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Named for Mexican War Colonel Alexander William Doniphan, the city of Doniphan is located in Ripley County, in southern Missouri. The first settler in the area that was to become Doniphan was Lemuel Kittrell, who homesteaded on a bluff above the east bank of the Current River in 1819, operating a store and building a grist and wood carving mill nearby. The settlement that grew up around his store became known as Kittrell’s Mill, and was a regular stop on the Butterfield Stage Line. Doniphan was officially founded, and named the county seat in 1847 after George Lee contributed fifty acres for the town site. By 1860, there were plans to extend the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad from Pilot Knob to Doniphan, but the Civil War changed that. The people of Ripley County were largely sympathetic to the Southern cause, boasting several Confederate regiments, including the 15th Missouri Cavalry Regiment, which was based in Doniphan. Because three major highways passed through Ripley County, fighting was active throughout the war. Nearly all of Doniphan was burned by Union troops in September of 1864, as Confederate General Sterling Price’s army was moving into Ripley County from Arkansas. After the war, the town recovered, largely due to the construction of a branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1883, providing a means of marketing timber harvested in the surrounding region. Ripley became a city in 1891. Doniphan is northwest of Pulaski, southwest of Hill Top, and north and east of the Mark Twain National Forest.

 

 

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