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Andrew County

Andrews County History

Court House

By the Rev. A. W. McGlothlan, Savannah

Location and Topography

Andrew County lies in the northwestern part of the state, being separated from Kansas, on the southwest, by the Missouri River and from Iowa, on the north, by Nodaway County. Its superficial area is 4,423 square miles. The general surface is undulating with some abrupt hills and deep ravines along the water courses. Originally, the southern half of the county was covered with a heavy growth of timber, a fact which contributed to the early and rapid settlement of this section. Much of this timber has been cut off and the land devoted to farming purposes. The northern part of the county consists of a splendid upland with deep, almost inexhaustible soil, well adapted to the production of all kinds of cereals, fruits and vegetables that are grown in this latitude.


Andrew is one of the six counties that were carved out of a section known as the "Platte Purchase," a territory secured from the Indians in 1836. One of the results of this purchase was the rapid immigration into this new section which the Indians had previously occupied and at the end of five years the population had grown to a point which seemed to warrant a county organization. The enabling act was passed by the State Legislature January 29, 1841, and the name, Andrew, given to the county in honor of Andrew Jackson Davis who was, for many years, a distinguished lawyer in St. Louis. The enabling act provided for a committee of three, "Elijah Armstrong of Daviess county, Elijah P. Howell of the county of Clinton, and Harlow Hingston of Buchanan county," to select a permanent seat of justice; also a provision that, "until the seat of justice is established, the circuit and county courts of said county shall be holden at the dwelling house of Gallant Rains." The committee visited the newly created county and, after considering several sites, made their report to the County Court, recommending, "the southeast quarter of section number nine, township number twenty-nine, range thirty," as the location of the new seat of justice. Subsequently and by order of the County Court, the town was laid off in blocks, streets, and alleys and the name. Savannah, was agreed upon.


The people who settled in this part of the state prior to or shortly after the organization of the county were mostly from Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, with a sprinkling of Germans. They sought the timbered lands along the water courses for the reason, perhaps, that they had been accustomed to living in timbered countries; also because there was a general impression prevalent that the soil of the prairie region was non-productive, and for the added reason that they desired that protection from the severe winters which the woods afforded. They were, for the most part, poor in this world's goods, but rich in the possession of strong, healthy bodies, bright hopes, lofty ambitions, and unbounded faith in the country to which they had come. They came, usually, in canvas-covered wagons drawn by horses or oxen and with very few articles of furniture for the new home or implements for carrying on the work of the farm. Having decided on a location, the first duty that appealed to them was that of providing some kind of shelter for the family. This was often a temporary hut constructed of poles arranged in the form of a wigwam and covered with large pieces of bark from the trees or the canvas which had served as a covering to the wagon during the journey. Later on, the cabin was built of logs and "chinked" with mud. The roof was of clapboards, an open space in one end of the walls served as a window and a great stone fireplace adorned one end of the building. The earth, uncovered, save here and there a home-made rug made of braided rags, served as a floor. The furnishings of the home were neither elaborate nor costly. The dining table was often a slab split from a large tree and supported by four strong pegs which did duty as legs. Three-legged stools answered for chairs ; heavy pegs in the walls were used on which to hang the articles of clothing and a pair of buck horns over the fireplace, often afforded a resting place for the trusty rifle when not in use. The bed was a homemade affair in one corner of the room. Forest leaves or prairie hay were used in lieu of feathers. There was an abundance of fuel and good water. Game of all kinds was plentiful. Great droves of deer roamed the prairies while wild turkey, grouse, geese, and ducks were found everywhere and the early settler, who almost invariably carried his rifle with him, experienced no difficulty in providing his family with the choicest meats. Some of the other necessary foods were, however, not so easily procured. Flour, in the very early day, and even the ordinary corn-meal were unavailable at any price. This fact necessitated the use of the grater and the "hominy block" in every household. The first was used for making a kind of meal from the soft corn in the fall of the year ; the latter was a kind of wooden mortar in which the hard corn was placed and there pounded into a coarse meal, an iron wedge usually serving as a pestle. The wedge was often fastened by a rope to a spring pole to render the operation easier. Wild blackberries, dewberries, strawberries, and grapes were to be had in their season for the gathering. Various kinds of nuts and wild honey were also abundant. Nearly every family had its little herd of milch cows and these provided plenty of rich cream, milk, and butter. Thus the pioneer lived a simple, peaceful, and happy life, free from many of the brain-racking, nervedestroying experiences which go with the more modern methods of living. The women in those early days had few expediences for lightening the burdens of the household and, in addition to the usual work of keeping the house in order and preparing the meals, did the weekly washing and often carded and spun the sheep's wool, knit it into hosiery or wove and manufactured it into clothing for the entire family. And, as if this were not enough, she also attended to the dairy, milking the cows in all kinds of weather, caring for the milk and making the butter and cheese. The limitations of this sketch will not permit even mention of the names of all these pioneers of Andrew County. A few of the earliest and best known can be singled out of the larger number who, by their heroic, self-sacrificing lives, are worthy of special mention.

Joseph Walker, a Kentuckian, came, with his family, in the spring of 1836 and was so far as known, the first white settler in this section. He settled in the southwestern part of the county, only a few miles from the site of the present village of Amazonia, erected a small cabin of round poles and began clearing the land for cultivation. His nearest white neighbor was more than twenty miles away and, naturally, his cabin became a popular lodging place for travelers and home-seekers. A few years later, Mr. Walker erected a gristmill which proved a great blessing to other settlers in this region.

In 1837 Samuel Crowley, a native of Georgia, settled in the southern part of the county and cleared a splendid farm there. He reared a family of five boys, some of whom, with their descendants, are still citizens of Andrew County. Mr. Crowley was a member of the first County Court and otherwise identified with the county's history.

Jeremiah Clark, a man of fine intellectual attainments, a graduate of one of the eastern colleges and a civil engineer by profession, whom President Jackson had appointed surveyor of government lands in Illinois, came to Missouri in 1837 and selected a home on Lincoln Creek where he subsequently cleared a farm and erected a mill. He was a man of sturdy character, highly respected and lived a long and useful life. He is remembered by many of the present citizens of the county.

The Todd family is one of the most highly honored and distinguished in this section of the state. Two brothers bearing this name came from Clay County in 1837 and settled in the extreme southwestern part of the county, near the Missouri River, Their industry and frugality were rewarded and they, with their numerous descendants, have been closely identified with the growth and development of the county. Other families that came to this county in the late '30s and early '40s whose names and deeds are worthy of mention are the Stantons, Elliotts, Duffs, Riggins, Coffmans, Hursts, Davidsons, Baums, Goodloes, Roberts, Wyatts and Rains.

The pioneer preacher of this section was the Rev. Elijah A. Carson,' a Presbyterian minister who came, with his father-in-law, Joshua Ewing, from Virginia in 1840. He organized the first religious body in the county, a new school Presbyterian Church, a few miles west of where Savannah is now situated. This was in 1841 and the organization afterward moved to Savannah where it still exists. A marble tablet on which is inscribed the date of his birth and death with some of his deeds was placed on the walls of the Savannah church by the Presbytery of St. Joseph in 1906.

The early meetings of the County Court were held at the residence of Gallant Rains, a short distance northwest of the then prospective City of Savannah. During the summer and fall, when the weather would permit, the court met beneath the heavy foliage of a large elm tree near the residence. At the July term of 1841, however, the court issued an order for the erection of a courthouse in Savannah and appropriated $600 to pay for the same. The building was to be frame, 20 by 26 feet in size and 11/2 stories high; weatherboarded with walnut plank, four twelve-light windows in the lower story and a similar window in each of the gables. The building was to be lathed and plastered with good coats and to rest on a good foundation. It was erected in accordance with these plans at the northeast corner of Sixth and Market streets, but soon proved inadequate to the needs of the rapidly growing county and, in December, 1845, was abandoned for the more commodious and pretentious brick structure which had been erected in the center of the public square. This building, one of the finest in this section of the state at the time, was two full stories in height, quite spacious, and was surmounted at one end by a very tall cupola. It cost the county $6,280. It did service for more than lialf a century but, proving insufficient at last, was replaced, in 1898, by the present splendid structure at a cost of $80,000.

Andrew County formed a part of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit and the Hon. David B. Atchison, of Clinton County, was the first circuit judge. Other officers were, Peter H. Burnett, circuit attorney; Andrew S. Hughes, circuit clerk, and Ezekiel Smith, sheriff. On the second day of the first session, Mr. Hughes tendered his resignation as clerk and Edwin Toole was appointed to the office. The first case that came before the court for trial was that of the State of Missouri vs. Alexander Wood for betting. Mr. Wood plead guilty and was fined $1.00 and costs. One year later, there was, a case against Abraham Dillon for laboring on Sunday. It was a jury case and, after mature deliberation, the sinful Abraham was adjudged guilty and fined $1.75 and costs. Doubtless this served as a solemn warning to other would-be violators of the laws of God and man. In those pioneer days, as in later times, there were, now and then, cases of domestic infelicity which called for judicial procedure. One of the earliest cases of this kind, brought before the Circuit Court of Andrew County, was a divorce suit brought by John Tinkle against his wife, Frony Tinkle. The ground upon which John sought and ultimately obtained his freedom was the vicious and troublesome habit which Frony had developed of ''repeatedly assaulting, beating, wounding and cruelly abusing" the said John to such an extent that life, with her, had become "intolerable and dangerous."

Regarding the meetings of the court in these early days, Col. N. B. Giddings, in a sketch of Andrew County, published several years ago, says: "When the weather would permit, the icourts were held out of doors under a large elm tree which stood about where now stands Mr. Sutton 's fine brick dwelling house. The Hon. 'Dave,' as he was familiarly called, seated in his chair, elevated on a huge pine box, presided with the dignity of a Jay, a Livingstone or a Marshall, the attorneys and jurors occupying humbler positions. The attorneys, when engaged in the trial of a cause, used the crowns of their hats as substitutes for tables. The places for the deliberations of the grand and petit jurors were spaces cut out of a hazel patch sufficiently capacious to comfortably hold the occupants. Each of these jury spaces was entered by a narrow path, at the entrance to which were placed sentinels to protect, unmolested the deliberations of these honorable bodies."

The first term of County Court in Andrew County was held at the residence of Gallant Rains, March 9, 1841. Upton Rohrer, Samuel Crowley and William Deakin were the members of this honorable body and Ezekiel W. Smith was the sheriff. Edwin Toole was appointed clerk pro tem. The first business of the court after its organization was the reception and adoption of the report of the commissioners appointed by the Legislature to select a site for the county seat. There was some opposition to the site agreed upon by the commission and a formal motion to change the report was filed with the court. It was signed by a number of citizens but promptly overruled by the court and so the location of the county .seat was forever settled. At this term of court the county was divided into four municipal townships, Jefferson, Nodaway, Jasper, and Jackson ; public highways were established and road overseers were appointed. At a subsequent meeting, held a few months later, the court issued an order which modern prohibitionists would probably look upon as opposed to a high standard of morality and wise economics. The order was as follows: "Whereas, it is represented, and the court here being duly satisfied that Peter Kemper is likely to become a county charge, on the application of Samuel R. Campbell it is ordered that a license be granted him to keep a dram shop for six months by paying the state tax of $15 thereon, free of county tax." The judges of this court were all men of sterling integrity, highly honorable and well qualified for the position they occupied. Some of their, acts would indicate, however, that they were rigid economists when it came to handling the people 's money, as witness the following incident: "Two highly respected physicians came before the honorable court with medical accounts for allowance,—Drs. William Burnett and William Wood. Dr. Burnett presented his account for $30 for services in attending Bob Harris in his last sickness and proved the same by Dr. Wood. Judge Crowley asked the doctor if the patient recovered or died. 'Died,' was the reply. 'And, by the good Lord, sir, do you charge $30 for killing a man?' 'Judge Deakin we will allow him half the amount.' 'Agreed,' responded Deakin. Next came Dr. Wood with an account for $30 for similar services, which he proved by Dr. Burnett. Judge Crowley again remarked, 'Lord Heavens! man, how many of you were concerned in killing this man Harris? We will cut you down half too. What do you say Judge Deakin ? ' 'Agreed,' responded the judge. The doctors retired exercising their risible faculties at the plain, blunt and positive manners of the court. These judges received, for their services, two dollars per day."

The County Seat

The location of Savannah, in the geographical center of the county, on a high elevation and surrounded by as fine a farming and fruit growing region as can be found in the state, is almost ideal. The site, which had been selected by a commission of the Legislature, consisted of 160 acres, most of which was covered by a thick forest. The survey was made, the town was laid off into blocks, lots, streets and alleys and the lots were advertised for sale in two newspapers, the Western Star, published in Clay County, and the Far West, a periodical of Platte County. The original plat shows 197 lots and, in the center, a public square to be used for county purposes. A public sale of lots was held in August, 1841. The number of lots sold on this date is not known but the proceeds of the sale amounted to $757.49. Mr. James Wood at this sale purchased lot number 8 in block 49 ; also lot number 4 in block 32 and, erecting a building soon afterward, became the first settler in Savannah. Following this sale of lots, the forest began to resound with the woodman's ax. Lots were cleared and houses began to appear. The splendid location, together with the fact that it was to be the seat of justice for the county, attracted a number of residents and speculators in real estate who became prominent factors in the early history of the town and county. The first mechanic to locate in the town was Andrew J. Moodi, a blacksmith who, in 1841, erected a little log shop on Market Street adjoining the lot on which is now located the county jail. Paul Manritzius, a carpenter and cabinet maker, came a little later in the same year and built his shop on the northeast corner of the public square where the Methodist Church South now stands. Warner Terrill was the first tailor and the Nelson brothers, Samuel, James and John T., were the first contractors and builders. They planned and erected numerous residences and business houses and in 1841 built the courthouse which did duty for more than fifty years. In 1842, Isadore Barada erected and opened the first hotel at the southwest corner of the square where afterward stood the more pretentious building known as the St. Charles Hotel. Abram Nave, who afterward became a wealthy wholesale merchant of St. Joseph and Kansas City, was probably Savannah's pioneer merchant. In 1841 he came from Saline County, Missouri, with a single wagon load of miscellaneous merchandise which he offered for sale in a.small building on the west side of the square. Within a few years, his business had grown to such an extent that another and larger building became necessary. This was erected on the south side of the square and occupied for a few years when it, too, became insufficient for the growing business and a still larger building was erected on the east side. Still the business increased by leaps and bounds and, a few years later, having laid the foundations of a fortune, Mr. Nave sought a larger field in the new and promising City of St. Joseph. Samuels and Elliott had begun business together in a little country store six miles west of Savannah on the farm of Elijah Martin. This was in 1839. Later it was seen that Savannah was to become the principal business center in this section of the state and in 1841 they moved their stock of goods into the new town where their business was increased and these pioneer merchants became identified with the interests of the growing population. About the year 1840, a little group of houses stood a mile and half to the northwest of Savannah constituting the Village of White Hall. The laying out of Savannah tolled the funeral service of White Hall. Its few places of business were closed and the stocks of goods were moved to Savannah. Among these merchants of White Hall was William Price, whose son, Ed V. Price, now a wealthy merchant of Chicago, by the endowment of a splendid public library and in many other ways, has shown his generosity to the town of his birth. In the year 1853, by legislative enactment, Savannah was incorporated as a city of the third class. One item in the act of incorporation may be of interest. It is as follows : "To prevent and restrain the meeting of slaves and, by ordinance, to impose fines and penalties and forfeitures of the owners and masters of slaves suffered to go at large upon hiring their own time, or to act and deal as free persons, and, further, to tax, restrain, regulate and prescribe the terms upon which free negroes and mulattoes shall be permitted to reside in the city." As a result of the first election held under the new charter 0. H. P. Craig was elected mayor, E. W. Myers,, marshal, and Henry Gore assessor. George W. Samuels, John Terrell, Joseph M. Holt, Samuel F. Garrett and Henry Patterson constituted the first alder-manic body. During the years which followed great improvements were made along many lines. In this brief sketch, it is impossible to mention more than a very few of the most important of these. The old log and frame business houses around the square were gradually replaced by substantial brick buildings, the old "cow sheds" in front of the stores were torn away and the streets graded. In the year 1898 the old courthouse, which had done faithful service for more than half a century, was razed and on its site a splendid new structure, costing $80,000, was erected. Five years later the old jail was torn down and a splendid modern building erected on the corner of Fourth and Market streets. An era of improvement in streets and sidewalks was inaugurated about 1901 which resulted, in a few years, in the complete elimination of the old board walks and the substitution of granitoid walks. The streets around the public square and for a block therefrom in each direction were paved with brick. Within five years prior to 1903 four splendid church edifices were erected. These were in order, the M. E. South, the M. E., the Baptist and the Presbyterian. In 1903 the Savannah school district erected a fine new public school building at a cost of $30,000. The board of education, about the same time, secured the services of Prof. George F. Nardin as superintendent, under whose wise administration the school soon took high rank and became one of the accredited high schools of the state. In 1912 the school district, stimulated by an endowment gift of $20,000 by Ed V. Price of Chicago, voted bonds and erected, at a cost of $15,000, a splendid library building with a fine auditorium on the spacious school grounds. The library was opened to the public February 10, 1913, with 3,000 choice volumes and the number is being rapidly increased by monthly purchases of new books. Miss Jane Prodsham is the efficient librarian.

A system of water works was installed in 1908 at a cost of $35,000 and during the summer, fall and winter of 1910 the St. Joseph-Savannah Interurban Company constructed an electric railway, in length, connecting the two cities. On April 1, 1911, the company began operating the road with hourly service each way from 6 A. M. to midnight. This new enterprise became an important factor in determining the character of Savannah as an attractive residence suburb of the larger wholesale and manufacturing City of St. Joseph. In 1912 Dr. Perry Nickols purchased thirty acres of ground on the Interurban road, adjoining the city limits on the southeast, and erected a four story, sixty-room sanitorium at a cost of $25,000. It was opened to receive patients in January, 1913, since which time it has been taxed to its capacity. A new and larger building is being planned to accommodate the increasing number of patients who come from all parts of the United States and Canada.


The oldest religious organization in Andrew County was a New School Presbyterian Church, which dates its origin to August 7, 1841. This organization was effected on the farm of Robert Elliott, about three miles west of Savannah, in a schoolhouse. On the afternoon of the above date the Rev. Elijah A. Carson preached in the schoolhouse and after the sermon presented to the congregation a plan for organization, which was adopted and subscribed to by twenty-four persons. After Savannah had been chosen as the county seat, the organization was moved to that place in 1842 and a building erected. The organization has remained intact to the present time and four different houses of worship have been erected, the present building, costing $10,000 having been erected in 1904. Other Presbyterian churches in the county are, Cumberland Ridge, which was organized on the old camp meeting ground, three miles southeast of Savannah, in 1844; Rosendale, which was organized in 1869 ; Empire Prairie, organized in 1861, and Green Valley, organized in 1889.

The Methodist people were pioneers in Andrew County; but unfortunately the records of their early work have been destroyed and accurate data cannot be secured. It is known, however, that in the early '40s, there was a small class in Savannah which, in 1845, was visited by the Rev. Benjamin Baxter, who held religious services in the courthouse. In 1855 a lot was purchased and a brick building erected on the corner of First and Main streets which served the congregation until 1890, when the present splendid edifice was erected at the northeast corner of the square. The original building was the only Methodist house of worship in the county up to 1861, the two branches of the churches using it jointly. The Civil war occasioned a division and led to the organization of the M. E. Church, known sometimes as the North Methodist Church. For a time, this congregation whorshipped in the courthouse and Christian Church; but in 1865 steps were taken looking to the erection of a house of worship. The work was begun but proceeded slowly and was not completed until 1870. It was a large frame structure and served the congregation until 1903, when it was torn down and replaced by a commodious brick building which is still in use. The original congregation worshipping in the old building at Main and First streets was reorganized after the war and immediately took on new life. A new building was erected in 1900 and, under the leadership of wise pastors and officers, the congregation has made splendid growth. Other organizations of the M. E. Church South in the county are Crown Hill, Bedford Chapel, Jimtown, Hackberry, and Platte Chapel. The northern branch of the church has flourishing organizations at Fillmore, Bolckow, Amazonia, Helena, Star Chapel, and "Wesley Chapel.

The Church of the Disciples, as an organization in Andrew County, dates back to about 1847 when Elder Duke Young visited Savannah and for sometime labored among the people. He succeeded in organizing a little company of them into a church and in 1851 a brick building was erected on the corner of Fifth and Market streets, in which enterprise Elder Prince L. Hudgens was the leading spirit. He became pastor in 1852 and continued in this office until the breaking out of the Civil War, when the church was rent asunder by internal dissen-' sion and for sometime no religious services were held. For a part of this time the church building was occupied by a detachment of United States troops stationed at Savannah. A reorganization of the church was effected in 1866, since which time the congregation has grown greatly and a new and better church edifice has been erected. This denomination now has flourishing organizations at Rosendale, Bolckow, Bethel, Fairview, Antioch, Fillmore, Amazonia, Long Branch, Rea, and Whitesville.

In 1847 about twenty people in and around Savannah organized themselves into a Baptist Church and for several years worshipped in the courthouse and in the Presbyterian Church. In 1858 this organization was disbanded, the people transferring their membership to the Mount Vernon church, an organization which had grown up in the country three miles north of the county seat. Here they erected a commodious building and grew in numbers until 1902, when that portion of the congregation living in Savannah withdrew and organized themselves into the Savannah Baptist Church. In the following year a splendid building was erected and, under the leadership of consecrated and efficient pastors, the congregation has grown rapidly. The Baptists have strong congregations at Bolckow and several other points in the county.

Public Schools

High School
From the dates of the earliest settlements efforts were made for the education of the children. The problem was a difficult one in many ways. The communities were sparsely settled and families lived far apart. There were no school buildings and no public school fund out of which to pay teachers. ' Also, there were very few teachers who were really qualified for the work. For many years the only schools in the county were subscription schools, presided over by teachers whose salaries were paid in corn, pork, potatoes and the skins of wild animals. The teacher invariably "boarded around" among the patrons of the school and was under the necessity of doing his work in some miserable log cabin which was absolutely devoid of equipment. From this small beginning, the public school system of the county has grown through the years to its present state of efficiency. It is impossible to state just which was the very first school to open its doors to the children of the county; but certainly one of the very first was that which was taught by a Mr. Wilson in a little log cabin which stood on the farm of John Cox, a short distance north of Savannah. This was in 1839 or 1840. The Rev. Elijah A. Carson opened a school in Savannah in 1841. Other pioneer teachers were J. M. Ewing, A. R. Baldwin, Zechariah Moreland, William Hudson, Ray Taylor, and David Tate. Since the early days Andrew county has shared with the other counties of the state in the great changes that have been wrought in our educational system. There are now eighty-five school districts in the county, nearly all of which are supplied with buildings well arranged and equipped for doing effective work. A number of them have modern heating systems, drinking fountains and other up-to-date equipment. They are in charge of a fine body of teachers and the whole is under the supervision of an efficient, wide-awake superintendent. Prof. Lesley M. Dobbs. The work is carefully graded throughout the county and every year "Rally Day" exercises are held at the county seat, where diplomas are granted pupils who have successfully finished the eighth grade work. Oratorical, spelling and athletic contests are held also and a great and growing interest is being shown in these exercises by both the pupils and patrons of the schools. The character of the work done is being improved and every year witnesses an advance in the educational standard of the teachers. Six of these schools. Savannah, Rosendale, Fillmore, Bolckow, Amazonia, and Helena, are doing high school work. The Savannah school is providing the entire high school course of four years and, with tin enrollment of 175 pupils in this department, under a corps of six able instructors, is one of the accredited high schools of the state. A number of the country and village districts are already taking steps looking toward district consolidation and the establishment of several additional high schools in the county

An interesting item in connection with the schools of the county is found in the fact that in an early day a young man by the name of Baldwin established in Savannah a private normal training school for the benefit of those expecting to teach. It was operated with varying success for several years; but not meeting with the encouragement which the enterprise merited, in 1867, Mr. Baldwin moved the institution to Kirksville where for three years it was run as a private normal school and in March, 1870, by an act of the Legislature, began its career as the First District Normal School of the state. The young man who started the school was the same Joseph Baldwin who, later, became president of the Kirksville Normal School and one of the leading educators of the West.

The Press

In the fall of 1845, while Savannah was in her swaddling clothes, Lorenzo D. Nash and Charles F. Holly, two of her enterprising citizens, began the publication of The Western Empire, the first newspaper published in Andrew County. It lived for about one year, then died for lack of financial support. Mr. Holly and L. D. Carter made a second venture into the newspaper business in 1851 by the publication of the Savannah Sentinel. Several copies still in existence show that it was a good newspaper and deserved the support of the people of the county which, however, it failed to secure and, as a result, perished after a brief life of thirteen months. In 1856, these two enterprising men associated with themselves one, Daniel VanBuskirk, organizing a joint stock company for the purpose of publishing a newspaper. The new venture was called the Northwest Democrat. It became the organ of the democratic party of the county and continued its weekly visits until the opening of the Civil war when, in 1861, it was seized by a detachment of federal troops and its publication discontinued.

The American Eagle, which announced itself as an "Anti-Benton" paper, issued its first number in 1857. For awhile it soared high and screamed loud but the experience of other newspaper effort was repeated and at the end of a few brief months the Eagle ceased to soar.

Then came the Plain Dealer in 1859, a strong anti-slavery sheet. Shortly after the beginning of the war, however, it was seized by Confederate troops and its type converted into bullets. New type was secured and for a few months the publication was continued, but the opposition was too strong and it was finally suspended.

The Andrew County Union began in 1868, with John Patterson as editor, who was soon succeeded by Joseph Rea. The paper continued through the presidential campaign of that year after which it was discontinued. Then came the New Era in 1870, with J. E. Huston as editor and proprietor. Mr. Huston was a strong editorial writer and for a time the paper became quite popular. After a few months, however, the patronage and equipment of the paper was sold to the Andrew County Republican, a new enterprize which began its career in October, 1871. W. W. Caldwell, W. S. Greenlee, and Samuel Frodshara were the directors and John Sherman was editor and business manager of the new periodical. Mr. Sherman was succeeded, after six months, by 0. E. Paul, a newspaper man of some experience from Cincinnati, Ohio. The paper soon became one of the best in Northwest Missouri and the local organ of the Republican party. Mr. Paul continued his relation to the paper for five years and was succeeded by George E. King, who changed the name to the Andrew County Republican. The paper was enlarged and the circulation increased. In 1878, however, the business was moved to Seneca, Kansas. After the sale of the Republican to Mr. King, 0. E. Paul began the publication of the Savannah Reporter, the first number making its appearance April 28, 1876. It was strongly republican in politics and, under Mr. Paul's able management, grew in popularity from year to year until it became recognized as one of the leading newspapers of Northwest Missouri, In 1911 the management and ownership of the Reporter passed into the hands of Mr. and Mrs. S. E. Lee, the present owners. Under this new management, the paper has been greatly improved and its circulation widely extended. A splendid linotype, folder, and other up-to-date machinery help to make up one of the best equipped printing establishments in the state outside the large cities.

During the same year in which the Reporter published its initial number (1876) 0. J. Hurley began the publication of the Democrat. It became at once the party organ and took rank with the best newspapers of this part of the state. In the fall of 1895 Mr. Hurley sold out to King DeBord, who edited the paper for about two years, when Booher and Williams became the owners and W. S. Draw, editor and office manager. In February, 1910, Mr. Dray, who had been connected with the paper since 1890, became sole proprietor. Under his able management many improvements have been made and the circulation extended until the Democrat has become a very important factor in the political, social and religious development of Northwest Missouri. Other ably edited and influential papers in the county are the Bolckow Herald, edited by J. I. Bennett, the Whitesville Banner, by D, I, Whitehurst, and the Rosendale Signal, by Enoch Gray.

The Mexican and Civil Wars

Andrew County's relation to the military affairs of the country are worthy of, at least, a brief mention. When war was declared with Mexico in 1846, this portion of the state was very sparsely settled and there were few able bodied men to enlist. However, immediately upon receipt of news concerning the President's call for volunteers, steps were taken to organize a company. within a few months the quota was full and the men were mustered into service, with W. H. Rogers as captain and Frank Impey as first lieutenant. The company reported at Fort Leavenworth in the summer of 1847, but the war being practically over by that time, they were ordered into camp at Fort Kearney, Nebraska, and in the fall of 1848 were mustered out of service.

The Civil war was far more serious in its effects upon the citizens of Andrew County. The people were divided in their views of slavery and, during the long discussions of this subject prior to the breaking out of the war, many bitter enmities were generated and friendships of long standing were rent asunder. Neighbors who had lived in peace and harmony for years became bitter enemies. Life and property became insecure and sectionalism ran rampant. The Reverend Sellers, a Methodist minister of Rochester, was accused of stirring up sectional hatred and warned to vacate his pulpit which he refused to do. In a general melee which followed one of his services in the Rochester Church, an old gentleman by the name of Holland was killed, the Reverend Sellers was tarred and feathered, otherwise abused and compelled to leave the country. This was in 1856. In the same year and at the same place, Samuel Simmons and William Hardesty engaged in a political quarrel which ended in the killing of the former by the latter, who in turn had to be guarded for several days to save him from an infuriated mob. These incidents serve to show to what heights the feeling of sectionalism had risen. The election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency intensified this feeling for all felt that war was then imminent. Public meetings were held by both parties and enthusiasm ran high. Among the first of these meetings and one long to be remembered was held in Savannah by the Unionists in the spring of 1861. The principal speakers at this meeting were R. M. Stewart and Willard P. Hall of St. Joseph. A large pole was raised on the north side of the square from which the stars and stripes were unfurled, its presence creating great enthusiasm. In the meantime, the southern faction gathered in large numbers and were addressed by Prince L. Hudgens and others in the Christian Church, their ringing speeches being distinctly heard by those listening to the remarks of Hall and Stewart. A day or two previous, a palmetto flag had been unfurled from the courthouse cupola and on the day of the meeting, another Southern flag was hoisted beside the first one, both of which were guarded by well known Southern men who made many sneering remarks about the Yankee flag and insulted those who had raised the pole. Excitement rose to a fever heat and at one time the Southern men made a break for the Union flag which was guarded by a crowd of well armed and determined men, who repulsed the attack and kept the colors flying. It is related that during the excitement, an old union man, stung to madness almost by the presence of the rebel flag on the top of the courthouse, made a large paper kite painted with the stars and stripes, which he sailed aloft until it came several feet above the obnoxious streamer on the cupola. He then held it stationary to the great indignation of the Southern men, several of whom threatened to cut the string, but were prevented from doing so by the Union men who threatened to shoot the first one who should make the attempt. In the evening, when Messrs. Hall and Stewart, the Union speakers, started to leave the city, they were followed by a crowd of armed men who determined to take their lives. They escaped, however, reaching the train just in time to save their lives.

When actual hostilities began between the North and the South, the two parties in Andrew County vied with each other in enlisting men and organizing companies for the conflict. The Southern sympathizers established Camp Highley in the eastern part of the county where, during the summer of 1861, about fifteen hundred men were organized as State Guards. They were joined by other men from the adjoining counties and the whole number was under the command of Colonel Patton. In the meantime, a Union camp had been established in Gentry County and a large number of Union men from Andrew County joined them. While this was going on, many acts of violence were being committed. A company of Federal troops from St. Joseph under Colonel Peabody, seized the Northwest Democrat, a Savannah newspaper, and carried away the type and presses. The editor escaped. Quickly following this, a number of Confederate troops from Camp Highley retaliated by capturing the Plain Dealer, a Union paper, and transforming its type into bullets. On learning of the approach of Union troops from Iowa, Camp Highley was broken up and the troops, under Colonel Patton, started to join the Confederate forces at Lexington. They were overtaken at a point near Liberty in Clay County and an engagement followed in which the Union forces lost sixty killed and the Confederates, three. The Confederates joined the army of General Price at Lexington and most of them served throughout the war, suffering many hardships and privations. The breaking up of Camp Highley ended the work of publicly recruiting soldiers for the Confederacy in Andrew County. In 1861, a cavalry regiment of 800 men, known as the Forty-first Missouri Militia, was organized for home protection. It was commanded by William Herron. This company did effective service in preventing further recruiting for the Southern army and preserving the peace of the county. Kimball's regiment was recruited in Savannah in the summer of 1861, a part of whom were from Nodaway and Holt counties. They entered into the United States service in September, 1861, under the command of Major Sturgis and later were attached to the brigade of General Prentiss and did valiant service in various parts of the state. Andrew County furnished one complete company, G, of the Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, which was recruited at St. Joseph in the early part of 1862. Most of these remained in service until the close of the war. Company G of the Twelfth Missouri Cavalry, Company M of the Ninth Missouri Militia, Companies B and D of the Forty-third Missouri Volunteer Infantry, and two companies of the Fifty-first regiment, Missouri Volunteer Infantry, were raised, some in part and others fully in Andrew County. The exact number of men furnished by Andrew County under the several calls for Union troops is not known, but it was large. In addition to these, more than one thousand men of this county cast their lots with the Confederacy and did brave service in defense of the Southern cause. There was a period during 1862 and ]863 known as the reign of terror in this section of the state during which many acts of violence were committed. Houses and barns were burned, a number of men were murdered in cold blood and many others were compelled to leave their property and flee to other parts to save their lives and the lives of their families. With the proclamation of peace, these awful conditions ceased, prosperity returned, old friendships w^ere renewed, old enmities were forgiven and in time the people once more became happy and prosperous.

Grasshopper Plague

The year 1875 will ever remain memorable in the history of Andrew County on account of the grasshopper plague of that year. For several days during the precedirg August great numbers of these insects appeared in the air, flying eastward and occasioned considerable alarm among farmers and gardeners. Very little damage was done to vegetation at this time, however, but millions of eggs were deposited and about April 20 following, the infant grasshoppers began to appear in such incredible numbers as to cause genuine alarm throughout the county. And with good reason, for they seemed to be ravenously hungry and vegetation of all kinds disappeared with almost incredible dispatch in the line of their march. Garden and fields, green with vegetables, wheat, oats, grass and corn became, within a few hours, as bare as the public road. In crossing the railroad tracks they were so numerous that their crushed bodies rendered the tracks slippery and so interfered with the operation of the trains. Some efforts were made by the farmers to destroy them but the numbers were so great that the task was soon given up as hopeless. They continued their depredations until June 20, when, having developed wings, they arose simultaneously and took their flight to the East and North. Never, perhaps, did the departure of visitors occasion more real rejoicing. Not a green sprig of any kind had been left behind them and many of the farmers felt that the season was so far advanced that the crops for that 3^ear must prove a complete failure. However, all went to work vigorously planting their crops again, some not being able to finish the corn planting before July 1. The remainder of the season, was very favorable and was followed by a late fall with the result that an unusually large crop was harvested that year, much more than was needed for home consumption. While the country was in no way injured by these little pests, the alarm was so great that for several years much fear was entertained lest they should


In the year 1841 Mr. John Baum, then a young man, emigrated from Germany to the United States, finally settling in Andrew County. On this journey, which in that day was both long and perilous, he was accompanied by a man friend about his own age. They came first to New York, then by sailing vessel around Florida Keys through the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans and from thence by steamboat up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to Weston which was at that time the head of navigation. It was a journey so full of peril to the young men that it could never he forgotten. On the old river steamboat from New Orleans, especially, the experiences of the two travelers were memorable. Thieves which infested the boat stole their baggage and finally, when near the end of the wearisome trip, the vessel sprung a leak and went to the bottom of the river. Fortunately no lives were lost but all had a narrow escape. The two young men finished the journey to Andrew County as best they could and found here a home. A number of their descendants still live in this section of the state. Here is an interesting sequel to the story of their experiences: Years after that thrilling experience of John Baum on that old river steamboat, he was in Savannah one day where, in the meantime, the Presbyterians had erected a church. The ringing of the church bell attracted his attention. The tones seemed familiar and brought vividly to his mind the experiences of the river journey and he declared his conviction that the bell on the church was none other than the one used on the old river steamer that had sunk years before. The idea was ridiculed; but a later examination of the bell disclosed on its surface, the name of the boat on which it had done service in years gone by. After the sinking of the boat, the bell, with other salvage had come into possession of a second-hand dealer in St. Louis. When the Presbyterians of Savannah needed a bell for their new church, they commissioned a traveling man of St. Louis to make the purchase which he did with the above result.


In this brief sketch it is possible to mention but a very few of those citizens whose names should grace the history of Andrew County, men and women who have labored and sacrificed to build a broader, better and more prosperous community. Many of these lived quiet, unostentatious lives and their very names have passed from the memory of those who have come after them. Others whose deeds were more public are remembered ; but all have had their part in helping to give character to the community and the recording angel has doubtless registered their good words and deeds above.

Perhaps no man played a more active part in the development of the county than did Prince L. Hudgins, who came here from Kentucky in 1841. He was teacher, preacher and lawyer and excelled in all three of these lines of work. He commanded great respect as a leader, was identified with every enterprise which affected the welfare of the comtnunity for years. His memory is held sacred by many who knew him.

Hon. David Rea, when a boy of eleven years, came with his parents from Indiana to Andrew County in 1842. He grew up on a farm, attended the country schools and, after teaching for awhile and studying law, was in 1863 admitted to the bar. He soon took high rank as a lawyer. In 1874 he was elected to Congress to represent the fourth district and served two terms. Politically he was a democrat, was unostentatious in his manner, charitable and highly respected as one of the leading citizens of the county.

Hon. John P. Altgeld, a politician of national reputation and one of the distinguished governors of Illinois, was for several years a citizen of Andrew County, to which place he came as a poor young man broken in health and fortune but rich in energy and ambition. He worked as a farm laborer, taught school for a few terms and in the meantime studied law with great vigor under the direction of Judge Rea of Savannah. He was admitted to the bar in 1869 and in 1874 was elected prosecuting attorney of Andrew County, which office he later resigned and removed to Chicago. His subsequent career, as judge of the Superior Court in Chicago and as Governor of Illinois, is well known.

Hon. Charles F. Booher, the present United States congressman from the fourth Missouri district, has been for many years a resident of Andrew County, having come to Savannah from East Groveland, New York, in 1870. The following year he was admitted to the bar. He served six years as prosecuting attorney and the same length of time as mayor of Savannah. He was presidential elector on the democratic ticket in 1880. He was elected to the sixtieth Congress and has served continuously since that time.

A History Of Northwest Missouri Vol 1 edited by Walter Williams 1915

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