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.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I've written previously about the phenomenon of communities changing their names. For example, I wrote on this blog a few years ago about Dadeville, Missouri, which was originally known as Melville. This phenomenon of name changing was not unusual in the Ozarks (and probably elsewhere as well). Often the name change was prompted by the U.S. Post Office. That is, a community often went by a certain name during its very early days, but when it approached the Postal Service about the possibility of obtaining a post office, the community was sometimes informed that a town by its name already existed elsewhere in the state. Sometimes the two names didn't even have to be exactly alike, if they were close enough to cause confusion. That's what happened in the case of Melville/Dadeville. Postal workers supposedly said that they kept getting Melville mixed up with another community in Missouri named Millville, and Melville agreed to change its name. There were several other reasons why a community might change its name. Sometimes name changes had political overtones, especially related to the Civil War. Sometimes names of places were changed to honor a prominent local citizen. Or, as in the case of Rosati, located in eastern Phelps County, names were sometimes changed because of a large influx of immigrants.
Rosati was originally settled during the 1840s or 1850s and called Knobview, supposedly because it was located on an eminence along the old Springfield to St. Louis road (which is roughly I-44 today) and, when travelers reached the spot, they could see three knobs or hills in the distance to the southwest. In 1898, a large group of Italian immigrants settled at Knobview and shortly afterwards started several vineyards in the area. (Rosati is still known today for its grape growing and its wine industry.) In 1931, residents of Knobview petitioned the Post Office to change the name of their community to Rosati, after Bishop Joseph Rosati, the first bishop of St. Louis and the first American bishop of Italian descent. The request was granted.


Blogger Unknown said...

Tontitown, AR is another Italian settlement with significant viticulture.

December 7, 2012 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Yes, I think the same group of Italian immigrants settled both places--Tontitown and Rosati. Some settled in Ark. and some in Mo. Or maybe some of the ones who first went to Tontitown later went to Rosati. Don't remember for sure exactly what the connection was, but I'm pretty sure there was one.

December 10, 2012 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Jess Goodwin said...

It was indeed the same group of Italian immigrants that settled both communities. All of the immigrants came from Sunnyside Plantation settlement in Chicot County, AR. The immigrants had a very difficult time in Sunnyside, with many succumbing to malaria, and many families left. The immigrants who didn't return to Italy couldn't agree on where to settle after leaving Sunnyside and some went to Tontitown and some went to Rosati. There are many common family names in both communities.

July 19, 2016 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Thanks, Jess, for the additional info. I knew there was a connection. Just hadn't read up on it enough to recall exactly what the connection was.

July 21, 2016 at 8:29 AM  

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