History of Greene County, Missouri

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian

Chapter 29
History of the City of Springfield

Part 1
History — Indians and Mound Builders — Delaware Town — Burnett's Cabin — Juvenile Vandalism — First Election — Temporary County Seat — Early Days — Hospitality — Sports — Origin of the Name "Springfield" — First Merchants — The " Firsts," Births, Deaths and Marriages — Primitive Church — Pioneer School — First Blacksmith — First Frame — Brick Making — First Postmaster —Pioneer Press — Incidents — Permanent County Seat — Deeding the Town Site — Roberts Tragedy — Incorporation — Britt-Renno Tragedy — Primitive Amusements — Items — 1850 to 1860 — Epidemic — R. B. Excitement — Politics — Ingram's Foundry — Telegraph — Civil War

So much has been written in the general history department on other pages of this volume concerning the history of the city of Springfield, that but little is left here to say. A recapitulation of the statements made is perhaps, not only allowable, but proper and necessary.


Prior to the year 1830 the land on which the busy city of Springfield now stands had for occupants, the Kickapoo the Delaware, and the Osage Indians, who sang their songs and danced and hunted over its surface with none to molest or make them afraid. Anterior to the red Indians, sometime in the remote past, so long ago that no man's memory for centuries hath run back to the exact time, that mysterious race of beings, the Mound Builders, were here, and, departing, left behind them their flint arrow and lance beads, their stone axes and pottery, to tell of their presence. About the year 1810—or possibly not until after the close of the war of 1812—a band of Kickapoo Indians built a village on what is now the fourth ward, or Southeastern portion of the city. In its prime this village contained about 100 "wick-a-ups" or huts, composed of bent poles covered with bark, grass or skins, and a population of perhaps 500 souls. The Kickapoo town was abandoned by its inhabitants about 1828.

1 Free use has been made in this chapter of an article written by the compiler of this history and published in the Springfield Leader, January 1, 1883.

Northward were the enemies of the Kickapoos, the Osages, and to the South or southwest were the Delawares, friends of every man, whether skin was red, or white, or copper colored. The Delaware town stood about ten miles southwest of Springfield, founded about the year 1800, or at that time when that tribe, once great and powerful, came west of the Mississippi. [721]

Some of the houses in the Delaware town were quite respectable structures, being built of logs, chunked and daubed, with good clapboard roofs and puncheon floors, and some of them with two and three rooms. The chief, old John Anderson, had a very comfortable house. The traders also were respectably domiciled.

Seven miles south of Springfield, at the Patterson spring, on the James, was another Indian town, in which dwelt a small branch of the Delawares, called the Muncies, who had come from Central in Indiana. The chief of the Muncies was Swannick, a lazy, fat fellow, who was a son of old John Anderson, a sort of crown prince as it were. Swannick was a "good Indian," who was born tired and was harmless enough. He wanted badly to have a white wife, and frequently tried to buy one from the few settlers here then. The Muncies went away with the Delawares, in October, 1831.

There were marrying and giving in marriage between the whites and Indians in those days. Old John Marshall, who owned the famous mill at the mouth of Finley, had an old fat squaw for a wife. Marshall did not leave with the Delawares, but went the following spring, in 1832. Other white men had squaw wives, as has been narrated. J. P. Pool, the blacksmith of the Delawares, employed by the Government, was a half-breed, who had a very pretty white woman for a wife.

About the middle of February, 1830, Wm. Fulbright, John Fulbright, and A. J. Burnett, from Tennessee, settled near the Fulbright spring, and put up some cabins, built of small oak poles. Previousty in the fall of 1829, John P. Campbell and his brother, Madison, Tennesseans also, had "claimed" the land occupied by the Fulbrights, by cutting their names on some trees in the vicinity of the spring. Returning to Tennessee, J. P. Campbell and his brother-in-law, Joseph Miller, set out for Missouri in the month of February following, and on the evening of March 4th, encamped near the "natural well," a little north of the former residence of R. J. McElhany. Mr. Burnett having completed a cabin on the same site, and Mr. Campbell claiming priority of ownership, evidenced by his initials on an ash tree near the "well," Mr. Burnett was compelled to remove and readily gave away and removed five miles to the eastward. Messrs. Campbell and Miller with their families, in all seven persons, took possession of the vacated cabin, 12x15 feet in size, while their slaves, six in number, dwelt for a time in a stout, comfortable tent, which had been used for sleeping quarters en route from Tennessee. [722]

The cabin built by Mr. Burnett, the first habitation for white men on the town site of Springfield, stood on the hill, south of the "natural well," near where the public school building now is, on Jefferson street.

At once all hands set to work, the axes rang out in the surrounding wood, and soon a good sized field had been cleared and fenced where the principal portion of the town is now, it being the intention of Campbell and his compeers, not to found a city, but to open first class farms. The site of the town was covered by a magnificent growth of red oak trees, making a fine grove, and furnishing most valuable timber. It is the testimony of old settlers that nothing like this grove was then to be found hereabouts, or now to be seen in all the county.

Among those who settled on and adjoining the present site in 1830 were Thomas Finney, Samuel Weaver, and Joseph Miller. In the next year came Daniel B. Miller, Joseph Rountree, Signey S. Ingram, Samuel Painter, and Junius T. Campbell. The latter opened a little store near where the public school building is now. His stock, a small and by no means a varied one, was hauled from Boonville. Mr. Campbell had a partner, one James Feland, an old Santa Fe trader.

In 1831 the Delaware Indians were notified to again "move on" farther toward the setting sun, and with their departure in October, came another influx of white settlers to Springfield and the neighborhood round about.

Many of the old Kickapoo wigwams were still standing in what is now the southwest part of the city in 1830, although they had been abandoned some time. Being composed of bark, and poles and brush for the most part, they were highly inflammable, and the boys of that day,—old men, bent and gray now—John H. Miller, Lawson Fulbright, and others, had rare sport in burning them in the spring of 1830, after night fall, when the first would show to the best advantage and on Sundays, too. Nor did the young vandals stop their devastation until the last old ragged wigwam was reduced to ashes. [723]





Springfield was not regularly laid off into a town until 1835; but by that time perhaps fifteen or twenty cabins had gone up on and near the town site and were occupied. The locality was a favorite one by reason of the numerous springs therein abounding, which furnished plenty of pure, wholesome water. John P. Campbell build no less than thirteen cabins in one year, his daughter states, vacating one after another in order to let some new comer have an abiding place. The location became known far and wide throughout Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, for where even two or three cabins were gathered together in this quarter at that day, the locality was remarkable. There seemed to be an instinctive belief among the primitive visitors to Southwestern Missouri that some day there won be a town at "Fulbright's and Campbell's springs," and hence people were attracted hither—all sorts of people—good people for the most part, but all sorts of people. The first settlers of Southwestern Missouri generally were men of high character, bold, honest, and industrious, who had come to the new country to make comfortable homes for themselves and their posterity after them forever. Some of them remained to see the grand old red oak forests about Springfield leveled, and a city builded whereon they had grown, and to see moreover wild prairie and timbered glade subdued by the plow and make to bud and blossom and bring forth abundantly.

Three years after the Fulbrights and Campbell had come to the "springs" which bore their names, Greene county was organized as a county, then embracing all Southwest Missouri. On the first Monday in February, 1833, the voters of "Ozark township, Crawford county, Missouri," met at "the usual place of holding elections," then the house of John P. Campbell," and elected Jeremiah N. Sloan, James Dollison, and Samuel Martin judges of the county court, and John D. Shannon sheriff. The county court designated the "house of John P. Campbell" as the "place of holding the county and circuit courts" for the county of Greene, and this was the first movement toward locating the county seat of the county permanently on the town site of Springfield. It is said that at first the county judges were in favor of fixing the county seat somewhere near where Mt. Vernon now is, so as to bring it nearer to what was then the geographical center of the county; but that Mr. Campbell, whom they appointed county clerk, entertained their honors so sumptuously and treated them generally so hospitably that they readily acceded to his suggestion to locate the capital of the new county at "Campbell's spring." [725]


The "first families" in Springfield in 1830-35, would not be considered the "first families" in this year of grace, 1883. The houses were of logs, rugged on the outside and rough within. The floors were of puncheons, the roofs of clapboards held on by weight poles. The carpets used were very durable, since both woof and warp were of good red-oak timber, close grained as iron and sound as a dollar. Doors were of rough boards, but the latch-strings always hung, on the outside and he who pulled them was always welcome. Bedsteads, chairs and tables were made by craftsmen who wielded only such tools as axes, frows and whipsaws. When babies came—as come they did, and come they always will into every well regulated community, heaven abundantly bless them!—they were snuggled and cuddled into cradles fashioned sometimes from hollow logs, with hickory bows pegged on for rockers.

The tables were supplied with the best the market afforded, to speak in the language of inn-keepers. That same market was the forest whose trees made shadows upon the door yards and the clearings lately opened to the rays of the sun. The one produced honey in abundance and delicious as nectar, venison and other game meats, bountiful and luscious, and the other brought forth corn and turnips and potatoes. At first the corn was made into meal by pounding it in mortars which clumsy pestles, and there sifting it through sieves, made sometimes of buckskin perforated with hot wires and then stretched over a hoop. The finer meal was baked into bread, the roaster particles made "small hominy." The first mills were Jerry Pearson's, five miles east, and John Marshall's, near the mouth of Finley.

Hospitality was the universal rule, and extreme friendliness and sociability characterized all the people of the little town. The ladies made calls without card cases, and no man waited to be introduced to his new neighbor before visiting him. Sports and diversions were not lacking. Shooting matches were common among the men, and in 1833 John P. Campbell laid out a circular race track on the prairie a little southeast of the town, and there was fine sport there to be had on Saturdays for a few years, until a great light fell upon Mr. C. and he renounced horse-racing and embraced Calvinism. according to the tenents of the Presbyterian church, and tire race track was broken, up.

Dancing there was, and it was freely participated in by the light of heart and heels of both sexes. Early in the settlement a house of prayer and praise went up, for following close upon the footsteps of the first settlers, came the pioneer preachers "crying in the wilderness." Very soon there was a school, where reading, spelling, writing and arithmetic were taught, according to the most approved methods of that day, to about a dozen pupils of all ages and both sexes. [726]

Springfield was laid off into lots, with streets, alleys and a public square, in the year of 1835, by John P. Campbell. The original town plat comprised 50 acres, lying on both sides of "Jordan," and this tract was donated by Mr. C. to the county for county seat purposes. The plan of the town was that adopted in the laying off of Columbia, Tenn. Mr. Campbell's birth-place. The town took its name from the circumstance of there being a spring under the hill, on the creek, while on top of the hill, where the principal portion of the town lay, there was a field. This version of the origin of the name is disputed by the editor of the Springfield Express, Mr. J. G. Newbill, who, in the issue of his paper, November 11, 1881, says: " It has been stated that this city got its name from the fact of a spring and field being near by just west of town. But such is not a correct version. When the authorized persons met and adopted the title of the "Future Great" of the Southwest, several of the earliest settlers had handed in their favorite names, among whom was Kindred Rose, who presented the winning name, "Springfield," in honor of his former home town, Springfield, Robertson county, Tennessee. Mr. Rose still lives on his old homestead, 3— miles southwest of the city, where he has continuously resided for nearly fifty years."

At this time the businessmen of the place were D. D. Berry, Henry Fulbright and Cannefax & Ingram, dealers in dry goods and groceries; James Carter and John W. Ball, blacksmiths, and S. S. Ingram, cabinet-maker. John P. Campbell kept a hotel, if it be proper to call a dwelling house, where everybody was entertained free, a hotel. From the amount of tax paid by the merchants in 1835 it is estimated that in that year they sold about $8,300 worth of goods. These goods had been bought of wholesale dealers at Boonville and Old Franklin, up on the Missouri.


The first settlers on the town site of Springfield were Wm. Fulbright, John Fulbright, A. J. Burnett, John P. Campbell and Joseph Miller, in February and March, 1880.

The first house was a little pole cabin, built by A. J. Burnett, in January or February, 1830. It stood on the hill a little south of the old "natural well," and a little northwest of the present brick public school building, on Jefferson street. In size this cabin was 12x15 feet. [727]

The first white male child born in the city was Harvey Fulbright, a son of John Fulbright, and the date of his birth was in 1831. The maiden name of his mother was Kirkendall, and she was from West Tennessee. She was a sister to the first wife of Levi Fulbright. Harvey Fulbright now lives in Laclede county, and the place of his birth was on or near the ground (now 1883) occupied as the residence of Capt. G. M. Jones. The first white female child born within the present city limits was Mary Frances Campbell, a daughter of John P. Campbell—the founder of the town. This is the child referred to in the chapter on the early history of the county as "Kickapoo, My Beautiful." She was born in 1831, on the hill south of the old "natural well." She married Dr. S. M. Sproul, and died soon after marriage, in Greenfield, Dade county, leaving no children. Mrs. John P. Campbell brought with her to Springfield from Tennessee a child, then an infant in arms, named Talitha Campbell, who afterwards became the mother of the wife of Frank Sheppard, Esq. A little later in the year 1831, Frank Miller, a son of Joseph Miller, was born in a house which also stood near the old well. He is now residing at San Diego, California. It is claimed, for these children, that they were the first whites born in Greene county.

The first death was that of a child of Joseph Miller, in 1831. The body was buried under a large oak tree, near the Miller spring.

The first marriage in the neighborhood was that of Lawson Fulbright and a daughter of David Roper, living four miles east, in 1831.

Junius Rountree married Martha Miller, a daughter of Joseph Miller then living about one and a half miles west of Springfield, August 7, 1831. Not long afterwards Junius T. Campbell married Mary Blackwell, at a house a mile and a half southwest of Springfield. These are believed to have been the first marriages within the present limits of Greene county.

The first meeting house or house of divine worship was built of oak logs, in 1833, at a spring in the woods north of the creek, and was occupied by the Methodists and Cumberland Presbyterians. Dr. James H. Slavens, of Warren county, who came in 1831, was the first Methodist minister to hold services, not only in the town, but in the county. [728]

The first school house was built in 1832. It was of small logs and stood where is now the old Christian church (used at present as a private residence), on the north side of College street, a little west of Main, and near where Gen. Lyon's general headquarters were, and where his dead body lay. But the first school house attended by children who then lived on the present site was built in 1831, and was also of small logs. Of this school house, John H. Miller says it stood a mile and a quarter west of town, and the first teacher was old uncle Joe Rountree; the pupils were Henry Fulbright and some of his younger brothers, the Rountree boys, John Miller, J. J. Weaver, and his two older sisters, Louisiana, late wife of Col. C. A. Haden, and Jane, mother of Joe Farrier, and a few others. The school house had a good dirt floor, and one log, cut out for a window, no door or shutter. Here they learned to spell, read, write and cipher in Pike's arithmetic, on three-legged benches. Mr. Miller says the old school house on College street had a loose plank floor, a door shutter, a mud-and-stick chimney, and then the builders thought that in the matter of school house architecture they had nearly reached the top round of the ladder of civilization, and the Ruskins of that day were greatly delighted with the beautiful effect produced.

The first merchant was Junius T. Campbell, a young man only 19 years of age, who in 1831 started in trade in a little log hut near the present site of the public school building.

The first blacksmith was James Carter, who came in 1834.

The first frame house was built by Benj. Cannefax, in 1836. Previous to that all were constructed of logs. Up to the close of the year 1835 there was not a sawed plank in the county of Greene. The substitute was, as in most new places of the West, split or hewed slabs.

In 1837, the first bricks were burned here, and soon after a chimney was built of brick and mortar, which attracted vast attention and interest. The whole population superintended the erection of that structure.

The first post-office was established in the fall of 1834, and Junius T. Campbell, then just 22 years of age, was the first postmaster. Mail was brought twice a month by horseback from Harrison's store, at the mouth of Little Piney. This is believed to be the most reliable account, although the following from the Springfield Express, of Feb. 17, 1882, is worthy of attention: [729]

Springfield has the honor of the first post-office that was established in Southwest Missouri, the same being done in the year 1833, at which time the mail was brought on horseback, once in each month, from Harrison's on the Little Piney river. The title of P. M. was conferred upon Mr. Junius T. Campbell, and the office was kept in a hewed log house one story high, the logs of which now constitute the walls of a room on the northwest corner of Jefferson and East Walnut streets, which belong to Dr. L. T. Watson. They are of oak timber and still in a good state of preservation, which speaks volumes for the salubrity of the atmosphere in these favored regions of the Ozark mountains.

The building in which the office was kept stood a little more than one hundred yards about north of its present location until the year 1842, when C. B. Holland purchased it for a dwelling house and removed it to where it now stands. In those days sawed lumber was almost out of the question, and even the floors were mostly made of puncheons.

The difference in the date of the establishment of the office, it will be observed, is wide in the two accounts, but 1834 is believed by the compiler to be correct.

The first newspaper was the Ozark Standard, established by J. C. Tuberville, in the spring, of 1837. Shortly thereafter the name of the paper was changed to the Ozark Eagle.

Mr. John H. Miller, who was deputy county clerk of this county, says he has the record to show that the Standard was established by Mr. Tuberville in the spring of 1837. But Mr. Warren H. Graves, one of the first newspaper men in Southwest Missouri, in a letter to Mr. A. F. Ingram, a few years since, wrote:

The Ozark Standard was started some time in the spring or summer of 1839. I remember that I was working in Jefferson City during the winter of 1838-9, when C. W. Starks 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, started the Standard. It lived but a short time, but I do not remember when Huffard changed it to the Eagle. I started the Advertiser in May, 1844, publishing it continuously up to 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 Jno. S. Phelps, but there was a suit between Jno. P. Campbell and him in relation to the ownership, which was afterwards compromised, and the office went to Campbell. This was in the spring of 1846, and I purchased a new office. The material of the old office was used in 1846, in the interest of Campbell for Congress—the paper being published by E. D. McKinney. [730]


In the month of June, 1835, Asiatic cholera visited Springfield and carried off four or five victims. In July Jeremiah N. Sloan and Geo. M. Gibson, of Barry county, and Markham Fristoe, commissioners appointed by act of the Legislature, met and selected Springfield as the "permanent county seat of Greene county." About the first of September, 1835, the U. S. land office was established with Joel Haden, of Howard county, as register, and R. T. Brown, of Ste. Genevieve, as receiver.

On the 18th of July a special session of the county court was held, "for the purpose of receiving and approving a plan for laying out the town of Springfield, the county seat of Greene county." The following order of the court was entered of record:

It is ordered by the court here that the plan presented by John P. Campbell be filed and received as the plan for the town of Springfield; and the county commissioner for Greene county is hereby ordered to lay off the town of Springfield accordingly, viz.: To lay off the public square, and one tier of blocks back from said square. The square to contain one acre and a half, and each block to contain one acre and a half, to be divided into six lots or parts, by said commissioner or by some person for him, and each of the other lots back to contain two acres, subject to division as the court may hereafter order. The streets leading to the square in the above named plan to be sixty feet, and an alley way fifteen feet back of said first tier of lots; and the commissioner is further ordered to establish the front corners in the second tier of lots; and that Daniel B. Miller be appointed commissioner of the county.

At the August term of court, 1835, on motion, it was ordered that so much of the order made at the special term of said court on the 18th day of July, 1835, be amended so as to make the public square of Springfield two acres instead of one and a half acres, and that it should never be changed. [731]

Owing to the uncertainty at that time with reference to what would become the western boundary, and on account of the county extending so much farther east, it was for some time quite doubtful whether the county seat would remain here, or be removed to some point farther east; and, although the question had been once regularly decided by commissioners appointed for that purpose, it still continued to be agitated until 1836, when a petition was circulated by the friends of Josiah F. Danforth, to have it removed to a site which he offered, on his farm eight miles east of town. John W. Hancock, who was that year elected to the Legislature, promised to work for whichever party got the most signatures to its paper, and as Mr. Campbell's friends, in this art of the county, were successful in getting the most names to their remonstrance, the county seat remained unchanged.

When Springfield was accepted as the county seat of Greene county, none of the lands were owned in fee simple by the persons who claimed and occupied them. All were alike "squatters." Those who had come here as early as 1833, had a pre-emption claim to one hundred and sixty acres each, under an act of Congress passed June 19th, 1834. This act required as conditions precedent, that the claimant should have cultivated the land claimed, in 1833, and been in actual possession of it at the time of the passage of the act.

August 27, 1836, John P. Campbell and his wife, Louisa T. Campbell, deeded to the county of Greene, for county seat purposes, 50 acres of land, whose metes and bounds were described as follows: "Beginning at a point in the middle of the channel of the branch running through the northwest quarter of section 24, township 29, range 22, where the west boundary line of said quarter section crosses said branch, running up said branch, meandering the main channel thereof, eastwardly to a point where the north boundary line of said quarter section crosses said branch; thence with said line eastwardly to a point immediately north of the spring which the said John P. Campbell uses, on said quarter section; thence southwardly to a point immediately east of said spring ten feet; thence south 23— degrees; thence twenty-three and seven-elevenths poles to a black oak tree; thence east and south for complement, in the proportion that 80 bears to 100, so as to include the said quantity of 50 acres." The tract of land so described was the original plat of the city of Springfield, the northeast corner being a little east and north of the public school building on Jefferson street.

Other particulars regarding the location of the county seat, the official acts of D. B. Miller, the first town commissioner, etc., are set out on other and prior pages of this volume.

In the summer of 1836 occurred the killing of John Roberts by Judge Chas. S. Yancey. The latter was acquitted on the ground of self-defense. This was the first case of homicide in the place. [732]

In 1837 the town was the base from which operations against the Indians were directed in the Osage and Sarcoxie wars. This year there were twelve business establishments, which did an aggregate business of $22,450.

February 19th, 1838, the town was first incorporated, the metes and bounds being established as follows: Beginning 25 rods west of the northwest corner of the northwest quarter of section 24, tp. 29, range 22; thence east 155 rods to a stake; thence south 135 rods ; thence west 155 rods; thence north to the beginning. The first board of trustees was composed of Joel H. Haden, Daniel D. Berry, Sidney S. Ingram, Robert W. Crawford and Joseph Jones. Fifteen business houses, including only those where general merchandise and groceries were sold, were in operation and the total amount of sales reported for the year were $62,600. In the summer of this year Randolph Britt stabbed and killed Joseph Renno. Britt was afterward convicted of manslaughter, sentenced to the penitentiary, but pardoned. Population of Springfield this year, according to the U. S. Gazeteer, was "about 300."


From 1836 up to 1844, camp-meetings, political discussions, dancing, hunting, and picnicking were the chief amusements of the people of Springfield and of Greene county. Whisky was plentiful and everybody drank it, a custom giving rise to great and general hilarity. The managers of the dances, it is solemnly averred by a few old gray-beards who were here then, used to count the puncheons in the floor, and then charge admission in proportion to the size of the party that could be accommodated.

Red bandanna handkerchiefs were considered the height of fashion and very "lum-ti-tum" in those days among the young gentlemen. If a young man displayed a white handkerchief, a titter would pervade the room and some one would call out, "Look! he has got his sister's handkerchief!"

Mr. Escott and Col. Gilmore state that D. D. Berry often opened his house to these social reunions. On one of these occasions he invited nearly everybody in town to a dance, but for some reason, or perhaps by accident, left out one man named Shockley, who had recently moved to town. He was angry at being thus slighted, and determined to let people know it. He had a fine horse and a dog, which he valued very highly. He strung to the horse and dog as many bells, tin-pans, and other noise-making instruments, as he could devise, and tied the dog to the saddle of his horse, with a strong rope. When all was ready, and the dancers in the midst of their amusement, Shockley mounted his horse, and, adding to the jingling of bells and the howling of the dog, his own voice in yelling and screaming, he rode around Mr. Berry's house, to the consternation and amazement of the company. Everybody, of course, rushed out to see what on earth was the matter. Satisfied with the effect there, he left the house, and, at full speed, made the circle of the town. [[733]

It is said that every man, woman and child, of Springfield, was out of doors that night, and the more superstitious, no doubt, thought that a certain individual with horns, hoofs and tail, who was then supposed to live in the sulphurous regions, had paid a visit to the town. Shockleys poor dog paid for the sport with his life, and the horse and his rider came near meeting the same fate. While passing a tree, at break-neck speed, the dog took one side and the horse the other. The dog was instantly killed, and the horse and his rider were overthrown, but, as it happened, not seriously injured. With this event, Shockley passes out of sight, probably removes to some neighborhood of more congenial spirits, and is never heard of again in Springfield.

The sports and amusements of the young folks, in the early days of Springfield, were sometimes of a rather dangerous, and even tragic character. In 1835 and 1836, it became a custom among the youngsters, to "make niggers" of such strangers as they could manage. This was done by blacking their faces with burnt cork or other blacking, and, when their object was accomplished, their shouts of laughter would "raise the town." To illustrate how this was done, two or three instances are given, which were vouched for by one who always took part in such sprees:

Two men, named L— and B—, who were brothers-in-law, were in the habit of coming to town to get their grog, and nearly always made a two or three days' "drunk" of it, when they came. On one occasion they were induced to separate for the night, and each one slept with one of the town boys. In the night, while sleeping off the effect of their potations, both of their faces were thoroughly blacked with burnt cork, and in the morning they were well prepared, in complexion, to appear as "Brudder Bones" or "Banjo Sam," but the looking-glasses were carefully kept out of sight, and both of the men were unconscious of the joke that had been perpetrated upon them. It was arranged to bring them to Mcelhany's "grocery," to take a morning dram, and this being done, all hands were invited up to drink, and promptly accepted the invitation. B— was surprised to see a black man come up to drink with them, and told L— that he, "was not in the habit of drinking with niggers." L—, hearing this speech from a man whom he considered a negro, at once pitched in, and a first-class muss was at once inaugurated, each thinking he was punishing a "d_d impudent nigger." [734]

On another occasion, after this joke of blocking faces had been run for a number of months, a strapping, big fellow came into town, with his loaded rifle on his shoulder, and announced that he had come expressly to have his face blacked by these Springfield boys. He looked dangerous, but it would not do to allow him to escape, after thus daring the venture. So a council was held by Charlie Haden, "Buck" and Lucius Rountree, Ki. Blankenship, John Cox and others, and a programme arranged. One of the boys "Old Red" "cousined in" with the stranger, and soon got on intimate terms with him. After introducing him around, and getting him to drink a few times, "Red" suggested that a shave would improve his appearance, and he was induced to submit to the operation. In the meantime one of the number, who acted as barber for the occasion, was prepared with a cup of diluted printer's ink, which he used as lather, and after pretending to shave him, he was sent to the glass to see how he liked it. A glance was sufficient. With a short, quick scream of rage, the victim sprang for his gun. Another of their number had quietly taken that during the shaving operation, and emptied the priming from the pan and spiked the tube with a wire; but, as most of the boys were not aware that the gun had been rendered unserviceable, there was some pretty fast running done. The stranger chased them for some time, trying every few yards to fire his gun, but finally ascertained that it had been spiked, he stopped, and in his rare and disappointment began to cry very lustily. The boys then came back to him, and after he had promised to behave himself and go home, he was taken around to old Jacob Painter's gun shop and his gun put in order. Then he departed southward, swearing he would never set foot in the accursed town again, and it is believed that he kept his vow.

FROM 1840 TO 1850.

In the year 1840 occurred the "log cabin campaign," which resulted in the election of President Harrison, and this was the first political campaign that excited much interest in the town and county. For the first time both political parties held public meetings and barbecues in Springfield. [735]

In May, 1841, John T. Shanks shot and killed one Davis; both were intoxicated at the time. Shanks broke jail and escaped to Texas.

In 1844 two citizens of the county, Hon. John S. Phelps and Hon. Leonard H. Sims, were elected to Congress at the same election, both Democrats. Mass meetings were held at Springfield by the partisans of Polk and Clay, respectively, the Democratic and Whig candidates for President. In May the first number of the Springfield Advertiser was issued by Warren R. Graves.

In May, 1845, the Springfield branch of the State Bank of Missouri was established. James H. McBride, president; J. R. Danforth, cashier; C. A. Haden, clerk. In this year, also, R. J. McElhany succeeded Wm. B. Farmer as postmaster. The latter had held the office three years.

In 1846 Springfield bade farewell and God speed to Captains Julian's and Boak's companies of volunteers, who started for the Mexican war. Julian's company was not accepted and returned. Boak's men saw service, and when they came home were given a worthy reception by the people.

September 10, 1848, the first number of the Springfield Whig was issued by Fisher & Swartz. Hon. Littleberry Hendrick was editor. Big Whig and Democratic meetings were held this year. The total population of Springfield this year was 344, of which 108 were slaves.

In 1849 a temperance wave swept over the town. The Sons of Temperance had 75 members, and there was only one licensed dram-shop in the place.

In the summer of 1849 Col. Thomas H. Benton spoke in Springfield in opposition to the "Jackson resolutions."

From 1840 to 1850 the public affairs of the town were managed very loosely. The trustees neglected to meet and sometimes there was no election held to choose new officers, and the old ones refused to serve. The town ran itself. When an offense was committed a justice of the peace took cognizance thereof.

The merchants did a fair business. The wholesale markets at that day were St. Louis, Boonville and Linn Creek. All merchandise was brought into the county in wagons. A trip to St. Louis and back occupied about one month. By 1850 stage lines ran regularly to and through the place from Boonville, Jefferson, Lebanon and Fayetteville.

"Select schools" were established early in the '40's. In 1849 the Southwestern Missouri High School, the Springfield Academy, and Mrs. Merritt's and Miss Anderson's schools for young ladies were in full operation, as was Miss McDonald's Female Institute. [736]

FROM 1850 TO 1860.

The population of Campbell township in 1850, was 2,142 whites and 561 slaves; total, 2,703. Of this population Springfield contained about 500. This year the California fever broke out, carrying off many victims.

March 3, 1851, an attempt was made to resuscitate the almost dead and defunct act of incorporation, making Springfield a city. The affairs of the town had been running at loose ends too long to please some of the citizens. The temperance people were anxious to put down the dram shops by municipal legislation and regulation, and desired a complement of town officers. An election was held at which only 50 votes were cast. Of these Wilson Hackney received 45 and Peter Apperson 5, but Hackney was ineligible, and Apperson was declared elected. W. B. Logan, Wm. McAdams, S. S. Vinton, A. A. Mitchell, and Presley Beal were elected trustees, or aldermen; Richard Gott was chosen assessor and E. P. Gott, constable.

From 1850 to 1855 coffee sold at 12— cents per pound; sugar, 10 cents; salt, $3 and $5 per sack or barrel; nails, 6 cents per pound; castings, 5 cents; muslin, 7 and 10 cents per yard; flour, $1.25 and $1.50 per hundred; meal, 40 cents per bushel; bacon, 8 cents per pound: spun cotton, $1 and $1.10 per bunch.

In 1852 the county court refused to grant licenses for dram shops in Campbell township, but some months afterwards rescinded the order. There was great interest taken in the prohibition question in that year and during succeeding years.

In 1853-4 the first considerable interest was taken by the town and county in the project to build a branch of the Pacific Railroad into Southwestern Missouri, making Springfield a point on the line. The county court took $100,000 stock in the enterprise. August 25, 1854, Willis Washam, an old man nearly 60 years of age, was hung at Springfield, upon conviction of the murder of his son, on White river, in Taney county. [737]

May 3, 1855, the first number of the Springfield Mirror, a Whig paper, was issued by J. W. Boren, now a compositor in the Leader office. In this year, December 13, a court of common pleas was established, with Hon. Patrick H. Edwards, recently deceased, as judge. At the close of the year 1855 there were twenty-four business firms in the place, which, during the year, had done business to the amount of $235,246.

From 1855 to 1860 there were warm times in Springfield among the politicians. Benton, Anti-Benton, or "Sag Nichts," Whigs, Americans and Know Nothings, all held meetings in Springfield from time to time, and excitement ran high at times. In 1856 Col. Benton, then a candidate for Governor, again addressed the people of Greene county at Springfield. The same year, October 3, the first fair in Greene county was held by the Southwest Missouri District Agriculture and Mechanical Association.

June 17, 1858, the first foundry (Ingram's) was established and did its first casting. The first Presbyterian church building was dedicated July 4, of this year, and that of the M. E. South was begun in the spring. Christmas day the population of the place was estimated at 1,200. There were 16 mercantile houses which had sold $300,000 worth of merchandise during the year 1858. There were two tin shops, two saddle and harness shops, three shoe shops, three wagon shops, three tailor shops, a gunsmith, a hatter, three meat markets, three hotels, three jewelry stores, two printing offices, three churches, five schools, four secret orders, (Masons, Odd Fellows, Sons of Temperance, and Good Templars), three confectionery stores, two milliners, a daguerrean gallery, a carding machine, a foundry, a land office, a bank, one livery stable, one saloon, ten lawyers, five doctors, four clergymen, one dentist, four land agents, twenty carpenters, two brick masons, three house and sign painters, etc. Two tobacco factories, manufacturing 200,000 pounds of tobacco annually, were in full operation. A planing mill was completed the following spring by Smith & Graves. August 28, 1858, the first steps were taken to build the present court-house.

In 1859 the sum of $417.39 was expended in improving the streets, sidewalks, street-crossings, etc., of the place, and this is said to have been the first public money so expended. In August of this year Mart Danforth, a negro rapist, was lynched in a grove just west of the cotton factory.

April 3, 1860, Springfield was first placed in telegraphic communication with the outer world, via Bolivar and Jefferson City. The line was afterward extended to Fayetteville and Ft. Smith. W. H. Parsons was the first telegraph operator in Springfield. [738]


At the outbreak of the civil war Springfield contained about 2,000 inhabitants, and though not larger in population than many of the shire towns of the surrounding counties at present, it was then, as now, the most prosperous and important town, in a commercial point of view, in what is generally known as Southwest Missouri. The merchants and traders of those days, whose mantle of enterprise has fallen upon the shoulders of their successors, kept in the van, and by their shrewd and capable management of private and public affairs, not only placed Springfield in the advance among the first of inland towns of Missouri, but constantly urged its growth and influence to the utmost limit. Its power in a political, commercial and social point of view has been described on previous pages of this history, and at the beginning of the year 1861, it will suffice to say, its progress was steady in the march of general improvement.

The war summarily checked this happy progress. In no part of this distressed State was public opinion more at variance upon the momentous questions which gave rise to the civil war. Neighbors found themselves arrayed suddenly one against the other; the energy that had characterized the people was none the less abated, now that it had been turned from the channels of industry into those of war, and the great highways leading from the city to the north, south, east and west, which were wont to resound with the cheery greetings of the hundreds of wagoners who were the patient and plodding means of social and business communication, were filled with the advancing or retreating forces of Federals or Confederates. [739]

Early in the struggle the leaders of both armies recognized the fact that Springfield was from a military, as it had been from a commercial view, a strategic point,2 and its possession throughout the war was bitterly contended for. It was this fact that led to the battle of Wilson Creek, so disastrous to the Federal arms in the death of Lyon and the rout of his army; to Zagonyi's fight, to the battle on the memorable 8th of January, 1863, when the Confederate leaders, Marmaduke, Shelby and McDonald, knocked for admission at the south gates of the city and were refused admission to many other military movements in Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas. During the entire struggle it was held as a base of supplies and operations by one or the other of the contending armies, and not until peace had been finally declared and effectually accomplished was any attempt made toward repairing the enormous waste of property and vitality incident to that terrible five years' storm.

2 "In conversation with the Committee of Safety about the 1st of May (1861), Lyon divulged the plan of making Springfield the outpost of St. Louis, in case of imminent danger from rebels in the State."—Peckman's "Lyon and Missouri in 1861," p. 117.

"The town of Springfield ought to be occupied by a strong force at once, and made the base of operations in that quarter."—Ben McCulloch to the Confederate Government, May 28, 1861. See "Rebellion Record," vol. 3, p. 228, et seq.

The history of Springfield during the civil war is a part of that of the county, and has already been given on other pages. From February 12, 1862, until the close of the war, it was held by Federal garrisons, and was the great Federal military depot for the army of the frontier and of the Southwest. The name of the Federal or Union commanders here during the war is legion, and cannot be given with accuracy in their proper order. Gen. John McNeil was here from the spring of 1863 until about the 24th of October following, when John B. Sanborn assumed command, and remained here until long after Lee had surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.

During the military occupation of the city it was greatly injured; many houses were burned, fences and outbuildings were also burned—the latter for fuel, the former for fun! Churches became hospitals and arsenals, private houses barracks and quarters, gardens and parks were converted into camping grounds, and everywhere were soldiers and cannon, "and guns and drums and wounds." There was much disorder, too, in the social world. Many respectable families were destroyed, some of the members going out of the country, others going to the bad. Hundreds of adventurers and adventuresses were attracted hither by the wild, reckless life led by the military, and the vivandieres and other camp followers corrupted where they could not destroy.

Sometimes grim-visaged War smoothed his wrinkled front and gazed placidly upon the spectacle of some of his bravest partisans whirling in waltzes, or tripping in quadrates, with ladies of the opposite party in politics for partners. The Kansas officers, with all of their rough reputation for savage fighting and free foraging, were noted gallants, and many of them became social favorites while here—their balls and routs and free-and-easy gatherings being the "events" of the season. Other officers from other States came to be well known. Some were honorable, some were not. Owing to the unnatural character of the times and the tendency to demoralization, it was easy to work harm, and harm was worked. Many a matron, now demure and proper, was then a Miss, young and wild and gay, and had her name bandied about among many a mess with a freedom that would shock her ears fastidious, were it to be spoken of in these days. [740]

The close of hostilities found Springfield much the worse for them, but such was the spirit of the then stricken and shattered little city, that no sooner did the sun of peace once more send forth its genial ray and assert the brotherhood of man, than she threw off the weeds of woe and at once set about to rebuild the waste places. Soldiers whom the chances of war had assigned to this locality returned to their homes with marvelous tales of its wondrous charms, and about the year 1866 a tide of emigration set in from the four points of the compass, and which continued uninterrupted until 1870. Every stage from the north and east was loaded with those who had left their homes with the intention of making an abode with us. As a consequence money was plentiful, business houses multiplied, property was advanced to fictitious values, all of which tended to a suicidal extravagance in the matter of building which was not warranted by the class of emigrants being received.

It will now be proper to give the history of the city by years from 1865 to the present time. (See next chapter.) [741]

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