Gunsmith Valentine Shuler (1808-85)

Walk any cemetery and be reminded that behind every marker lies a story. Among the older markers in Daviess County is one in Mt. Zion Cemetery near Jamesport, where rests a man once nationally known for his craftsmanship in making guns.

Skilled craftsmanship was evident in everything Valentine Shuler created.

Valentine Shuler (1808-1885) was born in Pennsylvania, married a girl from Ohio, and eventually died in Missouri. Today Shuler’s work still lives on among the guns featured in the book, “Ohio Gunsmiths & Allied Tradesmen” (by Donald A. Hutslar, published by the Association of Ohio Long Rifle Collectors, page 125). Some of the finest guns ever made in Ohio were from Valentine’s hand. There are dozens of surviving “Shuler Rifles” still in the marketplace although most of these are not at all like the “family gun.”

A gunsmith of national renown was Valentine Shuler (1808-1885), member of the famous Ohio family, who last resided in Jamesport, MO.

In a ledger covering the period 1837-45 there is evidence that Valentine Shuler was not only filling orders for guns but was also training apprentices. The ledger lists 33 special orders, though to be custom made guns rather than guns sold from stock. Prices ranged from $13 to $25. The record also lists the number of balls to a pound, barrel length, half or full stock weight, patch box style plus any special features ordered.

Shuler made patented locks, so if this was desired it was noted. One unusual order called for “German silver butt plate eight pieces of silver, brass around lock plate and patch box with spring hook.” The price was $20.

Information compiled by John Shuler, the great-great grandson of the gunsmith, includes comments describing four family guns that he owns. He writes:

“All four guns are different, so he (Valentine) expressed his artistic ability in different ways. He signed all of his guns apparently. Three that I own have Valentine Shuler on the barrel in block letters and the fourth and earliest is signed in script on the barrel and the lock plate has a script signature lus New Phila. Two that don’t have his handmade lock with ‘R&W.C. Biddle & Co., Philadelphia’ on the plate…

“One of the Valentines I have was made in Missouri. Many of its features reflect the change from Ohio to Missouri style and he was obviously affected by the Hawkins style plains rifles that were in demand there.”

The Shuler name is a familiar family name to Daviess County. Darwin Shuler (1898-1977) resided at Gallatin, north of the present day Eugene Taul residence at the east end of East Grand Street. Darwin Shuler was featured by photograph in the Daviess County History (published 1985, page 487). His genealogical records and personal memories help describe Valentine Shuler, the gunsmith of national renown.

Valentine Shuler was the great-grandson of Franz Schuller, a German who settled his family, associated with the German Reformed Church, in Berks County, PA. His son, Johann Valentine Schuller (1759-1833) was a renowned calligrapher whose works are treasured in numerous archives. About 1817 Schuller and his wife moved to Licking County, OH. The future master gunsmith was one of the couple’s six children. He was age 8.

By 1830 Valentine Shuler had developed a considerable gunsmithing trade and was co-owner of a sawmill. In 1853 after his first wife’s death, Valentine remarried and moved to Chillicothe, MO, in 1861. Four years later he relocated to Jamesport, acquiring small parcels of land and a homestead with his sons William David, Martin Banes, and Ulysses Franklin.

This marks the resting place of Valentine Shuler (18-8-1885) in Mt. Zion Cemetery at Jamesport, MO.

Valentine combined gunsmithing and farming, amassed a small personal library, and left behind scant papers in intermingled German and English. One of his sons, William David, lived on the same Jamesport farm for 67 years – continuing some gunsmithing and locksmithing while working as a railroad clerk and in local schools. William Shuler was the last of the Shuler gunsmiths in the lineage of craftsmen who worked in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri for approximately 200 years.


Who taught whom?

The succession the craft of the gunsmith through the generations is often a matter of speculation rather than fact, since surviving documentation is so rare. This is certainly true for the Ohio Shuler Gunsmiths. Some surmise that Johann Valentin Schuller was a gun maker and, if so, it is reasonable to assume he trained Johannes (John) in Northumberland County, PA, before moving to Ohio. Johannes was approximately 23 and married with one son when he moved with his father to Licking County. If the old man did not do it, certainly Johannes was old enough to have trained his younger brothers, Daniel and Valentine. Also, Valentine passed the trade on to at least two nephews and one son.

How many guns made?

Don Shuler notes that a fine small lane, marked “J. Shuler,” has been passed down through the family. It has a numbering system of carefully inscribed grooves and hatches, and it stops at number “193.” This has the family this is the number of guns made by Johannes (John) Shuler over his lifetime. It is unknown how many total guns were made by the Ohio Shuler Gunsmiths.

Nameplates like this marked the craftsmanship and authentic work of Valentine Shuler

Daviess County Couple Records Extraordinary Find of Indian Artifacts

April 15, 2006, started off as an ordinary spring day for Shannon and Amy McCrary of Pattonsburg — but it would quickly take an extraordinary turn as they discovered on a farm-ground hilltop some of the most spectacular blades ever created by Native Americans.

The McCrarys were mushroom hunting.

“We weren’t having any luck finding mushrooms so we switched over to looking for rocks,” said Shannon. “We knew there were some flint pieces scattered around and a campsite in the area.”

They concentrated their search on a hilltop where land had been cleared to build fence and seed with grass for pasture.

Their first clue to a lifetime discovery was made when Amy picked up a polished white blade measuring over five inches long, and then, moments later, another blade, equally huge.

The blades and artifacts from the McCrary collection found in Daviess County. The blades were laid out on black cloth and the photo was taken from a tractor seat. The McCrarys turned over their entire collection to Dr. David A. Easterla. Not a single artifact remains in their home as the collection should remain together.

“We found two points on that day,” said Shannon. “The first piece was not broken. The second piece was broken pretty badly.”

When they got home, they tried to find a match for the blades in their guidebooks. But they couldn’t identify them by the points. The blades were too large.

Amy and Shannon McCrary with their sons, Gunnar, the older boy, and Grady.

Certain there were more blades to be found on the hilltop, the McCrarys called Kenny Mort for advice. They knew Mr. Mort to be an avid collector of Indian artifacts in Daviess County. Kenny told them to make sure they documented their find, took pictures, and to notify a professional archeologist at a college or university.

The McCrarys contacted a university professor who told them they should have the area looked at to make sure it was not a burial ground. Disturbing burial sites, even ancient Indian burial mounds, is illegal in Missouri. The McCrarys had the site examined and it was determined that no bones or teeth were located there. That cleared the way for further excavation.

They returned to the site with hand trowels, tin foil and zip lock bags. They created a grid map to record every piece they picked up.

“We were pretty particular,” said Shannon. “We took exact measurements in case there would be future research.”

They dug in the same spot as before and found five more blades. All of the blades had been broken and placed into a pit. The hole measured about 25 inches around and was eight to 12 inches deep. All the broken pieces could easily be fitted together.

Before this discovery, the McCrarys had found small points, a small axe, some celts — or un-grooved axes, and some scattered chert — a common rock type consisting mostly of quartz crystals.

They were fully aware of the significance of their new discovery.

“Most hunters never find a cache. To find a cache is like striking gold,” said Shannon.

Many of the buried blades had been deliberately broken and buried — what archeologist call “killed”. The Indians of old had not used these blades to hunt elk or scrape hide or clean fish.

“They weren’t used for anything,” said Shannon. “The blades were strictly made and killed for a ceremonial purpose.”

And what was the purpose of the ceremony? Nobody knows for sure. But it is certain the blades had some type of symbolic power and were buried as part of a ritual. Perhaps it was an offering to the gods.

“It’s kind of a mystery,” Shannon said. “There are lots of theories. The blades were fantastic in color. They were beautiful. To go to that much trouble to knap them, only to break them and bury them, something significant had to have happened.”

The Medicine Man or Shaman cache. It includes five tiny picks; two polished disk-shaped stones; one game ball; one bright red jasper stone (and bird stone and burned chunk not shown). All the things found on the hilltops correspond with the age of the blades; it is all fairly close in origin.

Amy and Shannon found a total of 56 blades. About 43 of the blades were called Ouachita. These were the larger blades and the name derives from an Oklahoma Indian tribe.  There were four large unidentified blades with too many pieces lost for identification. There were also 13 unnamed blades.

“The 13 unnamed blades are significant in the artifact world,” said Shannon. “All blades have a name. It’s possible these blades will have our name put on them. That would be fantastic. We could call them ‘The McCrary Cache of Daviess County’ or whatever we wanted.”

The blades varied from five to nine inches in length. The killed blades were made of Burlington chert, which is not native to the area, but found in eastern Missouri, around the Jefferson City/St. Louis area.

Knapping is a technique for making stone tools and weapons by striking flakes from a core with a hard stone. Since no chips or flakes were found in the area, it is believed the blades were knapped somewhere else and brought there by the people.

Some of the blades had heat-treated faces. Heat treating makes chert easier to flake. The edges were often ground and polished.

For the next five months into August, Amy and Shannon would dig in their spare time. They eventually discovered 12 caches or pits.

Ten of the pits were killed. Two of the pits were established at a later time. But all of the artifacts dated from around the same time, plus or minus 50 years.

“In one of the caches we found what appeared to be a grass sack or a basket,” said Shannon. “Maybe they put the blades in the basket before they buried them.”

It is believed the 10 killed caches represent the Hopewell Culture. This is a culture well established to the south in the Kansas City area with over 30 registered sites.

“They would have been old, old; our idea of cavemen,” said Shannon. “The men averaged about five feet tall and lived to be around the age of 30. They had a hard life in a rough climate and amongst predators. If they saw a tornado or felt an earthquake for the first time, it would have been reason enough for a ceremony.”

Kenneth Mort experienced a moment of awe when he dug up this blade at the McCrary cache. This photo is of a large unnamed blade. It measures lengthwise nine inches with the greatest width being 3 1/8 inches.

All 12 of the caches were found on a center hilltop. The caches were from five to 35 feet apart.

“That one hilltop is a natural knoll,” said Shannon. “This is unusual because the Hopewell Indians built their own mound to bury their ceremonial pieces. Maybe they just liked the location. It was alongside a bend in the Grand River at the time. It would have been a beautiful spot 3,000 years ago. The ceremonial mound would have been located away from the main camp. The ceremonial area was off-limits.”

The center hilltop was surrounded by eight more natural knolls that stretched about three-quarters of a mile. These small hilltops faced south toward an old Grand River bed.

On two of the adjacent knoll tops, the McCrarys found a full groove axe, and three different types of arrowheads (Hardin, Goddard and Steuben point). These were all found on the surface.

It was another exciting moment for the McCrarys when they discovered a fire pit on the same center hilltop. The fire pit was eight to 14 inches deep and three feet in diameter. It contained charcoal and red ochre.

Early on in their dig, the McCrarys met David A. Easterla, who studied at the University of Missouri and later received his doctorate a Purdue University. He worked for the National Park Service for 15 summers. He retired from a 51-year career of teaching and is an Emeritus Distinguished University professor. As a researcher, Dr. Easterla believes publication is one of the best ways to advance archeology.

Dr. Easterla visited the McCrary site many times. He sent samples off to carbon date the fire pit and to determine the origin of the points and chert. The age of chert is determined by examining the patina. Patina is a thin layer on the surface of stone that builds over time.

The charcoal carbon dated 3,041 years before present day. This was the Late Archaic period.

It took 11 years for the McCrarys to finish their research. They have turned their whole find over to Dr. Easterla who displays it in his collection.

A broken blade found in a cache containing five Ouachita blades, the longest measuring 7 3/4 inches; one large broken unnamed blade; one unbroken Epps blade measuring 4 9/16 inches long; plus 11 galena pieces. The McCrary Cache photographs are featured in “Who’s Who in Indian Relics, Volume 11” by Steven R. Cooper, available at the Daviess County Library in Gallatin. The volume is 600 pages with thousands of rare and interesting artifacts shown in color and large, easy-to-read layout.

His collection is among the Who’s Who in Indian Relics by Steven R. Cooper, which has been placed in the Daviess County Library as a memorial book by Kenny and Kraig Mort.

“A very special thanks to the Mort family, Kenny, Katherine and Kraig Mort,” said Shannon and Amy.

Dr. Easterla believed that the McCrarys’ find is one of the more profound flint finds ever made in the state of Missouri.

“The author seemed pretty excited to have our caches in his book,” said Shannon.

Shannon now makes presentations on his artifacts to school and clubs.

“Ultimately, the goal was to record the find for future reference, to make sure history was properly noted,” he said. “If someone finds similar artifacts they’ll have a reference to do a comparison. And somebody, someday, will find more. My theory is that 90 percent of artifacts are found by hunters, not archeologists. About 80 percent of the artifacts in this area are still yet to be found.”

The story of the ancient Hopewell tribe has yet to be told.

“The only way we have of knowing our ancestors is through stone,” said Shannon. “They left behind no history books. All we have as evidence of their existence is from the pieces we find today. Where did these people go after leaving Daviess County? Their story continues.”

And the McCrary story continues as well.

“Our son, Gunnar, is 10, and loves to go arrowhead hunting,” said Shannon. “The joke between us is that one of these days he’s going to find something big. He’s looking for that treasure.”

 

Extraordinary find of Indian artifacts

April 15, 2006, started off as an ordinary spring day for Shannon and Amy McCrary of Pattonsburg — but it would quickly take an extraordinary turn as they discovered on a farm-ground hilltop some of the most spectacular blades ever created by Native Americans.

The McCrarys were mushroom hunting.

“We weren’t having any luck finding mushrooms so we switched over to looking for rocks,” said Shannon. “We knew there were some flint pieces scattered around and a campsite in the area.”

They concentrated their search on a hilltop where land had been cleared to build fence and seed with grass for pasture.

Their first clue to a lifetime discovery was made when Amy picked up a polished white blade measuring over five inches long, and then, moments later, another blade, equally huge.

“We found two points on that day,” said Shannon. “The first piece was not broken. The second piece was broken pretty badly.”

When they got home, they tried to find a match for the blades in their guidebooks. But they couldn’t identify them by the points. The blades were too large.

Certain there were more blades to be found on the hilltop, the McCrarys called Kenny Mort for advice. They knew Mr. Mort to be an avid collector of Indian artifacts in Daviess County. Kenny told them to make sure they documented their find, took pictures, and to notify a professional archeologist at a college or university.

The McCrarys contacted a university professor who told them they should have the area looked at to make sure it was not a burial ground. Disturbing burial sites, even ancient Indian burial mounds, is illegal in Missouri. The McCrarys had the site examined and it was determined that no bones or teeth were located there. That cleared the way for further excavation.

They returned to the site with hand trowels, tin foil and zip lock bags. They created a grid map to record every piece they picked up.

“We were pretty particular,” said Shannon. “We took exact measurements in case there would be future research.”

They dug in the same spot as before and found five more blades. All of the blades had been broken and placed into a pit. The hole measured about 25 inches around and was eight to 12 inches deep. All the broken pieces could easily be fitted together.

Before this discovery, the McCrarys had found small points, a small axe, some celts — or un-grooved axes, and some scattered chert — a common rock type consisting mostly of quartz crystals.

They were fully aware of the significance of their new discovery.

“Most hunters never find a cache. To find a cache is like striking gold,” said Shannon.

Many of the buried blades had been deliberately broken and buried — what archeologist call “killed”. The Indians of old had not used these blades to hunt elk or scrape hide or clean fish.

“They weren’t used for anything,” said Shannon. “The blades were strictly made and killed for a ceremonial purpose.”

And what was the purpose of the ceremony? Nobody knows for sure. But it is certain the blades had some type of symbolic power and were buried as part of a ritual. Perhaps it was an offering to the gods.

“It’s kind of a mystery,” Shannon said. “There are lots of theories. The blades were fantastic in color. They were beautiful. To go to that much trouble to knap them, only to break them and bury them, something significant had to have happened.”

Amy and Shannon found a total of 56 blades. About 43 of the blades were called Ouachita. These were the larger blades and the name derives from an Oklahoma Indian tribe.  There were four large unidentified blades with too many pieces lost for identification. There were also 13 unnamed blades.

“The 13 unnamed blades are significant in the artifact world,” said Shannon. “All blades have a name. It’s possible these blades will have our name put on them. That would be fantastic. We could call them ‘The McCrary Cache of Daviess County’ or whatever we wanted.”

The blades varied from five to nine inches in length. The killed blades were made of Burlington chert, which is not native to the area, but found in eastern Missouri, around the Jefferson City/St. Louis area.

Knapping is a technique for making stone tools and weapons by striking flakes from a core with a hard stone. Since no chips or flakes were found in the area, it is believed the blades were knapped somewhere else and brought there by the people.

Some of the blades had heat-treated faces. Heat treating makes chert easier to flake. The edges were often ground and polished.

For the next five months into August, Amy and Shannon would dig in their spare time. They eventually discovered 12 caches or pits.

Ten of the pits were killed. Two of the pits were established at a later time. But all of the artifacts dated from around the same time, plus or minus 50 years.

“In one of the caches we found what appeared to be a grass sack or a basket,” said Shannon. “Maybe they put the blades in the basket before they buried them.”

It is believed the 10 killed caches represent the Hopewell Culture. This is a culture well established to the south in the Kansas City area with over 30 registered sites.

“They would have been old, old; our idea of cavemen,” said Shannon. “The men averaged about five feet tall and lived to be around the age of 30. They had a hard life in a rough climate and amongst predators. If they saw a tornado or felt an earthquake for the first time, it would have been reason enough for a ceremony.”

All 12 of the caches were found on a center hilltop. The caches were from five to 35 feet apart.

“That one hilltop is a natural knoll,” said Shannon. “This is unusual because the Hopewell Indians built their own mound to bury their ceremonial pieces. Maybe they just liked the location. It was alongside a bend in the Grand River at the time. It would have been a beautiful spot 3,000 years ago. The ceremonial mound would have been located away from the main camp. The ceremonial area was off-limits.”

The center hilltop was surrounded by eight more natural knolls that stretched about three-quarters of a mile. These small hilltops faced south toward an old Grand River bed.

On two of the adjacent knoll tops, the McCrarys found a full groove axe, and three different types of arrowheads (Hardin, Goddard and Steuben point). These were all found on the surface.

It was another exciting moment for the McCrarys when they discovered a fire pit on the same center hilltop. The fire pit was eight to 14 inches deep and three feet in diameter. It contained charcoal and red ochre.

Early on in their dig, the McCrarys met David A. Easterla, who studied at the University of Missouri and later received his doctorate a Purdue University. He worked for the National Park Service for 15 summers. He retired from a 51-year career of teaching and is an Emeritus Distinguished University professor. As a researcher, Dr. Easterla believes publication is one of the best ways to advance archeology.

Dr. Easterla visited the McCrary site many times. He sent samples off to carbon date the fire pit and to determine the origin of the points and chert. The age of chert is determined by examining the patina. Patina is a thin layer on the surface of stone that builds over time.

The charcoal carbon dated 3,041 years before present day. This was the Late Archaic period.

It took 11 years for the McCrarys to finish their research. They have turned their whole find over to Dr. Easterla who displays it in his collection.

His collection is among the Who’s Who in Indian Relics by Steven R. Cooper, which has been placed in the Daviess County Library as a memorial book by Kenny and Kraig Mort.

“A very special thanks to the Mort family, Kenny, Katherine and Kraig Mort,” said Shannon and Amy.

Dr. Easterla believed that the McCrarys’ find is one of the more profound flint finds ever made in the state of Missouri.

“The author seemed pretty excited to have our caches in his book,” said Shannon.

Shannon now makes presentations on his artifacts to school and clubs.

“Ultimately, the goal was to record the find for future reference, to make sure history was properly noted,” he said. “If someone finds similar artifacts they’ll have a reference to do a comparison. And somebody, someday, will find more. My theory is that 90 percent of artifacts are found by hunters, not archeologists. About 80 percent of the artifacts in this area are still yet to be found.”

The story of the ancient Hopewell tribe has yet to be told.

“The only way we have of knowing our ancestors is through stone,” said Shannon. “They left behind no history books. All we have as evidence of their existence is from the pieces we find today. Where did these people go after leaving Daviess County? Their story continues.”

And the McCrary story continues as well.

“Our son, Gunnar, is 10, and loves to go arrowhead hunting,” said Shannon. “The joke between us is that one of these days he’s going to find something big. He’s looking for that treasure.”

— written by T.L. Huffman, Gallatin North Missourian,
published April 12, 2017; Vol. 152, No. 46

Old Bloomington Trail

Ad Pages-East columnist Chuck Haney, who also authors the monthly “Slice of Life” feature in that publication, was contacted by email by Sandy Sappington in regard to the Old Bloomington Trail that they were researching. They seek help from the people of Linn, Livingston and Daviess counties in regard to any information about the Old Bloomington Trail which ran across northern Missouri. Since that time the Sappington’s (Howard and Sandy) and the Livingston County Historical Society also have published information in two articles in the newspaper in Chillicothe and one in the Brookfield paper.

Ad Pages-East columnist Chuck Haney, who also authors the monthly “Slice of Life” feature in that publication, was contacted by email by Sandy Sappington in regard to the Old Bloomington Trail that they were researching. They seek help from the people of Linn, Livingston and Daviess counties in regard to any information about the Old Bloomington Trail which ran across northern Missouri. Since that time the Sappington’s (Howard and Sandy) and the Livingston County Historical Society also have published information in two articles in the newspaper in Chillicothe and one in the Brookfield paper.

With the permission of Mrs. Sappington we are using her article to Mr. Haney as a Slice of Life feature in both the East and West editions of the Ad Pages with a combined circulation of 21,000.

Here is her letter:

“I thought you might like to read some of the background about the covered wagon trail, the Bloomington Trail, we are researching.

“We were intrigued about the trail two years ago when I read a sentence in the History of the Gateway to the Green Hills 1976, which ran across northern Missouri that was used by so many covered wagons that the wagons were so close together that the front animal could touch the back of the wagon in front of it and stretched as far as the eye could see.

“Years before, we had seen the swales, or ruts left by the Santa Fe Trail wagons in Kansas so we wondered if there could be swales to be found here. We found that yes, there are still swales to be found here, but it takes the community to tell us what they know about trail history.

“We’ve had great success in tracing the trail in Linn County. We ran an article in the newspaper at Brookfield and asked if anyone had heard of the Bloomington Trail and if so to let us know. That began many weeks of people calling and writing us about family histories, about seeing it in the description on their land abstracts, or sharing stories of the stagecoach relay or maybe an inn. With the information told to us and using what we had already learned, we know that the Bloomington ran from Hannibal to St. Joseph and so far we have been able to trace it across from Macon and Linn County to Linneus.

“The trail was first an Indian trail, and then used by fur trappers and bee tree hunters. Then when settlements sprang up, it was the connector between them. It was called the “Old Trail” and the when Bloomington became a crossroads in what is now Macon County, it was called the Bloomington Trail.

“In 1822 the new legislature passed a law that all the counties would have a road to connect the. This northern tier of counties was not even organized, but by 1837 they were. So with just a few minimum improvements, the trail was then called Old State Coach Road; it was also called the Bloomington to Plattsburg road.

“The most traffic was during the 1840-1850’s when people went to the California gold fields and to Oregon territory for free land and used it to cross Missouri and hook up with the Santa Fe and Oregon trails in St. Joseph. We know it was still being used in the 1880’s because we have been told a family history that says they used the Bloomington Trail when the came here from Ohio.

“It is our hope that people may remember hearing family histories about the trail and right now we are focusing on the area between Linneus and Chillicothe. We know it came into Linneus behind the old school building; it followed Jefferson Street north of the courthouse, past a stable used as a stage stop then on out of town.

“It went through where Cleo Munsterman has small lakes behind his home, behind where the county poor farm was located and watered at a spring at the bottom of that hill. It crossed Locust Creek then followed where fence row is now and came out close to the junction of B and Y three miles west of Linneus. One history books says the trail forked one mile west of Linneus, one fork went to Trenton, it doesn’t mention the other fork but we assume it went to Chillicothe since it was connecting the county seats.

“This is where we have no more information until it crosses Medicine Creek (now Muddy Creek) where we believe there was a stagecoach stop and perhaps a cemetery used by the travelers on the trail. Today this is near Livingston County road 232 at Roger Bernskoetter’s then Collier’s Mill was on the east bank of Medicine Creek west of the stage stop.

“One history book calls this area the Medicine Swamp and tells the story of a stagecoach caught in a flood in about 1857 and the local settler had to send oxen to pull them to dry land. The trail came into Chillicothe on east Jackson Street. We are working that section now.

“We believe that people in the community may know just a part of this story, but when we put several parts together we can have more history to pass down. We want to ask this of your readers: Do you know of any stories, know about Collier’s Mill, did it have it own community? We have been told there may have been an Indian settlement near there at one time. If your family had land near where the trail may have passed is it described on your abstract? D you know of any small settlements as we have found they sprung up about every 15 miles to meet the needs of travelers.

“Our goal is to trace the trail as it leaves Chillicothe, crosses the Grand River on a ferry and goes to Springhill, Cold Springs, Millport and on to Gallatin. Would you contact us if you have any information? As long as we receive information from the readers we will pass it on.

Thank you and the Ad Pages for all your help with this project.”

Howard and Sandy Sappington, 1310 Miller Street, Chillicothe, Mo. 64601. Phone 660-646-6098 and email hwsappington@sbcglobal.net

Rules of the Road

Times change and roads change. The time for nothing but a winding path was over. As this demand for better roads or advanced “paths” continued, there was a need for restrictions and guidelines. A few of the first regulations were:

Times change and roads change. The time for nothing but a winding path was over. As this demand for better roads or advanced “paths” continued, there was a need for restrictions and guidelines. A few of the first regulations were:

(1) roads couldn‘t be less than 20 feet, nor more than 40 feet in width; (2) roads had to be cleared of trees and tree limbs which would hinder the horsemen and carriages; (3) no stump could exceed eight inches in height; (4) wet grounds and small streams had to be raised high enough or bridged in a way horsemen and carriages could cross over them safely; (5) there had to be a sign at every cross-roads or fork. The sign was to have a fingerboard directing the way and the distance to the next noticeable place in the road.

As the need for roads continued, men were needed to build them. In 1850, a history book stated all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 45 who’d resided in the state 60 days and in the district one month were subject to work on the roads, and when called by the road overseer were obliged to pay $1 for each day he might attend, or $2 for each day he should attend and fail to work in earnest. The law also provided for making out new roads and altering old ones for the formation of road districts.

By 1913, the Painter Good Roads Law provided for the state to maintain the roads between all county seat towns. The newly created highway department was to have general supervision over laying out this state system of roads. It also created a county highway to lay out a state road from the county seat to connect a s lad liar state road from the adjoining county sea ts In the end, Missouri was to be marked off, checkerboard style, into a system of state roads. The state was to appropriate out of the state motor car fund $15 each year to pay for the dragging of roads between the county seats.

Lock Springs, MO

A trip on Highway 190 to the bottoms of the Grand River takes you to Lock Springs. Hills will family names like “Pepper Hill” and “Reeter Hill” are out beyond “Blacksmith Corner.” An impressive memorial to one of Missouri’s favorite sons, Jerry Litton, stands in contrast to business buildings long past their prime. Some might say Lock Springs is no longer much of a town; its population hovers at half a hundred. It wasn’t always so.

A trip on Highway 190 to the bottoms of the Grand River takes you to Lock Springs. Hills will family names like “Pepper Hill” and “Reeter Hill” are out beyond “Blacksmith Corner.” An impressive memorial to one of Missouri’s favorite sons, Jerry Litton, stands in contrast to business buildings long past their prime. Some might say Lock Springs is no longer much of a town; its population hovers at half a hundred. It wasn’t always so.

A barber shop in Lock Springs, MO (date unknown)

In the early 1900s Lock Springs boasted of two hotels, a blacksmith shop, a lumber yard, drug store, drygoods store, grocery, a stove bolt factory, axe handle and barrel & stave factory — and a newspaper! It was home to more than 300 people.

A blacksmith shop in Lock Springs, MO (date unknown)

The town pump was covered by a bandstand. Town musicians, complete with uniforms, offered concerts.

Three springs ran out of a hillside at the edge of the Grand River bottom. For hundreds of years Osage Indians made an annual trek across the bottom land to the northern plain to hunt. A favorite camping spot was near these three springs.

In 1839 John D. Lock received a government grant of 320 acres which contained the three springs. Early white settlers began identifying the area as “Mr. Lock’s springs,” where women came by wagon to wash wool fleece while making cloth. Hence the town’s name.

Mr. Lock died in 1869. His land was divided and sold to Joseph Offield and Nathaniel Houston. In 1870 a hamlet called “Old Greasy” (because of its location near a particularly trecherous hill road) was moved — all three houses and one small store — to Mr. Houston’s portion of the ground near the springs. In 1872 Houston had the town of 14 blocks platted. A post office was established in 1871.

— Written by Peggy Wickizer for a 1995 Lock Springs Historical Calendar

The Wabash Train Depot at Lock Springs, MO (date unknown)
Lock Springs Presbyterian Sunday School (1898-99, thought to be the only Sunday School in town and all came): Front row — Estel Smith, Clyde Minnick, __ Brown, Frank Litton, Willie Conner, Molly Grimes Eads, Winnie Pomeroy, Flay Litton Hosman, Maggie Stout House, __, __, __, __, __, Grade Porterfield, Dora Litton; Thom Houson, John Stevens, Mrs. Frank Moore, Tom Minnick, Lizzie Houston, Ermma Minnick Merrett, __, Lore Houston, Mollie Regina AStarrett, Allie Bray Litton, Emma Litton Platte Del Regan, Andrew Horeston, Jane Minnick, __, Clive Smith, Hester Stokesberry, Berilla Smith, Norma McClure Litton, __, Mary Gaston, Dallas Houston, John Minnick, __, Mary Broodeshire McClure. [courtesy Elizabeth Minnick]
Lock Springs as presented in the 1898 Daviess County Plat Book

Mormon War Disrupts Hardin Mill on Honey Creek

Remains of one of Daviess County’s early grain mills is still evident today (May, 2005) to those walking along Honey Creek, located mostly south of Gallatin. Rock debris forming a dam, wooden planks for a water run, and the remains of a log “road” to the dam site are evidence of the Hardin Mill, a business that scarcely got started before the interruption of the Mormon War.

Remains of one of Daviess County’s early grain mills is still evident today (May, 2005) to those walking along Honey Creek, located mostly south of Gallatin. Rock debris forming a dam, wooden planks for a water run, and the remains of a log “road” to the dam site are evidence of the Hardin Mill, a business that scarcely got started before the interruption of the Mormon War.

In Gallatin township of Ray County in 1830 the family of Christopher Stone moved to what later became Monroe Township of Daviess County. Christopher and his wife were about 65 years old at that time and had four sons, James, Hardin, Robert and William. They had John Stokes and John Edwards as sons-in-law. Jane Stone may have also been a daughter. She married Wesley Perman in 1840.

Hardin is reported to have been the first resident of Monroe Township and the first service by the Rev. Ellington was at Hardin’s cabin in 1833. Hardin married Judith Mann in the spring of 1832. James married Elizabeth McHaney in 1829 and William married Elizabeth McCrary in 1841. Johnathan Stone’s son Wiley was the first child born in Monroe Township. Wiley’s daughter, N.S. married Gab Cox.

Most of the Stone family built cabins “settled” near the fork of Honey Creek. Stokes north of Honey Creek and Edwards north of Mill Port.
The Stone family lived off the land for seven years before purchasing any. Hardin was the first to buy Gout land in the area when in February 1838, he purchased 160 acres in the south half of Section 8/58/27. I believe he started a mill that year on Marrowbone Creek at the northwest corner of that land. William purchased 40 acres west of the Mill location in April of 1839.

Late in 1837 to October 1838, 23 Mormon families reported to have moved into what was called the
Honey Creek settlement scattered around the Hardin Stone cabin. One of those settlers was Jabez Durfee who had worked on the Arthur Mill in Clay County and may have helped Hardin construct his mill during the summer of 1838. If so, this Mill would have been the first water mill constructed in Daviess County since the mill on Grindstone was believed to have been built in 1839.

After the Mormons departed in late 1838 there may have been less need for a mill at this location; however, court records note the Hardin Stone Mill in 1842 and 1851, but the location was confused. We don’t know if the mill was just for sawing logs or was a general purpose mill or much else about it. In the 1850 Census, Christopher Stone was living with his son William and the record shows him as 85 years old, born in South Carolina about 1765. Christopher’s son James was reported to have moved to Awbrey Grove at the time that Thomas Awbrey moved there in 1834.Current records show no person with the last name Stone are in our local yellow book. William Stone and wife are buried in the McCrary Cemetery and Jonathan’s family are with markers in the Lile Cemetery.

Apple Orchard Records Reveals Ag History

In the early years of Daviess County, many orchards were developed. This is a detailed record of one orchard once located a mile west of Civil Bend. Learning about it offers some understanding of local ag history. The records were kept by Edward Smith from 1890 through 1905.

In the early years of Daviess County, many orchards were developed. This is a detailed record of one orchard once located a mile west of Civil Bend. Learning about it offers some understanding of local ag history. The records were kept by Edward Smith from 1890 through 1905.

Edward Smith was born in Indiana in 1846 and came to Daviess County at age 11. His father, Daniel, came to the area in 1857 with his seven sons. Edward, at age 16, joined the Union army in Company C 33rd Regt. E.M.M. in July 1862 and also served in Company A 4th Prov. Mo. Militia and Company H 43 Regt. Mo. Vols. Inft. from which he was discharged June 20, 1865. Edward married Sara Bristow from Gallatin. Her father died in the war serving the Union. The last of their eight children, Alton, died in 1979.

Edward farmed part of his father’s land and by 1985 he owned 220 acres just west of Civil Bend. Ed also loaned money to family and neighbors during his orchard years, and these records also survived in family records. His records end when he turned the land over to two daughters.

By 1906 Ed had sold 2400 bushels of peaches and had sales each year after 1895 except for 1899, 1902 and 1904 — years of crop failure. By 1906 Smith had sold 9,045 bushels of apples, including the big apple crop year of 1904 with a yield of 4,000 bushels when prices averaged 25 cents a bushel (obviously, many others also had bumper apple crops for sale). In 1901 and 1903 Smith got 80 cents for a bushel of apples.

In 1890 Smith planted 375 Ben Davis apple trees, and 550 more the next year plus 50 Jonathan trees. The trees cost about 7 cents each and were purchased in Gallatin from Alexander and Howell. Fifteen trees were replaced in 1894 of the Ben Davis type. The peaches were probably Conover Free Stones and were started from seed. The number of peach trees was unreported, but the apple orchard must have had about 975 trees. Edward planted corn between the trees until 1895 when he seeded the orchard to clover and then to bluegrass in 1900.

Smith’s recorded sales for 15 years was $5,200 in corn, hay, peaches and apples. His recorded cost was $973.60. Cost of picking labor and baskets must have been about 5 cents per bushel. The price of peaches ran from 71 cents per bushel in 1897 to $1.25 per bushel in 1905.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, published in the Gallatin North Missourian on March 29, 1995

First Settlers Found a Hunter’s Delight

The following reveals life as known to settlers who first entered into this region, before Daviess County was organized out of Ray County. Pioneers who came to stay in the old Ray District, landed on the east bank of Crooked River in August, 1815. The land was beautiful but unpolished by the hand of Englishmen. The Indians, however just, were not desirous of being made perfect, so peace was throughout this new land. The first came by land in Virginia wagons with not-so-white canvas, drawn by a spike team (three horses). The driver was seated on the rear left horse. The hunting life of these families in the first few years is the focus of this writing.

The following reveals life as known to settlers who first entered into this region, before Daviess County was organized out of Ray County. Pioneers who came to stay in the old Ray District, landed on the east bank of Crooked River in August, 1815. The land was beautiful but unpolished by the hand of Englishmen. The Indians, however just, were not desirous of being made perfect, so peace was throughout this new land. The first came by land in Virginia wagons with not-so-white canvas, drawn by a spike team (three horses). The driver was seated on the rear left horse. The hunting life of these families in the first few years is the focus of this writing.

The wagons held a few tools and many children. The first hunt was for a good place to build a cabin. The only livestock was horses, but they needed an enclosure for safety during the night. They were staked out or turned out during the day to find their own feed. A nearby meadow was nice for this purpose. A near prairie was nice for hunting trips, and a grove of fine trees for logs, firewood and fences was the result of the first hunt.

The early history book of Howard and Chariton counties contains the following: "When the settlers first came to this country, wild game of all kinds were very abundant and so tame as not to be easily frightened at the approach of white men. This game furnished the settlers with all their meat and, in fact, with all the provisions they used, for most of the time they had little else but meat. There were large numbers of animals and, to use the expression of an old settler, ‘…they could be killed as easily as sheep are now killed in our pasture.’

"The settlers spent most of their time in hunting and fishing, as it was no use to plant crops to be destroyed by wild game. Small game such as squirrels, rabbits, and partridges swarmed around the homes of the frontiersmen in such numbers that when they did attempt to raise a crop of any kind, in order to save a part of it they were forced to kill them in large numbers. The only use of corn, of which they planted very little, was to make bread, and bread made of corn was the only kind they ever had."

Ray District settlers called their place the Buffalo Settlement, since it was frequented by herds of that animal with at least 60 in each herd. This place is near Hardin in Carroll County.

The hunters’ clothes were deerskin breeches, shirts and moccasins. Their heads were topped by coonskin caps. The wife had leather aprons over a flax or nettle dress. Venison hams were cured for winter use. Wild hogs were in the woods for pork and oil. Fish were taken by night gigging; scalps of wolves and foxes were collected to pay taxes. Furs, deerskins, beeswax and honey were saved for barter or for "land office money" in case the hunter wanted to own his land, which wasn’t often.

A land office was set up opposite Boonville in Cooper County’s bottom in 1818. General Thomas A. Smith and Charle Carroll started sales on Nov. 18, 1818. Doe skins and beeswax were good for payment.

Ray County history lists the animals as follows: "The panther, bear, jackal, lynx, wildcat, catamount, wolf and fox" were all considered destructive; "myriads of wild turkeys" ate up the "little corn fields. The streams are full of fish. Bixon browsed on the prairie, and elk and deer were abroad in the forest."

The lynx cat included the bobcat (Lynx rufus) and the larger, fierce wildcat (Lynx Lynx). The jackal referred to was probably the pack hunter coyote (Canis Latrans) and the gray wolf (Canis Lupus) was the wolf. Foxes included the gray (Tree Fox) and the smaller Kit Fox. The bear was the black (Ursus Americanus). The catamount was the mountain lion (Felis concolor). The panther must be the Texas jaguar called a jaguarundy or black (dark gray) leopard, a night hunter and very much an avoider of man. The elk was the Wapiti or white rump (Cervus elaphus).

In the winter of 1837-38, Gallatin’s great hunter was perhaps William C. Atkinson, who supplied Jacob Stollings and his boarding house ranch. Stolling paid 10 cents for chicken turkeys and 25 cents for grown ones. Atkinson supplied 180 turkeys and venison and fish. He reports a count of 366 deer taken during his life in Daviess County (1837-1882).

Atkinson reported kiling 62 wildcats and 16 wolves, paying his and his neighbor’s taxes with his trusty rifle. He lived at a place called "The Rocks" on Splawn’s Ridge. He took 300 moccasins from one den on the bluffs, of the large and small varieties. The big ones had 15 to 20 rattles. He described them as big spotted with yellow bellies. He also reported that he killed one panther and found as many as 52 bee trees in one fall. He recorded maple sugar sold at $1,600. He said he lost track of his total on turkey.

John Aubrey is reported to have taken the last black bear in Daviess County, using a horse and club.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin; published Oct. 20, 1993, in the Gallatin North Missourian. Further information on pp 155 and 627 in the 1882 Daviess County History book.

The Long Lost Mills of Daviess County

Much of the time spent by early county court judges was in ordering and approving early roads. These trails ran from historic place to historic place in nearly a direct line. Many of these locations were mills. The records, however, do not describe the power source for some of the mills, nor the work done at the mill such as sawing, milling, grinding, carding, grain separating or cleaning, etc. The exact site of some of the places has been lost. The descriptions given, if any, are not clear in current terminology. The following is a list of 22 mills in Daviess County, about which little more is known.

Much of the time spent by early county court judges was in ordering and approving early roads. These trails ran from historic place to historic place in nearly a direct line. Many of these locations were mills. The records, however, do not describe the power source for some of the mills, nor the work done at the mill such as sawing, milling, grinding, carding, grain separating or cleaning, etc. The exact site of some of the places has been lost. The descriptions given, if any, are not clear in current terminology. The following is a list of 22 mills in Daviess County, about which little more is known.

  1. Taylor McCully Mill 1839: This mill was construced by Jacob Groomer before 1840. The last reference was in 1860 when it was owned by Mary McCully. The first county trail northwest of Gallatin went to this site. This may be the first water-powered mill built in Daviess County. It was located in the west half of the southwest quater of Section 15 (T60N-R29W) and sold to Taylor McCully in August, 1839.
  2. Matthew Patton Mill 1841: This mill was first noted on May 10, 1841, when Charles Yates requested a Dram Shop license there. In June 1841 a road to the place was requested and approved by the court in December. The last reference found was in May 1847 when it was called the Sevier Mill. It was on North Big Creek, at the location of old town Pattonsburg.
  3. Lewis Watson Mill 1841: This mill was on North Big Creek just north of "Dry Deer Lick" at the southeast quarter of Section 16 (T61N-R28W). It was sold to Jonathon Watson in 1849 and last referenced in 1859.
  4. Cypress Creek Mill 1841: Location is not known. This mill may have also been called the Wlirte’s Mill when last noted in 1844.
  5. Harris Mill 1842: The only reference seems to place it in the northeast part of Daviess County.
  6. Hardin Stone Mill 1842: The mill was south of Gallatin on Marrow Bone Creek near the trail to Richmond. (See Mill #11)
  7. Jeremiah Lenhart Horse Mill 1842: This mill was reported in other records, in Monroe Township.
  8. Haptonstall’s Mill 1847: This mill was first called Haptins Falls Mill, near a place later called Alta Vista. It was also called the Smith Mill, Happenstall Mill, and the JMeremiah Lenhart Mill in 1858 and 1859. It has been reported to have been built by Vincent Smith in 1845 and burned in November, 1860. It was probably located on Lazy Creek in Section 19 (T59N-R29W) near an old road to Maysville.
  9. Gay’s Mill 1847: This mill was once reported on Mill Seat Branch in the northwest part of Daviess County.
  10. Barnett Dilley Mill 1851: The mill was on Sampson Creek near the trail from old Pattonsburg to Gentryville. It may have been built by William Patton in 1850 and was also called Cooper’s Mill in 1854 and Taylor’s Mill in 1856.
  11. Hardin Stone Mill 1851: This mill was reported once on Honey Creek south of Gallatin in December 1851. The exact location may be mistaken.
  12. Shriver’s Mill 1853: The mill is reported on Grand River and site is now known as "Mill Dam." It may have been constructed by Samuel Crews and was sold to Andrew Shriver in May, 1854. It was mapped as the Daviess County Milling Company in 1876; it was first called the Shriver and Scott’s Mill in July, 1854.
  13. Jackson Township Mill 1854
  14. Netherton and Isaac’s Steam Mill 1856: This mill was reported on the west of the southeast corner of Section 12 (T61N-R26W) and near John and Harry Netherton’s land in 1859 and 1860.
  15. Craig’s Mill 1857: This may have been built by Uriah Craig on Dog Creek near Pool Ford (Surface Ford) on the trail from Gallatin to Mirabile.
  16. Liarley’s Mill 1857: This may have first been called Dave Brown’s Fish Trap in 1856 but known as Youtsey’s Mill on the Grand River in 1857. In 1865 the mill was on the trail from Salem to the Old Union Meeting Houts. May have been owned by Solomon "Lierley" who came to Lincoln Township in Daviess County from Illinois in 1856.
  17. Weldon’s Saw Mill 1857: Once reported near Haw Branch Ford, south of Honey Creek.
  18. Thornton S. Talbot Mill 1858: This mill was on the old bed of the Grand River where the trail from "Greasey" to Breckenridge crossed. The last reference was made in 1860.
  19. Steven’s Mill 1859: This mill was reported in 1859 on South Big Creek near Grand River.
  20. C.E. Morton Steam Saw Mill 1859: Reportedly located near Honey Creek south of Gallatin in 1859 and shown on the William Lewis land Section 4 (T58N-R27W) on the 1876 plat.
  21. Hill’s Steam Mill 1860: Reportedly at Aubrey Grove
  22. Weldon’s Mill 1862: Located on an old bed of the Grand River at Hobb’s Ferry in 1862. It was at Weldon’s Ford in 1863 and in 1864 Benedict Weldon was assessed for a $300 steam mill (no location given).

These "unknown" mills are in addition to the more widely known mills, such as the David Groom Mill, the Butler-Lewis Mill, and the Robert Peniston Horse Mill. There were also three steam saw mills shown on the 1876 plat pages not included in the list above. Since there were no new mills found in the records up through 1865, research on this topic ceased with 1865.

Researched by David Stark, Gallatin; first published in the Gallatin North Missourian on March 7, 1990

Daviess County’s “Temporary” Courthouse

In March 1838, the county judges of Daviess County ordered the building of a new jail ($400) and a courthouse ($6,000). The judges were John Freeman, Vincent Smith and Joshiah Moran. Judge Moran had replaced William Morgan on the court on Aug. 7, 1837. The bids for the buildings were to be taken May 25, 1838. A “temporary” courthouse — largely unnoticed and forgotten in county history — was opened in Gallatin on July 17, 1839, and was first put in use on Aug. 24, 1839. This first “temporary” courthouse was in use from Aug. 24, 1839, to Sept. 5, 1842.

In March 1838, the county judges of Daviess County ordered the building of a new jail ($400) and a courthouse ($6,000). The judges were John Freeman, Vincent Smith and Joshiah Moran. Judge Moran had replaced William Morgan on the court on Aug. 7, 1837. The bids for the buildings were to be taken May 25, 1838. A “temporary” courthouse — largely unnoticed and forgotten in county history — was opened in Gallatin on July 17, 1839, and was first put in use on Aug. 24, 1839. This first “temporary” courthouse was in use from Aug. 24, 1839, to Sept. 5, 1842.

The selection of Gallatin as the “seat of justice” for Daviess County had been made in November, 1837. Gallatin then included all of the northwest quarter of Section 20 (T59W-R27N). Gallatin lots were authorized to be sold starting Jan. 8, 1838, for $12 each with one or two years credit allowed. That would have been $96 per square block.

Gallatin was just beginning. On March 26, 1838, the county court issued the first busienss license for Gallatin which was for Jacob Stallings to sell wine and liquors in his Dram shop.

On June 5, 1838, the court ordered a general election to be held in Gallatin on Aug. 6, 1838. White male taxed freeholders would be allowed to vote, which was the normal Missouri state law.

On June 18, 1838, the court met at John Freeman’s residence to replace John A. Williams as county treasurer since Williams had resigned. Elisha B. Creekmore wAs selected to take that office.

After the election, the new county judges took office on Aug. 24, 1838. They were James Wilson and Adam Black with Merisether Green presiding. In September, the court sold a grocery license to Stallings for Gallatin.

On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18-19, 1838, the Stallings’ businesses were looted and burned. The county treasury and Creekmore records were taken by force. Stallings soon reopened for business, renewed his liquor license in December and Patrick Lynch was sold a Galaltin merchandise license to run for six months.

In December, 1838, the county court met at Elisha Creekmore’s cabin since there were no houses in Gallatin. Tobias Miller got a dram shop license for Gallatin in January, 1839.

The contract at the courthouse that went to Tom Awbrey and Robert and William Peniston was rescinded March 6, 1839. In April, M.T. Green got a grocery license for Gallatin.

On June 4, 1839, the court ordered John B. Comer to have the jail done by Christmas. William Morgan, county collector, reported collections of $126.45 of $460.30 assessed, and he got $27.50 for his work. By July, Adam Clendenen also had a legal dram shop in Gallatin. In August, William Livcy got a dram shop license.

In December 1839, Treasurer Creekmore was replaced (because of bad record keeping) by Adam Clendenen. The court paid a $50 bill for a Franklin stove that was purchased for the temporary courthouse. New plans for the courthouse constuction were made, and the cost estimate was increased to $8,000.

Charles Blakely was deputy sheriff and Jesse Blakely was appointed as the 1840 assessor. John Comer was given another year to complete the jail and advanced $200 at 2% interest. Morgan had resigned as sheriff in September and was replaced by Pinkerton, who was succeeded by Marshell K. Howell on Jan. 10, 1840.

In February 1840 Daniel Smoot got a dram shop license for Gallatin. In March 1840, Richard Grant’s petition to move the seat of justice from Gallatin to Cravensville was rejected for lack of support. The court ordered that the new courthouse be placed under contract in May, 1840, and was to be completed in two years. The court ordered that the general election be held at Gallatin’s temporary courthouse with polls open for two days.

The county paid $631.75 to Clay County for jail services and in December 1840, the county paid the ferry fee for 47 Missouri State Militia to cross and recross the Grand River on O.W. Smith’s Ferry. The expense was paid for the militia to parade in Gallatin.

The jail (located on Lot 1 and 2 along North Main Street today) was accepted by Daviess County on March 3, 1841, at a cost of $600; $12.75 was paid for jail bedding.

In March, 1842, the court met at the temporary courthouse in Gallatin and ordered that the temporary courthouse and all other unsold lots in Galaltin be sold at auction. The people who had paid for the temporary courthosue were to be repaid after one year. Isaac Lawson got a new dram shop license for Gallatin.

In April and May, 1842, the court noted that the walls of the new courthouse were higher than was contracted. Two additional windows were added to the east side of the courthosue for $40. Blankets for the jail were purchased for $10.13 and O.B. Richardson was given a dram shop license for Gallatin.

In June 1842, the court met at the temporary courthouse and orderd (June 7, 1842) that a public well be constructed near the new courthouse. In August a $17 lightning rod was ordered to be put on the new courthosue by the builder, Joseph S. Nelson. The new courthouse was completed and first placed into use on Sept. 5, 1842. A payment was made to Nelson at that time of $4,914.19. In December, 1842, $40 was paid to Robert Lawson for courthouse furniture. Nelson was not given final payment for his work until Nov. 15, 1845.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, for the Gallatin North Missourian printed March 14, 1990.

Stalling’s Ford the Site of First River Bridge

One of the very earliest trails approved by the Daviess County judges was the Gallatin-to-Utica road which ran along the south and west side of the Grand River. There are reports that an old trail used by Indians ran northwest from Utica along the river highlands and crossed over the river to the bluffs at Lock Springs. The Gallatin-to-Utica trail was approved in May, 1838.

One of the very earliest trails approved by the Daviess County judges was the Gallatin-to-Utica road which ran along the south and west side of the Grand River. There are reports that an old trail used by Indians ran northwest from Utica along the river highlands and crossed over the river to the bluffs at Lock Springs. The Gallatin-to-Utica trail was approved in May, 1838.

The road from Gallatin to Chillicothe ran along the flood plain north and east of the wide Grand River bottom. As the smaller streams put their flow into the Grand, the places to cross over the bottom prairie got wetter and wider. This wet prairie was over 5 miles wide at some places.

Early federal maps show that the land south of Osborn Lake was not suitable for sale. Swamp land and inundated land ran for 5-1/2 miles to the east and 1-1/2 miles to the south. This big “pool” received the waters of Grand River, the flow of water from Big Muddy Creek, Clear Creek, Lick Fork Creek and other branches.

Water from Big Muddy created a large island in the center of Grand River’s old channel two miles west of present Lock Springs, MO. This area was full of fish, waterbirds, and other water animals — surely enough meat and skins for all residents’ needs for 100 years.

Jacob Stallings was a Gallatin businessman (1838-46) when a trail was made to cross Grand River above the bottom prairie. His last business was the Mansion House Inn and Tavern (licensed June, 1843); G.M. Peck joined in this business in July 1844, and Henry Whittington joined them in 1845 and then took over the business with Jonathan E. Mann in 1846-47.

Stallings obtained a ferry license for the place called the Orr Ford (noted in the county records from March 18, 1845) on Feb. 10, 1848. In October 1845 the county approved a trail from Richmond to the Orr Ford to Trenton. That road was to be 60 feet wide, then the widest trail in Daviess County.

On Aug. 7, 1848, Judge John A. Tuggle and Tobias Miller ordered Dr. John Cravens, John P. Lutz, John Mann and George W. Moore to work with James McFerran to select the “most suitable point for the erection of a bridge across the west fork of Grand River” to draft a plan “for the bridge” and “estiamte the cost.” In September 1848, the county approved a “road” from Stallings Ferry to the Edward L. Ellis residence at the Harrison County line. On Jan. 1, 1849, McFerran was made commissioner to let a contract for the bridge, “Trestle Plan A,” near the Stallings Ferry.

The bridge contract was to state that “the mudsills” (wooden beams on the river bottom) are to be firmly secured in the bed of the river, by large rocks placed upon them and the banks of the river, particularly the west bank, must be well riprapped with rock at least two feet in depth, extending from the top of the bank to low water mark, and running up and down the river, for a space of at least 30 feet, to prevent the banks from washing. The timber used to be of the best quality, white oak, burr oak, walnut, or locust may be used, but none other, in constructing the bridge.

“The contract (for the bridge) to be let to the lowest bidder, by public outcry, in front of the courthouse door. Notice of letting to be published in the Grand River Chronicle for four weeks, and written notice to be set up in each municipal township of the county. The price to be paid is not to exceed $2,000.”

Andrew Shriver was awarded the contract on June 4, 1849, and he received $650 advance payment from the Internal Improvement Fund (ITF) on that day. Lutz, Moore and McFerran were paid $5 each for their work from the same fund.

On Sept. 3, 1849, the court reported that the road from Stallings Ferry to Harrison County was to be “cut out” and “opened 30 feet wide.” In February 1850, Shriver received a progress payment of $400 and on June 4, 1850, he received $275 from the ITF. The court approved an extension for a completion date of Aug. 1, 1851.

The bridge was completed by this date at Stallings Ferry (southeast corner of Section 6, T58N-R26W). The west end of the bridge would have been on land owned today by Jack and Mildred Young. Mr. Young states that there is no noticeable evidence of the bridge or of the Talbot Mill that was constructed there in 1858.

This was the first bridge across the Grand River in Daviess County. It was also the first bridge to wash away. By August, 1853, a second Grand River bridge was being planned for Adkinson Ford.

Jacob Stallings reportedly left the county in May, 1852. The first bridge built here was guaranteed for four years and the builder was bonded. In 1854 Mr. Shriver had a mill at “Mill Dam” outside Gallatin, so he didn’t appear to suffer financially when the bridge washed away.

Andrew Shriver was born near Dayton, OH, in 1815 and married Nancy Ann Ellis Caldwell in 1836 in Tippecanoe County, IN. He served as sheriff in Daviess County, MO, from 1862-66 and resided here over 30 years. He left Missouri in 1881 to live at his son’s ranch near Lytton Springs, CA, until his death in 1904.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, for publication in the Gallatin North Missourian

First River Bridge also Scene of a Killing

Jacob Stallings got into the ferry business in 1848 at the old Orr Ford on Grand River (SE 1/4, Sec. 6, T58N-R26W). This site was a crossroads for travelers from Richmond, Bethany, Trenton, Gallatin and Greasy as well as connections from the Utica road over the Grand River to the Chillicothe road. Daviess County’s first bridge over the Grand River was placed at this location in late 1851, but it soon washed away.

Jacob Stallings got into the ferry business in 1848 at the old Orr Ford on Grand River (SE 1/4, Sec. 6, T58N-R26W). This site was a crossroads for travelers from Richmond, Bethany, Trenton, Gallatin and Greasy as well as connections from the Utica road over the Grand River to the Chillicothe road. Daviess County’s first bridge over the Grand River was placed at this location in late 1851, but it soon washed away.

In 1854-55 Judge Thornton S. Talbot and wife, Julia, purchased land 200 yards south of the crossing on the west side of the old river bed. The Thorntons and John T. Dougherty established a grinding and saw mill at the place about 1855.

After the bridge failure, Jacob S. Rogers Jr., operated the Stallings Ford Ferry (1852-59). Jacob (Nath) Snyder lived and worked with his family at the mill. Snyder’s house was provided by the mill owners. Within a mile (west) the Packwood family resided. In the spring of 1856 trouble was starting between Larkin Packwood and the mill owners.

Mr. Packwood claimed that the mill owners had lost his corn and sacks at the mill and would not replace them. Larkin was reported as saying that Talbot and Dougherty had “stole his hogs and corn” and he was going to “kill them as a parcel of dogs.” However, this doesn’t sound anything like what later took place at the mill. Larkin was also reported to have said, “he would have satisfaction by fair or by foul means.”

About mid-morning on March 9, 1856, Larkin went to the mill to Jacob Snyder’s house to return borrowed coffee to Mrs. Snyder. At the mill (within 100 yards) were the Snyders, Judge Talbot (with a double-barrel shotgun), John Dougherty (with a heavy 3-foot stick), Jim Talbot (with some kind of small bore gun), Richard Hale and Andrew Arnold.

Mr. Snyder saw trouble coming, so he called his wife out of the cabin, leaving Larkin there by himself. Mr. Dougherty took it upon himself to run Larkin off and give him a beating. Dougherty went into the house with his stick and soon came out behind Packwood on the run. Dougherty was right behind Larkin and hitting him with the stick.

Dougherty pursued Packwood north to the edge of the woods, about 50 yards, where Larkin turned around and struck Dougherty once with a knife. Packwood kept on running and did not offer to repeat the stroke of his knife. As he was stabbed, Dougherty hollered “Oh, Lord!” and threw the club after Packwood. Two or more guns were fired from the mill at Packwood running away.

Jim Talbot, on horseback, pursued Larkin up by the lake (Packwood Lake) and shot at Larkin who was dodging behind the forest trees. Andrew Arnold went for the doctor to help Dougherty but Dougherty died of his wound in about an hour.

Dr. Dewey treated Packwood that evening and stated that Larkin was bleeding freely and spitting up blood from a gunshot wound in his side. Larkin had been shot through one lung but recovered. Dr. Dewey reported that Larkin had 11 severe bruises on his back and shoulders.

The Packwood family living on Packwood Bluff prepared for “mob justice.” A spy, sent by the family, returend to the mob indicating that if Larkin was taken from the bluff, someone other than a Packwood was going to get hurt.

The sheriff was Meriwether T. Green. He held Larkin at the old pit jail in Gallatin. Larkin was tried in April, 1857, in Caldwell County (change of venue) and found guilty of the murder of John Dougherty in the first degree.

The ruling was overturned in favor of Packwood in January, 1858, by the Supreme Court at Jefferson City. The higher court ruled that Larkin had neither used any language nor did any act or in any way whatever — actively or passively — so conducted himself as to provoke a difficulty and had acted in self-defense in using the knife.

Packwood was discharged and moved to Ray County to reside there. The Talbots operated the mill for another 10 years and sold the place to Richard Hale.

Packwood Lake and Packwood Bluff are near the old ferry and mill location in the northwest corner of Harrison Township. Remains of the Packwood residence may still be found on the bluff overlooking Grand River.

In 1856 a new bridge was built northeast of Gallatin. This reduced the activity past the old Orr Ford (Stallings Ford) location. Packwood Lake is nearly gone now, but no evidence of the mill or the crossing of the old river bed can be found.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, taken from the 1882 Daviess County History Book, for publication in the Gallatin North Missourian

The Last Pioneer Killed by Indians in NW Missouri

The first permanent settlers in Daviess County came to stay around 1830. This followed the last important Indian battle in Northwest Missouri, which occurred in July, 1818, when six Osage ndians (without guns) were shot and killed near Orrick. History records no Indian difficulties in Daviess County. But if you journey down river and back in time to 1810, you’ll discover an historic pioneer Indian problem in Northwest Missouri: the Boone’s Lick Country War.

The first permanent settlers in Daviess County came to stay around 1830. This followed the last important Indian battle in Northwest Missouri, which occurred in July, 1818, when six Osage ndians (without guns) were shot and killed near Orrick. History records no Indian difficulties in Daviess County. But if you journey down river and back in time to 1810, you’ll discover an historic pioneer Indian problem in Northwest Missouri: the Boone’s Lick Country War.

The best summary of this “war” of 1810-14 is told by the Rev. J.M. Peck in his memoirs, written in 1819. Remember that the Territory of Missouri north of the Missouri River was called St. Charles County or district until 1812; Howard County was formed in 1816 (Ray County or district, from which later came Daviess County, was formed in 1821 just as Missouri became a state).

Howard District was nearly 22,000 square miles and included a part of Iowa and all the west side of the Osage River in south Missouri. The district extended westward to the mouth of the Kansas River at the present Kansas City.

The Missouri River area west of the present Jefferson City was called Boone’s Lick Country. There were no pioneers who came to stay until Lt. Col. Benjamin Cooper Sr. and his family moved upriver in early 1808. Territory Gov. Merriwether Lewis ordered them to move back to Loutre Island, about 4 miles below the entrance of the Gasconade River. They stayed there until spring 1810.

Indian troubles started near the Loutre River settlement in July, 1810. A small band of Potawatomie Indians took some horses and supplies from there and were followed by six settlers to Boone’s Lick (8 miles northwest of New Franklin, S4-T49-R17) in the present day Boone County. The settlers recovered some of the property.

The night before starting the return trip, however, the settlers were raided. William T. Cole was killed as were two other settlers and four Indians. Cole’s brother, Stephen, was wounded.

This small battle seems to have resulted in a military response into the area west of Cedar Creek in 1810 and 1811. Gen. Henry S. Dodge, then major of the battalion, was in command of the soldiers and Col. Cooper led the backwoodsmen. Other principal officers were Capt. Sarshall Cooper, William Head, Stephen Cole, Capt. John Thompson from St. Louis, Capt Daughterty of Caope Girardeau, and Capt. Edward Hempstead. Major Dodge also had Delaware and Shawnee Indians in his battalion, a force of mounted troops.

Col. Cooper headed Cooper’s Fort, built on the bottom prairie where he tried to settle in 1808. Fort McLane was built on the bluff a mile west of where new Franklin was later constructed. Kincaid’s Fort was put near the river about a mile and a half up from the Old Franklin site. Head’s Fort was put near Moniteau Creek at the end of the old trace from St. Charles.

Cole’s Fort was made on the south side of the Missouri River, about a mile below the present Boonville. William Cole’s widow and children settled there soon after the murder of her husband.

It is told that in the spring of 1812, tribes from Lake Michigan including Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo and Potawatomie were supplied and encouraged by the British Limie Torie Government to aid its war against American citizens. The war began to get hot in the Boone County area in 1812. Some battle casualties were:

— Jonathan Todd and Thomas Smith of Fr. McLane, killed with several Indians near Thrall’s Prairie

— two Indians, killed by James Cole and James Davis, while trying to keep settlers from returning safely to Cole’s Fort

— William Campbell killed by Quapaw Indians 5 miles northwest of Boonville in July 1812; his companion, Adam McCoul, escaped to warn settlement forces. Col. Cooper and Major Dodge led 500 frontiersmen and regular soldiers in pursuit and 180 Quapaws surrendered near the Missouri River and were taken to St. Louis as prisoners of war

— Braxton Cooper Jr., killed in September, 1813, by Indians 2 miles northwest of New Franklin while cutting logs to build a cabin

— Joseph Still of Fort McLane, killed on the Chariton River in October, 1813, but no circumstances were known except that it was probably the work of Indians

— William McLane, killed near Moniteau Creek in October 1813, after being pursued from the Fayette area by a band of Indians estimated at 150 in number

— Capt. Sarshall Cooper, killed April 14, 1814, by a gunshot through a hole in his cabin wall; this murder may have been done by Frenchmen whom the captain had stoppped from supplying whiskey, powder and shot to Indians

Others killed in the area of Boone’s Lick by Indians were Sgt. Samuel McMahan of Fort Cooper, William Gregg of Fort Cooper, John Smith and James (John) Busby, both probably of Fort Cooper.

The last death mentioned in this was a black man namd Joe who belonged to Samuel Brown of Fort McLane. Joe was killed 3/4-mile east of the present Estill in Boone County. Thus, the last reported pioneer settler killed in Northwest Missouri was during the Boone’s Lick Country War in 1814. This was approximately 16 years before the start of the settlement of Daviess County and 7 years before the old Ray County district was formed.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin, for the Gallatin North Missourian published Sept. 29, 1993.

“Fort Gallatin” Defends Against the Indians

Daviess Countians today don’t often think of this area as being among the Old West areas threatened by Indian attack. History records, however, state that a fort was once built east of Gallatin for that very reason. Settlers here in 1832 constructed a blockhouse and palisade fort where the families could be protected in case of attack.

Daviess Countians today don’t often think of this area as being among the Old West areas threatened by Indian attack. History records, however, state that a fort was once built east of Gallatin for that very reason. Settlers here in 1832 constructed a blockhouse and palisade fort where the families could be protected in case of attack.

According to an account written by David L. Kost (a state representative from Daviess County in the 1870s), the fort was located on land once owned by the late John Merritt. It is almost directly east of Gallatin on high ground, overlooking a big bend in the Grand River (land farmed today by Tim Osborn). Kost writes the following:

“In the year 1832 occurred the Black Hawk War, having its chief field of operations in Illinois but extending its baleful influence through the entire northern part of our state. Black Hawk organized a strong band of Sacs, Fox, and Winnebagoes and asserted his determination to drive white settlers from the frontier.

“At first he was successful in battle, but at last was disastrously defeated and captured. Our county shared the general excitement. A blockhouse and palisade fort (walls made of upright logs) was built on the John Merritt farm to which settlers might repair in case of alarm; Theodore Peniston and a dozen more of the young men joined the volunteers who were scouring the countryside to prevent an invasion of Indians from Iowa.”

As far as this segment of history goes, there is no mention that the fort ever had to be used. No one recalls seeing the fort or ever uncovering any traces of the days when Daviess County was a bona fide frontier, complete with Red men on the warpath.

Researched by David Stark, for publication in the Gallatin North Missourian

Millport — Site of First Election in Daviess County

John Splawn’s house was used in the first county election, according to the writings of Rep. David L. Kost, a state representative from Daviess County in the 1870s. The beginnings of Millport marked many firsts for Daviess County.

John Splawn’s house was used in the first county election, according to the writings of Rep. David L. Kost, a state representative from Daviess County in the 1870s. The beginnings of Millport marked many firsts for Daviess County.

In 1831 Robert P. Penniston, Sr., his wife, Nancy, and their family settled on 80 timbered acres in Union Township on Splawn Ridge (S 1/2 of NW 1/4 Sec. 23). Their neighbors joyfully assisted in raising a cabin for them, which was the custom of the times. These neighbors probably included John and Mulberry Splawn, Thomas Edwards, Thomas Awbery, Leven Brookshear, William Runnels, William Morgan, John Tarwater and others who had preceded them to this area.

John Splawn’s house was used in the first county election; John was on the first county jury and refused the job as first county assessor. William Morgan was to have been one of the first county judges but apparently lost his commission from the governor, and later lost his job as sheriff when he lost some important prisoners.

Millport, the oldest place in Daviess County, once existed on the Stephen Smith farm in Union Township. It wasd settled in 1831 by Robert P. Peniston, Sr., who laid it out as a town. It took its name from Peniston’s horse mill, the only place where pioneers could obtain meal or flour on this side of Rhichmond, MO. The first post office in Daviess County was at Millport in the fall of 1835. (Kost’s History)

During the next seven years Robert Penniston’s farm was to become the location of the first town in the county. Robert built a horse mill on his west 40 acres in 1832 and around this mill was developed the Millport community. For several years this was the only place to get freshly ground grain and meal north of Richmond.

Millport was on a well-traveled north/south trail on Splawn Ridge, four miles north of the James Hunter ferry at the mouth of Honey Creek on Grand River. There were two fords to the west on the Grand, Smith ford southwest and Atkinson ford to the northwest.

Millport was laid out as a town in 1836, the same year of the forming of the Daviess County government. By the spring of 1837, the town of Millport had 10 dwelling houses, post office, the mill, six stores and a school.

The second meeting of the county court was at the Millport school. This school was in the dwelling house of Ira Norris, Mr. Norris being the teacher. Students would come from as far as 15 miles away to attend school there.

The court meeting decided to issue grocery licenses for $10 each and merchants licenses at $15 each. Mr. John A. Williams got the first grocery license for his store in Millport.

Mr. Williams later was made the first county treasurer and collected the first county tax levy of $164 in 1837. Forty-nine dollars and 16 cents became delinquent. Mr. Williams became the county’s first state representative, elected in 1838 and again in 1842.

Jesse Adamson got the second grocery license for his store at Millport. Three merchantes licenses were issued. The first was to T.W. Jacobs of Millport and the second to Worthington and McKinney Store in Millport.

Next to Ira Norris’ house was the Compton and Morin Store. Josiah Morin of Millport was the area’s first election judge and later became this area’s first state senator. The sixth store was believed to be a blacksmith shop of Milford Deneoko.

Perpared by David Stark

One of Gallatin’s Old Guard — John Ballinger

Capt. John Ballinger came to Daviess COunty in 1845 at the age of 13 and distinguished himself in Gallatin with his neighbors Jim McFerran, Sam Cox, Joe McGee, Bill Folmsbee, Benton Miller, Bob Grantham, Bill Gillilan and others of our grand old guard.

Capt. John Ballinger came to Daviess COunty in 1845 at the age of 13 and distinguished himself in Gallatin with his neighbors Jim McFerran, Sam Cox, Joe McGee, Bill Folmsbee, Benton Miller, Bob Grantham, Bill Gillilan and others of our grand old guard.

Ballinger was born at Fulton in 1833, was educated back at the old Ballinger home in Kentucky, and spent most of his life in public service at Gallatin, MO. He was named after his grandfather, Colonel John Ballinger, who commanded U.S. forces at Baton Rouge, LA, in the War of 1812. Colonel Ballinger died in 1815 as a result of that effort.

John’s father was Gabriel Louis Ballinger, who “was so fearless and daring that he organized and led a band of adventurous traders from Kentucky to Santa Fe in 1825 to trade for mules. Gabe married Josephine Jennings in Kentucky the next year and moved to Fulton. Gabe reportedly commanded the Callaway County Cavalry in the successful campaign against hostile Indians in 1830. He was clerk of the court for years at Williamsburg, KY, and helped Henry Clay in his presidential campaign of 1844. Gabe then moved to Daviess County where he farmed, made speeches, and preached the gospel. Gabe died in California while looking for gold in 1851 at age 51.

Gabe’s son, John, was no less adventurous. Capt. John recruited and commanded Company G, 1st Missouri State Mounted Cavalry of Volunteers from March 1862 to July 1864 for the Union. As sheriff of Daviess County, John Ballinger went to Indiana to capture the chief of the John Reno Gang and brought him back to Gallatin without use of a warrant.

In addition to John’s businesses in Gallatin, he as a leader in Republican politics, Masonic Lodge work, and in the Christian Church as a leading elder from 1871. He became Sunday school assistant superintenent in 1873 and superintendent in 1879.

John was elected to Gallatin’s first city council in May, 1858. In mid 1861, Abe Lincoln appointed John Ballinger postmaster. He served there two years and again from April 1873 to August 1881. Ballinger was postmaster when the James Gang reportedly tried for a money shipment that got to the post office the morning after the Winston train robbery. It came in late on the other train. John quartered Dick Liddil, the main witness at the Frank James trial.

When John first came to Daviess County, he settled at the “Cold Springs” farm in Jackson Township. He married Miss Mary Buckols. They had two children, Mrs. Ollie Keever and Mrs. Hattie Rowan. The first child, Ethil, was born about 1865 and Hattie about 1871.

John died at Hattie’s home in Garden City, KS, on Sunday, Aug. 23, 1914, at the age of 81.

Henry Clay McDougal reported that John was known to him for nearly 50 years. He reported that John was noble, manly and yet genial and gentle. He said John was also courteous and generous. Mr. McDougal states, “His lofty patriotism, high courage, sound judgment and superb citizenship challenge public and private admiration, yet the crowning glory of this long life was his splendid loyalty to family and friends, church and neighbors, cause and country.”

Written by David Stark, Gallatin

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.

A List of “Firsts” as the County Organized

Daviess County, MO, organized on Nov. 29, 1836, when a legislative bill introduced by Rep. Alexander Doniphan was passed by both the Missouri Senate and the Missouri House and signed by Gov. Boggs on Dec. 29th. The county was named after Col. Joseph H. Daviess who fell at the Indian battle of Tippecanoe. Under the provisions of the legislation, a commission was appointed to select the county seat. This commission decided upon the name of Gallatin for the Daviess County seat on Sept. 13, 1837, and the town was platted in December of that same year (although a report of the commission was not recorded until Sept. 3, 1839 by mere matter of neglect).

Daviess county at first extended from the Caldwell County line to Iowa; in February, 1845, Harrison County was formed on the north and Daviess County was reduced to its present limits. The area was once claimed by Spain, twice by France, and at different times it constituted a part of St. Chatrles, Howard, and Ray counties. The current townships were formed after several reorganizations; the last reorganization was in 1870.

Daviess County, MO, organized on Nov. 29, 1836, when a legislative bill introduced by Rep. Alexander Doniphan was passed by both the Missouri Senate and the Missouri House and signed by Gov. Boggs on Dec. 29th. The county was named after Col. Joseph H. Daviess who fell at the Indian battle of Tippecanoe. Under the provisions of the legislation, a commission was appointed to select the county seat. This commission decided upon the name of Gallatin for the Daviess County seat on Sept. 13, 1837, and the town was platted in December of that same year (although a report of the commission was not recorded until Sept. 3, 1839 by mere matter of neglect).

Daviess county at first extended from the Caldwell County line to Iowa; in February, 1845, Harrison County was formed on the north and Daviess County was reduced to its present limits. The area was once claimed by Spain, twice by France, and at different times it constituted a part of St. Chatrles, Howard, and Ray counties. The current townships were formed after several reorganizations; the last reorganization was in 1870.

On April 7, 1837, the first term of the county court was held at the house of Philip Covington. Covington and Elisha B. Creekmore settled here in 1831 where the south edge of the Gallatin city limits now exist. The county judges were J.W. Freeman and V.T. Smith. Their commissions were signed Jan. 27, 1837, by Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs and Secretary of State Henry Shurles.

Judge Smith, having previously been sworn into office by the clerk of the Clinton County Court, administered the oath to his colleagues. The first county court was inaugurated with James B. Turner present as clerk.

The first act of this court was to form the county into three townships. They were Honey Creek (the area south of Honey Creek), Grand River (north and east of Honey Creek), and Grindstone (north and west of Honey Creek).

Their next act was to order election of a justice of the peace and constables with the election to be held on April 29, 1837. Voting places and election judges were also named as part of that action.

The first acting assessor was selected to be Marshall K. Howell. He built a house on what is now East Grand Street in Gallatin. Daniel Duvall was also an early resdent within the present city limits. Also mentioned as having buildings in this area at this time were J.S. Stalligns, John Wright, Benjamin Rowell, Joseph McGee, O.H. McGee, and F.H. Buckhols.

The first circuit court (Fifth Judicial District) was held in July 1837, under an arbor made in front of the house of Elisha B. Creekmore. This wa a double, one-story log house located near the old graveyard. This location was used until August term of 1839, at which time court was held in downtown Gallatin. Mr. Creekmore boarded the officers of the court, juries and most of the parties and witnesses.

The first indictment was returned against James Handly for assault with the intent to kill. Judge Austin A. King was on the bench. Circuit Attorney was Thomas C. Burch; J.B. Turner was clerk and William Bowman, sheriff. This indictment was deliberated by an 18-man grand jury. They took about an hour to decide in the midst of a nearby dense hazel thicket.

During these early years, the Creekmore house was pointed out to strangers as a place to get meals and conduct other business.

The March 1838 term is of some interest. It appears that the court officials, witnesses and other people present indicted themselves for betting at cards, probably at the Creekmore house. They charged themselves, 43 in all, pleaded guilty, and paid a $5 fine. If all paid, the $215 total would have exceeded the 1837 tax levy.

Taken from the writings of Rep. David Kost in 1870, researched by David Stark for publication in the Gallatin North Missourian in January, 1983. Also from the Gallatin Democrat in September, 1936.

Converting Trails into Daviess County Roads

County judges in the early days of Daviess County spent much time ordering and approving roads in the county. These would be called trails today since they were only 30-foot wide paths or muddy wagon tracks across open ground. At intersections, “finger board” signs would indicate what places travelers would next encounter.

County judges in the early days of Daviess County spent much time ordering and approving roads in the county. These would be called trails today since they were only 30-foot wide paths or muddy wagon tracks across open ground. At intersections, “finger board” signs would indicate what places travelers would next encounter.

The process of declaring a county road started when householders or “freeholders” petitioned the court to establish a trail. These were free white males who owned real estate and desired road improvements. These trails did not include any construction work or earth moving until after the Civil War.

Freeholders made the propositions. The county court then acted, based upon argumetns placed before the court at monthly meetings. The official trail was called a county road or a state road if it ran across county lines. There were natural trails and unofficial trails in this county, and trails formed by Ray County officials before 1836.

The process of official road approval changed little from 1836 through 1865. The new trail started with a freeholder’s petition. There did not seem to be a limit to the number of signatures required to make such a petition, and all were considered. Sometimes 30 or more people were mentioned; sometimes, only one.

If the court did not reject the petition at its introduction, it could be continued for later consideration. In most instances, the petition resulted in a court order for these citizens (white males) to “view and lay out” the proposed road and report back to the court.

The road was not to be laid out through anyone’s “enclosure,” meaning lot, yard or fenced pasture. This was not much of a problem since there were almost no fences. If the “viewers” found the trail to be on good ground and of use, and value to the county, they described the exact route and recommended approval.

Upon approval, the court ordered the route “staked and blazed.” Stakes were put down in the praire grass and trees were blazed (bark cut away) to mark the new trail. When this was done the trail was officially opened and a road overseer appointed.

Everyone was paid by the county for their work by an allotting justice named by the court. Pay went to the viewers, overseers, surveyors, chain men and to those who did the clearing of brush and trees. Fords were not improved or road drainage work performed at county expense.

If damage to someone’s land was claimed, the court had the loss assessed and, upon approval, paid the landowner. In later years, if a landowner was a local resident, “consent” was considered for crossing his land. Each new county court would select road overseers and name them for each section of all county trails.

After about 1860 road districts were established and road overseers named for each district. The route for the roads was to get from important place to place on good ground. The established trails were also subject to petitions for changes and could be closed if unneeded.

It was a continuous process for the judges. Many landowners wanted trails moved from their fields when fencing became more popular. The land ownership lines were mostly on Congressional township lines. These borders were described as section, quarter section township, and range, etc.

Municipal townships such as Honey Creek Township and Grand River Township were often divided by rivers and streams.

As more consideration was given to putting roads on section lines, the roads went either east, west, north or south. A traveler could be requried to go three or more times the distance to get from place to place. The roads also crossed streams at difficult places and passed over poorer ground.

Roads would pass directly over springs, up steep hills, across a stream several times, and along steep slopes. County expenses on roads then greatly increased.

Written by David Stark, published in the Gallatin North Missourian.