Sunday, July 21, 2013

Civil War Sunday - The "Other" John Brown and the Battle of Fayetteville, AR

After an over 25 year absence, my spouse and I plan to return to Arkansas, the site of our failed homesteading adventure and the location of my future "chicken memoir".

(I've tried to write some more of the memoir during this month's Camp NaNoWriMo session. I keep getting sidetracked, and I will be blogging soon about my experience. And, yes, the Civil War in Arkansas had a tiny bit to do with it. )  But, now, back to Civil War Sunday.

Arkansas, during the Civil War, was part of the Confederate States of America, but was occupied by Union troops for part of the war.   Fayetteville and the surrounding area within Washington County, Arkansas, were part of that occupation by 1863.

The Western battles in this war tend to be neglected by many - so many times it seems we concentrate on the action on the East Coast.  Battles in Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas and other more western states deserve more attention.

The Civil War was in my consciousness, even all those years ago.  I was in my 30's, and my entire focus was on trying (and failing) to "live off the land".

I lived not that far (as a bird would fly) from the sites of two 1862 Civil War battles - Prairie Grove Battlefield Park and the Cane Hill battleground.  For all I know, one or both armies - Union and/or Confederate - traveled across  the land we owned.  I wonder if the Washington County, Arkansas historian could help me find out. 

One thing I never realized is that Fayetteville, the city in Northwest Arkansas that I lived in for several months, and worked in for over four years, had its own John Brown.

No, not John Brown the abolitionist of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia fame.

No, this John Brown was about as different as "that" John Brown could be.  Fayetteville's John Brown was John Henry Brown, a Texan, who eventually became the mayor of Dallas, Texas after the war.

Brown served in the Confederate Army and, for a time, was stationed in Fayetteville.  While he was there he published a Fayetteville paper called The War Bulletin. This paper, to put it mildly, was pro-secessionist. 

Brown also printed money for the Fayetteville area on his printing press.

In 1863, a small battle, the Battle of Fayetteville, was fought (a failed attempt by the Confederates to liberate Fayetteville from Federal occupation) at what is now a major intersection of Fayetteville.  A commemoration of its 150th anniversary was held on April 18.  This newsletter has an interesting account, with photos, of the 100th anniversary commemoration in 1963.

Fayetteville, Arkansas has changed tremendously since I lived and worked there in the early 1980's.  It has more than doubled in population and there has been a lot of new development.  I look forward to visiting later this year after over 25 years of last being there, and - yes, learning more about its Civil War history.


  1. Very interesting piece about where you used to live. I find myself enjoying history more now than ever.

  2. Fascinating! I enjoy reading the history of the Civil War. My husband has - as many families had - 2 uncles, then brothers, who each fought on opposite sides. One Union and one Confederate. It's amazing the healing that needed to take place after that war. Sometimes I feel like we are in the first stages of a war today...

  3. My father is a history buff but we never visited Arkansas.

  4. Alana,
    I really want to read this chicken memoir that I keep hearing about . . . and thanks again for another fascinating bit of history that I have never heard of before.

  5. I love the Civil War too. My husband and I took a day trip to Vicksburg last year and found out how much the 'ladies' contributed. Not many people consider our contributions.

  6. The Headquarters House looks beautiful. HOpe you have a great visit when you go and look forward to your pix.


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