Evault Boswell Writes Hildebrand Book




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Evault Boswell and wife

Farmington native publishes book about local outlaw

By DONNA HICKMAN\Daily Journal Staff Writer | Published April 13, 2002

For about 30 or 40 years, Evault Boswell walked around with a book in his head.

"It took me less than six months to write it because I'd thought about the story for such a long time," he explained.

The story is about legendary Civil War Bushwhacker Sam Hildebrand and a boy he might have met. The book is called "The Rebel from Shepherd Mountain."

"Everything in it about Sam Hildebrand is true, but the boy, Aaron, is fictional," Boswell explained. "I went to Bonne Terre many years ago and bought a copy of Henry Thompson's little book, 'Sam Hildebrand Rides Again.' The St. Francois County Advertiser published the book Sam dictated in installments back in the 1970's. I had them sent it to me and pasted them up in a scrapbook. Most of my research for Rebel came from these sources."

Boswell grew up in Farmington. He graduated from Farmington High School in 1946. His sister, Alma Dean Cleve, still lives in Farmington. In the 1860's, Hildebrand lived not far away on the bluffs of Big River. Boswell had heard the stories about Hildebrand all his life.

"Sam Hildebrand is remembered more than other bushwhackers because his cause was perhaps justified because of what the militia and the Federals did to his family," Boswell explained. "He is sorta the 'Josey Wales' of southeast Missouri."

Hildebrand was cast from his home and his brothers were killed by vigilantes. He vowed to fight for the Confederacy and became an outlaw, killing those who had allegedly killed his family. He is buried behind what is soon to become the site of the new Cornerstone Christian Church in old Elvins.

Tongue in cheek, Boswell explains how he couldn't make his dream come true to play major league baseball because he couldn't catch or hit a ball. So he decided to build a career in journalism. He attended Flat River Junior College and then went to work for Woolworth's, moving to Greenville, Texas. He worked for a newspaper for awhile and then managed a Christian camp before he started writing.

He published his first book at the age of 71. "The Rebel from Shepherd Mountain" is his fourth book.

"The character Aaron in the book is me," he said. "They say all first novels are autobiographical."

Aaron's father is killed and the teenage boy is disfigured and crippled by a Federal officer. Aaron also vows vengeance and joins the bushwhackers led by Hildebrand. Eventually, he finds love and the meaning of life.

Boswell published the book himself using an electronic publisher called IUniverse. His book is listed for sale on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble at a cost of $15. He hopes to be in the area in June autographing copies of his book. To contact him, write via e-mail to: bosieb@pulse.net or call him at 903-455-6834.

Boswell is also an avid birdwatcher. He writes a column for two Texas newspapers. His next book scheduled to be released in the fall is called "Quantrill in Texas."