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Southeast Missouri had a key role in the road to Missouri statehood in 1817-1821. The events leading to statehood, and some of the events, people, and lifeways in the area may be unfamiliar to many modern-day Missourians. Currently, Missouri is celebrating its Bicentennial, and this program aims to summarize the events leading to statehood, some of the factors affecting Missouri’s entry into the Union, and how people lived and worked during that time 200 years ago.Every Friday morning at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m. and Saturday morning at 8:18 a.m., Bill Eddleman highlights the people, places, ways of life, and local events in Southeast Missouri in 1821.The theme music for the show ("The Missouri Waltz") is provided by Old-Time Missouri Fiddler Charlie Walden, host of the podcast "Possum’s Big Fiddle Show."

Missouri Bicentennial Minutes: The Jackson Land Office Sells its First Land Parcels

National Archives and Records Administration, Jackson Land Office, Land Case File No. 2.
Receipt for the second parcel of land sold from the Jackson Land Office, to Joseph O’Bannon. The parcel is on the Mississippi River north of Cape Girardeau. ";

One of the main reasons for an explosion of settlement in Missouri prior to statehood was available land. However, obtaining title was complicated.

First, residents the United States required that those receiving land grants from French and Spanish authorities had to have their claims endorsed after the Louisiana Purchase. A Board of Land Commissioners created to facilitate this process was too parsimonious. Many of these claims remained unsettled and in litigation. Additionally, Congress allowed claimants with land affected by the New Madrid earthquakes to apply for certificates to relocate.

Sales of land not included in these claims had to await survey. Settlers occupying this land lacked clear title, living on it as squatters. They pressured Congress to allow them to preempt the land, that is, have first right of refusal when the land was surveyed and sold.

Additionally, the government had to establish a process for land sales. The first office in St. Louis sold very little land in southeast Missouri. Many early purchasers were land speculators, who purchased large areas for resale. Timothy Flint observed that between 1816 and 1818 – “the rage for speculating in…lands was at the highest…The zeal to purchase amounted to a fever…immigration from the western and southern states to this country poured in a flood…We have numbered a hundred persons passing through the village of St. Charles in one day.”

The Jackson Land Office sold most land in southeast Missouri. Although Congress created the office in 1818, surveying and claim settlement delayed sales. The first parcel sold May 21, 1821, although the Washington office did not issue patents until 1823. The land flood in our area began! 

Bill Eddleman was born in Cape Girardeau, and is an 8th-generation Cape Countian. His first Missouri ancestor came to the state in 1802. He attended SEMO for two years before transferring to the University of Missouri to study Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. He stayed at Mizzou to earn a master of science in Fisheries and Wildlife, and continued studies in Wildlife Ecology at Oklahoma State University.
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