Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, 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 sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friendship Community

Although my coverage of the Ozarks will undoubtedly be tilted somewhat toward the Joplin area since that is the part of the region with which I'm most familiar, I want to try to cover other areas of the Ozarks, too. So, before I get back to the desperate characters of Granby that I mentioned last time, let me briefly discuss a couple of other topics from different sections of the Ozarks. The first one that comes to mind is the Friendship Community in Dallas County.
I first ran across a mention of the Friendship Community in the History of Dallas County several years ago. The entry said that the community was established in 1872 by Alcander Longley, publisher of a communist newspaper dedicated to social reform; that members of the community shared everything equally and lived together as one family; that they were left alone to do as they pleased; but that they disbanded in the 1880s as members became disillusioned.
All of this is largely true. The Friendship Community, located about four miles due west of Buffalo on Lindley Creek, was, in fact, a communist community, one of several started by Longley throughout the state of Missouri during the late 1800s. Longley did not view communism in political terms and was not an admirer of Karl Marx. Rather he was an advocate of what he called "practical communism" and urged people to live together in shared communities.
However, the county history entry is not entirely true. In the first place, the community had completely disbanded by the summer of 1877. Also, one of the main factors contributing to the exodus of members was threats and intimidation from Dallas County neighbors. Although Longley was an advocate of monogamous marriage, the common perception around Buffalo was that the community practiced polygamy and free love. Longley received anonymous, threatening letters telling him to quit advocating such "doctern," and the community was victimized by vandalism on a couple of occasions.
Later Longley formed a similar community just east of Halfway in Polk County called Principia, but it was even shorter lived than the Friendship Community.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased the paperback at the Fair Grove Heritage Reunion. Having known Larry for many years, I am thrilled with his success. I just read Call Me Charlie. It was a thoroughly engrossing novel. I've been recommending it to everyone I meet. LB

October 30, 2008 at 7:17 AM  

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