George S. Escott

History and Directory of Springfield
and North Springfield • 1878


Twenty-Five Years Of Prosperity—The Storm Of War—The Return Of Peace

On the 10th day of February, 1838, the town of Springfield was regularly incorporated, "By Act of the County Court", and Joel H. Haden, D. D. Berry, S. S. Ingram, R. W. Crawford and Joseph Jones, appointed Trustees. Lest the propriety of saying "By Act of the County Court" may be called in question by some person who is not aware of the omnipotence of that supreme body, we quote an order made by said Court on the 4th day of November, 1839, and recorded in the proceedings of said Court as follows:

"Ordered by the Court, here, that the act concerning grocers, passed at the last session of Legislature, approved Feb. 13, 1839, be and the same is hereby repealed, [and] of no effect in the county of Greene."

In order to give an idea of the size of the town and the amount of business done here about the time of its incorporation, we quote from the "Chronology of Greene County," recently published in the Patriot-Advertiser, a list of the business firms and the amount of license paid by each during the year 1838:

Flourney & Hickman:


D. Berry, merchant:

$66.98 ½

B. W. Cannefax:


Campbell & Hunt:


Danforth & Bros.:


John Pullion & Co.:


John P. Campbell:


John P. Campbell, grocer:


C. A. Haden & Co., merchants:


Cannefax & Co.:


Wm. & L. H. Davis:


Casebolt & Stallions:


Casebolt & Stallions, grocers:


Isaac Sanders, merchant:


B. H. & J. C. Boone, grocers:


John Edwards, grocer:


Joshua Jones, grocer:


Jacob Bodenhamer, merchant:


C. A. Haden, merchant:


From this list it will be seen that "groceries" were numerous, and it must be understood that a "grocery " in that day was nearly, the same as a "saloon" of the present time. The term "merchant" included dealers in dry goods, boots and shoes, hats, caps and gents' furnishing goods, ready-made clothing, groceries and provisions, hardware, stoves and tinware, and everything usually kept in a country store, from a paper of pins to a grindstone, and from an overcoat down to a stick of candy.


Concerning the starting of the first newspaper in Springfield, authorithes differ, and as there seem to be no files of the original paper preserved, we give the opinions of the different authorithes; some of whom must be mistaken. In his Chronology of Greene County, Mr. Ingram expresses the opinion that it was started in the spring of l838, but in a marginal note refers to a letter from John H. Miller, of Richey, Newton county, who was Deputy County Clerk of Greene county in 1836, and quotes from his letter the following extract:

"I have the record to show that it was in the spring of 1837 that the Standard was started by J. C. Tuberville. When I wrote you a few days ago, I was not certain but that it was 1838; but it was 1837.

This difference of opinion called forth the following letter from Warren H. Graves, who now resides in Texas:

"The Ozark Standard was started some time in the spring or summer of 1839. I remember that I was working Jefferson City during the winter of 1838-39, when C. W. Stark proposed to me to go with him to Springfield and start a paper. I was then young and declined the proposition, but Starks did go, and, in company with some one else, stated the Standard. It lived but a short time, but I do not remember when Huffard changed it to the Eagle. I should think it probable Phelps would know this; also as to the length of time the Eagle was published.


I started the Advertiserin May, 1844, publishing it continuously up the summer of 1861. I left, at Neosho, a full file of the Advertiser, with orders to my brother there to send by express to my son Joseph, then at Springfield. I am under the impression that the box was never sent, although I paid the express charges. In those bound volumes, I think, is one copy of the Standard and one of the Eagle, bound with the second or third year of the Advertiser. They were given to me by Uncle Joel Haden.

"The original Advertiser office was the same in which the Standard and Eagle ,had been printed. It had been idle for some time—I think for two or three years—was under control and in possession of John S. Phelps, but there was a suit between John P. Campbell and him in relation to the ownership, which was afterward compromised, and the office went to Campbell. This was in the spring of 1846, in the interest of Campbell of Congress—the paper being published by E. D. McKinney."

During the year 1839, the names of G. P. Shackleford, Joseph Crutchfield, Thomas Shannon & Son, John Adams, Miles Carey, Huff & Holmes, Layton G. Moore, Jacob Eustler, J. A. Carey and Parr & George, were added to the list of business firms, and Junius T. Campbell, resigning the office of Postmaster, was succeeded by Thomas Shannon.

The U. S. Census, in the year 1840, showed the population of Greene county to be 5,372.

In the record of the County Court for the August term, 1841, we find the following order:

"Margaret Wiliams, a free woman of bright mulatto color, 29 years of age, 5 feet 2 inches high, etc., is granted a license, during good behavior, to reside in the State."

In the spring of 1845, the Springfield Branch Bank was with J. H. McBride, President; J. R. Danforth, Cashier; and C. A. Haden, Clerk; and some time in the same year William B. Farmer, who had succeeded Thomas Shannon as Postmaster, resigned, and R. J. McElhany was appointed as his successor.

What became of the the original organization of the town does not appear, but in the proceedings of the County court we find that on the 7th day of May, 1846, another order was made, "on petition of sixty-two inhabitants of Springfield, (being at least two-thirds of the inhabitants thereof") incorporating the Town Springfield, and defining the boundaries thereof as follows: "Beginning on an east and west line, running with the south boundary of John H. Miller's and J. B. Beiderlinden's lots, intersecting the eastern boundary of the eighty-acre tract of land upon which the said town now stands; on the west by a line drawn north and south, including Joel H. Haden's yard and garden; on the north by a line drawn east west so as to include A. M. Julian's dwelling house, and so as to intersect the north and south line on the east and west boundary of the said eighty acre tract of land as aforesaid." If any one could understand this description they must have been better scholars than we have now. N. R. Smith, C. B. Holland, R. j. McElhany, S. B. Allen and A. Maurice, Jr., were appointed trustees.


From the reference to the inhabitants, it will be noticed that the voting population must have been less than one hundred, and the whole population could not have been much more than five hundred. The town plat seemed to cover less than eighty acres of land, and from those who were citizens at that time, we learn that the extent of the town, as then constituted, was from about where the Baptist church stands on South street, to the bridge, or but little beyond it, on Boonville; and from where the new Presbyterian church is being erected on St. Louis street, to the site of the Christian church on College street. Of the voters of the little town at that time, but about a dozen now remain.

In 1846 the Texas Democrat was established to advocate the claims of J. P. Campbell, who was this year a candidate for Congress. It was edited by his son-in-law, E. D. McKinney. The Advertiser was Mr. Phelps' organ during this campaign, and although Mr. Campbell received the most votes in his own county, Mr. Phelps was elected.

On the 7th of April, 1847, A. Maurice, jr., was elected Mayor of the city of Springfield, and on the 9th day of the same month an order was made by the County court that the use of the Jail should be granted to the Mayor and Councilmen of the various wards of the city.


Sept. 10th, 1848, the first number of the Springfield Whig was issued by Fisher & Swartz and edited by Littleberry Hendrick; and in September, 1849, it suspended and was removed to Osceola. On the 19th of November, of the same year, the first number of the Southwestern Flag was issued by Wm. P. Davis, publisher, and John M. Richardson, editor. This paper was established to sustain Benton's appeal from the Claib. Jackson "Nullification Resolutions" which was opposed by the Advertiser.

During those early days of Greene county, Democracy reigned supreme, but the people were divided into two powerful factions, known as Benton Democrats and Anti-Benton.

A gradual, though not very rapid, growth is shown in the county as well as the city, the regular U. S. Census of 1850 showing a population of 12,785.

In 1851 Messrs. Richardson & Davis both retired from the Southwestern Flag and were succeeded by B. F. Buie.

On petition of E. P. Gott and others, a majority of the citizens of Springfield, the County Court ordered, Oct. 10th, 1851, that no dram shop be licensed in the City of Springfield for twelve months. This was the first prohibition act in the county or city.

For four or five years the City Government seems to have been a nonentity, but, on the third of March, 1851, an election was held for city officers, Wilson Hackney receiving 45 votes for Mayor, and Peter Apperson 5; W. B. Logan, Wm. McAdams, S. .S Vinton, A. A. Mitchell and Presley Beal, were elected Councilmen; E. P. Gott, Constable, and R. S. Gott, Assessor.

"This election," says the Southwestern Flag, was an attempt to resuscitate the almost defunct act of corporation making this a city."

During the first few months of 1852, the dram-shop license question seemed to agitate the public mind and puzzle the County Court more than anything else, and, after rescinding the order of Oct. 10, 1851, and re-enacting it a few days later, it was again rescinded on the 9th day of April following. and again whisky flowed free and the "grocery" keepers were happy.

Some time in 1853 the Southwestern Flag was succeeded by the Lancet, with Joshua Davis as editor; and, the 4th day of July, the same year, A. F. Ingram entered upon the discharge of the duthes of Postmaster at Springfield in place of C. B. Holland resigned. In the following year Mr. Ingram was succeeded by Wm. Jones, who held the office until 1855, when Joseph Burden is appointed.


About the year 1850, the people of Springfield began to have some aspirations towards making their little town a "railroad center," and in 1854 Wm. C. Price was appointed agent of the county, to take $50,000 stock in the Pacific Railroad. He was afterward instructed to take $50,000 additional stock, but still later this order was rescinded. An order to submit a proposition to the voters of the county relative to taking $100,000 additional stock was also rescinded, arid no effort seems have been made thereafter to increase the amount. Of the $50,000, about $20,000 was raised by tax and paid.

In February, 1855, the snow was from 18 to 20 inches deep, on the 4th day of that month the mercury was down to 20 degrees below zero.

On the 3d day of May, J. W. Boren issued the first number of the Springfield Mirror, and from a later issue of the same we learn that on the first day of October, 1856, a large and enthusiastic meeting was held at the Court House, and resolutions adopted, pledging aid to the pro-slavery sufferers in Kansas. The meting was addressed by W. C. Price, W. H. Otter and R. W. Crawford. "A handsome sum of money was raised on the spot," says the Mirror, and a committee appointed to raise further aid. From 1850 to the breaking out of the war, patrols were regularly appointed from time to time, to look after runaway slaves, and paid out of the County Treasury for said services. An official report for 1857 gives the number of slaves in the county at 1,436. In 1858 an ordinance was passed by the City Council, ordering the arrest of all persons who were found on the streets at unusual .hours,-- ,whites to be imprisoned until eight o'clock next morning and blacks to be whipped.

From Nov. 18, 1857, to Nov. 20, 1858. J. M. Richardson published a paper entitled the Weekly Missouri Tribune, which advocated what was called "Union Democracy." On the fifteenth of September, 1858. the first outward-bound over-land mail passed through Springfield for California, three hours ahead of time, and at night the event was celebrated by the letting off of sky-rockets, throwing fire-balls, et. On the 22nd of October the first eastern-bound mail passed through Springfield from California, with two or three passengers, making the trip from San Francisco in 28 days.


On the 25th of December, 1858, the contract was let for the building of a new Court house, but, owing to financial embarrassment of the county, the work was not pushed forward very rapidly, and the building was still in an unfinished condition when the war cloud settled over the country and put and end to all works of public improvement.

But we must not omit to mention that in 1858 Jared E. Smith erected the mill now owned by Mr. Schmook, on Boonville street, which was probably the first application of steam power in Southwest Missouri. It was then used as a planing mill, instead of a flouring mill.

And in 1860 a line of telegraph was extended to this place from Jefferson City, and afterward extended as far as Fort smith Arkansas.

Among the other institutions of the town, schools seem to have been well sustained; and, contrary to the general rule, we learn of teachers here who acquired a considerable amount of property while engaged in their profession. Mr. Miller has given us an account of some of the primitive schools of the pioneer times, and in the preceding chapter we mentioned a school-house erected in 1842 or '43, and occupied for a number of years by Prof. Stephens' flourishing school.

About the year 1848, Rev. Charles Carleton, a Christian minister from Canada, with the aid of a number of citizens, established a female seminary on College street, just west of the present crossing of Main street. This institution was well patronized for several years, both by home students and those from abroad. A good building was erected for this school, and although at first controlled by a joint stock company, Mr. Carleton became the principal owner of the property.

It seems that, in the course of time, the house occupied by the "boys" school" in the east part of town, or rather, "east of town," as it was then considered, became too small to meet the wants of the growing city, and from the Mirror of September 12th, 1857, we clip the following item spurring the people up to build a new house:


"With the many advantages Springfield possesses, the public spirit of her citizens, and the wealth of many of them, there is not a school-house in the town that the boys and young men can receive an education at, much as they may desire it. The apology for one, we have had so long, will no longer do.

From the same paper, one year later, we learn that there were then six schools in town—five female and one male—besides two music schools.

On the 12th of February, 1859, C. B. Holland, J. Robinson, R. P. Faulkner, J. M. Bailey and L. Hendrick, trustees, advertised for sealed proposals for building a brick college in the southwestern part of the city, the building to be 35 x 60 feet, and two stories high. The building was erected, and Prof. Jacob Schultz, from Tennessee, had just been teaching there a short time, at the breaking out of the war. During the years that followed, when school-houses were turned into barracks, and churches into hospitals, this college building was used for a prison for Confederates, and also for Federal soldiers who disobeyed the army regulations. It was surrounded by a high stockade, and stood on the lot which is now vacant, just opposite the Old Cemetery on South Campbell street.

Early in 1861, the gathering storm of war burst upon the country, and in Missouri, as well as the other "Border States", it became a question for the people to decide whether they would remain in the Union or cast their lot with the seceding States. Consequently the General Assembly of Missouri called a convention to determine what should be done in the event of civil war.

The official vote of this county, taken on the 28th day of February, for delegates to this convention, gave the following result: "R. W. Jameson, 1,455; C. Hendrick, 1.446; Sample Orr, 1,437; N. F. Jones, 306; Jabez Owen, 287; and T. W. Anderson, 286." The three first-named gentlemen ran as unconditional Union men, and were elected by large majorithes. From the proceedings of this convention, which assembled first at Jefferson City, and afterward at St. Louis, we see that a large majority of its members were strongly opposed to secession, and yet they did not acknowledge the right claimed by the President of coercing the Southern States back into the Union, if they chose to withdraw.


We now make a few quotations from the Chronology of Greene County, before referred to:

Although the majority of the State Convention were very strongly opposed to secession, and the majority of the people of the State seem to have entertained the same sentiment, the occurrences of the first year or two of the war were such as to cause many staunch Union men to renounce their allegiance to the Federal Government, and seek from the Confederate armies the protection which was refused them by the Union forces. There had been a serious misunderstanding of the position of Missouri, by the people of the Northern States, and when soldiers from those States came here, they could not realize that a slave-holder could be a loyal man. In the North the idea of "Slave-holder" and "Rebel" had become associated from hearing them used as synonyms by the political demagogues who had for months been exciting their minds with inflammatory harangues; so, when they came to the South, it was generally with a feeling of malice toward all who held slaves, no matter if they were willing to sacrifice everything they had in defense of the Union and the Constitution.

Nor was this misunderstanding confined to the Union soldier. The political demagogues of the South had also misrepresented the feelings of the Northern people, and made their southern brethren believe that nearly the entire North was in favor of the abolition of slavery at all hazards, and when they saw these northern men marching into their towns and throwing guards around their homes, it is not strange that a feeling of distrust and suspicion should lead them to treat their guests with some degree of reserve, which was liable to be interpreted as contempt, or positive enmity.

Especially did this feeling of distrust exist in the minds of nearly all citizens of the Southern States toward the Germans, who, as it happened, were the first soldiers sent to Southwest Missouri by Federal authority; and a more intimate acquaintance with these "Dutch soldiers," as they were called, and a knowledge of the views they entertained on the questions of slavery and "State rights," did not tend to heal the breach or to conciliate the soldier and the citizen.

During the spring and summer of 1861, the Confederate cause gained strength very rapidly in Missouri, and, what with the secession element of this State and the armed forces that rallied to their support from Arkansas and other Southern States, the Union cause was at a low ebb in the State at the time when Gen. Fremont took command in Missouri, and Sigel and Lyon came to Springfield. Still the larger part of the citizens of Springfield held firmly to their Union sentiments throughout the war, and in the battles that occurred, here and in other places in this state and Arkansas, valuable aid was furnished by them to the Federal armies. From the account of the movements in this vicinity, already given, it will be seen that on the 4th day of August, 1861, Lyon and Sigel were both in Springfield with their respective armies, all, however, subject to the commands of General Lyon; and here we introduce some extracts concerning the memorable battle of Wilson's Creek, from J. T. Headley's History of the Rebellion:


"It was a hot day in August, and the troops suffered intolerably from thirst. The next morning the column moved on. Twenty-six miles beyond Springfield, finding himself short of provisions, his men exhausted, sick and sore, and his communication with Springfield threatened, Lyon resolved to retrace his steps to that place."

"On the 9th of August, Lyon, then at Springfield, heard that McCulloch and Price. outnumbering his force four to one, were only some ten or twelve miles distant, advancing full upon him. His need for reinforcements was most urgent, yet he was told they could not be furnished him. What should he do? Strict military rules demanded a retreat; but then the Unionists at Springfield and the surrounding region would be abandoned to the tender mercies of the rebels, from whom they had just been delivered, and a moral defeat sustained, full of peril to the Union cause in the State. In this painful dilemma he resolved, like a true hero and patriot, to make one desperate effort to arrest the progress of the enemy, and if be could not save Springfield, at least give Fremont time to rally his forces at St. Louis before crushed by the double armies approaching him from the west and south.

So he determined on the following morning to march forth in two columns, and at daylight fall like a thunderbolt on the enemy, and by a sacrifice as great as it was noble stop him in his victorious career. At five o'clock in the evening, the little army set forth on its perilous undertaking, and, marching all night, long before the first gray streak of dawn appeared in the east, approached the camp of the enemy. Here the column halted, to wait for daylight. Sigel was directed to make a detour around the right of the enemy, and fall on his rear, while Lyon moved straight on his position.


"Driving in the enemy's pickets, Lyon ascended a ridge, and there in the valley before him, glittering in the early sunlight, lay more than a thousand tents, dotting the green fields, and sprinkled among the thickets and surrounding forests. The rebels had been apprised of his approach, and stood in battle array, ready to receive him. Less dauntless soldiers would have been appalled at the overwhelming force that stood massed below, but the men of Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, surveyed the work before them with undismayed hearts. It was then that the batteries of Totten and Dubois, by the skillful manner in which they were worked, showed that they could supply the lack of numbers. The enemy came resolutely on, and halting three ranks deep--the first lying down, the second kneeling, and the third standing--poured in a continuous and murderous fire on Lyon's thin line. Totten's battery coming into action by sections, and by single piece, as the wooded heights would permit hurled its shells and canister, tearing with frightful effect through the rebel ranks.

"The firing was incessant and awful; the opposing lines often coming within a few yards of each other, before delivering their vollies, while their shouts and yells rose over the deafening roar of the guns. For a half hour the conflict was deadly, and the contending lines swayed to and fro like two fierce opposing tides meeting in mid ocean, but each surged back only to leap to its place again. General Lyon, seeing the troops on the left of Totten's battery in disorder, led his horse along the line to rally them, when the dapple gray fell dead by his side, and two balls struck him, one in his leg and the other on his head. He then walked slowly a few paces to the rear, saying, `I fear the day is lost.' The next moment, however, he mounted another horse, and swinging his hat over his head, and shouting to the troops to follow him, dashed where death was mowing down the brave fastest.

The enemy, in the mean time, had massed a large force in a corn-field on the left, and for a short time it seemed as if that wing must be overpowered. But at this critical juncture, Dubois' battery came into position, and sent such a shower of shells into their ranks that the enemy withdrew. There was now short lull in the contest in this portion of the field, but on the right, where the gallant first Missouri stood, the battle raged fiercer than ever. Though contesting every foot of ground like veterans, they were gradually being forced back by overwhelming numbers. An officer, dashing up to Lyon, reported the perilous state of things. when he immediately ordered up the Second Kansas and the brave lowas, to their support. Coming into position, they lay down close to the brow of the hill, and waited the approach of the enemy as they came on, in imposing, overwhelming force. Not a word was spoken as they lay with their eyes along their Minie muskets, till the foe, firing as they came, arrived within forty feet, when a sheet of fire ran along the ridge, and the crash of a simultaneous volley rolled along the astonished ranks.


"As the smoke lifted, a disordered host was seen staggering reluctantly back. Lyon now ordered them to charge bayonets. One of the regiments had lost its colonel, and called for a leader, saying they would follow him to death. 'I will lead you,' exclaimed Lyon. 'come on, my brave men!' and placed himself in front of the Iowas. while the one-armed Sweeney rode to the head of the Kansas regiment. On came the enemy, pouring in a destructive volley as they advanced, and the brave Lyon fell dead from his steed—one of the bravest, noblest, purest patriots, that ever gave his life in a holy cause. But these gallant regiments stood rooted to the field, and the enemy finally withdrew from the fire they could not make head against; and there was lull in the contest, while each commenced carrying their wounded to the rear.

"The command now devolved on Major Sturgis, who began to rally his disordered line. Affairs were looking gloomy enough, for twenty thousand men still stood in battle array in front, while that brave little army, though standing undaunted amid its own dead, had not tasted water since five o'clock the day before, and if it should retreat could expect none till it reached Springfield, twelve miles distant. To go forward was impossible. Not a word had been heard from Sigel, and it was evident the enemy was not alarmed for its rear. What had become of him, asked the anxious commander of himself. He stood, and listened anxiously to catch the first thunder of his cannon beyond the heights. Could he hear it, the order `forward' would break from his lips, and the loud roll of his battered drums send his exhausted army once more on the overpowering foe. But it did not come--ominous silence rested on the field where he should have been.


Had he retreated? Then it was plain he must retreat also; but could he retreat? Tossed in painful doubt, he summoned his remaining officers to consultation.

"They met, but their deliberations were brought to a hasty close by the sudden appearance of a heavy column in the direction, where in the morning they had heard, as they supposed, the roar of Sigel's guns. Was he coming? trembled on every tongue. res, they carried the American flag, and deliverance had arrived at last. On they came in easy range down the opposing slope, until close upon our lines, when they suddenly opened a terrible fire of shrapnell and canister, and unfurled the rebel flag to the breeze. Totten's battery in the center was the prize they were making for.

"As soon as the deception was discovered this gallant commander opened a terrible fire upon them. But they kept steadily on till they came within twenty feet of the muzzle of his guns, and the smoke of the contending lines blending together, rolled upward in one fierce column. Supports were ordered up at the double-quick, and coming into line with loud shouts. stood firm as iron. Not a regiment flinched or wavered. A solid adamantine wall they stood. against which the advancing tide broke in vain. A few companies of the First Missouri, First Kansas, and First Iowa, were quickly brought up from the rear, and hurled like a loosened rod,- on the right flank of the enemy. Before the determined onset the rebel ranks disappeared like mist. Totten's battery, supported by Steele's little battalion, a moment before seemed scarcely worth an effort, so enveloped was it in the enemy's fire.

"But now the tide was changed. and the right flank, pouring in a determined fire. rendered the overthrow complete. and the disappointed enemy retired from the field. The fight had now lasted for six hours and the- ammunition being well nigh exhausted, there was no alternative left but to retreat, and Sturgis taking advantage of this last repulse, reluctantly gave the order to. do so.


"At this critical moment, an officer from Sigel's column arrived breathless on the lines, saying that Sigel was routed, his artillery captured, and he himself killed or a prisoner. This was appalling news to the exhausted little army, and it moved rapidly off the field, carrying its wounded with it to the open prairie, two miles distant, where it made a short halt and then took up its march for Springfield. Fortunately the enemy did not molest it --his punishment having been too severe to admit of pursuit. On reaching Little York road, it met the principal portion of Sigel's command, with one piece of artillery. This officer had proceeded on the route marked out for him, and striking the Fayetteville road, came to a place known as Sharp's farm. Here meeting soldiers as if in retreat, he supposed Lyon had been successful and was following up the enemy. He therefore formed his command across the road to receive the fugitives. In the mean time, the skirmishers which had been sent out, returned and reported Lyon coming up the road. Soon, heavy columns appeared in sight, and orders were given to the different regiments and the artillery not to fire, as they were our own troops ; the flags were waved to show they were friends. Suddenly the approaching forces opened a destructive fire, and the cry "They (meaning Lyon's troops) are firing on us," spread like wild-fire through the ranks. The artillerymen believing it was a horrible mistake, could with difficulty be made to return the fire, while the infantry would not level their pieces till it was too late. The enemy came within ten paces of the muzzles of the guns and killed the horses. A panic followed-the men--broke ranks and scattered in every direction. There was no fighting-nothing but a wild, disordered flight. Sigel lost five of his guns, and nine hundred in killed, wounded, and missing, out of the two regiments he commanded. With the residue he made the best of his way towards Springfield. Our total loss was reported to be one thousand two hundred and thirty-five, though it was probably much larger. The rebels reported about the same loss.

"The defeated army fearing for its communications did not tarry long at Springfield, but fell back to Rolla. This left a great portion of Missouri in the hands of the rebels. Small bodies, however, kept the field, and incessant skirmishes and combats, -- the alternate occupations of remote towns by the loyalists and rebels, -- the destruction of railroads and bridges,--the firing of houses and barns,--the scattering of families and desolation of neighborhoods—made the State a scene of devastation and blood, and carried the mind back to the days of barbarism."


After the occupation of Springfield by Gen. Price's army on the 11th of August, the city remained under control of the Confederate forces until October following, but, as there were no Federal soldiers nearer than Rolla, the Confederate commander had gradually drawn off his forces until he had very few troops left here to "hold the fort."

Thus it happened that when Major Zagonyi with about 300 cavalry, known as Fremont's Body Guard, made a sudden dash upon the city on the 25th of October, they met with but little resistance, and it is thought by Union men of Springfield that if he had obeyed the commands of his superior officer, and merely reconnoitered and learned the situation sufficiently to report back to Gen. Fremont, the town could have been surrounded and all of the Confederates and their stores would have fallen into the hands of the Federals. As it was, it was merely a warning to the Confederates, and before the main body of Fremont's army came up, the field was clear; and on the 27th day of October Fremont entered and occupied the town.

But although probably one of the best Generals in the Union army at the time, Fremont was, on the 2nd of November, superseded by Gen. Hunter, who immediately began to fall back toward Rolla, and soon left Springfield again in the hands of the Confederates; and on the 25th of December Gen. Price's army again entered and occupied the town.

On the 12th of February following, Price suddenly retreated from Springfield, and on the 13th the Federal army under Gen. Curtiss passed through town in pursuit.

From this time until the close of the war, Springfield remained under Federal authority, although on the 8th of January, 1863, a bold attack was made upon the town by Gen. Marmaduke; and, but for a change in the program, which was not known by all of his command, it would probably have been successful.


From Capt. O. B. Smith, a son of Gen. N. R. Smith, mentioned in a former chapter. we gain the following information concerning the disposition of the Confederate forces and the plan of the attack

Marmaduke's main army was at Clarksville, on the Arkansas river, and Gen. Porter was in command of a brigade stationed at Pochahontas, Ark. Mr. Smith. who had formerly been a Representative in the Legislature of Missouri, was at this time a member of Green's regiment, Third Missouri Cavalry, commanded by Col. Campbell, and attached to Porter's brigade.

According to orders received by Gen. Porter, Springfield was to be attacked on the morning of the 11th of January, at daylight, by Porter from the east, and Marmaduke from the south. On the 8th of January Porter's command took Hartville and remained there all day. On the 9th they came on to Marshfleld, where they were surprised to meet Marmaduke on a retreat from Springfield which had been attacked on the day previous. It seems that after starting for Springfield, the plan of the attack had been changed, and a messenger who had been sent out to intercept Gen. Porter's route and notify him of the fact, had missed the route and failed to reach him in time. But, if Marmaduke's- forces had entered Springfield, it is doubtful if they could have held the position very long, for on the next day they met Gen. Warren, who was on his way across the country from Houston, Texas county, to reinforce the brave Unionists at this place.

The meeting of Marmaduke's and Fitz Henry Warren's forces took place at Hartville, Wright county, and quite a severe battle was fought, in which the loss to the Confederates was about 150 men, including Lieut.-Col. Wymer. former Mayor of St. Louis and Col. Emmett McDonald. Mr. McDonald was one of the men who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government at St. Louis in 1861, and were banished "beyond the lines." The Federal loss was, estimated at about forty or fifty. Concerning the defense of Springfield from Marmaduke's attack, and the subsequent operations of the Federal army in this vicinity, we have not space to give anything more than the brief synopsis contained in the Chronology of Greene County, before quoted from:


After this we find no record of any military movements in this vicinity until the evacuation of the post in 1865.

On the 6th of July, John M. Richardson was appointed by the County Court, to prosecute the United States for rent and damage to the Court House, and to obtain possession of it, his compensation to be ten per cent of the amount collected.

During the excitement of war times we neglected to state that in March, 1862, A. F. Ingram established a paper called the Missourian, and that in June following the Springfield Journal was established by Boren & Graves.

We had also neglected to continue the Post Office official record, which had been omitted after the appointment of Joseph Burden. About 1860, Mr. Burden resigned, and was succeeded by Nathan Robinson, who was succeeded in December, 1861, by Bejamine Kite, who held the office until about the year 1868, when he was succeeded by Marcus Boyd. But Mr. Boyd's death occurring just after his appointment, he was succeeded by Mrs. Stephens, who held the office, as we have before mentioned, until the appointment of Mr. Shipley in 1876.


On the 25th of September, 1864, Mr. Ingram started the Missouri Patriot, as the successor of the Missourian, discontinued.

On the 21st of January, 1865, a large and enthusiastic meeting was held in Springfield to celebrate the passage of the Emancipation Ordinance by the State Convention, and on the 10th of April the city was illuminated, and there was a general rejoicing over the fall of Richmond, a salute of two hundred guns being fired.

During the years 1864-5, a number of changes were made in the commanding officers of the post, and finally, on the 17th of August of the latter year, the siege guns were removed from here to Rolla, and on the 17th of September following the last three companies of soldiers, of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry left the city.

Having now given an account of the principal military movements in the vicinity of Springfield, in the order in which they occurred, we close this chapter with a recapitulation of some of the leading incidents and principal results of the war, kindly furnished us by "one who was present" and participated in many of the movements which he describes:

"Springfield, in 1860 and 1861, was the headquarters of the two antagonisms in Southwest Missouri. The Douglas and Breckenridge political parthes had perfect organizations, and were fierce and bitter, the one charging upon the other Secession, and the other repelling the charge with vehemence and acrimony. Claiborne Fox Jackson was elected Governor over Sample Orr, of this county, the Union candidate, so-called. The Legislature of Jackson, in the month of February, 1861, called a special election of delegates to a convention of the State. Littleberry Hendrick and Sample Orr were elected from this, and Robert Jamison from Webster county, as Union delegates. That short canvass caused each and every citizen to choose his flag, and from the 18th day of February, 1861, business was suspended and secret organizations formed.

"In May following, the two opposing parthes met at Springfield. The Secession element of the people had a barbecue near the Fulbright Spring. Peter S. Wilkes, Representatives Hancock, Frazier and W. C. Price, Cols. Campbell and Freeman, were the leading spirits of the Southern cause. Col. Phelps, Col. Marcus Boyd, Sample Orr and Thos. J. Bailey, were the leaders on the Union side. Several thousand Union men met at Col. Phelps' farm south of town, with every kind and species of destructive weapons, and organized a double regiment, with Phelps as Colonel, Marcus Boyd as Lieut.-Colonel, and Sample Orr and Pony Boyd, Majors. Col. Dick Campbell was sent with a flag of truce by the opposing element, to confer with Col. Phelps about raising a flag on the Court House. Col. Phelps agreed that the ladies might raise the State flag, and he would raise above it the Stars and Stripes. This compromise prevented a deadly conflict of the two forces on that day. It, however, was only for a time, as the future terribly revealed.


"On that memorable day, fathers were on one side and sons on the other. Estrangements, even to bitterness of hate, severed the peace and happiness of many families in Greene county. Business partners, friends and neighbors, became enemies. Sigel ,came, and Lyon came, and for a few weeks gave confidence and hope to the Unionists. Wilson creek battle, on the 10th of August, 1861, with the death of Gen. Lyon, blasted all repose; and Sigel, with a crippled remnant of a beaten and discouraged army, retreated from Springfield the early morn of the 11th of August, towards Rolla, Missouri, with a wave of refugees, black and white, old and young, in a solid column, longer and wider than the tail of a comet, all on double quick time, army march, every man for himself. and no one to this day, who was in that memorable exodus. will admit that he was in the rear; but each one will say that as he looked back he could see clouds of dust and a moving, living panorama, 'on the git', with eyes open and fixed on the east.

"One officer, high in authority and confidence of the Dutch commander, had no wagons or other accouterments for his regiment. He pressed a pair of mules and wagon and loaded it with seven barrels of whisky and half box of hard tack for his fragmentary regiment of five hundred men on a retreat of one hundred and fifty miles. This officer, with great presence of mind and forecast of the future. in loading a single wagon for' his men, fed them and twice as many refugees most sumptuously, with the choice of all the commissaries of the command, for seven days, and had two barrels of whisky left, besides seventeen wagons and teams, loaded with hard tack, sugar-cured hams. sugar, coffee and molasses.


"The year 1861 exceeded, by far, any year before or since, in the products of the farms of Greene county. The inhabitants, Lyon and Sigel's army, Fremont and Hunter's army, McCullough end Price's army, were all wastefully supplied on its crops for two years, and much of it was carried into the third year. Over $3,000,000 of claims for quartermaster's stores and commissary Supplies to the army of the Union have been filed against the Government by the Union people of the County for the crop of the year 1861, with no good reason to doubt the justness of any single claim.

"In July, 1861, I,. A. D. Crenshaw, Dr. E. T. Robberson, and S. H. Boyd, all ardent Unionists, conceived the idea that unless Southwest Missouri received immediate relief from the Government, the Union element would fall into the hands of Claib. Jackson's forces, and they determined on going to St. Louis and impressing upon the Union men of that city the necessity of holding Southwest Missouri secure. So, one evening, on horseback, the three started for Rolla. Dr. Robberson was acquainted with every path and road in the county, and could travel them in the night as well as he could in the day-time. Each one rode a gray horse, and after dark they entered upon a narrow pathway that led through the woods east of Springfield, Dr. Robberson in the lead. They passed men--crowds of men--until after midnight, on horseback and afoot, and not a word was said, spoken or passed between them.

The town of Rolla was filled with excited men, and all rebels. No train had been there for three days. They got W. H. Graves of the firm of Graves & Faulkner, to hire them a hack, to get out of the town and to St. James. They had gone but four miles when they discovered a very large train of cars, moving up the Dillon grade of the road. It was Sigel and his regiment of Germans, on their way to Springfield. Very soon they met Sigel, and when he learned the situation at Rolla, he gave orders to surround the town. With about one-half of his regiment, newly uniformed, with bright, bristling muskets. he moved through the woods on to the town. Some three or four hundred men had gathered into the place. and were boasting of how easy it would be for them to whip all the Dutch in St. Louis.


"Graves & Faulkner's large commission house was crowded with men, and one old fellow, who was spokesman, was hoping the Dutch would come, so he could go for them. While he was thus talking, some one came into the room and said, 'By G--d, the Dutch are here now upon us!' The old man, with all the others, stepped out on the platform, and looking down the road, sure enough saw, through an opening in the woods, about four hundred yards distant, the bristling soldiery moving down upon them. Not a word was spoken, not an order was given, but the sight was enough, and no fixed opinion of any four hundred men was ever so quickly changed. The old man turned pale, and with one bound cleared the railroad track, and down it he ran as never civilian ran before, all his courageous comrades following their gallant leader.

"After running about a mile, they were pressing through a deep cut in the road, a quarter of a mile length and twenty feet deep. As the old man and his followers were about passing out of the west end of the cut, thinking they were safe for awhile, to their astonishment one hundred or more of those same Dutch raised up out of the brush on one side of the road, and bringing down their bayoneted muskets on the fleeing rebels, said, 'Halt dare! Vot d--n vellers is you anyhow ?' It is needless to say that the old man and his entire company then and there surrendered. body and soul, and all their possessions then present and in expectancy, to the men who 'fought mit Sigel.'

"General Sigel hastened on to Springfield. and got there on a Sunday, about half-past eleven o'clock. Bro. Charles Carleton, pastor of the Christian church, had a full house on that morning. Although a Canadian, he and many of his congregation were 'secesh,' and a cordon of Dutch soldiery quietly surrounded the church, and when the congregation was dismissed, a large, fat. dark-colored Dutch major, who had won laurels on many a bloody field in the old country, his body fairly glistening with medals, epaulets and all the general war paraphernalia of a soldier who knows how to hurt, stepped into the door, and with a terrible voice, (no doubt some of those who were in the church that day still hear that terrible voice,) exclaimed, In the name of mine adopted country, de United States of America, and de President and de power of de army, and by de orders of Col. Franz Sigel, you are my prisoners of war. Pass out in single file to my headquarters in de court house in de public square of de town. Forward march!' Carleton's congregation were never more attentive listeners to any sermon than to that one, nor more obedient to any advice than they were to the Dutch major on that occasion.


"War, actual, dire war had overridden society and its social and moral laws in Springfield. For four years thereafter, Springfield, and all Southwest Missouri, was a field of battle, rapine and murder, a product of military law in all countries and climes of the world--has been and ever will be. Let us hope that the United States of America, the birthplace of liberty. law and order, will so educate the people, that the time is not far distant when this species of barbarism can and will be abolished.

"The soldier of the Union, and the soldier of the Lost Cause, having passed through the fire and fame of many battles. Stack arms and greet one another at their ante-bellum homes in Greene county, better friends, truer men ; and a more neighborly brotherhood and union, scarcely can be found, than that composed of Union and Confederate soldiers. Those who fought on neither side, or where the warfare was not legitimate and regular, cannot experience that inborn the of friendship now existing between these once conflicting elements--where sworn duty to their respective flags for five years made them public enemies. even to the death--each maintaining honorable names and lives, with discharges from their respective powers--war records of soldierly lives and conduct. After the war and return, and hearty shakings of hands and congratulations. they turned their attention to recuperating their losses and rebuilding their once comfortable homes.

"Some there were who did not return, and when the smoke of war had blown from off the land, failed to answer at roll-call yet they were accounted for, and life's tablet of memory will cherish their names to latest time. A long list of names of citizens of Greene county before the war, could be given, who went down with the roar of musketry and thunderings of artillery."


Next Chapter | Table of Contents | Keyword Search
Greene County History Home | Local History Home

Springfield-Greene County Library