The Legacy of Amos McLemore’s Civil War Murder: 20th Century Family Stories

Amos Deason Home, site of Maj. Amos McLemore's murder, Ellisville, MS. Photo by Victoria Bynum

Amos Deason Home, site of Maj. Amos McLemore’s murder, Ellisville, MS. Photo by Victoria Bynum

There’s an interesting new blog, Across and Back, written by “Red,” a descendant of Amos McLemore who recently made an odyssey to her ancestral home of Jones County, Mississippi, to learn more about the fate of her kinfolk.

The murder of Confederate Major Amos McLemore on October 5, 1863, allegedly by Newt Knight and two of his accomplices, is famous for being the opening shot—literally—for an insurrection against the Confederacy led by a band of Confederate deserters and Mississippi Unionists. Major McLemore was visiting the home of Confederate Rep. Amos Deason when intruders entered the home and shot him dead. The reason? McLemore’s efforts to round up local deserters left them vulnerable to arrest and execution on grounds of treason to the new government. Shortly after Major McLemore’s murder, on October 13, 1863, the Knight Company was formed, with Newt Knight elected its captain.

That story has been repeated over and over, but the story of what happened to the McLemores after his murder has never been told–hence, Red’s trip back home to try and recover that hazy past. Give Across and Back a visit—you might see someone you know!

Vikki Bynum

12 replies »

    • Tim,

      The Amos Deason home is located on the corner of Deason and Anderson Streets in Ellisville. Deason St. runs parallel with both U. S. HWY 11 and Interstate 59. Anderson Street may be reached from Hwy. 11.



    • Dennis,

      Thanks for visiting Renegade South. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a family’s history may be buried, particularly if murder and mayhem are involved. The murder of Amos McLemore is one of many tragic deaths caused by the Civil War.

      The murder is described in several books that you may want to read: Rudy Leverett’s Legend of the Free State of Jones, Ethel Knight’s Echo of the Black Horn, and my own Free State of Jones.



  1. yes i just downloaded your book from auidble.com am so anticpating listening to it i wanted to ask you how to get a hold of the bio of amos thank you


    • Dennis,

      I am certain there is a copy of Rudy Leverett’s bio of Amos McLemore (who was Rudy’s great-grandfather) at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, which holds Rudy’s papers.

      There was a copy of the bio at the Lauren Rogers Museum and Archives, Laurel, back in 1994 when I was conducting research, and I’m pretty sure that the Laurel Public Library would have a copy too.

      I would think any one of those places would provide you with a copy for a fee if you contact them.

      Good luck, and let me know whether you’re able to obtain a copy.



    • Roger, the 1860 federal manuscript census records the following occupants: Amos Deason, age 54, merchant, Eleanor, age 50, Sylvanus McManus, age 22, and Nancy H. McManus, age 17.



      • I was reading somewhere where it was stated that the home was turned over to the Anderson’s. So, I was wondering what Anderson’s lived in the house, after the Deason’s, Amos Deason.


  2. Being more specific, I am wondering if Richmond Anderson ever lived in the house. I know that he did mary a daughter of Amos Deason.


  3. I may be wrong but my understanding was Captain Macklemore was in charge of rounding up deserters and that he stopped at the decent home where judge deason resided during the stop he was standing next to the fireplace when a shot rang out from outside the home from a 50 caliber Kentucky rifle that went to two panes of glass striking him in the neck where he fell to the floor is blood-stained still in the floor I saw this myself when I was about sixteen when my mother and Aunt took me and my cousins there my mother which is Dorothy Juanita Macklemore is a direct relative from Hattiesburg Mississippi also if correct he never knew he was awarded major Jefferson Davis appointment my mother and Aunt remember seeing CSA uniform in a wooden crate with hay a gold anointed sword he has a tombstone there at the decent home that’s not a place of burial is in the cemetery nearby thank you Dana B Graves


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.