In 1872, Richard Bland was elected to the U.S. Congress. He was elected a total of 11 times and was a major force for the silver mining industry. In 1873, the Fourth Coinage Act was passed. This made gold the only metal that backed the currency of the United States. This devastated the miners in the silver industry and the country sank into a depression. Bland fought vigorously for the silver industry. In 1878, he sponsored the Bland-Allison Act. This law required the U.S. Government to purchase silver for coinage and this greatly helped the mining industry. He was given the nickname “Silver Dick” for this achievement. He continued throughout his Missouri political career to fight for the success of the silver industry and the rights of the common man.
The people of this community were so proud of his accomplishments that they named their new town in his honor. As you enter the town today, a billboard welcomes you to the home of "Silver Dick" Bland. Pretty spicey stuff if you ask me!
Photo courtesy of Library of Congress