AND SURROUNDINGS 1889
with an enrollment of 14,385 school children, in a total population of 50,000,
and there is not a child of fortune or lowly birth in all the county beyond
the reach of a good common school education. The county has an assessed
valuation of $10,458,321, on which the rate of taxation is but $1.25 to
each $100 of valuation, the assessed value of real and personal property
being less than one-fourth of its real or commercial value. There are seventy-eight
miles of railway and sixteen shipping stations within the county, and 90
per cent. of the population are living within four miles of shipping facilities.
In the heart of this beautiful and fertile county, one-third of which is
as fine prairie as the sun shines on, and central to the great and fast
developing region but superficially outlined in the foregoing notes, is
THE CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, whose recent growth is one of the marvels of western
development, and whose destiny can only be measured by the magnitude and
wealth of the country that has fostered it into fair commanding proportions.
The EARLY SETTLEMENT of Springfield dates back to the spring of 1880, when
J. P. Campbell, Joseph Miller, William and John Fulbright located within
the present limits of the city, built cabins, established their families,
made clearings and raised the first crops in this part of the county. Settlements
had been made in other portions of Greene County as early as 1818, but the
country was occupied by a band of Delaware Indians up to the spring of 1880,
when they were removed further west, leaving the country open to settlement.
Attracted by the group of fine springs, which, doubtless gave to the city
its beautiful name, an Indian village had been established here long before
the advent of white settlers. With the organization of Greene County in
1833, Springfield was made the county seat, and in 1838 was formally incorporated.
In 1855 it was granted a city charter by the Legislature, and the first
city election was held in 1856. From this time to the breaking out of the
war in 1861 the city advanced slowly, and then for four years stood still.
It lay in the midst of the military camps and forts, surrounded by the battle
fields of Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, Springfield, and other scenes of civil
strife, and lost ground instead of advancing. From 1865 to 1870, it made
perceptible advancement, but nothing more. The surrounding country was impoverished
and well nigh desolated by the war, and gave little stimulus to the struggling
city. In the last mentioned year came the St. Louis & San Francisco
Railway, and with it NEW IMPULSE FOR THE TOWN, which had now quicker and
closer relations with the outside world. North Springfield grew up about
the new railway station, a mile and a half distant from the old city, with
surprising quickness and vigor. In 1860, there were 1,500 people on the
old town site. In 1870, the entire city numbered 4,500 souls. In 1880, the
two towns embraced 7,500 people, an increase of about 80 per cent. in ten
years, which was mainly due to the influence of the “Frisco” railway shops,
and the general prosperity of the tributary country. In 1882, came the Kansas
City, Ft. Scott & Memphis (Gulf) Railway, and with it a NEW ERA OF PROSPERITY
for city and country. With the coming of this great North and South line,
came new and close relations with Kansas City and the Northwest, Memphis
and the South, and with them commercial independence, new hopes, new possibilities,
a new and higher ambition, and a splendid realization of the advantages
of a live competing trunk railway, under liberal and progressive management.
Springfield was no longer dependent on a single city or railway for its
supplies and transportation. Larger mercantile and manufacturing enterprise
became possible; large, new and growing regions of country to the north
and south were brought under tribute, and a WONDERFUL GROWTH in trade, population,
material wealth and industry followed; a growth that has suffered no (next
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