New Madrid County
The Plank Road
The plank road that connected Clarkton to Point Pleasant. Built between 1855-1860, it crossed the lowlands known as "Nigger Wool Swamp" and more of a series of bridges (as many as 146) than it was a solid foundation road. During the Civil War the road was used extensively by M. Jeff Thompson's Missouri State Guard and was damaged by both sides while on campaign. In 1873, the road was rebuilt as a pole road ten to twelve feet wide with "turn outs" for passing.
In September of 1878, New Madrid was under a strict quarantine rule. No stranger was allowed to enter the town, and business was suspended entirely. The city took drastic measures when Yellow Fever traveled up the Mississippi River to Hickman, Kentucky where several were taken ill and died (Poplar Bluff Citizen, September 20, 1878).