Salem in Dent County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Before dawn on Dec. 3, 1861, a skirmish took place here that is often called the Battle of Salem. About 120 Union troops led by Maj. W.D. Bowen defeated around 300 pro-Southern state troops led by Col. T.R. Freeman and remained in control of Salem, strategic point on the road to the railway terminus at Rolla. Union forces occupied Salem throughout the war, except briefly in 1864, when raiders burned the courthouse and jail. The courthouse was rebuilt, 1870.
Salem grew with the coming of the St. Louis, Salem, and Little Rock R.R. (Frisco), 1872, and with the development of iron resources in the area in the 1870’s. Dent County, with 33 iron mines, was one of the state’s top producers until 1915. Northeast is Sligo, once a booming company town. A furnace was put in blast there, 1880.
Salem, seat of a farming and lumbering
Montauk State Park, southwest of Salem, was acquired by the state in 1927. There, 930 feet above sea level, in a setting of timbered hills, Montauk Springs emerge in an open valley to send forth daily some 40 million gallons to form the headwaters of the beautiful, spring-fed Current River.
Indian Trail State Forest, northeast of Salem, was established in 1924. The White River Trail, much used by the Indians and later by the pioneers, passed through Dent County northeastward, crossing the forest. To the east, Dent County forms a part of Clark National Forest, established, 1933-39. Seeps and springs in the forest form the source of the historic Meramec River.
Erected 1957 by State Historical Society of Missouri and State Highway Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & Settlers • War, US Civil. Missouri, The State Historical Society of series list.
Location. 37° 38.954′ N, 91° 32.171′ W. Marker is in Salem, Missouri, in Dent County. Marker is on N. Main Street north of W. 8th Street, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located at entrance to roadside park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Salem MO 65560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 1 other marker is within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. White River Trace portion of the Trail of Tears (approx. 3.2 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on November 15, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 15, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 311 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 15, 2016, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.