THE SEVEN SOLDIERS EXECUTED ON CURTMAN ISLAND IN 1864
by Peggy Smith Hake
The following is a brief history of each of the seven Union soldiers who were executed by General Crabtree's forces on Curtman Island on a hot, sultry day in August, 1864..............
1.....STEPHEN S. CRISP was a son of Joseph and Phoebe Crisp, natives of North Carolina. Stephen (called Dick) was born in Kentucky on 2 May 1838 and was 26 years old when he died. He married Elizabeth Mahala Bond (dau. of Joseph and Charity Bond) in Miller County in 1862. They had one child, Mary Jane Crisp, born 1864. Stephen's widow, Elizabeth (Bond) Crisp, later married Robert Hill and they had 6 children. Stephen is buried at Spring Garden cemetery in northern Saline Township. His brother-in-law, Nathaniel Hicks, who married Elizabeth Crisp, also died on Curtman Island.
2.....WILLIAM GIBSON is a man of some mystery. Not much is known about him. In Miller County marriage records, a man named William Gibson married Martha Young in February 1841. They do not appear in census records, so it is not known if he was the same man as the one massacred on Curtman Island. In 1860, Wiley Gibson, his wife Mahala, and 5 children lived in Richwoods Township. He was about 31 years old, born in Tennessee c/1829. It is possible he could be the William killed by Crabtree's raiders. It is a known fact that William Gibson, one of the 7 executed, is buried at Allen cemetery near Olean.
3.....NATHANIEL HICKS was born in Kentucky about 1837, a son of Nathaniel Hicks Sr. and his wife, Lucinda. They were both natives of Virginia. Nathaniel married Elizabeth Crisp, daughter of Joseph and Phoebe Crisp and a sister to Stephen Crisp who also died on Curtman Island. Nathaniel and Elizabeth had at least three sons: James L. Hicks, Joseph N. Hicks, and Stephen S. Hicks. Nathaniel died at the age of 27 years and is buried at Allen Cemetery near Olean. In December 1866, his widow, Elizabeth, married John A. Tracy.
4.....PHAROAH (Farrow) LONG was born in Tennessee about 1832, a son of John Long (1801-1888) and his wife, Nancy ( 1804-1891), both natives of North Carolina. He married Martha Hix/Hicks in Miller County in January 1851. They had two daughters, Nancy J. Long and Jemima E. Long. Pharoah, called Farrah, died at the age of 32 years and is buried at Allen cemetery where his parents are also buried. (Some have not agreed that Pharoah is actually buried at Allen Cemetery).
5.....SAMUEL MCCLURE may have been a son of Anna McClure, born c/1815 in Kentucky. No records have been found for him in Miller County census records. He is buried at Allen Cemetery per cemetery inventory records and has a military stone. Also at Allen Cemetery is William M. McClure (1852-1926). He may have been a brother to Samuel. Some reports state he may be buried at Amos Cemetery in Moniteau County.
6.....YANCY ROARK was born in Kentucky on September 2, 1827, a son of William and Candace Roark. He was 36 years old when he died on Curtman Island, just 3 days before his 37th birthday. In November 1849, Yancy married Leah Vernon in Miller County and they had three children: Henry Nolan Roark, John B. Roark, and Martha Roark. Yancy has two stones in Allen Cemetery; one that was placed by his family and the other is a government-issued stone. His wife, Leah Vernon, Roark, never remarried but remained his widow and died in 1907. She is buried at Eldon Cemetery as well as their three children.
7.....JOHN P. STARLING was a son of Thomas Day Starling (1796-1880) and his wife, Elizabeth (1801-1872), natives of Maryland and Tennessee, respectively. John was born in Tennessee on 24 March 1832 and was 32 years old when killed. His wife's name was Sarah E. (maiden name unknown) and they had 4 children: James Starling, William Starling, Samuel Starling, and Louisa J. Starling. John is buried at Allen Cemetery where his family is also buried. John was the commanding officer in charge the day they patroled Curtman Island. He held the rank of First Lt. of the Provisional Company.
Curtman Island was named for Charles Nicholas Cary Phillip Otto Curtman, who once owned the island before the Civil War. Charles was an immigrant from Giessen, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. He was a son of William J.G. Curtman and Adelheid Kroenke and was born on July 27, 1829. Charles came to America in the early 1850s and settled in Miller County. On June 24, 1852, he married Miss Sarah Boyd, a daughter of James and Ruth (Clark) Boyd, natives of Greenup County, Kentucky. They had homesteaded in the same general area about 1835. In 1854, Charles Curtman, who by profession was a doctor, opened his medical practice at an early-day store on the west bank of the Osage River, called Fairplay. He and Sarah had three children: Minna Ruth 1853-1855, William 1855-1857, and George Washington born 2 Nov 1857. Sarah Boyd Curtman died when George W. Curtman was only 7 days old. George was the only surviving child of Sarah and Charles Curtman. He followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a well-known physician in Miller and Maries counties.