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Forces of Change and the Enduring Ozark Frontier: The Civil War

Located outside of the main transportation corridors and population centers, the southern Courtois Hills experienced no major battles during the Civil War. The Ozark uplands, however, remained anything but peaceful. Partisans waged a brutal war on the people and land of the rugged Missouri and Arkansas Ozark hills, including the Current and Jacks Fork riverways. These forces were a complicated mix of southern sympathizers commissioned by the Confederate army and given free reign in their actions, federal militia units, and assorted unattached bands of outlaws. In addition to these guerrilla groups, whose victims commonly gave the label "bushwhackers," regular Union troops occupied the Courtois Hills, including Van Buren and Eminence, during 1862 and 1863. The terror struck by the guerrilla raiders and the foraging of the regular troops depopulated and impoverished the Current valley and much of the Ozark hills. Local feuds and divided loyalties fueled violent conflict in the Current valley for years after the war and left scars in the homeland that showed for decades. The historical record of the war years provides valuable descriptions of the life and landscape of the Current region: a homeland that changed dramatically after the war.

As a border state, Missouri was placed in an unenviable bellwether role in the sectional rivalry between the North and the South. Missouri not only bordered the North and the South, but also the western frontier, and as a result, the state was center stage in the sectional conflict leading to the Civil War. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Great Compromise of 1850 demonstrated that the state was figuratively the leading battleground in the nineteenth-century debates linking frontier settlement, statehood, and slavery. Moreover, with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the Kansas-Missouri border erupted in violence and foreshadowed the beginning of outright war. [1]

In April and May 1861, following the attack on Fort Sumter and President Abraham Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers, the people and governments of the border states divided over which side to support in the Civil War. Most Missourians supported the North; however, Governor Claiborne F. Jackson refused the president's request for troops. A political ally of the influential slaveholding region along the Missouri River, he favored secession. Jackson and leaders of the State Guard, including Sterling Price, plotted to amass munitions in support of the Confederacy. A large arsenal was located in St. Louis. The State Guard established Camp Jackson outside of the city and federal authorities considered this a threat to the arsenal. Regular U.S. troops and the St. Louis militia, under the command of Capt. Nathaniel Lyon (soon promoted to brigadier general), captured the camp and pursued a secessionist force, led by Jackson and Price, west along the Missouri and then south toward Springfield. At Wilson's Creek just outside of Springfield, the armies engaged in the first major battle in Missouri, and the southern forces claimed victory when the Union troops pulled back after Brig. Gen. Lyon was killed. Yet on March 7-8, 1862, at Pea Ridge in northwestern Arkansas, the Union forces defeated a Confederate army led by Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn, accompanied by Price's Missourians, in a decisive victory that secured much of Missouri for the North. [2]

The state government of Missouri remained in turmoil during much of the war. The Union supporters controlled the state capital at Jefferson City while Jackson and the southern sympathizers established a government-in-exile. At Neosho, Missouri, in November 1861, Jackson's government voted to secede, and the Confederacy accepted Missouri into its government a month later. Jackson set up a temporary capital in Camden, Arkansas. Following his death from pneumonia, Jackson's former Lt. Gov., Thomas C. Reynolds assumed the governorship. Governor Reynolds eventually moved the captial to Marshall, Texas, where Missouri's Confederate leaders operated a clearinghouse for information between Missouri and the Confederate capital at Richmond. Reynold's government actively recruited Missourians into military service for the South. [3]

After the battle of Pea Ridge, the North maintained a force of approximately 10,000 troops in southeastern Missouri. In October 1862, the U.S. War Department constituted the Army of Southeastern Missouri within the Department of the Missouri. Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, who had engineered the Pea Ridge victory, commanded the latter department. He assigned the Army of Southeastern Missouri to Pilot Knob, the terminal point of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, and placed Brig. Gen. John W. Davidson, a graduate of West Point and a regular army cavalryman, in command. General Davidson's command consisted of thirteen infantry regiments led by Brig. Gen. William P. Benton, three artillery batteries led by Col. Chester P. Harding, Jr., and a cavalry brigade commanded by Col. George E. Waring. [4]

Curtis directed the army to reconnoiter enemy troop strength in southeast Missouri and then to prepare a route for an expedition into Arkansas. Several cavalry scouting sweeps of principal river crossings at Van Buren, Missouri, and Pitman's Ferry above Pocahontas, Arkansas, turned up only small groups of partisans in the area. Convinced of the absence of any sizeable Confederate force in southeastern Missouri, Curtis ordered General Davidson to improve transportation facilities through the rugged Ozark country south of Pilot Knob to support any future invasions of Arkansas. General Curtis wanted to establish a second front that would disrupt the Confederate threat to Springfield and southwest Missouri. Curtis, a professional engineer, sent Davidson on a bridge-and road-building campaign that failed to tame the steep hill and valley terrain for the large-scale movement of troops and supplies. In fact, as the historian of the Army of Southeast Missouri John Bradbury noted, the campaign did little more than occupy several thousand troops for over three months in a region isolated from the major military engagements of the day. [5]

Spending the end of 1862 and the early part of 1863 in the southern Courtois Hills, Davidson's troops encountered several small guerrilla groups. For example, just before Christmas, a band of approximately twenty-five partisans attacked a detail foraging for food about three miles south of the camp at Van Buren, just below the Carter plantation. Two federal troopers and a horse were killed in the ambush. The Rebel raiders belonged to a force led by a notorious Rebel partisan, Col. M. Jeff Thompson. The day after the fight, Davidson apparently dispatched four hundred men to round up the raiders, but the troops failed to find them. [6]

Thompson boasted of controlling a large force, Union sources estimated him to have 500 to 800 men at Doniphan, and federal authorities went on alert when rumors spread of his presence in southeastern Missouri. General Davidson received orders to be prepared to return to Pilot Knob if Thompson threatened the railhead. Rumors of the guerrillas' whereabouts surfaced across the region and, in response to hearsay of Thompson advancing on New Madrid, the federal garrison there hurriedly abandoned its station. Davidson's army never engaged Thompson. In general, along the Current, partisan bands, with both Southern and Northern sympathies, concentrated on harassing Union pickets and foraging patrols and terrorizing the civilian population. [7]

The Union commanders reported that Rebel raiders were all around Van Buren. Within a week of the pre-Christmas attack and after the completion of the bridge across the Current, another group of guerrillas surprised a forage train nine miles from camp. The raiders captured seven wagons, twenty-one men, and the teamsters. [8]

The only engagement between Davidson's men and Confederate troops involved a cavalry "dash" on Batesville, Arkansas. In early January 1863, Confederate cavalry led by Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke attacked the Union forces at Springfield and, after failing to take the city, retreated south and east. General Davidson combined with an additional federal force out of Houston, Missouri, and moved to intercept Marmaduke. The Confederate cavalry, however, escaped into Arkansas and established winter quarters at Batesville on the south side of White River. Generals Curtis and Davidson then plotted a cavalry assault on Batesville. During the first week of February, Col. George Waring led a thousand cavalrymen south, and the horse soldiers first intercepted the southern force, Marmaduke's pickets, on the edge of Batesville. Marmaduke left only a small force guarding the ferry and town on the north side of the river. Waring charged, and the Confederate soldiers ran to the river and ferry. The federal troops captured forty of the fleeing men who did not make it across the White to the south bank. Confederate deserters then warned the Union commander that portions of Marmaduke's cavalry had crossed the White River in an effort to cutoff Waring, and the latter pulled back and returned to Missouri. [9]

Supply problems resulting from the poor roads contributed both to the beginning and the abrupt end of the Batesville campaign. Because of the almost impassable condition of the muddy roads during this winter expedition into the Ozark hills, the federal troops constantly moved their base in search of a tolerable supply route and scoured the countryside for food. Intending to supply the army from the railroad terminus at Pilot Knob, General Curtis originally sent Davidson's army to Patterson, between the St. Francis and Black rivers, where the troops established a forward supply base. The army just completed construction of a blockhouse and bridge across the Black River when General Davidson decided to transfer the base to Van Buren on the Current River. He said that the roads between Van Buren and Pilot Knob were better than those out of Patterson and were a more direct route. [10]

At Van Buren, the troops busied themselves working on the roads and foraging for food. They built a pontoon bridge across the Current. Wagons with supplies from Pilot Knob, however, continued to have problems traversing the Ozark roads, and the federal soldiers daily foraged for food among the valley's inhabitants. Commenting on the hardship that the foraging caused to the local residents, one soldier said, "the poor devils are suffering terribly from the troops, who take the liberty of filling their haversacks from the stores of these natives." [11] The Union troops often left vouchers for the food and livestock confiscated, but the Ozarkers had nowhere to redeem the script to meet their immediate needs. [12] By Christmas, 1862, General Benton reported to Davidson that "forage [was] scarce on this side of [the] river," and that the troops would turn to the west side of the Current as soon as the pontoon bridge was completed. [13]

After the completion of the bridge, the troops began foraging on the west bank and quickly devoured the available food supply within a days ride of camp. In one week of foraging across the bridge, the patrols were traveling as much as twenty miles for supplies. The threat of partisan raids remained ever present, and Jeff Thompson bragged that the west bank of the Current was his. A three-hundred wagon supply train from Pilot Knob was bogged down in the mud, and General Davidson informed Curtis that he probably would have to move the army toward Doniphan simply to keep them fed. Instead of tramping down along the Current, however, the federal troops headed for Alton and West Plains to look for Marmaduke and food. [14]

The army lived off the land as it marched. General Davidson said that they cleared the countryside of corn and cattle from Pilot Knob to West Plains. At the end of January 1863, in a report to General Curtis, Davidson's exasperation over supplies showed in his comment: "This problem of food over such roads has put some gray hairs in my head," The army, at the time numbering nearly ten thousand men, was on half rations. Even when some supply trains reached the troops, much of the food was spoiled, and the soldiers simply threw it out and foraged for fresh meat. One trooper noted that the men stole thousands of hogs. [15]

After Waring's cavalry returned from Batesville, Davidson felt that the inability to supply the troops demanded a withdrawal and ordered the army to leave West Plains for Eminence on the Current River. The commander selected Eminence because it was midway between Rolla and Pilot Knob and, therefore, within reach of supplies from either locale. The move exacerbated the already bad morale of the troops who had trekked through 150 miles of mud only to turn back without engaging Marmaduke's Confederate army. During the return to the Current River, the weather turned colder and a mixture of snow and rain slowed the march at times to an exhausting five miles per day over the muddy roads. The troops reached Eminence during the second week of February, and the infantry crossed the Current over a makeshift bridge of wagons driven into the water and trees felled into the river. [16]

Upon arriving at Eminence, however, the army found meager resources to sustain it, and the commander soon ordered the troops back to Pilot Knob. Eminence consisted of only two log buildings, a courthouse and jail. The soldiers commented that lawyers had to travel five miles for their suppers. Expecting trouble, Davidson had the men clear the trees along a hillside across the river for a field of fire and unlimbered artillery in front of the camp. The work amounted to little more than an exercise because no attack occurred and because the scarcity of food forced the troops to leave. Cutting new roads alongside the old, they headed for Pilot Knob. [17]

As a disruptive force, in a little more than three months, the Army of Southeast Missouri inflicted little damage to the Confederate troops but managed to wipeout much of the winter food supply of the Courtois Hills population. The Union soldiers generally viewed the local inhabitants as a hostile force. Cautious of spying activity, the Union commanders restricted civilian access to the camp. In the Current valley, the federal army required the local residents to prove their loyalty (often by taking a loyalty oath), and they forced some of the southern sympathizers to work on the roads. The construction of bridges, ferries, and roads was a by product of the military presence, but whether or not the departing army destroyed the bridges or any other of their improvements is uncertain. The roads displayed little durability under the heavy troop traffic and became nearly impassable after the army moved through. [18] Guerrilla raids, by both southern supporters and northern militia groups, proved even more fearsome and destructive during, and even after, the war.

Whether loosely associated with the Confederate or Union armies or local vigilante groups, the guerrilla raiders engaged in vendettas against personal enemies as well as random robbery and violence. One such figure, Samuel Hildebrand, related his exploits as a Confederate bushwhacker in an autobiography that reads like a tawdry melodrama. Yet, despite its colored portrayal, the book provides some insight into the motives and activities of outlaw/guerrillas during the war. Hildebrand worked a farm and raised livestock in St. Francois County, where he grew up. According to his autobiography, he turned to bushwhacking after a local vigilante group wrongly accused him of taking part in the murder of a "Union man" and stealing a horse. The vigilance committee hung Hildebrand's brother and tried to capture Sam Hildebrand who shot a member of the posse and fled the area. Later, Hildebrand returned to Missouri and hunted the man who told the vigilantes where to find him. He described the episode in his autobiography:

I took up my gun, "Kill-devil," and started on my first trip to Missouri, . . . I arrived in the vicinity of Flat Woods, in St. Francois County, Missouri, on the 12th day of June [1862], and immediately commenced searching for George Cornecious, the man who reported my whereabouts to Mellvaine and the soldiers, thereby causing me to be wounded and expelled from Flat Woods. After searching two days and two nights I succeeded in shooting him; he was the first man I ever killed; a little notch cut in the stock of my gun was made to commemorate the deed. [19]

Hildebrand received a major's commission in "the Bushwhacking Department" of the Confederate army from feared partisan Col. M. Jeff Thompson. With a command of about forty men, he stole horses and supplies, as he plundered settlements and towns in east central Missouri. He continued to harass civilians as well as federal troops near Farmington and Pilot Knob throughout the war. In 1872, an Illinois posse finally caught up with Hildebrand and killed him. [20]

As in other parts of the Ozarks, bands of raiders frequently terrorized the Current River valley of Carter and Shannon Counties. The threat of theft and violence forced families to hide provisions and often drove men from their homes. Local histories and remembrances describe widespread violence at the hands of "marauders" along the Current. One account tells of a Shannon County family on Jacks Fork. As the story goes, word of advancing raiders reached the household; the husband, a Union man, left behind his bedfast wife with their newborn twins and hid in the hills with his older children. The bandits then moved the woman and children into the yard where they died of exposure. Yet violence directed toward women and children was rare. In another incident, local "bushwhackers" killed a Carter County man, John Webb, on the pretense that Webb had murdered another man. [21]

Chilton homeplace
Figure 2. View of Chilton homeplace looking northeast, c. 1920. Photographer unknown. Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

Available records revealed little difference between raiding activities sanctioned by the Union and Confederate governments and those undertaken by bands of independent outlaws. During the war, where mixed loyalties often divided neighbors and families, feuds and isolated incidents of violence were commonplace. This was especially true in the border states. In Missouri, a large minority of the population showed sympathy for the South; about 30,000 Missourians joined the Confederate army whereas more than 100,000 enlisted on the Union side. In the Current valley, much of the population favored the Confederacy. As a result, patrols of Missouri militia occasionally searched the Ozarks for residents who offered aid to the South or who participated in guerrilla activities against federal troops and their sympathizers. They also tried to hinder southern recruiting activities. Such state militia activities amounted to "search and destroy missions" similar in nature to the raids of guerrilla/bandits. [22]

In the summer of 1862, one militia expedition resulted in the death of Judge Joshua Chilton, the "King of Shannon County." The son of pioneer Thomas Boggs Chilton and a state senator, Joshua Chilton favored the South and was a friend of Governor Jackson and General Price. A biography of the Chilton family, however, claims that he tried to remain neutral after the Civil War broke out. The Union militia in Missouri, most likely commanded by Chiltons political enemies, considered him a recruiter for the South and a "dangerous character." Union troops killed Chilton and three or four of his associates during a patrol through the upper Current River region. As reported by a Lt. H. Reed, three members of Chilton's group were shot during an exchange of fire with the northern troops and a fourth was shot trying to escape. [23] Dr. Thomas Reed and his sons were local political rivals of the Chiltons and, in March 1865, he and two sons were taken from their homes and shot by "bushwhackers." [24]

Based on several military reports, "shot while trying to escape" was a common epitaph of prisoners taken by the state militia. A report of a militia officer of another expedition through Shannon County illustrated the "character of such raids":

NOVEMBER 4-9, 1863.—Scout from Houston to Jack's Fork, Mo. Reports of Lieut. John W. Boyd, Sixth Provisional Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia,

HOUSTON, MO., November—, 1863.

SIR: In compliance with Special Orders, No. 42, issued from your headquarters November 3, 1863, on the morning of the 4th instant, I started on scout with 15 men of my company, 5 men of Company B and 5 of Company G, Fifth Missouri State Militia, in the direction of Spring Valley. Marched that day 25 miles, without discovering anything worthy of note. Visited the residences of Benjamin Carter and Wilson Farrow, that were engaged in burning Houston; they were gone. Burned Carter's house, November 5, divided the scout. Sent 10 men, under Orderly Sergeant Basket, Company I, to march by way of Bay Creek to Jack's Fork. I proceeded with the balance of the command by way of leatherwood or Wollsey's trail; found fresh trail of horses; followed them on Jack's Fork to the residence of Miles Stephens and brother, Jack Stephens, whom I was satisfied were bushwhackers. Burned the house. Heard that Fred Taylor had been at Stephens' last week with 25 men. Proceeded down Jack's Fork 10 miles, having marched 30 miles that day. Camped at Widow McCormick's. Had positive evidence that the widow had kept a general rendezvous for Freeman's and Coleman's guerrillas. On the morning of the 6th, burned the buildings. Learned from the widow's son, a young lad, that on the previous evening James Mahan had got him to give news of our approach. Sent back and took Mahan prisoner. Went down to Jack's Fork to mouth of Mahan's Creek: turned up said creek on Thomasville road. Prisoner Mahan attempted to escape, and was shot by the guard. Camped at William Mahan's that night, (having) marched 24 miles. On the morning of the 9th, marched up Mahan's Creek. About 9 o'clock discovered about 20 of the enemy on the bluff above us; fired a few shots at them, when they fell back. I took 20 men up the hill and reconnoitered, expecting to find them in force to give us battle, but they had all fled into the rocky ravines and hills, where it was impossible to pursue to advantage, mounted; returned to the road, gone about 1 mile, and met 3 men, who started to escape on seeing us; killed 2 of them, whom I ascertained from papers found on their persons to be William Chandler supposed to live in Dent County, and a man named Hackley, who had in his pocket a discharge as lieutenant from Company F, Mitchell's regiment, rebel army. He also had several packages of letters from persons in the rebel army and citizens in Arkansas, directed to persons in Dent and Phelps Counties all of which are submitted for your disposal. Two miles farther on we captured William Story on a United States horse. He was recognized and well known as a notorious horse-thief and house-robber. He attempted to escape, and was killed. Camped that night at Morgan Dean's, on Birch Prairie. November 8, started in the direction of Houston; marched 5 miles, and captured William Hulsey, James Hulsey, William McCuan, and Samuel Jones at the house of James Harris, all well provided and packed, going to Freeman. One of them had a horse that was stolen some time since from one of our men; also goods of different kinds. The first three, viz, the Hulseys and McCuan, were killed. Jones, on account of his extreme youth and apparent innocence, I had brought in, a prisoner. Five miles farther, at the house of John Nicholson, a known rebel and bushwhacker, we captured the said John Nicholson, Robert B. Richards, alias Bruce Russell, and Jesse Story, all of whom were killed.

We then marched by way of McCobbin's Mill to Spring Valley, and camped at Wiley Purcel's, November 9, started direct for this post, ending [sic] a few men by way of Upper Jack's Fork, and all arrived here in the evening, all in good health, having been out six days, marched 145 miles, killed 10 men, returned 1 prisoner, burned 23 houses, recaptured 9 horses that had been previously stolen, and took 6 contraband horses and mules. All of which is respectfully submitted.

John W. Boyd [25]

The lawlessness and the accompanying social discord continued in the Ozarks after the South surrendered in 1865. Discharged soldiers returned home to find burned out settlements and villages. For example, in West Plains, the seat of Howell County, guerrillas burned every building in the small town. During the war years (1861-1865), the population of Howell dropped from about 3,200 persons to only 50 families. [26] A similar fate befell Carter and Shannon counties, as the breakdown of civil government continued in the post-war years. The courthouses in both counties were burned. In Carter County, the residents revived the court in the spring of 1866, and the people of Shannon County, while retaining the name Eminence, abandoned the razed political hamlet near Round Spring and moved the county seat to the wide valley of lower Jacks Fork in 1868. [27]

Many refugees displaced from the Current valley and surrounding region during the war feared returning to their homes in the immediate years after the official truce. In 1867, Pennsylvanian Daniel Fogle, scouting out land prospects in Missouri, traveled into the south central counties of Missouri. In the vicinity of Rolla, he encountered a number of Union veterans and sympathizers who had fled their homes in areas dominated by southern supporters. He noted that counties around Rolla and those farther south fought a "regular pitch fight during the war" and a hostile atmosphere remained. In the Ozark counties and districts with a strong southern bias, such as Texas, Shannon, Oregon and Howell Counties, it was hazardous to purchase any of the thousands of acres of land being sold for back taxes. Much of this property belonged to men who had enlisted in the Confederate army, and secret societies protected their land by running off or even murdering anyone who tried to occupy these homes. [28]

In Shannon and Oregon counties, guerrilla bands thwarted an effort to restore civil law after the war. The groups were a mixture of Union army deserters and bitter and Confederate supporters who targeted their wrath on discharged federal veterans. A guerrilla commander, Col. Jamison, led a band of about fifty men, and a group of southern sympathizers formed the Secret Order of the Sons of Liberty to disrupt efforts to restore civil law. They continued to control the counties after state authorities ordered a resumption of civil control in the area and, in the fall of 1867, Missouri Governor Thomas C. Fletcher invoked martial law. He commissioned William Monk, a leading supporter of the Union in Howell County, with the power to lead the state militia against the guerrillas. The militia quickly captured members of the Secret Order who tried to disrupt a meeting of Union veterans at Warm Fork on Spring River. Monk also organized an attack that defeated Jamison's band. In December 1867, the governor reinstituted civil law and disbanded the militia; however, several years passed before the hostilities really subsided. [29]

During the war, an estimated one-third of Missouri's population moved out of the state. In the heavily looted counties of the southeast Missouri Ozarks, the population loss was especially marked. The town of Salem, the seat of government for Dent County, was burned during the war, and its population fell from about 75 to 25 families. In his search for land speculation opportunities, Fogle commented during his walk through the Ozark uplands that he found "few men but many widows." The governor and state legislature responded to the population decline by creating the Missouri State Board of Immigration in 1865 and embarked on an active campaign to attract immigrants from other states as well as from foreign countries. By 1870, Missouri experienced a 45.6 percent population increase, climbing from 1,182,012 to 1,721,295, during the sixties. [30] Yet the growth of the population of the Ozark region, including Carter, Oregon, Reynolds, Shannon, Butler, and Ripley counties, rose only 4.2 percent. Carter County, however, demonstrated a higher growth of 18 percent from 1,235 in 1860 to 1,455 in 1870. In contrast, reflecting the continued violence of guerrilla/outlaws, Shannon County only grew by 2.3 percent from 2,284 to 2,339. [31]

The damaged economy of the Ozark hills recovered slowly after the war. During the 1860s, the number of farms in the Ozark region, as defined above, increased but production dropped. The number of cultivated acres per farm declined. For example, the bushels of corn harvested in 1870 were 6 percent less than in 1860. Losses in livestock production hurt the region the most because the animals represented the keystone of the uplander economy and because of the relatively long time frame needed to replenish the herds. In 1870, the number of cattle in the area totaled about 7,000, a good 25 percent below that of the pre-war years. The economic data suggests that the violence during the war and its aftermath hit Shannon County particularly hard. In this county, both the number of farms and improved acres declined. The small percentage of the county's land cleared for farming before the war equalled 1.5 percent in 1860 and diminished to 1.3. percent in 1870. The war hostilities consumed so much of the livestock of Shannon County that by 1870 the number of cattle stood at only one-half the total of 1860. [32]

Any lasting changes to the Ozarks culture, however, are hard to measure. The self-sufficient lifestyle described by Daniel Fogle in his trip through the southern Missouri Ozarks suggests that the upland families continued to live much as they had before the war. As mentioned previously, the durability of the road and bridge improvements made by the Union troops in the area is uncertain. The difficulty in supplying and moving the large Union force illustrated the rugged and isolated nature of the region. Historian Robert Flanders identified the deep disturbance of the pre-war sense of community in Shannon County as a significant consequence of the hostilities. [33] The knowledge distributed by Union troops of the rich forest and mineral resources of the area; however, probably had the most far reaching consequence of the war on the region. Eastern corporate capitalists took notice of the timber and soon penetrated the Ozark homeland.

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Last Updated: 02-Mar-2005