Missouri and Ozarks History

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

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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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Splitlog

In my last couple of posts, I've mentioned Blende City, a former mining camp in Jasper County that grew into a fledgling town during the 1880s but that no longer exists. This idea of communities that once flourished but no longer exist (or barely exist) is a subject I've mentioned in a couple of my other previous posts as well, because the history behind such places seems to hold a certain fascination for me.
Another such community is Splitlog, located in northwest McDonald County near Goodman. Although Splitlog still exists, few reminders of its days as a booming little town remain.
The town began when Mathias Splitlog, a Wyandotte Indian, moved to McDonald County from neighboring Indian territory during the late 1800s. The enterprising Splitlog, called the "millionaire Indian," was already a wealthy man from his previous entrepreneurial pursuits, like mining; and he decided to build a railroad, which would connect his new home to Goodman, Neosho, and Joplin, to support those activities. The first section of the railroad was completed in August of 1887, and the entire "Splitlog line" from Joplin to Splitlog was finished a couple of years afterwards. Later, the line was extended into Arkansas, but it was not a financial success and Splitlog sold out in 1892. The Goodman-to-Splitlog branch of the railroad line soon fell into disuse, and the town gradually dwindled to a mere wide place in the road with only a small road sign, a few houses, and a couple of churches to mark its location.

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