The beautiful city of Carthage was laid out, 1842, as the seat of Jasper County, organized, 1841, and named for Sgt. William Jasper, Revolutionary hero. Centered in a county of great mineral wealth and good farm land, Carthage grew into a marketing, manufacturing, and shipping city.
Westward are the famous tri-state lead and zinc fields; northward, livestock and dairy farms; and here, the Carthage Marble quarries. A limestone of magnificent color and hardness, Carthage Marble was first quarried in 1880. Among the buildings of this stone is the Missouri State Capitol.
In 1861 Carthage was the scene of the second major engagement of the Civil War in Missouri. It was burned to the ground by Southern guerrillas, 1864. In the Battle of Carthage, July 5, 1861, some 4,000 armed and 2,000 unarmed State Guardsmen led by deposed Gov. Claiborne F. Jackson forced Union Col. Franz Sigel's 1,100 troops to fall back and cleared the way for joining with other State Guards and with cConfederate troops, thereby gaining time to equip and train the pro-Southern troops of Missouri.
Carthage, on the banks of the Spring River, lies in a region where western prairie and Ozark Highland meet. This area was part of the territory held by the Osage Indians until their 1825 land cession to the U.S.
After Carthage was burned, Sept. 22, 1864, Cave Spring was temporarily county seat until 1866. During the reconstruction period, Carthage was aided by the coming of the Memphis, Carthage, and Northwestern R.R. (Frisco), 1872, and Lexington and Southern (Mo. Pac.) 1880. Among the schools here were Carthage Female Academy, 1855; Carthage (Presbyterian) Collegiate Institute, 1886; and Ozark (Methodist) Wesleyan College, 1924. Today's Catholic College of Our Lady of the Ozarks opened, 1944.
Among points of interest are Battle of Carthage markers; scenic Carter, Municipal, and Center parks; Carthage Public Library with its art collection from Carthage of Africa; and to the south, Carver National Monument. Born here were Anna Baxter White, said to be first woman elected to public office in Mo. when made county clerk, 1890; and Belle Starr, post-Civil War outlaw.