Wood River Massacre

Pages 82-83



The most startling and cruel atrocity ever committed by the Indians within the limits of Madison county was the Wood River massacre, on the tenth of July, 1814, by which seven persons, one woman and six children, lost their lives. This tragedy took place in the forks of Wood river, between two and three miles east of the present Upper Alton. The victims were the wife and two children of Reason Reagan, two children of Abel Moore, and two children of William Moore.


At the beginning of the war of 1812-14, the citizens of the county, who lived at exposed locations on the frontier, sought refuge in the forts and block-houses; but, as no Indians made their appearance and the Rangers were constantly on the alert, scouring the country to the north and east, the most began to feel so secure that in the summer of 1814 they returned to their farms and dwellings. There were six, or eight families residing at that time in the forks of Wood river. The men were mostly absent from home in ranging service. At the residence of George Moore on the east branch of Wood river, a block-house had been built to which the women and children could flee should danger be apprehended.


The massacre occurred on a Sabbath afternoon. Reagan had gone two, or three miles from home to attend church, leaving his wife and two children at the house of Abel Moore, which was about a mile distant from where he lived, and half-way between his house and the block-house. About four o’clock in the afternoon Mrs. Reagan started back to her own dwelling, intending to return to Abel Moore‘s in a short time. She was accompanied by her own two children, and the four children of Abel and William Moore. A little afterward two men of the neighborhood passed along the road, in an opposite direction to that taken by Mrs. Reagan. One of them heard at a certain place, a low call, as of a boy, which he did not answer, and for a repetition of which he did not delay.


When it began to grow dark uneasiness was felt at the absence of the Moore children, and William Moore came to Abel Moore‘s, and not finding them there passed on toward Reagan‘s, while his wife started in a direct line, not following the road, for the same place. William Moore now came back with the startling information that some one had been killed by the Indians. He had discovered a human body lying on the ground which by reason of the darkness and his haste, he was unable to identify.


The first thought was to find a refuge in the block-house! Mr. Moore desired his brother’s family to go by the road directly to the fort, while he would pass by his own house and take his own family with him, but the night was dark, the road passed through a heavy forest, and the women and children chose to accompany William Moore though the distance to the fort, by the road only one mile, was thereby nearly doubled. The feelings of the party, as they groped their way through the dark woods, may be more easily imagined than described. Sorrow for the supposed loss of relatives and children, was mingled with horror at the manner of their death, and fear for their own safety. Silently they passed on till they came to the dwelling of William Moore, when he exclaimed, as if relieved from some dreadful apprehension, “Thank God, Polly is not killed!” The horse which his wife had ridden was standing near the house.


As they let down the bars and gained admission to the yard, his wife came running out, exclaiming, “They are killed by the Indians, I expect.” The whole party then departed hastily for the block-house, to which place, all the neighbors, to whom warning had been communicated by signals, gathered by daybreak.


It has been mentioned that Mrs. William Moore, as well as her husband, had gone in search of the children. Passing by different routes, they did not meet on the way, nor at the place of the slaughter. Mrs. Moore who was on horseback, carefully noted, as she went, every discernible object till at length she saw a human figure, lying near a log. There was not sufficient light to tell the size, or sex, of the person, and she called over again and again the name of one and another of her children, supposing it to be one of them asleep. At length she alighted, and examined the object more closely. What must have been her sensations as she placed her hand upon the back of a naked corpse, and felt, on further examination, the quivering flesh from which the scalp had recently been torn? In the gloom of the night she could indistinctly see the figure, of the little child of Mrs. Reagan‘s sitting so near the body of its mother as to lean its head, first one side, then the other, on the insensible and mangled body, and as she leaned over the little one, it said— “The black man raised his axe and cutted them again.” She saw no further, but thrilled with horror and alarm, hastily remounted her frightened horse, and quickly hurried home where she heated water, intending by that means, to defend herself from the savage foe.


There was little rest that night at the fort. The women and children of the neighborhood, with the few men who were not absent with the Rangers, crowded together, not knowing but that at any minute the Indians might begin their attack. Seven were missing, and the bodies of these lay within a mile, or two, mangled and bleeding in the forest. At three o’clock in the morning a messenger was dispatched with the tidings to Fort Russell.


At dawn of day the scene of the tragedy was sought and the bodies gathered for burial. They were buried the same day, in three graves, carefully dug, with boards laid beneath, beside, and above the bodies. There were no men to make the coffins.


The Indians had built a large fire, and also blazed the way to make the whites think that there was a large party. The news soon spread, and it was not long before Gen. Whiteside, with nine others, gave pursuit. Among the number were James Preuitt, Abraham Preuitt, James Stockden, Wm. Montgomery, Peter Wagoner and others, whose descendants now live in Moro and Wood River. The weather was extremely hot, and some of their horses gave out and fell beneath their riders. Gen. Whiteside gave out entirely. His orders was to keep up the pursuit. It was on the second day in the evening, that they came in sight of the Indians, on the dividing ridge of the Sangamon river. There stood at that time a lone cotton-wood free on the ridge, and this several of the Indians had climbed to look back. They saw their pursuers, and from that tree they separated and went in different directions, all making for the timber. When the whites came to the spot where the Indians had divided, they concluded to divide and pursue the Indians separately. James Preuitt and Abraham took the trail of one of the Indians. James Preuitt having the fastest and best horse, soon came within sight of his Indian. He rode up to within thirty yards of him and shot him in the thigh. The Indian fell, but managed to get to a tree top that was blown down. Abraham Preuitt soon came up, and they concluded to ride in on the Indian and finish him, which they did by Abraham shooting and killing him where he lay. In his shot-pouch was found the scalp of Mrs. Regan. The Indian raised his gun, but was too weak to fire, and had also lost his flint, or perhaps he might have killed one of the pursuers. The rifle is supposed to be in the hands of the Preuitt family yet. It was somewhere near where Virden now stands that the party came upon them. The Indians hid in the timber and in a drift in the creek. Night coming on is all that saved them. It was ascertained at the treaty afterwards at Galeua that only Indians escaped, and that was the chief. The Indians bled themselves on account of the heat to prevent them from fainting. Solomon Preuitt, who was not in the pursuit, assisted in the burial of Mrs. Reagan and the children. He hauled them in a little one- horse sled to the old burial ground south of Bethalto, where a simple stone marks their last resting place. There is also buried in the same burying ground an Indian girl who was captured by Abraham Preuitt during one of the campaigns in the war of 1812. The Indians had been pursued into the Winnebago Swamps, and Abraham Preuitt hearing firing in a distant part of the swamp concluded to go and see what was the matter. On nearing the spot he found Davis Carter and one other firing at the little Indian child who was mired and could not get out. He called them cowards and ordered them to cease firing at a helpless child. Preuitt went into the swamp and rescued the child and brought it home with him. She lived to the age of fifteen, being about six years old at the time of capture. She was always of a wild nature.” *

*from an article furnished by E. K. Preuitt

Finding my Roots/ Abbott Reagan Branch…John Andrew Abbott

John Abbott

When John Andrew Abbott was born on August 13, 1825, in Lincoln, North Carolina, his father, Absalom, was 21 and his mother, Annis, was 18. He married Winifred Brewer on February 3, 1858, in Blount, Tennessee. They had 13 children in 27 years. He died on January 11, 1887, in Blount, Tennessee, at the age of 61, and was buried in Tennessee.

Winifred Brewer (1830-1913)
Married 1858
William Gilbert (1848-1937)   *******Our Ancestor
Joseph Green (1850-1875)
Mary Claire (1855-1901)
Sarah L (1857-1930)
John Horace (1859-1923)
Anna (1862-1886)
Annis Clementine (1864-1929)
Nancy Jane (1866-1927)
Margaret Catherine (1869-1911)
Nancy Elizabeth (1870-1959)
Daniel Jackson (1871-1941)
James (1873-1887)
Margret Katrine (1875-)
6th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry

Organized at Boston and Williamsburg, Ky., April 18, 1862. Attached to 25th Brigade, 7th Division, Army of the Ohio, to October, 1862. 1st Brigade, District of West Virginia, Dept. of the Ohio, to November, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division (Centre), 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 14th Army Corps, to April, 1863. District of Central Kentucky, Dept. of the Ohio, to June, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, to August, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 14th Army Corps, to November, 1863. Spear’s Tennessee Brigade, Chattanooga, Tenn., to December, 1863. Spear’s Tennessee Brigade, 2nd Division, 23rd Army Corps, to January, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Rousseau’s 3rd Division, 12th Army Corps, Dept. of the Cumberland, to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, to February, 1865. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 23rd Army Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to May, 1865.

SERVICE.-Moved to Cumberland Ford April, 1862. Cumberland Gap Campaign April to June. Big Creek Gap June 11, 12 and 15. Occupation of Cumberland Gap June 18-September 17. Wallace Cross Roads July 15. Big Creek Gap September 4. Expedition to Pine Mountain September 6-10. Pine Mountain September 7 (Co. “B”). Evacuation of Cumberland Gap and retreat to Greenupsburg, Ky., September 17-October 3. Goose Creek Salt Works September 19. Near Gallipolis, Ohio, and operations in the Kenawha Valley, W. Va., till November. Ordered to Louisville, Ky., thence to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Nashville, Tenn. Duty at Nashville till January, 1863. Guard trains from Nashville to Murfreesboro January 2-3. Action at Cox’s or Blood’s Hill January 3. Manchester Pike January 5. At Nashville till April, and at Carthage, Tenn., till August. Ordered to McMinnville August 31. March to Chattanooga September 12-20. Sequatchie Valley September 21-23. Action at Missionary Ridge and Shallow Ford Gap September 22. Near Summerville September 23. At Sale Creek till December. Ordered to Kingston, Tenn. Action at Kingston December 4. Duty near Knoxville and operations in East Tennessee till April, 1864. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May to September. Demonstrations on Dalton May 5-13. Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Pursuit to Cassville May 18-19. Etowah River May 20. Operations on Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 2-June 5. Kingston May 27. Allatoona May 26-29. Pine Mountain June 3-7. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Muddy Creek June 17. Noyes Creek June 19-20. Kolb’s Farm June 22. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Nickajack Creek July 2-5. Vining Station July 4. Chattahoochie River July 6-17. Decatur July 19. Howard House July 20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Utoy Creek August 5-7. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Pursuit of Hood into Alabama October 3-26. Nashville Campaign November-December. Guard fords of Duck River till November 28. Spring Hill November 29. Battle of Franklin November 30. Battle of Nashville December 15-16. Pursuit of Hood to the Tennessee River December 17-28. At Clifton, Tenn., till January 15, 1865. Movement to Washington, D. C., thence to Fort Fisher, N. C., January 15-February 15. Fort Anderson February 18. Town Creek February 20. Capture of Wilmington February 22. Campaign of the Carolinas March 1 to April 26. Advance on Kinston and Goldsboro March 6-21. Relieved for muster out March 31, and ordered to Nashville, Tenn. Mustered out April 2 to May 17, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 1 Officer and 43 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 157 Enlisted men by disease, Total 20











William Gilbert Abbott and Nancy Elizabeth Reagan my Great Grandparents

William gilbert Abbott& Nancy Reagan Abbott Reagan Abbott

My Great grandparents. Parents to my grandmother Nancy Elizabeth Abbott Reagan

William Gilbert Abbott was born December 10,1848 in Sevier County, Tennessee. He died June 11, 1937 in Sevier County, Tennessee, and he is buried in Headricks Chapel Cemetery in Sevier County, Tennessee.

William Gilbert married Nancy Elizabeth Reagan, daughter of Richard Reason Reagan and Sarah Bohannan Reagan on March 6, 1866 in Sevier County, Tennessee. She died September 19, 1931in Knoxville, Tennessee and buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Knoxville.

William Gilbert and Nancy Elizabeth had 12 children, seven of whom grew to adulthood (denoted by capitalized names below):

John M., born April 1867; died January 4, 1870′

MARY THEODOCIA, born October 20, 1869; died May 2, 1938.

MARTHA ELIZABETH, born June 5, 1872; died May 11. 1910.****Our ancestor.

SARAH WINAFORD, born December 14, 1874; died September 24, 1905.

Rebecca, died at birth November 20 1876.

LAURA ELLEN, born April 24 1878; died September 25th, 1927

KARETZA CATHERINE, born August 1, 1880; died November 30, 1924.

E.J., died at birth February 5,1882; buried at Little Greenbrier.

RICHARD LEON (DAN),born May 10th 1884; died January 21, 1967.

J.G., died at birth May 26, 1887.

WILLIAM P., born June 3, 1888; died December 6,1958.

Lillie Dorothy, born June 6,1891; died April 11, 1900.

Nancy Elizabeth Reagan Abbott Three Sisters

william gilbert abbott with dog

Nancy Elizabeth Reagan Abbott Headstone

william gilbert abbott 1







Finding My Roots/Abbott, Reagan Branch

Mattie Abbott Whitaker Goode

Flora Avis Whitaker, Daniel Frank Whitaker, Martha Elizabeth Whitaker Goode, William Russell Whitaker and Myrtle Elizabeth Whitaker.

My Grandmother Martha Elizabeth (Mattie) Abbott (Whitaker Goode). Martha Elizabeth was the third child of William Gilbert Abbott and Nancy Reagan. She was born 06 May 1872, in Sevier County, Tennessee. She died 10 June 1911 in Knoxville, Tennessee and is buried in the Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee.

On 08 July, 1888. Martha Elizabeth married Asa Green Whitaker and they had five children together and they are listed below.

Carrie Lee Whitaker, born in 1890 in Concord, Tennessee; died in infancy in 1890 and buried at Grisby’s  Chapel Church Cemetery .

William Russell Whitaker, born 26 July 1892 in Concord, Tennessee; died 21 November 1972 in Knoxville, Tennessee; buried in Zion Church Cemetery on Clinton Highway in Powell, Tennessee.

Myrtle Elizabeth Whitaker (Llewellyn) born 05 June 1895 in Concord, Tennessee; died 24 July, 1975 in Knoxville, Tennessee; buried New Gray Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Flora Avis Whitaker (Laugherty) born 06 May 1898 in Concord, Tennessee; died 29 December  1974 in Knoxville, Tennessee; buried in Woodlawn Cemetery , Knoxville, Tennessee.

Daniel Frank Whitaker born 19 March 1900 in Knoxville, Tennessee; died 9 August 1985 in Conway, South Carolina ; buried in Mt. Leon Cemetery in Longs, South, Carolina; he served in the United States Amy 119th Infantry Division in world one; taken prisoner of war by the Germans while on a scouting mission in France.

After Asa Green Whitaker died Martha Elizabeth Abbott Whitaker married my grandfather Charles Key Goode and they had three children together.

Mamie Goode, born 29 July, 1907 in Knoxville, Tennessee; died 17 January 1908; buried in Old Gray Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Nora Kate Goode (Matthews), born 28 August 1904 in Knoxville, Tennessee; died 25 November 1985 in Whittier, California;  in Rose Hill Cemetery in Whittier, California.

***Ben Cates Goode, born 25 July, 1909 in Knoxville, Tennessee; died 28 November 1980 in Knoxville, Tennessee; buried in Highland Memorial Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.

After Martha Elizabeth died Charles Key Goode  Minnie Minervia Weaver married 09 August, 1911 in Knoxville, Tennessee. They had two children together She died 05 September 1956 in Crossville, Tennessee; buried Knoxville, Tennessee at Highland  Memorial Cemetery.

Mary Evelyn Goode (Jones) born 13 June 1917 in Knoxville, Tennessee; died 29 August Crossville, Tennessee; buried Highland Memorial Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Ruby Irene Goode (Sowards) born 04 July 1914 Knoxville, Tennessee; died Knoxville, Tennessee; buried Highland Memorial Cemetery. 

Minnie Weaver Goode  Minnie Goode also known as Momma Goode.





Reason Reagan Part II

Reason Reagan Born 1733 Pittsylvania County Virginia, USA, Death July 1814 Madison County Illinois, USA.

Reason Reagan ran away from home sometime before 1808. He married, 3 February 1808 in Livingston County, Kentucky, Rachel Thomas. About 1809 Reason returned to Tennessee and his sister Catherine “Caty” Reagan returned with him to Kentucky. Then about 1810 Reason moved the family from Livingston County, Kentucky to a settlement at the mouth of Wood River in Illinois Territory. Caty lived with her brother Reason and sister-in-law Rachel in the Wood River community of Madison County, Illinois Territory, Rachel, her 6 year old daughter Elizabeth, and 3 year old son Timothy were massacred by Indians on Sunday 10 July 1814.

Reason Reagan lost his life while pursuing the Indians after the massacre occurred. Rachel, Elizabeth, and Timothy Reagan are buried in Vaughn Cemetery in Madison County, Illinois.

Reason Reagan was buried either where he died or with his family.

“The Book of Ragan/Reagan”, Donald B. Reagan, 1993, p 245-252.


Source: Stories

Charles Bowman

Charles BowmanCivil War FlagsCharles BowmanCharles Bowman Pension File

My great grandfather is an enigma to me. I grew up thinking that his father was Samuel Bowman who married Elizabeth Greene, however he is not mentioned in the will. His son James Wiley is the only one mentioned. It was only when I became interested in genealogy that I began to question this because the dates didn’t add up. I asked myself, did they only have one child? If he is not connected to him how did he end up here in Knoxville, TN living right in the mist of all the Bowman’s? Could he have been disowned? Questions, questions, questions. So I began to dig and found that he was quite a mystery. When he was in the Civil War he enlisted as Charles Bowman and then took the alias Giles Davis. He stated on his military records that he was born in Franklin, Virginia, I can find no evidence of that. I can find Giles Davis born in Franklin Virginia. Giles Davis did serve in the Civil War but in Virginia. On Charles’s war records he enlisted as Charles Bowman. He is buried as Charles Bowman. Growing up I was always told that he changed his name because he went to the confederate from the union. I cannot find anywhere in my research for that to be true. So I can’t prove that he is Charles Bowman or Giles Davis. All his military records show him both ways using his alias after he first enlisted.

My great grandfather appears to be a rather slippery fellow. Charles Bowman was actually born Giles W. Davis, in Franklin Virginia, sometime between August 6, 1837 and August 5, 1838 . It is unclear why he changed his name but I believe he might have been a bounty jumper. He served in: 1: Co L, 4th Cavalry “Regular Army” (5ft. 11 inch; dark hair; black eyes ; dark completion).  2: 18th Ohio Infantry, Co A. Mustered in for three years service on November 4, 1861. GILES WAS ON DETACHED DUTY TIL JAN 1865 when records said that he was killed. He was not killed; he was serving in two units at the same time. 3: Sgt., K Company, 13th TN Cavalry (USA). Born Franklin, Virginia, Enlisted 24 August 1863 Louisville, Ky. In other records, Charles is found  “alias Giles Davis”. The first official record of Charles ” Bowman”  was when he married Mary Jane Rackard in 1864. The parents of Giles Davis aka Charles Bowman were Jonathan Davis and Sarah Parcell. It is unclear if he is related to the Davis family in the area.

Another time I was searching the internet I came upon this blog about Charles Bowman aka Giles Davis.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Bit of a scoundrel?

One of my great-great grandfather’s fellow sergeants in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, USA, was a man by the name of Charles Bowman.

Only Charles Bowman was not his real name.

His real name was Giles Davis, and when he enlisted in the 13th Tennessee Cavalry on August 24, 1863, he had deserted from the 4th US Infantry a mere eight days before.

Why desert only to re-enlist under an assumed name? I don’t know, although he is not the only soldier I have run across who did this, merely the only one who did so in such short order. Perhaps he had a falling out with a commanding officer, or “irreconcilable differences” with a fellow soldier, but still wanted to do his duty.

According to his pension record, Giles W. Davis also served with the 18th Ohio Infantry, Company A- and sure enough there was a Giles W. Davis in that regiment and company. This Davis enlisted on May 20, 1864 and died of wounds in January, 1865. How could this be? Charles Bowman survived the war and was never AWOL on his military record. How could he be two places at once, and live to receive a pension?

Checking the “miscellaneous” military records gives us the answer- he was on detached duty “recruiting” until January 1865- the same time that Giles Davis was killed.

Unfortunately at this time I do not have access to his full military records, but I am sure there is more to this tale. It’s one of those times that I lived near Washington, DC and could run to the National Archives at the hat.

In the meantime, this tale will stay on the back burner until I have more information available to me.

Posted by Kate Hallerson

Well I have all the military records and it is still a mystery. All I know is that he must have been one tough soldier to serve three years as a Sargent in the Civil War. And only he knew who he really was.

Mary Jane Rickard Mary Jane Rackard and Charles were married on January 20th, 1864 and had nine children together.

John Albert Bowman b. 1865-1953.

Elbert Bowman b. 1867-.

Sara Josephine Bowman b. 1868-1929 Married Robert Wilson.

Eliza Cordelia Bowman b. 1871-1955 Married John Henry Nelson.

Lucy Bowman b. 1875-1954 Married Daniel “Ellick” Sayne.

James D. Bowman b. 1876-1961 Married Flora Sayne.

Cynthia F. Bowman b. 1882-1960 Married Claude Monday.

Oscar T. Bowman b. 1882-1960 Married Rebecca Stanton. ******Oscar is our ancestor.

Oscar and Cynthia were twins and they both died the same year.















Oscar Bowman

Grandpaw Bowman

Grandpa Bowman

The Bowman branch of my tree is very small because I have hit a brick wall. My great grandfather Charles Bowman   used an alias and my grandmother Rebecca Stanton was born out of wedlock.  That pretty much brings me to a halt but I keep looking. I never asked my grandfather anything about his parents because they had been dead for awhile before I was born.

OSCAR BOWMAN my grandfather married REBECCA STANTON and they had nine children together.

Edna Bowman 1908-1966

Hazel Bowman 1909-

Carletta Bowman 1910-1997  ***My mother married Ben Cates Goode

Ruth Bowman 1912-           she married Joe Townsend

William Preston Bowman 1913-1973

Floyd Bowman 1914-1986 Gladys Bowman

Steve Ellis Bowman 1918-1967 he married Ruth Bowman

Billy Pearl Bowman 1921-2003she married Henry Sripling

Leona Christine Bowman 1928-2005 she married Earnest Thomas

I remember going to my grandpa and grandma Bowman’s house ad they had no electricity or running water and we had to go to the outhouse to use the bathroom. They were farmers of sorts but just enough to get by. We would sleep upstairs on beds that had what was called straw tics, that was a stripped fabric filled with straw that would serve as a mattress.  I can remember helping grandma churn butter and then she would put them into wooden molds to harden in the spring house. breaking beans was a thing that we all did together sitting on the back porch. Memories of that house are vague because I was very young.  Then I remember that my grandma became ill and moving to Detroit, Michigan so that her daughters who lived there could care for her. After that grandpa moved into a mobile home and became a gardener for a very prominent attorney in town and worked there until he was up in years. My aunts would come home in the summer and bring grandma but I don’t know that she ever saw grandpa again. She passed a few years later and was brought back to Knoxville, TN to be buried.

My fondest memory of my grandpa was that he played the banjo and all of us kids would sit around and sing. Now that I am older I wished I had asked him to tell us stories about his childhood and his mother and daddy.

Oscar and Rebecca Bowman and Children                           GRebecca and Oscar Bowman

Rebecca Bowman