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

Linn County, Missouri
By Arthur L. Pratt, Linneus

 

Organization of County

The territory now comprised within the limits of Linn County was originally a part of the county of St. Charles and was next embraced within the limits of Howard County, which latter county was organized by an act of the territorial legislature, approved January 23, 1816. It so remained until the 16th day of November, 1820, when the county of Chariton was organized by act of the state legislature. There was a provision in the act organizing Chariton county that "All that section of the country north of the county of Chariton to the northern boundary of the state which lies between the range lines dividing ranges 13 and 14 and the range line dividing ranges 21 and 22 be and the same is hereby annexed to the county of Chariton for all civil, military and judicial purposes."

By act of the legislature approved January 6, 1837, Linn county was formed as a separate county having the following boundaries: "Beginning at the southeast corner of township 57, range 18, thence west with said township line to the range line dividing ranges 21 and 22, thence north with said range line to the township line dividing townships 60 and 61, thence east with said township line to the range line dividing ranges 17 and 18, thence south with said range line to the place of beginning."

By an act of the general assembly approved January 14, 1837, the county line dividing the counties of Linn and Livingston was so changed as to continue up Grand River from where the range line dividing ranges 21 and 22 crosses said river to the section line dividing range 22 into equal parts, thence north with said sectional line to the township line dividing townships 59 and 60. The intention seems to have been to add the east half of range 22 to Linn County. That there was error is manifest. Just when the error was discovered can only be surmised. At any rate the Revised Statutes of 1879 fixed the boundaries of Linn county as follows: Beginning at the southeast corner of township 57, range 18 west; thence west to the southwest corner of section 34, township 57, range 22 west; thence north with the sub-divisional line to the northwest corner of section 3 of township 60, range 22 west; thence east with the township line between township 60 and 61 to the northeast corner of township 60, range 18 west; thence south with the range line between ranges 17 and 18 to the place of beginning.

Early Courts

The organic act provided that the courts of the county should be held at the home of Silas Fore until the county court should decide upon a temporary seat of justice for the county. William Bowyer, James Howell and Robert Warren were appointed justices of the county court by the governor, and the first term of the county court was held by Judges Bowyer and Howell at the house of Silas A. Fore on the first Monday in February, 1837. The court appointed James A. Clark, afterwards judge of the circuit court of this circuit, clerk pro tem for the term. The court divided the county into three municipal townships. All that part of the county lying west of Locust creek was named Parson Creek Township; that part lying between Locust creek and the main branch of Yellow creek was named Locust Creek Township, and the remainder was named Yellow Creek Township. An election for justices of the peace was ordered to be held in the several townships, on the 8th day of April, 1837.

The voting precinct for Parson Creek Township was established at the house of Irvin Ogan, Esq., that for Locust Creek Township at Barbee's store and that for Yellow Creek Township at the house of Sampson Wyatt, Esq. The court adjourned to meet at the home of E. T. Dennison, Esq., but at the next term changed to Barbee's store.

At the election held in pursuance of the above mentioned order, Thomas Russell and David Mullins were elected justices of the peace for Locust Creek Township, Irvin Ogan for Parson Creek and Mordecai Lane for Yellow Creek Township.

James Howell was chosen as president of the county court, John J. Flood was the first assessor and his pay for making the first assessment of the county was $28.75. John W. Minnis was the first sheriff. The total amount of revenue collected by him the first year was $148.99, which amount fully met the county expenditures.

Thomas Barbee was the first treasurer of the county.

The first circuit court was held at the house of Thomas Barbee on the 11th day of December, 1837. Thomas Reynolds was then judge. The following persons were summoned and served as grand jurors:

Grand Jurors

Augustus W. Flournoy*
John M. Ogan
W. Tyre
Kinith Bagwell
Jeremiah Hooker
Samuel S. Masses
Alexander Ogan
Isaac Taylor
Bowling R. Ashbrook
K. Ashbrook
William Cornett
Abraham Venable
George Taylor
John Beckett
John Cherry
Uriah Head
Rennison J. Tisdale
Littrel B. Cornett
William P. Southerland
* Forman

They were in session but one day and no indictments were returned.

There was but one suit brought at that term of court which was an action for trespass on the case for slanderous words spoken, brought by Thomas Stanley against Thomas Botts for having said that he, Stanley, burned the house of Joshua Botts. The cause was tried at the August term, 1838, before Judge Reynolds and a jury of the following named persons:

Jurors

John Ogan
James C. Slack
Johnson McCouen
R. J. Tisdale
Preston O'Neal
James M. Warren
Jeremiah Phillips
Jefferson Hancock
William Smith
William Clarkson
Wharton R. Barton
John Neal

 There was a plea of not guilty and a plea of the truth of the words in justification. The verdict was in favor of the plaintiff and judgment was rendered against the defendant in the sum of $600. Jo Davis was the attorney for plaintiff and James A. Clark for the defendant. The pleadings were drawn under the common law system and are regarded as a curiosity in the way of verbose literature.

Pioneer Settlers

For many years after the admission of Missouri as a state, the territory, now embraced in Linn County was given up to the hunter and trapper. Parties of Indians from the Iowa tribes vied with the hunters from the river counties. Game was plentiful, the streams abounded in fish and honey was found in abundance. The timbered regions along the three principal streams, Locust creek, Parson creek and Yellow creek, were full of game and the hunters from the river counties esteemed this a hunter's paradise, and this region soon came to be known, especially to the people of Howard and Chariton counties, as the "Locust Creek Country."

Among the Howard county hunters who visited the "Locust Creek Country" were James Pendleton and Joseph Newton. They came in the fall of 1831, and erected their log cabin, filing on section 14 in township 58 of range 21. Having established their claim they returned to Howard County for their families and returned the following spring. They were the first white settlers in Linn County.

The family of William Bowyer was the next to come from Howard County. He and his brother Jesse were among the Howard County hunters who had visited the "Locust Creek Country" and liked it so well that they decided to make it their home. That was in January, 1832, five years before the county was organized.

The Bowyers made their first camp on section 2, about one and one-half miles west of Linneus.

In 1832 Silas and Peter Fore came to section 29 in township 59 of range 20 and located. Others who settled in the county before its organization were:

1832 Settlers

James A. Clark
Col. A. W. Flournoy
Capt. Jeremiah Phillips
E. T. Dennison
Robert Warren
James Howell
John J. Flood
Irvin Ogan
Thomas Botts
Willis Parks
Meredith Brown
Mordecai Lane
Sampson Wyatt
Wharton R. Barton
John Kemper
Thomas Barbee
John Minnis
Thomas Russell
Col. John Holland
David Mullins

The early settlers were in the main Kentuckians with a few from Virginia and Tennessee. E. T. Dennison was a "Yankee" from Vermont. Nearly all were Democrats. David Mullins is said to have bad the distinction at one time of being the only Whig in the county.

First Resident of Linneus

Col. John Holland, familiarly called "Jack" Holland, was Linneus' first settler. He came from Virginia in the spring of 1834 and located his claim on the section where Linneus now stands and constructed a two-room edifice. In this pioneer edifice, court was afterwards held, a school was taught and the business of the county was transacted. The cabin stood near the center of the public square.

Dinah was the name of a Negro slave who came from Virginia with Colonel Holland to cook for the pioneers who built the cabin and cleared the timber about it. Colonel Holland also brought with him from Virginia thirty head of sheep and these were the special charge of the black woman. Every day Dinah led her flock into the woods to let them browse and graze. She was the shepherdess of the flock and it was her duty to shoo away the savage wolves which were then numerous. At night Dinah penned the sheep in one room of Colonel Holland's cabin, barred the doors and left a large dog, the match of any wolf that might appear, guard on the outside. Colonel Holland returned to Virginia for his family and supplies and Dinah and the big dog were left alone.

Occasionally William and Jesse Bowyer would pass the cabin and stop to see that all was well with Dinah and her charges. Aside from these visits the black woman had no one to speak with but her four footed friends. At last, after many months of waiting, the rumbling of wagons and the lowing of cattle heralded the approach of Colonel Holland, bringing with him his family and slaves and other belongings, and Dinah solemnly declared that that day was the happiest of her life.

The First Courthouse

Early in 1841, the affairs of the county had reached that point where it was deemed necessary to have a court house in which to transact the business of the county. Theretofore the various officers kept the books and records of the county at their respective homes and a person having business to transact with the county officers would frequently have to go to the field or forest and locate the officer and have him return to the house to look up the records needed.

Accordingly at the February, 1841, term of the county court an order was made for the erection of the first courthouse. These are the specifications:

"The house to be built on the southeast comer of Lot 3, Block 19, of hewed logs, 36 feet long and 20 feet wide (the house to be 20 feet wide, not the logs, of course) from out to out; the wall to be fifteen feet high from the bottom of the sill to the top of the plate, with a wall partition to be carried up from the bottom to the top of the plate so as to make the front room twenty-three feet long in the clear; the logs all to be of sound oak; the sills to be of white oak or burr oak; the sleepers to be of good white oak or burr oak of sufficient strength, two feet from center to center; the joice to be of good sound oak three feet by ten inches, put in two feet from center to center, to extend through the walls. The house to be covered with good oak shingles; the end of the house is to front the public square, with one door in the center of the end of the house; one fifteen light window on each side of said door, eight by ten inches; one door in the center of the partition wall; one door and one window in the end of the back room so as to leave room in the center for a chimney; the window to be twelve light of eight by ten inch glass, the doors and windows to be finished in plain batten order, with good black walnut plank; the whole building to be chinked with stone suitably tamped; the lower floor to be laid down roughly, with square joints; the upper floor rough tongued and squared, the plank to be of good sound oak timber well dressed, with an opening left in the southwest comer for a staircase; the whole to be done in a workmanlike manner on or before the first day of August, 1841.''

 The building of the temporary court house was let to David Jenkins and Goolsby Quinn, $400 having been appropriated for that purpose February 5, 1841, and was superintended on the part of the county by William Hines. It was not completed within the time specified. In November Mr. Hines was ordered to have a brick chimney erected in the building, to contain two four foot fireplaces below and two two foot fireplaces in the upper story. The building finally cost when completed $516.50 and long stood in Linneus and is well remembered by the old settlers.

As heretofore mentioned, court was held at the house of Silas Fore, E. T. Dennison, Barbee's store or at Colonel Holland's. Judge James A. Clark held his first court at Holland's. The court was held in one room of the cabin which was warmed by a fireplace with a smoky chimney. The judge and the attorneys shed tears copiously. The trouble with the chimney was that the back wall was bad, full of gaps and cracks. In the midst of the session this wall fell out. Thereupon the court adjourned and as the judge left the court room the sheriff came to him and advised him that a fight was in progress nearby and asked for instructions. "Oh! Never mind," said the judge, "let the boys enjoy themselves."

The Second Court House

After 1846 dawned, the growth of Linn County and its official business demanded a more adequate court house. The pressure on the county court became so strong that on March 4, Thomas Barbee was appointed to prepare and submit to the court a plan for the building of a court house in Linneus, fixing the dimensions, naming the materials and estimating the cost of such a structure. On July 1, following, an appropriation of $4,000 was made for the new building. William Sanders, Hiram E. Hurlbut and Daniel Grace were appointed to superintend the construction. After the August election a new county court took charge and Messrs. Grace and Hurlbut were relieved from acting as commissioners. Later Mr. Sanders reported plans and specifications for a new court house and the same were approved and placed on file. James L Nelson, who had built the court house in Gallatin in Daviess county, was the contractor for the Linn county court house On October 16, 1848, Augustus W. Flournoy, who had succeeded Mr. Sanders as superintendent of construction of the new building, reported to the court that the new court house had been completed according to contract and recommended that the same be received. The court accepted the report and paid the balance due to contractor Nelson. The total cost of the building, including some slight alterations made in the contract, was $3,894.85, which was less than the contract price.

A New Courthouse

Linn County has long been in need of a new court house, the old structure now located in the public square on the site of "Jack" Holland's cabin merely sufficing for office room for the various officers while the sessions of the circuit court have been held in the opera house across the street. On the 1st day of August, 1911, a special election was held, at which time it was voted to erect a new court house to cost $60,000 and provided for payment of the same by special levies for three years. Plans have been submitted and approved and work was begun on the structure, March 1, 1913.

Railroad Divisions

Linn County is notable in that it has within its confines two railroad divisions, Brookfield, on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad, and Marceline, on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railroad. Brookfield was laid out by Josiah Hunt, land commissioner of Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad Company, July 20, 1859. Filed and recorded July 23, 1859. It is half way between Hannibal and St. Joseph and has long been the metropolis of Linn County. Situated in the midst of a beautiful and fertile agricultural region and having within its confines hundreds of railway employees, the commercial progress of Brookfield is assured. The last census showed a population of nearly six thousand. In the way of public and private utilities it has an electric light plant, a gas plant, waterworks and sewerage. The commercial club was organized in 1905 and one of its initial endeavors was to secure the location of the Brown Shoe Factory. A bonus of $70,000 was raised in four days and the factory secured.

Towns and Villages of Linn County

Boomer | Browning | Bucklin | Enterprise | Eversonville | Fountain Grove | Grantsville | Laclede | Linneus  Marceline | Meadville | New Boston | North Salem | Purdin | Shelby | St. Catharine

Marceline was laid out by the Santa Fe Town & Land Company and the plat was filed for record on January 19, 1888. In 1890 it had a population of 1,977, in 1900 a population of 2,638, and in 1910 a population of 4,000. The town was named in honor of the wife of one of the directors of the railroad whose Christian name was Marcelina.

 In addition to its location in an excellent agricultural region and being a railroad division with its hundreds of railway employees, large coal fields have been developed in close proximity to the city affording employment for 300 men. The city has a waterworks system, an electric light plant and last year the work of paving the streets was begun. Claud C. Dail, who still resides in Marceline and who is a son of ex-sheriff R. J. Dail, has the honor of being the first child born in Marceline, the date of his birth being March 6, 1888.

County Representatives

The representatives of Linn County in the state legislature from 1838 until the present were as follows:

1838. James A. Clark, Democrat.
1840. Irvin Ogan, Democrat.
1842. David Jenkins, Whig.
1844. E. C. Morelock, Democrat.
1846. Jeremiah Phillips, Democrat.
1848. C. W. Guinn, Democrat.
1850. Jacob Smith, Whig.
1852. Wesley Halliburton, Democrat.
1854. John Botts, Democrat.
1856. Beverly Neece, Democrat.
1858. John F. Gooch, Whig.
1860. E. H. Richardson, Democrat.
1862. A. W. Mullins, Republican.
1864. Dr. John F. Powers, Republican.
Died in 1865. R. W. Holland, Republican, unexpired term.
1866. T. J. Stauber, Republican.
1868. A. W. Mullins, Republican.
1870. Abram W. Myers, Democrat.
1872. S. P. Houston, Republican.
1874. Abner Moyer, Democrat.
1876. George W. Easley, Democrat.
1878. W. H. Patterson, Democrat.
1880. E. D. Harvey, Democrat.
1882. Harry Lander, Democrat.
1884. Hiram Black, Republican.
1886. James A. Arbuthnot, Republican.
1888. Charles W. Trumbo, Democrat.
1890. Thomas D. Evans, Democrat.
1892. Abra C. Pettijohn, Republican.
1894. Abra C. Pettijohn, Republican.
1896. J. H. Perrin, Populist.
1898. Abra C. Pettijohn, Republican.
1900. Clarence M. Kendrick, Democrat.
1902. Edward Barton, Democrat.
1904. Abra C. Pettijohn, Republican.
1906. George W. Martin, Republican.
1908. Benjamin L. White, Democrat.
1910. Walter Brownlee, Democrat.

State Senators

The state senators from the districts of which Linn county has been a part, from the year 1840, are as follows:

1840. Thomas C. Burch, Macon County, Democrat.
1842. Dr. John Wolfscale, Livingston County, Democrat.
1846. Augustus W. Flournoy, Linn county. Democrat.
1850. Augustus W. Flournoy, Linn County, Democrat.
1854. Frederic .Rowland, ]Macon County. Democrat.
1858. Wesley Halliburton, Sullivan County, Democrat.
1862. John McCullogh, Sullivan County, Radical; died in 1863.
1863. I. V. Pratt, unexpired term, Linn County. Radical.
1866. I. V. Pratt, Linn County, Radical.
1870. William A. Shelton, Putnam County, Radical.
1874. Dr. E. F. Perkins, Linn County Democrat.
1878. Andrew J. Mackey, Chariton County, Democrat.
1882. Wesley Halliburton, Sullivan County, Democrat.
1886. Andrew J. Mackey, Chariton County, Democrat.
1890. Edward R. Stephens, Linn County. Democrat.
1894. Alfred N. Seaber, Adair County. Republican.
1898. Emmett B. Fields, Linn County. Democrat.
1902. Emmett B. Fields, Linn County. Democrat.
1906. Emmett B. Fields, Linn County. Democrat.
1910: Benjamin L. White, Linn County. Democrat.

Other County Officers

Circut Court Judges Circut Court Clerks
Thomas Reynolds, Macon County
James A. Clark, Linn County
Jacob Smith, Linn County
Rezin A. DeBolt, Grundy County
Gavon D. Burgess, Linn County
William W. Rucker, Chariton County
John P. Butler, Sullivan County
Fred Lamb, Chariton County, present incumbent.
E. T. Dennison
John J. Flood*
Wharton R. Barton
Jeremiah Phillips
George W. Thompson
Frederick W. Powers
Arthur L. Pratt
Joseph A. Neal
James H. Black
John N. Wilson
James D. McLeod, present incumbent.

*Thomas H. Flood died during the last year of his term and his son, Robert W. Flood, was appointed to serve the remainder of the term.

Recorders of Deeds* County Clerks
Thomas Kille
W. W. Peery
John H. Craig
Thomas H. Flood
Robert W. Flood
John S. Reger
Robert W. Flood
John L. Bowyer
William B. McGregor, incumbent.
E. Kemper
T. T. Woodruff
William McClanahan
George W. Martin
B. A. Jones
George W. Adams
John H. Craig
George W. Adams
Ben B. Edwards**
Harvey S. Johnson**
Peter F. Walsh, incumbent.

*Prior to 1871, the circuit clerk was ex-officio recorder of deeds. After the office was divided the recorders of deeds in order of service

**After serving a little more than three years, Mr. Edwards died and Mr. Johnson was appointed by Governor Folk to fill the vacancy. While filling such appointment, Mr. Johnson was made the candidate of his party and was elected to succeed himself.

County Sheriff

Jeremiah Phillips
Wharton R. Barton
John G. Flournoy
Beverly Neece
Peter Ford
Thomas M. Booker
Joel H. Wilkerson
James A. Neal
Marion Cave
E. C. Brott
Elias Chesround
John P. Phillips
Francis M. Boles
W. W. Wade
George K. Denbo
Edward Barton
E. B. Allen
Edward Barton
R. J. Dail
David J. Buckley
George W. Anderson, incumbent

County Treasurer

Thomas Barbee
Jeremiah Phillips
David Prewitt
Edward Hoyle
John G. Flournoy
Thomas H. Flood
Geo. William Sandusky
Wm. H. Brownlee
Edward Hoyle
A. W. Mullins
Marion Cave
A. W. Mullins
H. C. Clarkson
Milton Goldman
John C. Phillips
Thomas H. Flood
J. M. Cash
James T. Hamilton
Henry C. Prewitt
Robert R. Smith
C. Edward Kelley
James B. Fleming
James E. Hartzler
James B. Fleming
John E. Hayes
Mrs. Ruth Hayes, incumbent

Mr. Hayes died in October, 1910, and Mrs. Hayes was appointed by Governor Hadley to fill the vacancy. At the ensuing November election she was elected, without opposition, her own successor. She is now the candidate of the Democratic Party for a full term of four years.

History of the Courts

The probate court of Linn County was established by special act of the legislature in 1853. The first judge of probate was Jacob Smith. At the August term, 1853, of the Linn county court and on the 8th day of August, 1853, the following order was made and entered of record: "It is ordered by the court here that the clerk of this court deliver to the probate judge of Linn county all the original papers now on file in his office relative to all estates of deceased persons, minors, idiots and persons of unsound mind and all papers relative to any subject or matter over which the said judge of probate has jurisdiction by the act establishing said probate court."

The county court at that time was composed of Henry Wilkerson, presiding judge, and Joseph C. Moore and Daniel Beals, associate judges. The clerk of the county court was T. T. Woodruff. The first probate court of Linn County was convened on the 5th day of September, 1853, but adjourned without transacting any business until the following day, when a considerable amount of business was disposed of. Judge Smith served for four years and was succeeded by Judge Thornton T. Easley, who served four years. The next judge of probate was Judge William H. Brownlee, who served until about the close of 1864, when he resigned. Colonel George W. Stephens, who still resides in Linneus at the ripe age of eighty-six years, was designated by the county court as probate judge and served about three months, when James F. Jones was appointed by Governor Fletcher. Judge Jones served until January 1, 1871, and was followed by Judge Eli Torrance, now of Minneapolis, Minn., who served four years. He was succeeded by Judge J. D. Shifflett, who held the office one term. The next judge of probate was John B. Wilcox, who served from January 1, 1879, to the date of his death, which occurred in February, 1887. His brother, Edward Wharton Wilcox, was appointed by the governor to fill the vacancy. Judge E. W. Wilcox was elected at the next general election and again in 1890. He was succeeded by Robert M. Tunnell, who held the office for eight years. The present judge of probate is Arthur L. Pratt, who is serving his third term.

The court of common pleas was established in 1867, and at the end of four years its jurisdiction was enlarged, giving it ''exclusive and original jurisdiction of all misdemeanors arising under the laws of this state, committed in Linn county." The salary of the judge of the court was $600 per year. This court was abolished January 1, 1881.

By act of the general assembly approved April 5, 1887, it was provided that two terms of the circuit court should be held at Brookfield.

This court has the same jurisdiction in all matters as the court at the county seat.

Men and Events

Among the memorable events of Linn county was the day that Benton spoke in Linneus. This occurred in 1856 and he addressed the ''citizens" from the south door of the court house. The stone step on which he stood is now a part of the present structure. Some of the older citizens are devising plans to preserve the step and have it suitably inscribed.

A brilliant meteor passed over Linn County the night of December 21, 1876. It burst forth from the southwest and was vividly clear to the people all over the county for nearly one-half minute. It occurred early in the evening and the first impression was that the building was on lire and that the fire had gained such headway that the roof was in imminent danger of falling in.

September 5, 1876, is remembered as the date of a cyclone in Linn county that destroyed much property and at least' the loss of one life. The storm broke in awful fury near the western border of the county shortly after four o'clock in the afternoon. The residences of William Harvey, John H. Botts, Nathaniel P. Hopson, Dr. Milton Jones and others were razed. William Harvey was killed outright and several others injured.

What is regarded as the severest straight wind that ever visited the county occurred a while after noon on July 13, 1883. It was of wide scope. North of Linneus a passenger coach was overturned and several passengers injured. Mrs. Peery, mother of Squire T. J. Peery, was a passenger and lost her life.

The first recorded wedding was that of Henry Cherry, son of John Cherry, and Miss Susan Kemper, daughter of Enoch Kemper, who was the first county clerk. The wedding occurred in 1838.

The first white male child born within what is now the present limits of Linn County was Thomas Benton Bowyer, who still resides in Linneus, He was born on Christmas day, 1833.

Assemblies

An annual event in Linn County looked forward to with pleasant anticipations is the two days' reunion and picnic held at Linneus under the auspices of the "Old Settlers" Association. The first reunion, a one-day affair, was held September 26, 1901. The first president was Dr. E. F. Perkins and the first secretary was Fred W. Powers. Since 1903, two days have been devoted to this reunion. There is always a large attendance of the "old timers" and the most prominent speakers of the state have delivered addresses. At the twelfth annual reunion, Jesse Turner was elected president and J. W. Phillips, secretary.

The Meadville Chautauqua Assembly is a matter of pride to Linn County and a monument to the enterprise of that city. This Chautauqua was organized in 1905, and is held annually in a magnificent grove immediately north of Meadville. During the assembly, the grove is a city of tents, people from all over Linn, and even adjacent counties, availing themselves of ten days' recreation and instruction. The entertainment is of a high order and from year to year the most noted platform speakers of the nation have graced the Chautauqua platform of Meadville.

The circuit clerks of Linn County who have held that office since the first Monday in January, 1871, are all living and all reside in Linn County. This represents a continuous succession of more than forty years and it is believed that this record is not surpassed by any office in any county in the state.

Prominent among the citizenry of Linn County, who afterward became prominent in the affairs of the state, is Gavon D. Burgess. He was born in Mason County, Kentucky, November 5, 1833. He moved to Linneus in 1865, and in 1874 was elected judge of the circuit court. He served as circuit judge for eighteen years. In 1892 he was elected judge of the Supreme Court and reelected in 1902. He died December 17, 1910, having had nearly a continuous judicial career of thirty-six years. It is said of him that "He never made a partisan ruling, wrote a partisan opinion, or rendered a partisan decision." He is buried at Linneus beside his wife, Cordelia Trimble Burgess, who died in 1908.

Alexander Monroe Dockery, Governor of Missouri from 1901 to 1905, was long a resident of Linn County. It was from Linneus that he went to attend medical lectures, and after taking his course in medicine he returned to Linn, first locating for the practice of medicine at the village of North Salem in northeast Linn. He was made a Master Mason in Locust Creek lodge at Linneus.

Eli Torrance, now a prominent lawyer of Minneapolis, was judge of probate of Linn County from 1871 to 1875. He has since been National Commander-in-Chief of the G. A. R., and a few years since was prominently mentioned as a candidate for the vice-presidency.

John J. Pershing, now brigadier-general in the United States army, was born in Linn County about the year 1859. He received his appointment to West Point at the hands of Congressman Burrows in 1880. It will be recalled that the Negro troops under his command saved the day at San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American war.

Albert Dexter Nortoni, judge of the St. Louis court of appeals, and now the Progressive candidate for governor, while not a native of Linn County, was long a resident, he having read law in Linneus and was admitted to the bar by Judge Burgess and began the practice in Brookfield, later removing to New Cambria, in Macon County, the place of his birth.

The population of Linn County is now more than twenty-five thousand. In the last quarter of a century the increase in population has been in the towns and villages rather than in the rural districts. The glowing appeals from the west and southwest have lured the restless thousands who have passed through the gates of our county and sought cheaper lands farther on. But our course has been onward and upward. The hills of the county are dotted with churches and schools, the leading periodicals and daily papers are found in practically all the homes in even remote parts of the county, they feel the pulse beats of the nation and keep step in the march of progress. There are no "dark spots" in Linn County and it is boasted that the average intelligence is not surpassed by any county in any state.

  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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