Bald Knobbers and Grave Dowsing at the WRVHS

Old Forsyth

A presentation on the Bald Knobber vigilantes and a grave dowsing demonstration will be the focus of the program at the WRVHS quarterly meeting on Sunday, March 13th, weather permitting. The free event, open to the public, will begin at 1:00pm with refreshments and social time. A brief membership meeting will begin at 1:45pm, immediately followed by the program. The WRVHS is located at 297 Main Street, directly across from the Taney County Judicial Center.

Originally founded in the 1880s by several local businessmen, the ‘Law and Order League’ grew from a group of citizens concerned about lawlessness in Taney County to vigilantes responsible for several deaths in the area over a few years. Nicknamed the ‘Bald Knobbers’ due to the location where they met, their activities continue to generate interest with modern-day researchers and visitors to the area. Later this spring, the WRVHS will kick off a monthly study series, tentatively titled Bald Knobber University, which will include in-depth discussions on the groups from Taney, Christian, and Douglas counties.

Following WRVHS President Rick Swan’s program on the vigilantes, Managing Director Leslie Wyman will demonstrate grave dowsing, and reveal how the Society’s cemetery committee used the technique to locate a grave presumed to be that of one of the victims of the Bald Knobbers.

The WRVHS offers a wide range of educational offerings, including customized programs and courses for organizations, schools, and homeschool groups, at no cost to the participants.  For more information on the quarterly meeting or to pre-register for Bald Knobber University or other educational courses with the Society, call 417-546-2210 or email

About White River Valley Historical Society

The WRVHS exists to preserve, protect, and promote the cultural history of Taney County, Missouri, and the upper White River Valley region through public programs and educational events.

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