Daviess County, Missouri Genealogy Trails

County Firsts

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


Jacob Stollings kept the first boarding house in Gallatin.

Daviess County first inhabited by the white man in 1830.

First cabin built in the county by John Splawn and his son, Mayberry Splawn, in January, 1830.

First house built on the site of Millport by Robert P. Peniston and his son, Wm. P. Peniston, in 1831.

First crop planted on the prairie land of the county by William Prewett in 1834.

First county court held near present site of Gallatin at the home of Philip Covington, in Feb. 17, 1837.

First election called for April 29, 1837, to elect two justices of the peace and one constable for each township. None held in Honey Creek and Grand River Townships, and another called for May 29, 1837.

First grocer's license granted to John A. Williams, April 2, 1837.

Ferry license across Grand River granted Jacob S. Rogers in Nov. 1837.

First term of court held at Gallatin, Sept. 3, 1838.

First court of appeal for Daviess County, called at Gallatin, Aug. 4, 1839.

First census taken by Wm. P. Peniston and allowed $60 for same in 1840.

William H. Harrison, first free person of color found asking for a license to reside in the state. Granted license "so long as he is of good behavior." 1845.

First record of the action of a coroner. Jacob Stollings presented a bill to county court for holding an inquest, February, 1847.

One hundred dollars allowed to pay surveyors in Daviess County for the survey of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. First railway business transacted by the court in the county, 1851.

First telegraph line over the Chicago & Southwestern Railway route reached Gallatin at 12 m. Thursday, Aug. 17, 1871. A message was sent to Chicago and an answer received that afternoon.

First rail laid within the county on the St. Louis, Chillicothe & Omaha line, April 5, 1871.

First excursion to celebrate the opening of the Chicago & Southwestern arrival, Sept. 26, 1871.

First term of circuit court held in the county, Austin A. King, judge, July 18, 1837, at the home of Elisha B. Creekmore.

First power of attorney recorded, Oct. 3, 1838.

First bridge built in the county by Adam Black across Muddy Creek on road from Diamon to Chillicothe, 1841.

First iron bridge contracted for, 1877.

First postoffice in Daviess County located at Millsport, 1835, moved to Gallatin in 1837.

First daily mails received at Gallatin, from Hamilton to Gallatin, April 1, 1870.

First daily mail train on Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad commenced Feb. 1, 1873.

First appraisement on record, 1837.

James Miller commissioned first justice of the peace, Jan. 5, 1839.

The first deaths in the county were the two children of Stephen Roberts. Both died on the same day, in March, 1830.

Elizabeth Tarwater, daughter of John and Ruth Tarwater, was the first child born in Daviess County. The date of her birth was Jan. 8, 1832.

The first sermon was preached by James McMahon, a Methodist minister, under a tree near the place where Millport was later located, on April 25, 1830. The second preacher in the county was William Michaels of the Baptist church.

Dr. William P. Thompson was the first physician. He settled just over the line in Grundy County in 1833.

The first mill was owned by Robert P. Peniston. The work of putting it up was done by Milford Donaho and "Jake," a slave owned by Mr. Peniston.

The first cattle brand on record was filed May 8, 1837, by Robert P. Peniston, and his mark was "crop and hole in the right ear, swallow fork in the left ear." Among those who registered marks in 1838 were Evan and William Morgan, Vincent Smith, Thomas Edwards, Sarah Williams, Adam Black, John W. Freeman, Benedict Weldon, Elijah Foley, Silas Best, William Nation, Andrew McHaney and Nathan Price.

The first slave in the county was "Jake," owned by Robert P. Peniston.

Mrs. Nancy Peniston wove the first cloth.

The first recorded literary attempt by a Daviess County women was a poem by Minnie Hammer.

The first court house was completed in 1843.

The first buggy ever used in the county was built by Thomas Clingan in 1838.

The first cooking stove in the county was owned by a hotel in Pattonsburg. Elijah Hubbard was the first to own one for family use. Mrs. Lydia Smith Youtsey, in a letter to the Gallatin Democrat, on her 59th wedding anniversary, said, "My father sent my brother to St. Joseph to get a cooking stove. It was the first one brought into the neighborhood and most all our neighbors came to see us cook on it. Now we have more stoves than vituals."

The following is a portion of a letter written by Nathan Shriver in 1915: "I was a member of the first brass band that Gallatin had. It was organized in 1857 or 1858, We played at county fairs and on other noted occasions up to 1861. Then the war burst it all up to pieces. Some of the members went north, some south and some stayed at home. Some of your now honorable townsmen were members of that band, D. Harfield Davis, William Sheets. Others were Dr. Charles Hogan, William Osborn, Robert Owens, Capt. John Sheets and Elwood Lewis."

First mercantile licenses issued in the county in 1837 were as follows: April 7, John A, Williams, grocer, $5; April 8, John Wright, merchandise, $15; May 8, Thos. W. Jacobs, merchandise, $15; May 8, Jesse Adamson, grocer, $5 ; June 25, Worthington & McKinney, merchandise, $15 ; James Hunter, ferry on Grand River, $2.50.

First case in the circuit court was John Ragland vs. Jacob B. and William Oxford, appeal. An entry of nonsuit was made.

First houses on the present site of Jamesport were two Mormon cabins, one of which was just south of the old M. E. church, the other was near the I. O. O. F. cemetery.

The first store in Jamesport was opened about 1855 by John and Isaac Faulkner, just north of the George B. Callison home.

January 13, 1838, is the date of the first deed on record. It was given by Francis C. Case and Mary, his wife, to Elisha Groves, and conveyed land in Section 13, Township 58, Range 28.

Theodore Penniston, George W. Poag and G. W. Keene were the first attorneys admitted to the bar in the county. They were admitted in March 1855.

The first application for a dramshop to be refused was on Nov. 1, 1860.

The first newspaper printed in the county was the "Missouri Sun," established at Gallatin in 1853, published by Stearns and McKean.

So far as can be learned the first school in the county was in Benton Township in the spring of 1837, with H, W. Enyhart as teacher. The term was three months and tuition was $2.00 a pupil, which might be paid in produce.


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