To the people who live there, it probably makes perfect sense, but sometimes us outsiders tend to snicker in amazement, "How on earth did they come up with a name like that for a town?" Missouri does have some odd community names across the state, such as the towns of Map, Nip, and Not, Missouri. We also have a Shake Rag, a Bat, a Rat, and a Cat, Missouri. Peculiar seems like a peculiar name for a town, and there must be a story behind a name like Tightwad, Missouri. There was probably coal at Coal, Missouri, but what about the town of Ink?
We also have a community named Plad down near Bennett Spring State Park, along Highway 64. I understand it was supposed to have been named Glad, Missouri, but the post office misspelled it and printed it with a "P" instead of a "G", an unfortunate mistake, but, it was too much trouble to change it, so Plad stuck.
Town names and street names are like a little piece of recorded history. Sometimes an event will take place to change the original intent, and those original names still remain long after some event changes what created the name in the first place.
For example, the wolves have disappeared from Wolf Island in Mississippi County, and the elk have left the Ozark town of Elkland, but the names remain. The buffalo have disappeared from the prairies of the state, but we still have 25 places in Missouri alone named after the critters, including Buffalo Creek in Franklin County.
However, the obvious town of Buffalo, Missouri, on Highway 13 – north of Springfield – was not named after the animal after all. It was named by its early settlers for the town they came from, Buffalo, New York. Missouri even has a school named Accident School near Cassville, and one named Reeds Defeat in Franklin County. You can let your imaginations run wild on those two.
Both the Native Americans and the Frenchmen who came before us left their mark in the form of state and city names – Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, just to name a few.
Delaware Street, and Shawnee, Kansas – they are both Indian names. Then, there are Laclede and Lafayette counties, Napoleon, St. Louis, Creve Coeur, Missouri and Kansas City's Chouteau Bridge – they are French names.
The French fur traders knew this area in earlier times as the “Blue Country” because of the blue haze that hovers over the hills and valleys across Jackson County. Thus we have Blue Ridge, the Big Blue and Little Blue rivers. If Andrew Jackson had not been so dad gum popular in the mid-1820’s, we would probably live in Blue County.
Some of the earliest towns along the Missouri River were Franklin, Boonville, Arrow Rock, Lexington, Liberty, and then Independence (which is six years younger than Liberty). Kansas City is even younger yet. We know that Franklin, Missouri, was named for Benjamin and Boonville was named for Daniel. Arrow Rock is where the Osage women, in earlier times, made the arrowheads for their warriors, because of the perfect rocks. Lexington was named for Lexington, Kentucky, and reminds a person of an “old charm” Southern town. It is full of beautiful Antebellum and Victorian homes.
Sibley, Missouri, is probably the oldest town in Jackson County; it grew up around Fort Osage, which dates back to 1808 – long before statehood. The town was named for George Sibley who was the government factor (or store keeper) at the fort.
To reach Ted W. Stillwell send email to Counterrevolutionary or call him at 816-896-8692.