Discussion Murder of Nancy Anderson Cypert

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NH Civil War Gal

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I'm with @Mike Serpa on all of this (giving it a thumbs up) because the story is so sickening. I'm having a hard time letting this story go because it seems like there is a piece or two missing. This is more than just plundering and burning - this seems like premeditated torture and then to be burnt alive is what they did to witches in Europe. No matter who did it, it was evil and horrible. Why the pulling out of the fingernails? They knew there weren't any valuables to be given, so what did they really want? As @CSA Today said, murdering a woman, and especially an elderly woman is very unusual. So what is different about this situation? And don't say Yankees - there is more to this somehow - there is a distinct criminal element running through this.
 

archieclement

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I'm with @Mike Serpa on all of this (giving it a thumbs up) because the story is so sickening. I'm having a hard time letting this story go because it seems like there is a piece or two missing. This is more than just plundering and burning - this seems like premeditated torture and then to be burnt alive is what they did to witches in Europe. No matter who did it, it was evil and horrible. Why the pulling out of the fingernails? They knew there weren't any valuables to be given, so what did they really want? As @CSA Today said, murdering a woman, and especially an elderly woman is very unusual. So what is different about this situation? And don't say Yankees - there is more to this somehow - there is a distinct criminal element running through this.
Has anyone seen an actual date for the event?
 
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Bruce Vail

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He was my maternal grandmother's uncle. He is the only CW ancestor that I found thus far in uniform.
I haven't been able to locate a photo of any relative in uniform, unless you count the photo I use as my avatar (t left). Since Lt. Ward was in the militia for 10 years prior to the war, and the uniform in the photo bears no resemblance to any known 3rd NC uniform, I am assuming its a pre-war photo of him in his militia kit. But I keep looking....
 

CSA Today

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I haven't been able to locate a photo of any relative in uniform, unless you count the photo I use as my avatar (t left). Since Lt. Ward was in the militia for 10 years prior to the war, and the uniform in the photo bears no resemblance to any known 3rd NC uniform, I am assuming its a pre-war photo of him in his militia kit. But I keep looking....
Hopefully, you will get as lucky as me. I didn't' know that a photograph of my great uncle in uniform existed until about two years when I was looking at random Confederates photographs on a web site and there was Uncle Thomas looking back at me. Good luck in your search.
 

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I'm with @Mike Serpa on all of this (giving it a thumbs up) because the story is so sickening. I'm having a hard time letting this story go because it seems like there is a piece or two missing. This is more than just plundering and burning - this seems like premeditated torture and then to be burnt alive is what they did to witches in Europe. No matter who did it, it was evil and horrible. Why the pulling out of the fingernails? They knew there weren't any valuables to be given, so what did they really want? As @CSA Today said, murdering a woman, and especially an elderly woman is very unusual. So what is different about this situation? And don't say Yankees - there is more to this somehow - there is a distinct criminal element running through this.
I have read accounts toward the end of the war in the Official Records, when the Federal Cavalry was used for chasing outlaws and guerrillas, that they knew of a house or encampment where parties and groups of such men would gather. Termed as 'aiding and abetting an enemy' carried a severe consequence. Most times a widow owning such a house, she would be put out and the estate burned. But whomever provided information on guerrillas could also suffer retaliatory backlashes, such as this one sounds to be. It is possible she turned in some or one, resulting in a death to the outlaw, and buddies took revenge. Speculative, but logical. Still they could be drunk, or needed to be, to commit such an heinous act.
Lubliner.
 
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archieclement

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I have read accounts toward the end of the war in the Official Records, when the Federal Cavalry was used for chasing outlaws and guerrillas, that they knew of a house or encampment where parties and groups of such men would gather. Termed as 'aiding and abetting an enemy' carried a severe consequence. Most times a widow owning such a house, she would be put out and the estate burned. But whomever provided information on guerrillas could also suffer retaliatory backlashes, such as this one sounds to be. It is possible she turned in some or one, resulting in a death to the outlaw, and buddies took revenge. Speculative, but logical. Still they could be drunk, or needed to be, to commit such an heinous act.
Lubliner.

Whats a little unusual is this is early in the war, In 1862 there would have been periods on no Union troops even in most of Arkansas, and certainly few guerrillas or outlaws would have had opportunity to acquire captured uniforms. Why if anything that they were Union is more likely if the whole group was uniformed.

Use of captured uniforms became more common as the war went on. which makes sense as they would have had more time and opportunity to acquire them.

Another thing that leads me to suspect that, is no date of death on headstone, If the county was Unionist, and there was a witness, the date of death would be known and would assume neighbors buried the body, the lack of detail to the burial would suggest someone viewed a pro southerner killed by Union.
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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As we try to do our forensics here - Certainly not doubting this happened or the evilness of it. My Arkansas connection (not in the county - haven't heard from that one yet) hasn't heard about this and they are well connected, so they are thinking this is more a local story rather than a state story. Also, they noticed this was told by the young boy when he was a grown man in Arizona decades later. Again, they aren't doubting the terribleness of what happened, they are wondering about who exactly was involved and why, what a 4-year-old would be able to exactly witness and remember from the barn.

If Nancy was buried by her neighbors, and if she was pro Southern and I'm assuming her neighbors were, why leave off the date of death vs. just the year? I'm not following that.
 
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Whats a little unusual is this is early in the war, In 1862 there would have been periods on no Union troops even in most of Arkansas, and certainly few guerrillas or outlaws would have had opportunity to acquire captured uniforms. Why if anything that they were Union is more likely if the whole group was uniformed.

Use of captured uniforms became more common as the war went on. which makes sense as they would have had more time and opportunity to acquire them.

Another thing that leads me to suspect that, is no date of death on headstone, If the county was Unionist, and there was a witness the date of death would be known and would assume neighbors buried the body, the lack of detail to the burial would suggest someone viewed a pro southerner killed by Union.
Union Army (my bold):

Reports of Brig. Gen. Eugene A. Carr, U. S. Army.
Headquarters Second Division,
Camp near Searcy Landing, Ark., May 27, 1862.
Major: Since writing the other dispatch I learn that the intrepid
Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis had a skirmish 10 miles above here, on the
other side, while escorting a forage train. He had 1 man so badly
wounded as to be obliged to leave him behind. Other particulars I
have not yet learned. This shows the enemy occupying with his forces
a distance of at least 17 miles on the Little Red, including the crossing
of the old military road, where I believe it is now fordable. Men of
mine who were with the Germans today in foraging report
great excesses on their part, going into the private apartments
of ladies and opening trunks and drawers, and ransacking
everything and taking away what they wanted. If these
excesses are permitted we cannot wonder at guerrilla warfare.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. CARE,
Brigadier- General, Commanding.
O.R. Series I, Volume XIII, pg.86

On the other hand (my bold):

Report of Maj. Thomas W. Scudder, Fifth Kansas Cavalry.
Headquarters Fifth Kansas Regiment,
September 27, 1862.
Captain: In compliance with orders I moved, with detachments
from the Fifth Kansas, Fourth and Fifth Missouri, and Fifth Illinois
Cavalry, comprising in all about 275 men, to Jeffersonville, on the
Saint Francis River. One hundred 1 sent up by steamer and the remainder
by land. Arriving at Jeffersonville, I found that the enemy we were in
pursuit of had moved to the south side of the river, and consequently,
having no further use for the boat, I ordered her back to Helena. Moved
up the south side of the bayou that enters the Saint Francis at
Jeffersonville as far as Marianna, capturing en route 2 guerrillas belonging
to Captain Anderson's company. Following the track of the enemy from
Marianna (sometimes in the highway and sometimes in the timber)
through intricate windings in a southwesterly direction about 8 miles, I
came upon a large log house in the timber with loop-holes in the sides
for its defense. They had evidently vacated the premises several hours
before. 1 ordered the building fired, - which was done. Still following
their trail, came upon them (some 30 in number) in another body of
timber, on the Saint Francis and Helena road, but they escaped by
scattering through the dense thickets in every direction. Here too they
had another log house, like the former, where they rendezvoused,
large numbers of straw beds and old bed quilts being spread on the
floor. This building I also burned. Here we captured 1 horse, left in
their hurry. Turning into the road again toward Helena we met
a detachment of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, and by a sad mistake
their advance guard fired upon ours, mortally wounding a
member of the Fifth Missouri Cavalry, severely wounding 1 of
the Fifth Kansas, and killing 1 horse. The explanation given by
the captain commanding the Fourth Iowa was that only a few
moments before they had been fired upon by guerrillas dressed
in United States uniform and 2 of his men killed, and they
supposed at first sight that our men belonged to the same party.

I soon after encamped for the night, and to-day (27th) arrived in camp
about 10 o'clock. The prisoners I sent in last night by Lieutenant [H. S.]
Wait, of the Arkansas Rangers, who acted as guide for me during the scout.
I am, captain, your most obedient,
T. W. SCUDDER,
Second Major Fifth Kansas Regiment.
Capt. J. W. Paddock, A. A. G., Army of the Southwest.

O.R. Series I, Volume XIII, pp. 285-286
 
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archieclement

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As we try to do our forensics here - Certainly not doubting this happened or the evilness of it. My Arkansas connection (not in the county - haven't heard from that one yet) hasn't heard about this and they are well connected, so they are thinking this is more a local story rather than a state story. Also, they noticed this was told by the young boy when he was a grown man in Arizona decades later. Again, they aren't doubting the terribleness of what happened, they are wondering about who exactly was involved and why, what a 4-year-old would be able to exactly witness and remember from the barn.

If Nancy was buried by her neighbors, and if she was pro Southern and I'm assuming her neighbors were, why leave off the date of death vs. just the year? I'm not following that.
If the county was heavily unionist, her unionist neighbors would probally still bury her, since a survivor brings it to their attention, but may not have spent the attention to detail as they would for one of their own.
 
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archieclement

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The 5th Kansas was part of the raid that murdered and burned Morristown, Papinsville, West Point and and Osceola the year before. If I would suspect anyone of that type of conduct, it would be them...........they were pirates in Union uniforms, robbery and murder to try to get it was their calling card
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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My Arkansas connection couldn't find anything in newspapers.com on Nancy doing a range of years but they said they may not have the pertinent local newspapers. They have now emailed a historical society in that county to see what they can turn up if anything. @CSA Today this has turned out to be a great thread to do some great historical study on! Thanks for posting it, even though it is a terribly tragic story.

@archieclement I know nothing about most regiments, so please explain the 5th Kansas to me.
 

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We are having a lot of great learning on this thread, @Salmon P Chase, you are a newbie, please don't spoil it by provocative comments. Even though there are some threads for debate on secession and such, provocative comments aren't usually in the best spirit and intent of Civil War Talk. And even though I'm completely for the Union, I do have some good Confederate friends and we don't talk about teams that lost.
 
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archieclement

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My Arkansas connection couldn't find anything in newspapers.com on Nancy doing a range of years but they said they may not have the pertinent local newspapers. They have now emailed a historical society in that county to see what they can turn up if anything. @CSA Today this has turned out to be a great thread to do some great historical study on! Thanks for posting it, even though it is a terribly tragic story.

@archieclement I know nothing about most regiments, so please explain the 5th Kansas to me.
The 5th Kansas was a jayhawker regt, they were known primarily for robbing and burning out of civilians, and murder... they were part of the bunch that destroyed Osceola and several other towns under Lane. They were nothing more then criminals sanctioned by the Union.

The year before they had been ordered to go fight Price to relieve Mulligan at Lexington, instead they disobeyed their orders and robbed and burned defenceless towns and took wagontrains of stolen plunder back to Kansas...….thats the type of "soldier" the 5th Kansas were
 
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NH Civil War Gal

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This is getting a little off of Nancy - but why was that tolerated out west? That wasn't tolerated out east. What made the west different? Or do we start a new thread? I'm disgusted, as a Unionist then by the 5th then, since it sounds like they were uniformed criminals let loose.
 
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archieclement

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This is getting a little off of Nancy - but why was that tolerated out west? That wasn't tolerated out east. What made the west different? Or do we start a new thread? I'm disgusted, as a Unionist then by the 5th then, since it sounds like they were uniformed criminals let loose.

In large part because Lane was a senator at the start of the war, he is the one who organized a "bodyguard" to camp in the white house, he ingratiated himself to Lincoln and became his pet, afterwards when he returned to Kansas to Jayhawk and the Union authorities complained about the snake Lane was, Lincoln seemed to protect him, and not want to accept the truth about him.

Also the leadership was more divided it seems in the west...…The radicals basicly thought you couldn't punish them enough, and murder/robbery/destruction of their homes, banishment were all accepted. Probally our lowest moment as the United States with United States values..........

Not all were radicals, and plenty of leadership did complain, but unofficial policy seemed to be to not try to alienate either the moderates or the radicals, so for the most part nothing was done...…an occasional please stop that, or to refrain from........but seldom any actual punishments or holding people accountable.
 
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lelliott19

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OK @NH Civil War Gal I did a newspaper search on this at chronicling america. Like others, I was unable to find any mention of Nancy Cypert from 1862-1925. I ran across these two articles related to the burning of the Searcy courthouse, but not specifically related to the murder of Nancy Cypert or 1862.
1561643712722.png

After Many Years: The Houston Daily Post., December 18, 1896, MAILABLE EDITION, page 9.
Caught At Last: The Forrest City Times., (Forrest City, AR) December 25, 1896, page 4.
 
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