Daviess County, Missouri Genealogy Trails

Cities and Towns

History of Daviess and Gentry Counties Missouri – (Daviess County portion by John C. Leonard and Buel Leonard) – Printed by Historical Publishing Company, 1922 – Transcribed by Veneta McKinney


The events connected with the selection of the site for the seat of justice have already been mentioned. The land upon which the town is located was preempted by Philip Covington. Some difficulty later arose over the title and it was not until 1869 that the necessary quit claim deed was secured. The town was platted in December, 1837 and the first lots were sold Jan. 8, 1858. Main and Grand streets were each to be 80 feet wide, and all other streets 60 feet in width. Jacob Stollings built the first house in the town - located where the Etter Dry Goods Company now has its store. At about the same time George W. Worthington put up a building for a dram shop. The first grocery store was kept by John A. Williams. Thomas W. Jacobs opened a dry goods store and Jesse Adamson a grocery. Compton and Mann a general store. All of these business establishments were started before June, 1838. The first tavern was opened by Lewis J. Dodd, while the "Mansion House" was opened in 1844 by Stollings and Peck.
Gallatin was first incorporated in 1854, the trustees being Thomas T. Frame, Joseph L. Wilson, Alfred L. Barnett, George W. Brosius and Robert Wilson. For some unknown reason no other trustees were elected under this charter. On Nov. 7, 1854, Gallatin was again incorporated. Dr. John Cravens, Adam Clemdenen, James Owings, Henry Whittington and Otis B. Richardson were appointed the first trustees. By 1857 the town had a population of about 400 and then asked for incorporation as a city. The General Assembly passed the necessary act and it was approved by the Governor Nov. 21, 1857. The first election of Mayor and Council was held in May, 1858 when the following were elected. William M. Givens, Mayor ; J. H. McGee, S. T. Hill, John Ballinger and Henry W. Lile, Council. The Council then appointed William M. Sheets, Clerk, William T. Osborn, Treasurer and C. A, Witt, Marshall and Collector.
During the Civil War there were no elections, control of affairs being largely in the hands of the militia. In Nov., 1866, upon the petition of Joseph of McGee and a hundred and one other residents tax payers, the county court appointed Joab Woodruff, Joseph H. McGee, Samuel A. Richardson, D. L. Kost and John Ballinger, Trustees for the town until next election. This enabling act seemed unsatisfactory and in Sept., 1868 a number of citizens petitioned W. C. Gillihan, who was a notary public to call an election to fill all vacancies in "office elective under the charter of said city". The election of D. Harfield Davis as Mayor, Jacob Woodruff, Robert H, Grantham, Benton Miller and James D. Vance, members of the council.
A new charter was granted Gallatin in 1870 by the General Assembly, and the first election under it was held the first Tuesday of April 1870, and resulted in the selection of D. C. McDougal, Mayor, Joel H. Brundidge, Thomas J. Grain, A. M. Irving and Amos Poe, council.
In 1877 an attempt was made to have Gallatin become a city of the Fourth Class, but the proposition was defeated by a vote of 33 to 94. The city continued to operate under its special charter until 1908 when by a vote of 260 to 105 Gallatin became a city of the Fourth Class.
A number of additions have been made to the original town site.
In 1878 it was decided to macadamize the public square. The work was under the direction of Squire Ewing. Morley and Venable were given the contract for the south side at $2.00 per square of 10 feet. By 1882 the work had been completed, as well as a road to the Rock Island depot. It is now proposed to have the main streets paved. In 1905 an ordinance was passed providing that all new sidewalks put down must be made of brick or granetoid.
In 1906 Governor Dockery purchased a tract of land which he presented to the town for a park. Additional land was purchased and Dockery Park was formally dedicated on June 18, 1907. For many years the Catholic church had owned a lot in Gallatin near the park. A controversy later arose over the ownership and finally in 1909 an acre adjoining the park was exchanged for the land in controversy. In the same year Governor Dockery added two more acres to the park.
Since 1911 Gallatin has maintained a Chautauqua which is managed by a group of citizens, rather than by a Chautauqua company.
The population of Gallatin in 1890 was 1,489 ; in 1900, 1,780 ; in 1910, 1,825 ; and in 1920 it was 1,747.

The story of the founding of Jamesport is best related in the words of one of the founders, Dr. J. T. Allen, who in 1905 wrote a series of articles for the North Missourian entitled, "Recollections of an Old Settler."
"James Gillilan's house stood near where the school house now stands, only on the West side of the street. Remember that there was nothing east of that but prairie. I built my office in his yard in the spring of 1856. I made a trip to Virginia in that fall. When I left I told Mr. Gillilan to finish my office. When I returned it was nearly Christmas, but Mr. Gillilan had not done a thing to my office. When I asked why, he said he thought I would want to go to one of the new towns, which had been laid out in my absence. I was, as the saying goes, knocked clear out of the persimmon tree, as the understanding was when I left we would lay out a town where it now exists. There was a spritely widow, a Mrs. Murray, who had laid out a town three miles north of the Jamesport-to-be, and she called it Edray. If any doubts this, look at the records in your county clerk's office. Another town was laid out by Mr. Smith about two miles east. As I had devoted a great deal of time in studying the law about how to lay out towns, I found that Mr. Smith, although he had advertised sale of lots, had violated the law by not having previously recorded the plat as the law directs. So I scared him off by a threat of the law, and I told Mr. Gillilan I thought we could beat the widow, as this was the place for the town. So with his consent I platted the old town and got a young man named Solomon to survey it. Not being accustomed to laying out towns, I made the streets too narrow. Mr. Gillilan gave me choice of a half block, with the privilege to select where I wished. I selected the lots where the old Buzzard bank stood. On the other half was erected the first hotel. We had a public sale of lots and did well. I will state here that with Mr. Gillilan's consent we had an agreement that no saloon should be allowed to hold any lot. They finally beat us in this. “As the children of darkness are always wiser in their generation than the children of light.”
"This is a true story of the origin of Jamesport. Mr. Gillilan and myself pondered a long time as to the name we should give our new foundling, and as we were both named James, we concluded to call it for ourselves."
The town grew slowly, having in 1870 only about 120 inhabitants, with the building of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, now a part of the Rock Island system, Jamesport took on new life. The first train came thru the town on June 25, 1871. New business houses began to be built. A grain house was erected by Franklin Collison in the summer of that year, Dunn & Miller started a large store building and a lumber yard established. In 1872 the Jones Mill was built. Between July 1, 1871 and Jan. 1, 1872, forty dwellings and ten stores were built.
In 1872 a petition was presented to the county clerk asking that Jamesport be incorporated.
Franklin Callison, Nathaniel G. Cruzen, Maro Thomas, A. B. Barnes and Isaiah H. Jones, were appointed trustees.
By 1875 the population had increased to 400. In that year the board of trustees undertook numerous improvements, sidewalks and street crossings were put in.
In Jan. 22, 1881, Jamesport voted to become a city of the fourth class. The vote being 78 to 22. Franklin Callison was the first mayor and P. H. Lilly, J. C. Murray, Horatio Bunker and J. H. Berry made up the first board of aldermen.
The Commercial Club has been especially active in the improvement of roads.
Jamesport has one of the prettiest parks in this section of the state.

Located in Salem township is a small town platted under the name of Salem but the post-office is known as Coffey. The official name of the town is now seldom used. It was platted in 1856, and the plat recorded July 29th of that year. In an account of the life of William Galbreath the following data was obtained: "Uncle Billy Galbreath came to Daviess County in Oct., 1848, and settled on the site of what is today Coffeyburg.**
*** He gave the ground on which Pennebakers store now stands to Cole Brown and Frederick Westpheling in the early Fifties, provided they would establish a general merchandise store, which they did, ****** Uncle Billy was one of the committee, which secured the crossing of the old state roads from Plattsburg to Trenton and Hamilton to Bethany at Coffeyburg and the store located at the crossroads did a thriving business." The first residence was built by Edwin McIntire. William Triplett had the first blacksmith shop and William Gillispie the first cabinet shop. The town began to get daily mails in 1876.
The building of the K. C. & I. Railroad which passes through the town made it an important center in that part of the county. The population in 1920 was 367.

The 1882 history makes the following statements regarding Winston: "It has a greater extent of rich farming country tributary to it than any town in the county, not even excepting Gallatin, and if a public spirit of enterprise is exhibited will soon rival in population and wealth the seat of justice of Daviess."
The Chicago and Southwestern railroad was completed in the summer of 1871. At that time a station was established about halfway between Gallatin and Cameron. This station was at first called Crofton. The land upon which the town was built was owned by Mrs. Susan Ethington, Frederick Croft, Jacob Fleisher and Henry Koons. A large portion of the site was donated to the railroad company for railroad and town purposes. The railroad conveyed the land to a group of men in Gallatin known as the Gallatin Company. The company pushed the sale of lots. The town then became known as Winson or Winstonville. The postoffice was established at this point in Feb., 1872, and F. B. Brown was the first postmaster. There being another postoffice in the state called Winson the postoffice here was called Emporia. Up into the eighties the town was frequently referred to by this name.
T. J. Jefferies was the first station agent and the first store was opened by Joseph Swike in 1871. Henry Koons established the first hotel. The first physician was Dr. Wilson, and Dr. D. M. Clagett came in 1874.
The town was incorporated in March, 1878, and T. J. Jefferies, D. M. Clagett, Jonas Potts, John T. Taylor and Otho Preston were the first trustees.
A commercial club was organized in 1906.
The town has a population of 339.

The plat of Pattonsburg is filed under the name of Elm Flat. It is located in the bottoms of Sampson Creek and took the name from the number of elms growing there. About a mile and a half north of the town stood old Pattonsburg. When the Chillicothe and Omaha Railroad was being built through the county in 1871, Benton Township subscribed $20,000.00 to the road, said road to run through the old town of Pattonburg. But instead the company built to Big Creek and there stopped for a time. Business men from Pattonsburg began to move to the railroad and soon the old town was deserted. The new town grew rapidly. A list of business references in 1876 contains the following names. E. H. Tillery, proprietor of the Valley house, Alex Edson proprietor of the Forest House.
Elm Flat was first incorporated Aug. 7, 1877, but an error had been made in the description of the land. On Sept. 10th, the court granted the amended petition.
W. G. Weldon, John W. Casebolt, F. E. Venable, Thomas J. Mattingly and E. B. Christie constituted the first board of trustees.
On May 28, 1895, the business section was almost entirely destroyed by fire. The loss was estimated at more than $50,000. New buildings were soon put up.
In 1909 the county was subjected to the most disastrous flood in its history. On July 6th, the flood began. Big and Sampson creeks and Grand River rose rapidly. A band of some thirty men headed by Mayor Maupin started working on the dike near Pattonsburg, thinking that by rip-rapping a great of the danger could be averted. Within a few hours the town was under water except some of the houses in Highland addition. The new drainage project which is on foot in that section of the county will when completed, prevent the recurrence of a like disaster.
The population is 1068. The town has always had a group of business men who were interested in good roads and they have managed to secure the location of a number of trails thru Pattonsburg.
The citizens have recently opened a country club house.

The St. Louis, Chillicothe & Omaha Railroad completed its road as far as the location of Jameson in June, 1871. A surveying party from Chillicothe laid out a town at this point, completing the work on June 12, 1871. Benjamin G. Kimball was appointed as agent for the company and on the following Monday, he began selling lots at $100 each. The land upon which the town was laid out was entered by Charles Cravens on Oct. 2, 1854, and a year later a tract adjoining it by Ark Briggs. Henry Briggs owned the land at the time the town was laid out. At first the postoffice was known as Feurt Summitt, but the name was afterwards changed to Jameson.
Herbert D. White put up the first building, a small frame building used for a grocery and restaurant. The store building of a Mr. Threlkeld and James F. Hamaker were erected within a short time. Elijah Hubbard was in charge of the first hotel. J. W. Wanamaker, a blacksmith and wagon-maker, soon opened a shop and did a lively business. William McCoy started a livery and feed stable. The first drug store was owned by Dr. William Allen, who was also the town's first physician. The first lumber yard was owned by Leeper & Grappler.
John A. Brown was the first postmaster, but was soon succeeded by Dr. Walker. Squire Scott, one of the justices of Grand River Township, held the first court in Jameson. The railroad books show that 24 cars of grain and 53 cars of stock were shipped from the new town during Oct. and Nov., 1871.
On Oct. 12, 1876, Jameson was incorporated, and A. O. Siple, W. T. Stovall, J. M. Raley, A. Ingraham, and S. F. Howell were appointed trustees.
In 1882, a plot of ground was laid off for a public park. Here has been held the annual event of greatest social importance to Jameson and the surrounding community, the K. P. picnic, held each year on Aug. 9th.
The population of Jameson was 329 in 1920.

Carlow, an incorporated village in Jackson Township, is a station of the Wabash Railroad. The town has several stores and a bank. A consolidated school has recently been built on a site a short distance north of the village.

Lock Springs is in the southeast part of Jackson Township on the Wabash railroad. In 1890, it had 212 inhabitants ; in 1900, 246 ; in 1910, 255; and in 1920, 288.

Altamont is the youngest town in the county. In the early nineties, the C. R. I. & P. Railroad built an extension of its line to St. Joseph. Winston had expected that the division point would be at that place. Instead the junction was located about three miles nearer Gallatin, and called Altamont, meaning "High Mountain", and so named because of its elevation of 1,002 feet at the railroad depot.
All of the members of the present town board are women, with one exception. It is the first town of the county to elect women to such positions. The population in 1920 was 349.

Civil Bend is an unincorporated village located in Marion Township. It was laid out by Gilbert Canfield in 1868. The first business house was built by John T. Price, and N. B. Brown was another of the early merchants. In 1880 the population was 78. With the coming of the railroads, other towns located along the railroad prospered at the expense of Civil Bend, which has declined in population and business importance since 1880.

Mill Port was a thriving village when Daviess county was organized in 1836. At that time the settlers on Lick Fork, Honey creek and Grindstone creek combined and managed to have the county seat located south of Grand river. This marked the end of the prosperous career of the first town in the county. Mill Port merchants lost no time in removing to the county seat, where they were among the first merchants of the new town of Gallatin. In the fall of 1838 Mill Port was burned by the Mormons and no attempt was made to rebuild it.

Early in 1837 Mormon immigrants began to flock into Daviess County. They settled mainly south of the river. At the time the administrative headquarters of the Mormon church had just been established at Far West in Caldwell County. In April, 1838, Joseph Smith, Jr., had one of his famous revelations which resulted in the establishment of a Mormon town in Daviess County. Following the vision he tells in his History of the Church how in May of that year he came up Grand river until he came to the home of Lyman Wight, one of the most prominent of his followers. Here they selected a town site, four miles south and one-half mile west of Gallatin. This place had been called Spring Hill, but by order of the prophet it was now named Adam-ondi-Ahmon.

After the Mormons were driven from Adam-ondi-Ahmon, a new town was established on the same site by Dr. John Cravens, who had come from Virginia and had settled in Saline County, a short time before the outbreak of the Mormon trouble. The town was called Cravensville. For a number of years Cravensville contested with Gallatin for the county seat. At one time 93 of the 280 taxpayers of the county petitioned to have Cravensville made the seat of justice, but the county court rejected the proposal. The town had ten or twelve dwelling houses, several stores and about 60 inhabitants.

The plat of Prairie City, located in the northern part of the county, was filed by J. R. Vancil on June 1, 1857. As late as 1870 the village had an assessed valuation of $365, but at that time it had practically disappeared.

Crittenden was located in the southwestern part of Lincoln Township. Stage lines passed through it four times a week. In 1860 Joseph H. Herndon was postmaster. After the war practically nothing was heard of the village.

Eclipse had practically no existence except on paper. The plat was recorded Dec. 15, 1856 by James Blizzard.

Old Pattonsburg was located about one and one-half miles north of the present town of that name. About 1845 Matthew Patton built on Big Creek the first water-mill in Benton Township. The settlement which sprang up near the mill was at first called Patton Mill, but was later changed to Pattonburg.
In 1872 the Wabash Railroad built as far as the present site of Pattonsburg, which was then known as Elm Flat. The business men soon began to remove to the Flats, but they took the name of the town with them. The old town rapidly disappeared, and is now a cornfield.

Victoria - Jefferson Township furnished sites for two towns, which are now extinct. Victoria, named for the English queen, was laid out in 1855 by John Osborn, and was located less than a mile from the southern line of the township in Section 32.
When the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad was built, trade was diverted to Cameron and when later the Rock Island was built thru the country, Victoria was again overlooked and has been practically extinct since 1880.

Alta Vista, also located in Jefferson township, was laid out by M. D. Hines, in 1856. Mr. Mines conducted the first store located in the new town. Alta Vista had the distinction of giving the first barbecue in the county on July 4, 1858. Alta Vista has also disappeared, the name remaining only to designate the neighborhood.

Bancroft was situated about a mile from the Sullivan County line in Lincoln Township. In 1859 John Oram and Thomas Mickels each gave five acres for the town site. The first merchant was Washington Nichols and Lon Chaplin had the first blacksmith shop. This town enjoyed a greater prosperity than its contemporaries. About 1890 the Omaha and Quincy Railroad was built through the county, missing Bancroft by about a mile. Oilman was built at that distance from Bancroft. From that time on the town fought a losing fight and has now ceased to exist.




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