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Parsons in Decatur County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Divided Loyalties

Decatur County during the Civil War

 
 
Divided Loyalties Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Austin, December 20, 2019
1. Divided Loyalties Marker
Inscription.  In 1861 West Tennessee overwhelmingly supported secession. Many residents with strong attachments to the Union however, lived in several counties along the Tennessee River. despite enormous pressure from their neighbors to support the Confederacy, a small majority of loyalists in Henderson and Decatur counties voted against separation despite the risks. Two stories of survival, one Union and one Confederate, show that there was no neutral ground here.

After the Battle of Shiloh in May 1862, Federal recruiters in Decatur County enlisted Unionists in several units and later formed the 6th and 7th Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry regiments. Many residents of the Bear Creek area followed community leader Asa N. "Black Hawk" Hays, who became a captain in the 7th Tennessee. Hays was later captured at Union City and imprisoned in Richmond's Libby Prison. After the war, hard feelings still lingered, and in 1887, Hays was ambushed and killed on the Rosson Town Road. He is buried in Bear Creek Cemetery.

The conflict made life difficult for Confederates as well. Local resident Jerome S. Burton joined the 27th Tennessee Infantry (CSA). When
Divided Loyalties Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Austin, December 20, 2019
2. Divided Loyalties Marker
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his twin brother, Peter Burton, was killed in 1863 near Murfreesboro, it took Pvt. Burton thirteen days to transport his remains through Union-occupied territory to Decatur County for burial. He traveled by night, hiding the body in shallow graves, until he reached Bunches Chapel Cemetery. He was later captured near Chattanooga and survived imprisonment at Fort Delaware. He died in 1879 and is buried near his brother.

"The prisoners who suffered most [at Libby Prison] and were most dependent on their more affluent comrades were those from Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, in which states their friends were fugitives, impoverished themselves, or within the enemy's lines. —Capt. Asa N. Hays, 7th Tennessee Cavalry
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list.
 
Location. 35° 38.53′ N, 88° 7.375′ W. Marker is in Parsons, Tennessee, in Decatur County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of South Tennessee Avenue (U.S. 641) and West 8th Street, on the right when traveling north. Located south of Parsons Library parking lot, connected by a short sidewalk. Touch for map
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. Marker is at or near this postal address: 535 S Tennessee Ave, Parsons TN 38363, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The "Pea Vine" A Ghost Railroad / Parsons A Railroad Town (approx. half a mile away); Revolutionary War Veterans Monument (approx. 4 miles away); Confederate Veterans Memorial (approx. 4 miles away); Decatur County Veterans Monument (approx. 4 miles away); Brownsport Furnace (approx. 4 miles away); Decatur County Training School Crowder High School 1925-1965 (approx. 4.3 miles away); Perryville First County Seat of Perry County (approx. 4.7 miles away); Mills Darden (approx. 5.4 miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 20, 2019, by David Austin of Scotts Hill, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 106 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 20, 2019, by David Austin of Scotts Hill, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 16, 2021