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Also known as St. Joe, the city of St. Joseph is the county seat of Buchanan County, and the eighth largest city in Missouri. Situated along the Missouri River, St. Joseph was the starting point of the Pony Express and the place where Jesse James was killed by Robert Ford, a sometimes member of his own gang who hoped to collect a reward. Other notable people with connections to St. Joseph were Walter Cronkite, Jane Wyman, and Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known as Eminem, who were born in St. Joe. Joseph Robidoux, a fur trader, is credited as the founder of St. Joseph. The town was incorporated in 1843, and was the westernmost point in the United States accessible by train until after the American Civil War. As such, it was the jumping off point for those heading to the Oregon Territory. Between April 3, 1860 and October of 1861, St. Joseph was the starting point for the Pony Express which, despite its strong name recognition, operated for only a short time. One month after the start of the Civil War, the U.S. flag was removed from the St. Joseph post office and destroyed by a secessionist mob. Union troops soon arrived to keep the town under federal control, while town leaders did their best to keep St. Joseph neutral. However, when the Union garrison was called away, Confederate militia took control of the town, at which time it was looted of twenty-five wagons full of goods. Upon the return of Union troops, the town was placed under martial law, and its residents were required to have passes in order to enter or leave the town for the duration of the war. During the course of the war, approximately two thousand St. Joseph men had joined the Confederacy, while roughly the same number had joined the Union army. Surrounding communities include Country Club Village, Elwood, and Wathena.


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