Its First Hundred Years
During the Civil War, Christian and surrounding counties were sharply divided as to sentiment. Most of the able bodied men went away to the cause of their choice for a period of four long years. While they were away, bushwhackers and other lawless men terrorized the hills, robbing, stealing, burning and, many times, killing defenseless people in cold blood. When the war was concluded and men in faded and tat- tered blue or gray returned to their. hills, they found a land almost desolated and with politics and county government influenced and controlled in many instances by lawless and irresponsible elements. Force and lawlessness continued to prevail and crime went unpunished in many communities.
From the close of "the war" until 1883, more than thirty men had been shot to death in Taney County alone, and not one murderer had been punished. On September 23, 1883,
a murder in cold blood was committed on the street in Forsyth. The murderer was later tried and released. The night after the discharge of this prisoner, thirteen citizens of that community met in the back of a store in Forsyth and organized under the name of "League of Law and Order." These men were all considered reputable men and took an oath to "assist in