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Carthage, in southwestern Missouri, is the county seat of Jasper County, and a distinctive old Route 66 town. Carthage was founded in 1841, platted in 1842, and named as the county’s seat of government that year. Carthage and the surrounding region were divided during the American Civil War, particularly over the issue of slavery. The Battle of Carthage, on July 5, 1861, was fought between Union troops from St. Louis and Confederate troops led by Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson, while the Second Battle of Carthage took place in October of 1863, when Union troops met the Confederates north of town, forcing them to return to Arkansas. Several minor skirmishes and attacks occurred throughout the war, and pro-Confederate guerrillas burned most of the city, including the courthouse, in September of 1864. Following the war, the city grew rapidly. The Missouri Railroad came through in 1872, spurring the establishment of several businesses and industries, including a foundry, furniture factory, woolen and grain mills, and several liveries. Leggett & Platt, now a Fortune 500 company still headquartered in Carthage, was founded in 1883. Lead mines and limestone quarries added to the prosperity of the city, and several local buildings were constructed of stone from local quarries. Recently, the city has been promoting local tourism opportunities, emphasizing its history, architecture, and proximity to other tourist destinations. Carthage is east of Morgan Heights and Brooklyn Heights, south of Carytown, and north of Fidelity.


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