From the 1932 version of the book, The State of Missouri, published by the State of Missouri.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There are extra photos from the book at the end of this article.
In the dim and shadowy past, many millions of years ago, nature began to prepare a paradise. Forces known, unknown and unknowable worked ceaselessly in the up-building of this wonderful Eden. Tremendous upheavals, rushing waters, mighty winds, fields of ice, tropical heats, vast fires, vegetal, animal and mineral growths deposited layer upon layer upon this field.
This paradise forming what is now called the Mississippi valley, stretches for nearly 2,000 miles east and west and 2,500 miles north and south—the largest, most varied and richest valley, today, in the world. In the center of this wondrous valley lies the apex and epitome of all that is good therein and man has bounded it and named it Missouri.
Here, in Missouri, the geologic forces stored with prodigal hands endless supplies that man can use—inexhaustible supplies of iron, lead, zinc, copper, silver, cobalt, nickel, manganese, tungsten, coal, oil, gas, asphalt, clays, tripoli, barites, mineral waters, paints, sands, gravels, chats, soils, limes and stones, including sand, lime and granite.
Strange living things have roamed this territory and held sway in the succeeding dynasties of geologic ages. Towering cryptogams and conifers of a torrid atmosphere that left the coal beds, countless ocean shell fish that created our beautiful limestones, fishes and whales, terrible lizards that could look over our four story buildings, bulking elephants, called mammoths and mastodons, tigers with great sabre-like teeth, giant lions, wolves and sloths, great and tiny horses, bizarre rhinoceri, modern-like camels, thunder birds that could carry away the roc of Sinbad—each abode its destined hour and went its way. Man was here in the Pleistocene age and maybe before then. His stone (Paleolithic) implements are scattered all through the age of cold when the northern half of Missouri was covered with a vast cap of polar ice. Man was probably contemporary here with the “Dragons of the prime … That tare each other in their slime.”
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As yet, the evidences of early man in Missouri has been little investigated. Emerging out of the Paleolithic period and through the few remains of the unknown peoples who builded strange abodes and left traces that may, as yet, be determined as anything, civilized or uncivilized, comes the definite people called mound builders, who left in every part of Missouri their silent memorials. These prehistoric peoples erected mounds that will endure down the centuries. Over 28,000 mounds have been examined and many remain to be examined. Whence these peoples came or whence or why they went each can conjecture for himself.
Following the unsolved mystery of the coming and going of the Mound Builders is the mystery of the Red Man’s coming. The Red Man came into America and occupied it from the Arctic ocean to Tierra Del Fuego. In Missouri he lived, loved, hunted, fought, trekked and died in all his unrestrained glory. And here he was in full possession when the European marched into Missouri. There are several claims as to who was the first European to set foot within the present state. Coronado probably touched its confines in his murderous expedition from Mexico through Kansas, but if so, it was at least two years after De Soto set foot upon Missouri soil.
The first credible record of a European’s entry into this promised land is that of De Soto and his crew of hardened gold hunters. And until tangible proof of the coming of another before De Soto’s time, the glory of the first European visitation must be given to that conquistador. He entered Missouri, from what is now Arkansas, marching along the west bank of the Mississippi, in May, 1541. Passing westerly through the state he went back into Arkansas close to what is now Oklahoma. In 1701 the French built a fort and started settlements in the southeast Missouri. In 1710, Fort New Orleans was established by the French on the Missouri river near the mouth of the Osage. Two months later Mine LaMotte, near what is now Potosi, was opened and operated. In 1735, the first town was built and named Ste. Genevieve by the French. Later settlements followed and European population began to flow into Missouri as a part of the Louisiana Territory.
The Louisiana Territory was an elastic stretch of land, reaching from the Gulf f Mexico northward to any stake one wished to set and from the Mississippi river to the Rocky Mountains and as much farther west as any claimant desired to claim.
In 1762, Louisiana was secretly ceded to Spain by France but Spain, unable to establish her government over the settlers, ceded it back to France in 1800.
In 1803, Monroe as representative of the American Nation, went to France under orders to negotiate the purchase of a part of the territory of Louisiana. When Monroe reached Paris he found that Livingston, the resident American Minister, had already completed preliminaries for the purchase from Napoleon of the whole territory of Louisiana for $15,000,000 and the purchase was completed. Thus, under Jefferson, the United States started a colonial expansion and in 1804 the American flag was raised over the city of St. Louis.
In 1804, congress organized that part of Louisiana Purchase north of the 33rd parallel as the district of Louisiana, in the territory of Indiana. The next year, congress changed this district back to the territory of Louisiana. In 1812, the Territory of Missouri was established. In 1818, congress was asked to admit Missouri as a State. In 1821, on August 10, Missouri complying with the demands of congress, the President of the United States proclaimed the admission of Missouri as a state.
MISSOURI, whose portals stand ever ajar, beckons and welcomes every form of investment and development; Missouri whose riches, industrial and agricultural, are poured into the lap of everyone who cultivates her; Missouri who gives to all that ask, opens to all that knock and produces for all that seek, is the glory and pride of America. From her original territory, twelve other states were carved and eight more were made out of an area claimed by her. From out of Missouri poured a stream of pioneers that builded most of the west, including California and all the Pacific coast. Millions upon millions of people have poured out of Missouri, going west. In all the history of the earth no path has been traveled by as many people as has that great migration route to the west, out of Independence and Westport (now Kansas City).
Out of Missouri has marched forth army after army to war. Long before Chicago was born, Missouri pioneers were fighting the Indians of the west and blazing a trail across the continent. When Texas declared her independence an army of men from Missouri went to Texas’ aid. And tens of thousands of Missourians helped to settle that state. All wars of America and even many foreign wars have found the hosts of Missouri’s fighting men at the front. Without draft and without coercion or promise, Missouri sent over 100,000 men to the Union army and over 50,000 to the Southern army in the war between the states. 166,000 went to the world war. Missouri is a giant in strength and no drain upon her manhood lessens that giant strength.
The real Missourian is the man on the farm. 95% of Missourians are native born Americans and 75 % are native born Missourians. Here in Missouri there has developed a remarkably pure American type. In most of Missouri’s towns there is little admixture of foreign peoples.
No state in the Union has done more to raise the level of intelligence among its agricultural folk, or to make their work easier and more profitable, than has Missouri.
While more than thirty railroads run into Missouri, entering Kansas City and St. Louis, yet many of its counties, in some of which the population is less than ten per square mile, have no railroad at all. More than 13,000,000 acres of cut over lands are lying idle in the Ozark region awaiting the tiller’s hand. This diversified land of plenty is more self-supporting than any other state in the Union, the value of its annual farm products reaching $940,000,000.
Midway between Canada and the Gulf, centered between the two oceans, Missouri occupies the strategic position as the agricultural hub of the United States. More than half of its boundary or 850 miles is water front and it has more miles of navigable rivers than any other state. A large amount of traffic of all kinds pass through Missouri. It is the gateway between the east and the west.
It naturally is a lush, verdant land filled with the songs of birds and the flash of their plumage, decked with a flora of exquisite beauty, and happy with bright sunshine and sufficient showers.
Missouri, the greatest manufacturing state west of the Mississippi, is better situated geographically, than any other manufacturing state. And no state has greater access to abundant raw material, the best of fuels, honest American labor, easy transport by land, air and water, and complete markets.
From the Mississippi valley comes 70% of farm products of the United States, 75% of lumber, 60% of minerals and a great proportion of oil, gas and coal.
Missouri still preserves Grant’s cabin in which he lived during those hard years when he peddled wood in St. Louis. It is surrounded by an odd fence built of rifle barrels from the battlefields of the civil war.
Missouri boasts it is a rice state, an ice state and a cotton state, a wonderful diversity. Its products are more diversified than any other state.
St. Louis ranks first among the world’s markets for horses and mules, shoes, stoves, hardware and tobacco; Kansas City for farm machinery, hay, Hereford cattle, winter wheat, clay products; and Missouri for walnut lumber, lead and saddle horses. Texas may have the largest cactus, Arizona the fattest rattlesnakes, Arkansas the finest fiddlers, California the most fleas, Illinois the biggest bootleggers, Florida the most destructive winds and New York its deadliest gunmen, but Missouri is first in persimmons, pawpaws, pumpkins, ‘possums and pipes (cob).
Missouri is the playground of the United States, the gateway between the east and west, the world’s food and equipment producer, the child of the Universe and mother of the west.
Out of Missouri has flowed a constant stream of brains into the intelligence of the world: Twain, Field, See, Shapley, Rose O’Neill, Eads, Bush, Hurter, Audubon, Widmann, Rollins, Bingham, Berninghaus, Doniphan, Reedy, Wright, Churchill, Fanny Hurst, Sarah Teasdale, Rupert Hughes, Augustus Thomas, Pulitzer, Benton, Clark, Reed, Henderson, Grant, Pershing, Price, Blair and Pike.
Missouri was peopled by a mixture of hardy bloods—all pioneering peoples.
|“When the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”|
Missouri is a state of vast and varied interests. Other states lead in one or several interests. Missouri is in the front rank in all interests. She leads in many of the chief interests of the United States. But while her mining and manufacturing interests are great, she is essentially an agricultural state. Farming is the foundation of all wealth and prosperity. The tremendous natural resources make Missouri the most independent state in the Union.
From the first, there was a steady growth in population of healthy, pioneering peoples. Spanish colonists, French from Canada, Kaskaskia and New Orleans and Americans formed the first six thousand inhabitants. Then her population was drawn from all sections of eastern United States and from many European sections.
Farming, mining, trapping and trading formed the early vocations of the people. Fur and lead were the chief products. Practically all implements were brought from Europe. Even the whirr of the spinning wheel was rarely heard in those early homes.
There were no opportunities for education and the people were mostly illiterate. But they sought knowledge first hand of nature and were wise, indeed. The Roman Catholic Church was the established religion but the protestant religion was tolerated to a limited extent. Law was administered crudely and swiftly. Politics was unknown. The land was farmed on Spanish grants.
The American Revolution’s aftermath stagnation caused a great western movement of settlers. The whole territory along the eastern bank of the Mississippi was taken up and an outlet for commerce on the sea was imperative. Spain controlled both banks of the river near its mouth and throttled all American commerce that attempted that passage.
The Mississippi question became a burning one with the “west” or the Mississippi area. It became so threatening that this territory came near to separating from the Federation. Congress sought long and earnestly for a solution of the difficulty. The western settlements were close to taking matters in their own hands and Congress falling into a trap by Spain to concede certain commercial rights, which would surely have separated the west from the Federation, when Kentucky and the south made a stand for the west and saved the Union.
In 1795-6, the United States forced Spain to yield and the Mississippi outlet was opened to the commerce of the western settlements. The Kentuckians and the Virginians had in the meantime, practically settled the Mississippi question by taking up grants on the western side of the river. Kentucky was filling up rapidly and many of the pioneers followed Daniel Boone once more to the new settlements. By the time Spain ceded Louisiana to France by a secret treaty in 1800, the majority of inhabitants of the territory were English speaking. The discontent of Kentucky and the west again forced action and the Louisiana purchase was the result. In 1804 the American flag was flying over St. Louis.
The territory now began to rapidly fill up and the exploration of it became the vocation of many adventuresome spirits. After the formation of Missouri into a territory it became American both in government and character of people. It was and has remained American and essentially agricultural.
Admitted to the Union, after fierce and acrimonious debates, in 1821, under a new and liberal constitution, Missouri elected Alexander McNair as her first governor.
The form of government was typically American and with three separate and independent departments; a house and senate with the gubernatorial veto check and a judiciary to hold all to constitutional law. Her first senators were truly great statesmen: Barton and Benton.
Population continued to increase, doubling every ten years and the legislature was kept busy carving out new counties. Manufacturing began and mining became a great industry. Trade with Mexico began to flourish. Over the old Santa Fe trail, out of western Missouri, a constant stream of people and teams flowed along. Roads were built throughout the state and steamboats plied the important streams with freight and passengers. Towns increased in number and grew wealthy and populous; St. Louis becoming one of the important cities of America.
Missouri no longer was merely a frontier settlement. In 1839 the foundation of a state university at Columbia was laid which now ranks as one of the best. Missouri became an active and intelligent factor in national affairs.
The acquisition of Texas was the result of the actions of Missourians. They settled in Texas and sent armies to the aid of the Texans. Doniphan’s men overran New Mexico and took possession of it. So a new empire came into the United States, due entirely to the efforts of Missourians. In fact all that territory west of the Missouri river and west of a line extended south from where the Missouri river turns east at Kansas City was given to the United States by Missouri and its people.
The decade before the rebellion was a prosperous time in Missouri and the population continued to rapidly increase. In 1850 the first railroad was begun and others quickly followed, all aided by state guarantees of their loans.
The civil war divided the people of Missouri. The question of seceding was a hotly debated one. The Governor, Jackson, and many members of the general assembly were in sympathy with the South. A convention was called and the delegates selected were opposed to Missouri withdrawing from the Union. The Governor raised a force at St. Louis and at Boonville but Blair and Lyons easily dispersed them.
For a while Missouri remained neutral and raised its own flag. A minority of the General Assembly and the Governor fled to the southwestern part of the state and there met and passed a resolution seceding from the Union. The flight of the governor and the dispersal of the Assembly left the State without an organized government. The Convention vacated the offices of Governor, Lieutenant-Governor and Secretary of State and appointed Hamilton R. Gamble Provisional Governor. The Convention abolished other offices, organized the militia and issued bonds for defense. After providing the test oaths of citizenship, it dissolved itself in 1863. A new General Assembly was elected in 1862 but the convention continued in power. The people of no state in the Union were so torn asunder as were those of Missouri. Families were divided, brother against brother and father against son. Each town, village and hamlet was divided against itself. It emerged from the war with scars and hatreds that seemed never to heal.
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|Capital Building in Jefferson City.|
In 1865, Missouri adopted its new constitution with many radical and oppressive provisions. In 1875, a new constitution was adopted, which has not been radically changed. Its provisions are ideally American. Many attempts to adopt a new constitution have been made and failed. They failed because the people realize they have a constitution in which their rights are protected to an ideal degree. It is an instrument such as any American can respect and venerate. It should draw both people and property to a home thereunder.
Up to the world war, Missouri developed far and fast—economically, socially, educationally and politically. While the wealth and prosperity are enormous, the natural, undeveloped resources and possibilities are beyond description. In Missouri lies realm beyond realm of unachieved possibilities, field beyond field of attainments, the hem of whose garments are not as yet touched. Missouri beckons to all who desire to attain success in finances, farming, manufacturing, mining, learning, social matters, transporting or what not, and without price and without knowledge, all, the most learned and the least trained, the humblest and the greatest, the richest and the poorest, may partake of her horn of plenty by coming and making an abode with her.
Just a Few Extra Pictures
There are billions of great pictures in this 1932 book. Local Counties and Cities had their own sections to show off their industries, buildings and scenes.
|Route No. 50 — Franklin County.|
|Marion County – Old covered bridge over Bear Creek, near Hannibal.|
|Kansas City’s towering skyline, visible from many parts of Jackson County, is the center of a great population that is extending its suburban residential section farther and farther into the county.|
|The Vogl Tool Company, Kansas City, manufacturer of stone cutters’ tools is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the middle west.|
|To the right, the town of Courtney, 7 miles north of Independence, the center of a great gardening area.|
|Missouri Indian Trails and Warpaths, after Louis Houck.|
|“Ball Room” Fisher’s Cave, Merarnec State Park.|
|Public Service Commission car inspecting Pickwick-Greyhound motor coach on a Missouri Highway.|
|A feast fit for a king – Pan Fry and every good thing.|
|Main business street, Lebanon, Missouri – LaClede County.|
|: A Saline County farm scene.|
|Modern street car in St. Louis.|