August 10 is Missouri's birthday, and this year she turned 200 years old. August 10 is also the date of the Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Missouri.
The Livingston County Library in Chillicothe offered a free lecture by Darin Chappell, a local pastor, historian, and city administrator.
During the Civil War, Missouri was a hotly contested border state. A slave state that remained with the Union, Missourians suffered through brother-to-brother battles and battles between pro-slavery bushwhackers and anti-slavery jayhawkers.
The Civil War officially began at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. The Battle of Wilson's Creek, the second major Civil War battle and the first battle west of the Mississippi River, occurred a few months later.
The most interesting thing I learned in the lecture was that Missouri became a prototype for the entire country during the Civil War. During the war, Missouri was sharply divided between North and South, between pro-slavery and pro-Union.
Even more fascinating, according to Mr. Chappell, that line still exists today. He moved from south Missouri to Chillicothe (here in Northwest Missouri) several years ago. He commented on the different ways of speaking here, as well as all the Catholics, compared to all the Southern Baptists in his part of the state.
"They don't call my part of the country the Bible Belt for nothin'," he said.
He told us that Interstate 70 is now the dividing line between the North (Democrat Missouri) and the South (Republican Missouri) and pointed out the cultural, political, and religious differences in the two parts of the state.
Personally, I only know of one Democrat in our county, but I make a point of not discussing politics. And we may have more Catholics than south Missouri, but I know very few. However, I found it super interesting and will be watching for such differences on future Missouri road trips.
Speaking of road trips...I also hope to visit the Battle of Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. The visitors' center and free museum are open daily.
Most of us have at least a vague picture of our country's history, but there are so many local stories we never hear about.
Happy Birthday Missouri!