Monday, February 14, 2011

Champion Guinn, Lost Life in Battle with Kansas Jayhawkers (Redlegs)

Champion Guinn

b. 1823/4 TN
d. November 24, 1861, Osceola, St. Clair County, MO

He married Rebecca Ann Jackson in 1841. He was living in Franklin County, TN on the 1840 census with apparently a widowed mother (more likely step-mother) and a much younger brother and sister and other relatives. In 1850 he was in Hardin County, TN with his first wife, Rebecca, and two children: George M. b. 1843 and Sarah E. b. 1845/6. The family name was "Guinn" in 1840, "Gwinn" in 1850, and Guinn again in St. Clair County, Missouri. Rebecca died probably in 1854. Champion Guinn met Nancy Ellen Dunlap at a social event in either Haywood or Lauderdale County where he was playing the fiddle. He eloped with Nancy, with the help of one of her aunts and married her in Cheatham County, TN on January 1, 1856 and immediately afterward went to Osceola, Missouri.

He had a good friend, Micajah Dark who had already moved there. Since there is no evidence that Micajah Dark was ever in the southernmost central part of Tennessee, we believe Micajah and Champion met in west central or northwest Tennessee where we know Micajah had been from time to time.

Champion Guinn and Nancy Ellen Dunlap-Guinn had two daughters in Osceola: Susanna Poindexter Guinn (named for Nancy's maternal grandmother) b. 1857 and Lucretia Almedia Guinn b. 1859. Champion Guinn was a wagon maker, and on his way to making a tidy little fortune making and selling wagons to emigrants headed west along the Santa Fe trail. He was a respected townsman in Osceola and one of a group selected to protect the main bank if Senator Lane from Kansas made good his threat to pillage Osceola. He did and brought several hundred Kansans who overpowered the 12-15 men trying to guard the bank. Senator Lane found very little money in the bank and could only find one of the four hidden parcels of funds because only one person in town would tell him anything. He then "tried" the townsmen who had been attempting to protect the bank for "treason," on the spot. Lane acted as prosecutor and judge and allowed no defense or pleas. He promptly sentenced to death those who had not already been killed in the gun battle to take the bank, and did the countdown to fire and participated in the firing squad. Seven men were immediately killed. Champion Guinn and William Berry were mortally wounded and eventually died of their wounds; William Berry died about 2 weeks after the September 23, 1861 sacking and burning of Osceola, and Champion Guinn died November 24, 1861. Micajah Dark was very seriously wounded but after a year finally recovered and married Champion Guinn's widow, Nancy Ellen Dunlap Guinn. They had 5 more children. Twin sons died as infants but three other children survived and lived to old age.

Nancy Ellen Dunlap's father was William Anderson David Dunlap b. in 1813 in Montgomery County, TN but who lived in Humphreys, Haywood and Lauderdale from about 1830 until 1856 when he moved his family to Marshall County, Iowa. He married Emily Poindexter in 1832/33. The elopement of Nancy Ellen Dunlap and Champion Guinn was made possible by her father's going back and forth to set up the new home in Iowa. Her grandfather was William Dunlap of Williamson and Montgomery Counties, TN who married Ellen Thomas in 1806, and her great-grandfather was Samuel Dunlap who died in Humphreys County in 1840, and was a Revolutionary War veteran from South Carolina. Her father had lived with his grandparents to help care for them in old age during his late teenage years and continued to live in west central Tennessee after that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dr. William McKendree Gwin, Senator from California

GWIN, William McKendree, senator, was born in Sumner county, Tenn., Oct. 9, 1805, son of the Rev. James Gwin, a Methodist preacher and a" soldier under General Jackson. He was graduated at Transylvania University, M.D., in 1828, having previously studied law at Gallatin, Tenn. He practiced medicine in Clinton, Miss. In 1833 President Jackson appointed him U.S. marshal for the district of Mississippi. He represented the Vicksburg district in the 27th congress, 1841-43, and declined a re election on account of his poverty. President Polk appointed him superintendent of the building of the U.S. customhouse in New Orleans and he resigned on the accession of General Taylor to the presidency and settled in San Francisco. Cal, June 4, 1849. He was a member of the first constitutional convention, which met at Monterey in September 1849, to frame a state constitution and in December was elected with John Charles Fremont to the U.S. senate. He drew the long term and in the senate was instrumental in procuring a survey of the Pacific coast, the establishment of a U.S. mint and navy yard, for San Francisco

He was re-elected in 1855 and at the close of his second term as U.S. senator he was arrested for disloyalty and was imprisoned till 1863, when he was released and went to France. In Paris he developed a scheme for the colonization of Sonora. Mexico, with Southerners, and he interested Napoleon III in the project. He had an interview with Maximilian at the Tuileries and two weeks later Maximilian left for Mexico. Doctor Gwin followed with an autograph letter from Napoleon III to Marshal Bazaine. Neither the marshal nor Maximilian favored the plan nor Doctor Gwin returned to France in January 1865, and freely exposed the condition of affairs in Mexico to the Emperor, which interview obtained an order on the marshal to furnish troops to aid Doctor Gwin in his scheme. On delivering the order it was not carried out and disappointed Doctor Gwin was furnished an escort to the border and he returned to his home in California where he engaged in business. He supported the candidacy of Samuel J. Tilden for President in 1876. He subsequently removed to New York City, where he died. Sept. 3, 1885.