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Andrew County

County History

Andrew County.—A county in the northwestern part of the State, bounded on the north by Nodaway County, on the east by Gentry and De Kalb, on the south by Buchanan, and on the west by Holt County. It is nearly square and contains an area of 423.63 square miles, or 278,035 acres. The surface is rolling, broken along the streams by deep ravines and abrupt hills. A part of the southern line of the county is on the Missouri River, and at Amazonia, along this line, are bluffs sixty to two hundred feet high. The county was originally about two-thirds forest and one third prairie, the latter gently undulating, with a black loam soil, exceedingly fertile and easy of cultivation. Empire Prairie, in the northwest corner of the county, is nearly level and a most attractive farming spot. The county is well watered, the beautiful Nodaway forming the western boundary, the One Hundred and Two River—taking its name from the number of miles in its length—flowing parallel to the Nodaway on the east at a distance of ten to fifteen miles, and the Platte flowing parallel also to the other two in the east. Flowing into the Nodaway are Pedler, Arrapahoe and Lincoln Creeks; and into the One Hundred and Two, Neely's Branch, Long Branch, Riggin Branch and Kelly's Branch. The other important streams are the Muddy, Third Fork, Caples, Hickory, Crooked and Niagara Creeks—all the streams with their affluents running into the Missouri River, after thoroughly watering the county.

The Platte and the One Hundred and Two Rivers have good water power, and a number of mills have been erected along them to turn it to profit. Flowing springs of good water abound. The timber, which at one time was extensive and valuable, consisted of black walnut, oak, ash, maple, elm, cottonwood and linden. Every water course ran through forest, and it greatly facilitated the first settlement in providing the settlers with cheap materials for their houses. Limestone is abundant and many quarries are worked; and there are reasons for believing that the county is underlaid with coal. Several mineral springs yielding medicinal waters exist in the county. Andrew County is in the Platte Purchase, included between the original western boundary of the State, which ran due north and south through the mouth of the Kaw River and the Missouri River, and like the other counties of the "Purchase" is admirably adapted to agriculture, nearly the entire surface being tillable. During good seasons the corn yield averages seventy to ninety bushels to the acre. Wheat is the next best crop raised, and oats, rye, barley and grass thrive and yield well.

The climate and soil are said to be adapted to tobacco, and it may yet be more extensively cultivated. Apples do well, and so also do the smaller fruits. The abundant grain yields and the rich pasture of the county mark it for stock-raising, and the shipment of cattle is an important business. The surplus products shipped from the county in the year 1898 were: Cattle, 12,416 head; hogs, 53,262 head; sheep, 8,488 head; horses and mules, 281 head; wheat, 4,831 bushels; corn, 3,929 bushels; hay, 10 tons; flour, 160,000 pounds; lumber, 20,600 feet; logs, 106,800 feet; wood, 5,554 cords; stone, 15 cars; lime, 10,920 barrels; ice, 5 cars; wool, 2,330 pounds; poultry, 182,398 pounds; brick, 10,250; eggs, 60,673 dozen; butter, 38,368 pounds; cheese, 5,740 pounds; tallow, 4,786 pounds; hides and pelts, 43,401; apples, 10,044 barrels. Andrew County was named after Andrew Jackson Davis, of St. Louis, and was organized under an act of the Legislature passed January 29, 1841. The commissioners appointed to select the permanent seat of justice were Elijah Armstrong, of Daviess County; Elijah P. Howell, of Clinton County, and Harlow Hinkston, of Buchanan County. The first term of the county court was held at the residence of Gallant Rains, near the present site of Savannah, on the 9th of March, 1841, Upton Rohrer, Samuel Crowley and William Deakin being justices of the court, and Ezekiel W. Smith, sheriff. Edwin Toole was appointed clerk pro tern.; and Honorable Upton Rohrer was chosen president pro tern. Four townships were established, Jefferson, Nodaway, Jasper and Jackson; Henry Eppler was appointed assessor, and Jonathan Earls, county treasurer. At the second term of the court, held March 29, 1841, ferry licenses were granted to Daniel Toole at the rapids of Nodaway River, and to Andrew Lackey on the Nodaway River. The report of the commissioners on the permanent seat of justice was received and Benjamin K. Dyer was appointed to lay off the site in lots, squares and streets.

The Circuit Court of Andrew County was formally organized on the 8th of March, 1841. Honorable David R. Atchison, afterward United States Senator, being judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit to which it was attached, convened the court at the residence of Gallant Rains, where the county court also held its first session, and the following day Peter H. Burnett produced his commission as circuit attorney from the Governor, took the oath and entered upon his duties; Andrew S. Hughes was appointed clerk pro tern.; Ezekiel Smith produced his commission as sheriff from the Governor and was recognized. Andrew S. Hughes, John W. Kelley, Theodore D. Wheaton and Peter H. Burnett were enrolled as attorneys. The pioneer settler in Andrew County was Joseph Walker, from Kentucky, who had been living in Clay County. He entered the district now known as Lincoln Township and built a round log cabin. This was in 1836, before the Platte Purchase had been acquired. Mr. Walker kept something of a public house for the accommodation of travelers, and built a small mill and a distillery. He lived a long life and was highly esteemed.

In 1837, Samuel Crowley, from Georgia, who had lived in Clay County, settled in Jefferson Township and became a pioneer there. He was one of the first judges of the County Court. Jeptha and Zepheniah Todd, two brothers, coming from Clay County, settled in the southwest corner of Jefferson Township, in 1837. John Carr, who came from Ohio, settled in Jackson Township in 1837, he being accompanied by Upton Rohrer and Hamilton Smith, the former becoming one of the judges of the first county court, and the latter one of the first physicians in the county. James Officer, who came from Kentucky, settled in Lincoln Township during the same year. The first settler in Rochester Township was Levi Thatcher, who laid a claim on the present site of the village of Rochester in 1838. One of the first settlers in Empire Township was Marshal McQuinn, who located his claim at Flag Springs in 1839. He was from Kentucky and did not live many years in the county. John Riggin, from Virginia, settled on Hackberry Ridge, three miles northwest of Savannah, in 1839, and raised the first crop of wheat in the county. In 1837 Joseph Hurst built a house a few miles northeast of the present site of Savannah and became one of the first settlers in Nodaway Township. He joined the Baptist Church during an early revival, and was said to have been the first person baptized in One Hundred and Two River. The rich lands, the rivers offering good water power, and the abundance of choice game made the settlement of Andrew County easy, and in the year 1844 many families from Kentucky and Tennessee came in, nearly all of them locating on timber lands and near the mill sites.

The county in some parts was crowded with game. A few bear were still to be found in the early forties, and deer were to be encountered in herds of a hundred, while wild turkeys, grouse, cranes and ducks were almost without limit. The demand for flour and meal caused the mill sites to be turned to account. Joseph Walker put up a horse mill on Hackberry Ridge, a few miles from Savannah, at an early day, and shortly afterward Abram Dillon put up a log water mill on Dillon Creek, in Jefferson Township. In 1841 John Lincoln put up a small mill on the creek which bears his name, in Jackson Township. The first lumber made in the county is said to have been sawed with a whipsaw by Spencer Gee, and another man whose name is forgotten.

The first steam sawmill was built by a man named Eisaminger in 1848, about three miles north of where Amazonia now stands.

The most atrocious crime that ever occurred in Andrew County was the murder of the McLaughlin children, two little girls, aged, respectively, seven and nine years, which was perpetrated on a Sunday afternoon in September, 1884, near Flag Springs. The children had gone to spend part of the day at Thomas Bateman's house, which was a mile and a quarter distant, and at half past 2 o'clock they started home. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon they passed the house of Eli Knappenberger, and as they passed were seen and spoken to. That was the last seen of them until 9 o'clock next day, their dead bodies being found, after a night's search by the entire community, in a cornfield. The two bodies were 175 yards apart, one shot through the head, with the body cut open, and the other with her throat cut and shockingly bruised. The sight of the murdered children threw the community into a fury of excitement and the search for the murderer began at once. It was found that half an hour after the children left the Bateman house to go home two boys, Newton Bateman, son of Captain T. Bateman, at whose house they had been visiting, and Harry Knappenberger, started along the same road. After going a short way together they separated, Newton Bateman saying he would go to his uncle, William Bateman, and young Knappenberger continuing on the road over which the girls had passed. The bullet taken from the head of the elder girl was found to fit one of the barrels of a double-barreled pistol dug up near a tree in the Bateman yard, and this directed suspicion to the Bateman family; and when it was learned from a statement made by one of the Bateman daughters that her brother, Oliver, left the house about 2 o'clock on the fatal Sunday afternoon, and did not return until 5 o'clock, the suspicion became so strong that he was arrested and put in jail at Savannah. Additional evidence sufficient to fasten the crime upon the prisoner was brought to light, and he then made a complete confession. He had left home shortly after the girls left his father's house, with malicious intent, and by taking a short cut through the woods intercepted them on the road and enticed them into a cornfield. He shot the elder girl twice, and when the younger one ran off he followed her, caught her and cut her throat and then returned and abused the dead body of the elder one. There was an evident disposition to lynch the prisoner, but no outbreak occurred, and on the 6th of October the trial took place. It was short. The prisoner pleaded guilty, refused to have counsel and asked the court to sentence him and hang him as quickly as possible. Judge Kelly accordingly pronounced the sentence, which was that he should be hanged on the 21st of November, 1884, and the prisoner was executed on that day, mounting the scaffold with a firm step and meeting death without a sign of fear.

The first religious services in Andrew County were probably held by Methodist preachers, who began to preach in private houses soon after the settlement began. In Savannah they conducted services in the courthouse. In 1845 Rev. Benjamin Baxter visited the town and was followed by Rev. Jesse Bird, Rev. Mr. Devlin and Rev. W. G. Miller. In 1845 a brick church was erected, Rev. Mr. Baxter preaching the first sermon in it. In 1848 a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Savannah, which held worship in the courthouse and other places until 1870, when, after much delay, a. commodious church edifice was erected at a cost of $7,000, under the pastoral supervision of Rev. Samuel Huffman and Rev. W. J. Martindale. One of the first, probably the very first, church organized in Andrew County was the (New School) Presbyterian organization, at a schoolhouse three miles west of Savannah, on the 7th of August, 1841, by Rev. E. A. Carson, with twenty-four members. In 1842 they opened services in Savannah in the courthouse and worshiped there until 1848, when a brick church was built.

The early settlers showed an interest in the subject of education, and schools were provided in the chief settlements as soon as the number of families made it necessary. In 1840 a teacher named Wilson opened a school in Lincoln Township, in a small cabin a short distance northwest of Savannah. Another early school was opened not long after, six miles west of Savannah, by John D. Boland, who maintained it for several years and enjoyed the reputation of a successful and popular teacher. In 1841 Rev. E. A. Carson taught in the courthouse in Savannah. In 1853 a movement was made to establish a seminary in Savannah, at the head of which was Prince L. Hudgens, an influential and public-spirited citizen, who afterward was elected a member of the State Convention of 1861. After the building had been commenced the enterprise was abandoned through disagreements, and the unfinished edifice afterward became a public district school. In 1872 it was remodeled and enlarged and made a capacious and beautiful building of nine rooms. The report of the county school commissioners for 1899 showed for Andrew County a total of 4,382 pupils; number of teachers employed, no; number of schools, 87; estimated value of school property, $74,255; total receipts for school purposes were $45,843; permanent school fund of the county, $74,231. The Civil War and the disputes which preceded it in Andrew county were marked by unusual rancor and animosity.

In 1856 a Methodist clergyman named Sellers incurred the enmity of the pro-slavery people in Rochester, and he was seized and tarred and feathered, an old citizen named Holland, who attempted to protect him, being shot and killed by the mob. The same year an encounter occurred at Rochester, in which a pro-slavery man named Samuel Simmons was killed by William Hardesty. In the spring of 1861 both sides held meetings on the same day in Savannah, the Union meeting being addressed by Willard P. Hall and ex-Governor R. M. Stewart, of St. Joseph; and the Southern sympathizers by Prince L. Hudgens and others, of Savannah. The stars and stripes were raised on a pole in the public square, and a Palmetto flag from the courthouse cupola. During the day an affray occurred on the public square, in which a voting man named Thompson, a Southern sympathizer, was shot in the eye but not killed. In the evening- Mr. Hall and Governor Stewart had to flee from the town to escape the mob. Later on the "Northwest Democrat," a Southern paper, at Savannah, was taken by a detachment of Union troops from St. Joseph and the material and press carried off. Several days afterward a company of Southern sympathizers from Camp Highly took possession of the office of the "Plain dealer," a Union paper, and carried off the type. Camp Highly was established as a rendezvous for Southern sympathizers to muster into the State Guards, and a camp was established in Gentry County as a rallying point for Unionists by Colonel Craynor. The Union camp, re-enforced by accessions from Iowa, at last marched against the Confederates, who were under command of Colonel J. P. Saunders and Colonel Jefferson Barton, and the latter were forced to leave the county, marching to Lexington, where they joined the army of General Sterling Price. This left the county in possession of the Unionists, and Southern sympathizers were at the mercy of the irregular and irresponsible bands of outlaws calling themselves soldiers, who terrorized the county, warning men to leave. Deeds of blood, with the constant menace which they implied, nearly broke up society for the time being, and made it so unsafe for men of Southern sympathies to live in peace in the county that many families broke up and left, finding temporary or permanent homes in St. Joseph, St. Louis and other places.

There are ten townships in Andrew County, named, respectively,
Platte and

The first railroad enterprise in Andrew County was the Platte County Railroad, to which the county, by a vote of its people, subscribed for $100,000 stock and issued its bonds in that amount to pay for it. This road, after being built to Savannah, came into the possession of the Missouri Valley Railroad, which afterward became a part of the Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad, which, with its branch, runs through the county in two directions. The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy also runs across the southeastern corner of the county. The population of the county in 1900 was 17,332.
[Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901;  Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]


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