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, September 22, 2012

Multiple County Seats

A lot of counties in the Ozarks (and elsewhere) started out with a county seat different from the one they ended up with. In some cases, the move was prompted mostly because a more centrally located spot for the county seat was agreed on, and the move took place with little or no incident. In other cases, however, disputes arose over the location of the county seat and resulted in what might be called county seat wars.
One county seat dispute that comes readily to my mind is the one between Baxter Springs and Columbus that took place during the late 1860s over the location of the seat of Cherokee County, in the southeast corner of Kansas at the edge of the Ozarks. After a couple of disputed elections, Columbus was declared the county seat, but Baxter Springs, which had been the acting county seat, claimed the election was fraudulent and refused to relinquish the records. Officials from Columbus slipped into Baxter Springs one night and took the records back to Columbus, and for many years bitter Baxter Springs citizens recalled the time that Columbus "stole" the county seat.
The seat of some counties moved more than once and involved more than two towns, and the moves may or may not have involved disputes. Camden County, Missouri, for instance, comes to mind. The original county seat, when the county was known as Kinderhook, was Oregon. Oregon changed its name to Erie when the county changed its name to Camden in 1843. Erie was located where Linn Creek emptied into the Osage River and was prone to flooding; so in 1855, the town (and the county seat) moved up the creek about half a mile and took the name Linn Creek. Linn Creek served as county seat of Camden County until the town was destroyed during the building of Bagnell Dam and the Lake of the Ozarks. Old Linn Creek was covered with water, and two new towns, new Linn Creek and Camdenton, were built, with the latter town becoming the new county seat.

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