This story is about my grandfather and his father and it happened
during the Civil War. The bushwhackers were active in the area during
this period and a man by the name of Morrison Cotner had gotten on their
bad side and they had come for him. Cotner saw them coming and barred
the door and would not allow them to enter. At this juncture they said
if he wouldn't come out they would burn him out and proceeded to fire a
corner of the house. Cotner had gone into the attic of the home and had
pried a clap board loose where he could see them building the fire and
shot one of the bushwhackers, whereupon the others retreated. That night
Cotner fled to Ft. Smith, leaving his family as he thought without him
they would not be bothered. Some time later my grandfathers father came
to look in on the Cotner family, the bushwhackers had left one of their
number in ambush for Cotner, and apparently mistaking grandfathers
father for Cotner he was shot as he crossed the yard. Grandfather was
summoned and with the help of the Cotner women he yoked a team of oxen,
loaded his father into the wagon and hauled him 35 miles into Ft. Smith,
where one of the Ferguson connections managed to enter him into the
Military Hospital. At this time grandfather was but 12 years of age.
This same basic story comes down through the Cotner line so it appears
to be correct, my grandmother is the one who gave the foregoing version. 

        Grandfather remained in Ft. Smith until his father was released from
the hospital, as a consequence he had suffered an impaired arm from the
bushwhacker incident. They left Ft. Smith and went back to their farm to
find everyone gone. Somewhere along the way they had picked up
grandfathers younger sister Julia and proceeded on to Ozark, Ark., which
was a port on the Arkansas River. There grandfathers father and dau.
Julia boarded a boat. They tried to talk Julia into staying and had done
so but the boat was just pulling away and although they held out their
hand to her they just missed and the boat sailed away. Neither
grandfathers father or his sister Julia were ever heard from again.
Grandfather advertized after the war for them but never heard anything.
During this period in time more than 100 boats had sunk on the Arkansas
River, most without passenger manifests, and they were probably on one
of those boats.

        After this incident grandfather went to live with his uncle, William L.
Ferguson. From what I can glean from both the Ferguson side and the
Damron side, the relationship between grandfather and his uncle William
was more a father and son relationship than uncle and nephew. 

        While residing with William L. Ferguson grandfather was given a single
shot rifle with which to supplement the larder, this as food was in
short suppy due to requisitions by both Union and Confederate forces.
I was also told that grandfather was extremely accurate with a rock and
many of the rabbits and other small game were victims of this accuracy. 

        On one of his hunting forays grandfather fired the rifle and the
bushwhackers hearing it homed in on the sound, taking grandfather
prisoner. They made a camp swamper of him until one evening as it was
just getting dark grandfather and one of the bushwhackers were taking
the horses down to a creek to water them. When they approached the creek
grandfather slipped under one horse and started running across the
creek. The bushwhacker fired at him, hitting him in the leg, but he made
his way to the other bank of the creek, going down it until he saw a
pile of brush and hid in it. A search was mounted for him. One
bushwhacker said to let him go, he's only a boy, but another said that
they grow into men and the search continued, one of the horses leaping
over the brush where grandfather was hidden hit grandfather with a hoof. 
After a time they gave up the search and immediatly moved camp as they
knew that with its location known they would have some unwelcome

        After the bushwhackers had moved camp grandfather went in the direction
of Greenwood, Ark. then circled back until he came upon the cabin of a
widow named Hill and she hid him in her attic where grandfather lived
for about 3 months, coming out only at night. He was afraid to go back
to William Ferguson's as he thought the bushwhackers might be watching
the place. He did go to one of the outbuildings and there made some sign
that he was there, after that they would leave him food in the building.