Capt John Cecil
Born: 10 Apr 1832 Died: Jun 1884
Burial: Cecil Cemetery Place: Kingston, Madison County, Arkansas, USA
A familiar name to many in the field of Arkansas Civil War history, John Cecil not only rode with Arkansas regiments, but, in the spring of 1864, he joined a Missouri partisan ranger regiment with two very familiar and known names from that state.....Col. Sidney Jackman and Bates County, Missouri resident and Quantrill guerrilla, Robert Marchbanks! Robert was the brother of another well known Missouri guerrilla leader and Quantrill-ian, William Marchbanks.
John's family was split in where their loyalties lay during the Civil War. His two brothers, James and Samuel joined the Union and became great assets to the Feds by pointing out places where their Confederate brother just might be camping.
In early 1864, Jackman's regiment with Marchbanks, Cecil and Capt. George T. Maddox (see Capt. John Carroll's page) captured three men and a boy outside of Searcy, Arkansas. Evidently, they were members of the Meeks gang and had stolen horses of Southern sympathizers. Capt. Maddox remember it this way..."Col. Jackman told the prisoners he was going to hang all of them but one. That they were robbers, murderers and thieves; that he would spare the life of the one who would go with him and tell him where Meeks gang was." A man, by the name of King, was the one who buckled and gave in. Jackman gave the order for the remaining two men and the boy to be executed. Apparently, this got to Marchbanks and Maddox. Maddox goes on..."Capt. Marchbanks was never known to shed a tear before, but he cried like a whipped child at the sight of that boy hanging there. And I couldn't hide the tears myself." Jackmen's men, with King in tow, arrived at the Meeks camp where the entire gang was killed including some of King's own kin. Cecil still had his sights set on killing King after the gang was wiped out, but Jackman stopped him and King kept his life.
During the war, Cecil was never captured and wound up losing his land and his home was burned to the ground. He would live out his later years in Eureka Springs, Arkansas as a neighbor of his relative by marriage, Capt. John Carroll.