One hundred and fifty years ago the military bombardment of Fort Sumpter marked the beginning of a bloody and costly four year Civil War in which an estimated one million Americans died. It did not take long for the fever to reach Rogers Creek as volunteers for both sides lined up to join. It is difficult to comprehend how men rushed into battle to sometimes face their brothers, cousins and former neighbors. Each side proclaimed and evidently believed “God was on their side.”
The country was not being invaded by a foreign force. Nor was there some imminent and diabolical threat from within, but rather a desire for excitement and adventure that evidently drove many to enlist, never dreaming of the hell and suffering they would endure.
The primary landowners in Rogers Creek at the beginning of the war were the Spradling, Thomas and Hart families. Richard Spradling owned the northern end of the valley, Jonathan Thomas the central part and John Hart II the lower end. All combined, these three men owned approximately thirty five hundred acres with smaller farms sprinkled around and between. And each had a number of slaves to tend their crops and look after their cattle.
Just to the north of the Spradling place lived the families of the four Wade brothers whose lives would be affected probably more than any other in the valley. Their mother was Louisa Spradling, daughter of Richard Spradling Sr., who had remarried following the death of their father in 1842.
The young, the elderly and the womenfolk remained behind to tend the crops and the livestock, but frequently the food they grew was taken by the two opposing sides as they pushed back and forth across the valley. A valley scarred by human tragedy beyond what those of us living here today could imagine. This was Rogers Creek during the Civil War. These were our ancestors.