NOTE to other family history researchers. The following was printed recently as part ofissue #12 of our "Zilphy's Children Newsletter". I have scannings of the original letter by James Harder and the old Rice family notes mentioned below and will be happy to email them to you for your own research purposes.email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to begin working as much as possible in cooperation with all the family historians descended from James Harder and Elizabeth Pitt Harder. Currently I am receiving and sharing information with the descendants of Henrietta and Elizabeth, and, of course, my fellow family historians researching the family of Zilphy. Here is the slightly modified article--
Recently, via the internet I became acquainted with Daniel Walton, a descendant of Zilphy’s sister Elizabeth, the youngest of the children of James Harder and Elizabeth Pitt. While Daniel has only recently become involved in his family’s genealogy in a substantive way he has been very fortunate to have come into the amateur family historian biz with a huge cache of photos, documents and letters which had been kept by his grandparents. In looking at what he had posted on his GENI web site (which I was unfamiliar with, incidentally) I discovered he had letters with references to individuals that made no sense to him but were a delight for me. Some of the information and photos in Daniel’s possession have made their way into articles in this issue of the Zilphy’s Children Newsletter. In addition to his information providing new insight into our understanding of the Evans family and its relationship with the Mackeys, Rices and Lindseys, another letter also clarified the matter of James “Jim” Harder, Zilphy’s brother. An article in this issue reveals what we now know about Jim Harder, his marriage and his children and the Civil War. Among the letters, photos and documents that Daniel Walton inherited from his grandparents was a letter written to David and Bettie Harder Evans by her brother James Harder. The reader will hopefully recall that the old Rice family notes mentioned that Zilphy (who married John Mackey and then later Robert Rice) had five siblings (John N P Harder who married Sallie Lindsey, Henrietta Harder who married Josiah Lindsey, Mary Harder who married Jeremiah Job, and "Jim") . This researcher had located all five siblings in the public record except for "Jim". While there was a James Harder in the record that I suspected might be our Jim, I could find no documentation to support it. Likewise, from what I could tell, the descendants of the James Harder to which I refer did not themselves have any idea who their James' parents or siblings were. As it turns out, however, This James Harder was indeed the "Jim" of which the Rice notes refer. In the letter to Bettie and David Evans, James refers to his wife as Mary A Harder and that he has two sons serving in the service on the side of the Confederacy there in Arkansas where the family lives. Also, the letter bears the postmark of Centre Point, Arkansas.These references lead us to recognize this James Harder as the James Harder who married Mary Ann Crawford in Henry County, TN. James moved the family to Missouri where most of the children were born and then moved them south to Sevier County, Arkansas. In the community of Centre Point there in Sevier County, the Harders made their home by the time of the outbreak of the Civil War. It was March of 1862 when James Harder, the brother of Zilphy, wrote the following letter to his sister, Bettie, and her husband David Evans. [Some spelling and grammatical changes have been made in the following transcription for clarification purposes.]
Arkansas March 15, 1862
Dear Brother and Sister,
I sit down this Sabbath morn through the kind blessing of God to write you a few lines to let you hear from us once more. I received your favor in this week's mail which found us well as to health but not in mind. Our hearts are troubled on account of this week's paper. It appears that the foot of the raider is on Southern Soil from east to west. I read of the Surrender of Nashville, Tenn. and that the flag of the invader is flying at Fayetteville in Washington Co, Ark. But it is thought that we have a force that will not let them come again farther down. It seems that the North is making great calculations. Lincoln and Congress has past a confiscation bill. They say that the South has to pay all the expenses of the War and the Seceding States will all be acquired as territories and Texas and South Arkansas is to be a colony for the negros and they have already a cotton agent to accompany their army as they come. . . He is to collect up the cotton in Tennessee. I do hope hat he won't get nary a bail and that his army will be sent back to the place from whense they came, never to return. It seems that our enjoyment as a nation is done.
[the letter continues with a new salutation]
Dear Mother, I suppose you are in the Land of the Living yet I have been looking for a letter from you for a long time and have got one at last and I find that you are still living and going [ ? ] of health. Mother, I have heard you talk of trouble about your children when I was a boy. Little did I care to think that I should see the trouble that got through now and can't help myself. My two oldest boys is gone into the service and I have six more at home. But if they was all able to go in the army I should feel much better satisifed. I should rather hear of them dying in the battle field than to be subjugated by the north. Our State is just filling out a call of ten thousand men. . . My boys went in for twelve months and there is five months of their time gone. I am just trying to make a little corn crop with the little boys. My boys is in McCulloch's army in the north part of this state. They was well the last account which was about two weeks ago. Our county has sent nine company. It is said that our county is the volunteer county of the state. Everything is high at this time. We have saltworks in this county which supplies this country in salt. I heard last evening that there had been a great battle up here on the state line between Missouri and Arkansas and I thought I would wait until I learned the particulars of it. We have gained a great victory up there. This time though we lost our brave old general McCulloch and General McIntosh. The report is that we killed ten to one. The northern force that was there was one hundred and ten thousand and our force was about 70 thousand. . . My boys was both thar in the battle but neither of them got hurt. If we could save them that way a few more times, it would satisfy them for a while. I have given you a few of of the outlines and I must come to a close. So no more at present but remaining yours truly until death.
James Harder and Marry A Harder
When does optimism become self-delusion? The battle that Harder mentions above was Pea Ridge and it was a clear victory for the North. In fact, historians generally agree that the loss at Pea Ridge meant that any hope of bringing Missouri into the Confederacy was forever after gone. And though James' sons survived this battle, they would die a few months later. James M Harder, 21, and Martin L Harder, 17, joined Company B of the 19th Arkansas Infantry regiment on October 18, 1861. James was later promoted to corporal. They were both taken captive as prisoners of war on January 11, 1863. James was transferred to Camp Douglas POW camp in Chicago, later paroled in April 10 and eleven days later died of pneumonia. Martin never made it to Camp Douglas and died of an infection (not a wound) on February 2.