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A Battle For Calhoun
Part 4
by Maricia Mlynek

Updated on Wednesday*:

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Moccasin Rangers

Thus far, my research has defined the Moccasin Rangers as a notorious band of marauders, bushwhackers, and terrors. My understanding, however, is that this infamous group was made up of individuals from all classes, various vocations, and differing backgrounds. Could it be that the Rangers were more than ragtag looters?

There were prominent members of society, including sheriff, circuit clerk, county clerk, ministers, affluent farmers and landowners, all associated with the name, Moccasin Ranger. I am not questioning historical evidence, but it is difficult for me to believe that this group of various individuals could be so one dimensional.

Yet, the written history brands the Rangers as those of the worse sort. Perhaps, it was the “bad” that was spoken and written about more frequently. Could it be that the violent tales of the Rangers that wreaked havoc spread more widely and quickly than those that didn’t? We can only hypothesize. Maybe Winston Churchill was correct when he said, “History is written by the victors.”

Nevertheless, the Rangers are said to be the villains in this county. They operated under a half a dozen or more self-appointed captains. Each captain controlled a certain section of the county. The number of raids and forays largely depended on the leader of each section.

This may have meant that some sections, like that of Captain Perry Conley, were more dangerous than other sections led by Daniel Duskey, George Downs, Peregrine Hays, George Silcott, or even Absalom Knotts.

The list of those associated with the Rangers is quite large. I will spend the next several weeks investigating the notorious band of guerillas and its leaders. Next week, I will look closely at the famed leader, Captain Perry Conley.


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