Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society

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Legend of the "Kingdom" - Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society Callaway County, Missouri

Callaway County becomes the 'Kingdom'

Early in October of 1861, six hundred (600) Federal troops began converging at Wellsville, Montgomery County, Missouri, on Callaway County's North-East border. Their mission was to subdue "Rebel Callaway". The lawyer and former State Representative, Jefferson F. Jones, with the help of many subordinates, quickly gathered six hundred (600) troops to defend our county from the Federal invasion.

These troops congregated at Brown's Spring, in North Central Callaway County to train and prepare. Equipped, with mostly shotguns and small caliber hunting rifles, they did what they could to present the appearance of a well trained army spoiling for a fight. They went as far as to paint logs black and hide them in the brush with wagon wheels to give the appearance of artillery.

After receiving reports from Union spies on the activities in Callaway County, the Federal commander, postponed his invasion. Afraid that his troops would be annihilated, he waited for reinforcements to arrive.

Meanwhile, Colonel Jeff Jones sent an envoy with a letter to the Federal commander. Though the envoy's primary mission was to apprise Jones of the status of the Federal troops, the letter stated that Jones' force was formed in self defense and that if the Federal Army would not invade Callaway County, nor molest or arrest any of its' citizens, Jones would disband his army.

The Federal Commander, General John B. Henderson, agreed to the terms rather than risk a loss in battle to this "well trained and armed" force of men. In essence he allowed Callaway County to negotiate a treaty as a sovereign state with the Federal Government. This treaty recognized our independence and granted Callaway its' own right to govern itself.

Callaway County became "The Kingdom of Callaway" in October of 1861. After the war was over the 'Kingdom' still refused to be reconstructed and be governed by outside forces. The right of the people was still our supreme law. We were proud that we had faced adversity, had stood strong against it, and had won our right to be who we wanted to be.

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