SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — Most area counties share nothing more in common than a border.
But that’s not the case when it comes to two neighboring counties.
32nd Street is the boundary line between Newton and Jasper Counties in Joplin.
Walk or drive on the South side of the road and you’re in Newton, on the North side, Jasper County.
But as it turns out, they share much more in common than this street or even in this state.
Stephen Weldon, Area Historian, said, “You’ll find a Jasper County in another state with maybe the county seat as Newton, and you might see it the other way, a county of Newton with Jasper as the county seat, or, like we have with the two side by side.”
As with many other Four State city and counties, they’re named after veterans of past wars.
In this case, the American Revolution.
This painting depicts Sgt. William Jasper retrieving the fallen South Carolina flag during the Battle of Fort Moultrie.
“So we know about him, and we also know that he dies in the Revolutionary War, but we know very little about Sgt. Newton, and there’s some question about whether he ever existed.”
Real or not, Newton’s name is linked with Jasper’s, not just in stories about their exploits in our first war, but also in geography.
“There are a number of Carthages, if you look on there, they’re all over, it’s just one of those names like Jasper and Newton that followed the progression as we came west.”
Weldon says the city of Jasper is also named after the war hero, even though he and his alleged sidekick Newton had no Four State family ties and may never have set foot here either.