John Kincaid, Vernon Co, MO USGenWeb Project




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Our thanks to Steve Smith (address below), who provided this Kincaid information:  An interesting article on John Kincaid II of Fincastle, TN. He was the son of John Kincaid I and Nancy Young. He married first to Virginia "Jane" Smith, daughter of Ali (Eli) Smith and Jane Denny. He married second to Elizabeth Moss, daughter of Marcellus Jordan Moss and Olivia Huff. He lived and owned the area now known as Fincastle, Campbell County, Tennessee and also had family ties and property in Claiborne County, TN and Union County, TN.  One must read this with the knowledge that it was written at a time when the country was torn by the closing of the Civil War and there was much hostility. He sent many sons to fight for the Confederacy. John Kincaid III, later of Vernon County, MO, fought in the Civil War. He lost a beautiful plantation home and farm afterwards. The Kincaid's lost all of their possessions at the end of the war. Many left the East Tennessee area.



This is the home that John Kincaid built and owned when he lived in Claiborne County, TN.  The home was built in 1851 by slave labor furnished by his father, John Kincaid II (1802-1865).  "Little John" lived in it with his wife, Margaret "Maggie" Huff, and family until he entered into the Confederate army.  He moved out when he returned home from fighting in Georgia.  He left for Missouri and kept hid for many years.  The home still stands and is occupied today.




The following article appears in the Brownlow's Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator for Wednesday, February 22, 1865. It is on page #1, Col #2. The italicizing has been lost from the original article.


     Following communication relative to the killing of John Kincaid, is from the pen of one of his neighbors, well versed in the facts, and may be relied on in every particular. Mr. Kincaid was a bitter, thorough and unrelenting rebel, and when he made oath here, in order to recover his cotton, that he had always been a Union man, was not as much to blame as his attorney who prepared the statement for him to swear to. But without multiplying remarks, suffice it to say, he has met the fate that many others will meet who have persecuted Union men and families, and are now suing them for old debts. Lawyers may, by their learning and ingenuity, procure the acquital of such men; judges may favor them, but injured~ insulted, and oppressed Union men will redress their own wrongs - and, for the life of us, we are not able to see that they are in error:

John Kincaid

     Intelligence arrived, a few days since, that this wealthy rebel had been killed near his own house. The particulars of his death are contained in the following extract from a private letter:

     "Mr. Kincaid was shot dead two days ago by some discharged soldiers of the First East Tennessee. He had established his loyalty it seems, and went straight away to law (his strong point or his weakness always) against some poor fellows over on the river who had been in the service and lost all they had by the rebels. He was at town on Thursday and got the executions, which he gave to the sheriff to go and serve immediately. The Sheriff set off the same evening, found the people, but failed to get the property. They were going to shoot the Sheriff and said then, that Kincaid would be killed before twenty-four hours. Accordingly, the next evening, two men rode up to Mr. Kincaid's and inquired for him. On hearing that he was over at Mr. Meadows' at a trial they went over, called him out, and shot him twice, one ball passing right through the heart.  He fell dead without a word, as the story goes."

     "Mr. Kincaid was one of our most bitter persecutors during the war, but always to our faces just as friendly as could be. Even after father's death, he sent soldiers to our house to press our cattle and horses; and when father was within a few days of death, he sent for him (Mr. Kincaid) repeatedly to come to some business that required someone versed in the law, and he refused to come. Yet three days after my father died, he came to our house to spend the day, and come in, oh, so cordial, he and old Jim Cooper. I rose and walked out of the room without speaking to either of them. The proofs of his enmity exist - but we have long sense determined to let the dead past bury its dead, and to seek no redress for injuries at any human tribunal. In one way or another we can still live, and I should feel contaminated by the touch of any money which '.was fhe price of my father's blood! We shall bring no "damage suits" against anyone - for their sins they can answer to God, and gold cannot compensate for what we have suffered."

     "Neither did we exault in his death - the time is past when he could very materially injury us, and his "policy" now would have led him to a very different cause; but were I one of the jurors on the trial of those who shot him, I should cheerfully give in voice for acquittal."

     "It was Kincaid, I forget to say, that told General Zollicoffer that father had sent my brother to Kentucky with money and dispatches to Mr. Maynard, and that he had couriers all the time, And it was he who sent a detachment of Colonel Raines' regiment and had father take prisoners to Fincastle, where, for the fourth of fifth time, he was compelled to take a long nauseous oath of three foolscap pages, to gratify Messrs. Kincaid and Cooper. The officer, Captain explained all about it to father, going up; but that coming from his friends - at least those whom he had always regarded as such - was the unkindest cut of all to father. Why the enmity of those Valley people should have centered so upon father was always and still remains a mystery to me. That it killed him finally, there is no shadow of doubt in my mind."


The remark that "establishing his loyalty" refers to proceedings at the recent term of the Federal Court.


On the first of July, 1864, the United States District Attorney, filed in the District Court at Knoxville, and Information against two bales of cotton seized by William Homar, Treasury Agent, about the 10th of December, 1863, was claimed by John Kincaid, alleging that "said Kincaid had been for a long space of time before said seizure, and then was giving aid and comfort to those engaged in insurrection and rebellion against the United States." On the 4th of November, 1864, Mr. Kincaid made oath to and filed in the Court an answer in writing in which he swore as follows: "Claiment had not for a long space of time before the date of said seizure, or then, or that any other time, given and comfort to those engaged in insurrection and rebellion against the United States." Claim states that, for about a period of two whole years, the people of East Tennessee were left with protection by the government of the United States, and were under the jurisdiction and control of the Government of the so-called Confederate States of America, who held military possession of the country, and were in the habit of arresting citizens and taking their property at pleasure, and that, in common with other Union men of East Tennessee, he occasionally fed rebel soldiers, and sold for the use of the rebel army, bacon, oats, corn, and horses. This was done, however, under the general duress which prevailed in the country, and from an apprehension that if he did not sell the property, it would be taken by force, and that if he did not feed such soldiers as called upon him, he would be badly treated by them, and claimant denies that acts so done can be properly construed as giving 'aid and comfort' to the enemy. Claimant states that he is and always has been a Union man, and voted against session in the Tennessee election of 1861."


The court ordered the cotton be surrendered to Mr. Kincaid.




NOTE: This article was typed from the original copy of the Brownlow's Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator, edition for Wednesday, February 22, 1865. The copy is on file in the Special Collections Section of the Library of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Campus, Knoxville, Tennessee. Unfortunately, I cannot identify all involved in this article.


Steve Smith

213 Reagan St.

Harrogate, TN  37752



The following transcription is from the 1887 History of Vernon County, Missouri, pages 554-555, for John Kincaid III, born Powell Valley, Claiborne County, Tennessee; who married Margaret B. Huff of Cumberland Gap, TN.  See also another article from the same book regarding Thomas W. Smith who married Hester A. Kincaid of Powell Valley, TN.

     John Kincaid and Tom Smith had led marauding Confederates through Powell Valley, TN in March 1865 on a hunt of revenge. Afterward, John VanBebber, David Cawood, and perhaps others were killed. He left Powell Valley after this and ended up in Missouri, where he went by the name of John HUFF.  It has been tradition that the home of John Kincaid had been used for the interests of the northern cause at the end of the war. This is an example of the type of hate that existed in the area at the end of the Civil War. John KINCAID II and the father of John KINCAID II had been assassinated in January 1865. John VanBebber was married to Minerva Jane Kincaid, first cousin to John KINCAID III. Minerva Jane Kincaid was the daughter of William Kincaid, a brother to John Kincaid II.




1887 History of Vernon County, Missouri, p. 554-555:


(Farmer and Raiser of Thoroughbred Short-horn Cattle, Post-office, Walker)

[Section 31 of Blue Mound Township]

     Probably no man within the limits of Vernon County has had an experience equal to that of Mr. Kincaid, and it is but just and proper that a sketch of his life should appear here, not only because he is one of the large landholders of the county, but owing to his prominence in various walks in life, and especially for the part he has taken in the welfare of this community. He was born December 30, 1829, in East Tennessee, the fourth of six children in the family of his parents, John and Virginia (Smith) Kincaid, natives respectively of Virginia and North Carolina. The former was a most successful farmer and trader and of considerable wealth, some idea of his standing being inferred from the fact that after losing no little property and many negroes during the war his property brought $113,000. He was among the many who laid down their lives on the altar of their convictions, his death resulting from members of Brownlow's militia in 1863, who fired and killed him instantly. His wife had died in 1835. John, in company with his brother, Benjamin F., was possessed of too true a spirit not to aid in the defense of his section when it became necessary to suppress invasion, and accordingly he enlisted in Co. D, 2nd Tennessee cavalry, under the celebrated leader, Gen. Ashby, this being the first regiment and company raised in the country. Benjamin was quartermaster throughout the war. John entered as a private, but subsequently he was made the leader of scouting and guide parties for Kirby Smith, Gen. Scott and Ashby. He took active part in the battles of Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, Kenesaw Mountain, Chickamauga, and others, and was present at Greenville, Tenn., when Gen. Morgan was killed. Though often requested to take the oath of allegiance Mr. Kincaid was possessed of too much honor to thus act contrary to the dictates of his own conscience, and as the result of this refusal his property, amounting to $50,000, was confiscated and sold by the United States Government. In May, 1865, he surrendered at Louisa, Ky. January 7, 1882, a requisition from Gov. Hawkins, of Tennessee, was demanded of Gov. Crittenden, of Missouri, for Mr. Kincaid, which was granted and four men from that State came to accompany him back, but the entire community rose en masse and refused to give him up. Through the influence of the leading citizens of Vernon county the requisition was afterwards revoked. This will give some idea of the popularity accorded Mr. Kincaid in this community. During twelve years of his residence in Missouri he went by the name of Huff, and it has been but some three years since he has used his proper name here. Mr. Kincaid was married in 1859 to Miss Margaret B. Huff, of Cumberland Gap, Tenn., who has borne her husband five children, of whom only Edward Lee, Daniel, and Lulie are living. Mr. Kincaid owns a valuable farm of 677 acres, five miles northwest of Walker, which is well improved. Politically he is a Democrat. Since 1872 he has lived in this county, previous to that time having resided in Jackson, Johnson, and Lafayette counties.



Steve Smith provides this additional information:  I just joined the Vernon County, Missouri email list and sent this on. I was hoping it would help someone in their searching. I was born and lived in the Powell Valley area of Tennessee until just a few months ago. My family has been there for over 200 years. The Kincaid family is well known in that area for their plantation homes built before the Civil War by slave labor. They are beautiful homes. Before the war, they were the most wealthy and prominent in the counties of Claiborne and Campbell. These two counties are in northeast Tennessee. Claiborne joins Kentucky and Virginia to the north, and Campbell is west of Claiborne joining only Kentucky. This is where the Cumberland Gap goes through the mountains of the Cumberland, made famous by Daniel Boone on his way to find the bluegrass of Kentucky.

     I had always heard legend that when a certain group of men from Tennessee rode a train to Missouri on a mission to apprehend and arrest John Kincaid that they were met at the train station by members of the community and told to go back and that they could not have him. This was all over the strong emotions and sentiments caused by the ugly war. Most all Claiborne County people supported the Union cause during the war. I can easily see how such activities of the Kincaid's made for bad feelings. My grandfather Vanbebber also held slaves, but he remained loyal to the Union, or at least he was neutral because he never joined any militia. I had several other grandfathers to fight in that war. Several never made it back home alive.  One fought for the south, but he was from Hawkins County, and they seemed to be pro-Confederates. He moved from that county to Claiborne County shortly after the war. I suppose he didn't move to a hospitable place.

     I hope this bit of information may help someone. Any postings I send to the email listing is free for anyone to use. Any documents from such books as this need no reference to my name. I only ask for any researchers to use my name as reference to any bits of research I share with them in their family quest, and I will always do likewise. I found the information I sent from the 1887 book in an internet search. I was glad to find this and it backs up some of the family legend I had heard. Sometimes such legend turns out to be family yarns and you never know of what percentage of it may be true. If you know of any other KINCAID histories, I would be very interested in reading them also. The war related histories make for interesting reading. I appreciate anyone like you that makes the efforts to display this type information for others to share.

     Any other information you may know on this family and related families would be interesting information for me to have. The HUFF family was also a very prosperous family of Cumberland Gap, TN. They owned the huge farm that is now the site of the Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate. I'm not sure if any of the other HUFF family members went to Missouri, but it could be very possible. There were many many Kincaids, Vanbebbers, Yoakums, and related families in Ray County, MO. Their families married and inter-married for several generations. I have never been to Missouri, but I have many relatives there from the Claiborne County, Tennessee area. 

     There was a huge slave cemetery near my home when I was growing up as a child in Speedwell. It was on the old farm of John VanBebber. John bought the farm from Sterling Cox Kincaid, an older brother to his wife, Minerva. My father took me there to the gravesite when I was about 12 (ca 1970) and I took a pencil and paper and wrote down the names of the people with writing on their tombstones. There were only four there with any names or formal stones. Probably about 100 were just limestone rocks that seemed to be growing out of the ground in that old grove. He told me this was the burial ground for the Kincaid and VanBebber slaves. A few years later there was a man that bought this old VanBebber farm and took a dozer to the gravesite. At one time just a few years ago, a lady wrote to the Claiborne County email site looking for one of the couples that I had written down.  When I saw the names in the email, they came to me from my memory and I dug and dug until I found where I had wrote them down. Sure enough, the names were there as she was searching. I wrote to the nice lady and told her I knew where they were buried. She told me she lived in Detroit, Michigan and had been searching for her great great grandparents for years, and had no idea where they were buried or anything of their lives except that they were from Tennessee and had been slaves before the war. She drove to Tennessee the next weekend and I took her to the gravesite. She was so happy to find this that she cried tears of joy. She was African American also. I was only too sorry to tell her the graves had been dozed away and the stones were not to be found, but I had recorded the dates just as I had found them on the stones. Her great great grandmother was a slave and she was Florence Kincaid. She was owned by William Kincaid, a brother to John Kincaid II. William died in 1856, before the war began. John VanBebber is buried with his wife Minerva in the Kincaid cemetery beside the huge old anti-bellum plantation home of William and Susan Kincaid, very near the old slave cemetery site. Now the lady has the dates for this Florence Kincaid and also her g-g grandfather Hughes that was married to Florence.

    The plantation home of John Kincaid III still stands nearby also in Speedwell, where I was raised. It is a very southern looking home with the huge pillars on the front porch and all the brick were made on site by the slaves. The home had been built for him by his father. All the old fences on the Kincaid farms are long rows of limestone rock piled about 3 feet high. It must have been many many hours work to dig up the rock and lay them in long piles to form these fences for what seems to go for miles on these old farms. The soldiers did damage to the home while John Kincaid was away at war. My grandmother told me the soldiers would ride their horses in the house. No wonder he was so angry when he returned home and his father had been murdered and his home was a wreck. 

    Happy searching.

    Steve Smith



Bethany Cemetery

Vernon County, Missouri




Born in Campbell Co. Tenn.

Dec. 30, 1829

Died Dec. 4, 1899


Born Oct. 30, 1837

Died July 2, 1903


Gravestone photos by Nancy Thompson



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