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Clarkton began as a small hunting and trading settlement in 1832, and was originally known as Bach, then Beech Grove and, by the time of the Civil War, it had been shortened to Beech. Beech was an island settlement in the middle of a swamp. The town was platted in 1880 after a plank road was built through the area. Clarkton is the oldest city in Dunklin County, Missouri. The community was named for Major Henry E. Clark, who was the chief engineer on the Blanton Plank Road Project. Clarkton and Dunklin County maintained a neutral stance during the first part of the American Civil War. Nevertheless, Clarkton found itself in the midst of the Civil War, beginning with a couple of skirmishes in October of 1862, in which the Blanton Plank Road was burned. Rebuilt with rough logs, the road was so rough that it became known as the Devil’s Backboard. By the end of the war, much of the community had been destroyed. Clarkton is south of McGuire and east of Gibson.



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