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Barton County, located in southwestern Missouri, has a rich and fascinating history that spans several centuries. Here are seven interesting facts about this county's past that you might find surprising:

1. The county was named after David Barton, the first United States Senator from Missouri. Barton was instrumental in pushing for Missouri's statehood in 1821 and played a key role in shaping the new state's constitution.

2. During the Civil War, Barton County was the site of several skirmishes and battles. Confederate forces under General Sterling Price invaded the county in 1864 but were ultimately defeated by Union troops led by Major General James Blunt.

3. One of the most famous residents of Barton County was Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved "Little House on the Prairie" series of books. Wilder was born in Wisconsin but lived in Barton County with her family as a child, and many of her books are set in the area.

4. Barton County was once home to a thriving lead mining industry. In the 1800s, mines in the region produced more than $10 million worth of lead, making it one of the largest lead-producing areas in the United States.

5. The town of Liberal, located in Barton County, was once known as the "Radical Capital of the Nation." During the late 1800s, it was a hotbed of progressive politics and was home to many members of the Populist Party.

6. The Frisco Railroad, which played a crucial role in the development of the western United States, passed through Barton County. In the early 1900s, the railroad brought new settlers and industries to the area, helping to fuel the county's growth.

7. Barton County is home to several historic sites, including the Bicentennial Elm Tree, which was planted in 1976 to commemorate the nation's 200th anniversary. The tree is located in the town of Lamar and is believed to be more than 200 years old itself.

These are just a few of the many fascinating facts about Barton County's rich and varied history. From lead mines to political radicals to beloved children's authors, this small corner of Missouri has played an important role in shaping the course of American history.

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