Missouri's Little Dixie




Missouri’s “slave belt,”or “black belt,”

also historically “Little Dixie”



Missouri's “Little Dixie” is a section of the State where the local culture historically paralleled the Upper South.  During the Antebellum period, massive waves of migrating Southern farmers and planters flooded the area and transplanted their slave dependent culture and economy.  By 1860, Little Dixie had indeed become a microcosm of the South's plantation hierarchal society, a Southern enclave where distinctive cultural traits and attitudes matched those of the Antebellum South.  Collectively, these Little Dixie counties shared many common Southern characteristics that influenced Missouri's political, agricultural, and social conditions prior to the Civil War, during the War, and for many decades after. 

The borders of Little Dixie, for the most part, encompass 17 counties in the rich and fertile timbered river valleys and rolling upper prairies of central Missouri.  The region embraces all of the counties along the Missouri River, commencing at present day Kansas City, running east into the central part of the State, and terminating at Callaway County.  It is at Callaway County where the boundary then extends north and around St. Louis to Pike County on the Mississippi River.  This cultural province includes parts, but not all, of the historic “Boonslick” and does not include those counties considered as the Missouri German Rhineland.  Although, Little Dixie shares many cultural traditions with the historic inhabitants of the Ozarks, only Cooper County briefly extends into this once Appalachian oasis.  The core zone, or "Heart" of Little Dixie, is considered by many scholars as Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Howard, Monroe, Pike, Ralls, and Randolph Counties, but other important Missouri slave and hemp and tobacco counties are Carroll, Chariton, Clay, Cooper, Jackson, Lafayette, Saline, Platte, and Ray.  In some areas near its 17 county borders, Little Dixie briefly may extend into nearby less important slave and cash crop counties, such as Pettis and Cass.     




This c. 1850s "big house," slave quarters, and other outbuildings were located near Georgetown, Missouri.  In this image are the plantation's owners standing on the balcony and in front near the fence, and also sitting in the buggy.  To the side of the big house near the quarters are the estate's African American farm hands and servants.  The photo was taken c. 1880s.


Site Content

Little Dixie Slavery:

Slavery in Clay County, Missouri  

Slavery in Little Dixie

Price Plantation of Clay County, Missouri

Land and Ayers Family History, Saline County, Missouri

1850s Minor W. & Elizabeth O’Bannon Plantation, Marshall, Saline County, Missouri

Eubank Plantation, near Slater, Saline County, Missouri


Little Dixie Architecture:

A few examples of Southern "Big House" architecture in Missouri's Little Dixie

A Few Examples of Missouri's Little Dixie Slave Housing

A Partial List of Little Dixie Plantations and/or Houses with Slave Quarters

History of Thompson Villa, Home of John C. Thompson, Arrow Rock, Missouri


Little Dixie Agriculture:

The history of the cotton culture of central (Little Dixie) Missouri )

My 30 years experience growing cotton in Missouri's Little Dixie


Site Owner:

about the Author/Owner of this web site



 Copyright  2009

Research and Photographs by Gary Gene Fuenfhausen.  All published materials on this site are fully copy written and may not be used in any manner without the written consent of its owner.   

For problems or questions regarding this Web site contact [garyfuenfh@aol.com].