Clark County, Missouri
A county in the extreme northeastern part of the State, bounded on the north by the State of Iowa; northeast by the Des Moines River, which divides it from Iowa; east by the Mississippi River, which separates it from the State of Illinois; south by Lewis County, and west by Knox and Scotland Counties; area, 325,238 acres. The surface of the county is about two-thirds prairie. Along the larger streams and back from the river bottoms, the land is broken and hilly. About 11,000 acres of rich bottom land lies between the Des Moines and Fox Rivers, and this land is protected from overflow by an expensive system of levees. Another rich tract of bottom land is south of the Fox River. The county is drained by the Des Moines, Little Fox, Sinking Creek, Wyaconda, Little Wyaconda, Honey and many smaller streams which flow directly or indirectly into the Mississippi River.
The soil of the bottom lands is of great fertility, and year after year produces enormous crops. The soil of the uplands is a friable loam, with a stiff clay subsoil, in places streaked with gravel and sand. About 68 per cent of the land is under cultivation and in pasture. Ten per cent of the area of the county is still in timber, consisting of fine growths of oak on the uplands, while along the streams are oak, black walnut, butternut, hickory, sycamore, ash, maple, elm and honey locust. The grasses grown are bluegrass, clover and timothy.
The average yield to the acre is: Corn, 32 bushels; wheat, 16 bushels; oats, 25 bushels; potatoes, 90 bushels; clover hay, two tons, and timothy hay, il/2 tons. All the vegetables are produced abundantly. Fruits of all kinds that can be grown in a moderate climate bear well. In the northern part of the county are considerable deposits of bituminous coal. There is plenty of limestone suitable for building purposes. The most profitable industries of the residents of the county are agriculture and stock-raising.
According to the report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the exports of surplus products from the county in 1898 were:
Cattle, 4,252 head; hogs, 35,715 head; sheep, 1.319 head; horses and mules, 1,694 head; wheat, 17,732 bushels; oats, 129,996 bushels; corn, 468,186 bushels; hay, 394,000 pounds; flour, 1,621,000 pounds; timothy seed, 111,000 pounds; lumber, 1,854,000 feet; walnut logs, 84,000 feet; piling and posts, 18,000 feet; cross ties, 1,135; cord wood, 1,248 cords; cooperage, 496 cars; stone, 18 cars; wool, 8,155 pounds; potatoes, 1,202 bushels; melons, 12,000; poultry, 733,304 pounds; eggs, 308,070 dozen; butter, 31,361 pounds; game and fish, 53,973 pounds; hides and pelts, 30,451 pounds; vegetables, 888,694 pounds; molasses, 1,993 gallons; whisky and wine, 1,220 gallons; vinegar, 60,000 gallons; canned goods, 168,030 pounds; furs, 1,430 pounds; feathers, 5,995 pounds.
Other articles exported are brick, tobacco, cheese, dressed meats, tallow, strawberries, fresh fruit, honey, beeswax, nuts and nursery stock.
According to the most authentic record obtainable, the first settlement in the territory now Clark County was made in September, 1829, when Sackett and Jacob Weaver, who came from Kentucky, settled upon land on the Des Moines River, near the present site of St. Francisville. A year later William Clark built a log cabin near the present site of the town of Athens. Soon after a number of Kentuckians settled in the same neighborhood. Among them were Samuel Bartlett, Jeremiah Wayland and George Heywood. Wayland moved to where St. Francisville is now situated and there built a log cabin, which, in 1832, was swept away by a flood. In 1831 Giles Sullivan settled in the county about two miles above St. Francisville, and a few months later his wife died—the first death in the new settlement. The winters of 1830-1, so it is related in the traditions of the old settlers, were of great severity, and the snow was of such depth that travel was almost impossible, and Indians who occupied the bottoms along the Des Moines River lost nearly all their horses. In 1831-2, among the people who settled in the county were Richard Riley and Dabney Phillips, of Kentucky; Colonel Rutherford, of Tennessee; J. Weaver, who, in 1832, built the first mill on Fox Creek, near the present site of Waterloo, and which afterward became known as Moore's Mill. William D. Henshaw, of Virginia, and Messrs. Butts, Rebo and Ripper, who came from Kentucky. The first children born in the Clark County territory were George Wayland, Elizabeth Bartlett and Martha Heywood. For some time the nearest mill was at Palmyra, some sixty miles distant, and there was no store much nearer until 1833, when John Stake opened one at St. Francisville. Owing to the Black Hawk War, there was no heavy immigration to the county until 1834, when numerous families from Kentucky joined the settlements about St. Francisville.
All the earliest settlers lived on the most friendly terms with the Indians, particularly with Chief Keokuk's band, against whom the only grievance was that their dogs killed the hogs of the settlers. A complaint about this resulted in a pow-wow, at which the Indians were feasted, and the "talks" were of such a nature that soon few Indian dogs were seen running about without a muzzle of lind tree bark. During the Black Hawk War a fort, called Fort Pike, was erected at the present site of St. Francisville, and was occupied for about three months by a company from Pike County. After the defeat of Black Hawk, it is a tradition in Clark County that his squaw and papooses were guests at the house of Jeremiah Wayland, where they helped hoe corn and dig potatoes. The first marriage in the territory now Clark County was performed by, as it was afterward learned, a "bogus" minister. The contracting couple were William Clark, who came from Illinois, and Elizabeth Payne, a young widow, and the first ceremony took place at the house of Jeremiah Wayland. When it was discovered that the minister was a counterfeit, Squire Robert Sinclair, who lived at Tully, was sent for, and the matrimonial knot was legally tied, and the event was duly celebrated.
The first brick house in the county was built in 1837, at Waterloo, by Pleasant Moore.
The Baptists were the first to organize a religious society, their organization dating from May 7, 1835, and soon afterward they built the first church, on the trail leading to the Fox River ford.
In 1818 the Territorial Legislature organized a county which was called Clark, in honor of Governor William Clark, and it included the territory that is now embraced in half a dozen counties in the northeastern part of the State. Owing to the lack of population, the county government became disorganized, in fact it never was thoroughly organized, nor did it have representation in the Legislature. December 16, 1836, the county was reorganized and its limits further defined. Thus did the present county of Clark come into existence.
The members of the first county court were John Taylor, Thaddeus, William and R. A. McKee, with Willis Curd, clerk, and W. S. (Sandy) Gregory, sheriff. The first county court met at the house of John Hill, in Des Moines Township, April 10, 1837. The commissioners appointed to locate a permanent seat of justice were Stephen Cleaver of Rails; O. Dickerson, of Shelby, and Michael T. Noyes, of Pike County. They selected a tract of land four miles east of the site of Kahoka, and in 1837 a town was laid out, which was named Waterloo. This place remained the county seat until February, 1850, when the county court changed the judicial seat to Alexandria, where courts were held until August 9, 1855, when it was ordered that the Circuit Court of Clark County be notified that the county seat had been changed back to Waterloo.
Waterloo remained the county seat until 18/2, when the present courthouse was completed at Kahoka, and in it the county court first met, January 15th of that year. The first county court met about two miles west of the present site of Kahoka. The second term was held at the house of Joseph McCoy, the first county treasurer, which place was the meeting place until August 8,1837 when the court made an order moving the county seat to Waterloo. The first circuit court for the county of Clark was held April 6, 1837, at the house of John Hill, in Des Moines Township, about two miles west of the present site of Kahoka, Honorable Priestly H. McBride, presiding judge. The first grand jury returned no true bills and was discharged. At the December term, 1837, the first indictment was found against J. C. Boone, who was charged with larceny and burglary. Clark County, being on the dividing line between the North and the South during the Civil War, was in a constant state of agitation, first from one side and then the other. In all, however, the county fared well, and damages within its borders were small. The county furnished a large number of soldiers to the Northern side, and a few to the cause of the Confederacy.
Clark County is divided into thirteen townships, named, respectively ;
Clay, Des Moines, Folker, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison,Sweet Home,Union,Vernon, Washington and Wyaconda.
The assessed valuation of real estate and town lots in the county in 1899 was $2,439,860; estimated full value, $4,879,720; assessed value of personal property, including stocks, bonds, etc., $974,240; estimated full value, $1,948,480; assessed value of railroads and telegraphs, $727,590.47; assessed value of merchants and manufacturers, $75,135; estimated full value, $150,270.
There are fifty nine miles of railroad in the county, the Keokuk & Western passing from east to west near the center; the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, passing diagonally through the county in a southwestwardly direction, and the St. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern, passing south from the eastern center of the county, along the Mississippi River.
The number of schools in the county in 1898 was ninety one; teachers employed, 114; pupils enrolled, 4,805; permanent school fund, $29,898.56. The population of the county in 1900 was 15.383.
Clark, William, Governor of Missouri Territory, was born in Virginia, August 1770, and died in St. Louis, September 1838. He belonged to an old Virginia family that did much for the West at a critical period in its history. His parents were John Clark and Anne Rogers, who were married in King and Queen County, Virginia, in 1749. They had four daughters and six sons. William Clark married Julia Hancock at Fincastle, Virginia, January 5, 1808. Their children were:
1. Meriwether Lewis.
2. William Preston.
3. Mary Margaret.
4. George Rogers Hancock.
5. John Julius.
Julia Hancock, first wife of William Clark, died at the family estate of Fotheringay, Virginia, June 27, 1820.
Subsequently William Clark married a widow with three children, Mrs. Harriet Kennerly Radford. By this second marriage they had two sons:
1. Jefferson Kearny.
Of the above, three of William Clark's sons were married.
Meriwether Lewis Clark married Abigail Churchill. Their children were, William Hancock, who married Camilla Gaylord; Samuel Churchill, Mary Eliza, Meriwether Lewis, who married Mary Martin Anderson (their children being John Henry Churchill, Caroline Anderson and Mary Barbaroux); John O'Fallon, George Rogers and Charles Jefferson, who married Lena Jacob (their children being Mary Susan, Evelyn Kennerly and Marguerite Vernon).
The second wife of Meriwether Lewis Clark was Julia Davidson.
The next son of William Clark, who married and left descendants, was George Rogers Hancock Clark, who married Eleanor A. Glasgow. Their children were, Julia, who married Robert Stevenson Voorhis (their child being Eleanor Glasgow); Sarah Leonida, John O'Fallon, who married Beatrice Chouteau (their children being Henry Chouteau, Beatrice Chouteau, Carlotta, William Glasgow, Demence Eleanor, John O'Fallon, Harriet Kennerly and George Rogers); and Ellen Glasgow, who married Willis Edward Lauderdale (their children being Seddie Clark and Walter Clark).
The third son of William Clark that married was Jefferson Kearny Clark, who married Mary Susan Glasgow, the only sister of Eleanor A. Glasgow, they being daughters of William Glasgow, of Delaware, and Sarah Mitchell, of Fincastle, Virginia.
The Clark family has been illustrious in three States—Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri—and its connection with the history of each is honorable and patriotic. Of the six brothers born in Virginia four bore a prominent part in the Revolution, and when, in the year 1784. the family came to the West, and settled at the falls of the Ohio River on the site of the present city of Louisville, their patriotic name had preceded them and prepared the way for eminence and usefulness among the large number of Virginians; eminent because of their struggles and sacrifices during the Revolution, who sought the glowing West as a field in which to begin life anew and with whom Revolutionary service was a sufficient claim on their confidence and support. One of the brothers was General George Rogers Clark, whose daring and difficult expedition for the capture of the posts of Kaskaskia, Cahokia and Vincennes forced the British to abandon the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and retire to the northern lakes, and thus secured the West to the United States at a time when neglect and inaction might have made a long and bloody struggle necessary. The subject of this sketch was the youngest of the brothers.
He was only fourteen years of age when the family came from Virginia to the fort which his enterprising elder brother, George Rogers Clark, had built at the falls of the Ohio; and it was in the dangers, alarms, expeditions and combats connected with this fort that William Clark received the rugged experience that prepared him for his future historic, military and brilliant career. Life in the West at that time demanded unflinching and daring personal courage, vigilance, prudence and a thorough knowledge of Indian character and habits— and these qualities young Clark already possessed in no small degree, when, in 1788, at the age of eighteen years, he was appointed ensign in the United States Army. Four years later, in 1792, he was made lieutenant of infantry, and next promoted to adjutant and quartermaster.
In 1796 failing health compelled him to resign his position in the army, and he shortly afterward came to St. Louis, at that time in foreign territory, but recognized by the emigrants from Kentucky and Virginia already moving into the trans-Mississippi region as destined, at no distant day, to become part of the United States. President Jefferson was familiar with the patriotic record and the high qualities of the Clark family, and when, in 1803, the President planned the expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River, he selected William Clark, at that time thirty-three years of age, and in the full vigor of his powers, as the companion of Meriwether Lewis in the conduct of the enterprise. The expedition, composed of Lewis, Clark, nine young men from Kentucky, fourteen regular soldiers, two Canadian voyageurs and a colored servant, started in the spring of 1804, made the journey to the Pacific in November, 1805, and returned, arriving in St. Louis September 23, 1806. This famous expedition accomplished all that President Jefferson expected and much more. It not only gave a great deal of valuable and interesting information about a region before almost unknown, but it made an assertion of United States authority over the great Northwest which forced the Hudson Bay Company, at that time encroaching upon it under British claims, to withdraw and concede the undisputed possession of it to our government. When William Clark, appointed lieutenant of artillery, began his preparations in company with Lewis for the enterprise in 1803, St. Louis was a foreign village, but before the party started, in 1804, the cession treaty had been made and the young officers had the satisfaction of making the journey on the soil of their own country. The return of the expedition, in the fall of 1806, after an absence of two years and a half, was an interesting event in the history of St. Louis, and of national value also, and the record of it is to this day one of the most charming books of travel in existence.
In 1807 Clark resigned from the army and was appointed brigadier general for the Territory of Upper Louisiana, and in 1813 was appointed Governor of Missouri Territory by President Madison, holding the office until the State of Missouri was organized, in 1821. In 1822 he was appointed superintendent of Indian affairs in St. Louis, and held the office until his death. Governor Clark was a citizen of St. Louis for forty-one years, and his residence on the corner of Main and Vine Streets was a center of hospitality known far and wide—North, South, East, and especially throughout the West— to army officers, travelers, authors and distinguished visitors. He expended a large amount of time and effort in the foundation of an Indian museum, the first collection of Indian weapons and curiosities in the country, and for a long time it was one of the sights in St. Louis which visitors were accustomed to examine. The friendship that existed between Clark and Meriwether Lewis, companions in the famous expedition ever since known by their joint names, was of a chivalrous and romantic character. They were high-bred, accomplished young men, of noble and gentle natures, firm and fearless in the presence of danger and sincere and faithful in their affections. At the beginning of the century their successful exploration marked a brilliant event in history.
In February, 1806, President Jefferson addressed to Congress a communication regarding the discoveries made by Lewis and Clark. This was read in Washington, and afterward the President's message was reprinted in New York and in London.
Many editions have been published of the Lewis and Clark expedition, in America and in England; there appeared an Irish edition in Dublin in 1817, and translations have been made into French, Dutch and German, showing the continued public interest, both national and foreign. Toward the close of the century its vital importance has been emphasized anew in the literary tribute of Dr. Elliott Coues' splendid volumes of "The Lewis and Clark Expedition." This complete and scholarly work was published in 1893 by Francis P. Harper, of New York. It contains a map of North America from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean, made from the original drawing of William Clark, which shows his remarkable power as a draughtsman at that early day.
Dr. Coues writes: "William received his first title or distinction of any sort while yet a mere lad, being made a member of the Society of the Cincinnati on March 1787, before he had completed his seventeenth year. His original certificate of membership is extant; it bears the signatures of George Washington, President, and General Henry Knox, Secretary."
To quote again, Dr. Coues says: "General and Governor Clark was known far and wide to the Indians. . . . Probably no officer of the government ever made his personal influence more widely and deeply felt; his superintendency grew to be a sort of lawful autocracy, wielded in the best interests of all concerned, on the strong principle of evenhanded justice; his word became Indian law, from the Mississippi to the Pacific. . . . This man was a large factor in the civilization of that great West which Lewis and Clark discovered. It may be said of him, with special pertinence, stat magni nominis umbra—for the explorer stands in the shadow of his own great name as such, obscuring that of the soldier, statesman, diplomat and patriot."
[Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri: Edited by Howard Louis Conard; Publ. 1901; Pgs. 10-12; Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]
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