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.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Alsups of Douglas County

I recently made a trip to Douglas County to take a picture of the monument dedicated to the early Alsups of the county and their race horses. (I have occasionally heard Douglas County referred to as Booger County, and now I can see why. To reach the monument, I had to take narrow and rocky gravel road about four or five miles off the paved highway, and I felt as if I was getting back into the boonies. Not that I have anything against those types of isolated areas. In fact, I feel pretty much at home in the sticks. But I can see why some people might think the place is "boogery.")
The Alsups were among the early settlers of Douglas County prior to the Civil War. During the war they were strong Union supporters, and most or all of the Alsup men served in the Federal army. For many years after the war, the Alsups dominated Douglas County politics, and they made many enemies because of their firm rule.
Like many disputes during the late 1860s and the 1870s, especially in the border state of Missouri, the animosity had its roots in the Civil War, because most of the people who opposed the Alsups were former Confederate soldiers or sympathizers (or else lukewarm Union supporters) while the Alsups were Radical Republicans. It wasn't as if the family was universally hated, because the Alsup clan also had many supporters.
In addition to being involved in county politics, the Alsups were also noted for their avid interest in raising and riding fine race horses, and the monument in northeast Douglas County (not far from the Denlow community) is dedicated to the Alsup legacy of raising outstanding race horses. The monument specifically mentions the three Alsup brothers who originally settled in the Douglas County area, Ben, Moses Lock, and William, and it also mentions Lock's sons, one of whom, Shelt Alsup, was a two-term sheriff of Douglas County during the mid 1870s and was involved in a gunfight with his successor in 1879 that left both men dead.
For more information on the Alsups, watch for my book entitled Desperadoes of the Ozarks (which is due out from Pelican next spring and is more or less a sequel to my Ozarks Gunfights book). It contains a chapter on the Alsups.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a few acres in Douglas County for several years. I love the "boogery" aspect of the county. I enjoy your historical posts on the Ozarks. I keep an Ozarks blog too.

November 23, 2010 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about an article about them for "The Ozarks Mountaineer?"--about the time the book comes out. Faye is from Douglas County, not too far from Denlow, and I've heard some stories about them from her!

November 25, 2010 at 10:10 PM  
Anonymous Ted Brooke said...

Do you have the names of the men in the posse that were at the Shelt Alsup house in 1879? I'm a n Upshaw family researcher and there is an undocumented comment that an Upshaw was a member of the posse & I need some documentation, if there is any - possibly a newspaper account? Will appreciate.

January 16, 2014 at 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which upshaw had a scar across his neck?

February 20, 2016 at 3:43 PM  

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