SARCOXIE, MO – We continue our series on Southwest Missouri history tonight with the oldest city in Jasper County.

It can be as basic as growing strawberries.

Today, it’s a quick trip to the grocery store, but 100 years ago, it was a bigger deal. Especially in Sarcoxie.

“They started out with people, just a few people having strawberry patches, and they saw how productive that was going to be. And so they actually had several growers and several acres, including the wiles had strawberries as well.” Says Michelle Gautz, Sarcoxie Hist. Ctr.

In fact, it was so prominent, strawberries were featured on a local currency used only in Sarcoxie.

“And they were different amounts, of course, depending on what the people were picking, you know, if they were picking a box or a whole crate, so they would be paid accordingly.” Says Gautz.

Sarcoxie would also benefit from flower sales, sometimes called the “Peony Capital of the World” as well as the mining of limestone and granite.

But you have to go back more than 180 years ago to find the beginnings of the town, which at the time wasn’t called Sarcoxie.

“The town was originally named Centerville. But once they had a post office set up then there was another Centerville I guess in Missouri is what I’m told. And then they decided to go with the name of Chief Sarcoxie.” Says Gautz.

The head of the Delaware Tribe that had settled in the same spot back in the 1700s.

There were milestones as the town developed, but most officially recognize the official start in 1849 when the official Sarcoxie plat was recorded.

The city square would develop, much of which is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.

“And it was just a real hometown feeling. Which of course we still shoot for that. That’s what we want to be as a hometown.” Says Gautz.

There are a number of prominent citizens who played key roles in Sarcoxie history, names like Congressmen Gene Taylor, William Tingle, and Martha Moore.

For more about Sarcoxie’s history, click here.