Historic timeline: Part 1
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  Courthouse Courthouse Greene County Historical Society    
  Courthouse Courthouse  
Located in the Missouri Ozarks  

For more information, contact:

Greene County
Historical Society
P.O. Box 3466 GS
Springfield, MO 65808

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This site was last
updated on
February 29, 2004


A Historic Timeline....

Currently this timeline includes the early years of Springfield and Greene County.

1820 - 1829



On August 10 Missouri becomes a state.

Soon after Missouri became a state, white settlers began moving into southwest Missouri. The primary route was down the Mississippi to the White River in Arkansas, up the White River to the James, and up the James to Wilson and Pearson's Creeks, thereby reaching present day Greene County. They established themselves as squatters, but when it was determined that the Indians had legal claim to the area, they were forced to move on, or as many of them did, bargained with the Indians and remained where they were.

Names associated with this early settlement were: Augustine and William Friend, Jeremiah Pearson, John P. Pettijohn, and Joseph Phillabert. With the Delaware came a man by the name of James Wilson, who became known as the "squaw man" because he took Indian women as wives. He settled along a stream that flowed into the James River and it became known as Wilson Creek.



The Delaware Indians had relocated to the Ozarks in 1818 after they were forced to cede their Ohio claims for land west of the Mississippi River. On September 24, 1829, they were forced to move again when they were relocated to a reservation in Kansas.

That fall marked the arrival of John Polk Campbell and his brother, Madison. They establish their claim at the "natural well" and return to Tennessee.

Crawford County was organized.

1830 - 1839



In February, the William Fulbright party arrived from Tennessee. William selected a spot around a spring that later took the name, Fulbright Spring. His brother, John, settled around another spring and built a cabin. This spring later became known as Jones Spring. His brother-in-law, A. J. Burnett, not realizing that there was a claim on the "natural well," built a cabin on the hill above it.

John Polk Campbell returned to the area with his family on March 4. When it was determined that Campbell had a prior claim to the site around the "natural well," Burnett relinquished his cabin and resettled at a new site.



On January 16, the Joseph Rountree family arrived from Maury County, Tennessee. Rountree later starts the first school. Along with the Rountree family comes Sidney S. Ingram.

In October, Junius T. Campbell, youngest brother of John Polk Campbell, arrived. He opens the first store.

Other early Greene County settlers who arrived in 1831 were Samuel Painter and Radford Cannefax.

1832 Kickapoo Indian removal began on October 24.

Greene County was created from Wayne County on January 2. Named after Nathanael Greene, Revolutionary War hero, the county included most of Southwest Missouri.

On March 11, the first session of the County Court was held at the home of John Polk Campbell. One item of business was the establishment of the county townships.

On August 5, the first election in the newly formed Greene County was held.


The General Election was held on August 4. 503 votes are cast.

That fall the first Post Office in Southwest Missouri was established with Junius T. Campbell as postmaster. Mail's brought once a month from Harrison's Store on the Little Piney River.


By 1835 the settlement of Fulbright and Campbell Springs had been named Springfield. To ensure that Springfield would become the county seat, John P. Campbell pledged 50 acres of his tract to the county for county purposes. He had laid off the 50 acres into lots and streets and a public square patterned after Columbia, Tennessee, his birthplace. Springfield was officially designated the county seat in 1835 but not finalized until 1836.

On September 1, the U. S. Land Office opened, with J. H. Haden appointed Registrar.


On August 27, John Polk Campbell formally deeds 50 acres of land to Greene County for county purposes. A surveyor was appointed to lay off the tract of land into lots and their subsequent sales.

The first presidential election since the organization of the county was held in November. Greene County favored the Democratic nominee, Martin Van Buren, as did the state.

On November 28, Sydney S. Ingram submitted plans for a courthouse to be erected in the center of the public square. It was to be a two-story brick building.

That winter marked the "Osage War." Bands of Osage Indians had crossed the state border into Missouri. Governor Boggs ordered Col. Charles S. Yancey, commander of the Greene County militia, to compel the Indians to return to their own territory. Col. Yancey postponed calling out his troops, deciding instead to go in person to accomplish his mission. When this proved to be impossible, he returned home to muster the troops. When the troops returned to Springfield they found the citizens in a state of agitation, believing that the entire county was in danger. The citizens were put at ease when assured that their fears were unfounded.

The Ozark Standard newspaper was established by J. C. Tuberville. The name was later changed to the Ozark Eagle.


The first bridges built in the county were bridges over two streams on the state road to Arkansas and a bridge across the "town branch" north of the square.

On March 13, Boone Township organized.

The "Sarcoxie War," another Osage Indian disturbance, occurred that summer.

On December 1, government land in Greene County became available.


On February 19, Springfield was incorporated with a population of about 250.

On May 9, the Benton and Ozark Townships were organized.

1840 - 1849



In the November 1840 Presidential election, Greene County went for the Democratic candidate, Martin Van Buren, over Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison. According to historian Return Holcombe, the election was not as exciting as in other parts of the country. Of course, Harrison was elected due in part to the dissatisfaction with the incumbent, Van Buren, who received the blame for the less than ideal economic conditions of the time.

The first census for Greene County was taken in 1840. The population stood at 5,372.



John Andrew Stephens established an academy for boys known as Stephens' Academy. It was located in Springfield at Kimbrough and short Benton.

  1844 In May, the first issue of the Springfield Advertiser, a Democratic paper, was established by Warren H. Graves. The paper continued until 1861.

That fall, the presidential election pitted Henry Clay (Whig) with James Knox Polk (Democrat). In Greene County Polk was favored both locally and nationally. This was also the beginning of the Congressional career of John S. Phelps that lasted eighteen years.

  1845 Springfield's first bank, a branch of the State Bank of Missouri, opened in May.
  1846 Cass Township organized.

On May 13, the United States declared war against Mexico marking the beginning of the Mexican War. The first company of Greene County soldiers was organized under the command of Capt. A. M. Julian. It was never mustered into a regiment and returned home.

  1847 In May, Capt. Samuel Boak organized a company for service in the Mexican War. It became part of the 3rd Missouri Mounted Infantry Volunteers and saw service in Chihuahua and El Paso.
  1848 This year's presidential election was somewhat low key. The Democrats were favored to win with Cass and Butler over Whig candidates, Zachary Taylor and Millard Filmore. Taylor won nationwide.

Springfield's population stood at 344; 108 of those were slaves.

On September 10, a new paper, the Springfield Whig, made its appearance. It was edited by Littleberry Hendrick. It ceased publication after a year.

Rev. Charles Carlton, a Christian minister from Canada, established a female college on College Street near Main known as Carlton College.

  1849 That February a temperance revival broke out in Springfield as meetings were held and a lodge, the Sons of Temperance, was formed.

By the close of the 1840s, Greene County was twelfth in the state in terms of population and tenth in the value of real and personal property.

This link will take you to the rest of the timeline.


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