In the mid to late 1860s, William J. Teed was a publisher of the Missouri Weekly Patriot in Springfield, Missouri. He had lived in Newton County before the Civil War and took a lively interest in it affairs, publishing letters and other items about the county as it recovered from the conflict. Here are summaries and excepts from several of the Patriot articles as well as a few items from other newspapers. Original material is in quotation marks; otherwise it is my summary. All of the letters were signed with uninformative pseudonyms like E Pluribus Unum and Squills.
21 September 1865, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. September 18 letter from Neosho. Mining operations are reviving at the Hickory Creek Furnace, Turkey Creek in Jasper County and the Cedar Creek Mines. Eastern capitalists are in the area evaluating possible investments. Thos. P. Price & Co. will soon have a saw mill in operation near Neosho, and Ritchey & Co. has a portable mill on Jones Creek. Many pre-war citizens are returning to Newton County. ".... Among others who are now expected here every day, is the old Buffalo ranger, Capt. H. W. Goodykoontz, late of the 8th Cav. Mo. Vols. The captain recently returned to Illinois for his family..."
5 October 1865, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. October 2 letter from Neosho. The Hickory Creek furnace is expected to open shortly, and ore is being purchased at $27.50 per 1000 lb. Jack McElhany has purchased Judge Randolph's stage line between Neosho and Springfield. Mrs. Cloud, formerly of Neosho, is expected to return soon and open a school. Dr. Ebert of Springfield is expected to locate in Neosho and open a drug store.
16 November 1865, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. November 13 letter from Neosho. Dr. Ebert has opened his drug store and Mrs. Cloud her school. Jones & Hening have added to their stock of goods. The Hickory Creek furnace is working, but lacks sufficient ore to operate extensively. The County Court met at Neosho last week, disposed of much probate business and inquired into the state of the road and school funds. The tax assessor is soon to prepare tax lists. Judge Pearson married a couple from the Indian Territory, the bridegroom a member of the regular army and the bride an Indian.
21 December 1865, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. December 18 letter from Neosho. In Neosho, two new blacksmith shops have opened , and oak lumber is arriving from the Price & Keller mill. About 1000 acres of land are entered under the homestead act every week, but sales of established real estate are scarce. However, J. F. Hardin, Esq., has purchased a house and lot. Reverend George Britton married another couple from the Indian Territory.
5 April 1866, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. The editor describes a trip to Newton County. Along the route he reports seeing numerous improvements - substantial new homes being built, fences restored to pre-war condition, fields tilled. Neosho, however, has made slow progress recovering from the war:
".... There has (sic) been no steps taken yet, we believe, to rebuild the court house, which was burned during the war, but the building owned and used by the Masonic Order before the rebellion has been repaired, and is now used for county purposes. Besides this, there has been no change in the appearance of the town. Large heaps of ashes and rubbage lie where once stood the business and valuable portion of the place -- the little fort, built on the site of the court house, in the center of the square, remains almost undisturbed, and in fact, the general appearance of the place is sad and melancholy, especially to one who enjoyed its favors in the days of its prosperity...."
Neosho has two mercantile stores and two groceries, Jones & Hening being the principal merchants. The towns lawyers are Col. C. W. Thrasher, Major Hardin and Lieut. E. H. Benham. Capt. Goodykoontz has been working to encourage new settlers in the county. Mrs. Cloud has a school with 50 scholars, and two other schools are about to open. There is a flourishing Sabbath school conducted by the Rev. Mr. Hening with the assistance of E. H. Benham.
31 May 1866, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. May 27 letter from Shoal Creek. In Neosho, there will soon be a weekly newspaper supporting the Radical Union political position. A citizen's group has let a contract to tear down the old fort on the square; Mr. Stewart has opened a livery stable; and there is a rumor of a coming beer saloon. The town has two day schools, with about 50 pupils each, and two Sunday schools. A white lead manufactory will soon be open at the Big Spring.
14 June 1866, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. June 10 letter from Neosho. Major Skewes and partners are starting a paper here to be called the Neosho Tribune. Capt. Lacy of Mt. Vernon is going to open a tin shop. There are two schools, one with 43 scholars and the other with 47. George W. Randolph has received the contract to carry the mail from Springfield to Neosho. About 33,000 acres of land have been entered in Newton County in the last 6 months, some 25,000 of this under the homestead law.
27 September 1866, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. Reprint of an item from the Neosho Tribune. Nominations of the Radical Union Party: For Representative, Amos Buchanan; for Clerk of the Circuit and County Court, R. V. Keller; for County Justices, W. E. Blankenship, Wm. Thompson, and Jas. Kelly, Sr.; for Sheriff, Louis B. Hutchinson; for Supervisor of Registration, H. W. Goodykoontz; for Superintendent of Public Schools, John G. Gregg; for Assessor, Nathan Buchanan; for Treasurer, Richard B. Jones.
15 November 1866, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. November 7 letter from Neosho. The Radical Union party elected its entire slate in Newton county, its candidates receiving about 340-350 votes each and the Democrat candidates about 20-25 votes each. A stove and tinware shop is needed in Neosho. Another couple from the Indian Territory was in town recently looking for someone to marry them.
7 March 1867, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. Reprint of an item from the Neosho Tribune. On June 1, 1866, the fort still stood in the middle of the Neosho square, and there were only four business houses in the town, only one of which truly deserved the name [i.e. Jones & Hening]. Now the fort is gone, and there are sixteen business houses, including drugs, dry goods, groceries, boot and shoe stores, furniture manufactory, steam saw mill and printing office. There are two schools, four law offices and three physicians. Thirty-six buildings have been erected in the 9 month period.
In February 1867, William Teed sold his interest in the Patriot, precipitating a sharp decline in Newton County coverage. Although he returned as a publisher in March, 1868, the paper never resumed it prior regular coverage of the county.
9 January 1868, Spring River Fountain, Mt. Vernon. Reprint of an item from the Neosho Tribune. "An unofficial, yet careful and correct census of Neosho has just been taken by Rev. Mr. Shaftuck. The footing is as follows: whole number of inhabitants, 638; of which there are males 328; females, 311 [sic]. Just about one half of the population are of the class who have immigrated hither from the Northern States."
16 July 1868, Spring River Fountain, Mt. Vernon. Letter from a visitor to Southwest Missouri, originally printed in the Indiana True Republican (Richmond, IN) and reprinted in the Carthage Banner. "....Neosho, the county seat of Newton, is an old dilapidated place the leading business men being down on immigration and railroads, so far as were able to discover. There are however a few new comers, who seem to have more spirit and enterprise...."
24 September 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. "The Neosho Gazette is the title of a new paper just started at Neosho, by O. J. De Wolf. Its make-up is good, and its editorials bear the true stamp of Radicalism, exhibiting both ability and good judgement. Success to it."
3 December 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. The Neosho Gazette has been purchased by W. H. H. Judson of Granby and will move to that city to be published under the name Southwest Independent.
18 November 1869, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. The Granby Independent and Neosho Tribune have been purchased by Phelps & Dille and will be merged. The two papers "represented opposing wings of the Radicals of Newton county, and this consolidation is made with a view to healing divisions and producing harmony in the party..."
23 December 1869, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield. Reprint of an article from the Neosho Investigator. The Mertin & Meunch brewery in Neosho has been seized by the U. S. Marshal for failing to place tax stamps on its kegs. The brewery claimed it couldn't procure the stamps from the government, but a search turned up unused stamps on its premises.
© 2002 Robert O. Banks, Jr. All Rights Reserved
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