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The city of Springfield is the third largest city in Missouri and the county seat for Greene County. In the mid to late 1820s, John Polk Campbell and Madison Campbell, were prospecting in southwestern Missouri, an area then populated by the Kickapoo and Cherokee Indians. They came across a group of Kickapoo, and found that a young boy from the tribe was seriously ill. John Polk Campbell was able to nurse the boy back to health and, as a reward, the tribal leaders gave him a tract of land north of their village, where he built a log cabin near a spring, for which the city was later named. When Missouri became a state in 1821, Campbell announced his claim to the land, and encouraged others to join him. In 1833, he donated fifty acres for a town, designating two acres as the public square, and Springfield was incorporated in 1838, the year that the Cherokee were forcibly removed from their lands in Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia in what became known as the Trail of Tears, as the Cherokee passed through Springfield on the Old Wire Road, then known as the Military Road. During the American Civil War, Springfield residents were divided in their loyalties, and both sides held the city at various times during the war until January of 1863, when the Union took possession of Springfield and held it for the duration. In July of 1865, the Springfield town square was the site of the country’s first recorded shootout, as Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tuft shot it out after a poker game, resulting in Tuft being killed with one shot through the heart, and event that made national news. North Springfield was established as a new city by the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad in 1870, then merged with Springfield in 1887. The historic roadway, US Route 66 was first proposed in Springfield in 1926.


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