I grew up in Clay County, MO. My Great Grandfather and three of his brothers came to Clay Co. in 1872 from Caroline Co. Virginia. As an historian, with a lover for the "War for Southern Independence" and Missouri history I can give you a few facts. The counties bordering the Missouri River were populated mostly by people from the upper South, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee. The towns in NW Missouri of Lexington (Lafayette Co.) and Richmond (Ray County) were named after towns in Virginia. Jackson County was very much a Southern area before the war. In the 1850's, many "Bushwhackers" came from Clay and Jackson Counties. They would ride into Kansas, vote for the slave-state constitution, and oppose the followers of John Brown. In the 1830's Mo. Gov. Boggs a very pro-slavery Gov. from Jackson County, Issued an "extermination order" against Mormons who had settled in Jackson County. The opposition that Boggs had of the Mormons was that they were mostly middle class Northerners and with anti-slave political views.
I graduated from Liberty High School in 1966 and attended William Jewell College (in Liberty) A monument to CSA dead is still in the old historic city cemetery. Union troops had to stay garrisoned all during the War in Liberty (county seat of Clay Co.). They took over William Jewell College and dug trenches encircling Jewell Hall. Cannons facing North adorned the Clay County courthouse lawn on the square until the new courthouse was built in the 1930's. In our homecoming parade (LHS) Oct. 1965, the football team rode on a fire truck and carried a "battle flag" (a tradition from the 1880's). The flag, not the firetruck. Clay and Jackson Counties were successful recruiting grounds for Quantrell and Anderson. The James brothers and their cousins the Youngers came from Clay Co. (Kearney) Liberty calls it'self, the most Northern - Southern City in the US. The pre-War cash crops were tobacco and hemp. (3 day battle in Lexington took place on a hemp plantation and hemp bales were used by General Sterling Price's troops as "moving breast works" during the battle- Price won)
It is also true that in many border states, (MO, KY, MD) choosing sides in the War was not always based upon the issue of slavery. Many non-slave owners fought to defend their homes and states from Northern aggression. Likewise, many slave owners in the border areas, fought to preserve the Union. As most of us know, secession was about the politics of slavery, the War was about the Southern States right to form a new government and protection against aggression. This is why the war tore families apart as well as a country. The Military Occupation of the South caused many who were pro-Union at the start of the War to become hard shell "Dixie-crates" after. Where is Llittle Dixie? I would say it lives in the hearts of the people.
Dr. Robert Massey
El Mirage, AZ