Uncle Jap's Whiskey Coup

The following "Hog Scald" story, written by John Jennings, appeared in the 1930 book by Cora Pinkley-Call titled Pioneer Tales of Eureka Springs. It has become something of a local Ozark legend over the years.

By John Jennings

W.M. Jasper Newberry, known as "Uncle Jap," an old Confederate soldier born and reared in Carroll County, lived many years a few miles southeast of Eureka Springs. Needham Barfield, Frank Pickard and I used to go squirrel hunting with him and his boys, and many were the interesting stories he told us of Civil War days - one of which was the following:

About seven miles south of Eureka Springs is a deep rocky hollow, known to the old settlers as "Hog Scald," because at hog killing time they would divert the small stream from the deep impressions in the rocky stream bed and by heating and dropping rocks into same, scald the hogs to remove the hair.

This spot, because of the cold spring water and shade, was the favorite camping place for both Union and Rebel soldiers. One morning Jap, who was a rebel scout, serving under Major Sam Peel, whom the old-timers will remember struck the trail of some 46 odd Yankee Jayhawkers and followed them until they went into camp at this spot. He then rode to the camp of his comrades a few miles distant on Kings river and reported.

The rebel attachment, however, numbered only 21 men and they couldn't figure just how they could whip 40 odd Yanks in a fair fight.

Finally some genius spoke up and said, "Captain, I've got it! You know how them Jayhawkers like whiskey! Well, I propose that we ride over to old Whiskey Johnson's, put a keg of his strongest white mule in a wagon and make his deaf and dumb negro drive it past the Yankee camp. They naturally will do the rest." This they proceeded to do, and Jap said when the negro and wagon approached the Yankee camp the Yanks grabbed him and started asking him questions. He couldn't talk so they put him under arrest. About that time the soldiers who had started feeding the hay in the wagon to their horses let out a yell. They had found the keg of whiskey!

They proceeded to get gloriously drunk, entirely unaware that two rebels were lying in the brush on top of the mountain, watching them. About sundown the whiskey had all of them sound asleep; then the Rebels crawled in, got their guns, and next morning the Jayhawkers woke up prisoners without a shot being fired.

Jap said they were a very down-hearted lot and when he kidded them about being so easy to capture, their captain replied, "It wasn't you, d--- you, that captured us. It was your blankety-blank rebel whiskey."

The Origins of Hogscald
The Church at Hogscald
Hogscald as Community Center
Hogscald Today
Hogscald During the Civil War