Hickory County, Missouri Genealogy Trails
The first settlers in Hickory County were, it is safe to presume, different tribes of Indians, but only the very first white pioneers pressed upon the heels of the aborigines in this particular territory. The " last ditch " dividing the whites and Indians was the Pomme de Terre; when, in 1835, the dusky hunters and maidens, with their little keen black-eyed papooses, struck their tepees, and turned their faces westward. The little dwelling together of the two races was marked only by peace and friendship — the Indians wanting beads, whisky and salt, and the whites desiring furs and precious metals, with all the time a furtive eye on the rich lands which were unrolled before their vision. The Indians, by their treaty giving up these lands, retained the privilege to return for a stated number of years, in hunting expeditions. They did not exact all their legal rights under this treaty, only coming two or three times; but it was soon discovered that the whites would be exceedingly nervous about their presence in the country, the women and children especially manifesting alarm, and would trump up charges against them about killing hogs, etc. It is the born instinct of an Indian to beg and steal, and, as he had no vote, even the politicians had no hesitancy in telling the truth about him.
The Osages were on the north borders of the county, and the Sacs upon the southwest. The larger part of Hickory County was unoccupied ground between them, in which all the world could hunt and fish. In the prehistoric ages this must have been a noted resort for the powerful Western tribes who followed here the buffalo, that made of this a great breeding ground. But few traces are now found of either the buffalo or the early Indian, and there are no remains distinguishable of the Mound Builders.
The names of the principal streams would indicate that the discoverers of this section were French. The Pomme de Terre (Potato) river; the Auglaise, the Gravois, the Weaubleau, etc., are unmistakable in their origin. It is equally clear that the pioneers who followed the discoverers and successfully pushed back the savages, the wild beasts and the profuse wildness of the face of the country, and effected an entrance into its dark and often nearly impenetrable woods, and crossed its swollen, bridgeless streams, were Democrats of the Andrew Jackson type — men who partook more or less of the stern nature of the old hero of New Orleans; resolute, fiery and unconquerable by nature themselves, they sincerely admired these qualities in perfection in Gen. Jackson, and hence they were greatly pleased to honor their county by giving it his character cognomen, and then further showing their admiration by appropriately naming their county seat after the favorite name of Jackson's homestead. One of the streams in Hickory County, Hogle's Creek, received its name from an Indian trader of that name, who settled at the mouth of this creek, he and his partner, Pensoneau, being the first white settlers in this part of the Osage Valley. Hogle was a German, and Pensoneau was a Frenchman. The latter was one of the French who settled in Cahokia, Illinois, one of the first settlements in that State in the eighteenth century.
Into Hickory County there came, about the same time, two streams of pioneers — one from the north, into that part which was at one period in Benton County, and the other from the south, into the southern part of the county.
The impression prevailing with the old settlers of to-day is, that probably the first arrivals were in the south part. Judge Neihardt, who prepared, in 1876, the centennial sketch of the county (which unfortunately, like all the early records, was destroyed when the court house burned), states that about the first white settlement was on Lindley Creek, near where is now Pittsburg. Here were two families as early as 1832, the Zumalts and Ingleses; but which came first, or whether they came together, could not be ascertained. Their given names, or what became of their descendants, is not known. The fact is that others of the pioneers all attest that these individuals were living there when they first knew of the locality.
E. F. Halbert, postmaster at Hermitage, who has lived in the county since 1842, says that he was often told by Andrew Vandever that this county was his birthplace (born, probably, some years before 1832). The Vandevers settled on Stark Creek, about twelve miles east of Hermitage. Settlements were known to have existed in the southeast part of the county as early as 1832.
In the northwest part was Judge Joseph C. Montgomery, who settled on what became the Samuel Walker place. After him was named Montgomery Township, when it was first formed (a part of Benton County) in 1835. At that time he was one of the county judges of Benton County. Samuel Judy settled on the southwest quarter of Section 33, on the place now owned by Mrs. S. Lollar, a short distance south of Quincy, and for years this was called Judy's Gap, on account of being the narrow strip which joins Twenty-five Mile Prairie and Hogle Creek Prairie, and where the timber of Little Pomme de Terre and Hogle Creek nearly join. Near Judy's was John Graham. It is known that these families had settled there prior to or in the year 1833.
In the northeast portion, west of the town of Cross Timbers, on North Prairie, was a settlement, probably as old as any in the county. There were enough settlers there as early as 1833 to form an organization of the Primitive Baptist Church at the house of Washington Young. The ancient church records give the names of the first members of this church as James Dawson, John Potter, Daniel Lake, Nancy Young, Ann Foster, Nancy Holloway, Nellie Dawson and James Richardson. The preachers for this denomination were James Richardson, James H. Baker, Hezekiah Parker, Daniel Briggs, Marcus Monroe and James Walker.
The military road, or the " old road," was the first known appearance of an English-speaking people in this part of Missouri. This passed through Hickory County, as it ran from Boonville on its way to Springfield, Missouri, and thence to Fayetteville, Arkansas. This road, which had been used as early as 1821, was regularly cut out, and made a proper United States road by act of Congress in 1835.
The above list of very first settlers probably comprises all who were here prior to 1833. Of course, all who came in before the formation of the county, in 1845, are to be reckoned as the county's pioneers. It was soon after 1833 that the great tide of Eastern emigration set in toward the West. General Jackson vetoed the United States Bank in 1832, and following this was the wild scheme of private banks in great numbers, and often by those who proposed no other capital than " talk," on which to found their institutions. These, instead of seeking a place of habitation in the busy haunts of men, rather avoided them as much as possible, so as to get their bills in circulation as far away from home as they could, and also to make it more difficult for the bills to find their way to the parent bank for redemption. They flooded the country with cheap money, and in every way encouraged the people to borrow money for all manner of speculation. Four years, from 1832 to 1836, were characterized by a reckless spirit of speculation unknown up to that time in the history of the country. The thain field for speculators then was in the wild lands of the Northwest. Vast sums of this money found its way to the land offices, and, as fast as the Government could open land offices and surveyors could survey and sectionize the lands, great crowds would besiege the offices eager to invest in lands. It was in this year that the surveyors from Boonville surveyed, on their way South, the lands in the upper half of Benton County. In the midst of the wildest of this wild spirit of speculation in 1836, President Jackson issued his famous circular instructing the land offices to receive in pay for lands only gold and silver. The " wild-cat" bills were then sent to the banks for redemption, and then came the memorable crash of 1837, which sent financial ruin to the borrowers of the country. While depressing business in all the old States, it had stimulated a wave of emigration to the West that has never stopped, and that perhaps in the course of affairs would not have started for many years after 1833-36. Hickory County, although at a distance from the great water-ways leading emigration westward, caught some of the emigrants, and the real commencement of the settlement of the county may be fixed as at that time. About that time, too, the county west of the Pomme de Terre was opened to white settlers. In 1839, Archibald Cock, a name afterward well known in the Turk-Jones " Slicker war," made a settlement just north of Quincy, and Abraham C. Nowell began his improvements three miles north-west of Cock's.
Three brothers, James, Samuel and Robert McCracken, came in 1837; Samuel made his improvement on Section 26; Robert settled on Section 27, Township 36, Range 23. In this township, in 1837, had located Nathaniel Holland, William B. Bodine, Russell M. Morgan, William G. Baynham, Bird Estes, John P. Rogers, Thomas Holland, William J. Metcalf. This was at that time the strongest settlement in the county.
John Starks had settled on Stark's Creek, whence its name. His place is about twelve miles east of Hermitage.
A short distance south of Cock's, there settled in 1839, the noted Turk family, consisting of the father, Col. Hiram K. Turk, and four sons, James, Thomas J., Nathan and Robert. The family came from Tennessee, and their arrival here and the bloody vendetta which soon after arose between them and the Jones brothers, who lived a little north in what is now Benton County, form one of the most terrible and bloody chapters in the whole range of the history of border settlements. Montgomery Township was then in Benton County, and Turk's house was in 1840 a voting place. The Turks were magnificent specimens of physical manhood, tall, straight, lithe and muscular. Gray-headed men now, who were boys then, often relate that no roan ever made so strong impression upon them at first sight as did Col. Turk. His commanding person and courtly carriage, the elegance of his dress and dignity of manners, were a revelation to them. The family had all received good educations for that day, and all knew well the civility and politeness of gentlemen. The boys were disposed to dissipate, tending largely to racing horses and gambling. The four Jones brothers were the opposite of the Turks in everything except animal courage and physical prowess.
The first act of the drama opened at the August election, 1840, at-Turk's house. The Turks had a store —no doubt the first ever kept in what is now Hickory County — and sold liquor among other things. A large portion of the voters on that day having freely imbibed, a difficulty arose between James Turk and Andy Jones, and a general free fight was inaugurated. The Turks were the victors, it seems, and no one was seriously hurt. The Jones party rushed into court, and had the Turks arrested and bound over. Abraham C. Nowell, a quiet and peaceable farmer, was, most unfortunately, a witness against the Turks. When he was on his way to court, on the morning of April 3, 1841, in company with Julius Sutliff, a near neighbor of the Turks, he was overtaken at the branch near Arch. Cock's house by James Turk, who objected to his (Nowell's) testimony against him. Some words followed, when Turk dismounted, and, drawing his pistol, approached Nowell, who was unarmed; the latter, however, secured SutlifF's gun, and, as his opponent rapidly advanced, shot him dead. Nowell's friends advised him to flee the country, which he did, but returned at the next term of the court, and was tried and acquitted. Open and relentless war was now declared by the Turks against the Joneses and their clan. The next move was the arrest or kidnaping of Morton, a relative of the Joneses, and sending him back to Alabama, to be tried for killing a sheriff of that State when the officer was in the act of arresting him. This act increased the members of the Jones party, and added to it some of the prominent men of that day. The Turks were recruited, on the other hand, by the bad conduct of the Joneses and their cronies, and they were openly charged by the Turks and others with stealing horses and other stock. In the future developments of this affray, it came out that the Jones party regularly organized their clan, and swore them in, one of their first purposes being to kill Col. Hiram K. Turk, who had been arrested and bound over for kidnapping Morton. Jabcz Harrison, when he was whipped by the Turks, confessed that the Jones party, led by Andrew Jones, had entered into a conspiracy to kill Hiram K. and Tom Turk. July 17, 1841, Hiram K. Turk was shot from ambush, and soon after died. He had been to Squire Alexander Breshears* to attend a lawsuit, and was returning, in company with Alex, and Thomas Cox, E. T. Condley (these parties all lived in now Hickory County, near Turk's), and Andrew Turk. The last, though bearing the name, was not related to the other Turk family. Col. Turk was shot in a brushy hollow on Breshears' prairie, near where is now Quincy, near the house of Sampson Norton. Andy Jones and others were indicted for this murder, and on trial were acquitted. Joseph C. Montgomery was foreman of the grand jury which returned the bills of indictment. When the trial was over, the Turk party, becoming convinced that perjury was so easy, and that there was but one course open to them, took the law in their own hands. Tom Turk became the leader on his side, and had a trusty following of about one hundred men. On the other side, Andy Jones was principal. The Turk party gathered Friday, January 28, 1842, moved down in force upon the Jones neighborhood, intending to kill their enemies, and drive their confederates out of the county. They failed to find any one of the Jones boys at home, but, securing Thomas Meddows, took him out and whipped him with roasted hickory withes (" slicking," as they called it) so severely that he soon after died. William Brookshire was also subjected to treatment almost as severe. Luther White was also whipped, and then John A. Whitaker. Afterward, finding Jabez L. Harrison at Samuel Brown's store, these vengeance-seekers gave him a cruel whipping, and it was then they made him confess to the conspiracy to kill Turk. After each whipping, the victims and many others were warned to leave the county within ten days. No secret was made of naming those whom it was intended to kill on sight. Such was the state of excitement that the militia were called out, and, under command of Captain Holloway, were in Benton County quite a while. The Jones party had their headquarters in Warsaw, at " Dutchfort," as a saloon kept by a German was called, while the Turks rendezvoused at Hastian's Hotel. At one time, while the military were still there, a party of 100 of the Turks came down to attack the Jones party, then quartered at what is now Lemon's hotel. Captain Holloway prevented an encounter on this occasion. Several of the Jones party were killed in personal encounters in the meantime. The Jones party were finally either killed or driven out of the country, and went to Texas. Nathan Turk followed, and was instrumental in exterminating the last of them, several of whom were hanged for cattle stealing. Nathan was subsequently killed in Shreveport in a broil over a game of cards, and thus ended the Turk-Jones vendetta.
In the above account, it is only attempted to give the main outlines as they apply to the chief parties on the two sides. During the two years the vendetta raged, there were many of the best citizens in the country involuntarily more or less drawn into the dreadful affair, ancf thus some of the best people were at times visited by the " slickers," men often finding it necessary to bravely defend their homes. After the Joneses had been driven out of the country, Tom Turk and Isaac Hobbs secreted them-selves near Nowell's house, and, when he opened his door one early morning and stepped out, shot him dead. Over this assassination Tom Turk and his accomplice soon after quarreled, and Hobbs waylaid and shot him to death.
The early pioneers had customs in common with the dangers and hardships which met such hardy nation-builders as they fought their slow and wonderful way from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. They had left behind them the resources of civilization, and were compelled to rely wholly upon their own quick wits and keen intelligence in every emergency. They perforce were, therefore, trained in the best school in the world to breed up a race of men not born to be slaves — that of self-reliance and the broadest principles of independence. They faced the rough side of life, but that made their natures strong and tough. Beneath their coonskin caps were strong and vigorous brains, and enwrapped in the leather hunting-shirts were as brave hearts as ever pulsed with the blood of life. There was nothing effeminate in their natures, and they were as resolute as they were generous. From head to foot they made their own clothes. Help was freely given to build the newcomer's house, which would be put up in a day and dedicated with a grand frolic at night. A " yarb " doctor would supply the place of the " medicine man " among the Indians. He used in his practice herbs, chants, faith, magic or humbug, or all combined. The people were superstitious and very credulous, but they did not believe the Indian as a rule, no matter how plausible his story. They put their entire faith in the Lord, but always carried their guns to 11 meetinV It is a noticeable fact that a "still" was always provided before a church was built. Never was a people more sociable and neighborly, but, when a feud once arose, in no instances in history were men more implacable. " Here's a heart for any fate," was true of every draught they swallowed, whether from the still or the bubbling spring. The men engaged in the chase for the meat for their families; the boys fished and trapped, while the women tended their truck-patches and spun and wove the domestic goods required. Many a pioneer made his own leather jerkin. In that generation distances were less than now, with all our railroads. On foot, horseback or the family ox-cart, one thought nothing of the trackless miles before him to visit a neighbor, or to go to church or to mill. None were rich, but men among them lived to venerable years who never saw a pauper.
Boundary.— The act of the Legislature organizing Hickory County, bears date of February 14, 1845. It directed the three commissioners to meet in March, at the house of Joel B. Halbert (improperly spelled in the act with an o). The boundary lines of the county were described as follows:
Beginning at the southeast corner of Township thirty-seven north, of Range twenty west; thence north to the northeast corner of Section twelve, Township thirty-eight north, of Range twenty west; thence west along the section line [sectional line] to the northwest corner of Section seven, Township thirty-eight north, and of Range twenty-three west; thence south on the range line to the southwest corner of Township thirty-seven north, of Range twenty-three west; thence west to the northwest corner of Section three, Township thirty-six north, of Range twenty-four west; thence south on [along] the sectional line to the southwest corner of Section three, in Township thirty-five north, of Range twenty-four west; thence east on [along] the sectional lines to the north [south] east corner of Section one, Township thirty-five north, of Range twenty-one west; thence north on the range line to the northwest corner of Township thirty-six north, and Range twenty west; thence east on [along] the township line to the place of beginning.
The boundary lines here remained as originally made; the only apparent change being the correction of the clerical error which described the line as running to the northeast instead of the southeast corner of Section I.
The three commissioners to locate the permanent seat of justice for the county— Henry Bartlett, William Lemon and James Johnson — duly met at Dr. Halbert's. Judge Halbert's house was on the Buffalo and Warsaw road, on the west side of North Prairie, about nine miles northeast of Hermitage, where Jeremiah Young now resides.
The governor appointed Amos Lindsey presiding judge, and Joel B. Halbert and Thomas Davis associate judges of the county court. They held their first meeting to perfect their county organization at Judge Halbert's house — the temporary seat of justice. Alfred H. Foster qualified as clerk, and John S. Williams, sheriff. The court divided the county into five municipal townships, as follows: Montgomery, Center, Stark, Tyler and Green. These were made voting precincts. The county was divided into school districts, and numbered respectively from one to fifty. These important preliminaries being effected, the court adjourned.
Montgomery Township was formed while the north part of the county was a part of Benton County, and named for Judge Joseph C. Montgomery, who was one of the county court in the formation of the county. In the establishment of Hickory, the judge became one of its citizens, and all that part of the original township south of the north line of the county retained its name and boundary lines in the new county. It contained eighty-eight sections and formed the northwest part of the county. Its south line was along the range line between Townships 36 and 37, to the southeast corner of Section 32, Township 37, Range 22; thence north along the section lines to the north line of the county.
Tyler Township included all that portion of the county south of Montgomery to the south and west county lines. Its east line was extended to and runs with the river by act of the court in 1881. Stark Township lying east of Montgomery, occupied all the territory in the northeast part of the county.
Greene Township occupies the southeast portion of the county.
Center Township, as its name indicates, was the central territory of the county, Hermitage being near its central part. Its territory was extended south to the southwest corner of Section 9, Township 36, Range 22, then following the river to the south-west corner of Section I, Township 36, Range 21; thence due east to the northeast corner of Section 9, Township 31, Range 21; thence due north to its old eastern boundary line.
Cross Timbers Township was formed by the county court in 1873, anc* it became the north and northeast part of the county, being mostly carved from the territory of Stark Township. In 1881 its west boundary line was reduced to run with the river north and south.
Weaubleau Township, which was formed at the May term of the county court in 1881, was taken from the west side of Tyler Township, and it now forms the southwest corner of the county, being six sections wide and seven sections from north to south.
Wheatland Township was carved from Montgomery and Cross Timbers Townships in 1881. Its south line is Tyler Township, its east line starting north at the southeast corner of Section 32, Township 36, Range 21, and along the sectional lines to the southeast corner of Section 32, Township 37, Range 21; thence due east to the Pomme de Terre River; thence along that stream to the north county line.
Towns and Villages
Beginning.—The first platted town in the county, Hermitage, was made a town site in 1845, under the supervision of Jacob A. Romans, county seat commissioner. Thomas Davis, who settled here previous to the selection of this point as a county seat, had made some improvement. His house was a comfortable story-and-a-half log, weatherboarded, still standing in the southeast part of town, the property of Judge Liggett. Hence the first settler in Hermitage was Thomas Davis, who kept the first hotel in the only house in the place, until William Waldo built his store and residence in the southeast corner of the square, now the residence lot of Dr. Pack. W. E. Dorman built the third house, and had the second store-room in the hamlet. The property was on the same lot east of Waldo's. The nearest mill at that time was at Buffalo, thirty miles distant. When W. E. Dorman put up an ox-mill and ground meal and flour, even such a primitive affair was found a great public convenience. Five or six oxen were placed on the great tread-wheel, and from sixty to eighty bushels were ground in a day. Corn and wheat were ground through the same stones. When the old ox-mill was worn out, Dorman built a steam saw and grist mill on the river at the south ford, and this served for much of the country until the present steam and grist mill was completed. A man named Alexander had the first blacksmith shop in this locality. Public buildings were soon put up, and the town began to assume important proportions. It has not been incorporated. Mr. Dorman early opened an hotel (then a one-story) in the building now occupied as a residence by E. F. Halbert. The church meetings, schools and public meetings, as well as enter-tainments, were all at the court house; and, when court held a session, every house in town would be a place of entertainment. If the weather was good, many would camp in their wagons, and some who were so unfortunate as to lose their way would sleep the sound sleep of the innocent, in the woodpiles or public square. The timber then extended nearly down to Davis'house. In 1858, W. E. Dorman built his large two-story frame hotel on the east side of the square, and put up a dinner-bell on the top of a pole in the yard. This was a noted advance in the town.
Present Interests.— The present population of Hermitage is about 200. Two general stores are kept by Halbert & Manuel and E. D. Blair; hardware and drugs, by William Howard; drugs, James R. Marsh; hotels, George Wilson and Thomas H. Lord; flour and grist steam mill, W. E. Dorman & Son; blacksmiths, Thomas Humphrey and E. T. Johnson; wagon-makers, George McKenzie and Henry Blair; carpenters, W. W.Hiatt, George W. McKenzie, S. T. Johnson and H. F. Blair.
Societies.— Hermitage Lodge No. 288, A. F & A.M., com-menced work under charter bearing date of October 15, 1866. The charter members and officers were: John W. Snyder, W. M.; Ephraim Dent, Sr. W.; W. J. Snyder, Jr. W.; Samuel Miller, treasurer; L. J. Tatumn, secretary; P. J. Snyder, Sr. D.; J. A. Morton, Jr. D. The present membership is fifty-four, the officers being: William Howard, W. M.; W. L. Pitts, Sr. W.; Peter Solberg, Jr. W.; George W. Gardner, treasurer; J. H. Childers, secretary.
Mcintosh Post No. 261, G. A. R., was organized February 5, 1886, the first officers being: William McCracken, C.; M. N. Neihardt, adjutant; Noah Scott, Sr. V.; Alfred Lindsey, Jr. V.; W. H. Cooper, O. D.; G. W. McKenzie, G.; Samuel Dent, secretary; James Robertson, chaplain. The first members were: W. H. Cooper, J. A. Robertson, A. D. Farr, William McCracken, F. H. Bullard, J. B. McCiure, J. B. Cross, W. C. Walker, George Wilson, Alfred Lindsey, M. N. Neihardt, T. Skinner, A. J. Young, J. J. Beal, W. W. Hiatt, W. B. Brewster, N. P. Williams, D. S. Kimmel, B. Scott, B. F. Fugate, John Lewis, Samuel Dent, J. W. C. Keener, G. W. McKenzie and Rudolph Gather. The present officers are: R. A. Vance, C; M. N. Neihardt, Sr. V.; W. W. Hiatt, Jr. V.; W. B. Coon, adjutant; J. B. McCiure, O. D.; Isaac Smith, Q. M.; J. B. Cross, chaplain. The member-ship is fifty-four.
Newspapers.— The Hermitage Enterprise was started in 1869 as a six-column folio Republican paper, by James R. Wilson. He continued it about one year, when it passed into the hands of Henry H. McKee. In a short time he leased the office to Mr. De Jarnette. Then it fell into the hands of John R. Moore, who ran it until 1875, when it was taken out of the county.
The next venture was the removal to Hermitage of William Moore's old office, the Hickory County Mirror, from Wheatland. It made its appearance in its new home under the old name, and was the property of F. M. Wilson. He sold to Mont. Moore; the latter, to D. Pitts; and in 1878 it again belonged to F. M. Wilson, who associated with himself E. P. Baldwin. Wilson sold to Courtney M. Wilson, and, after about six months, it was taken to Humansville, and from there to Stockton.
In July, 1885, F. M.Wilson and William McCracken brought on a new outfit and started the Hickory County Index; a folio, six-column Republican paper. In December of 1885 Mr. McCracken sold his interest to A. F. Miller; and in February, 1886, Wilson sold to Halbert; Miller, in 1887, sold a half-interest to C. M. Bentley, and the next year Bentley purchased the other half, and continues the sole proprietor.
Bank.—Hickory County Bank, at Hermitage, a substantial financial institution, was organized in March, 1889. W. H. Liggett is president, and James Vaughan, cashier. The capital stock is $5,000.
Historical.— Wheatland, the only incorporated village in the county, has a population of 330, and is situated on the northeast southeast and part of the southeast northeast of Section 24, Township 37, Range 23. It was platted December 7, 1869, by Frederick Kern and Joseph S. Naflziger. Their first deed to a lot was made to John Sutter. The first building and first store was that of M. H. Cooper. The building is still a comfortable residence, standing a little east of the southeast corner of the square. The next store was by John Sutter, who was the first tinner and hardware man in the place. Fred Kern was the first blacksmith, and E. M. Reynolds the first carpenter. The saw-mill was built in 1868, and the grist-mill added in 1869-70.
The land on which the place stands was entered by William Bird, and, when platted, was simply in its wild prairie state. Heard's weatherboarded log house stood at Heard's Spring, a short distance north and a little east. This was the only improvement at the beginning for a long distance in every direction The boundary lines included sixteen blocks — one of which was donated as a public square. A frame school-house was erected west of the public square in 1871, answering well the public both as school, church and public meeting-place until the school population passed beyond its capacity; then was built, in 1885, the present elegant two-story frame school-house, with a spacious room above and below. A frame Union Church was built in 1888.
Incorporation.— Wheatland became an incorporated village October 10, 1882, when the following were made trustees: H. C. Brookshire, chairman; P. L, Hargiss, Robert Wilson, John McCaslin and George Holmes. In 1883, A. C. Shrewsberry, chairman; Howard Buckalew, A. T. Fisher, S. E. Marston, and A. M. Paxton, clerk and treasurer, served; 1884, James A. Scrivner and Henry Scully, trustees; 1885, W. J. Snyder, chairman; R. Czarlinsky, John F. Clayton, president; David Naffziger, treasurer; John R. Chastain, Charles Czarlinsky, clerk; 1886, J. W. Eagan, chairman; W. J. Snyder, clerk; D. Naffziger, treasurer, and C. W. Gist; 1887, Alexander Humble, chairman; W. P. Dougherty, J. S. Dent, C. W. Gist, and A. M. Paxton, clerk; 1888, J. B. Powers, chairman; E. W. Hargiss, clerk; J. R. Chastain, treasurer (Chastain died January 5, 1889, and J. H. McCaslin appointed); William Miller and A. M. Paxton.
Present Business. — The business of the present time includes general stores, kept by McCaslin & Czarlinsky, and Halbert Bros. ; hardware and agricultural implements, J. H. Bentley; drugs, James A. Pine, Ed. Powers; groceries, D. Allen; har-ness, D. Naffziger; tin-shop, A. Stover; boots and shoes, I. W. Eagan; wagons, J. B. Power, William Miller, Howard Buck-alew; furniture, S. E. Marston; mill, grist and saw, Naffziger & Mosser; millinery, Miss Letta Marston, Mrs. E. Mendenhali, Mrs. Dr. Newman; carpenters, R. F. Wilson, C. Forsha; hotel, James Agee, C. Forsha, Henry McCaslin; livery, James Agee and C. Forsha Newspapers.— The Wheatland Headlight, by Humble & Smith, is the present newspaper published in the town. The first paper in the place was the Hickory County Mirror, by William Moore, established in 1869 — the pioneer paper in the county. Moore ran it three years, and transferred the office to Henry A. Moore, who published the journal until 1876, when it was moved to Hermitage, and sold to parties there. In 1876 a company was formed, and published the Wheatland Enquirer, managed by a Mr. Walker; then Rufus Woodbury and John H. Davidson conducted it, the name being changed to the Wheatland Star, and in 1883 it was taken to Humansville.
March 18, 1882, Alexander Humble started, in Hermitage, the Hickory County Herald, a quarto Republican paper, which he ran in that place four years, and then moved it to Wheatland. He leased the office to a company, and they issued, March 18, 1886, the first number of the Hickory County Democrat, which existed about a year. Mr. Humble then took the office, and started the Wheatland Harpoon, a Republican paper, and in 1888, moved it to Collins, and the same year returned to Wheatland, and changed the name to the Wheatland Headlight, in the publication of which A. Lincoln Smith is associated with him.
Fraternities.— Wheatland Lodge No 368, I. O. O. F., was organized in 1887, with the following charter members and officers: Dr. Z. Barnes, N. G.; James A. Scrivner, V. G.; W. D. Harryman, secretary; Fred Kern, treasurer; George Holmes and W. B. Estes. The lodge now has a membership of twelve, with these officers: H. Buckalew, N. G.; J. R. Campbell, V. G.; J. K. Moore, secretary; James A. Pine, treasurer.
This town, having a population of 240, is one of the handsome places in the county, surrounded by a rich and prosperous farming community. Its trade and commerce are heavy, and its business firms are noted as being among the solid men of the county. The town was platted February 24, 1871, by Ezekiel Kirby. It is situated on the northwest of the southwest southwest, Section 22, Township 38, Range 21, and this is in the oldest settled neighborhood in the county. The first settlers in this section were the Dawsons, Potters and Lakes. In 1857 V. S. Williams opened a house of entertainment, which became quite a place for travelers. This hostelry was known as Williams' Hotel. Rev. W. B. Hill, a preacher of the Methodist Episcopal^Church, South, settled in the neighborhood in 1853. The place which became the town was settled by James D. Donnell. His sons, William L. and Thomas F., opened the first store; followed by John C. Brown, also a general merchant. The mill near the place was built by Mr. Donnell. It was idle during the war, and then Mathias Jenkins started it up, and afterward sold it to Cruddington Brothers. It is now operated by Heath, Noland & Co., the firm also having a store. The other merchants are Condley & Bennett, and Burris & Co.; drugs, Curl & Mowell; hotel, V. S. Williams; hardware, E. T. Condley; blacksmiths, John F. Nelson and A. C. Fields.
Preston (formerly called Black Oak) was platted by S. C. Howard and R. I. Robinson, December 8, 1857, on the southeast corner of the northeast Section 22, and part of the southwest Section 23, Township 37, Range 21. Robinson, in early days, made an improvement, and accommodated travelers, as they chanced along and needed it. He then opened a store, and his trade was so prosperous that, in a short time, Silas Howard opened his store. He was followed by a merchant named Trentham. The town now has a population of about 70. Reeser Bros, have a store and handle agricultural implements; A. Lindsey and S. P. Inks have stores; A. H. Crouch, drug store; Mrs. T. C. Piper, hotel and livery; blacksmiths, George A. Cook and Mr. Leterman. A Union Church is here, the upper story being occupied by a Masonic hall.
Black Oak Lodge No. 432, A. F. & A. M., was organized in September, 1881. The first officers and charter members were: F. C. Piper, W. M.; Achilles Morgan, S. W.; G. W. Lindsey, Jr. W.; R. G. Pendleton, secretary; J. B. Cross, treas-urer. The present officers are: Achilles Morgan, W. M.; Jasper N. Mabary, Sr. W.; R. B. Green, Jr. W.; George W. Rains, Jr. D.; J. B. Cross, secretary.
Quincy was platted in 1848 or 1849, by Isaac M. Cruce—at all events, in the deed index is found a deed, from Cruce to J. W. Murry, for a lot here, February 3, 1849. In the early days Samuel Judy had a store at his place just south of Quincy, where is now Mrs. Lollar's farm. Judy's was made the first postoffice in the county, and for many years was known as Judy's Gap. In 1854, John Hunter and William Bird were the merchants in Quincy. Wash Whitlow had a blacksmith and wagon repair shop. Ransom Raymond had a horse-mill on the creek a quarter of a mile from the town in 1858. The present business consists of two general stores, conducted by J. C. Kagle and G. M. Nowell; drugs, Robt. J. Robertson; groceries, harness and drugs, Ira Anerine; mill, W. H. Morse; carding and woolen factory, George Lomas.
Hogle's Creek Lodge No. 279, A. F. & A. M. was organized in October, 1868, with L. W. Stiltz, W. M.; J. B. Brent, secretary; and L. W. Stilts, J. B. Brent, John Ragner, A. A. Crouch, J. A. Scrivner, P. J. Stoll, J. P. Stoll, James R. Wilson, H. B. Combs, and W. D. Harryman, members.
Weaubleau, at one time called Haran, was laid out on ten acres of the northeast northeast southwest Section 11, Township 36, Range 24, and was platted by Emmerson Barber. He was postmaster, a minister of the gospel and president of the Weaubleau Institute, a male and female academy under the auspices of the Christian denomination. A. A. John was a builder and con-tractor, Joel Meyers was for some time principal of the school, Phipps & Co. built the steam saw-mill, and T. J. Phipps opened a store. W. L. Snidow, for a long time the able representative of Hickory County in the Legislature, settled in the place in 1856. T. J. Tucker was manager of the lumber yard which was opened in the place about the commencement of the war. Joseph Whitaker settled in the place in 1859. He was also a member of the State Legislature. The town has been chiefly made by the high school, the Weaublcau Institute, which is a valuable addition to the educational facilities of the county. It was built in 1871. The present business consists of a mill, by Harryman & Hartley; stores, A. A. John and L. D. John, and Crouch & Dorman; hotel, Robert Orr. The population is 200.
Pittsburg is not much more than a postoffice hamlet. The place received its name from the Pitts family, of whom there are numerous members in the neighborhood. It is south and a little cast of Hermitage about seven miles, at the corner of Sections 25, 30, 31 and 36, on the range line between 21 and 22. The first settler on the spot was W. E. Dorman, and he opened a trading place. In 1845 he picked up himself and the entire settlement, and removed to Hermitage, syid for some time the place was the " deserted village." J. T. Ferguson, in 1878, had a drug and grocery store, and Mr. Snow a drug store. At this time Kirkpatrick Bros, and Alexander Lightfoot are the merchants. Halleck Pitts conducts a drug store; Dr. Gentry also keeps drugs, and the steam mill is run by M. C. Mahaffy.
Klkton is a postoffice station and trading post in a good settlement. It was first settled by Dr. Blue. Alexander McFarland started a store, and sold it to Clasebrook. Then Brown & Grimes had it for sometime, and then Mr. Hartsell.
The oldest postoffice in the county is Quincy — called Judy's Gap, and the youngest is Galmey, established in 1887. In the following list, except those towns mentioned above, the mails are kept at farm houses: Almon, Cornersville, Cross Timbers, Elk-ton, Galmey, Hermitage, Lone Spring, Pittsburg, Preston, Quincy, Roney, Weaubleau and Wheatland. What is now the Wheatland office was " Bledsoe," kept at Bledsoe Montgomery's house, where William T. Winkler now lives, about three miles north of Wheatland.
Jacob A. Rowans was appointed county seat commissioner, and the new county was hardly on its feet when arose the natural rivalry between the east and west side of the river for the location of the county capital. As noticed, the first meeting was fixed by law at the house of Judge Halbert, on the east side of the river. The good people of the west side were wide awake, and brought sufficient influence to bear upon the authorities to cause them to fix the second meeting at Heard's Spring, a little north of where Wheatland now stands — the farm of John Heard. Upon the argument that turnabout is fair play, the west side gained the first decided advantage in removing the court from the east to the west side. Probably they held out the hope to those opposing that, after they had it one term, it could go back again to the other side. If this was done, the promise was delusive, as the seat of justice has since remained on the west side of the river. The county seat commissioners struggled mightily with the great question of Halbert's or Heard's, and soon came to the conclusion that a fair compromise was the only way out of the troublous question. Therefore the most eligible place to be found, and nearly half way between the two points, was selected on the banks of the dividing river. If the location chosen had been over the river, half and half, as it were, the result would have been most happy, and the wild contention on the subject have at once and forever ceased. Upon a close examination of the final action of the commissioners in choosing the spot they did, it brings to light the remarkable shrewdness displayed in complying to the letter with the demands of both sides. They — commissioners and friends — selected a clear day, and about noon came to a place where the river made a sharp loop and turned nearly due south in its course; by looking at their shadows, it was seen that they were on the east side of the stream, and, not having crossed that day, they knew in fact they were on the west side. What more could grasping, hungry county-seaters want? The town stood on the east bank of the river, and that was the main thing desired. No Delphian oracle ever was so adroit in reconciling conflicting circumstances. These county-seat choosers have embalmed their memories in this remarkable feat of founding a city and building it on the east bank, while in fact it stands on the west side of the river. Evidently nature had looked out for this very thing, as the town is on the only spot, and that, too, almost in the center of the county, where this equitable and just division of the conflicting claims of the east and west sides could be so happily adjusted. It is on the north-west of the southeast of Section 23, Township 37, Range 22. Then no one lived at the place, and hence no carping critics could accuse the commissioners of being influenced in their choice by the temptations held out by some resident's " clearing".
As soon as the county heads were notified of the location of the permanent county seat, Clerk A. H. Foster moved the county seat to its new home. Perhaps the records were in his hat, weighted down with a bandana handkerchief, and, thus loaded, the " movers " arrived at Hermitage, and their first" seat of justice " was a stump, which still stands as a memento of those stirring times. It is on the side of the road leading to the south ferry. Mr. Foster and the records had hardly left Heard's Spring, before there rose up a new party to the county-seat question. This was no other than Mr. Heard and his followers, who had tasted the sweets of having the seat of power, and they longed to retain it. So far as the west side was concerned, it was a house divided against itself—Wheatland and Hermitage. The east side now turned about and championed the cause of Hermitage, and now, for forty years, the contest has gone on; but victory has always resulted in favor of Hermitage. Those favoring removal to Wheatland have, generally, included John Heard, John W. Quigg, Amos Paxton, William Paxton, Samuel Walker, H. C. Butler and V. Bennett; while the opposition to removal has been sustained by Judge Halbert, Thomas Davis, A. H. Foster, Williams, Doak, James D. Donnell, W. E. Dorman, and others. The Wheatland party secured enough petitioners in 1864 to have the question submitted to a vote at the general election. Under the law it required a two-thirds vote to make the removal. The project was defeated by a very small majority. There was much interest, and hard work done in the campaign by the respective champions. In 1872 the matter was again submitted to a vote, and again a spirited campaign was inaugurated. On election day .one party had taken possession of the southeast corner of the court house square, and opened their last and strongest argument. Unfortunately, the zeal of some of the par-ticipants overcame their judgment, and it is Judge Neihardt's rec-ollection that he was the worst wounded man on that day (though not a partaker in its pleasures), a rock, thrown with force at some one else, coming near hitting his head. The election, however, was a signal triumph for Hermitage. Had not the court house burned, this last vote would, no doubt, have permanently settled the question; but the result of the fire has kept it alive in the shape of a refusal to vote bonds to build a new structure. The county now has no court house, and it is impossible to say exactly when a new one will be built
The first court house, built in 1847, was a story and a half frame, on lot if block if on the south-east corner of the square — where is Dorman's old store-room. It was burned in 1852, and for the next eight years the county had no court house. Then the two-story brick was erected in 1860, in the public square. This afforded comfortable facilities for the courts and offices and jury-rooms. The court-room was on the second floor, where were also two jury-rooms, and below the building was divided into four rooms, with a north and south hall running through it. This was burned on the night of January 6, 1881 The fire was discovered about four o'clock in the morning, and, when reached, the most of the building was in flames. The loss of records was the greatest injury. The deed records saved were A, B, C, and N, O, P. The county court minute record books*destroyed were A, B, C, and D.
About the time of the building of the first court house, a log jail was put up on lot 3, block 3, southwest of the public square, where is now William McCracken's residence. It was double walled, of hewn logs, two stories in height, with an old-fashioned trap door in the second story. It had been condemned, and was sold, torn down, and the logs carted away in 1870.
The present solid two-story stone jail, erected in 1870, was contracted at the price of $4,000, and, when completed, the court allowed the contractor $600. These two amounts represent the total cost.
An item of some interest is the fact that, when the court was held at the tanyard, one prisoner was in custody, and he was retained with a log chain. This was the noted " slicker," Isam Hobbs, and the manner in which he conducted himself around town, rattling his log chain, was a source of much amusement to the crowd. Isam was a noted character, and probably the worst desperado ever on the borders, but withal, full of fun; and it is said, that, in some of his practical jokes, if it became necessary to beat some poor fellow to death, Isam would do so rather than have the joke miscarry.
History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties Missouri the Goodspeed Publishing Co. 1889
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