October 26, 1865: Building opposition to the Missouri Constitution

Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus of October 26, 1865 reports on a trip about 50 miles to the southwest, to Bloomfield, MO. As the author tells us, opposition to the new Missouri Constitution was strong there in Stoddard County, and they were selecting delegates to send to the Mass Convention in St. Louis that has been mentioned before.

The mention of “chills and fever” is interesting — most likely people in the area suffered chronically from malaria. The region was largely swamp, with high ground mainly on Crowley’s Ridge; it would be drained in the early part of the 20th century by the Little River Project, which created vast swaths of fertile farmland at the expense of a millions of acres of wetlands teeming with wildlife.

Trip to Bloomfield.

We spent the past week among our hospitable and generous friends of Bloomfield — the Circuit Court (Judge Emerson presiding,) being in session there at the time.

The charge of Judge Emerson to the grand jury was characterized by that full, broad and manly sense of freedom which is the attribute of the true man. We found young Mr. D.S. Crumb officiating as deputy clerk, in this court, and an excellent one he makes, too.

We found many of our friends suffering from chills and fever, and much sickness prevailing everywhere – although, as a general thing, not of a fatal character.

On Monday, a meeting was convened for the purpose of appointing delegates to the Mass Convention at St. Louis to-day, and we had the pleasure of listening to a couple of very able speeches, in opposition to the New Constitution, by Judge Greene, of our county, and William T. Leeper, of Wayne County. They did much good toward moving the people to array themselves against that damnable instrument in coming elections.

At this meeting Mr. H.H. Swasey was nominated as the anti-Constitution candidate for Representative, which, unless other candidates of the same political faith enter the lists, is equivalent to an election. He has our warmest wishes for success over any friend of the odious instrument.

The town of Bloomfield has suffered terribly from the effects of war — on the site of the former centre of the town stands the immense fort constructed in the last days of the rebellion, and which will require the expenditure of an immense amount of time and money to level down; but her people are alive to the future, and their energy and perseverance are equal to the task before them. A number of fine, substantial buildings are being erected there.

While there we had the pleasure of meeting a number of the officers and citizens of Dunklin county, which has just been reorganized, with Dr. Jacob Snider, Mr. Shelton and Mr. White as County Judges; Lieut. Rathbun as Sheriff, and Lem. T. Bragg as Circuit and County Clerk — all excellent appointments. We congratulate the citizens of Dunklin on the restoration of law and order once more. They have plenty of cotton, which is an element of future prosperity.

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