So many blessings in our great McDonald County. Rain without damaging lightning, a good healthy rain. Much for which to be grateful. No wonder the forests and walnuts and berries flourish without any cultivation or fertilization. So much we take for granted!
I am presuming you are aware of the secession McDonald County put into effect in the ‘60s, well documented at the McDonald County Historical Museum on the square in Pineville. You are probably aware of the fact that was not the first secession in our area. Documented in “Traces of Ozarks Past” by Rex T. Jackson is the first time. “Not long after the Confederacy gained control of Neosho, pro-Southern Governor Jackson arrived in the area. Gov. Jackson, writing from Carthage, Mo., to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. ”In a few days I have every reason to hope the legislature will be in session, and as soon as this takes place an ordinance of secession will be overwhelmingly ratified by the people whenever they can vote upon it.”
True to his word, Gov. Jackson made his way even further south to Confederate-held Neosho and on Oct. 21, 1861, an extra session convened. According to Gov. Jackson’s proclamation, the Legislature convened at Neosho, in Masonic Hall. It is said that only 39 members of both houses were present. An ordinance of secession was passed, and senators and representatives were elected to the Confederate Congress.”
It might be of some interest to know W. L. Webb’s book offers a tin-type cut of Gov. Jackson with a signature beneath the cut that “was taken from a bill of ‘Jackson money,’ or Missouri script printed on a hand press at Neosho Mo.” Confederate Major-General Sterling Price encamped near Neosho on Oct. 26, 1861, commented on the historic event taking place at Neosho and said “Our legislature is still in session in Neosho.”
The Legislature would again reconvene a few days later on Oct. 31, 1861, at nearby Cassville in Barry County and according to Goodspeed’s Newton, Lawrence, Barry and McDonald Counties History, published in 1888, the “ordinance of secession was rewritten...in the northeast corner room of the court-house, at Cassville....” The session at Cassville which included 11 senators and 44 representatives ended on Nov. 7, 1861.
That same day, General Price, now encamped on Indian Creek in McDonald County, reported: “Our legislature has been in session for the last two weeks, and has passed an ordinance of secession, besides electing delegates to the Confederate Congress. There would be a number of battles and skirmishes fought throughout the American Civil War in the Neosho area; with victories for both the Blue and the Gray. But the luster the Southern government enjoyed in the Ozarks in the fall of 1861 at Neosho, and again at Cassville, would never again be recaptured or realized.”
I would like you to know that this book, as well as Goodspeed’s county histories, are both available at the museum if you would like to read the rest of the story.
You can say a lot of things about our area, talk about the difficult times during the depression, the strawberry industry, the rivers and streams but one thing can never be said is that our history is boring. McDonald County has a reputation of being somewhat independent, obstinate, and unique. As for me, I’m proud to be from this very special Ozark area.
If you would like to learn more, you can find us on Facebook, you can write to us at McDonald County Historical Society at P.O. Box 572, Pineville,, Mo.,64856. Remember our museum is open Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. as volunteers are available. Do come by and visit.
Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.