Home » Missouri » Monett

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1910 4177 1
1930 4099 0
1950 4771 3
1960 5359 1
1970 5937 0
1990 6442 0
2000 7396 16

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Monett’s whiteness is tied to violence in 1894, according to MO Southern State College source.

As Pierce City declined, the rival town of Monett prospered. Monett grew rapidly after inheriting Pierce City%u2019s Frisco division point. The citizens of Pierce City likely saw Monett as a success, and perhaps success bred emulation. In 1894, Monett started the chain of racial violence in Southwest Missouri. In that year, a black man named Ulysses Hayden was lynched for the murder of a young white man. Hayden was taken from police custody and hanged from a telephone pole, despite the probability of his innocence in the crime. After the lynching, all blacks were forced to leave Monett. Monett%u2019s prosperity despite the absence of a black community likely contributed to the racial animosity present in Pierce City.
[Murray Bishoff %u201CMonett%u2019s Darkest Hour: The Lynching of June 28, 1894,%u201D Monett Times, 27-28 June 1994.]

“All the people in Monett had managed to forget about it. Even the oldest resident.”

Monett allowed the railroad porters to stay overnight in hotels. Pierce City never did. Bishoff thinks Pierce City became a model for other towns in MO and AR.

Well, here’s one that takes the cake.
Down the street, a black fellow recently bought the eatery stand. He renamed it Black Bob’s. Today for Halloween, he dressed up in a KKK suit, carrying a rope, put “White Bob” on the back of his cloak, and put a sign on his window “under new management.” I was breathless at seeing it. Times they are a changin’.

There’s a code book in Pierce City from 1903 that has nothing in it, but all Pierce City’s ordinances and council minutes prior to 1947 have been lost.
I’ve poked for such an ordinance in Monett, and I think I looked through council minutes and ordinances in all of 1894 and 1895, after the lynching in Monett, concluding there was no such ordinance. It really wasn’t necessary, if the strong arm tactics of the railroad men were sufficient to chase anyone off. We found a code book from the 1920s that had a ban on “nigger flippers” (sligshots), but nothing else.
There were exchanges in The Times over the treatment of blacks in Monett after the 1901 riot in Pierce City, claiming even black porters weren’t welcome in Monett. The Times’ publisher said it wasn’t true, trying to rebutt what appeared in the Carthage newspaper. Doesn’t mean he was right. Doesn’t mean there isn’t an ordinance. I never saw it, and I’m not sure there ever was such a thing.

Monett, 1894, was a rr town, orig. est. 1887. Pop. c.3000 incl. c.100 blacks. “On 6/20/1894, a group of white railroad men had an altercation outside a saloon with a group of black laborers, during which a white brakeman, Robert Greenwood … was shot and killed. Search for the black men resulted in the arrest of Ulysses Hayden on June 28 near Neosho. Hayden had been among the group of black laborers but he had not been the one to fire the shot that killed Greenwood. But to local white residents, enraged by the murder, that didn’t make much difference. That night a mob of 100 men boarded the train one mile outisde if Monett on which Hayden was being transported under the guard of Barry County sheriff and his deputies and took the prisoner. Lynched him from a telegraph pole alongside the railroad tracks.” “Following Hayden’s lynching, bands of white railroad workers ordered all African Americans to leave Monett.” They all fled. “Monett became a ‘sundown town,’ a community in which African Americans were not welcome after dark.”
[Patrick Huber, “Race Riots and Black Exodus in the Missouri Ozarks, 1894-1905” (Harrison, AR: Ozark Cultural Celebration, 9/2002), 4.]