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by H. Gay Allen



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I had always wondered why, having been born and raised in Louisville, KY, I would get various reactions from people when this fact came up in discussions about the Civil War. I always believed I was a southern girl with German, English, Irish and American Indian heritage and ancestors who had lived all over the country. And because of this, and the fact that the state was sort of half way between the northern and southern borders of our country, I thought surely we had mostly been neutral in our participation in the whole Civil War business.

Thanks to a distant cousin who researched and created an extensive history of the “Klinglesmith Tribe,” I was able to discover various Civil War stories that made our family’s history look like the intricate patchwork quilts my


grandmother used to make. There were families with members on both sides of the war, and there were people who didn’t take sides but were affected by the fighting.

Many people who did not join either army, for whatever reason, were forced to defend their lives, their property and their political views on the home-front. The following Civil War stories occurred in Hardin County Kentucky and involved the Taber and Klinglesmith families, but I'm sure similar stories played out all over the South.

One Christmas Eve an undeclared Taber family group in Hardin County, KY. defended their home against a band of seven guerillas who threatened to burn their log house down with them in it, if they did not surrender their home and leave the county. Using two long-barreled muzzle-loading double-triggered rifles and one revolver with a 12” barrel, the father and mother were able to defend their home and children by killing two and wounding one of the intruders. The others all fled. Later, the Tabers discovered one of the guerillas lying wounded on the road; heard his pleas for help and his remorse; and realizing he was just a young boy, took him in, ministered to his wounds, and bought him a ticket home to Tennessee.

Three Klinglesmith brothers were going off to fight for the Confederate States of America. Ralph, it seems, had gotten a woman pregnant and when he asked his family to let him “do the descent thing,” they refused and disowned him. The girl’s father, purported to be a northern sympathizer, also refused the marriage. Ralph was being recruited by General John Hunt Morgan of “Morgan’s Raiders” fame and came up with a solution to the problem. That afternoon he rode to Polly’s house; (literally) swept her off the front porch; took her to be married to him by the General; promptly delivered her back to her house; then, he went off to fight and die in the war.