scrap book found by Mrs. Hazel Wintz, in a vacant house in Paso
Robles, some years ago originally belonged to Adelaide Pierce, nee
Fields. It is of the 1879 period. Miss Fields was from
Hannibal, Mo., then married and went to live in the Dakota
Territory, later returning to Hannibal, Mo. In the scrap
book is a great deal of history of the Pierce family and their
migrations from Virginia, Kentucky, and England. How the
book came to be in California no one knows. A couple of
the clippings from the book appear below.
clipping taken from "The St. Louis Post-Dispatch" dated
April 11,1896 concerns the execution of ten Confederate soldiers
in retaliation for the death of one Federal soldier. The
story was brought to light by the faculty of Drury College,
Springfield, Missouri, in an endeavor to win an endowment of
$25,000. offered by Mr. Evans of Massachusetts on condition that a
modern parallel to the ancient story of Damon and Pythias be
found. The name of the man whose life was said to have been
saved was W. S. Humphrey, of Lewiston, Missouri.
Missouri. "Yours of March 19 to hand, and contents
noted. In answer to your inquiry in regard to the shooting
of ten men at Palmyra, Mo., I would say that Col. Joseph
Porter, a Confederate, came to Palmyra and took one man, Alesmer,
from there, and he never returned. I was a Confederate
prisoner at Palmyra and out on bond, allowed the limits of the
town, and when John McNeal, a Federal officer, came to Palmyra he
issued an order that if this man Alesmer was not returned in ten
days he would have ten Confederate soldiers shot. At the
expiration of ten days he selected ten men of which number I was
one. My wife and daughter came to see me-in the evening and
went to the home of a friend after they left the prison.
Col. Strawn came to the prison and read our sentence to us,
stating that we would be shot the next day at 10 a.m. My wife was
told what had been done and that, if she could not do anything,
there could not be anything done. The next morning she went
to Gen. John McNeal's office and pleaded with him to spare
my life and told him that I was there on parole when Porter was
there and refused to leave. But he would not agree to spare
my life. My little daughter went to him and got on her knees
and pleaded with him to spare her papa's life. He said:
"Poor child, 11 and wrote a note and gave it to Mr. Read, who
had charge of the prison, and told him to take it to Col.
Strawn. Said note read as follows: "Col-Strawn: If the
fact can be established that Humphrey was here on parole when
Porter was here and refused to leave, reprieve him and do not put
anyone in his place." When Strawn read the note he swore that
it should be filled and Read said, "'For God's sake, take
some man that has no family." He selected Hiriam Smith about
20 years old. Strawn came to the prison about two hours
before they were shot and read the contents to the above named
Smith. The above are the facts in the case. (Signed) W. T.
is a follow up story about the erection of a monument to the
soldiers that were shot. The monument w as erected at
News (Missouri) 26 Feb. 1907. - 'The Confederate monument
dedicated to the memory of the ten men who were shot at Palmyra
during the war is being erected in the court house yard today and
it is expected that the workmen will finish before night.
The monument is a thing of beauty, being over fourteen feet high
and of solid granite. A statue of a life size soldier adorns
the pedestal and on the west side of the base is inscribed:
"Erected by the Palmyra, Confederate Monument Association and
its friends, February 25, 1907."
the south appears only the date, October 18, 1862. On the
east or front appears the following inscription: Erected to the
memory of Capt. Thomas Sidenor, Willis T. Baker, Thomas
Humston, Morgan Beider, John McPheeters, Hiriam T. Smith, Herbert
Hudson, John M. Wade, Frances M. Lear, and Eleazer Lake."
Those were the names of the men who were shot. The monument
was erected by Keokuk, Iowa contractors and cost about $1500.
It is expected that the unveiling will take place in the next two
weeks and noted speakers will make addresses."