Welcome to
Pulaski County
Genealogy and History
Part of the Genealogy Trails History Group






Pulaski County is in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, of which Hon. Charles C. Bland, of Rolla, is judge. In 1881 the probate judge was C. C. McMillan; the presiding judge, J. W. Robinson; the district judges, J. B. Ellis and M. W. Wright; sheriff and collector, H. S. Roberts; circuit and county clerk, J. J. Clark; prosecuting attorney, J. A. Bradshaw; coroner, J. R. Burchard; recorder, John J. Clark; assessor, W. P. Trower; public administrator, J. W. Harrison; treasurer, George W. Colley; surveyor, M. O. Mitchell, and school commissioner, W. M. Barr. The representative was A. L. McGregor. The presidential and congressional vote of 1880 was as follows: For Hancock: Waynesville, 134; Lost Hill, 29; Dixon, 147; Hancock, 69; Miller's Mill, 50; Crocker, 101; Richland, 147; Bellfonte, 43, and Dundas, 54; total, 772. For Garfield: Waynesville, 21;   Lost Hill, 24; Dixon, 96; Hancock, 25; Miller's Mill, 18; Crocker, 118; Richland, 100; Bellfonte, 35, and Dundas, 25; total, 462. For Weaver: Waynesville, 1; Richland, 8; Bellfonte, 1, and Dundas 9; total, 19. For Bland: Waynesville, 133; Lost Hill, 29; Dixon, 147; Hancock, 70; Miller's Mill, 49; Crocker, 102; Richland, 153; Bellfonte, 41, and Dundas, 47; total, 771. For Palmer: Waynesville, 23; Lost Hill, 24; Dixon, 94; Hancock, 22; Millers' Mill, 20; Crocker, 105; Richland, 95; Bellfonte, 36, and Dundas, 43; total, 462. For governor: Crittenden (Dem.), 770; Dyer (Rep.), 466; Brown (Greenback), 19.   (The population of the county was then 7,250, against 4,714 in 1870.)   

In 1883 the probate judge was George Gan; presiding judge, W. L. Tilley; district judges, D. A. Claiborn and H. M. Cowan; sheriff, W. L. Bradford; collector, W. P. Skaggs; circuit clerk, J. J. Clark; county clerk, E. G. Williams; prosecuting attorney, C. H. Davis, and coroner, W. C. Black. The present official directory of the county is as follows: Circuit judge, C. C. Bland; representative, H. E. Warren; county clerk, E. G. Williams; circuit clerk, H. E. Rollins; sheriff, W. W. Hobbs; collector, W. L. Bradford; prosecuting attorney, C. H. Davis; probate judge, George Gan; treasurer, J. B. Christeson; assessor, J. W. Hicks, and county judges, W. T. Wright, presiding; J. E. Gray and J. Smith.    

The county is in the Eleventh Congressional and in the Twenty-second Senatorial District.    

Pulaski County was not represented in the constitutional conventions of 1820 or 1845. Its representative in the convention of 1861 was Judge V. B. Hill.  It had no delegate to the convention of 1865, nor to that of 1875.    

Among her representatives have been Robert Montgomery, John S. Burnett, Bland N. Ballard, Lewis Kiddy, Dr. Henderson, Dr. W. A. Dodge, Allen Hamer, V. B. Hill (two terms), John B. Ellis (several terms), Solomon Bartlett, G. W. Colley, D. E. Davis, T. J. Montgomery, Dr. A. L. McGregor, Dr. W. R. Wilson, J. B. Rackliff, H. E. Warren and John O. Morrison. The county has furnished but one senator-Allen Hamer.    

The financial condition of the county in April, 1888, was: In June, 1862, Price, Marmaduke, Hill, Crawford, Wright and Turner were expelled. Cash on hand April, 1886, $4,368.18; total receipts, $6,884.50; total expenditures, $7,615.22; balance on hand, $3,637.46.   

The continuous list of presidential votes of the county, found elsewhere in this volume, will illustrate the political history of the county more accurately than words could do. In 1884 the vote was: Cleveland, 948; Blaine, 615, and St. John, 8.       In 1888: Cleveland, 1,048; Harrison, 666, and Streeter, 59.     The officers of the two central committees were: Chairman, L. Tice; secretary, J. H. Ross (Democratic), of Waynesville, and chairman, H. M. Cowan; secretary, James M. Farrar (Republican), of Richland.    

The courts of all counties of a circuit are very similar in the character of their practice, for generally the same attorneys practice in each county.  The following roll of members of the bar, attorneys and counselors at law practicing in the Pulaski Circuit Court may be of interest:     John S. Phelps, Robert W. Crawford, 1837; David Sterigere, 1835; Charles G. Yaney, L. Hendrick, B. F. Robinson, W. McCord, J. S. Waddill, W. V. N. Bay, G. W. Miller, W. H. Otter, George Dixon, B. M. Lisle, C. H. Allen, B. A. Major, J. Heardy, E. H. Horrell, 1841; E. H. Gibson, P. Overton Minor, 1842; Cyrus Stark, Charles A. David, 1843; M. M. Parsons, D. M. Leet, 1845; L. A. Boone, A. Emory, John H. Jennings, G. J. Wyatt, T. M. Johns, D. B. Rigdon, 1848; A. M. F. Hudson, B. L. Hendrick, P. H. Edwards, 1852, W. C. Price and J. R. Woodside.    

Circuit Court Proceedings.-

The first Pulaski Circuit Court began as follows: State of Missouri, to wit:    Be it remembered that in pursuance of an act of the General Assembly of the State, approved on the 9th day of February, 1833, the county of Pulaski was attached to the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and in pursuance of an act of the Legislature, approved on the 26th day of January, 1833, entitled, "An act to organize the County of Pulaski," the place of holding the court of said county was fixed at the house of Jesse Boileau, in the same county, until the tribunal transacting county business should fix on a temporary seat of justice for said county. And in pursuance of an order of the county court, made on the 4th day of March, 1833, the place of holding court was fixed at the house of Green B. Williams, in said county, until otherwise provided. And the time of holding court for said county being fixed by an act of the Legislature, approved the 12th day of February, 1833. On this 8th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and thirty-three, being the first Thursday after the first Mon day of said month of August, at the house of said Green B. Williams, in the county of Pulaski, personally came the Honorable Charles H. Allen, Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and took his seat, and having caused proclamation to be made in due form of law, constituted a circuit court in the said county of Pulaski.   

The commission of the said judge and the evidence of his qualification to office were ordered to be recorded in the records of the court, and are in the following words and figures, to wit: [An order in following which the clerk was derelict, for it does not appear.]    

Here followed the appointment of    Robert B. Harrison as clerk and   recorder, and   James   Campbell, having been elected  in  August, 1832, for sheriff, gave bonds of $5,000 through D. Fulbright, J. O. Gillespy, Robert Montgomery, G. B. Williams and Alfred Givens.    Thomas J. Givens was the first prosecuting attorney for the circuit, and the first grand jurors secured were Joshua A. Burckhart, foreman, Edward C. Moore, William Bradford, Labon Ivey, Wilson Lenox, Joshua Sweeney, Henry W. Johnson, Daniel Fullbright, Charles O'Neal, William P. Wisdom, Alfred Givens, Elias Williams, Jacob Newman, Meshack Hyatt, Amon Pyburn, Samuel McElroy, Isaac Clark, Nicholas Owensby, Andrew     Bilgew, Felix G. Bradley, William Gillespy, John Hillhouse and William Malone.    Joseph D. Willey "came not."    The grand jury went out in a cleared place in a clump of bushes near Mr. Williams' house, on Bear Creek, and it might be mentioned that this house was still standing in 1885. R. C. McCollough owns the place, and his house is constructed of some of the logs taken from the old court-house.  After the first case was tried, an appeal from a justice court, the plaintiff, G. M. Himes, having been the defendant against Reuben Sullens, in which the court reversed the justice's decision and gave Mr. Himes $41 and costs, to be recovered from Mr. Sullens, the grand jury presented the first indictment; it was against Benjamin Jones for larceny. His case was continued. One was also presented against Archibald McDonald " for maiming " William Black.    

Court then adjourned until court in course the 8th day of August, 1833. So ended the first day.    

The first case of assault was against William Steen (December, 1833).   The first case of perjury was against James Robinson, who was acquitted. The first case of adultery was against Samuel Halcomb, who was found guilty as charged, and " fined six and one-fourth cents " and given five minutes imprisonment. Against A. McCartney was brought the first case of trespass. Technical cases, like trover and assumpsit, were frequent. Archibald McDonald managed to receive the first indictment for shooting with intent to kill, and was fined and committed to the county jail for "one minute."  The first case of stabbing with intent to kill was against John Armstrong, who was fined and given "one hour." The first slander case was against Daniel Brumby; a nolle prosequi was entered.  Temple Cooper was the first victim of a debt action, and Alexander Miller was the first to have "the strong arm of the law" embrace him for committing rape. The case of J. D. Watkins against J. A. Burckhart was the first one taken to the supreme court; this was in 1834. In 1835 the Hon. W. Scott became judge, and T. B. Myers was sheriff. Early in December, 1835, it was " ordered that a special adjourned session of the court, in continuance of the regular term, be held at the house of James A. Bates, on the Rubedous Creek, the place selected for holding court for the county of Pulaski, to commence on the twenty-second day of December," in 1835. This was the removal to Waynesville, where Mr. Bates was the first merchant. A case of gaming, the first the grand jury happened to discover, against Terrel West and John Thomas, was ended by a verdict of "not guilty."  In 1837 Hon. Foster P. Wright became judge, with Messrs Swink and Ballard as clerk and sheriff, respectively. David Sterigere was circuit attorney. The first record that uses the name " Waynesville " is that of March, 1837. Littleberry Hendrick was made prosecutor in 1838. The first case of burglary was brought against Joseph Desmukes in 1839, and resulted in his acquittal. The first case of bigamy was one of the most pathetic cases on the records.  It was, it seems, a case of ignorance; old Richard Skaggs and his wife had separated, and as years went by the old man, who was generally respected, concluded to get married again, and seemed ignorant that something else besides sepa-ration was necessary to release him from his former wife. He was found guilty, and sentenced to three months in the county jail and fined $250. A young man, V. B. Hill, now venerable, was standing in the blacksmith shop while the handcuffs were being riveted on the trembling wrists of the decrepit old man. " Ignorance of the law is no excuse." John and Elizabeth Drury followed this case with an action for the first divorce in Pulaski County.   

The first murder case was against William Grizzett (or Grizzell, as some give it), in 1839. A Mr. Rafferty (?) and the defendant were residentsof what is now Camden County, when some family trouble led the defendant to lay in wait for his victim while on the way to mill, and he shot him. The results of the verdict are not obtainable. "The code of honor" furnished during that year the first case "for challenging to fight a duel;" this defendant, James Hays, was found "not guilty."  The first riot case was against John and James Watson, Susan Woodall et al. John Costly furnished the first forgery case, in 1841. During this year Judge C. H. Allen began again. The same clerk was continued, while the sheriff was Robert Wood. In 1845 I. W. Sumner was convicted of the shooting of an old man named Hornsinger (in present Laclede territory), but his sentence was commuted to imprisonment. He was pardoned soon after. He was defended by E. H. Horrell, an attorney who himself was, in 1848, the chief character in the most prominent murder case ever enacted within the county. Mr. Horrell was one of the best attorneys the county ever had, and was a man of high standing in the Waynesville community. A Dr. Dellinger was another prominent citizen of the place, whose remarks had been construed into reflection on the family honor of the attorney; this led to Mr. Horrell's concealing himself in a house near the public square and firing through a crack at Dr. Dellinger as he rode by on horseback.  The case created wide-spread interest; Mr. Horrell was acquitted.   

In 1846 Hon. Daniel M. Leet was made judge, and P. O. Minor circuit attorney, with R. A. Hardin and John Kelly as clerk and sheriff, respectively.  In 1847 Nancy Bowles was the first woman indicted for murder, and the following year occurred the first cases of bribery and arson, the former against John Jones, who was fined one cent and costs, and the latter against Richard  Cox. During the latter year, too, happened the first case "for disturbing public worship;" it was against John Roberson. The first penitentiary commitment was made in 1853; Joseph Jones was sentenced two years for horse stealing.   

 The year 1853 furnished another case of murder; there was no execution, however, for as in all other cases in the county something occurred to make it fall short of the gallows. C. H. Sutherland, in a personal trouble with Joseph Newberry, his cousin, killed him, and was placed in jail, from which he escaped and found his way to Texas, where he lately died.    

W. W. McDonald succeeded R. A. Hardin as clerk in 1855, and John Leek followed John Kelly in the sheriff's duties, and he, in turn, was succeeded in 1856 by John S. King. Some new attorneys began practice, too, among whom were Robert Hudgens, Buel T. Root, Theodore T. Taylor, W. W. McDonald, John H. Tyree, and later on Allen Hamer, J. C. S. Colley and J. H. Williams. Hon. P. H. Edwards, succeeded by Hon. J. H. McBride, were the judges of 1859, and E. Y. Mitchell was circuit attorney. The clerk was retained, but the sheriff became H. W. Stuart. In 1862 Hon. J. S. Waddill was made judge of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, and H. C. Warmoth became circuit attorney. Hon. W. G. Pomeroy succeeded Judge Waddill the same year, and C. C. McMillan and James Carson became clerk and sheriff, respectively. During the year John Duckworth had some trouble with an old bachelor named Tilley; the trouble led Duckworth to decoy Tilley out of his house and shoot him, after which he escaped, and no trial could be completed. Judge Waddill served in 1864, but was followed by Hon. J. H. Boyd. D. B. Colley was clerk and G. W. Colley, sheriff. Judge Aaron Von Wormer succeeded Judge Boyd in 1866, and J. B. Wicker took the clerkship and E. Perry became circuit attorney.  The records of 1836 say that in the first case of naturalization Joseph Feibleman was made an "American Citizen!" The most numerous cases of that year were for relief from disability. In 1867 John Gurtin was given two years for grand larceny. Two years later the court officers were Judge Elijah Perry, Circuit Attorney Alf. Harris, Sheriff J. M. Rollins and Clerk D. B. Colley. During the same year John H. Campbell received a sentence of five years for forgery.

In 1869 the South Pacific Railway had a great many small cases of slight import.  In 1870 William Elder was sentenced two years for grand larceny.  The attorneys resident in 1871 were S. J. Bostrick, W. H. Murphy, L. S. Wright, J. A. Bradshaw, J. L. Johnson, J. B. Harrison, J. W. Stewart, J. B. Rackliff and Thomas G. Kerr.    In 1871 Arthur Bryan received four years for grand larceny, and in 1875 was given five years for the same kind of crime. Peter Murphy was given two years, also. The first case of Sunday labor came up in 1872, and the guilty man was fined one cent; William  Rollins was circuit attorney. Judge V. B. Hill came to the bench in 1875, and E. G. Williams was clerk and L. R. Bates was sheriff. Lewis Doyle's forgery committed him for two years under Judge Hill.  The James Maxey murder case of 1872 created some interest; he killed a man named Samuel White in a trouble growing out of the latter's taking up a stray mule. A change of venue was taken to Miller County. Cases of levity very seldom ruffle the grave proceedings of legal tribunals, but the centennial year's docket of the Pulaski Circuit Court was profusely sprinkled with prominent names "for playing croquet on Sunday," and in one case even a change of venue was taken! In 1877 W. Light and Elisha McGee each received sentences to the penitentiary. A case of great interest occurred in 1878; it was a case of murder against some Richland men, Gibson, Long, Greenstreet, et al., who were accused of wrecking a passenger train near what is now Swedeborg, in which three men were killed; there were pistol-shots and other evidence to show that the wrecking might have been done for robbery, but there was not sufficient proof of the complicity of these men to warrant anything less than acquittal. The public feeling at the time was very strong. In 1879 a peculiar case occurred. Franklin A. Spencer killed his step-father-in-law, an inoffensive old man, and was convicted of murder in the second degree, and sentenced to thirty years' imprisonment; by a petition, however, he was pardoned.  During 1879 three resident attorneys were enrolled: D. Somson, C. Miller and H. Barker. In 1883 Ed. Twiggs was given three years for grand larceny, and A. H. Misner two years for the forgery of a school order. In 1884 the present judge, Hon. C. C. Bland; present prosecuting attorney,  C. H. Davis, Sheriff W. L. Bradford and Clerk J. J. Clark assumed official duties. Since then there have been four penitentiary convictions of men, an acquitted case of murder, and a fourth degree murder sentence against a woman for killing an illegitimate child.   

Roll of Attorneys.-

The resident members of the bar of Pulaski County have not been many or of long residence. It is uncertain who was the first resident lawyer, but the first prominent one was E. H. Horrell, who came some time in "the forties." He was from Cape Girardeau County, and about 1850 removed to Texas. He was a lawyer of fair education and ability, and easily won popularity. As a speaker and jury lawyer he was excellent, and few of his successors have surpassed him in the accuracy of his papers.  He was habitually successful.  In politics he evinced no activity.   

Stephen G. Angney came from Philadelphia some time in "the forties," and remained three or four years. He was a very scholarly and somewhat timid man, as well educated as any member of the Pulaski bar. No lawyer in the county has ever surpassed him as a pleader, but he was not a speaker. He was a man who was highly esteemed. He died at Bates (now Bartlett's) Mill.   

Robert Hudgens practiced before the war, and during that conflict removed to Rolla. He began legal study late in life, and his acquirements were rather meager, but his rugged, self-made qualities and his excellent natural sense, coupled with his aptitude for affairs, made him a success as a business lawyer. He was not a speaker.    

Theodore T. Taylor was admitted to the Pulaski bar about 1856, and became prominent on account of his brilliancy as an orator, rather than his knowledge of law or the extent of his practice, for in both the latter he was deficient. He had been a civil engineer, and was generally well educated, so that he may be characterized as a good business lawyer. He remained only until about 1861.    

V. B. Hill was admitted in 1857, and is the only resident lawyer who has served as circuit judge of the circuit including Pulaski County. Judge Hill is a self-made man and lawyer, who  has been closely identified with not only all legal but political actions of the county from his admission to the present time. As a lawyer he especially excels in the office and as counsel, as his papers are invariably accurate and his interpretation of law reliable. His positive opinions and rugged sense have won him the confidence of all as a lawyer and a man. He is a close student and a very convincing speaker, while in local politics he has been one of the most influential of leaders, with a confident following that only a man of his stern and scrupulous honesty could hold.   

W. W. McDonald was licensed during the war, but he never attempted much legal business outside of collections-at least in the circuit court. He is still living, and has been extensively identified with county affairs.    

John H. Tyree was a post bellum lawyer, who arrived about 1866, and remained only until about 1873. He had a good general law business, and was a man of ordinary education. He was a fair lawyer, and his success was due to the fact that he was tenacious and studious with all he undertook.    

Allen Hamor, like Robert Hudgens, made his residence in the region of Big Piney Fork, and like him he was a man of strong, rugged natural mind. He was licensed in Pulaski County, and about 1874 died, while living on the Gasconade River. He practiced but little.    

William  Rollins came from Polk County, Mo., about 1872. He was what might be termed a good general lawyer. He was prosecuting attorney under Judge V. B. Hill, and was so occupied at the time of his death, about 1877. He was then the only attorney in the county, and his legal protege, J. L. Johnson, by request of the people, was examined, admitted and made prosecutor, to replace his preceptor.    

J. L. Johnson is a young lawyer of fair education, and well informed in law. Although his practice has not been as extensive as that of some lawyers, his papers show him a good pleader. He has good natural ability, and as an interpreter of the law probably none of his contemporaries excel him.    

J. H. Williams practiced but little, but was a man of some shrewdness. 

Chestine Miller, of Dixon, is a lawyer of considerable experience, and a man of correct, prompt and precise business methods. He is especially successful in real estate litigation, and is a financier of ability.   

W. H. Murphy, of Crocker, was admitted to the Pulaski bar about 1878, after a course of independent study of law. His time is largely divided between commercial life and law, but the close and persistent attention he gives his clientage has made him one of the most successful lawyers of the county.    

J. A. Bradshaw was another self-made lawyer who achieved success in the legal line. He served as prosecuting attorney for four years, but about 1886 he became a minister of the Methodist Church. As a lawyer he was shrewd and well informed, and had a large practice.  His excellent oratorical powers and other qualities made him an active and powerful leader in the Republican ranks of the county.    

C. H. Davis, who has long served as prosecuting attorney, was licensed to practice in Pulaski, his native county, about 1880. He is a man of fair education and a close student and keen observer in the law. His excellence in criminal practice is largely due to the vigorous attention he gives his cases, coupled with his sense of technical accuracy in his pleading. J. McGregor is a student of the Columbia (Mo.) Law School, and was admitted to the bar about 1884. He is devoted to general law business, and shows considerable talent for real estate affairs.    

S. J. Manes, of Richland, is an old resident of the county, a student of Mr. Bradshaw. He is a self-made lawyer, and was admitted about 1886. His vigorous promptness has given him a large collection business, and he is forcible and convincing before a jury.   

J. B. Rackliff, of the law firm of Rackliff & Hill, is one of the best practitioners in the county, and has among the best class of business as a general lawyer. He is vigorous and prompt in business methods, forcible and strong as a speaker, is a pleader of ability, and is confident and well informed in law.   

J. W. Stewart, of Richland, studied law at Ann Arbor, Mich., and is a well-informed man.   

Charles Shubert, of Richland, became a resident about 1887. 

He is a good general lawyer, but excels especially in commercial litigation.   

W. C. Singleton is one of the most recently admitted young lawyers of the county.    Some lawyers were of so transient a residence that they hardly deserve mention at this time


Copyright Genealogy Trails