Greetings, My Fellow Missourians

(Continued from last week)

Our Story continues about midway between Warsaw and Osceola on the ole original freight wagon road…

Our profile of Charles Suiter begins in Jackson County, Alabama. Jackson County is in the northeast corner of the state and joins Franklin County, Tennessee. Charles was born in 1808 to Alexander and Margaret Suiter. He was born in Tennessee and grew up in Alabama when it was still Cherokee Indian Territory. In about 1839 he and his wife, Elizabeth Copenhaver, pioneered from Franklin County to Missouri. They settled on the St. Clair/Benton County line. They had four young sons less than ten years old and shortly after arriving another son was born. These five boys would grow up on a farm and help operate Suiter’s Mill on Hogles Creek. The mill was located about three mile northeast of present day Iconium. Three more children were born. One daughter died in infancy and the other two would grow up to be young men. The Suiter family lived along the Fairfield to Osceola Road. They built a dam on the creek and for many years it was known as “The Mill Pond”. In addition to the water mill, they operated a distillery and had a shop where they could make almost anything desired from wood or iron.

When the War for Southern Independence started, Charles and Elizabeth had seven sons. Four of their sons would serve in the Missouri State Guard during the summer of 1861. They were John A. Charles Clanton, Andy McCoy and Tom. One of the sons, Levi G., had already gone to California by 1860.

On May 7, 1862, according to the History of Benton and St. Clair Counties by Miles/White, Charley Suiter and his wife were out in their creek bottom field planting corn. Charley was dropping seed and his wife was covering, when a squad of Cavalry on Post and Scout duty rode up on them. They shot and killed Charley and rode off and told others in the neighborhood that they shot an “Ole buck down in the Bottoms”. Through research, evidence and bits of info passed down through family history, this killing was probably done by the 8th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry, Company F. Many of the troops in this Union Regiment were men from Benton and Hickory counties. Charles Suiter was laid to rest in the Peach Orchard he’d always loved so much. He was buried in a traditional style southern grave. The top is capped with hand hewed limestone slabs of rock. This burial site was the first in what later became known as the Suiter Cemetery.

After their father was murdered, John A. enlisted with the Company B, 16th Missouri Infantry. Andrew “Andy” McCoy Suiter had signed up May 1, 1862 at Ozark, Arkansas with Company 3, Clark’s Regiment, Missouri Infantry. Both of these regiments from Missouri fought at the following engagements: Battle of Helena, Red River Campaign, Battle of Pleasant Hill and Jenkins Ferry. They surrendered at Shreveport, Louisiana on May 26, 1865 under General E. Kirby Smith’s Department Trans-Mississippi.

The newly installed Missouri Governor issued General Order #3 on January 30, 1865. It required each county in the state to in script local men as Citizen Guards. They were to be more law enforcement oriented than military. The troops were provisioned by the Federal Government and paid, at least in part, by imposing a fee upon “disloyal” citizens residing within each county. Records show that William L. and Charles Clanton Suiter both signed up at Osceola under Captain B.F. Cook on April 30, 1865. They were mustered out on July 18, 1865 with 94 days actual service. This undoubtedly was done against their will, but they had to choose between signing up or leaving the state. Both of them would have been married with young children and farms to operate. They chose to stay home.

The Charles Suiter family have hundreds of descendants that still live in this area plus many that have scattered all over the United States.

Interim hours: Now that Session is over for 2020, I will be back in District full time. If you need any assistance my Legislative Assistant Amy Helton will be happy to help you Monday-Thursday.

It is my honor to serve the constituents of District 125. If you ever have questions, concerns, or input, please feel free to contact me any time at (573) 751-4065.

YOUR District 125 Capitol office is 413B, and YOU are always welcome!