Clarke County and the Civil War



Osceola Sentinel, August 30, 1900


Some New Clarke County History Revealed

Last week's historical sketch of Clarke county brings us to the Ft. Goble incident.It is still fresh in the memories of a number of old time citizens, as it was the most exciting war incident in the county during the war of '61-'64. One evening in September, 1864, B.O. or "Bracky" Davidson, living in Washington township saw some strangers driving along the highway. He accidently overheard them say they were going to "spill the blood" of Capt. Glenn, __ Brown and Capt. W. J. Hamilton. These three were young soldiers, lately returned from the front because of wounds, and they had been making things hot for the copperheads. Several of the loudest denouncers of "cutthroat Lincoln," and Lincoln's hirelings had been unceremoniously knocked down and pounded into the earth. This enraged them and they were preparing for revenge. On overhearing the conversation, Mr. Davidson hurried to Capt. Glenn's, who was at the head of a company of Osceola guards, and told him. Runners were sent out in all directions and in a short time a large body of patriots had traced the strangers, copperheads from Madison county, to the home of Old Man Goble, at present home of Wm. Green in Fremont township. The Osceola guards at once surrounded the place and set up a siege. Some of the zealous soldiers were intent upon closing in on the twenty or more Lincoln denouncers and fighting to a finish, but calmer heads prevailed and towards morning negotiations for surrender were opened under a flag of truce. During the night runners had been going in all directions, greatly magnifying the number of the besieged. At the beginning of negotiations at day-light several companies of local guards under Colonel Minton had arrived and more were on their way from New Virginia and other points at a distance. The hills around the Goble "fort" were covered with several hundred soldiers. The women of the neighborhood took a hand in the affair and furnished food for the soldiers. A message was sent to the men in the Goble house to surrender, and received in replay, on the point of a bayonet, the following remarkable document:

"September 17, 1864.

"to the men by whom these premises are surronded:-Gentlemen:-The demonstrations which have been made today are of a very extraordinary character, and if either party has participated in fomenting such difficulty without cause, that party is certainly deserving of the severest reprehension. Now whether such is the case with you or not, we shall not say; but we feel sure that we verily believe that we were drawn together by a just apprehension of danger. it is this alone that caused us to convene, and whenever we have reason to believe that our opinons were ill founded, we shall then have no furthr reason to hold ourselves in preparaiton for deadly conflict. We intend to act strictly on the defensive. We shall molet no man. We have understood that you expected a riot; but you may be sure tht you can have no conflict without being the aggressors. Should you assail us then Heaven defned the right.

With proper respect,



Later in the day a committee from Osceola, consisting of Judge Rice, Esq. Knotts and Major Johnson, held a conference with the beseiged, under a flag of truce, which resulted in the unconditional surrender of every man in the house. A few pistol shots were fired during the seige, but no one was injured. The prisoners were marched down to Osceola and guarded over night. On the following day they were taken to Indianola, and the next day they returned and were tried before Esq. Proudfoot, of Liberty township, and discharged."

The squire made each one take an oath to support the constitution and refrain from treasonable acts and words. There were about twenty of the besieged, including Goble and his six sons, John Morgan, two Shippeys, and Jim Nalor, the others not being recalled by Capt. Hamilton, to whom we are partly indebted for the facts here given. Jim Nalor was a scholar and it is supposed he wrote the diplomatic note given above. He had been arrested for treason previously and taken to Davenport, where he was in prison for a while.

"In the meantime more fatal deeds were enacted in a distant part of the county, growing out of the transaction. Two men, John Conner and Andrew DeLong, who were among the first in the house of Goble, escaped in the night thru the lines of the besieging party. As soon as the fact was known, parties were sent out in search of them-the rumor being that they had gone for reinforcements. They were tracked to the house of John Connor in Washington township. Late in the night, a soldier on furlough, by the name of Barker, approached the door of the house and demanded to see John Conner. He was answered by a musket being run thru a port hole in the door. Seizing a gun he ran round the house and fired thru a window, which was shaded by a number of quilts and comforts.

Upon examination, DeLong was found killed outright and Conner mortally wounded-the gun being heavily charged with buckshot. Beside these two men, there were also in the house an old man by the name of Shippey, the wife of Connor and several children. They were all in bed at the time the gun was fired, except the old man Shippey, who ran the gun thru the door. Barker escaped to his regiment, and is reported to have died in the service."




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