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Bollinger County

County History

A county in the southeastern part of the State, bounded on the north by Perry, on the east by Cape Girardeau, on the south by Stoddard and Wayne, and on the west by Wayne and Madison Counties; area, 381,081 acres. The surface of the county is irregular, broken and hilly, with wide valleys, some swamp land and rolling table lands. The soil is generally clay loam, red and gravelly in the rough sections and exceedingly fertile in the valleys. The county is well drained by the White Water in the northeastern part, the Castor in the southwestern and Crooked Creek in the southern part. Smaller streams are the Hurricane and Perkins Creeks.

Only about 28 per cent of the land is under cultivation, and about 60 per cent is timber, mostly gum, cypress, oak, hickory, some ash, walnut, cottonwood and pine. These woods are valuable, and the lumber industry is increasing, as is shown by the report of the lumber shipments in 1898, which were as follows: Sawed lumber, 3,188,800 feet; logs, 288,000 feet; black walnut logs, 90,000 feet; cross-ties, 32,688; staves and barrel heads, 298 cars.

The land is well adapted to the growing of the cereals, vegetables and fruits. In 1898 there were shipped from the county 24,720 bushels of wheat, and 10,870 pounds of grass seed. The different grasses grow abundantly, and stock-raising is one of the most profitable branches of agriculture. In 1898 there were shipped to outside markets 488 head of cattle, 4,200 head of hogs, 9,417 pounds of dressed beef, and 5,542 pounds of hides. There were also exported 235,249 pounds of poultry, 118,260 dozen of eggs, 700 baskets of peaches, 4,452 crates of strawberries, and 2,000 pounds of dried fruits.

Minerals found in the county are iron, lead, zinc, kaolin and ochre, but little has been done in the way of development. For some years quantities of hematite iron ore were mined and shipped. Lead and zinc have not been found in such quantities as to make the mining of them profitable. Some deposits of kaolin have been worked, and shipments made to the porcelain factories of the East. Fine limestone, suitable for building purposes, is abundant. In the county there are thirty-three miles of railroad, the Iron Mountain, which passes southeasterly through the center; the Cape Girardeau, Bloomfield & Southern, which terminates at Zalma, in the southern part, and connects with the St. Louis Southwestern, which touches the southern line.

Bollinger County was organized by an act of the State Legislature, approved March 1, 1851. It was formed of portions of Wayne, Cape Girardeau and Stoddard Counties, and named in honor of George Frederick Bollinger. Bollinger was born in North Carolina of Swiss parentage. His father was a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, and was shot at his home by Tories. George Frederick was the fourth son. In 1796 he settled on the White Water River, then in the district of Cape Girardeau. He had a companion named Moose, who remained only a short time in this region. Bollinger became acquainted with Louis Lorimier, commandant of the post at Cape Girardeau, who promised him concessions of land if he would induce settlers to locate in the country. According to the Spanish rules, settlers could locate on 800 arpens of land (about 640 acres) upon payment of fees which amounted to forty-one dollars, but they were required to make improvements and to become permanent settlers.

Bollinger returned to North Carolina, and came back to Upper Louisiana with his wife and twenty colonists and their families. This party came across the country from North Carolina in wagons, and crossed the Mississippi River at St. Genevieve, January 1, 1800. Members of this expedition were Mathias, John, Henry, William, Daniel and Philip Bollinger and families; Peter and Conrad Stutler, Joseph Nyswonger, George and Peter Grount, Peter Crytes, John and Jacob Cotner, John and Isaac Miller, Frederick Limbough, Leonard Welker and Frank Slinkard. All were of German or Swiss parentage and members of the German Reformed Church. They all located on land along White Water River, each taking up from three to four hundred arpens.

Soon after, by order of Lorimier, the members of the colony were formed into a militia company, under the command of George Frederick Bollinger, and became one of the best mounted and drilled organizations in the Territory. Bollinger built a log mill about 1801, and soon replaced it with a stone one. At this mill, for many years, was ground the bread stuff of the inhabitants. Other settlers on the White Water were Valentine Lorr, Handel Barks, Elijah Welsh, Daniel Hildebrand and William Patterson, all of whom located on land in 1803.

In the section that is now Bollinger County there were other settlers besides those on the White Water. In 1800 Urban Asherbrounar settled on Castor Creek, and before 1804 Edward Haythorn and Joseph Watkins located on the same stream, near the St. Francois County line. About the same time Thomas Lewis, James Smith and Lemuel Hargrave settled on Hog Creek, and John Lorance on Crooked Creek, and Daniel Hahn on the creek which bears his name, about two miles from the present site of Lutesville. Other early settlers were Henry Barber and John Deck, on Crooked Creek, and Jacob Nifong, Jacob Hinkle and Jacob Clodfelter, North Carolinians, who settled near White Water Creek.

In 1805 Rev. Samuel Weiberg (or Whybark, as it is now spelled) came from North Carolina upon the invitation of Major Bollinger and fellow members of the German Reformed Church. Up to the time of his death, in 1833, he attended to the spiritual wants of the colony, and also preached in different section of southeastern Missouri and Illinois. Members of the colony were thrifty, and from the first all prospered and some became prominent in business and political affairs.

Major Bollinger was a member of the first Territorial Assembly, and a member of the State Senate for a number of terms, and in 1828 was made president pro tem. of that body. In 1836 he was one of the presidential electors. He died in 1842. Soon after his settlement on White Water his wife died, leaving one daughter, who married Joseph Frizel, and after his death she became the wife of Ralph Dougherty. She was the owner of the first piano in Cape Girardeau district.

On March 24, 1851, the first county court was organized at the house of John Stevens, on Hurricane Creek. The judges appointed were Reuben Smith, John Stevens and Drury Massey, with William C. Grimsley, sheriff, and Oliver E. Snider, clerk.

Soon after a brick courthouse was built at Dallas— now Marble Hill. The building was thirty by thirty feet, two stories. This was destroyed by fire March 2, 1866, and with it were burned some of the records of the county. The same year another brick courthouse was built. This, too, was burned in March, 1884. It had been condemned, and at the time was occupied only by the office of the clerk of the courts.

Lutesville, which had been laid out a mile southwest of Marble Hill, was ambitious to become the seat of justice, and a proposition to change to that place was voted upon at the general election in November, 1884. The town corporation of Marble Hill voted $1,000, and by private subscription $1,620 additional was raised, and the proposition was overwhelmingly defeated. The county court appropriated $7,000, and, with this and the subscriptions raised in Marble Hill, the present courthouse was built the following year.

The first members of the bar of Bollinger County were A. C. Ketchum, who remained but a short time, and Judge George H. Green, James McWilliams, F. Quimby and Alexander Barrett. In 1827, when the territory now comprising Bollinger County was part of Cape Girardeau County, a quarrel between two early settlers, Conrad Cothner and Charles Hinkle, resulted in the murder of Hinkle. Cothner was tried in the Madison County Court, was found guilty of manslaughter, and was sentenced to one year's imprisonment at hard labor and fined $500.

During the Civil War the county was the scene of a few small skirmishes. August 24, 1862, Confederate Colonel W. L. Jeffers, with one hundred men, attacked four companies of the Twelfth Cavalry, Missouri State militia, under Major B. F. Lazear, on Crooked Creek, and routed them. Lindsay Murdock, a resident of the county, was commissioned lieutenant colonel by General Fremont, and raised four companies, many members of which were from the county. Levi C. Whyback was captain of Company "F," which was recruited in Bollinger and Perry Counties, and the county also furnished many members to Company '"G."

The townships in the county are:
Crooked Creek;
White Water.

The principal towns are Marble Hill, the county seat; Lutesville and Zalma. The number of public schools in the county is 79; teachers, 81; pupils, 5,167. The estimated total value of the taxable property in the county is $3,765,000. The population in 1900 was 14,650.

[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 316-318; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.



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