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, June 25, 2017

Cave Spring, Greene County, Missouri

Whether a town was one of the first ones settled in a particular area was not necessarily a good predictor of whether it would flourish. Other factors; such as whether other towns were built nearby, whether a good road system was developed to and from the town, whether a railroad was constructed to the town; were probably more important. An example of a town in Greene County that was one of the first to be settled but that never amounted to a whole lot and that has now declined to the point that there's not much left is Cave Spring in the northwest part of the county.
According to Moser's Directory to Places in Missouri, the first resident of Cave Spring arrived in 1839. At that time, Springfield was one of the few other towns in Greene County and the only important one. The first store was established at Cave Spring in 1848, and the town gradually grew for a number of years after that. By 1868, the place was populous enough to sport a high school. After a few years, though, a small pox outbreak scared away teachers and students, and the school closed, never to re-open.
A post office was established at Cave Spring about the same time as the high school or perhaps a couple of years later. It remained until 1907. At the time of Holcombe's History of Greene County was published in 1883, Cave Spring had five stores, one blacksmith shop, and one church.
A profile of Cave Spring in the Springfield Leader in September 1894 gives a fairly detailed picture of the village at that time. W.C. Wadlow was a pioneer physician who'd been practicing in and around Cave Spring for over 17 years. A.E. Neff had his blacksmith shop located on Main Street. He had been there for 13 years. Thompson and Taylor had a millinery and dressmaking shop, also on Main Street. Thomas Bricker, located in the north part of Cave Spring, did all kinds of repair work, ranging from horseshoeing to doctoring a threshing machine. C.M. Patterson was still at his "old stand" on the north side of the square, where he sold groceries and other goods. There may well have been other businesses, but these were the only ones mentioned.
In 1968, Cave Springs had one store and several dwelling houses. I'm not sure what's there now, but I'm pretty sure it's not much.

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