The history behind the naming of the city of Joplin


JOPLIN, MO – In a couple of years, the city of Joplin will be celebrating its 150th anniversary.

But how did it get its name?

That’s the subject of tonight’s segment of “What’s in a Name.”

The founding fathers of Joplin had a couple of options when it came to selecting a permanent name for the town where there was a huge lead strike

“Our community at one point in town could have been Murphysburg or Joplin City.” Says Brad Belk, MSSU Community Historian.

Where did those two titles come from?

They were the names of property on both sides of the creek.

On the west, the area was Murphysburg, and on the east was Joplin City.

The one that eventually prevailed was in honor of a Methodist Minister from Springfield that came to the region in 1839 to spread the gospel.

Reverend Harris G. Joplin was one of the community’s first settlers, who leased land from John C. Cox.

Somewhere on Joplin’s 80 acres was a water source, which was called Joplin’s Stream, which flowed into Joplin Creek.

“Built a house here on this lot here, held services on Sunday and uh was a traveling, sort of itinerant minister and then vacated in 1845, returned to Greene County, where he’s from uh died in a couple years, 26 years later, a community of Joplin bares his name.” Belk says.

Belk says it’s not clear why one named prevailed over the other.

What is known is that Cox thought highly of the man of God, even though Joplin spent just a handful of years here.

And to this day, the property on this side of Joplin Creek is still referred to some as East Town.

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