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The Burnt District

During the Civil War in western Missouri, Hannah and her three small daughters are moved as military prisoners to a detention camp because they did not obey Order # 11. The order demanded everyone in four counties along the Kansas border evacuate within fifteen days. With ingenuity and bravery, the four of them evade the former Redleg Kansas Union captain, outwit the Bushwhackers who take over the deserted, burnt area, and, with the help of an Osage scout, find Hannah's severely wounded, Union army husband and secretly bring him home.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Ellen Gray Massey

    Ellen Gray Massey is a speaker, writer, editor, and teacher from the Missouri Ozarks. She has published numerous articles, short stories, essays, a two- act musical play, six non-fiction books, and eleven novels. She was inducted into the first Writers Hall of Fame of America. She has received several first place awards from the Missouri Writers Guild and is a two-time Golden Spur Finalist from Western Writers of America.
    Her specialty is the Ozarks where she has worked in Agricultural Extension work, has farmed, and taught all levels of students from a one-room school through college graduate work. Retired, she now she writes about her favorite region.


5 Stars!

"The Burnt District is a well-written novel of family strife that I couldn't put down. I couldn't wait to see what happened to Hannah and her family next. Ms. Massey certainly did her research on this event in history and does an excellent job of mixing history with fiction. I highly recommend The Burnt District it will definitely touch your heart."

Carol Durfee -- Scribes World Reviews

"You cannot help but sympathize with Hannah. The fact that women and children were driven from their homes and put to work in prison camps is tragic, but a fact of life during that time period. Her story is a courageous one and a thrill to read. The fast pace kept me entranced through out the book, which is filled with surprises and some sad moments. An outstanding story that is a must for any Western Historical fan."

Tracy Farnsworth -- MyShelf.com

4 Stars!

"The author follows the wise dictum that says, Good writers write about what they know. Born to the plains and gently rolling hills of western Missouri, Massey knows every rill and hillock. Thus, so do Hannah and her girls. Filled with drama and humor, colorful characters that bounce into life, and accurate historical facts, it makes an honest and pleasurable read."

Meredith Campbell -- Sime-gen Reviews

"The Burnt District is different from the usual Civil War story and one to be enjoyed. The main characters are a pleasure to follow and have you rooting for them to succeed. Their unorthodox plans will keep you following them through their adventures until you reach the end of their story. Ms Massey's original approach to the Civil War era makes this story well worth reading."

Brenda Gayle -- The Write Lifestyle


General Order No. 11
Headquarters District of the Border

Kansas City, Mo., August 25, 1863

FIRST -- All persons living in Cass, Jackson and Bates Counties, Missouri, and in part of Vernon [north of the Osage River]... are hereby ordered to remove from their present places of residence within fifteen days from the date hereof.

Those who, within that time, establish their loyalty to the satisfaction of the commanding officer of the military station nearest their present place of residence, will receive from him certificates stating the fact of their loyalty... All who receive such certificate will be permitted to remove to any military station in this district, or to any part of the State of Kansas, except the counties on the eastern borders of the State. All others shall remove out of this district. Officers commanding companies and detachments serving in the counties named will see that this paragraph is promptly obeyed.

Second -- All grain and hay in the field, or under shelter, in the district... after the 9th day of September next, will be taken to such stations and turned over to the proper officer there... All grain and hay found in such district not convenient to such stations will be destroyed.

By order of Brigadier-General Ewing:

H. Hannahs, Adjutant.

Although Missouri as a border state was divided in its sympathies about the slavery issue, it did not secede from the Union. However, because the Bushwhacker/Jayhawker raids on the Missouri-Kansas border when Kansas was seeking statehood were continuing during the Civil War, the Union Army officials stationed in Missouri considered every citizen an enemy even though the state sent almost three times more soldiers to the Union Army than to the Confederate forces. Within the district designated by this Order, property was confiscated without restitution, the whole area was burned, and regardless of their loyalties, all persons who did not leave in the proscribed fifteen days were treated as prisoners of war. Prairie fires scorched the land, so that it became known as the Burnt District.

Though the characters in this novel are fictional, happenings similar to these experienced by the Rockfort and Kerrigan families occurred from 1856 to 1864 in northern Vernon County.