a state in 1820, and its act of admission was one of the wedges
of separation that produced secession and civil war forty years
later. Missouri Territory, located in the Louisiana Purchase, was
mostly settled by Southerners who wanted their state to have legalized
slavery. Abolitionists opposed the admission of any new state that
permitted slavery and particularly did not want to set a precedent
for the rest of the Louisiana Territory.
The result was the Missouri Compromise: Missouri entered the Union
as a slave state and Maine was separated from Massachusetts and
admitted as a free state, maintaining the balance in the Senate
between slave and free states, and slavery was prohibited elsewhere
in the Purchase north of 36 degrees, 30 minutes, north latitude.
When the election of 1860 helped produce secession, eleven states
organized the Confederacy and the Civil War began. Governor Claiborne
F. Jackson and Lt. Gov. Thomas Reynolds wanted to add Missouri to
the Confederacy but Union troops prevented the legislature from
enacting the ordinance of secession.
Jackson, Reynolds, and other Confederate sympathizers fled to the
southwestern part of Missouri and claimed that they remained the
only elected government of the state despite the installation of
a government that favored the Union in the old state capital.
Military reverses for the Confederates forced Jackson and Reynolds
to move on to Arkansas, where they headquartered their version of
Missouri's state government in Camden and then in Arkadelphia. Jackson
died in Little Rock in 1863, and Reynolds claimed that he was now
governor. Reynolds fled Arkansas just before the fall of Little
Rock. He made his way to Marshall
and occupied the home of Texas Supreme Court Justice Asa Willie
and another building located across the street for an office. Since
Reynolds had the official state seal of Missouri with him, he stamped
official documents for his state in Marshall
until Texas also surrendered to those "overwhelming numbers and
resources" that brought all the states of the Confederacy back into
the Federal Union. As long as we are pretending, did you know that
was once the capital of Mexico?
Things Historical August
Publish by permission.
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
(Archie P. McDonald is Director of the East Texas Historical Association
and author or editor of more than 20 books on Texas)
See Marshall, Texas