Choosing Sides

In early 1861 states found themselves with a difficult decision to make, either secede or stay loyal to the Union.

In few areas was this decision more difficult to make than in Missouri. Missouri was settled primarily by Southerners from Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, or in Bollinger County’s case, North Carolinians but the late 1840’s through the 1850’s the state saw a large influx of German immigration.

As Southern states started to secede, Missouri chose to have a convention on whether or not to secede, each county held a convention to select delegates to Jefferson City to debate the question.

The February 11, 1861 Daily Missouri Republican (St. Louis) reported the convention that took place in Dallas (present day Marble Hill) of February 2, 1861 which stated, in part:

“We the citizens of Bollinger County, in mass meeting assembled, pursuant to previous notice, hereby adopt the following preamble and resolutions:

WHEREAS, by the pernicious and persistent intermeddling with the domestic concerns of the South by the states and the people of the North, our heretofore glorious Union is imperrelled, and;

WHEREAS, it behooves every patriotic citizen to meet the impending crisis with moderation, yet with decision and firmness, and;

WHEREAS, it is hoped by all good men, and believed by many, that an adjustment of our present difficulties can be effected upon of the Crittenden Resolutions; therefore be it

Resolved, 1st. That we cordially approve and endorse said resolutions as the basis for a final settlement of the vexed question of slavery in our country- that we demand and will be content with nothing else.

2. That the State of Missouri should put herself in position that if all efforts shall fail to retain an ample redress of her grievances and a sure guarantee for the future regard of her constitutional rights, she should dissolve her political connection, with the Federal Government, and take such further measures as her interest and welfare may require.

3. That the interests of Missouri are inseparable from the Southern and slave-holding States, as also are their sympathies with them.

4. That any attempt on the part of the Federal Government or by the States of the North to coerce the seceding States, will multiply our difficulties, widen them, and create an eternal barrier to a friendly reconciliation.

5. That we recommended to the citizens of this Senatorial district, as one of the delegates of said district to the State Convention, Edwin H. Wilson as a suitable candidate and a person in whom this meeting reposes full confidence.”

After much discussion, ultimately Jas. C. Noel was chosen as delegate to send to the State Convention.

Related: The Crittenden Resolution


Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition

We have a limited quantity of signed copies of “Blood in the Ozarks: Expanded Second Edition” which documents Union atrocities committed against Southern Sympathizers in Missouri, with a focus on Southeast Missouri. Official records, newspaper accounts, personal stories of atrocities and interviews with former slaves were all used to document this brutal time in Missouri history.



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