So reads the headline from the Carthage Evening Press, datelined HQ, Jasper County Invasion Force. This ultimatum was hand-delivered to McDonald Territory, by courier, to Provisional President Z.L. McGowan and Territorial Attorney General Robert Yocum on April 15, 1961.
To the Provisional Government of the Territory of McDonald:
We have just learned of the secession of the territory of McDonald from the great and sovereign state of Missouri.
Having been the site of the first major battle of the Civil War¹ to be fought west of the Mississippi , and the scene of four years of bloody fratricidal strife, Jasper County and her people are familiar with the results of secession, division and disunity.
One hundred years ago, a conflict between the states proved that the problems of an area can best be solved by the understanding and expectation of their neighbors. We offer you that understanding and cooperation. The same conflict between the States also established the fact that Secession, when unresolved, can lead to armed conflict.
We therefore propose:
1) - That the territory of McDonald rejoin the State of Missouri and take its proud place in the community of Missouri counties. We pledge that upon your return to the fellowship of Missouri counties, you may expect our friendship and cooperation in obtaining redress for any wrongs committed against you.
2) - Our only alternative, in the event you do not reunite with Missouri, is to dispatch the combined Union and Confederate Armies of Spring River, to suppress the rebellion and take the leaders of the insurrection into custody.
Now, therefore, the combined Union and Confederate Armies of Spring River, including infantry, artillery and cavalry units, will march on Pineville at 1:30 p.m., Sunday April 16. They will arrive at the seat of the provisional government at 3 p.m. If the territory desires to reunite with Missouri, we will join you in raising the proud flag of our state.
We urge you to act to avoid the need for a bloody conflict, such as devastated our area a century ago. We urge you to clasp the hand of friendship which we extend to you. We look forward to a brotherly reunion with the citizens of the Territory of McDonald tomorrow.
Richard M. Webster
President, Jasper County Civil War Commemoration, Inc.
G. Bennett Wilson
Colonel, Commanding, combined Union-Confederate Armies of Spring River
¹ Referring to the Battle of Carthage, also called the Battle of Dry Fork. The New York Times referred to this battle as the first major land conflict west of the Mississippi River, coming just two months after Fort Sumter. An interesting sidenote is that the papers the McDonald Territorians filed for secession were filed on April 12, 1961, on the actual anniversary date, 100 years to the day, after the first shots fired at Fort Sumter. This timing does not appear to be an accident.
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