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 ten nonfiction books, two novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Civil War Springfield, Wicked Springfield: The Seamy Side of the Queen City, and Murder and Mayhem in Missouri.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Silver Springs

In previous posts, I've mentioned the mineral water craze that swept through the country about 1880 and continued throughout the next decade or two. I've also mentioned specifically several towns in the Ozarks that were established during this time as mineral water resorts. Some of them were very successful and are still thriving towns today. Eureka Springs is perhaps the best example. Others flourished briefly before declining almost as rapidly as they sprang up and then receding into history to the point that little, if anything, remains to mark the spot where the town was located. Saratoga Springs, which I wrote about in a previous post, is an example.
I guess, however, there is yet another category: mineral water towns that were laid out but never actually populated. Silver Springs in McDonald County, Missouri, appears to be such a town. The place was surveyed and given the name Silver Springs in August of 1881 by a couple named William and Arzelia Harness, but that's about as far as the venture ever got. Sturgis's History of McDonald County tells the story in vivid language of what happened afterwards: "The seasons came and went. William's beard grew grizzled, and the cheeks of the fair Arzelia lost the pink tint of youth, but adversity flapped her wings over the enterprise, and their bright dreams of stocking legs filled with the shining metal vanished for aye--and the water still trickles through the gravel as of yore."
The county history places Silver Springs in Section 6, Township 22, Range 29, but I haven't found it listed on any maps and I'm not familiar enough with the townships and ranges of McDonald County to know where the place was located (or was intended to be located).

2 Comments:

Anonymous Alison Roberts said...

Hi, I am researching my family tree in the UK and have a letter from a Great Great Great and so on relative called Geo Stoney. He wrote it in 1850 from Silver Spring Missouri, is this the same place that you refer too? I was just interested given your reference to the 1880s as this letter obviously pre-dates this time. I am trying to find some history about when he moved to the US and what he did there. He said he was in partnership in the letter and that his partner had left debts of 35000 USD but he had land worth 40000 USD which would he would have to use to pay the debts!! Would appreciate any pointers to help with my research. Many thanks Alison Roberts

November 19, 2011 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

No, the Silver Springs I wrote about did not exist in 1850. However, there is a Silver Spring or Silver Springs in eastern Missouri that may well be the place you're interested in. The Silver Springs I wrote about is in western Missouri. Sorry for the delay in responding. Didn't notice your comment until today.

December 27, 2011 at 5:31 PM  

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