Lead was discovered in the area of Stotts City, Lawrence County, Missouri, in the mid-1880s, and the town was platted about 1888. It was named after Green C. Stotts, an area resident who had been a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War and later a state representative from Lawrence County.

Lead was discovered in the area of Stotts City, Lawrence County, Missouri, in the mid-1880s, and the town was platted about 1888. It was named after Green C. Stotts, an area resident who had been a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War and later a state representative from Lawrence County.
The town was incorporated in 1898, and it thrived over the next several years. It was near its peak population of about 900 people and its period of greatest business activity when a Stotts City correspondent wrote a profile of the town which was published in the Springfield Republican in December of 1900.
Calling Stotts City the "Flower of Lawrence County," the correspondent said the town was keeping "pace with the ever rolling tide of progress." Just in the past month or two, new prospectors had moved in, new ore strikes had been made, the output of the mines had been increasing, and "traffic and trade of all kinds," including general commerce, were becoming stronger and steadier.
The Stotts City Bank, which had been organized in 1899, was operating under a capital of $10,000 and had become "a jewel to the city."
A local newspaper, the Sunbeam, was indeed a sunbeam to the town, said the correspondent. Real estate agent B.W. Pruitt was also the editor of the newspaper, and his real estate partner, James Howard, pulled double duty, too, serving as the town's postmaster.
Other businesses in Stotts City included J.D. Roper's drugstore, C.L. Burch's lumber store under S.O. Penick's management, Coleman Lumber Company under the management of George Pruitt, the O.K. Barbershop operated by C.L. Smith, W.G. Petty's livery, the Messick Hotel owned by Mrs. C.R. Shelton, and the Benton Hotel named for U.S. Congressman M.E. Benton and owned by Mrs. June Stotts. (Congressman Benton, a Neosho resident, was the father of Thomas Hart Benton, who would go on to become a famous artist.)
C.H. Young was mayor of Stotts City. He was a carpenter when he wasn't tending to city business. City marshal was Peter Boswell. The town had three lawyers: C.L. Morgan, D.B. Jones, and Enoch Ragsdale.
"The above are only a few of the leading citizens of this place," the correspondent assured his readers.
Three fraternal societies (or secret orders, as the correspondent called them) were active in Stotts City. They were the Ancient Order of Union Workmen, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Some of the active mines in the area were the "Old Mt. Vernon," the CCC, the Keystone, the Spring River, the Illini, and the Boston Loy.
Stotts City declined during the second quarter of the 20th century as mining in the area petered out and the Depression came on. It has never completely recovered, and today it is a town of slightly over 200 people just off I-44 that is perhaps best known for its Stearnsy Bears, handcrafted teddy bears made by the Stearns family.     
                Larry Wood is a freelance writer specializing in the history of Missouri and the Ozarks. You may contact him at larryewood@mail.com or like his author Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLarryWood/.