Callaway Group Commemorates Missouri Civil War Sites
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage is commemorating spots on the gray ghost trail, a trail that stretches across the state through what was known as Little Dixie.
To really understand the civil war's impact on Callaway County, you have to understand Callaway County's impact on the Civil War.
Martin Northway, a regional historian, said about 4 out of 5 were southerners or confederates. That ratio holds true when looking at the Civil War soldiers buried at Old Auxvasse Presbyterian Church.
"There was long speculation that the church here might have been used as a field hospital," Northway said. "Two civil war bullets were found and one of the bullets had teeth marks in it, which suggests that when there was no anesthetic, they used to use bullets or belts to bite back the pain."
Old Auxvasse Presbyterian Church and cemetery boasts the most recent commemorative panel on the gray ghost trail, which stretches through areas where there was intense guerilla fighting.
The Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, is the sponsor of seven panels on the gray ghost trail in Callaway County in an effort to preserve the history and the story.
"The purpose of our group is to educate and study the war between the states and Callaway County," said Northway.
John Payne Harrison's great grandfather John Cowan was pastor of the church for 53 years. Harrison's family legacy is buried in this cemetery.
"Plus my mother and dad, I have eight sets of grandparents. Both sides are here. The Cowans and the Harrisons," Harrison said.
This panel means a lot to Harrison because it shines a beacon of light on a church that's been a beacon for almost two centuries.
"It's great they put it here and we'll have visitors and people from all over the United States come down and visit and maybe take an interest in our church and our cemetery," Harrison said.
Joe Crane, owner of Crane's Country Store, hopes a commemorative panel detailing the importance of the Boone's Lick Road will be placed on his family's property in Williamsburg.
"Most of the settlement of the west went right through the heart of old Williamsburg. These gray ghost panels are not only a source of education, but a source of pride," Crane said.
The next panel in the lineup to be dedicated will go in at Westminster College to honor black soldiers from Callaway County. The heritage will dedicate that panel on April 16 along with a reenactment.