Peter Adams Tyler was the eldest son of Baker Tyler, one of the earliest settlers in Northwest Arkansas. He was born on December 22, 1823. He prospered as a farmer and citizen until his death in the Civil War. He was a Mason and served as sheriff of Searcy County, AR, from 1854 to 1858. He probably spent his entire married life farming the area in what is now known as Tyler Bend. In 1847, records show him with “one horse and one other cattle”. By 1857, he had purchased all of the 120 acres that made up his final farm holdings. By 1860 his tax base is listed as $2700.00, a tidy holding in those days. He would be considered a successful farmer for his time.
Possible Cherokee Connection
Family tradition states that he met his wife to be, Eveline Minerva Price, at a trading post on the Mississippi River. Also, Minerva was reportedly 1/2 or more Cherokee. Practicality would suggest that he met Minerva at a store or post in Northwest Arkansas. Eveline, born in North Carolina, followed the Cherokee routes to Arkansas, and Price is a prominent name among the Cherokee Nation. As yet, proof of her Cherokee heritage has not been found. Peter and Eveline married on July 4, 1845. They had nine children, including James Buchanan Tyler, Carl Lee Holder’s grandfather.
The Searcy County Men
Searcy County had a large contingent of men who had little support for the Confederacy or the war in general. See information on the Arkansas Peace Society in another posting. In fact, both the Union and Confederate army drew troops from Searcy County. In November, 1861, Colonel Sam Leslie, commander of the 45th Arkansas Militia, called up several companies to apprehend suspects. Governor Henry Rector ordered Leslie to arrest all Searcy County men involved with the Arkansas Peace Society and ship them to Little Rock to be tried as traitors. On December 9, 1861, the prisoners were shackled together, marched to Little Rock, and offered the choice of enlisting in the Confederate army or standing trial for treason. Apparently, all joined the Army. The group was called “The Searcy County Men”. Charles W. Price, brother to Eveline was in the group.
Peter A. Tyler Sr. was very involved in recruiting for the peace society. He feared for his life and hid out. He was not apprehended until December 16, 1861. He testified and was convicted of treason.
No one knows for sure where and when he died or is buried, but the evidence supports his death, due to measles or other disease, either in a prisoner of war camp or in a work camp near Bowling Green, Kentucky. In January, 1862, he wrote a letter from Bowling Green to his wife indicating epidemic illnesses – see below for a transcript of the letter.
He was never heard from again. A letter by Daniel P. Tyler in 1936 states “Grandpa Tyler was buried at Bowling Green, Kent.” and the family bible of M. Catherine Tyler gives his death date as February, 1862.
The material below (in italics) was photocopied from a copy at the Arkansas History Commission and transcribed by Rebecca Lambert on 10 April 1999, who tried to follow Peter’s punctuation and spelling as closely as possible.
Bolling Green Kentucky
January the 17th 1862
Dear Wife & Children I once more take my pen in hand to write to you to let you know how we are and what we are doing–all of us is knocking about as yet but not all well Thomas Thompson has the meeseals broke out on him This morning And I am very unwell my self so much so that if I was at home I would be in my bed Though I hope nothing searious it is my Brest and side That gives me the undlly [?] uneasness at and pain at Present although we have verry disheartning news This morning they say hear that the Unio is a gradeel Stronger then us and that we are surrounded in all sides by them we learn heare allso that the North has taken Gallveston in Texas Though I beleave That the People in This place is not verry uneasy for They appeare to be verry busey bilding houses in Town Besides This there is great namy cars and waggons going heare This morning and no wander they have one Hundred & thirty thousdand Troops to dard them besides all This They have strong fortifications all around Town so I have give you enough of this at present more then … They are looking for a heavy batte soon if it comes on at all.
I will say to you that I want to see you all verry bad but I know that it is impossiable at present but I trust that I may see you again in life and that we may be injoying good Health for Their is nothing on Earth ould be so consoling to me then to meet you all again in Peace on Earth allthough you need not to greive nor let your mind be troubled about me for I feel like I am purficley Resigned when the Sumons comes let it come when and where it may And I would be pleased to heare and allso to know that you and the Rest of my friends could meet that Calmar Doom when asigned to you & them.
I will say to you that when I first set down To write to you I would have a good deel to write But it is not the Case about the finis of my letter. When Lindsey Price wrote in Memphis we had not heard about Charles Price & Samuel Thompson and others being their but we found out where They was and went to see them.
So I will write but a little more at present. Though I hope that thease lines may come safe to hand and find you all well and Dooing well now we are not stationed at this place we have to leave heare This Eavening for T. C. Hindmans Leagion about 24 miles distant from this place and it may be so that I can write to you so that you can write to me and their you may now wheare to direct your letters be careful about yourself & Children so no more at presant ondley show this to all inquireing friends
So Farewell my Dear Wife Children & Friends at present
This from P.A. Tyler } To Eveline M. Tyler & Children
- Peter A. Tyler – Family Records of James J. Johnston, Suzanne D. Rogers, and military records.
- Edward Gerdes’ Civil War Page for more information on Arkansas Civil War activities and the Peacekeepers Society at this URL: Edward Gerdes’ Civil War Page or www.counchgenweb.com
- Searcy County, Arkansas Census, p268, 1850.
- “Searcy County My Dear, A History of Searcy County “, by McInturff, pages 37, 38,39,40,41.
Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.