Neosho, Missouri

The Masonic Hall in Neosho where the Missouri Secession Convention was held. Courtesy of the State Historical Society of Missouri - Columbia.

Notable Events:

  • Founded (1839)
  • Missouri General Assembly Passes Ordinance of Secession (October 28, 1861)
  • Provisional Secessionist Capital of Missouri (October 28, 1861)
  • Joseph O. Shelby Burns a Section of the Town (October 4, 1863) 

The city of Neosho, Missouri briefly served as a provisional capital of Missouri's secessionist government, which was formed by the deposed governor Claiborne Fox Jackson and secessionist legislators. In October 1861, they passed an Ordinance of Secession and the Confederacy accepted it, making Missouri a part of the Confederacy--at least from the Southern perspective. In reality, the Union maintained military control over most of Missouri, despite frequent guerrilla attacks by bushwhackers across the state. Neosho and southwestern Missouri, however, was occupied or raided by both sides at different times in the war, and nonmilitary raiders threatened commerce. In the midst of the chaos and destruction of war, Neosho's schools and court closed for much of the war's duration. Following the war, the town enjoyed robust growth and connected to the nation's industrial economy through the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. Today, visitors can see many examples of historic architecture in the downtown area.