The Heaslet Family
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This document was re-typed April 10, 1998 by Donna Heaslet O’Kane of Centennial, Colorado, using a tissue paper copy, preserving the original format, spelling and grammar.
State of Arkansas, County of Benton. June 1925.
---To All Whom this may concern:-----
I, J.G. Heaslet, of the State and County aforesaid will endeaver to give some dates and insidences in the history and lives of the Heaslets and other relation.-----I will proceed as follows; to-wit: My grandfather Geo.W.Heaslet was born in East Tennessee on Feb. 17, 1782 and died in Middle Tennessee in the year 1867 at the age of 85 yrs. My grandmother died in the year 1824. Her maiden name was McEldry. ("Mary McEldry") She and Grandfather were married in the year 1806 and to this union were born 3 daughters and 3 sons. John the oldest child died in the year 1824. Age 17 yrs. My Father James Heaslet next oldest was born April 14, 1809. The daughters I have no dates to give only their names. Rachell Jane, Asberene and Mary M. The next a son Geo. W. Heaslet Jr. Grandfather Heaslet married a second time. I have but little account of this, only that three was born to this union. Two sons and one daughter, the last dying in infancy. The oldest son, William was a confederate soldier and died in prison in Ohio. M.W. Heaslet was born Oct. 19, 1843 and lives at Clinton, Ky. (Note: M.W. Heaslet died in April 1926 since the above was written.) I have but little knowledge of my mothers people either historical or otherwise. My Grandfather on Mothers was Wm. Edwards. He died somewhere in Arkansas in the year 1823. My Grandmothers maiden name was Stanten "Sarah". My Mother said the family moved from Illinois when she was 3 yrs. Old to Ark. then called the Louisiana Purchase at that day. There was a large family of my Mothers folks. 13 children 7 sons and 6 daughters. The sons names are as follows: Nichlas, Nlija, Joseph, Ninjou, Thomas and William. The daughters names are as follows: Maryann Rebecca, Sousan, Nancy, Mourning my mother and Sarah. My father was born and raised near Knoxville, Tenn and left there at the age of 21 yrs: and landed at Cane Hill, Ark. in Washington Co. in Dec 1830. My father and mother were married Oct 18, 1832. To this union were born 10 children. 4 sons and 6 daughters. Their names, births and deaths as follows: Mary Jane born Sept. 14, 1833. Died Oct 20, 1918. William E. born May 9, 1835. Died Aug 16, 1863. Asberene born Apr. 20, 1837 Died Oct 2, 1922. Narissa born Dec. 1838. Died Jan. 1839. Geo. W. born Mch. 29, 1840. Died Apr. 8, 1863. Francis M. born Feb. 22, 1842. Died Oct 31, 1862. There is at present time 4 of us still living. They are Joseph G. born Aug 2, 1844. (Note: J.G. Heaslet died May 13, 1926 since the above was written) Sarah E. born Nov. 28, 1846. Amanda Belle born July 27, 1849. Martha E. born Sept. 11, 1851. My Father died Sept. 28, 1880. My Mother was born Jan 25, 1812. and died Sept. 20, 1881. They were both burried in the Heaslet cemetary on the old homestead 2 miles northeast of Decatur Benton Co. Ark. My Father-in-Law, Hiram Gholston emigrated from east Tenn., Hawkins Co. with his family in the year 1850, and came to Ark. He owned a nice farm on the beautiful north fork of the Spavinaw and it was there I fell in love and courted his youngest daughter, Anis. She was a beautiful woman and we were married on the 12th of July 1866. To this union were born ten children. Their births and names as follows: John F. born July 26, 1867. Wm. P. born Oct. 16, 1869. Nicholas S. born Sept. 30, 1872. Thomas T. born May 14, 1875. Walter M. born Feb. 9, 1878, Florence born Aug. 28, 1880. James born Jan. 5, 1883. Died Aug. 28, 1884. Pleasant G. born Feb. 2, 1885. Oliver S. born Jan. 30, 1888. Infant girl born Aug 8, 1890. (born dead). My dear companion was born in Hawkins Co, Tenn. on July 29, 1850 and died May 24, 1913. in Benton Co. Ark. and was burried at bethel cemetery 2 miles south of Gravette. My father-in-law Hiram Gholson died in Mason Valley Ark. Feb. 18, 1876 and was burried in Springtown cemetary . His widow also died in Mason Valley on the 11th of July 1890 and was burried at his side. The Gholson children are as follows: Henry, Geo. Jane, Madison, John who was killed by the Mo. Militia in Gordon Hollow Benton Co. Ark on Nov. 9, 1863 and was burried in Bethel cemetary. Pleasant, Mary and Anis all of those have passed out of the mode of existance and are resting with the silent majority from whence no one has ever returned. There is one thing that is remarkable about fathers and mothers children. There was ten children and there was only one natural death by sickness in this family for a space of eighty-five years. When the civil war broke out in the spring of 1861 a good many men in their thirties and boys in their teens were anxious to be enlisted in some company for to protect the Confederate States. A man by the name of Daniel McKisick that had served in the Mexican war and knew something of the tactics, he made up a company of Cavarly and two of my brothers, William and Francis joined the company, and I wanted to join so bad I didn’t know what to do with myself. But father wasn’t willing, and I stayed at home that year and helped to make the crops. The Government laid off a camp ground on Beatys Prairie for the soldiers and called it Camp Walker. It was in about a mile of Maysvill, Benton Co, Ark. There was companies made up all over the State and brought up to Camp Walker to drill them so they would be efficient in the menuvers of fire-arms. The troops stayed here and drilled till the last of July when they broke camp and marched up in Missouri near Springfield. There also was some Texas Troops that was rushed up there just in time for the Wilson Creek battle. The Southern army hadn’t been in Mo. but a few days when Gen. Lyons who commanded the Federal troops marched against them at Wilson Creek on the morning of Aug. 10, 1861 and a hot battle raged for several hours terminating in favor of the Southern Troops. Gen. Lyons being among the killed. There was a considerable number of the boys on both sides killed and wounded. My brother William had his right thumb shot off and cut in eleven places in his left side caused by a bomb bursting close to him. After this battle the State troops were disbanded and nothing more of note was done in our country during the remainder of the year. I joined Capt. Jo Hardens company about the 4th of July 1862 near the town of Bloomfield that was built up after the war ended. In the latter part of the year, Capt. Harden was promoted to the office of Major and W.H. Hendren being our 1st Lt. was promoted to be the Capt. of our Co. "B" as it was the second Co. of volunteers made up in the Regiment. I served in this Co. till the end of the war. We had a very large Co. We had over one hundred men when first made up. I will give some of their names that lived in my neighborhood. F.M. Heaslet, my brother. Steve Fair, Frank Fair, Geo. Fair, Jo Fair, Yell Hastings John Phillips, Bill Phillips, Jim Harmon, Ben Harmon, Murph Harmon, Jim Covey, Welk Covey, M.H. Setser, Jake Setser and Jim Wilson. The country we occupied during the summer and fall of 1862 was the Indian country and south Missouri. There was but little done of note during the summer, tho we done some hard riding and scouting around. About the first of Sept. our Brigade moved to New Tonia in Mo. Our army hadn’t been there but a few days till the Federal forces were brought against us and we had quite a battle the result was in favor of the Confederates. We captured considerable spoil and taken a good many prisoners. The Federal forces fell back for reinforcements and in a few days they marched against us again. There was about twenty of us soldiers on picket guard the night before they drove us out. There was three of the guard taken from my Co. Steve Fair, Yell Hastings and myself. We heard the Federals coming an hour or more before daylight. It was about daylight when they came in sight of us nearly a half mile off. We formed a line and ordered them to halt, and they wouldn’t halt worth a cent, and we fired at them. They didn’t return the fire, and we loaped off into town, and when we got to town and army was on the run and we concluded to run too. Steve Fair, Yell Hastings and myself stayed together and we run thru the retreating army and didn’t find our Co. We got to Pineville and went to the hotel and got our dinner and came home that night a distance of about 65 miles we came that day. In a few days the Federal Army came on down into Benton Co. and camped on the Gholson farm on north Spavinaw. There was at this time the most of our company was in this country and while they were scouting around a scout of Federals ran into a bunch of our boys and my brother Francis was killed on the 31st of Oct. 1862. My brother was killed about ten miles west of Bentonville on the ridge between the two Spavinaws. The Federals burried my brother in a field on north Spavinaw. We found his grave a few days afterward and taken him up and brought him home and burried him in the family cemetary on the Heaslet Homestead. This was my first real grief that fell accross my path. My long cherished playmate brother was dead. We had been together nearly all our lives and never was apart but very little till the civil war. It is so sad. Previous to this time there had gotten up a personal difficulty between my brother William and a man by the name of John Ingle. Him and some of his mob waylayed my brother a short distance from his house and fired several shots at him from the brush. He was hit with three bullets but none of them very serious. A little over a month after this brother William and my brother-in-law, William Rogers was traveling the road after night and all at once they were halted and ordered to surrender. My bro.thinking they were some of our own men surrendered, and when he found who they were, behold it was John Ingle and his mob. They taken my brother and Rogers back in the hills and kept them all night and all next day and my brother mistrusting they were going to kill them, my brother told John Ingle that he believed they were going to kill them and if they were, all I ask of you is to give me back my pistols and tell me when you commence. And John Ingle said, "Bill Heaslet, by G—do you think I would kill you when if it hadn’t been for you and Francis Heaslet I would have been dead and in Hell long ago". Having reference to some exploit that occurred while they were in the battle at Wilson Creek. In the evening of this memorable day, Nov. 28, 1862 as dark began to hover over the earth, the mob said they were going to move camp. My brother and Rogers were ordered to get on their horses and started to move. Rogers rode up to the side of my brother and he told Rogers that they were going to kill us, and for us not to ride together so they can kill us both at one shot and Rogers pulled back behind as they were going along. John Ingle was on one side of my brother and Reese Mitchell on the other. Joe Ingle on one side of Rogers and Henry Mitchell on the other. They had come to a very steep hill and John Ingle said, "Bill Heaslet, do you think you can go down this hill?" And my brother told him, "No" and said I am to go the ridge, and as he said that, he popped the spurs, and the horse jumped and they shot at him as he ran off but didn’t hit him. He heard Rogers hollowing while they were killing him as he ran. Rogers body was brought to the Heaslet cemetary and burried. A short sketch of T.S. Thomason, my brother-in-law who left Benton Co. Ark in the spring of 1862 and went east with the army and in Jan. 1863 was on his way home and had gotten within 5 miles of home when he was taken prisoner and started on the road with him and they hadn’t went but a short distance till they begin shooting him as he ran on his horse till he got to the house of Patton Burgin on south Spavinaw where he jumped off his horse and ran in the house and told the folks that they were killing him. They followed him in the house and killed him and threw his body out in the yard. He was burried temporarily for a short time when he was taken up and brought to the Heaslet cemetary and burried. In Dec. 1862, Capt Harden sent word over the country for his company to meet at a certain place on a certain day and go south for winter quarters and I had failed to get the word till the day they was to start and they sent Frank Eller one of my company in haste to let me know to come. When Eller told me I fixed as quick as I could and we started on a lively gait and before we got to the place they met, the Company had moved out on the march and was a mile or two ahead so we quickened our pace a little and directly we fell in with two more of the boys that was trying to catch the company. Wm. Sooter and Jack Haywood. Now at this time we had come to a very short crook in the road and brush on both sides till you couldnt see any distance ahead, and as we were rounding the crook we came in full view of a Federal Scout about 25 or 30 ft . from us. I was in front and the first thing I knew one of them had his gun pointed at me, and ordered me to lay that gun down which I did. They taken us to Ft. Scott, Kans. and kept us there a little over a month when they moved us to Ft. Lincoln about 15 miles from Ft. Scott where we was put under a guard of a company of black negroes and two white men as officers. We tried to keep them negroes in a good humor with us for one of them shot a prisoner for no cause at all so he died in a day or so. We were kept at Ft. Lincoln till the 24th of April 1863 when a good many of us prisoners were taken out and moved down to the army at that time stationed a few miles southeast of Ft. Scott. We hadnt been with the army but a few days till they started on a march east thru Mo. We were allowed considerable privileges on this march. More than we had at any time while we were prisoners. Now at this time we had marched about half way thru Mo. and was in Texas the largest co in the State and the army had camped and stretched their tents and cooked their dinner and it being about 3 p.m. on May 10, 1863 that three of us, namely, Frank Eller, Burkette M. Lightfoot and myself would make a break for our liberties. The spring where they got water was two hundred yards or more from camp and was in very brushy place and while the soldiers were resting a good many of them laying down and all was quiet in camp, Lightfoot, Eller and I picked up some canteens and started to the spring for water and when we got to the spring and got water and as there was no one in sight, we made a break thru the woods in a S.W. direction. We hadnt went but a little ways when we heard men talking just a little in front of us in the path we were traveling. We dodged out in the brush till they passed. They had on citizens clothes. As it was, they didn’t see us when they passed. We traveled all that evening and all that night. It was a very rough country. We were in pine hills and ridges some of them so steep we had to hold to bushes as we went down. I have often thought of this memorable trip and especially the night we traveled that we didn’t plunge off of some bluff and it would have been the last of us. I have thanked the Lord many a time we were permitted to pass on. I was not quite 19 yrs. old at this time and was the youngest of the three. I was made the leader and guide for the reason I knew how to travel by the stars and the other two hadnt studied the planets. We had a nice time as far as the weather was concerned. It was clear and warm. No rain or high waters to bother us on our way. When the 2nd night came we had been traveling about 28 hrs. and we concluded to camp. So we got in a deep hollow pretty thickly set with brush and made up a little fire and all layed down side by side on mother earth for our bed and the canopies of heaven for our covering for that was the kind of a bed we used for 5 nights. Now this being the second morning of our trip and as the day began to dawn we got up considerable refreshed as we all had slept well. We didn’t take time to eat breakfast for there was not a mouthful of any thing to eat in the crowd and all we had ate up to this time was wild onions and young tendrils of grape vines. Now about this time Frank Eller began to complain of being sick and about gave out. So we had to stop and wait on him to rest and then we would go on till he would want to stop and rest again and so on and as we were going along we ran across a bunch of quails and I threw a rock and killed one of them and I took it and dressed and cooked it and give it to Eller and it seemed to revive him considerable and then we would go on till he would want to stop and rest again and it went on this way for 2 or 3 days and we was making slow progress on our journey and Eller had almost gave up and begged Lightfoot and me to go on and leave him, and said he had rather died there in the woods than to be back with the army, but we could not think about leaving him, and stayed with him and all got thru together. While we were in this condition we came to White River a considerable stream some 30 or 40 yds wide, and from 2 to 3 ft deep and as clear as a crystal and we concluded to cross it and I picked Eller upon my shoulders and clamped my arms around his legs and I started to wade across and Lightfoot following. I had got about half way across when I saw two women come riding up the river bank on the side we were going out on in plain view, their backs being turned toward us I had stopped about the middle of the River while they were passing by they never saw us as they passed. We got out and went on our way rejoicing as we were not detected. As we were going along one day we came to a good sized creek and a farm on it and there was fresh plowed ground in the field and it was about the noon hour we concluded to conseel ourselves at the ford of the creek and see who it was doing the work in the field and it was not long till we saw a wagon coming with a yoke of steer hitched to it and some women in it. We waited till they were about half way crossing the stream when we stepped out in full view and begin talking to them, but they wouldn’t talk a word to us, and turned their team around in the river and when they got out they loosed their team and started to run to the house. We concluded to go to the house and get our dinner. When we got to the house we found out we had stampeeded some men from the house and the women wouldn’t tell us which side they were on and we left there in a hurry, we didn’t know whether they were friends or foes. After we left the house a little ways we took to the hills and crags as fast as we could go for two miles or more when we stopped and rested and watched and listened to see if any one were after us. After we had rested awhile and considered our escape a very close call we started on our journey to the south land. As nothing more on note transpired while we were in Mo.our next stop will be at Capt. Goforths, in Marion Co. Ark. This was the sixth day we had traveled without anything to eat and hunger had about worn out on us and when the folks set a splendid meal for us and we sit down to eat our stomach had failed to keep up the relish of former days and we couldn’t eat but very little, we had to quit. Capt. Goforth and family treated us very kindly and we stayed there two or three days and rested after our fast of six days. Now as the time had come for us to resume our journey, Eller and Lightfoot concluded to go down to Batesville, Ark. and take boat down White River to the Ark. river and then up the river to Ft. Smith, then to the army in the Indian country. Now I concluded to go by home a hundred miles or more due west thru the Mts. At that time not considered very safe and had got to Huntsville, Ark. about half way when I concluded I would stop and see a cousin of mine, a Mrs. Vard Ivie that I had never saw and never saw her afterwards. She was old enough for my mother. Had children older than I was. She seemed like a very nice woman living in a big fine brick house burned by the Federals afterwards. I stayed with them a week and had a very nice time with them. I left Huntsville on the morning of May 30, 1863. And now I had 50 miles to travel which I wanted to accomplish by the next evening and so I did and when I got pretty close to the house and my heart jumping up and down with joy, I saw Martha my youngest sister a little girl of 11 yrs. And I had got up in 20 or 30 yds of her I said, "Martha you can put on the pots for I am coming", and she turned and saw who I was and then started in a run to the house as fast as she could hollowing, Its Joe, Its Joe, Its Joe, and before I got to the house the most of the folks had got out in the porch where we had a happy hand shaking mingled with tears of great joy. "A home sick boy had got home who was mourned as dead"
The Lost Treasury
I will speak of this insident, it is too good to pass by. In the summer of 1862 my father and mother had saved three or four hundred dollars nearly all in gold coin and as times were getting risky, they went and burried the money. Some time after this I came home and Father went and showed me where it was burried. Now after I had come home and hour or so and had talked over my trials and escape from prison, father asked me if I had moved the money and I said, No, I never was back at the place ever afterwards, and father said some body has stole it. Come and I will show you. And we went to the place and where he had showed me they had dug out and several other places had been dug and I concluded sure enough the money was gone. After I had been home 2 or 3 days a thought struck my mind and to pass off the time I thought I would go down to the gold diggins and investigate a little myself and the first place I dug I found the tin box 4 or 5 inches under the ground. I put the money in my pocket my heart beating with joy. I showed the money to brother Bill, and he said "Joe, they ought to give you some of it". I stepped up and said "Pap, I believe I will pay you what I owe you, and I pulled a handful of gold out of my pocket and poured it in his hand. Now this was so sudden and unexpected that my father didn’t speak for several seconds when he said, "Where did you find it?" Any I told him and we went to the place and he said it was the place he had put it and he had lost the place himself. Now some time in July 1863 there was a good many of our Company in Benton Co. Ark. The officer that was in command called the men together for them to go to the army then stationed at Honey Spgs, Indian Territory. We got to the army a few days before the Honey Spgs. Battle the 17th. Our army didn’t try to h old the ground any longer than to get our baggage on the road when all the army retreated. There was several of our boys wounded and our third Lt. Dr. Ballinger was killed. The army retreated all that day and all that night following. My brother Wm. in a one horse rig and had a wounded man in with him. My brother was a Capt of a company. As the evening had about worn away and darkness had began to hover over us, my brother remarked to me and said, "Joe, I want you to ride behind me tonight. If you don’t, some of them rascals will kill me. I was thinking this myself and I intended to ride there if my brother hadnt said a word. Some time along in the night we came to a man stopped at the side of the road on a gray horse and he dropped in by my side on my right, and my brother asked him who it was on the gray horse and John Ingle, for that was who it was changed his voice and said, "It is a Texian. One of Col. Martins men". My brother drove on and I took charge of Ingle for I knew that his purpose was to kill my brother. He talked along to me about us getting whipped in battle that day. As tho he thought I didn’t know him. He had a gun on his shoulder and to be up to the imergency of the case, I drew my pistol out of the case and carried it in my hand down by my side and talked with him as we rode along. I watched him very close and if he had raised his gun the least bit off his shoulder I would have began shooting him in the left side, and I came very near killing him any way. It was about all I could do to keep my bullets in my gun.After Ingle rode by my side for quite a while and didnt do anything I think he found out that he was in a trap, he pulled back and fell out of ranks, and that was the last I saw of him on the retreat. I am satisfied I saved my brothers life that night. After the army had retreated for enough as they thought to be out of danger and had found a convenient place they stopped and put up camp and after resting a few days I got a furlow and brother Wm. and I went back to Benton Co. Ark. This being the later part of July nothing more of note transpired till on Sunday the 16th of Aug. 1863. When my brother was on his way to my fathers he was waylayed by the Ingle mob and killed on the Ingle farm about 2 miles north of where Gentry, Ark. is now. We got news of my brothers death some time after night and father and I harnessed a team and hitched it to a wagon and went two miles and got some lumber and I made a coffin next day and we burried him in the Heaslet cemetary. This was my last brother gone all in less than one year. "Oh how sad it is to be without a brother. No one can tell only those that are bereft". On the 17th day of Nov. 1863 Capt. Hendrens company was called together and started to Texas for winter quarters. It was a long road to travel especially for old men who had to leave to save their lives. My father and Hiram Gholson, afterwards my father-in-law and several old men was on this long tiresome trip. Our Co. got to Texas early in Dec. and was stationed in Preston a little town on the south bank of Red River in Grason Co. One day when all of my mess mates were gone, some of them on duty and some were gone for pleasure, and I was by myself and as it happened I had my pistols on my belt around my waist and I was standing up and I happened to look up the road and I saw my arch enemy, John Ingle coming about 100 yds. away. Now where I was standing, it was 40 or 50 yds. from the main road and when Ingle saw me he turned off the road and came angeling in a straight line to me as fast as he could walk and the closer he got, the faster he came till he got with in 5 or 6 ft. of me and all at once he stopped and threw himself back in a bracing position and looked me straight in the eye with all the grim hatred that he could put on his already mean looking face. He looked me in the eye as long as he wanted too, and then turned and walked away. I looked to see the bullets go to flyin, but they didn’t. There was not a word spoke or a pass made. It wasn’t any thing that I had done to John Ingle that he wanted to kill me for, it was for what he had done himself. A lowdown cowardly murderer, and he was afraid to let me live on the account of it. This was the last time I ever saw John Ingle, before we had the chance to meet again a scout of Pin Indians ran on him in Coon Hollow in Benton Co. Ark and transported him from this mode of existance to a world beyond from whence no traveler has ever returned. He was an ardent lover of blood shed and murder and he got a taste of it to the bitter end. It was a relief to me when I heard that he was killed for he was seeking my life without a just cause.
In the spring of 1865 when the war ended a part of our Brigade was sent to the western part of the Indian Territory near Ft. Sill to make a treaty with some wild tribes as they called at that day and when we got thru with that and got back to camp, every thing was deserted and gone. Not a thing was left for us to eat. We didnt know what was up for we had no chance of getting any news. So our company fixed up and started for Benton Co. Ark. and when we got to the Arkansas river it being swollen and no boat to cross in we made rafts to transport our guns and saddles and all that could not swim. We drove our horses in the river and made them swim across. And I, thru a boyish freak swam the river just for the fun of it. I wouldn’t undertake such a thing again. When the men got across and all was ready to resume our march, it being about 3 days travel before we would get thru and on the last day, June 10, 1865, when I was nearing my home I left the road and cut across thru the timber and came in back of the old barn and when I came in full view of the house I began shooting my pistol and loaped my horse around to the lane. When I jumped off my horse and got in the yard where we had a lively hand shake. "A home sick boy had got home again".
This was my first knowledge that the war was ended. In a few days Capt. Hendren got the company together and we went to Fayettville, Washington Co. Ark. and was paroled on the 19th day of June 1865.
As this is an abridged and condensed statement and looking over a period of several years, you will pardon mistakes and other misgivings. I will close for the present.
The original copy was sent to Mrs. H. D. Lefors of Willows, Calif. As per request of the writer, J.G. Heaslet.
This copy was made for P.G. Heaslet of Chicago, Ill. 27th and Robey Sts. McKinley Park Station by O. S. Heaslet of Peru, Kans.