A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets
Past and Present
of Jasper County, Missouri

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Jasper County


The origin of the name "Six Bulls" is shrouded in uncertainty, some of the old settlers holding that it was so called in honor of a mighty hunter who had once killed six monster buffaloes, all noted for their size and strength, but Judge John C. Cox, one of the first settlers of Jasper County. . .says that the name was incorrectly called bulls, but in broken English the Indians had called it "The Six Boils" (pronounced like "bulls"), meaning the land of the six rushing rivers. The Indian word for river being boil and that the six boils or rivers referred to were the Cow-skin River, Shoal Creek, Indian Creek, Center Creek, Spring River, and the North Fork.

When Missouri became a state, all of Southwest Missouri was made a county and was called Crawford County, the seat of justice being at Little Pliny (sic) on the Gasconade River, (now known as Little Piney). Later Greene County was carved from Crawford and embraced all of the territory from the Osage River on the north to the Arkansas line on the south and from the present eastern limits of Greene to Kansas on the west. The county seat of Greene, then as now, was at Springfield.

Barry County (q. v.) was next taken from Greene and included the seven Southwest Missouri counties. The county seat was at Mount Pleasant near the present site of Pierce City.

As civilization moved west Jasper County was organized...The old settlers of Jasper County used to say in a joking way that they had lived in four counties but had never moved once.

At the general election in August, 1838, Littlebury Mason was elected representative for Barry County, in the general assembly and secured the passage of a bill dividing Barry County into four divisions, taking out of Barry, Dade, Newton and Jasper. Jasper County included in its territory Barton on the north and Newton included the present county of McDonald on the south.

Jasper County was not at this session of the legislature raised to the full dignity of a county, but for Civil and Military purposes attached to Newton County which was at once fully organized.

In 1840 John Wilson was elected to represent Newton County. Among the first bills introduced by him was one to complete the organization of Jasper County, by designating proper officials and courts to put the machinery of county government in operation. This bill passed the legislature January 29, 1841, and the county was fully organized as a civil division, March 8th. Jasper County is named for Sergeant Jasper of Revolutionary War fame.

The first permanent settler in Jasper County was Thackery Vivion who came from Kentucky in 1831 and settled near the Sarcoxie Spring. . . The word Sarcoxie in the Indian vernacular means "the Rising Sun."


Thackery Vivion built his log house near the spring at the foot of the hill just east of the Sarcoxie depot. . .He built a small water power log mill on the present site of the Victor Mills (1912)...In 1838 he moved from Sarcoxie to the western part of the county, and entered land where the famous Lehigh Mines were afterward opened. He left the county on an exploration expedition into the lands of the south and died while on this trip.

The first store was kept by Dr. Abner Wilson and the first post-office was opened at Sarcoxie in 1833. Mail was brought at long intervals from Little Pliny (sic) on the Gasconade one hundred and fifty miles away...

Then, with only a trace for a road, no bridges, and streams sometimes impassable except to swim, with only the patient oxen or the faithful horse, a trip to the county seat and return was a week or ten day's journey.

Up to this time Sarcoxie was called Centerville, being then at almost the geographical center of old Barry County. When the application was made for the establishment of the post-office it was found that there was another town in Missouri called Centerville, and that it was necessary to select another name.

The old spring was known as the Sarcoxie Spring, and the old chief Sarcoxie had lived there before the days of the white man's supremacy; so it was thought to be an appropriate name for the new town which was accordingly christened Sarcoxie.

It will be noted that the original limits of the county contained all the territory now in Barton County, but did not extend as far south as the present limits, the base line dividing Townships 27 & 28 being the southern limit.

The territory which includes the greater part of Joplin, Duenweg, Scotland and Sarcoxie was not in the original Jasper County. In 1845 three miles was added to Jasper County on the south, and in 1855 Barton County was taken from the northern sections.

At a meeting of the county court held March 28, 1842, the county seat was finally named Carthage. (--History of Jasper County,1912, Joel T. Livingston, Vol. 1, pp. 4, 6, 8, 9, 14 & 15.)

Jasper County, organized January 29, 1841, by an act of the State Legislature, was named for Sergeant William Jasper (1750-1779), who replaced the fallen flag on Fort Moultrie, June 28, 1776, and who lost his life while trying to replace the colors on Spring Hill redoubt, near Savannah, Georgia on October 7, 1779. (--Place Names.)

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