Poplar Bluff is mentioned in the official records of the Civil War along with several known letters from various units that operated in the area. It was only a small hamlet on the Black River then. It wasn't until after the Civil War and addition of several railroad tracks through the community, that it began to become one of the largest communities in the Ozarks.
Naval Battle on Black River
An article in the Daily American Republic carried a story of a battle that occurred between mussel shell diggers on the Black River near Quilin. Two angry men in their respective boats, G. J. Staggs and Ocie Blevins, became determined to shoot one another. Blevins, who was sitting in his boat got the draw on Staggs, who was standing in his boat, and peppered Staggs with buckshot. Staggs said that Blevins accused him of "abusing his wife," after Staggs had checked Blevins' mussel shells to ascertain if they were his. Staggs remembered that the two were about 90 feet apart when he was shot. Blevins was about to fire a second shot but Staggs begged him not to. Staggs was hit with nearly fifty pellets of buckshot (August 11, 1932, Daily American Republic).