The tension in Missouri was becoming unbearable, neighbor fighting against neighbor over whether to keep slaves, and whether or not the government had the right to decide. After the election of Abraham Lincoln and the formation of the Confederate States, it was agreed that existing slaves could be held, but no more could be taken, in an agreement called "The Missouri Compromise". But many people were angry at the residents of Missouri for choosing to compromise, and southerners began burning their homes and attacking railroads. Lazarus, 53, enlisted in Capt. McPheeter's Osage County, Mo., Home Guards, a militia formed by local townspeople and farmers to protect themselves, in May of 1861. His sons, Thomas "Bud" Adams, 19, and Smith Wesley Adams, 17, enlisted along with him.
Capt. McPheeter's Osage County Home Guards were primarily called upon to guard the Pacific Railroad from Confederate attack, and they also picketed in Jefferson City, Mo. against secession from the Union. The State of Missouri never seceded, however. The unit was mustered out July 21, 1861, and all the members immediately re-enlisted in the Osage County Home Guard Regiment (Company B), then in the U.S. Union Army. Missouri was one of the few states that held slaves but were on the side of the Union.
Lazarus returned home to his family and farm for some reason, possibly he had been wounded and was sent home to recuperate (these records have been difficult to get.) According to family members, Confederate soldiers rode onto his property about 1863 or 1864 and demanded to know where the closest Union Army camp was located. He refused to tell them, so they held guns to the heads of his wife and children, threatening to kill them if he didn't tell. In desperation, he told them. His neighbor, Needham Jackson, heard him, and went to the Army Headquarters in Lebanon, Mo. and turned him in. The troops came and arrested Lazarus, charged him with treason, and court-martialled him. He was tried and found guilty, and sentenced to be executed. His wife Elender and his children, including Bud, were forced to watch. The execution (by firing squad, or by hanging, the records aren't clear) took place, and the Army refused to give his body to the family so he couldn't be buried with "decent" people. The family stories say, however, that the soldiers buried him in the Mahaffey Cemetery to be near his family, but in an unmarked grave.
Bud continued to fight until the end of the war, it's hard to understand how he could have done this.
If this story is true, Elender wasn't entitled to any pension or government aid. Her son Bud spent years trying to clear his father's name, to no avail. Finally, in 1886, Congress passed a law allowing discharges to be given to deceased war veterans, regardless of the circumstances, so Bud applied. Lazarus was finally given a discharge by the Home Guards simply showing that he served, but so far, no records show that the Union Army ever reconsidered its position. Military records for a person charged with treason are very hard to get.
William Riley Adams (1829 - 1855)*
Daniel Adams (1833 - 1892)*
James Frank Adams (1839 - 1889)*
Thomas Benton Adams (1842 - 1922)*
Smith Wesley Adams (1844 - 1921)*
Created by: Victor Marolf
Record added: May 14, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 90117889