Genealogy Trails

Cooper County, Missouri



Boonville Township evidently took its name from Boonville, and Boonville was thus mined in honor of the great hunter, pioneer and Indianfighter, Daniel Boone. When it acquired this name is not known, but it has been so-called from "time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary." Boone was intimate with the Coles, and visited at Stephen Cole's Fort and at Hannah Cole's Fort, and being a man of much repute and fame among the early settlers they honored him by calling this settlement Boonville.

The history of Boonville and Boonville township is the earliest history of Cooper County, much of which has heretofore been given in this volume. Hannah Cole, who was mentioned in the preceding chapter, located and took a preemption claim in 1810, which included what is now Boonville and afterwai-d sold the same Jan. 25, 1819, for a mere trifle to Bird Lockhart and Henry Carroll.

Aside from the Coles, if indeed they were located in the limits of old Boonville, was Gilliard Rupe," who built his cabin near the corner of Spring and Third streets, and on the south side of Spring street near where was located the old cement factory. Rupe next erected a building as a ferry house at the mouth of the branch which today bears his name. Mrs. Hannah Cole operated the first ferry. Soon thereafter several log cabins were built on the bottom land below this branch, extending south as far as the corner of Morgan and Second streets before the town was laid off.

The pioneer business house was kept by a Frenchman by the name of A. Robideux. This was located in the flat of the Rupe branch. Robideux came from St. Louis, and was doubtless an Indian trader before settling in Boonville. Soon after Rodideux commenced business, a man named Nolin opened a grocery near the mouth of Rupe branch. It is said his store in trade consisted mostly of whisky and tobacco. Their houses were log and pole cabins and were erected along about 1816 and 1817. During the same period, Mrs. Reavis and William Bartlett kept boarding houses in the same locality and Thomas Rogers built a cabin at the corner of High and Second streets, and used it as a residence, hotel and store.

Mrs. Margaret Stephens, who was the wife of Judge Lawrence Stephens, and the. daughter of William Moore, was one of the early pioneers of Cooper County. In the fall of 1816, after her father had settled in this county she went to Boonville with her uncle, Mr. McFarland, and after looking around she asked where Boonville was. She thought she was coming to something of a town. Her uncle pointed to Robideux's store, a round log cabin with bark on the logs, and said, "there is Boonville." .They then dismommted, and after making some purchases, returned home.

Boonville was laid out by Asa Morgan and Charles Lucas, and plat filed on Aug. 1, 1817. It was surveyed by William Ross. The first lot sold was before the filing of this plat. The deed was made on the 16th day of July, 1817, by Asa Morgan of the county of Howard and Charles Lucas of the town of St. Louis, both in the territory of Missouri, conveyim: to Robert Austin of the county of Howai'd in said territory for and in considerate of $75, one lot or parcel of ground in the town of Boonville, containing 90 feet front on Water street and 150 feet more or less in depth, being lot number 43, on the plat of said town of Boonville.

The first lot sales were held in 1819. A donation of 50 acres was made by Morgan and Lucas to Cooper County for a permanent county seat. The first donation lots were sold in 1821. •

The first houses built after the town was laid off were two brick structures on Morgan street, one east of the jail and the other east of and near the Central National Bank, both built by Asa Morgan, after whom Morgan street was named.

From the history of Howard and Cooper Counties, written in 1883, we take the folloiwng:

Some old houses now standing are Doctor Trigg's on Morgan street and a log house on the north side of High street on the corner of Seventh, now occupied by a colored woman by the name of Carter. Also a brick house on High street northeast of the court house built by Hon. R. F. Clark, and owned by Joseph and William Williams."

The next merchants after Robideux and Nolin were Jocab and Wyan and Archie Kavanaugh.' Their store and residence was located north of the court house square. Other early merchants were McKenzie, Bousfield, Colonel Thornton. Mrs. Dobbins, Thomas M. Campbell and Judge C. H. Smith.

Justinian Williams built the next hotel, and afterward sold it to John Dade, a part of which is still standing and is used as a hotel known as the,Santa Fe Inn. This building of course has been added to, and greatly niodiged. There was also a hotel on the lot north of the jail, once occupied as the residence of Judge C. W. Sombart, and is now a portion of the yard of the present residence of C. A. Sombart. son of the judge.

Boonville up to 1826 was but a hamlet of straggling log cabins and its growth had been slow. However, in the summer and fall of LS26 it entered an era of prosperity never known before in its brief history. This was the year in which the angry waters of the Missouri sapped the foundations and forever put an end to the future prosperity of the thriving town of Franklin on the north side of the river, reference to which has heretofore been made. From this time Boonville began to assume importance and in a few years the wholesale and supply center for the great southwest territory. Many merchants from Franklin moved to Boonville as aiso did business men from other sections of the country.

The first macadamized street was Main street, laid in 1840. During the year 1843, Moseley and Stanley operated a brewery. Between the years 1840-1S50 real estate in Boonville commanded a better price ihan it ever had before or has since, except within the last few years.

Luke Williams is celebrated as being the first preached in Cooper County, having located in Boonville several years before the county was organized. He was a farmer and a Baptist.

Justinian Williams deserves special mention in the history of Cooper County. He was born in Virginia, and while young, emigrated to Kentucky, and there married. He then moved to Howard County, Mo., and from there to Cooper County, and settled in Boonville in 1818. In this year he located the first Methodist Church in Cooper County. He was a cabinet maker by trade, and followed that business for several years and organizing churches at inteiwals. He was also the local preacher at now occupied by a colored woman by the name of Carter. Also a brick house on High street northeast of the court house built by T Ion. R. F. Clark, and owned by Joseph and William Williams."

The next merchants after Robideux and Nolin were Jocab and Wyan and Archie Kavanaugh.' Their store and residence was located north of the court house square. Other early merchants were McKenzie, Bousfield, Colonel Thornton. Mrs. Dobbins, Thomas M. Campbell and Judge C. H. Smith.

Justinian Williams built the next hotel, and afterward sold it to John Dade, a part of which is still standing and is used as a hotel known as the,Santa Fe Inn. This building of course has been added to, and greatly niodiged. There was also a hotel on the lot north of the jail, once occupied as the residence of Judge C. W. Sombart, and is now a portion of the yard of the present residence of C. A. Sombart. son of the judge.

Boonville up to 1826 was but a hamlet of straggling log cabins and its growth had been slow. However, in the summer and fall of LS26 it entered an era of prosperity never known before in its brief history. This was the year in which the angry waters of the Missouri sapped the foundations and forever put an end to the future prosperity of the thriving town of Franklin on the north side of the river, reference to which has heretofore been made. From this time Boonville began to assume importance and in a few years the wholesale and supply center for the great southwest territory. Many merchants from Franklin moved to Boonville as aiso did business men from other sections of the country.

The first macadamized street was Main street, laid in 1840. During the year 1843, Moseley and Stanley operated a brewery. Between the years 1840-1S50 real estate in Boonville commanded a better price ihan it ever had before or has since, except within the last few years.

Luke Williams is celebrated as being the first preached in Cooper County, having located in Boonville several years before the county was organized. He was a farmer and a Baptist.

Justinian Williams deserves special mention in the history of Cooper County. He was born in Virginia, and while young, emigrated to Kentucky, and there married. He then moved to Howard County, Mo., and from there to Cooper County, and settled in Boonville in 1818. In this year he located the first Methodist Church in Cooper County. He was a cabinet maker by trade, and followed that business for several years and organizing churches at inteiwals. He was also the local preacher at Boonville for several years. In 1834, he built a steamboat 'called "The Far West," about two miles above the mouth of Bonne Femme Creek in Howard County, and was the commander of the same for some time. During that year he emigrated to Tennessee, where he died. He was a unique and forceful character in the time in which he lived.

We have- been unable to trace the local records of Boonville further back than Feb. 3, 133G. On that day thei'e was an organization of the trustees of the town of Boonville, of which body, C. P. Powell was chairman, and Charles G. Lewis, Alexander Hanna, David Andrews, and John Rea, were trustees. Washington Adams, who afterwards became one of ths prominent lawyers of the State, was secretary.

At the succeeding town election, Edward Lawton was elected chairman, and Richard B. Holeman, secretary.

The city was incorporated by an act of the General Assembly approved Feb. 8, 1839, and the first organization thereunder was affected May 3, 1839. The following officers were elected by the people, under the charter, to-wit: Marcus Williams, Jr., mayor; J. Rice, president of the board; William Shields, J. L. Collins, Jacob Wyan, David Andrews, Charles Smith, J. S. McFarland, and J. H. Malone, councilmen.

Marcus Williams, the first mayor of Boonville, was a brother of Justinian Williams, both of whom were uncles of the late lamented Judge William M. Williams. Marcus Williams was a brick mason, and manufactured the first bricks ever made in Cooper County. He opened a lime kiln in the western part of Boonville. At the Vollrath place, in 1840, he made the first stoneware ever manufactured in western Missouri. He emigrated to California at the time of the gold excitement in 1849, and settled in San Jose, and died about the year I860. It is related that just before he left Boonville, he had an altercation with one of the prominent citizens of Boonville. This altercation resulted in an assault upon his part. lie was arrested, and a small fine placed upon him. It seems that he had had some trouble about a mortgage this citizen held upon some of his property. He felt that he had been badly treated, and determined to shake the dust from his feet, and leave the town. Having loaded all his remaining possessions in a wagon, with his team he drove clown Main street, and stopped. Then called together a crowd of citizens and from his wagon, made them a speech, in which he told them that he had cast his lot among them, endeavoring to build up their town and country, but that he had not been appreciated, but instead had been mistreated. He told the assembled crowd that he proposed to shake the dust from his feet, and raising one foot, he literally shook the dust from it, then lashed his horses with his reins, and started on his trip to California.

The year 1840 was distinguished as being the time when the first steamboat built and successfully launched at Boonville. It was constructed under the superintendence of Captain McCourtney, and was intended for the Osage. It was called the "Warsaw."

As a port of entry at this time, Boonville excelled any other town on the river except St. Louis. As many as five or six steamboats would often land during the day and night, for the purpose of taking on and discharging freight.

During the year 1850, the whole number of deaths that had occurred in Boonville was 45, as shown by the sextons report. Thirty-eight of these were white persons, and seven were negroes. Eleven of these were strangers who had just arrived in the city, or who were passing through. The population of the city at that time was estimated at about 2,800.

During the decade between 1850 and I860, several newspapers were established and discontinued. Notably among these were the "Central Missourian," and the "Boonville Missourian."

The Missouri State Agricultural Society held the first fairs at the Fair Grounds near Boonville in 1853 and 1854. In 1855 the foundations were laid for Thespian Hall, which was begun during that year. At the time of its construction, it was considered one of the largest and most magnificent buildings to be found west of St. Louis. It was erected by a number of stockholders and occupies the northeast corner of Fifth and Church street, now called Vine street. The building is constructed of brick, 50x100 feet, with 10 feet open space in front, supported by four brick colums, 4x4 feet square. The Thespian Hall is four feet above the ground, and 20 feet high in the clear. The second story was divided into three apartments, two halls originally for use of Masonic and Odd Fellows' Associations, fronting on Fifth street, 23i/ox43 feet, a town hall fronting Vine street, 35x47 feet. The basement stoiy was designed for reading rooms. This building has since been remodeled, the basement room and first story being converted into an opera house. The second story is used entirely by the Masonic Fraternity.

The first bank established in Boonville was the William H. Trigg, in 1847, particular reference to which will be found in the chapter on banking.

In May, 1883, the Boonville Water Company was organized with the following stockholders: John Elliott, John Cosgrove, Speed Stephens, Lon Stephens, Henry McCourtney, W. Whitlow, T. B. Perkins, W. C. Culweyhouse and J. H. Johnson. Perkins was the promoter, and took the contract for building- the system. The plan pursued in the construction of this important enterprise was known as the Perkins system.

July 1, 1905, the city of Boonville, after negotiations covering a period of two years, acquired all the property, rights and franchises of the Boonville Water Company. The price paid for the property totaled $52,500, and was based upon a valuation made by engineers employed by the city in 1903, to which, was added the investment by the company up to the time the purchase was consummated.

The property consisted of some 31,000 feet of distribution mains, about 20 acres of land, and some buildings and reservoirs, pumping station and equipment, and a brick tower with wooden tanks. Of the original property, only the distribution system and land are still in service. All buildings have been added to and improved since the purchase. This applies similarly to reservoirs which have been enlarged. The purchase was made possible by the authorization and issue of a bonded debt of $75,000 bearing interest at the rate of four per cent per annum.

By Dec. 31, 1918, all the $4,000 of this issue had been returned. The city has acquired and operated a property which represents a gross investment of $121,000 in 14 years, and paid thei-efor with a net tax assessment of about 17 cents per $1,000 valuation in excess of that, which would have been necessary to pay for fire hydrant service under private ownership.

The first board of public works which had charge of this system were appointed in March, 19—, as follows: W. F. Johnson, president; M. E. Schmidt, secretary ; S. H. Stephens and W. A. Sombart. The present board is Jeff L. Davis, president ; Fred Dauwalter, secretary ; George A. Weyland, Clarence Shears.

At our request, Mayor C. W. Journey has prepared a short article on Boonville as it is today, which we herewith give:

Boonville as It is Today.
The present population of the city of Boonville is about 6,000 ; the assessed valuation of property in the city for the year 1918 was $2,300,000. The city revenue for the same year from all sources was about $26.500 ; and the city indebtedness is only $29,000.

The tax rate for 1918 was $1.10. The rate for this year of 1919 will be reduced from that of 1918.

The city has, since 1905, in fourteen years, purchased and paid for the water works plant, together with 27.82 acres of land acquired by the original purchase, all representing a gross investment of $121,000 (this dues not include advanced value of real estate) ; has set aside 533,000 for depreciation, has accumulated $6,000 surplus, made all necessary additions and betterments, and today, the plant is in first class working order, giving us as pood and pure water as is to he found anywhere. Of the $75.000 bonded indebtedness 14 years aero in the matter of the purchase of the water plant, on July 1, 1919, only 53,000 of the same will remain unpaid.

Boonville now has three banks, and another practically organized and ready for business. Boonville now has, among other things, the following:

A large public school building, the high school building (a magnificent and beautiful structure), Kemper Military School, a large and splendid institution, and with a larger attendance this year than ever before in its history, the new Sumner school for colored people, the Missouri Reformatory, and Dunkle's Business School, nine churches, one large flouring mill. a beautiful new court house, a pipe factory employing 150 or move people, a large shoe factory now in course of construction, its estimated cost when completed is $110,000, and will employ 300 workers, a large ice plant and laundry employing 30 persons the year round, the Armour packing plant, employing 30 to 40 persons, a large brick plant, sand-works and a lime kiln.

There are now fifteen grocery stores ; three large and up-to-date"clothing stores ; four dry goods stores, not counting combination dry goods and grocery stores; four millinery and three drug stores; one large tin, glassware and notion store.; one dealer in books ; one fruit store, and two combination fruit and stationery stores; two furniture stores; two hardware stores ; two exclusive boot and shoe stores ; one second hand store ; two restaurants, and numerous eating booths; three ice cream parlors, and numerous tailor, blacksmith and tin shops; two large wholesale houses, both under the same management. Boonville also has eight garages.

The paved streets in the city are as follows: Main (or Fifth) street, from High to the top of Trigg Hill in the southern limits of the city ; High, from Second to Eighth streets ; Morgan, from First to Tenth ; Spring, from Main to Tenth, and from First to the Boonville and Sedalia road; Sixth, from Locust to the Boonville and Jefferson City road ; Chestnut, from Sixth to Third; Third, from High to Pine street; Court, from Fifth to Sixth; Locust, from Main East to the Catholic Cemetery, thence south to the southeast corner of the Cooper County Infirmary Farm, being practically to the city limits; Shamrock Heights, from the north part of Shamrock Heights to what is known as the "New-Cut Road" ; Eighth, from High to Morgan ; Second street, from Spring to Water street, and there is now under construction the paving of Walnut street from Sixth street, westwardly to Shamrock Heights.

At this writing, the city council has made arrangements to call a special election to decide on the proposition of issuing bonds for §35,000 for the purpose of laying a new water main from the water works to the city. This is not only to guard against serious damage by fire and great, public inconvenience in case the single line now existing should break, but to give water service to new territory, and improve and extend the water service gnerally ; and to issue bonds in the sum of $12,000 for constructing an additional sewer main, and serve the new addition in the western part of the city, now an assured fact; and to issue bonds for $10,000 for the purpose of improving the City Park.

Walnut Grove Cemetery, one of the most beautiful in the State, had its inception in 1852. In that year Charles F. Aehle, Robert D. Perry, Dr. A. Keuckelhan and others purchased a piece of ground containing two acres from William S. Myers to be used as a cemetery. Upon this ground was a beautiful grove of walnut trees, hence the name Walnut Grove Cemetery. This tract has been added to from time to time. The first body interred in the cemetery was that of Mrs. Sarah Ann Quarles, who died Aug. 24, 1852. Others buried about the same time were Mrs. H. A. Massie, James McDearmon, and Ida Aehle. Also the remains of David Barton, first United States Senator of Missouri, was removed from the City Cemetery and buried here, where now stands an appropriate monument erected by the State. Up to 1880 this cemetery was under the care of Mr. Aehle, in which year the cemetery was made public under certain rules and restrictions by the purchase of the same from Mr. Aahle by and through a corporation organized for that purpose. The charter, however, was not issued until June 7, 1881.

The people of Boonville and Cooper County are justly proud of this' beautiful cemetery where rest the remains of their loved and lost. It has grown from year to year and its management has been such as to add to its beauty with years. While not all but much of the credit due to the superb management of this cemetery is credited to Dr. William Mittlebach, who for years has been superintendent and secretary of the same. The present board of dirctors are T. A. Johnson, president; W. W. Trigg, vice-president; R. W. Whitlow, treasurer; William Mittlebach, superintendent and secretary; Hilliard Brewster, Fred G. Lohse, Starke Koontz, and Charles Doerrie. The executive committee consists of William Mittelbach, W. W. Trigg, and Fred G. Lohso. Lawrence Geiger, Sr., is the present sexton.

Blackwater Township.
Blackwater is bounded on the north by Lamine township; on the east by Pilot Grove and Clear Creek township, and on the west by Saline and Pettis Counties. It is practically surrounded by water. the Blackwater River on the north and the Lamine on the east and south.

The soil is rich and very productive. It has much bottom land which is especially adapted to the growing oi' corn, wheat and alfalfa.

Lead and iron ore are found in abundance. Springs are very numerous, some of which are salt. Salt was manufactured in this township as early as 1808 and from that time until 1836 it was manufactured pretty extensively by Heath, Bailey, Christie, Allison and others.

William Christie and John D. Heath settled here in 1808 temporarily. James Broch was the first permanent settler, arriving in 1816. Enoch Hambrich came in 1817, David Shellcraw in 1818, George Chapman, the father of Mrs. Caleb Jones, came in 1818; Nathaniel T. Allison in 1831, Cleming Marshall and Robert Clark in 1832, Nathaniel Bridgewater in 1835.

The village of Blackwater is the metropolis of Blackwater township and is surrounded by fertile and enterprising country and thrifty farmers. The town has a population of about 500 and the mercantile business represents practically every line of business found in a village of that size. It has one newspaper, two banks, and an electric light plant. The merchants are prosperous and enjoy a good trade. Blackwater is one of the oldest trading points in Cooper County. It takes its name from the stream Blackwater, from which also the township takes its name.

Clear Creek Township.

Clear Creek is bounded on the north by the Lamine River; on the east by Pilot Grove and Palestine townships; on the south by Lebanon and Otterville townships, and on the west by Pettis County.

Some rough land is found in this township in the north and west part but in the east and south are found some of the best farms in Cooper County. James Taylor and sons, William, John, and James were the first settlers. They came from Georgia by the way of New Madrid and settled here in 1817. The farmed a large tract of land and were the early corn kings of Cooper County.

At one time when corn was very scarce throughout the county, and very little could be had for love or money, two men came to Mr. Taylor's house asking to purchase some corn, of which he had a large quantity, on credit, as neither of them had any money with which to pay. One was very poorly dressed, with his pants torn off below his knees, and what there was remaining of them patched all over. The other was almost elegantly dressed. Mr. Taylor sold the poorly dressed man, on credit, all the corn he wished. He told the other one that he could get no corn there, unless he paid the money for it, and that if he had saved the money which he had squandered for his fine clothes he would have had sufficient to pay cash for the corn.

He had a large number of negroes, and required them during the day to perform a .Treat deal of work. Shovel plows were mostly used in his day, and the wooden mole board just coming into use. It is related that the shovels of Mr. Taylor's plows had, at one time, worn off very blunt, and he was averse to buying new ones, so that one negro man plowed once around a field before he discovered that he had lost the dull shovel to his plow, the plow running just as well without as with it. He was a leader in the Baptist Church, and was a devoted member, a kind neighbor and a strictly honest man.

Jordan O'Bryan, son-in-law of James Taylor, settled here in 1817. He represented the county in the State Legislature in 1822, 1826, 1834 and 1840 and in the State Senate 1844 to 1848. He was an orator, a man of great ability and an uncompromising Whig.

Charles R. Berry, the father of Finis E. Berry, Isaac Ellis and Hugh and Alexander Brown, are among the oldest citizens ; others of a later date were Herman Bailey, William Ellis, Samuel Walker, A. S. Walker, H. R. Walker, Finis E. Berry, James and Samuel Mahan, the Rubeys, Jeremiah, William G. and Martin G. Phillips, Samuel Forbes, Ragan Berry, Hiram Dial, Samuel and Rice Hughes and Willis Ellis.

Pilot Grove Township.

Pilot Grove is bounded on the north by Lamine ; on the east by Boonville and Palestine ; on the south by Clear Creek and Palestine, and on the west by Clear Geek and Blackwater. It is a very irregular in shape and offers quite a variety in surface features. The township derived its name from the following facts: When travelers were passing on the route from Boonville to Independence, or in the neighborhood of this route, as it led through the township, they were enabled at once to determine their position by the small grove of trees which was plainly visible for miles around. Very little of the present timber was in existence except as low brush, so that the group of trees standing prominently John Houx, Jacob Houx, L. A. Summers, James McElrov, Samuel Roe, Sr., Samuel Wool ridge, Enoch Mass, Absalom Meredith, A/.ariah Bone, who was a Methodist minister; John Rice, a blacksmith; a Mr. Magee, after whom "Magee Grove" was named, and Samuel Gilbert, whose success in after life as a cancer doctor was a surprise to all and a familiar theme of conversation among the old settlers. There were also William and James Taylor, Jr., who were among the pioneers.

This township was distinguished in the early times by the number and variety of camp meetings which were held within its borders. The Methodists and Presbyterians were rivals for the honor of conducting the biggest and best camp meeting each year. People attended from great distances.

Thomas P. Cropper was the first noted teacher in this township. He taught in 1828 and 1829.

The first mill erected in this township was by a man named Hughes. It was a horse-mill and stood on one of the branches of the Petite Saline.

Pilot Grove is located in the northeast quarter of section 5, township 47, range 18 in Pilot Grove township and surrounded by large and beautiful farming country. The town and township take their name from the postoffice called in the early day Pilot Grove. The town was laid off in 1873 by Samuel Roe and is situated on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad twelve miles southwest of Boonville. As early as 1836 the Government located a postofiice about one mile from the present town site and called it Pilot Grove. In those days freighters and travelers to the great southwest guided their course across the broad prairies by a beautiful grove of hickory trees that stood on what is now known as the Coleman farm and within the present limits of the town of Pilot Grove. This grove of trees became known as the Pilot Grove, hence the name of the postofiice, Pilot Grove, which gave the name to the town.

Pilot Grove is a city of the fourth class and has a population of between 800 and 1,000 inhabitants. There is one newspaper, five churches, two elevators, two banks, a good public school conducted in a new and upto-date school building, stores in which are found large stocks of goods and representing every line of the mercantile business, garages, blacksmith shops, lumber yard, telephone system, electric light system, and in fact every enterprise usually found in the most up-to-date town of similar size.

Kelly Township.—Kelly township is bounded on the north by Palestine and Clarks Fork, on the east by Moniteau, on the west by Lebanon, and on the south by Moniteau County. It is named in honor of John Kelly, one of its oldest and most respected citizens.

Its surface is comparatively regular, consisting of prairie diversified with timbered portions. It is thought to have been settled first in 1818. The first settlers were: John Kelly, William Stephens, James D. Campbell, James Kelly, William J. Kelly, Caperton Kelly, William Jennings, Gen. Charles Woods, Philip E. Davis. Rice Challis, Hugh Morric, Jesse White, Hartley White, Jeptha Billingsley, Joshua Dellis, and William Swearingen.

James Kelly was a Revolutionary soldier and died in 1840.

John Kelly, Charles Wood and James D. Campbell served as soldiers in the War of 1S12.

The Kellys came originally from Tennessee the Campbells from Kentucky. William Jennings, the first preacher, came from Georgia in 1819. He was a wealthy slave owner and was for many years pastor of "Old Nebo" Church. Campbell was for many years justice of the peace, a prominent politician, and a noted Democrat.

Gen. Charles Woods was for many years the leading Democratic politician of the township. He was a forceful speaker, a gentleman in every respect. He died in 1874 at the age of 78 years.

Joseph Reavis with his sons, Lewis, William T. Jackson and Johnston, settled in this township in 1823 and for many years were manufacturers of wagons, at which trade they attained quite a good deal of prominence.

Joseph S. Anderson was probably the first schoolmaster in this township. He settled here in 1824. He taught a very successful school for four years when he was elected sheriff of Cooper County, 1828, re-elected in 1830. Previous to his death he was elected to the Legislature. He became a large land owner and very wealthy. His residence was on a hill north of Bunceton. His schoolhouse was near the ground on which Hopewell Church is located. William Robertson, a Baptist minister, continued this school for a number of years.

Robert McCulloch operated the first mill in the township. Rice Challis, a carpenter, was a prominent Whig and in respect to his politics stood almost alone in his neighborhood.

The soil of Kelly township is very fertile and some of the best farms in the State of Missouri are to be found within its borders.

Bunceton was laid out in 1868 by the late Harvey Bunce, from whom it derives its name. It lies almost in the geographical center of the county and is surrounded by a great trade territory of fertile and highly improved farms. The population of the town is now about 1,000. Sam T. Smith is - mayor and the city council is composed of W. E. Harris, Frank Gholson, Joe C. Stephens and Edgar C. Nelson. F. C. Betteridge is city clerk.

Bunceton has about 20 stores, representing all lines of business. It also has two banks with resources of $1,000,000. a modem garage, a telephone system, an up-to-date hotel and a cafe, an ice plant and an electric light plant furnishing a 24-hour service, two grain elevators, a barber shop, a newspaper with the largest circulation in the county, a fine theatre, a grist mill, a splendid accredited four-year high school, four churches, three lodges..

The business section of the town is composed of modern brick buildings, while in the residence sections are to be found many modern and attractive homes. Sunset. Hill, a new addition to the town, promises to attract many new home-owners. A building and loan association organized in 1914 has been very successful in supplying funds for many new homes in the town. The streets of the town are well kept and the town has many blocks of concrete sidewalks. Beautiful shade trees and well kept lawns are a feature of the town.

Two county farmers' organizations, the Cooper County Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company and the Farmers Live Stock Insurance Company, maintain offices in Bunceton. The Bunceton Fair, now the county fair, organized more than a quarter century ago, is famous for its motto, "For Farmers, not Fakirs," which it has lived up to. The Cooper County Shorthorn Breeders' Association also has headquarters in Bunceton.

Bunceton is the shipping point for much live stock, hundreds of cars of cattle, hogs, sheep and mules going to market from the town each year. It lies in the center of a great pure-bred stock community and attracts many buyers from a distance.

The Bunceton postoffice serves four rural mail routes which cover a big territory. Miss Mary Shackleford is postmistress.

The people of Bunceton are cultured. They seek and enjoy the better things of life. Schools and churches are well supported. Its citizenship is high.

The present Bunceton Fair had its inception at a meeting of farmers and stockmen held in the office of the "Bunceton Eagle" on March 21, 1896, when plans for an agricultural fair were discussed. The actual organization was perfected on May 9, 1896. when a board of  directors were elected. They were E. H. Kodgers, Henry Fricke, John G. Burger, N. A. Gilbreath, A. B. Alexander, A. A. Wallace, T. A. Nelson, E. F. Lovell, J. D. Starke, J. R. Conway. T. V. Hickox, Theo. Brandes and Dr. P. E. Williams. - E. H. Rodgers was the first president ; John G. Burger, first vice-president Henry Fricke, second vice-president; T. A. Nelson, treasurer; W. L. Nelson, secretary, and E. F. Lovell, assistant secretary.

Thirty-seven acres belonging to W. L. Allison and lying a half-mile west of Bunceton, was selected as a site for the fairgrounds. It was at first leased and later bought. On Wednesday, Sept. 9, 1896, the gates were thrown open to the first meeting ever held by the association.

The association has held a successful meeting every year since its organization. It adopted in its early history for its motto, "For Farmers and Not Fakers," and has consistently lived up to the motto.

The present board of directors (1919) is composed of F. C. Betteridge, Ben Harned, S. H. Groves, H. L. Shirley, Joseph Popper, George Morris, Ben Smith, Clyde T. Nelson, and G. A. Gilbert. F. C. Betteridge is president and Edgar C. Nelson is secretary and treasurer.

During its existence the following men have served the association as president: E. H. Rodgers, 1896; T. A. Nelson, 1897-8-9 and 1907; J. E. Burger, 1900-01; Henry Fricke, 1902-03; P. E. Williams, 1904-05; G. W. Morris, 1906; George A. Carpenter, 1908; Ben Harned, 1909-10-14; S. H. Groves, 1911-16-17-18 ; J. A. Hawkins, 1912-13 ; F. C. Betteridge, 1915-19.

During its existence the fair has exerted a great influence on the agricultural and live stock interests of the county. It has always been conducted on a high plane and has been clean in every particular. It has become known over the com belt as a model country fair.

Lamine Township.

Lamine township is located in the northwest part of Cooper County and is just across the river from Howard. It is bounded on the east by Boonville township, on the south by Pilot Grove and Blackwater and on the west by Saline County.

The surface is rolling and was originally covered with a heavy growth of timber. The soil is rich and very productive. It was settled first in 1812 by David Jones, a Revolutionary soldier, Thomas and James McMahan, Stephen, Samuel and Jesse Turley, Saunders Townsend.

Those who arrived later were John Cramer, Bradford Lawless, John M., David and William Reid, Hezekiah Harris, Elijah Taylor, John, Peter, Samuel and Joseph Fisher, William and Jesse Moon, Rudolph Haupe, Isaac Hedrick, John Smelser, William McDaniel, Wyant Parm, Harmon Smelser, Samuel Larnd, Pethnel Foster, Julius Burton, Ezekiel Williams, and some others at present unknown.

"Fort McMahan" was built in the year 1812 or 1813 but it can not be exactly located.

Lead has been found in paying quantities in bygone days and lumber and cord-wood were for many years shipped extensively from the township. In the early days, fish from the Blackwater and Lamine Rivers were sent regularly to Boonville.

Samuel Walton erected a business house in the village of Lamine in 1869. Redd and Gibson opened a store in November, 1871, which was broken into in February, 1881, the safe blown and about $700 in money taken.

North and South Moniteau Townships.—These two townships, originally one, are separated by the Moniteau Creek. They are bounded on the north by Clarks Fork and Prairie Home townships, on the east and south by Moniteau County and on the west by Kelly township.

The surface near the Moniteau Creek' tends to be rough, which gradually gives way to prairie both in the north and south.

Mr. Shelton, a blacksmith, settled near where the town of Pisgah now stands in 1818. He was quite a noted "artificer in metals" and was the only blacksmith in the county outside of Boonville.

Among other early settlers were Thomas B. Smiley, Seth Joseph, Waid and Stephen Howard, William Coal, James Stinson, Hawking Bui"-ress, David Burress, Charles Hickox, Samuel McFarland, Carroll George, James Snodgrass, Martin George, Mathew Burress, Jesse Martin, Alexander Woods, William Landers, Jesse Bowles, James Donelson, William A. Stillson, Samuel Snodgrass, James W. Maxey, Job Martin, James Jones, David Jones, Augustus K. Longan, Patrick Mahan, Valentine Martin, John Jones and John B. Longan.

Thomas B. Smiley, who represented Cooper County in the Legislature in 1820, was a man of considerable information and a good historian. He reared a large family of children and died in 1836.

David Jones settled at Pisgah prior to 1820, since his vote was recorded in that year. He, with Archibald Kavanaugh, was elected to the State Legislature in 1830, 1832, 1834 and in 1836 he was elected State Senator, re-elected in 1848. He died in 1859.

Pisgah and Mount Pleasant churches were built by the Baptists in an early day and were presided over by John B. Longan and Kemp Scott. The first school in this township was probably taught by James Donelson. He only professed to teach arithmetic as far as the "double rule of three".

A man named Howard erected the first mill at what was afterwards known as "Old Round Hill". An Englishman by the name of Summers, and Judge C. H. Smith also kept a store in this place.

Patrick Mahan later built a tread-mill which was a considerable improvement over the old fashioned "horse mill". Richard D. Bonsfield at a very early date erected a store at Pisgah.

Palestine Township.

Palestine is bounded on the north by Pilot Grove and Boonville townships; on the south by Kelly and Lebanon; on the west by Clear Creek and Pilot Grove, and on the east by Clarks Fork township. It is generally prairie, but a bit rough on the east side and the soil is of the most excellent quality.

The first settlers of this township were William Moore, and Joseph Stevens. William Moore came from North Carolina with his family which ' consisted of seven sons and three daughters. Margaret married Judge Lawrence C. Stephens in 1818 ; Sally married Col. John G. Hutchison and Mary married Harvey Bunce.

Mrs. Margaret Stephens told of the first church she attended in the neighborhood, which was held at the house of one of the settlers. Luke Williams, the preacher, was dressed in a complete suit of buckskin, and a great many of his audience was dressed in the same style. She was so dissatisfied with the appearance of things in this county that she cried during the whole of the services, but soon became accustomed to the new order of things, and was well contented. At that meeting grease from the bear meat, stored in the loft above the congregation, dropped down and spoiled her nice Sunday shawl, which was a fine one, brought from North Carolina, and which could not be replaced in this backwoods country.

Joseph Stephens, Sr., and family settled in Palestine in 1817, being piloted to their new home by Maj. Stephen Cole. In 1818, Samuel Peters settled two miles farther north at a place now called Petersburg.

When Samuel Peters raised his dwelling he invited his neighbors to come and help him, stating that he would, on that occasion, kill a hog and have it for dinner. As this was the first hog ever butchered in this part of the state, and as very few of the settlers had ever tasted pork, it was no little inducement to them to be present and assist in disposing of such rare and delicious food for the settlers, previous to that time, had subsisted entirely upon wild game. Always, on such occasion, they had a little "fire-water" to give life to the occasion.

Colonel Andrew and Judge John Briscoe settled in the same township in 1818. They were both very prominent men, and prominent leaders in their respective parties, Andrew being a whig, and John a democrat. Some of the other early settlers were Henry, Hiram, Heli and Harden Coram, Mr. Tevis, the father of Capt. Simeon Tevis, Thomas Collins, Jacob Summers, Michael, James and Williamson, John and Joseph Cathey. James, David and John H. Hutchison, Nathaniel Leonard, John and Andrew Wallace, Henry Woolery, Holbert and Samuel Cole, James Bridges, James Simms, Russell Smallwood, Thomas Best, Greenberry Allison, William C. Lowcry, Anthony F. Read, and others. No better citizens than those mentioned above ever settled in any community.

The first schools in Palestine township was taught by Lawrence C. Stephens, Dr. William H. Moore and a young man from Virginia by the same name. The latter was considered the best scholar in this part of the country in the early days. A dancing school was opened at the residence of B. W. Levens in 1832 by a man named Gibson. He was the first to introduce cotillions in this part of the country. Mr. Gibson also had schools at Boonville and Arrow Rock, teaching two days at each place. It is presumed that he rested on the Sabbath.

Prairie Home Township.

Prairie Home township is bounded on the north by Saline, on the east by Moniteau County, and on the west by Clarks Fork township, and on the south by Moniteau township. Prairie Home was carved from the territory of Clarks Fork, Saline and Moniteau townships and organized in 1872.

The surface is generally level being mostly prairie. The soil is very fertile and some very excellent farms are to be found within its boundary.

The oldest settlers, according to the best information that can be obtained, were James McClain, Lacy McClanahan, Adam McClanahan, Jacob Carpenter, Ab::alom McClanahan, Michael Hornbeck, Samuel Carpenter, William N. McClanahan, William G. McClanahan, and Jeremiah Smith.

The early history of this township cannot be dissociated from that of the parent, townships enumerated above.

Prairie Home, one of the best inland towns in this section of the country had its beginning at a very early date when James Boswell erected a store. John Zimmerman established a business here in 1874.

The Prairie Home Institute was organized in 1865 by the Rev. A. H. Misseldine.

Prairie Home has a population of about 300. It has one bank with a capital stock of 812,000, two churches, the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Baptist, a good school with three teachers, electric lights, eight stores, one hotel, one mill and one blacksmith shop. The present mayor is Dr. R. L. Meredith.

Clarks Fork Township.

Clarks Fork township is bounded on the north by Boonville township; on the east by Prairie Home and Saline; on .the south by Moniteau and Kelly, and on the west by Palestine. The township derives its name from Clark's Fork which with its tributaries drain it. It is practically all prairie land. John Glover was probably the first settler in this township locating here in 1813. He built his cabin near where Rankin's Mill now stands. John C. Rochester settled here shortly afterwards, lie was a grandson of the founder of Rochester, New York. Having lost a large fortune, he sought seclusion by emigrating to the frontier country where people required nothing save honesty and industry to admit a person into their social circles. He married Miss Sally Kelly, the daughter of James Kelly, who was a honored soldier of the Revolution.

Some of the old citizens of this township were Joshua H. Berry, William Read, William and Ruben George, Clayton Hurt, Samuel Carpenter, Edward, Andrew and Charles Robertson, James, Robert and John Johnston, Samuel, Robert and William Drinkwater, Gabriel Titsworth, William Shipley, Acrey Hurt, Peter Carpenter, George Crawford, George W. Weight, Martin Jennings.

George Crawford was Cooper County's first assessor, afterwards a member of the legislature from the county. Judge George W. Weight was born in New York, Feb. 27, 1784. Left an orphan he emigrated to West Virginia and from thence to Ross County, Ohio, where he married Miss Elizabeth Williams. He came to Howard County, Mo., with his family in 1820, and in 1S22 he settled in Clarks Fork township and lived there until his death, Feb. 29, 1857. He was a school teacher, a good violinist, and in his early day taught dancing school. He was county judge, county surveyor and later state representative.

Clarks Fork township is strictly a farming community. Practically every acre of it is devoted to the production of grain and hay, which in turn was converted into finished meat producing animals which find a ready market in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Saline Township.

Saline township lies in the northeastern part of the county. It is bounded on the north by the Missouri River; on the east by Moniteau county ; on the south by Prairie Home township, and on the west by Clarks Fork and Boonville townships. It contains quite a good deal of hilly territory and much bottom land.

Joseph Jolly, with his two children, John and William, settled in this township as early as 1812. He set out the first apple orchard and built a mill which would grind a bushel of com an hour. William Jolly was a gunsmith, a wheel wright, a blacksmith, a cooper, a miller, a distiller, a.preacher, a doctor and a farmer. John kept a ferry across the Lamine.

Some of the other early settlers were William Lamm, James and John Turner, Joseph Pursley, Levi Cropper, Henry Levins, B. W. Levins (the grandfather, and father of Henry C. Levins of Boonville), Josiah Dickson, Charles Force, John Farris, Thomas Farris, Jesse Wood, David Fine, Joshua and Lacy McClanahan, George Dickson, Frederick and James F. Connor, John Calvert, Adam and Absalom McClanahan, Elverton Caldwell, Noding Caldwell, Joseph Westbrook, Alexander Woods, Robert Givens, Leonard Calvert. August McFall, Alexander R. Dickson, William Calvert, Jr., James Farris and Robert Dickson.

Big Lick church, of which John B. Longdon was the first pastor, was built at a very early date. John M. Stilman (1820) taught the first school at a place now occupied by the Highland school. A town by the name of Washington was laid out by B. W. Levens near the Missouri River a'oout one mile below Overton. Lots were sold, houses built, businesses established and quite a rosy future promised but in time it disappeared and the spot on which it was located cannot be designated by any living man. Another town was promoted on the banks of the Missouri River opposite Rocheport. It was called Houstonville. It was laid out by B. W. Levens and John Ward. The site on which it stood now forms a part of the bed of the Missouri River.

Woolridge was incorporated Feb. 5, 1904, with A. F. Nixon as mayor, who through the years has held and now holds that office. The town has a lumber yard, grain elevator and flour mill, also an ice plant. It also has two general merchandise stores, two restaurants, one grocery, one drug store, one hardware store and one furniture store. It also has one harness shop, one blacksmith shop and one garage.

Lebanon Township.

Thomas J. Starke, who has imperishably preserved the early history of Lebanon and Otterville townships, has joined "the innumerable caravan that moves to that mysterious realm where each must take his chamber in the silent halls of death." He departed this life at Otterville on Saturday, June 27. 1903, at the ripe age of eighty years. He had spent almost three score and ten years in Cooper County where he grew to manhood, married and died. He was the father of Mrs. D. S. Koontz of Boonville. Thomas J. Starke was an admirable man of lovable traits and Cooper County had no better citizen.

"About the fall of 1819 and the spring of 1820, the following named persons moved to New Lebanon, and into that neighborhood embracing a portion of the territory now known as Lebanon township, in Cooper county.

Rev. Finis Ewing, Rev. James L. Wear, John, James H. Wear, who was the father of William G. Wear, of Warsaw, and Samuel Wear, now of Otterville; Alexander Sloan, Robert Kirkpatrick, Colin C. Stoneman, WilHam Stone, Frederick Casteel, Reuben A. Ewing, Jas. Berry, Thomas Rubey, Elizabeth Steele, sister of Alexander Sloan's wife, a man named Smiley, Rev. Laird Euros and his father, John Burns, John Reed, Silas Thomas, James Taylor, Hugh Wear, who was a brother to James L. and John Wear, James McFarland and Rev. William Kavanaugh. This country then extended south to the Osage River.

The Rev. Finis Ewing was a distinguished minister of the gospel, and one of the original founders of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. He was from Kentucky ; was ordained a minister in the year 1803, and in conjunction with Samuel McAdam and Samuel King, founded that church in 1810.

The cause which gave rise to the establishment of the branch of the Presbyterian church was, that the mother church required her ministers to possess a classical education before ordination, which was by the new church not regarded as absolutely indispensable, though its ministers were required to cultivate a knowledge of the elementary branches of the English language.

At New Lebanon these early pioneers pitched their tents, and soon began the erection of a rude building as a sanctuary, which, when completed, they called New Lebanon, in condistiction to the house in which they had sung and worshipped in the state from which they had formerly emigrated. It was built of hewed logs, and the settlers of this little colony united in the project of building, each furaishing his proportionate quota of the logs requisite to complete the building. These logs were double; that is, each log was twenty-four feet in length, being joined in the middle of the house by means of an upright post, into which the ends were mortised, thus making the entire length of the church forty-eight feet, by thirty feet in width. This building served as a place of worship for many years, until about the time of the war, when the new and neat brick church of the present day was erected on the site of the old one, which was torn away.

The members of this church constituted the prevailing religion of the neighborhood for many years, and most of the characters portrayed herein were connected with this denomination.

The Rev. James L. Wear was also for many years a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher. He was a good man, and lived close to New Lebanon, where Frank Asberry now lives. He died at the old mansion in about 1868. He was a brother of John Wear, who first lived at New Lebanon at the place now owned by Mr. Majors and afterwards at Otterville where Mr. Anson Hemenway now lives. The first school taught in Otterville, or in Otterville township, was taught by his son, known by the sobriquet of Long 'George.' They were originally from Kentucky, moved to Howard County in 1817, and afterwards to New Lebanon at the date above indicated.

Samuel Wear, Sr. and James II. Wear were brothers, and came from Tennessee, the latter being the father of William G. and Samuel Wear, Jr., as before stated, and lived in the place now occupied by William Walker. He was a successful farmer and died in good circumstances.

Samuel Wear, Sr., lived where Wesley Cook now lives and sold a large farm there to Samuel Burk, late of this county.

Alexander Sloan was from Kentucky and settled the place now owned by Peter Spillers. He was the father of William Sloan, who died at Otterville several years ago, and also- of the Rev. Robert Sloan, who was an eminent minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and who married a daughter of the Rev. Finis Ewing.

Robert Kirkpatrick was a Kentuckian and lived near the New Lebanon graveyard. He died many years ago. He was a revolutionary soldier, and had a son named David, who was an able minister of the Cumberland Church. David met his death by accident; he was thrown from a carriage, severely wounded and afterwards died from the amputation of his leg.

Colin C. Stoneman was from Kentucky and lived at the old cabin still to be seen standing near Andrew Foster's place. He was a practitioner of medicine of the Thomsonian school, and died a good many years ago.

William Stone was a Kentuckian, a plain old farmer, and lived on the farm now owned by the Rev. Minor Neale. He was a good man and died at an advanced age.

Rev. Frederick Casteel was a minister of the gospel of the Methodist church and lived near the place now owned by Mrs. Abram Amick.

Reuben A. Ewing and his brother, Irving Ewing, were Kentuckians, and lived east of Lebanon. The former was a successful farmer, a good man and died at an advanced age, honored and respected. James Berry was also a Kentuckian and one of the oldest settlers of this new colony. He lived where his son. Finis E. Berry now lives.

Thomas Rubey was from Kentucky and lived at Pleasant Grove. Henry Small lived at the Vincent Walker place.

Mr. Smiley was also a Kentuckian and settled where Mr. Thomas Alexander now lives. Rev. Laird Burns was a Cumberland Presbyterian preacher and lived where Mr. John P. Downs now lives, in what is known as the Ellis neighborhood.

John Burns was his brother and lived close to New Lebanon. He was a soldier in the war with Britain, was present at the battle of New Orleans and would often with pride talk about that great event, of the fearful roaring of the cannon, of the sharp whistling of the bullets and the thrilling echoes of martial music, which stirred the hearts of the soldiers to deeds of valor, and enabled the brave army of General Jackson to achieve the glorious victory which ended the war with 'Old England'.

Rev. John Reid was also another minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, a Kentuckian; he first lived at Honey Creek and afterwards at so many different places, that for want of space in this brief sketch I dare not undertake to enumerate them. Suffice it to say, that he settled more new places in the neighborhood than any half dozen pioneers of the infant colony. He was a very eccentric character in his younger days, would fight at the 'drop of a hat' and was never known to meet his match in a hand to hand combat. The writer of this sketch was intimately acquainted with him for many years, during the latter period of his life, however, and can truly say he never knew a man of steadier habits, nor one more remarkable for strict rectitude of conduct, or exemplary piety.

Reid was driving a team for some man who was moving to this county with Mr. Ewing, who had ear bells on his six horse team. The young man liked the jingle of these bells so well that he begged Mr. Ewing to allow his teamster to divide with him, in order that he might share the music, but Mr. Ewing 'could not see it' and refused to make the division as requested. Whereupon Reid bought a number of cow bells and hung one on each horse of his team, which soon had the effect of bringing the preacher to terms. He was so much annoyed with the discord produced by these coarse bells that he soon proposed a compromise by giving Reid his sleigh bells, provided he would stop the cow bell part of the concert.

Silas Thompson was another Kentuckian and lived on Honey creek near where Lampton's saw mill stood a few years ago.

James Taylor, better known as 'Old Cora Taylor', lived in an old log cabin which may still be seen standing a short distance west of the Anthony place. He was another remarkably eccentric character. He had a host of mules and negroes; always rode with a rope biidle and raised more corn and kept it longer than any half dozen men in Cooper County. This he hoarded away in pens and cribs, with as much care as if every ear had been a silver dollar, in anticipation of a famine, which. for many years he had predicted, but which, happily, never came, though the neighborhood was several times visited with great scarcity of that valuable commodity. Although he was miserly in this respect, yet during these times of scarcity, he would generally unlock his granaries, and like Joseph of old, deal it out to his starving brethren, whether they were able to pay for it or not ; that is, if he thought a man was industrious, he would furnish him with what corn he considered necessary; but tradition inform us that he invariably refused the required boon to a man who was found, on examination, to wear 'patched breeches', especially if the patch happened in a particular locality, which indicated laziness.

Hugh Wear was from Kentucky, and lived in the Ellis neighborhood. He was the father of the Rev. Wm. Bennett Wear, another Cumberland Presbyterian of considerable distinction. When his father, who was a Revolutionary soldier, enlisted, Hugh, although too young to enter the army, was permitted to accompany his father and served during the war as a soldier notwithstanding he was under the age prescribed for military duty. This was done to prevent his falling into the hands of the tories.

Rev. Wm. Kavanaugh was a Kentuckian and another Cumberland Presbyterian preacher of considerable note. It was said of him, that he could preach louder and longer than any of these old worthies.

William Bryant was a Kentuckian and was with General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans. He first settled at New Lebanon, on the place which he afterwards sold to Finis Ewing; the old brick house where Mr. Kemp now lives. He then moved to the farm now occupied by William B. Harlan.

Samuel Miller was from Kentucky and settled on the place now owned by Green Walker. He was a farmer and afterwards moved to Cold Neck.

There yet remains but one other man to notice who belonged to New Lebanon. He was a member of the numerous family of Smith, whose Christian name I cannot now recall. He settled at a very early period on what is known as Cedar Bluff, at a nice, cool, clear spring, not far from the place where Mrs. John Wilkerson now lives. Here he erected what was then called a 'band mill', a species of old fashioned horse mill, so common in those clays. It was connected with a small distillery at which he manufactured a kind of 'aqua mirabilis' with which the old folks in those days cheered the drooping spirits in times of great scarcity. But Mr. Smith never 'ran crooked.' He paid no license, and sold or gave away his delicious beverage without molestation from revenue agents, just as he deemed fit and convenient. Revenue stamps and revnue agents were unknown then, and good whiskey (there was none bad then) was not only considered harmless, but drinking hot toddies, eggnog and mint juleps was regarded as respectable, as well as a pleasant and innocent kind of amusement, and quite conducive to good health."

Otterville Township.

I have thus briefly glanced at the early settlement in the vicinity of New Lebanon, and come now to treat of the colony which was planted south and west of the Lamine and which was peopled at a subsequent period, known as the Otterville township, and which will perhaps embrace a portion of the adjoining territory included within the limits of Morgan and Pettis counties.

Thomas Parsons was born in the state of Virginia in the year 1793, moved to Franklin, the county of Simpson, Kentucky, about 1819, emigrated to this county in the fall of 1826, and settled at the place now owned by James H. Cline, northwest of Otterville. About the last of October of that year, Parsons sold his pre-emption right to Absolom Cline, the father of James H. Cline. In 1826, the time Mr. Parsons came into this neighborhood, there were only three families living west of the Lamine in this vicinity. These were James G. Wilkerson, William Reed and William Sloan.

Mr. Parsons established the first hatter's shop south of Boonville, and was an excellent workman in that line. He was an honest, upright citizen, lived to a ripe old age, and was gathered to his fathers honored and respected by all who knew him. At the time of his death, which occurred on the 7th day of Sept., 1768, he was the oldest Free Mason in Cooper county, having belonged to that institution nearly three score years.

William Reed, mentioned above, was, perhaps, the first white man who settled in this neighborhood. He was a Tennesseean, and lived near the old camp ground, a little west of what was then known as the Camp ground spring, in the old field now owned by George W. Smith, a short distance southwest of the old graveyard. He was the grandfather of A. M. Reed, now of Otterville. He was remarkable for his strict integrity and exemplary piety.

James G. Wilkerson was from Kentucky and settled the farm now owned by George W. Smith, one mile west of Otterville. The old mansion stands, although almost in a complete state of dilapidation, to remind the passer of the perishable quality of all human labor. He sleeps, with several other members of his once numerous family, on a gentle eminence a few yards south of the decayed and tottering tenement in which he spent many years of honest toil.

William Sloan, the son of Alexander Sloan (mentioned in the notes pertaining to New Lebanon), was the last of the three mentioned above. He first settled the place where Charles E. Rice now lives, in 1826, but afterwards lived, until his death, at the place now owned by Joseph Minter. He was always noted for his scrupulous honor and piety.

Elijah Hook was from Tennessee and settled near where Henry Bender now lives in 1827. He was a hunter and trapper and obtained a subsistence for his family like Nirmod, his ancient predecessor, mentioned in the Bible as the 'mighty hunter.'

James Brown was a Kentuckian, a farmer, a hard working man, and settled where T. C. Cranmer lives in 1827. He was also a 'Nimrod', and hunted with Daniel Boone.

James Davis was a Tennesseean and settled the place now known as the McCullough farm, in 1827. He was an industrious farmer and a great rail splitter.

James Bimey was a Kentuckian and married the daughter of Alexander Sloan, of New Lebanon. He was a farmer and a man of some note. He settled in 1827, the farm where John Harlan now lives. He had a grandson, Alexander, who was formerly a lawyer at Otterville.

Frederick Shurley, the mightiest hunter in all the land round about Otterville, in 1827, settled the place now owned by his son, Robert Shurley, southeast of Otterville. He was with General Jackson in the Creek War, and was present at the memorable battle of Horse Shoe Bend, where the Indians, by the direction of their prophet, had made their last stand. He used to recount with deep interest, the thrilling incidents connected with this muzzle to muzzle contest, in which over half a thousand redskins were sent by Jackson and Coffee to their happy hunting grounds.

Nathan Neal was a Kentuckian and settled the old place near Lamine, two miles north of Otterville, in 1827. He was an orderly, upright and industrious citizen.

George Cranmer was born in the state of Delaware in 1801, moved to near Paris, Kentucky, while young, and Boonville, Missouri, in the year 1828. He was a millwright and a very ingenious and skilful mechanic. He settled at Clifton in about 1832, and shortly afterwards he and James H. Glasgow, now living on the Petite Saline creek, built what was then known as Cranmer's, afterwards Corum's mill, precisely where the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad now crosses the Lamine. Cranmer named the place Clifton. The principal mechanics who helped to build this mill were Benjamin Gilbert, James Kirkpatrick, Nathan Garten, sonin-law of William Steele, Esquire, a blacksmith named John Toole, Noah Graham, and the renowned 'Bill' Rubey, known to almost all the old settlers south of the Missouri River. Cranmer lived first at the mill, and afterwards at what was known as the John Caton place, where Thomas C. Cranmer was born in 183G. The old log: cabin is still standing-, as one of the few old landmarks yet visible, to remind us of the distant past. Cranmer died at Michigan Bluffs, California, in 1853.

Another man will perhaps be remembered by some of our old citizens. He was crazy and although harmless, used to wander about to the great terror of the children of those days. His name was John Hatwood.

Clifton was once a place of remarkable notoriety. In those early days it was not unfrequently called the 'Devil's Half Acre.' There was a grocery store kept there, after the people began to manufacture poisoned whiskey, which had the effect of often producing little skirmishes among those who congregated there. It was not uncommon for those fracases to end in a bloody nose, a black eye, or a broken head. Happily, however, these broils were generally confined to a few notorious outlaws, whom the order-loving people would have rejoiced to know had met the fate of the cats of Kilkenny.

There are many amusing incidents connected with the history of the place, but space forbids allusion to only one or two. A man by the name of Cox, who was a celebrated hunter and trapper in this neighboi-hood, was known as a dealer in tales, connected with his avocation, of a fabulous and Munchausen character. There is a very high bluff just below the old mill ; perhaps it is nearly five hundred feet high. During one of his numerous hunting excursions, Matthew met with a large bear, which, being slightly wounded, became terribly enraged, and attacked the hunter with his ugly grip before he had time to reload his rifle. This formidable contest between bruin and Matthew occurred just on the verge of the fearful precipice above described and every struggle brought them nearer and nearer, until they both took the awful leap, striking and bounding against the projecting crags every few feet, until they reached the bottom of the terrible abyss. You will naturally say, 'Farewell, Matthew,' but strange to relate, he escaped with a few slight scratches. The bear had, fortunately for Matthew, been on the under side every time they struck, till they reached the bottom, when he loosed his hold of the hunter and closed his eyes in death.

Matthew Cox's tales were generally much like this, almost always terminating- favorably to himself, and fatally to his adversaries. This anecdote gave rise to the name 'Matthew's Bluff,' well known to everybody in this neighborhood.

Sometime during the year 1832, the people of this neighborhood became alarmed by the report that the Osage Indians were about to attack and massacre all the settlers in this vicinity. This report started first by some means at old Luke Williams on Cold Camp creek. The people became almost wild with excitement. They left their plows in the fields, and fled precipitately in the direction of the other settlements towards Boonville. Some of them took refuge in a fort at Vincent Walker's, some at Sam Forbes', and others at Collin Stoneman's and Finis Ewing's. Hats and caps, shoes and stockings, pillows, baskets and bonnets might have been seen along the old military road to Boonville, lying scattered about in beautiful confusion all that day and the next, until the excitement had ceased. Fortunately the scare did not last long, as it was soon ascertained that the alarm was false, and that the Osage Indians had not only not contemplated a raid on the white settlements, but that they had actually become frightened themselves and fled south of the Osage River. But the panic was complete and exceedingly frightful while it lasted. A fellow by the name of Mike Chism lived near the Bidstrup place. Mike had a wife and two children. They were already preparing for a flight. Mike's wife was on horseback and had one child in her lap and one behind her and Mike was on foot.

At this moment, a horseman came galloping up in great trepidation, and informed the little family that the Indians were coming by the thousands and that they were already on this side of Flat creek.

On receiving this intelligence, Mike, in great terror, said to his wife, "My God, Sallie, I can't wait for you any longer', and suiting his actions to his words, took to his scrapers in such hot haste that at the first frantic jump he made, he fell at full length, bleeding and trembling on the rocks. But the poor fellow did not take time to rise to his feet again. He scrambled off on 'all fours' into the brush like some wild animal, leaving his wife and children to take care of themselves as best, they could. He evidently acted upon the principle that 'It is better to be a live coward than a dead hero.'

B. Harris was from Kentucky. He was a country lawyer, had no education, but was a man of pool natural ability. He settled the place where Montraville Ross now lives, on Flat Creek. He settled here in 1827. He was also a great hunter.

Hugh Morrison was a Kentuckian. In 1827, he settled the place where the widow of Henderson Finley now lives.

John Gabriel was also from Kentucky and settled at Richland, at a place two and one-half miles east of Florence. He moved there at a very early period, in 1810. or 1820. He had a distillery, made whiskey and sold it to the Indians. He was a rough, miserly character, but honest in his dealings. He was murdered for his money in his horse lot, on his own plantation. He was killed by a negro man belonging to Reuben B. Harris. The negro was condemned and hung at Boonville. Before his execution, this negro confessed that he had killed Gabriel, but declared that he had been employed to commit the murder by Gabriel's own son-in-law, a man named Abner Weaver. This villain escaped punishment for the reason that the negro's testimony was then, by the laws of the United States, excluded as inadmissible. Justice, however, overtook him at last. His crime did not stop at the instigation of Gabriel's murder. He was afterward found in possession of four stolen horses somewhere in Texas. In endeavoring to make his escape, he was shot from one of these horses, and thus ended his villainy.

The first church erected in this neighborhood was built by the Cumberland Presbyterians. It was of logs, and stood near the old graveyard. It was built about the year 1835. Here, for many years, this denomination annually held the old-fashioned camp-meetings, at which large numbers of the old citizens were wont to congregate and here many of them would sometimes remain for days, and even weeks, on the ground in camps and tents, engaged in earnest devotion. But this order of things and this maimer of worship have long since gone into disuse. Not a hawk's eye could discern a single mourners track, and every vestige of the old church and camp have vanished like the mist before the morning sun and the primitive religious customs have been entirely abandoned.

In the foregoing sketches, I have briefly glanced at the characters of most, in fact, nearly all of the older citizens who figured in the history of New Lebanon settlement, which then comprised our own township, and included the country between the Lamine and Flat Creek. Most of them 'belonged to a class of men which have since passed away.

It is not my purpose to make invidious comparisons between them and those of the present day. It is but justice, however, to say, that with few exceptions, they were men of great moral worth, of true and tried patriotism and scrupulous integrity."


"I come now to take a brief survey of matters connected with a later date. The town of Otterville was first called Elkton. It was laid out. by Gideon R. Thompson, in the 1S37. The first house built, stood where Judge Butler's now stands. The public square occupied the space ground now lying between Butler's and Geo. W. Smith's, extending east to a line running- north and south, near the place where Frank Ami's house formerly stood. William G. Wear entered the forty acres on which Elkton was built, in the year 1836, and sold it to Thompson in 1837. About that time, H. Thompson built the first house as before stated, and he and George Wear built a storehouse directly east of Thompson's dwelling, and little George Wear built a dwelling house on the present site of Colburn's house. James Alcorn built on the north side of the square about the same time. -'Long' George Wear built the first house within the present limits of Otterville proper, where W. G. Wear's house now stands.

The town of Otterville was regularly laid out by W. G. Wear in 1854, though several houses had been built pi*evious to that time within its present limits.

There was no postoffiee at Otterville until about 1848. The mail for this neighborhood was supplied from Arator postoffice, kept by General Hogan, where Van Tromp Chilton now lives. W. G. Wear was the first postmaster. He held the office until 1851, when the writer of these sketches was appointed, who held office about ten years. The mail route was a special one from Arator and was carried on horseback. W. R. Butler was the first contractor and employed James H. Wear, son of W. G. Wear, to carry the mail twice a week. The mail carrier—then a small boy—now one of the leading merchants of St. Louis, made the trip twice a week, riding a small grey pony called 'Tom', which had been bought of Tom Milham, who was then a well known character of the neighborhood. About the time the town was first established, several houses were built on or near the public square.

Among these were the Masonic hall; the dwelling house built by George Embree, north of the hall ; one by Samuel Wear, now occupied by John D. Strain ; one by Harrison Homan, in which he now lives ; and about this time Robert M. Taylor built an addition to the Taylor house. The brick store house known as the Cannon & Zollinger store house, was not built until about the year 1856.

The Masonic lodge, called Pleasant Grove Lodge No. 142, A. F. and A. M., was established on the 15th day of July, A. D., 1854, A. L. 5854. The dispensation was granted by the M. W. G. M., of Missouri, L. S. Cornwell, on the 6th day of November, 1854. This dispensation was granted to the following named persons: YVm. E. Combs, Harrison Homan, S. IT. Saunders, Wm. Devine, Tarleton E. Cox, Strawther O'Rourke, Moses B. Small, Aaron Hup, Wm. A. Reed, Wm. R. Butler, Robt. M. Taylor, and George W. Embree. The charter was granted May 31, 1855, and signed by L. S. Cornwell, G. M., Oscar F. Potter, D. G. M.; J. W. Chenoweth, D. G. E.; Henry Van Odell, J. G. W. The first officers were as follows: S H. Saunders, W. M. ; Aaron Hupp, S. W. ; H. Homan, J. W. ; R. M. Taylor, treasurer; W. R. Butler, secretary; George W. Embree, S. D. ; Strother O'Rourk, J. W., and R. J. Buchanan, tyler.

The Odd Fellows lodge was established in October, 1856, under the name of the Otterville Lodge No. 102, I. 0. 0. F.

The first officers were as follows: W. G. Wear, N. G.; H. A. B. Johnston, V. G. ; Samuel M. Homan, secretary, and John S. Johnston, treasurer.

The present Cumberland Presbyterian church was built by Milton Starke, in the year 1857.

The old Presbyterian church was built by John D. Strain, in 1866, and is now owned by the Baptists.

The Mehtodists and Christian churches were built about the same time, in the year 1872. The former was built by M. C. White, and the latter by T. C. Cranmer and T. M. Travillian. They are both neat brick buildings, and a?i ornament to our village.

The public school building was erected in 1869, costing $6,000.

The Pacific railroad was completed to Otterville from St. Louis in 1860, and this place for a short time became the terminus. Whilst the road remained here, and in fact for a long time previous, Otterville commanded quite a brisk trade, presenting a very active and business-like appearance, and, indeed, for a time it flourished like a "green bay tree." But it was not destined to enjoy this prosperity long. The railroad company soon pulled up its stakes and transferred its terminus to the then insignificant village of Sedalia, which, at that time, being in its infancy, had scarcely been christened; but, though young, it rose like magic from the bosom of the beautiful prairie, and in a few years Sedalia became the county seat of one of the richest counties in Ihe state, and a great railroad centre, while truth compels me to say that Otterville sank back into its original obscurity.

The town of Otterville was incorporated by an act of the Legislature of Missouri, on the 16th day of Feb., 1857.

About the year 1860, for a short period, a considerable wholesale business was done here. Among the wholesale establishments were the following: W. G. Wear and Son; Cloney, Crawford &. Co., from Jefferson City ; Clark & Reed ; Concannon ; The Robert Brothers ; Lohman & Co., etc., etc.

About this time the Mansion house was built by a man named Pork, the Embree house by George Embree and Chris. Harlan. The latter was quite a large hotel near the depot, and was afterwards moved to Sedalia by George R. Smith, and about the same time several houses were moved by different parties to that place. There was, after this time, a considerable business done in a retail way around the old public square. Among the most prominent merchants here were W. G. Wear & Son, and Cannon & Zollinger, who carried on a large and profitable trade for many years.

But having already extended these notes far beyond what I had first anticipated, I am admonished to close them rather abruptly, lest they become wearisome. They were prepared at a very short notice, and might have been made more interesting had sufficient time been given the writer to arrange them with some regard to order.

I hope that due allowances will be made by an appreciative public for this defect in this hastily-written memorandum.

In conclusion, I will take occasion to say, that one hundred years ago, where we meet now to rejoice together at the happy coming of our first centennial, this pai*t of Cooper County, nay, even Cooper County itself, was a howling wilderness. The hungry wolf and bear; the elk and the antelope; the wild deer and the buffalo roamed about undisturbed, save by the feeble arrows of the red man.

Today, through the little village of Otterville, within a very few yards of this spot, a double band of iron, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, connects San Francisco with the city of New York. Over these lines of metal rails ponderous trains are almost continuously passing to and fro, freighted with innumerable articles of the rich merchandise of the east; the varied productions of the west; the teas and silks of China; the silver of Arizona, and the gold of California.

Otterville contains at this time about four hundred population. It has three general stores, one hardware and grocery store, two drug stores, one confectionery, one furniture store, two blacksmith shops, one saloon, two hotels, four chinches, one school."

The town of Otterville at this time has a population of 500. It has two banks with a capital stock of $30,000, a good system of schools with an enrollment of 160 and eight teachers. It has five churches, electric lights system, twelve stores, one hotel, lumber yard, one newspaper, two blacksmith shops, and one elevator company. While Otterville has not giown rapidly in population, it is and has been substantial through the years and its population is made up of an excellent citizenship.

The inauguration of rural delivery has a tendency to decrease the number of postoffices and there are not so many in Cooper County now as there were several years ago. The following are a list of the postoffices as they exist today: Boonville, Billingsville, Blackwater, Bunceton, Clifton City, Lamine, Otterville, Overton, Pilot Grove, Pleasant Green, Prairie Home, Speed, Vermont, Wooldridge.

History Of Cooper County Missouri by W.F. Johnson 1919

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