What Was Gallatin’s Oldest Business?

D.H. Davis Drug Store continues as the oldest firm in continuous business operation at the time of this writing. But it is hardly Gallatin’s first-ever business. Within what is the present-day city limits, Elisha B. Creekmore settled before 1833. He ran a boarding house where settlers could buy a meal, ask questions, and camp in the yard. The place was described as a double one-story cabin (two rooms) and was the last cabin on the old trail leading northwest to nowhere.

D.H. Davis Drug Store continues as the oldest firm in continuous business operation at the time of this writing. But it is hardly Gallatin’s first-ever business. Within what is the present-day city limits, Elisha B. Creekmore settled before 1833. He ran a boarding house where settlers could buy a meal, ask questions, and camp in the yard. The place was described as a double one-story cabin (two rooms) and was the last cabin on the old trail leading northwest to nowhere.

The oldest maps available show the trail going north along the east side of Creekmore’s field. His cabin was center to that east side. The cabin and half of the field were in Section 29. There is evidence of a dwelling that can still be determined when examining the surface of the ground today, some 160 years later.

The old map showed the cabin in an area of timber with a prairie to the northwest. The trail ran out into the prairie and through Section 20 where Gallatin was later started. The trail ended at Indian Branch, about where Route MM underpass’ Highway 6. If you want to locate the cabin more carefully, it was in the E 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 of Section 29, T59, R27.

The 1833 map showed Warren Davis’ cabin a little over a mile to the west. To the southeast were the cabins of Covington, Awbrey and Stokes. Maberry Splawn’s cabin was shown to be several miles south just east of Narrowbone Creek.

Maberry’s north cabin has been reported to have bee the first cabin built in Daviess County. It is mapped on property now owned by John Wood. However, Mr. Weldon and Mr. Best were probably the first settlers in the county.

Some settlers probably moved into vacated Indian cabins. For example, there were four cabins with cleared fields in Awbrey Grove before Thomas moved there in about 1834. This may not coincide with the popular perception of uncivilized Indians, but President Jefferson funded Indian farming for over 30 years. Most Indan tribes raised crops before that. Surely, Indians knew how to build cabins.

In the 1876 D.L. Kost history, Elisha’s “chimney” showed some remains at that time. I have found remains, also.

Daniel Duvall was the first purchaser of land from the government in 1838. I would guess that Creekmore and Covington moved to another spot that year or before.

Elisha Creekmore became the second county treasurer when John Williams resigned in June, 1838. Adam Clendenen replaced Creekmore as treasurer in December, 1839. Old plat maps show no farmsteads at the Creekmore site from 1876 to present. Elisha purchased a lot in Gallatin south of Jack Barton’s house in January, 1838, and may have had a cabin there when county funds and tax records were taken by Capt. Patton in October, 1838. The county court later agreed that the loss was not the result of Mr. Creekmore’s failing when witnesses were brought forward.

Written by David Stark for the Gallatin North Missourian, Dec. 1, 1993.