Deep in the Missouri Ozarks, Christian County, organized 1859, was one of last 3 of the State's 114 counties to be formed. At the request of pioneer "Mrs. Thomas Neaves" it was named for her native Ky. county honoring Rev. War Col. William Christian. Ozark, platted in 1843 by J.C. and A.N. Farmer near a mill on beautiful spring-fed Finley Creek, became county seat and J.C. Inman laid out an addition.
Ozark, a thriving town in the 1850's with a fine academy, Ozark High School, was a Union post in the Civil War. An attack was repulsed in Aug., 1862, and in Jan., 1863, the town was evacuated at the approach of General Joseph O. Shelby who burned a blockhouse there. During the war, guerrilla bands and troops raided the countryside.
To combat lawlessness following the war, the Bald Knobbers, organized as a law and order group, first met on a bald knobbed hill in adjacent Taney County in 1885. In time a number of Bald Knobbers were themselves accused of lawlessness and a number of trials were held in Ozark, and 3 members were executed there, May, 1889.
Among the hills, valleys, and plains of Christian County are many earth mounds and rock cairns from prehistoric days. In modern times, Osage tribes ceded claims to the region, 1808. Delaware Indians held a land grant in the area, 1818-1829.
Back SideTheir trading post was near Ozark. In the early 1820's, Ohioans settled in the county and Tenn. and Ky. pioneers came in the 1830's.
The town of Ozark, whose name derives from the French "Aux Arcs," meaning in the country of the Arkansas, serves a tomato, fruit, livestock, dairy, and poultry farming county. In 1883 the Chadwick branch of the Frisco Railroad reached Ozark.
North of Ozark, in a beautiful setting, is Smallin's Cave having one of the largest openings in Missouri. Explorer Henry B. Schoolcraft, who visited the cave in 1818, called it "Winoca." Northwest at Billings a marker recalls the days when the stages of the Butterfield Overland Mail stopped at Ashmore's Relay Station, 1858-1861. Part of southeast Christian County is in Mark Twain National Forest. Over the line in Greene County is Wilson's Creek Battlefield.