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Kirksville

Trip Planner USA  /  Missouri  /  Kirksville
(4.3/5 based on 50+ reviews for 1 attraction)
Things to do: nature
Kirksville is a city in and the county seat of Adair County, Missouri, United States. Located in the Benton Township, its population was 17,505 at the 2010 census. Kirksville is home of Truman State University and A.T. Still University.HistoryKirksville was laid out in 1841 on a 40acre site, and was first incorporated in 1857.Origin of nameAccording to tradition, Jesse Kirk, Kirksville's first postmaster, shared a dinner of turkey and whiskey with surveyors working in the area on the condition that they would name the town after him. Not only the first postmaster, Kirk was also the first to own a hotel and a tavern in Kirksville.Contrary to popular belief, the name of the city has no connection to John Kirk, onetime president of Truman State University from 1899 to 1925. However, the grandson of Jesse Kirk reported that the town was named for Kirk’s son John, a figure of local legend credited with killing two deer with a single bullet. "Hopkinsville" was explained as a joking reference to the peculiar gait of John Kirk’s lame father-in-law, David Sloan; the jocular name was discarded when the village was selected for the seat of justice in Adair County.Battle of KirksvilleThe Battle of Kirksville was fought August 6–9, 1862 during the American Civil War. Union troops led by John McNeil forced Confederate volunteers under Joseph Porter to vacate the city. Casualty estimates (almost entirely Confederate) range from 150-200 dead and up to 400 wounded. According to the August 12, 1862, Quincy Herald there were 8 Federal dead and 25 wounded. The victorious Union commander, Colonel McNeil, gained brief national attention for his post-battle execution of a small number of Confederate prisoners. These prisoners had been previously captured in battle and then paroled with the understanding they would no longer take up arms against the Union, upon penalty of death if recaptured. Nonetheless, Confederate government officials were outraged, and it is said that Confederate president Jefferson Davis even called for the execution of Colonel (later Brigadier General) McNeil if he were to be captured.
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