County Histories of Northeast Missouri
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Audrain County, Missouri

 

Pioneer Times

The early settlers of Audrain County were principally from Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. The first settlements were made in the timber and on the water courses. The dwellings were always small cabins in the timber on account of convenience for building material and fuel and near the water courses on account of water. Game was abundant. They devoted themselves mainly to hunting, trapping and fishing. This was not done merely as a pastime or a pleasure but of necessity. By common consent of the settlers, the skins of the fur-bearing animals were a legal tender. The first houses were built on Beaver Dam, Salt River, Loutre, Cuivre, Young's creek and Littleby. They aimed to group themselves together as much as possible in neighborhoods, but owing to the distance of the streams apart, these settlements were far apart and separated by broad prairies. Naturally these early settlers took to the timber along the streams because they had all come from states where there were no prairies.

Early Settlers

For the first ten years after the creation of the county by the legislature in 1830, the early settlers so far as is ascertainable, and in addition to those named in this sketch as taking a part in the first organization of the county, and the town of Mexico, and settling in the county, are as follows:

John Wayne, in 1827, settled about six miles southeast of Mexico.

Caleb Williams settled in the county in 1830 and died in 1832. It is said his funeral was the first ever preached in the county and that the preacher was a Methodist circuit rider, the Rev. Robert A. Younger, who performed the first marriage ceremony in the county, February 2, 1837. Younger lived in Boone County. It has been stated that the Rev. R. A. Younger was the father of Cole Younger and his brothers, the notorious bandits.

Thomas Boyd, 1830
John Charlton, 1830
Asap Hubbard, 1830. Hubbard settled in the northeastern part of the county and was the father of the late Thomas Hubbard, a man of more than ordinary ability.
John C. Martin, in 1830. He was the father-in-law of the late Henry Williams, elected to the legislature in Audrain County, in 1870. Mr. Williams was a merchant in Mexico for many years and became one of the wealthy men of the county, but it is said when he married he was so poor he could not pay the minister, but gave him an old spinning wheel for his trouble.

John and Thomas Barnett, 1831
Neil Blue, also a soldier of 1812, 1831
Hezekiah J. M. Doan, on Salt river, 1831
Henry Shock settled in the now Gantt post office neighborhood in 1831
George Talley in 1831

Richard Brynes, 1832
Drury and Beverly Mayes, in 1832
Marion Pate, 1832
John Reynolds, 1832
Matthew Scott, Mrs. Jane Gregg and Louis Day in 1832 established for their children and those in the neighborhood, the first school in the county. The house was built on the northeast comer of section 35, township 50, range 9. Archibald Gregg was the first teacher. One day at noon he took his gun, which he always had at the school house, went into the woods and brought in a dead wild cat, to the curiosity of his pupils.

Franklin Armstead, 1833
John Bybee, 1833
Thomas Hook, 1833
Rowland Wats, 1833

James Reed, 1834
John Wilson, 1834. He settled on Young's creek near where the Paris road crosses that stream and was the father-in-law of James Berry, John Vance and John Price soon after coming into the county.

Timothy Barney settled on Cuivre in 1835
Carter and James Cauthorn, 1835
Peter and Silas Cawthorn, 1835
Edward Faucett, 1835
Josiah and Thomas Gantt, 1835. They settled in what is now known as the Gantt post office neighborhood.
John A. and Joseph Pearson, about 1835, settled on what afterwards became part of the City of Mexico.
_____ Russell, father of Frank Russell, after whom Russells Ford is named, on Salt River about ten miles north of Mexico, 1835

John and Frank Canterberry settled on Littleby in 1836
Josiah Fuger, 1836
Elisha Hall, 1836
David Martin, 1836
Nimrod, Reuben, settled on Littleby in 1836
Reuben Pulis, as early as 1836
William White, 1836
William, John as early as 1836

Edward Beatty, 1837
Shorten Blankenship settled east of Mexico about eight miles in 1837
William Cardwell, 1837
Edward H. Douglass, 1837
David Eubank, 1837
James Harrison, 1837
Peyton Mahan lived in Saling Township when it was first organized. The election for township officers was held at his house in 1837, and the number of votes cast was ten.
Saling township, Ellerton B. Mallory settled in 1837
Abraham B. Tinsley, 1837
Albert G. Turner, born in 1837, whose father, John Turner settled at the head of Salt River southwest of Mexico in 1835, knew the Rev. Younger in his later days and knows that the statement as to his being the father of the Younger boys is a mistake.
Jeremiah J. West, brother of William C. West, 1837
William Woods, 1837
John Younger in 1837. This was a different family than the Young after whom Young's Creek was named

Thos. Bradley, a soldier of the War of 1812, 1838
Elias Eller, 1838
At the same election in Salt River Township, the judges of the election were Thomas Kilgore, George L. Smith, and John C. Martin
Jackson Thomas, 1838
Calvin M. McCarty, 1838
In February, 1838, there lived in Loutre Township, and who were appointed judge of the township election, William McCormack, and Andrew P. Hays
Barnett McDonald, 1838

William M. Clark, 1839
William Crosswhite settled in Saling Township in 1839
Carter and John G. Dingle, 1839
Louis Musick, 1839
Joseph D. Spencer, about 1839 settled on Salt River about one mile north of what is now Rising Sun church.
William Talley, 1839

Robert Calhoun, 1840
Joseph Crockett, 1840
Thomas Crouch, 183_ he settled on Cuivre
Ausey H. Fike, 183_
Jacob Heppler, 183_ He settled on Salt River about six miles north of Mexico.
Thomas Peery, 183_
Thomas Powell settled north of Mexico about one mile on Salt River, in 183_

William M. Jesse settled southeast of Mexico in 1883. He was one of the founders of Hopewell church

There were doubtless others settled in the county within the decade here mentioned, but at this late date, their names are not obtainable. There were thirty-three voters in Cuivre Township in 1840.

Organization

As the territory of St. Charles County was sub-divided into other counties by the territorial legislature, and the general assembly of the state after the adoption of the constitution of 1820, an unorganized piece of territory surrounded by other counties was left within the boundaries of no organized county. When Montgomery County was organized December 14, 1818, the unorganized territory west of it was attached to that county for military and civil purposes. Callaway, Boone and Ralls counties were created, however, in 1820, and for civil and military purposes, parts of what is now Audrain County were attached to them, and when Monroe County was organized January 6, 1831, a portion of the unorganized territory south was attached. This accounts for the fact that some of the early conveyances and records of Audrain County are found in the counties adjoining.

The legislature of 1830 discovering the fact of the unorganized territory, since composing Audrain County, two bills were introduced into the house constructing that territory into a county. One proposed to name it Union County, the other "Ioway" County. The bill giving it the name of Union county passed the house and, on being taken up in the senate, was so amended as to give it the name of Audrain County, in honor of the senator from the Eighth district, composed of Lincoln and St. Charles counties, James H. Audrain, who had died during the session.

The authorities of Audrain County and the city of Mexico have not been at all particular in preserving the public records, and when it comes to the early records of the bill was signed by the governor, John Miller, and became a law, January 12, 1831. The bill provided that "So soon as there shall be inhabitants in said territory sufficient to entitle said designated county to a representative, by the then existing law of the land, the same shall be organized and entitled to all the rights and privileges of other counties in the state. 'The bill further provided that parts of the county should remain attached to Callaway, Monroe and Ralls counties, for civil and military purposes as theretofore until such organization should take place.

So far as the legislature is concerned, the territory thus constructed into Audrain County, was left to itself until it had acquired a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle it to a representative. Then the legislature of 1836 passed an act authorizing the organization of the county. An act was approved December 17, 1836, appointing Cornelius Edwards of Monroe County, William Martin of Callaway County and Robert Schooling of Boone County, commissioners, for the purpose of selecting the seat of justice for the county, and vesting in them all necessary power for the organization of the county, and providing that they should meet on the first Monday of June, 1837, at the house of Edward Jennings, in "New Mexico," for the purpose of selecting and locating the permanent seat of justice of the county. The act further provided that the courts, both county and circuit, should be held at the house of the said Edward Jennings in "New Mexico." Subsequently the act was amended changing the date of the meeting to the first Monday of March, 1837.

The boundaries of the county as originally laid off by the legislature, so remained until 1842, when the legislature passed an act further defining the boundaries of Monroe and Audrain counties, and a strip of territory one mile wide, in all thirty-one square miles was taken from the the county, there is almost an inextricable confusion, besides much omission, as well as a failure to preserve records of many matters of importance.

Neither the county nor the city of Mexico has ever had the offices of a historical society, the services of which are absolutely essential to the preservation of the deeds of the people. A society of this kind would find in this county abundant work to perform, and before it is too late succeed in reducing to a permanent record, many things which now appear to be in a mistful state.

The County Seat

On April 23, 1836, Robert C. Mansfield and James H. Smith, having entered the land upon which the original town of Mexico was located, filed a plat of the town at Paris, the county seat of Monroe county, and gave the town the name of Mexico, in recognition of the excitement at that time in this state over the growing controversy between Mexico and the United States concerning the independence of Texas.

 These proprietors thought that the note of the name would bring popularity to the town. There is no warrant for ever having called the town New Mexico except through the mistake of the legislature in naming the commissioners, yet in the records of both the county and circuit courts for two terms, the place is designated as New Mexico. These records further state that the commissioners to locate the county seat met, and the first courts were held at the house of Edward Jennings. The commissioners met as directed by the legislature and located the county seat of the county at Mexico, in consideration of the donation of certain lots and blocks to the county, and they further required an additional donation which has ever since been known as the donated or county addition to the town. These donations were accepted by the county and block twenty-five of the original town was set aside for the court house square. The author of this sketch has made as thorough investigation as it is possible to make, of where the house of Edward Jennings was located. The fact is that Edward Jennings never owned a house in or near Mexico, but after the laying off of the town and prior to the act of the legislature above referred to, James E. Fenton had purchased from the proprietors of the town, lots six and seven of block twelve and had located on lot six where the book store of James E. Sallee is now located, a grocery and general store and this business was conducted by the firm of Jennings & Fenton. This was the Edward Jennings named in the act of the legislature. Prom Rufus S. Pearson now living in Mexico, and at that time a boy ten years of age, living with his father on a farm adjoining the northern limits of the town, it is learned that the house where this store was maintained is the first house ever built within the original limits of the town plat, and from a suit begun by Gross & Robbins at the July term, 1837, at Mexico, against Jennings & Penton, it is learned that as early as June 22, 1837, Jennings had ceased to be a resident of Audrain county. Prom the conduct of Jennings as disclosed in a bill of exceptions now on file in that case, it is not surprising that Jennings had claimed the ownership of the house where he and Penton were doing business, and had succeeded in getting the legislature to designate the house as his, when as a matter of fact, it belonged to Penton. After the troubles out of which this law suit arose, there is no further account of Jennings in and around Mexico.

Owing to the fact that people generally cherish the places where beginnings take place, the author of this sketch has taken special pains to locate the place where the commissioners met and where the first courts of Audrain county were held, and after accepting the statements of Mr. Pearson as above stated and examination of the early records so far as they go, the conclusion is irresistible that this place was on lot six of block twelve of the original town of Mexico and the further conclusion is that the house designated as that of Edward Jennings was the house of James E. Penton on that lot. This particularity has been gone into for the reason that a former historical sketch of Audrain County has stated that the house of Edward Jennings was at a different place in the town.

Judge Edwards' Sketch

A part of the history of Audrain County by the late Judge S. M. Edwards, written in 1877, for an atlas of the county, is adopted as being correct in the main with the exception of the location of the house of Edward Jennings, and the account of Robert Littleby, from whose name Littleby creek takes its name. Bryan and Rose in their account of Audrain county in "Pioneer Families of Missouri,'' 1876, give Littleby's settlement there as early as 1816, and say that he removed west in 1822, instead of his death there as stated by Edwards. Littleby was a trapper and hunter and sold his furs and pelts in St. Charles.

The excerpt from Judge Edwards' sketch follows: **Very little is known of this section prior to 1828. Of the thrilling events in her past but a single one comes down to us through the memory of the old settler; and this occurred as late as 1822. It is related that the Indians, who then held possession of all the country from the Boonslick settlement, north, had made a raid on the whites at Loutre Island, and robbed them of stock which they could not well afford to lose, and a force of some thirty men was at once sent in pursuit. They followed the trail for several days, until they found they were getting too far in the enemy's country when they gave up the chase and started to return and when night came on they pitched camp on the head-waters of a small stream and in the open prairie at a point near the present residence of Mrs. Margaret Potts. After partaking of their rude repast, weary and worn from travel they lay down in the tall grass to sleep, a sleep few ever awoke from. The savages, having spied their movements, fell upon them in the night, and killed many as they lay asleep in their blankets. Two only escaped from the camp, and one of these was the late John Gibson, of Callaway County, from whom my informant got the story. These were closely pursued by the Indians, and the last Gibson saw of his companion was when they were nearing the timber on the head-waters of Loutre creek, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of the site of the village of Martinsburg.

"Gibson was three days getting back to the settlement, and during this time his only food was a hawk which had had a wing broken. Gibson alone returned to tell the sad story to the wives and mothers on the island. The whites got together a sufficient force and came back and buried the dead, but the coyotes and the wolves no doubt unearthed the bodies, for afterward when the county came to be settled, a large pile of human skulls and other bones were found here, and from this the stream is called Skull Lick.

Many human teeth, in a fine state of preservation, recently taken from the spot, are now in the possession of Dr. J. W. Luckie, dentist, in the city of Mexico.

The territory which forms Audrain County up to 1837 was known as "Salt River Region," and not even Hades with all its horrors was more uninviting to the timid female than a home within its borders.

County Officers

The names of judges who have served in the Audrain county circuit court from date of organization, 1837, to the present time, are as follows:

P. H. McBride, afterward supreme judge, Boone County, March 13, 1837, to March 31, 1841
John D. Leland, afterward supreme judge, Howard County, March 31, 1841 to October 25, 1848
William A. Hall, Randolph County, October 25, 1848, to April 30, 1856
John T. Redd, Monroe County, April 30, 1856, to April 28, 1862
Gilchrist Porter, Pike County, April 28, 1862, to October 17, 1862
John I. Campbell, Marion County, October 17, 1865, to April 16, 1866
William P. Harrison, Marion County, April 16, 1866, to March 4, 1872
Gilchrist Porter, Pike County, March 4, 1872, to January 24, 1881
Elijah Robinson, Pike County, January 24, 1881, to January 1, 1887
Elliott M. Hughes, Montgomery County, January 1, 1887, to July 1, 1903
Robert D. Rodgers, Audrain County, vice Hughes, deceased, July 7, 1903, to August 19, 1903, appointed by Governor Dockery
Houston W. Johnson, Montgomery County, vice Rodgers, resigned, August 19, 1903, to January 16, 1905, appointed by Governor Dockery
James D. Barnett, Montgomery county, present incumbent, since January 16, 1905

Joel Haynes was the first circuit clerk of the county and some of those holding that office subsequently, were:
John B. Morris
John P. Clark
Silas Wilson
James Carroll
Ben C. Johnson, three terms
John J. Steele
P. M. Morris
Captain James C. Buckner

In 1872 the legislature passed an act giving to Audrain County a probate court, thereby transferring to that court all probate business from the county court.

June 1, 1872, George B. Macfarlane was by Governor Brown appointed judge, and at the November election the same year, he was elected and held office until the 15th of January 1875, when he resigned and Samuel M. Edwards was by Governor Hardin appointed his successor. This office he held by election until January 1, 1903, when he voluntarily retired and William W. Botts, the present incumbent became his successor.

In 1840 James Harrison was the Whig candidate and James Jackson the Democratic candidate for the legislature. Harrison obtained the certificate of election but his seat was successfully contested by Jackson.
Abraham B. Tinsley was at that election chosen sheriff.
In 1842, James Harrison, the Whig candidate defeated James Jackson, for the legislature. John B. Morris was elected clerk of both the circuit and county courts.
In 1844, Robert Calhoun, Whig, defeated Richard R. Lee, Democrat, for the legislature.
In 1846, Abraham B. Tinsley, Democrat, was elected to the legislature over James Harrison, Whig.
In 1850, Bazel Offutt, Whig, defeated Tinsley, Democrat, for the legislature.
In 1854, John R. Crosswhite, Democrat, was elected to the legislature, over Thomas J. Hardin, Whig.
In 1856, Thomas J. Hardin, Native American candidate, defeated A. B. Tinsley, Democrat, by one majority. Tinsley contested the seat and Hardin resigned.

In the county election of 1860,
John B. Morris, W. D. Sumner and John P. Clark were elected judges of the county court
Alexander Carter, sheriff
M. Y. Duncan, county clerk
W. D. Sumner, the sheriff and the county clerk were ousted under the test oath
B. P. Ritchie was appointed the successor of Sumner
George O. Yeiser, a lawyer and deputy provost-marshal, was appointed in place of Duncan
John W. Gamble, sheriff in place of Carter

The Bar

The names of judges who have served in the Audrain county circuit court from date of organization, 1837, to the present time, are as follows:

P. H. McBride, afterward supreme judge, Boone County, March 13, 1837, to March 31, 1841
John D. Leland, afterward supreme judge, Howard County, March 31, 1841 to October 25, 1848
William A. Hall, Randolph County, October 25, 1848, to April 30, 1856
John T. Redd, Monroe County, April 30, 1856, to April 28, 1862
Gilchrist Porter, Pike County, April 28, 1862, to October 17, 1862
John I. Campbell, Marion County, October 17, 1865, to April 16, 1866
William P. Harrison, Marion County, April 16, 1866, to March 4, 1872
Gilchrist Porter, Pike County, March 4, 1872, to January 24, 1881
Elijah Robinson, Pike County, January 24, 1881, to January 1, 1887
Elliott M. Hughes, Montgomery County, January 1, 1887, to July 1, 1903
Robert D. Rodgers, Audrain County, vice Hughes, deceased, July 7, 1903, to August 19, 1903, appointed by Governor Dockery
Houston W. Johnson, Montgomery County, vice Rodgers, resigned, August 19, 1903, to January 16, 1905, appointed by Governor Dockery
James D. Barnett, Montgomery county, present incumbent, since January 16, 1905

Joel Haynes was the first circuit clerk of the county and some of those holding that office subsequently, were: John B. Morris,
John P. Clark,
Silas Wilson,
James Carroll,
Ben C. Johnson, three terms,
John J. Steele,
P. M. Morris
Captain James C. Buckner.

In 1872 the legislature passed an act giving to Audrain County a probate court, thereby transferring to that court all probate business from the county court.

June 1, 1872, George B. Macfarlane was by Governor Brown appointed judge, and at the November election the same year, he was elected and held office until the 15th of January 1875, when he resigned and Samuel M. Edwards was by Governor Hardin appointed his successor. This office he held by election until January 1, 1903, when he voluntarily retired and William W. Botts, the present incumbent became his successor.

In 1840 James Harrison was the Whig candidate and James Jackson the Democratic candidate for the legislature. Harrison obtained the certificate of election but his seat was successfully contested by Jackson. Abraham B. Tinsley was at that election chosen sheriff.
In 1842, James Harrison, the Whig candidate defeated James Jackson, for the legislature. John B. Morris was elected clerk of both the circuit and county courts.
In 1844, Robert Calhoun, Whig, defeated Richard R. Lee, Democrat, for the legislature.
In 1846, Abraham B. Tinsley, Democrat, was elected to the legislature over James Harrison, Whig.
In 1850, Bazel Offutt, Whig, defeated Tinsley, Democrat, for the legislature.
In 1854, John R. Crosswhite, Democrat, was elected to the legislature, over Thomas J. Hardin, Whig.
In 1856, Thomas J. Hardin, Native American candidate, defeated A. B. Tinsley, Democrat, by one majority. Tinsley contested the seat and Hardin resigned.

In an election to fill the vacancy, Hardin beat Tinsley two votes. Prior to the Civil war, the parties were about equally divided in the county, sometimes the Whigs, sometimes the Democrats were successful. In 1858, Mortimer McIlhany defeated A. B. Tinsley, Democrat, for the legislature. McIlhany was again elected in 1860. In both races he ran against a regular Democrat. McIlhany attended the legislature, voted for secession, was also at the Neosho special sitting of the legislature called by Governor Jackson and there voted for secession. Charles H. Hardin, who was the senator from the senatorial district in which Audrain was situated, attended the last named sitting of the legislature and voted against secession. McIlhany was sent as a representative of Missouri to the Confederate congress.

In the county election of 1860,
John B. Morris, W. D. Sumner and John P. Clark were elected judges of the county court
Alexander Carter, sheriff
M. Y. Duncan, county clerk
W. D. Sumner, the sheriff and the county clerk were ousted under the test oath
B. P. Ritchie was appointed the successor of Sumner
George O. Yeiser, a lawyer and deputy provost-marshal, was appointed in place of Duncan
John W. Gamble, sheriff in place of Carter

The Bar Members

History of Newspapers

The first newspaper published in the county was the Weekly Ledger, which was established at Mexico in the summer of 1855, by John B. Williams. Mr. Williams who was well known as a newspaper man in central Missouri, conducted the paper until 1856, when he sold it to William D. H. Hunter who continued its publication until January, 1862, when fire destroyed the office.

In January, 1863, a paper called the Audrain County Beacon was established by Captain Amos Ladd and O. A. A. Gardner. John T. Brooks took an interest with Ladd and Ladd & Brooks published it as the Weekly Missouri Ledger. Later Brooks took over Ladd's interest and continued the publication till in March, 1872, Colonel J. E. Hutton purchased the paper and re-christened it the Intelligencer. In 1879 Colonel Hutton began publishing a daily edition of the paper. In 1885 the paper was purchased by Samuel B. Cook, who, in 1898, accepted C. M. Baskett as partner, and in 1900 Cook sold his interest to Baskett, who published it for a short while, and from him it was taken over by a corporation of which F. A. Morris is the president, the editor being Rufus Jackson.

In October, 1865, W. W. Davenport established the Messenger and soon afterward sold it to M. P. Simmons, who conducted it until September, 1874, when it was purchased by J. Lynn Ladd, who changed its politics from Republican to Democratic re-christening it the Ledger, and in 1876 sold it to R. M. White. Mr. White began publishing the Daily Ledger in 1886. Both weekly and daily issue of that paper are now published by R. M. White & Son, L. M. White.

In 1859, the Audrain County Banner was started by William H. Martin, but existed only a few months.

 A paper called the Signal was established in 1858 by William A. Thompson, who ran it for about two years and then sold it to Joseph A. Armstead, who, after publishing it for about a year, discontinued it.

 In October, 1868, the Agriculturist was started by W. G. Church, and lived one year.

John Beal began publishing the Mexico Message, November, 1899. The State Leader, a prohibition paper, was published here for a while about 1900, by Charles E. Stokes, then and now the Prohibition candidate for governor. He removed it to Kansas City.

In October, 1868, the Audrain Expositor was started by Ira Hall, J. D. Macfarlane and Milton P. Simmons, and existed about a year.

The Mexico Union was established in 1878 by Harry Day, and in 1879 was acquired by C. A. Keeton, who changed its name to the Audrain County Press, which, after an existence of a few years, ceased publication. At different times journalistic ventures were put forth, flourished for a while, and died a natural death.

Civil War in Audrain County

Mexico, Audrain County

Towns of Audrain County

Vandalla

One of the flourishing towns of Audrain County is Vandalia, located on the Chicago & Alton Railroad in the northeastern part of the county. Its business is contributed to largely by Ralls and Pike counties. The town was laid off in 1870 by Aaron McPike and Judge Harmon Caldwell, the plat being filed in the recorder's office the 2nd of July, 1871.

The first three houses erected in the town were by Aaron McPike and were constructed of lumber hauled from Louisiana, a distance of thirty-six miles. It is surrounded by a good agricultural country. The town grew rapidly and within ten years it had a steam flouring mill, two grain elevators, and soon had two newspapers, one of these, the Vandalia Leader was established in 1875 by J. Linn Ladd. He was succeeded in the control of it by R. W. Barrow, he by White & Simpson, they by "White & Emmons, they by Emmons, he by Thomas R. Dodge & Son, then the paper went into the hands of Cullen Brothers, then transferred to W. W. Botts, by him to Prank N. Frost and upon Mr. Frost's death, he was succeeded by his widow, who has made it one of the brightest newspapers in the state. There was another paper there of short life called the Argus. For some time there has been another newspaper there, the Vandalia Mail published by F. B. Wilson.

The banking interests of a town always indicate its commercial activity. Soon after the founding of the town, Mayes & Burkhart established a private bank there with $10,000 capital and in December, 1882, their banking interests were taken over by C. G. Daniel, who continued to operate a private bank there until 1889, when the Daniel's Bank was organized into the Vandalia Banking Association, by Mr. Daniel, Aaron McPike, J. C. Parrish, W. S. Boyd, J. H. Wright, M. R. K. Biggs and George W. Calvert, with a capital stock of $50,000. Mr. McPike was the first president and C. G. Daniel cashier. Mr. Daniel is at present the president of the bank and has been for a number of years, and Will C. Daniel, his son, cashier. The Farmers & Merchants Bank of Vandalia was organized in 1897, by Fred Reid and Harvey Coons with a capital stock of $25,000. The first president was J. R. Bondurant; J. T. Williams, vice-president; W. L. Wright, secretary. The present officers are as follows: J. P. Alford, president; J. T. Williams, vice-president; Edward Lemon, cashier.

The third bank is the Commercial Bank of Vandalia, organized October 11, 1907, with a capital stock of $30,000. S. A. Waters at first and now president; C. E. Blaine, vice-president; F. B. DeTienne, cashier.

Besides being in the midst of a good agricultural country, there are two coal mines operated there, one tiling factory, the Missouri Glass Company of St. Louis, operates a factory there engaged in manufacturing fire clay products.

The population of Vandalia in 1890 was 979; in 1900, 1,168; and in 1910, 1,595. Its high school is one of the best in the state.

Martinsburg

This town was laid off in June, 1857, under the name of Hudson City by Wm. R. Martin. The name was given it in honor of the president of the North Missouri Railroad. What is now Macon City was organized about the same time and given the same name. Mr. Martin yielded to the name taken by the latter town and by an act of the legislature passed in 1857, the name was changed to Martinsburg, in honor of its founder. It has always been an important shipping point for livestock on the railroad. The town cut considerable figure during the Civil war. When the war came on, the notorious Alvin Cobb living just south of town organized a company of bushwhackers with which he terrorized that whole part of the country. After the killing of Captain Jaeger and Mr. Sharp related in another part of this sketch, his house was burned to the ground by the Federal troops and he driven away from there. When General Scofield succeeded General Pope in north Missouri, he for a short while had his headquarters there.

The town has had for several years a newspaper, the Martinsburg Enterprise.

April 1, 1893, The Martinsburg Bank was organized with a capital stock of $10,000; Stephen Bertels, president; Edward P. French, vice president; and Robert L. Morris, cashier. The directors were Stephen Bertels, Edward P. French, Robert L. Morris, J. C. Blain, Joseph Fenneward, J. H. Scott and N. M. Friedman. H. P. French is now cashier. Mr. Bertels continues as president.

It has no manufacturing interests, but has a coal mine.

In 1890, the population was 276; in 1900, 345; and in 1910, 436. It is incorporated under the village act.

Farber

Farber is on the Chicago & Alton Railroad five miles west of Vandalia and was laid off in 1872 by Silas W. Farber. It has a coal mine. For a number of years there has been published there a newspaper called the Farber Forum, by C. A. Davault.

The Farber Bank was organized in 1891 with a capital stock of $10,000. The first officers were Lyman Osterhout, president; A. E. Jenkins, cashier; and the following directors: Lyman Osterhout, J. W. Smith, N. H. Sutton, J. W. Northcutt, G. B. Kelly, A. M. Huntley, and George W. Chase. The president at this time is M. R. K. Biggs; J. D. Sutton, cashier.

The population of Farber in 1890 was 272; in 1900, 247; and in 1910, 305.

Laddonia

Laddonia was laid off in 1871 by Amos Ladd and J. J. Haden and given its name in honor of one of its founders, Mr. Ladd.

Upon the building of the railroad through there, it became at once an important shipping point for livestock and grain. At the time of its location, it was surrounded by an unoccupied prairie and the first business established there was that of a lumber business by D. P. Moore and E. C. Kennen.

Soon thereafter William W. H. Jackson established the Laddonia Enterprise which lived two or three years. Then in 1884, the Laddonia Herald was established by J. N. Cross and John Beal. Soon they were succeeded by John and Grant Beal and they were succeeded by Grant Beal and he by C. E. Mayhall, who is now its editor and publisher.

The town has two banks. David P. Moore and E. C. Kennen established a private bank there in March, 1884, with a capital stock of $10,000. This was sold in 1892 and The Bank of Laddonia was organized by B. L. Locke, E. R. Locke, S. M. Locke, C. A. Wilder, R. M. Pearson, and George E, Ferris. The first president was B. L. Locke and E. R. Locke, cashier.

In 1895 The Farmers Bank of Laddonia with a capital stock of $20,000 was organized by John W. Stephens, president; B. C. Torbert, vice president; W. H. Logan, cashier; with the following directors: Dr. A. F. Brown, Adrian Hagaman, J. W. Ohearen, W. U. Coil and W. H. Logan. John W. Stephens has continued its president and W. H. Logan, cashier. The present capital stock is $15,000 with a surplus of $10,000.

The population in 1890 was 520; in 1900, 619; and in 1910, 614.

Rush Hill

Rush Hill, a station on the Chicago & Alton Railroad, five miles west of Laddonia and ten miles east of Mexico, was laid off by William Preston Hill and Gustav Reusch in 1881 and given the name of Rush Hill. In 1890 it had a population of 210; in 1900, 181; and in 1910, 168.

The Bank of Rush Hill with a capital stock of $10,000 was organized February 6, 1905, with W. E. Cornett, president; Frank Erdel, vice president; Charles L. Stewart, secretary; J. W. Rogers, cashier; with the following additional directors: H. L. Smith, B. C. Torbert, and Gaither Berry. Charles L. Stewart is now president and E. A. Feutz, cashier.

Benton City

Benton City is an incorporated village on the Wabash six miles east of Mexico. When the North Missouri Railroad was first built a station was located there under the name of Jefftown, in honor of Jefferson F. Jones, who lived a short distance south of there in Callaway County and who had been instrumental in the building of that railroad. A plat of the town was made by James S. Rollins in 1881. In 1890 there was a population of 109; in 1900, 116; and in 1910, 233. It is an important shipping point for both grain and livestock, and maintains an elevator.

Citizens' Bank was organized there the 3rd of March, 1906, with a capital stock of $10,000, with J. J. F. Johnson, president; and C. A. James, cashier.

Thompson

Thompson is a station on the Chicago & Alton and Wabash Rail-roads, six miles west of Mexico. It has never been incorporated but about one hundred people are living there. It is an important ship-ping point for both livestock and grain and maintains one blacksmith shop and two general stores. It has a post office from which several rural routes emanate into the western part of the county.

Other villages are Worcester, fifteen miles northeast of Mexico on the Hannibal dirt road, and Molino, nine miles north of Mexico, the terminus of the Mexico, Santa Fe & Perry Traction Company Electric line starting at Mexico.

County Physicians

The first doctors practicing in Audrain County were Mathew Walton and G. W. Penny. When the county seat was located, they were at or near Mexico. Soon after Mexico was laid off, Dr. Edward Ratliff, a native of Maine, and a graduate of Bowdoin College of that state, located on a farm three or four miles northeast of Mexico and engaged in practice. He afterwards removed to Mexico and from there to Santa Fe, Missouri, where he continued to practice for many years. About the same time came Dr. W. H. Lee, afterward county judge.

In 1854, Dr. R. W. Bourn came to Mexico from Kentucky and at that time found Drs. Lazarus N. Hunter, Nathaniel Allison and W. H. Lee located there. Later came Chas. H. Hughes, then S. N. Russell, a native of Maine also, a graduate of Bowdoin College. About the time Russell located here, were Drs. T. P. Rothwell, Wesley Humphrey, C. B. Fetter, J. W. Lanius, John S. Potts, and R. Arnold, the first homeopath.

Located in the county on Littleby was Dr. Joshua H. Crawford, Edward Duncan on Long Branch, who practiced in northern Audrain and southern Monroe. In 1875 from Concord also came Dr. Wm. W. Macfarlane. Soon after that Dr. W. R. Rodes from Santa Fe, who while living here was made superintendent of the Fulton Insane Asylum. Then came Dr. T. J. Baskett, from Callaway County.

In 1872, there was organized an Audrain County Medical Society, and the following made up the officers and the membership: W. H. Lee, president; J. H. Crawford, vice-president; A. M. Vandeventer, treasurer; Wm. W. Macfarlane, secretary. The members were:

Medical Society Menbers by 1884

John Bryan
J. W. Lanius
C. B. Fetter
T. P. Rothwell
S. N. Russell
Wesley Humphrey
W. L. Reed
S. M. Dodson
Pickney French
F. M. Moore
W. R. Rodes
T. J. Baskett
W. V. Walker
Thos. S. Murdock
A. M. Patterson
R. W. Bourn
N. Allison
W. R. Blankenship
W. H. Vandeventer
Samuel Welch
J. H. Terrill
J. B. Scholl
M. M. Scott
M. E. Crawford
J. J. Halley
John McDermon

All of the above named are now dead with the exception of Drs. Rodes, still practicing in Mexico, Macfarlane located at Auxvasse, R. W. Bourn, living in Mexico, but long since retired from practice, Blankenship removed, M. E. Crawford, removed, M. M. Scott, removed, J. B. Scholl, removed to Eureka Springs, Halley, in Fort Collins, Colorado, Hughes, located in St. Louis, a prominent alienist there and Pinkney French, in St. Louis.

It is not the purpose of this sketch to give the later day members of the medical profession of the county. But one will be mentioned, Dr. Edwin S. Cave, who began practice in Mexico in 1884 and after attaining prominence in his profession, died at Mexico, July 10, 1910.

Of these named a number enjoyed more than a local practice, and gained considerable distinction in the profession, notably Russell, Hughes, Bryan, French, Rodes and Macfarlane.

County Railroads

The North Missouri Railroad was completed to Mexico in 1858 and extended northward to Hudson City, now Macon, by 1860. The county court in 1853 subscribed $50,000 to the capital stock of that railroad on condition that it would be located on what was called "The Ridge Route," and thus touch Mexico, the county seat. At the time this subscription was made people thought this to be an enormous indebtedness, but by the time the road was completed to Mexico in June, 1858, the entire amount had been paid without oppression or even inconvenience.

After the building of the North Missouri Railroad and the immigration into the state, after the Civil war, the next period of rapid growth came in the late 70's to 1880 and continued until the early part of the next decade. The prairie lands were settled rapidly. For the first two or three years of the '80s they doubled and trebled in value. In the western part of the county the immigration was largely from the older counties, mainly from Boone, Callaway, and Monroe. On the prairies along the Chicago & Alton, the settlers came mainly from Illinois and along the line of what is now the Wabash, especially around Martinsburg, came a great many Germans. The prices of land settled down, depending on location, character and improvement from twenty to fifty dollars per acre. Then there was no marked change, but the improvement was gradual until about 1902, when there came a great rush for Missouri lands from the eastern and northern states. Beginning with that time up to the present, lands have steadily increased in value until they have doubled and trebled and in many instances quadrupled.

Northeast Missouri| Missouri Counties | Books on AHGP

Source: History of Northeast Missouri, edited by Walter Williams, Volume I, Lewis Publishing Company, 1913

 

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