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.