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Barry County

Town History

Cassville.—A city of the fourth class, the county seat of Barry County, three hundred and four miles southwest of St. Louis, and the terminal point of the Cassville & Western Railway, which connects it with the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway, four miles westward. It has two banks, a roller flourmill and numerous business houses.
The public school system was adopted in 1869, when a building was erected. In 1880 a high school was instituted. In 1886 a modern edifice was built, at a cost of $5,625.
The school building was used for religious purposes until 1877, when a house of worship was erected, and was used by Methodist and Baptist congregations.
There are lodges of Masons and Odd Fellows, and a Grand Army Post.
Two newspapers are published, the "Democrat" and "Republican," the names of which indicate their political status. Colonel Littleberry Mason, who was a member of the Legislature when Barry County was created, was one of the earliest settlers, living in a cabin near the present site of Cassville, with C. J. Corder and John Lock farther up Flat Creek. Samuel Vaughn, one of the first county judges, lived in the vicinity.
In June, 1845, under a vote of the people, the county court ordered the removal of the seat of justice from the old town of McDonald to the house of William Kerr, and the platting there of a town to be called Cassville, in honor of Lewis Cass, then Secretary of the Navy. (See Barry County.) June 30, 1845, the town was finally platted, and was incorporated March 3, 1847; in 1854 a two-story courthouse building was erected at a cost of $5,500.
The Confederate members of the Missouri General Assembly, who had fled from Jefferson City at the approach of the Union troops, held a session here, with eleven Senators and forty-four Representatives, from October 31 to November 7, 1861. The principal business was signing the acts of secession from the United States and of annexation to the Confederate States, which the same body had passed at Neosho shortly before.
The city was held by each of the hostile armies at various times, and was almost entirely destroyed after the battle of Pea Ridge. The courthouse was used as a fort, and in 1866 the United States paid $1,882.69 for repairs on the building, made necessary by damage during military occupation. The building was afterward enlarged and improved.
Civil government was restored in 1866, but for some years there were frequent feuds growing out of the war, which are now happily terminated, and a cultured and enterprising people are intent only upon advancing business and other interests. Population, 1899 (estimated), 1,000.
[Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901;  Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


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