, Missouri, with the popular Oregon Trail or its offshoot the California Trail.

However, on 10 May 1869, the Union Pacific Railroad (coming from the east) and the Central Pacific Railroad (coming from the west) marked the connection by rail between the Eastern and Western United States at Promontory Point, Utah with the driving of a final Golden Spike. This made it possible to travel by rail from Omaha, Nebraska to Alameda, California in about four days.41 The fare was as low as $65 — about $1,200 in 2017 dollars. This was clearly a lot for a poor family, but considering it was a one-way “emigrant” fare, it was an outstanding value compared to a wagon train. We know that William had assets of $200 at the time of the 1870 Census, so he could conceivably take his entire family on the journey (children rode free).

Across the continent: the Frank Leslie transcontinental excursion, Horace Baker (1833-1918), engraver and Frank Leslie, publisher, 1878, Courtesy Online Archive of California.

Across the continent: the Frank Leslie transcontinental excursion, Horace Baker (1833-1918), engraver and Frank Leslie, publisher, 1878, Courtesy Online Archive of California.

Life in California

William was registered to vote in Rocklin, Placer County, California in the early 1870s.42 So it is likely there that Cora (my great-grandmother) was born, as well as perhaps her brother John E. Ivans, who was born in California 9 April 1876,43 and her sister Arminda May Ivans, born 20 September 1879.44

Front Street, Rocklin, Placer County, circa 1907, courtesy Placer County Museums

Front Street, Rocklin, Placer County, circa 1907, courtesy Placer County Museums

By the time of the 1880 Census the Ivans family is living in Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County, and William is once again a farmer.45

It was in 1880 that he first applied for an invalid’s pension for his service in the Civil War. He was living in Santa Rosa and applied on 10 May. He was 37 years old, 5 feet 8 inches high, light hair and complexion and blue eyes. He was granted the pension. It’s not clear how much it was to begin with, but in November 1898 it was increased from $8 to $17—about $506 in 2017 dollars. He was living in Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, at the time of the increase.46 Cora Belle and Sumner Dunham’s third child, my grandfather Sumner Earl Dunham was born 23 April 1899 in Fort Bragg, so William and Mary may have been staying with the Dunhams (or vice versa).

Their final child, Olive Violet, was born in Sonoma County on 13 July 1884. 47

William Ivans Land Grant

William Ivans Land Grant

On 22 April 1889, William was granted land in Mendocino County.48 But it seems they didn’t take up residence there until around 1896; voter records show William registered in the interim in various places: Auburn in Placer County (1888), Calistoga in Napa County (1890), and Forestville in Sonoma County (1892), until he finally wound up in Blue Rock, Mendocino in 1896 and then in Ukiah, Mendocino County in 1900.

During this time, Cora Belle met my great-grandfather Sumner Dunham (24 May 1871-7 October 1947). They were married in Cummings, Mendocino, on 8 July 1894.49

In December of 1901, William and Mary’s son John most likely caused great pain to the couple when he held up a stage coach between Fort Bragg and Willits.50 I’ve written about this elsewhere.

In 1902 the County of Mendocino reported that they had approved an expenditure of $3 from the Indigent Fund to William Ivans for “care of the sick.”51

In 1904, William sold his land in Ukiah to Asa M. Clark for $500.52 He moved from Ukiah to Santa Rosa in 1905. The 8 September issue of the Ukiah Republican Press announced:

William Ivans has moved to Santa Rosa. Mr. Ivans is a grand army veteran and a good neighbor. He will be missed from the community.

William died at 8 a.m. on 15 May 1908 at the place where he and Mary had lived for some time, 416 Bosley Street in Santa Rosa.53 The cause of death was cholelithiasis—gallstones. Dr. G. W. Mallory stated “old age” as a contributory cause. Mary was the informant, so it’s odd that his age was recorded as “about 78.” If he was born in 1842 he would have been only about 66. Maybe Mary didn’t notice that part. He must have looked much older due to his disabilities. He worked up to his death; the 1908 Santa Rosa City Directory lists him as a laborer. He is buried at Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California.54

Death Certificate of William Ivans, Santa Rosa Board of Health

Death Certificate of William Ivans, Santa Rosa Board of Health

On 21 May 1908 Mary applied for a widow’s pension in Santa Rosa.55 In 1910 She and her son Marion, employed as a barber, were living at 223 Second Street in Santa Rosa.56 By 1913 She was living along in Santa Rosa at 313 Chinn.57

On 15 May 1918 a worker in the Bureau of Pensions in the Department of the Interior filed form 3-1081, “Pensioner Dropped.” The text is as follows:58

The Commissioner of Pensions


I have the honor to report that the name of the above-described pensioner who was last paid at $25 to Mch 4, 1918 has this day been dropped from roll because of death April 5, 1918

Mary Ivans
San Francisco Calif
669334 ACT APR
1105 Laguna Street

Very respectfully,
[signature] Chief, Financial Division

Mary Wilson Ivans is buried at the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California.59

Grave Marker of William Ivans in Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery

Grave Marker of William Ivans in Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery

William and Mary Ivans survived a terrible period when neighbor turned violently against neighbor. They fled the chaos only to find themselves at the mercy of the merciless. William did his part to make the situation better for everyone, but pretty much as soon as they could, they went to California, the land of promise, to bring up their children in peace. Their example may prove helpful to a divided nation that is increasingly becoming similar in many ways to what it was when William and Mary were young.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

William Ivans signature from pension application

William Ivans signature from pension application

Los Angeles, 2017

Key Pension Documents


  1. 1900 U.S. Census for Ukiah, Mendocino, California. William Ivans provided multiple ages at various times. In the 1870 census his age is recorded as 27, which would make his birth date about the same as his record in the 1900 federal census. In the 1880 census he gave his age as 42, which would make his birth year about 1838. And his death certificate would give his age in 1908 as “about 78,” which would mean he was born in 1830. In his application for an invalid pension based on his Civil War service, dated 25 July 1895, he states his age as 55, which would make his birth year about 1840. And when he registered for the draft in Missouri in November of 1863, he gave his age as 21, which would have made his birth year about 1842. I have chosen the birth date of February 1843 as stated in the 1900 census as the most likely as it is the most exact date given and is within the most common range.
  2. Death Certificate for William Ivans, Santa Rosa Board of Health, 15 May 1908.
  3. 1850 U.S. Census for Division 9, Greene, Tennessee. The name Ivans is unusual; Evans is much more common.
  4. There do not appear to be any other likely candidates for William’s household in the 1850 or 1860 U. S. Census in either Tennessee or Missouri. Even if one extends the net to include those with the last name of Evans, a common error in recording “Ivans,” none of these families have a William of the right age with the matching parents’ names.
  5. South Carolina Secession Convention, Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina, December 24, 1860: “We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of Slavery; they have permitted the open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.”
  6. William Ivans, Company muster-in record, Phelps’ Regimental Missouri Infantry, 18 November 1861 (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration).
  7. Kent T. Dollar, Larry H, Whiteaker, and W. Calvin Dickinson, Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee (Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 2011), p. 102.
  8. Ibid., p. 61.
  9. Ibid., p. 87.
  10. Matthew Hernando, Faces Like Devils: the Bald Knobber Vigilantes in the Ozarks (Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2015), p. 25.
  11. Hernando, p. 24-25: “The vast majority of people settling in these counties came from poor farm families that relied upon agriculture for their livelihood. Indeed, the 1860 census recorded that only eighty-six people living in Christian, Douglas and Taney Counties worked in “manufacturing,” a term that often referred to such occupations as blacksmithing or operating a grist mill or a sawmill. Although some of the remainder worked as shopkeepers, doctors, lawyers, and the like, the majority would have made a living through tilling the soil or stock raising.”
  12. Or was his muster date 18 October as indicated in his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, May 10, 1880? On the one hand, it’s possible he remembered the date wrong during the ensuing 20 years; on the other hand his service records maintained by the National Archives are sparse and clearly missing some muster records. Perhaps he signed up in October and began service in November.
  13. John Phelps was a prominent Southwest Missouri attorney who was elected to the U.S. Congress and served as governor of Missouri. He was able to create this independent regiment by special permission of President Lincoln. Phelps County is named after him.
  14. The State Historical Society of Missouri, Information sheet R0272, United States, Army, Missouri Infantry Regiment, Phelps’s, Quartermaster account book, 1862, www.shsmo.org.
  15. Joseph M. Beilein Jr., Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 2016) p. 19
  16. Beilein p. 169
  17. Beilein, p. 1.
  18. William Ivans, Declaration for Invalid Pension, Act of June 27, 1890, Cummings, Mendocino, 25 June 1895 (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration).
  19. It should be noted that William’s military records states he was on detached duty at Marshfield (27 miles from Springfield) “Jan & Feb” but gives the date as 12 February. Does this mean he was not at Pea Ridge? Unlikely. Note that he clearly was marching to Springfield during February and March, which is what the Army of the Southwest was doing at the same time. It’s unlikely he would have had a separate duty with the identical route at the same time. There was a small skirmish at Marshfield in February 1862, where bushwhackers were driven out; it may be that William was involved in that effort.
  20. Battle Unit Details, Union Missouri Volunteers, Phelps’ Regiment, Missouri Infantry, National Park Service, nps.org.
  21. Shelby Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative, Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Random House, 2011), p. 292.
  22. United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1904), Serial 8, page 334.
  23. William Ivans, Declaration for Original Invalid Pension
  24. William Ivans, Pension Questionnaire, 4 June, 1898 (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration)
  25. Irene Van Winkle, “Story of county’s namesake a compelling one,” West Kerr Currant, Ingram, Texas, undated newspaper article found at www.wkcurrent.com.
  26. “Family Record of Bartlet Wilson of Douglas County, Missouri,” Chicago Genealogist (Summer 1970), pp. 106-107.
  27. Ballard Green Wilson was in Warren County, Tennessee by 1836, according to local tax records (Ancestry.com, “Tennessee, Early Tax List Records, 1783-1895.”)
  28. “Family Record of Bartlet Wilson of Douglas County, Missouri.”
  29. 1850 U. S. Census for District 3, Grundy County, Tennessee.
  30. 1860 U. S. Census for Campbell, Taney, Missouri.
  31. Hernando pp. 42-43.
  32. Bruce Nichols, Guerrilla Warfare in Civil War Missouri, 1862 (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2004), pages 103-104
  33. Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of Rebellion (Des Moines, Iowa: The Dyer Publishing Company, 1908), p. 1339: “73rd REGIMENT ENROLLED MO MILITIA INFANTRY. Duty in District of Southwest Missouri. Expedition from Ozark, Mo., into Marion County, Ark., December 9-15, 1862. Operations against Marmaduke’s Expedition into Missouri December 31, 1862, to January 25, 1863.”
  34. Ancestry.com, “U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865.” Where was Campbell? Today there is a town named Campbell in Dunklin County, in Southeast Missouri. However the register where William’s name appears lists Southwest counties: Howell, Texas, Laclede, Wright, Douglas, Ozark, Taney, Webster, Pallas, Polk, Greene, and Christian. But recall that the Wilson family had settled in a town named Campbell in Taney County. Perhaps this was a Taney County town that no longer exists.
  35. William Ivans, Pension Questionnaire.
  36. Ibid.
  37. 1870 U. S. Census for Finley, Christian, Missouri shows William G. Ivans at 8 months old; the enumeration took place June 21, 1870.
  38. 1880 U. S. Census for Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California.
  39. 1870 U. S. Census for Finley, Christian, Missouri. According to this census neither William not Mary could read or write, yet they seem to have filled out forms later in life. Was this record in error or did they have other people fill out forms for them?
  40. Ancestry.com, “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” record for Cora I Dunham. She died 11 July 1963 in Pomona, Los Angeles County.
  41. Of course they would first have to get to Omaha; it is about 350 miles from Springfield.
  42. Ancestry.com, “California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898,” California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 – 2A; CSL Roll Number: 32; FHL Roll Number: 977085: The date in William Ivans’ line in the Great Register for Placer County is not visible due to the binding, but his name is given as 29, which would make his registration date around 1872, consistent with other dates on the page that are legible.
  43. William Ivans, Pension Questionnaire.
  44. Obituary of May Thomas, Humboldt Standard, 6 April 1959. States she was born in Rocklin, Placer, so this means it is likely her younger brother James was also born there.
  45. 1880 U. S. Census for Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California.
  46. “Postoffice Changes and Pensions for Western Veterans,” The San Francisco Call, 19 November 1898.
  47. William Ivans, Pension Questionnaire.
  48. Ancestry.com, “U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907.”
  49. Marriage Records Book 7, page 235, Mendocino County Records.
  50. “The Overland Stage Robbed,” Ukiah Daily Journal, 27 December 1901.
  51. Ukiah Dispatch Democrat, 8 August 1902.
  52. Ukiah Dispatch Democrat, 14 October 1904.
  53. Death Certificate for William Ivans, Santa Rosa Board of Health.
  54. Find-a-grave.com record 31971871
  55. Mary Ivans, Application for a Widow’s Pension, Pension file of William Ivans (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration).
  56. 1910 U. S. Census for Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California.
  57. Ancestry.com, “U.S. City Directories (Beta).”
  58. Mary Ivans, Pensioner Dropped, Pension file of William Ivans (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration).
  59. Find-a-grave.com record 91848707

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