scalped (52 Ancestors #7)

Week 7 (Feb 12-18):  “Love”

Martha LOVE (ca 1784 VA-aft. Sept. 1, 1850), wife of my 3rd great grandfather John FALLS, Jr.’s, brother Thomas FALLS (ca 1780 VA-bef. Sept. 3, 1850), had only one child that I’ve as yet ascertained, that being daughter Mary Jane FALLS (Mar. 20, 1825 TN-Mar. 23, 1895 likely MO; buried Shelt Noel Cemetery, Noel, McDonald Co., MO)[1].

On Mar. 10, 1842, in Roane Co., TN, 1st cousin four times removed Mary Jane married Robert Franklin WALKER[2] (Oct. 20, 1821 TN-Dec. 6, 1864 MO; Shelt Noel Cemetery)[1], son of Robert WALKER & Mary THOMPSON.


By the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Robert & Mary Jane had had the first four of their 10-total children: James M., John T., Hugh Lawson, & Susan Caroline.[3]

By the 1860 Census — MO, McDonald Co., Rutledge — they would have had five more of those 10 kids — Robert Newton, Mary Eliza, twins California Ann & Tennessee S., and William T. J. — and would have buried twin daughter, California Ann.[4][5]

But before the first week of Dec., 1864, was over, Mary Jane’s husband would be dead, murderedscalped — by either “federal scouts”[6] or, bushwhackers.[7]

Robert Franklin WALKER was a carpenter in 1850; went prospecting for gold out west, “to California, leaving his family in McDonald County.  He remained in the far West, engaged in gold mining, until 1851, when he returned to his family[6];” and, farmed in 1860.  He fought in the American Civil War, Confederate allegiance, allegedly under Cherokee Civil War Gen. Stand Watie (Dec. 12, 1806-Sept. 9, 1871).[8]

From, “History Of Newton, Lawrence, Barry And McDonald Counties, Missouri,” Goodspeed Publishing, 1888: “….citizens of McDonald County, Mo., who were killed from 1861 to 1865, by Federal scouts, are named as follows:

Thirty-four men are listed, including, at no. 8, “Robert Walker.*”

A footnote indicates the meaning of the asterisk after Robert’s name: “Those marked thus (*), killed with arms, as bushwhackers; the others killed in retaliatory spirit by soldiers. These bushwhackers were engaged in pillaging, burning–not confined alone to Union people, but known Southern sympathizers suffered from them directly, as Allen PAINTER, now living near Pineville, who had the soles of his feet burnt to a crisp by them, can testify; also Joseph WEEMS of Newton County, who was burned in the same way in the hope etting[sic] money.”[6]

But stories handed down within Robert F. WALKER’S family completely contradict the preceding:  they relate that Robert was hardly a bushwhacker: rather, he was murdered by bushwhackers.

Alison AGINS shares this account at her family tree site, “a story my grandfather Albert BROWNING wrote in response to a request from his son Charles BROWNING to give a family history:”

” ‘Grandfather Bob [I.e., Robert Franklin] WALKER came from Kentucky to Missouri before the Civil War. Married Marry FALLS. To this union was borned 8 children, all decesed at this writing except one, Dixie Davis, Colfax, Washington.

” ‘Grandfather WALKER fought for the South in the Civil War. He was a cook. He got so homesick because the Bushwackers were burning so many homes. He had 2 good farms with improvements.

” ‘One day they sent him after a bucket of water. He had to go some distance and when he got there he sat his bucket down and left for home. He labored hard for a few days. His oldest boy Hugu was managing the best he could.

” ‘Two young men came along one day and wanted to stay all night, and rest up from a long walk. He refused to keep them. He said if the Bushwackers came along and found them there, they would burn his house and probably kill them all. They promised him they would stay upstairs and be quiet in case of the ‘Whackers’.

” ‘Sure enough here they came late that evening. The young men got scared and got out on the roof of the house and jumped off. They ran for some brush across the farm. The army saw them and gave chase but the boys had some advantage a-foot on account of fences. One of the boys stopped took aim and killed their Captain, and got away. Their second Captain took charge. They came back and got Grandfather and said they was going to take him down the road and kill him. They got him on a horse. Mother ran out and caught hold of the Captain’s leg and stirrup of the saddle and helt on a crying and begging. Findly she prevailed.

” ‘The Captain gave orders to take him back and burn the house. They burned the house alright and mother ran in and grabbed some counterpanes (a kind of a quilt that my great grandmother had made by hand, the same is in our family today. They would bring $100.00 or more a piece.)

” ‘After the house burned, they moved to the other farm and my mother begged her mother to let her hide them (the quilts) in a cave in the bluff a mile from the house. By so doing she saved them, but after Grandfather got killed as you will note later on, they became so poor Grandmother was forced to sell them. Mother bought them back after her marriage.

” ‘Grandfather returned to camp and sometime later on he ran off and came home. This time he did not intend to stay long, he had his horse tied clost by standing eating a turnip. Here came the Bushwacker. He jumpt on his horse and started through the timber up a very steep mountain. He was making a splendid gain when his saddle girt broke, off he came bringing the saddle with him. His horse went on. He ran to a cave before they could catch him. He stood them off for quite a while. Finly his ammunition exausted. Then they killed him and scalped him and brought the scalp and threw it in Grandmother’s lap.’

“(grandpa’s spelling and grammer)”[7]


The preceding is echoed in this story related by another descendant, Kathleen BROWNING, as told by her grandmother, Caroline [Susan Caroline WALKER]:

” ‘Following the Civil War, Carolins’s father and several men of the neighborhood were hiding out to keep from being killed by the Bushwackers who painted themselves as indians and tried to make people think they weren’t white. Often they were men that could have been recongnized by those that they were murdering. Someone carrying a grudge or an imagined grudge or they used it as a means to let off some of their frustrations.

” ‘Caroline’s father and some of the men had come in for clean clothes and food when they noticed a cloud of dust rising at a distance. The house was near a rather steep hill. WALKER told the men to go fast that he would stay behind for a time and try to mislead the Bushwackers. Since he had a faster horse than the others, he thought that he had a better chance of escaping and probably would have, except his saddle quirt broke as he reached the steepest part of the hill, leaving him no means of escape except on foot. He ran and managed to hide for a time…he would shoot then run, but as there were several Bushwackers they finally over came him about nightfall.

” ‘The family could hear shooting then silence, repeated time after time. Finally all was silent, the Bushwackers had left. 

” ‘Caroline, Ellen and Happy ( her girlfriends) went to look for her father. They found him, but his scalp was missing. This made for a very bad sight. After a search the girls found the scalp and put it back in place. Since the weather was cold (this was December) the scalp was frozen into place by the time that the women of the neighborhood got him bathed and dressed… His wife never knew that he had been scalped.’ “[7]

By the 1880 U.S. Federal Census of MO, McDonald Co., Pineville, enumerated June 16, 1880 — the last Census we find Mary Jane (FALLS) WALKER in — the “insane” column is checked to the right of her name. Her last/youngest child, 18-year-old Martha Margaret Elizabeth (Dixie) WALKER, lives with her mother and keeps house.[9]

My next avenue of research is to try to locate a copy of the pension application I believe Mary Jane filed:  for some odd reason one is “named” at as filed by a Mary Jane WALKER for deceased husband Robert “S.” WALKER — the “S,” I’m betting, is likely actually an “F” — in Giles, TN, yet no content is available for it on Ancestry:  only the note that, “A photocopy of this pension application may be obtained from the Tennessee State Library and Archives.”  If it is our girl, maybe some clearer light will be shed on Robert’s death.

Cross your fingers.

WALKER, R. F. (1821-1864) (grv mrkr)--FAG, Diane (FALLS) WALKER, Mary (grv mrkr)--FAG, Diane



1 birth & death dates and, cemetery name, per photograph of joint grave marker for Mary Jane & Robert in Shelt Noel Cemetery, at & , accessed Feb., 2015.

2 “Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002”,, “Mary J FALLS,” “Spouse: Robert WALKER,” at , accessed Feb., 2015.

Image:  Mary Jane (FALLS) WALKER.  From “Alison AGINS Family Tree,” owner, “aliagins,”, at , accessed Feb., 2015. Photo originally submitted to by Alison AGINS.

3 1850 U.S. Federal Census, MO, McDonald Co., District 53, enumerated Sept. 2, 1850; “Robert WALKER” household, age 29 born abt 1821 TN; accessed at at, , Feb., 2015.

4 1860 U.S. Federal Census, MO, McDonald Co., Rutledge, enumerated June 1, 1860; “R. F. WALKER” household, age 38 born abt 1822 TN; accessed at at, , Feb., 2015.

5 “Alison AGINS Family Tree,” owner, “aliagins” — Issue, Robert Franklin WALKER & Mary Jane FALLS —, at , accessed Feb., 2015.

6 “History Of Newton, Lawrence, Barry And McDonald Counties, Missouri,” “From The Earliest Time To The Present, Including A Department Devoted To The Preservation Of Sundry Personal, Business, Professional And Private Records; Besides A Valuable Fund Of Notes, Original Observations, Etc., Etc.;” Illustrated; Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1888. Pages 760-761, &, 1091. Accessible online at “Missouri Digital Heritage,” at ; accessed Feb., 2015.

7 “Alison AGINS Family Tree,” owner, “aliagins,”, at , accessed Feb., 2015.

8 Wikipedia — “the free encyclopedia,” “Stand Watie,” at , accessed Feb., 2015.

Image:  group photo including siblings Robert Newton WALKER & Susan Caroline WALKER.  From “Alison AGINS Family Tree,” owner, “aliagins,”, at , accessed Feb., 2015. Photo originally submitted to by Alison AGINS.

9 1880 U.S. Federal, MO, McDonald Co., Pineville, enumerated June 16, 1880: “Mary J. WALKER” hh, age 50, born abt 1830 TN; accessed at at, , accessed Feb., 2015.

Image:  Grave markers, R. F. WALKER & wife Mary Jane FALLS.  From, , accessed Feb., 2015.


This entry was posted in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition, American Civil War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to scalped (52 Ancestors #7)

  1. Patti says:

    A very interesting read! My ancestors through my paternal grandfather lived in Missouri & Kansas during those times, so this really hit close to “home” for me. Because they didn’t have the big famous battles there like in the east, many people don’t realize just how bad the Civil War was in the Western Theater and especially in Missouri. Again, it was an interesting read and I’ve enjoyed perusing your blog this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan says:

    Thank you, Patti. 🙂 It was fascinating research from this end. I loVed doing it, and that pleasure gets repeated when others enjoy reading those research results… 😉


  3. What a story! So many untold tragedies as a result of the Civil War. At least this one got told.

    Liked by 1 person

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