Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of 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 fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Springfield City Cemetery

Springfield's original city cemetery was located in the northeast quadrant at the corner of Campbell and State streets in a plot donated by early resident John A. Stephens. Stephens served Springfield as a schoolmaster for about ten years and also owned a store on the public square. Although he was a Union man himself, he was killed by a Union soldier during the aftermath of Zagonyi's charge as he was walking home and failed to heed the soldier's command to halt as he neared his front gate.
The city cemetery was the scene of some of the hardest fighting during the Battle of Springfield in January of 1863. R. I. Holcombe, in his 1883 History of Greene County, described the action there in his typically colorful language: "Some of the sharpest and hardest fighting of the day was done in and about this graveyard, amid the tombstones and the cold "hic jacets" of the dead. Back and forth through the aisles and across the graves of the silent sleepers ran blue coats and gray jackets, and through the trees, where nothing but birds and sun and soft breezes had blown aforetime, now whistled the cannon shot and the bombshell."
Many bodies of soldiers that had been buried in the city cemetery were disinterred and reburied at the National Cemetery after it opened in 1867. Other bodies were later dug up and reinterred elsewhere as well. An example was Davis Tutt, who was killed by Wild Bill Hickok on the Springfield square in July 1865. He was reburied at Maple Park Cemetery in 1883. Eventually all the bodies were removed from the old city cemetery to make way for housing development in the area.  

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