23 May 1872, Neosho Times
Court Records Destroyed.
On the morning of the 16th inst., an incendiary broke into the Circuit Clerks office at Cassville, in Barry County, and burned up the records of the Circuit Court of that county. A large portion of the papers, both in civil and criminal cases, were destroyed.
It seems the scoundrel perpetrated the act by placing the records and what other papers he could get, in the fireplace, and setting fire to them. This destruction, also, included all the deed records, except book "N." The following extract is from a private letter, received by a gentleman here, from Judge George Hubbert:
"The Circuit Court records for years back, the judgment docket, the execution docket, the court minute book, the Judge's docket, are all gone -- every trace of recent court proceedings obliterated, except some pieces of leaves where the large books were not completely burned up to the centre. All is confusion."
It is suspected that the motive was to destroy every evidence of criminal proceedings against indicted parties, but we have not heard, however, that suspicion was levelled against any particular individual. The loss is considerable and the annoyance great.
As a result of this incident, Barry County's deed records are gapped from about 1855 to 1872. The early deed records from 1835 to 1855 still exist.
With respect to circuit court files, the bound Circuit Court Records detailing the formal orders of the court exist for May, 1849, to August, 1867 (Books A & B) and for July 1872 forward, but the two earlier books are not indexed. Whatever bound records existed before May 1849 and Books C & D (8/1867 to 7/1872) are missing. Individual case files exist for many matters going back to the 1830s. The Probate Court files appear to be complete.
Historical Items from Southwest Missouri
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