Before Gallatin, There Was Coon Grove

In a part of Daviess County that became Monroe Township was a place called Coon Grove. It was one of the centers of activity in the area before Gallatin was organized in 1838.

In a part of Daviess County that became Monroe Township was a place called Coon Grove. It was one of the centers of activity in the area before Gallatin was organized in 1838.

Andrew (Bva 1784) and Mary C. Collins McHaney (Bva 1787) came to Coon Grove in 1832, which was then part of northern Ray County. Andrew was in Ray County in 1830 with one son, a wife, and four daughters (one of the daughters was married in Boone County in 1823).

Coon Grove was east of today’s Highway 13. It was a stand of forest trees with prairie grasses all around. It was on the east part of Section 9, west part of Section 10 (T58, R27) in Monroe Township. The old trace (trail) from Richmond divided at Coon Grove, but both trails ran through the grove. The north part of the trace went north across Honey Creek and the east trail went to a ford on Grand River below the mouth of Honey Creek. Andrew’s land was on the east side of the grove. Honey Creek was on the north and west and Haw Brnach was on the south and east.

County records report that the first county election took place April 29, 1837, to select two justices of the peace and one constable for each of three townships. The election at Honey Creek Township was ordered to be held at the houe of Andrew McHaney. John Splawn, Elijah Foley and Andrew McHaney were appoitned to be the election judges.

Coon Grove got its name becuase there was “more coon hunting going on there than in all the rest of the county put together” and “it was proven that generally the hunter was caught and not the coon.” These statements need explanation.

Andrew McHaney had very charming, grown daughters. It was said that “by a smile they could drive out all thoughts of coons from the heads of the young men.” Hunters always managed to get as far as Coon Grove in the evenings “but seldom got any further.” According to the 1882 History Book (page 147), “the young ladies were amiable and vivacious and had many friends and visitors.”

Andrew’s son, William L (Bva 1820), married Martha H. Stokes (Bva 1824) in Daviess County. Before he married in 1848, William was involved in the Mormon War in Daviess County. William and John Comer, along with Allen Miller, went to Richmond in September, 1838, to get a stand of arms to form the county’s militia unit. But while going through Caldwell County on their return, they were captured by its militia and held as hostages. The 45 stands of arms were taken from them.

Andrew’s daughter, Mary Jane, married Jacob B. Oxford in 1840. Andrew’s daughter, Martha Ann, married Lewis S. Tarwater (1813-1859), the son of Lewis and Nancy Tarwater.

Nancy McHaney married Thoas P. Simmons in 1836 in Jackson County. Capt. Simmons formed a unit in Daviess County for the Mexican War, but he died on his way to Mexico.

Andrew had a grandson and graddaughter who lived with him at Coon Grove in 1850. The grandson was the son of John B. Wood and Christiana McHaney Wood. The grandson was John W. Wood (1833-1892) who had lost his father at the age of three. John W. married Sarah J. Hemry (1836-1902) in August, 1857, in Daviess County. John W. was educated in the county and was a school teacher for six years and held several county and township offices. The granddaughter, Sarah, about who lttle is known, was born in Missouri in 1837. Andrew’s home in 1850 also had a father-in-law, Thomas Collins (Bva 1764).

Sara E. McHaney married the Rev. Willis E. Dockery and her only surviving child was Alexander M., who was well-known throughout Missouri as governor in 1900.

Andrew’s place of rest has been lost but, in all probability, is in Coon Grove at the Whitt Cemetery.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, April, 2001.