Civil War in the Ozarks Books by Joe W. Smith

 Best Selling Author

About Joe W Smith & Linda Smith

Both Joe and Linda (Spurlock) Smith are fifth generations Ozark natives.
 Both are descended from Scotch-Irish, and in Linda’s case, German, and Indian
 ancestry. The original Smith farm is now buried under 150 feet of water,
 near where the Veteran’s Bridges span Lake Norfork in Northern Arkansas.
  Part of the Spurlock farm in Sharp County  is still owned by the Spurlock
 family. Both Linda and Joe had relatives who fought in the Civil War on
 both sides, so their roots run deep in the area.
  Joe has spent 40 years as a
 high school science teacher in the area, 35 of which were at Viola High School in  Fulton County.  Joe has also worked, (summers, nights, and weekends) as a lumber stacker, factory worker, livestock buyer, park ranger, stockman, fisheries biologist, woodcutter, truck driver, ferry deckhand, mobile home mover, nurseryman, bus driver, environmental technician, and most recently worked in the gas fields of Central Arkansas. Smith became interested in the Ozarks segment of the Civil War by listening to his Uncle Woodrow Smith’s accounts of the family’s involvement in this great conflict. As he started researching the stories told by his uncle, Smith realized that the guerrilla warfare along the Arkansas-Missouri Border had largely been ignored by mainstream Civil War writers. The Smiths have done extensive research on the Civil War and have started a series of historical stories that depicted the period in which the Ozarks spawned such characters as Wild Bill Hickok, along with the James and Younger boys, whose relatives still live in the area. There were many other lesser known characters, and the Smiths seek to include their stories as well.
The Smith’s Civil War stories are; Blessed Are The Peacemakers, and Sultana! They are currently working on several more books about the border war, including Jesse Tabor’s Foot, and Paths of Judgment. The Smiths have also written and illustrated several books of humorous Ozark stories. This series of books is titled Ring-Tail Tooters and Yeller Bad’Uns. Three volumes have been published, and two more are under construction.
The Smiths are true Ozark survivors, with Joe having been both lightning struck
(1973) and blown away in a tornado (1982). Linda survived an almost fatal bout of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in 2004. 
The Smiths have been married since 1970 (Over 50 years now) and have two children, Kimberly (Smith) Young and Joe W. Smith II.

My Books. 

From a distance, fieldstone chimneys standing above the burned cabins look like tombstones. And the remote hills and hollows of the beautiful Ozark Mountains conceal murder and mayhem. Abandoned for a time by both armies after the battle of Pea Ridge, the beleaguered land is swept clean by various bands of bushwhackers and guerrillas. 

Two men struggle to survive: one young, one old. One crippled physically, the other emotionally. The first is white, a veteran of Civil War combat; the other is Indian, left behind on the Trail of Tears. One has lost two friends, and betrayed another into slavery. The other knows betrayal all too well.

A beautiful young widow and her son, both wounded in their own way, are marked for death and stalked by an enemy who bears the name of the first murderer, Cain.

Two men, both evil, band together with others of their kind like a bunch of outcast dogs. One feels only hatred, the other feels nothing at all.

The state is set for adventure, revenge and romance in a land ravaged by war.

They had served their country well.  Captured, they had survived the hellholes of Andersonville and Cahaba.  Now the Civil War was over, and they were on their way home.  Crowded like cattle on an aging steamer, the SULTANA, their troubles were just beginning.  The old Confederate soldier, the gang of bushwhackers, the Lafitte pirate, and the crime boss all have their places in this dramatic story that streches from the hills of the northern Ozarks to the mighty Mississippi, down to New Orleans and back. 

Listen to the Sultana Song!
Charley Sandage a well known Ozark songwriter, is the writer and “Harmony” of “The Night the Sultana Tore Open the Sky”.  Mary and Robert Gillihan and Dave Smith are the performers.  Visit Charley’s website.

First in a five part series of collections of real stories about real Ozarks people. With some you will smile, with some you’ll feel a twinge of sadness for a culture that has been lost forever, much like the Indian culture it replaced. But all of these tales will give you a feel for the character of the Ozark people, the often misunderstood people that the rest of America calls Hillbillies!


Second in a five part series; stories of the real Ozarks natives. If you grew up in the country or small town, you will smile as Joe Smith takes you back to the days when life was just one endless summer.  For those of you who have never experienced the Ozarks, Joe W. Smith will expose you to the life and ways of the geographically and socially isolated people the rest of America knows as hillbillies. The hard work, struggles, humor, and character of these people make for great stories that everyone will enjoy, especially those who grew up on a farm or small town America during the baby boom years.


Third in a five part series; stories of the real Ozarks natives. If you grew up in the country or small town, you will smile as Joe Smith takes you back to the days when life was just one endless summer.   If you like stories of the Ozarks, you are in for a real treat!  

Some of Joe W. Smith’s stories will make you laugh and slap your knee, while others will make you feel a little sadness for the times and people who are gone. But we’ll guarantee you that each of Smith’s tales will take you down the misty path of memory. There you’ll catch a glimpse of the happy child that still lives somewhere inside each and every one of us, no matter what our age. Having made contact with this child, we hope you can hold on to him or her and follow your own memories.

The history and culture of the native Ozark people has long been steeped in myth and legend. These people, often called hillbillies, have been caricaturized in comics and TV shows for so long that most of America thinks the legends are reality. Joe W. Smith, in his short stories of the Ozarks, uses his sense of humor to take his readers beyond the myths and introduce them to the real Ozark people. He finally exposes the truth about the Ozark character.  You will feel as if you grew up with such characters as;  Eugene,  the fence steeple shooter.  Bo Roberts, the first grade poet.  And, Dongo Dobbs, who could have been the first victim of the dreaded electric paddle!

Smith’s writings will take you away from this homogenized, bubble wrapped, vitamin D added world of ours and back to a less toxic time when life was simple and easy to understand, the Ozarks of the nineteen fifties.

 If you were raised in the country. 

If your ever lived in the country, 

If you have moved to the country,

If you ever wanted to move to the country,

If you know anyone who has moved to the country,

If you just love a good story,

Then these books are for you.


Joe W. Smith gives us an insight into the country character from the most “COUNTRY” place in the world, the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks. Ring-Tail Tooters and Yeller Bad’Uns takes each of us back to our own childhood and the crazy days of growing up. Smith also manages to jerk the nose hairs of the established order as he exposes us to the hardworking philosophical, misunderstood and often ridiculed Ozarks native, the people referred as hillbillies.


Do you claim to have been raised in the country?

Joe W. Smith has one question for you.

Did you ever Doo-Doo on your overall gallouses?

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Far from the well-known Civil War battles such as Shiloh Church and Gettysburg, a vicious war of another kind was being waged. 


After the early battles of Wilson’s Creek and Pea Ridge, the main bodies of the Northern and Southern armies were shipped east of the Mississippi River. Into this now lawless void, known as the Ozarks, moved groups of men who were variously called partisans, guerrillas, bushwhackers, and Jayhawkers. Some, such as the James boys, and the Youngers, later became famous.  At the beginning of the war these warrior bands claimed allegiance to either the North or the South. However, as the war dragged on, the sharp defining line between legitimate partisans and plain outlaws first became blurred; then faded into nonexistence. 


Thus it was that the civilians of the Ozark Mountains became victims of every band of brigands who happened to pass by. Those who were able to flee gathered all of their property that could be easily transported and fled the area. Depending on their sympathies, Unionists fled to the Rolla, Missouri area, and the Secessionists fled further south. Gradually the people in these areas, too, fell victim to the bloody raids. As the war raged on, the supply and distribution of goods, especially food, in the South, dropped dramatically.  With no production to speak of, these roving bands, no matter what they were called, were reduced to thievery and murder to keep themselves supplied with food and horseflesh. Stolen and captured Federal firearms, notably Colt’s revolvers, made them all formidable fighting men.


It is this terrible time in Civil War history which 5th generation Ozark native Joe W. Smith uses as a background for his stories of guerilla warfare in the Arkansas Ozarks.  He has researched family histories and obscure writings to bring you stories that have never been told.


Both of Joe W. Smith’s Civil War books, BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, and SULTANA!  are based on historical fact.  BLESSED has a bibliography, and SULTANA! Has a bibliography, and footnotes as well.  There is also an explanation of which parts of both books are factual and which have been slightly fictionalized in order to turn dry facts into a story.



More About Linda

Linda Smith, Illustrator

Linda is a self-taught artist who is a dedicated housewife and mother. Linda has
also worked as a seamstress and factory assembler.  Linda now takes care of any illustrations that are needed for our books and publications.