We have several important 150th anniversaries from our Civil War History here this year:
- In July, 1863, Confederate General Jeff Thompson, known as The Missouri Swamp Fox, was captured by a Union raiding party from Missouri along with several locally prominent Confederates at the St. Charles Hotel. This hotel, the largest in northeast Arkansas when it was built in 1852, occupied almost the entire east side of the Pocahontas court square. Thompson got his nickname for the resources he showed in many battles and skirmishes in the swamps and wetlands of southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas.
- In August, 1863, the proprietor of the St. Charles Hotel, William Evans, was assassinated in the lobby of the hotel on Bettis Street. Evans was a confederate army recruiter for northeast Arkansas.
- In November, 1863, a Union raiding party from Missouri arrived in Pocahontas with the purpose of burning the local newspaper, the Randolph Herald (owned by James Martin). The fires they set also burned most of downtown Pocahontas. Some reports say the raiders also went up and down residential streets burning homes.
[fancy_box title=”Photo”]The St. Charles Hotel was already 50 years old when this photo was made. The 1872 “Old Courthouse” is on the right.[/fancy_box]