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The Alabama AlGenWeb Archives

Newton Hubbard Ozbirn-Dr. Russell Palmer & Others

This information was compiled by Joel Palmer of Hamilton, Alabama- Great Grandson of Russell Palmer. It was first published by Marion County Tracks Newsletter in 1988 & is offered here by permission of the author.

Part 1

Newton Hubbard Ozbirn was born January 21, 1830 in Perry County, Alabama. He came to Marion County in the 1840's with his father, Pleasant Ozbirn and mother, Letha (Wood) Ozbirn, five brothers and two sisters. They lived in what is now known as Shottsville. Newton married Mary Adeline Davis about 1858. She was the daughter of Daniel & Alabama Davis who lived east of Toll Gate (t10- r14- s25).

Newton and Mary lived with the Davis family until 1860 when they moved to land entered on Two Mile Creek, a branch of Bull Mt. Creek in northern Marion County. (t9-r14-s24). In 1861 they were getting settled in their new one-room log house. They had three children: William Washington, 3; Susan Elizabeth, 2; and Daniel Webster, born on July 15, 1861. There was another baby on the way. Their closest neighbors were the young James M. Mitchell family. They were also clearing land and building barns and houses. There were no newspapers and, of course no radios, so the only source of news was when someone stopped to talk. They had no idea of what was "brewing" in Washington. Someone had said that a Republican, Abe Lincoln, was running for President. Newton had no time for politics and cared little about the slave troubles of the rich plantation farmers. He had no slaves- nor wanted any.

It was about the last of November; they had just finished their crops, when Russell Palmer came by with the news that Abe Lincoln had been elected President and people were talking of Secession- a word Newton didn't understand. The next news was of a new southern government and a new President- Jeff Davis.

Then began the call for an army of volunteers to whip the "Lincoln hirelings". A day was set for area volunteers to meet at Barnsville for free food, drinks and a sharpshooting show. Russell Palmer was there and enjoyed telling the story of a young lady who was to perform. The girl was to have shot dirt clods tossed into the air while riding full speed on her horse. Russell always laughed when he told this part: "Just as she started to shoot her pistol, the old 'hoss' 'throwed' his head up and she shot him grave-yard dead. You should have seen the dust fly ! All in all, it was a pretty good show !"

The new Confederate government soon set to law that farmers with twelve or more slaves were exempt from going into the armed forces. That just didn't "set right" with the small farmer. So it was going to be a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight. Some of Newton's neighbors expressed their opinion on the subject and one, John Kennedy, was hanged at Barnsville.

At the beginning of the Rebellion a group of men was organized to enforce the laws of the new government. These men were called the Home Guards. Captain Stoklen Roberts from Itawamba County, Mississippi was in charge of this area. He had under his command two to three hundred guerrillas whose job it was to see that men went into service, and to provide supplies any way necessary.

In 1862 everybody had plenty of bad news to tell. Union people were moving into the Bull Mountain country to escape the Home Guards. Joseph Palmer's wife moved there after Joseph stabbed Robert Whitely and escaped to Glendale, Mississippi. The Johnnies burned Joe's house a few days later. Joseph refused to go to the Reb Army. He said his grandfather fought the British for the Stars and Stripes and he would not fight against it.

William Fountain Ozbirn, brother of Newton, joined the Yankee Army September 8, 1862, after being recruited by Joseph Palmer. The Yanks had sent Joseph back to Marion County to raise a regiment.

Word came to Newton that the Home Guards had raided the road leading to the Shottsville area where his parents lived, along with Henry Ozbirn, his bother and their family. Newton, carrying a sack of corn meal on his horse, made the trip at night and found them shaken up but o.k. Most of their livestock was gone. Henry had made his getaway and was staying in the woods nearby.

On his way back, Newton stopped at Dr. Russell Palmer's place. Russell told him that he and Morning Dove were fine. Their son, Joe, was hiding in the woods and the Home Guards did not bother Russell since he was tending the sick in the area and was too old for the service anyway. Russell said that Joe had killed five deer and they had plenty of meat. He told how he planned to take some to the Purser family at daylight. Old Moses Purser was ill and so was his daughter-in-law. Purser's son was hiding in the bluffs. The Guards had visited there about a week before, taking all their food, breaking all their dishes and kicking over the bee gums before they left. Dr. Palmer had seen seven-year-old Sarah Ann Purser stealing apples from the Whitt's tree and feeding them to her little brother.

Newton arrived home about seven o'clock. Mary was worried and watching the road for him. They decided it was time for Newton to go into hiding. They had been lucky thus far. He stayed in the woods and bluffs for a few weeks, coming home at night to check on his family ever so often. Finally, Joseph Palmer signed him up for the First Alabama Cavalry. He was to report to Corinth, Mississippi on February 4, 1863. Newton had two weeks to help Mary get things in order for his departure.

On February 1, 1863, Newton was chopping wood when the dogs started barking and his wife and children were screaming for him to run. It wasn't easy to leave his family at the mercy of those men, but it saved his life because Roberts said to Mary, "We'll be back, and if your man is here, we'll kill him".

Newton stayed in the woods nearby until about midnight. Checking carefully, he returned to his home. Mary and the children were scared, but alright. "They took your horse", Mary told him. "They went through the house, got our quilts and anything else of value, and they're going to kill you if they find you here. You had better leave tonight"!

Kissing his family goodbye, Newton headed for Sheeram Creek, praying as he made his way to the home of Harb Cole, a Union man who had a grist mill near Ball Rock.(Rock Bridge Canyon) He ate breakfast with them and they directed him to join a group of Union men heading for Corinth. He found shelter at Widow Clark's house and a Mr. Murphy helped him with provisions. His last stop was at Madison Neal's place. By February 4, he had made it to Yankee country. Newton was assigned to Company D with Captain George King as his C.O. He was not among strangers, for he was to find three brothers, four cousins, one brother-in-law and a nephew in the Alabama Cavalry. William Ozbirn was in Company K and Newton saw him often.

To be continued... Part 2

Regarding the following from, I would like to challenge the remarks made in the Marion County Tracks Newsletter in 1988, most likely by Russell Palmer. To wit: This information was compiled by Joel Palmer of Hamilton, Alabama- Great Grandson of Russell Palmer. It was first published by Marion County Tracks Newsletter in 1988 & is offered here by permission of the author.

Since I don't have Mr.Palmer's address, either snail mail or email, I am writing you to help straighten this out. I believe he made the mistake of several other writers who have used this as their background material in writing current historical accounts of the Civil War in and around Marion County and the Unionist influence therein. The particular subject matter is with the erroneous postulation that a John Kennedy was hanged in Marion County, and I quote from Part 1: "The new Confederate government soon set to law that farmers with twelve or more slaves were exempt from going into the armed forces. That just didn't "set right" with the small farmer. So it was going to be a rich man's war, but a poor man's fight. Some of Newton's neighbors expressed their opinion on the subject and one, John Kennedy, was hanged at Barnsville." (Note: Barnsville was an euphemism for what later became known as Hackleburg.)

The man who was hanged was David Stephenson Kennedy, my g-g-g grandfather. This has been documented by various sources and documents going back to testimonies given during and following the Civil War by relatives and others seeking restitution. I would be more than happy to supply that information provide you will set the record straight.

David Stephenson1 Kennedy was born in TN 1796. David died OCT 1862 in Hackleburg, AL, at 66 years of age. His body was interred OCT 1862 in Marion Co., AL.

He married Elizabeth Littrell in Davidson Co., TN, 24 OCT 1821. Elizabeth was born in Virginia 1802. David S. Kennedy was hanged by the "home guard" during the civil war. Having two sons who fought for the Union Army he was hung as a sympathizer. P.D. Roddy claimed credit for this atrocity. The rebels also destroyed all of his property. They gave a negro a plug of tobacco to bury the corpse. (This information comes from the Nashville Daily Union, dated March 4, 1863. It is a series of sworn statements made by people living in or near Marion County during the Civil War who had remained loyal to the Union.)

David Stephenson Kennedy and Elizabeth Littrell had the following children:

+ 2 i. William S.2 Kennedy was born DEC 1821.

+ 3 ii. Sarah Ann Kennedy was born 1822.

+ 4 iii. Elizabeth Caroline Kennedy was born 1830.

5 iv. James J. Kennedy was born in AL 4 APR 1834. James died 12 DEC 1905 in Marion, IL, at 71 years of age. He married twice. He married Rebecca Wade. He married Malinda Jones Porter 11 FEB 1865. This was his second wife. A Soldier with the 1st Alabama Cavalry.

6 v. Brantley Kennedy was born 1834.

7 vi. Piety C. Kennedy was born 1836.

8 vii. Catherine Kennedy was born 1838.

9 viii. George Washington Kennedy was born in AL 11 JAN 1842. George died 29 MAR 1921 in Quincy, IL, at 79 years of age. He married Martha Day in Marion Co., AL, 2 DEC 1866. George W. Kennedy enlisted in the 3rd Ohio Cavalry at Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 29, 1862, along with another Marion County resident, William M. Frederick. George's older brother, James also fought for the North.

10 ix. Jane Kennedy was born 1842.

11 xii. David C. Kennedy was born 1845.

+ 12 x. Robert Russell Kennedy was born 2 JUL 1848. He married Margaret Melissa Frederick, daughter of James A. and Mary A. Frederick of Marion Co. AL.

+ 13 xi. Dock Riley Kennedy was born 19 JAN 1850.

Robert Frederick, g-g-g grandson of David S. Kennedy


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