La Russell, Missouri

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La Russell is a city in Jasper County, Missouri, United States. The population was 138 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Joplin, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

Geography

La Russell is located at 31°08′27″N 94°03′40″W / 31.140812°N 94.061054°W / 31.140812; -94.061054.[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²), all of it land.

History

The village of La Russell, Missouri was platted and laid out for public use August 18th, 1903. La Russell was named in honor of Russell Harding, vice president and general manager of the Missouri-Pacific Railroad at that time and of importance to the towns creation. The French La was added to the original proposed name of Russell in order to prevent confusion with another Missouri town named Russellville . Because of this word change the name La Russell appears to be unique in the United States.[4]

This had been the hunting grounds of the Osage Indians that were known to have camped at nearby Spring River, a short distance north of present day La Russell. Their lands to the east had been previously purchased by the U.S. Government in 1808 (Treaty of Fort Clark) and other tribes had been moved to this location as well, and then later all were moved again to the Osage Nation areas elsewhere. Arrowheads and other Native American artifacts can still be found in the plowed fields near the river today.

Although La Russell itself was founded in 1903 because of the railroad, early settlers at this location were among the first in the county dating back to the 1830s. The first public school in Jasper County, Missouri was established near the future site of La Russell in 1838. This was the Cave Springs School, also known as Teas School in honor of its first teacher Samuel Teas. School sessions during the Antebellum Era were split into two periods each school year, with a summer session and a winter session because students were needed at home for Spring planting and Fall harvest. The Cave Springs School also served as a church and a military headquarters for the Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union) during the American Civil War. Following the burning and destruction of the county seat of Carthage, Missouri in the Civil War, the state governor moved the temporary Jasper County Courthouse to the Cave Springs School in 1865. The school still exists and can be visited today. A Civil War memorial was also erected by the Eastern Jasper County Historic Sites Association in 2009 at the old Cave Springs Cemetery near La Russell, one of the oldest cemeteries in Jasper County.[5]

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