The following story was
compiled by Gerald W. Williams, 29617 Hwy 67, Malvern, AR 72104
I was told a number of
years ago a tale about a Civil War deserter who was shot and buried in a
shallow grave in the Antioch community.
The exact spot of the
grave has been lost because of roadwork and clear cutting. The location is
about one and a half miles from the Antioch Community Center on the west
side of the Antioch/Midway road just south of where it intersects with the
now abandoned road to Saginaw.
Verneice Williams said
that it was close to the road and that there was a large rock at each end
and a tree at the head. Charles Jackson was told that some women buried him
because the men wouldnít.
Luther Eudy had heard
that Sabre Staten Beason, wife of America Beason, and another woman dug a
shallow grave, rolled him up in a sheet and then rolled him into the hole.
It was said that the toes of his boots were almost sticking out.
Lilly Davis told me the
same story as Luther, but added that the toe of one boot was sticking out
and that they went back and ď re-did it ď. Sabre must have been such a woman
that would get done what needed to be done, for Lillie said that she was
told that Sabre and another woman drove an ox drawn wagon all the way to
Little Rock for a load of salt. Lillie had not seen the grave, however one
day as they traveled by in a wagon her sister pointed to a large hickory
tree and said that was where the grave was.
Alonzo Talley was told
by Clifton Bozeman that the deserter stopped at a house and ate with the
people. After he left, some men came up on horses asking about him. After
the men had gone, the people at the house where he had eaten heard gunfire.
Alonzo Talley had also seen the grave. According to Alonzo, Clifton had told
his son Richard Bozeman that the man was related to the Bozemans and that
those who buried him took his watch and hat to his family. However, they
refused the watch and hat telling them to bury them with him for he had
disgraced the family.
Cliff Jackson was told
by his father Elbert, that the man stopped at a house and asked for food and
water. They gave him some water and biscuits and he went on his way. Cliff
had also been told about the men who rode up on horses looking for him.
William A (Junior)
Jackson said that he had heard that Wimmie Staten and his sister came by in
a wagon and finding him dead buried him. When I first heard the story, it
was said that Wimmie Staten was the one who buried him, however Wimmie was
only five years old when the enlistment began and nine when the war ended.
But this doesnít exclude him from being there or helping, for he was Sabre
I have searched my
papers over and cannot find the few notes I made about the Henry Joyner
retaliation story. Iím going to the library and get a copy of what Clarence
Parsons wrote in his book about it. The book Iím referring to is the only
bound copy that Iím aware of. I know of two other loose-leaf manuscripts
that may have been drafts for the finished book. The one that I had access
to does not say anything about the grave. The one Cliff Jackson viewed did
have a good version of the story. I called Cliff last night and he had
loaned someone his copy, which hadnít been returned. The story wasnít fresh
enough in his memory to tell me how it went.
The story reveals that
Henry was killed because he had killed this other man. I canít remember if
the man was a union soldier or sympathizer. There was a group of men
involved, but Henry was put up to pulling the trigger.
I wish we could find
the grave. Iíve tried to find it but the thicket was too difficult to make a
thorough search. I was in hopes that I could find a hardwood stump to go by
since there was a number of pine ones that hadnít fully decayed. Some think
that it was destroyed when the road was widened. Others believe it is still
there. Of course the bones are probably gone. But maybe a buckle or some
other medal object is there. My thinking now is that weíll never find it.
I donít know when Iíll
get a chance, but I want to search the Civil war records at the Arkansas
History Commission at Little Rock. It may be a needle in a haystack. Iím
hoping the General Steele clue will help.
Thanks and keep me
informed if you find anything,
Gerald W. Willliams
Another famous and
unfortunate character was Henry Joiner (Joyner), a local boy and probably
Dr. Joinerís son. He was with a bushwhacker gang who took old man Bell out
to shoot him like Jesse Moore was shot by another local gang. Old Man Bell
asked permission to pray. So he prayed for all of the gang and none of them
would shoot him. Finally, the captain turned to Henry who was just a boy,
and had him shoot the old man. Then the Yankees rounded up Henry, ran him
around a tree until he was tired, and then shot him. The women of the
neighborhood, of course, buried him just as some other women had hauled
Jesse Moore home from De Roche Creek and buried him. His grave is on a side
road that turns off the county road, once the upper Murfreesboro Road, about
3 miles east of where John McCowanís store was, and goes to Saginaw and
Midway. I used to go that way to Saginaw in my late teens, and I passed by
the grave many times; it had two pine knots at the head and foot and had
been heaped up to look like a grave although it had been there for thirty
years or more. In 1938 I was riding up that road from Midway with Uncle
John Beason and Jesse Prince, and I wanted to stop and look at Henry
Joinerís grave. Finally Uncle John said it was about a mile back so I did
not get to see it after all.
Yes, the military road
went southwest of Malvern, through Social Hill, Saginaw and Midway. From
Saginaw there was a road, now abandoned, that cut through to the road where
the grave is. Probably a mile or less from the Military road. Mr. Parsons
probably made a mistake calling the road the upper Murfreesboro. The upper,
or old Mur road is now Hwy 84. It ran parallel with the lower or now is the
Antioch Road. This is where I was raised. The mentioned John Beason lived
there. The McCowen store was at an intersection with now Hwy 128 to the
west of Anioch. Iíll try to draw a map and send it to you later. I may be
away from my computer till Monday. Snow is on the way so they say. Also,
the story puts Henry on the run. He may have just not been with the group
that was killed.
1880 Census Hot
242/273 Joyner, Thos. M. w m 66 married doctor TN NC SC
Joyner, Emma w f 48 wife married keeping house AL SC SC
Joyner, Fannie w f 18 daqu single at home *attended school AR TN AL
Joyner, Thos. A. w m 14 son at home *ditto AR TN AL
Joyner, Estelle w f 5 dau AR TN AL
Gerald Williams thinks the man in the story that was killed, the deserter,
was Henry Joyner, son of Dr. Thomas M. Joyner