Early Sullivan County History


From the History of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam and Schuyler Counties, Missouri - The Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888

SETTLEMENTS, ETC.

The Earliest Settlers.—The testimony is uniform to the effect that the first settlement in the county was made by Dr. Jacob Holland and his son, Robert W. Holland, near the site of the present village of Scottsville, in 1836. Dr. Holland was a descendant of a Revolutionary soldier, and manifested his patriotism by volunteering in the Black Hawk War, and also in the Mexican War, in which ho was wounded. He was not a regularly educated physician, but acquired his knowledge of the healing art from the Indians and from his own observations and researches, and thus was a graduate only of the college of experience, which, although an excellent school, never grants diplomas. He is said to have been equally famous as a bear hunter and Indian fighter. After the Mexican War ho settled in Putnam County, but the excitement caused throughout the country by the discovery of gold in California caused him with many others to emigrate thither, and so far as ascertainable he has never returned.

John Hatcher was the next settler in Sullivan County. Mr. Hatcher was always a farmer, and by his energy and industry acquired a competency for his declining years. Other settlers in the same vicinity were Hawkins Harrelson, Hazael Harrelson, a Mr. Bead and Henry Dell. John Dennis with his wife and four children moved into the settlement in 1838, and at this time there were in the county only those whose names are given above, and E. T. Dennison and a Rev. Mr. Curl, north of Milan about twelve miles, and Matthew Kidd, in the neighborhood of Kiddville. Roy. Mr. Curl was a Baptist preacher, the first preacher to come into the county. John Dennis was assessor of the county four years and sheriff four years; W. J. Dennis, one of his sons, is now a blacksmith at Milan. After John Dennis others came in, among them Reuben Wilhite, Jesse Goins, William Daly, Hugh C. Warren and Robert Burns. William W. Sevier settled about six miles south of the present town of Milan in 1839, with his wife and five children, one of whom, Thomas B. Sevier, still resides in the county. Jeremiah G. Smith, from Boston, Mass., also came in 1839, and was married February 11, 1841, to one of the daughters of William W. Sevier. John McCullough, originally from Pittsburgh, Penn., came from Boone County, Mo., to Sullivan County, in 1840, with his wife and six children. James Murphy, a newly married man, came in 1840, and Jacob Weaver and John Weaver, the latter of whom had married Murphy's sister, came about the same time, as also did Elias Hudnall. West Locust Creek Settlers.—In what was called the West Locust Creek settlement there were Daniel Wilhite, who came from Tennessee in 1840, with his wife and three or four children; Thomas Spencer, from Monroe County, with his wife and three children; Gabriel Jones, from Monroe County, with his wife and five children; William Eaton, also from Monroe County, with his wife and three or four children, and Hiram T. Elmore, a single man from Kentucky. Jefferson and Harrison Elmore lived in the vicinity of the present village of Reger. Other old settlers were the following: Levi Dennis, Martha Hale, William Walker, Samuel Darr, John Constant, Oliver P. Phillips, Samuel Rogers, Branson Jackson, Peter Groves, Stephen R. Fields, Samuel Read, Lewis Toddhunter and C. H. Levin, who came here in 1839, settled eight miles north of Milan, on Main Locust Creek, and for some time kept a trading post near the Henry mill, and traded with the Indians, selling to them whisky for the most part, for which he was indicted by the grand jury in 1845. M. B. Witter came in 1845. Thomas Wood settled in the northwest corner of the county, as did John L. Wood, who afterward developed into a Methodist preacher. John Crumpacker came to this county in 1839, and his sons now live, two of them in Sullivan, and two in Putnam County; in Putnam County John and Edward, and in Sullivan, Dandridge and David H.

Settlers Around Milan. - The first settler in the vicinity of Milan was Armstead C. Hill, who is still living in the town at the age of eighty-three. He was formerly from Kentucky, moved to Boone County, Ma, in 1822, and to what is now Sullivan County, about eight miles south of the present town of Milan, in 1839, where he raised a crop, and in January, 1840, in company with two or three others, visited the vicinity of Milan. After deciding to remain, and marking his name on two or three trees, he discovered the spring, subsequently known all over the 16x16 feet in size, about 125 yards northwest from the spring, and moved thereto with his wife (formerly Miss Nancy Fenton) and eight children. His nearest neighbor then was eight miles nearly due south, Elisha Smith, who remained, however, in the county but about a year. As the first settler of Milan, it is fitting that a brief mention of the life of Mr. Hill be inserted at this place He was born in Virginia, July 19, 1804. His father, William Hill, was a native of Virginia, as also was his mother, whose maiden name was Kitty Wesley. They moved from Virginia to Madison County. Ky., in 1806, where William Hill died in 1814, and Mrs. Hill, his wife, died in Sullivan County, Mo,, in 1842. A. C. Hill married Miss Nancy Fenton in 1824, came to Sullivan County in 1839, and to Milan in 1840. His first wife died in 1871, and ho was married the second time to Mrs. Nancy Tagert, a daughter of John Baldridge, Sr. By his first wife ho had ton children—eight sons and two daughters. One of his sons was killed by a falling tree; all the rest lived to the ago of maturity. In 1849 Mr. Hill went to California, in the hope of finding gold. In 1851 he went to Oregon, and for throe years was engaged in trade in various kinds of commodities between the two portions of the Pacific slope, accumulating considerable money. He explored nearly the whole of Oregon and Washington Territories during the six years from 1851 to 1857, in which latter year he returned to Missouri where he has since resided He served for eleven months in the First Missouri State Militia, during the years 1862 and 1863, Col. James McFerran, commanding. In his prime Mr. Hill was one of the finest looking and stoutest men ever seen in Sullivan County. He was very straight, five feet ten and one-half inches tall, and at his greatest weight, weighed 242 pounds. He still enjoys good health for one of his age.

Among others who came in after Mr. Hill might be mentioned the following, though the precise date and order of their arrival may not have been accurately ascertained: Thomas Lane came in the foil of 1840, a single man, and was married to Miss Nancy Frazer in 1843; John Baldridge, Jr., came in the fall of 1840, from St. Charles County, with his wife and no children; Esom Hannon came about the some time from Monroe County, with his wife and four children; and William Tally, his son-in-law, with his wife and three children; Benjamin Couch, originally from Tennessee, came in the fall of 1840, from Linn County, with his wife and seven children and also Joseph Couch, with his wife and six or seven children; Francis Drake came from Ohio in 1840, a single man; Daniel Doyle, Sr., with his wife, and Daniel Doyle, Jr, with his wife and four children, also came from Ohio about the same time, as also John Landers, with his wife and four children; Daniel Shatto, with his wife and six or seven children; John Montgomery, with his wife and five children ; Ira Sears, formerly from Ohio, but then from Linn County, with his wife and three children; and in 1841 Solomon Grim, with his wife and four children. Others moving into the vicinity of Milan during the next two or three years were Daniel Boyd from St. Charles County, Mo., with wife and six or seven children; Harden Brown, from Boone County, with his wife; Reuben Marsh, from Ohio, with wife and three or four children; Henry Clem, Sr., with wife and five children; Henry Clem, Jr., newly married; James Shipley from Ohio, with wife and seven or eight children; Thomas Shipley, from Ohio, with wife and four children; Thomas Henry, from Franklin County, Mo., with his wife and three or four children; John Dearing, from Tennessee, with wife and two or three children; Thomas Beard, from Monroe County, with wife and three children; William Watson, born in Ireland, went to Virginia in 1824, and came to Sullivan County in 1840, a single man. In 1841 he married Miss Mahala Burns, daughter of Robert Burns. He was for a long time justice of the peace, and also judge of the county court. He died of old age, June 14, 1887. Samuel Lewis came from Monroe County in 1842, with his wife and five or six children; William Hurst came from Tennessee with his wife and six children; John Sinclair came with his wife and three or four children; Richard Wages came from Kentucky, with his wife and seven children; James Bennett, from Tennessee, with his wife and no children; Lewis C. Hunt, from Indiana, with his wife and three children; Stephen G. Watkins, from Kentucky, a single man, went to Boone County and married, and returned to Sullivan County to reside. He was the first lawyer in Milan. Barnett Yates came from North Carolina in 1841, with his wife and three children.

The Hill Settlement. —The second house built in what may, perhaps, be called the Hill settlement (Armstead C. Hill having built the first), was by Francis Drake, about two miles north and slightly to the west. The next was built by Daniel Doyle, on Main Locust Creek, about three miles to the west. John Baldridge, Jr., then erected one about a mile to the southwest; Hayden Brown built duo west, about throe-fourths of a mile; Joseph Couch, one and a half miles due east; Benjamin Couch, one and a fourth miles southeast; William Walker, two and a half miles due east; Barnett Yates, two miles northeast; Ira Sears, five miles northeast; Esom Hannon, three-fourths of a mile north; William Tally, one mile north; and others at various distances in various directions. The above were all log houses. The first frame house was built by George W. Smith, about 150 yards due west from Hill's spring. In this house Mr. Smith afterward opened a saloon, and subsequently moved it into town.

Pioneers of Yellow Creek. - In the Yellow Creek settlement, about ten miles cast of Milan, the following persons settled early: Robison Morris (after whom Morris Township was named) came in the spring of 1840, with his wife and four children; George Baker, from Kentucky, with his wife and three or four sons, the eldest of whom was named Robert; he also had at the time some daughters. Griffin Taylor, with his wife and five children; George Page, with his wife and five or six children, and Columbus Sloan, with his wife and three children. Jesse Yates settled in 1814, about three miles north of Milan. He is a brother of the wives of the Siamese twins.

Following is a list of the earliest land entries in what is now Sullivan County, for the first two or three years after land entries began to be made. Some additional names of early settlers will be found among those purchasing land of the Government, but all of the entries will not be found as the design is to omit all the entries made by non-residents who never became inhabitants of Sullivan County. The first entry made was on
March 22, 1839, by John Snell, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 24, Township 61, Range 21.
On the 6th of May, the following entries wore made: The northwest quarter of Section 25, Township 61, Range 21, by Meshack Smith, and also by him the northwest quarter of Section 36, same township and range. Lewis Tyre on the same day entered the southwest quarter of Section 25, same township and range, and Elisha T. Dennison, the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 25, and the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 36, same township and range. It will be observed that the above entries were all south of the present village of Scottsville.

On the 7th of May two entries were made one by Jonathan Hunt, the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 27, Township 62, Range 22, and the other by William Harvey, the west half of the southwest quarter of the same section. These were about three miles southwest of the present village of Bowmansville,
On the 20th of May James Shipley entered the northeast quarter of Section 3, Township 61, Range 21; Henry Clem, the northwest quarter of Section 11, and Moses W. Payne and James H. Bennett, the southwest quarter of Section 1.1, same township and range. These, it will be observed, were, from three to four miles northwest of the present village of Scottsville. On the same day Messrs. Payne and Bennett entered Lot 2, of the northwest quarter of Section 1, Township 62, Range 22, nearly two miles northeast of Bowmansville.
May 22 Uriah Humphrey entered the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 10, Township 61, Range 21, and the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 3,
Township 61, Range 22, the latter entry being about two miles northeast of the site of the present town of Lindley, Grundy Co. May 30, Moses W. Payne and James H. Bennett entered the north- west quarter of Section 2, Township 61, Range 21, and William W. Morton, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 24, Township 61, Range 21.

Land Entries. - In June the following persons entered land: on the 4th, Hugh C. Warren, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 12, Township 61, Range 21;
on the 8th, John Constant, the southwest quarter of Section 2, Township 61, Range 22; and Elias A. Cowhick, the northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 61, Range 22;
on the 17th, Thomas Henry, the northeast quarter of Section 2, Township 61, Range 21, and Robert W. Holland, the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 23, and the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 24, Town- ship 62, Range 21;
on the 19th, Hiram Osborn, the northwest quarter of Section 15, Township 61, Range 21; Andrew J. Constant, the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 3, Township 61, Range 22; Elisha Cowhick, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 10, Township 61, Range 22; and John Constant, the east half of the northwest quarter and the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 61, Range 22;
on the 24th, John W. Walton, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 3, Township 62, Range 22;
on the 26th, Hiram Osborn, the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 10, Township 61, Range 21;
on the 25th Hugh C. Warren, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 12, Township 61, Range 21, and on the 30th, Sampson Johnson, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 25, Township 61, Range 21.

July 8 Nathan Hunt entered the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 22, Township 62, Range 22, and the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 15, Township 61, Range 21; and July 25, William Daly, the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 1. Township 61, Range 21.
August 8 Reuben Wilhite entered the east half of the north- east quarter of Section 35, Township 62, Range 21, and
August12, Nathan Hunt, the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 15, Township 61, Range 21. September 11 John Ross entered 240 acres in Section 12, Township 62, Range 21. October 13 John Constant entered the east half of the south- east quarter of Section 3, Township 61, Range 22;
on the 28th, James Shipley, the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 8, Township 61, Range 21;
and on the 30th, Jacob Clem, the northeast quarter of Section 25, Township 62, Range 21.
November 23 John Snell entered the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 23, Township 61, Range 21;
December 4, James Shipley, the southwest quarter of Section 2, Township 61, Range 21, and John McCullough, the east half of the north- east quarter of Section 12, Township 62, Range 22.

In 1840 the following entries were made: January 3, Robert Taylor, the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 24, Township 61, Range 21; William Pierce,
January 4, the north half of the northwest quarter of Section 2B, Township 62, Range 21; and January 20, Lewis Tyre, the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 23, Township 61, Range 21;
February 29 (Saturday), John Pierce, the south half of the southeast quarter of Section 26, Township 63, Range 21;
March 14, Elisha Smith, the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 62, Range 21; March 25, the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 24, Township 61, Range 21;
March 30, Silas Smith, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 26, Town- ship 63, Range 21;
May 13, William Calhoun, southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 34, Township 61, Range 21;
May 25, Peter B. Thomas, the northeast quarter and Lot 2, northwest quarter of Section 3, Township 63, Range 21; Thomas Wood, the north half of Section 34, Township 64, Range 21; Gabriel Jones, southeast quarter of Section 16, Township 63 Range 21;
June 18, Joseph Hoover, southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 11, Township 62, Range 21;
August 25, James Scott, north half of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 61, Range 21;
November 21, William I. Gibbins, the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 20, Township 64, Range 21;
December 4, Jephtheh Wood, the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 28, Township 64, Range 21;
December 18, John J. Thomas, the northwest quarter of Section 28, Township 64, Range 21, and Raleigh Bondurant, the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 10, Township 63, Range 21.

Following is a copy of the deed to the original town plat of

Milan: This indenture, made and executed on this l3th day of May, 1845, between Hiram Phillips and Elizabeth Phillips of the one part, and of the county of Sullivan, in the State of Missouri, of the second part, witnessed, that, for and in consideration of the sum of $250, good and lawful money of the United States, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, we have this day granted, bar- gained and sold and by these presents do grant, bargain and sell unto the said county of Sullivan, in the said State of Missouri, the following described tract or parcel of land, lying, being and situated in the said county of Sullivan, and known as part of the cast half of the southeast quarter of 8ection No. 8, Town- ship No. 62, and Range 20, and being fifty acres to be taken off the north end of said cast half of the said southeast quarter of Section 3, by a line running parallel with the north boundary of said tract, containing fifty acres, together with all and singular the rights, privileges and appurtenances thereunto belonging, to have and lo hold the said premises, with the appurtenances unto the said county of Sullivan in said State The said Hiram Phillips and Elizabeth, his wife, covenant and agree with the said county of Sullivan, that the above and therein described premises now are free of and from all encumbrances done, or suffered to be done by us, and that we will therefore warrant and defend the title to said tract of land against the claim or claims of all and every person or persons claiming by or through or under us, or in any other manner whatever. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals on the day and year aforesaid. H. Phillips, Elizabeth Phillips.

Other Land Entries.

A large number of entries were made in 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844 and 1845, in which latter year the county was organized, but the list would be too long to be published entire in this work. A few others are here added, made by some of those who afterward became prominent in the county. Milton II. Williams, then a resident of Linn County, but afterward a resident of Sullivan County,
on the 9th of January, 1840, entered the southwest quarter of Section 12, Township 61, Range 21; David H. Leeper, January 16, 1841, entered the west half of the southeast quarter of Section 27, Township 62, Range 21; Daniel Shatto, March 6, 1841, entered the east half of the northwest quarter, and the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 12, Township 62, Range 21; Samuel Lewis, April 2, 1841, entered the southeast quarter of Section 34, Township 64, Range 21; Elisha K. Eaton,
August 2, 1841, entered the southwest quarter of Section % Township 63, Range 21 ; John Arrasmith,
August 13, 1841, entered the cast half of the northeast quarter of Section 27, Township 64, Range 21; Alfred England,
August 23, 1841, entered the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 13, and the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 62, Range 22; John Hatcher,
January 6, 1843, entered the south half of Lot 2, northwest quarter of Section 19, Township 61, Range 20; Jeremiah G. Smith,
January 9,1843, entered the west half of the southeast quarter, and the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 10, Township 61, Range 20; William Watson,
January 7, 1843, entered the northeast quarter of Section 7, Township 61, Range 20; Robert Burns,
January 19, 1843, entered the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 7, Township 61, Range 20; Samuel R. Fields,
January 23, 1843, entered the south- east quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 6, Township 61, Range 20; Solomon Grim,
February 23, 1843, entered the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 9, Township 62, Range 20; Hiram Phillips,
May 6, 1843, entered the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 3, Township 62, Range 20, upon which lies a part of the original town of Milan; David W. Vrooman,
April 22, 1843, entered the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 29, Township 61, Range 20; John Montgomery,
November 17, 1843, entered the east half of Lot 1, in the northwest quarter of Section 4, Township 62, Range 20; Hiram T. Elmore,
January 4, 1844, entered Lot 2, southwest quarter of Section 31, Township 62, Range 20; Robertson Morris,
February 28, 1845, entered the east half of Lot 1, northwest quarter of Section 2, and the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 2, Township 61, Range 19.

Nativity of the Settlers. - By the end of the year 1842 settlements had been made along all the streams to the northern line of the county, and it would appear that as a general thing the settlers grouped themselves together according to the State of locality whence they had emigrated.

Medicine Creek was settled mainly by Illinoisans, Main Locust Creek, by Virginians, Tennesseeans and Ohioans, except that part subsequently dubbed "Hell's Kitchen," who were mainly Canadians. These early emigrants from the Queen's trans-Atlantic dominions, while nearly all related to each other, were most always in some kind of a quarrel among themselves. John Baldridge, who already owned some land in the edge of what was called the "Kitchen," was about buying some more land of one of the parties, a Mr. Bowen, living within the limits of the enchanted ground, and in conversation with a friend with reference to this purchase, said that his motive for making it was " to break up Hell's Kitchen." The purchase was at length affected, and Mr. Bowen moved up into Putnam County. Mrs. Bowen had a sister named Mrs. McKee, and soon the report got spread about that Uncle John Baldridge had named Mrs. McKee's kitchen, " Hell's Kitchen," and one day as he was passing the house, she hailed him with "Mr. Baldridge, I understand that you have been calling my kitchen, ' Hell's Kitchen,' what do you mean, sir?" " Oh no, madam," said Uncle John, " you have been misinformed; the devil's moved his cook stove higher up the creek." Not long afterward a guide board was put up in Putnam County, pointing southward, with this strange device roughly written on with tar: "Only six miles to Hell's Kitchen." The name has of course clung to the locality ever since, but it is as fertile a section as any, and its inhabitants are now as peaceful as any in the county. The Canadians have long since moved away. East and West Locust Creeks were settled mainly by Kentuckians and Tennesseeans, and Yellow Creek by Kentuckians. Among the early settlers on Yellow Creek was Robertson Morris, who has always been a great hunter, and a good farmer. Little East Creek was settled first by James Lee, from Kentucky. Muscle Fork and Spring Creek were at first settled chiefly from Kentucky and Illinois.

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