The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Local History

Springfield Timeline

 One of our vertical file folders has a timeline for Springfield and Greene County typed on the letterhead of Edward M. Shepard. It seems this was a working copy for an article Dr. Shepard had published in the Missouri Historical Review, October 1929.

1841—The first lodge of masons, Ozark Lodge No. 50, organized June 23. Addition of two rooms built to jail, 16 feet square, of timber 1 foot square.

1842 – Governor John S. Phelps elected to Congress. A brick school house built by citizens for Professor Stephens where University Club marker No. 8 stands, near the southwest corner of the Benton Avenue viaduct.

1843 – William Fulbright, who built the first cabins in Springfield, died.

1844 – Henry Sheppard came to Springfield.  The "Springfield Advertiser" started in May and continued until 1861.  U.S. Census gave Greene County a population of 5372.

1845 – In the spring, the Springfield Branch Bank was established with J. H. McBride, Pres., J. R. Danforth, cashier, C. A. Haden, clerk.

1846 – A company was raised for the Mexican War. Springfield was incorporated May 7, by a petition of 62 inhabitants, at least two-thirds of the population. Whole population probably less than 500.  "Texas Democrat" newspaper was started by John P. Campbell.

1847 – Greene County organized for first time into school districts and schools were established in nearly every school township in the county in this and the following year.

1848 – The 10th day of August the "Springfield Whig" was published and continued until September 1849. The Rev. Charles Carleton, from Canada, a Christian minister, established a female college on south side of College Street, near Main. The year of the big sleet storm in November. Ice covered the ground about 3 inches deep.

1849 – In November the "Southwestern Flag" was published.  The "Sons of Temperance" organized.

1850 – U.S. Census gave Greene County population of 12,785. In April the Southwest Missouri High School established in Springfield, January 14th one of the deepest snows ever known fell, 10-15 inches on level. An Osage Indian scare. They persisted in coming back to their old hunting ground. The first wire fence, without barbs, was made.

1857 – Oct. 10th a petition was drawn that no dram shop should be licensed in the town for 12 months, first prohibition act in county. County voted $100,000 to buy bonds for Pacific Railroad.

1862 – Dram shop license agitated again. The closing vote was rescinded, then approved and later in the year again rescinded. Word received that John P. Campbell had died at Oil Springs, Texas. [Note: The year is probably a typographical error. Campbell died in 1852]

1853 – C. B. Holland, Postmaster, was removed July 4th and A. F. Ingraham, a democrat, was appointed. The "Southwestern Flag" suspended and "Springfield Lancet" succeed. A severe drought during summer and fall. Corn made only half a crop. Hay ruined. Considerable sickness.

1854 -- Railroad agitation. $50,000 voted for Pacific railway, $20,000 paid. Odd Fellows organized first lodge (Harmony Lodge) February 10th. First Capital punishment in county, for murder, August 25th.

1855 -- In February a snowstorm 18-20 inches deep on the level. February 4th mercury stood at -20 degrees. May 4th the "Springfield Mirror" was published. City of Springfield first incorporated by the legislature.

1856 -- In October a pro-slavery meeting held at Courthouse, pledging aid to the pro-slavery sufferers in Kansas. W.C. Price, R.W. Crawford and others addressed the meeting. A handsome sum of money was raised to look after runaway slaves. The first county fair, Southwest Missouri County Fair, held October 1, 2 and 3.

1857 – Official report gave 1,436 slaves owned in the county. J. M. Richardson published the "Weekly Missouri Tribune" from November '57 to Nov. '58.

1858 – Ordinance passed by city council to arrest all persons found on the street at unusual hours. Whites imprisoned until 8:00 a.m., Negroes whipped. September 15 the first outward bound Butterfield overland mail passed Springfield for California. Great excitement, celebrated by fireworks. October 22nd the eastern bound mail arrived, 28 days from San Francisco. The first steam mill in S.W. Missouri erected by James Smith on Boonville St.

1859 – The Episcopal Church organized. Six schools in the city, 5 female, 1 male; also two music schools. February 12th a brick college was erected in S.W. part of city, 25 x 60 feet, two stories. Professor Jacob Schultz, from Tennessee in charge. Continued until breaking out of war. College was used for prison for Confederate prisoners, also for Federal soldiers. It stood on a lot opposite the old cemetery on Campbell Street, S. E. corner of Campbell and State.

1860 – First telegraph line came into the city from Jefferson City and was extended later to Fort Smith Ark. "The Old Wire Road" so well known by early settlers, was named after it.

Several Greene County histories are digitized on our website and they are keyword searchable. The Missouri Historical Review is keyword searchable.

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