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.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Missouri Territorial Regulators

In the past, I have researched and written about the Regulators of Greene County, Missouri, a post-Civil War vigilante group that arose around Walnut Grove in response to an outbreak of crime in that vicinity and beyond. In researching this group, I became aware many years ago that there was also a group calling themselves the Regulators during the territorial days of Missouri. I assumed at the time of my initial research that the two groups were probably quite similar. They were, in fact, akin in that they both arose in response to a perceived outbreak of crime, but there were also several key differences.
One key difference was that the Greene County Regulators arose in response to horse thievery and other kinds of direct theft of property, while the territorial Regulators, who were centered around St. Louis and St. Charles counties and were most active in 1815 and 1816, arose in response to an outbreak of counterfeiting. Also, the territorial Regulators were apparently not quite as violent in their treatment of the supposed wrongdoers as the Greene County bunch was. The Greene County vigilantes summarily hanged three or four men within a matter of a couple weeks, and the group then quickly died out, reportedly because they had been so effective in ridding the region of crime. The territorial Regulators, on the other hand, lasted a little longer but mostly meted out their justice in the form of whippings. During the reign of the territorial Regulators, as was often the case with vigilante movements, a lot of men got accused of crimes (counterfeiting, in this case) that they likely did not commit, and several wrote letters to the Missouri Gazette and other newspapers denying their involvement in passing fraudulent notes.  


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