An Inheritance of Ghosts

Elijah Walker Colley and Emma C. Ligon

Posted in Elijah Walker Colley, Emma C. (Ligon) Colley, Emma C. Ligon by Gregg Mattocks on 31 August 2009

Elijah Walker Colley [48]

Father: Elijah W. Colley [96]

Mother: Catherine Mayo Ligon [97]

Mattocks Family Heritage entry

Emma C. Ligon [49]

Father: Richard T. Ligon [98]

Mother: Martha —– [99]

Mattocks Family Heritage entry

*

Elijah Walker Colley [48] was born about 1821 at Cumberland County, Virginia.  His parents died when he was a young boy.  In the will of his father, dated 10 October 1826 and proved on 23 March 1829, Elijah, his brother, and his sister, after other legacies were made, were to receive “all the rest and residue” of their father’s estate “to be divided equally among them.”

It has been suggested that, after his parents’ death, the young Elijah went to live with his uncle Leonard Ward Ligon.  The reason for this assertion may be that, as Leonard Ligon was known to have removed at an early date from Virginia to Howard County, Missouri, (1816), and then on to Clay County, Missouri, (1819), and, as Elijah and his two siblings also settled in Clay County, perhaps the orphans went to Missouri at a young age to live with their uncle. 

Leonard Ligon was not Elijah’s guardian however.  The boy, along with his sister Julia and brother William, was made ward of Joseph Jenkins.  It is unknown if this Joseph Jenkins was one and the same as the Joseph H. Jenkins who later married Elijah’s sister Julia.  It seems to me unlikely, but the two Josephs were at least probably closely related.  A record of Jenkins’ assignment as ward has been preserved.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, That we Joseph Jenkins, Joseph S. Palmore and William Phaup are held and firmly bound unto Wm. Montague, Booker Woodson, Thomas H. Walton, Geo. W. Crump, & Hez. Ford, Gentlemen Justices of the Court of Cumberland County, now sitting, in the sum of Three thousand dollars to the payment whereof well and truly to be made to the said Justices and their successors, we bind ourselves, and each of us, our and each of our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents. Sealed with our seals, and dated this 25th day of July 1831, in the 56th year of the Commonwealth.

THE CONDITION OF THE ABOVE OBLIGATION IS SUCH, That if the above bound Joseph Jenkins his executors and administrators, shall well and truly pay and deliver, or cause to be paid and delivered unto Wm. S. Colley, Julia A. Colley and Elijah W. Colley, orphans of Elijah Colley, deceased, all such estate or estates as now is, or are, or hereafter shall appear to be due the said orphans when and as soon as they shall attain to lawful age, or when thereto required by the Justices of the said County Court; as also keep harmless the above named Justices, their, and every of their heirs, executors and administrators from all trouble and damages that shall or may arise about the said estate, then the above obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force.

On 27 June 1836, Elijah, of Cumberland County, along with his brother William, sister Julia, and Julia’s husband Joseph Jenkins, sold, to Peter T. Phillips for $1800, 200 acres at Cumberland County, land that had once been owned by Elijah’s father.

Sometime shortly after this, Elijah must have left Virginia for, on 2o November 1838, at Clay County, Missouri, he served as a witness to the will of his brother William.  Within three months William had died, and, on 18 February 1839, Elijah appeared before the clerk of the Clay County Court to prove the will.  In this will, William directed that Virginian Lawrence Blanton be made the guardian of his daughter Catharine.

From William’s will, it would appear that his wife Julia (Blanton) Colley was contemplating returning to Virginia with their daughter in the event of William’s death.  Perhaps Elijah too had second thoughts about staying in Missouri after his brother’s demise.

It would seem likely that Elijah was back in Virginia on 12 March 1842 when a Cumberland County deed recorded Elijah making a transfer of property there to P.J. Phillips.

In the will of Elijah’s grandfather William Colley, dated 9 March 1833 and proved 26 February 1844, Elijah – as well as his brother and sister – was bequeathed five dollars “and no other part of [sic]  portion of my estate whatsoever.”  Elijah, along with his sister Julia, Julia’s husband Joseph H. Jenkins, and Lawrence Blanton opposed the proof of the will but, upon hearing the testimony of “divers witnesses”, the court ordered that the will be recorded.  The protestors were allowed to appeal their case to the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for Cumberland County.  The Superior Court heard the appeal on 30 August 1844, and upheld the lower court’s finding. 

By December of 1944, at Cumberland County, Elijah was suing his ward Joseph Jenkins for failure to pay the entirety of Elijah’s trust to him.  Elijah’s petition to the court has been preserved.

To the Honble Daniel A Wilson, Judge of the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for the County of Cumberland:

Humbly complaining showeth unto your Honour your Orator Elijah W. Colley, that in the year _____ the County court of the said County of Cumberland appointed a certain Joseph Jenkins of the said County of Cumberland guardian of your orator and his brother and sister Wm S & Julia A Colley, and the said Jenkins entered into bond before the said Court in the penalty of $3000 with Joseph S. Palmore and William Phaup his securities, conditioned according to law for the faithful execution of the duties of the said Trust, as will more fully appear by a copy of the said bond herewith filed marked (a) and prayed to be considered a part of this bill – that the said Jenkins possessed himself of the estate of your said orator and his said brother and sister _____ and managed the same until your orator became of age, to wit, in the year ____, that your orator then desired and requested this Jenkins to settle his accounts with him and to pay and deliver over to him whatever money he owed him and to deliver over to him whatever property of his he then held – this the said Jenkins did deliver over to him his land, [illegible], but he failed to pay him the money due a large sum of money which he owes him upon a fair settlement of his accounts. Now in tender consideration of the promises and in as much as he is other wise without remedy except in a court of equity, when guardians and other trustees are made to account, he humbly prays that the said Joseph Jenkins, Joseph S. Palmer, William Phaup, Wm S. Colley & Julia A Colley – may be made defendants to this bill and required to answer the allegations thereof on oath as fully, and as particularly as if the same were here again repeated and they and each of them thereto interrogated; and especially that the said Joseph Jenkins may be compelled to settle his accounts with your Orator and that he and his securities aforesaid Joseph S. Palmer & William Phaup be compelled to pay to him any balance that on such settlement may be found due to him, and that your Honour will decree to your Orator all such other and further relief that his care may require – that you will grant him the Commonwealth’s [illegible] &c.

It was some time before Jenkins and his securities were finally compelled to appear to answer the charge.  First, Joseph S. Palmore and William Phaup, the securities, made the following declaration:

The answer of Joseph S. Palmore and Wm Phaup to a bill of Complaint Exhibited against themselves and others in the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for the County of Cumberland by Elijah W. Colley. These respondents now and at all times saving and reserving to themselves the full benefit of exception to the many errors be in said bill contained, for answer thereto say, that they admit that Joseph Jenkins was appointed Guardian of the Complainant, his brother & sister by the County Court of said County and entered into bond in the penalty of $3000. conditioned according to law, with these respondents as his Securities, for his faithful performance of his duties as Guardian. Your respondents are unappraised of the amount of estate which came into the said Jos Jenkins hand as a Guardian of said Elijah W. Colley and consequently can neither admit nor deny any thing in relation thereto, but require strict proof before they shall be charged. Your respondents further answering say that they have been informed and therefore charge that after the said complainant had attained the age of twenty one years, he applied for, and succeeded in obtaining a full settlement of the account of said Joseph Jenkins his Guardian, [illegible] him on account of his transactions with the estate of his said ward, that upon said settlement, which sd complainant assented to as entirely correct, the said Jenkins exhibited a Considerable balance in his favour of Some Considerable amount as respondents have been informed, that the next question between the Guardian & the ward, now of full age, was how that balance should be settled, the said Guardian being then in possession of ample means to pay off and fully discharge said balance; that in consequence of an agreement between the said Complainant and said Jos. Jenkins then and there entered into, the latter executed his bond to the former for the balance of [illegible] he acknowledged to be due and also a deed of trust to secure the payment of said debt with others, conveying certain property therein named to a trustee, a copy of which deed is herewith filed as a part of this answer. that having taken the management of his own estate wholly into his own hands, not asking the aid of the officer the court to settle this account of his Guardian, he settled with his former Guardian himself and upon the execution of the additional bond of the said Joseph Jenkins, with the deed of trust as his Security, he agreed to defer the payment of the said bond for about eighteen months after the said settlement. Your respondents have also been informed and believe, and therefore charge that when the deed of trust aforesaid was about to be executed, the said Jenkins desiring fully to secure the said Colley the debt he owed him, decided that the deed should provide for the payment of said debt in full before any other debt named in said deed but that the [illegible] trusts & among them the said E.W. Colley being fully persuaded that the property [illegible] conveyed was ample to secure the full payment of all the debts therein mentioned, was satisfied with a different arrangement & accordingly made it, as appears by said deed. Your respondents have been advised and submit that when the said Colley attained the age of 21 years and assumed the management of his own affairs, he had a perfect right to make any arrangement that secured good to him in relation to his Estate, even to bestow it as a bounty upon his Guardian, but that he could not bind your respondents by any arrangement which he chose to make, they never having undertaken for him, but the Guardian, and that their bond & liability inder it was wholly discharged when he had settled with his guardian [illegible] other security for his debt or the balance due him, about which he never consulted your respondents and to which they never [illegible]ed. Your respondents insist that the said Colley has been fully satisfied by his Guardian so far as they are concerned and pray that his bill may be dismissed….

On 25 March 1846, Joseph Jenkins himself made a deposition at Cumberland County, much of which is quite difficult to read.

The separate answer of Joseph Jenkins to [illegible] bill of Complaint exhibited against him & others in the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for the County of Cumberland, by Elijah W. Colley. This respondent saving & reserving to himself the full benefit of exceptions to said bill for answer thereto saith that he has heard the answer of his codefendants Jos. S. Palmore and Wm Phaup [illegible] and now adopts their answer as his own the facts being therein correctly set forth except as to the allegation of his [illegible]ing to the first accused, of which in his judgment is [illegible] to it. He claims that he [illegible] to said Colley all his property, held by [illegible] as his guardian, [illegible] the account between them in full and secured the balance found due to him in a manner which entirely satisfied said Colley he being [illegible] & having knowledge of the whole amount [illegible] by the deed of trust which is made a part of the answer of his Codefendants Palmer & Phaup. He denies that he is liable to said Colley as Gdn for one cent or that he has ever refused to settle with him, & claims that he did settle with him and secure the payt of the money found due upon the said settlement. And having fully answered he prays to be [illegible] with his costs.

In the meantime, back in Missouri, on 1 May 1846, Elijah was issued a patent for 160 acres of federal land in Platte County, in the northwest quarter of Section 8 of Township 52 North, Range 33 West.

On 22 June 1846, Elijah, at Clay County, Missouri, was appointed attorney to act for Lawrence Blanton and Elijah’s former sister-in-law Julia Colley, both in Virginia.

Know all men by these presents that we Lawrence Blanton Guardian for Catharine A Colley and Julia E Colley widow and relict of William S Colley deceased all residents of the State of Virginia and County of Cumberland make execute authorize and appoint Elijah W Colley of the State of Missouri and by these presents have made constituted authorized and appointed the said Elijah W Colley our true and lawful attorney for the said Lawrence Blanton guardian of Catharine A Colley and for the said Julia E Colley widow and relict as aforesaid of W’m S Colley for us and in our names Jointly and Severally to ask demand sue for recover and receive for our use all debts and sums of money as are now due and owing or may hereafter be due and owing to the said Lawrence as guardian of the said Catharine Ann Colley or to the said Julia E Colley as widow of said W’m S Colley late of Clay County Missouri by and from Clayton Tillery Executor of the said William S Colley deceased. and in default of payment thereof to have use and take all lawful ways and means in the name of the said Lawrence Blanton guardian of Catharine A Colley and in the name of Julia E Colley or otherwise for the recovery of of [sic] the same and on receipt thereof acquittances or other sufficient discharges for the same for us and in our names to make seal and deliver and do all lawful acts and things whatever concerning the premises as fully in every respect as we might or could do were we personally present And an attorney or attorneys under him the said Elijah W Colley for the purposes aforesaid to make and appoint and every said appointment at his pleasure to revoke hereby ratifying and performing all and whatsoever our said attorney shall in our names lawfully do or cause to be done in and about the premises by virtue of these presents In Witness Whereof the parties [ illegible] hereunto set their hands & affixed their Seals this the 22 day of June in the year 1846

Meanwhile, back in Virginia, a July 1846 statement of Cumberland County Commissioner Hez. Ford revealed some details of the settlement of the case of Elijah Walker Colley v Joseph Jenkins, et al.

It appears that Jos. Jenkins never Settled any account of his ward, during his minority, that after his ward (Elijah W. Colley) arrived at the age of 21 years, that Colley Settled with his Gardn. when said Gardn. (Jos. Jenkins) Executed his bond to said Colley for the Sum of $928.02, being the amt. which appears due from said Jenkins as Gardn. to his said ward Colley and which bond was made pble on the 15th day of August 1846….

From the foregoing statement it will be seen, that Jos. Jenkins as the Gardn. of Elijah W. Colley, acknowledged himself indebted to his ward on the 15th day of August 1844 the sum of 928.02, which debt he undertook to secure, by executing a deed of trust upon property for the purpose, that from this sale of the property [illegible] secured, the said Colley recvd on the 24th Sept 1844, from the trustee, Jno. D. Jenkins, the sum of $600, having a ballance due from said Jos. Jenkins, at that time of $334.05, the interest upon which ballance, upon to this date, makes the sum of $370.34, which, your commissioner reports as the baln due from Jos. Jenkins Gardn. to his ward Elijah W. Colley.

Elijah was married, 27 April 1848, at Platte County, Missouri, by Darius Bainbridge, M.G., to Emma C. Ligon [49].  Bainbridge was the minister of the Old School Baptist Church.  Present at the marriage were “Parker & wife, Carr & wife, Jenkins and wife.”  Emma was born about 1826 or 1828 in Virginia, the daughter of Richard T. and Martha (—–) Ligon.  Elijah and Emma were first cousins.

Son William T. was born about 1849 or 1850.

In 1850, Elijah W., aged 27, was living on a farm with his wife “Emily”, aged 22, at Carroll Township, Platte County, Missouri.  Also in the household was their son William, Emma’s father Richard Ligon (Liggin), and Emma’s sister Virginia.

On 13 March 1852, Elijah purchased, for $1000, from John H. and Marion Bell of Kentucky, 160 acres at Platte County, the southeast quarter of Section 31, Township 53, Range 33.

This indenture made and entered into this thirteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty two by and between John H. Bell and Marion Bell his wife of the County of Fayette and State of Kentucky of the first part and Elijah W. Colley of Platte County and State of Missouri of the second part witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars by the said party of the second part to the said parties of the first part in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have given granted bargained and sold and by these presents do give grant bargain sell alien convey and confirm unto the said party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns forever a certain tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Platte and State of Missouri namely South East quarter of section No. thirty one in Township No. fifty three of Range No. thirty three and containing one hundred and sixty acres – To have and to hold the said tract piece or parcel of land with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining to the only proper use benefit and behoof of them said party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns forever and the said party of the first part for themselves their executors and administrators covenant and agree to and with the said party of the second part and his heirs and assigns the said tract piece or parcel of land and bargained premises and every part and parcel thereof unto the said party of the second part and his heirs and assigns against all manner of claims they will warrant and forever defend the same by these presents In testimony whereof the said John H. Bell and Marion Bell his wife party of the first part have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year above written

Son James Clay was born in June 1852 at Platte County.

On 28 June 1852, Elijah and Emma sold, for $400, to John L. DBerry, forty acres of the property they had purchased in March.

This indenture made and entered into this twenty eighth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty two by and between Elijah W. Colley and Emma C Colley his wife of the County of Platte and State of Missouri of the first part and John L DBerry of Platte County and State of Missouri of the second part Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of four hundred dollars to them in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged have given granted bargained and sold and by these presents doth give grant bargain sell alien convey and confirm unto the sais [sic] party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns forever a certain tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Platte and State of Missouri namely the North East quarter of the South East quarter of section No. thirty one (31) of Township No. fifty three (53) & of Range No. thirty three (33) Containing forty acres more or less – To have and to hold the said tract piece or parcel of land with all the appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any wise appertaining to the only proper use benefit and behoof of him the said party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns forever and the said party of the first part for themselves their heirs executors and administrators covenant and agree to and with the said party of the second part and to heirs and assigns the said tract piece or parcel of land and bargained premises and every part and parcel thereof unto him the said party of the second part and to his heirs and assigns against all manner of claims they will warrant and forever defend the same by these presents – In testimony whereof the said Elijah W. Colley & Emma C. Colley his wife of the first part have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year above written

Son Richard Austin was born about 1855 or 1856.

Elijah had a Platte County warrant issued on 5 August 1857.  Details on this warrant are unknown at this time.

Son John Sethe was born in June 1858.

On 21 October 1858, E.W. Jenkins drew a note on Elijah for $75.00.  I believe that E.W. Jenkins was Elijah’s nephew Elijah Walker Jenkins.  Jenkins never paid off this debt.

In June 1860, E.W., a farmer, aged 39, was living with his wife Emma, aged 34, and their four children, at Carroll Township.  Also in the household was Emma’s father Richard Ligon.  The census of that year recorded that Elijah’s real estate was valued at $1200 and his personal property at $275.

Son Elijah Walker was born in September 1860.  Daughter Martha Alice was born about 1862 or 1863.

On 30 November 1863, Elijah signed up with the 82nd Regiment of the Enrolled Missouri Milita, under the command of Colonel James Hugh Moss, at Platte City, Platte County.  Elijah served as first lieutenant in Company H under Captain Charles B. Hodges.

That Elijah enrolled with the Union forces might lead one to believe that he had strong Unionist sympathies.  But such may not have been the case.

Clay and Platte counties bordered on the Missouri River, and counties on this river tended to have more slaves than places elsewhere in Missouri.  Twenty-five percent of Clay County’s population were slaves, while slaves accounted for only 10% of Missouri’s population as a whole.  Clay County’s economy was dependent on this slave labor.  In addition, many of Clay County’s residents had family ties to the South.  Thus the citizen’s sympathy for the Confederacy was often very strong.

Elijah’s father had owned at least one slave and, in his will, had left “one negro girl named Fanny” to Elijah’s sister.  Elijah’s brother William had also owned at least one slave.

The commander of Elijah Colley’s regiment, Colonel Moss, had Southern roots, had been a slaveowner himself, and supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1954 which allowed settlers in those territories to vote on whether to allow slaves there.  But Moss’s enthusiasm for the Southern cause began to wane as pro-slavery “border ruffians” from Kansas established camps in Clay County and seized the Federal arsenal in the town of Liberty.  Even before the Civil War began, the “border ruffians” engaged in violence and intimidation, and supported the secession of Kansas should it become a free state.  As one observer reported, “At the start of the rebellion, the people of Clay were a unit for the Union, but in the fall and winter of 1861 … it was quite the other way.”

The extremism was too much for Moss.  He began to speak out on behalf of the Union.  The secessionists declared that Moss must be got out of the way.  Moss and others with Union sympathies were driven from the county and their property was seized to support the Rebel army of General Price.

By 1862, the Rebels were in retreat from Missouri, and the state’s provisional government began to organize local militias to take over as Federal troops headed for the main battlefronts.  In March, the Missouri State Militia arrived in Liberty, and finally Moss could return home.  Small groups of rebels, “bushwhackers”, continued to stage attacks in this part of Missouri, and many civilians were attacked.  The militia, commanded by Colonel Penick, fought back by raiding the homes of suspected Southern sympathizers.  A neighbor of Jesse James (who lived in Clay County at the time) wrote, “They got in and were over half of the house before we knew they were on the place. They turned beds upside down, searched drawers and trunks, and jawed and disputed around considerably.”  Penick’s heavy-handed tactics served to turn much of the populace against him.

Missouri’s government organized another militia force, the Enrolled Missouri Militia, or EMM.  It was made up of part-time soldiers, local men who knew their communities.  Unfortunately, most of the men with strong Union sympathies had already joined the U.S. Army or Missouri State Militia.  Untrained, unequipped, and underpaid, the men of the EMM were forced to loot their rebel neighbors in order to subsist.  James Moss organized the EMM in Clay County, and it replaced Penick’s regiment.  Moss’s organization was not as pro-Union as one might expect.  Some of the officers in his regiment were slaveowners.  And, in February 1863, a militia officer reported “that Col. Moss of Clay County uses the Enrolled Militia of said county to prevent the escape of negroes.”  At least once the militia whipped the rebellious slave of a known secessionist.

The state government decided to organize “a smaller and meaner version of the EMM – the Provisional EMM – with men noted for their hardline attitudes.”  Colonel Moss was relieved of his duties in April 1863.  The rebels continued to become more desperate and radical as events unfolded, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and, on the night 13 August 1863, a coordinated mass escape of Clay County slaves.

Moss convinced Missouri’s governor to put him back in charge of Clay County’s forces, to protect it, he said, from retaliation by angry “Red Leg” Kansans.  Moss wrote, “When I reached home I found that the entire military force  … was nothing more or less than an armed mob. My arrival was like the falling of a thunder bolt in their midst.”

In a public speech, Moss denounced the radicals, and he dismissed antislavery officers. He refused to hand over prisoners to the provost marshal, and he even enlisted former Confederate soldiers, the better to fight Red Legs. All this upset local Unionists, including O.P. Moss. “I remarked to my brother that we were running considerable risk in putting arms into the hands of such men indiscriminately.” The Colonel dismissed the argument, saying, “The war was far down South.”

Unionists soon began to complain about Moss’s force, dubbing it the Paw-Paw Militia, after the plants that filled the creek bottoms where the guerrillas hid. When Red Legs raided Clay County, the Paw-Paws put up a good fight; when the bushwhackers showed up, the Paw-Paws disappeared—or defected.

Those guerrillas showed up in force in early 1864. After spending the winter with Confederate forces in Texas, Frank James and his comrades returned in the spring. Frank now followed Fletch Taylor, who led his band into Clay County. There 16-year-old Jesse James joined the ranks.

Jesse’s introduction to guerrilla warfare was stark. Taylor used his gang as a death squad, going house to house to murder Unionist farmers. Jesse’s first skirmish with Union forces came weeks later, when Taylor ambushed a pursuing column led by Captain William B. Kemper, an MSM officer sent to replace Colonel Moss and his disloyal Paw-Paws.

After the ambush, Fletch Taylor sent a letter to the Liberty Tribune, explaining his approach. “I am going to stay here until the Radicals all leave this county,” he wrote. He excused his attacks on civilians by accusing Captain Kemper of doing the same thing. “I will carry war on as you carry it on. You can’t drive me out of this county…. If I find that you are warring on the citizens, so be it; I will retaliate—if you fight me alone, I will return the compliment.”

Taylor largely succeeded in eradicating the Unionists. “A general terror prevails,” one man wrote. “Today there is not in the county of Clay one unconditional loyal Union man who dares to go into the harvest field to do a day’s work. Many of them have left the State; all are now talking of going.”

Taylor, however, lost his right arm to a shotgun blast. So, around the start of August 1864, the James boys joined up with William T. Anderson, better known as “Bloody Bill.” Anderson moved into Clay County, making Zerelda Samuel’s farm his base, and picked up where Taylor left off.

With Colonel Moss now out of the way, the Union command once again targeted rebel civilians, including Zerelda Samuel and her frightened husband. Reuben asked Edward M. Samuel to intervene with the provost marshal. He wanted a pass to go to Indiana. This time, however, Edward wouldn’t help. “I told him, very bluntly and plainly, that it was his duty to help the military authorities in finding out his stepsons, and in bringing them to justice,” Edward reported. He mocked Reuben as “an easy, good natured, good for nothing fellow” who was “completely under the control of his wife.”

The Union command had tried any number of counter-insurgency tactics in Clay: They had planted garrisons, dispatched patrols, searched for bushwhacker camps; arrested rebel sympathizers; placed ambushes of their own. Nothing worked. They now saw only one solution: to empty the land of the insurgency’s supporters. The military drew up a plan to banish Clay County’s leading secessionist families—and at the top of the list were Zerelda and her weak-kneed husband. One colonel called them “the most disloyal of that disloyal locality.”

The plan was help up by a bureaucratic glitch. The provost marshal headquarters in St. Louis wanted a more detailed report before issuing the orders. As the fighting heated up in the fall of 1864, the local officers never got around to it.

Elijah was relieved from duty on 10 July 1864.  Apparently Elijah was issued Missouri State scrip for his service, for the amount of $795.90.  As best as I have been able to learn, due to a shortage of cash, Missouri issued this scrip in lieu of U.S. dollars.  The Missouri government believed that the federal government would imdemnify these “vouchers”, reimbursing the state for the expenses involved in defending the Union.  However, the United States was slow in exchanging the scrip. When it became known that fraud was being committed through the submission of counterfeit vouchers, the federal government was reluctant to continue to honor the scrip.  Elijah was still in possession of his Missouri scrip at his death several years later.

On 1 December 1866, Elijah and Emma sold to John Thatcher, for $1000, forty acres at Platte County, the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 6, Township 52 North, Range 33 West.  General Land Office records indicate that this property was originally granted to Ware S. May and Alva Farnsworth.

In August 1870, Elijah, a farmer aged 49, was living with his wife Emma, aged 42, and their five youngest children, at Liberty, Platte Township, Clay County, Missouri.  At that time, Elijah’s real estate was valued at $1000, and his personal estate was valued at $600.  Nearby lived son William and his wife.

Emma C. Colley died at Clay County, reportedly in either 1870 or 1878.  It seems likely that she predeceased her husband.

Elijah Walker Colley died at Clay County shortly before 13 November 1878.  On that date, James Colley waived his right to administer his father’s estate and John Chrisman, public administrator for Clay County, was put in charge instead.

An inventory was made on 5 December 1878, which, though difficult to read, seemed to indicate that, at the time of his death, Elijah owned 60 acres of land at Clay County in the north end of the southeast quarter and in the north end of the southwest quarter of Section 23, Township 53, Range 33.

Elijah’s estate was owed $75.00 for the 1858 note on E.W. Jenkins, and $150.90 for interest on this note.  Elijah’s 1957 Platte County warrant was valued at $1.50.  And his state-issued scrip for his service in the Enrolled Missouri Militia was tentatively valued at $795.90, though believed to be worthless. 

At a sale of Elijah’s personal estate made at his former residence, the following items were among the things sold: a clock, a coal oil lamp, two smoothing irons, a side board, six chairs, a stand table, four beds, a set of plates, six more plates, a dinner dish, another dish, a pitcher, a “lot” of knives and forks, a sugar bowl and dish, a set of cups and saucers, a teapot, a salt cup, a coffee mill, a strainer, a set of candle molds, a tin bucket, a dipper, a bread tray, a dining table, a cook stove, a wash board, a bed blanket, a “history”, a mirror, a window shade, a corn knife, a “sorrall mare”, a “sorrall horse”, nine fat hogs, an iron kettle, and ten bushels of corn.  Elijah’s daughter Alice bought one of the beds, and son Austin bought the “sorrall horse”.  The total earnings of the sale were $180.54.

During administration of the estate, Chrisman rented Elijah’s farm to A.G. Bernard for $150.00 a year.  Apparently the property was rented about 1 March 1879.

By 10 February 1880, it was clear to the administrator that the note on E.W. Jenkins would not be collectable.

On 4 June 1881 at Clay County, James Colley, James’ wife Cora, Alice Colley, and J.S. Colley sold, for $800, to Austin Colley, their interest in 60 acres of the estate of Walker Colley, deceased.  On 30 September following at Clay County, Elijah W. Colley sold, for $36, to his brother Austin, his interest in 60 acres of the estate of E.W. Colley, deceased.

The final settlement on Elijah’s estate was made on 13 February 1882.  The debt of E.W. Jenkins was written off, as was the Missouri Civil War scrip.  At the time of the settlement, Elijah’s personal estate was in debt for $44.00, which Elijah’s son Austin paid in order to save the real estate from being sold.

On 29 March 1882 at Clay County, Austin Colley sold, for $1800, to Aurelius Owen, about sixty acres that had once belonged to his father.  This land was part of the “East Quarter” of Section 23, Township 53 North, Range 33 West, and was bounded on the south and east by Smith’s Fork of the Platte River.  This land bordered on and perhaps was at least partly in the town of Smithville in Platte Township.

Children of Elijah Walker and Emma C. (Ligon) Colley:

  • 48.1.  William T., born about 1850.
  • 48.2.  James Clay [24], born 12 June 1852.
  • 48.3.  Richard Austin “Oscar”, born about 1856.
  • 48.4.  John Sethe, born about 1858.
  • 48.5.  Elijah Walker, born about 1860.
  • 48.6.  Martha Alice, born about 1863.

Sources

  • 1860 United States Census, Platte County, Missouri, (M653-640-566).
  • 1860 United States Census, Platte County, Missouri, (M653-640-567).
  • 1870 United States Census, Clay County, Missouri, page 784A (M593-770-784A).
  • 1870 United States Census, Clay County, Missouri, page 784A (M593-770-784B).
  • —, Clay County, Missouri, probate record (inventory, sale bill, account, and settlement) for Elijah W. Colley, recorded 14 February 1882, microfilm at Clay County Probate Clerk’s office, Liberty, Missouri, transcribed from a poor quality photocopy by Luster Earl Colley.  (Original papers are believed to have been given to the Clay County Historical Society).
  • —, Clay County, Missouri, unidentified deed, 29 March 1882, from the Luster Earl Colley genealogy collection [Reference 680].
  • —, Clay County, Missouri, Deed Book I, pages 310-11, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Clay County, Missouri, Deed Book 52, page 175, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Clay County, Missouri, Deed Book 54, page 300, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Clay County, Missouri, Will Book F, page 302, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Cumberland County, Virginia, Chancery Causes, 1750-1912, Elijah W. Walker v Joseph Jenkins, et al., 1848-030, Local Government Records Collection, Cumberland Court Records, the Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, digital images found at “Virginia Memory: Chancery Records Index,” at http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=049-1848-030, accessed 1 August 2009.
  • —, Cumberland County, Virginia, Deed Book 23, page 68, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Cumberland County, Virginia, Deed Book 25, page 270, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Cumberland County, Virginia, Will Book 8, page 547, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Cumberland County, Virginia, Will Book 11, page 32, transcribed by Julie Coley, as found at “Will of William Colley,” at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vacumber/wills/colley.html, accessed 31 August 2009.
  • —, Cumberland County, Virginia, Will Book 11, page 32, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Missouri Miscellany, Volume 9 (March 1980), extracted by Carol Lee Mattocks.
  • —, Platte County, Missouri, unidentified deed (Elijah W. Colley and Emma C. Colley to John L. DBerry), 28 June 1852, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Platte County, Missouri, Deed Book L, pages 197-199, incompletely transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Platte County, Missouri, Deed Book T, pages 238-39, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • —, Platte County, Missouri, Marriage Book A, page 154, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
  • Bureau of Land Management, “Home – BLM GLO Records [General Land Office Records],” at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/, Land Patent Accession/Serial Number, MO4440__.047, accessed 30 August 2009.
  • Bureau of Land Management, “Home – BLM GLO Records [General Land Office Records],” at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/, Land Patent Accession/Serial Number, MO4440__.295, accessed 30 August 2009.
  • Luster Earl Colley, The Ligon Family in Platte County (North Syracuse, New York: unpublished, undated manuscript), from the Luster Earl Colley genealogical collection.
  • Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry, Marriage Records of Clay County, Missouri, 1852-1900, Volume 2 (Chillicothe, Missouri: E.P. Ellsberry, 1962), pages 11, 37.
  • W.W. Hixson and Company, Plat Book of Clay County, Missouri (Rockford, Illinois: W.W. Hixson and Company, 1930), page 16[?] (T.53 & 54N, Part of Platte, R.33W).
  • Nadine Hodges and Mrs. Howard W. Woodruff, Genealogical Notes from the “Liberty Tribune” 1874-1880, Volume 2 (Liberty, Missouri: no publisher, 1976), page 62.
  • [Nadine Hodges, Audrey L. Woodruff, Howard Woodruff, Missouri Pioneers of Clay County (Bowling Green, Missouri: Infotech Publications, 1992), page 60.
  • Office of Adjutant General, Record of Service Card, Civil War, 1861-1865, Box 17, Reel s814, as found at “Missouri Digital Heritage :  Soldiers’ Records: War of 1812 – World War I,” at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/soldiers/, (name search = “Colley, Elijah W.”), accessed 30 August 2009.
  • Office of the Secretary of State, Missouri, “Missouri State Archives – Death Records Certificates [Elijah Walker Colley],” at http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/deathcertificates/, accessed 17 January 2007.
  • Office of the Secretary of State, Missouri, “Missouri State Archives – Death Records Certificates [John Sethe Colley],” at
    http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/deathcertificates/, accessed 17 January 2007.
  • Nita [Rueth], “The Colley Surname Message Board,” at http://www.familyhistory.com/messages, posted 26 July 2000.
  • Nita [Rueth], “The Colley Surname Message Board,” at http://www.familyhistory.com/messages, posted 3 August 2000.
  • T.J. Stiles, “The War on Terror, 1865: The Civil War in Missouri and the Rise of Jesse James,” the 2006 James Neal Primm Lecture at the St. Louis Mercantile Library (11 September 2006), printed as an essay at “The Economist, 10/5/02 – Biographer T.J. Stiles,” at http://www.tjstiles.net/work7.htm, accessed 31 August 2009.
  • Audrey L. Woodruff, Marriage Records: Platte County, Missouri: Marriage Records 1839-1855 (Bowling Green, Missouri: Infotech Publications, 1992), page 29.
  • W.H. Woodson, History of Clay County, Missouri (Topeka, Kansas: Historical Publishing Company, 1920), page 464, transcribed by Luster Earl Colley.
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