“Our stunt has exceeded out wildest expectations. We have created a monster. We have a good thing going here and all concerned have done a good job. Some of the people in the area, though, think the whole thing is serious… It is time to strike away the serious aspect and let it continue in the light vein that was originally planned,” Robert Yocum, Attorney General.¹
Some newspapers, including the Joplin News Herald and McDonald County Press, say that the secession movement ended shortly after the Battle of Noel, but the movement, or at least its spirit, survived in Noel until after the land rush. It is important to emphasize that most of the movement was centered in Noel and may not have represented the county. In fact, the Anderson News Review, the Pineville Democrat, and the Southwest City Republic often did not put secession news on the front page status. Local harvests, school board elections, and community activities tend to take up much more space. The Pineville Democrat actually did not even mention the movement until it published a story titled “Jasper County Caravan Invades Pineville” on April 20, over a week after secession was announced. To some residents, McDonald Territory was more of a nuisance than a fight for self-preservation. Bill Hall, Mayor of Anderson, stated that the movement, while publicizing the county, had become a farce. Many urged to end it early on.²
Another reason that the secessionist movement had such a short life was the fact that it lost the support of Joplin and the other surrounding counties. Eventually, the only town in McDonald County that continued to advocate for the secession was Noel. The movement did not gain much continued support from the other towns, who feared the repercussions of seceding from Missouri, such as having the state funding cut and all state employees fired. And with the loss of all the surrounding towns’ support, Noel eventually fell in line as well.
1. “Seek to Return Territory Issue to Original Intent for Publicity,” McDonald County Press, April 16, 1961.