2nd Birthday

Elfleda, Upton, JK Apperson
on Upton's 2nd birthday. Elfleda is great-grandmother of Eileen Apperson.

Pattern of the Land
PATTERN OF THE LAND is a well researched book by author Eileen Apperson, and is a new letter of sorts that continues the story of this family.
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Eileen Apperson

Author Eileen Apperson


Borderland in Butternut and Blue

by Barbara Brackman

A sampler quilt book recalling the Civil War along the Kansas Missouri border. Margaret Watts Hays is featured.

Go to quilt historian/author Brackman's website

Margaret Watts Hays' story is part of this book.

Saddle the Pale Horse

by Darryl W. Levings

This novel of the Invasion of Missouri in 1864 includes extensive collection of photographs, maps and the facts behind the story.

The book is an unusual hybrid of history and novel, but not another historical novel... more


Author Paul Petersen in Quantrill at Lawrence: the Untold Story orchestrates a mountain of data concerning the assaults committed by Kansans into Missouri from 1858 to 1861. Margaret Watts Hays photo and information from the letters is part of the story. Farms and plantations in western Missouri were looted and burned to the ground; many of the people raped, tortured, and killed; and finally nearly all banished from three Missouri border counties.


"Border War Reflections 1855 -1863 as Told by Julia Lovejoy and Margaret Watts Hays" Written and acted by playwright and actress Stephanie Goodman, concerns two women who wrote extensively about their experiences in the Kansas Missouri Border War. Julia Lovejoy, an abolitionist, wrote from Kansas, and Margaret Watts Hays, the wife of a Confederate Colonel, from her farm in Missouri.

Ms. Goodman's ability to present complex characters, underscored with period music, and audience interactions makes her work appealing to children and adults and sets her apart in the genre of historical, theatrical drama. Please see Elsenpeter Productions for more.

Performances of this play are upcoming. For further information please contact: BorderWarReflections@gmail.com



Norma Jean Campbell followed the Nancy Hanks pattern on our Watts Hays Letters website to weave this lovely runner.

Nancy Hanks was the mother of Abraham Lincoln.

Click here to see more.


Exciting News!
The originals of the Watts Hays Leltters, other family documents and historical memorabilia hav3 been transferred to the Jackson County (MO) Historical Society. The title of this collection is The Watts and Hays Family Letters Collection.

If you would like to support research, projects, and this websit through tax deductible donations click here.

Donors will be listed on the "Credits" link.

How were these letters discovered and saved?
To find out, please scroll down the text in this box.

"In 1928 an article in the Kansas City (Missouri) Star announced the publication in the Missouri Historical Review of a few of the Civil War letters of Margaret Jane Watts Hays Overstreet She was the widow of Col. Upton Hays, a Confederate officer from Jackson Co., MO who was killed in 1862. The letters were found in Margaret's trunk of keepsakes after her death in 1923 and kept together by her oldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Hays Moutrey.

The trunk contained much more than a few Civil War letters, in fact the letters begin in 1849 and continue on to the early 1900's. The letter writers were members of the large and interconnected Watts, Hays, Berry, Boone, Yager and Yocum families who settled Kentucky in the late 1700's and early 1800's and then moved on to Missouri.

Margaret is the central figure in this history of a family. The 1849 letter is by her father, John S. Watts, who wrote from Albuquerque, New Mexico to tell his family how he was faring on his journey to the California gold fields. Her brother wrote her from the diggings at Cold Springs, California in about 1850 and there was the packet of letters Margaret had written to her mother in California from 1852 to 1872. There is a letter from her young nephew, Tommy Yocum, who died at the Battle of Corinth in 1861 and a treasured letter from Rev. Cornelius Yager, a cousin who preached the funeral oration for her father in 1860.

Betty Hays Moutrey saw the letters as a chronicle of the times which her mother had lived. She wanted them to be published but was unable to do that herself. She was born in Jackson County, Missouri, and was only five years old when the Civil War started and had little opportunity for schooling in war-torn Missouri. She saw the publication of a few letters but did not, for some reason, provide more letters for publication. The Missouri Historical Review articles were written by Betty's cousin Virginia Hays Asbury and Virginia's son-in-law, Albert S. Doerschuk.

Betty married young, raised a family and passed the letters on to her daughters. Eventually the letters and other documents were passed on to the next generation who took over the legacy, so finally the complete collection of letters and other documents will appear here."

From letter dated December the 4, 1861 "I wrote to you last month one day after my husband had a battle on little Blue some eight miles from hear. . . Their was 95 came to our house . . gave me thirty minutes to take out what I wanted in the house. . . They went to the upper rooms. Set fire to ever corner . . They left me with the little Children a setting by the few things left me."
-Margaret Watts Hays





1849 - early 1900's
Margaret Watts Hays in 1860/ Generations