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Measles were killing many men in the camp, and in February Newton became ill himself. After serving two months and eighteen days, Captain King gave him leave to go home and move his family to a safer place. He arrived home April 21, 1863 and received the sad news that Daniel Davis had died as well as Alabama Davis. There was a lot of work to be done, and Mary was worried about another outbreak of the deadly measles.
Newton started a small crop with a hoe, digging at night. The Home Guards had taken almost everything; they were lucky they hadn't been burned out. The children were happy to see their Dad, though little George was very sick. Dr. Russell Palmer was sent for. He was the only doctor they could trust. Dr. Mangram was helping the Home Guards and reported all Union activity to Ham Carpenter, a Home Guard leader.
Dr. Russell reported that Joe was still laying out. He had almost been caught by "Old Stoke" and his gang when he came home to help butcher a hog. Joe hid inside the house while Dr. Palmer talked to the men. After that, Joe stayed in the Daniel Davis house while the Home Guards concentrated on the Bull Mountain area. Mary and the children could not travel because of George's illness, so Mary suggested Nute find William (Bill) Whitehead and hide out with him until they could grow some food and nurse George back to health.
In May of 1863 Newton stopped by the Purser place to check on David C. Purser and family. He was met at the door by Mary Bishop, Lucinda's sister. Mary told him to come in and tell her about his family. She told him about the deaths of Lucinda and Moses. She and David had married and Mary was now in charge of the children. They were eating a lot of poke salad, but surviving. David's brother had been murdered by an unknown assailant.
Newton returned to his pile of leaves where he and several others were staying in the bluffs. A voice called, "I am Henry Ozbirn- looking for Newton Ozbirn". The brothers were glad to see each other. Henry told Newton of his plan to join the Yankee Army. "Well", said Nute, "I stayed two months and eighteen days, and it's not much better than here. The food was terrible and I was never paid a penney. Mostly a lot of yelling and sickness going on ! You're better off here!"
The brothers were soon to hear of the deaths of their two other brothers, Fountain and Chesley, both having died of measles on June 26, 1863. They had gone into battle at Cherokee and suffered a relapse. Fountain left a wife, Mahala (Arnold) and three children (Judy Ann b.September 29, 1853; Madison Monroe b. May 17, 1857 and Mary Francis b. January 9, 1861). Chesley left Eva and five children. (In 1860 census- Eva was 38 years old, William 15, Eady 13, Jordan 6, Marshal 4 and Anella 1)
Despite his brothers advice, Henry joined the 16th Alabama Infantry Regiment Company A, June 10, 1863. Meanwhile back in the bluffs, a new Tory had arrived. He gave his name as Drury McMinn. He said he had deserted the CSA and wanted to join them. George Stout had been organizing the Tories into a fighting force and McMinn was asking a lot of questions about that. He wanted to find Stout and was told he could be found at the home of two women on Bull Mountain creek. Upon arrival, McMinn found Stout gone and the women badley beaten. McMinn confided to the women that he was there to kill George Stout and would avenge their beatings. This was a terrible mistake- for one of the women was George Stouts' sister, Permlia. She lost no time in spreading the word and soon every Tory was after Drury McMinn. Drury had been sent by the Home Guards to destroy the unity of the Tories. McMinn was found at a dance, playing a fiddle. Four men grabbed him, tied him on a horse, and set out for Russell Palmer's place. John Howard Palmer, six years old at the time, and son of Russ, got out of bed when he heard the noise. He wondered why that man was tied on that pretty red and white horse. The boy watched as the drunken men rode off toward White Rock. They crossed the river at the Mixon Ford and it was discovered they hadn't brought a rope. Someone suggested they use a vine instead, and it worked quite well. His feet almost touched the ground as he hung there for several minutes before choking to death. He was buried face down at the edge of what later became John H. Palmer's field. Animals later dug the body up and some Glasscock girls hung it up in some bushes. John Palmer refused to plow the field for several years because of the skeleton, letting the crop waste that had been planted there. When Ham Carpenter got word that McMinn was in trouble, he tried to deal with the Tories and exchange McMinn for John Meadows, a captured friend of the Tories- but it was too late.
Newton decided to take a chance and slip back to Mary and the kids for a night. Upon hearing the story about Drury, he decided to go back to the Yankee Army. George W. Whitehead was also planning to return so they traveled together. Newton wanted no part of George Stout and his murderers. Mary agreed.
Mary related a story to Newton concerning Margaret (Brown) Cooper. Margaret's husband, Columbus Cooper, had been killed by a mule, and Margaret had walked from a place near Linden, Tennessee all the way back to Marion County, Alabama. She carried her one year old, Jim, and a sack of corn bread along with a few personal things. The baby had suffered from colitis along the way and Margaret stopped at springs to wash out the one diaper that she had. Several times she thought they wouldn't make it. Once she found herself in the middle of a battle between the Rebs and Yanks. She put the baby in a ditch and laid on top of him. Margaret had nothing of value for payment to cross the river at Florence, Alabama, but the man finally took the best dress she carried in her sack for his fee.
To be continued...
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