Missouri, The Show Me State

Missouri, The Show Me State

by Sandra Merville Hart

Missouri’s official nickname is The “Show Me” State.

Missouri’s Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver gave a speech in Philadelphia where he said, “I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” This phrase came to describe folks from Missouri as conservative.

The early history of Missouri

French explorers came through Missouri in 1673. They wanted to mine lead and built the first settlement in 1750. Spain took over the area by 1770. The Louisiana Purchase gave the United States control over the area in 1803.

Immigrants arrived in the Missouri Territory after the War of 1812 (1812-15) ended. Settlers from the South brought slaves.

Missouri becomes a State

The Missouri Compromise allowed Maine to become a free state; the law didn’t restrict slavery in Missouri.

Missouri became the twenty-fourth state on August 10, 1821. The capital is Jefferson City.

Gateway to the West

horse-1144029_960_720Missouri was considered the western frontier when it became a state. Pioneers on their way to California and Oregon considered Missouri the beginning point of the journey, earning Missouri the name “Gateway to the West.”

Pony Express

Missouri also became the Gateway to the West for mail delivery. The Pony Express began delivering mail on April 3, 1860.

The almost 2,000-mile journey from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, took 10 days. Pony Riders, mostly teenagers, rode between relay stations about 25 miles apart where they changed horses.

Civil War

Before the Civil War started in 1861, folks along the Kansas-Missouri border battled over slavery. Missouri was a divided state during the war, though most soldiers fought for the Union.

st-louis-arch-409614_960_720Gateway Arch

The tallest man-made monument in the United States is St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. It celebrates the city’s contribution for pioneers traveling west after the Louisiana Purchase.

Other fun facts about Missouri

ice-cream-1440833_960_720In 1904, after ice cream vendor at the St. Louis World’s Fair used his cup, he asked for help from a nearby waffle vendor. He then served ice cream in a waffle cone and invented the ice cream cone. It’s no surprise that the state dessert is ice cream cones. Those of us who love waffle cones are grateful for the vendor’s miscalculation of cups!

Invented in St. Joseph, Aunt Jemima pancake flour – the first self-rising pancake flour – was the first commercial ready-mix food.

The nation’s most powerful earthquake happened in 1811. Folks felt the effects 1,000 miles from New Madrid, the center.

The state tree is a flowering dogwood.



Gutman, Bill. The Look-It-Up Book of the 50 States, Random House, 2002.

“Missouri,” History.com, 2016/07/15   http://www.history.com/topics/us-states/missouri.

“Missouri,” State Symbols USA, 2016/07/15   http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/states/united-states/missouri.

“Missouri,” 50 States.com, 2016/07/15  http://www.50states.com/facts/missouri.htm.


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