Early Description of Springfield, Mo.
An excerpt from Missouri Historical Review 31 (July 1937); reprinted with permission of the State Historical Society of Missouri.
Springfield in 1835
From the Columbia Missouri Statesman, January 19, 1872.
The editor of this paper [Wm. R. Switzler] in the fall of 1835, when in his seventeenth year, took a trip overland from Howard County, via Springfield, Mo., to Alexandria, Louisiana, and made the attempt to keep a "daily Journal". For the information of our Springfield contemporaries who recently published very interesting statistics in regard to the growth, business, and prospects of that flourishing young city, we make this extract from our "Journal":
"We arrived at Springfield on Wednesday, 16th September, 1835. This is a poor place, and the country along the road we traveled indifferent. There are some eight or ten log cabins forming the place. There are three or four stores, two groceries, two blacksmith shops and one tan-yard. This is the first town I ever saw in which the post office was kept in a grocery and this is the first post office we passed after leaving Boonville. We remained in Springfield one night and a part of one day and were entertained by J. P. Campbell, the tavern keeper, whose table was as well supplied I suppose as the markets of the country afforded. The people seemed to have but little to do and bustled about and did it.
"When I awoke on the morning of the 17th I stept (sic) out on the porch to wash and found a heavy rain falling. A gentleman, a doctor whose name I did not learn, came in haste from the extreme end of the porch, having in this hand a wash pan of water which he had caught from the roof and in this pan was a fish two inches long. The circumstance struck all with astonishment and I never till then put any confidence in the fish stories of the clouds raining fish but Mr. Campbell the inn-keeper assured us he had witnessed the clouds rain a snake eighteen inches in length. And we all believed it. By this time breakfast was announced and the snake and fish story were forgotten.
"Twelve miles from Springfield we passed an old place called "Delawaretown". [This place is very near the site of the battle of Wilson's creek. -- A footnote added by Switzler in 1872.] This place was once an Indian village of considerable size and strength, but it is now in a state of dilapidation and bears but few evidences of its former greatness. There is a large creek (Wilson's creek) running by this old town and it is said that Indian graves are seen for four or five miles along its banks.
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