The Country of Six Bulls: Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence (1833-1931)—Part 1

Taken at Fort Garland, Colorado, April 25, 2015

Pioneer Sculpture. Photo taken at Fort Garland, Colorado, April 25, 2015


“The Country of the Six Bulls.-The earliest name known to have been affixed to this region, was that of the “Country of the Six Bulls.” All the earliest settlers knew it by that title. The origin of the name is somewhat involved in mystery. It might naturally be supposed that it originated with the Indians, and the tradition has been handed down that the Indians, at an early period, killed somewhere in this region six lusty buffalo bulls, remarkable for their strength and fierceness, and from this circumstance the scene of their valorous exploit was ever afterward known as the Country of the Six Bulls. It has been justly remarked, however, that this explanation would seem more plausible if we had the name in the Indian language instead of such plain and unmistakable Saxon(1).”


“BACKGROUND HISTORY OF Missouri, previously the 6 Bulls Indian Confederation. 1541 AD 6 Bulls was by treaty placed under the Sovereign of Spain by Desoto. By 1800 AD, 6 Bulls Sovereignship was force ceded to France. Then 1802/3 – 6 Bulls Sovereignship was ceded to the USA for consideration of 15 million dollars. 1802/3 AD to 1812 AD, – 6 Bulls under the sovereign of the USA. 1804 it was divided and organized into “Orleans Territory” and the remainder was “Louisiana regions” annexed to Illinois District annexed to Indiana Territory, (the Louisiana regions embraced what is today’s Dallas County, Mo), during this time, in 1808, the Osage sold and ceded 6 Bulls, to her sovereign the USA. But with in a year, the Indians of 6 Bulls, tried to overturn this treaty, and when unsuccessful, declared a war that lasted to 1828(2).”



Adeline Elizabeth Bryant was born May 27, 1833 in Cumberland County, Virginia to Daniel Bryant (1803-1858) and Lucy Key (1810-1903). She died January 6 1931 in Diamond, Newton County, Missouri.  She married my third great-uncle, Lazarus Spence (1825- 1902), in December 1848 in Jasper Co,.Missouri. The Bryants had relocated from Putnam Co., Indiana in 1843 and settled in the “Country of Six Bulls.” The Bryants were among the early pioneers in the Jasper/Newton County area.

I first encountered Adeline in Summer 1955 while spending a week with my grandparents in Marion, Iowa. Typical of many summers in Iowa, it was too hot to move. So my grandmother, Oda Elizabeth Hopper Spence (1894-1981), began looking around for quiet activities to keep me occupied.

“Would you like to read something?” she asked. “I have it up in my trunk.”

I followed her upstairs to the huge trunk sitting on the floor of her closet. I watched as she raised the lid and moved a few papers. Then she pulled out an old newspaper clipping.

“You can sit at the dining room table and copy it if you like,” she told me.

“Who was Adeline Spence?” I asked after sitting down at the table.

“She was married to Daddy’s great uncle!” she told me.

(She always referred to my Grandfather Spence as Daddy!)

I spent an hour hand-copying that news story in ink. When I returned home, I put it inside a notebook and forgot about it for a long time. Years later when Howard, Brian and Debbie and I were “snowed-in” for a month in Missouri, I discovered that old notebook at the bottom of a box. Then I typed the  handwritten story and put it inside another notebook for safe-keeping.

This news story and another clipping became the foundation for my Spence research years later.

The following is Adeline Elizabeth Bryant Spence’s story taken from The Carthage Press, Jasper Co., Missouri September 7, 1922.(3)

* * *


She Came Here in 1843

Among the persons who can be considered “old settlers” in real earnest is Mrs. Adeline Spence who lives on the Carthage-Neosho road a short distance south of the Jasper-Newton county line.

“I was born in Virginia in 1833,” Mrs. Spence remarked a few days ago in answer to enquiries, “and when I was five years old my parents moved to Indiana. After living in Indiana five years, my father Daniel Bryant, decided to come to Missouri and so we did, I being ten years old at the time, this being in 1843. There were many oxen in those days but my father always drove horses and it was in a spring hack, known as a carry-all that we came, driving by way of St. Louis and then down. Missouri did not look very good to me during that trip but when we arrived in Jasper County it was more pleasant and my father rented a farm on Jenkins Creek about two and a half miles southeast of where the Old Settlers Picnic Grounds now are. The place, now known as the Paxton Place was owned by a man named Moore, who lived in Little Rock, Ark, and there was already a house and some improvements on the ground. Here we went to farming and lived about six years. The country was new then but there were a good many people here before we came, some of them having been here long enough to have bearing orchards. Samuel Spence then owned about 300 acres of ground including what is now the Old Settler picnic grounds and Daniel Spence owned what later became the Moss farm just east of it.


Wild Game of Pioneer Days

“The country was full of game in those days and the ground being new produced all kinds of crops abundantly. People were sociable, anxious to do right and to extend a helping hand to their neighbors and despite the fact that people worked hard in that early day I believe that they were much happier than people are at present. My brother and I used to trap quail and prairie chicken of which there was a great number. We made slatted traps something like a chicken coop, placed corn inside and then would get long straps and round up quail. The birds would run from us and we would herd them toward the trap and eventually a number of them would be enticed in by the corn. Then we had them. Prairie chickens were also often caught in our traps, but these were enticed in by the corn; we could not drive them like we could the quail.

“Deer was plentiful and venison, prepared just like we prepare beef these days, was common. Venison was very good but personally I always thought that beef was a more palatable meat. My brother, John A. Bryant, who was quite small, was fond of hunting and soon after we came managed to trade for an old heavy-barreled, flint-lock rifle. There really was not much more than the barrel and lock to the gun when he got it as the stock was all worn out and broken. Carthage had not been founded yet and he took the gun to Sarcoxie and gave someone there a dried venison ham to fit a new stock to it. Soon after he came back with his new gun he killed a deer and then he was extremely proud. Deer skins brought a fair price even then but later it became much better.


Bees–and Indians

“Everybody had bees in those days and honey was on almost every table every meal. There were many wild bees but people soon began to capture the wild swarms and they quickly became tame. The ordinary form of bee gum was a hollow tree sawed into short sections. These sections were set on end and the bees took to them readily which was not surprising inasmuch as these resembled the natural bee trees that they would have chosen. In getting out the honey we blew smoke in the top of the section of hollow log. This forced the bees to go down and we would dip the top of the honey. Then we forced in more smoke and made the bees go still lower. Then we dug out another part of it, and so on.

“On two occasions Indians came to the house. The first time about a dozen Osage–all men–camped on Jenkins creek a short distance north of our house and all came down to the dwelling frightening all of us children, and I expect my mother also, very much. If they had guns or bows and arrows they left them at the camp before they came to see us but all of them had big knives which they displayed freely. My father had a grindstone just outside the door and all of them sharpened their knives on this. They came in the house and looked around curiously, but hardly said a word. Finally they went away without having bothered us at all other than giving us a scare. They were of course friendly Indians and were acting only in the natural Indian manner. Another band called on us later but we knew how to take them and they did not worry us.

“In 1848, two days before Christmas I was married to Lazarus Spence, I being at that time fifteen years old, and we moved over on Jones Creek east of where Haggard’s store now stands. We lived here peaceably enough until the war broke out, my husband farming and also doing some blacksmith work.

Early Days of the War

“We were union sympathizers when the war came up and I well remember the sensation that was caused in this section when Colonel Sigel and his union soldiers marched down in this section to Neosho. The news that the Yankees had come spread like wildfire all over the country and all the union men were delighted and anxious to see them. My husband, my brother and a number of others hauled a load of corn apiece to Neosho to give to Sigel, thus incidentally getting a chance to get a look at the soldiers. This was not an unnatural thing to do but it caused every one that did it to be a marked man and made life in the community thereafter unsafe for them. After Sigel marched north, fought the southerners at Carthage and went back east again this section was full of soldiers of the Missouri state guard. They were at our house frequently and bought food stuffs and required my husband to shoe horses for them. They always paid for this work and for whatever they took but they paid in confederate currency which was not worth the paper it was printed on and did not do us any good.


Visited by Guerillas

“After those soldiers had gone we had frequent visits from bushwhackers. At first these were all right, treating us courteously, paying in confederate money for the things they took. Soon they became worse and life became unsafe for the people of union sympathy. My husband had a good rifle but for fear that someone would take it from him he kept it hid most of the time out in the grass. One day three heavily armed men rode by our house, out into our lot, caught three horses and made off with them, coming riding calmly by the house again leading the animals. Mr. Spence was furious and it was with difficulty that I prevented him from rushing out for his rifle but if he had done so he would have been killed and he eventually let them go unhindered. They went down to the house of Miles Stacey, a tenant of ours and a southern sympathizer and there changed saddles to our horses and rode away, leading the mounts on which they had come.

“After this my husband kept his rifle in the house. Upstairs the wall inside the house did not reach quite to the ceiling. He kept a piece of string tied to his rifle and kept it hung between the inner and outer wall on a nail down in the exterior surface of the inner wall. No one knew of this place except the family and Miles Stacey but Stacey frequently borrowed the gun and when through with it brought it back and replaced it. One day a dozen or so bushwhackers who were said to live near Granby came to our house. Mr. Spence, knowing he would probably be killed if they found him, was hiding out and I was there alone when they came. They pushed in the door but would not say anything to me but went upstairs and soon came down again, carrying a number of blankets and my husband’s rifle. He was so fond of this gun that I knew he would feel its loss keenly and I grabbed hold of it and tried to jerk it out of the bushwhacker’s hands. He jerked it away from me and all went outside. They took three more horses out of the lot, this being all we had except one unbroken two-year-old that was out in the brush and started off. Miles Stacey came out and argued with them, asking that we be left one horse so they finally brought back one of the three. We always thought that Miles Stacey had told where the rifle was hidden but we were glad that he saved at least one horse for us.

Flight to Kansas

“The situation seemed to be getting worse instead of better and on December 23, 1861 we loaded out possessions on a wagon, hitched up the horse the bushwhackers had left us and the hitherto unbroken colt and started out for Fort Scott. My husband was sick with the measles and so were the two orphan children that we had taken in charge but rather than risk death any longer where we were we started, Mr. Spence, sick as he was sitting in front of the wagon with his feet hanging out and the two children rolling on couches that we had made behind for them. On Christmas day we were in Dry Wood in Barton county and on account of the three sick we stopped here for two days, then went on to Fort Scott and stayed in that vicinity during the war. Joshua Stacey, a brother of Miles but a union man and another neighbor named Waggoner, went to Fort Scott with us and enlisted in the army as soon as they arrived there.

“As soon as the war was over we returned from Kansas and went back on our old farm. I was afraid to come back on account of the bushwhackers that I feared would still be here but all were gone and we lived on in peace. Some years after the war we moved to a farm just south of the Newton county line. I have thus been in the same immediate neighborhood for 79 years save for the period I was in Kansas during the war.”

This story is continued in Part 2



(1) HISTORY OF JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI–1876 Atlas Pages 2-3. Copied from: Greene County Archives Bulletin Number Forty-three; Heritage County Atlas Reprints Volume 6 An Illustrated Historical Atlas Map of Jasper County, Mo. Published by Brink, McDonough & Co., 1876

(2) Jo Harris Fischer, “Dallas County, Missouri: Background History of Missouri.” Copyright: 2001. Missouri Website. Date Accessed: 13 Oct 2015. Available online at

(3) “She Came Here in 1843: Mrs. Adeline Spence Talks of Early Days: Gives Interesting recital of Conditions and Events Preceding the War and In 1861.” The Carthage Press: Old Settlers Edition. September 7, 1922.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s