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Missouri’s “Little Dixie”

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by CSA Today, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    During the early months of the war, the state's German population, centered in St Louis, made Little Dixie its primary target. The quick defeat of pro-Confederate forces by mostly German Unionists took this potential stronghold out of the Confederacy. While it would remain an area for Confederate recruiting and guerrilla warfare, it's conquest helped keep the state in the Union.
     

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  3. photoman475

    photoman475 Sergeant

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    Borderruffian: Our daughter was born here in Fargo, but I am from suburban Chicago. So, I am firm Union man who found and still finds Missouri to be one of the most interesting, if not the most interesting, state of the war. My unit did tramp through the state going after Price in 1864 before heading to attend to a problem with Hood at Nashville. That is what I have read, and need to find some official records about that trip. Should make good reading.

    Dacluver, my daughter got sick from the fact that Springfield did not have a killing frost like North Dakota always gets. So, allergies.
     
  4. Dacluver

    Dacluver Private

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    I can see where that could be as miserable as living in Chicago
     
  5. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    Alas no. They had a Land Office claim (1841) about 6 miles west of Cambridge and about 4 miles north of Slater. I was able to find the land claim and using the legal description find the exact piece of land. It's still being farmed and almost all the roads are the same as an 1896 map I found. You can still see the fence lines running along the section lines; piece of cake to see that forty acres.
     
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  6. Dacluver

    Dacluver Private

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    How did you find the land claim and reference that to present day data?
     
  7. Patrick H

    Patrick H Captain

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    I don't know the historic location of Cambridge, but I sure know where Slater is located.
     
  8. Boonslick

    Boonslick Corporal

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    I too, like my good friend Patrick H, live in Boonville, Missouri- The "gem" of the Boonslick or better known as "The Vine Clad City". But unlike my friend, I am not a native- but a transplant from the south shore of Long Island. A number of years back, 35+ years in fact, I was commissioned to conduct a Historic Survey of Boonville and Cooper County. This was indeed a labor of love- I had found a benefactor to pay me to do my hobby. As Director and Historian, my office Nominated 450 properties to the National Register of Historical Places in Boonville, and two out in the county (with more time at least 50 more could have been nominated. At that time, most of the local denizens were not cognizant of the area's rich history and architecture and as is often the case, it took an "outsider" and a Yankee even, to show them the rich cultural history that surrounded them. Out of this rich endeavor I gained a deep appreciation of Boonville and the Boonslick.

    I left Missouri in 1981 for the far reaches of Northern New Hampshire- down the road from the 'Old Man'. It was a beautiful place to live but within a month or two, I realized that I missed my lay-back Boonville life with its rolling hills, great architecture and history, the Missouri River and most of all my friends. Needless to say, I had to get back...and I did after 6 months...never to leave again.

    Generally speaking this area, the Boonslick Country, is a fantastic historical area! More specifically though here is what Boonville history a has to offer.
    • - Pre-historic Indian mounds.
    • - Early settlement which began in 1810- There were 2 War of 1812 fort sites Hannah Cole's fort and her brother-in-law Stephen Cole's fort. Numerous skirmishes and indian attacks in Boonville and across the Mo River in Howard County. Early settlers arrived from Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina bringing with them a Southern culture, slavery and architecture.
    • - It was an early important river town. At one time Boonville was the second largest City in Missouri. It was the beginning point of the Santa Fe Trail and became a major transportation hub for points west .
    • - It became a Central Missouri educational center with numerous schools and academies from it's earliest days up until the early 1900's. The most well known was the Kemper Family School/ Kemper Military School (1844-2002).
    • - Beginning in the 1840's and extending up until the new century there was a wave of German settlement. They too brought a rich culture of architecture (known as Missouri German), farming, wine and beer making, marketing and saloon keeping. A few Germans even owned slaves but this was not common.
    • - It was the site of one of the first CW engagements- The Battle of Boonville, June 17, 1861. This battle secured the Missouri River into Union hands. There was also a Second Battle of Boonville, September 17, 1861. Furthermore, as Patrick H stated earlier, the town changed hands a number of times. It was here during Price's 1864 raid that he became disgusted with Bloody Bill Anderson and his men with their Centralia scalps hanging from their bridles. The town and it's close surroundings experienced guerilla activity nearly the entire CW era.
    • Frank James was incarcerated in our slave built county jail which still stands remaining as a museum. The James gang Rocky Cut train robbery took place about 25 miles south of town in the area of CW trenches at Otterville.
    • Following the CW, with the slow dissolution of the steamboat trade, Boonville continued as a transportation hub by being an intersection point of two major railroads. Commerce again thrived in the 1920's with the trans-continental Highway 40 traversing the Missouri River over the new "Old Trails Bridge"and running straight down Main ST.. This bridge was most memorable to anyone who had ever driven over it because of its narrow striated steel road bed.
    All in all it's a pretty neat place to live. Small town life at almost it's best. The climate is agreeable and the winters here are relatively easy (especially this one). Quail hunting isn't as good as it was a while back but you can catch lots of keeper bass in small lakes and ponds within 5 minutes of town. If you want huge catfish or spoonbill try the Missouri River. The population of Boonville is slightly over 8,000 people-about what it was around the time of the Civil War.

    If you are interested in reading about the Boonslick (Little Dixie Area), I would recommend these 2 sources:

    Ag. in Little DIxie #1.jpg Ag. in Little DIxie 2.jpg Ag. in Little Dixie #3.jpg Ag. in Little DIxie #1.jpg Ag. in Little DIxie 2.jpg Ag. in Little Dixie #3.jpg

    AND

    MHS #1.jpg



    MSH #2.jpg
     
  9. Booner

    Booner Sergeant Major

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    Boonslick,
    Simply an outstanding post...........

    Thank you
     
  10. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    The land claim documents were available on Ancestry although you can also get them from the BLM (my former employer). Of course, you'd have to know there was a land claim so finding it on Ancestry was just luck. Now then, the claim has the legal description (i.e. Township, Range, Section, 1/4 1/4 Section) so I was able to use a modern map and nail it down. I did locate an old 1896 map which had some landmarks that no longer exist - e.g. a post office with the family surname - and also had T.R.S. delineated so that was useful too. As I said, it turns out the area hasn't changed much and most of the roads on the 1896 map are essentially the same now. Using Google I was able to get a satellite image also so I know exactly what it looks like now: plowed farmland with one small building (not sure if it's a house).
     
  11. John Winn

    John Winn Captain

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    Here ya go:

    ayers_land_claim_map1.PNG
     
  12. photoman475

    photoman475 Sergeant

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    Sir-I prefer Chicago to Fargo-far more Civil War activities to go to!
     
  13. ForeverFree

    ForeverFree Captain

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    One person from the area who's gained some attention is a man named Spottswood Rice, who was from Howard County. More on his story is here and here.

    - Alan
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
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  14. Booner

    Booner Sergeant Major

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    Alan,
    I couldn't get the 1st "here" to open.
    Spottswood was owned (if I have every thing correct) by James W. Lewis, and there was a thread about the Lewis family loss of several children back in Aug of last year -->
    Slave retribution-"...When de Massas 'ud whup one a' us...We jes pizened a baby..."
     
  15. ForeverFree

    ForeverFree Captain

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    Sorry about that, I've fixed the link.

    - Alan
     
  16. Berry Canote

    Berry Canote Private

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    I am going to bump up this older thread simply because I am from Little Dixie. I live in Huntsville in Randolph County, Missouri less than half a block from where "Bloody Bill" Anderson went to school. The culture here is still pretty solidly Southern, though not as much as when I was a child. Folks are right when they say you could uproot it and put it in the Upper South and it would be like it should be there. My own accent is decidedly Southern, so much so friends from the North have commented on how I sound like I should be from the South. Even our food is southern with fried chicken and country baked hams.

    As to the Civil War here, it is very complex. Here in Randolph County, most of the wealthy town folk were Unionists, not all mind you, but most. When you got out in the countryside of the county though there were decidedly Confederate leanings. You had a few wealthy slave holders that were pro-Union, a few small farmers were Unionists, but a large number of the population were Southern Sympathizers. To give you an idea of how complex it was you see native Randolph Countians like Owen Bagby and Levi Hagar giving aid to the Andersons and other bushwhackers in their homes, while other native Randolph Countians like Lt. Col. Alexander Denny served in the Union militia. The country/town split is at work there. Bagby and Hagar were farmers while Denny was an attorney living in town. However, the town/country split did not always hold true. Joel Smith a large landowner with the second greatest number of slaves in the county was a Union man (and beaten by Bill Anderson for it). And then you had smaller landholders like the Mayos who were Union men. Within my own family, you can see the mixed allegiances. My great grandfather Henry Canote served with the Union militia while my great uncle Thomas Towles served with a Confederate unit. A funny tale, my great grandfather Robert Towles was almost conscripted into the Union militia despite being a Southern Sympathizer, but hid under the covers with his wife, who was with child, shoeing the soldiers away. His cousin Stokley William Towles was conscripted and deserted. Both had to sign loyalty oaths.
     
  17. rebel brit

    rebel brit Sergeant

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    Berry thanks for bumping this thread, a great read with some excellent posts and great links .
     
  18. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Thanks for bumping this thread. Also welcome to the forum.
     
  19. Berry Canote

    Berry Canote Private

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    Your welcome rebel brit and Donna. I found it very interesting and thought others would, and I wanted to put my own two cents in. :smile:
     
  20. CheathamHill

    CheathamHill First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Missouri loves company
     
  21. Patrick H

    Patrick H Captain

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    Berry, I am looking forward to lots more from you!
     
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