Saga of the Deal Family
William and Susannah Yount Deal moved their young family to Indiana from North Carolina in the late 1820's or early 1830's. Their first two sons, Frederick and Silas Philo, were born in North Carolina. Sons Andrew Marcus and Daniel were born in Indiana. The family may have lived in Ray Township, Morgan County, Indiana. Early settlers sometimes put up a cabin and "squatted" on land some years before entering their tract. William entered land in Ray Township on September 12, 1835 and November 26, 1836.
In the mid-1850's, the Deal family moved to Denton County, Texas, near Clear Creek. At the start of the Civil War, they determined to move north, as Texas was sympathetic to the Confederate States of America. William and Susannah were among many Union loyalists who fled Texas at the beginning of the war. They went to Humboldt, Allen County, Kansas, because they could get inexpensive farm land in a new state where slavery was unpopular.
The Deals discover that Kansas is suffering from instability and conflict.
Young Patriots Answer the Nation's Call
Daniel Deal enlisted, at age 28, in Company D, 70th Indiana Volunteer Infantry on 24 July 1862. He attained the rank of First Duty Sergeant and was the Color Bearer for the 70th. Private Absalom Ross and Sgt. Deal were messmates in company D. Daniel was wounded by shell explosion in the battle of Resaca, Georgia, on May 15, 1864.
Sgt. Deal had 3 brothers who also served the Union in the War Between the States: Silas Philo Deal, Company B, 30th Indiana Volunteer Regiment; Andrew Marcus Deal and Martin Van Buren Deal, both of Company E, 9th Kansas Volunteer Regiment. Daniel and Silas survived the war, Andrew and Martin did not.
This story depicts episodes in our Country's history that bring out the terrible cost in lives that families paid and the suffering they went through as a result of our Nation's conflict. It also shows us examples of the courage and faith that our ancestors had as they met the challenges of frontier life. They truly were a hardy people.
The years just prior to Kansas statehood were turbulent. Intense land speculation was followed by an economic crash and a severe drought. Border wars began around 1855 with Missourians who wanted Kansas to become a pro-slavery state. Southwestern Missouri was settled by Southerners, who developed large plantations which were only profitable with slave labor. Slavery had flourished in Missouri for 40 years, and owners feared their slaves would flee across the border if Kansas became a "free state." Bands of Missourians terrorized eastern Kansas, until the state became known as "Bleeding Kansas." This issue was resolved when the number of freestaters who came to Kansas greatly outnumbered the pro-slavery voters.
The Deal and Myers families, settling near Humboldt in Allen County, were typical of most Kansas settlers who bought farm land to work themselves. Others, including Lawrenceburg, Indiana, native James Henry Lane, came to Kansas to prosper but had different methods and goals in mind. Former Indiana Lieutenant Governor Lane planned to use political power, influence peddling, patronage, graft, and corruption to achieve his fortune.
James H. Lane became a powerful man in Kansas very quickly. His career typifies the effort of a significant number of opportunists who shaped events in that state, but he was more successful than most. He is mentioned here because his activities directly altered or ended the lives of thousands of Kansans and Missourians, including members of the Deal and Myers families.
Lane was a strategist who determined what needed to be said or done to reach his objective, then acted accordingly. This tactic required a chameleon nature, and others were kept on their toes to assess whether Lane was currently friend or foe. He was a political connection of President Abraham Lincoln because he could deliver votes and services. He was a powerful orator who lived rashly, impetuously, and immorally. He saw himself as a great leader of men.
Guerilla Warfare in the Border States
Lane wanted an active Civil War in Kansas, because he saw opportunities to benefit from Army contracts and other agreements. He encouraged Kansans to join a lengthy series of raids into Missouri. The stated purpose was to free slaves; however, considerable looting, injury and death of Missourians occurred. Kansans who crossed the Missouri border for these multipurpose raids were called "Jayhawkers."
Lane capitalized on the hatred that many Kansans felt for Missouri, fueled by events of the last several years. By March of 1862 there was little left in western Missouri to steal. Bare chimneys stood where once were beautiful plantation homes. It became difficult to recognize that the land had been farmed.
Colonel Jack Bender III, a Deal family researcher, is the owner of a group of Civil War era letters, mostly written by members of the Young and Corman families. Jack loaned the letters for use in a series of articles published in the Morgan County (Indiana), History and Genealogy Association's quarterly newsletter. In one letter Private Ed Corman of Company G, 9th Kansas Cavalry, told of stopping to see a Fisher family in Missouri he had known before the war. Ed said that everything "looks like desolation and destruction."
A natural consequence of raids in Missouri was the inclination of Missourians to counter-attack. Some local farmers became leaders and overnight heroes when they retaliated. The farmers-turned-guerilla leaders, known as "Bushwhackers," included William Clarke Quantrill, Cole and Jim Younger, and Frank and Jesse James.
Ohio native William Quantrill was a mild-mannered young man who had ventured west with a younger brother. He had taught school in Missouri but quickly rose to lead the Bushwhackers with intelligence and cunning. Some men who joined these guerilla groups were already active as bank robbers, horse thieves, and murderers, including the less well-known George Todd and Bill Anderson.
The initial actions of the Bushwhackers were provoked. A group of Jayhawkers imprisoned a group of young women related to some prominent Bushwhackers. The unstable warehouse in which they were housed collapsed, causing death and injury. The Bushwhackers used this and other tragedies as rallying points, beginning raids into Kansas that endured for years. The Bushwhackers got even, but they had a dubious standard: no matter how many men they murdered in cold blood, they seldom harmed women and children directly. Indirectly, though, they caused great harm by making them widows and orphans with burned-out homes and no means of support. Some bereaved families went to relatives back East; others perished because of lack of organized aid.
The Union military goal in the Western Theater was to wipe out Confederate sympathies in Missouri, thereby preventing the spread of Southern strongholds further west and south among the settlers and Indians. Confederate regular forces made a few forays into Missouri and Kansas, but these were ultimately unsuccessful. Much of the military action on the Western Theater was called "irregular", referring to the skirmishes and aggressions of the Bushwhackers and Jayhawkers.
In late 1861, Union General Henry Halleck issued a "no quarters" order in which he stated that Bushwhackers who were caught were to be killed instead of captured. This order brought on escalating viciousness, brutality, and atrocities. Bushwhackers responded by killing soldiers who might have been exchanged and civilians who might have been otherwise left in peace. Soon both Missouri and Kansas "irregular" forces attempted to out-do the other in heinous acts, which included torture and mutilation of their real or perceived enemies. Many of the victims were innocent civilians who were assaulted or murdered in or near their homes. While vicious crimes were committed by both groups of irregulars, the Bushwhackers borrowed resurrected rituals from a gruesome past: they carried scalps as trophies and adorned fence posts with the heads of their victims.
Having set the stage for conflict, Lane and others began a misinformation campaign in which they claimed that most young Kansan males were going to be drafted. Lane convinced them that enlistment was a better choice. Private Ed Corman wrote to his mother on September 18, 1862, from Fort Lyon, Colorado, that, when he enlisted, he thought he might as well enlist then, for he would eventually have to do it anyway. He feared his brother John might be drafted but hoped not, since he "had been in the irregular service and a soldier".