History of Jasper County
Jasper County, located in southwestern Missouri, is bordered on the north by Barton County, on the east by Dade and Lawrence Counties, on the south by Newton County, and on the west by Cherokee and Crawford Counties, Kansas. The county has a total area of 410,393 acres, or about 641 square miles. Carthage, the county seat, is in the central part of the county.
Most of Jasper County is in the Cherokee Prairie area of the Central Feed and Grains and Livestock Region of the United States. About one-third of the county is in the Ozark Border area of the East and Central Farming and Forest Region of the United States. This area lies mostly adjacent to the Spring River and Center Creek and White Oak Creek. Elevations range from 1,200 feet near the southeast corner of the county to 826 feet in the western part where the Spring River exits the county.
History and Development
1808 Federal government purchased the territory, Jasper County, from the Osage Indians for $1,200 in cash and $1,500 in merchandise
1831 First permanent settlers came to Jasper County. Jesse Killey was one of the first settlers.
1838 Jasper County, named in honor of Sergeant William Jasper, was created by an act of the Missouri Legislature in December 1838.
1840 Jasper County organized
1842 County court created a town, Carthage, for the county seat of Jasper County
1860 Hunting, trapping, and commercial boating were the initial industries
1861 Union & Confederate troops battled nine miles north and ended in Carthage
1863 Second Battle of Carthage. During the Civil War, 13 battles or skirmishes were fought in or near Carthage
County courthouse and town of Carthage was destroyed
1865 County government was suspended.
Myra Maebelle Shirley, joined some of the soldiers and became, Belle Starr, the notorious bandit
1865 County government returned at Cave Springs, North of Sarcoxie. Months later, county court returned to Carthage
1872 Railroad reached Carthage providing a mode of transporting
19th & 20th Centuries Discovery and mining of lead and zinc
1875 Electric streetcar lines allowed mine owner to communicate from their homes
1880 Technological advances brought changes in mining.
Electric trolleys connected the mining camps; Joplin became the center of mining
1894-95 County courthouse rebuilt in Carthage at a cost of $100,000
WWI brought an increased demand for lead & zinc.
1920 Mining industry had begun to decline
Great Depression brought further changes to the mining industry
1925 Route 66 Highway built from Chicago to Los Angeles
WWII Mining industry in US increased; after the war, industry suffered a decline
1950 Increasing cost and diminishing profits, led to the closing of most mines
1965-70 All Tri-State mines were closed
(Data obtained from Soil Survey of Jasper County, Missouri)