- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
By Sue Curry Jones
In Ava’s early days as a village community, the countryside was much different in appearance. The terrain was filled with unspoiled landscapes and hillsides. The ground was covered with a profuse growth of succulent blue-stem grass. The countryside was open, free from highways and railroads. Power lines and telephone poles were absent from the landscape.
However, there was a small creek that curved around town, a stream that still exists today. It was called Prairie Creek.
Douglas County was organized in 1857 with Vera Cruz as the county seat. But, in 1870, nearly 13 years later, Ava was selected to serve as the county seat. It was deemed a central location and convenient hub for county residents –– even though, in those days, early settlers were really quite self-sufficient and rarely needed support.
Life was hard during early years in the Ozarks, but nonetheless, this land of rolling hills was attractive to many searching to relocate and start afresh after the Civil War.
And, Henry Klineline was one of those individuals.
Henry Klineline was born May 22, 1843, in South Middleton, Penn., in Cumberland County. His parents were John Klineline, Sr. and Ann Maria (Johnston) Klineline.
When Henry was 12 or 13 years of age, his father moved the family to Westport, Kentucky, where they purchased 200 acres and began farming. Approximately six years later, when Henry was 19, the Civil War broke out and Henry enlisted in the Union Army, in 1861. He was the first in his immediate family to volunteer. His brother John Jr. enlisted 10 months later, and John Sr., his father, joined 2 ½ years later in 1864.
Henry served in the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry U.S., a group that formed late in 1861. This group of volunteers was comprised of three troop formations originally formed to be separate regiments. In the end the command consisted of five companies put together by Col. Walter C. Whitaker of Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Col. Whitaker’s recruiting and training camp was located near Eminence in Henry County, not too far from the Klineline property in Oldham County. Most of the men making up the 6th Infantry were German-born men from Louisville and the counties of Henry, Oldham and Shelby.
As a private in the 6th Infantry, Company B, Henry took part in Captain Lee’s Home Guards, and Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s well-known “March to the Sea”.
The Union Army’s Savannah Campaign, or the March to the Sea, is well-remembered as an operation that did significant damage to the South and it’s thoroughfares. The intent of the campaign was to destroy Confederate supply lines and quell communications. The run was planned to break Confederate strongholds, and it did.
One of the signature symbols left behind by Union troops, as they moved across the South, were the twisted and broken railroad rails the soldiers heated and wrapped around trees –– they were called “Sherman’s neckties.”
When the war ended, Henry had served three years and nine months with the Union Army. He was discharged in Nashville, Tenn. on Nov. 2, 1864.
The roster of the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry US, from 1864, which lists Field Officers and staff, has Klineline listed as follows:
KLEINLINE, HENRY: Co. B, m.i. 11/1/61, age 18, res. Oldham Co., wounded 4/7/62 at Shiloh, m.o. 11/2/64. (These abbreviations are detailed at the end of the article.)
Henry returned home to the family farm in Westport, Kentucky, and after two years, he married a young woman named Nancy Jane Anderson. Over the next 10 years, Henry and Nancy had five children.
But, in 1876, Henry packed up his family and their belongings, and moved to Ava.
During their first 14 years in Ava, Henry and Nancy expanded their family with six more babies, for a total of eleven children.
Life in Douglas County was good for the Klineline family, but that would soon change.
In July 1893, Henry and his family were picking blackberries in the countryside of Douglas County, when his wife Nancy lodged a thorn in her foot. The wound got infected and on Aug. 7, 1893, Nancy died from complications associated with the injury. She was 47 years old.
Seven years later, in Oct. 1900, Henry wed Adeline Yandell, a widow of several years. No children were born to the union.
Henry lived the rest of his life in Ava, and had an illustrious career in Douglas County. He served three terms as county sheriff, and several terms as city marshal. He was also elected to serve as county collector for one term.
In 1896, during the murder trial and prosecution of Edward W. Perry –– the only legal hanging execution in Douglas County, Klineline was involved in the proceedings. Along with several others, Henry served as a guard at the jail and had the job of keeping the prisoners safe for trial. The prisoners, Perry and his uncle, were accused of killing the Sawyer family, and since it would be a week before the judge would arrive for the trial proceedings, mob violence was a threat.
Henry was also involved in the community and several fraternal organizations.
According to the book, A Reminiscent History of Douglas County, Missouri, 1857-1957, compiled and written by J.E. Curry, the first Masonic Lodge in this area was organized in 1882 in Rome, Mo. However, in 1889, the lodge transferred to Ava and Henry was the first Worshipful Master for the Ava A. F. & A. M. No. 26.
He was also among the first members listed on the roster of the newly formed Methodist Church.
Klineline remained strong and active for his age until about 1923 when at 80-years-old he suffered a stroke that crippled his left leg. He did recover, however, but then about one year later, he suffered a second stroke. His health started declining thereafter, and on Friday, Jan. 20, 1928, Henry Klineline died.
A special obituary was printed in the Douglas County Herald, Jan. 26, 1928, on the front page. The article read as follows:
Henry Klineline Dies
Civil War Veteran Passes to his Reward Friday
Was Active in Business and Public Affairs in Ava and Douglas County for Many Years
“Uncle” Henry Klineline, 84 years old, Civil War veteran and for many years active in business and public affairs in Ava and Douglas County, died at the home of his son, J.A. Klineline, of just north of the city late Friday afternoon. Death was easy and peaceful following an illness of nearly two years duration.
Until about five years ago, Mr. Klineline was unusually strong and vigorous for his age. About that time he suffered a stroke of paralysis that left him crippled in the left leg.
After sufficiently recovering from this to again go about his business, he suffered a second stroke about a year later, but again he recovered and was able to be up until about two years ago, when he fell as the result of his crippled side, breaking the left hip.
From May 27, 1926, until his death he was never able to again be on his feet.
Mr. Klineline was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 22, 1843. When but a boy he came to north Missouri and later moved to Kentucky. In 1873 he returned to Missouri and located in Douglas County where he remained the rest of his life.
He enlisted in the Union Army at the beginning of the Civil War and served three years and nine months for the cause of the Union. He was with General Sherman on his famous “March to the Sea.”
It might also be of interest to know that Mr. Klineline was a nephew of Generals Albert Sidney and Joseph E. Johnson of Civil War fame, also a cousin of Admiral George Dewey.
In 1866 he was married to Nancy Jane Anderson. To this union were born eleven children, 3 boys and 8 girls. Four of the children, with their mother, preceded him in death. Those remaining are: J.A. Klineline, Ava, Mo; Lizzie Palmer, Fernwood, Idaho; Mrs. B. Finn, Sarcoxie, Mo.’ Mrs. Anna Matney, Iola, Kansas; Mrs. Ina Melton, Fredonia, Kansas; Mrs. Leona Fisher, Iola, Kansas; and Mrs. Carrie White, Butler, Mo.
At an early age, Mr. Klineline was converted to the Christian faith, and united with the church. He was a charter member of the Methodist church in Ava, and took considerable in church work.
As a resident of Ava and Douglas County, he served much in an official capacity for the public, being elected once to the office of county collector, and three times as sheriff. He also served several terms as city marshal of Ava and as alderman from Ward No. 1.
He was member of the G. A. R., and was instrumental in the organization of a post here. He became a member of the Masonic Lodge when a young man, and was always faithful in attendance at lodge meetings and took much interest in all lodge activities.
Members of the local Masonic order took charge of the body at the home Sunday, conveyed it to the Methodist church, where the funeral sermon was preached by Rev. G. A. Wells, pastor. The body was then conveyed to the Ava cemetery for the Masonic ceremony and burial Sunday afternoon.
Also in the newspaper that day, at the conclusion of the obituary, was the following resolution submitted by the Masonic Lodge:
RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT
Whereas, it has pleased the Supreme Architect of the Universe to call from labor to rest , our dearly beloved Brother Henry Klineline, who died January 20, 1928; therefore, be it
Resolved, that, in the death of Bro. Klineline, his family has lost a devoted father, the Lodge a faithful and useful member, and the community an upright and honored citizen.
Resolved, that we will ever bear in grateful remembrance the zeal and fidelity with which Bro. Klineline discharged all his Masonic duties, and will try to imitate his devotion to the grand principles of our Fraternity. Resolved, that we tender our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved children, and recommend them to the care of that God whom Bro. Klineline served, and in whom he trusted.
Resolved, that a copy of these resolutions be spread upon our records, and an engrossed copy sent to the family of our deceased Brother.
H. S. Wilson,
L. E. Reynolds,
J. E. Curry, Committee
News Editor’s Note: The Infantry Regiment US Roster abbreviations are: Co. (Company); m.i. (mustered in); res. (resident); m.o. (mustered out).
Information for this article was provided by: Pauline Klineline, and a family book entitled, The Klineline Descendants, 1821-1993″ by Fred Klineline; A Reminiscent History of Douglas County, Missouri, 1857-1957, compiled and written by J.E. Curry; and news articles from the Douglas County Herald.
This outpouring of information about Douglas County veterans has been tremendous. It has been fun, and a pleasure to learn more about our veterans and their service to our country. We appreciate every story, and all the photos you have shared with us throughout these past weeks. Thank you.
Next week we will conclude the series with a segment on a family of veterans from a local church.