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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Town By Any Other Name--Part 2

Last time I wrote about towns throughout southern Missouri that have changed their names at some point in their history. Two common reasons for such a change were to honor a prominent citizen and to comply with the demands of the postal service at the time a post office was sought. This week, let’s look at a few more places in the region that are now known by a name different from the original name.
Marble Hill was laid out in 1851 as the seat of Bollinger County. It was named Dallas at the time, and it absorbed a previous community called New California. In 1868, the name of Dallas was changed to Marble Hill to avoid confusion with Dallas County.
Monett, located on the Barry-Lawrence county line, has an interesting and complicated naming history that I’m not sure I fully comprehend. According to some reports, the area was originally known as Billings (not to be confused with the Billings in western Christian County), but it’s unlikely a village by that name ever existed in the vicinity. A settlement known as Plymouth began in the area about 1871. When a post office was later established, the post office was called Gonten, even though the village was still Plymouth. In 1880, the Frisco railroad started building a southern branch into Arkansas that connected to the main railroad at Plymouth, and the community was thenceforth often called Plymouth Junction. When the southern branch was finally completed in 1887, the railroad built a terminal and other facilities at Plymouth, and the area grew rapidly. A new town was platted near old Plymouth and named Monett after a railroad official. The growing new town soon engulfed Plymouth, and it became part of Monett. (At least one account I’ve read said Plymouth changed its name to Monett even before the new town was built beside it.)
Naylor, in southeastern Ripley County, was established along a branch of the Iron Mountain Railroad in the late 1880s. It was originally called Barfield, but it was renamed Naylor after a land surveyor in the area to avoid confusion with Barfield, Arkansas.
Northview, located in Webster County along I-44, was originally called Bunker Hill. A railroad was completed through the area about 1870, and the community soon changed its name to Northview because passing trainmen claimed the place offered a “good north view.”
Quincy, in Hickory County, was originally called Judy’s Gap because Samuel Judy operated a blacksmith shop there before the town was platted. When the town was laid out about 1848 or 1849, it was named Quincy, probably after John Quincy Adams, who had recently died.
Rosati, located along I-44 in eastern Phelps County, was originally Knobview. Its name was changed to Rosati during the 1890s after an influx of Italian immigrants arrived in the area.
St. Clair, also located along I-44, in Franklin County, was originally called Traveler’s Repose. When the railroad came through during the early to mid-1850s, the place was renamed St. Clair in honor of a local railroad engineer.
Sarcoxie, in eastern Jasper County, was named Centerville at first, because it was near the center of what was then Barry County. When the town applied for a post office, residents learned a Centerville, Missouri, already existed, and the name was changed to Sarcoxie after a Shawnee chief who’d previously lived in the area.
Washburn, in Barry County, was settled before the Civil War as Keetsville. Destroyed during the war, the town was later rebuilt, and it became Washburn in 1868.
We’ve looked only at towns in southern Missouri that have changed their names, but the same phenomenon is also apparent in the naming history of towns in the Arkansas Ozarks. For instance, Prairie Grove, famous for the Civil War battle that occurred nearby, was originally known as Sweet Home.


Anonymous Bob Banks said...

The subject of Monett's names is indeed complicated. At different times it was called Kings Prairie Depot, Plymouth, Plymouth Junction, Gonten and Monett. The town seems to have existed as a Frisco plan for about 10 years before it was actually built. As far as I can tell, no physical settlement of any kind actually existed before July, 1880.

The name "Plymouth" was the original name of Billings in Christian County, which was renamed in 1871. Sometime before 1875 "Plymouth" became attached to the future location of Monett in Barry County, even though the town was yet to exist.

The attached web address supplies more information.

December 1, 2015 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Bob, I knew you would know more about this than I did. Thanks for the additional info.

December 9, 2015 at 9:20 AM  

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