James Morgan Utz Was born on March 9, 1841 to Franklin T. and Amelia A. Utz of Bridegton, Missouri. At the age of twenty and just prior to the Battle of Lexingtion, Missouri, James left St. Louis to join General Sterling Price’s Army.
Utz served in the 8th Infantry Battalion til November 1862 when it was consolidated into Clark’s 9th Infantry Regiment, Company C. Utz was captured September 10, 1862 and later exchanged. The 9th Regiment served in D. M. Frost’s, J. B. Clark’s, and C. S. Mitchell’s brigades and fought at Prairie Grove, Pleasant Hill and Jenkin’s Ferry. Utz’ colonel in the 9th was Col. Richard Musser. From November 22, 1863 to December 2, 1863, Utz was on detached duty with Capt. Ben Von Phul’s company of light artillery at Camp Bragg, Arkansas. During the summer of 1864, James Utz was promoted to major and assigned as special agent to the Confederate Army due to his knowledge of Southern sympathizers and members of the secret Copperhead organization in St. Louis known as “The Order of American Knights.”
In July of 1864, Major Utz’ father, James Utz, was arrested near his home as a “Rebel” sympathizer and sent to Gratiot Street Prison. James Patterson and a Mr. Murphy were captured at the same time. Although no charges were made against “Old Man” Utz, he was left in prison until December.
In mid-September, Major Utz, in conjunction with General Price’s attempt to liberate Missouri, made his way through enemey lines into St. Louis. He made contact with James Barnridge, a bricklayer, at 14th and O’Fallon streets and secured a wagon. Utz then met with Paul Fusz on 7th Street between Cass and O’Fallon streets. From Fusz, he acquired Federal uniforms. Utz, Barnbridge, and Fusz then obtained quinine, blue mass, and other medical supplies from a druggist named Cole.
On the 24th of September as Utz, Fusz, Cole and four others were leaving St. Louis with their wagonload of contraband medicine for General Jo Shelby’s command, they were spotted about midnight at the corner of Clayton and Ballas Road by a patrol of the 1st Cavalry, EMM led by Capt. Michael Zwilling. Paul Fusz was wearing a Federal uniform but had no papers. A search of the wagon revealed six revolvers, a sword, ammunition, medicine, and hidden men. A cipher book and several letters for Conderate officers were found on Major Utz. These men were sent to Gratiot Street Prison.
Paul Fusz was able to get transferred to the State Prison at Jefferson City and was later paroled by Lincoln. Major James M. Utz was charged with spying, recruiting and transporting contraband (medicine). In spite of pleas from his uncle, St. Louis County Judge Fredrick Hyatt, Major Utz, C. S. A., was hanged on December 26th, 1864. Lincoln had issued a pardon for him but officers at Gratiot Street Prison hung him before the pardon’s arrival.
Major James Morgan Utz is buried at Fee Fee Cemetery at Charles Rock Road and Fee Fee in Bridgeton. Utz’s headstone reads: “Friends weep for him who sleeps beneath this sod; His cruel fate in sympathy deplore; But while you mourn, remember that his God has called him hence, where sorrows are no more.”
The boyhood home of Maj. James Morgan Utz, which is now 615 Utz lane, Hazelwood, Mo.
Sources: Fee Fee Cemetery Records; Compiled Service Records for Missouri Confederates, Missouri State Archive, Jefferson City, MO; Baruzzini, Doris. Chairman.Historical commission of the City of Bridgeton;Confederate Veteran Magazine, 1910. p. 244