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Death Of Manse Jolly

Manse Jolly, Once Terror of Yankees in South Carolina, Buried in Little River Cemetery; Was Drowned in Walkers Creek

Milam County Texas Cameron Herald, Thursday, March 15, 1934

The Body of "Manse" Jolly, as wild and romantic, daring figure as ever lived through the stirring days of the Civil War, lies buried in Little River Cemetery in Milam County.

A native of South Carolina, he enlisted in the Confederate army with six brothers. Five of them were left dead on the field of battle while “Manse” Jolly kept his promise to kill five Yankees for each brother lost. He came to Texas and Milam County.

He was a second cousin to Robert Todd, pioneer and former county treasurer and sheriff of this county. Jolly was a first cousin of Mr. Todd's mother, who before her marriage was Sarah Sherrill. Jolly made a crop on the old Sampson place near Cameron shortly after the war. He was drowned in Walker's Creek at Magee's crossing located near the present Walker's Creek cemetery, in 1868 or 1969 (sic). In the published account of his life taken from the Anderson Daily Tribune of Anderson, South Carolina, the writer says he was drowned in Red River crossing into Texas. Mr. Todd corrects this statement and with proof that the body now lies in Little River cemetery. Old timers will read this account with interest. Next Week another account will appear:

John L. Jolly, now resident of McCormick, was a visitor to the city a few days ago. Mr. Jolly is well known as the chicken fancier and for 50 odd years lived at Jolly Springs, six miles northwest of the city. He moved to McCormick about two years ago. He is well pleased with his new home. McCormick is a new country and will soon erect county buildings and begin business. Mr. Jolly says there is little lawlessness there and there will be little work for a sheriff.

Mr. Jolly was asked something about the history of his uncle, the famous Manse Jolly, and his reluctantly gave us a few facts as to this brave man's deeds during the close of the war. Manse Jolly was one of the first from Anderson County to join the Confederate Army, enlisting at Charleston. He served until the close, coming out without a scratch but a record for bravery that few soldiers equaled.

Manse Jolly was accompanied to the front with six brothers. Five were left on different battle fields. Only one accompanied him back to the old home where an old mother awaited them with open arms, the father having died shortly before the war. On his arrival home, Manse was greeted by the Yankee garrison, then stationed in Anderson. This angered him and he took an oath to kill five Yankees for every brother lost on the battle fields. He more than made good.

He lost no time in beginning his hide and seek game with the garrison stationed here. The commander soon learned that one of his men had been killed by Jolly. In a day or two another was reported killed by Jolly. Then squads were sent out to search for the desperado. They often encountered the daring Jolly and as often lost one or two of their numbers for when Jolly's rifle spoke, death claimed another victim. Finally more soldiers were sent here to help hunt down Jolly and times got so warm he left for Texas and was crossing Red River in the Lone Star State, when his swimming horse became entangled in some vines as he was crossing the swollen stream and both rider and horse perished.

When Jolly left Anderson, he had 23 notches on his gun, and it was said that he killed at least a dozen Yankees on his way to Texas. He more than made good five times five. This number of slain Yankees did not include the Negroes he killed. A large number were killed in different sections of the county. He wore the uniform of a federal soldier and this helped him at different times. Among the negroes killed was one near Pendleton he met in the road. The negro seeing the Yankee uniform offered to direct Jolly to the home of some white people, where he was told he could secure jewelry and gold. Here Jolly put another notch on his gun.

At Brown's Ferry three Yankee garrison soldiers were stationed to guard some stolen cotton. Jolly went down and killed all three and turned the cotton over to the parties who had lost it. At Boleman's blacksmith shop, located near Providence church, in Rock Mills township Jolly found two Yankees who had stolen horses from some of his relatives. He disarmed both and marched them ten miles to Sour Woods Springs school house where a singing was then in progress. Here he called out S. F. McConnell, father of Sam and Bod McConnell, of this city. After a short conversation he left Mr. McConnell and went on to his mother's house, located near where Dr. Hutchison no lives. Taking his two prisoners into the woods, he killed them, then turned the stolen horses over to those who had lost them.

There is no way to determine how many Yankees and negroes Jolly did make away with but it would be safe to guess that he doubled the number he set out to kill.

“Jones Company” was composed of a band of young lads, too young to go to the front, but they patrolled the country at night and did some pretty hot work, and after the surrender they still kept active.

Manse Jolly rode with them on many a raid. Their very name became a terror to the unruly blacks and to the marauding squads of Yankees sent out from headquarters at Anderson county house ostensibly to forage for provisions and supplies, but also to rob and pillage.

Rev. Dr. John B. Adger in his book “My Life and Times” tells something of Jones Company, and the Yankee thieves. When old Mrs. North's carriage horses were taken from the harness and the old lady left sitting in the coach in the road, Manse Jolly and Mike Dickson and one of the Simpson boys went after the Yanks and got 'em but “lost them” over on the road by Sandy Springs - then a wooded country.

These same Yanks took the watches and jewelry from the refuges at Boscobel, near Pendleton, where Dr. Adger then lived and Clint Summers now lives. The leader of the Yankees Alanson Chapman, had stolen a fine young mare and in mounting her his short carbine swung around - the hammer hit the pommel of his saddle as the muzzle jabbed him under the chin and he fell dead in the yard. Most of the jewelry, including the handsome, old fashion watch, we now wear was recovered.

The search for Manse Jolly and Jones and Young Simpson and the rest of the Jones Company brought an officer and a squad to Boscobel on another occasion. Young John Adger, killed in a run away accident years ago, was a member of the famous Jones Company and rode a sorrel pony called “Doc.” The officer came into the house and asked the boy, John, if any of the Jones' gang were hiding around there. The officer never suspected the mere lad of being one of the dreaded band.

A banquet was given by the commandant of the Yankee forces in Anderson and Manse Jolly and young Simpson are said to have attended it and applied to the officers for the $1000 reward in gold offered for Jolly and Simpson respectively. Some suspicion being aroused, Governor Orr loudly laughed and said the boys were playing a part. He then quietly got word to the young rascals that if they didn't quit follin' and get out of danger he'd give 'em a lickin' himself. It was on this occasion that Governor Orr told the Yankee officers that while they had taken everything else we had they couldn't take all the good dinners we'd eaten befo' de wah.

Jones Company fell in on one occasion with a whole troop of Yankee cavalry on the lookout for them. It was beyond the Seneca River. The Yanks never suspected that the motley crowd of boys mounted on old mules and plow horses was the redoubtable Jones' Company. They turned them around, and started them for headquarters. The boys had told them they were going on a hunting trip. Down the road a piece in an old field skirting the highway lay the bodies of several Yanks and in the sacks the boys had were the dead Yanks' shoes and other effects. It was sure death to go past the scene of execution. The boys passed the word and when a good wild place was reached, one hollowered: “There goes a rabbit,” and dashed off down a gully; the rest lit out, too, some up and some down the road, yelling and shooting and the Yanks sat on their horses quietly laughing till the whole kit and kaboodle had disappeared out of sight and hearing.

Jones had finally to leave for the west and Simpson did, too.

One night it is said the Yankees flushed young Simpson near the old Red Horse place and in spite of the fleetness of the good horse he often rode they got him penned into a paddet with no other way to escape but to make a mad rush for the Seneca River - the road or ferry he found guarded and there was nothing to do but take the railroad trestle. The bridge was then covered with tin and an old darkey once tried to point out to our boyish gaze the very hoof tracks denting the perilous structure where the black mare had literally skimmed to safety with her reckless rider on her back.