The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 1, 2012

Living history events will commemorate 1862 Newtonia battle

NEWTONIA, Mo. — One of the oldest and most historic homes in Southwest Missouri — the two-story brick mansion built by Matthew Ritchey about 160 years ago — will be the centerpiece for the 150th anniversary of the first Civil War battle at Newtonia.

Slated for Saturday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30, the sesquicentennial won’t be a battle re-enactment, said Don Jessen, but rather a “living history” demonstration and Civil War encampment, with people in period costume recreating what life was like in the village of Newtonia in 1862.

Jessen oversees the historic mansion and some of the surrounding battlefield, which is owned by the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association.

On Sept. 29, there will be artillery demonstrations, infantry drills, a Civil War field hospital will be set up, and at 4:30 p.m. there will be a salute to fallen Union and Confederate soldiers. Tours of the 160-year-old slave-built mansion will be offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Inside the house is a museum displaying a number of artifacts, including shells, a rifle, Minie balls and a miniature replica of the mansion. On a nearby wall hangs Doug Hall’s painting titled, “First Battle of Newtonia — September 30, 1862,” showing a Native American Confederate soldier on horseback jumping a low brick wall to attack Union forces.

The battle is unique in that Native Americans from different tribes fought on both sides as military units clashed at Newtonia in 1862, according to historians.

Also on display are copies of rare “picket passes” that allowed civilians to safely cross military lines.

“It’s like a hall pass,” Jessen said with a chuckle.

Upstairs, in the main Ritchey bedroom, the original wood floors have been painted black to hide blood stains after the house was used as a makeshift hospital, according to local historian and author Larry Wood. The upstairs bedroom during the battle was used for surgery. In it, wounded soldiers were tied down, shattered limbs were cut off and then thrown through the nearby window to the ground below.

At 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, there will be a memorial service, with Eastern Shawnee Chief Glenna Walker serving as the featured speaker. It will be held at the First Baptist Church in Newtonia.

The one-day battle, which occurred on Sept. 30, 1862, began at 7 a.m. around a stone-and-timber barn near the mansion. About 350 men were killed or wounded during the first battle. A second battle would occur nearby in October 1864, as Union soldiers pushed the remnants of a Confederate invasion force out of Missouri.

The National Park Service has undertaken a study to determine whether the Newtonia battlefield site should be added to the federal system, either as a free-standing battlefield or military park or as a unit of nearby Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

“It’s very rare” that two Civil War battles would occur nearly on the same real estate, said Jessen. “And it’s even more rare that the first battle involved Indian brigades on both sides, where they faced each other during the battle. It pretty much put us on the map.”

Early Newtonia

According to historian Larry Wood, in 1859 a New York journalist traveled through Southwest Missouri and passed through Newtonia, describing it as a “neat village” with “tasteful buildings” set in a fertile valley.


Text Only
Local News
  • Cancer patient’s drug, probation cases postponed ‘until further notice’

    A Joplin woman who is battling a rare type of cancer has gotten a temporary reprieve in her drug and probation cases so she can focus on her health issues, according to her attorney. Velma Crain, who appeared Monday in Jasper County Circuit Court, was facing the possible revocation of her probation after having been arrested last year on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance.

    April 15, 2014

  • Suspect in assault on officer apprehended in Texas

    The U.S. Marshals Service caught up with a suspect in Texas who was wanted in an assault on a Seneca police officer and alleged probation violations in Arkansas. Cody A. Rantz, 25, is being held in Collin County north of Dallas on warrants issued in Missouri and Arkansas. Federal marshals reportedly located the fugitive at a strip mall in Texas on Monday afternoon and took him into custody.

    April 15, 2014

  • Ex-Jasper teacher’s aide accused of sexual contact with student

    A former teacher’s aide at Jasper High School has been charged with having sexual relations with a 16-year-old student and is being investigated for possible sexual contact with other boys at the school. Janice L. Rusk, 43, was arrested Tuesday and charged with second-degree statutory rape and second-degree statutory sodomy following investigations by school officials and law enforcement.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Open a beer, chat with Tom, see his exhibit

    I like to think that I would have gotten along with Thomas Hart Benton. Sure, I’ve read that sometimes Tom (I think I can call him Tom) could be grouchy, and if someone said something stupid or acted like a jerk, he didn’t mind telling that person exactly what he thought of him. But hey, I grew up with people like that.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho Ethics Board calls witnesses in complaint against council members

    City Manager Troy Royer on Monday night described what he said was an assault by City Councilman Steve Hart, and other incidents involving Hart and Councilman David Ruth. His statements were made to the Neosho Ethics Board, which is investigating a complaint filed against Hart and Ruth. Board members had described Royer as their key witness.

    April 15, 2014

  • r041514recycledfashion.jpg Joplin High School students to model ‘recycled’ dresses at fashion show

    Audrey Kaman will walk the runway later this week wearing a dress she designed herself — made out of 250 doilies. “I’d say it’s a fun dress,” the Joplin High School sophomore said. “It’s not really elegant because it’s short, but it’s cute.”

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Shooter in Joplin murder sentenced to life in prison

    The teen convicted of being the triggerman in the murder of Jacob Wages was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole. At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Circuit Judge Gayle Crane followed a jury’s recommendations in assessing Daniel D. Hartman, 18, two life sentences on convictions for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and 15 years on a conviction for burglary.

    April 15, 2014

  • Interchange construction work near Carterville to create safer off-ramp

    As the Missouri Department of Transportation begins rebuilding eastbound ramps at the Missouri Highway 171 and Route HH interchange near Carterville this week, drivers can expect ramp and occasional lane closures. The $1.5 million project, funded by the state, will increase the distance between ramps for drivers traveling northbound on Highway 249 and exiting eastbound to Highway 171.

    April 15, 2014

  • Commission awards contract for bridge replacement project

    The Jasper County Commission on Tuesday approved a contract for construction of a new bridge on County Road 48.

    April 15, 2014

  • moon 2 Julie Mi…ell Kruege.jpg SLIDESHOW: Lunar Eclipse turns moon red Globe readers sent in their photos of the lunar eclipse which could be seen early Tuesday morning in the Joplin area.

    April 15, 2014

Must Read


In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

A. Yes.
N. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter