Sedalia and the Civil War
This exhibit was made possible by the Missouri Humanities Council. It was developed to compliment the traveling exhibit Missouri and Civil War and was produced with the support of Becky Imhauser. Other exhibit sponsors include Mark Hammond, Pettis County Historical Society, Missouri State Parks / Battle of Lexington State Historic Site, Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site, Charles Wise, Linda Myer, Kathleen Boswell, Terri Fowler, Jill White and Debbie Biermann.
Every new town has its challenges. Consider Sedalia, which was founded in October 1860—six months before the Civil War began. The war turned Sedalia’s focus from settling to survival, from building to bushwackers. Every person was affected by the war and had a story. This exhibit represents a portion of their experiences, which shaped Sedalia into the city it is today.
As the 1850’s drew to a close, two things were about to change Pettis County forever – the Pacific Railroad and the Civil War. When the Civil War came, loyalties of Pettis Countians were fairly evenly divided among Northern Unionists, Southern Rebels and those who professed neutrality. With Union garrisons at Sedalia the railroad terminus and the crossroads town of Georgetown, Longwood and Dunksberg, local conflicts were limited to skirmishes and light casualties. Nevertheless, when the war was done, families were displaced and Pettis County’s sons lay in hundreds of graves scattered far from home. And those returning home, Union and Confederate alike found new leadership, new money and unfamiliar faces installed in the new county seat town of Sedalia.
It may safely be said that no inland town in Missouri has been cursed and more blessed by the present war than Sedalia.
Dr. John Trader
Col. A.D. Jaynes
After the war ended, Col. A. D. Jaynes recognized Sedalia’s potential and moved to the emerging city. His legacy touches nearly every aspect of the town.