Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of 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 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, March 23, 2013

Ponce de Leon

I've written several times before on this blog about mineral water towns that sprang up in the Ozarks during the medicinal water craze that began in the area about 1879. (Eureka Springs, perhaps the most successful of all the mineral water towns started in July of that year.) However, a few medicinal water towns in the Ozarks actually predated the so-called craze of the 1880s that I have mentioned several times. One ssuch town was Monegaw Springs, located in St. Clair County, Missouri, that actually predated the Civil War. Another medicinal town that predated the craze of the eighties was Ponce de Leon, located in northeast Stone County where three springs converged. Named for the Spanish explorer, it was established during the mid 1870s by two Springfield businessmen, Fountain "Fount" T. Welch and a Mr. Stetson. Within a few years, Poncie or Poncy, as it was often called (and still is), boasted a population of almost a thousand people, making it the largest town in Stone County. By the mid 1880s, however, when other mineral water towns were just getting started, Ponce de Leon had already dwindled considerably, and by about 1890 only ten to fifteen families lived in Poncy. Some of the buildings from the town's glory days were moved when the place started to peter out as resort, while others were simply allowed to deteriorate. Today, the town is little more than a wide place in the road.

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