Republic is a city in Christian and Greene counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. The population was 8,438 at the 2000 census, and 14,300 as of 2009. It is part of the Springfield, Missouri, Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Republic, Missouri began its existence as a typical crossroads station during the period from 1850 to 1860. Early settlers came from various Eastern states as Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, bringing with traditions and customs peculiar to those states. Others came from New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. From the North and East they came, bringing their habits, beliefs, and customs. Among the first families to settle here were the names of Ritter, Noe, White, Claiborn, Hayes, Britain, Anderson, Blades, Beal, Brooks, Criswell, Davis, House, Howard, Hagewood, Howell, Land, London, McDaniel, Owen, O'Bryant, O'Neal, Pickering, Robertson, Rainey, Richardson, Short, Sparkman, Thurman, Williams, and Youngblood. Many citizens of Republic today are direct descendants of these early families.
Little is known about how Republic got its name. Some of the older residents say that Mark Ritter and his sister, Mrs. Worsefield, (the first postmaster and his assistant), named it. Still others say that Uncle Billy Cliborn gave it the name it now bears. But none of this is true, the name came from Abraham Lincoln, who was a Republican. The majority of the townsfolk were Republican, so the town's name is Republic.
Republic was located in the center of the township and in the midst, at that time, of a rich, thickly populated prairie and an excellent local trade. Republic, being situated on the Frisco Railroad, became a well-known shipping and traveling point.
Before the railroad was built, a small town called Little York, located a short distance from the present site of Brookline, had been the market center since the Civil War. Even before the war, Little York had been the center of trade for most of the countryside southwest of Springfield. After the war, the Frisco Railroad was built through this section (about 1869 and 1870.) The citizens of the then small community of Republic asked the Frisco Company to build a depot or a switch station at this site. The company refused. Mr. Noe, a citizen who had much faith in the future of Republic, raised subscriptions of $1,000 for the purpose of the depot. Republic is deeply indebted to Mr. Noe, not only for the railroad, but perhaps for its very existence. After the building of the railroad, Republic began to grow very rapidly. Little York was replaced by Brookline.
Brookline and Republic absorbed the country trade because of their now ready trade and marketing facilities. Trade was carried on mostly by exchange, there being little money and little need for it. The work of the surrounding community gradually made enough business to cause Republic to make a start.
Aside from farming, few industries were found in and around the little crossroads settlement at its earliest time. The first building, a storehouse, was built by W.H. Noe. This building was located on the site or the present site of Bacon Tire Company. This building became known as the old "red building." Mr. Noe operated a general store stocked with such useful necessities as feed, flour, soap, harnesses, thread, kerosene, or almost anything needed in those days. This building stood longest of any of the old timers. H.A. White soon built the second store and a hall. The first dwelling house was built by the Reverend Loping, the second by Dr. Bartlett and others were soon erected. Eli H. Britain owned and operated a brick yard near his home just west of town (the present-day site of where West Elm Street joins Highway 166.) Two grain elevators were built. One of which the building is still standing, was located across the street from the lumber yard. The other was located about where the depot now stands. The site of Johnston Feed Mill was once the home of a thriving tomato factory. Republic also boasted of a cheese factory, which old timers declare bore all the earmarks of the genuine article.
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