Buchanan County, Missouri


DeKalb, formerly Bloomington, in Bloomington Township, is located on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, fourteen miles south of St. Joseph, and twelve miles from Atchison, Kansas and contains a population of about four hundred.  The town was laid off in 1837, by James G. Finch.  The lots were surveyed by George Jole, who died in 1870.  Finch left the place between 1839 and 1842, and after his departure, the quarter section of land upon which the town site was located was entered by Oliver Norman, who deeded to each settler the lot he occupied.

The town was laid off with a square in the center, for the purpose of accommodating the court house of the county, of which it was then expected to become the county seat.

About the year 1851, owing to the existence of another town in the state called Bloomington, the name was changed, with that of the postoffice, to DeKalb.  James G. Finch, above mentioned, opened the first store in the place, in 1838.

The first postmaster was A.J. Cunningham.

Bluford Allee and his brother in law, Daniel Chitwood, settled in DeKalb in 1842.  They were well known citizens.  Chitwood was a cabinetmaker, and at one time a merchant in the town.  Both are dead.  Bluford Allee had charge, at one time of the present county farm.

A.C.Craig, a prominent citizen of St. Joseph and till recently a member of the firm of Tootle, Corby & Co., St. Joseph, sold goods in  DeKalb several years previous to 1858.

Dr. Samuel Goslee, a native of Kentucky and a graduate of the Medical Department of the St. Louis University, practiced with distinguished success in DeKalb from 1852 to 1871, when he moved to St. Joseph, where he died in 1878.  Dr. Goslee was a bright and cultivated Mason, and stood high in the order.

Business Firms

The principal business house of DeKalb 1881 is that of Derge & Hagenstein, general merchandise, and dealers in grain, cattle and hogs.  This firm came to DeKalb in 1858.  Albert Derge has been postmaster of the town for ten years past.

J.S. Harmon and David Dix compose the firm of Harmon & Dix.  They began business here in March, 1881, and operate a large general stock.

W.H. Mack keeps a well appointed drug store.

J.C.Crook carries on extensively wagon making, plow manufacturing, and general blacksmithing, and deals in agricultural implements.

W.H. Warren is proprietor of the only hotel in the town.

The brick mill building in DeKalb was erected in 1855, by John F. Martin, James Pettigrew, and Thomas Allee.  it is provided with two runs of burrs, and cost $3,500.  Its present owner is Philip Gurner.  In 1858 a woolen mill was added.  It is however, not operated.

F.M. Bretz and F.D. Hampton each carry on a blacksmith shop. 

Stephen Garten, who has lived in the town since 1839 and F. W. West, who is also an old resident, are the saloon keepers.

W.R. Oliver has been the railroad station agent at this point since 1872.  He, at one time, sold goods here.  His father. W.N. Oliver, now dead, also sold goods here from 1844 to 1864.  W.N. Oliver was born in Virginia and came to DeKalb in the fall of 1844.

The present physicians of the town are Dr. J.N. Martin who has been practicing here since 1844; Dr. C.H. Martin, his son, who has practiced four years, and Dr. Ramsey who has been here since 1854.

The present township officers are: Thomas J. Crumpacker, Justice of the Peace; Joseph H. Dixon, Justice of Peace; Thomas West, Constable.

Schools, Churches, etc.

There is a good public school building in the town, a frame, with two rooms, built about ten years ago, at a cost of $1,700.00.

There is a Baptist church, a large frame building, erected in 1858, and soxt $2,500.00.  Rev. Isart Williams is pastor.

There is an M.E. Church, brick, built also in 1858.  The Rev. William Barnett is the minister in charge.

DeKalb is one of the best shipping points on the line of the railroad, and the best on the branch.  The country surrounding DeKalb is well watered, North Sugar Creek being the principal stream.  No better timbered region in the county.  Walnut grows everywhere, and also the different varieties of oak, elm, sugar-tree, linden, ash, hackberry and if fact all kinds of timer indigenious to the latitude.  The soil is a deep loam, not surpassed in fertility by any section of the county.  Farms are generally in a good condition and well improved; fine orchards and excellent blue grass pastures.
Source: The History of Buchanan County, Missouri, A history of the county, its cities, towns, etc. Union Historical Company, 1881


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