Blythedale, Colfax township, is a child of
the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad. Many settlers,
attracted to the beautiful rolling prairie land, were living in the
Community before Blythedale was born, in 1880.
Hammer homesteaded a farm 2 1/2 miles north of Blythedale, later known as
the H.P. Canady farm, now owned by John Higbee. here in 1840 he
built one of the oldest mills in the County. Power was furnished by
horses and oxen. Bolting of the flour was done by hand.
Grinsteads lived in a log cabin northeast of the town site, about 1850,
now the Ralph Emerson farm.
William Canady came to this
community in 1854 and purchased fourteen forties of land. A year
later he brought his family to Missouri. He later became a charter
memeber of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Blythedale. he was one
of the organizers of the Old Taylor Grove Church and school. Taylor
Grove church and cemetery about 3 miles northwest of Blythedale in the
south part of Section 22, Colfax Township. All the surrounding
community was referred to as Taylor Grove.
James Morgan Neville
and family, with his two brothers, John R. Nevill and Henry O. Nevill,
came to this area in 1850. James Madison, son of James Morgan
Neville was born in 1847. He was three years old when he came to
Missouri. In 1881, he became deputy sheriff of Harrison County,
under W.H. Gillespie. In 1890, he was elected sheriff and served
four years. He died in 1927.
James Morgan Nevill served
two terms in the State Legislature, 1858-60; 1880-82. Henry O.
Neville served one term, 1854-56. James Morgan Neville and Henry O.
Nevill were twins. the observance of the birthdays became a
community celebration as years went by.
James Nevill Richardson,
1844-1932, came to Missouri from Hart County, Kentucky, with his family,
in 1851. They drove one horse team and one oxen team seven hundred
miles in seven weeks. they never crossed a railroad. The first
winter they lived with the Chas. Bridges family, making 19 persons living
in one log house. The Richardson family settled near Taylor
It was 120 miles to the nearest railroad at Ottumwa,
Iowa. At age 18 or 19, James helped drive 1500 hogs to
Ottumwa. It took 13 days to go. Pay was 60 cents a day and no
dinner, and five days to return with team and wagon. The hogs
belonged to Eph Harrold and sold for 3 cents a pound. He mentioned
there was snow on the ground, but he had neither overshoes nor heavy
S.J. Moore and Caroline Dale were married in 1859, settling
northeast of town. Abraham Dale lived four miles northeast of
Eagleville in Colfax township in the year 1853.
Andrew Sheets owned
land in the southwest part of Colfax in 1850. This land is
still owned by the Sheets family. This was paid for with a Black
Hawk Indian War Grant.
The old McFall school house was built in
1857 by Ez Hulse. Early day pupils were John Canady, George Patton,
Frank Shirley, Mrs. Patton Anderson and sister, Joan, Mrs Susan Richardson
(nee Brooks), and Mrs. Sarah Neville (nee Brooks).
Enos and Lydia
Moore lived near the town site about 1870.
In 1870, ten years
before Blythedale was a town, the old Koontz school was one and one
quarter mile east. John Kirk was the teacher that year. In
1910 he was president of Kirksville State Normal, and returned to
Blythedale to address the graduating class of 1910. (In later years
there was a Koontz school southeast of Eagleville).
families, all related, came to Colfax Township from Wisconsin, in
1870. They were the W.W. Hurds, the Brinigars and the
Kreamers. They settled south of the town site. The land
acquired by the Brinigars is still owned by that family in 1975.
This farm is now in Marion Township.
Martin and Ellen Devine
Jenkins lived in a log house north of Blythedale. A son, James B.,
was born to them in 1872. He married Sallie Richardson in 1895 and
became the father of Mrs. Earl (Mamie) Stephens and Mrs. Fred (Letha)
Moore, both living in Bethany in 1975.
Lewis T. and Elizabeth
Wernitch Coats had a home northeast of Blythedale, 1876-1922. He
later was a member of the town board and had a dray business in
Blythedale. The old Coats school house north near the Iowa line was
first built in 1869.
The population of Colfax Township in 1880 was
1,198, the largest of any township in Harrison County.
mentioned families were only a few of the early settlers. The
township was laid out in 1872, after a county election. The votes
tallied 1,988 in favor of township organization. There were 636
votes against it. Colfax consisted of all of Congressional township
66, Range 27, and part of township 67 same range.
In June 1880,
C.E. Perkins came to the community. He was an agent for the Chicago,
Burlington and Quincy Railroad. His mission was to establish a
station and a town for the coming railroad. People were in need of
such service. Fifty-three acres in Section 34 and 35, twp 66, Range
27 were purchased from W.J. Nevill. A.B. Smith made the
survey. It showed seventeen blocks and the following streets:
Broadway, Elm, Maple and Walnut running north and south; First, Second,
Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh running east and west. The
new town was called Queen City.
Much maneuvering and political
influence was used by communities to obtain the railroad.
Collections of as much as $40,000.00 were offered as an inducement to come
their way. Otto Wilson related the struggle between Blythedale and
Eagleville. Eagleville had one last big rally in the summer of
1879, promoting the railroad. By fall, it was conceded Blythedale
was the winner. In the winter Otto and several young men went to
Eagleville sledding. Seeing a large group of men and boys gathered
on a corner, they stoped the horse and inquired, "Could you tell us which
street to take to get to the depot?" A big fellow started for the
sled and said, "By____I'll show you."
boys whipped up the horse and came home in a hurry. Otto related
some wanted to go back, but he was ready to come home.
south of town provided room and board for several men working on the
railroad. Fresh bread had to be baked every day. The men slept
in the barn. Charges were fifty cents a day for board and
room. The first passenger train came through Blythedale in
1881. Fred Allman, living south of town, was there to see it.
The last passenger train ran in 1951. Mr. Allman's
great-granddaughter, Debbie Allen, was there to watch it pass.
Beamer was the first station agent. The first section foreman, to
the south, was "Dad" Byers. He was a German, but did not like to be
called one. He always insisted he was Prussian. A house caught
fire in the town. Mr. Byers filled two twenty-five pound wooden
candy buckets with water, and started for the fire. Just as he
reached the house he fell and spilled the water all over himself.
Mr. Wilson recalled it was the first time he ever heard anyone swear in
German. "Dad" was an Elder in the Christian Church, but bless my soul he
could sure hit it off."
On November 22, 1880, a post office was
established. Application was made to the government for a permit and
it was found there was already a town called Queen City, Mo. The
name Blythedale was then chose, in honor of a Mr. Blythe, who was a civil
engineer with the railroad. The first postmaster was W.
With the coming of the C.B.& Q., housing
was badly needed. John J. Wilson, carpenter and his five sons, lived
south of town. They moved to Queen City to help build the
town. The sons were: Otta A., Willis, Clinton, John and Elmer.
though he did not know it, Otto was to spend his life "building the
At this time there were only two businesses in town.
A.J. August had a store just west of the present Citizens Bnk.
Across the street south J.W. Wightman published the "Blythedale Clipper"
The Wightmans' came to Blythedale in 1880 and published a paper for twenty
In 1887, there were only three graves in Cedar Hill
Cemetery. At that time it was known as the Nevill Cemetery. It
was on the Nevill farm. The first grave was a child of H.O. and R.G.
Neville; Louie M., 1851-age 5 yrs. The fourth grave was a young
girl, Amelia Wilson, sister of Otto Wilson. The Cemetery is
refrred to as Cedar Hill in Obituaries about 1914-15. There are now
around 750 graves there, and is always referred to as Cedar
In 1888 the town had a population of 250 to 300. There
were two churches, Presbyterian and Baptist. Merchants at that time
were: Young Brothers, dry goods and general store; R.H. Grinstead, general
store; Monore Davis, hardware; Sherman Henry, groceries; Mr. Taylor,
general; Mrs. Phillip Young, milinery; coon and Reeves, mill; A. Dennis
and R.O. Baker, blacksmiths; Young Brothers, lumber; William Walton,
railroad agent. There was a Stanley Post No. 208, of the Grand Army,
with 35 members. (Civil War Veterans).
The coming of the
railroad made Blythedale an important shipping point. The
surrounding cournty was well suited to livestock production, and livestock
was driven or hauled in wagons, to the railroad, from several miles
away. In November 1900, John Carter of Hatfield drove about 900
turkeys from Hatfield to Blythedale, for shipment. They left
Hatfield on Sunday and the shipment was made on Tuesday. Nine men
drove the turkeys.
Ora Casady, son of Col. L.E. Casady, well-known
county auctioneer, commented on boyhood days spent in Blythedale. "A
Big thrill" on Monday morning was the rush at the stock yards and livery
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