Brief History of Branson Missouri Area 1808-1924

As Compiled by "Spiritual History of the Ozarks author Gaye Lisby"

1808- Osage Treaty ceded rights to land including Ozark Mountains to U.S. government.

1818-Schoolcraft is first White to chronicle travels through interior of Ozarks. Notes only a few White families in what is now known as Stone, Taney and Christian Counties. Notes Indian settlement at what is now Shadowrock Park, Forsyth and mouth of James River in Galena.

1820’s-Displaced woodland tribes and early re-settlement Cherokee begin to appear. Delaware, Peorias, Weas. Piankashaws are included.

1821-Missouri Compromise – Missouri becomes a state after the government compromised to add Missouri as a slave state after Maine is added as a non slave state

1824-Missouri passes a law making it illegal for Indians to remain in the State.

1837-Taney County Formed. First Post Office is established at what is now known as Shadow Rock Park.

1837-Jesse Jennings settler in valley, now known as Rockaway Beach. First country courts convenes at his log cabin home.

1838-Mormon extermination order made by Governor Boggs. Mormon’s forced out by state militia in what is now termed the “Mormon Wars.”

1838-1839 Forced removal of the Cherokee in what is known as “The Trail of Tears.”

1838 Baptist Circuit riders preachers make semi-annual tours through the Ozarks.

1839 Roving bans of bushwackers begin random acts of violence on region’s settlers.

1840 Jesse Jennings conducts Taney County’s first census. Only five slaves are listed.

1841-Methodist Church adds Taney County circuidt to their Southern District’s missouary ministry. Preachers travel through about every other month.

1851-Stone County formed after Taney County

1852-Steamboat, The Yohogony, was the first to reach Forsyth.

1857-Fancher Wagon Train, Composed of people from the Land of Taney was massacred at Mountain Meadows, Utah by Mormons and Indians

1859-Christian County established out of territory from Taney, Greene and Webster counties.

1861-Civil War erupts. Forsyth courthouse destroyed by artillery shells in actions known as Sweeny’s Raid on Forsyth.

1862-Congress enacts the Homestead Act which gave 160 acres of land to the head of every family who could “prove up”

1862-Infamous bushwacker, Alf Bolin, killed by Union soldier. His head is cut off and carried to Ozark where it is mounted on a pole. His body is thrown into a ditch near Swan Creek.

1872-Forsyth Masonic Lodge is established. First Masonic Lodge in Taney County.

1880-Knights of Labor founded Eglinton Colony,a secular, utopian, socialist colony near Taneyville. Most of the members had attended school in the “old country” and had belonged to the Church of England.

1882 Reuben Spalding settles on seven acres of land purchased from Thomas Jefferson Berry and applies for US Postal Permit. Branson is founded.

1882 Nat Kinney slips out of Springfield and reappears in Oak Grove (Down T-Highway)

1884-1889 Bald Knobber years

1898-November, Jimmy,Pete and Steve Bilyeu killed in a shootout by Bud and Bob Meadows and Hosea and Martin Bilyeu near the Christian Taney County line

1901-August. Jennie Silvey murdered by Sam Ward who then committed suicide

1901- Terrible drought. No rain for 100 days

1901 –Reverend James Forsythe, Prysbyterian missionary to the Ozarks arrives to stay

1901- William Hawkins re-files Branson Postal permit in the name of Lucia

1902-Feburary. Thomas Berry Jefferson supposedly hangs himself in Branson.

1903-May. Henry Berry, T.J.’s son mysteriously dies

1903-October 2, plat of Lucia filed. October 26 plat of Branson filed. First lost sold from Branson plat is for saloon. Henry Sullenger, owner.

1903-December.Henry Barchman shot at Kirbyville store by owner Jjames Madison Parnell.

1905-Presbyterian minister Harold Bell Wright travels to the Ozark Hills and begins writing his novel

1906 Trains begin traveling through Ozark Mountain country with stops at both Branson and Hollister.

1907 Reverend Forsythe begins The School of the Ozarks . Masonic Lodge donates cornerstone.

1907 Wrights’s novel Shepherd of the Hills is published and becomes an immediate best seller. First American novel to sell more than one million copies.

1908-Spearheaded by Dr. Elizabeth McIntyre, Branson residents begin a fundraising drive for the construction of Branson’s first permanent church structure. Saloon keeper, Henry Sullenger is first contributor.

1909-The Temperance League attempts to outlaw strong drink. Law is defeated.
1911-New church is finally completed. Now known as Old Stone Church.

1912-January, Jim Miles kills Enos Rush in the downtown meat market

1912-August . Fuire destroys nearly all of Branson. Most residents are at the Miles trial in Forsyth that day.

1913-Powersite Dam finished. And Lake Taneycomo is formed flooding Old Jesse Jennings Cemetery where Indians are buried.
Willard Merriam begins Rockaway Beach where a resort community begins to flourish.

1916-Willard Merriam begins Rockaway Beach where a resort community begins to flourish

1917 WWI takes its first group of Taney County draftees.

1918-Francis Jennings, one of the first draftees, becomes Taney County’s first war casualty.

1918-Flu epidemic sweeps the country including Taney County. Many dir.

1920-Town of Melva swept away by enormous tornado.

1922-John Carroll, struggling father of nine children, opened a White River mussel shell and found an enormous pearl worth $336.00

1924-Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S.