This week’s “150 Years Ago…” column is a continuation of the column two weeks ago regarding the burning of Dallas, TX. and the general uneasiness regarding possible slave rebellions in the South. It is impossible to start a serious study of the Civil War with the shots fired at Ft. Sumter, SC, as there were many factors to consider as early as 1860, and this week’s column sheds new light on a forgotten cause of the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi.
Much like the acts of terrorism that John Brown committed in Kansas and Harper’s Ferry, a war had begun in Texas and the repercussions were felt in Little Rock, as a Mr. Pryor related more information on the laying waste to the city of Dallas, TX. in late July, 1860.
What does this have to do with the Civil War in Arkansas? The reader must become very aware of the goings-on in Dallas and the acts of terrorism that the abolitionists were enacting in the South due to an imminent threat to Arkansas. In the next week’s column, we will examine the first acts of war on Arkansas citizens.
The causes of the Civil War are actually very cut and dry as far as the South was concerned: the South was attacked by a terrorist organization called Abolitionists! Following is an account of the Texas fires to compare next week’s column to:
[LITTLE ROCK] ARKANSAS TRUE DEMOCRAT, August 11, 1860
From the Texas State Gazette Extra.
The Late Conflagrations.
Terrible Development—An Abolition Con-
spiracy—The sixth day of August set for
a General Slaughter of the Whites—the
People of Dallas Sleeping with their Arms
in Hand—May call on the Lower Coun-
ties for Assistance.
Dallas, Texas, July 16th, 1860.
Major John Marshall—
Dear Sir: I will give you some of the facts connected with the burning of Dallas, and the deep laid scheme of villainy to devastate the whole of northern Texas. The town of Dallas was fired on Sunday the 8th inst., between one and two o’clock, P.M. The day was very hot, the thermometer standing at 106 F., in the shade and a high south-west wind blowing. The fire was first discovered in front of Peak’s new drug store, on the west side of the square, and continued to spread rapidly until the whole north side was consumed, and one half of the east side; together with all the building on Main street east of the square, and west of the Crutchfield house. Several other buildings were consumed, with the loss of dry goods, groceries, etc., in all of them.
On Monday, the next day, the house of John J. Eakens, one mile from town was fired. On Wednesday, the handsome establishment of E. P. Nicholson was fired, but discovered in time to arrest the flames. On Thursday, the stables, out-houses, grain and oats belonging to Crill Miller, esq., 8 miles from Dallas were destroyed by fire. All of these were so plainly the work of an incendiary, that suspicions were excited, and several white men and negroes were arrested and underwent an examination.—This led to the detection of a most diabolical plot to destroy the country. The scheme was laid by a master mind, and conceived with infernal ingenuity. It was determined by certain abolition preachers who were expelled from the country last year, to devastate with fire and assassination, the whole of northern Texas, and when the country was reduced to a helpless condition, a general revolt of the slaves aided by white men from the north, and many in our midst, was to come off on the day of election in August. The object of firing the town of Dallas, was to destroy the arms of the artillery company, ammunition and provision known to be collected here; to destroy the stores throughout the country containing powder and lead—burn the grain and thus reduce this portion of the country to a state of utter helplessness.
When this was accomplished, assistance was expected from Indians and abolitionists. Many other places have already been fired, Denton, Pilot Point, Belknap, Gainesville, Black-jack Grove; some stores in Kaufman and Navarro, Waxahachie and other places, that I do not remember.—Each county has a special superintendent, a white man, and each county is laid off into districts under the supervision of a white man, who controls the action of the negroes in that district. The negroes are not permitted to know what is doing outside of their immediate sphere of action.—Many of our most prominent citizens were to be assassinated, when they make their escape from the burning houses. Arms have been discovered in possession of the negroes, and the whole plot revealed, for a general insurrection and civil war at the August election. I write in haste; we sleep upon our arms, and the whole country is most deeply excited. Many whites are implicated, whose names are not yet made public. Blunt and McKinney, the abolition preachers, were expected here at the head of a large force at that time.—You had better issue extras containing these facts, and warn the country of the dangers that threaten it. We are expecting the worst, and do not know what an hour may bring forth. Do the best you can for us. We have not printing press and can do nothing in that line. We may have to call on the lower counties for assistance—no one can tell. All is confusion, excitement and distrust. I will write again. There never were such times before.
Yours in haste,
Chas. R. Pryor.