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.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sarcoxie War

Last time I wrote about the so-called Osage War that occurred in southwest Missouri during the winter of 1836-1837 when some Greene County militia drove a party of Osage Indians out of the state without bloodshed and with only minimal protestations from the Indians. Another bloodless confrontation between white settlers and Indians, called the Sarcoxie War, occurred in southwest Missouri only a few months later, in the summer of 1837.

During frontier days, white settlers were always on guard that the "savages" might go on the warpath, and the least provocation would get the settlers up in arms. In June of 1837, a Seneca Indian visited a settler in that part of Polk County that later became Dade County and, according to Holcombe's 1883 History of Greene County, wanted to "trade 'squaws' with him." The settler knocked the Indian down and drove him off his premises, but the next day a shot was fired at the settler as he worked in his field. An alarm was given, and the Polk County militia was called out to drive the Seneca Indians out of the state.

Shortly after the Polk County militia had accomplished its purpose, however, a large group of Osage Indians were reported to be "acting suspiciously" in the Sarcoxie area, and they were suspected of having stolen some horses and other property of white settlers in the area. In response to the report, the entire southwest Missouri militia was called out to meet the supposed threat. The Indians were located near Sarcoxie and escorted back across the state line without incident. There was "little negotiating and parleying," and the Osages gave their solemn promise not to return without permission. They said they had no evil intent, had only come into Missouri to hunt and fish, and didn't know anything about any stolen horses or other goods taken from white settlers.

Holcombe summed up the so-called Sarcoxie War by saying that it was "a very nice sort of war, being one in which no human blood was shed or any serious casualties suffered. The reports of the outbreak were greatly exaggerated from the start. The Indians had done nothing, and doubtless intended doing nothing to harm the settlers, and all of the alarm and uneasiness, the mustering, the arming, and the marching, were for nothing."

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