Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Desperate Characters of Joplin, Granby, and Galena

Before I moved to the Joplin area from the Springfield area many years ago, I had occasionally heard mention of what a wild, wide-open town Joplin used to be back in its mining heyday, and my study of local history during the years since I've lived in Joplin has confirmed this to be the case. During the Old West era, the James gang and the Youngers visited the Joplin area at least once or twice for sure and probably other times as well, and a passel of lesser-known desperadoes frequented the town with some regularity. During the gangster era of the 20s and 30s, outlaws like Bonnie and Clyde, the Barkers, and Arkansas Tom of Doolin gang fame used Joplin as a hideout. Not until lead and zinc mining started petering out around the middle of the 20th century did the town finally begin to lose its reputation as an anything-goes type of place.
What I have learned in recent years, however, is that, for being a rough-and-tumble mining town in its early days, Joplin had nothing on either Granby or Galena (Kansas). Granby in particular, was home to an unusual number of murderers and assorted other rough characters. I'll be writing about some of them in more detail in future posts.

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