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.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Disbandment of the Regulators

I wrote briefly about the Regulators of Greene County, Missouri, on this blog approximately four years ago. The subject also constitutes a chapter in my book entitled Ozarks Gunfights and Other Notorious Incidents. Centered around Walnut Grove, the Honest Man's League, as the Regulators were officially known, was a vigilante group whose avowed purpose was to combat an outbreak of lawlessness that the civil authorities seemed unable to contain. During the spring and early summer of 1866, the group lynched three or four men suspected of crimes, and the outbreak of lawlessness quickly subsided.
I mentioned in my previous post about the Regulators that they held a mass meeting in northwest Greene County on July 28, 1866, but that they dissolved shortly afterwards because they had been so effective in stemming the tide of crime. Apparently, however, as I recently discovered, the group was not formally disbanded until the following spring.
On April 6, 1867, the Regulators held a meeting at Cave Spring in northwest Greene County in which the group essentially announced that it would no longer be active, because it had already "effected an important object in favor of the honest community." The group resolved that it would now "resort to 'the first law of nature' only in cases of extreme necessity." Another resolution was adopted that said, since the civil authorities had recently shown a determination to bring criminals to justice, the Regulators would fully support those authorities. The group requested that the proceedings of their meeting be published in both Springfield newspapers, the Leader and the Patriot.
Those attending the meeting included L.P. Downing, S.G. Appleby, John R. Earnest, John Evans, James Boston, R.C. Julian, Wesley Wadlow, S. Mason, Thomas Yeakley, James Callison, George W. Sloan, Jacob Longayer, Secretary T.W. Coltrane, and President John Small.

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