Palmyra City Hall is located at 301 South Main Street, Palmyra, MO 63461; phone: 573-769-2223.
Palmyra, the Marion County Seat, was platted in 1819 and named for the Syrian city built by King Solomon, probably because it, too, was founded in the wilderness. The settlers built their homes around a large, clear spring in the center of the village. Stone steps to the spring remain, but the water is piped to the plant, leaving the spring bed dry. The Palmyra Massacre Monument, on the courthouse lawn, was erected in 1907 to the memory of the victims. On September 12, 1862, Confederate forces under Colonel Joseph C. Porter raided Palmyra and captured Andrew Allsman, a Union spy. Two days later, Union troops under Colonel John McNeil stampeded Porter's forces, and on October 8th warned the Confederates that unless Allsman was returned unharmed within ten days, ten prisoners from Porter's command would be shot. Unfortunately, Allsman was not available; his fate was never definitely established. On October 18, McNeil ordered 10 of the "worst rebels," that is, those of prominence and rank, to be shot. The selected men were taken to the fairgrounds and placed before a firing squad of 30 Federal soldiers. The executioners did poor work, however; only 3 men were killed instantly, and a second squad had to step forward to finish the slaughter.