We have learned in previous issues of Bramble Bush that the Tutt Everett War was an ongoing contest between the Tutt's and Everett's for political control in Marion County. It so happens that the King's had taken the side of the Tutt's in this disagreement.
After the battle in Yellville in 1849, when several of the Everett's had been killed, the Tutt's were lying low and the King brothers had Ieft for Searcy County for a while.
Sheriff Jesse Mooney had sent word to the Governor of the state requesting assistance with the outbreak of hostilities in the county. Sent to get word to the militia, Mooney's son Thomas had disappeared along the Buffalo River. Only his drowned horse was found.
The Sheriff and his posse had located and arrested the King brothers and were taking them back to Yellville for trial. Jesse Mooney was concerned about his pregnant wife and felt compelled to check on her. He left the care of his prisoners with his deputies and rode home to be with his wife. At this point, the Everett's ambushed and killed the Kings.
Thus the following:
On 27 September 1849, Governor Roane ordered William Thornhill, Searcy County Sheriff, to arrest those Everetts and their friends who had murdered the Kings. Thornhill had heard they were at large in Searcy County.
Judge David Walker issued the following letter to the current sheriff or constable of Marion County.
"State of Arkansas
County of Marion
To the Sheriff or any Constable of the County of Marion and State of Arkansas
Whereas on the 3rd day of September A.D. 1849 in the county and state aforesaid information hath been given to me on oath. That on the 31st day of August A.D. 1849 in the County and State aforesaid Jesse N. Everett, Nelson Stratton, William H. Everett, Archibald Everett, John Everett Jr. George Hamlet. Jesse Everett Jr, Alexander Cowan, Robert Adams, and Thomas F. Stephens, did with Pistols, rifles, Shotguns and Muskets, Willfully, Maliciously, and Deliberately Shoot, Kill and murder Loomis Y. King, William Y. King Sr. and William Y. King Jr., then and there being. And on the day and year last aforesaid, at the county aforesaid Jesse Mooney, Mathew Adams, John Adams, John W. Cowan, Ansel Reynolds, Elgin Ely, Thompson Lane, William Royalston, Joseph Goodall, Henry Stephens and John Everett Sr., not being present at the killing aforesaid, did counsel advise and encourage the killing and murder of the said Loomis Y. King. William Y. King Sr. and William Y. King Jr. in manner aforesaid. You are therefore commanded to take and apprehend the aforesaid Jesse N. Everett, Nelson Stratton, William H. Everett, Archibald Everett, John Everett Jr., Alexander Cowan, Robert Adams, George, Hamlet, Thomas F. Stephens, Jesse Mooney, Matthew Adams, John Adams, John W. Cowan, Ansel Reynolds, Elgin EIy, Thompson Lane, William Royalston, Joseph Goodall, Henry Stephens and John Everett Sr., if be found in the State of Arkansas, and bring them before me or some Judge or Justice of the Peace within and for the county of Marion aforesaid to be dealt with according to law. Given under my hand as Judge of Supreme Court, with in and for the sate aforesaid.
David Walker, Judge of the Supreme Court of Arkansas"
Upon receiving the Judge's letter of command, George Adams, Acting Constable of Marion County, and attested to by Thomas E. Nelson, Clerk of the Circuit Court, did try to enforce Judge Walker's orders.
"By virtue of the above writ to me directed I did forthwith proceed to summon all the men I could get in my county which was about sixty-seven men, well armed and we made an attempt to arrest the aforesaid criminals, whom we found in the woods, well armed with guns, pistols etc, together with several others, and I was compelled to retreat with my company as I was unable to arrest the said criminals - and we have no Co. Commandant of the Militia in this county or any adjoining to call upon for assistance.
I have forwarded the foregoing to you, the sheriff of our county who is Jessie Mooney is one of accused murders - and is standing against the civil laws. And unless your Excellency will order out men to aid me it will be impossible for me to bring said offenders to Justice. They have publicly declared that there are eight men they intend to kill before they leave the county.
George Adams, const
State of Arkansas
County of Marion"
After receiving Constable Adams' reply, Judge Walker referred the case to the Governor of the state. He in turn issued an order to Adjutant General Allen Wood to take action.
"Executive Office Little Rock, Ark
September 16th 1849
Allen Wood Adjutant General of Arkansas
Reliable information having been received at this office that a portion of the citizens of Marion County in this State have been guilty of the most flagrant violations of Law, and in contempt of the regular constituted authorities refuse obedience to all legal process, and by force of arms hold at defiance the officers of the law, acknowledging neither moral nor legal restraints; so that the law-abiding portion of the community feel that their lives are insecure in that section of the country.
To the end therefore that the supremacy of the laws may be established, I have thought proper to direct you to repair immediately to Yellville in Marion County. The seat of the alleged outrages. Examine into the State of the fact, and if in your opinion it is necessary for the efficient execution of the laws that the militia for the state be called out, you will issue the proper orders and take all proper steps, to place a sufficient force at the command of the proper local officials to enable them to execute all legal procedures as a matter of course will aid you in the discharge of this duty.
In taking measures to secure the permanency of law and good order you will use discretion and be moderate but firm.
I am with respect, your obt. Svt.
John Selden Roane
Governor of Arkansas"
In Early October General Wood moved his headquarters to Lebanon, Searcy County, in order to round up the culprits and those witnesses needed for court proceedings. Wood learned the Everetts were at a Methodist camp meeting in Wileys' Cove. He ordered Captain W. C. Mitchell to Wiley's Cove to demand the Everetts be surrendered into his custody, expecting this move might force the Everett group to flee to Marion County.
General Allen Wood issued the following to Captain Tieford Denton, Commander of a Company of Arkansas Militia
"Head Quarters - Crooked Creek
Carroll County, Arkansas
September 29, 1849
Captain Tieford Denton
You will proceed with your company to Marion County Arkansas, to some point on the road leading form Yellville in said County of Marion to Lebanon in Searcy County, near the point where said road crossed Tomahawk.
It is understood that the band of Fellows whom it is your object and your orders to arrest is now in Wiley's cove in Searcy County.
Capt W. C Mitchell will proceed immediately to the latter pint and it is expected that the parties will retreat from Searcy County to Marion so soon as they learn the approach of Captain Mitchell's Company into Searcy County.
You will therefore hold yourself and company in readiness so as to intercept their passage, and seize upon them at any point.
You will make all necessary inquiries into the charges and legal processes, which have been issued, or which may be issued form the proper authorities and arrest the defendants therein named and closely confine them until further orders reach you.
You will observe the strictest orders and discipline in your company - all officers and privates in your company shall conduct themselves civilly toward the citizens and strangers of Marion County.
You shall suffer your officers and soldiers to molest no one. You shall scrupulously observe the laws, and support and enforce the execution of the same.
You may call to your assistance such numbers of troops of the good and peaceable citizens of said County of Marion, or adjoining Counties as will be necessary to put in force the Laws. You will not let your officers and met take sides with either of the Belligerent parties. You will not suffer any of said parties to join you. Your objectives and your orders are to assist eh constituted authorities to put in force the Laws and for this purpose you may send any such number of troops with any officer in any portion of said county (to which your operations are confined) [until further notice] any may appear necessary to execute the Commands of all writs or process in the hands of such officers.
If in your opinion you deem it necessary for the comfort and convenience of your troops you can imply a wagon and team to accompany your command - and if you think necessary you may employ some person or persons to feed your command - and furnish forage for their horses.
And in the hire of teams, contracts for provisions for your men and forage for horses you must use all necessary economy so as to run the State to as little expense as possible. Examine all the contracts yourself and be careful not to allow an extravagant price or any thing. You will furnish me as soon as practicable with a copy of your muster roll with the rank and grade of each officer. You will report to me daily at Lebanon in Searcy County if convenient to do so. And if anything happens in your opinion necessary report to me by express immediately.
Adjutant. General of the state of Arkansas"
General Wood was very specific in his orders to Captain Denton. This was something that had never before happened in the county of Marion.
In October of the same year, John H. Byers, Prosecuting Attorney for the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court of Arkansas, posted a letter to General Allen Wood.
"Lebanon, Searcy County, Arkansas
October 1, 1849
General A. Wood
It having come to my knowledge that Loomis King, Wm.King and W. King Jr some time since came to a violent death in the County of Marion and that Jesse N. Everett and others are charged with the murder of said Kings and that the said Jesse N. Everett and three others have been arrested by you under the orders of the Governor. And it is said that Hosiah [sic] King and James King are material witnesses for the State in the examination of said charges, andthat said witnesses are now absent from said County of Marion, perhaps in the County of Conway and are apprehensive of danger of personal violence, if they attend at Marion County as witnesses against the persons charged with said offense unless they are placed under the protection of a guard for their protection. Your are therefore requested to detail a guard with directions to repair to the place where said witnesses may be found and guard them to Yellville for the purpose of securing an examination of said charges, that Justice may take place.
Respectfully your obedient servt.
John H. Byers
For the 3rd Judicial Circuit Of Arkansas"
On October 3, 1849, General Wood sent this order to A.F. Son, Sergeant of Arkansas Militia.
"Head Quarters Lebanon October 3, 1849
You will proceed immediately with six men and the corporal well armed and well mounted, to Conway County in this state; on your passage to Conway County do not suffer your men to insult or molest anyone. And do not let anyone know your object, or the purpose for which you are going to Conway.
You will arrest Hosiah [sic] King and James King and proceed with them immediately to Yellville in Marion County, from which point you will report to me at the earliest opportunity.
You may make known to said Kings that the object of arresting them is for the purpose of having them testify in the case of the State of Arkansas versus Jesse N. Everett for the murder of Loomis Y. King, Wm. King Sr. & Wm. King Jr.
Allen Wood, Aduj General of Arkansas."
Sergeant Son returned this missive to General Wood.
"Yellville October 7, 1849
General A. Wood
Agreeable to your orders October the 3rd I proceeded to Conway County. On arriving there I opened the sealed orders, and learnt that Little Tom King had left the state of Arkansas and had gone to the Sate of Missouri at a place called the Old Lead Mine. I then found Hosea and James King, who was on their way to Yellville, a few miles from home in Conway county in company with 21 citizens well armed of said county. The most of them was the men that helped arrest Loomis Y. King when the Everetts took him and on the account of the outrage of killing said Kings was guarding Hosea and James King to Yellville as witness against Jesse N. Everett and others.
Sergeant A. F. Son
With the Militia on the scene, Nelson Stratton, Jesse N. Everett, Robert Adams and Alexander Cowen were arrested and taken into custody. They were returned to Yellville to stand trail for the murders of the three King men. Proceedings moved quickly back then because the feelings of the county were very unsettled.
In the following letter from General Wood to Governor Roane, we can see the actual atmosphere of the county.
Headquarters Yellville, Martian County Arkansas
October 13, 1849
To His Excellency John Seldon Roan, Gov. of the state of Arkansas
The Circuit Court at this place adjourned this evening until Court in course. And I learn from Mr. John H. Byers; the Attorney for the state that the prisoners who, I informed you I had arrested, were indicted for the murder of the Kings. The prisoners are Nelson Stratton, Jesse N. Everett, Robert Adams, and Alexander Cowin. They are all indicted for the murder of William Y. King, William Y. King Jr. and Loomis Y. King - Separate indictments or each individual murdered-- This evening I received a written request from John Hargrave the sheriff of this county requesting me to assist him in aiding the civil authorities in supporting the Laws, and maintaining the peace in the county; the sheriff also represents to me, that he does not believe he can find twenty five men in this county who is not highly prejudiced on one side or the other- and that it will be utterly impossible for him to keep the prisoners himself in this county; and also that he does not believe that he could safely take them out of this county.
Now Sir, I am of the opinion that nothing but my arrival at this point, with my command saved the county from one of the bloodiest scenes witnessed in a civilized land. The members of the bar have expressed their opinion that had I not arrived at Lebanon, no court would have been held at this point - nor at this place and it appears a general impression that a general battle would have ensued between the parties. It is very difficult to inform you fully that state of excitement here. And there are many persons here who I think are endanger of being shot down. The excitement reaches all classes, and conditions of life, and the fire of a gun is noticed by all with apparent anxiety. I am clearly of opinion that bloody deeds will be perpetrated here if I remove my troops from here. The company- consisted originally, and does now consist of seventy-five men, a Captain, one Lieutenant; Major Cox is my aid, and also surgeon in case of sickness amongst the troops. I have give express orders to Captain Mitchell, to be as saving and prudent in the disbursement of money as possible. And I am of opinion that he will act with much prudence in the matter.
Now with respect to my position here I have this to say: one party is unanimous in requesting me to remain here with my company. And all that portion who appear anxious to see the Laws executed are anxious for me to remain. But from all I can see and learn, my presence here is gauling to the friends of the Prisoners. It is true many of the friends of the prisoners appear to be quite friendly and express themselves in favor of my remaining here, but it is evident that few of them are sincere. And it will take a strong hand to keep them all in check. Place the prisoners in the hand or under the control of the other party and a war must ensue. Such sir is as near as I can represent to you the condition of affairs here. And I am sorry to say that if there is any difference as to the peace of Searcy or Marion County, It is in favor of Marion. I think I will send some of the troops into Searcy in a few days. The prisoners have many friends there, and they appear to be resolved in taking the law into their own hands and go in armed parties threatening and ordering whomsoever they please to leave the country.
There are six others whose names and personal descriptions I give your below, who are equally guilty with the prisoners and were present aiding and abetting in the murders of the Kings, but who have not been arrested. William H. Everett,- about 40 years of age of moderate size, weight about 140 pounds- rather freckled face, and dark hair. Jesse Everett- about 23 years old- weighing about 150 pounds, fair complexion and light hair. Archibald Everett about 23 years old, weights about 135 to 45 pounds, low heavy set- roman nose- sandy hair, and a bad countenance. John Everett Jr about 19 year old, small and boyish in appearance - fair complexion, and light hair, weighs about 120 pound. Thomas F. Stephens- about 30 years of age- rather talkative and plausible- yellow or fair hair, Roman nose, and of middle stature- was raised in east Tennessee. George Howlett, about 25 years old, dark skin, and dark hair, weighs about 130 pound, heavy built under middle stature, I recommend for your consideration, the propriety of offering such a reward as will induce persons to bring these desperadoes to justice. Now sir I will remain at this point until further orders from you. And I wish you to give me immediately on the receipt of such orders as may appear to your Excellency best in this affair. You will send a commission to Captain William G. Mitchell and Lieutenant Hampton Fancher.
You will be careful to send all communications to me at this point by Batesville. The Everett party are using all and every means in the reach of a mad and infuriated party to poison the minds of the people and stranger against the opposite party. They are styling themselves the honest party and that they cannot get Justice. The opposite party are asking for the laws to be administered, and appear willing to abide the consequences of impartial Law. They are acting as far as I can learn on the defensive. I learned that some of the Everett party will be down to see you and no doubt will make many statements contradictory to my communications. But Sir, I have been careful in noticing how matters are arranged and have given you statement from facts. I write you this for your own special information and not by way of report. I have kept copies of all orders and communications, and as soon as I can leave here, I will make you a full and detailed report.
Allen Wood Aduj, General of Arkansas"
On October 24,1849 General Allen Wood issued an order to Captain W. C. Mitchell to take one Sergeant, one Corporal and twenty three privates and proceed with Jesse N. Everett and Nelson Stratton, the prisoners now in there care to the residence of John Hargraves, Sheriff of Marion County. This residence was some 18 miles from Yellville. Captain Mitchell was further ordered to take ten of his men and accompany the sheriff and the prisoners to Smithville in Lawrence County and to return immediately to Yellville and await further orders.
Martial law lasted for six weeks and all was quiet. But winter was coming and the citizen soldiers needed to be home. The troops were removed. Within a week of their departure a mob of Everett's rode to Smithville, pulled down the jail with ropes and crowbars, and released Everett and Stratton. This mob took to the woods around Yellville shouting their defiant slogan, "Kill Hamp Tutt" knowing the Everetts were gunning for him. Hamp Tutt made his will in August 1850. Hamp Tutt was killed from ambush in September 1850.
Shortly after Tutt's death, Everett and Stratton and some of their friends left and went by White River to the Mississippi where they hopped a steamboat to Shreveport LA. Everett apparently died from cholera soon after arriving there.
Deaths in the actual fight:
Jack King, shot first by a man named Watkins of the Everett party and then had his skull smashed with a rock by Sim Everett.
Francis Everett, son of Ewell, shot Jack King with an old squirrel rifle. After he had killed Jack, a man named Mears advanced on him as if to take his gun away from him and Everett struck Mears with his gun and broke his arm.
Dick King shot a man named Watkins in the forehead at the edge of his hair which cut a trench through the skin to the top of the head. He fell as though dead, but lived.
Sim Everett was shot by Dave Sinclair, a friend of the Tutt family who went to Searcy County and was later killed by a posse.
Bart Everett was killed by a Tutt at a black locust tree and, as the fatal bullet stuck him, he clasped his arms around this tree and sank down at the foot of the tree and died.
Two or three others were wounded but not fatally.
Loomis King was killed between Marshall and Yellville.
William King Sr. was killied between Marshall and Yellville.
William King Jr. was killed between Marshall and Yellville.
Thomas, son of Jesse Mooney, died south of Yellville. His body was never recovered from Buffalo River. It is assumed he was killed while taking a message from his father, Sheriff of Marion County, to the Governor of Arkansas.
According to the recollections of W.B. Flippin, when the smoke cleared that day in Yellville, there were eight or ten dead on the ground.
There have been many accounts of the bloody feud of Yellville. I can only hope that I have been able to compile the facts and not include much fiction. Some say that as many as 17 were killed during this bloody battle, but I can only find proof of a possible seven. I am sure there would have been more if the militia had not been ordered to the scene. This was the only time in history that the State Militia has had to be called to Marion County.
When we talk about the feud in Yellville, we automatically picture the way the town is laid out today. In 1849 Yellville was no more than a few log huts and log buildings built long the Town Branch about where the legion Hut is today. There was no courthouse so to speak. There were several log buildings which acted as stores and saloons and trading centers for the trappers. Hamp Tutt owned a place which set about. where Onimus McEntire's garden spot is. This land is today just east of South 14 and the banks of Crooked Creek or just south of Fred's. He ran a hotel of sorts, a saloon and trading store. At times court was even held in his home. Court was also held in the old Methvin house which consisted of four rooms, and today comprises part of the lower story of the Duren house which sets behind Harp's.
Sources: Edward H. Moore, Waco, Texas; Gully Collection, Arkansas History Commission, Little Rock, AR; W.B. Aippin; Batesville Eagle Sept 1849; Fort Smith Herald 1849; Washington Telegraph, 25 Oct 25 1849; "A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas (1907) by William Monks.