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The oldest son of John and Anna Maria McLemore, Amos McLemore of Jones County, Mississippi was a schoolteacher, Methodist-Episcopal minister and merchant who opposed Southern secession from the Union in the months preceding the American Civil War but who nevertheless volunteered to command a company in the Confederate army once invasion from the North seemed inevitable.

Introduction and ancestry[]

McLemore was born on August 23, 1823, probably in Simpson or Copiah County, Mississippi.[1] On the eve of the Civil War, Major McLemore's family had been established in the South for nearly two hundred years. The patriarchs and matriarchs of the American McLemore family were James and Abraham McLemore, who probably were brothers, and Fortune (Gilliam) McLemore, James's wife. James arrived in America, probably from Scotland, not later than March 1, 1691.[2] The name McLemore derives from the Gaelic patronymic Macghillemhuire (the spelling of which has varied from writer to writer and from time to time in Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and North America).[3] The name means "son of a servant or devotee of the Virgin Mary" and originated among the Celto-Norse people who populated the lands bordering the Irish and Hebridean seas.[4]

Life[]

Amos McLemore opposed Southern secession even though his business partner, Dr. J.M. Bayliss, supported it. Once war was imminent, however, McLemore volunteered to raise a company and took charge as Major of the Rosin Heels, "the second [company] among eight raised in the area that consisted of all, or significant numbers of Jones County men.[5] In spite of pre-War opposition to secession and the number of "transient deserters", the activities of such formerly anti-secessionist individuals as McLemore, according to historian Rudy H. Leverett, along with the facts "that virtually every able-bodied man in the county was on active duty in organizations such as those commanded by McLemore … and that the Union raiding party entering the county in June of 1863 was captured by civilians, and the Union prisoners had to be protected from the local citizens" present undeniable evidence that the citizens of Jones County were loyal to the Confederacy.[5]

Murder[]

One of these deserters and his followers murdered Major McLemore in October 1863 when McLemore was dispatched temporarily from the front back to Jones County to round up deserters who had returned there. The leader of a number of the resident deserters, Newton Knight, shot McLemore in the back as McLemore and other officers and friends sat around the fireplace of state Representative Amos Deason in Ellisville.[6] Popular lore has it that the Deason house has been haunted ever since Major McLemore's murder.

References[]

  1. Ole Rosinheels: A Genealogical Sketch of the Family of Major Amos McLemore, 27th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., by Rudy Leverett., University of Southern Mississippi, page 69.
  2. Ole Rosinheels: A Genealogical Sketch of the Family of Major Amos McLemore, 27th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., by Rudy Leverett, University of Southern Mississippi, page 37.
  3. Ole Rosinheels: A Genealogical Sketch of the Family of Major Amos McLemore, 27th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., by Rudy Leverett, University of Southern Mississippi, page 1.
  4. Ole Rosinheels: A Genealogical Sketch of the Family of Major Amos McLemore, 27th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., by Rudy Leverett, University of Southern Mississippi, pages 1, 15.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Leverett, Rudy H., Legend of the Free State of Jones, University Press of Mississippi, 1984, pages 65-68.
  6. Leverett, Rudy H., Legend of the Free State of Jones, University Press of Mississippi, 1984, page 64.
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