DISENFRANCHISMENT 

Communities, particularly in Collins Settlement, where southern
sentiment ran high were still divided. There was some bitterness between
the factions. Although the general population seemed to believe that it
was best to forget the war & get down to the business at hand, there
were some who would not. 

On October 4, 1869, the Lewis County Registration Board gave notice that
open sessions would be held concerning charges that certain residents
were or had been symapthetic to the Confederate States. All that was
required for an individual to be charged was for someone to "think" that
the person was a southern symapthesizer. It was up to the person charged
with the crime to prove his innocence, but the Registration Board could
disallow any or all testimony that it wanted. An individual found guilty
lost all civil rights & was not considered a citizen of the state. There
was no appeal to any court over the decision of the appointed board. 

Three members of this board were James McCorley, his son-in-law James
Coonrod, & Dr. W. H. Hall. Shortly after the hearings started, Dr. Hall
resigned. He declared that his conscience & the oath he had taken would
not allow him to be a part of this travesty of justice. 

When the notices were sent to the individual charged, they were told
that they would need two witnesses to testify on their behalf. Once the
hearings began, however, they were informed that they had to have four
witnesses and no time would be allowed to obtain additional witnesses. 

The persons charged by this board were: 

 John G Arnold           Z Curtis                Benoni Mitchell
 Philip E Barb *         Minter B Dennison       Joseph Mitchell *
 Joseph Bennet *         Martin Fox              Samuel Posey
 Joseph D Bennet         Walter Fox              T S Posey *
 Marcelles Bennet        Nimrod B Foster         E Riffle
 Anthony R Blake         Joseph Hall             J S Riffle *
 B S Blake *             William F Heetor *      H H Rittenhouse *
 Stewart Blake *         James M Heflin *        Thomas Scott *
 W A Blake               George A Hoover         John Sims *
 Evan Cooper *           Jonathan Lewis *        Alexander Skinner *
 J A Craig *             P A Larentz             D J Skinner
 Salathiel Craig *       J C Jenkins             G B Skinner *
 W W Craig *             Henry McCally           Joseph B Wallace *
 Robert Crawford *       R B McCutchin *
C D Curtis               J W D McCutchin

* indicates those found guilty 

Twenty nine were found guilty and were disenfranchised; all were from
Collins Settlement District. Each case and individual is a story of its
own. One such story appeared in the Weston Democrat on Nov 1, 1869. 

"The hardest case of disenfranchisment, under Corley's administration,
we believe, is that of Henry McCally, Esq. Long before the formation of
Lewis County, this gentleman moved to what is now Battelle Township,
where he has resided for 68 years. He is now 80 years of age and is of
course very feeble and is in bad health. His character is unblemished,
and in the community he stands as high as a man can, yet the infamous
rascals knowing that it was physically impossible for him to travel
notified him with the rest of his neighbors and by not appearing his
name was sticken off. 

"In a recent conversation, the old man said that he now intends to go to
Kentucky, where two of my sons reside and seek a grave among strangers.
And so the poor old decrecit man whose once sprightly form is bound
beneath the weight of years -- whose hair has been whitened by the frost
of 80 winters, is driven by the devilish malignity of one man to leave
the cherished scenes of his childhood -- the well loved home of his
manhood and the old heartstone around which cling the memories of a long
and well spent life, the graves of his kindred, and the land of his
nativity and seek among strangers that freedom which is here denied.
This is but one case of how the hands of Stevenson make emigrants." 

Courtesy of Richard E McCauley 

Joseph Bennett (1805-1880) son of William and Rebecca (McCally) Bennet,
was tried for treason and disenfranchised in 1869. He left the state and
moved to Illinois where he died.