Missouri History November 16, 2015
16 Things You Didn’t Know About The History Of Missouri
Missouri has a rich history, especially concerning the Civil War, being a border state between the north and south. Here are a few historic facts you may or may not have heard before.
1. Most know that Mark Twain was born and raised in Missouri. What you might not know is that he was once a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. It was after this experience that he went on to write his famous novels centered around life on the Mississippi River.
2. When Abraham Lincoln ran for president, one of his biggest antagonists was Valentine Tapley of Missouri who swore that if Lincoln ever did become president, then he would never again shave. As we know, Lincoln did in fact become president. Tapley stayed true to his strange promise, and when he died in 1910, he had whiskers twelve feet and six inches long.
3. The ice cream cone was invented during the St. Louis World Fair in Missouri in 1904, when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups and asked a waffle vendor to roll up waffles for him to hold ice cream. He subsequently sold his ice cream in these waffle cones and a classic American dessert invention was born.
4. The most powerful earthquake to ever strike the United States occurred in 1811, and was centered in New Madrid, Missouri. The quake shook more than one million square miles, and was felt as far as 1,000 miles away.
5. Missouri was the third most fought-over state in the Civil War, right after Virginia and Tennessee.
During the Civil War, Missouri was the scene of more than 1,000 battles.
6. The "Madonna of the Trail" monument in Lexington is one of 12 placed in every state crossed by the National Old Trails Road, the route of early settlers from Maryland to California. The monuments are dedicated to the brave women who helped conquer the west .
7. The first successful parachute jump to be made from a moving airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, in 1912.
8. Kansas City has more miles of boulevards than Paris and more fountains than any city except Rome.
9. The first ready-mix food to be sold commercially was Aunt Jemima pancake flour. It was invented in St. Joseph, Missouri and introduced in 1899.
10. Prior to 1866, it was illegal to educate blacks in the state of Missouri. The Reverend John Berry Meachum, who had run a school for free and enslaved black students, moved his classes to a steamboat on the Mississippi River, beyond the reach of Missouri law. He personally provided the school with a library, desks, and chairs, and called it the “Floating Freedom School”
11. The familiar American folk song, Shenandoah, was originally sung in the early 19th century about a trader on the Missouri River who fell in love with the daughter of the Algonquian chief, Shenandoah. The slow, rolling melody depicts the slow, rolling river and the work of hoisting a ship’s anchor. Sailors would sing the song, changing the words to suit their purpose.
12. Many historians believe that the Civil War began along the border of Missouri and Kansas when Missourians and Kansans battled over whether Kansas would become a "free-state” or a "slave state.” Two of the most famous occurrences were the Sacking of Lawrence by pro-slavery forces and the Pottawatomie massacre by John Brown. The border warfare began in 1854, seven years before the start of the Civil War.
13. Blanche Kelso Bruce was the slave child of a Mississippi planter and a slave who, upon gaining his freedom, became a school teacher and college student, then steamboat captain. In 1864 he founded a school for black children in Hannibal. He later went into politics and later became the first African-American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate in 1875.
14. Missouri's oldest community, Saint Genevieve, was founded in 1735.
15. Saint Louis University received a formal charter from the state of Missouri in 1832, making it the oldest university west of the Mississippi River.
16. The capitol building in Jefferson City has burned down twice. First in 1837 and then again in 1911.
Did you learn something new? What are some other interesting historic facts about Missouri? Share in the comments below.
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