Dallas County Missouri
Boundary – The county of Dallas is situated in the southwest central part of the State of Missouri, on the northern slope of the Ozark Mountain Range, in latitude 38 north, and longitude 93 and 94 west from Greenwich, England. It is bounded on the north by Hickory and Camden Counties, on the east by Laclede, on the south by Webster and Greene, and on the west by Polk and Hickory Counties. It has an area of 543 square miles, or 347,520 acres.
Topography – The topography presents some striking features. The surface is varied, from level and gently undulating to rolling, and in the vicinity of the larger streams it is broken and hilly. There are numerous prairies within the county, varying in extent from one to fifteen sections of land, the greater part of them being in the western part thereof. These lands constitute about one-fourth of the entire area of the county, the remainder being timbered. The ridge and table lands are covered with a light, scrubby growth of several varieties of oak, while the valley or bottom lands are covered with burr, Spanish and chinquapin oak, black and white walnut, sycamore, elm, hickory, ash, cherry, maple, etc.
Prairies – Of the prairies, Buffalo Head (at the eastern edge of which is the town of Buffalo) is the most extensive. It lies in the west central part of Dallas and the east central part of Polk County. Fifteen Mile Prairie lies in the extreme northern part of Dallas and the southern part of Hickory County, and has an area of about sixteen square miles in the former. Round Prairie, on which the village of Lewisburg is located, lies in Grant Township, nine miles northwest from Buffalo, and has an area of about four square miles. Lead Mine Prairie lies in Miller Township, in the northeastern part of the county, and contains about four sections of land. Four Mile Prairie lies a few miles north of Buffalo, in Grant and Benton Townships, and comprises about fifteen sections of land. Beckner Prairie, comprising between one and two sections of land, lies on the Lebanon road, about twelve miles east of Buffalo. O’Bannon Prairie lies in the south central portion of the county, and has an area of about fifteen sections of land. High Prairie lies in the southwestern part of the county, and consists of nearly four sections of land. There is also a small prairie in the extreme southeastern corner of the county, and a number of others are scattered throughout the county, all of which are estimated to comprise about one-fourth of its area.
Soil – The soil of the prairies and the bottoms along the streams are rich and exceedingly fertile; the former is composed mostly of vegetable mould, and the latter of vegetable mould and alluvial deposits, and both have a clay subsoil. The next soil in quality is on the timbered uplands, where the largest timber grows, and the poorest soil is found on what is commonly called the “post oak flats.” This latter soil has an ashen hue, and is said to be well adapted to the production of the finest grades of tobacco, but not equal to the other soils in the production of grain.
Productions – In general the agricultural productions of the county are corn, wheat, oats, rye, sorghum, potatoes, all kinds of vegetables, the grasses and tobacco. A little cotton is also raised. Dallas County, on account of its altitude and mild climate, is well adapted to the cultivation of all the fruits common to this latitude.
Drainage – The county is drained by the Big and Little Niangua Rivers and their tributaries, and Linley Creek, the latter emptying into the Pome-de-Terre River, the waters of all of which flow to the Osage on the north, and thence to the Missouri River. The Big Niangua River enters the county from Webster, on the south, at Section 13, Township 32 north, Range 18 west, and flows thence northwardly and northwesterly to the center of the county; thence eastwardly to within one and a half miles of the eastern boundary; thence in a northerly direction, crossing the boundary line six times in a distance of seven miles, and leaves the county on its northern boundary at Section 2, Township 36 north, Range 18 west. The waters of this stream flow toward all points of the compass, on its serpentine and tortuous route, and in most places along its line the country is extremely uneven and hilly. The principal tributaries of this river on the eastern side are Jones and Deusenberry Creeks, the former of which enters the county from Laclede, on the east, in Section 1, Township 32 north, Range 18 west, and flows thence in a westerly direction to its mouth, and the latter of which also enters the county from Laclede, and flows thence in a westerly direction through the northern part of Washington Township to its junction with the main stream. Greasey Creek, the largest tributary on the Big Niangua on the west side, rises in the southeastern part of Township 32 north, Range 20 west, it being in the southwestern part of the county, and flows in a northwesterly, northerly and northeasterly direction, emptying into the main stream in Section 17, Township 34 north, Range 19 west, at a point about three miles east-northeast of Buffalo. Bryant and Mill Creeks have their sources, route and outlet in Miller Township, and are tributaries of the Big Niangua on its west side. There are also many smaller tributaries of this river not here mentioned.
The Little Niangua River rises in the eastern part of Grant Township, and flows thence in a northeasterly course for a distance of about five miles, thence in a northwesterly direction, and leaves the county on its northern boundary, near the northeast corner of Township 36 north, Range 20 west. It has several tributaries, the two largest being on the west side. The west central part of the county is drained by Linley Creek, which rises in the southwest corner of the civil township of Buffalo, and flows northwardly to near the northwest corner thereof, and then turns to the west, and flows through portions of Polk and Hickory Counties to its confluence with the Pome-de-Terre River. This creek has several tributaries in Dallas County. On the whole, the county is well drained. In all parts of it excellent springs abound, the most noted of which is Bennett’s Spring, on Section 1, Township 34 north, Range 18 west, and which, under the impression that it was on the Laclede County side of the line, has been mentioned in connection with the description of that county. The quantity of water that flows from this spring would be ample to supply either of the cities of Chicago or St. Louis. Next in size is Big Sweet Spring, lower down on the Niangua, its flow of water being only equal to about one-half as much as that of Bennett’s. Elixir Spring, noted for the medicinal qualities of its water, is situated in the northeastern part of Township 36 north, Range 20 west. Excelsior Spring, also noted for the medicinal quality of its water, is situated near Jaques (or Jakes) Creek, in the northern part of Township 35 north, Range 18 west. Big Black Walnut Spring, the water of which is unexcelled for its beauty and purity, is found on the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 15, Township 34 north, Range 18 west. Unlike most springs, its supply of water does not materially change in wet and dry seasons.
Geology – The geology of Dallas County corresponds very closely with that of Laclede and Camden Counties – the visible rock formation being, to all appearances, identically the same. Being of the magnesian limestone, it is very cavernous, and many caves about within the county, especially in the rocky bluffs along the larger streams. The most attractive and most extensive cave within the county is the one known as the McKee Cave, situated in the bluff on the south side of the Big Niangua, on the northeast quarter of Section 9, Township 34 north, Range 18 west. The main branch or avenue of this cave has been explored for a distance of about a fourth of a mile, without coming to its end. In the cave are found many stalactites, stalagmites, pools of water and other curious natural objects of great beauty. The cave has never been explored to its full extent. Another cave, known as the Great Salt Petre Cave, lies on the opposite side of the Big Niangua, and about a mile below the McKee Cave. It is not so attractive or extensive, but tradition says that in an early day certain parties manufactured counterfeit money in the cave, meanwhile professing to manufacture saltpetre there, as a blind to cover their real occupation – hence the name, Great Salt Petre Cave. The cave is believed to extend into the bluff about 300 yards. Though a team can be driven to its mouth, it is well hidden in the timber and hills. The first of these caves is noted for its extent and beauty, the latter for its traditional history, as a hidden workshop of the early counterfeiters of this and adjoining counties. Many other caves, of smaller dimensions, are found in the county.
Mounds – In the comparatively level country, a few miles southwest from Buffalo, and within plain view of the place, are three large mound-like hills of considerable elevation, known as the Blue Mounds. In size they are very extensive, the most western one, the Brushy Mound, comprising an area of from 200 to 300 acres of land. These mounds lie on and near the line between Dallas and Polk Counties, and are visible to the naked eye for many miles from all directions, and from their summits an unlimited view of the surrounding country is obtained.
Mineral Resources – Lead and zinc have been found in several places within the county, and while it is believed that these minerals abound in abundance they have never been developed to any considerable extent. The Rambo mines, twelve miles northeast from Buffalo, were discovered in 1868, and worked for a few years, and then abandoned. Iron ore has also been discovered near Buffalo, and coal has been found in different localities, and building stone is abundant. The county has always been too far from lines of transportation to make it profitable to develop its mineral resources.
Origin of Names – Niangua, pronounced by some Ne-on-go, is from an Indian phrase, “I won’t go away,” or perhaps from his manner of expressing his objection to go-on, or to on-go, and leave his native place. Greasey Creek derived its name from the following circumstances: When the settlement of the country began, an old man brought a load of bacon, from the older settlements along the Mississippi, to sell to the settlers here, and in crossing the stream his wagon was turned over in the water and some of the bacon was swept away – hence the name Greasey Creek. Linley Creek derived its name from the fact that a man by the name of Linley, who was driving some hogs from near Boonville, Mo., across the country to sell to the settlers at Springfield, became “snowed in,” and had to remain in camp several days near the stream. Buffalo Head Prairie derives its name from the fact that about the year 1833, or perhaps a little earlier, Mark Reynolds, grandfather of Mark L. Reynolds, the present proprietor of the Buffalo Nurseries, found a stake standing on one of the Blue Mounds, which had been placed there by some early settler or hunter, and on this stake he (Reynolds) placed the skeleton of a buffalo’s head which lay near by. And from this circumstance he named the prairie “Buffalo Head,” which name it still retains. This stake and buffalo head became a noted land-mark or guide for hunters, travelers and immigrants. High Prairie was so named on account of the high mound which stands in its center. Round Prairie was so called because of its circular shape. Four Mile and Fifteen Mile Prairies take their names from the distance traveled in crossing them.
These facts, pertaining to the origin of names, have been given by Mr. M.L. Reynolds, who asserts that he has “time and again” heard them related by his grandfather to subsequent settlers of the county. The facts are also verified by records in possession of the Reynolds family.
First Settler – From the best information obtainable it is evident that Mark Reynolds, father of R.D. Reynolds, deceased, and grandfather of M.L. Reynolds, proprietor of the Buffalo Nurseries, was the first settler of the territory now embraced in Dallas County. In the year 1831 Mr. Reynolds moved with his family from a place near Nashville, Tenn., and settled on a claim on the Pome-de-Terre River, some two miles north of the present village of Pleasant Hope, in what is now Polk County, Mo. He lived there one year, then moved onto Buffalo Head Prairie, and settled and improved a claim northwest of the Blue Mounds, near A. Shepard’s present farm. After living here one year he sold his claim to Bracket Davidson, grandfather of Judge J.H. Davidson, and moved upon, settled and improved the farm, three miles west of Buffalo, which afterward became the homestead of the late R.D. Reynolds, and which is now known as the Buffalo Nurseries, owned by M.L. Reynolds. This latter settlement, made in 1833, was the first one in what is now Dallas County.
Other Settlers – In an extended section of country, embracing what is now Dallas and Polk Counties, only four settlers preceded Mark Reynolds, and they all settled in the territory of Polk County, as follows: Bazel Rose, on a place south of Halfway, at or near where Mr. Redd now lives; William Owens, on the south side of the prairie, on the Reeves Cowden farm; Robert Barclay, on the place where Robert Summers now lives, and Richard Brown, on the Judge Plummer place, on Hominy Creek. The first settlers immediately succeeding Mr. Reynolds cannot now be named in the order of their arrivals, but among them were the Evans, Randleman and Williams families, from Kentucky. In October, 1837, Richard Wilkinson, Sr., and his family, consisting of five sons and five daughters, together with the wives of his sons John and Ezekiel, and his son-in-law, David Wright, came in wagons from Hocking County, Ohio. The father settled about three miles west, the sons, John and Ezekiel, seven miles southwest, and the son-in-law, David Wright, four miles west-southwest of the present site of Buffalo.
Following is a list of the names and locations of nearly all of the settlers of the territory of Dallas County upon or soon after the arrival of the Wilkinson family, in 1837: William E. Williams lived on the William L. Morrow place, one and a half miles north of Buffalo. Martin Randleman lived where Richard Wilkinson, Jr., now lives, in the suburbs of Buffalo, and had previously built a portion of the house in which Mr. Wilkinson now resides. Michael Randleman lived where A.A. Ramsey now lives, one-half mile north of Buffalo, and Jacob Randleman one mile south, on the Bennett place. The Randlemans were brothers. John F. Norton lived where Israel Olinger now lives, and Joseph Wilcox where William Barnes resides – the former two and the latter one and a half miles northwest from Buffalo. William Montgomery and family lived where his son John now resides, on the Little Niangua, near the north line of the county. Hardin Paine lived about fourteen miles north and Frank Wisdom seven miles north of the site of Buffalo. Elijah Yeager, a pioneer Methodist minister, who preached extensively to the early settlers, lived on Fifteen Mile Prairie. John Brashear lived on Linley Creek; James Jump six to eight miles northwest of the site of Buffalo, and a Mr. Carter on the northwest corner of Buffalo Head Prairie. Mark Reynolds lived on the place where he settled, before mentioned. Peter Self and Eaton Tatum, sons-in-law of Reynolds, both lived in the same neighborhood, the latter on the place bought of him, and settled by Richard Wilkinson, Sr. Bracket Davidson lived seven miles south of Buffalo, and Dr. Pritchard in the same neighborhood.
Grant McDowell lived on what is now known as the Widow Johnson place, five or six miles southwest of Buffalo. Charles Davis and brothers lived about fifteen and George W. Atterberry twelve miles south of the site of Buffalo. The Jamison family, Moses Bennett, Nathaniel Wollard (or Woolard), William and Samuel Latimer and Thomas and William Marlin all lived on the upper Big Niangua.* Thomas and Jacob Riddles also lived on the Big Niangua, near the Riddle Mill, about eight miles southeast of Buffalo. Jesse Engel and Cornelius Snead lived on the same stream, about five miles southeast of Buffalo. William Gore and Elias Williams lived on Greasy Creek, southeast of the site of Buffalo. A brother of the latter kept a small store where the Williamses settled, about one and a half miles from Buffalo. Jason Lemmons lived nearly a mile and John Evans two miles south of Buffalo. A Mr. Sweeney lived on the lower Big Niangua, about five miles from the site of Buffalo, and Abram Stow still lower down on the river. (*That part of the river south of Buffalo.)
Peter Bennett also lived on the lower Big Niangua, near the famous Bennett’s Spring. All of the foregoing, as well as others whose names and location cannot now be conveniently obtained, settled between the time that Reynolds made the first settlement within the present county limits and the arrival of the Wilkinson family, in the fall of 1837, or perhaps a little later. Nearly all of these settlers, aside from the Wilkinson family and connections, came from the States of Tennessee and Kentucky.
Later Early Settlers – In 1838 enough families to form a respectable colony followed the Wilkinsons from Ohio, and then immigrants began to arrive from several other Eastern and Southeastern States. Among those coming from Ohio were the Haines, Cox, Gregg and Vanderford families. Asa Vanderford, and his father, Eli, in the fall of 1838, settled on the place where he has ever since resided, two miles southwest of Buffalo. In the fall of the same year, or spring of the following, William Stanley and his family, including his sons James B., Robert R. and Albert S., and his brother, Archibald Stanley, and his family, came in wagons from Indiana, and settled near Buffalo, which then contained only two little log cabins – one on the east and the other on the west side of what is now the public square. Also in 1838 George Davidson came from Maury County, Tenn., and settled in that part of the county now known as Benton Township, and afterward moved to Jackson Township. He was a physician, and practiced his profession until his death in 1887. In 1839 A.C. Austin and family came from North Carolina, and settled in what is now Jackson Township, in Dallas County. In the year 1840 James Jones came from Sangamon County, Ill., and settled on the farm now owned by John T. Jones. The same year Thomas H. Fullerton and family moved from Polk County, Mo., to the territory now embraced in Dallas County, and remained here until his death, which occurred in 1862. He was formerly from Tennessee. Also that year John Haymes came from Virginia, and settled in that part of the county now known as Washington Township, and afterward moved to Laclede County. The following year James W. George and family came from Tennessee, and settled in the same part of the county. In 1842 Robert Cowden and family came from Georgia, and settled on the farm where his son, William A. Cowden, now lives. In 1846 Daniel Beckner and family came from Virginia, and settled near the present village of Long Lane. In 1844 William Lovan and family moved from Tennessee to Greene County, Mo., and in September, 1847, he removed with his family to Buffalo, in Dallas County. He was the father of the Lovan brothers, saddle and harness merchants, now of Buffalo.
Many other settlers came in during the forties and fifties, and at this writing they still continue to come. Dr. John McCall, a native of South Carolina, settled on Four Mile Prairie in 1851. He has practiced medicine over sixty years, and is the oldest physician in Dallas County.
First Land Entries – In general, before the public lands were surveyed and put into market, the early settlers exercised the right of squatter sovereignty. A few, however, among whom were Mark Reynolds, Martin Randleman, James Coyle, David J. Long, Moses Bennett and Richard Riddles, took up their lands upon the pre-emption law, proved up and paid for them, and had their titles confirmed at the land office a few weeks before the lands became subject to entry. This makes it appear on the plat book, on file in the county clerk’s office, that the first land entries were made in the fall of 1838. The first land sales, however, began at the land office at Springfield, on January 1, 1839, after the paid-up pre-empted lands had been marked on the public land records as not subject to entry. The “squatters,” who improved their lands before it was possible to obtain titles to them, were on the alert at the proper time to prevent new settlers or speculators from entering their lands, and thus dispossessing them and depriving them of the benefit of their improvements. To this end they organized for mutual protection, and never allowed one of their number to be dispossessed of the land on which he had actually settled and made improvements. Before the land sales opened a number of the “squatters” went to Springfield, so as to be ready at the opening sale to look out for their own and their neighbors’ rights, and if a man did succeed in entering a squatter’s claim he was never allowed to occupy it. The lands lying south of the township line between Townships 34 and 35 north were subject to entry at the Springfield land office, and those north of that line at the Boonville land office.
To give a more extended list of the first settlers of the county, the following list of names of individuals who made the first land entries in the several congressional townships of the county has been compiled from the records, taking only those who became actual settlers, and omitting those already mentioned:
Township 31, Range 20 – First entries made in 1844, 1845 and 1846, by John Marshall, Benjamin T. Potter, Millberry Russell, Brannock Wilkinson, Hugh C. Williamson, John M. Donnell, David Wilson and Williamson Crawford.
Township 32, Range 18 – First entries made from 1846 to 1857, by James W. Tindle, John S. Barrett, John H. Holloway and Robert Fulton.
Township 32, Range 19 – First entries made in 1839, by Andrew Mehaffy, Abner H. Henson, George W. Henson, William Richardson and Hiram Patterson; during the forties, by Gersham B. Jones, Reuben H. Lackey and William Henson; from 1850 to 1857, by Cornelius Gann, Robert O. Randles, William McGee, John Carter, Robert Highfill, Thomas R. Patterson and Goalson Step.
Township 32, Range 20 – Entries made in 1839 were by James R. Danforth, Daniel D. Berry, Josiah Smith, Elias Powell, John N. Jenkins, Henry W. Norton, Benj. Coyle, Thomas Potter and John Alsup; in 1840, by Montgomery E. Allen and George W. Mallard. Nearly one-half of all the lands in this township were entered in the year 1857.
Township 33, Range 18 – First entries, in 1848 and 1849, were made by Frederick Hull, Asbury Chapman, William Gammon, John Miller and Edmund Howerton. The most of the lands in this township have been entered since the Civil War.
Township 33, Range 19 – Entries were made in 1839 by Samuel W. Evans, Henry Evans and Abner Henson, and other settlers already named, and during the forties by Thomas Martin, William Starke, Samuel Gardner, George Hill, Thomas Hill and William Proctor.
Township 33, Range 20 – Entries were made in 1839 by Eli Vanderford, father of Asa Vanderford, Stanley Burnes, Peter Haines, Jesse Vanderford, James B. Jones, Samuel Haines, John Gordon and Daniel D. Berry; in 1840, by John Cooksey and Jesse Hendrickson; in 1848, by William Gregg; in 1849, by Martin Rice and James W. Gardner.
Township 34, Range 18 – The first entry in this township seems to have been made in 1848, by Abraham Stow; the next in 1849, by James W. Burton; the next in 1854, by W.B. Newton and Levi L. Beckner, and the next in 1855, by William W. Miller. Only a small portion of this township was entered before the Civil War.
Township 34, Range 19 – The first entries were made in 1845, by William W. Gore and John L. Martin, and in 1848 by Isaac Hayes, Pleasant C. Dame and Jesse Hendrickson. Only a few tracts were entered prior to 1850, and fully one-half of all have been entered since the Civil War. A considerable portion of the township is still vacant.
Township 34, Range 20 – First entries were made in 1849, by William Franklin, William Adams, Sr., the Paines, Williamses, Harrald Bray, Samuel J. Crawford, Joseph Wilcox, the Randlemans and others.
Township 35, Range 18 – The Big Niangua traverses the eastern part of this township. The country is very hilly, and unsuitable for cultivation except the bottoms along the streams. The first entries were made along the Big Niangua in 1850. More than half the township is yet subject to entry. A few entries were also made in 1850, in the southwest corner of the township.
Township 35, Range 19 – The first entries were made in 1843 and 1844, by the Paines, and from then to 1854 entries were made by Samuel Farris, Jacob H. Rambo, Abel Richardson, Alfred B. Maddux, Josiah B. Hayes, Thomas Hayes, William F. Spillman, John Hatfield, Dr. John McCall, John B. Jones and D. Cook.
Township 35, Range 20 – First entries were made in 1840, by James A. Gillespie, John F. Marsh, Samuel Richardson, Sr., James Marsh, James W. Wisdom, Noah Bray, Solomon Parker, William S. Marsh and John M. Marsh; the next, in the forties, by Lewis Richardson, Lewis H. Marsh, Sterling Linsley, James P. Munday, George W. Jones, John Ethridge, James Marsh, John and James Tucker, Mary L. Inks, William Clarke, Samuel L. Huffman and William Hughes.
Township 36, Range 18 – This township is also traversed by the Big Niangua; is very hilly and mostly unsuitable for cultivation. The first entries were made in 1850, along the river. Much of the land is yet subject to entry.
Township 36, Range 19 – William Montgomery made the first entry in 1840, the only one made prior to 1850, and a great many were made during the fifties. There is yet some vacant land.
Township 36, Range 20 – First entries were made in 1840, by Joseph Hayes, George W. Nelson, Edward Vandever and James Jones; the next, in 1841, by Michael Bowers, James Ingles, Elijah F. Yeager and Jacob Reaser. Other entries were made during the forties by Peter Hunt, Peachey K. Snapp and Benj. F. Hayes.
It must be remembered that the date of the entry of land, except in a few instances, does not correspond with the date of the purchaser’s settlement in the county, for the reason, as previously stated, that the first settlers, especially those who settled in the Springfield land district prior to 1839, and those who settled in the Boonville district prior to 1840, occupied their lands several years before they became subject to entry, and many subsequent settlers squatted upon their lands, improved and occupied them for years before they were able to purchase them. Meanwhile they were protected from speculators and “jumpers of claims” by the combined efforts of the early settlers. By reference to dates, it will be observed that that portion of Dallas County belonging to the Springfield land district became settled earlier and faster than that portion belonging to the Boonville district; also that a great many entries were made, for reasons already stated, during the first year after the lands came into market, after which, for many years, the annual entries were very few, being made only in the ratio as the settlements increased.
When the first settlers came, they found the country a vast wilderness, inhabited by wild animals and frequented by the Indians, and in place of roads nothing but Indian trails or paths. Wild game and wild honey were abundant. The nearest and only trading point was Springfield, which was then composed of only one small country store and a blacksmith shop. It is said that John Evans then thought it no great hardship to go nearly to Springfield to grind his ax, and quite there (thirty-three miles) to buy a whetstone.
Wild Animals and Wild Fowl – When the settlement of the territory of Dallas County began, in 1833, it was full of certain wild animals and wild fowl, such as elk, deer, wolves, panthers, catamounts, wildcats, and many other and smaller animals, and wild turkeys, ducks, geese, and the smaller birds common in this latitude. There were also some bears and a few straggling buffaloes. The buffaloes fled to the westward, and soon became extinct in this part of the country. The bears, not disposed to flee from their native haunts, remained until finally they have become practically extinct by extermination. And though a war of extermination has been waged against the wolves and the savage animals of the cat kind, a few of them still remain in the unsettled portions of the country. Some of the small animals still exist in considerable numbers. Of the wild turkeys and ducks, once so abundant, enough remain to amuse the hunters. The elk have disappeared, but deer are found to such an extent that venison is not considered a very great rarity. In the winter season rabbits and quails are the kinds of game now mostly acquired by the hunters. The native small birds remain in great numbers.
Indians – Before the territory composing Dallas County was settled by the whites it was inhabited by the same tribes of Indians that occupied the territory of Laclede, Camden and other counties in this portion of the State. Under treaties with the United States Government they had abandoned this part of the country before its settlement began, but they still continued to return annually on hunting excursions for a number of years, much to the annoyance of the settlers, though they were not hostile. The annoyance consisted of some trifling depredations committed by the Indians, and the constant fear exercised, especially by the women and children.
The Act Forming Niangua County – The original name under which the county of Dallas was organized was Niangua. It was organized in accordance with an act entitled, “An act to organize counties therein named, and define the boundaries thereof,” approved January 29, 1841, and another act, supplemental thereto, approved February 15, 1841.
That part of the first act pertaining to this county reads as follows:
Section 16. All that portion of territory within the following described limits, viz.: Beginning at the northeast corner of Greene County; thence west along the northern boundary of Greene County to the range line between Ranges 20 and 21; thence north with said range line to the township line dividing Townships 36 and 37; thence east on said township line to the range line dividing Ranges 17 and 18; thence south with said range line to the place of beginning, is hereby created a separate and distinct county, to be called and known by the name of the county of Niangua.
The supplemental act reads as follows:
Section 1. That an assessor shall be appointed in each county organized at this session of the Legislature, by the county court of the respective counties, and said assessors shall not be required to make a return of their tax books till the first day of August next.
Sec. 2. That said county court shall meet on the first Monday of March next, and at that term of court, or at some subsequent term to be holden during said month, shall make said appointment. ****
Sec. 5. That the county courts of said counties may respectively appoint some competent person county surveyor, who shall continue in office until the first Monday of August next, and until a surveyor is duly elected and qualified.
Sec. 6. An election shall be held for surveyors in said counties on the first Monday of August next, and the persons elected shall hold their office until the next general election for surveyors, and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.
This act shall take effect from its passage.
First Session of County Court – In accordance with the foregoing, the first county court justices, who were, according to the best recollection of surviving old settlers, Thomas Proctor, Peter Haynes and Thomas Marlan, met on the first Monday of March, 1841, in the log school-house which stood on the ridge near the present Buffalo cemetery, situated directly east of and adjoining the town, and there organized the county court and completed the organization of Dallas County. The early records of the county having all been destroyed, it is impossible to give the action of the county court at its first or subsequent sessions until the year 1867, since which time the records have been preserved. One of the first duties of the county court, as shown by the supplemental act aforesaid, was the appointment of an assessor, and Mark Reynolds was either the first assessor appointed or the first one elected at the general county election in 1842; in either case, he held that office eighteen years in succession.
Other business of the county court, transacted at its early sessions, consisted of acting upon petitions for county roads, appointing commissioners to view and mark out the routes, establishing the same and providing for their opening, transacting probate business, levying taxes and superintending the collection and disbursements thereof, examining and approving reports of county officers, etc.
Change of Name – The name of the county, Niangua, being a little difficult to spell and write, thereby giving some trouble in the transmission of the mails, it became desirable to change it to a more convenient one. Accordingly, on application to the Legislature, it was changed, December 10, 1844, to that of Dallas, in honor of Vice-President Dallas of the United States. This was certainly a wise change, for “Dallas,” though perhaps not so poetical, is far preferable to “Niangua” for the name of a county, it being much easier to write and pronounce.
Change of County Boundary – The first change of the original boundary lines of the county took place in accordance with the fifty-fourth section of an act entitled “An act defining the limits of the several counties in this State,” approved March 28, 1845. The section reads as follows:
Section 54. Dallas – Beginning at the southeast corner of Section 12, Township 31, Range 18; thence west with the range line between Ranges 20 and 21; thence north to the township line dividing Townships 36 and 37; thence east to the range line dividing Ranges 17 and 18; thence south to the place of beginning.
This is substantially the same as the original description, but more definite. The county boundaries remained the same until changed in accordance with an act entitled “An act to define the boundaries of Dallas, Webster, Greene, Wright and Ozark Counties, and for other purposes,” approved December 7, 1855. The act consisted of two sections, the first of which reads as follows:
Section 1. That Dallas County be hereafter bounded as follows, viz.: Beginning at the southeast corner of Section 13, Township 32 and Range 18; thence west to the range line dividing Ranges 19 and 20; thence south to the southeast corner of Section 12, in Township 31, Range 20; thence west to the range line dividing Ranges 20 and 21; thence north to the township line dividing Townships 36 and 37; thence east to the range line dividing Ranges 17 and 18; thence south to the place of beginning.
Under this last description the boundaries of the county have ever since and still remain. The last act only changed the southern boundary of the county by setting off to Webster County all that part formerly included in Dallas lying south of the third tier of sections, from the north, in Township 32 and Ranges 18 and 19. No other changes were made in the boundary as it formerly existed.
There is an impression prevailing that, after the county was first organized, a strip on the west side thereof, three miles in width, was set off and attached to Polk County. This, however, was not the case, for the reason that the act of the Legislature, creating the county of Niangua, and every subsequent act defining the boundary between Polk and Dallas Counties, describes it precisely on the same route as it was described in the original act creating Niangua, now Dallas, County. It was the desire of the people of this portion of the original county of Polk to have the western line of the new county (Niangua) located three miles west of where it was actually placed, and finding they were disappointed, they made a subsequent effort to have the line moved three miles farther west, but failed in the project.
Municipal Townships – Immediately after the county was organized it was subdivided by the county court into six municipal townships, viz.: Miller, Green, Benton, Jasper, Washington and Jackson, all having the same location as at present, with the exception of Green, which has since been divided into two townships, named, respectively, Lincoln and Grant. At the May term, 1868, of the county court, the townships of Lincoln and Grant were formed and described as follows:
Lincoln Township – Commencing on the county line of Polk County, on the township line between Townships 35 and 36; thence east to the middle of Range 19; thence north to the Camden County line; thence west to the northwest corner of the county; thence south to the place of beginning. Voting place, Urbana.
Grant Township – Commencing at the northwest corner of Section 6, Township 35, Range 20; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 31, Township 35, Range 20; thence east on the township line to the middle of Range 19; thence north to the township line dividing Townships 35 and 36; thence west on said township line to the place of beginning. Voting place, Louisburg.
At the same time, on account of the records having been lost, all the other civil townships of the county were re-bounded, and the congressional townships were re-numbered as follows: No. 1, Township 36, Range 18; No. 2, Township 36, Range 19; No. 3, Township 36, Range 20; No. 4, Township 35, Range 20; No. 5, Township 35, Range 19; No. 6, Township 35, Range 18; No. 7, Township 34, Range 18; No. 8, Township 34, Range 19; No. 9, Township 34, Range 20; No. 10, Township 33, Range 20; No. 11, Township 33, Range 19; No. 12, Township 33, Range 18; No. 13, Township 32, Range 18; No. 14, Township 30, Range 20.
The description of the boundary lines of the civil townships as given on this occasion, aside from Lincoln and Grant, are here omitted, for the reason that afterward, on August 4, 1875, the county court established the boundaries of all of these townships as follows:
Miller Township – Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 1, Township 36, Range 18; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 3, Township 36, Range 19; thence due south to the southwest corner of Section 15, Township 35, Range 19; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 13, Township 35, Range 18; thence north to the place of beginning.
Lincoln Township – Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 4, Township 36, Range 19; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 6, Township 36, Range 20; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 31, Township 36, Range 20; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 33, Township 36, Range 19; thence north to the place of beginning.
Grant Township – Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 4, Township 35, Range 19; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 6, Township 35, Range 20; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 31, Township 35, Range 20; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 33, Township 35, Range 19; thence north to the place of beginning.
Jasper Township – Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 24, Township 35, Range 18; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 22, Township 35, Range 19; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 34, Township 34, Range 19; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 36, Township 34, Range 18; thence north to the place of beginning.
Benton Township – Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 4, Township 34, Range 19; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 6, Township 34, Range 20; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 18, Township 33, Range 20; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 16, Township 33, Range 19; thence north to the place of beginning.
Jackson Township – Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 21, Township 33, Range 19; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 19, Township 33, Range 20; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 7, Township 31, Range 20; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 12, Township 31, Range 20; thence north to the southwest corner of Section 28, Range 32, Range 19; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 16, Township 32, Range 19; thence north to the place of beginning.
Washington Township – Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 1, Township 33, Range 18; thence west to the northwest corner of Section 3, Township 33, Range 19; thence south to the southwest corner of Section 15, Township 32, Range 19; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 13, Township 32, Range 18; thence north to the place of beginning.
In re-bounding the municipal townships on this occasion, the court, in some instances, changed the lines from where they had formerly and originally existed, but established them just as they stand at this writing, and the same as they are shown on the map of Dallas County published in 1886 by A.B. Lovan, Esq., of Buffalo.
Court-House – The first court-house in Dallas County was built where the present one stands, in 1846-47, by Levi Beckner. It was a small, two-story brick structure, with the courtroom on the first floor and the county offices on the second, and continued to be used for court and county purposes until it was destroyed during the Civil War. During the war period the lower story of the house was used a part of the time by the Union Home Guards as a rendezvous and fortress. On the 18th day of October, 1863, a body of Confederate troops entered the town, surrounded the court-house, captured the inmates and burned it to the ground. Some of the records had been or were taken out and saved. The old Methodist Church was then utilized as the court-house, and it was burned down by unknown parties on July 30, 1864. A frame business building which stood on the west side of the public square was afterward occupied as a court-house until September 3, 1867, when it was also burned by unknown parties. In the burning of the second house the records were all destroyed, and by some it was suspected that the house was set on fire by certain parties in anticipation of getting a contract to reproduce information and replace the public records. It was also conjectured that perhaps this and the last house were destroyed for the purpose of extinguishing certain indictments against criminals.
After the last building was destroyed the county court met in the district school-house in Buffalo, and in February, 1886, it appropriated $15,000 for the purpose of building a new court-house. Soon thereafter a contract was let to A.E. Dye for the construction of the building, for the sum of $16,500, and a subsequent contract was made with him for the construction of a cupola thereon, for an additional $1,000. This house, which is the present court-house, was erected by the contractor mentioned, in 1868-69. It was designed by Dr. E. Hovey, who was the county superintendent of public buildings at that time. It is a substantial brick building, set upon a rock foundation, 44x60 feet in size, two stories in height, and a handsome cupola in the center on top. The first story contains the county offices, hall and stairs, and the second the court and jury rooms and stairs to the cupola. The offices are supplied with fire-proof vaults for the public records, and the whole building has a modern architectural appearance. A grand view of the surrounding country is obtained from the cupola.
Jail – The first and present county jail was built in the winter of 1842 and 1843 by Caleb Williams, at a cost to the county of about $400. It has two walls, made of square timbers one foot in thickness, the timbers lying in a horizontal position, and a space of several inches between these walls is filled with rocks firmly pounded in. The floor and ceiling is also made of squared timbers, the surface of which, together with the interior surface of the walls, is lined with planks, and the planks are driven full of nails – a very substantial jail, though it is cheap and old-fashioned. It stands near the northwest corner of the public square. These constitute all the public buildings of the county, no poor house having ever been erected, the paupers having always been cared for by appropriations from the county treasury. Mr. Asa Vanderford, who is living at this writing near Buffalo, assisted in the construction of the jail.
French and Spanish Possession – After certain discoveries had been made by French and Spanish explorers, Robert de La Salle, in April, 1682, took formal possession of the country along the Mississippi River, in the name of Louis XIV, the reigning king of France, in whose honor he named it Louisiana. This region thus acquired by the French embraced territory on both sides of the Mississippi, and, comprising rather indefinite limits, included the present States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri. France continued in possession of this territory until the 3rd of November, 1762, when she ceded to Spain all that portion of it lying west of the Mississippi, and to Great Britain all that portion lying east thereof. Spain, however, did not take actual possession of her part of the territory until August 27, 1769, when County O’Riley landed at New Orleans with an armed force and took formal possession. That part of Louisiana lying west of the Mississippi then remained under the control of Spain until 1801, when it was retroceded by Spain to France, and in December, 1803, it was purchased of France by the United States. Hence long before the settlement of the territory of Dallas County began the ownership of the lands composing it vested in the United States.
Classification – The lands have been classified as Congress, school, swamp or overflowed, agricultural college and railroad. The Congress lands, comprising the great bulk of all the lands, are those made subject to entry at the United States land offices, and are patented directly by the General Government to the individual purchasers. The school lands consist of the sixteenth section, or its equivalent, of every congressional township, the same having been donated by the General Government to the State, to be sold by the State, the proceeds arising therefrom to constitute a perpetual or permanent fund, to be loaned for the benefit or support of common free schools, the interest thereon only to be appropriated. The swamp or overflowed lands are those selected and conveyed by the United States to the State, under an act of Congress passed September 28, 1850, the same to be sold by the State, and the proceeds therefrom to be used in constructing levees and drains for the purpose of reclaiming them, and the balance, if any, to be used for other purposes. The agricultural college lands are those donated by Congress to the State for the purpose of maintaining the State Agricultural College. The railroad lands are those which were granted, in 1854, by Congress to the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Company to assist it in its construction of its road. These lands consisted of all the lands in the alternate sections in each congressional township, not previously entered, within a specified distance from the line of the railroad.
School Lands – According to an abstract of the sales of the school lands in Dallas County, dated April 15, 1886, and certified to the county court by Robert McCulloch, register of lands of the State of Missouri, the following numbers of acres had been sold up to that date in each congressional township:
Township 32, Range 18 480 acres
Township 32, Range 19 560 acres
Township 32, Range 20 520 acres
Township 33, Range 18 600 acres
Township 33, Range 19 240 acres
Township 33, Range 20 520 acres
Township 34, Range 18 80 acres
Township 34, Range 19 160 acres
Township 34, Range 20 520 acres
Township 35, Range 18
Township 35, Range 19 280 acres
Township 35, Range 20 520 acres
Township 36, Range 18 40 acres
Township 36, Range 19 360 acres
Township 36, Range 20 440 acres
A few tracts of school lands have been sold since the date of the above abstract, but have not yet been patented to the purchasers, and will not be until final and full payment of the purchase money shall be made.
Swamp or Overflowed Lands – According to an act of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, entitled “An act in relation to the Swamp and Overflowed Lands,” approved March 10, 1869, the swamp and overflowed lands within the boundary of Dallas County have been conveyed by the State to the county. Two patent deeds for these lands have been issued, the first one having been executed on the part of the State September 11, 1869, by Gov. Joseph W. McClurg, attested by Francis Rodman, secretary of State, and Joseph H. McGee, register of lands. By this patent the following number of acres in each congressional township were conveyed to the county:
Township 23, Range 18 1,416.19 acres
Township 33, Range 18 995.00 acres
Township 34, Range 18 1,358.94 acres
Township 32, Range 19 1,564.57 acres
Township 33, Range 19 925.46 acres
Township 34, Range 19 240.00 acres
Township 31, Range 20 484.36 acres
Township 32, Range 20 2,447.00 acres
Township 33, Range 20 1,203.60 acres
Township 34, Range 20 638.78 acres
Township 35, Range 18 1,750.15 acres
Township 36, Range 18 1,443.07 acres
Township 35, Range 19 200.00 acres
Township 36, Range 19 914.54 acres
Township 35, Range 20 100.00 acres
Township 36, Range 20 239.75 acres
Aggregate 16,021.41 acres
The second patent was executed on the part of the State February 13, 1888, by Gov. Albert P. Morehouse, attested by Michael G. McGrath, secretary of State, and Robert McCulloch, register of lands. This patent conveyed lands in the townships as follows:
Township 35, Range 20 2,073.64 acres
Township 36, Range 20 600.00 acres
Aggregate 2,673.64 acres
Grand total conveyed by both patents 18,695.05 acres
Two selections of swamp lands in Dallas County were made, the first being recognized by the county and State, but not by the General Government. The second selection was recognized and confirmed to the State by the General Government. Meanwhile the county has sold several tracts included in the first selection, but not included in the patents from the United States, the original owner. This has led to a conflict of titles, which may yet be adjusted by obtaining from the Government a patent for the disputed tracts. By a little stretch of conscience, coupled with a grasping disposition on the part of those selecting the swamp lands, the tracts selected were generally of good quality – so good that it required no part of the funds arising from their sales to reclaim them and render them fit for cultivation – that being the object for which they were donated by the General Government. After paying the expenses of making the selection of the lands and securing their confirmation, the county has turned the proceeds arising from their sales over to the school fund.
The Agricultural College Lands have been used for the purpose for which they were donated. According to Campbell’s Gazetteer of Missouri the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Company had in 1875 about 12,000 acres of land in Dallas County, a portion of which has been sold, and a portion of which still remains for sale, cheap, and on easy terms, by the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company, successor to the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Company.
Agriculture, Live Stock, Statistics, Etc.
According to the United States census for the year 1880, Dallas County contained 1,414 farms and 67,001 acres of improved lands.* The value of the farms, including land, fences and buildings, was given at $1,079,713; the farm improvements at $61,948; the live stock at $359,016; the cost of building and repairing fences at $15,313, and the estimated value of all farm productions, for the year 1879, at $306,076. The vegetable productions for the year 1879 were given as follows: Indian corn, 726,040 bushels; oats, 116,914 bushels; wheat, 82,696 bushels; rye, 877 bushels; buckwheat, 142 bushels; hay, 2,454 tons; Irish potatoes, 14,219 bushels; sweet potatoes, 3,697 bushels; tobacco, 11,219 pounds. (*Comparing the number of acres of improved lands with the whole area of the county, 347,520 acres, shows that less than 20 per cent was improved in 1880.)
The following table shows the number of head of live stock in Dallas County, as given in the census reports of 1880, and as enumerated for taxation in 1889:
Horses: 4,005 - 5,435
Mules and asses: 1,041 - 1,404
Neat cattle: 9,953 - 16,775
Sheep: 11,604 - 8,149
Hogs: 24,795 - 15,788
The number of pounds of wool produced in 1880 was 35,294, but there are no statistics to show the aggregate amount produced in 1889; it must, however, be much less. The increase in the number of horses, mules and cattle has been very good, especially in cattle, but this cannot be said of sheep and hogs. The decrease in hogs can be explained – the number shown in 1880 included all raised, slaughtered, sold and on hand during the year preceding the taking of the census, while the number shown in 1889 includes only those on hand at the time of taking the enumeration of property for taxation. This explanation, however, is not applicable to the sheep, for the sheep were not raised for slaughter, nor for sale in general, but for the production of wool, so there was a large actual decrease in the number of the sheep raised, the cause of which the reader is left to conjecture. It will be interesting, especially to the farmers, to compare the foregoing figures with those of the census of 1890, when it shall be published.
Horticulture – While Dallas County has equal facilities with other counties on the Ozark Range for the cultivation of fruits, its horticultural interests have never been developed to any considerable extent, for the reason that its facilities for transportation have not been equal to counties having railroads passing through them. Recently many farmers, in anticipation of a railroad in the near future, have planted extensive orchards, ranging from 100 to 500 apple trees, and other kinds of fruit in proportion. No doubt the time will soon come when the cultivation of fruit in Dallas County will be very profitable, as nearly all kinds can be grown to perfection and in great quantities.
The Buffalo Nurseries, situated three miles west of Buffalo, in Dallas County, were established in 1857 by Robert D. Reynolds, father of M.L. Reynolds, the present proprietor. The latter afterward became associated with his father as a partner in the business, and finally purchased his father’s interest and became sole proprietor. Mr. Reynolds has 120 acres covered with fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs, plants, roses, etc. He cultivates the trees of the leading varieties of all kinds of fruit that succeed best in this climate. Having had long experience in the business, he is well posted as to the kinds of fruit that thrive best, and can be relied upon to give correct and valuable information on the subject of horticulture. He publishes an illustrative descriptive catalogue of fruit and ornamental trees, grape-vines, small fruits, shrubs, plants, etc., which contains a vast amount of valuable information pertaining to the cultivation of trees, and which ought to be possessed by every amateur horticulturist, and which will be mailed to them upon application. Mr. Reynolds has also a greenhouse in connection with his nursery. The Buffalo Nurseries are among the leading industries of Dallas County. The proprietor gives employment to a large number of hands the whole year round.
Fair Associations – About the year 1870 the Dallas County Agricultural and Mechanical Association was organized. It purchased fifteen acres of land, being a part of the present fair grounds, which are located about three-fourths of a mile west southwest of the court-house in Buffalo, and after holding a few annual exhibitions thereon, failed financially and became defunct.
The Dallas County Fair Association was organized in August, 1883, as a joint stock company, with a capital stock of $750, which has since been about doubled. This association bought the fifteen acres which were purchased by the former association, together with five acres more, so that the grounds now consist of twenty acres, which are fitted up with a floral hall, amphitheater, stables and pens for stock, and a good half-mile race course. The association held its seventh annual fair on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th days of September, 1888. The annual exhibitions have been good, and self-sustaining financially. The present officers are: A.A. Ramsey, president; Harry Furth, vice-president; C.F. Johnson, treasurer; N.J. Wollard, secretary. The financial condition of the association is good, and annual exhibitions will continue to be given.
Taxation – The assessed valuation of the taxable property of Dallas County for the year 1880 was as follows: Real estate, $628,413; personal property, $437,335; total, $1,065,748, while for the year 1888 it was assessed as follows: Real estate, $876,699; personal property, $698,023; total, $1,574,722, thus making a gain, from 1880 to 1888, of $248,286 in real and of $260,688 in personal property, or a total gain of $508,974. This shows a very rapid increase of the taxable wealth of the county.
The abstract of taxes charged on the books for 1888, not including the school taxes, are as follows: State revenue, $3,149.38; State interest tax, $3,149.38; county tax, $7,882.51; road tax, $808.93; total, $14,990.20. To ascertain the whole amount charged, the school taxes must be added to this amount.
Population – The population of Dallas County, including both white and colored, as given by the several census reports of the United States, beginning with the year 1850, is as follows, to wit: 1850, 3,648; 1860, 5,892; 1870, 8,383; 1880, 9,263. According to these figures the increase in the population from 1850 to 1860 was 2,244, or a little over 61 per cent; from 1860 to 1870 it was 2,491, or a little over 42 per cent, and from 1870 to 1880 it was 880, or only about 10½ per cent. The rapid increase in the first decade, from 1850 to 1860, was caused principally by immigration, as was also the increase for the second decade. The small increase for the third decade shows that the immigration for that period must have been light, or that the exodus from the county must have been large. For the present decade the immigration has been on the increase, so that it is safe to estimate the population of the county at this writing (February, 1889) at 10,200. The population of each municipal township in the year 1880 was as follows: Benton, 2,384; Grant, 968; Jackson, 1,692; Jasper, 902; Lincoln, 999; Miller, 674; Washington, 1,645; total 9,263. The colored population in 1860, nearly all of whom were slaves, was 115; that of 1870 was 89, a decrease in the ten years of 26. The colored population in 1880 was just the same as that of 1870, neither increasing nor decreasing.
Railroad and Railroad Bonds
In 1869 a company, known as the Laclede & Fort Scott Railroad Company, proposed to build a railway from Lebanon, in Laclede County, Mo., via Buffalo, in Dallas County, to Fort Scott, in Kansas, on condition that the counties along and on the proposed route should subscribe liberally to the capital stock of the company. Accordingly, the county court of Dallas County, on the 5th of August, 1869, being anxious to encourage the enterprise, and to secure the railroad, with all its consequent advantages, and being prompted by many of the citizen tax payers of the county, took such action in the premises as will appear by the following entry spread upon the record of their proceedings on this occasion:
It is ordered by the court that $150,000 be and the same is hereby subscribed to the capital stock of the Laclede & Fort Scott Railroad Company, for and on behalf and for the use and benefit of said county of Dallas, upon the following express conditions:
1. The said county of Dallas shall issue 150 bonds, each in the sum of $1000, having twenty years to run, and be payable in twenty years. However, reserving the right of redemption of any or all of said bonds any time after ten years from the date, and bearing 7 per cent interest per annum, which interest shall be paid semi-annually, and said interest to be made payable in the city of New York or Boston, as such place as may be hereafter agreed upon.
2. That said bonds shall not be issued or delivered until such time as said railroad bed or grading shall be completed from Fort Scott, in the State of Kansas, to the western line or boundary of said county of Dallas, ready to receive the cross ties, or that said railroad bed or grading shall be completed from the point where said road intersects the main line of the southwestern branch of the Pacific Railroad, to the eastern line or boundary of said county of Dallas, ready to receive the cross ties.
3. That the proceeds of said bonds shall be expended only in the construction of said railroad within the limits of said Dallas County, and said road shall run through said county and within one-half mile of the court-house, and there shall be a passenger and freight depot built and kept within one-half mile of said court-house, in the town of Buffalo and county of Dallas.
4. The said railroad company, as the agent of said Dallas County, shall negotiate and contract to sell said bonds to the very best advantage that the market will allow, with the express understanding that said Dallas County shall pay said railroad company no percentage as commission on said sales, and none of the costs and expenses incurred in securing and negotiating said sales.
5. The said county court will hereafter appoint an agent, to be known as the county railroad agent, who shall file a bond in the sum of $200,000 before he proceeds to discharge any duties whatever, which said bond shall be conditioned that he shall faithfully discharge his duties as before mentioned, and any further duties that said court shall impose upon him. One of his duties, after the filing of said bond, and the approval of the same, and after said county bonds are negotiated and sold by said railroad company, shall be to take the county bonds to the place where negotiated and sold, and deliver them to the purchaser, and receive the money and proceeds therefor; and another of his duties shall be to pay said railroad company one-fourth of the proceeds of said sales when said railroad company shall have fully completed the said railroad bed or grading to either the western or eastern line or boundary of Dallas County, as above specified; and another one-fourth of the proceeds of said sales when said railroad company shall have fully completed the said railroad bed or grading one-fourth of the distance through said Dallas County; and another one-fourth of the proceeds of said sales when said railroad company shall have fully completed the said railroad bed or grading two-fourths of the distance through said county, and the other and last one-fourth of the proceeds of said sales when said railroad company shall have fully completed the said road bed or grading three-fourths of the way through said county.
6. When the said railroad county agent pays to said railroad company each installment as aforesaid, that is, one-fourth of the proceeds of the sales of said bonds, then it shall be the duty of the railroad company, at the time it receives said payments, or quarterly installments, to issue to and in favor of the said county of Dallas, certificates of stock of said company, to the amount of ($37,500) thirty-seven thousand five hundred dollars, being the full amount of one-fourth of said bonds, it being fully and expressly understood that when the said railroad company has received the full amount of said proceeds of said sales of said bonds, the said Dallas County is to receive from said railroad company certificates of stock, in all to the amount of ($150,000) one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the full amount of said bonds.
7. And the said county of Dallas reserves the right, that in case this proposition shall not be accepted by the Laclede & Fort Scott Railroad Company within three years, then the county of Dallas may withdraw the above subscription of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) from said railroad company, without any liability to said company, person or persons whatsoever.
Afterward, on the 5th day of April, 1870, upon application of the president and directors of the railroad company, the court modified the foregoing order to some extent, as appears by the following entry then made upon the record of its proceedings:
It is therefore ordered by the court that G.W. O’Bannon be and he is hereby appointed agent of this county, whose duty it shall be to have said bonds lithographed and prepared for the signatures of the officers of the court, and to cast the vote of said county for directors in said company, and to take charge of such other interests of said county in said railroad as may be proper and as may be required by the court.
And it is further ordered that said bonds shall only be executed and delivered to said railroad company for work actually done on said road in Dallas County, upon the estimates of the chief engineer and approval of the president of said road, and the order of said agent, whose duty it shall be to deliver said bonds to the order of the president of said road, taking receipts therefor, as the same may be needed to pay for said work as the same progresses in Dallas County.
It was further ordered by the court that G.W. O’Bannon, the agent appointed for the county, should give bond in the sum of $10,000, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties, and that the bonds should not be executed and used in the construction of the road bed in Dallas County until the county of Laclede should issue her bonds, and that the bonds of the county of Dallas should only be expended in proportion, in the construction of the road in Dallas County, to the issue of the bonds in Laclede County, as one is to two, till after the bonds of Laclede County were expended in the construction of the road bed in Laclede County; that is, that for every $2 expended in Laclede County only $1 should be expended in Dallas County, until the whole of the Laclede County bonds should be expended.
On the 18th of May following the court ordered that whenever the railroad company should comply with the foregoing propositions and orders, the presiding justice and clerk of the court should have authority, in vacation, to sign and deliver to the county agent the necessary amount of bonds. Soon thereafter the conditions were accepted on the part of the railroad company, and the bonds were executed and issued, and delivered from time to time upon estimates as the grading of the road bed progressed. In the fall of 1870 Matthew Pare was appointed county agent to succeed G.W. O’Bannon, and on the 18th day of the following May he reported to the court that up to that time bonds had been delivered, upon estimates of the chief engineer of the road of the amount of work executed, sufficient to purchase 740 shares of railroad stock, and that certificates of stock for the same had been issued to the county.
Additional Subscription – On the 18th day of May, 1871, the county court being then composed of Justices J.R. Gammon, W.K. Jump and Nathan White, made a further subscription to the capital stock of the railroad company, as fully appears by the following entry, which was then spread upon the record of their proceedings:
It having been satisfactorily shown to this court, by the proper estimates, that a further subscription to the capital stock of said company, of the sum of $85,000, is necessary to complete the grading, masonry and bridging of said road bed, so as to have the same ready for the ties, within the limits of Dallas County, and it further appearing, by the request of numerous tax payers of said county, that a further subscription to the said capital stock of said Laclede & Fort Scott Railroad Company, is recommended, it is therefore ordered by this court that the county of Dallas, in the State of Missouri, subscribe to the capital stock of said railroad company the sum of $85,000 as an additional subscription to that heretofore made, and that said sum is hereby so subscribed, subject to the following conditions and reservations, to wit:
1. That the bonds of Dallas County be issued, in payment of the aforesaid subscription, of the denomination of $1,000 each, to run fifteen years, and to bear interest at the rate of 10 per cent per annum, payable semi-annually, on the first day of January and July in each year, and the said bonds and the coupons attached thereto shall designate when each is made payable and the amount thereof. The body of the bonds and the coupons thereon shall be signed by the presiding justice of the county court of said county, and be attested by the county clerk and seal of said court (and each coupon shall bear the autograph of said presiding justice and county clerk, neatly printed or stereotyped.)
2. Said bonds shall not be issued nor delivered until this court have satisfactory evidence that the county of Laclede has made ample provisions for the completion of the road bed in said county of Laclede, nor until some able and reliable company shall have agreed and bound itself to equip said road; that is, tie, iron and put on the necessary rolling stock; nor until all contracts made by the same railroad company with the present contractor, to wit, Edward Burgess, be annulled, and finally terminated and set aside, so far as the work in Dallas County is concerned.
Other conditions followed in the order, providing for the appointment of a financial agent to negotiate for the sale of the bonds in the Eastern markets, and providing restrictions similar to those in the order making the original subscription of $150,000.
Justice Nathan White dissented, and objected to the making of the foregoing order, and entered his protest in the following words:
I feel that it would be doing injustice to myself did I not enter upon the record my dissent and protest to the above action of the court. In a matter of the magnitude of the above, not only as to the amount involved, but to the general interest of the community, I do not feel that the court, acting as ministerial officers, should act without first ascertaining the will of the people. I do not wish to impose my peculiar views upon the court as to the propriety or impropriety of the action of the majority. But certainly it does appear to me, that in a matter of this kind, so directly affecting the most substantial interest of the people, wherein their financial weal or woe is so directly involved, and involving considerations of the most important as well as of the most complex character, far beyond my ability to fathom, and in which the intelligence and capital affected by the action is so much divided, it behooves this court to pause and well consider before they take action. We who compose this court, chosen from among the people to transact such ordinary business as is liable to come before it, are not so far superior to the majority of our fellow citizens in financial skill and ability (especially when a large majority have already entered their protest to the proposed action of this court) as to set their protest at defiance and act directly contrary thereto. But it certainly well behooves us to give all the light we can on the matter in hand, and heed, as I feel we are morally bound to do, the voice of the people, and afford them an opportunity to legally and regularly express their will. A discussion pro and con before the people could not fail to give light upon the subject, and the interest involved would insure impartial hearing, and I, for my part, am unwilling to make any order without their consent.
On the 19th of June, 1871, the court amended several paragraphs of the order subscribing the $85,000 additional stock – the amendments being mostly explanatory of the order, and more fully setting forth the intention of the court. On the 18th of December following the court ordered the bonds for the additional stock to be at once signed and delivered into the hands of a trustee, as previously provided for. The bonds were issued accordingly, and were all delivered to purchasers. The first subscription for $150,000, and the second for $85,000, made a total of ($235,000) two hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars, for which the county issued bonds for the purpose of securing a railroad. It will be noticed by the propositions that “a road bed and bridges ready to receive the cross ties” was all that was contracted for, with the exception that the bonds for the second subscription were not to be issued until some able and reliable company should have agreed and bound itself to equip the road – that is, tie, iron and put on the necessary rolling stock, etc. The railroad company, however, managed to secure all the bonds, or the proceeds therefrom, and did actually grade the road bed, "ready for the cross ties," and erected the bridges, or a part of them, clear through the county, and then discontinued the work, so that the people have an enormous debt to pay and no “value received” for it. Only a few of the bonds have been redeemed. The indebtedness of the county on account of the subscriptions of stock to this proposed railroad is now, because of the accumulated interest and costs of suits that have been brought upon the bonds, more than double the original amount subscribed.
Proposition to Refund Bonds – On the 7th day of August, 1878, the county court, acting under an act of the General Assembly of the State, entitled “An act to authorize counties and towns to compromise their indebtedness,” approved April 12, 1877, ordered that an election should be held on the 10th day of September, 1878, for the purpose of submitting to the voters of the county a proposition to compromise $147,000 of the 7 per cent bonds, with accrued interest and judgments on past due coupons,
at a discount of 22½ per cent upon the whole amount, by issuing new bonds, bearing 6 per cent interest, payable in twenty years, and redeemable at the pleasure of the county after five years from date. The election was held accordingly, and on the day following the county court counted the votes cast, and found the total number to be 922, and of that number 131 were cast in favor of the proposition to compromise the debt, and 791 against it. This of course defeated the compromise proposition, and left
the original bonds outstanding.
To show the political aspect of Dallas County from 1848 to the present time, the number of votes cast therein for the several presidential candidates are given, as follows:
1848 – Zachariah Taylor, Whig, 105; Lewis Cass, Dem., 283
1852 – Winfield Scott, Whig, 102; Franklin Pierce, Dem., 344
1856 – Millard Fillmore, Amer., 132; James Buchanan, Dem., 454
1860 – Stephen A. Douglas, Dem., 225; John C. Breckinridge, Dem., 172; John Bell, Union, 288; Abraham Lincoln, Rep., 20
1864 – Abraham Lincoln, Rep., 243; George B. McClellan, Dem., 12
1868 – U.S. Grant, Rep., 620; Horatio Seymour, Dem., 199
1872 – U.S. Grant, Rep., 791; Horace Greeley, Dem., 451
1876 – Rutherford B. Hayes, Rep., 761; Samuel J. Tilden, Dem., 652; Peter Cooper, Greenbacker, 33.
1880 – James A. Garfield, Rep., 654; W.S. Hancock, Dem., 487; Gen. Weaver, Greenbacker, 555.
1884 – Blaine and Butler, Fusion, 1,363; Grover Cleveland, Dem., 687.
1888 – Benjamin Harrison, Rep., 1,169; Grover Cleveland, Dem., 705; Streeter, U.L., 484, Fisk, Prohibitionist, 8.
Last vote by municipal townships:
Harrison Cleveland Streeter
Miller 118 53 14
Lincoln 135 74 51
Grant 147 85 32
Jasper 141 44 60
Benton 296 146 182
Washington 130 163 94
Jackson 202 140 51
Total 1169 795 484
Fisk received eight votes, all from Benton Township.
Votes for Congressmen: 1886 – Heard, Dem., 845; Guitar, Rep., 971. 1888 – Heard, Dem., 717; Upton, Rep., 1,174; Whitaker, U.L., 484.
Vote for circuit judge in 1886: Wallace, 1,120; Rechow, 827.
Vote for governor in 1888: Elbert E. Kimball, Rep., 1,177; D.R. Francis, Dem., 703.
For the county officers elected in 1888 see below.
The following is a list of the names of county officers of Dallas County, with time of service annexed, so far as dates can now be ascertained:
County Court Justices – The records of the county having all been destroyed up to and prior to September, 1867, no attempt will be made to name the county court justices in the order that they served, or to give the dates of their service prior to that time. Among them were Thomas Proctor, Peter Haynes, Thomas Marlan, Jacob Randleman, William Montgomery, John Ross, Jesse Hendrickson, George W. Mallard, Daniel Beckner, A.H. Henson, James Jones, John F. Marsh and others.
Following is the list of county court justices and judges, with their dates of service, since September, 1867: A.V.F. Huston, 1867-68; Nathan White and John S. Brown, 1867-70; G.B. Gammon, 1868-72; W.K. Jump, 1870-72; Lewis W. Hart and John E. Haynes, 1872-78; A.B. Maddux, 1872-74; John W. Scott, 1872-80; J.M.B. Smith and N.J. Wollard, 1878-80; John E. Haynes, 1880-82. First District – John H. Davison, 1880-82; John Franklin, 1882-86; F. Bramwell, 1886-88; W.H. Buckner, 1888, present incumbent. Second District – L.W. Hart, 1880-82; J.N. Reser, 1882-84; James H. Karr, 1884-88, present incumbent, re-elected in 1888. Presiding judges – Thomas Hutchison, 1882-86; J.N. Vanderford, 1886, present incumbent; term runs to 1890.
County Court Clerks – J.L. Paine, 1841-58; J.H. Paine, 1858-61; A.B. Maddux, 1861-70; W.J. Loafman, 1870-71; T.B. Morrow, 1871-77; George T. Edmisson, 1877-83; J.T. Pendleton, present incumbent, was elected in fall of 1882, and was re-elected in 1886; term expires in 1890.
Circuit Court Clerks – Prior to 1870 the county court clerk was also clerk of the circuit court. In 1870 the office of the clerk of the two courts was separated, and since that time the circuit court clerks have been as follows, viz.: John S. Cummins to his death in 1873; Albert S. Stanley, 1873-78; A.G. Hollenbeck, 1878-82; J.P. O'Bannon, 1882, re-elected in 1886, present incumbent; term expires in 1890.
Sheriffs – It is claimed by some surviving old settlers that Arad White was the first sheriff of the county, and by others that William D. Beeler was the first. Be this as it may, there is evidence in existence that Beeler was sheriff in 1842, having collected taxes in that year; however, White may have filled the office a few months prior to that time. From best information at hand the succeeding sheriffs, down to the year 1860, were G.W. Henson, James B. Jones, Talbert Mayfield, William Davis and Daniel Lindsey.
Since 1860 the office has been filled as follows: William Jones, 1860-61; C. McPheters, 1861-64; Thomas P. Welch, 1864-68; John O'Bannon, 1868-72; Francis Hale, 1872-74; J.W. Alexander, 1874-78; J.S. Burns, 1878-82; George Delaplain, 1882-84; J.S. Burns, 1884-86; George Delaplain, 1886-88, present incumbent, re-elected in 1888.
Assessors – Jesse Vanderford, 1866-70; J.C. Bennett, 1870-74; J.H. Karr, 1874-76; W.J. Vanhorn, 1876-78; A. Skinner, 1878-80; W.J. Vanhorn, 1880-82; B.F. Johnson, 1882-84; J.M. Fowler, 1884-86; James A. Bales, 1886-88; Isaac W. Osborn, 1888. Of the assessors who served prior to 1866, there were Mark Reynolds, Thomas Proctor, J. Randles, Daniel Beckner, and perhaps others. Reynolds, who served for a long period, is believed to have been the first one.
Collectors – From the organization of the county until the year 1872 the sheriff was, by virtue of his office, collector of the revenues. In 1872 the duties of sheriff and collector were divided, and the separate office of collector was created, and has been filled as follows: John O'Bannon, 1872-74; Francis Hale, 1874-80; Jacob Drake, 1880-84; J.W. Alexander, 1884-86; D.M. Rush, 1886-88; re-elected in 1888.
Treasurers – J.H. Paine, 1856-58; W.L. Morrow, 1858-60; J.W. Gammon, 1860-64; R. Stanley, 1864-70; W.M. Bennett, 1870-72; I.N. Morrow, 1872-73; G.W. O'Bannon, 1873-78; M.G. Lovan, 1878-84; John Hendrickson, 1884-86; M.G. Lovan, 1886-88; re-elected in 1888.
Representatives in Legislature – Thomas Martin, 1841-42; William Edwards, 1842-46; Burrel Jones, 1846-48; Kale Williams, 1848-50; Lem. Jones, 1850-54; Wash. Henson, 1854-56; William Edwards, 1856-60; William McBride, 1860-61; James Southard, 1861-64; D. Brown, 1864-66; James Southard, 1866-70; G.W. O'Bannon, 1870-72; J.C. Eldridge, 1872-74; John Hatfield, 1874-76; James Southard, 1876-78; M.L. Reynolds, 1878-80; W.L. Morrow, 1880-82; N.J. Wollard, 1882-86; Amos S. Smith, 1886-88; William P. Porter, 1888.
County Court – The first term of the county court of Niangua (the original name of Dallas County), was begun and held, as has already been stated, on the first Monday of March, 1841. It was then composed of three county court justices, appointed and commissioned by the governor of the State, to hold their offices until the first general election took place after the county was organized. This court then had original jurisdiction over all county and probate business, and continued to be composed of three county court justices until 1847, when, under an act entitled “An act to establish a probate court in the county of Dallas,” approved February 15, 1847, it was changed in accordance with Section 16, which reads as follows:
Section 16. Hereafter the justices of the peace of Dallas County, and their successors in office, or any three of them, shall be and are hereby constituted the county court instead of the justices of the county court, as now prescribed by law, for the purpose of transacting all business which the county court now transacts, excepting all business and matters conferred and enjoined upon the probate court of said county by this act; and they shall hold four terms of said court in each year, and at the times now fixed by law for holding county courts, and may hold special or adjourned terms, and said justices of the peace shall be exempt from serving as jurors or performing military duty, or working on roads.
The law further provided that such court, at the November term in every year, should make rules and regulations requiring every justice of the peace in each municipal township “to attend at least one term of said court for the next ensuing year” under a forfeiture of $5 for failing to do so. The law also provided that the justices of the peace, or a majority of them, should choose one of their number to be president of the court. Thus the county court continued to exist for a time, and until, under a new law, it was again made to consist of three county court justices, as originally organized, and thus it continued to be composed until it was reorganized under the new law of 1877. This law, entitled “An act to provide for a uniform system of county courts,” approved April 27, 1877, provided that each county within the State should be divided into two districts, as nearly equal in population as possible without dividing municipal townships, and at the general election in 1880, and every two years thereafter, there should be elected in each district an associate judge of the county court, and that at the general election in 1882, and every four years thereafter, a presiding judge of the court should be elected at large.
In accordance with this law the county court, at its March term, 1878, divided the county into districts, by an order of which the following is a copy: “It is ordered by the court that the county be districted as follows: That District No. 1 be composed of Jackson, Washington, and Jasper Townships, and that District No. 2 be composed of Benton, Grant, Lincoln and Miller Townships, for the purpose of electing county judges.” The law of 1877 continues in force, and under its provisions the county court has been and continues to be composed. Prior to the organization of the present probate court, with the exception of a short time that a probate court existed under a special law of 1847, the county court of Dallas County had jurisdiction of all county and probate business, the former consisting of levying taxes and superintending the collection and expenditures of the revenues, and all general county business, and the latter of granting letters of administration and guardianship, settlements of decedents' estates, and all general probate business.
Probate Court – The first probate court in Dallas County was established in accordance with an act entitled “An act to establish a probate court in the county of Dallas,” approved February 15, 1847. This act provided that the first election of a probate judge should take place on the first Monday of August, 1847, and that the judge then elected should hold his office for one year only, and at each subsequent election, to be held on the same day at the end of every two years thereafter, beginning on the first Monday of August, 1848, a probate judge should be elected to hold his office for the term of two years. The law also provided that there should be four terms of the probate court held in each year, commencing on the first Mondays of March, June, September and December. At the first election held under this law Jesse L. Paine was elected probate judge, and was probably re-elected in 1848.
Another act of the Legislature, supplementary and explanatory of the foregoing, approved March 8, 1849, provided that the county court of Dallas County might, at any general election, “open a poll book for and against the operation of this law,” and if a majority voted against the law, or if a majority at any time should petition the court to abolish the law, the same should be declared to be inoperative. Under the provisions of the last act here referred to, the probate court was soon abolished, and the county court again assumed jurisdiction of the probate business. The records having been destroyed, no further particulars of the first probate court of Dallas County can now be given. For many years prior to the organization of the present probate court, the county court kept a separate record of the probate business; that is, separate from the record containing the proceedings pertaining to general county business. The present probate court was established in 1874, the first term thereof having been begun on the first day of June, of that year, by B.F. McHenry, judge of the court. Judge McHenry served until the close of 1882, his successor, Judge S.B. Roll, having been elected that year. Judge Roll held his first term, commencing February 26, 1883, and served until his death, which occurred in October, 1885; then John S. Haymes, the present judge, was appointed to fill the vacancy. He was elected to the office in November, 1886. His term expires in 1890.
Circuit Court – Dallas County, when originally organized, belonged to and formed a part of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, as will be seen by Section 4 of act entitled “An act concerning courts,” approved February 5, 1841, which reads as follows:
Section 4. The circuit courts of the Seventh Judicial Circuit shall be holden as follows:
For the county of Kinderhook, on the second Mondays of March, July, and November; for the county of Niangua, on the first Thursdays after the second Mondays of March, July and November; for the county of Polk, on the third Mondays of March, July and November; for the county of Bates, on the fourth Mondays of March, July and November; the county of St. Clair, on the first Mondays after the fourth Mondays of March, July and November; for the county of Benton, on the second Mondays after the fourth Mondays of March, July and November.
A subsequent act of the Legislature, entitled “An act to fix time for holding circuit courts,” approved February 24, 1843, reduced the number of terms to be held in each of the counties composing the Seventh Judicial Circuit from three to two, and provided that the circuit court in Niangua (Dallas) County should be held on the third Mondays of March and September of each year. It also fixed the time for holding the court in the other counties of the circuit. Another act of the Legislature, entitled “An act concerning courts in the Seventh Judicial Circuit,” approved March 8, 1849, in changing the time for holding court in each of the several counties composing the circuit, provided that in the county of Dallas the terms of the court should commence on the second Mondays after the fourth Mondays in March and September. At this time the circuit was composed of the counties of Benton, Hickory, Laclede, Dallas, Polk, Cedar, St. Clair and Henry. For further particulars pertaining to the judicial circuit, and the names of the judges presiding, see history of Laclede County.
The Dallas County Bar – The first resident lawyers of the Dallas County bar were “Dock” Williams and William L. Smith, the latter being also one of the pioneer school-teachers at Buffalo. They began to practice soon after the county was organized, and continued until some time during the fifties. Kale Williams and Burrel T. Jones also practiced a few years. The former went to California about the year 1850, and soon afterward the latter returned to Illinois, from whence he came. James E. McCall, a very good lawyer, was a member of the bar for a few years before the Civil War, at the beginning of which he went South, having previously come from Alabama. S.G. Whittlesey, Peter Wilson, J.H. Sturgeon and Benjamin F. McHenry all practiced a few years after the close of the Civil War. Ben. V. Alton was a recent member of the bar, and served as judge of the circuit from 1883 to 1885.
The members of the bar at this writing are Amos S. Smith, Oscar H. Scott, John S. Haymes, W.G. Robertson, Thomas M. Brown, William P. Porter, John W. Miller, Levi Engle, George T. Edmisson, Albert S. Stanley, W.R. Self, A.D. Matthews and C.A. Jameson. The bar is sufficiently large in numbers, and averages fairly in ability with the bar of other counties of like size and population.
Criminal Record – With the exception of the war period, Dallas County has escaped much better from the crime of murder than any other Missouri counties. A number of homicides have taken place within its limits, but they are comparatively few. No man has ever been convicted and executed within the county. A number have been prosecuted for capital crimes, and some, being found guilty, have been punished; others have been acquitted. Among the most noted cases are the following:
The killing of Blankenship occurred about the year 1853 or 1854, soon after the town of Buffalo had been incorporated. A crowd of men, who were averse to having their liberties to drink, carouse and disturb the peace curtailed, assembled, as was their custom, at a grocery, or more properly a “dram-shop,” on the east side of the public square in Buffalo, and there raised a disturbance against the peace and dignity of the incorporation. This disturbance took place after sunset, and just as it began to grow dark. Sheriff Talbert Mayfield, who was also marshal of the town, commanded a number of citizens to assist him in quelling the disturbance, and, on reaching the place in front of the dram-shop where the men were carousing, the sheriff was met by Blankenship, who was on horseback. The latter struck the sheriff a blow, which brought him to his knees; at this instant John A. Lee, assistant marshal, fired a shot, and Blankenship fell, or got off his horse, and soon thereafter died from the effects of his wounds. In the fracas, however, the sheriff and his posse were compelled to fall back, and leave the mob master of the situation. At the next term of the court Lee was indicted for the offense of murder in the first degree. On being arraigned for trial he plead “not guilty,” and upon application obtained a change of venue to the circuit court at Springfield, where he was finally tried and acquitted.
George Matthews and brother were killed in 1882. The Matthews family lived near the Niangua River, about twelve miles northeast of Buffalo, and on one occasion, in the year 1882, George and his brother, on returning home from Long Lane, met their younger brother and one Homer Sharp, who were out hunting, when the latter two were taken on horseback behind the former, and thus together they all proceeded on their way homeward. Presently shots were fired by parties concealed in ambush, and George Matthews and his brother first above mentioned were killed, and the other two, the younger brother and Sharp, were wounded, one of them very severely, but both recovered. The wounded men fled home and reported the event, and then parties assembled and went back and secured the bodies of the dead men. Soon afterward an inspection of the premises and surroundings was made by Sheriff John S. Burns and others. Tracks and other circumstances were discovered which led to the suspicion and arrest of Berry Keith, Peter Hawk, T.L. Case and James Ford. These parties, on charge of committing the crime, were given a preliminary examination before a justice of the peace, who bound them over to await the action of the grand jury at the October term of the circuit court; but the evidence produced to the grand jury was not sufficient to warrant the finding of an indictment against them, and consequently they were set at liberty.
About June 25, 1886, Beverly B. Todd, who lived five miles northeast of Buffalo, was shot and killed when alone at his residence. He lived, however, a short time, long enough to say a few words to certain persons, who having heard him scream went to his assistance. The party or parties who did the shooting seem to have been concealed. Circumstances, however, led to the arrest of John, Joseph and Benjamin Owens, who, being charged with the commitment of the crime, were given a preliminary trial before Esquire T.J. Jones, the trial commencing July 6, 1886. The State was represented by Levi Engle, prosecuting attorney, and the defendants by Alton and Brown. The trial resulted in binding the defendants over to await the action of the grand jury at the next term of court. An indictment was found, charging John Owens with the murder of Todd and the other defendants as accessories thereto. The principal, John Owens, was tried at a special term in January, 1887, and was found “not guilty.” The case against the other two defendants was nolle prosequied. A few other homicides have taken place within the county.
Mexican War – The first military organization raised in Dallas County for actual service was a company of soldiers raised and organized in the late summer or early fall of 1847, for the Mexican War. The officers of this company were Capt. Thomas Jones and Lieut. Joseph Eldridge and William Crudgington. The company left Buffalo about the middle of September, 1847, and went to Independence, Mo., where it was mustered into the United States service as a part of Col. Gilpen's battalion of mounted dragoons, which served as escorts and kept the line of communication open from the States through the Indian Territory and what is now New Mexico, wintering at Santa Fe.
After serving about one year the company returned to Independence, and was there mustered out of service, and on returning to Buffalo the soldiers were given a public reception, with a grand barbecue. A beef was roasted whole, and several sheep, pigs and wild turkeys were also roasted, and other provisions and delicious viands were prepared, and the soldiers were welcomed home with “a feast on the fat of the land.” Another luxury – or that which has always been considered a luxury – was whisky, which was carried through the streets in buckets, with dippers therein, accompanied with plenty of brown sugar to sweeten it, and of this the returned soldiers and citizens partook to such an extent that many of them became wondrous happy in their hilarity. Speeches were made and toasts were given, and all were glad that the soldiers had returned victorious, and that the dominion of the country had been extended. Among the survivors of this, the first company of soldiers raised in Dallas County, are William Burns, James Cheek and James Hoover, still living in the county.
The Civil War – Of the 705 votes cast in Dallas County for presidential candidates in 1860, John C. Breckinridge, representing the “Southern Cause,” or secession element, received only 172. The votes cast at the same time for Douglas, Bell and Lincoln may counted as cast by men that were loyal to the Government of the United States; hence it follows that at the outbreak of the Civil War a large majority of the people of Dallas County were in favor of maintaining the Union at all hazards. Much excitement then prevailed, and the enlistment of troops soon began.
Troops Raised – Early in the summer of 1861 Capt. Robert W. Fyan (since judge) raised a company of soldiers for the Twenty-fourth Regiment Infantry, Missouri Volunteers, in the county of Webster and the southern part of Dallas County. These were the first recruits from Dallas County for the United States army.
Company I, Eighth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, was partially raised in Dallas County, and among the officers were Lieuts. Thomas Franklin and James M. Reeser from this county. A sketch of the history of this regiment is given in the history of Laclede County. This company was mustered into the service in September, 1862.
Company D, Fifteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, was raised in Dallas and Polk Counties, in about equal proportions. The following is the roster of the company officers:
Capt. T.B. Sutherland, commissioned November 1, 1863, mustered out July 1, 1865. Lieut. William Gammon, commissioned November 1, 1863, mustered out July 1, 1865. Lieut. Thomas B. Hopper, commissioned July 3, 1864, mustered out July 1, 1865.
On the first day of April, 1863, this regiment was organized, with eight companies of eighty men each, at Mount Vernon, Mo., being designated as the Second Provisional Regiment, and was at once placed in the field as regular troops, and stationed as follows: Mount Vernon, Bower's Mills, Melville, Gadfly, Bolivar, Humansville, Stockton and Galena, on the western border of the State; these companies did good service in clearing the country of bushwhackers, and protecting the loyal citizens. On the 19th of May, 1863, an order was issued giving the regiment the numerical number of Seventh Provisional Regiment. In the months of September and October following another battalion was added to the regiment, the companies of which were stationed at Melville, Newtonia, Bolivar and Stockton, and were kept continually scouting the surrounding country. The regiment was now fully organized as a cavalry regiment, and rendered service in Southwestern Missouri and Northwestern Arkansas.
In October, 1863, when the Confederate general, Joe Shelby, entered Missouri, this regiment was the first to fall in on his pursuit, and having followed him as far north as the Osage River, and so far back as the Arkansas line, overtook him in Barry County and completely dispersed his entire force, causing him to leave quite a number of his dead and wounded on the field. After this the several companies remained at their respective stations, watching the movements of the enemy, until June, 1864, when a special order was issued by the Secretary of War providing for the organization of a volunteer regiment out of the Seventh Provisional Regiment, their muster-in to date back to November 1, 1863, in order to cover back pay then due the men from the State of Missouri, as they had not been paid for a period of over twelve months. The result was that nearly every man volunteered, and a regiment of cavalry was rendezvoused and organized at Springfield, Mo., about the 27th of August, 1864, with John D. Allen as colonel and Benjamin D. Smith as lieutenant-colonel. This was designated the Fifteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers. Soon thereafter, when the State was invaded by the Confederate army under Gen. Price, it formed a portion of the Third Brigade, commanded by Gen. John B. Sanborn, and participated in all the engagements with the enemy from Jefferson City to Newtonia, after which the companies returned to their former stations, where they remained until mustered out, July 1, 1865. (From Adjutant General's Report.)
Company I, Sixteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, was a company raised wholly in Dallas County, in the summer and fall of 1863, as a part of the Sixth Provisional Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia, and was afterward organized into the Sixteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, under the same order from the War Department under which the Fifteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, was formed. The roster of the company officers is as follows: Capt. Morgan Kelly, commissioned November 1, 1863, mustered out July 1, 1865; Lieut. Thomas Beam, commissioned July 23, 1864, mustered out July 1, 1865; Lieut. George O'Bannon, commissioned November 1, 1863, mustered out July 1, 1865.
The history of this regiment is very similar to that of the Fifteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, having been originally organized as a provisional regiment of State troops, and afterward as a regiment of volunteers for the United States service, its muster dating back to the time it was originally organized as a provisional regiment. Its services were performed in Southwestern Missouri and Northwestern Arkansas, and with the exception that its companies were sometimes stationed at different points, its history is almost the same as that of the Fifteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers.
Of the Eighth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, a part of companies B, G, and M were raised in Dallas County. For further mention of the regiment, see history of Camden County. Some of the officers and men composing companies A and H of the Fourteenth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, were also from Dallas County, among them being Second Lieut. Peter Wilson, afterward transferred to the Fourth Cavalry, and Capt. Milton Birch, afterward transferred to the Eighth Cavalry, and Lieut. Amos Norton, afterward promoted to quartermaster.
Companies A and C of the Twenty-sixth Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia, were raised in Dallas County, and the following is the roster of the officers of each:
Company A – Capt. Ezekiel D. Brown, commissioned August 6, 1862, vacated March 12, 1865; Lieut. H.D. Barber, commissioned August 6, 1862, vacated July 28, 1864; Lieut. W.K. Jump, commissioned August 6, 1862, vacated March 12, 1865.
Company C – Capt. Morgan Kelly, First Lieut. William Gammon and Second Lieut. G.W. O'Bannon were commissioned to rank from August 6, 1862, and their commissions were revoked by Special Order No. 233, 1864, to enable them to receive commissions, the one (Gammon) in the Fifteenth and the other two in the Sixteenth Regiment Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers. The Enrolled Militia were not engaged in much active service.
The Eighteenth Regiment (or battalion) of Missouri Militia, consisting of Companies A, D and E, were organized in Dallas and Laclede Counties, in 1865, after the war had closed. Milton Birch was made colonel and R.R. Stanley adjutant. The officers of Company A were Capt. Lewis W. Hart and Lieuts. William K. Jump and William C. Wisdom. The officers of Company D were Capt. James R.E. Fox and Lieut. Henry T. Evans. Those of Company E were Capt. James M. Dotson, S. McNeil Johnson and James H. King.
Losses – As a result of the war Dallas County suffered the loss of her court-house and public records, the latter being the greater loss, as the records can never be restored. The county has recovered from the former loss by the erection of a much better court-house than the one that was destroyed. Otherwise the county did not suffer as much as many other counties of the State, being, as it was, off of the direct lines of communication on which the large armies moved. It was, however, overrun with scouting parties from both armies, and also by guerillas and bushwhackers. A number of citizens lost their lives at the hands of the latter classes, and some were undoubtedly unnecessarily slain by the soldiers. Among the citizens that were killed were Mark Hendrix, Nathaniel Wollard, John Edmisson, Isaac Martin, Jacob Norton, Reuben Arnold, Joseph Stanley, John and Elijah Gordon and probably others, the most of them having been killed by bushwhackers to avenge an imaginary wrong, or for the purpose of robbery. The Gordons were killed about the middle of the war period, at the house of Ezekiel Wilkinson, who at the time was sick and was being visited by his brother, Richard Wilkinson, now of Buffalo. On the occasion, two men, dressed in the garb of Federal soldiers, called at the house, and one of them gained admittance under pretense of getting a drink, and the other remained on the porch. At this moment the firing commenced, and the two Gordons were killed. The inmates of the house then resisted, and the fiends, probably feeling that they would be overpowered, fled away. Meanwhile, Mr. Richard Wilkinson, having seized a gun, fired two shots after them and wounded one of them, but they both escaped.
Norton was shot while plowing in his field. Arnold, being charged with rendering assistance to the enemy, was captured by some Federal soldiers, who started to take him to Springfield, but killed him on the way while (as they reported) he was attempting to escape. Stanley was shot at his home, in Buffalo, by some unknown party. Jackson Chapman was killed by some Confederate guerillas or bushwhackers, after they had made a prisoner of him. Many citizens were killed during the war by personal enemies, who cowardly and fiendishly concealed themselves in the bushes and awaited the passing of their victims, or under cover of the bushes stealthily crept upon them when they perpetrated the devilish deed. Others were wantonly killed after being captured, by their captors, who, in order to justify their conduct, found it convenient to report that the killing was done while the prisoner was attempting to escape.
There were no companies organized in Dallas County for the Confederate service, but some of her citizens, who sympathized with the Southern cause and were in favor of secession, went out of the county and joined various commands that were raised for the Confederate army.
Towns and Villages
Historical – The county seat, Buffalo, is situated at the eastern edge of Buffalo Head Prairie, on an eminence which descends quite uniformly in all directions from its center. The land embraced in the original plat of the town was formerly owned by Martin Randleman and William E. Williams. The original plat comprises the public square and twenty-one blocks of six lots each, and according to the best information attainable it was surveyed in the spring or summer of 1841. Prior to this date, about the year 1838, the first buildings, two log cabins, had been erected upon the site, one by William E. Williams and the other by Joseph F. Miles, the latter of whom recently died at considerably over one hundred years of age. The first store at Buffalo was opened by Samuel Williams some time before the town was laid out, at the place long known as the “Gum Spring,” about eighty rods southwest of the public square. As soon as the town was surveyed Mr. Williams moved his goods into a hewed log house erected at the southeast corner of the public square, and there continued the business, soon thereafter taking into partnership his brother, Caswell Williams. A few years later William L. and I.N. Morrow opened the second store in the place. About the same time Alf. Moore opened the first dram-shop or grocery, as it was then called.
In 1846 a Mr. Florence settled in Buffalo, and traded a lot of slaves for a stock of goods and opened a store. In 1847 William Edwards was running a whisky distillery two and a half miles northeast of Buffalo, and also owned the grist-mill on the Niangua, four miles northeast of town, at the site of the present Southwick & Foster Mill. In September of that year William M. Lovan (father of the Lovan brothers, still surviving) came to Buffalo and opened a saddle and harness shop and store, and continued the business until 1866, when he retired, and since that time, with the exception of two years, his sons, Marshall G. and James R., have continued the business, they being now in separate stores. This makes forty years that one family has conducted the same kind of business in the same town. The first brick building in Buffalo was the old court-house, erected in 1847 and 1848, and the second one was the building at the southwest corner of the public square, now occupied by the Dallas County Bank. It was erected in 1848 by Levi Beckner. In 1850 Buffalo contained three or four stores, and it did not increase much in the next decade, there being only four or five stores in the town at the beginning of the Civil War. As was the case in all towns in this part of the country, the business of the town was very much suspended during the war period. But afterward it recruited, and considering the size of the town and amount of business now done, it must be said to have had a prosperous commercial career since the close of the war
At this writing the business portion of the town contains a good number of brick blocks, there being fourteen store-rooms in the lower stories thereof, not including the bank building and the large brick livery barn of Fenix & Routh. The town is so located that its drainage is excellent, and from the cupola on the court-house a grand view of the surrounding country, for many miles in all directions, is obtained.
It is connected by mail and pack lines with Lebanon, Conway and Bolivar, the first being twenty-eight miles east, the second twenty-two miles southeast, and the last twenty miles west. A fair estimate of its population is about 1,000.
Business Directory – The following is a business directory of the town at this writing, February, 1889: General merchandise – William L. Morrow, Jr., T.C. Lovell, Frank Furth, C.H. Behrens & Bro. and G.W. O'Bannon; drugs – F.C. Wilson, John A. Lamun & Bro., and T.G. Weatherby & Co.; hardware – H.G. Lovan, William L. Morrow & Son, C.H. Behrens & Bros. and Buffalo Hardware Co.; groceries – A. Skinner, H.G. Lovan, William L. Morrow & Son and Stepp & Pendergraft; harness and saddles – Drake & Lovan and H.G. Lovan; restaurants – William Kellogg and John Brown; livery – Fenix & Routh, Edington Bros. and W. Hunt; hotels – Little House and Buffalo Hotel; furniture and coffins – John O'Bannon; millinery and dressmaking – Mrs. Branstetter; boot and shoe shops – W.T. Booher and J.C. Wall; marble works – C.L. Curtice and Charles Rinear; billiards – John Brown; lumber – Behrens & Morrow; photo gallery – John James; opera hall – G.W. O'Bannon; barber – T.S. Williamson; blacksmiths – Nunn & Stafford, Smith & Wood, J.N. Cline and C. McPheters; jewelry – W.F. Stafford; physicians – V.B. Gatewood, S.S. Carr, A.M. Jones, Young & Armstrong and F.W. Reynolds; dentists – J. George and C.E. Hovey; real estate agents – Evans & Schofield, Porter & Lovan and George T. Edmisson; justices of the peace – A.A. Ramsay and J.L. Richey.
Other Interests – In addition to the foregoing there are the Roller Flouring Mills, by W. Smithpeter; a saw and grist-mill and carding machine combined, by Blevins & Blankenship, and a fruit evaporator, by A.D. Matthews; also four church edifices, viz., Baptist, Christian, Methodist Episcopal and Presbyterian, and a brick school-house containing four rooms; also the Dallas County Bank, which was established in March, 1884, by M.S. Towsey & Bro., with a capital of $10,000. This firm continued the business until September of that year, when J.P. Brownlow bought the bank, and continued with the same amount of capital until February, 1887, when T.M. Brown bought a third interest, and the capital stock was increased to $19,000. In July, 1888, Mr. Brown purchased a half interest, and the firm is now Brownlow & Brown, the former being cashier, with J.E. Brownlow, assistant cashier. The bank is doing a prosperous business, and is very useful in the affairs of the town.
Professional Men – Among the early professional men of Buffalo were Dr. D.A. Barrett, Dr. James Slavens and Dr. Lewey, who were physicians here as early as 1847, and probably some time prior thereto. Barrett remained until about the time the Civil War closed, and Slavens remained until about the year 1872. The latter was also one of the pioneer Methodist preachers. He and the other early ministers of Buffalo and vicinity, and also the early settlers of the town, are mentioned elsewhere in this work.
Incorporation – Buffalo was incorporated in 1854, but in consequence of opposition it remained incorporated only a short time. It was again incorporated in 1870, but for some reason, or neglect, the corporate laws were not long enforced, and now the town is without local government.
The Press – The first newspaper published in Buffalo was the Buffalo Herald, established about the year 1855, by Donald Plummer, who published it about two years and then moved it to Marshfield, in Webster County. The next was the Buffalo Reflex, established about the year 1870 or 1871 by A.W. Carson. After ten volumes and ten numbers had been published it was consolidated with the Buffalo Register, which had recently been established. The Reflex has changed hands several times, being first published as a Republican, then as a Democratic, then as an independent and now again as a Republican paper. The present editor and publisher took charge of it September 24, 1888. It is an eight-column folio, published weekly, is neat in appearance and is well edited.
The Dallas County Democrat, a neat and ably edited five-column quarto, weekly newspaper, was established in December, 1887, by M.M. Miller, who published it a few months, and then transferred it to the Democrat Printing Company, by whom it was published until January 9, 1889, when the present editor and publisher, Joseph S. Goheen, took charge. Its motto is: “To put our best licks for truth and right, and to make money.”
A number of other newspapers have been published in Buffalo for short periods of time, the Register having been in existence three or four years.
Reddick Lodge No. 361, A.F. & A.M., was organized under charter dated October 13, 1871, granted by Grand Master Thomas E. Garnett. The officers named in the charter were: James Marlin, W.M.; J.K. Gammon, S.W., and R. Wilkinson, J.W. The officers at the lodge at this writing are as follows, viz.: John T. Pendleton, W.M.; George T. Edmisson, S.W.; John George, J.W.; H.J. Behrens, Sec.; M. Gotsel, Treas.; M.L. Reynolds, S.D.; W.S. Spencer, J.D.; R. Wilkinson, Chap.; J.W. Jones, Tyler. The membership is about fifty-two, and the lodge is in good financial condition.
Buffalo Lodge No. 430, I.O.O.F., was organized under charter dated May 18, 1883, granted by Grand Master T.B. Gannaway, attested by Grand Secretary E.M. Sloan. The charter officers were: John S. Wilson, N.G.; T.M. Brown, V.G.; W.G. Robertson, Sec.; W.T. Line, Treas.; G.W. Bakebill, C.; J.N. Gamel, Warden; Frank Wilson, I.G.; R.G. Wilkinson, O.G.; W. Smithpeter, R.S.N.G.; J.N. Davidson, L.S.N.G.; W. Vanhorn, R.S.V.G.; Frank Furth, L.S.V.G.; W.J. Evans, R.S.S.; John A. Ramsay, L.S.S.; Jacob Miller, Chaplain. The present officers are: Harry Furth, N.G.; E.L. Schofield, V.G.; F.W. Reynolds, R. Sec.; A.C. Behrens, P. Sec.; J.T. Pendleton, Treas.; J.A. Ramsay, Warden; L.D. Stafford, I.G.; L.F. Jones, O.G.; N. Davidson, R.S.N.G.; M.C. Nunn, L.S.N.G.; S.I. Hite, R.S.V.G.; F.C. Wilson, L.S.V.G.; B.F. Johnson, R.S.S.; C.S. Finley, L.S.S. The membership numbers about forty, and the financial condition of the lodge is good.
Buffalo Lodge No. 295, A.O.U.W., began its labors under charter dated November 27, 1883, granted by H.L. Rogers, Grand Master Workman, and William C. Richardson, Grand Recorder. The charter officers were: J.T. Rollins, P.M.W.; W. Smithpeter, M.W.; F.C. Wilson, F.; C.H. Behrens, O.; Frank Furth, Rec.; S.R. Pittman, F.; Peter Hufft, Receiver; E.W. Brown, Guide; Henry Humphrey, I.W.; J.S. Burns, O.W. The present officers are: C.L. Curtice, M.W.; F.C. Wilson, Rec.; Frank Furth, Fin.; T.G. Weatherby, Rec.; J.N. Cline, O.; W.F. Stafford, I.W. This society has twenty-five members, and is in a flourishing condition.
Gen. Frank J. Herron Post No. 161, G.A.R., was organized in 1884, with the following charter members, viz.: B.F. McHenry, Daniel Robertson, John S. Wilson, W.J. Vanhorn, George W. O'Bannon, C.L. Curtice, John A. Ramsay, F.M. Brown, O.Q. Barbarick, James S. Hazlett, George Delaplain, J.K.P. Bridges, A.J. Patterson, F.A. Van Norman and John C. Bennett. Of the original members B.F. McHenry, and of subsequent members W.M. Gammon, Joseph Patterson and Elias Chapman, are now deceased. The present officers of the post are: Charles L. Curtice, P.C.; David Olinger, S.V.C.; A.J. Patterson, J.V.C.; J.L. Richey, Adj.; J.C. Bennett, Q.M.; John W. Johnson, Surg.; W.H. Swift, Chap.; John Glenn, O.D.; George Tibbs, O.G.; J.A. Ramsay, S.M. The membership is about forty-five. The post meets in the court-house, and the above other mentioned societies meet in Edmisson's hall.
This is a post-office in the extreme southern part of the county.
Charity is a post hamlet in the eastern part of Jackson Township, twelve miles southeast of Buffalo, containing a general store and a drug store kept respectively by G.W. Herd and White Bros., a blacksmith shop by John Calk, and a flouring mill by Legan & Son; also a physician, Dr. E.D. White.
This is a post-office on Greasy Creek, a few miles south of Buffalo.
A post-office in the northeastern part of the county is Lead Mine.
A post village on the Lebanon road, twelve miles east of Buffalo, containing two general stores kept respectively by Jacob Kelley and L.C. Ball, a drug store by Roberts & Holman, a physician, Dr. M.G. Roberts, the post-office by W.E. Hutchinson, and a post of the G.A.R., is Long Lane.
Louisburg, a post-office and village nine miles north by a little west of Buffalo, contains two general stores kept respectively by Vaughn & Darby and G.W. Bass, a hotel, the Padgett House, by G.W. Wilson, two blacksmith shops, a portable saw and grist mill by William Fowler & Co., a Masonic hall and an academy building separate from the public school building. A private school is sustained part of the time in the academy. E.M. Padgett is the postmaster and Dr. M.L. Atchley the village physician.
This is a small village of about 150 inhabitants, situated in Lincoln Township, thirteen miles north and four miles west of Buffalo. It was established soon after the close of the Civil War, and named Andersonville, in honor of Dr. Andrews, who resided there a number of years before his death. The name was afterward changed to Urbana. Stephen Burris opened the first store in the place. It has since grown to contain at present three general stores kept respectively by S.H. Burris, L.J. Slavens and Lightner Bros., a hardware store by L.H. Baldwin, a drug store by Vaughan & Dillon, a harness and saddle store by J.S. Thurston, a grocery and shoe-shop by J.M. Fowler, a cabinet shop by J.A. Bonner, the Merchant Flouring Mills by Davis & Fowler, two blacksmith shops by T.M. Turner and R. Howard, respectively, the post-office by C.C. Lightner and the Burris House by James Garrison. The village also contains a Masonic hall, one church (Methodist Episcopal, South) and the district school-house. The physicians are E.P. Vaughan, J.P. Andrews, and Z.L. Slavens. For some years before the free school system reached its present efficiency, Urbana maintained a good private high-school.
Other post-offices in the county are March, Olive, Redtop, Spring Grove, Thorpe, Tilden, Town and Woodhill.
This is a few miles west of Buffalo, and was incorporated March 15, 1872. It was founded by Alcander Longley, editor of the Communist, a monthly paper devoted to social reform. The community owned 500 acres of good land (300 prairie and 200 wood land), on which the members lived as one family, and on which they engaged in farming and fruit and stock raising. The members, men and women, had equal rights, and owned all things in common. Its affairs were administered by officers who received the votes of three-fourths of the members. No interference was made with the religious, political or other opinions of its members, nor with marriage or family relations.* This community was, according to Campbell's Gazetteer, in full operation in 1875, when that work was published, but soon thereafter the members, becoming dissatisfied, began to withdraw, and finally, some years ago, it ceased to exist. (*Campbell's Gazetteer.)
On account of the destruction of the public records, but little can be said of the early public schools of Dallas County. The first schools taught within the county were supported entirely by subscription; that is, the parents or guardians of the children that were sent to school paid the teachers in proportion to the number sent. Such a school existed at Buffalo before the county was organized, in the spring of 1841. It was probably commenced prior to 1840. The old citizens well remember the old log school-house which stood near the present cemetery at Buffalo, and in which the first courts met. Among the teachers who first taught in this building, Anthony Linsey, Jackson F. Oliver (a pioneer Baptist preacher), Reuben T. Peake, William L. Smith and Mary Barrett are well remembered. But very few schools were taught in Dallas County prior to the year 1850, about which time a few were first established under the then meager school system of the State. At this time Richard Wilkinson, now of Buffalo, and John Welch, a brother of Thomas P. Welch, the latter now also of Buffalo, identified themselves with the schools and became teachers. Israel Arnold (still living in the county), was also a teacher at that time. Under the old regime, the educational facilities for the children of the people in general were very limited. The State school law was radically changed soon after the close of the Civil War, an almost entirely new system being inaugurated, and it has been improved from time to time until the present system has become established.
Revenues – The first action of the county court pertaining to the public schools of Dallas County, now on record, was taken May 7, 1868, when an order was made for the distribution of school revenues to each congressional township with in the county, as follows:
Township - Range - Amount
36 - 18 - $ 73.00
36 - 19 - 165.00
36 - 20 - 179.00
35 - 20 - 290.00
35 - 19 - 158.00
35 - 18 - 122.00
34 - 18 - 208.00
34 - 19 - 213.00
34 - 20 - 404.00
33 - 20 - 244.00
33 - 19 - 321.00
32 - 19 - 321.00
33 - 18 - 212.00
32 - 18 - 131.00
32 - 20 - 306.00
In this apportionment there was just $1 issued to each pupil entitled to draw public school funds, consequently the number of dollars corresponds exactly with the number of children enumerated for school purposes. Two years later, May 5, 1870, an order was made for the distribution of the school revenues to the several congressional townships, as follows:
Township - Range- Amount
32 and 33 19 $ 372.96
36 - 20 - 272.66
34 - 20 - 487.66
35 - 19 - 154.77
35 - 18 - 97.97
36 - 19 - 201.51
32 - 20 - 382.98
33 - 20 - 304.16
33 - 18 - 187.04
34 - 19 - 219.53
35 - 20 - 338.45
34 - 18 - 240.48
32 - 18 - 140.30
36 - 18 - 110.22
By comparing this distribution with the one made two years before, the increase or decrease of the amount issued to each township will be observed. Upon the whole there was an increase of $484.69.
On the 3rd of June, 1874, the county court, acting under an act, entitled “An act to reorganize and provide for the support of public schools, and revise and amend the laws relating thereto, and repeal certain acts and parts of acts,” approved March 26, 1874, ordered that the county should be subdivided into school districts, and the number of sections of land belonging to and composing each one was designated. The number of school districts thus formed in each congressional township was as follows: Township 32, Range 18, 2; Township 33, Range 18, 4; Township 34, Range 18, 9; Township 35, Range 18, 3; Township 36, Range 18, 2; Township 32, Range 19, 2; Township 33, Range 19, 4; Township 34, Range 19, 9; Township 35, Range 19, 3; Township 36, Range 19, 4; Township 31, Range 20, 2; Township 32, Range 20, 5; Township 33, Range 20, 4; Township 34, Range 20, 6; Township 35, Range 20, 5; Township 36, Range 20, 4. Total number of districts, 65.
On the 5th of August, 1875, the county court apportioned the State and County school fund interest, to the 3,208 children then enumerated within the county, for school purposes. The share apportioned to each school child of the interest from the State school fund was 75 cents, and the whole amount apportioned from that source was $2,408.74. The share of the county school fund interest apportioned to each school child was 48 cents, and the whole amount $1,548.59. This makes the aggregate amount then apportioned $3,957.33. Five years later, May 20, 1880, the court found that 3,170 persons of school age had been enumerated (it being less than the number enumerated in 1875), and apportioned to them from the State school funds the sum of $2,536, it being 80 cents to each individual, and from the county school funds the sum of $1,585, it being 50 cents to each individual, thus making the total amount apportioned $4,121, and the total amount of each child, $1.30. The funds were now apportioned to each school district, instead of to the congressional townships, as they had been prior to the formation of the districts as made by county court.
In August, 1886, the court made an order re-bounding all the school districts within the county, but did not change the number of districts, the boundary lines in some instances being the only changes made. At the same time the revenues apportioned for the support of the public schools were $3,600 from the State funds and $1,900 from the county funds, making a total of $5,500.
Statistics – The following statistics pertaining to the public schools of Dallas County are compiled from the report of the State superintendent of public schools for the school year commencing July 1, 1886, and ending June 30, 1887 (the last report not being at hand): Enumeration of school children within the county: White, males, 2,403; females, 2,268; total 4,671; colored, males, 24; females, 19; total 43; total white and colored, 4,714.
Enrollment of pupils in the public schools: White, males, 2,133; females, 1,985; total, 4,098; colored, males, 20; females, 12; total, 32; total white and colored, 4,130. According to the foregoing it is found that, of the whole number of white children enumerated within the county, 87 per cent and a fraction over attended the public schools, which is a much larger percentage than that found in many other counties of the State. The figures also show that, of the whole number of colored children enumerated, 74 per cent and a fraction over availed themselves of the privilege of attending the public school – there being only one in the county. This is also a good showing, considering the fact that these children had only one school to attend, it being located at Buffalo. It also proves that nearly all of the colored population of the county is located in and about the county seat.
Cash on hand July 1, 1886 $ 2,000.60
Received from State fund 3,626.25
Received from county funds 1,800.00
Received from direct taxation 5,150.70
Total Receipts $12,577.55
Total expenditures $10,960.25
Leaving cash on hand July 1, 1887 $ 1,617.30
The amount received from the State funds, as shown above, was the distributive share of Dallas County of the interest collected by the State officers on the permanent school funds belonging to the State, for a fuller mention of which see History of Laclede County. The amount received from county funds was the interest collected by the county officers on the permanent school funds owned and loaned by the county. Of this latter fund, designated “County School Funds,” the county of Dallas had in round numbers $20,000. The principal of this fund has been derived from various sources – from “fines, forfeitures, penalties,” etc., and from the net proceeds of the sales of the swamp or overflowed lands, and also from the proceeds of the school lands, being the sixteenth section of each congressional township within the county. (See Public Lands.) This latter fund, according to law, should be kept separate, and be designated Township School Fund, and each congressional township should have for its share of it the amount derived from the sale of its school lands. But, regardless of the law, the township school funds have all been consolidated with the county school funds, and are managed under that head. According to the letter of the law, a congressional township, the school lands of which have not been sold, could have no township fund, consequently the consolidation of these funds secures greater equity than a strict compliance with the law could secure.
The county school fund is constantly increasing from the accumulation of fines, forfeitures, penalties, etc., and will continue to increase as long as men continue to commit crimes, to forfeit penalties, etc. Further statistics from this report are:
Number of days attendance in public schools 230,850
Average days attendance 56
Whole number of days schools were taught 5,567
Average number attending each day 3,346
Number of teachers employed in the county 80
Average monthly salary of teachers $25.94
Number of rooms occupied 74
Seating capacity of all rooms 4,141
Number of white schools 68
Number of colored schools 1
Cost per day of each pupil two cents and six mills
Value of school property $14,374.00
Assessed valuation of taxable property 1,215,063.00
Average school tax levy 30
Paid teachers 8,180.00
Paid for incidentals 223.64
Paid district clerks 257.80
Paid for sites, buildings and furnishings 267.25
Paid for repairs and rent 153.64
The public school system is well patronized by the people of Dallas County, as shown by the large per cent of the scholastic population attending the schools, but as yet the schools are not taught a sufficient length of time. There is yet room for much improvement of the public schools.
Among the early settlers of Dallas County were a number of pioneer Christian workers, who, while enduring the hardships and privations of frontier life, gathered about them their few scattering neighbors, and to them preached the word of God and pointed out the way of salvation. The most active and most noted of these were Elijah F. Yeager and James Slavens, of the Methodist Episcopal Church; John Hatfield, Daniel Murphy and Jackson F. Oliver, of the Baptist; Thomas Potter, of the Christian, and John Alsup, of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination. The Methodists and Baptists were the first to form church organizations. Following are historical sketches of the various church organizations within the county.
Methodist Episcopal Churches – The first church of this denomination in Dallas County, and, as it is believed, the first one of any denomination within the county, was organized between 1838 and 1840, in the log school-house at Buffalo, by Rev. Elijah F. Yeager, with H. Stanley and wife, Jacob Randleman and wife, Martin Randleman and wife, W.L. Morrow and wife, William Stanley and wife, and perhaps others, as constituent members. Rev. Yeager was perhaps the best known and most noted pioneer minister of the county, and in the language of an old citizen, B.S. Fraker, “one among the finest men this county has ever had.” In the division of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1844, the Buffalo class adhered to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, under which head its history is completed. Another Methodist Episcopal Church was organized about the year 1840, at the dwelling-house of James Hughard, in the immediate vicinity of the present Liberty Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which is about two miles southwest of Long Lane, by Rev. Glanvil, with James Hughard and wife, A.D. Mehaffey and wife and others as constituent members. At the division of the Methodist Church, in 1844, this class also cast its lot with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. (See Liberty Methodist Episcopal Church, South.)
The Buffalo circuit and the Urbana circuit comprise all the Methodist Episcopal Churches in Dallas County, and both belong to the Springfield District of the St. Louis Conference. The present Methodist Episcopal Church at Buffalo was organized in the spring of 1865, by Rev. W.H. Wood, and about the year 1869 it united with the Baptists in building the frame church which it now occupies, at a cost of about $1,600. The two denominations continued to use the building together until 1888, when the Methodists purchased the interest of the Baptists and became sole owner. This and the Four Mile Church, located about ten miles east of Buffalo, which was organized in 1887, having now a membership of about forty, compose the present Buffalo Circuit. This circuit has heretofore included some other charges. The pastors of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Buffalo, and of the circuit to which it has belonged, have been as follows: W.H. Wood, 1865-68; A. Barber, 1868-70; C.A. Bell, 1870-72; Isaac Entwisle, 1872-73; J.W. Haynes, 1873-76; A. Barber, 1876-79; H. Dalton, 1879-80; Jacob Miller, 1880-83; Isaac Entwisle, 1883-85; W.F. Yeager, 1885-87; Moses Anderson, 1887-88; A.J. Graves, 1888, present pastor. The Methodist Episcopal Church at Buffalo has about seventy-five members. The Buffalo Circuit included Urbana until the spring of 1888, when it was divided, and the Urbana Circuit, comprising Bower's Chapel, near the village of Urbana, and Prospect Church, in Dallas County, was formed. The class at Bower's Chapel was organized in October, 1865, with Elijah Bower, Nancy J. Robertson, Willis G. Robertson, John Walker, W.G. Ramsey, Melvin W. Yeager, George W. Darby and others as members. Prospect Church was organized later. These church organizations have each a good frame edifice in which they worship. The one at Prospect was erected in 1886-87, and was dedicated in 1887 by Rev. F.S. Biggs, P.E. Bower's Chapel has a membership of about 100, but the membership of Prospect Church is not so large. Both are in a prosperous condition.
The Methodist Episcopal Churches, South – The Methodist Episcopal Church organized in Buffalo prior to 1840, as has been stated, being transformed, after the division of 1844, into the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, continued to worship in the school-house and other rooms until about the year 1850, when they erected a frame church edifice, in which they continued to worship until it was burned down while being occupied by the county as a court-house, during the Civil War. About this time the church became very much weakened, and has not since been able to erect a new house. It has, however, kept up its organization, and at this writing holds services in the Presbyterian Church. The following pastors have officiated since the original organization, viz.: Elijah F. Yeager, James Mitchell, John Mitchell, John Monroe, W.D. Stewart, Rufus M. Baker, 1871; J.G.L. Mitchell, 1872 and 1873; R.M. Baker and C.F. Dryden, 1874; C.F. Dryden, 1875; J.B. Landreth, 1876; J.A. Mathews, 1877 and 1878; J.B. Landreth, 1879; J.W. Bond, 1880; G.W. Windel, 1881 and 1882; T.P. Hill, 1883; J.W. Bond, 1884; J.M. Procter, 1885 and 1886; James L. Taylor, 1887; J.C. Alexander, 1888, present pastor. The membership of the church is now about forty. It belongs to the Buffalo Circuit, Lebanon District, Southwest Missouri Conference. The other classes composing this circuit are known as Church Grove and Liberty.
The Church Grove Class was organized in 1845, by Robert Foster, at the residence of David Brundridge, with David Brundridge and wife, Catharine, Sarah and Samuel Williamson, Rebecca Maddux, Mary, Sarah and Melvina Fraker, Susan Taylor, Mr. Hastings and Mr. Vinsant as constituent members. This class continued to worship at private houses and school-houses until 1871, when its present frame edifice was erected at Church Grove, at a cost of $1,000. The pastors of this church have been as follows, viz.: R. Foster, 1845; John Wheeler, 1846; Willard and Paul, 1847; T.J. Smith, 1848; H.E. Smith, 1849; J.C. Williams, 1850; M. Hawkins and D.C. O'Howel, 1851; J.C. Williams, 1852; Green Woods, 1853; Samuel Bradley, 1854; S. Hadley, 1860; J. Monroe, 1868; Blakeley, 1870; C. Dryden and R. Baker, 1871; J.G. Mitchell, 1872 to 1876; C. Dryden, 1877; J.B. Landreth, 1878; J.A. Mathews, 1879, and since that time the same as at Buffalo. Church Grove is south of southwest from Buffalo, and about ten miles distant from that place.
Liberty Church, about two miles southwest of Long Lane, may be said to be the offspring of the Methodist Episcopal Church, organized in that vicinity about the year 1840, of which mention has already been made. It was organized (or perhaps more properly reorganized) about the year 1869, by Rev. C.F. Dryden, with S.J. Latimer and wife, A. Shook and wife, William L. Shook and wife, T.P. Hill and wife, C.G. Imhoof and wife, Isaac Miller, W.H. Ball and wife, John Miller and many others as constituent members. About the year 1870 their present frame church building, 24x40 feet in size, was erected, at a cost of nearly $450. It was dedicated October 20, 1873, by the then presiding elder, Rev. C.P. Jones. The pastors that have preached to this class have been, with only a few exceptions, the same as those officiating at Church Grove. The membership is about eighty.
The Urbana Circuit comprises the following Methodist Episcopal Churches, South, in Dallas County:
Kirk's Chapel was organized soon after the close of the Civil War, at Kirk's Cemetery, in Miller Township, by Rev. William Stewart (or Steward). William Kirk, J.R.C. Tucker, C.C. Young and Eliza Wimphrey were among the original members. This organization had no church edifice until 1888, when it erected a frame house at a cost of $500. It has now a membership of eighty-seven.
The organization at Montgomery's Chapel was effected in 1872, by Rev. J.G.L. Mitchell, with J.J. Montgomery and wife, T.H. Quigley and wife, E. McClannahan and wife, Thomas West and wife, Linie and Fannie McClannahan and Alice Quigley. In 1875 a frame church edifice, costing about $500, was erected on a site donated by J.J. Montgomery. This class has twenty-six members.
The church at Lone Rock was organized in August, 1881, by Rev. J.W. Bond, with John A. and Samantha H. Davis, David and Louisa Marley, Jacob and Margaret Keller, Abijah and Barbara Bennett as constituent members. In 1884 a frame church building was erected, at a cost of $400. The membership is forty-five in number. Nearly all the ministers that have served as pastors of the Buffalo Circuit have at other times served as pastors of the last three named churches. The present pastor is Rev. H.C. Allen.
Baptists – Pisgah Baptist Church was organized in August, 1841, by D.R. Murphy and J.R. Calloway, original members being J.R. Calloway, D.R. Murphy, Carlos Deusenberry, Mary Randles, Dialtha Randles, Matilda Randles and Eliza J. Howerton. In 1842 this organization erected its first church building – a hewed log house twenty feet square – at a point about eight miles southeast from Buffalo, and in 1866 they changed the location and erected another church house one and a half miles south of Long Lane. The pastors have been Revs. John Liles, Isaiah Jameison, Samuel Job, Zade McDonald, John Williams, C.L. Alexander, W.C. Edwards, G.B. Mitchell, James M. James, B.J. Smith, J.H. Stinecipher, Z.J. Strickland, G.W. Black, R.B. Carnett and William Cain. The membership at present is seventy-four. This is believed to be the oldest Baptist organization in the county, and heads the lists of the churches of this denomination.
The Macedonia Baptist Church was organized at Buffalo on the 18th day of December, 1848, by Revs. W. McDonnell and Jackson F. Oliver. Among the constituent members were William Lovan, Hannah Lovan, James Job Lovan, Levi Beckner, Sarah Beckner, Delila Beckner, James Peake, Thomas Martin, Hannah Martin, Eliza Robertson, Adam Stinebaugh, Drewry Cook, Effa Cook, Mary Martin, Harriet Paine, Christina Martin, Jesse L. Paine, William Johnson and John A.J. Lee. This society was organized as the Buffalo Baptist Church, and continued to worship in the school-house and other rooms for a series of years. In 1855 or 1856 it erected its first church edifice, which was a cheap log building put up at a point about four miles southeast of Buffalo, and about one-fourth of a mile south of the Marshfield road, to which place the membership was removed. It still retained the name of Buffalo Baptist Church. From the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, until 1866 the church was dormant. On the 24th of October, 1866, it was reorganized by Elders H. Eiatt and C.L. Alexander, and the name was then changed from Buffalo to Macedonia, the new constituent members being Alexander and Samuel Jones, E.B. Chapman, W.D. Cheek, Elizabeth Cheek, Rachel Jones, Ann Edwards, Ellen Creek, Janette Hendrickson, Frances Hendrickson and Elizabeth Norton. The pastors that have served the church are the following, in the order here named: Jackson F. Oliver, William B. Senter, T. Pitts, G.B. Mitchell, William Spillman, G.W. Williams, L.A. Smith, J.W. Fitch, George Suter, J.R. Calloway, G.W. Kelley, W.W. Palmer, D.P. Brockus, D.R. Jones and David Hitson. At this writing this church has 104 members. The present edifice in which the church worships is a frame building, which was erected in 1881, at a cost of $1,000. It stands on the Springfield road, four miles south of Buffalo. This was the pioneer Baptist Church in Dallas County, and it has accomplished much good. For its history credit is due Mr. W.D. Cheek.
The present Buffalo Baptist Church was organized about the year 1868 by Rev. George B. Mitchell, with William Lovan, M.G. Lovan and wife, W. Hunt, William Joyner, Elizabeth Norton and John Hendrickson. About a year later this organization and the Methodists built a union church house in Buffalo, at a cost of about $1,600, and continued to use it as such until 1888, when it sold its interests therein to the Methodists, and erected its present handsome and commodious brick edifice, 36x60 feet in size, at a cost of $4,000. The new church was dedicated by Rev. J. Hickman, of St. Louis. The pastors have been George B. Mitchell, B. McCord Roberts, Jahu Robinson, Mark Harris, Ben. L. Mitchell and John H. Stinecipher. The membership of this church is about 100, and it is progressive in good works.
The Urbana Baptist Church was organized May 22, 1869, by C.L. Alexander, with the following constituent members, viz.: C.L. Alexander, John Cox, Rebecca Ross, Sarah Cox, Louisa A. Campbell, Nancy Davis, Shepard Starns, Adaline Starns, A.J. Bullen, Susan R. Rataford, Thomas Hissom, Rebecca Miller, Lucas Odell, George Spencer, J.E. Loafman, Sarah Hissom, Rebecca Odell, Enoch Beck, Margaret Reynolds, Sophia Holcomb and Daniel D. Holcomb. This organization has never erected a church edifice. Its pastors have been C.L. Alexander, A.J. Bullen, Mark Harris, W.W. Palmer, D.R. Jones, David Hitson and N.J. Stinecipher. The present membership is twenty-seven.
New Hope Baptist Church, in Grant Township, was organized in 1860, by Elder G.B. Mitchell. It has been presided over by various ministers, David Hitson being its present one. Without full particulars concerning this organization, it is safe to say that it has been successful in its labors, as it now has 160 members.
Olive Baptist Church, in Jasper Township, was organized in 1870, by Elders Lawson, Scrivener and I.W. Cranfill, with William F. Monday, John Williams, Sarah E. and Rachel Medley and others, to the number of ten, as constituent members. This organization has had no exclusive church house to this date, services having been conducted in school-houses. The house used now and for several years past is the district school-house, owned jointly by the district and church. This house was dedicated to the worship of God about the year 1880, by Elder John H. Stinecipher. The pastors serving it have been John H. Stinecipher, David Hitson, Z.T. Strickland, W.E. Spear, N.J. Stinecipher and G.M. Alexander. The membership of this congregation is from twenty-six to thirty.
New Liberty Baptist Church, in Miller Township, was organized November 20, 1870, by Elder L.J. Tatum. The first building used by the organization was the school-house in District No. 2, in Township 36, Range 19. The present building is a frame, 18x24 in size, built about the year 1880, jointly by the same school district and church. The pastors serving this congregation have been J.H. Stinecipher, W.W. Palmer, John Smith, David Hitson, W.E. Spear and Rev. Jones. The present membership numbers forty-nine.
Bethlehem Baptist Church was organized April 22, 1871, by Elders William C. Edwards and L.A. Smith, with James M. Lindsay, J.K. Brashears, James Randles, Permelia Wollard, Sarah Randles, D.T. Randles, Matilda McDonald, A.C. Wollard and S.E. Gann as members. The pastors serving this organization have been William C. Edwards, four years; Z.T. Strickland, about five years; William Cain, two years; E.D. Fortner, one year; G.W. Pferfer, three years. The membership at present numbers twenty-six.
Reynolds' Chapel Baptist Church was organized in 1877, at the residence of the late R.D. Reynolds, by the Rev. Albert Harris, with the following constituent members: R.D. Reynolds, Eliza Reynolds, M.L. Reynolds, Sarah A. Reynolds, James Mayfield, Martin McGinnis, Harvey Snodgrass, Sarah Snodgrass, Jane Huggins, Elizabeth Dickinson, John Anderson, Margaret Anderson, Mary Green, Hannah Reynolds, Margaret J. Reynolds, Asa Barnett and Jane Barnett. Of these James Mayfield and Martin McGinnis were chosen deacons and John F. Anderson church clerk. The organization held their meetings in a school-house until 1884, when the chapel, which is a handsome frame edifice, 30x50 feet, was erected, at a cost of $1,200. The site of this church, consisting of two acres of land, together with two acres for the cemetery adjoining, was donated by R.D. Reynolds, in whose honor the church was named. The names of the pastors of this church, in the order they have officiated, are as follows: Albert Harris, D.P. Brockus, J.B. Palmer, Hollis Highfill, Daniel M. Jones and E.D. Fortner, the latter being the present pastor. The organization consists of about sixty-five members. The chapel stands upon a very beautiful location, some four miles west of Buffalo.
Louisburg Baptist Church was organized August 23, 1888, at Louisburg, by Elders J.H. Stinecipher, N.J. Stinecipher and G.W. Alexander, with the following constituent members: E. Lindsey, R.T. Hogg, M.L. Atchley, James R. Acuff and Sisters M.A. Lindsey, M.A. Hogg, H.B. Hayes, M.J. Lindsey, Margaret Burger, Josephine Hyde, M.C. Karr and Nellie Lindsey. Having no church edifice, the meetings of this organization are held in the lower room of the Louisburg Academy building. Rev. N.J. Stinecipher was the first and is the present pastor. This church at this writing has twenty-eight members, with nine more approved for baptism. E. Lindsey is deacon, and C.O. Gammon, clerk.
Bethel Baptist Church, at Independence was organized November 17, 1888, by Rev. G.W. Sherman, missionary of Freedom Association, and Rev. William Cain, of Webster County, Mo., with Brothers W.C. Lindsey and John E. Cline, and Sisters Mrs. N.J. Wollard, Rebecca Edmisson, Mattie Lindsey and Margaret Randles, as constituent members. A frame church house, 36x50 feet in size, and estimated to cost $700, is being erected by this organization. It stands on the Conway road, near the Big Niangua River, in Washington Township. Rev. William N. Cain is present pastor. This church has in the short time of its existence attained a membership of forty. It has regular preaching on the fourth Sunday in each month, and prayer meeting every week. Levi C. Taylor is church clerk.
Mount Zion Baptist Church was organized in August, 1871, by Elders J.W. Fitch, Albert Harris, D.J. Morrow and Mark Harris. Brothers D.S. Bills, A.J. Scott, D.J. Morrow, J.H. Strickland and W.C. Scott, and Sisters Rebecca Strickland, Z. Scott, Fannie Bills, Mary J. Cowden, J.A. Cowden and Virginia Scott were the constituent members. This organization, having no church edifice, holds its meetings in the school-house. The pastors have been as follows, viz.: John W. Fitch, Mark Harris, Z.T. Strickland, 1874-75; D.S. Bills, 1875-77; J.W. Fitch, 1877-78; W.E. Spear, 1878-81; David Hilson, 1881-82; T.S. Scrivener, 1882-83; N.J. Stinecipher, 1883-86; David Hitson, 1886-88; W.D. Cheek, 1888-89. At this writing the organization consists of fifty-six members. The church clerk is Joseph Engle.
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church was organized in the fall of 1869, by Elders John W. Fitch and David Morrow, with Green Williams and wife, Sanford Creek, Martha Creek, Joel Garner, Martha Garner, Frank Wingo, Nathan McDaniel, John Smith, Lucinda Smith, Nehemiah Smith, Caroline Smith and John Williams as constituent members. About the year 1870 this society erected their present frame church edifice, at a cost of $400. It is located in Township 33, Range 19. The pastors have been J.W. Fitch, Rev. Edwards, L.A. Smith, Daniel Bills, J.H. Stinecipher, A.W. Kain, R.B. Carnett and E.D. Fortner. The membership is 102. The ordained deacons are John Smith, William E. Hoover, D.W. Beckner, R.H. Morgan and Norris Creek. William E. Hoover was ordained minister August 26, 1888.
Christian Churches – Lindley Christian Church was informally organized by Elder Thaddeus S. Tinsley, on the first Sunday in May, 1873, with the following constituent members, viz.: T.S. Tinsley and wife and daughter, Lydia, H.B. Fowler and wife, Step Wise and wife, and John M. Wise. Two years later the membership had increased to about thirty, and then a formal organization was effected, and continued with only a slight increase of membership until 1888, when, as a result of a revival meeting of six Lord's Days in June and July of that year, conducted by Elder T.S. Tinsley, Jr., fifty-two members were added to the congregation, thirty-eight by confession and baptism, and fourteen by statement, making a membership of eighty-four, which continues about the same. The first meetings were held in the old school-house, half a mile south of the present one, subsequently at the residence of Elder T.S. Tinsley, Sr., and since the fall of 1887 the meetings have been held in the new school-house, known as the Crescent, in School District No. 2, Township 34, Range 20. The erection of a church, in the near future, is contemplated. The pastors have been T.S. Tinsley, Sr. and Jr., and H.B. and F. Fowler (brothers). The church is the instrument of much good work in the community.
Crainhill Christian Church was organized at the Crainhill School-house in 1880, by Elder M.E. Doane, with the following constituent members, viz.: J.W. Means and wife, Thomas Hutchinson, Samuel Hendrickson, Hiram Hendrickson and wife, Elizabeth Gardner, William Gardner, Sarah A. Engle, Sister R.A. Sneed, William Sneed, H.S. Jenkins and wife, T.M. Crain, Nancy J. Crain, Taylor Crain, Rebecca Engle, Joseph Engle and Anna Engle. This organization still continues to hold its meetings in the school-house, which was built by subscription, with the understanding that it should be used for church as well as for school purposes. At the organization of the church J.W. Means was chosen elder, and Hiram Hendrickson deacon. Later, C.F. Rush and H.S. Jenkins were appointed elders and Samuel Hendrickson deacon. The membership is about fifty.
Pleasant Home Christian Church, on the Lebanon road, near the eastern boundary of the county, was organized in 1884 by Elder H. Rutter, with W.R. Brashears, James Robertson, Martha Robertson, George and M.L. Buchanan, W.W. Davidson, Belle Riggs and Lillie Harmon as constituent members. This congregation has a frame church in which it worships. The pastors have been H. Rutter, James M. Tennison, John Bezonia, Elder Fitch and Benjamin Powell. Other ministers frequently preach for the congregation. The membership is 110.
The Buffalo Christian Church was organized in July, 1885, by W.H. Watson, district evangelist, with Richardson Wilkinson and wife, John O'Bannon and wife, Smith Johnson and wife, R.S. Brownlow, Mrs. Umphrey, J.N. Cline and wife, Asa R. Vanderford and wife, John Vanderford and wife, M.F. Vanderford and wife, J.N. Vanderford and wife, T.J. Jones and wife and others, to the number of about fifty, as constituent members. The following year, 1885, the present large and comfortable frame church edifice was erected, at a cost of about $2,000. The pastors officiating have been T.E. Shepherd, G.J. Cowan and J.W. Hopwood, the latter being the present one. The membership is about 200.
Mill Creek Christian Church was organized at Mill Creek January 20, 1889, by Elder Benjamin Powell, with R.C. Harrell and Thomas Lowery as elders, G.W. Brakebill and I.W. Osborn as deacons, George W. Brakebill as clerk, and others to the number of twelve as constituent members. They worship in the district school-house, and have a membership now of thirty-six.
Prairie Grove Christian Church, located in the southwest part of Section 5, Township 33, Range 20, was organized in the fall of 1865 by Elders Morgan Kelley and Lawson T. Satterfield, with the following members, viz.: Robert W. Summers, Joseph Gregg, John C. Roper, James Yates, David White, Hannah White, Hannah Summers, Elizabeth Gregg and Jane Yates, who still continue as members, besides others who now have their membership at other places, among whom are L.T. Satterfield, Asa Vanderford, R.R. Wilkinson, John S. Pendergraft, Carroll J. Pendergraft, James Rafferty and many others. There are 290 names on the book. The church edifice belonging to this organization was erected in 1869, at a cost of about $1,000. It is a frame structure, 24x40 feet in size, and is seated with pews. It was dedicated some time in the summer of 1869, by Elder Morgan Kelley. The pastors have been Morgan Kelley, L.T. Satterfield, Rev. Fisk, John Pendergraft, Col. Smith, J.J. Lane, J. Baker, F.M. Coy, T.E. Shepard and Isaac Bridges. Satterfield and Smith served two terms each. The membership now numbers ninety. This church was originally organized at the Kelley school-house, one-fourth mile south of the present church edifice. Two other churches, one at Halfway and one at Buffalo, have been organized largely from the former membership of this one.
The Buffalo Presbyterian Church was organized May 16, 1868, by Rev. Martin, a returned missionary to China, and who acted as the interpreter of the Burlington Treaty between the United States and the Chinese Empire, whereby trade between these countries was opened up. The organization was effected with W.J. Montgomery, Mary E. Montgomery, Margaret McDowell, William McDowell, Hannah McDowell, William Bonner, Jane Bonner, Sr., Jane Bonner, Jr., Eliza Bonner, Valentine Bonner and A.F. McDowell as original members. The present neat and comfortable frame church edifice belonging to this organization was erected in 1872, at a cost of about $1,600. It is 30x45 feet in size. The church has been supplied with regular pastors as follows, viz.: H.A. Tucker, 1872-74; L.J. Matthews, 1874-76; George Bicknell, 1877-78; George F. Davis, 1880-84; James L. Lafferty, 1886-87; William McElroy, 1887-88. H.R. Lewis, the present pastor, began his labors in October, 1888. This organization has over sixty members, and it is the only one belonging to the Presbyterian denomination in the county.
Others – The foregoing comprise about all of the church organizations within Dallas County. All of the churches in Buffalo, and many of those in the county, especially at small villages, maintain Sunday-schools. There is also a church in Buffalo composed of colored members.
[Source: History of Laclede, Camden, Dallas, Webster, Wright, Texas, Pulaski, Phelps and Dent counties, Missouri. 1889; Submitted by Kim Mohler]