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 seventeen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History, and Murder and Mayhem in Southeast Kansas.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Annie Baxter

Annie (White) Baxter caused quite a stir in southwest Missouri and elsewhere when she was elected in the November 1890 election to become Jasper County's first female county clerk, approximately thirty years before women could even vote. The election of Annie Baxter made the New York Times, which reported on the Jasper County result as a "peculiar feature of Tuesday's contest in Missouri." Apparently there were some people in Jasper County who did not want to accept the result as valid, claiming that Annie had to be a citizen and that, since she couldn't vote, she wasn't a full-fledged citizen. Annie had scored a fairly overwhelming victory, though, and she was not to be denied. She became the first woman ever elected to a county-wide office in the state of Missouri. Some have claimed she was the first woman elected to a county-wide office in the entire United States, but this is apparently not true.
Despite running as a Democrat in heavily Republican Jasper County, Annie won the election by a majority of almost 700 votes. Her opponent had apparently taken her candidacy lightly and had not campaigned heavily. Annie, though, had formerly worked for several years in the office of a previous county clerk, and she was considered amply qualified. She campaigned tirelessly for the position, while her opponent regarded her candidacy as a joke. In addition, Jasper County miners got behind her candidacy and canvassed for her, going from one house to another shouting and singing "Annie Rooney," their nickname for Ms. Baxter. Annie served as Jasper County Clerk for four years before losing the 1894 in a Republican landslide. Today, a street in Joplin is named for Annie Baxter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I have often wondered who she was and enjoyed your article!

June 7, 2012 at 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the informative article. I've lived in Baxter Springs 9 years now, and wondered who she was every time I heard her name or past her street in Joplin.

August 25, 2014 at 7:43 AM  

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