Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, 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 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.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Monett and Plymouth

In a previous post a month or two ago, I briefly discussed the fact that Dadeville in Dade County was originally known as Melville, and I mentioned Ava in Douglas County, originally known as Militia Springs, as another example of a town that has had more than one name. A variation on this idea of the same town having been known by more than one name is the phenomenon of two different towns being built very near the same site and one of the two later outstripping and eventually absorbing the other.
Such is the case with Monett, located on the westerm Barry-Lawrence county line. When the railroad connecting Springfield and Pierce City began construction around 1880 on a southern branch that diverged from the main branch about four or five miles east of Pierce City, a town known as Plymouth or Plymouth Junction sprang up at the site. A few years later, the railroad moved its division point from Pierce City to a site just east of Plymouth and called the new town Monett. The new town grew rapidly and eventually engulfed its smaller neighbor.
In fact, the area of Plymouth/Monett has supposedly had three different names. Some sources say that the area was originally known as Billings (not to be confused with the Billings in Christian County), but whether there was actually a town or even a village by that name is doubtful.

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Anonymous Bob said...

During the Plymouth era, the town had still another name. The post office officially called it "Gonten," the name of its postmaster. Apparently, there was already another Plymouth somewhere in Missouri.

Although Goodspeed's 1888 history says the town was once called Billings, there are two reasons to disbelieve this. First, there is no evidence of a town or village in the 1880 census. Second, newspaper stories on the Frisco's decision to build south simply refer to "a point four or five miles east of Peirce City." If there had been an existing village there, the articles would surely have menitoned it.

March 9, 2009 at 4:01 AM  

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