Civil War

The historical marker located on the grounds of the Bollinger County Courthouse in Marble Hill, Missouri reads as follows:

Here on a scenic hill at the junction of crystal clear Crooked and Hurricane Creeks, Thomas Hamilton laid out Marble Hill after Bollinger County was organized, March, 1851. First called New California, the town was later enlarged, renamed Dallas, and made the county seat. In 1868, confusion with Dallas County lead to adopting the name Marble Hill for the unusual marble-like limestone outcroppings found in the vicinity.

First among pioneers in the county area were Swiss Germans from North Carolina who took up Spanish land grants along the Whitewater and Castor rivers in 1800. The count name honors George F. Bollinger, the leader of these settlers. Pioneer legislator, he had a big mill near Burfordville covered bridge in adjacent Cape Girardeau County.

On the opposite bank of Crooked Creek, just southwest of Marble Hill, is Lutesville, laid out in 1869 by Eli Lutes who gave land to the St. Louis and Iron Mt RR (MO Pac) to win the depot location. Lutesville grew as shipping and trading point and Marble Hill as the county seat and banking town for a grain and livestock farming county.

Marble Hill serves as a seat of justice in a county of the Ozark Highland. An area of low, rugged hills and wide valleys, Bollinger County borders south on Missouri’s Lowland Region. Near here, where an earth fracture has exposed layers of the geologic past, the first dinosaur bones ever found in Missouri were discovered in 1942. Prehistoric Indian mounds are found in the county, utilized in modern times by Shawnee and Delaware Indians and claimed by the Osage until 1808.

In the Civil War, Maj. Jonas Rawalt with 100 Union troops took 18 prisoners here in Jan. 1862 and in April, Col. S. D. Kitchen with 120 Confederates raided the courthouse and town. On nearby Crooked Creek, some 300 Confederates under Col. W.L. Jeffers put to rout about 268 Union troups led by Maj. B.F. Lazear on Aug. 24, 1862. Guerrilla bands ranged the area during the war. The county population rose from 4,481 in 1864, during the war’s last year, to 8,013 by 1870.

Marble Hill was the home of noted Will Mayfield (Baptist) Junior College. Founded, 1879, as an academy by Doctors H.J. Smith and W.H. Mayfield, the school closed, 1934.

Throughout the war, both federal and confederate troops moved through Bollinger County regularly. The sentiment of much of the population of the county was with the south, making its residents particularly vulnerable to attacks by Union soldiers. Dallas (now Marble Hill), the largest town in the county, and the county seat, was the frequent destination of units from both sides. Passing armies and roving guerrilla bands ravished the countryside slaughtering livestock for food, stripping fields of corn and often burning farms.