Battle of Athens - Athens, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 40° 35.070 W 091° 41.790
15T E 610313 N 4493450
Site marker stands where once the center of town stood.
Waymark Code: WM7GWN
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 10/25/2009
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member gparkes
Views: 9

Marker Erected by: Clark County MO. Historical Society.
Date Marker Erected: Aug. 20, 1964.
County of Marker: Clark County.
Location of Marker: MO-CC, Battle of Athens States Historic Site, Athens.

Marker Text:

Aug. 5, 1861
Northernmost Battle West
of Mississippi River
"Only when man's differences
have been resolved can he
rise to his rightful place"

Robert Eisenhart

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark:
Missouri's northernmost Civil War battle, Battle of Athens, not only was significant in keeping northeast Missouri under Union control, but had a major impact on a thriving river town.

John Boon of Kentucky was the first settler at the Athens site around 1831 and by 1841, it had a post office. By the late 1840s, a federal lock and dam had been built on the Des Moines River that converted Athens into a bustling river port.. The town grew to be a village of about 500 people and with 50 businesses, five churches and a two-story public school. Businesses included a large hotel, a wagon factory, a meat packing plant and a large mill that produced flout, cornmeal, lumber, and cotton and woolen products.

Athens prospered until the outbreak of the Civil War. Settled by people from the upper South, Athens was considered by Unionists to be a hotbed of pro-South sentiment. As the spring of 1861 moved into summer, northeast Missourians began choosing sides in the ever-widening national conflict.

Pro-Unionists rallied around David Moore, who had raised a force of about 500 men. Moore entered and occupied Athens on July 24, seizing homes and businesses from pro-South supporters to quarter and provision his troops. Pro-South supporters rallied around Col. Martin Green. Green raised a force of about 3,000 men, including two of Moore's sons.

The confrontation between Moore's and Green's forces took place at Athens on Aug. 5, 1861. The battle began around 5 a.m. Moore and his Unionists were surrounded on three sides by Green's troops, with the Des Moines River to their rear. Despite being outnumbered at least five to one, Moore's men were better trained and equipped. After about two hours of fighting, at least 50 soldiers had been wounded or killed and the pro-South side was demoralized and in full retreat.

The big loser in the battle was the town of Athens. Bitter feelings between neighbors continued for decades following the Civil War. Athens was also hurt by the shift from river to railroad transportation in the post-war era. By 1900, the once-thriving town was nearly gone.

Commemorations of the Battle of Athens were first held in 1868 and became annual events in 1900. In 1962, area residents interested in preserving the battle site formed the Athens Park Development Association. They held annual events including dances, raffles and motorcycle hill climb to raise money to finance land purchases. Through land donations, purchases and hard work, the group was able to create Battle of Athens Park. In 1975, the group donated the park to the Missouri State Park Board and Battle of Athens State Park was born. In 1981, the site began hosting Civil War battle re-enactments and in 1985, the facility was reclassified as a state historic site.

Today, the historic site encompasses much of the former town of Athens. Several buildings have been preserved and are undergoing restoration. Foremost is the Thome-Benning house, locally known as "the cannonball House," which still exhibits two holes made through the kitchen walls by a cannonball during the battle.

Additional point: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
A clear picture of the Marker or Plaque taken by you.
Also would appreciate you input on the text and location.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest Missouri Historical Markers
Nearest Geocaches
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
iconions visited Battle of Athens - Athens, MO 06/14/2014 iconions visited it
kJfishman visited Battle of Athens - Athens, MO 06/17/2011 kJfishman visited it

View all visits/logs