No doubt Ed Ellis came to Gallatin to see the then new Daviess County courthouse in 1843. Ellis planted wheat and had built a cabin (in that order) north of Gallatin on the east side of Little Cypress Creek in 1941 (today south of Route H in Harrison County). Ellis, 28, and his wife, age 18, arrived here from Bourbon County, KY. The following is a view of the 1843 Daviess County Courthouse as Ed Ellis might have seen it.

Artist’s sketch of the original Daviess County Courthouse, erected in 1843 and torn down in 1886. Starting with only $286.44 the pioneers of this county started boldly to build a $6,000 courthouse and a $400 jail …during a time when coonskins were currency of the realm; at 50 cents apiece, it would have taken 12,800 coons to pay for these public works. Construction of the 40×40 two-story courthouse began in 1840. The building featured a cupola like the present day building. The jail building was built intentionally close to the court. (lllustrated Historical Atlas of Daviess County, Missouri 1876)

The 40-foot square brick building has two floors. There is an 8-foot wooden bell tower in the center of the “hip” type roof, the center of the roof being flat in what is called a mansard roof style. There are four chimneys, two on the east and two on the west. The pressed brick walls and shingled roof are painted Venetian red. There is a large, beech yellow panel door on the south. Six large windows are on the east with five of the same size on the south. There is a shortened half-circle window over the door. Each big window has 16 light panes each; the windows measure about 4 feet wide and over 4-1/2 feet tall. Each window has 3 jams painted with white lead.

The top of the bell tower, which can be seen for several miles, has a 12-foot pole on top with a lightning rod atop that. The pole has two gilted balls on it; between the balls is a set of cross rods with brass letters indicating the north, south, east, west directions. The hip roof has over a foot of eave, about 23 feet above ground level. The south door is about 4 feet wide and 7-1/2 feet tall with a white-pointed 3-1/2 inch door jam facing. Foundation stone shows about a foot above ground level. Opening the door, you see a brick floor. This floor is about 15 inches above ground level.

The room smells of lime and wet plaster. The large square lobby/courtroom is over 36 feet wide. Walls and ceiling are plastered and white-washed. The room has an 11-foot ceiling with two exposed wooden beams, 12 inches wide, running north and south supported by two large wooden columns about 12 feet apart, marking the east-west center of the room. When court is in session, Sheriff John Pinkerton sets in the southwest corner on an elevated platform about 3 steps above the floor. Four fireplaces and a Franklin stove line the east and west walls. There is a exit door to the west like the one on the south.

At the columns on the north side is an east-west balustrade. It has a low handrail with baluster posts supporting it. It is elliptical, just dividing the room at the columns. You can walk up to the handrail to stand and listen to what Judge King says to the jury. The judge sits on a platform (bench) about 6 feet wide along the north wall and elevated 4 feet off the brick floor. This platform has a low handrail and a panneled front. There are six short steps on both the east and west walls, with handrails, leading to the bench. This allows the judge to look down at the jury, which is seated on a single board at floor level facing south.

The circuit clerk, Tom Frame, sits on his own platform 2 feet high, located east of the jury. The clerk’s platform has 2 steps with handrail, leading off the east side of the platform. The accused sets in a box on the east wall, at floor level. Access to this box is by a small door, which also gives access to the steps to the judge’s platform. The lawyers’ box is long and elliptical with a single long seat at floor level just inside the bar where observing citizens may stand. This lawyers’ box is nearly 30 feet wide, with an opening in front of the criminal’s box and also near the west door of the courtroom.

The space between the jury and the lawyers’ box is from 6 to 8 feet. The judge has 3 large windows along his platform on the north side of the building. Each window had green wooden shutters to close off excess light. The closed shutters were flush with the plaster walls.

— written by David Stark, grandson of Ed Ellis, in September, 1993