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Scotland County, Missouri

Scotland County History

By L. P. Roberts, Memphis

Territory and Population

What is now known as Scotland county was originally a part of the territory known as Lewis county, the latter being organized in 1832. The present boundaries of Scotland county are as follows: Bounded on the north by the state of Iowa, on the south by Knox county, on the east by Clark county and on the west by Schuyler and Adair counties. The east line of the county lies about twenty-eight miles west of the Mississippi river, and Memphis, the county seat, is about forty miles distant fcom the city of Keokuk, Iowa,

The territory embraced within the boundaries of this county is about twenty-three miles square, or 529 square miles. This, which is only approximately correct, means 338,560 acres of land, most of which is tillable and very fertile. The population of Scotland county according to the census of 1910 is given at 11,869, which is about 1,400 less than it was in 1900.

Organization—County Seat

By an act of the general assembly approved January 29, 1841. that part of Lewis county known as Benton township was set apart as a separate county and was duly organized for civil and military purposes. Benton township included the present territory of Scotland county, together with a strip of the north part of Knox county from east to west and six miles wide.

Under the terms of the legislative action referred to, the governor of Missouri was authorized to appoint the first officers of the county. Accordingly the following were appointed as county judges: Hugh Henry, Joseph Davis and William Anderson. The other officers ap-pointed were: James L. Jones, sheriff and ex officio collector; Allen Tate, county clerk; and Henry C. Asbury, assessor.

It seems that while the center of the county, geographically, lay north of where the first county seat was located, yet the center of population in the earliest (lays of the county's history was near the town of Sand Hill. This was, and is yet, only a small village, but in an early time was considered quite an important trading point.   However, the first term of the county court ever held, was called at Sand Hill, and several terms thereafter were held at that place. Hugh Henry was by common consent of his associates on the bench made presiding judge. This court was held the 7th, 8th and 9th of February, 1842.

Volume I, of the records of the county court is now on file in the vault at the office of County Clerk Walter B. Scott, in Memphis. The accuracy with which the records were kept at that time is almost a marvel. Inasmuch as the state of Missouri was then a comparatively new commonwealth and at the same time educational advantages of the pioneers being limited, Clerk Tate's record was considered a model in its day. But Mr. Tate was a fine scribe and the written pages in that old book stand out as a monument of the care and accuracy with which this man did his work. The spacing was almost as nearly perfect as the printed page and the lettering was such as to excite the admiration of later generations, who have grown to regard good penmanship as a lost art.

One of the transactions recorded in this book was where fifty dollars of school money was loaned to a citizen of the county at a rate of ten per cent interest per annum. The rate of interest was so large that in this day it would be considered usury to demand so much. They could not secure a borrower now at such a rate, because of the fact that plenty of money can be secured at a much lower rate of interest.

Elections had been held in the county some years before its organization. A writer of contemporary history says the first election held in Benton township was in August, 1835. Sand Hill was the polling place and the territory was the same as described heretofore. While the northern portion of the county was then but sparsely settled, it is probable that one-third of those casting their votes at that election lived in the six mile strip that was afterwards made a part of Knox county. In view of the great increase in the population since that time it will be interesting to note that only fifty-two votes were cast in this election at Sand Hill, which was the precinct for so large a territory.

The first postmaster of Sand Hill was Robert Smith, a man who was prominent in the later history of the county, and whose name frequently appears in the public records. The first store in the place was conducted by James L. Jones, the man who was afterwards appointed sheriff and collector of the county. Sand Hill gave promise of growing into an important industrial center, but circumstances were such that these prospective developments were never realized. On the organization of Knox county, the six miles to the south were taken from Scotland county and the county seat had to be moved to a place more centrally located. Even the postoffice was taken away, giving place to the modern rural delivery route, and today Sand Hill gets all of its mail from the town of Rutledge, that is situated not far distant on the Santa Fe Railroad.

One of the earlier settlements of the county was Edinburg, which is not far from the south line of the county. This once thriving place has likewise been supplanted by towns that have sprung up along the lines of railroad and grown to larger proportions. In the year 1836 Holliday & Eskridge started a store at Edinburg. In July of that year Mt. Pleasant township was organized by dividing Benton township so as to cut off a strip of ten miles width to the west. At the presidential election held in 1840, 150 votes were cast in Mt. Pleasant township alone, which was but a small portion of the former township of Benton.   It is thus seen that the thinly settled district of five years before was fast filling up with people.

In these early days, Indians were quite numerous in and around Edinburg and the store there was the rendezvous for the wily red man. The husky natives came frequently for the purpose of hunting, racing and other sports. "On one occasion," says George T. Collins, "a company of 'bucks and squaws' imbibed too freely and became boisterous. Passing to the southwest between Tobiu creek and the Fabius, they began to create some uneasiness on the part of the white settlers who thought it best to watch their movements. Accordingly they kept three watchers in a position where they would be unobserved. The band went into camp near Middle Fabius. In their drunken revelry one of their number bound another with a cord. When the latter was released he was so enraged that he seized his rifle and shot down the other. Immediately all the guns in the camp were fired—it is said—as a precaution against further bloodshed."

By an act of the general assembly, passed and approved in the year 1843, a commission was created for the purpose of locating a permanent seat of justice for the county of Scotland. This commission was composed of Obediah Dickerson, John Lear and Matthew Qivens. They held a meeting at Sand Hill, which was then the county seat, and during their deliberations, were offered several different tracts of land, notable of which was a tract near the Thomas H. Smith farm, southeast of Memphis, that was then offered by John C. Collins, and the Rev. Mr. Smith, Thomas Smith's father. But the commissioners did not think it was a suitable site for a town, and finally decided on the place where Memphis now stands, as being less than a mile northwest of the geo-graphical center of the county and of easy access to all of the people. Samuel Cecil donated a tract containing fifty acres of ground, the commissioners securing title thereto by a deed that was subsequently executed by Samuel Cecil and his wife. This instrument was signed on the 19th day of September, 1843. It was approved by the circuit court at its next session. George Woods was by the county court appointed as a commissioner to lay off the land into blocks and lots and to locate a public square near the center of the tract, to be preserved for the permanent seat of justice. J. F. Forraan was employed to make the survey and mark off the lots. This preliminary work having been accomplished, a sale of the lots was ordered; From the sale of lots the county realized something more than four thousand dollars, and this money was expended in the erection of public buildings to be used for county offices and as places to hold court.

There have been three court houses built in Memphis. The first building used for that purpose was erected near the northeast corner of the public square. In 1856 the first courthouse in the center of the square was erected at a cost of $10,000. Levi J. Wagner was appointed by the county court as superintendent of construction.

The first county jail and jailer's residence was built in 1850. This, like the court house, was a brick building and answered the purposes for which it was intended many years. Subsequently two wings were added to the court house, and were built fire proof, for use as vaults for the safe keeping of the public records.

Early in the year 1907, the court house that had stood the tests of time for a half century and answered the purpose of a seat of justice, showed signs of decay and as the walls were badly cracked, an expert was employed to make an examination and pass upon its safety. R. H. Phillips, a civil engineer of St. Louis, came and looked over the building and in his report, which was supplemented by the reports ot others, declared the building unsafe. Thereupon the court was petitioned by taxpayers to order an election for the purpose of voting bonds for the building of a new court house. Prior to this time, however, the officer, together with the records, were removed to a building on the east side of the square, known as the Bence building and all the county business was transacted there. The election was held, and the vote of the people of the county gave the required two-thirds and many votes to spare. The bonds were registered and sold and the contract was awarded to the Falls City Construction Company, of Louisville, Kentucky, at the price of fifty thousand dollars.

The building, which was completed late in the year 1908, is a large stone veneered structure, having ample room, and vaults of fire proof construction, that it is believed will answer the purposes intended for a long number of years.

The county court at the time the old court house was condemned was composed of John H. Barker, William R. Matlick and George Struble. At the time the bonds were voted and the building erected the county court was composed of Judge Walter S. Hickerson, William R. Matlick and J. S. Crawford.

City of Memphis

Memphis, the county seat of Scotland county, in point of population, is the metropolis. The population of Memphis, according to the census of 1910, was 1,984. It is known, however, to have two or three hundred more than that in 1912, as this is written. This fact is ascertained because there are no houses of any consequence that are vacant. When the census enumerator was around there were about a hundred vacant houses in the city. Since the town was originally laid out there have been fourteen additions to the town, now city, of Memphis. This was necessary in order to accommodate the growing population. The first house built within the present limits of the city of Memphis was erected in 1835 (before the town was platted) by Burton Tompkins. This was a log house and stood near the present site of the K. & W. depot. The first hotel was built by Harry Baker, deceased. This was near the southeast corner of the square. Another hotel was soon built just west of Townsend's wagon factory, by Andrew Lovell. This was a frame structure. The public square in the earliest days of the town's existence was surrounded mainly by frame or log buildings. Subsequently and after the town got a new charter and was classed as a city, the council passed an ordinance forbidding the erection of buildings out of combustible materials, at or near the public square. This ordinance has been so long in force that now there only two frame buildings on the square.

Memphis has two fine school buildings. One of these, a grammar school in the north ward, was erected in 1900 at a cost of five thousand dollars. The other is the high school, a handsome structure of fire proof construction, that was built in the year 1910, at a cost of twenty thousand dollars. This building is a monument to the progressive spirit of the people of the city of Memphis. Parents feel secure when their children are so comfortably and safely housed. It may be added here that the high school of Memphis has been built up to a school of the first class. The curriculum has been approved by the State University, and the Memphis high school articulates with the University. The last time the examiner from the state institution visited Memphis the school was advanced to seventeen units. Under this arrangement students who graduate here in the full course can enter the freshman class in the State University without further examinations. The faculty of the high school now is as follows: superintendent, Professor A. 0. Moore; history. Miss Essie McQuoid; English. Miss Cox; Latin and German, Miss Ella Shaw; principal of the high school. Lloyd King.

The grade teachers for the coming term are the following: At the South school. Misses McWilliams. Mudd. Critz, Bumbarger, and Jackson. North school—F. G. Mason, principal; Mrs. Reckard, Misses Gutman and Knight.

The business houses of Memphis are all well kept. There are many fine plate glass fronts and attractive windows. Some of the large stores here have fine displays of merchandise and they would be a credit to many a city of five to ten thousand population.   Memphis draws trade from a large territory on the north, south, east and west, and her business men, in the main, are quite prosperous. The churches repre-sented here are the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, M. E. South, Baptist and Christian. The churches all maintain strong organizations, have Sunday schools, and all have pastors, except the Baptist church, whose minister recently resigned to accept similar work elsewhere. The resident pastors now are Rev. C. H. Morton, of the First Presbyterian church; Rev. H. G. Waggoner, of the Christian church; Rev. C. V. Lanius, of the M. E. Church South; and Rev. George Sturgis, of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Since the organization of the town, there have been various news-paper enterprises launched. The Memphis Conservative was a paper established in 1866 by John Gharkey. The lieveillc was established September 9, 1865 by Lem Shields and G. A. Henry, two Federal soldiers who had lately returned from the Civil war. The editors of the Reveille at successive stages of its history were: S. R. Peters, John A. McGrindley, Cy W. Jamison, James Gillespie, and present proprietors, W. W. and H. G. Gillespie, sons of the late James Gillespie. The Reveille has steadfastly advocated the principles of the Republican party since its beginning.  It is a weekly publication and a six column quarto.

The Memphis Democrat was established in the autumn of 1873 by Samuel Dysert. This paper has been under the guidance of the following persons since that time: James Donnelly, McDowell & Burch, Felix Lane. J. C. Kirby, Eugene P. Moore, S. A. Allen, Colonel M. A. Bates, Dr. J. C. Gristy, and the present editors and proprietors, Roberts & Bumbarger.

The National was established June 1, 1882, by C. W. Sevier, but did not long continue publication. At various times other newspapers, the Standard, by Colonel Bates; the Daily Chronicle, by J. W. Bence, and other minor publications, have been published in Memphis.

A business directory of the city of Memphis at the present time is as follows: Citizens Bank, G. E. Leslie, president; A. B. Hirsh, ladies' clothing; Ben Morris, hardware and implements; E. F. Bertram, dry goods; Barnes Building (under construction); Miller Mercantile Company, dry goods, clothing and millinery; Clarkson Brothers, groceries; J. E. Mount, hardware; M. L. Jackson Estate, general department store: J. H. Mulch, furniture and undertaking; Simon Saddlery Company, harness and saddles; D. R. Brown, drugs and notions; Bertram & Ballow, groceries; A. E. McQuoid, groceries; W. B. McLane, jewelry; Taylor Brothers, restaurant; Davis & Hockett, meat market; Jeffries Brothers, barbers; D. W. Payne, furniture and undertaking; J. E. Johnson, photographer; E. Walsh, tailor; W. I. Humbert, meat market; Farmers Exchange Bank, John R. Hudson, cashier; W. P. Briggs & Son, garage, implements, and grain elevator; Otis Goodenough, photographer; W. C. Chew, house furnishings and musical instruments; Thomas J. Baird, restaurant; Courtney Brothers, barbers; Thomas Naggs, bakery ; George Bratz, shoemaker; Frank Harkness, shoe store; Isaac Royer, shoemaker; Memphis Hotel, Wm. Newman, proprietor; Hotel Barber Shop; Dr. Givens, drugs; Hanzel & Garrett, meat market; A. G. Craig, flour and feed; Ed. Driscoll, pool hall; Williams Brothers, restaurant; Oyler & Son, groceries; W. C. Clement, hardware; C. A. Gerhold. harness and saddles; Scotland County National Bank, R. M. Barnes, cashier; Cone & Davidson, barbers; A. Ammerman. grocery; Zurusteg Brothers, drugs; G. D. Dawson, druggist; Memphis Clothing Company, clothing and gents furnishings; T. H. Wiegner, lumber; A. P. Patterson, dry goods; The New Store; Memphis Democrat; Memphis Reveille; John Holley, real estate; J. J. Townsend & Son, wagons and buggies; John Klotzer, harness; Memphis Telephone Exchange. Dr. J. J. Risk, proprietor; Douglas & Prather. blacksmiths and wagon makers; Martin Humphrey, monuments, etc.; Merritt's Mill; Myers, Moore & Company, manufacturers of brick and tile; C. H. Byrne, news stand; McIIenry Brothers, livery; J. A. Cassingham, livery, dray and coal; Mrs. Minnie E. Bence, music school; W. W. Eckman, lumber; T. C. Tulley, jeweler; T. H. Warwick, plumber; W. O. Tucker, barber; Memphis Produce Company, Steeples & Adams, proprietors; John Scott & Sons, building contractors; Clark & Davis, livery; D. C. Morgan, coal; Mrs. H. E. Dougherty, hotel; Drs. J. E. and E. E. Parrish, A. E. Platter, P. M. Baker, Frank Givens, W. E. H. Bondurant, W. E. Alexander, G. F. Foster, J. D. Skidmore, all M. D's.; Drs. J. A. Grow, Benson and Mabie, Osteopaths; Dentists—L. E. Hudson, N. A, Thompson & Son, J. A. Curtis, Simpson Grow, L. C. Pitkin; Real estate—Witty & McCandless; Shacklett & Combs; J. H. Watkins; Insurance—C. F. Sanders, W. L. Scott, H. H. Jones, F. C. Reddish; Attorneys—Judge E. R. McKee, J. M. Jayne, Pettingill & Luther, J. H. Watkins, H. V. Smoot, J. M. Doran—W. L. Scott, H. H. Jones, Judge Elias Scofield, Major R. D. Cramer, J. W. Bence, H. A. Miller, R. W. Campbell, W. B. Scott, A. H. Pitkin.

Some of the business men of Memphis in its early history were: H. Gorin, Paxton & Hudson, Charles Mety, William G. Downing, Dudley Webber and John Crook. Several manufacturing enterprises have been carried on in the town at various periods, such as the making of furniture, flour and cigars. One of the late manufacturing enterprises that in its day did a large export business was Rees Brothers' Handle Factory. This factory furnished employment for a good many men and boys, but the scarcity of timber made it necessary for this enterprise to close its doors.

Memphis has a large brick and tile factory that furnishes employment for a good many men. This is conducted by Myers, Moore & Company, and employs twenty-five men through the brick making season.

There is now (July, 1912) under consideration the establishment of a button factory, which it is claimed by the promoters will furnish employment for about one hundred men. The money to be raised by the business men of the town to insure the starting of this factory is about all subscribed, and it is believed the factory is an assured fact.

The city of Memphis at this time has the following officers: Mayor, Dr. E. Brainerd; city clerk, Earl McDaniel; marshal and street com-missioner, Sam Dauma; night watchman, Milt Palmer; aldermen, J. C. Woodsmall, A. Ammerman, L. E. Courtney and J. L. Houtz; city attorney, J. M. Doran.


Gorin is second in size among the towns of Scotland county. Gorin was started in 1886 and 1887, about the time the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was completed. The place has grown to be an important commercial center, located as it is, on one of the most gigantic and best equipped railroad systems in America, which within the past five years has completed the double tracking of the entire distance between Chicago and Kansas City. Gorin has had a healthy growth—not a mushroom boom—but the kind of growth that is substantial and will last. The population by the census of 1910, of Gorin and South Gorin combined was 830, which is more than double what it was ten years before. Within the borders of this enterprising town are a number of important enterprises.

A few years ago the Prairie Oil and Gas Company, a portion of the Standard Oil corporation, put in a pipe line along the right-of-way of the Santa Fe Railroad and established one of its pumping stations at Gorin. This is a big concern and furnishes employment to a number of men.

In the year 1907, the Gorin school district voted bonds to build a new and commodious school house, the contract price of which was $7,500. The district employs four teachers for the grades and high school, having adopted a two years' course in the latter.

Gorin has four churches, namely: The Christian, Methodist Episcopal Church South, Baptist and Cumberland Presbyterian. The citizens are a live and progressive people and they look well to their religious and educational interests.

The business directory of the town is as follows: Shibley Brothers, general store; Williams & Estell, druggists; J. A. Guiles, harness and saddles; Irwin & Company, hardware; Steve Harker, meat market; W. P. Piles, postmaster, restaurant; Henry Beckman, groceries; Charles Kiefer, meat market; Southern Hotel; Guiles & Ewing, Hotel Savoy: Harry Ratherford, implements and buggies; Gorin Savings Bank, Henry Weber, cashier; Greeno & Ewing, bakery and restaurant; Lafe Trotter, restaurant, pool room; Piles & Company, barbers; Citizens Bank, Roy Myers, cashier; Gorin Argus, a weekly newspaper edited by Roy Sharts & Son; Fred Gerth, furniture and undertaking; Abe Gardner, hardware: Piper & Kraus, drugs; A. D. Way, clothing; Powers & Kraus, grocery; Mrs. Maud Hays, millinery; A. W. Richardson, racket store; Walter Smith, livery; Thomas Brothers, automobiles; Haff & Sons, blacksmiths; etc.

One of the earliest mayors Gorin ever had was W. L. C. Ratherford. a pioneer of the town, who located there a short time after the Santa Fe was built. He established a wagon and buggy factory and after conducting a shop there several years, put in a stock of buggies and farming implements. Associated with him in business were his two sons, Harry and William. Since the death of his father, Harry has been conducting the business at the old stand. The present mayor is J. A. Guiles.   Stephen Harker is the city marshal.


Next in size and importance among the towns of Scotland county is Rutledge. This place, like Gorin, was brought into existence by the location of the Santa Fe Railroad. Soon after the town was laid out Edwin L. Hilbert established a newspaper which under the name of the Ricon he continued to publish for a number of years. He sold the plant, which has since that time had a checkered career. It was owned and conducts! at one time by Lyman Westcott. Another publisher was Mr. Bounds, now deceased. After the death of Mr. Bounds the paper was for a time suspended, but resumed publication about a year ago under the management of E. T. Barnes, who is still engaged in the publication of the paper.

A. E. McQuoid, now a grocery merchant of Memphis, was one of the first men to conduct a general store at Rutledge. The present business directory of Rutledge is as follows: Albert Green, hotel; Neely Mercantile Company, general store: ill's. George Parcells. general store: J. R. Comley, furniture; Walter Wingerter, hardware; Lou Rose, hardware; W. P. Rule, drugs: Petty & Petty, drugs; Tom Bone, blacksmith; Mart Smith, machinist: W. J. Taylor, lumberman; Gale Myers, pool hall and restaurant; Frank Smith, grain dealer; Gunnel, Bertran # Buford, real estate; Bank of Rutledge, D. J. Buford, cashier.

In religious matters Rutledge stands well among the towns of the county, these denominations being represented: Christian, Methodist Episcopal Church South, Baptist, and Holiness. The people of the town are believers in education and have put their belief into practice by building up their school to a high standard for a town no larger than Rutlecige. Some months ago the citizens of this community voted bonds to the amount of $7,500 for the erection of a brick schoolhouse, containing ample room and equipment for the needs of the district for many years to come. The corner stone of this neat structure was laid by the Masonic fraternity, June 12, 1912, when members of that order from all over the county attended and participated in the ceremonies.

The population of Rutledge according to the census of 1910 was 418, a gain of 126 over the census of 1900. It has grown to be quite an important trading point, and is surrounded by a rich farming community.


Granger is a clean little town on the Burlington Railroad twelve miles east of Memphis. Its population in 1910 was not given in the census report, but there must be from 150 to 200 people living there. The town was incorporated June 3d, 1912, when an application to the county court signed by nearly all the residents of the place was filed. At the same time the court made Granger a voting precinct. Previously the voters of that community had to go to Arbela to cast their votes, that place being in Thomson township also. Granger stands on a high prairie, in the center of a vast area ol* fertile farming land. Heretofore the government of the town was along the lines of the ordinary village. All power was vested in the county and township organization. Since the town was incorporated—June. 1912—there have been five trustees of the place, and the chairman of the board of trustees is by virtue of his office, mayor of the town. The first trustees of the town were: J. A. Graham, Dr. J. L. Statler, J. L. Witt, Richard Lewis, and Z. N. Kennett. The first chairman the board had was Richard Lewis. The business directory of Granger is the following: J. A. Graham, general store; R. C. McEldowney, general store; Farwell & Adams, hardware; U. S. G. Foster, general store; Granger Exchange Bank, J. L. Witt, cashier; Richard Lewis, groceries; Arthur Steeples, meat market; R. L. Fair-brother, druggist; barber shop; Harve Cline, restaurant; Pryor House, hotel; Captain Hyatt, hotel; Friend Allen, blacksmith; Harry Franklin, livery; Dr. J. L. Statler, physician and surgeon. Granger, by reason of its location and natural advantages, bids fair to become a very important business center and to show up much larger by the census of 1920 than it is now.


Arbela is located on the Keokuk & Western branch of the Burlington Railroad nine miles east of Memphis, and also in Thomson township. The original survey of this town, then called North Perryville, was made March 24. 1858, by Thomas Russell. Afterward, the town of Arbela, lying south of and including the southern part of North Perryville, was surveyed and laid out, but when and by whom the record does not state. The original town was at one time called "Burnt Church." The town, as now constituted contains the following business enterprises: C. H. Overhulser. general store; A. W. Tucker, general merchandise; Hamilton, drugs; A. J. Robinson, lumber and grain; Nere, blacksmith. The churches of the town are three in number—the Methodist, Christian and Baptist. Arbela has a very good school and employs two teachers. Arbela's population is 131.


On the Burlington Railroad the village of Crawford is also situated, being about six miles west of Memphis, the county seat. Crawford has two general stores, one church and a schoolhouse.

Other villages of the county that are not on any railroad are: Bible Grove, in the soutiiwest part of the county; Energy, in the western part of the county; Killwinning and Hitt, in the northwest part; Azen and Brock, in the north part; Lawn Ridge, near the center; Etna, in the southeast. Since the advent of the rural delivery of mail these villages have all disposed of their postoffices and their inhabitants receive mail at their doors.

The Bonded Debt

The history of the bonded debt of Scotland county is much like that of many other communities, in that the indebtedness is closely identified with the building of the railroads of the county. There was one rail-road only partly built, however, for which the county was never held responsible for the bonds. This is due to the fact that a proviso was wisely inserted, making the result of an election null and void unless the road should be completed and running trains before said bonds could be issued. This came about in the year 1860, when a petition largely signed by resident tax payers of the county, was presented to the county court praying that an election be ordered for the purpose of ascertain-ing whether the citizens of the county were in favor of taking $100,000 stock in the proposed Mississippi & Missouri River Airline Railroad, which was then in course of construction from Canton, Missouri, in a northwesterly direction. The election was accordingly ordered (Justice Thomson dissenting), to be held September 17, 1860. The result was that the election carried, but it was conditioned as aforesaid, stipulating that construction should proceed to a point six miles northwest of Memphis. Henry M. Gorin was appointed by the county court as the agent of the county. The company at the back of the project having failed within the stipulated time to complete the railroad as stipulated. Mr. Gorin recommended that the county's interest in it be revoked, which was done in August, 1868.

In the year 1870, however, when the construction of the Missouri. Iowa & Nebraska Railroad was being agitated in this section of the state, a large petition was presented to the county court asking that body to subscribe $200,000 to the capital stock of said company. This also was conditioned on the construction and operation of the road through Memphis, the county seat, and thence to a point six miles west thereof. This stock was to be payable in county bonds due twenty-five years from date, with interest at the rate of eight per cent per annum. This petition was headed by Charles Mety, H. H. Downing, H. A. Montgomery, David Guinn, R. P. Wayland, et al—1365 in all—and a remonstrance almost as large as the petition was headed by Levi J. Wagner. Prior to the delivery of the bonds, which had been ordered by the court, an injunction suit was instituted by Levi J. Wagner, et al, against Charles Mety and other officers of the county to restrain them and prevent the delivery of the bonds. The case was not brought to an issue, however, nor a decision reached until long after the bonds had been delivered.

The cause was continued from time to time and finally taken to Shelby county on change of venue, and was tried before Judge John T. Redd, who decided in favor of plaintiffs, that the bonds were illegal and void and ordered them returned to and destroyed by the Scotland county court. Attorneys for the railroad company got the case taken to the federal court and there secured the reversal of the decision of Judge Redd. John D. Smoot, the prosecuting attorney of Scotland county, filed a motion praying the court to set aside certain orders pertaining to the bonds. This litigation continued for several years. The seeming conflict between the statutes of Missouri and the federal laws could not be settled. Meantime, in the year 1881, the members of the county court, acting under the state law, were taken up by the federal author-ities for contempt of court. These judges were the late Judge Ben F. Bourn, E. E. Sparks and Judge Riley Gale. Judge Treat of the federal court, caused them to be arrested and placed in the jail at St. Louis for a term of three months. Finally a compromise was agreed upon. Mean-while the costs of the litigation and accumulated interest on the bonds had grown to be nearly as large as the face of the bonds. But since that compromise was reached, a sixty cent levy has been made each year, by the county court, and at this time (July, 1912) a debt of nearly $400,000 has been reduced to about $145,000. Each year a large part of the interest fund is transferred to the sinking fund and paid on the original bonds. It is estimated that at the present rate of reduction in seven or eight years the railroad bonds will all be paid.

Schools and Churches

The proper training of the children has long since been considered a duty characteristic of the people of Scotland county. As in other counties the sale of government lands set apart for school purposes, established a nucleus of a fund from which the early settlers derived some funds to carry on the country schools in a crude way. It is claimed that Judge John C. Collins, father of George T. Collins, taught the first school in the county. This school was held in the vicinity of what was later called Edinburg. William G. Downing, once a prominent citizen of Memphis, who afterwards held the state office of railroad and warehouse commissioner, was among the earliest teachers of Scotland county. In 1841 he taught school in the Smoot neighborhood eight miles west of Memphis, the place being styled "Pulltight" district.

Although the public school system was only crudely developed in those early times, they managed, by the use of the small public fund in addition to paying a small tuition, to pay the teachers from fifteen to twenty dollars per month, which was considered fair remuneration, in view of the scarcity of money.

But with the increase in population came improved methods of securing a fund as well as improved methods of teaching the "young idea how to shoot." Township and district organizations were formed and annual elections were held for the purpose of making a levy sufficiently large to maintain better schools for a longer period of time, and at the same time pay large enough salaries to justify teachers to adequately prepare themselves.

Under the new law of Missouri requiring counties to have a superintendent whose time is all taken with the work of visiting the schools and making suggestions for their improvement, the schools of Scotland county have made great advancement. County Superintendent I. M. Horn has taken hold of this work in a manner that is showing results The rural schools are being graded up under his supervision, so that all the schools pursue the same course up to the eighth grade during each school term of six to eight months. Annual examinations are held at all of the approved schools, and the pupils passing the eighth grade requirement are entitled to enter any high school in the state as freshmen. This forms a correlation of the country schools with the city high schools, just as these city high schools correlate with the State University. Superintendent Horn is industriously engaged in bringing about the best results from this model arrangement. In May, 1912, of the number of rural pupils taking the examination in the eighth grade, eighty-seven earned satisfactory grades and were promoted to the high school. For such pupils, commencement exercises are held annually at the county seat, when the superintendent gives them their certificates.

There are seventy-two rural school districts in Scotland county, besides the independent district of Memphis.

While there is no college in the county at this time, the high schools maintain such high standards that any ambitious pupil completing a high school course has become so enthused with the possibilities of an education that he is not satisfied without going up higher, if such a thing is possible for him. Much stress is placed on music in Scotland county, and there are not a few boys and girls who develop to a high degree their talents in this line of learning.

Along with the development of the educational interests, the religious nature of citizens of Scotland county has in no wise been neglected. Within the boundaries of the count}' many church organizations are maintained, and most of them hold regular stated services. Rev. Mr. Smith, an early Methodist preacher, is said to have started the Methodist organization in the county. Rev. James M. Lillard, of Lewis county, organized the Baptist church at Edinburg on the 12th of May. 1838, Jesse Stice, who settled near Bible Grove in 1834, wrote before his death of the organization of a Christian church in 1836 under the preaching of Elder J. White, of Howard county. The Presbyterian church at Memphis was organized in 1844 by Rev. Joseph Anderson, the father of Judge John C. Anderson, former circuit judge of this circuit. The Cumberland Presbyterian church in this county was organized in 1840 by Rev. Mr. Briggs and others. The Methodist, Christian, Baptist, Cumberland Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian, United Brethren, Catholic, Holiness and other churches are well represented all over Scotland county. The Catholic and Holiness churches are the weakest in point of numerical strength.

The Civil War

From 1861 to 1865, the period of the Civil Mar, Scotland county was a place from which many recruits were gotten, both for the Confederacy and for the Union. In those troublous times animosities were engendered that continued for a long time after the end of hostilities. The most troublous event, however, in that period was in 1862. The Federals had some men imprisoned at Memphis who were known to have been in sympathy with the Confederate cause. On the second day of July, 1862, Colonel Joseph C. Porter and his regiment entered Memphis, and caused the Confederates held here to be released. He also took several prisoners from here that were affiliated on the opposite side. From here he proceeded to Henry H. Downing's residence eight miles west of Memphis. Here the execution of Dr. Aylward took place, he being hanged to a tree. Some of Porter's men, who were great admirers of the gallant leader, claim that the Colonel never knew of this execution. After resting there for the night, Porter's command proceeded to Pearce's Mill.

Crossing the bridge near the mill they marched up on the hill on the south side of the creek and entrenched themselves just over the brow of the hill, safe from the view of the road. Colonel Porter had information that a regiment far superior to his own in point of numbers and equipment was in pursuit. The Union regiment was known as Merrill's Horse. While Porter's men were thus entrenched, he sent Lucien Durkee and another man back toward the bridge to decoy the enemy into the trap. They soon came along and wounded Durkee slightly, but he ran into the brush and escaped. When Merrill's Horse ascended Vassar Hill they knew not the fate that was in wait for them. But when they advanced within easy range, Porte* 's men opened fire, mowing the front rank down as with a giant scythe. Colonel Clopper, the Union commander, ordered a retreat; but after resting they renewed the charge. Seven times they charged on Porter and his men, but were repulsed with heavy losses every time. The Federal losses were eighty-five killed and a large number wounded. Porter lost two men killed and about a half dozen wounded. This battle, which was the only important engagement in Scotland county during the Civil war, is described in detail in a book written by Dr. Joseph A. Mudd, now of Hyattsville, Maryland, who was an officer in Porter's command. The book is entitled, "With Porter in North Missouri," and it seems to be a fair and impartial account of the military activities of that time.

Major Shacklett, who it is believed succeeded at one time in capturing General Grant, but released him on his word of honor, was also a resident of Scotland county, Missouri.


It has been intimated before that Scotland county is pre-eminently an agricultural community. The rich, black soil, of the broad prairies is highly productive of corn, oats, wheat, timothy and clover. The prairies and wooded fringe along the several small streams alike, produce as tall blue grass as grows anywhere on the face of the earth. The bottom lands along the Wyaconda, North Fabius, Tobin creek and other smaller streams are especially fertile. Corn on these bottoms has been known to yield as much as seventy-five to one hundred bushels to the acre.

While the land is thus productive, there is very little surplus grain and hay shipped out of the county. Our farmers prefer to raise stock, and good stock at that, and ship the products out on the hoof. Consequently most of the corn, hay and oats are fed right here in the county. In the early history of the county, farming and stock raising was carried on in rather a crude manner. Almost any kind of an animal suited the average farmer thirty years ago. But now this is not so. Farmers are buying the best pedigreed stock and thus improving their herds. Among the breeders who are keeping pedigreed stock of superior quality are the following: Joseph Miller & Sons, F. L. Davis. T. R. Sanders, J. L. Sanders, M. Billups, J. M. Lockhart, William McClellan, Evan Jones, A. C, Cowell, Harvey T. Drake, D. W. Burns. John Wolf, fine cattle; John R. Hudson, Shetland ponies; J. E. Gray, William Hartman, A. D. Walker. Moore Brothers, James Harker..Matt Moffett, horses; C. B. Walker, J. L. Tennant, Rice & Leslie and others, sheep; G. E. Leslie, Newell Cone, B. F. Moore. Arthur Dawson and many others, breeders of fine hogs.

At a public stock sale held by Joseph Miller & Sons, two miles north of Granger the 7th of June, 1912, one short horn bull sold for $365. Forty head put up in the sale, many of which were only calves, averaged $136 per head.

G. E. Leslie, of Memphis, has a herd of Poland-China hogs as tine as can be found anywhere.

Old Settlers

A history of Scotland county would be very incomplete indeed if it failed to make mention of some of the oldest settlers. Some of these came here when the county was Benton township, comprising the present limits of Scotland and six miles of the north part of Knox county.

Willis Hicks and his father, James Hicks, settled in March, 1834, in the southeast part of Sand Hill township, and near where the town of Rutledge now stands. Robert T. Smith, formerly a citizen of Tennessee, came to this county in May, 1834, at which time he and his family located about one-half a mile east of the village of Sand Hill. Among the earliest settlers of the county were Jesse Stice, Moses Stice and Tyra March, whose homes were in the vicinity of Bible Grove, in the southwest part of the county. George Forrester came here from Randolph county, Missouri, in 1835, and settled in the vicinity of Pleasant Retreat, which is located about eight miles south of Memphis. Many of the descendants of Forrester still reside in the county. Others who came here about the same time were Elijah Whitten, from Boone county, who settled two miles northwest of Edinburg; Thompson and Cornelius Holliday who settled at Edinburg; Elijah Mock who settled in Tobin township; Joseph Price settled near Sand Hill; William Myers located two miles south of Pleasant Retreat; Burton Tompkins settled at Memphis; Jonathan Riggs settled on the farm now owned by J. J. and J. L. Sanders, in the suburbs of Memphis; Branch Miller settled in the forks of the Fabius, a few miles northwest of the site of Memphis; Mr. Niseley settled about ten miles west of Memphis.

In 1836, or a year or two later came John C. Collins. George Buskirk. Rev. San ford Myers, from Kentucky; Jacob Maggard. Phillip Purvis. Joseph Johnson, Michael Spillman. Sylvester Allen. Allen Tate. Samuel Wilfley and others, who were among the first settlers of the county

The Scotland County Fair

One of the oldest fairs in Missouri is the Scotland County Agricultural and Mechanical Association that is located just south of the Memphis corporation line.   At the August term of the county court, in the year 1856, a petition was presented to the county court asking that this fair association he incorporated. A number of the signers of the peti-tion were as follows: Thomas S. Richardson, Samuel Arnold. James L. Jones. Josiah Smoot, Henry Ferryman, E. Mclntyre, Curtis Cody, T. H. Richardson, William G. Downing, J. M. Rowan, I. I. Reyburn. Levi J. Wagner. James Proctor Knott. Alfred S. Myers. Thomas Gunn, Ed M. Beckwith, L. W. Knott, H. M. Gorin, John M. T. Smith, W. D. Smith, H. D. Clapper, John A. Childress, R. T. Nesbit, Chas. Mety, Chas. Martin. E. G. Richardson. Charles Hughes, James S. Best, John Sanders and E. W. Roberts.

The first officers of the fair were: Isaac M. Rowan, president; Charles Mety. treasurer; Sterling McDonald, secretary; H. C. Baker, chief marshal. The fair was held annually, except that the exhibitions were greatly interfered with during the Civil war. But since that time there have been annual exhibits.

The Tallest Woman

Scotland county boasted of the tallest woman in the world. If any as tall has ever been discovered the fact has never yet been made known. Miss Ella Ewing, who was born in Harrison township, near where the town of Gorin now stands, was eight feet and four inches tall. She was a quiet, modest woman, intelligent, and possessed of many accomplishments. She had seen much of the world and in her travels had taken advantage of the education that comes to a close observer who has seen the ways of many people. Miss Ewing, when she was a young girl, was quite sensitive about her unusual size. When she went to public gatherings in company with other girls she would cry because the curious people would follow her and make remarks. She was the principal attraction in Ringling's circus several years and had also been employed at different times by other companies. She had made some money that way and built a house with high doors, constructed for her special use. Her bedstead was made to order and other furniture about the house was fashioned for Miss Ella's convenience.

Miss Ewing died at her late home in this county January 10, 1913, after being in ill health for a period of more than a year. She had in her lifetime an aversion to being buried as other persons arc buried after death; fearing that showmen would rob the grave for the skeleton or scientists take the body away for other purposes, and because of this belief made the request that her body be cremated after death Her request was not complied with by her father, who could not bear the idea, but instead he had the body placed in a metallic casket and sealed and this imbedded in a concrete vault. The woman was universally liked and her funeral was one of the most largely attended of any funeral in that community in years.

County Officers

The present county officials of Scotland county are: Representative, Wesley M. McMurry: presiding judge of county court, John H. Barker; judge, eastern district. Thomas P. Smith; judge of the western district. Anslum Corwin; sheriff. J. O. Myers; collector, Alfred Vaught; treasurer. S A. Hammond; circuit clerk and recorder, R. W. Campbell: county clerk, Walter B. Scott; surveyor. William H. Davis; assessor, W Frank Barker: probate judge, William T. Reddish; coroner. John P. Davis.

A History Of Northeast Missouri by Walter Williams Vol. 1 of 3 1913


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