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Ms Collection R4

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Historical Background

Missouri’s second Constitution, ratified in 1865, called for a system to register potential voters and required persons who wished to qualify as voters to take an Oath of Loyalty to the United States Government and to the State of Missouri.  Although couched in terms to exclude as voters anyone who had ever been “disloyal”, the Oath was very obviously aimed at those who had participated in the recent war on the side of the Confederacy or who were sympathetic to that cause:

“ … no person shall be deemed a qualified voter who has ever been in armed hostility to the United States … or to the Government of this State … or has ever given aid, comfort, countenance, or support … or has adhered to the enemies … either by contributing to them, or by unlawfully sending within their lines money, goods, letters, or information … or has ever disloyally held communication … or has advised or aided any person to enter the service of such enemies … manifested his adherence to the cause of such enemies, or his desire for their triumph … or his sympathy … or has ever, except under overpowering compulsion, submitted to the authority, or been in the service of the so-called “Confederate States of America” … or has ever been a member of … any organization inimical to the Government of the United States … or has ever been engaged in guerrilla warfare against loyal inhabitants … or in that description of marauding commonly known as “bushwhacking” … or has ever knowingly and willingly harbored, aided or countenanced any person so engaged … or [h]as ever come into or left this State  for the purpose of avoiding enrollment for or draft into the military … or to escape the performance of duty therein … or has enrolled himself as disloyal or as a Southern sympathizer; or in any other terms indicating his disaffection to the Government of the United States …” (Article II, Section 3)

The Oath

 “I, [name], do solemnly swear that I am well acquainted with the terms of the third section of the second article of the Constitution of the State of Missouri, adopted in the year eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and have carefully considered the same; that I have never, directly or indirectly, done any of the acts in said section specified; that I have always been truly and loyally on the side of the United States against all enemies thereof, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States, and will support the Constitution and laws thereof as the supreme law of the land, any law or ordinance of any State to the contrary notwithstanding; that I will, to the best  of my ability, protect and defend the Union of the United States, and not allow the same to be broken up and dissolved, or the government thereof to be destroyed or overthrown, under any circumstances, if in my power to prevent it; that I will support the Constitution of the State of Missouri; and that I make this oath without any mental reservation or evasion, and hold it to be binding on me.” (Article II, Section 6)

Before taking the Oath, the potential voter was examined and a questionnaire regarding the points in Section 3 was completed by the Registrar and signed by the deponent.  Personal information and questions about family members who may have been “Rebels” were also included.  Occasionally, follow-up questions instigated by responses to the prepared questions were asked and recorded at the end of the form.  A list of the prepared questions may be found at the end of this document.


Register of loyalty oath questionnaires for Jasper Township, Ralls County, MO
Oaths taken 22 Sept – 20 Oct 1866, by Andrew Wasson, Register

  Oath No   Oath No  
  Hiram Osterhout
George W Osterhout
John R Self
James A Gilliland
James C Rule
Stephen S Ripple
William Bradley
John W Boyd
Milton Wasson
William Osterhout
William J Chittum
John W Fowler
Jeremiah S Boyer
Samuel Humphreys
Amos B Chitwood
William H Boyer
George W Turner
Daniel A Webb
Robert Jefferies
Abraham B Seely
Eli Selgrove
Ignatius Murphy
William Seely
William D Webb
James W Allison
John A Galloway
Sumner P Galloway
Henry C Payton
G S Phelps
Henry Webb
James J Webb
R S Howard
John Wasson
William T Boyd
William Wallace
Lewis S Anderson
Davis Ellis
William Bridgwater
George W Ford
James R Galloway
Peter W Pierce
James Fowler
Archibald Organ
Joseph J Thomas
John Lamberson
  William A Wasson
Richard Simmons
Willard W Smith
Robert E Boaz
George W Wylie
Joseph McCollum
Jarvis Gregg
Daniel Farrell
E B Miller
Charles G Crump
John D Dooley
James P Turner
William Onstott
Joseph T Ayres
Thompson G Jeffries
Bennet E Ferguson
Snel E Onstott
Asa T Fowler
William Turner
John Eustace
Robert Kelley
Elisha W Turner
Abraham Seely
George W Weldy
John I Fowler
Thomas F Conn
Zachariah W Lowe
John Schofield
Benjamin Starr
I D Seeley
Elijah Galloway
Church Y Doke [incomplete]
Joseph S Yager
Hiram A Blanchard
Thomas W Evans
David Clarke
Thomas H Webb
S C Evans
William M Leake
John Howard
Harvey Chitten [Chitter]
John Myers
Waller K Caldwell
Caswell Mills
Enoch Hendricks

Loose papers in the back of the register:

  • Two (2) cancelled Promissory Notes, each $170, dated 8 Jan 1881, Harrison Wasson to William A Wasson; payments noted on back
  • Recipe for home “brewed” medicine containing alcohol, turpentine & laudanum (among other things)
  • Story of how Mr Epker (otherwise unidentified) received the French Croix de Guerre during WWI; written in unknown hand on Northeast Missouri State Teachers College letterhead

This register remained in Wasson’s possession and was apparently used as scratch paper by family members.  Some of the comments sections contain business financial records which seem to have no relation to the person whose oath appears on that page and, in later years, the Wasson children used the register for penmanship practice and their own amusement.

The Examination Questionnaire

You do solemnly swear in the presence of God and these witnesses, that you will truly ad faithfully answer such questions as may now be asked you, and that you will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  So help you GOD.

1   What is your name?
2   Where do you now reside?
3   What is your age?
4   Where were you born?
5   How long have you resided in Missouri?
6   How long have you resided in this county?
7   How long have you resided in this election district?
8   Are you well acquainted with the terms of the 3d Section of the 2d Article of the Constitution of the State of Missouri?
9   Will you now recite the general nature of the requirements of that Section?
10   Have you during the late rebellion been truly and loyally on the side of the Government of the United States and against all its enemies?
11   With whom did you sympathize during the rebellion?
12   How did you manifest your loyalty to the Government during the war?
13   What acts of loyalty did you do during the war?
14   How did you oppose the enemies of the Government?
15   Whom did you consider the enemies of the Government of the United States?
16   Did you ever belong to any secret organizations during the war?
17   What were the names of such organizations?
18   What was the object or design of such organizations?
19   Did you at any time during the rebellion leave this State?  If so, for what cause?
20   When did you so leave and when return?
21   Did you, during the rebellion, write or send letters to any person then serving in the rebel armies?
22   Did you, during the rebellion, receive letters from any such person?
23   Did you at any time during the rebellion feed or lodge or harbor any person or persons then engaged in armed hostility to the United States Government either in the rebel service or engaged in what was commonly called “bushwhacking?”
24   Did you furnish a horse, a saddle, a bridle, a blanket, a gun, a pistol, powder, shot or other ammunition, or clothing, or any of these articles to any person who entered the rebel service, or engaged in what was commonly called “bushwhacking”? 
25   Were you yourself at any time during the rebellion in the rebel service, or engaged in what was commonly called “bushwhacking?”
26   Did you ever send or give any information of any kind to persons who were in the rebel service, or engaged in bushwhacking?  If so, what kind of information?
27   Were you at any time during the rebellion arrested by the military authorities of the Government or State?  If so, state when, and for what reason, and how long you were thus kept under arrest?
28   Had you a son, or brother, or other near relative in the rebel army or service or engaged in what was commonly called bushwhacking during the rebellion?  If so, state his name, the position he held, and his present whereabouts.
29   Was such son, brother or other near relative advised or urged by you to go into the rebel or bushwhacking service?
30   Did you help outfit such son, brother, or other near relative, by furnishing him with money, a horse, bridle, saddle, blanket, clothing or anything else?
31   Did you, while such person was in the rebel or bushwhacking service, send him any money, clothing, food or other articles?
32   Did you at any time during the rebellion become security upon the bond of any person who had been arrested by the military authorities, and who was released on oath and bond?  If so, state for whom.
33   Did you at any time during the rebellion advise, counsel or urge any person whomsoever to enter into the rebel service, or to engage in bushwhacking?
34   What were your feelings when you first heard of the defeat of the Federal army at Bull Run, Va., in July, 1861?
35   What were your feelings when you heard of the capture of General Mulligan and his army at Lexington, Mo., by General Sterling Price?
36   Were you at any time during the rebellion assessed by the military authorities to help rebuild bridges burnt by rebels?  Or were you assessed by such authorities for any other purpose?  If so, state for what amount, and whether you paid it?
37   In 1862, in the enrollment made by order of the U.S. military authorities were you enrolled as loyal or disloyal?
38   Do you consider the Constitution of this State commonly known as the “New Constitution” to be valid and binding upon the people of Missouri until declared void by the proper Judicial Tribunals?
39   Do you believe the “Oath of Loyalty,” which you are required to take in order to be registered, to be valid and binding upon you?
40   Do you believe that to take that oath falsely involves perjury?
41   Do you believe that in taking the “Oath of Loyalty” you make a statement of facts while calling upon God to bear witness to the truth or falsity of such statements?
42   In taking the “Oath of Loyalty” do you do it “without mental reservation or evasion?”
43   Do you believe that a mental reservation, or that any human law or any human decision or tribunal can absolve you from your responsibility to God if in taking the “Oath of Loyalty,” you state that which is not true?
    Are you now willing to take and subscribe the Oath of Loyalty?


A Related Document

Article II, Section 5 of the 1865 Constitution required the registering officer to keep a register of persons rejected as voters.  That register for Ralls County is now in the possession of the State Historical Society’s Western Historical Manuscripts Collections: 

Missouri, Ralls County, Supervisor of Registration, Ledger, 1866  (C 2060) 1 volume
A postwar registration volume kept by Samuel Megown, supervisor of registration, listing the names of Ralls County citizens who either refused to take the oath of loyalty after the war or had been loyal to the Confederacy. Also includes names of citizens considered loyal and permitted to vote.  See the Historical Society's Government Collection Descriptions page for more information and a contact address.

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