Dent County Missouri
Dent County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,657. The largest city and county seat is Salem. The county was officially organized on February 10, 1851, and is named after state representative Lewis Dent, a pioneer settler who arrived in Missouri from Virginia in 1835.
DENT COUNTY, MO.
Boundary – Dent County is in Southeast Central Missouri, bounded on the north by Phelps and Crawford Counties; on the east by Crawford, Iron and Reynolds; on the south by Reynolds, Shannon and Texas, and on the west by Texas and Phelps. One township of Reynolds County extends into the eastern side of Dent. The county embraces 558,720 acres.
The Surface – "The surface is diversified," says Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri. "In the western part, from the northern boundary to the headwaters of the Current River, the land is comparatively level. Proceeding eastward the land gradually rises to an irregular ridge, bordering the western shore of Dry Fork. From thence to the eastern boundary it is generally rolling, and in some places quite hilly. The whole is an elevated table-land, rising from 800 to 1,000 feet above the level of the sea. The Ozark Range passes east and west through the county, and divides the waters which enter the Missouri River from those which flow into the Arkansas. This 'divide' descends gradually toward the Missouri, and the streams which flow in that direction are deep and sluggish, while those flowing south have a more abrupt descent, and are consequently rapid, and frequently broken by falls. Current River, which rises near the Texas County line, flows with great rapidity along the southern border of the county, through a rough and broken country; many of the hills rise to great heights, and crossing the Current, present bold and lofty faces along the margin of that stream. The top of the divide is formed of the second sandstone of the Missouri Geological Survey, and under this the third magnesian limestone. The stratum of sandstone is from sixty to 100 feet thick, and is covered with a yellow pine forest. On the south side of the main divide, between the water courses, are some extensive white-oak groves. The southeastern part of the county is hilly, with many abrupt elevations. Pleasant Valley, at the head of the Meramec River, is principally prairie, interspersed with oak openings, with a good depth of clay over the sandstone, and soil generally productive. Gladden Valley, in the southern part of the county, is a range of upland country, with oak openings, and small prairies. The timber consists of hickory, oak, black walnut, yellow pine, etc. The principal water-courses are the Meramec, Current and Sinking Rivers, and Dry Fork, Pigeon and Big Creeks. Most of these streams are fed by springs, and afford abundance of water-power. Spring Creek, which traverses the central part of the county, is also a stream of some importance. The soil, except on the most elevated hills, is good and well-suited to the purpose of agriculture. The river and creek bottoms are very fertile. Near the head-waters of the Meramec and in the valley are hundreds of Indian mounds, stretching up and down the valley, and laid off into regular squares. These were probably erected as a protection against water for tent locations."
Mineral Wealth – The mineral wealth of the county is very great, especially in iron, the only phase which has been greatly developed. Since the completion of the Salem Branch, in 1873, many "banks" have been opened, and thousands of tons of iron ore shipped to St. Louis and points as far east as Pittsburg, Penn., and to the furnaces within the boundaries of Dent and Crawford Counties. This work has furnished employment to hundreds of men and teams. Among the largest mines opened in the county are the Simmons Mountain, Jamison, Preston and Clark "banks," operated by the Missouri Iron Company; the Pomeroy, by William James; the Thomas, Ferguson and Hawkins "banks," by the Midland Blast Furnace Company; the Riverside and Nova Scotia "banks;" the Orchard, by the Salem Iron Company; the Plank "bank," by the Dent Iron Company, and other smaller banks. There are still many banks unworked, which will probably be developed in the near future. Two iron furnaces have been built in the county. The Sligo furnace, erected in 1880 at Sligo Station, has been in operation almost continuously ever since; it employs from 300 to 500 men in mining, quarrying, hauling, cutting and in making charcoal, and produces from forty to fifty tons of pig iron daily. In 1881 a large furnace was built in the south part of the county by the Nova Scotia Iron Company. It was in full operation until 1888, when it was removed to Paducah, Ky.
Soil – The land of Dent County is divided about as follows:* Rich valleys and bottoms, 75,000 acres; first-class uplands, 75,000; second class uplands, 150,000; timber and grazing lands, 150,000; of these are cultivated about 60,000; width of bottoms, 200 to 800 yards. The soil is loamy below and sandy clays above, furnishing good grazing, grains and fruits. Among the chief fruits are apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries, grapes, strawberries and raspberries. Among the chief fish and game are bass, catfish, red-horse, perch, pike and suckers; quail, squirrel, rabbit, birds, with some deer and turkey. (*Supplement to Dent County Democrat, 1881.)
Valuation – In 1881 the assessed valuation of the county was $1,395,738, distributed as follows: Real estate, 452,593 acres, $819,060; town lots, 541, $95,090; horses, 2,784, $79,945; mules, 1,181, $37,525; asses and jennets, 29, $500; neat cattle, 9,135, $72,326; sheep, 9,087, $9,115; hogs, 21,332, $21,643; bonds, etc., $105,188.
Era of Settlement
Earthworks – It is uncertain whether remains of mounds, earthworks, pottery, etc., found in Dent County were left by the pre-historic people known as Mound Builders, or by earlier races of Indians. It is certain, however, that the Indians whom the early settlers found roaming through this region attributed it all to some one long before their time. In many of the valleys are found mounds, especially on the Current River and the Meramec. On the bluffs, too, are found what are, in all probability, burial inclosures, as bones have been found in them, and various crude kinds of pottery. In the caves of the Meramec bluffs have frequently been found piles of human bones, with some pottery, and heavy beds of ashes covered parts of the floor.
Indians – The Indians who followed these ancient people in the occupation of Dent County's territory were, it is to be supposed, the same as those who wandered over Missouri and the Ozark uplands generally. Little or nothing can be learned of them in this region. No traditions remain. They made the early settlers no trouble. As late as 1838 and later they were passing through here on the old "White River trace," or trail, made by their forefathers; this passed through Licking, through Dent, past Bressie's Spring on Spring Creek, and passing about three miles from Salem on the northwest. Osages, Delawares and Shawnees were the most familiar. Another trace crossed the county from Licking toward the east. Among these the Indians filed with their ponies, laden with pelts, furs, etc., for the big city on the river. They would camp out for a few days and the braves would shoot a deer; the squaw would clean from it the "saddle" and sell it to some of the pale-face settlers for 25 cents; many of them talked broken English; they sometimes spoke of Meramec Spring as the "Big Lick." There is no trace of any village in the county, however.
Settlers – It is impossible to learn who were the first settlers within the present limits of Dent County, but it has been said* that George Cole, of St. Louis, was the first man to clear and cultivate a farm here; this was in 1828, and on the Meramec. It is thought that William Thornton, Daniel Trotman and D.M. Wooliver moved here from Tennessee in 1829, and that among those who followed were Elisha Nelson, Jerry Potts, Ephraim Bressie, Abner Wingfield and Robert Leonard. Louis Dent came from Tennessee in 1835. When Rev. R.M. Simmons – then a boy – came here, in 1837, he recalls William Thornton and Wilson Craddock, on Spring Creek; Messrs. Lynch, Smith and Thomas Higginbotham, on Meramec, and "Jack" Berry, Silas Hambey, Smith Wofford and Turkell McNeil, on Dry Fork. Dr. John Hyer and his father, Samuel Hyer, came from Pennsylvania in 1838 – the latter an employee of the Meramec Iron Works, and very intelligent men. They located at a large spring on Dry Fork, where the water formed a lakelet, which led them to give the name Lake Spring to the location, and later on to the post-office. Among those whom Dr. Hyer recalls as here at that time are the Lenoxes, Coppedges, Watkins, Burlisons, Wrights, Craddocks, Skyles, Browns, Sinclairs and Callahans, about Dry Fork; Levi Snelson, Samuel Massey, Reuben Vaughan, one of the Taffs, Barnabas Arthur, John Lamb, John Freeman, the Bentons and David Henderson, on Meramec. The Ages, "old man" Cole and Addison Bates were among the earliest, also. Among others who came in later were the Organs, Orchards, Loves, Simmons, Jamisons, Honeys, Bressie, Sims, McSpadden. In 1844 Andrew Johns, Abner Wingfield, "Uncle Joe" Age, Callahan, and others were here. The settlement was almost entirely along Meramec, Dry Fork and Spring Creek. It was not until later that Gladden Valley and the uplands were settled. (*Campbell's Gazetteer.)
Land Entries – The land was reduced to 12½ cents per acre, and Organ, McSpadden, Arthur, and others, bought large tracts. Much could be bought for 5 cents an acre, and among its buyers were the iron companies of that day. No entries were made before 1829, when a man by the ordinary name of John Jones made the first entry. A large number of entries were made in the latter part of the thirties, but after that there were few before late in the fifties, when the great mass of the entries were made. The following is a complete list of entries previous to 1840, with the date of each: Spear and Thomas I. Sherley, 1839; M. Sherley, 1839; Jacob Sherley, 1838; Ezekiel Groves, 1839; J.Y. Moore, 1839; John Adams, 1836; John Poe and A. Poe, 1839; Monroe Brooks, 1839; John Jones, 1829; Mary and Jackson Sims, 1839; Claborn Pinnel, 1837; William Hambey, 1839; Josiah Beasley, 1838; James Sullivant, 1836; E.A. Hight, 1838; John Lemon, 1839; Jotham Clark, 1837; James Boyce, 1839; Amos Purscel, 1839; Anthony Larrie, 1837; Stephen Shoemate, 1837; Elizabeth Nelson, 1837; Julian Milsaps, 1836; George and Elisha Cole, 1837; James Nelson, 1837; Thomas Higginbotham, 1836; Mark Benton, 1836; M.W. Dent, 1836; Lewis Dent, 1836; William Thornton, 1836; Elizabeth Thornton, 1839; Ephraim F. Bressie entered in 1840; Robert Leonard, 1838; William Lenox, 1839; G.W. Coppedge, 1837; A.C. Coppedge, 1838; David Lenox, 1837; James Burlison, 1837; W. Craddock, 1837; John Brown, 1837; Shedrick Nettle, 1837; James Wright, 1837; E. Craddock, 1838; R. Craddock, 1839; William Craddock, 1836; John Craddock, 1837; Anderson Johns, 1839; Turquil McNeil, 1837; Thomas Higginbotham, 1836; Susannah Parkinson, 1838; Alex. Coppedge, 1836; James D. Watkins, 1837; David Lenox, 1837; John Brown, 1838, and W.H. Lenox, 1837.
Events – Among these were the men who, as Whigs and Democrats, vied with each other for the election, respectively, of William Duval, of Crawford County, and Dr. John Hyer, of Lake Spring, as representative. Lewis Dent, it is said, was especially active in supporting Mr. Duval, in opposition to Dr. Hyer, who, it was claimed, would want the county seat at Lake Spring, and so favor a different territory. The Whigs succeeded, and the new county was rapidly filled up, so that the population in 1860 reached 5,654, and polled a vote of 735. During the war it was almost depopulated and sacked, but the close of hostilities was the signal for recuperation, which was rather slow. The advent of the railway in 1871, and the development of the iron resources of the county, have not only inspired great immigration, but, by furnishing a railway market in the center of the county, done much to develop it in its agricultural phase. Its population in 1880 was 10,600, almost double what it was in 1860.
Industries, Customs, etc. – The earliest industry of the county was hunting, but as the settlers located on farms over 100 miles from a market or post-office, they set about raising a little patch of corn, which made their chief element of vegetable food. This they pounded into coarse meal or hominy in the top of a stump which they had previously burned concave, using an iron wedge, which served for splitting logs, as a pestle. This method, later on, gave way to the long sweep and pestle and the crude water-mills of earlier days. Wheat bread was not used until probably the middle of the forties, and was ground in St. Louis. Game and wild honey were abundant. Bear meat was known as "meat," while venison was called "bread." Then for years the mill at Meramec Iron Works was the nearest one, and "grist" was hauled there in ox-carts, which had before been used in carrying the grist to St. Louis. The wheat was cleaned by letting it fall from a height of several feet, and two persons would stand by flapping an old "linsey" sheet. These sheets had an interesting career: The matrons and maidens, unlike their more delicate descendants, raised their own cotton and sheared their wool, and made the yarns into "linsey" for their summer dresses (it is supposed that bustles were not studied then); these dresses were worn for their wearing quality until they served their time, whereupon they were gathered together and made into sheets. The jeans made from wool by the same feminine hands served the fathers, husbands and brothers for trousers and coat, and made good winter dresses. Leather was home-made, and "every man his own shoemaker;" but occasionally the daughter of some "wealthy" settler would have "store shoes," which were carried carefully concealed on her way to the distant (two or three miles) place for "meeting," and put on just before she reached her destination. It was only the wealthy who owned an ox-team and cart; horses were only used for riding.
The log cabin replaced the tent that every one had to use when he first came, while he was traversing the county around with some old settler for two or three days to find a site to "squat" on. The log house had only dirt floors, stick chimneys, no window, and often no hanging door, or if they had a door it was made of hewn boards lapped together. Hewn boards served to make coffins, too, when it was found necessary to make the first burials in the old Craddock grave-yard. It would seem that burials might be frequent when it is considered that the hunters sometimes went barefooted in winter; moccasins and coon-caps were worn generally. There was little money; picayune (6¼ cents), bits (12½ cents), pistareens (18¼ cents), were as scarce as the two, four and six bits and the gold pieces. They were fortunate if they had come in a two or four wheeled ox-cart, and had brought enough in the shape of ax, wedge, draw-knife and auger, together with skillets and iron ovens, so that money would not be needed. Then it was truly that "necessity became the mother of invention;" after the house was built small hewn board tables were made, and tripod stools, which afterward would make way for the oak-split, "corn-shuck" bottomed chairs. These were made usually in the leisure hours; the industrious father and mother would spend their evenings, one bottoming chairs, cobbling shoes, and the like, and the other spinning, carding, weaving and knitting before the roaring blaze or coal bed of the fire-place until 9 o'clock, when all would "crawl inter bed," and the father, may be, dream of how he was going to bring down a deer with his trusty rifle on the following morning, so the family could begin the day with fresh venison; may be the distance howl of wolves ringing through the woods of the silent valley would change the course of his dream. Morning brought the deer, however, and it was fun to broil it on "spits," while the skillet sizzled away; and then that skillet top, which had three black iron legs sticking up on top of it, the mother would take off, turn its upper side down, with the legs sticking in the glowing coals, and pour on "hoe-cake" batter, or, perhaps, it would be corn-bread put in the closed iron box oven, which she would bury in the coals. Those breakfasts were enjoyed better than the barbecues which were sometimes had when all the candidates for office met people at different places, and spent the whole day in speaking in turn to those who cared to listen. These barbecues were the best on "The Fourth," near "old Abner Wingfield's," when they would dig a long ditch, and build an immense fire in it until it was a solid bed of coals, then lay green poles across, and on these place the clean beef, mutton or pork, which was carefully turned until it was deliciously done. That was the day that some one would read the old – yet ever new – Declaration of Independence; and good speeches were made, too, by Lyle Singleton, or Joseph Milsaps, or Asa Breckenridge, or the best of them all – Dr. John Hyer. These days were almost equaled by the house or tobacco barn "raisin's," where the men would raise the building, and cry "heave-ho-o-o" all day, and the women would, may be, have a "quiltin'," and talk until supper came; then the evening was sometimes turned into a dance, and the "fiddler" furnished the "tunes," or may be they would have a "bussing bee" – it all depended on the neighborhood; whisky was in demand in those days; that was before the temperance movement of late in the 50's, and almost every one drank whisky – even the old predestinarian Baptist preachers. But those days have long since gone.
First Things – The first store within the limits of the present county was that of Ephraim Bressie, on Spring Creek, early in the 40's, and it was here that the first courts were held. "Jeff" Higginbotham had the first store on Dry Fork, but the time is not definitely known. M.M. McSpadden had the first one on Meramec River. None of these became the nucleus of a town; there was no town in the county before Salem began as the county seat, and there Frank Jamison opened the first store. This was at a time when two or three ladies came to see the court yard plat, and couldn't find it on account of the brush wood.
The nearest post-office was for a long time Meramec Iron Works, in the present eastern part of Phelps County; then the Star Route was run through from Hermann to the Iron Works and Dr. John Hyer's residence on to Houston. Lake Spring was the first post-office, established late in the 40's. The next one was Montauk, at Mr. Bressie's.
One of the first elections was held at James Wright's, near Montauk Post-office, in the 40's, and there were but seventeen or eighteen votes cast, the Whigs and Democrats polling very evenly. They voted by simply telling the judges of election the names of their favorite candidates. Tickets or paper ballots were not used until as late as the war, for there were no printing presses near, and then, too, many – very many – of the sturdy, honest-hearted yeomanry had not had the privileges of even a common-school education. The earliest and ablest speaker during the campaigns of the early days of this region, while it was still Crawford and Shannon Counties, was Dr. John Hyer, of Lake Spring. He was the champion of the Democrats against the Whigs. Mass-meetings were held on both Dry Fork and Meramec. The first record of a justice's court is the following:
John Orchard Sons, Plaintiff
G.H. Evans, Defendant
Plaintiff filed July, the 7th day, 1858, for suit one note, Executed to them By Defendant for Twenty-two dollars and ninety-five cents, Date July 21st, 1857, and on one day after date, bearing interest at 10 per cent, and directed a summons to issue, which is so, and delivered to John Bugg, Constable, made returnable the 14th day of August, 1858, my regular town day.
G.W. Holbrook, Justice of the Peace
The first marriage record obtainable is as follows:
This certifies that on the 30th day of April, A.D. 1851, I solemnize the rites of Matrimony between James Lunford and Nancy Norris done in Dent County, Mo., the day and date above written.
E.A. Hight, Preacher of the Gospel
Recorded July 26, A.D. 1851. David Henderson, Clerk.
This is no doubt the first marriage record after the county was organized. The next one records the marriage of John B. Harrison, of Miller County, and Martha Hyer, of Dent, by Richard Jones, an elder of the Old School Baptist Church. The third was probably the first justice's marriage in the new county: Thomas J. Higginbotham, J.P., united Elisha Eaves and Betsy Ann Phillips in the bonds of Hymen.
The Creating Act – Dent County grew from Crawford and Shannon Counties, and in the successive subdivisions of great counties aiming toward the average county size, she has passed, probably, all the changes that will ever be necessary.
The citizens of Shannon and Crawford who wished a new county succeeded in having the following act passed by the General Assembly:
An Act to Organize the County of Dent
Be it enacted, etc., that:
1. All that part of Crawford and Shannon (Counties) included in the following limits is hereby declared to be organized into a separate and distinct county, to be known and called by the name of the county of Dent: Beginning on the line dividing the counties of Crawford and Washington, on the township line dividing Townships Nos. 34 and 35; thence west with said line to the range line dividing Ranges 3 and 4 west, thence north to the township line dividing Townships 35 and 36; thence west with said line to the middle of Range 8 west; thence south to the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34; thence east to the range line dividing Ranges 6 and 7; thence south to the township line dividing Townships Nos. 31 and 32; thence east to the range line dividing Ranges 2 and 3 west; thence north to the county line of Reynolds; thence with said Reynolds County line to Township 34; thence east to the southwest corner of Washington County; thence north to place of beginning.
Here follow twenty other specific sections, providing that John Buford, of Reynolds County; Samuel Shumate' of Shannon, and John W. Bennett, of Crawford, should "meet at the residence of E.F. Bressiers" (Bressie), on the first Monday of May, 1851, and locate the county seat; that their failure to do so be provided for; that the Governor appoint the first county court; that circuit court be held at Mr. Bressie's temporarily; that the county court should meet the first Monday following; that the clerk's appointment be provided for; that Dent territory should be assessed by the original counties; that taxation be provided for, and surveyor appointed; that justices of that territory should continue, and guardians, administrators, et al, should do likewise; that the parent counties should deliver over papers, etc., belonging to the new county; when the regular terms of county court should be; for appointment of assessor by the county court; for the fees ($2 per day) of the locating commissioners; for former representation until otherwise provided; for notification from the State secretary; for proportionate responsibility of the debt of the parent counties; for completion of organization in minor ways, and for collection of school funds from the parent counties.
This act was approved February 10, 1851, and was to take effect from and after its passage.
Then was passed "An act to attach the county of Dent to the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit, and to provide for payment of certain elections in said county." These elections were to be held temporarily with Crawford County, and circuit court was to be held on the seventh Mondays after the fourth Mondays in May and September. It was approved March 1, 1851, but on March 3 circuit court was made to be on the first Mondays in April and September. It was named in honor of Lewis Dent, the first representative.
First Acts – The first county officers appointed were Justices G.C. Breckinridge (president), Samuel Hyer, Jr., and Jotham Clark, with Joseph Milsaps as sheriff and David Henderson as clerk. They met at Mr. Bressie's house – a kind of travelers' inn, about two miles northwest of the present site of Salem, on Spring Creek and on the "old White River road." What their proceedings were there are no means of knowing, as all the records of the county previous to 1866 are destroyed. The county then did not embrace Townships 32 and 33, Range 7; they were added several years later; but besides that, and slight changes from the old line following the dividing ridges in the southeast corner, made about 1868, it was practically as it is at present. Among the first townships were Sinking, Spring Creek, Watkins and Meramec.
The County Seat – It was not until 1853 that the present site of the county seat was used. The time previous to that was divided between Mr. Bressie's and the old log house of Abner Wingfield, about a half-mile northeast of Salem, on Spring Creek. Salem had then begun, and a brick court-house erected a few feet to the south of the present site. It was about 24x40 feet, and with two stories. The county clerk's and sheriff's offices were below, with outside entrances. The court-room and circuit clerk's office were above, with a lower story outside entrance. The contractor, J.T. Garvin, agreed to build it for $800, but he lost on the contract. It was built in 1852 and 1853.
The County Reorganized – In 1855 the county was disorganized in the Legislature, and three days later reorganized under "An act to reorganize the county of Dent," approved December 4, 1855. In the process of reorganization some things were done not technically legal, and it was found necessary to pass "An act to amend an act entitled 'An act to reorganize the county of Dent,' approved December 4, 1855." This declared the proceedings valid, and decided on one representative for the county.
The County Court – The county courts proceeded as usual until the war closed their operations in 1861, when the last term was held. The court-house was used as military headquarters until 1864, when Price's raid drove all the Federals to Rolla. In October, while the Federals were away, two Dent citizens, Simeon Richardson and James Jamison, came in and burned the court-house and jail, a double log, walled dungeon, with a room above, built in 1855, on the northeast corner of the square. County officers had been appointed in 1862, and in 1865 they began county business, holding over until 1866. The late fire compelled the court to meet in a store belonging to Judge W.P. Williams, located northwest of the public square. The circuit court was held in a private house near the site of Nervington's saddlery store. A plank one-story building was soon erected on the square, in 1866. It was about 24x36 feet, with an entrance into the court-room, out of which opened doors into two offices. Here the records begin again:
Dent County Court
May Term, 1866
Monday, May 7th
Be it remembered that at the regular term of the Dent County Court, begun and held on the first Monday in May, 1866, there were present W.P. Williams, presiding justice, and E.G. Mitchell and Henry Nelson, associate justices.
Also D.R. Henderson, clerk, and Hamblet Clark, sheriff.
Court was opened by public proclamation at the door of the court room.
Now at this time comes C.C. Bland and files his account against Dent County for services as county attorney for the sum of $125, which is by the court allowed.
(Here follow orders to Messrs. Taylor, Green, Malcolm and Wilcox; a loan to R. Copeland.)
WHEREAS, The records of the court have been destroyed, so that the number of the warrants on the county treasurer heretofore issued cannot now be ascertained; therefore it is
Ordered by the court that the clerk number the warrants hereafter issued beginning with number one, and marking the warrants so numbered with the letter "B."
WHEREAS, The records belonging to the clerk of the county court's office have been destroyed, whereby the bonds of executors, administrators and guardians have been to (too) lost; therefore it is
Ordered by the court that the clerk advertise for all executors, administrators and guardians to file new bonds on or before the first Monday in June 1886.
Ordered by the court that court adjourn until Monday, the fourth day of June, A.D. 1866.
W.P. Williams, Presiding Justice
The next day court adjourned because the record books had not arrived from St. Louis. The first pauper appropriation record was for a child – M.J. Hutson.
New election districts were made as follows: District No. 1 to be "bounded on the west by range line dividing Ranges 4 and 5 west, and on the north, east and south by the county lines, and including all that art of the county lying east of said range line;" District No. 2 to be "bounded on the east by the range line dividing Ranges 4 and 5 west, and on the west by the range line dividing Ranges 6 and 7 west, and on the north by the county line, and on the south by county line, including all the part of the county line lying between the line dividing Ranges 4 and 5 and the line dividing Ranges 6 and 6 west;" District No. 3 to be "bounded on the west, south and north by county lines, and on east by range line dividing Ranges 6 and 7 west, including all that part of the county lying west of said range line dividing Ranges 6 and 7 west." The polls were to be at Jotham Clark's, at Salem, and at B.S. Wiggins'.
Assessor D.R. Henderson says the tax book for 1865 was destroyed in the burning of the house used as a court-house on the night of the 3rd of May, 1866, and he was ordered to make a new one. The first record of sale of public lands was that to M.W. Light in 1866. The first record of bonds is in connection with the Internal Improvement and Canal funds. The first judges of election recorded are: No. 1, John Brooks, R. Gragg and Jotham Clark; No. 2, William Martin, Sr., A.S. Hight and E.B. Hanada; No. 3, S.R. Hamby, B. Wiggins and J.B. Matthews. L.K. Williams' assessment report shows the following townships in 1866: Norman, Meramec, Osage, Linn, Sinking, Current, Texas, Watkins, Spring Creek and Franklin. Short Bend was made afterward. The first case of declared insanity was W.H. Rand. The first record of "dram-shop license" was issued to Franz Addelman, of Salem. The assessor's books of 1867 enrolls 2,053 names. In 1866 E.G. Mitchell was presiding judge, H. Clark, sheriff, and D.R. Henderson, clerk.
Townships Reorganized – On February 8, 1867, township reorganization took place. Osage: "Bounded on the west by the range line dividing Ranges Nos. 3 and 4 west, and on the north by the county line, and on the east by the county line, and on the south by the county line." Linn: "Bounded on the east by the county line, and on the north by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34 north, and on the west by the range line dividing Ranges Nos. 4 and 5 west, and on the south by the county line." Franklin: "Bounded on the east by the range line dividing Ranges Nos. 4 and 5 west, and on the north by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34 north, and on the west by a line beginning at the northwest corner of Section 3, in Township No. 33 north, of Range 6 west, and running due south with the subdivisional lines to the southwest corner of Section 34, in Township No. 32 north, of Range 6 west, and on the south by the county line." Current: "Bounded on the east by the western boundary line of Franklin Township, and on the north by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 32 and 33 north, and on the west by the county line, and on the south by the county line." Texas: "Bounded on the east by the west boundary line of Franklin Township, and on the north by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34 north, and on the west by the county line, and on the south by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34 north." Watkins: "Bounded on the east by the range line dividing Ranges Nos. 6 and 7 west, and on the north by the county line, and on the west by the county line, and on the south by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34 north." Spring Creek: "Bounded on the east by the range line dividing Ranges 4 and 5 west, and on the north by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 34 and 35 north, and on the west by the range line dividing Ranges Nos. 6 and 7 west, and on the south by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34 north." Norman: "Bounded on the east by the range line dividing Ranges Nos. 5 and 6 west, and on the south by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 34 and 35 north." Meramec: "Bounded on the east by the range line dividing Ranges Nos. 3 and 4 west, and on the north by the county line, and on the west by a line beginning at the northwest corner of Section 6, in Township No. 35 north, of Range 5 west, and running due south with the range line dividing Ranges 5 and 6 west, to the southwest corner of Section 31, in Township 35 north, of Range 5 west; thence due east with township line dividing Townships Nos. 34 and 35 north, to the northwest corner of Section 6, in Township 34 north, of Range 4 west; thence due south with the range line dividing Ranges 4 and 5 west, to the southwest corner of Section 31, in Township 34 north, of Range 4 west, and bounded on the south by the township line dividing Townships Nos. 33 and 34 north.
Other Matters – The road districts were reorganized in 1867, also: The Rolla and Mauthe's Mill road, divided into three districts; the Salem and Rolla into three; the Salem and Licking, three; the Salem and St. James, two; the Salem and Steelville, three; the Salem and Iron Mountain, four; the Salem and Eminence, four; the Salem and Thomasville, two; the Salem and Houston, three; and the Salem town district. The balance in the treasury on May 1, 1867, was $2,095.40. In August a one-story, two-celled jail (18x24) was ordered, and the contracts let to J.S. Lenard (?) and L.L. Bowers. In January, 1868, Salem was allowed to put down sidewalks.* Slight changes were also made in certain township lines. The statement of the finances in 1868 was: Receipts, $8,560.87; expenditures, $8,219.63; balance, $321.24. On February 22, 1869, the Dent County Agricultural and Mechanical Society was incorporated, at the petition of D.R. Henderson, W. McDonald, W.A. Young, W.T. Stepp, S.S. Price, S. Morrison, G.A. Kenamore, Adam Walck, O.P. Gray, John Arthur, Louis Hoffmeister, F. Adelman, Samuel Sachs, J.S. Wingfield, G.S. Duckworth, W.L. Arnot, D.B. Marshall, J. Neff, Elisha Walden, L.K. Williams, J.T. Leonard, Ed Wolcott, J.E. Watson, H. Montgomery, Edmond Carney, J.D. Dillworth, W.R. Love, Thomas Smith, C.W. Rhinehart, S.C. James, W.O. Harrison, T.W. Howe, W. Masters, R. Copeland, W.R. Johnson, J.S. Lennard, J.B. Lenard, M.L. Sturdivant, L.F. Hyer, R.W. Montgomery, David Henderson, J.H. Brewer, M. Sides, J. Cloud, W.H. Taylor, E.W. Fortune, W.R.H. Powelson, A.J. Linvill, W. Henderson, J. Holt, C.H. Seaman, T.H. Smith, J. Hobson, M. Hotchkiss, W. Stillwell and others.± (*There were no town officers at that time.) (±Original spelling as found on record is retained.)
In 1869 M.B. Hill presided; W.T. Stepp was sheriff, and D.R. Henderson, clerk. On November 2 Salem was incorporated, at the petition of S.H. Sherlock, D.R. Henderson and twenty-eight others; the metes and bounds were to be "the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 18, Township 34, of Range 5, and the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 13, Township 34, Range 6, upon which said tracts of land said town is built." The trustees were Franz Adelman, W.L. Arnot, J.M. Orchard, O.P. Gray and G.R. Kenamore.
Present Court-house – On March 30, 1870, plans for the present court-house, by Randolph Bros., St. Louis, were adopted, J.S. Wingfield made commissioner of public works, and A.E. Dye given the contract on a bid of $15,500. It was proposed to issue bonds, but the amount was borrowed from another fund. On February 8, 1871, the Masonic lodge at Salem leased rooms in the court-house for ninety-nine years. During this year a special registration was ordered, and a vote taken on whether the county should take stock to the amount of $100,000 in the St. Louis, Springfield & Little Rock Railroad. The vote was made in August – for, 505; against, 224. The bonds were issued in 1872 (100 bonds of $1,000 each), payable in fifteen years. The contract provided that if the stock did not declare a 7 per cent dividend within a certain time, $50,000 was to be returned, and after a suit in 1877 that amount in bonds was returned in 1879. In 1871 the court-house was accepted, and $1,700 more expended on it.
Later Proceedings – The death of E.G. Mitchell was the first death of a county judge mentioned in the records. J.M. Orchard presided in 1872, and J.G. Blake was made school commissioner. In 1873 C.L. Allen presided, with W.A. Young as sheriff and D.R. Henderson as clerk. W.A. Young was made superintendent of public works; S.H. Ware became school superintendent. In 1871 Wofford Township was made, and afterward unmade; this was repeated still later on. In 1873 A.E. Dye & Sons built the jail, and Short Bend Township was created. In 1875 J.D. Headrick was sheriff, and E.T. Butler, clerk. The assessor's list showed 1,352 names this year. In 1876 there were twenty-one school districts. "And now comes Daniel Brickey and presents his account for digging grave for poor person Duff, etc.," shows one phase of county business. In 1876 the school districts receiving the most money in school funds were Salem, Township 33, Range 5 west, and Township 35, Range 6 west. In 1877 J.F. Halbrook presided, with J.D. Reddick as sheriff, and E.T. Butler, clerk. There were fifty-three school districts this year. In 1879 W.A. Young presided, with M.H. McSpadden as sheriff and E.T. Butler as clerk. The value of railway property in the county in 1879 was $27,581.03. In 1879 the county revenue was divided into eight funds, but was changed again later on.
On November 8, 1881, Salem was incorporated as a city of the fourth class: M. Hogle, mayor; J.A. Jadwin, marshal, and M.W. Dent, E.B. Sankey, E.L. Dye and O.S. Rouse, aldermen. It included the old town and Clark's (north and west), Holloway's, Grover's, Duckworth's, Taylor's, Cook's, Carty's and Stepp & Morrison's Additions. In 1883 S. Hyer presided, and was succeeded by W.R. Love, with Sheriff A.J. Reyburn and Clerk E.T. Butler. In 1884 railway valuation was $65,327.05, and in 1885 Salem was allowed to erect a fire-proof city hall and court-yard. In 1886, on a vote to refund bonds, refunding was carried (993 to 320). The bonds were ordered (twenty of $1,000) dated February 1, 1887, payable in twenty years, and bearing 6 per cent. F.C. Blackwell became sheriff in 1886, and in 1887 A.A. Flett presided, with G.W. Peck as county clerk. In 1887 railway valuation was $33,299.60, and there were sixty-five school districts. A local option vote was tried December 10, 1887, and liquor had a majority of 143 votes, although there were no saloons in the county at present. In 1888 the general receipts were $6,787.18; expenditures, $6,505.67; balance, $281.51; road fund receipts, $769.57; expenditures, $1,421.51; deficit, $651.92; interest fund receipts, $3,204.16; expended on bonds, $1,180; balance, $2,024.16. There are nineteen bonds of $1,000 each still unpaid. These bonds are above par.
Other County Officers – Besides the county officers mentioned above there were: Presiding justice, S. Hyer, Jr. (the second); sheriffs, E.W. Wilson, P.H. Simmons (second and third), with D.T. Murray and R.M. Simmons during the war; county and circuit clerks, M.M. McSpadden (second), then William Halliburton as county and Mr. McSpadden as circuit clerk, followed by D.R. Henderson as county and W. McDonald as circuit clerk; assessors, John Brown, L.F. Hyer, A.P. Duckworth (none during 1861-65), A.C. Williams, L.K. Williams, David Henderson, R.M. Simmons, G.W. Walker, W. McDonald, A.J. Smith, J.J. Jadwin and J.M. Howe; surveyors, _____, Joseph Milsaps, J.M. Stevenson, J.M. Dent, W.N. Organ (none during war), L. Hoffmeister, R.W. Montgomery, G.A. Kenamore, E.G. Arthur and L.C. McSpadden; among coroners, J.M. Orchard, S.D. Hendricks, J.M. Bohannon and J.W. Bace; treasurers, F.M. Jamison, J.W. Livesay, G.A. Kenamore, W.R. Love, F. Dent, W.L. Triplett and Frank Wentz; circuit attorneys, Julian Frazier, J.R. Woodside, E.Y. Mitchell, H.C. Warmoth, Alf Harris (county), L. Judson, J.R. Callahan and L. Judson; representatives, Dr. John Hyer (under Crawford), Lewis Dent, Samuel Hyer, Jr., J.E. Callahan, Louis Hoffmeister, W.P. Williams, Joseph Gill, Marion Sides, S.H. Sherlock, L.B. Woodside, J.E. Organ, L.F. Hyer, Col. E.T. Wingo, J.E. Organ, F.M. Lenox and E.A. Seay; senators, Dr. John Hyer in 1861; delegates to constitutional conventions, John Hart (1861) and David Henderson (1865). The officers who have served the county longest are W. McDonald, D.R. Henderson, L. Judson, J.R. Callahan, E.T. Butler, M.M. McSpadden and Judge R.M. Simmons.
The Wheel – There are no distinctly county societies except the County Agricultural Wheel. It is the successor of the Grange movement, which began in 1873, when Pleasant Hill, Knob View and Lake Spring were the only granges in the county. The County Grange Council was organized in the following year, and within a few years probably embraced two dozen granges. They had a store at Salem, and an elevator, which has since been rented to the Clark Mercantile Company. Its life practically closed with the seventies. The Agricultural Wheel began about March, 1887, as a county organization, with about six or seven wheels. Mr. H. Bain was president. In 1888 its membership had increased to about forty wheels, and Capt. W.T. Stepp was made president. He still serves. They have contracts with four stores, and one blacksmith and wagon shop, and have under consideration the erection of a mill.
Important Items – The county has no poor farm. Its court-house is a commodious two-story, mansard-roofed brick, and the jail a neat, fortress-appearing brick structure not far to the east of the square.
The oldest road in the county was the "old White River road," but that is not now used. All the present roads except three radiate from Salem, among the most important of which may be mentioned the Iron Mountain, Houston, West Plains and Rolla. The railroads of Dent County began with the St. Louis, Springfield & Little Rock Railway (now the Salem branch of the 'Frisco), extending from Cuba, Crawford County, to Salem, Dent County. This was organized January 17, 1871, by A.L. Crawford, of New Castle, Penn., and construction began in February, under I.W. Blanchard, superintendent of construction, and E.B. Sankey, chief engineer. It was completed in July, 1873. A branch, extending four miles northwesterly from Avery Station, and called the Dent & Phelps Railroad, was constructed in 1878 and 1879. The Plank Branch was built in 1882; it extends five and a half miles west from Howe's Station to the Plank Ore Bank. In 1881 the Sligo Branch was built, and also the Salem & Southeastern Railway, from Salem to the Riverside Iron Bank; the latter was built by the Riverside Iron Company, of Wheeling, W. Va., and operated until the close of 1888. Surveys have been made with a view to extending the Salem Branch southeasterly through Dent, Shannon, Reynolds, Carter and Ripley Counties, and southwesterly through Dent and Texas, to connect with the Kansas City & Memphis Railroad, with the ultimate intention of reaching Little Rock. Surveys have also been made by the Chester & Iron Mountain Railroad from Chester, Ill., through Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois and Iron Counties to Salem, and by the Goulds from Ironton to Salem.
It is thought that the population of Dent County has not materially increased since 1880, when it was 10,600.
Courts and Bar
The Circuit Courts – The only courts, aside from the county proceedings, ever held in Dent have been those of the circuit. The records of the action of this court, however, were all destroyed previous to those of 1865. It is known that the first court was held at Mr. Bressie's at the time specified in the act organizing the county, by the judge of the judicial circuit, to which the act of a later date attached it. In 1852 court was held at Abner Wingfield's, by Judge D.M. Leet, and after it was held at Salem his successors were Judges P.H. Edwards, James McBride, J.S. Waddill and W.G. Pomeroy.
It is unfortunate that the unique features of the early records of the court should be forever lost. The first record in existence is as follows:
State of Missouri
County of Dent
Be it remembered that at a regular term of the Dent Circuit Court, begun and held at the clerk's office (there being no court-house in the county) in Salem, on the first Monday in May, 1865, it being the first day of said month, there were present the Hon. Aaron Van Wormer, judge of said court; J.W. Stevens, circuit attorney; H. Clark, sheriff, and W. McDonald, clerk, and court was opened in due form of law, and the following proceedings were had:
The oath required by the statutes was administered to the sheriff and his deputy.
The sheriff, by virtue of a venire facias to him directed, returned into court the following panel to serve as grand jurors, to wit: John Norris, who is by the court appointed foreman; Edward Malady, J.P. McMurtry, Leonard Cain, Henderson McDonald, A. Johns, B.S. Wiggins, A. Warden, W.J. Lenard, S. McDonald, A. Harrison, William McGee, H.Y. Butler, J. Brooks, William Martin and W.J. Ferrell, good and lawful men of the county of Dent, who being duly impaneled, sworn and charged, retired to consider of their presentments.
Here follow statements of the following causes: The State vs. J.T. Hudspeth for felonious assault; The State vs. A.H. Clayton for illegal liquor selling, and five civil actions.
It was then ordered that court adjourn till the following morning, at 9 o'clock.
Character of Legal Action – This was not signed by the judge, and is a record of the court previous to the fire of 1866, which destroyed all but this book. The results of the first record of some cases cannot be given; the most of the cases were civil action, debt, foreclosure, etc. The first bigamy case was against J.W. Gibson; the first recorded case of grand larceny was against King Whitaker; the first case of treason (in 1866) recorded is against M.M. McSpadden (not guilty); the first recorded gaming case was against John Elvin; the first embezzlement case was against a Mr. Howell (not guilty); the first perjury case recorded is against G.A. Kenamore (not guilty); the first recorded case of fine for using profane language in court was against L.K. Williams – fined $10. The first recorded appeal from the county court (in 1867) was J.B. Braly, a guardian, against S. Gearhart, administrator of the estate of B.H. Johnson (affirmed). The first case of law practice without the loyalty oath was against S.G. Williams. The first robbery case was State vs. Joshua Jarrell et al; it was changed to another county; the first assault with intent to kill is vs. J.T. Cooper (venue); the first petition to erect mill-dam, E.G. Mitchell; first divorce case, Jefferson Petty vs. Emeline Petty; first rioting and shooting case, A.H. Clayton; first case for disturbing peace of family (in 1868), Bruce Kenamore and W. Frisbie, each fined $5; first case for disturbing public worship, W. Black; first case for appropriating lost property, J. Dotson (not guilty); first case of incest, J.W. Caskey (not guilty). The first case of naturalization was a Prussian – Frederick Hartenstein. Judge E. Perry began in 1869.
The first recorded murder case is that of Thomas E. Warden, in 1870; he was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment; the first forgery case, Frank Smith and Thomas Johnson, each given eight years in the penitentiary; there were many liquor cases at this time. D.Q. Gale served as special judge. The first case of Sunday labor (in 1873) was against John Brooks, fined $1; first slander case, John Welch, fined $75; first adultery case, James Sturgeon, fined $10; first case of card-playing on Sunday, L.K. Williams (not guilty); first burglary case, C.H. Skaggs, given two years. In 1875 Judge V.B. Hill began. The first case of attempt to commit rape, was the L.G. Williams case (not guilty); first incorporation recorded was "Knobview Grange, No. 1194;" first manslaughter case recorded, L. Rathbone, acquitted; (1876) first case of gambling, Oscar Goodman, nolle prossed; E.D. Young was given twenty-five years for murder in 1876; first prize-fighting case, M.C. Carey, fined $1; first Sunday horse-racing case, W.S. Robinett, $1; (1877) first case "for selling liquor to a student," Frank Wenz. During 1878-79-80, and parts of 1881-82 the records are one almost continuous file of cases for "enforcing tax lien."
In 1882 Judge C.C. Bland began. The first recorded case of church incorporation is the Presbyterian; (1884) first appeal from a mayor's court was a case against D. Gibson; first case for abandoning wife, in 1884; first case for marking sow, was against J. Nelson; first case of hunting on Sunday was against F.L. Withaup; first case for carrying concealed weapons, J.B. Bressie; first seduction case, John Wauson, who was declared not guilty; (1885) James Wingfield was convicted for murder, and given twenty-five years, but the governor commuted it to five years. H. Hyer was acquitted of murder. The first case of attempt to ravish was against J. Solomon, sentenced for three years; first case for breaking jail, was against G. Bryant and H. Eldridge; the former was acquitted, and the latter case was a disagreement; first case of aiding prisoners to escape (in 1888) was against Margaret Cook, sentenced for two years. In 1887 Thomas A. Bruce succeeded W. McDonald as circuit clerk.
Among the most important cases may be mentioned the State vs. Hicks. He was charged with murder, and was sentenced to death, but the case was reversed in the supreme court, the chief witness having died in the meantime. Mills, a man in the east part of the county, was accused of stealing Hicks' hogs, and in an altercation Hicks shot him. The case was changed to Crawford. Messrs. Perryman and Carter defended. This was about 1854.
In 1858 or 1859 a series of complications arose between two men named Shuck and Bugg. Bugg was constable, and had a claim to collect; Shuck showed a receipt, which the constable claimed was a forgery. Shuck was acquitted.
About 1859 a case of ejectment came up between the Groves heirs and John Brooks; the point at issue was error in Brooks' title to valuable lands. Col. Wingo defended him, and by changes of venue, etc., secured his case, against attorneys Carter, Mitchell, and others.
About 1867 the case of Springer vs. McSpadden came up. Mr. McSpadden, as clerk, failed to index a mortgage, it was claimed, and suit was brought against him on one of two bonds by Springer's attorney, M. Conger; he failed, because it was made on the wrong bond. Then the Bland Brothers took the case, and it was finally dismissed. Pomeroy and others were for the defense.
The murder case of T.E. Warden, who killed a man named Larkin, resulted as has been stated above; he was afterward pardoned. The case was between Prosecutor Perry and Col. Wingo et al for defense.
About 1871-72 occurred a prominent case, the State vs. Copeland; its interest was due to the political features that entered into it. A man named Black, who had been a Confederate during the war, was shot while he was starting out from his yard with an ax on his shoulder, to get a timber for a sorghum-mill sweep. An existing feud between he and Mr. Copeland and his two sons-in-law, together with certain circumstantial evidence, led to the indictment of S. Copeland and others. The case was severely fought, Kelly and Judson prosecuting, while Wingo, Pomeroy, Bland and Sherlock defended. The case was finally dismissed on a technical point.
About 1875 G.L. Rathbone was acquitted of murder in the case of killing Charles Burright. It was said that Burright was accustomed to "bully" and provoke Rathbone, who was a much smaller young man, and in a quarrel near the sight of Morrison's hardware, in Salem, Rathbone stabbed Burright, cutting the femoral artery. Rathbone was hidden until a reward of $200 was offered for him, when some friend secured him and used the $200 for his defense. Messrs. Judson and Kelly prosecuted, and C.C. Bland and others defended, and secured his release on the plea of self-defense.
About 1879-80 John Brooks got into a very complicated bigamy case; it resulted in eight different charges. He was living with a woman as his wife, with his first wife not far away; the two women became embroiled in an altercation, and that brought up the case. Brooks employed Messrs. Wingo and Seay, and was enabled to settle the case by a plea of adultery and paying large fines and costs, after a change of venue was taken.
About 1883 the State vs. Sims was a case that attracted attention. Messrs. Mitchell, Callahan and Storts prosecuted, with Messrs. Woodside, Judson and Wingo for the defense. Mr. Sims, at the Salem Hotel, and George Tripp became involved in a quarrel over the treatment by Sims of Tripp's nieces. They met one day at Triplett's Corner, in Salem, and it was claimed that Tripp was armed and followed Sims, whereupon Sims stabbed him. Sims was convicted of murder in the fourth degree, and sentenced to six months in the county jail, with a fine of $500.
In 1884 the State vs. J.H. Hyer was a case of acquitted murder, hinging on some interesting features. Hyer had charged G.W. Bedwell with attempt to poison his (Hyer's) family, and secured a warrant for his arrest. The constable, for some reason, authorized Hyer to make the arrest himself. He did so, and called a man named Lewark to help him. Bedwell seemed peaceably inclined at first, but on entering his house it was shown in evidence that he attempted to resist by using a weapon, whereupon Hyer shot him. Messrs. Callahan and Seay prosecuted, and Messrs. Judson and Woodside defended.
The Bar – The resident bar of Dent County has been equal in excellence to that of her sister counties. The following is a list of the members from the first, with the approximate dates of arrival or admission, or departure or death: William Smith, 1853-61; the Hon. Col. E.T. Wingo, 1857; L.M. Nichol, 1859-61; L.G. Nichol, 1859-61; Judge C.C. Bland, 1859-61; W.N. Organ, 1860-61; W.S. Relfe, 1860-61; Probate Judge J.M. Orchard, 1853; G.S. Duckworth, 1853; Hon. S.H. Sherlock, 1868-83; Judge Albert Jackson, during the seventies a short time; J.W. Norvell, 1876-82; W.S. McCartney, 1875-78; John Q. Thompson, 1874-78; Probate Judge J.C. Allen, 1873-78; J.W. Wingo, 1879; Hon. E.A. Seay, 1880; D.R. Henderson, 1880-86; Probate Judge J.R. Callahan, 1874; P.L. Lyles, 1882-87; John S. Ault, 1887; G.W. Hodges, 1888; Thomas Campbell, H.H. Minor, 1888; S.H. Ware, 1874-78; Hon. L.B. Woodside, 1870, and L. Judson, 1868.
Among the above it may be of interest to note some of the professional characteristics of those who are now deceased or non-resident.
William Smith was a highly educated man, and an orator of more than average ability. He had a fair practice, but was hindered somewhat by certain eccentricities.
The Nichol brothers were quite young men, and practiced but little.
Mr. Organ practiced chiefly in justice courts.
Mr. Relfe, now one of the most eminent members of the Missouri bar, was but a young man then, studying law under Col. E.T. Wingo. His only practice was in the assistance of his preceptor.
Mr. Sherlock, now of Fort Smith, Ark., made an impression in the Dent circuit courts as a good general lawyer, and for some time had an excellent practice. He was especially a business lawyer, and was good as a pleader and as counsel.
Judge Albert Jackson, although well known in earlier days in Missouri, made little impression in the courts of Dent in his brief residence in Salem. In a few cases he showed his old-time fire as a speaker, but he was in his last days, and old age was making him stand aside for the more vigorous.
Mr. Norvell was a young man, not so well educated, but of considerable business ability. For some time his practice was especially large as a collector.
Mr. McCartney never practiced.
Mr. Thompson was a lawyer of more than average natural ability, but did not have the faculty of making the most there was to be made of a case. He was a fair pleader and exceptionally good in business law.
Judge Allen had been educated as a preacher, and had been a chaplain in the Federal army. He had but little practice, on account of his becoming probate judge soon after he began practice. It is said that his high-tempered characteristics gave the opposition a good lever with which to defeat him.
Mr. Henderson practiced but little. He was an editor, and county clerk for many years.
Mr. Lyles, now a Government clerk in Washington, although a young man, made a strong impression in the Dent courts during his brief practice. His papers were generally accurate, and his power before a jury very marked.
Mr. Ware, now of Shannon County made a strong impression in the circuit courts of Dent County. He was known as an excellent pleader and good counsel. He was a well-educated man.
In the present bar of Dent County talent of various merit is found, and lawyers of all ages of practice, from the aged Col. E.T. Wingo, who is still vigorous, to the newest member, admitted during the past year. Of these Hon. Col. Wingo and Hon. L.B. Woodside have represented, and Hon. E.A. Seay does now represent, Dent County in the General Assembly.
Early Wars – In military affairs Dent County does not figure very largely before the late Civil War. Its population chiefly looked to Crawford County in the times of the Mexican War, and a few enlisted, among whom was Mr. M.M. McSpadden.
Preliminaries of the Rebellion – There were comparatively few negroes owned in Dent County, and there was little thought of war until the campaign of 1860. The county cast 795 votes, of which the majority were for Breckinridge (338), and Lincoln received but seven votes. Bell had 243 and Douglas 207. The only printed opinions prevalent in the county at that time now obtainable are from the only known copy of the Southern Missouri Argus, published at Salem in 1860, and edited by L.M. Nichol. The copy is dated June 16, 1860: "In these days of political excitement and dishonesty, it perhaps would be well enough for every man to examine the position he occupies, try it by the constitutional square, and, if it fails to agree with the spirit of the laws of his country, he should abandon it at once, and seek to identify himself with an organization which acknowledges the supremacy of the 'powers that govern;'" and after supporting all the late policies of the Democratic party, the editor concludes: "The last great reason we have to offer is, that it is a National party, represented by citizens from every State in the Union; coming from the North and South, the East and West, it presents the only National embodiment of principles found in our government, the only party of strength which stands ready to defend the constitution and the Union." In another column, in an account of a National Day program, four men were made a "committee to select thirty-two young ladies to represent the Confederacy," meaning the various States of the United States. In still another column appears Charles Sumner's remarks in the Senate with Mr. Chestnut's reply, to which the editor refers: "Notwithstanding this appropriate and stinging reply, we think the old remedy applied to this beau ideal of negro wenches would have a much happier effect than logical reasoning."
Mustering – With this data it follows that after the inauguration in 1861 militia muster began at Salem, and later on at Lake Spring. The chief animus of the people seemed to be a desire to "whip the Dutch," of whose rumored atrocities they had heard – meaning the St. Louis United States troops. They were not regularly organized, but were drilled by J.M. Hasten. Many of them were men who listened to the most prominent lawyer of Salem on National Day, in 1860, as he made an eloquent appeal for the Union, and applauded to the echo. During one of these musters, in the spring of 1861, a Confederate flag was raised on the southwest corner of the public square; there were about 200 people present, and among those most prominent were Dr. Albert Carr, George and John Cook, J.D. Dillworth, and others. A by-stander casually observed that the pole was not perpendicular – it leaned south – whereupon one of the above gentlemen replied: "By ____, that's the way we want it to lean!" It was only a few weeks later that John Elvins was in Salem, and, under the influence of liquor, concluded to fell the pole and its banner with an ax; he did so without opposition from anyone.
Troops – The first Federal troops to visit Salem was a squad of sixteen men under Maj. Bowen, who came in one night and remained only a few hours; this was about July, 1861.
In August C.C. Bland and J.M. Hasten began recruiting for the State Militia, and it was near this time that Col. Schnable arrived with some of the Seventh Division, Missouri State Guards, and, after camping in town a day, located about a mile west of Salem. He captured twenty-two citizens as prisoners, but soon released all except W.P. Williams and Henry Beal, who were detained longer. Col. Schable then took Bland's and Hasten's recruits and distributed them to fill partial companies; this is said to have drawn from one of these gentlemen the remark that the Colonel could "go to h__l, and I'll go to Kentucky!" Both afterward became Federal captains.
About this time (August) Capt. J.W. Bennight had formed a company of home guards and stationed them at his mill (now Springer's mill); they were attacked by Col. T.R. Freeman, and a few were killed and wounded, and all were driven off to Rolla. This led to the Federal occupation of Salem in September (1861) by parts of the Seventh Missouri and Thirteenth Illinois, who made their headquarters at the old court-house. They remained a few weeks, and then Maj. Bowen was located as post commander. He had squads of men in the court-yard, some in the lower part of town and some in the old A.P. Duckworth dwelling-house, near the site of Klein's store. About 4 o'clock on the morning of December 1 Col. Freeman came in with a squad of 122 men, and fired into the Duckworth house, killing and wounding eight Federals. Maj. Bowen charged them with sixteen mounted men with sabres and routed them. Freeman captured two men.
Early in 1862 there was little of interest except the harrying and scouting by both sides, and there were few located troops until September (1862), when Capt. Bradway came in with a company of Third Missouri Cavalry; they remained until about January, 1863. Maj. Drake, of the Third Iowa Cavalry, became post commander until the following April, when Companies C and D of the Fifth Missouri State Militia took charge. These were commanded by Capts. Ostermeyer and Bangs, respectively, until Company C was replaced by Company M, Capt. Wybark.
In the spring of 1863 there were many thousand troops in the county, camped about Salem and at Lake Spring. Herron's brigade camped at both places. Among those about Salem were the Thirty-third Missouri, Tenth and Eleventh Kansas, Fifth Kansas Cavalry, besides Wisconsin cavalry and artillery and Missouri cavalry. The old Union Church, now a livery stable, was used as a commissary store, and still shows its bullet-holes. It was on one of these spring days that Gen. Sheridan, then chief of the commissary department of the Western District, appeared at Salem to review the troops, when 33,000 rations were issued.
In August, 1863, Col. Freeman was making a little ruse which was intended to draw the Federals out to the south of town, where he had entrenched himself in a ditch; he had sent a squad in to provoke a race out, and they had passed the picket lines; meanwhile, a Union man had observed his operations, and informed a picket, whereupon the picket began firing an alarm; this brought this decoy squad out "helter-skelter" toward their entrenchments, and their comrades, mistaking them for "Feds," fired upon them! Altogether, they thought their ruse wasn't working profitably, and they departed.
There was little of interest in 1864 until Price's raid drove all the Federals to Rolla, and during the few weeks Salem was evacuated the court-house and jail were burned.
In the spring of 1865 a company of home militia was organized: Capt. G.A. Kenamore, First Lieut. J.W. Gibson and Second Lieut. J.R. Pahlman. They had their quarters in a stockade just east of the present court-house, and built around an unfinished cellar foundation. They held the station after the Fifth Missouri State Militia and the Thirteenth were removed, and until the pursuits of peace were again resumed.
It has been seen that there were 795 votes in Dent County at the beginning of the war, but into what companies and regiments they went – Federal or Confederate – it is impossible to learn with any accuracy, for they were scattered throughout almost all the troops of either side which came within recruiting range of Dent County. Many, too, served on both sides, as if determined to fight with the side that would save their State from devastation, if possible. Some began with Union sentiments, and finally entered the Confederate army; while others began with active Confederate efforts, and then entered the Federal army. What motive actuated the individual in either case it is not the province of this chapter to determine.
The first recruits from Dent went into the First Regiment, Seventh Division, Missouri State Guard, of which Mr. E.T. Wingo, the most prominent lawyer in Dent County, was made colonel. His officers were Lieut.-Col. B.F. Trigg, of Rolla; Maj. W.C. Kelly and Adjt. William Coleman. This was Gen. McBride's Division, and it was with his assistance that a company of Dent men were formed in June, 1861, in the woods near what is now Celina Post-office. The officers of this company were Capt. B.F. Frank, First Lieut. Silas Headrick, and Second Lieut. John McAlfresh.
Besides this company Capt. William Boyd, of Dent; Capt. S. Daugherty, of Dent, and Capt. Jesse Bird, of Dent, had companies largely made up of Dent County men. Capt. Bird's lieutenants were W.C. Scott and J.P. Norvell. One of Capt. Daugherty's lieutenants was James Cullom. Col. Wingo resigned the captaincy of a cavalry company to accept his new position – a company which was officered under him as follows: First Lieut. J.A. Schnable, Second Lieut. T.R. Freeman and Third Lieut. J.E. Organ; these officers were then promoted in order, and M.M. McSpadden became second lieutenant. These pursued their independent scouting course, while Col. Wingo's regiment took a course somewhat as follows: After a short time spent in Texas County, they removed to West Plains, where, in June, the regimental organization was completed. Their next movement was into Arkansas to join Gen. Price, under whom they soon fought at Wilson's Creek. From Lexington, Mo., they went out near Fort Scott, where they fought Gen. Lane. The siege of the fort under Col. Mulligan came next; this resulted in the surrender of 3,000 Federals. The remnant of their six months' enlistment was spent at Springfield, Mo., where they were discharged, and scattered – some into the Confederate army, some to "bushwhacking," some to the Federals, and some to neutral life. Col. William Coleman organized an independent Confederate regiment at West Plains, with Stephen Darden, of Phelps, as lieutenant-colonel, and Silas Headrick, of Dent, as major. One company under the following officers was largely from Dent: Capt. Henry Pace, First Lieut. William Pace, and Second Lieut. John Organ. They did not long remain an organization on account of being dismounted. Further information of Confederate representation is not obtainable.
Federal recruits found their way into several regiments at Rolla, but in August, 1862, a company was organized at Salem by Capt. C.C. Bland; it had 100 men, and became Company D in the famous Thirty-second Missouri Infantry, which probably suffered more severely than any other Missouri Federal regiment. The officers of Company D were Capt. C.C. Bland, First Lieut. A.C. Williams and Second Lieut. Wallace McDonald (succeeding J.T. Campbell October 8, 1862). They went at once to Rolla, and on October 8 to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, where they remained until December 16, the day of their departure for Vicksburg. Lieut. A.C. Williams became quartermaster. A few Dent men were in Company C, Capt. Joe Davis, First Lieut. J.A. McArthur and Second Lieut. J.L. Fant. Among its most important engagements were Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Deer Creek (Miss.), Jackson (Miss.), Vicksburg (Miss.), Jackson, Brandon (Miss.), Cherokee (Ala.), Tuscumbia (Ala.), Lookout Mountain (Tenn.), Missionary Ridge and Ringgold (Ga.), Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, etc., with Gen. Sherman. Although many enlisted who did not enlist under "calls," it may not be uninteresting to note the results of "calls" in Dent, Phelps and Pulaski Counties: Dent – quota, 135; credit, 59; deficiency, 31. Phelps – quota, 485; credit, 301; deficiency, 184. Pulaski – quota, 74; credit, 210; surplus, 136.* (*Adjutant's Report, 1865.)
Of the 735 voters in Dent in 1860, it is estimated that probably 550 or 600 took active part in the war, sooner or later; and of the 600 there were probably 400 who took part on the Southern side, and 200 were Federal soldiers. It might be interesting here to insert the names of a few of the "solitary seven" who voted for Lincoln: W.C. Watson, John Sampel, George Mortsinger and David Henderson. It might be added, too, that John Holt, the delegate of Dent to the convention of 1861, voted for the Union.
It is impossible to make any reliable or even fairly approximate estimate of the casualties of the county occasioned by the presence of civil war within its limits.
Towns, Villages, Etc.
Dent County, unlike Phelps and Pulaski, may be called a county of farms and mines rather than an urban county. It has afforded but one real town, and that is the county seat – Salem.
The following is a list of the post-offices in the county: Salem, Sligo, Lake Spring, Lecoma, Barney, Celina, Coulstone, Condray, Custer, Darien, Eden, Doss, Gila, Gladden, Hedrick, Howe's Mill, Jadwin, Lenox, Montauk, Stone Hill, Taladego and Twane. Ten of these have been established since 1881. Lake Spring and Montauk are the oldest two, but they were merely post-offices up to the time Salem was begun.
Early History – Salem was decided upon as the county seat site by the commissioners of location. It was in the old Abner Wingfield neighborhood, and there was where many of the early barbecues were held on the 4th of July. It was covered with black jack when Joseph Milsaps (the county agent) entered two adjoining forty-acre tracts for the county on July 4, 1851. The town was probably named by Mr. Milsaps. This was laid out in lots by the county, and the following is a list of a few of the first purchasers, lots, blocks, and prices paid: M.M. McSpadden, Lot 1, Block 1, $10; James Nelson, Lot 4, Block 1, $11; Francis Jamison, Lot 3, Block 1, $18; Thompson E. Edgar, Lot 2, Block 1, $12; Ellis G. Evans, Lot 2, Block 2, $17; William Crawder, Lot 3, Block 2, $29; * * * John W. Bennett, Lot 4, Block 2, $13.50; J.H. Ray, Lot 1, Block 3, $8.75; Henry Nelson, Lot 2, Block 3, $11.50; * * * George Noris, Lot 3, Block 12, $8; * * * Benedict Plank, Lot 1, Block 10, $17.25, and others. Mr. Jamison built the first log house – still standing northeast of the square near the spring – and opened a store. A log house was built north of the court house, where Mrs. Keltner now lives. John Orchard had another log house east of the square, which was then still covered with black jack. The contractor, Mr. Garvin, built a house northeast of the square, and erected the court-house later on. In the Jamison building was opened the first hotel, about 1853, by J.W. Livesay. A.P. Duckworth opened a store on the Love corner, about 1855, in a small frame house. The Cooks came in about 1856, and became merchants. The business clustered about the square, and by this time the main streets were cleared of timber. Phillip Rohrer opened "The Inn" and afterward named it "The Western Hotel." W.N. Organ, J.M. Orchard and G.S. Duckworth attended to legal business. W.P. Williams opened a stock of goods in 1857. Drs. J.D. Hudspeth, T.J. Edwards and Dr. Sims were among the first doctors. Simeon Richardson had a saloon. G.A. Kenamore was a grocer in 1859. J.W. Livesay & Co. (W. McDonald and A. Howell) were the first druggists. George Crist manufactured shoes, and was a dry goods merchant in 1858. Carr and Relfe came about 1860, and L.M. Nichol began the first newspaper – the Argus. D.L. Hill sold boots and shoes about 1860. Abiel Flint & Sons ran the "Salem Hotel," on Love's corner. B.D. Hinkle was about the first local carpenter (1856). E.T. Butler was a clerk. The place grew to a population of between 600 and 800 people by the opening of the war.
The situation during that conflict was not so bad as in some towns; there was not so much suffering. Most of the adult males were in service, but they managed to return often enough to aid their families in some degree. The occupation by the soldiers is given more at length on a previous page. The fires incident to the war destroyed probably half the town – chiefly in the south and west parts. The great fires in the career of the town have been that of 1866, when the block south of the public square was mostly destroyed, and a recurrence of a similar fire in the same place in 1881.
Since the War – After the close of the war Salem recuperated slowly until the construction of the railway, the opening of mines during 1872 giving her an unusual boom. There were many new arrivals, and especially a large mining population; business began to grow up Fourth Street toward the railway; new residences were built. Then, when the population was 1,129, came the panic of 1873, which brought things to a standstill for a time; but the new business brought by the completion of the railway
was bound to make a solid growth. Triplett's corner, the first brick block, had long been the only one in town, and in 1875 Mr. Love built his large brick opposite. Trade which before had gone to Rolla and Springfield now centered in Salem, and gave her a large jobbing business. A.H. & H.B. Clark had a trade of over $100,000 annually, and it extended as far as West Plains, continuing until the completion of the Memphis road diverted it. Many residences were built during the seventies, and the growth was solid
and progressive up to about 1885 or 1886; since then its growth has not been so marked.
Business – In 1881 there were thirteen general merchandise houses, two hardware houses, seven drug houses, seven grocers and confectioners, five wagon and plow works, two furniture dealers, three millinery stores, two watch-makers and jewelers, one gunsmith, two hotels, four lumber yards, two livery stables, two bakeries, two saddleries, one tailor, three barbers, four meat markets, one photographer, one brick-yard, one planing-mill, five insurance agents, three printing-offices, two billiard halls, seven attorneys, seven notaries public, eight physicians, five shoemakers, one distillery, five draymen, no saloon, five resident pastors, four ministers besides the pastors, nine brick and stone masons, one wholesale liquor-dealer, one shooting gallery, twenty-five carpenters and architects, one dairy, two cabinet-makers, four stock dealers, four painters, one auction house, one flouring mill, six churches and four secret societies. "This is the shipping point for nearly all South Missouri," says a local paper of 1881. "Cotton, cattle, hogs and sheep are shipped almost daily in large numbers. The Salem stock yards are prepared to receive all that may come. The population of Salem is 2,000, not including the several additions adjoining the corporate limits."* (*Dent County Democrat, March, 1881.)
The present business life of Salem may be said to be not so "congested" and transiently large as then, but it is solid and of a more permanent nature. The following is a list of the present enterprises:
The Missouri Iron Company, whose headquarters are at Salem, is superintended by Mr. E.B. Sankey. This company was incorporated, under the same general purpose and with the same officers as the St. Louis, Springfield & Little Rock Railroad, in 1871. It began with a capital stock of $500,000, invested almost entirely in Dent County; this capital has since been reduced. They have been a large influence in both Salem and the county in developing them. The present general officers are: President, H.A. Crawford, of St. Louis; vice-president, A.L. Crawford, of Newcastle, Penn.; secretary and treasurer, A.L. Brewster, of Erie, Penn., and assistant secretary and treasurer, E.L. Foote, of Sligo.
The Dent Iron Company was organized April 24, 1880, at Salem, with a capital stock of $2,000, which in 1885 was increased to $10,000. Its stockholders and officers have been and are: President, E.B. Sankey; vice-president and superintendent, W.J. Sankey; secretary and treasurer, H.C. Sankey, and H.A. Crawford and G.W. Walker.
The Bank of Salem was organized in November, 1883, by W.R. Love, W.A. Young, L.B. Woodside, H. Hodges and A.H. Clark. The first capital authorized was $14,000, but it was very soon increased to $25,000. The officers from the beginning have been: President, W.R. Love; vice-president, E.B. Sankey; cashier, W.A. Young; assistant cashier, J.J. Jadwin. Their statement of September 3, 1888, gives: Resources, $78,920.10; liabilities, capital stock paid in, $25,000; surplus funds, $8,402.63; deposits subject to sight draft, $44,287.47; deposits subject to time draft, $1,230. The National Park Bank of New York, and the Continental Bank of St. Louis, are their correspondents.
The Clark Mercantile Company (successor to A.H. & H.B. Clark) was organized September 1, 1888, by several stockholders, of whom the Clarks were the largest. The officers chosen were: President, H.B. Clark; vice-president, M. Elayer, and secretary and general manager, C.H. Orchard. Their paid-up capital is $15,000, and their business has developed into a wholesale and retail trade which extends southward for from thirty-five to forty miles. Their two departments occupy four rooms besides basements and warehouses.
The Salem Mill Company began in June, 1883, with a capital of $9,000, which was soon increased to $15,000, and their mills given a capacity of eighty barrels daily. They buy and ship wheat above what is consumed by the mill, and by roller process and the latest improvements turn out an excellent brand of flour, under the management of Superintendent W.T. Dougan. The first officers were: President, L. Martin; vice-president, A.H. Clark, and secretary and treasurer, H.B. Clark. Mr. Martin has since succeeded A.H. Clark, and A.L. Dye has been made president. This is the old mill formerly owned by Love & Hodges.
Other Business Houses, not corporate bodies, are the general merchants, W.R. Love & Son, Louis Fischer, W. & F. Dent, Smith, Tennyson & Ramsey, S. Klein, W.L. Triplett, T.J. Lewis, J.R. Ray, McSpadden & Dent and A.J. Jones. The grocery trade is managed by A.J. Dickerson, Thornhill Bros., A.J. Smith, J.F. McCrae and A.E. Gleason. The demand for confections, bakery goods and restaurant accommodations is supplied by E.J. & J.S. Taylor, M. Stevens & Co., Mrs. Keltner and J.T. Benton. The druggists are J.N. McMurtrey, Frank Wentz and L.B. Craig. R.M. Askin and S. Morrison are the hardware and furniture dealers, and saddles and harness are well supplied by Samuel Newington. B.F. Hockman and F. Miller supply the demand for home manufactured foot-wear. The millinery interests are cared for by Mrs. M.J. Hogle and Mrs. A. Houg. Middaugh & Martin own the feed store, and the livery stables are in the hands of R. Kessler and F.C. & H.A. Blackwell. Those who want wagon or blacksmith work done go to MacGlashan & Mitchell, E.B. & W.F. Smith and Elayer & King, while lumber can be found in the yards of Dye Bros., the Excelsior Lumber Company, Mr. F.X. Falk, superintendent, and M.H. McSpadden. The marble works are owned by Lee Cook and broom factory by John H. Walker. The barbers are James Benton and Franklin Story, while Mr. Story and J.C. Grosse care for the demands on tailors. J.R. Ray and J.J. Bowen deal in jewelry, watches, clocks, etc., and the news and book trade is handled by the drug stores and post-office. Ice and coal are supplied by E.J. & J.S. Taylor and Dr. Godbey. Meat-markets are kept by J.H. Wigginton and Thornhill Bros., and the stock, game, hides and furs which are bought and shipped pass through the hands of Owens & Pettigrew, F.M. Lenox, W.P. Williams, and others. H.C. Smith is a cabinet-maker and W.R. McMillan a gunsmith. The architects, contractors and carpenters have among their numbers Dye Bros., D.N. Garner, B.F. Snider, J.E. Hoodenpyle and Thomas Mosley. The transfer business is carried on by A.J. Reyburn and Isaac Middaugh. The homes of the traveling public are the Salem Hotel, by S. Headrick; the City Hotel, by T.B. Pence, and the Walker House, by Mrs. M. Walker. The printing offices are in connection with the two newspapers, the Monitor and Howitzer. The express agent is M. Taylor.
The Legal Fraternity is well represented by L.D. Woodside, E.A. Seay, Col. E.T. Wingo, L. Judson, J.M. Orchard, J.R. Callahan, H.H. Miner, P.L. Lyles, Thomas Campbell and G.S. Duckworth, while the physical ills of the community are skillfully cared for by Drs. M. Godbey, L.B. Craig and J.N. McMurtrey. Dr. S.F. Arthur is the only dentist. Insurance is handled by G.C. Wingo and J.M. Orchard.
Incorporation – Salem was first incorporated as a town by an act of the Legislature, January 5, 1860. The first officers were: W.P. Williams, mayor; Simeon Richardson, marshal; J.M. Orchard, clerk, and G.W. McNeal, W. Halliburton, T.J. Edwards, A.P. Duckworth and John Cook, trustees. The incorporation was changed by an amendment passed by the Legislature and approved March 28, 1870. It was incorporated for school purposes about 1868. On November 8, 1881, it became a city of the fourth class, and covered the plat described in the proceedings of the county court found elsewhere in this volume. Milsaps's Addition was also included. The officers at that time were: Mayor, M. Hogle, and aldermen, M.W. Dent, E.B. Sankey, E.L. Dye, and O.L. Rouse. Mayor Hogle continued until April, 1888. The present officers are: Mayor, Charles, Middaugh; clerk, H.C. Sankey, and aldermen, E.L. Dye, Isaac Dye, M.W. Dent, M.H. McSpadden, E.B. Sankey and B.A. Thornhill. Among other mayors in the career of the town were G.A. Kenamore, Col. E.T. Wingo, C.L. Allen and S. Sachs. The corporation has built a bridge on Fourth Street, and cared for its streets generally.
Lodges – The fraternities are well represented in Salem. They are the F. & A.M., I.O.O.F., A.O.U.W., S.K., Triple Alliance, G.A.R. and Sons of Veterans.
Salem Lodge No. 255, A.F. & A.M., began its career under dispensation, and continued for some time, until it was chartered May 20, 1862, the charter bearing the names John T. Garvin, M.; Newton Jones, S.W., and A.P. Duckworth, J.W. It is not to be supposed that war times gave opportunity to bestow much attention on lodges, so that a reorganization was necessary; the first meeting after the war was held September 22, 1866, with J.M. Orchard acting W.M.; R.M. Simmons, S.W.; J.D. Reddick, J.W.; G.A. Kenamore, S.; Wilson Cage, T.; E.J. East, S.D.; J.E. Watson, J.D.; John Arthur, Tyler. On October 6, 1866, J.M. Orchard was elected W.M.; R.M. Simmons, S.W.; G.A. Kenamore, J.W.; John Arthur, Treas.; J.D. Reddick, Tyler; they were installed by W.E. Glenn, D.D.G.M. The Worthy Masters have been as follows, with dates of election: D.R. Henderson, 1871; J.M. Orchard, 1872; L.B. Woodside, 1874; J.M. Orchard, 1876; L. Judson, 1877; J.M. Orchard, 1879; D.R. Henderson, 1882; R.M. Askin, 1883; L.B. Woodside, 1884; J.M. Orchard, 1885; A.A. Flett, 1887; J.M. Orchard, 1888. The lodge now has some fifty-six members, and its property is valued at about $1,200. Its present officers are J.M. Orchard, W.M.; E.B. Smith, S.W.; S. Klein, J.W.; W.R. Love, Treas.; J.W. Wingo, Sec.; J.S. Ault, S.D.; John Mitchell, J.D.; J.J. Culp, Tyler; W.R. Love, S.S., and W.J. Jones, J.S.
Salem Lodge No. 118, I.O.O.F., was chartered before the war, but its disorganization during that struggle led the members to surrender their charter. In 1868 they reorganized with several members, among whom were G.A. Kenamore, R.M. Simmons, W.R. Pomeroy, D.R. Henderson, W.T. Stepp, J.H. Strain, S. Morrison, J.S. Wingfield and others. They now have about sixty members, and among those who have served as Noble Grands are G.A. Kenamore, J. Ready, W.T. Stepp, D.R. Henderson, S. Morrison, L. Judson, C. Middaugh, M. Elayer, J. Williamson, H. Elayer, S. Klein and others.
Salem Lodge No. 157, A.O.U.W., was chartered September 12, 1879, and the following embraced the first officers and members: Samuel Morrison, P.M.W.; Lucius Judson, M.W.; John E. Organ, G.F.; Jesse E. Thompson, O.; G.W. Walker, Recorder; E.E. Lowe, Financier; James R. Feurt, Receiver; E.L. Dye, G.; Rudolph Kessler, I.W.; Minor Elayer, O.W.; L.B. Craig, Silas Headrick, Charles Middaugh, Alex J. Jamison, M.H. McSpadden, John R. Reddick, Michael Webber, J.S. Wingfield and Rufus Kenworthy. Among those who have filled the chair of chief executive are E.L. Dye, J.E. Organ, W.H. Lynch, M.H. McSpadden, R. Kessler, Thomas MacGlashan, Charles Middaugh and L. Judson. There have been four deaths in the lodge since it began. They now have seventy-two members, and property valued at about $200. Their present officers are as follows: L. Judson, M.W.; W.T. Martin, F.; E.B. Sankey, O.; S. Newington, Recorder; S. Morrison, Financier; R.M. Askin, Receiver; Thomas Houston, G.; D.S. Love, I.W.; W.J. Sankey, O.W. and Drs. Godbey and Craig, Medical Examiners.
Salem Legion No. 51, S.K., received its charter on March 3, 1883, and began its career with the following named officers and forty-two members: L. Judson, S.C.; E.L. Dye, V.C.; M.H. McSpadden, L.C.; W.H. Walker, Recorder; Samuel Morrison, T.; J.R. Callahan, R.T.; Samuel Newington, Chaplain; J.H. Birdsong, S.B.; Thomas Houston, S.W.; B.F. Snyder, J.W.; S.H. Sherlock, M., and C.D. Griffin, G. They now enroll twenty members, and among those who have filled the office of commander are M.H. McSpadden, F.B. Young, R. Kessler and L. Judson. The present officers are L. Judson, S.C.; H.C. Sankey, V.C.; R. Kessler, L.C.; S. Newington, Recorder; S. Morrison, R.T.; R. Kessler, T.; P. Riley, S.B.; J.W. Brewer, S.W.; T.J. Mosely, J.W. and S. Headrick, G.
The Triple Alliance, Camp No. 48, is a society for mutual aid, which was organized in Salem on June 25, 1883, by Francis M. Howell, of Lincoln County, Mo. The lodge uses the rooms of the A.O.U.W., and now has a membership of twenty-three persons. The first officers were: W.H. Thomas, P.; J.R. King, K.; G.E. Smith, C.C.; G. Leach, C. of G.; T.O. Owens, First L.; N.V. Smalley, Second L.; Z.T. Ives, Secretary; O.P. Gray, Treasurer; W. Cotes, S. At present the following officers are serving: D.A. Thornhill, P.; W.A. Crawford, K.; F.O. Tennyson, C.C.; J.R. King, Secretary; J.S. Ault, C. of G.; N.V. Smalley, First L.; Lee Miller, Second L.; L. Payto (?), S.; T.T. Jones, Treasurer.
Salem Post No. 128, Department of Missouri, G.A.R., is the successor of Gen. Lyon Post No. 2, Department of Missouri, G.A.R., which was organized in Salem in 1881, by H.C. Sankey, with fifteen members. It held its charter for one year, but, as no appropriate hall could be obtained, the charter was surrendered. The present post was established December 8, 1883, by Maj. Arthur Dreifuss, of St. Louis, Assistant Inspector-General and Mustering Officer of Department of Missouri. The first officers and members were: R.M. Askin, P.C.; C. Jennings, S.V.C.; D.N. Garner, J.V.C.; S. Morrison, Q.M.; Dr. O.P. Gray, Surgeon; J.S. Ault, Chaplain; H.C. Sankey, O. of D.; G.W. Griffin, O. of G.; Louis Fischer, Adjt.; F.L. Withaup, S.M.; J.J. Bowen, Q.M.S.; M. Broemser (?), W.L. Douglas, G.W. Counts, P.L. Parker, H.C. Smith, J. Click, W. Campbell, C. Curtis, T.J. Stagner, G. Collins, H.W. Handricks, S. Wisdom, G.E. Smith, J.M. Reed and W.H. Creal. Since the beginning Mr. Askin has been succeeded by L. Fischer, himself, H.C. Sankey, J.J. Bowen and D.N. Garner. Beside Mr. Garner the present officers are as follows: W.T. Stepp, S.V.C.; P. Riley, J.V.C.; J.S. Ault, Adjt.; H.C. Sankey, Q.M.; Isaac Dye, S.; O.W. Coon, Chaplain; R.M. Askin, O. of D.; J.C. Grosse, O. of G.; T.J. Mosely, S.M.; J.J. Bowen, Q.M.S., and W. Campbell, Sentinel. They meet at Union Hall, Dent's Block, and have property valued at $250. On their rolls are 102 names, but they have about sixty-five actual members. The post has inaugurated the celebration of Decoration Day, which has grown to be a popular holiday. It was first celebrated in Salem by a solitary veteran in the person of H.C. Sankey. Some able orations have been delivered on these days, among which should be mentioned that of Prof. H.C. Long on May 30, 1888.
Lew Wallace Camp No. 62, Division of Missouri, Sons of Veterans, was organized by W.C. Askin. Seventeen charter members were mustered in by Capt. J.B. Wilson, of Sligo Furnace, September 24, 1888, and the following officers chosen: Capt. W.C. Askin, First Lieut., Charles Grosse, Second Lieut., H. Walker, First Sergeant, James Malone, E.H. Garner, Q.M.S., and John Smith, Chaplain. There are now about twenty members, of whom the following are officers: Capt. John Smith, First Lieut. C.R. Stevenson, Second Lieut. S.P. Hickman, F.M. Ault First Sergeant, Charles Grosse, Q.M.S. and E.H. Garner, Chaplain.
The Press of Salem has been the only spokesman of that kind in Dent County, and its representatives have been rather numerous. The first paper was the Southern Missouri Argus, which issued its fifth number on June 16, 1860. A copy of this date is now in the possession of Mr. Wallace McDonald, and is one of the very few copies in existence. It was Democratic, and its editor, L.M. Nichol. It survived probably a year.
The Salem Monitor, the oldest Dent County paper now published, was founded in February, 1868, by W.T. Stepp and Perry Barricklow, who edited it as an independent Republican paper. Mr. Stepp was superseded by D.R. Henderson, about 1869. J.W. Wingo and C.S. Seaman then had it for about a year, as an independent Democratic organ. In 1872 Wingo & Montgomery made it independent, until in April, 1873, J.E. Organ secured it, and has since edited it as a purely Democratic local paper, which shows evidence of having come to stay. From this office was also issued a Republican paper, which was run during the campaign of 1884; it bore the cognomen, the Salem Republican, and its editors were H.C. Sankey, D.R. Henderson and W.T. Stepp.
The first purely Republican paper for Dent County was the Western Weekly Success, issued by the Success Publishing Company, and edited by Capt. W.T. Stepp. It was sold in November, 1876, to the Monitor. About 1874-75 Jesse Matthews, afterward associated with J.W. Wingo, established an independent paper called the Spirit, but it proved to be less enduring than the best definition of its name would indicate; it lasted less than a year.
Wingo & Doss began the Dent County Democrat about 1879. Seaman & Doss had charge for a time, and soon after it was sold to D.R. Henderson, who gave it a new title, the Salem News, and a new coloring politically, independent Republicanism. It was sold to W.L. Lyles, who changed its name and politics again, and founded a new Democratic paper, which issued its first number on May 5, 1886, with the breezy and aggressive title, The Mountain Howitzer. On January 1, 1888, the editor's son, E.K. Lyles, became partner and local editor. On January 26, 1889, the office was purchased by Mr. J.C. Pugh, of McArthur, Ohio, who now has full control, and will no doubt make it even more spicy and enterprising than before.
Sligo, the seat of the operations of the Sligo Furnace Company, is a post-office and station at the end of the Sligo Branch Railroad. It is owned by the company above mentioned, which was organized in 1881, with the same officers as the Missouri Iron Company, and with a capital stock of $100,000. They invested at Sligo in the accourterments of the furnace and its operation. Mr. E.L. Foote is local superintendent. The company have one store.
Two fraternities are flourishing. Sligo Lodge No. 411, A.O.U.W., was organized February 21, 1888, by P.P. Ellis, with the following officers and fourteen charter members besides: M. Ashlock, P.M.W.; D.P. Thurber, M.W.; J. Faulkner, F.; J. Goss, O.; J. Snelson, R.; L. Carson, Financier; A. Snelson, Receiver; S. Tipton, Guide; J. Provence, O.W., and J. Perry, S.W. They now have thirty members, and the following officers: J. Faulkner, J.W.; T. Roberts, F.; G. Mayberry, O.; M. Ashlock, R.; N.L. McCall, Financier; J. Snelson, Receiver; J.H. Nash, G.; H. White, O.W., and J. Provence, I.W.
The Charles R. Wood Post No. 246, G.A.R., Department of Missouri, was formed September 17, 1885, by Mustering Officer Louis Fischer, of Salem, with eighteen charter members. J.A. Goss was its first Commander, and has been succeeded by J.C. Hans, J.T. Campbell and B.P. Fowler. The present members number thirty-three. The present officers are: G.F. Lutsenberger, C.; J.T. Campbell, S.V.C.; F.M. Bennett, J.V.C.; J.F.M. Ashlock, Chaplain; J.R. Cooksey, S.; W. Jett, O. of D.; W.R. Irwin, Q.M.; W. Peters, Adj. and S.J. Turner, O. of G.
Lake Spring was at one time a rival of Salem – in prospect rather than in fact. Its claim to importance was in no small degree due to the fact of its being the residence of the able and now aged physician and politician, Dr. John Hyer, who, together with his father, Samuel Hyer, located there in 1838. The first name of the place was Laketon, in 1856, and in 1857 an impetus was given by the founding there of the Union Academy, which drew a large student population. In 1860 there was the only marble shop in the county, owned by S.W. Stigleman and N.M. Thompson. The war ruined the academy, and the little settlement became what it is now, a post-office, a store by A. Donnan, two or three residences, and an able physician, Dr. W. Lenox.
Lecoma and Victor each have a store and mill. Other places are merely post-offices. The railway stations in Dent County are Boscobel, Avery, Howes and Salem.
Chapter of Instruction
Early Schools – The earliest settlers of the region included in Dent County were often illiterate, but they were generally determined that, so far as possible, their children should be educated. Then there were those among them who valued the advantages of education for other motives, and who were the leaders in educational movements.
As in other parts of the State, the old single township "poor school" of the first constitution did not flourish, and subscription schools took its place; but even after the free school laws of 1839 they found but poor reception, and the money was used to aid the subscription schools. Early in the forties there were among the early teachers who taught in private houses, Miss Ann E. Stigleman, the aged sister of Dr. John Hyer; Miss Martha Hyer, now Mrs. Harrison; Samuel Hyer, Jr., and a few others whose names are not obtainable. In 1844 there were, according to the memory of Judge Simmons, three log school-houses within the limits of Dent County; two on Meramec, the Smith school-house and the Lynch school-house (now the Copeland school) and one on Spring Creek, at Salem, called Leonard's school-house; there may have been one or two others.
The log cabin had its benches of slab, and otherwise it was not unlike the homes the children came from, walking various distances, often five and six, and sometimes ten, miles. They knew, however, that the school "master" or "marm" was only hired for two or three months. There were not many to come, but when they did arrive they were under the martial law of the master's "code of rules;" these he read to them first; they were far more numerous than the Ten Commandments, and corporal punishment was the alternative if they chose not to obey the least of them. They were to bow when they entered and bow when they left the school-room, and work in the interval. All the old Webster's Spelling Books in the region were gathered together for the use of the school; all the little New Testaments were brought likewise; a few had Pike's or Smiley's or Fowler's Arithmetic, which contained the object of their highest ambition, "The Rule of Three." These were the tools for "spellin', readin' 'n 'rithmetic." 'Ritin' compelled the use of ink, which was made from oak-balls, or blackberry root and copperas, but the "master" or "marm" must be skilled enough to make the quill pens, or make pens from beech switches – a use of the latter greatly preferred by the pupils, no doubt. The master wrote out a "copy" of some legend as "Improve your time," and the maid and urchin would perspire in endeavoring to make his or her "fist" take such positions and motions as would produce hieroglyphics intended to read and look like the "copy." It is not known whether there were turbulent spirits who found the "practical," as opposed to intellectual, jokes interesting, such as filling the fire-place with snow, covering the chimney with a board, locking out the teacher, etc., ad infinitum, but they, no doubt, had their lights and shades in those days here as elsewhere.
The Commissioner's Report – The earliest report of the Dent County schools to be obtained is that made in 1875, when Mr. P.F. Powelson was school commissioner. It gives the enumeration as 3,135 white and 9 colored; white enrollment, 2,590; none of the colored enrolled; the average days attended by each pupil during the year, 38; the average attendance of the county for a day, 1,400; teachers, male, 25, and female, 22; total 47; average teacher's salary, $31; number of school-houses in the county, 50, and one rented room; total capacity for seating, 2,975; schools in operation, 40; value of school property, $13,789; total receipts to the school funds, $13,031.12; expenditures, $6,780.70; balance on hand, $6,250.42. This is an excellent showing; it represents the time after the railway and iron works had been fully in operation for a few years.
In the report made in 1878 by J.J. Jadwin, the county commissioner of schools, the value of school property is given as $16,000; 54 school-houses, with a seating capacity of 3,400; 45 schools in operation; 50 teachers, 27 male and 23 female, with an average salary of $27.50; the enumeration is 110 less than in 1875; the enrollment, however, is only 27 less; 29 days, annually, to a pupil, and 625 pupils as the average for a day.
In 1884 the enrollment was 3,570, or 376 less than the enumeration, making an average daily attendance of 3,000, each of whom averaged 60 days annually. To teach these, 66 teachers were employed, at an average salary of $29. Sixty rooms were used for 55 white schools. Of $11,351.88 received in the fund, $10,170 was expended.
In 1886, $21,920.88 was received and $10,125 expended to employ 55 teachers, at an average salary of $28 (monthly), to teach an enrollment of 3,585, out of an enumeration of 3,962. For this 60 rooms were used for 55 white schools, with seating capacity of 4,000. The certificates issued were as follows: Third grade, 53; second grade, 2; first grade, 0, and State, 2.
In 1887 the enrollment was 3,664, or 105 less than the enumeration. The daily attendance (average) was 3,000; 64 rooms, with capacity of 4,000, and 60 teachers, at average salaries of $25, were needed. The receipts were $11,100.05, and the expenditures were $7,223.35. The receipts for 1888 were over $1,000 more, while the expenditures were over $1,500 more. The enumeration of 1888 was 4,177.
These improvements are not remarkable, but show a solid growth. Among those who have been school commissioners are Joseph Gill, W.R.H. Powelson, J.G. Blake, R.W. Montgomery, J.C. Jadwin, J.J. Jadwin and I.B. Walker.
The Salem Academy has always been more or less a private school, and its funds partly based on subscription; this fact has led to its being called an academy. The old Leonard school – a log building – was probably the nucleus of the Salem schools, and after the establishment of Salem a frame school building – burned during the war – was erected on the present site of the academy. Here began some of the following teachers: G.D. King, G.S. Duckworth, John B. Ginger, and others. The Union Church was also used at times. Mr. J.S. Wingfield recalls having been a pupil in the first school in Salem vicinity, and for three weeks he was the only scholar. The advent of the railway made a new building necessary, and the main part of the present neat brick academy was built about 1872. The wing was added about 1884, and the total cost has reached above $7,000, making a two-story, commodious brick structure, of great advantage to the architectural beauty of Salem. But as the capacity of the school has at times reached over 350, space accommodation is not sufficient for the demands, and rooms have to be rented occasionally.
Teachers – A veteran of the Salem schools was Prof. W.H. Lynch, who became a principal of the schools about 1873, and continued for about eleven years. His vigorous attention and enthusiasm made the schools very popular, and drew pupils from a radius of many miles, especially to the south and west. It was under his administration that grading began, but it was not perfected until Prof. H.C. Long assumed control and placed the school equal to the graded schools of many larger places. Prof. Long was succeeded by Prof. Oscar Minchell in 1888; he now has charge, with a full corps of teachers: Miss Lulu Seay, Miss Lyda Mantz, Miss Jennie Newington, Miss Lizzie Dilworth, Mrs. Georgia Carty and Miss Annet Lenox. A graded plan prepares for the high-school, which has a four years' course, also adapted to graduate pupils who desire courses of two or three years. Diplomas are granted, also. Besides ordinary branches, book-keeping, music and some of the languages are taught. It has been the custom to have public terms for five months, followed by five months' subscription terms. This offers a great inducement for the attendance of teachers from the district schools. The present enrollment is about 350. No colored schools have existed in Salem since early in the 70's.
The only other school which needs to be mentioned in the county is that which once flourished at Lake Spring. Others are district schools.
The Union Independent Academy, of Laketon, (now Lake Spring), was incorporated by "An act to incorporate, etc." approved February 25, 1857. The act provided "that David Lenox, John Hyer, Samuel Hyer, John Arthur, James Watkins, J.N. Bradford, L.L. Coppedge, Benjamin Wishon and John Brown, and such others persons as may hereafter be associated with them, and their successors, are hereby created and constituted a body corporate and politic, by the corporate name and style of 'The Union Independent Academy,' to be located in the county of Dent, etc." They made David Lenox president, and Dr. Hyer, one of the largest stockholders, contributed ten acres of land and $200. David and Hamilton Lenox were large owners, also. They proceeded to boom Laketon and the school together. The ten acres were laid out in lots, and an elevated site was chosen, on which a large two-story frame structure was erected, at a cost of $2,500. It had one large room above and two below. They secured Prof. H.B. Flanner as their first principal, and pupils from a radius of fifteen miles flocked in to the number of seventy-five or eighty. Prof. King and two Misses Ward, one for music and the other for primary work, formed the next corps of teachers. Dr. Wilson and Prof. and Mrs. Houk were teachers at one time, also. The corporation became insolvent about 1860 or 1861, and Dr. Hyer bought it. The war unfitted the building for use, and it has since stood an idle memorial to a most worthy effort.
First Religious Teachers and Organizations – The most prominent early pioneers in the religious life of Dent County are the Primitive Baptists, whom their more liberal rivals at a later date gave the names "Ironsides," "Hard Shells," "Whisky Baptists," etc. These were here before 1837, and it was about the same time that that other pioneer denomination, the Methodists, arrived and had services. The Missionary branch of the Baptists was likewise already here in 1838, and possibly before that time. These three seem to have been so early that it is difficult to determine who came first. The next arrival was the Cumberland branch of the Presbyterians. It is thought by Dr. John Hyer that this church was represented here as early as 1838, although Judge Simmons is of the opinion that it was some time in the forties. About 1854 or 1855 the Christian Church began work, and it was probably as late as 1867 when the Presbyterians made themselves known. The latest denomination to become active was the Catholics, who had members here at an early date, but not until some time in the seventies. There is also what is called a Holiness Band.
The Primitive Baptists are now largely merged into the Missionary branch, so that no information of their present condition is obtainable. A few still live about Lake Spring. "Old Grandfather" Snelson was one of the first preachers, and David Lenox was another. Those were the days when a few would gather in a grove or some dwelling, and, not feeling comfortable in his Sunday jeans, the old preacher would remove his coat, roll up his sleeves, loosen his collar and begin – a proceeding to which our later quieter ways seems ludicrous, but which was to those times equally as suitable and earnest as ours. This denomination made itself conspicuous by its opposition to the abstinence or temperance movement, which was first agitated in the county in 1858; those were times when the preacher often carried his flask, which was then considered to be a respectable companion.
The Missionary Baptists, a liberal break from the old church, may be mentioned in this connection. The churches of Dent were first members of Franklin Association, and in 1877 all entered the newly organized Dry Fork Association, of which they are still members. There are now fourteen congregations in the county, with a membership of 1,022, and twelve pastors. These are Salem, New Salem, New Home, New Enon, Corinth, Dry Fork Valley, Dry Fork, Enon, Hopewell, Nelson Branch, Pleasant Valley, Round Pond, Pleasant Hill and Knob View. The eleventh annual session of the association met at Hopewell Church in 1888; the moderator was W.L. Lyles. Information of all of the churches is not obtainable. Revs. Cole and Burlison were their preachers as early as 1838. Salem Church was organized "the Saturday before the second Sunday in August, 1843," as Pleasant Grove Church. The only member of that day now living is Mrs. Elder E.A. Hight, an aged widow lady. As the early records are all destroyed the early membership and the officers' names cannot be given. In 1855 the congregation came to Salem and built a wooden church (24x24), which was the old Union Church, now used as a livery stable, on Fourth Street. In 1876 the present edifice, a frame, near the depot, was erected at a cost of $3,500, and was dedicated in May, 1877, by Dr. W.S. Yesman (?). The first pastor was Rev. R.S.A. Caldwell; then followed Revs. Enoch Simmons, E.A. Hight, A.M. Johnson, A.F. Randall, C.R. Stephens, J.D. Crabtree, T.A. Bowman, Thomas MacGlashan, John G. Moss and F. Swift. They have a membership of 135, the largest in the association. Among other improvements in their church they have built a baptistery. New Salem Church was organized in 1874 by Rev. J.E. Barnes. The officers were W.F. Thornton, T. Kissiah and R.B. Hodges, and other members were J.B., W.D., Betsy and Elizabeth Williams, J.S. and M.J. Halbert, G.W. and R. Frazier, M. Bates, E. Edwards, M. Fox and C. Scott. The following pastors have held services in school-houses: Revs. W.F. Thornton, F. Richards, R.B. Hodges, E. Eaves and J.S. Rice. Their membership will number thirty-eight. New Home Church was organized September 25, 1883, by Rev. J.A. Mincher. They have nine members, and a log church is used; its cost was $500. Rev. J.A. Mincher is pastor. New Enon Church was founded March 12, 1887, by Elders J.G. Moss and E. Eaves. The members were H.G. and W.L. Capps, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Webber, Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Bradley, B.L. Walker and C. Webber. They have nine members. Revs. E. Eaves and H. Atkinson have been pastors. Corinth Church was founded by Rev. J.T. Weaver October 13, 1877. Their members were L.S., Allie and Mary Meadlock, S.S., Eliza and Sarah Cope and A. Weaver. Revs. Meadlock, J.T. Weaver, Crabtree, Sowers and S.E. Compton have been pastors. Members, thirty-six. Pleasant Hill Church has had services since about 1858, but was organized in January, 1886, by Rev. Stringer, of Sligo. The members were Thomas Tune, A.S. Hight and wife, W. Phelps and wife, R. Phelps and wife, and Ellen and Julia Phelps. Revs. Compton and Eaves succeeded the first pastor. Members, twenty-three.
Nelson Branch Church was organized June 19, 1869, by Rev. S.W. Rutledge, with twenty-two members, of whom Jeremiah Roark and R.W. Whitaker were deacons. Among these were the Roarks, Whitakers, Prichettes, Nashes, Cheeks, Mondy, Lay, Johnson, Skaggs, Brown and Belew. In 1872 they built a log church, and their membership now numbers twenty persons. Their pastors have been Revs. Rutledge, Fitzgerald, Rice, Burlison, MacGlashan, Godby, Love, and J.E. Smith, the present incumbent. The church is seven miles northeast of Salem.
Hopewell Church, at Sligo, was organized by Rev. E.A. Hight, and others, and he has been followed by Revs. Godby, Ashlock, Compton and Eaves. They have no pastor at present. They have twenty-nine members, whose services are held in the school-house.
Knob View Church was organized August 13, 1887, by Elders T.E. Carr, T. McGlashan and F.C. Richards. The first members were the Redwines, Ramseys, Taffs, Chumleys, Condrays, Talberts and Elizabeth Brown. Others were soon added, and their numbers reach twenty persons at present. They meet at Knob View School-house, in Norman Township, under the pastoral charge of Rev. F.C. Richards.
Enon Church (thirteen miles west of Salem) was organized August 20, 1856, by E. Hight, J.G. Rutter and S. Bates. The first members were the Hunts, Agee, Briggs, Christophers, Jones, Cox, Crow, Nichols, Davis and Crags. Their first church was log, and in 1881 a pine church was erected costing $600. Revs. Hight, Callahan, Earp, Hendrix and Eaves have been pastors. Membership, 100.
The Methodist Church had in Dent County territory before 1838 Revs. Monroe, White and Headley. They were in Mill Creek Circuit as early as 1845. In the conference of 1845 Bishop Soule presided, "and," says Rev. Lorenzo Waugh, "it was plain to be seen, at the beginning of this conference, that the absorbing question was the intended transfer of the Methodist Episcopal Church into a new organization, with the term 'South' appended as its special designation." Rev. James M. Jamison and Rev. Waugh, especially, fought the movement, and Rev. Waugh claimed his appointment as under the Methodist Episcopal Church; he was given Mill Creek Circuit. D.R. Henderson, Sr., was steward of the quarterly meeting, and vigorously fought for the "minutes of the Methodist Episcopal Church," without the "South," as suggested by the visiting elders, and the meeting supported him. Lawyers were consulted as to taking legal means of removing Rev. Waugh, but this movement was in vain, for the legal advice was that none, probably, but Rev. Waugh were legally appointed! There were various changes in conferences until it became a member of Springfield District, St. Louis Conference, and Salem, and Salem Circuit, including Sligo, Antioch and smaller classes, embraced their representation in Dent County, as it does at present. The membership of the county is not definitely known. Salem Church met in private houses until the erection of the Union Church, which was used until the erection of their present commodious building, in 1878, by Trustees M. Hogle, D.R. Henderson, Sr. and Jr., J.R. Vanderbilt and George W. Walker. It is a frame (30x40), erected on a lot donated by N.F. Grover; it was not dedicated, however, until 1881, when Bishop T. Bowman officiated; a parsonage was built in 1884, the former valued at $1,500 and the latter at $800. They now enroll 154 members under the whole charge. Since 1866 their pastors have been Revs. O.M. Ashbaugh, J.E. Morris, J.S. Bundy, _____ Hopkins, Charles Cooper, R.M. Morgan, L.C. Sappenfield, M. Bell, C.S. Revelle, J.B. Brewington, B.F. Poole, Samuel Warner, P.A. Crow, W.M. Creamer and G.A. Glens. Other classes have no buildings.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, will be found traced out in more detail, as to its general history in Missouri, in the Pulaski County chapters in this volume. Taking it up with the creation of St. Louis Conference in 1870 (as at present bounded), its western boundary – the Gasconade, Big Piney, and the range line between Ranges 10 and 11 – is seen to throw Dent County within its borders. St. Louis Conference is a very old one, its forty-first session having been held September 19 to 24, 1888, at Bonne Terre, Mo., with Bishop E.R. Hendrix, D.D., as president, and Henry Hanesworth as secretary. It had ninety on its rolls. The conference is at present divided into five districts: West St. Louis, South St. Louis, Charleston, Poplar Bluff and Salem. Salem District covers Dent and Phelps, with other counties, with the following stations and circuits, under Rev. J.L. Batten, presiding elder: Salem and Steelville, Rev. J.M. England; Cuba Circuit, Rev. W. Fenton; St. James and Mill Creek, Rev. D.J. Marquis; Houston Circuit, Rev. D.F. Renfro; Summerville Circuit, Rev. W.Q. Donnan; Salem Circuit, Rev. T.J. Hancock; Licking Circuit, Rev. W.C. Eurchs; Lane's Prairie Circuit, Rev. A.H. Russell; West Plains Circuit, Rev. J.A. Hyder; West Plains Circuit, Rev. Hamilton; Alton Circuit, Rev. L.L. Whitehead; Current River, Rev. F.M. Rhodes; Willow Springs Circuit, Rev. T.M. Hyder, and Eminence Circuit, Rev. J.H. Cox. The district has 17 local preachers, 2,468 white members; 31 churches, valued at $38,675; 6 parsonages, valued at $3,276, with other property valued at $229. Of these Dent County includes Salem and Salem Circuit, embracing Pilot Grove, Deep Ford and several missions. Salem Circuit has three local preachers, with a membership (white) of 271, and two churches, valued at $500; also one Sunday-school of fifty-eight members. This circuit is a very old one, and at first included Salem.
Pilot Grove Church was organized in 1835, by Rev. John Monroe, at the house of Wilson Craddock, on Spring Creek, with six members: W. Craddock and wife, William Skiles and wife, and John Skiles and wife. From this organization has sprung all the other classes in Dent County of both the Northern and Southern branches of the church. This church now has eighty-three members, and its building, erected in 1883, was dedicated in August, 1884, by Rev. L.F. Aspley. It cost $500. Their pastors have been Revs. J.A. Carter, M.W. Beanly (?), A.J. Blakey, J.P. Edleman, W.M. Shelton, Hicks, Allen, Dennis, Woodward (?), R.M. Simmons, D. Renfro, Davis, L. Pickens, W. Craven and R.M. Reddick.
Salem Church was organized in 1853, by Rev. T.O. Smith, the first members being William Ashlerocks (?) and wife, Joseph Leonard and wife, Mrs. John Garvin, Mrs. B. Johnson, R.W. Nichols and wife, Rev. R.M. and J.F. Simmons, Mrs. Martha Orchard, A.H. Orchard, E.A. Walden and wife. The old union church was erected in 1854, and the present frame edifice was built in 1874, at a cost of about $2,200. It was dedicated in 1875, by Rev. T.M. Finney. Their membership is now eighty-five, of whom Rev. R.M. Simmons has been pastor. Rev. J.M. England is the present pastor. They have a large Sunday-school. Further information seemed not obtainable.
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, although it became known in Dent County as early as 1838, when Rev. Mr. Brown was its chief exponent, but little can be learned of its early history. It has congregations and missions in Salem Circuit at Salem, New Hope, Oak Ridge and Sligo, and probably embraces a membership of 300 in Dent County. The congregations of the county are members of Salem Presbytery. Salem Church is the largest, and has a membership of 100 persons, some the result of fruitful revivals during the past three years. The only original member now living is the aged Edward Pettigrew, who became a member when Rev. James B. Braly and Rev. Eaton organized it, long before the late war. The war brought disruption, and even as late as 1885 there were but twelve or fourteen resident members. It was then that Rev. J.P. Campbell, the present minister, became pastor and gave it new momentum. They increased so that they were able to leave the old Union Church and erect in 1887 a handsome brick structure, valued at $2,500, and which was dedicated in October, 1887, by Rev. W.H. Black, of St. Louis. New Hope Church was begun in 1867, founded by Rev. E.R. Jones, with the following members: Mr.* and Mrs. W. McGee, E.A. Pettigrew,* Mrs. J.B. Jamison, H. Roberts* and Dr. Arnot. They, in company with the Methodist Episcopal Church South, built a church valued at $200 in 1867, and have increased in numbers until they now have forty members. Their pastors have been Revs. E.R. Jones, G.W. Browne, W.D. Hawkins, J.W. Ritchey, T.S. Love, J.V. Stephens and J.P. Campbell. Information of other missions is not obtainable. (*Officer.)
The Christian Church – The denomination known by that name began its teachings in Dent County in 1854 and 1855, through Revs. David McDonald and Charles Drennan, who at the same time supported their families by manual labor. Services were first held in the court-house and in private houses, and in 1855 about twenty persons united in an organization effected by Rev. Drennan. David McDonald was selected as elder and teacher, and among other members were E. and L. Inman, D., J., S., E., William and M.A. McDonald, and Mr. and Mrs. Martin. The Union Church, which had been built for all orthodox denominations, was used once only, for thereafter a meeting of the other denominations declared the new sect not orthodox. This led to the erection of a new frame church about 1856, now owned by E.B. Smith as a dwelling. Before it was completed the new movement had over 100 members, but the Civil War scattered them more or less, and the records were lost. In 1881 the old church was replaced by a fine, large frame edifice valued at $2,000, and it was dedicated by Rev. Kirk Baxter. Among its pastors have been Revs. C. Drennan, H.S. Shultz, W.L. Fennex, E.R. Childers, H.D. Rutter, H. Drennan, J.J. Lane, A.S. Wright, R.A. Thompson, R.W. Turner, and the present incumbent, Rev. L.M. Linn, under whose work over 200 members have been added throughout the county. They now have about 300 members. Sligo Church was organized in 1887 by Rev. Linn, and now has forty-eight members.
Gladden Valley Church was organized in 1874, by Rev. H. Drennan, with H. Beasley, A. Bates, M.A. Harris, J.W. Dillworth (?), Wilson Cage, V. and M.C. Jadwin and others among the first members. They have about forty-eight members at present, who meet at the school-house. Since Rev. Drennan they have had Revs. J.J. Lane, W.W. Blaylock and others as pastors.
There are also congregations at Victor Mills and Fairview, of which there could be had no information.
The Presbyterian Church first made itself known in Dent County after the close of the war. Rev. A. Shaw is the earliest minister of whom mention is made. Since his time, in 1868-69, the membership has become about 100, or less; these are gathered into three congregations, namely: Salem, Lake Spring and Round Pond. These are members of the St. Louis Presbytery, of which a brief account may be found in the chapter on Phelps County churches. The Salem First Presbyterian Church was organized by Rev. S.W. Mitchell, on March 28, 1875. The original members were John and Mrs. S. Massey, Phil F. and Mrs. A.F. Powelson, E.B. Sankey, W. and Mrs. J. Lindsey, Sarah Lindsey, Eva Rogers and Mrs. S. Pellett. Messrs. Massey and Powelson were ruling elders. In 1882 they erected a most excellently designed frame church, on Fourth Street, at a cost of about $2,600. Their pastors have been Revs. S.W. Mitchell, G.W. Newell and D.R. Crockett. Since the first there have been ninety-two members admitted, but the present membership is twenty-nine persons. They are at this time without a pastor. The Laketon First Presbyterian Church, at Lake Spring, was organized in 1869, and was incorporated, by order of the circuit court, on June 14 of that year. Its first members were R. Bingham,* A. Linville, * C. Powelson,* Susan Powelson, L.A. Powelson, P.F. and W.R. Powelson, M.S. Linville, S.A. Clark, M.C. Organ, J.A. Whitelaw, John Nelson, Rachel, Jane, and Diana Bingham, and Catherine and Jennie Martin. In 1870 their church was erected, at a cost of $1,000. Their pastors have been Revs. A. Shaw, J. Jenkins, C. Cooper and the three pastors of Salem Church. The church has been reduced in membership to thirteen, on account of removals to other parts of the country. The Round Pond Church is an important organization, but efforts failed to secure its general history. (*Elder.)
The Catholic Church has but few members in Dent County, and these are gathered in the church at Salem. This church is a member of the archdiocese of St. Louis, and is under the priestly care of the priests whose headquarters are at Rolla. Among the original members at Salem were the Reillys, O'Connells, Collins, Mrs. Dent and the Dembowski family. In 1880 the present comely church was built, under the direction of the present pastor, Rev. P.O. Laughlin.
Sunday-schools – The Dent County Sunday-school Association was organized in 1876, by Messrs. Orchard, Powelson, Braly, Dickerson and Kenworthy. A.J. Lindell, of Lake Spring, was president at one time, and C.C. Taylor, of Salem, secretary; the last persons to fill these offices were respectively S.H. Sherlock and H.C. Sankey. Statistics of the growth of schools throughout the county were kept until 1887, when a fire destroyed Mr. Sankey's office. Over 1,000 pupils were attending Sunday-schools
in summer at the last report. All churches are pushing their Sunday-schools, if they are not very vigorous otherwise. The association is now defunct.
[Source: "History of Laclede, Camden, Dallas, Webster, Wright, Texas, Pulaski, Phelps and Dent Counties, Missouri", Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1889; Transcribed by K. Mohler]
BACK -- HOME
© Copyright Genealogy Trails