The Daviess County Telephone Company (DCTC) was originally incorporated Jan. 15, 1901, with 200 shares of common stock at $25 par value. An additional 400 shares at the same par value were authorized Jan. 7, 1913. Mr. Penn Love, phone #400 office and #240 residence, ran the DCTC and records of outside services contracted for by him from 1910-11. A city ordinance of Gallatin dated Feb. 6,1905, authorized a telephone system in Gallatin by this company.

Gallatin had magneto (crank) phones until Dec. 29, 1956, when dial service was first installed. In 1905, crank phone service was $1 per month for residences and $1.60 per month for business wall phones. Desk phones were available for 25 cents per month. Gallatin was paid a franchise fee of $25 per year. In 1911 the business wall phone rate was increased to $2 per month.

This newspaper photo shows Elizabeth Love, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Penn Love, at the switchboard of the Daviess County Telephone Company in 1913.

Starting in 1916, officers of the DCTC were President Penn Love, Vice President Charles Hemry, and Secretary/Treasurer H.Y. Tarwater, phone #300 office nad #214 residence. In 1917 W.C. Gillihan, phone #64, replaced Mr. Hemry as vice president.

DCTC was reorganized Oct. 1, 1921, and E.O. Turner was president and general manager. The other officers were from St. Louis and they included E.F. Carter, vice president; J.P. Crowley, secretary; and R.A. Nicherson, treasurer. This reorganized company was purchased by the Inter-County Telephone Company (ICTC) in 1927. The new general manager was Joe M. Roberts of Maysville, who moved his family to Gallatin in 1929. Mr. Roberts moved to Columbia in 1963 and was president of the company at that time. It was later renamed the Missouri Telephone Company.

Daviess County Telephone Company began operations in 1901, reorganized then purchased by Inter-County Telephone Company in 1927, later renamed Missouri Telephone Company. Switchboard operators worked to provide customer service, connecting caller to local residences and businesses.

In May, 1929, ICTC purchased the Gallatin Trust Company building for $7,000 from Charles and Carrie Knauer. ICTC owned several phone exchanges in and around Daviess County at that time and ran them from Gallatin.

In 1929 the phone rates were as follows: rural service $1 per month, rural business $2 per month, city business $3 per month, and $1 for additional extensions. The city one-party residence rate was $1.75 a month and 50 cents for an extension. The rural residence rate, one party, was $1.65 a month and a party line of five or more parties was 65 cents a month. The above charges were made once per year in March and had to be paid in advance.

Telephone directories eventually became small books as telephone use became widespread. But initial lists of those having telephone service were small, such as this example (date unknown)

Some interesting phone numbers for Gallatin from a 1904 phone book are: D.H. Davis and sons #3, Democrat office #10, county clerk’s office #30, J.W. Alexander #29, McClaskey Barn #20, U.S. Express Company #207, J.H. Townsend #2, Wabash Depot #4, Wabash Hotel #236, Windson Hotel #11, Woodruff Hotel #72, Wes L. Robertson residence #0, Dr. C.O. Netherton #1, North Missourian #12.

There may also be interest in who didn’t have a phone number in this 1904 book. The city clerk had one (#206) but the city police and the county sheriff’s office did not. The Rock Island Depot had no phone and none were listed for the school, fire department, nor for the post office. Sheriff Robert McCray had a residence phone (#122).

— written by David Stark, Gallatin, published in March, 1994, in the Gallatin North Missourian; researched from information provided by the Missouri Telephone Association

The telephone switchboard serving Altamont, MO, in 1909 was operated by George and Mayme Dice. The switchboard may have been located in the upstairs of a residence across the street from today’s post office. (courtesy Mark Irvin)

During the 1970s Dixie Murray Chapman bought a desk at an auction and found a number of documents in the desk drawers, mostly checks signed by Daviess County Treasurer Lee R. Pierce.

This photo simply identified as “Telephone Building,” date unknown. Located at the northwest corner of the Gallatin business square.

Lee and Gene Morris once operated a popular restaurant on the west side of the Gallatin square. A public telephone booth, left, was still providing land line service with a coin-operated pay phone. Missouri Telephone had an office on the east side of the square. This local telephone office eventually closed with Windstream consolidating business operations at its main facility at Bolivar, MO.

When land lines provided the only means of telephone service, public pay phone booths were strategically placed not only to provide access but for profits. This booth stood at the southeast corner of the courthouse square in Gallatin, convenient to those pausing at the 4-way stop. The booth eventually fell to neglect and was finally removed in 2000.

Land line telephone service was available at a public phone booth serving the Amish community in 2000 at Jamesport, MO.