William Blackstone Reynolds

July 15, 1850 – Feb. 18, 1942

Should critical readers question the writer’s policy of recognizing youngsters in this report for whom official records are minimal or nonexistent, please follow this case closely: honoring lads like Reynolds is a fundamental purpose of this effort. He was/is the embodiment and the battle cry for hundreds who gave much and got little. Reynolds’ C.S.A. role immediately compares well with Benjamin Franklin Williams’ humble Confederate service (CB&T 1999) or with that of Wm. M. Buck, Sam M. Bennett, or John A. Marcum, among closing personalities of this study.

Billy was the only child of James Harrison and Elizabeth Jane Anderson Reynolds, married June 7, 1849.1 He was born in Smith County, north central Tennessee. His parents separated early. Elizabeth Jane went back with her folks and in 1859 she died. James had already received custody of their five-year-old from his Grandmother Anderson. He took Billy to Izard County, Arkansas. Here the lad was reared with the support of a kindly stepmother who gave him four stepbrothers and four stepsisters. They all lived near Wild Haw (later Lacrosse, six miles n.e. of Melbourne, Izard County, Arkansas). With so many playmates and chances to help with chores, Bill grew large and tall for his age.

The Reynolds Family “archives” have preserved sufficient factual data to confirm that William was conscripted into Company G, 27th Arkansas Infantry, by 2nd Lt. Joseph W. Rector during late August 1863 because William knew the Arkansas mountain terrain “like the back of his hand. II He was 13 years 6 weeks when he began his scouting and providing of commissary supplies (foraging) for Col. James R. Shaler’s Regiment. Exposed to smallpox in mid-November ’63, he was sent home; by Xmas he’ was recovering, though by then he’d spread it to his father, stepmother, two sisters, and a brother. In late February he returned to his command, then a few miles n.w. of Batesville, Arkansas. It was his job to help provide meat and food for the men and animals, besides acting as guide.

The 27th Arkansas were ordered to join Gen. Sterling Price’s forces for a raid into Missouri, but federal troops came between, turned them back, and cut off all hopes of a link-up. In March ’65 Reynolds, then 14 years 8 months, was injured by a horse falling upon him. He was given sick leave to go home, where he was when peace was declared.

Though William B. Reynolds had seventeen months aggregate with his 27th Arkansas comrades, “may it please the reader” or UNDERSTAND, now, this veteran was accorded NO enlistment, served WITHOUT pay, and was given NO discharge. Formal papers there were none. Consequently, when approaching old age, he had great difficulty obtaining his C.S.A. pension. Son-in-law W. Riley Kirkpatrick, who got the unit identity from Old Records Division (Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, D. C.) and handwrote an application Oct. 1, 1932, proved to be a telling resource for this pension, which was finally (Reynolds was 83!) granted. {Prof Hoar -too, could seemingly arrogate professionalism unto himselfby rejecting Reynolds from these ranks and impress the pretentious world with awesome standards by disallowing him as not quite “passing muster”! Though he wasn’t designated Private, how could W.B.R. have been any more a soldier practically, spiritually?}

William Blackstone Reynolds Courtesy photo

There in Izard County William married Mary Ann “Molly” Popplewell (May 29, 1858-July . 25,1924), daughter of John G., a grocer. In their early life together they were citizens of Harrison, 176 Arkansas, from which point he drove a freight wagon in the Ozarks. Their two oldest, Margaret Elizabeth “Lizzie” and Minnie Etta, were born in Arkansas, who respectively became Mrs. A:. C. Addington and Mrs. W. R. Kirkpatrick. About 1881 they moved to Palo Pinto County, Texas, where James Gilmore Reynolds was born. But they moved back to Arkansas, to Boone County; where, early in that fifteen-year stay, (William) Lonzo Reynolds and the last four children arrived- Glaydis, who died of typhoid at age ten in 1902; Mae, who lived only a few hours; Herman, who the day before he’d be 16 died when a load of cord wood fell on him while he was earning money for his birthday; and Myrtle Ann, who married Willie White. James and Lonzo married the Kimberlin sisters, respectively Bertie and Rebecca.

In 1901 the family returned to Texas and took up a farm-ranch economy near Farmersville in Collin County (n.e. of Dallas). They prospered satisfactorily some ten years until a “twister” destroyed their home and possessions. Even their milking cow was picked up and deposited on a neighbor’s farm. Finally, in 1911, they settled in the Tarrant Community handy to Sulphur .Springs in Hopkins County, Texas, or six miles n.e. on Route 1. By 1930, W.B.R. was living with Daughter Myrtle (the Willie Whites).

Great-Granddaughter Venera A. (Hopper) Dodd, of Sulphur Springs, Texas, reports May 29, 1996, that William’s Uncle Allen Stanton Reynolds, a sergeant in Company C, Second U. S. Cavalry, died Jan.•19, 1865, at the Army Hospital in Springfield, Missouri. Venera offers thoughts from her mother, Edith Reynolds Chapman (Wm. Lonzo’s daughter) recorded in “our” Third Cousin Reunion booklet (1995)

Alpha Pass at Alpena, AK. Road was dug by hand and dynamite. W.B. Reynolds stands from and center. courtesy photo

When Old Granddaddy and Grandmother Reynolds moved from Arkansas (1901) in a covered wagon, they had to keep close watch for lurking Indians because of Aunt Myrtle, whose straight black hair and black eyes the Indians believed made her one of them. Later, when they lived in Old Tarrant, they hired a young man to work on their farm. His family was neighbors and, though grown, he still lived at home. It was the custom then, if you had a hired hand, to feed him dinner at noon. {Granddaddy and Grandmother had a huge old Chinaberry tree in their back yard. These trees have small green berries that fall.} Molly also had a grapevine of green grapes when ripe. One day she was cooking dinner and chose to make a grape cobbler. The hired hand ate and ate- just couldn’t get enough! A few days later Granddaddy was approached by the hired hand’s daddy, who came to ask him to tell Molly that his wife wanted that recipe for her Grape Cobbler. She’d never heard of one before, but their son allowed it was the best he’d ever eaten- made of green grapes.

Molly and Bill Reynolds, like so many of their day, were known for sterling honesty, hard work, dependability, neighborliness. Their descendants include soldiers, sailors, doctors, lawyers, actors, merchants, teachers, farmers, local historians. 3 He lived into his 90’s long enough to know five of their grandsons went to World War 11- Haskell W. Reynolds (d. 1995), who got wounded twice; Woodrow L. Reynolds; Paul and Orner F. Kirkpatrick; and 1st Lt. Seba Kirkpatrick, who was killed in Italy. William B. Reynolds died at home (Myrtle’s & Willie’s) and went to his rest at City Cemetery, Sulphur Springs, Texas, where a military marker is engraved “SCOUT- CONFEDERATE ARMY.”

Final resting place of W.B. reynolds. Courtesy photo

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