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The village of Bakersfield, Missouri is in Ozark County. The community is situated about eight miles south of Caulfield on Missouri Highway 101, a couple of miles from the Arkansas border on Arkansas County Road 219. The area was originally known as Bennett’s Bayou, when it was settled by homesteaders in 1840, although European Americans were living there as early as the 1790s. The original group of settlers died from a mysterious disease, and were later buried by travelers. Visiting the area in 1818, the explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft reporting on his meeting the first white man he had seen in twenty years, who directed him to a hunter’s house on Bennett’s Bayou, a tributary of the North Fork. The town later was known as Waterville. Although the exact date was no recorded, there is a letter postmarked Waterville, Missouri, and dated in 1832. James A. Baker later became a prominent figure after buying a large field from a man named Waters in the 1830s, and eventually having his name on every deed in town. Although there were post offices in town earlier than that, the first federal post office was built in 1873. The town’s name was changed to Bakersfield at that time because mail addressed to Waterville, Missouri was mistakenly sent to Waterville, Maine. The name Bakersfield was not acceptable to the government, so the town’s name was changed back to Waterville for a short time before being again name Bakersfield in 1885.

 

 

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