Jefferson County, Missouri Genealogy Trails
Jefferson County History
Boundary, Topography, etc,—Jefferson County, Mo., is bounded north by St. Louis County, east by the Mississippi River, south by Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois and Washington Counties, and west by Franklin. It contains an area of about 628 square miles. The surface is generally hilly. The highest ridge, which extends north and south through the center of the county and forms a watershed between Big River and the Mississippi, attains an elevation above the latter of about 459 feet, and from 200 to 300 feet above the neighboring streams. In the northern and western townships the ridges are very narrow at their summits, and are separated from each other by deep ravines. The hills bounding the valleys of the larger streams are also frequently marked with deep declivities, but sometimes they rise by a succession of gentle slopes or terraces to the general level of the table-lands. East of the central ridge, the county is drained by the Meramec River, Little Rock, Glaize, Sandy, Joachim, Muddy, Isle au Bois and other creeks, which flow into the Mississippi. The western part of the county is drained by Big River, which flows in a tortuous route from the southern to the northern boundary of the county, where it empties into the Meramec. The principal tributaries of Big River are Dry Fork, Belew, Head and Jones Creeks. A part of the northern portion of the county is drained by Saline, Sugar, Mill and Labarque Creeks, which also empty into the Meramec. Thus all parts of the county are well watered. Many springs, producing water unsurpassed in quality, abound, and some of them, especially at Kimmswick and Sulphur Springs, are considered valuable for their medicinal qualities. Water is also obtained from wells of moderate depth, but many people prefer and use cistern water for family purposes.
The table lands of the county are moderately rolling, and possess a good soil composed of sand, clay and humus, supported by a red clay subsoil. The soil in the valleys is alluvial and exceedingly productive. The timber on the uplands consists principally of the oak in its several varieties and hickory, while on the lowlands and along the streams it consists of sycamore, maple, hickory, walnut, oak, buckeye, cottonwood, etc.
Geology.—The following facts pertaining to the geology of the county, bordering on the Mississippi, are gleaned from the valuable report of Dr. Shumard in Prof. Swallow's State Reports. Below the mouth of the Meramec the hills recede from the Mississippi, and bottom land sets in which continues for two and a half miles, forming a bank from 10 to 20 feet high. The encrinital limestone is found for the first time below the mouth of the Missouri River, within half a mile of Rock Creek in Jefferson County. The hills at this place are about 170 feet high, and exhibit the following section in the ascending order:
No. Feet. 1. Perpcudicular wall of heavy bedded yellowish and reddish sub-crystalline limestone 50 2. Slope, covered by soil and debris 15 3. Reddish argillaceous limestone, of a granular texture, with thin marly partings 15 4. Slope, with layers as above projecting from the surface. . .30 5. Encrinital limestone 60
The lower beds of this section are lower silurian, and probably represent the lead-bearing or galena limestone of Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Continuing down the Mississippi, just below Rock Creek is found the Trenton limestone, forming low ledges on the river shore from 10 to 20 feet high. The lower strata are quite cherty and contain but few fossils. Below this exposure the bank of the river is 20 feet high, and composed of ash-colored loam, with terrestrial shells embedded. The hills, removed a short distance from the river, are 100 feet high, and exhibit near their summits perpendicular walls of encrinital limestone. At the Sulphur Springs, just above Glaize Creek, the following section occurs, counting from below upward:
No. Feet. 1. Crystallized Trenton limestone 45 2. White and brown sandstone 7 3. Yellow compact limestone, Chemung group 8 4. Red argillaceous and compact limestone, Chemung group. 25 5. Encrinital limestone, highly fossiliferous 45
Between Glaize and Rattlesnake Creeks, the formation of the above section continues the whole way ; the Trenton limestone forming perpendicular escarpments from the water level to the height of from 60 to 80 feet. The hills vary from 100 to 170 feet in height. Just below Rattlesnake Creek the Trenton limestone, overlaid by sandstone, is exposed to the height of 73 feet, indicating a rise in the strata of 28 feet in about a mile. It consists of heavy bedded white crystalline limestone, with soft, chalky-looking, calcareous matter, and containing numerous cavities, lined with this substance, disseminated. A stratum near the top of it furnishes the columns for the courthouse at St. Louis. This layer is six and a half feet thick, and is quarried quite easily. Beneath it is found an apparently solid bed of nearly similar rock, 20 feet thick. The whole of the Trenton limestone at this place would burn into a pure white lime. From this place a rapid rise in the strata takes place, and the Chemung group and encrinital limestone disappear from the tops of the hills. About a mile below Rattlesnake Creek the lower Trenton beds emerge from beneath the crystalline portion above described, and in less than a mile further they occupy the summits of the hills, which are elevated 150 feet above the bed of the Mississippi. At the old shot tower, just above the old site of Herculaneum, the bluffs are 170 feet high. The lower 20 feet consists of cellular limestone in thin layers, above which rises a perpendicular wall of heavy bedded limestone to the height of 110 feet. Below Herculaneum the same rock continues to escarp the river for upwards of a mile, and the first magnesian limestone and saccharoidal sandstone appear at the base of the bluffs. These strata are best exposed at Plattin Rock, where at the river margin is found about 15 feet of heavy bedded saccharoidal sandstone, colored with oxide of iron. On this repose 130 feet of buff magnesian limestone—the latter extending to the summits of the hills. This section indicates a rise in the strata of about 150 feet in the distance of a mile.
Below Plattin Kock the hills recede from the river, and do not approach it again for a mile and a half. At two miles from Plattin Rock their altitude is 368 feet, ascertained by barometrical measurements. At this place the section in the ascending order is:
1. Heavy bedded white saccharoidal sandstone 15 2. Thick beds of buff magnesian limestone 152 3. Perpendicular bluff of compact brittle limestone 141 4. Slope covered with soil and vegetation 60
From this point to Selma the general elevation of the hills does not vary much from 300 feet. At the upper end of Selma is an interesting section of silurian rocks, the elevation of which is 413 feet. The base consists of 70 feet of alternations of buff magnesian limestone, and compact, brittle, smooth-textured, gray limestone in layers from an inch to two feet thick. Then succeeds the limestones of Black River and Trenton age, presenting a thickness of more than 300 feet— the upper third being white crystalline limestone. Leaving Selma, a continuous line of bluffs extended to Rush Tower, the distance being about four miles. This portion of the river is remarkable for its picturesque scenery. At Rush Tower the bluffs leave the Mississippi, and an alluvium bottom sets in and continues six miles down the river, with a width of from one to three miles. This tract of bottom land extends into Ste. Genevieve County. The rock formations throughout the county, extending westward from the Mississippi, are similar to those given in the foregoing.
Stone for building purposes and the finest quality of sand for the manufacture of glass exist in inexhaustible quantities. Everywhere in Jefferson County the natural scenery is beautiful, and along the Mississippi and the Iron Mountain Railroad it is exceedingly picturesque.
Mineral Wealth.—The mineral resources of Jefferson County have only been partially developed. Iron and zinc exist in considerable quantities, and the deposits of lead are so extensive as to appear inexhaustible. The latter is the great mineral product of the county, and the only one that has been developed to any considerable extent. Schoolcraft's list of mines in Southeast Missouri, made in 1818, mentions two mines that were then worked in what is now Jefferson County, viz. : Gray's mine, on Big River, and McKane's mine, on Dry Creek. This author says "The price of lead at that time was $4 per hundred at the mines, with 34-50 on the Mississippi at Ste. Genevieve or Herculaneum; the cost of transportation, 75 cents per hundred. The same mineral was then worth $7 per hundred at Philadelphia." In the Missouri geological report of Prof. Swallow, published in 1855, Dr. Litton, in his very full and able report of Missouri's Lead Mines, speaks of those in Jefferson County, as follows:
" Sandy Mines" extend over a line nearly one mile in length, the course of which is a little east of north and west of south. The ground is covered with clay from fourteen to thirty feet deep. By one who was working for the present lessee I was informed that during the present year (1855) about 30,000 pounds of mineral had been obtained; and from Mr. Coolidge I learned that in 1842 and 1843 several thousand pounds of mineral were raised, and in 1840 and 1847 some 300,000 pounds. The ore is sulphuret, with small quantities of carbonate, and sometimes accompanied by yellow iron pyrites and zinc blende.
"Mammoth Mine."—This mine was discovered by Mr. Higgins in 1843, and, being on Government land, it was entered by Boldur & Higginbotham. It lies in a hill, the height of which is not over 150 feet, and the entrance to it is on the northwest side. The hill is covered with a reddish clay, varying in depth, having a thickness of nineteen feet in the main shaft. Below this is the magnesian limestone, and through which one shaft has been sunk sixty-two feet. The lead here was deposited in a series of irregular caves varying in size from four to nine feet in height, and in width from four to twelve feet. * * * The reported amount of mineral obtained here is almost incredible. From the best information obtainable from different parties engaged at different times in working this mine, I estimated, in 1852, the total amount obtained at 5,000,000 pounds of ore. In 1851 and 1852 Col. J. N. Reading, president of the former company reported that 21,692 pounds had been obtained in tracing out some lateral arms from the caves. Belonging to the same company as the Mammoth, and six miles north of it, is the Eding lead. It is near a branch of Cedar Creek, and on the side of a hill that is covered with clay, the average depth of which is twelve feet, while below is the magnesian limestone. The lead is found here in vertical fissures, the course of which is nearly north and south, and the width usually varying from eighteen inches to two and a half feet.
"Tarpley Mines" are covered with a red, ferruginous clay, the average thickness being forty feet; beneath is a solid magnesian limestone, passing through which the mineral ia found. The mineral obtained here is very pure, massive galena, and the mines have been quite productive. This mine yielded from 1845 to 1854 inclusive, 1,463,538 pounds."
Dr. Litton also says that there were, in 1855, three lead furnaces in Jefferson County—one at Sandy, one at the Mammoth Mines and the other at the Valle Mines; and that the lead smelted at the latter furnace came principally from the Valle Mines across the line in St. Francois County. By the same author, the amount of lead shipped at Selma, Plattin Rock (Crystal City) and Rush Tower, in Jefferson County, from 1824 to October, 1854, is reported to have been 86,709,605 pounds. He further says: "If to this amount be added the 19,483,382 poands made at Valle's Mine in St. Francois County, and all of which was sent to Ste. Genevieve, we would have the least total amount shipped from four points on the river, 106,193,382 pounds during this period, giving for the average annual amount 3,425,593 pounds." These amounts, of course, include the lead shipped from all mines then worked in the several counties, from which the product was hauled to the shipping points named.
No full report of the lead mines of Jefferson County has been made since 1855; meanwhile many others have been discovered, opened and worked. Among the number may be mentioned the Frumet Mines, seven miles west of De Soto, where for a number of years extensive machinery was used in raising, crushing and smelting the ore; the Plattin Mines, on Plattin Creek, east of De Soto, including a large scope of country that paid well for the labor and capital spent upon it; the Old Ditch Mines, near the line of Washington County; Hart's Mines, near the Franklin and Washington line; Howe's Mine, east of the Plattin Mines before mentioned ; the McCormack Zinc Mine, near Plattin ; and a score or more of other mines. The whole southwestern portion of the county is dotted with mines, there being a line of them from near the Franklin County corner, in a southeasterly course, to the Ste. Genevieve County line, all of which have been successfully worked. A vast amount of wealth lies dormant in " the bowels of the earth " in Jefferson County, which will in the course of time be fully developed ; but for the want of capital, the mines that have been opened are now mostly idle. The Valle Mines, which lie on the line between Jefferson and St. Francois Counties, extending into both, are being successfully worked.
Stone, etc.—Building stone of excellent quality exists in Jefferson County in an inexhaustible quantity, and lime is manufactured extensively at Glenwood, Kimmswick and other points, and shipped to the city markets. Immense quantities of potter's clay are shipped from this county to Pittsburgh, Penn., and to other cities. Fine sand, for the manufacture of glass, is also shipped in great quantities to the bottle works in St. Louis and to other glass works.
Iron and zinc are found in considerable quantities, while the supply of lead and sulphate of baryta seems inexhaustible in quantity. There is also an abundance of potter's and pipe clay of superior quality.
Indians and Wild Animals.—When the settlement of the territory composing Jefferson County took place the same tribes of Indians and the same kind of wild animals existed here as in the other counties mentioned in this work; and the incidents and encounters that the early settlers had with the Indians will be referred to in connection with the settlement of the county.
Spanish Colonization and Settlements under Spanish Authoriiy.— A little more than a hundred years ago the territory comprising Jefferson County was the undisputed home of the wild men of the forest and the native animals. The territory however at that time belonged to Spain and was under control of a Spanish Governor, who made liberal offers of land to persons who desired to settle permanently in the county. " While O'Riley was governor and captain-general of the whole country, from 1769 to 1790, homesteads were allowed to be taken only on the Mississippi, and the settlers could take up from four to six arpents front by forty back. This would give from 136 to 204 acres of land. Yet this rule was not uniform, either as to quantity or location, but the taking up of more than these quantities or locating lands off the river were exceptions to the rule, and was granted as a special favor to parties for some notable service rendered the Government." This rule appears to have continued in force until 1797, after which time each head of a family was allowed to take up 200 arpents of land for himself, fifty for each child, and twenty for each negro he brought with him, not to exceed in all 800 arpents. This was the origin of the ownership of the many tracts of land in the county known as " Spanish grants."
From the best information obtainable it is believed that John Hilderbrand, of French descent, was the first settler in what at the present time constitutes Jefferson County. In 1774, or perhaps earlier, he settled on Saline Creek, in the northeastern part of the county, and founded what was afterward called the Meramec settlement. Accordingly, the first settlement in the county was made at least 114 years ago. In 1776 St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve had become trading posts of considerable importance, but the country lying between was filled with savage Indians and wild animals, thus making a journey overland between these points extremely hazardous. Francisco Cruzat, who was the lieutenant-governor of Upper Louisiana, desirous of removing the perils of the journey, offered a donation of 1,050 arpents of land to any one who would establish and keep a ferry across the Meramec. Jean Baptiste Gomoche, a Frenchman, accepted this offer, and established a ferry across the Meramec, at what is still known as the Lower Ferry, about a mile above the mouth of that river. For this service Gomoche was granted the tract of land at the mouth of the Meramec, which includes the bridge across that stream and Jefferson Station of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway. At the same time a trail was marked out on the west side of the Mississippi from St. Louis to Ste. Genevieve passing lengthwise through what is now Jefferson County. This trail was called the King's trace. It crossed the Meramec at Gomoche's ferry, and was the first highway marked out in the territory of Jefferson County.
" Thomas Jones settled on a tract of land near Kimmswick, prior to 1779; in that year he was on the land making salt. Joseph Uge, Francis Desloge, Joseph Hortez, Jacob Wise and Peter Donivan settled on lands near Kimmswick from 1776 to 1781. In 1780 the Meramec settlement, where John Hilderbrand had lived, and the settlement at Kimmswick were broken up by Indian depredations, and the inhabitants fled to St. Louis for refuge. Gomoche also left his place in that year on account of Indian incursions. However, the damage soon passed away, and the parties returned. In 1778 William Belew settled on Belew's Creek, and no doubt from him the creek took its name. In 1784 Peter Hilderbrand settled on a tract of land near Maddox mill, but on the opposite side of the river. In that year he was out hunting, and was shot and killed by the Indians, on the bank of the river just below the present site of Maddox mill, and his family immediately removed to a settlement for protection. In 1786 Benito Yasquez, a Spaniard by birth, had a park on the Meramec land. He took up over 3,000 acres of land by special permission from the Spanish Government. He had a great herd of cattle, and he manufactured salt. The trenches and rocks for his furnaces are still to be seen there. Thomas Tyler, in 1778, lived on the place opened by John Hilderbrand. At that time he had eighty arpent^, about sixty-eight acres under fence, forty acres of which were cultivated in corn and tobacco. John Boli settled on Romine Creek in 1788. He built a log hut, and opened a little piece of land. He was driven away from his home several times by the Indians, and his cabin was burned by them. John Piatt settled on Big River, not far from P. P. Byrne's mill, prior to 1790. In that year he was driven from his home by the Indians, and he remained away till 1800, when he returned. In 1801 he was again driven away, and several of his neighbors were killed by the Indians in 1803."
In 1790 the Indians became so troublesome that the settlers organized for defense, and built a rude fortification on Saline Creek near Thomas Tyler's cabin.
" James Head settled at House's Springs in 1795. He moved away in 1796, and Adam House moved on the place. House lived there till 1800, when the Indians killed him, cut his head off, put a piece of maple sugar (that the old gentleman had manufactured himself) in his mouth, and put his head on the fork of an old elm tree by the Big Spring. * * * House's son was badly wounded at the time, but he escaped, went to the settlement at Kimmswick and gave the alarm. All the settlers turned out, forming quite a company, with William Mars as captain, and they pursued the Indians, who were of the Osage tribe, on to Indian Creek, in Washington County, where they overtook them and gave them battle. The whites were victorious, killing many of the savages and driving the rest away.
"In 1799 Francis Valle, commander at Ste. Genevieve, gave Francis Wideman and as many of his connections as he could induce to come to this country permission to settle, provided they would settle fifteen miles from the settlements. Under this permission Elijah Benton settled at what is known as Darby's Mines. Under the same permission Francis Wideman, Charles Priest, Jacob Collins, David Delanny, Mark Wideman, John Wideman, William Estep, Hugh McCulloch, Sarah Priest, James Davis and James Rogers, with their families, settled on Big River and Dry Creek, near Morse's mill, about the year 1801. About the year 1800, Bartholomew Herrington, John Johnston, John Conner and James Donnelly settled at Peverly and Herculaneum, and Richard Glover, Claiborne Thomas, James Thomas, Charles Gill, Benjamin Johnson, Sr., John Litton, Gabriel Coff, Roger Cagle, Thomas Waters and David Boyle settled on Sandy. They went up Sandy as far as the farm of the late James Hensley. James Gray, Thomas Madden, Frederick Conner, Walter Jewett, Thomas Applegate, James Varner and James Foster settled about the same time at Horine and Bailey Stations. Richard Applegate, William Null, John Conner, Isaac Van Meter, Michael Rober and William Null, Jr., settled near and at Hematite. Thomas Bevis, Phil. Roberts and Robert Jewett settled at and near Victoria; and Ed. Butler and Hardy McCormack settled at De Soto. Thomas Comstock, John Sturgis, John A. Sturgis, Titus Strickland, Jacob Strickland, John Dowling, Jesse Dowling, Michael Regan, Abner Wood, Elizabeth Carlin, Eli Strickland, Thomas Hanan, Humphrey Gibson and Joseph Bear settled on the Plattin, penetrating near to the head of that stream. John Stewart, Charles Valle, William Drennen, Samuel Wilson, William Jones and Ann Skinner settled near Sulphur Springs and on Glaize Creek. Jonathan Hilderbrand settled at Maddox mill. He was a brother of Peter Hilderbrand who was killed by the Indians, x^braham Hilderbrand and Ira Hilderbrand, who were sons of the one that was murdered by the Indians, settled near T. P. Byrne's mill. Jacob Wickerham and William Wickerham settled on Belew Creek. These settlements on Big River, Sandy, Joachim, Plattin, Belew and Glaize were made from 1709 to 1803, the most being in 1800 and 1801, while Charles IV was king of Spain, and Morales was governor and captain-general of Louisiana, and Zenon Trudeau and Charles Dehault De Lassus were lieutenantgovernors of Upper Louisiana. All of the parties named or their heirs or legal representatives obtained homesteads by virtue of their settlements made by the permission of the Spanish officers."
Under Spanish authority the people obtained permission to settle on 126 tracts of land, within the present limits of Jefferson County, the titles to which were afterward confirmed by the United States. These grants comprise about 85,000 acres of the best land in the county. Up to 1800 buffalo and elk were plentiful, but with the advance of civilization these animals disappeared or kept a safe distance from the approaching settlements.
Indians were numerous. The Delawares and Shawnees lived south of this in Ste. Genevieve, Perry and Cape Girardeau, and the Osages lived near Union, in Franklin County, and the Cherokees lived on White River. The Delawares, Shawnees and Cherokees were peaceable and friendly, but the Osages were very savage and warlike, and gave the settlers a great deal of trouble. In 1803 there was no post office nearer than St. Louis, and no road in the county. There were what were called trails from one settlement to another. There was no store here then. John Johnston had a little mill at the old Falkland place. The wheel was made out of a large log, cut with grooves. Johnston could crack corn a little, but hardly make meal. Francis Wideman also owned a small affair of the same kind in 1803, near Morse's mill, on Big River. It was the common belief among the neighbors that Francis Wideman was a sorcerer and necromancer and could conjure the devil. His brother John asked him to permit him to grind a little at night for himself. Francis granted the request, but told his brother he had better keep a sharp lookout for Old Nick. John Avent and set the mill agoing, and all at once the stones began to turn with such velocity that he became alarmed, and he shut off the water and went home without his grist, and told it as a fact that his brother Francis had conjured up the devil and made him interfere with the mill so that he could not grind. These were the only mills in the county in 1803. * * * From 177-1 to 1803 the settlers of this county did all their legal business at St. Louis ; they traded and got their mail there. The currency of the people was gold and silver and dressed or shaved deer skins." This brings the settlement of the territory of Jefferson County down to the time that the United States acquired title to it by treaty with France.
Soon after this the territory now embraced in the State of Missouri was divided into five districts, and according to this division all that part of Jefferson County lying north of Plattin Creek became a part of the St. Louis District, and the balance formed a part of the Ste. Genevieve District. " Benjamin Johnson, Sr., the father of Judge G. J. Johnson, was appointed justice of the peace, and he acted as the only justice for all the territory lying between the Meramec and Plattin. About 1805 a town called New Hartford was laid out at or near Illinois Station, and Christian Wilt and John W. Honey erected a shot-tower there. They also had a store, the first ever established in this county. A court for the transaction of county business, called the court of quarter-sessions and oyer and terminer, was established, and was held at St. Louis. Benjamin Johnson, Sr., was one of the judges of this court in 1804. On the 20th day of December, 1804, John Boli was granted a license to keep a ferry across the Meramec, three miles from Fish Pot Creek. On the 15th day of April, 1805, the court of quarter-sessions at St. Louis, made this order: ' The court orders that the payment of all taxes for the use of this district may be made in shaved deer skins, at the house of the collector, at the rate of three pounds to the dollar.' June 18, 1806, Bartholomew Herrington was excused from serving on the jury, on account of wounds received by him in the Kevolutionary War. December 7, 1806, the court made an order dividing St. Louis District into assessment districts, and appointed Benjamin Johnson and William Moss assessors for the district of Meramec and Plattin, extending from the south side of the Meramec to the Plattin. December 18, 1806, Bartholomew Herrington and John Eomine were appointed overseers of the road leading from John Boli's, on the Meramec, to Plattin River. On the first Monday of March, 1808, James Rankin, James Stewart and Thomas Comstock were appointed commissioners to locate a road from the town of St. Louis via Cololon's ford, on the Meramec, to the river Plattin. This road was located near the route of the old King's trace. On June 19, 1806, the court of quarter-sessions fixed the total levy of tax for the whole district at $1,559.71."
In 1804, Peter Huskey, the grandfather of John Huskey, Sr., immigrated to this county from South Carolina. His sons, John and William, and three daughters, Mrs. Ogle, Mrs. Ben. Williams and La Fayette Ramsey, and also Landon Williams, came with him. John Huskey, Sr. 's grandfather on his mother's side, James Miller, also came along. These constituted eight families, and they all moved from South Carolina here in a cart drawn by four horses. Each family had one extra horse. They located near where the late James Hensley died, on Sandy. Thomas Hearst came also with the Huskeys, but settled on the Mineral Fork, near the western line of the county. Hearst and the Huskeys were of Irish descent. In 1805 the Huskeys moved to the Bethlehem Spring, in the bend of Big River, and were making preparations to put in a crop. They lived in tents. One day the old gentleman was out looking for his pony when an alarm of Indians was given, and they all got the old South Carolina cart and hurried back to the settlement on Sandy. This year James Miller, a Revolutionary soldier, originally from Virginia, and the grandfather of Uncle Jack Huskey, died, and it is said he was the first white man buried on Sandy. Peter Huskey was the ancestor of all the Huskeys of this county. Benjamin Johnson, Sr., was from Virginia, of English stock, and is the ancestor of the Johnsons now living in the eastern portion of the county. Ben. Williams and Landon Williams are the ancestors of many of the Williamses who are still here. Peter Hilderbrand came from the South to this section in 1784, and is the ancestor of the Hilderbrands now here. The Hilderbrands are of French descent. Bartholomew Herrington, the ancestor of the Herringtons, was born in 1740, of Irish and German parents, in Lancaster County, Penn. He immigrated to this county with his family in 1800, several families accompanying him. A part of the family came overland and a part by water from Lexington, Ky. The party that came by water sailed down the Ohio and up the Mississippi in a canoe made of a large poplar log. They called it a pirogue in those days. * * * The Widemans came from South Carolina, and were of German descent. Bryant and Vanzant were here at an early date, and were from Eastern States. William Moss, the ancestor of that family, came from Virginia, and was of English stock. So were James and Claiborne Thomas. Josiah Craft came from New Jersey in 1809, and was of German descent. * * Craft married a Miss Weatherby, a half sister of C. B. Fletcher.
"James Rankin, the father of I. J. and C. S. Rankin, was a Canadian by birth, and moved to Herculaneum in 1808. Peter McCormack, the ancestor of that family in this county, was here about the beginning of the present century. He came from Georgia, and was of Irish descent. M. Clain, the ancestor of that family here now, came from Georgia in the year 1800, and was of Irish descent. Samuel McMullin, the ancestor of that family in this county, came in 1805, and was of Irish descent. James and Eliel Donnell, the ancestors of the Donnell family, came from the South, and were of Irish descent. William Null came from the South. Jacob Wise, the ancestor of the Wises, came from the South, and was of German descent. Ed. Butler, the ancestor of that family, came about 1800. William Hendrickson was here at an early period. James Pounds, the ancestor of that family, came about 1803, from the South, and was of Irish descent. Thomas Evans and Henry Metts were here about 1804. These constituted the first families of Jefferson County, and were all here at or before the organization of this territory under the act of Congress."
These were the pioneers who penetrated the " western wilds" and settled amid the savage Indians and dangerous beasts, and suffered the hardships of frontier life while carving out comfortable homes for themselves, their wives and dear little ones. Many were the hardships they endured. Besides the encounters with the Indians, the dangers, fear and dread of that race, which they had constantly to endure, they were without roads, bridges, mills, blacksmith shops, and many other things so essentially necessary to the welfare and convenience of a community. Yet, withal, they lived happily, save the fear and dread of the Indians. Every settler owned one gun and one dog, at least. These were considered indispensables, for without them the wild beasts would have invaded the yards and houses of these pioneers. Each raised a patch of flax, a patch of cotton and a little corn. These were deemed necessaries. The corn was ground at Johnston's mill, on Sandy, or at Wideman's mill, on Big River, and very often it was beaten into a coarse meal by pestles in a mortar. It is a fact well known that from the first settlement of this county, in 1774, to 1808 ninety-nine-hundredths of the inhabitants never saw or tasted wheat bread. They manufactured all their own clothes out of the skins of wild animals and out of flax and cotton. The old-fashioned loom and the big and little spinning wheels were common furniture in most of the houses. These machines were manufactured by the men, and the women knew how to use them. The men wore buckskin suits and coon or fox-skin caps in winter, and suits made from flax or cotton and straw hats in the summer. The shoes were made of buckskin tops and rawhide soles. These were called shoe packs or moccasins. The women wore home-made cotton goods, and there was great rivalry between the ladies of those days in regard to getting up new and beautiful patterns of checked and striped cotton dress goods. All the sugar then used was made at home, out of the sap of the maple or sugar trees, and coffee, being a foreign article, was so costly that the first settlers could not afford that luxury. Venison, bear meat, wild turkeys and wild honey abounded in great abundance, and those who had cows to produce milk really lived in "a land flowing with milk and honey." Bee trees filled with honey could be found everywhere, and the honey cost only the labor of getting it. Wild game was so abundant that the early settlers kept their families well supplied with it. With these meats, wild honey, wild fruits, and plenty of "hoe-cakes," the pioneer housewife could set a table "good enough for a king."
Public Lands and Land Entries.—When Spain relinquished her right to the territory the settler's privilege of securing a farm and home under her homestead rules was cut off; and from that time forward until 1821 the settlers could obtain no title to their lands, but were protected by squatter sovereignty or settlement rights. All the lands embraced in Jefferson County were included in the St. Louis Land District, with the land office at St. Louis, where they first became subject to entry in 1821, after the United States surveys had been completed. Following is a statement showing when and by whom the first land entries under the Government of the United States were made in each congressional township of Jefferson County.
Township 41, Range 2, in 1835, by Merideth Wideman.
Township 42, Range 2, in 1832, by Samuel Pepper.
Township 39, Range 3, in 1821, by L. P. Boyd, John Thurmond, Philip O'Harver, William Mothershead and others.
Township 40, Range 3, in 1821, by Daniel Eastwood, Joseph Boring and John Willey.
Township 41, Range 3, in 1821, by John Wideman, Thomas Evans, Isaac Evans, James Pound, James McCulloch, William Ryan and others.
Township 42, Range 3, in 1821, by Polly Everat; 1831, by Peter Sullens; 1832, by Abraham and Samuel Hilderbrand.
Township 43, Kaiige 3, in 1821, by James Green and Joel Lasseter.
Township 38, Range -1, in 1821, by William Jones, and in 1822, by Joseph Moon.
Township 39, Range 4, in 1821, by Samuel Staples, Eliel Connell, Matthew McPeak and James Donnell, and in 1823, by Charles Staples, Ammon Knighton and Samuel McMullin.
Township 40, Range 4, in 1824, by Samuel Woodson; in 1833, by James Kite; in 1836, by Ammon Knighton, W. A. Mothershead and Edward Cotter.
Township 41, Range 4, in 1821, by John Herrington; in 1823, by Richard Huskey; in 1825, by Clement B. Fletcher and John Huskey.
Township 42, Range 4, in 1821, by Samuel Graham; in 1825, by Jacob Harness and Chauncey Smith.
Township 43, Range 4, in 1821, by Jacob Shultz and David Hilderbrand.
Township 38, Range 5, in 1824, by the Yalles and Dennis O'Neil and others.
Township 39, Range 5, in 1821, by Drury Gooch; in 1823, by Reuben Smith; in 1824, by Ed. Butler and John Brooks.
Township 40, Range 5, in 1821, by James Foster; in 1823, by William Howerstic; in 1824 by Giles Lee.
Township 41, Range 5, in 1821, by Walter Frazer; in 1822, by Jabez Warner and Chauncey Smith; in 1825, by John W. Honey and Elias Bates.
Township 42, Range 5, in 1825, by Michael Brindley; in 1826, by William McMillon ( ?) and S. Burgess.
Township 43, Range 5, in 1830, by E. Cadwallader; in 1833, by John Richardson.
Township 39, Range 6, in 1829, by Frederick Kluck; in 1832, by Henry Bailey, Joseph Drybread and Joseph T. McMullin.
Township 40, Range 6, in 1824, numerous tracts by John Smith T., of Washington County; in 1826, Abraham Wilcox and James M. White.
Township 41, Range 6, in 1821, by John Geiger, Francis Menia, JoJm W. Honey and Elias Bates.
Township 42, Range 6, in 1831, Hez. H. Wright and David Bryant
Township 39, Range 7, in 1829, by John B. Denham.
With a very few exceptions, the persons named in the foregoing statement of land entries were actual settlers of Jefferson County.
AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS, ETC.
Agricilture and oilier Industries.—The first efforts of the early settlers in the line of agriculture were made with the rudest of implements. Up to 1815 two-wheeled carts, constructed entirely of wood, tires and all, were used almost exclusively for hauling, and were usually drawn by oxen, seldom by horses. The first four-wheeled vehicle was brought to the county from St, Louis, in 1809. It was a common wagon with four wheels and iron tires, and was taken to Benjamin Johnston's on one of his law days, for public exhibition, where it excited great curiosity among many of the early settlers.
Prior to 1820 very little wheat was raised. The people lived on corn bread, wild game and vegetables. Some of the wealthier ones raised a little wheat, which they cut with "reap hooks " or sickles, and threshed it with a flail or tramped it out with horses. It was only raised for bread, not for market, except as a portion would sometimes be sold to a neighbor who did not raise it. In an early day, especially in the southern part of the county, much more attention was paid to mining than to agriculture. The latter has never been developed to any great extent; and it may truthfully be said that Jefferson County, on account of the hilly aspect of its surface, is not a first-class county exclusively for agriculture, but, with agriculture and stock raising combined, it may be considered excellent. With its abundance of pure water, extensive ranges for pasture, and its nearness to the market, it certainly has superior advantages for the raising of all kinds of stock. Statistics, however, do not show that this industry has been fully developed.
According to the census of 1850 the farms in Jefferson County were valued at $570,920, and the farm implements at $32,517; and the number of domestic animals was as follows: Horses, 2,510; mules and asses, 130; milch cows, 2,713; working oxen, 1,442 ; other cattle, 4,546 ; total of cattle, 8,701 ; sheep, 4,525; swine, 18,712. The value of the live stock was estimated at $177,403. The same census gives the cereal and vegetable products of the county for the year 1819 as follows: Wheat, 17,322 bushels; rye, 211 bushels; oats, 35,411 bushels; Indian corn, 289,110 bushels; Irish potatoes, 15,474 bushels; sweet potatoes, 2,171 bushels; barley, 167 bushels; buckwheat, 201 bushels; tobacco, 800 pounds; hay, 751 tons. The wool clip was 7,503 pounds, and the orchard products were valued at Si, 189.
To show the increase in the agricultural productions and the live stock raised in the county at the end of the next thirty years the following statistics are gleaned from the United States census of 1880: Number of farms, 2,137; improved lands, acres, 107.054; value of farms, 83,487,885, value of farm implements, 8151,835; value of live stock, 8543,090; value of farm productions for the year preceding (1879), 8871,508. Domestic animals— horses, 4,002; mules and asses, 2,220; working oxen, 108: milch cows, 0,112 ;other cattle, 8,093; total of cattle, 14,313; sheep, 0.324; swine, 31,452; pounds of wool, 23,972. Cereal and vegetable products for the preceding year—barley, 1,035 bushels: Indian corn, 827,909 bushels; oats, 57,974 bushels; rye, 221 bushels; wheat, 423,888 bushels; Irish potatoes, 147,538 bushels: sweet potatoes, 4,901 bushels; tobacco, 5,801 pounds; hay, 2,028 tons; value of orchard products, 814,030. From the first settlement of the territory of Jefferson County to 1850 three-quarters of a century elapsed; and in the next thirty years, as shown by the figures, the farms of the county were worth six times what they were in 1850. In 1880 the live stock alone was worth nearly as much as all the farms were in 1850. The number of horses had nearly doubled, and the mules and asses were seventeen times greater. Other animals had increased in numbers from 50 to nearly 100 per cent, and the value of the live stock had trebled. Of the cereal and vegetable productions, the yield of wheat was nearly twenty-five times as great, and of Indian corn nearly three times as great. Further comparisons are left to the intelligent reader. When the census of 1890 slinll be published, a wonderful increase during the decade of the eighties will undoubtedly appear.
On the 2d of April, 1800, James O. Williams, William Klipper, John L. Thomas, Samuel A. Reppy and fifty-six other freeholders of Jefferson County presented to the county court thereof a petition praying "to be organized and incorporated as a body politic and corporate, under the style and name of the Jefferson County Agricultural and Mechanical Society, for the purpose of improving in agriculture, manufactures, and raising of stock within Jefferson County." The prayer of the petition was granted, and the society incorporated accordingly. The first ofi&cers of this society were D. W. Bryant, president; Gust. Hamil, treasurer, and W. S. Jewett, secretary. After some controversy as to where the annual exhibitions of the society should be held, De Soto was selected as the place, and on the 9th of November, 1866, Edwin Boyne and wife, for the sum of $400, conveyed by deed to D. W. Bryant, M. A. Douthett, H. S. Christian, Henry Kettleman, Williard Fussell, Anton Yerger, and other directors of the society, a tract of land at De Soto, consisting of ten acres, for a "fair ground." Afterward the society purchased other lands, and enlarged the grounds to twelve acres. An agricultural hall and other buildings were erected, and the grounds enclosed and fitted up, and the first exhibition was held in 1867. Annual exhibitions followed, but the society was not successful financially, in consequence of which a new society, bearing the original name, was incorporated by the county court on the 11th of July, 1881, in answer to the prayer of the petition of Joseph Hopson and more than fifty other freeholders of the county. Becoming involved in debt, the society borrowed $1,000 of the congressional township school fund, and gave a mortgage on the fair grounds, dated December 6, 1884, conditioned for the payment of the money one year after date. Not being successful, the society failed to make the payment, in consequence of which the fair ground was forfeited to the State, and sold by the sheriff of the county, on the 14th of September, 1887, to S. W. Crawford and others to reimburse the school fund. The cause of the failure was a lack of patronage by the people of the county; and the reason for this is because De Soto is located too near the city of St. Louis, where the people prefer to attend the annual fairs, rather than to spend their money to sustain a fair at home. The city has many attractions, and of course much more can be seen there than at a country fair.
Formerly the farmers of Jefferson County paid much attention to horticulture. Extensive orchards were planted, and fruits of all kinds were extensively raised to supply the St. Louis market. For a number of years last past the yield of fruits, especially in regard to peaches, has been so limited that the farmers have become somewhat discouraged, and have partially relaxed their efforts to produce them. The climate being moderately mild, and the soil and locations so well adapted to the growing of orchards, and good markets so near at hand, with constantly increasing demands, there is no doubt but that horticulture will soon become a leading and profitable industry of Jefferson County. For many years past, and at the present time, grapes have been and are now extensively cultivated. The most numerous and most extensive vineyards exist in the northeastern part of the county and along the line of the Iron Mountain Railroad. In Rock Township, which lies nearest to the city of St. Louis, nearly every farmer has a vineyard. This industry was introduced and has been followed mostly by the German citizens. The leading varieties of grapes cultivated are the Concord, Northern's Virginia Seedling, and Ives Seedling. The first is cultivated both as a table and wine grape, and the other two mostly for wine. A very large quantity of domestic wine of superior quality is annually manufactured in the county; the greatest amount at any single point being made at Bushberg, on the Mississippi, and on the railroad twenty-five miles from St. Louis. Facilities for propagating grape vines and for the manufacture of wines have existed at this place and been successfully operated for many years.
Dairies.—Another important industry of Jefferson County is the dairy business. Along the line of the Iron Mountain Railroad there are extensive dairies, and vast quantities of milk, cream and butter are shipped daily to the city of St. Louis. The most extensive of these dairies exist in the vicinity of Peverly. The '' Jersey Dale Dairy," located on the line of the railroad, two miles west of Peverly, and managed by Mr. H. W. Douglas, has over one hundred registered Jersey cattle. The proprietors of this dairy furnish milk and cream to the Southern Hotel, in St. Louis, on a contract, for $7,000 per year. Mr. Douglas has recently erected the largest barn in the county, it being two stories high, and 80x124 feet in size. The lower story is built of stone, and the upper of brick. It has stalling capacity for over 100 head of cattle. Aside from this is the old barn belonging to this dairy farm, with stalling room for over fifty head of cattle. In addition to the milk shipped from this dairy, there are over 200 gallons shipped daily from Peverly by other parties. C. H. Kerckhoif, who has a dairy in that vicinity, keeps about 100 cows, and during the past winter (1887-88) he has manufactured 350 pounds of butter per week. Other extensive dairies exist.
Mills, etc.—Since the completion of the Iron Mountain Railroad, the cutting and shipping of cord-wood to St. Louis has been and still continues to be a permanent industry all along the line. Along the immediate line of the railroad the supply of w^ood is being exhausted, but vast quantities still exist remotely from the line. A few portable sawmills are used in the county, where timber in suitable quantities exist, but the cutting of lumber is mostly for home use, and is not a very prominent industry. The county is well supplied with gristmills, the most of which are along the line of the railroad, and on Big River. Along the course of the latter, beginning at the north, is the mill of James Byrnes, three miles northwest of House's Springs; another, owned by Henry Vandecrusen, on House's Springs Branch, one mile west of the village; then comes the mill of Michael Byrnes, five miles southwest from House's Springs; and next, Lewis Snair's mill, one mile farther in the same direction; then comes John H. Morse's mill, at the southern terminus of the Big River gravel road, and seven miles northwest of Hillsboro. Another mill, and one of the oldest in the county, is Cole's mill, on Joachim Creek, near Valle Mines. Pleasant Valley Mills are located near Peverly.
Jefferson County was organized by an act of the Legislature of the Territory of Missouri, approved December 8, 1818, as may be seen by the first section, thereof, which reads as follows : Section 1. All that part of the county of St. Louis, and all that part of the county of Ste.Genevieve, bounded as follows, to wit: Beginning' at a point in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River opposite the mouth of a creek on the west hank of said river called Isle au Bois; thence to the mouth of said creek, and ui)the principal northern hrancli thereof to its source; thence in a direct line to the source of a creek known by the name of Hazel Run; thence in a direct line so as to leave Dogget's Mines, in the county of Ste. Genevieve, to Grand River; thence down the said river to the moutli of the creek called Mineral Fork; thence with the county line between the counties of St. Louis and Washington to that point where said county line changes its course to the southwest; thence from that point to the corner of townships 42 and 43 in Range 2, and Townships 42 and 43 in Range 3 east of tlie tifth principal meridian; thence with the range line between Ranges 2 and 3 east of the fifth principal meridian to a point in the middle of the main channel of the Meramec; thence down the middle of the main channel of said river to a point where the township line between Townships 43 and 44 north crosses the said river; thence due east with the said township line to a point in the middle of the main channel of said river Meramec; thence down the said river, in the middle of the main chanel thereof, to a point opposite the mouth of the said river Meramec, in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River; thence down the middle of the main channel of said river to the beginning, is hereby laid off and erected into a separate county, which shall be called and known by the name of Jefferson County.
L. B. Boyd, Thomas Evans, Jacob Wise, William Bates, William Null, Peter McCormack and Henry Metz were appointed by this act commissioners, with full power and authority to select and fix upon the most suitable place in the county whereupon to erect a courthouse and jail; and it was declared that the place agreed upon by them, or a majority of them, should be the permanent seat of justice for Jefferson County. The same commissioners were appointed commissioners of the courthouse and jail, with authority to purchase or otherwise acquire title in fee simple to a suitable tract of land on which to erect said buildings. They were fully authorized to sell town lots, and appropriate the proceeds derived therefrom to the construction of the public buildings. In case of any of the offices of the above named commissioners becoming vacant, it was made the duty of the circuit court to fill such vacancies by appointment. The act also provided that the first court should be held at Herculaneum, and afterward at such places as the court might select until a courthouse could be constructed, and that the county should belong to the Northern Judicial Circuit. Although the county of Jefferson was thus created December 8, 1818, it was not invested with full powers as a separate county until after January 1, 1819.
Some slight but no extensive changes have been made in the boundary lines of Jefferson County since its organization. The laws of 1870 give a more definite description of the boundary, but make so little change in the original that it is not necessary to insert the new description here.
Following is a copy of the caption of the record of proceedings of the first court held in Jefferson County :
Missouri Territory, } NORTHERN CIRCUIT. }
At a court held in the count}' of Jefferson, in the town of Herculaneum, on Monday, the twenty-second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen, being the fourth Monday of said month— present, Nathaniel Beverly Tucker, judge of the courts of the Northern Circuit.
The court being convened, Samuel Woodson and Andrew Scott presented their commissions from Frederick Bates, acting governor of Missouri Territory, the former as clerk, and the latter as sheriff of Jefferson County, and at once assumed the duties of their respective ofiices. Joshua Barton, circuit attorney for the Nortliern Circuit, not being present, Edward Bates was recognized as his deputy, and thus the court was fully organized. William Bates, Peter McCormack, Thomas Evans, Henry Metz, Jacob Wise and William Null, six of the commissioners appointed by law to select the site for the county seat, then presented to the Court their written report, fixing the town of Herculaneum as the permanent seat of justice for the county of Jefferson. These commissioners then resigned their office, and the Court appointed James Rankin, John Geiger and John Finley as county seat commissioners in their stead. At the same time James Rankin was appointed surveyor of the county. Elisha Ellis was authorized, upon the payment of $10, to keep a ferry across the Mississippi for one year, at his landing, opposite the town of Harrison, and his charges for ferriage were established as follows : Each man and horse, 75 cents ; each footman, 25 cents ; each single horse, 50 cents ; each wheel carriage, 50 cents per each wheel ; each head of neat cattle, 50 cents ; each hog, sheep or goat, OJ cents. Mr. Ellis was also licensed, for the sum of $10, "to keep a tavern at his house in Herculaneum" for the period of one year. On the same condition James Rankin was licensed "to keep a tavern at his house in the town of Herculaneum." After transacting other business, which will be mentioned elsewhere, the Court adjourned to term in course. James Bryant and Emily, his wife, donated the east half of Lot No. 129, in the town of Herculaneum, to the county of Jefferson, as a site on which to erect the public buildings, and on the 24th of March, 1820, they executed a deed for the lot thus donated to James Rankin, John Geiger and John Finley, the county seat commissioners.
Organization of County Court.
During the first year of the existence of Jefferson County, and until Missouri was admitted into the Union as a State, the circuit court had jurisdiction of and transacted all the county business. When the State was admitted, the law provided for the organization of a county court in each county, and L. B. . Boyd, Elias Bates and Samuel Hammond were appointed and commissioned by the Governor the first justices of the county court of the county of Jefferson. These officers met and organized their court, and held their first session in the town of Herculaneum commencing on the 14th of May, 1821, it being the second Monday of said month. James Rankin, deputy clerk, acted as clerk, and John Finley, coroner, acted as sheriff. All county business pending in the circuit court was transferred to the county court, and the circuit court had no further jurisdiction thereof. Among the transactions of business at this term, William Bates was licensed to sell merchandise for six months, upon his paying into the treasury the sum of $15, and Elisha Ellis was licensed to keep a ferry across the Mississippi at Herculaneum for one year, and Lawson Lovering was licensed to keep a ferry for the same length of time across the Meramec on the St. Louis road. The latter licenses cost $10 each.
The first jail in Jefferson County was built by Josiah Craft, on the site for the public buildings at Herculaneum, and at this first term of the county court, James Rankin and John Geiger, two of the county seat commissioners, reported the jail completed, and then resigned their offices. The jail consisted of a small log building. John Finley, coroner, was allowed $6 for rent of his house, used by the court. After transacting the necessary county business the court adjourned to the next term in course. Subsequently Benjamin Johnson, Sr., and Clement B. Fletcher, were appointed commissioners of the county seat, vice Rankin and Geiger, resigned.
Removal of the County Seat.
Inasmuch as no steps were taken for the building of a courthouse at Herculaneum for a number of years after the county was organized, it seems evident that an early removal of the county seat was anticipated.
On the 9th of May, 1832, the Court appointed Minor Mothershead, Thomas Hurst, William Hurst, Jesse Phillips and Paschal Detchemundy commissioners to consider the question of moving the county seat to a more central point. On the first Monday of August, following, an election was held at the several voting places in the county to decide the question of moving the seat of justice to the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 40 north. Range 4 east, it being the site of the present town of Hillsboro, and the place selected by the commissioners. The returns of this election were not canvassed by the county court (as it appears by the record) until February, 1833, when they were canvassed and disapproved. Afterward, at the September term, 1834, of the court, the returns were again examined, and it was then declared " that a majority of the qualified voters of the county voted in favor of the removal of the county seat to the place selected." Charles Mothershead was appointed commissioner of the new county seat, and afterward, at the August term, 1835, of the county court, Clifton Mothershead was appointed to "lay off and sell the lots at the new county seat, vice Charles Mothershead, resigned." In July, 1836, Bailey G. Martin was appointed to let the contract and superintend the building of a courthouse at Monticello, the name then given to the present site of Hillsboro, or rather the hill just south thereof. The building was ordered to be constructed of hewed logs, and to be 20x25 'feet in size, and one and a half stories in height, and $400 was appropriated for its construction ; but it was never constructed.
Strong opposition to the removal of the county seat was made, Merry, the owners of the site selected, donated the same to the county and passed the title thereto by deed of conveyance dated April 7, 1838. The tract thus conveyed consists of fifty acres, and lies in the northern part of Section 3, Township 40 north, Range 4 east, and is the site of the present county seat.
The deed from O'Neil and Merry was accepted by the county court, and ordered to be recorded. Here the matter of the removal of the county seat seemed to rest, and, notwithstanding all the foregoing, the question was not definitely settled until it w^as declared by an act of the Legislature of the State approved February 8, 1839, that " the seat of justice of Jefferson County is hereby established at a place commonly called Hillsboro, the place heretofore selected for the seat of justice of said county, situated on a tract of land heretofore conveyed by Samuel Merry and Hugh O'Neil to said county for that purpose." This act settled the question, and the date of its approval maybe taken as the time when the change of the location of the county seat was legally made. The act also provided that, until the necessary county buildings could be constructed, the county business should continue to be transacted at Herculaneum. The removal of the county seat was now undertaken in earnest, and in June, following, the town of Hillsboro, by order of the county court, was surveyed and laid out by George W. Waters, the county surveyor.
John J. Buren was then appointed commissioner of the new county seat and public buildings. In July, 1839, the contract for the building of the new courthouse was awarded to Messrs. Roche & Erisman for the sum of $3,800. The building was completed in time for the county court to hold its first session therein in April, 1840, when it was accepted from the hands of the contractors, who were then allowed $500 over and above the contract price, for extra work. The furnishing of the building cost about $300 more, making the total cost thereof $4,600. This courthouse was a small brick structure, and stood near where the public schoolhouse now stands, in the west part of town. In April, 1841, the contract for the building of a jail was awarded to John W. Winer, for the sum of $1,500. This jail was erected on a lot near the courthouse, and was accepted from the hands of the contractor in August, 1842. In 1863 it became necessary to take and the project thus delayed. Finally Hugh O'Neil and Samuel steps for the construction of new county buildings, and a new location for them was also desired. Consequently, the county court, at its August session of that year, appointed J. L. Thomas and E. T. Honey to examine title, and contract for the purchase of suitable lots on which to erect the new buildings. Block 13, as shown by the plat of Hillsboro, was selected and procured. In October, following, the contract for the construction of a new courthouse and jail (the present buildings) was awarded to Charles H. Pond, for the sum of $16,500.73, and on the 5th of July, 18G5, the commissioner reported the buildings completed and ready for occupancy, and they were then accepted by the court. The courthouse is a plain and substantial two-story brick building set upon a stone foundation, and is 40x00 feet in size. The first story contains the county offices, hall and stairs, and the second the court room, one office, a jury room and library.
The first story of the jail is built of stone, and contains six prison cells; the second story is of brick and contains the jailer's residence. The whole building is surrounded by a solid stonewall about twelve feet in height.
Poor Farm.—In December, 1851, the county court appointed Philip Pipkin, William S. Howe and B. Johnson commissioners " to select a suitable site for a poor farm." These commissioners selected the site of the present poor farm, a portion of which was purchased from the heirs of William Lemmons, deceased, and the balance from Philij) Pipkin and others. The deed by the Lemmons heirs was dated August 27, 1852, and the deed made by Pipkin was dated December 21, 1853. The farm consists of 160 acres—120 of which lie in Section 5, and the balance in Section 8, in Township 4:9 north, Range 4 east, being about two and a half miles west of Hillsboro. The buildings consist of a comfortable frame house for the dwelling of the superintendent, and a large two-story hewed-log asylum for the paupers, and some other buildings, in all with sufficient capacity for the care of thirty paupers. The average number of inmates of the poor asylum is from twenty -two to twenty-five. The expense of the poor farm, including all the poor therein contained, for the year 1887, was $1,767.57, and the relief granted to poor persons "outside of the poor asylum amounted to $1,209.72. This latter sum is several hundred dollars more than the annual average amount expended for those not confined in the asylum.
Municipal Townships.—When Jefferson County was organized, its territory consisted of the municipal townships of Joachim, Plattin and Big River as they had been formed in the old counties. The Jefferson County Court at its first term held in May, 1821, divided Big River Township by an east and west line " taking its departure from the south side of James Gilmore's plantation," and all that part of the old township lying south of that line retained the name of Big River Township, and all north thereof was named Meramec Township. This then made the county consist of four municipal townships. Afterward, in June, 1834, the county court divided Plattin Township by a line commencing at the "nine-mile house on the road leading from Herculaneum to Potosi, thence southerly to the dwelling house of Thomas Strickland, running on the west side of said house, thence still southerly along the west side of the house of Alexander Boyd, until it intersects the county line." This certainly was a very indefinite description. All of Plattin Township lying east of this line retained the original name, and that part lying west thereof was named Valle Township. At the same time the court ordered that so much of the old townships of Meramec and Joachim as lay north of the line dividing Townships 41 and 42 north, and east of the line dividing Ranges 4 and 5 east, should constitute a new township to be called Little Rock. This, then, made the county consist of six municipal townships.
In October, 1838, the county court made the following entry on the record of its proceedings, to wit: "In consequence of the burning of the clerk's office in Herculaneum some years ago, and the burning of the State house in Jefferson City last year, the records of the lines of the several townships in Jefferson County have been lost, and the Court therefore considers it best to lay off the county into six townships, as follows:
" Little Rock Township : Commencing on the river Meramec, at the northeast corner of Congressional Township 43, in Range 5 east; thence west with the line of St. Louis County until it intersects the range line between Ranges 4 and 5 east; thence south with said range line until it intersects the southeast corner of Township 42, Range 5 east; thence east with the township line between Townships 40 and 41, Range 5 east, and Townships 40 and 41, Range 6 east, until it strikes the Mississippi River; thence with said river and the river Meramec to the place of beginning.
"Meramec Township: Commencing at the northwest corner of the township of Little Rock; thence west with the line of St. Louis County to the Meramec River; thence with said river to where it intersects the Franklin County line; thence with said line until it intersects the township line between Townships 40 and 41, Range 2 east; thence with said township line until it intersects the range line between Ranges 4 and 5 east; thence north with said range line to the place of beginning.
" Big River Township: Commencing at the Franklin County line where it intersects the line between Congressional Townships 41 and 42, Range 2 east; thence with said county line until it intersects the Washington County line; thence with said county line until it intersects the sectional line between Sections 4 and 9, in Congressional Township 39, Range 3 east, the corner to be the southwest corner of said Section 4; thence with said section line east until it intersects the sectional line between Sections 3 and 4, in Township 39, Range 4 east; thence north with said sectional line until it intersects the sectional line between Sections 16 and 21 of Township 40, Range 4 east; thence east with said sectional line until it intersects the sectional line between Sections 14 and 15 of Township 40, Range 4 east; thence with said sectional line until it intersects the township line between Townships 41 and 42, Range 4 east; thence with said township line to the place of beginning.
" Valle Township: Commencing at the southwest corner of Big River Township, at the Washington County line; thence with said county line to the line of St. Francois County; thence with said county line until it intersects the sectional line between Sections 8 and 9 of Township 38, Range 5 east; thence north with said sectional line until it strikes the sectional line between Sections 14 and 23, in Township 40, Range 5 east; thence west with said sectional line until it intersects the line of Big River Township at the corner between Sections 15 and 21 of Township 40, Eange 4 east; thence south with said sectional line until it intersects the sectional line at the corner of Big River Township between Sections 4 and 10 of Township 39, Range 4 east; thence west with said sectional line to the place of beginning.
" Plattin Township: Commencing at the St. Francois County line at the intersection of sectional line between Sections 8 and 9, Township 38, Range 5 east; thence east with said county line until it intersects the line of Ste. Genevieve County; thence with said county line to the Mississippi River ; thence with said river to the mouth of the Plattin Creek; thence up said creek until it intersects the section line between Section 18 and 19 of Township 40, Range east; thence west with said section line until it intersects the sectional line between Sections 20 and 21 of Township 40, Range 5 east; thence with said sectional line to the place of beginning.
"Joachim Township: Commencing at the mouth of Plattin Creek ; thence up said creek until it intersects the section line between Sections 18 and 19 in Township 40, Range 5 east; thence west with said line until it intersects the section line between Sections 14 and 15 in Township 40, Range 4 east; thence north with said line until it intersects the township line between Townships 41 and 42, Range 4 east; thence east with said township line until it intersects or strikes the Mississippi River; thence with said river to the place of beginning."
In April, 1842, Central Township was created to embrace Congressional Townships 40 and 41 north, in Range 4 east. In March, 1887, the line between Yalle and Central Townships was changed from the south to the north line of Sections 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36, in Township 40 north. Range 4 east, and Sections 19, 20, 29 and 30 in Township 40 north. Range 5 east, were taken from Valle and added to Central Township.
Highways.—The first road or trnil fry the [massage of travelers has been mentioned in connection with the settlement of the county. A few routes were marked out from one neighborhood to another and traveled by the early settlers before the county was organized. To the first court held in the county, it being in March, 1819, petitions were presented for the establishment of the following highways: One leading from Herculaneum to the county line in the direction of Ste. Genevieve; another leading from Herculaneum in the direction of Potosi, in Washington County, to intersect a road at Big River; another leading from Herculaneum to a point on the Meramec, in the direction of St. Louis, to connect with the St. Louis road on the opposite side of the river. The first and last of these routes were on the line of the old "King's trace," and the second was on the route over which immense quantities of lead had previously been hauled from Potosi to Herculaneum in the " barefooted wagons," that is wagons or carts with wooden tires. On the first of these proposed roads Jacob Horine, John Sturges and Peter McCormack were appointed commissioners to lay out and make the route, and report their doings at the next term of the court; on the second, Samuel McMullin, John Null and George Hammond were appointed commissioners, and on the last St. Amant Michau, Mathias Brindley and Elisha Ellis were made the commissioners. From this time forward public roads were established from point to point throughout the county to suit the convenience of the increasing population. After the close of the Civil War the question of constructing gravel roads at the expense of the county began to be agitated, and was finally submitted to a vote of the people, who decided it in the affirmative.
In 1867 work was commenced simultaneously on the Hillsboro and Lemay Ferry, and the Morse's Mill, Big Eiver and Fenton gravel roads. The former was completed in 1873 and the latter in 1879. In 1869 work was commenced on the Hillsboro and Victoria gravel road, and it was finished in 1871. The work on the De Soto and Victoria gravel road was commenced in 1873 and finished in 1875. The construction of the De Soto and Valle Mines gravel road, only two miles of which were built next to De Soto, was begun and finished in 1871. The House's Springs and Rockford Bridge gravel road, being about a mile in length, was built during the time of the construction of the Morse's Mill, Big River and Fenton road. The length of these roads are, in round numbers, about as follows: Hillsboro and Lemay Ferry, 21 miles; Morse's Mill, Big River and Fenton, 22 miles; Hillsboro to De Soto, via Victoria, 8 miles; De Sot(i and Valle Mines, 2 miles; House's Springs and Kockford Bridge, 1 mile. This makes a total of 54 miles of gravel road within the limits of the county. About nine miles of the south end of the Morse's Mill, Big River and Fenton road were built by the " House's Springs, Big River Valley Macademized and Gravel Road Company," of which John H. Morse was president, and was purchased by the county from that company on the 2d of May, 1882, for the sum of $15,000. The whole of these roads are now owned and kept in repair by the county, and all are free for public traveling, there being no toll gates nor toll collected. In reference to the cost of these roads, the following editorial, published in the Democrat^ at Hillsboro, August 24, 1887, is here inserted:
The question is often asked, "What have the gravel roads of this county cost?" County Clerk Donnell has lately figured up the cost, so that the question can be answered. There have been built about fifty miles of road; there was paid in cash, at various times, to contractors, $75,992.05, and bonds issued amounting to $183,891. There has been paid to this date, as interest on said bonds, the sum of $182,220.03, and interest on warrants, $1,500. This foots tip:
Cash, $ 75,992 05 Bonds 183,891 00 Coupons received 182,220 03 Interest on warrants, 1 ,500 00 Total $443,603 08
To which must be added interest on outstanding bonds, which will yet have to be paid, amounting to $5,160, which will make the grand total of $448,763.08, or an average of $8,573.26 per mile. These figures look startling, but are correct. The county has already paid $423,703.08, and has $25,060 yet to pay. Of this debt there is due in principal and interest, in 1888, $9,990; in 1889, $3,190; in 1890, $990, and 1891, $10,890. On account of issuing bonds at a time when they had no market value, the contract price of building roads was much higher than it would have been for cash. The contract prices amounted to $258,883.05, or an average of $5,187.66 per mile, while the interest paid on the debt created will be $188,880.03, or an average of $3,777.60. It is pretty safe to calculate that if cash had been paid for the work as it was done, and the work contracted for on a cash basis, there could have been at least 128 miles built. Everybody recognizes the fact that going in debt for roads was a mistaken and almost ruinous policy, and we refer to the fact now only for the purpose of bringing the lesson fresh to the memory, so that in future such work will be done only when there is money to pay for it.
Since the publication of the foregoing article, the balance of the bonded debt has been reduced to $20,000 as shown by the financial report of the efiicient county court clerk, E. W. Donnell, for the year ending February 28, 1888. The first county bonds for the construction of these roads were issued May 19, 1868, and the last were issued January 21, 1873.
The St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway was completed through Jefferson County in 1858. It enters the county from the north, after crossing the Meramec River near its mouth, and follows down the Mississippi to Illinois Station, then bears to the right, leaving the river and soon striking the valley of the Joachim, which it follows in a southwesterly direction to the city of De Soto, and, continuing nearly the same direction, it leaves the county on the south, in Sections 30, 39 and 4. Its length in the county is thirty-three miles, and in this distance it has thirteen stations.
Taxation and Finances.
The rates of taxation for Jefferson County for 1819, the first year of its existence, were as follows : On each horse, mule or ass above three years old, 25 cents ; on each head of neat cattle above three years old, 6 1/4 cents ; on each stud horse, the price charged for the season ; on each slave between sixteen and forty-five years of age, 50 cents ; on each billiard table, $25 ; on every able-bodied single man of twenty-one years of age and upward, not possessed of $200 worth of property, 50 cents; on water gristmills, sawmills, horsemills, tanyards and distilleries in actual operation, 40 cents on each $100 of their valuation. From the foregoing it will be seen that the taxes were at that time mostly a specific charge upon the individual thing instead of upon its value, as they were subsequently charged. It is to be regretted that the early abstracts of the tax books have not been preserved. The following table will show the assessed value of the taxable property of Jefferson County and the amount of taxes charged thereon for the years noted, commencing with 1861, which is as far back as the abstracts are found to be on file.
Year. Taxable Property. Total Taxes. 1861 $1,730,011 00 $12,216 40 1866 1,978,537 00 42,400 81 1870 3,686,599 00 66,158 75 1880 3,164,506 00 53,138 58 1887 3,621,983 00 39,840 89
It is somewhat startling to observe the difference in the amounts of taxes charged for the years 1861 and 1866, but for the year 1866 there was charged a military tax of $13,214.67. The largest amount of tax is shown to have been charged in 1870, but of this amount $25,806.19 was charged for gravel road purposes. In 1880 the gross amount of taxes charged was much less than in 1870, but of the amount charged $25,316.05 was for the payment of gravel road bonds. In 1887 the gross amount of taxes charged was much less than in 1880, there being only $7,243.99 charged to redeem gravel road bonds. These bonds being now all redeemed but $20,000, the taxes must continue to grow lighter, as they have done since they reached such a high point in 1870. The financial condition of Jefferson County is v^ry good, there being an indebtedness only of the $20,000 above mentioned, and $6,211.25 which she owes to her own school fund. Her orders on the treasury are cashed as fast as issued.
Population.—The following shows the white, colored and total population of Jefferson County at the end of each decade, as shown by the United States Census:
1820—White, 1,620; colored, 212; total, 1,832. 1830— White, 2,344; colored, 236; total, 2,580. 1840—White, 3,960; colored, 324; total, 4,284. 1850—White, 6,407; colored, 512; total, 6,919. 1860—White, 9,763; colored, 564; total, 10,327. 1870—White, 14,617; colored, 763; total, 15,380. 1880—
Total, 18,736. 1888— Estimated total, 22,000.
The whole number of colored people, as shown in the foregoing, up to and including the year 1860, were slaves, the free colored not being included.
POLITICAL AND OFFICIAL.
Elections.—Judge Thomas, in his centennial address, said: "Politics did not trouble our fathers much. Prior to 1804 there was no voting in this section. The King of Spain governed us, or, rather, let us alone. After 1804 the capital of the country was 1,000 miles from them, and the way to it was through a trackless wilderness. The news of the election of Thomas Jefferson as President of the United States did not reach the people here for four months after the election. There was no newspaper published within hundreds of miles of them."
From the time the United States became possessed of the Territory until the county of Jefferson was organized, elections were held to elect local officers, first in the assessment districts and afterward in the townships, as they formed parts of St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve Counties. The first general election in Jefferson County was held in August, 1821. The county court, at its May term of that year, appointed John Wiley, John McCulloch and Berry Hansel as judges of the election in Big Eiver Township; Joseph Henderson, Thomas Johnson and Abraham Hilderbrand for Meramec Township; Samael McMullin, James Donald and William Bartlett for Plattin Township ; and Clement B. Fletcher, Benjamin Johnson, Sr., and James Stevenson for Joachim Township. From this time forward elections have been held regularly, and for reference the names of the most important officers elected have been inserted on another page.
To show the political phase of Jefferson County, and the increase in her voting population, the number of votes cast for each presidential candidate, commencing with the year 1840, which is as far back as the returns have been found on file, are here given:
1840—William Henry Harrison, 298; Martin Yan Buren,321.
1844—James K. Polk, 349; Henry Clay, 327.
1848—Zachary Taylor, 246; Lewis Cass, 311.
1852—Franklin Pierce, 310; Winfield Scott, 172.
1856—James Buchanan, 387; Millard Fillmore, 523.
1860—Abraham Lincoln, 143; John Bell, 416; John C.Breckinridge, 155; Stephen A. Douglas, 490.
1864—Abraham Lincoln, 915; George B. McClellan, 323.
1868—U. S. Grant, 796; Horatio Seymour, 833. 1872—U. S. Grant, 878; Horace Greeley, 1,240.
1876—Eutherford B. Hayes, 1,157; Samuel J. Tilden, 1,853.
1880—James A. Garfield, 1,501; Winfield S. Hancock, 2,012; Gen. Weaver, 62.
1884—Grover Cleveland, 2,272; James G. Blaine, 1,858; John P. St. John, 48.
Vote for members of Congress, 1884—
Clardy, Democrat, 1,946;
Morse, Federal, 2,059;
Jackson, Greenback, 17. 1886—
Clardy, Democrat, 1,959;
Ledergerber, Republican, 1,638;
Vote for judge of the circuit court, 1886
Thomas, Democrat, 1,896;
Williams, Independent Democrat, 2,135.
Vote for representatives in 1886
Reed McCormack, Democrat, 2,055;
Theophilus W. Guy, 2,079.
Circuit Court Judges.
Nathaniel Beverly Tucker, 1819-22;
Alexander Stuart, 1822-26;
William C. Carr, 1826-34;
Luke W. Lawless, 1834-35;
William Scott, 1835-36;
Henry Shurlds, 1836-37;
James Evans, 1837-38;
David Steriger, 1838-44;
John H. Stone, 1844-62;
James W. Owens, 1862-66;
James H. Vail, 1866-73;
Louis F. Dinning, 1873-81;
John L. Thomas, present incumbent, continuously since 1881.
Circuit Court Clerks.
Samuel Woodson, 1819-23;
Samuel W. Lewis, 1823-26;
John Bent, 1826-27;
Chauncey Smith, 1827-34;
Samuel Woodson, 1834-36;
Henry P. Bates, 1836-38;
John S. Mathews, 1838-45;
J. L. Dunklin, 1845-46;
J. H. Alford, 1846-49;
T. C. Fletcher, 1849-57 ;
E. F. Honey, 1857-65;
Samuel A. Keppey, 1865-67;
E. F. Honey, 1867-71;
W. S. Boyce, 1871-75;
C. T. Horine, 1875-87;
D. B. Veazey, 1887—present incumbent.
County Court Clerks.
Prior to and up to 1857 the circuit court clerks were ex officio county court clerks, and performed the duties of both offices.
A. P. Hesser, 1857-62;
Samuel A. Keppey, 1862-65;
K. W. McMullin, 1865-71;
W. K. Donnell, the present incumbent, has served continuously since 1871.
Andrew Scott, first half of 1819;
George Hammond, from July, 1819, to 1822;
Joseph Boring, 1822-26;
William Ellis, 1826-28;
Isaac Roberts, 1828-29;
G. J. Johnson, 1829-30;
Amnion Knighton, 1830-34;
James S. McChristian, 1834-40;
John Hammond, 1840-41;
Mark Moss, 1841-44;
John Hammond, 1844-48;
Joseph A. Hammond, 1848-49;
G. J. Johnson, 1849-50;
James McCulloch, 1850-54;
Augustine Wiley, 1854-58;
Oscar Dover, 1858-62;
J. B. Dover, 1862-64;
C. C. Fletcher, 1864-66;
John Williams, 1866-68;
Fred Luchtemeyer, 1868-70;
John Williams, 1870-72;
T. B. Moss, 1872-76;
John Williams 1876-78;
Thomas J. Jones, 1878-82;
John L. Weaver, 1882-84;
Henry Hurtgen, 1884-83;
George W. McFry, 1886—present incumbent.
From the organization of the county to 1857, the sheriffs were ex officio collectors. William Skell, 1857-62; John C. Power, 1862-64; C. C. Fletcher, 1864-66; J. N. Whitehead, 1866-68; John Williams, 1868-72; Samuel Byrns, 1872-73; Alfred Mitchell, 1873-74; Willis Mitchell, 1874-75; T. N. Donnell, 1875-77; James T. Moss, 1877-83; Jacob N. Douglas, 1883-85; Thomas E. Moss, 1885-87; William Brackman, present incumbent, assumed the duties of the office early in 1887.
Prior to 1871 this office was combined with the office of circuit clerk, and since that time the recorders have been as follows: George L. Johnson, 1871-82; Patrick Cashels, 1882-84; E. G. Honey, 1884-86; A. L. Colman, present incumbent, elected in 1886.
Beginning in 1856, Louis J. Eankin, 1856-62;
Frederick Bold, 1862-66;
Henry Stillbrink, 1866-80;
William Clark, 1880-84;
K W. McMullin, elected in 1884, and re-elected in 1886—present incumbent.
County Court Justices.
L. B. Boyd, Elias Bates, Abner Vanzant and Samuel Hammond, 1821-24;
James Bankin and Chauncey Smith, 1824-27;
Ben. Johnson, Jr., William Boli, Ben. T. Hansel and Samuel McMullin, 1825-27 ;
George Hammond, 1825-34;
Young Guffee and Ben. Owens, 1826-27;
Jabez Warner, 1827-28;
Ben. Johnson, Sr., 1827-30;
Joseph Evans, 1828-31;
J. W. Denniston and Hugh P. Lucus, 1830-31;
John Gamble and Clifton Mothershead, 1831-34;
John Speed and Abraham Hilderbrand, 1834-36;
Robert Whitehead, 1836-38;
Abram Jarret, 1836-37;
Sanders Burgess, 1836-39;
Reuben Pounds, 1837-38;
Julius Higgins and Ezekiel Dugan, 1838-39;
John W. Strickland, 1838-46;
G. J. Johnson, 1842-73;
William Ogle, 1842-45;
M. W. Horine, 1845-49;
C. S. Rankin, 1846-47;
W. S. Howe, 1847-49;
C. B. Fletcher, 1849-50;
John Dover, 1849-54;
C. S. Rankin, 1850-61;
A. C. North, 1854-58;
James McCulloch, 1858-61;
J. F. Van Pretres, 1861-65;
I. J. Beckett, 1863-67 ;
Isaac Sullens and William Hendrickson, 1865-67 ;
W. S. Howe, 1867-70;
A. Yeager, 1867-78;
William Hendrickson, 1870-71;
E. P. Childs, 1871-72;
Gust. Hamel, 1872-73;
J. P. Cape and W. R Williams, 1873-78.
County Court Judges.
At large~C. C. Fletcher, 1878-82;
John Williams, 1882-80.
James Hopson, present incumbent, elected in 1886.
In First District—M. F. Byrne, 1878-80;
William J. Kirk, 1880-82;
Patrick Byrne, 1882-84;
Henry Seckman, 1884, re-elected in 1880, present incumbent.
Second District—Reed McCormack, 1878-80;
Willis J. Williams, 1880-82;
R. G. Madison, 1882, re-elected in 1884, and again in 1880—present incumbent.
Jabez Warner, 1820-27;
Hon. A. Green, a few months in 1872 by appointment;
J. J. Williams, 1872-70; R. W McMullin, 1870-80;
Richard A. Elkins, present incumbent, first elected in 1880, and twice re-elected since.
Representatives in Legislature.
* * * Falkland H. Martin, 1828-32;
* * * Johnson H. Alford, 1830-38 ;
Benjamin Hunt and Jonathan Smith, 1838-40;
Jonathan Smith and Philip Pipkin, 1840-42;
Hugh P. C. Lucas, 1842-44;
George W. Waters, 1844-40;
A. Bowles, 1840-50;
John Hammond, 1850-52;
James S. Brown, 1852-54;
James McCulloch and James S. Brown, 1854-50;
Albert G. Haile and F. J. Smith, 1850-58;
A. Bowles, 1858-00;
Francis Hagin, 1800-02;
Henry P. Bates, 1802-04;
C. A. Newcomb, 1804-07;
Charles C. Fletcher, 1807-09;
Thomas Byrns, 1809-71;
John L. Thomas, 1871-73;
Ferdinand B. Kennett, 1873-75;
E. F. Frost, 1875-77;
Samuel Byrns, 1877-79;
James H. Waggoner, 1879-81;
Joseph J. Williams, 1881-83;
John O'Fallon, 1883-85. Reed McCormack, present incumbent, elected in 1884 and re-elected in 1880.
Abner Green, 1872-70;
Joseph J. Williams, 1870-78;
Thomas H. McMullin, 1878-80;
James F. Green, present incumbent, first elected in 1880, re-elected and served continuously ever since.
The present incumbents of the other offices of the county are as follows:
G. M. Mockbee, coroner;
J. B. Dover, surveyor;
C. H. Kleinschmidt, public administrator;
C. W. Vogt, assessor.
The first newspaper published in Jefferson county was The Herald, which was established at De Soto in 1859 or 1860, by E. E. Furber, and published until the breaking out of the war caused its suspension. In 1869-70 G. D. Clark published a Republican paper at De Soto. In the fall of 1872 Charles E. Moss established the Jefferson CoHiiiy Repubmhlican, at the same place, and after a short period dispose o ift to Rankin & Bro., by whom it was published until its suspension about a year after the date of its first issue. In November, 1873, Messrs. J. J. and S. B. Brady established the De Soto Tribune, a paper independent in politics. Its publication was discontinued in September, 1875, and soon thereafter S. B. Brady began the publication of the De Soto PJurnix, and discontinued it in April, 1876. From 1878 to 1881 the De Soto Messenger was published by W. G. Church. In 1880 and 1881 the De Soto Herald was published by C. B, Isliam. The Jefferson County Waichman was established at Hillsboro in November, 1881, by S. Henry Smith. It was afterward moved to De Soto, and in 1882 it was purchased by Messrs. McMullin & Stone, and subsequently McMullin sold his interest to Stone, who finally sold the paper to its present publishers, Messrs. J. H. Waggener and John Jenkins. It is now a five-column quarto, and is independent in politics.
The Jefferson Democrat was established at Hillsboro in 1866, by C. A. Clark and C. D. Reppy, under the name of the Jefferson County Leader. In June, 1868, it passed into the hands of R. W. McMullin and others, who conducted it until the following November, when it was purchased by C. D. Reppy. In January, 1869, Frank N. Stone acquired possession, and changed the name to the Jefferson Democrat. In September, 1869, Mr. Stone sold the paper to Edmund J. Ellis, and repurchased it in February, 1870. In June, 1871, R. W. McMullin secured control of the paper, and has ever since and still continues its publication. It is an eight-column folio, Democratic in politics, has a large circulation, and is ably edited. The Crystal Mirror was established at Festus in August, 1885, by J. J. Wilson and Dr. T. B. Taylor. In March, 1886, Mr. Wilson became sole proprietor, and continued the publication of the paper at Festus until February 17, 1887, and then moved it to Hillsboro, where he still continues its publication. Originally it was a five-column quarto, but, on being moved to Hillsboro, it was enlarged to a seven-column quarto. It has always been independent in politics, its motto being " The people and country before party." In the campaign of 1886 it advocated the election of the ticket of the Independent Democrats and Republicans in Jefferson County, and eight out of the twelve candidates on this ticket were elected. The Mirror has a large circulation, and is also ably edited. The De Soto Herald a seven column folio, was established February 16, 1888, by G. Y. Dale, editor. Politically, it is Democratic, and starts out with fair prospects of success.
History of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Crawford & Gasconade Counties Missouri
Goodspeed Publishing Company 1888
Missouri Genealogy Trails
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