The territory out of which Buchanan County was formed in 1838 is a part of the Platte Purchase acquired from the Iowa, Sac and Fox Indians in 1836. It was named after James Buchanan, who was a prominent diplomat and adherent of Andrew Jackson at the time it was formed. It is situated in the northwestern part of Missouri, is in the same latitude with Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco, and on the meridian that passes through Lake Itasca and Galveston. Its altitude is one thousand feet above the level of the sea, being six hundred feet above St. Louis and four hundred feet above Chicago. The highest point in the county is Reservoir Hill, north of St. Joseph, which is three hundred and twenty feet above low-water mark.
St. Joseph is the county seat. Buchanan County is bounded on the north by Andrew County; on the east by DeKalb and Clinton Counties; on the south by Platte County, and on the west by the Missouri River, which curves eastward at St. Joseph. The county is well watered. In every part there are living streams, on some of which the mill sites saved the early settlers many privations and inconveniences. The Platte River flows through the county from north to south and receives One Hundred and Two River, Bee Creek and some smaller streams from the west, and Third Fork, Castine Creek and Maiden Creek from the east. The streams are clear and never failing, and springs of good, pure water abound everywhere. In the western part of the county, in the Missouri Bottoms, there are a number of lakes of a curving shape. The principal of these is Contrary Lake, semicircular in shape, six miles long and half a mile wide.
It is a few miles southwest of St. Joseph and is becoming quite a public resort. It abounds in fish in the spring and summer, and ducks and geese in the fall, and thus affords good sport for anglers and huntsmen. The distance from the lake to the stock yards is less than two miles, and an electric railway connecting it with the city is in course of construction. The lake receives its name either from the treacherous character of the storms which agitate its surface, or from Contrary Creek, which flows into it in a direction contrary to the current of the Missouri River. There are seven other lakes south of it, namely: Sugar, Horseshoe, Muskrat, Lost, Singleton, Prairie and Marks, which, though smaller, abound in fish, ducks and geese, and afford good fishing and hunting.
On the west of the county flows the Missouri River, navigable for steamboats of considerable size during a greater part of the year; The channel opposite St. Joseph is from four hundred to five hundred yards wide and from fifteen to thirty feet deep at low-water mark. High water deepens in twenty-three feet. About three-fourths of the water that flows out of the river at its mouth passes St. Joseph. One hundred and seventy thousand gallons per second flows past St. Joseph at the ordinary spring flood. The bedrock is forty feet below the bottom of the river, thirty feet of which is coarse and fine sand, five feet stiff blue sand, and five feet of gravel and bolders.
Through this last layer a stream of pure, clear water flows. With two feet of ice on the surface of the river and the thermometer below zero, the temperature of this spring is 54 degrees. The soil of the river bottoms is very deep and rich, and is well adapted to the raising of corn. Away from the river bottoms the land is an undulating prairie, presenting a rare diversity of country; and, notwithstanding the surface is somewhat broken along the divides, the soil is productive and well adapted to the growth of grasses and cereals, especially corn. Good crops can be raised during very wet or very dry seasons. The soil is porous and ten hours sunshine will make the roads passable and the fields tillable. The crops can thus withstand much moisture and thrive, or endure prolonged droughts. There are no waste lands, as even the sloughs may be drained and turned into corn lands. The climate is dry and pure. The temperature is subject to sudden changes, except that the winters are uniform. The climatic conditions are favorable to health of mind and vigor of body. From the beginning the county has made provision for the care of its indigent sane and insane.
From 1840 to 1850 the sick and infirm were granted a monthly or yearly allowance in addition to clothing and medical attendance. In 1857 a farm of one hundred and fifty acres was purchased. The farm was maintained until 1868, when the patients and paupers were brought to St. Joseph and maintained by contract for over three years. In 1871 a farm of one hundred and sixty acres close to St. Joseph was bought, upon which a large frame house had been built. To this seven men and six women were transferred.
In 1873 a frame building was erected for the insane who had been returned from State Asylum No. 1 at Fulton on account of its crowded condition. In 1881 the county built an asylum with modern equipments for the care of the incurable insane, large enough to accommodate one hundred and fifty patients. The curable insane are maintained at State Asylum No. 2, the average number being one hundred and twenty. The county defrays the expenses of maintaining the indigent and sick at the county farm. The superintendent receives a salary of $75.00 a month.
Buchanan County is a blue grass region and consequently the raising of cattle is a very large industry. Formerly many farms were devoted to the breeding of fine cattle, but now the farms are all stocked with superior breeds, so that this specialty is no longer profitable. The raising of fine horses is a specialty of which some very fine specimens have recently been sold.
Education has been carefully fostered in Buchanan County. As early as 1846 a public convention of influential citizens was held in the interests of public education. Suitable buildings and competent teachers received earnest attention. This convention recommended an association of teachers. The associated efforts of over fifty years has resulted in a system of county schools which measure up to the highest ideals. There being no large towns in the county outside of St. Joseph, the work of grading has been difficult, and yet commendable progress has been made. Competent authority pronounces the Buchanan County schools equal to the best in the State. There are seventy schools in the county and eighty-five teachers, and an enrollment of six thousand pupils. The length of the school term is eight months and the annual disbursements for school purposes $30,000. The agricultural products are wheat, corn, grass, oats, potatoes.
The first settlers came from Clay County, and Platte Township was the scene of the first struggles of the pioneers. Absalom Enyard came in 1836, and Pleasant Yates, Isaac Karris, Levi Jackson, John Johnson, Robert Prather, Philip Walker and Robert Wilson in 1837. Among the earliest settlers that came to Crawford Township, was O. M. Spencer.
Dr. Silas McDonald, the first physician in the county, came in 1838.
The three towns in this township, Halleck, Wallace and Faucett, are described elsewhere. Hiram Roberts came to Bloomington Township in 1836. Then came Cornelius Roberts, Isom Gardner, Amos Horn, John Underwood, Holland Jones, Thomas Hickman, William Hickman, William Ballow, Matt Geer, Hardin Hamilton, Mrs. Sally Davis, Thomas Hill, Francis Drake Bowen, Stephen Field, James Hamilton and Isaac Van Hoozier in 1837. Robert M. Stewart, who became Governor of the State, came the next year.
Rush Township was first settled in 1837 by William Allison, John Allison and James Canter. Peter Price and Isaac Lower were the first settlers of Wayne Township. Center Township was settled by Richard Hill, Jesse Reames, Zachariah Waller, Elijah W. Smith, Thomas Moore, Lucas Dawson and John Martin in 1837. Agency Township was settled in 1837 by James and Robert Gilmore, Samuel Poteet and William McDowell. In 1839 Robert Gilmore established a ferry over the Platte River which continued to be operated until the county built the present wagon bridge in 1868.
Ishmael Davis in 1837 was one of the first settlers in Tremont Township, and R. T. Davis was the first white child born in the county. This was near "Rock House Prairie," described elsewhere. Calvin James, of barbecue fame, located in Marion Township in 1837.
In 1900 Buchanan County had a population of 121,838. ~T. R. Vickroy.~
[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 413-415; Transcribed and submitted by Andrea Stawski Pack]
Buchanan, George V., educator, was born February 14, 1859, in Belmont, Illinois. His father was Hiram Bell Buchanan, a civil engineer and farmer, at one time a prominent member of the engineering corps of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. Hiram B. Buchanan was a son of Walter Buchanan, a noted mathematician, who was widely known throughout Illinois and the West. Walter Buchanan was a born mathematician and his knowledge of all branches of that science, including trigonometry and calculus, caused him to be regarded as a wonder among college men, who held him in high esteem. Many knotty problems were sent to him at his home in Lawrence County, Illinois, and his solutions pleased and astonished mathematicians. He was well known to the public men of both Illinois and Missouri. The mother of Professor George V. Buchanan, whose maiden name was Helen Blood, is still living at Carbondale, Illinois.
After obtaining the rudiments of an education in a country school,
Professor Buchanan completed the high-school course at Olney, Illinois. He
then took a teacher's course at Central College of Danville, Indiana, and
later completed a classical course of study at the State Normal University
of Carbondale, Illinois, from which institution he was graduated in the
class of 1884. During his college days, mathematics and philosophy were
his favorite studies, as they have been since, and in recognition of his
accomplishments McKendree College, of Lebanon, Illinois, conferred upon
him, in 1894, the degree of Master of Arts. He began teaching school when
he was eighteen years of age and worked his way through the educational
institutions which he subsequently attended.
Since his coming to this State he has been a prominent member of the Missouri State Teachers' Association and has served as an officer of that organization. He served in 1899 as president of the superintendents' department of that association and was unanimously re-elected to the position for 1900. At different times he has read papers on philosophical and educational topics, which have received high commendation, and has delivered many lectures before teachers' institutes on pedagogical and literary themes.
For twelve years he has been an active member of the National Educational Association, and for seven years he has taken a prominent part in the work of the National Association of School Superintendents, serving in 1898 as president of one of the important departments. He has been a regular contributor, to various educational journals, is actively identified with the Chautauqua movement and was for several years an officer of the Summer Assembly of Missouri. Recognizing the great value of good literature as an educator, he has taken a leading part in sustaining reading clubs and was the organizer, and is president of the Nehemgar Literary Club, a cultured circle which considers leading questions and embraces in its membership the ablest thinkers and most scholarly people of Sedalia. This club has done much to promote intelligent study and masterful discussion of leading questions in literature, education and history.
Professor Buchanan has had interesting experience in military affairs. While a student in the Southern Illinois State University, he was for two years a cadet and won special distinction as a valuable officer in the corps. When professor of mathematics in the same institution several years later, he served as commandant of the corps of cadets, which was composed of two hundred and sixty young men. In this capacity he filled the place of a West Point officer, usually detailed to such institutions by the government. In politics he has affiliated with the Republican Party, but has been in no sense a strong partisan.
Since 1877 he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. For years he has been an officer of the church and one of its liberal supporters. A member of the Stale Chautauqua Board and also of the Young Men's Christian Association Board for several years, he has aided materially to advance the interests of these institutions. In Sedalia he planned the movement which Professor S. A. Weltmer, then librarian, and a few other friends helped to carry out, which resulted in making the Sedalia public library a free institution. In 1888 he became a Mason and is now a member of the Sedalia Commandery of Knights Templar.
In December of 1887 Professor Buchanan married Miss Hattie Starr, daughter of Judge Charles R. Starr of Kankakee, Illinois, and a sister of Major C. G. Starr of the United States Army, now serving in the Philippine Islands and one of the staff officers of the late General Lawton. Mrs. Buchanan's father was a native of Nova Scotia, but came in early boyhood to the United States. Her mother, whose maiden name was Almena Stevens, was a native of Portland, Maine, and both parents were educated and refined people. After graduating from the Kankakee high school, Mrs. Buchanan completed her education at the Southern Illinois Normal University and the St. Louis Art School. She is a lady of refined tastes and rare culture, and is very active in her efforts in behalf of kindergarten education and good home training for the young. The children of Professor and Mrs. Buchanan are Helen Almena, Agnes, Rachael, Richard Bell and George Victor Buchanan, Jr.
[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 410-412; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
Buchanan, George W., was born April 23, 1814, in Smythe County. Virginia. His grandfather, James Buchanan, came from the north of Ireland and settled in what was then Washington is now Smythe County, Virginia, on a farm granted to him by King George II, and which is still in the possession of one of the family. His father, George Buchanan, was born in Smythe County, Virginia, and his mother, Agnes (Lammie) Buchanan, was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. ''My father," writes Katharine, a daughter of George W. Buchanan, "received his earlier education in the country neighborhood schools. He afterward attended college at Greenville, Tennessee, where he took a thorough classical course and graduated with honors in 1835. Henry Hoss, a noted educator, was then president of the college. After leaving college my father read law with Colonel Preston at Marion, Virginia.
On January 7, 1838, he bade farewell to family, home, friends, and all the scenes of his childhood and started forth to seek his fortune among a strange people in a strange land, in what was then known as the 'Far West,' traveling all the way on horseback. He arrived at Independence, Missouri, on March 6, and 'put up' at the Noland House for several weeks. He then went to board with Colonel Lewis Jones and in a short time commenced teaching school. In an old journal he thus describes Independence as it was when he first saw it: 'Independence is a handsomely situated place about three miles south of the Missouri River, and has a population of about three hundred and fifty to four hundred. There are some distinguished advantages over not only the towns in upper Missouri, but over almost every other town or city in the Union. Situated as it is, it enjoys the entire advantages accruing from the Santa Fe and Rocky Mountain trading companies.'
My father returned to Virginia in the fall of 1838, when he was married to Miss Louise Buchanan. Owing to the delicate health of his wife he remained there all winter, her death occurring a few months after their marriage. He returned to Independence, this time traveling in a light spring wagon, and with the exception of two years, 1863 and 1864, when he and his family lived in St. Louis, has continued to make Independence his home, living in the same house which he and his present wife started to housekeeping in a little more than fifty years ago. He taught school several terms, was postmaster for a time and served as sheriff of Jackson County for two terms, from 1847 to 1851. He has been a lifelong Jeffersonian Democrat, and prides himself on the fact that he has never scratched a Democratic ticket.
An extract from a letter written to me when I was away at school shows how little he aspired to political office. He writes: 'When I was young, like most others, I had my aspirations for the honors and high places of the world, and many and gorgeous were the castles which I built in the air. Many of them, I have little doubt, I could have reduced to realities had my worldly ardor continued, but fortunately (mark the word 'fortunately'), about this time I reached mature manhood and the scales of ambition fell from my eyes and I was enabled to see pretty clearly that the greatest glory consisted, not in the abundance of this world's goods that I might possess, nor yet in the high places to which the partiality of the giddy throng might exalt me, but in first seeking the glory of God.' My father has always been a great lover of children and they have been just as fond of 'Uncle Buck,' as many of them call him. As was said of Jean Paul Richter, so may be said of him: 'He loved God and little children.' He has ever been the friend and advisor of young men. Several of the most distinguished men at the bar to-day read law with him in his office. He began the practice of law many years ago, and for a time he was alone.
In 1853 he entered into a partnership with Mr. J. Brown Hovey, which continued until 1859. They had a very large practice. After the dissolution of this partnership he formed one with Judge Strode, in the same year, and this continued several years. Judge Strode concluded to return to his old home—I think in Illinois—so the partnership was dissolved. About this time the Civil War broke out and business of all kinds was almost destroyed.
In the spring of 1863 my father went to St. Louis to reside. In a short time he and Judge Russell Hicks, one of the foremost lawyers of his day, entered into a partnership which lasted until the fall of 1865, when my father returned to Independence, Judge Hicks remaining for some time longer in St. Louis. Some time after this he and Judge Hovey were again partners, but not for a long period. Then, as he began, so he ended the days of his active practice, alone. He retired from the bar in 1887.
Being of the ancestry that he is, Scotch-Irish, it would be next to impossible for him to be anything but a Presbyterian. He united with the church in January, 1843 was made elder in 1844, and has continued in office ever since. Many of his family were ruling elders in the Presbyterian Church. He is devoted to his church. As long as he was physically able he was a regular attendant at the services and was a faithful worker in the Sunday school. Deeply interested in the cause of education, he participated prominently in the organization and support of the female college at Independence, conducted under the auspices of the denomination to which he belongs.
Mr. Buchanan was married November 23, 1849, to Miss Eliza J. Galbraith of Rockbridge, Va., and of this happy and greatly blessed union there are four living children: James F., George V., Mrs. Scottie B. McCoy and Katharine Agnes Buchanan. There are thirteen grandchildren, and every member of the family honors the name of this good man, who endured the hardships of early years, and ends his days in the enjoyment of an unlimited respect and love from those who are acquainted with his fruitful life and noble character."
[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 412-413; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
DeKalb.—This is the oldest town in Buchanan County, having been platted by James G. Finch in 1839. It has a population of about 600, and contains a newspaper, a bank, two general stores, a hotel, an implement house, a drug store and various kinds of artisans' shops. Professor Charles S. Roffington conducted the Bloomington Academy at this point.
[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri Volume 2: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 412-413; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
St. George.—A town in Buchanan County, south of St. Joseph, where the stock yards are situated. It has a population of about 400 inhabitants.
[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri Volume 5: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 412-413; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
St. Joseph.—St. Joseph is known as the "Electric City," and is third in size of Missouri cities. It is situated on the hills on the left bank of the Missouri River in latitude 39 degrees 45 minutes north and longitude 94 degrees 55 minutes west. It was founded in 1843 by Joseph Robidoux, a noted old-time French fur trader.
Prior to 1836 the strip of country in Missouri west of longitude 94 degrees 30 minutes and south of latitude 40 degrees 30 minutes and east of the Missouri River belonged to the Indians. Under authority of an act of Congress, Missouri purchased this territory, and it is known as the "Platte Purchase." Out of this tract were carved six counties, of which Buchanan is one. The Indians called the site of St. Joseph Blacksnake Hills.
When making trips up the Missouri River for the purpose of trading with the Indians, Joseph Robidoux observed that there was a crossing of the river at Blacksnake Hills and that the Indians sometimes held powwows at that point. In 1827 he established there a trading house, which was located on the site of the present Occidental Hotel at the intersection of Jule and Main Streets. This was the nucleus from which a prosperous city has grown.
In 1830 he became sole proprietor of the land on which the city was laid out. He had married Angelique Vaudry in 1813, and by her he had six sons and one daughter, after whom the first streets laid out in St. Joseph were named, as follows: Faraon, Jule, Francis, Felix, Edmond, Charles and Sylvania. Robidoux and Angelique Street he named after himself and his wife, and Isadore and Messanie after other members of his family. He established a ferry across the river and sent out his employees to trade with the Indians and bring in furs and peltries.
His business activity soon attracted other settlers to Blacksnake Hills, and the foundation of the town was laid in 1843, when the first plat of St. Joseph was duly recorded. The town was named in honor of its founder, who lived to see it a city of 20,000 inhabitants, dying in 1868.
Among the earliest settlers of St. Joseph were Thomas Sullans, Fred M. Smith, Joseph Gladden, William C. Toole, Father John Patchen, Edwin Toole, William Fowler, James B. O'Toole, John Freeman, William F. Richardson, Elias Perry, Joseph C. Hull, Jas. W. Whitehead, Joseph Davis, C. Carbray, D. J. Heaton, John D. Richardson, Rev. T. S. Reeve, John Corby and James Highly. Within a few years after it was founded St. Joseph became an important trade center, and as it was for a long time the outfitting point for miners going overland to California and the Rocky Mountain regions, and for emigrants on their way to Kansas and Nebraska, it had developed into one of the principal cities of what was then called the "Far West" prior to the Civil War.
During the war the sentiment of its population was divided between the North and the South, its commerce suffered greatly, and it was the scene of some thrilling incidents of the war history. Since the war it has continued to grow steadily, both in population and in wealth, and it is now one of the wealthiest cities of its size in the United States. The population in 1900 was 102,979.
St. Joseph was incorporated as a city by act of the Legislature in 1851. It was divided at that time into three wards, and on April 1st of that year a mayor, six councilmen and a marshal were elected. In 1864 the Fourth and Fifth Wards were created, and in 1889, when the limits of the city were extended, St. Joseph was divided into eight wards. In 1885 St. Joseph became a city of the second class, its government being vested in a mayor, council, comptroller, auditor, collector, treasurer, city clerk, city engineer, assessor, building inspector, license inspector, health officer and minor officials. The elective offices now are those of mayor, aldermen, collector, auditor, city attorney and police judge, each of whom is elected for two years. Other officers are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council.
The paid fire department was established in 1870, this method of protecting the city against fires succeeding the old volunteer fire department. The present waterworks system was projected in 1879, and completed in 1881. In 1889 this plant became the property of the American Waterworks & Guarantee Company. The water supply is obtained from the Missouri River, and carried to settling basins. The filtering plant consists of an engine and large pump, settling basins, a reservoir, a coagulating tank and seven large filtering tanks. The pumps have a capacity of 14,000,000 gallons daily. Three large reservoirs are located on a hill in the city.
Five public parks have been laid out in and adjacent to St. Joseph. The largest and most beautiful of these is Krug Park, outside the city limits, but under municipal control. It contains ten acres, and was the gift to the city of Henry and William Krug, made in 1889. Smith Park, which occupies a block of ground, was donated to the city by Frederick W. Smith. Patee Park was given to St. Joseph in 1882 by John Patee, and also occupies a nicely shaded square of ground. Mitchell Park is another square of ground donated for park purposes by James Mitchell. Washington Park is the smallest of the city parks.
In the early days of its history Blacksnake Creek and Bush, Smith and Patee branches formed a natural system of drainage for St. Joseph. These natural water courses have been utilized in the creation of a sewerage system which now aggregates (including district sewers) about forty-four miles in length. The first sewers in the city were built in 1867, and the systematic development of the present system began in 1874. St. Joseph is built on a series of hills, and the topography of the city underwent a great change between the years 1866 and 1873. During those years many streets were graded and macadamized. In 1886 paving with asphaltum began, and since then this material, cedar blocks and vitrified brick have been used to a considerable extent in the improvement of streets.
As early as 1856 the city aided in the erection of a plant for the manufacture of illuminating gas. This proved an unprofitable investment. From 1861 to 1889 the city was lighted by gas. In 1889 an electric light plant was purchased and put into operation. . This plant, on which various improvements have been made, has cost the city $100,000. St. Joseph had in 1899 about forty miles of electric street railway, operated by the St. Joseph Light, Heat & Power Company, capitalized at $3,500,000.
The most imposing public edifice in St. Joseph is the Federal building occupied by the post office, the internal revenue office, the office of the surveyor of the port and the Federal courts. The post office was first established in St. Joseph in 1843. In 1899 the total number of employees of the post office was fifty-three. The city buildings of St. Joseph consist of a city hall, market house, the central police station and a hospital. The first city hall was erected in 1853 on a half block of ground on Second Street, between Edmond and Francis Streets, the second story being occupied by the city officials, and the first being used as a market. In 1873 a new city hall, at that time the most pretentious building of its kind west of St. Louis, was erected at a cost of $50,000. Patee Market was built in 1859. The city workhouse was erected in 1884, and the central police station in 1891.
The first newspaper established in St. Joseph was founded by William Ridenbaugh, and edited by Lawrence Archer. The first number of this paper was issued April 25, 1845. In 1848 the "Adventurer," a Whig sheet, published by E. Livermore, made its appearance. James A. Miller purchased this paper in 1853 and changed its name to "The Cycle." Three years later it passed into the hands of Asa K. Miller, who changed the name to "The Journal." It suspended publication in 1862. F. M. Posegate issued the first number of "The West," May 1, 1858. This paper advocated secession and was suspended in the winter of 1861. Mr. Posegate then started "The St. Joseph Morning Herald," which is still published as a daily and weekly paper. "The St. Joseph Free Democrat" was started May 29, 1859. December 31, 1860, when the country was rapidly approaching Civil War, Frank M. Tracy, D. W. Wilde and B. P. Chenowith were indicted for circulating incendiary publications. Apprised of this action, they moved their paper across the river. Its last issue appeared April 13, 1861, at which time the proprietors entered the Union Army. A paper called "The Evening News" was published four months at St. Joseph in 1862. In August of that year A. K. Abeel started "The Daily Tribune" as a Republican paper. In 1864 the "Tribune" was merged into "The St. Joseph Herald." In December of that year the first issue of "The St. Joseph Union" appeared. This paper continued to be published until 1872. "The New Era" was started in 1862, but within a year thereafter it was removed to Savannah, Missouri. "The Daily Commercial" was started in 1866, but had a brief life, and "The Evening Commercial" lived only two years. "The Weekly Standard" lived from 1871 to 1875. "The Vindicator" had an existence of less than two years in St. Joseph, "The Reflector" lived one year, "The Evening Tribune" lived fifty-three days and "The Weekly Reporter," changed to "The Saturday Chronicle," and "The Daily Evening Chronicle," were merged into "The Gazette" in 1876. "The Ballot" was a daily newspaper which had a short lived existence in the early "90's." "The Monday Morning News" was a publication which lived under that name for about a year. At a later date this enterprise was revived under the name of "The Western News," in the office of which paper "The Daily Evening News" was started May 3, 1879. These papers have since prospered, and the "Gazette," "Herald" and "News" are now among the influential newspapers of Missouri. The first German newspaper established in St. Joseph was "The Volksblatt," started by Leopold Marder, in 1856, as a Republican paper. It has changed ownership at different times, but has been steadily improved. "The Journal of Commerce," a weekly paper, and "The Catholic Tribune," also published weekly, are representative papers of their class belonging to the press of St. Joseph.
The first religious service was held in St. Joseph in 1838, in the house of Joseph Robidoux, by a Jesuit missionary. He extemporized a primitive altar from a common table, and in the presence of the wondering Indians celebrated the sacrifice of the mass. Two years after this the Rev. Father Vogel appeared at the settlement, and June 17, 1847, Rt. Rev. Bishop Kenrick dedicated the Catholic Church, which was the first built in the city. Two Irish and eighteen French families organized this church. Rev. Thomas Scanlan became the regular pastor of this church in 1847. In 1868 St. Joseph, with the territory west of the Chariton River, was erected into a Roman Catholic diocese, and Rt. Rev. John Hogan was consecrated as its bishop.
Presbyterianism had its beginning in St. Joseph in 1843, when Rev. T. S. Reeve preached a sermon at Beattie's Tavern. He organized a congregation which, in 1845, built a log church. A brick church succeeded this primitive structure in 1850. In 1899 there were six Presbyterian Churches in the city.
A Methodist congregation was organized in St. Joseph in 1844, and three years later it was able to build a house of worship. This was the beginning of Methodism, which has since had a steady growth in that city. There were twelve Methodist Churches, including the German and African Methodists, in the city in 1899.
The first Baptist Church was established in 1845, with Elder William Worely as pastor. Including two colored churches, there were nine Baptist Churches in the city in 1899. Elder Duke Young was the first Christian minister to preach a sermon in St. Joseph, and his first services were held there in 1844. The first church edifice of that denomination was built in 1858. There were four Christian Churches in the city in 1899.
Episcopalianism was established in St. Joseph by Rev. M. M. McNamara, who held the first services and organized a parish there in 1851. Christ Church was built four years later, and after being occupied for twenty years was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt, and three mission churches of the Episcopal faith have since been established.
The German Evangelical Church organized its first congregation in 1865. There were two congregations of that faith in the city in 1899. In 1881 the first German Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in St. Joseph. There were two German churches of this denomination in the city in 1809, and also an English Lutheran Church and a Swedish Lutheran Church.
The first Congregational Church was established in 1867, and the same year a Unitarian Church was established in the city. The Young Men's Christian Association was organized in 1882, and erected a handsome building in 1887.
Besides those already named the religious denominations represented in St. Joseph are the Jews, two churches; the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, one church; a Reformed Church, and the Christian Scientists' Church.
Sparta Lodge, No. 46, of the order of Freemasons, was the first secret society organized in Buchanan County. The order has had a steady growth since that time, and in 1899 all the Masonic bodies, and nearly all the leading fraternal organizations had representation.
Mainly through the efforts of Warren Samuels. Mrs. T. F. Van Natta, Mrs. George C. Hull and Mrs. John S. Lemon, a free public library was established in St. Joseph in 1887. It was made a city institution by vote of the people in 1890, and in 1899 it contained 14,859 volumes.
A fair association was organized in St. Joseph in 1854, and gave some notable exhibitions prior to the Civil War. During the war it was discontinued. In 1867 the St. Joseph Agricultural and Mechanical Fair Association was organized, which purchased a tract of twenty acres of land and began giving a series of annual exhibitions. The St. Joseph Exposition Association was formed in 1879.
In 1889 the National Railway, Electric & Industrial Association was organized under the laws of Colorado, with a capital of $1,000,000. This association procured a large tract of land east of the city, on which buildings were erected, and under its auspices an exceedingly attractive exhibition was given. The main building of the association was destroyed by fire on the 15th of September of that year, entailing a loss of $193,000.
In the foregoing pages attention has been called to the principal features of the history of St. Joseph not mentioned in special articles. Other important phases of its development and growth are treated under the headings, "Commerce of St. Joseph," "Manufactures of St. Joseph," "Railroads of St. Joseph," "Banks and Banking in St. Joseph," "Bar of Buchanan County," "Courts of Buchanan County" and "Schools of St. Joseph," and its leading educational and other institutions have been mentioned and their histories given under their appropriate headings- ~T. R. Vickroy.~
[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri Volume 5: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 439-442 Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack.]
St. Joseph Business University.—A high grade business college established in St. Joseph in 1879, occupies rooms in the Y. M. C. A. building, and has an average yearly attendance of over 300 students. The course of study covers the commercial branches, telegraphy, shorthand, typewriting and other kindred branches.
[Source: Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri Volume 5: Edited by
Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pg.442; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski