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Greene County
Historical Society
P.O. Box 3466 GS
Springfield, MO 65808

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This site was last
updated on
March 6, 2004

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Center Township....

Center Township was organized April 7, 1856, as a result of the reduction of the size of Boone and Polk Townships. It first was named Farmer Township after Judge W. B. Farmer who was absent the day the township was formed. Upon his return he made a motion that the name be changed to Center. Its present boundaries include all of the sections within R23W, R24W, and T29N except Sections 31-36 of R23W and T29N. It is bounded on the west by Lawrence County, Boone Township on the north, Pond Creek and Brookline Townships on the south, and Campbell Township on the east. The portion of the township lying within R24W is refered to as West Center Township and the portion within R23W is referred to as East Center Township. Pond and Pickering Creek in West Center Township flow into the Sac River which cuts diagonally across the Township from north to south. Further down the Sac River, Sycamore Creek joins the Sac. The headwaters of the Sac River and Clear Creek are within East Center Township.

Grand Prairie is located in the eastern portion of the township. The first settlers in what would later become Center Township included a widow by the name of Leeper and her sons, John, Frank, Guion, who came in 1832. The area where they settled became known as the Leeper Prairie. The county poor farm later was located here. The next settlers were George Young and Joseph Dobbs. In 1837 came Jeptha and Josiah Mason, Isaac and Townley Redfearn, William Tatum, and James Wison.

Communities once existing in East Center Township include: Yeakley, Dorchester, later called Hazletine, Goodlander, and Elwood, also known as Plainfield and Campbell Junction. The community of Haven, located in the extreme northwest portion of West Center Township, is one of the lost towns of Greene County researched by Arthur Paul Moser.

A portion of the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport is located on the extreme eastern edge of East Center Township.


Bois d'Arc

The principle community in West Center Township is Bois d' Arc (pronounced Bowdark), named after the Osage Orange or Bois d'Arc tree, also known as the hedge apple. The hedge apple wood made excellent bows as discovered by the Indians of the area. The French name is derived from this association meaning the wood of the bow. The hedge apple wood is also quite resistant to decay. In 1844, Joseph Goodwin, who operated the area post office, set out a row of the hedge apple on his farm and named the post office, Bois D'Arc. In 1872 John Bymaster and purchased six acres of land and the post office moved to his house and he became the postmaster. The new post office was at first called New Bois D'Arc. Within the year, Bymaster had built a storehouse and began a merchandising business. In 1874 John Roth established a blacksmith shop. In 1878 the Springfield & Western Missouri Railroad tracks were laid between Springfield and Ash Grove. A resident, Mr. Burnett, whose land lay in the path of the construction, donated ten acres of land for a town site. Subsequently Dr. Park and Mr. Bray purchased the ten acres from the railroad company and laid off the town of Bois D'Arc.

By 1883 Bois D'Arc could boast of five stores, two drug stores, two blacksmith shops, one carpenter shop, a shoe shop, a hotel and one saloon. There was a Masonic and Odd Fellows lodge, school and church.

Return to the list of Greene County's townships.

 

   
   

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