Wednesday, Aug 26, 2020
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The area which is now Boone County was once home to Native Americans like the Osage. Spanish and French explorers later came through, followed by settlers from Tennessee, Kentucky, and other southern states. The land was heavily forested and hilly, so new arrivals came by river until roads could be built for wagons.
An east-west military road, also known as the Washington Road, was built in the days when the area was part of a much larger Carroll County. Boone County was created in 1869 from a large chunk of Carroll County; a few years later a small portion of Marion County was added. The county wasn’t named after Daniel Boone, as some have claimed. Rather, its beautiful land was said to be a boon (a gift) to its settlers.
Farmers found prairies and other land suitable for grazing livestock and planting such crops as cotton, corn, and fruit. Zinc and lead were mined and forests were heavily logged for such products as railroad ties, lumber, barrel staves, and tool handles. The coming of the St. Louis and North Arkansas Railroad in 1901 meant that more of Boone County’s products could be shipped to market
Some of this progress was seen in the several health resorts that opened in the 1880s to promote the medicinal benefits of the county’s springs. Private academies flourished as did businesses, especially in the county seat of Harrison. But Boone County had its troubles over the years. During the Civil War bushwhackers and armies tore through the land, destroying homes, businesses, and families. In the early 1900s race riots drove out most of Harrison’s African American population and a railroad strike led to vandalism and a hanging.
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