Knox County Towns and Villages


Edina, the county seat of Knox County, is located near its center on the Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City Railroad. The town was laid out by William J. Smallwood in November, 1839, and named by Stephen W. Carnegy, of Canton. In 1845 it became the county seat. In 1842 a post office had been established, with James A. Reid as postmaster at a salary of one dollar a month.

St. Joseph's parish, Edina, is one of the oldest Catholic congregations in Northeast Missouri. As early as 1844 a log church was erected. The Presbyterian Church was organized by the Rev. Thomas H. Tatlow in 1865, the Methodist church in 1861. The Methodist Church South held meetings at an early day at the home of Stephen Sharp. Martin Luther Eads, grandfather of L. F. Cottey, was secretary of the first organization. The Christian church was organized in 1846, the Baptist church in 1909.

Edina was not incorporated until 1851 and up to the breaking out of the Civil War had less than eight hundred inhabitants. Since that time it has had many vicissitudes of business depression and disastrous fires, from the ashes of which it has risen Phoenix-like to a better built and more up-to-date city. It has wide streets, beautiful shade trees, and a public park whose elms almost rival those of New Haven, the "Elm City." The splendid business houses, fine churches and beautiful homes make this a city of fine buildings. The wagon factory, grain elevator, mills and other enterprises make it a point unexcelled for business.

Besides these enterprises this little city has a well-equipped hospital, 5 beautiful churches, not including the 2 churches for colored people, a third-class post office, an articulated high school, an excellent graded school, a convent and parochial school, a school of music offering a fine course in vocal and instrumental music. Its business includes 4 banks, 3 drygoods stores, 3 drug stores, 2 millinery stores, 9 grocery stores, a meat market, 2 poultry houses, a furniture store, 2 undertaking establishments, a jewelry store, 2 hotels, 2 restaurants, 2 harness shops, 2 grain depots, 3 cigar factories, a smoking tobacco factory and numerous other business houses. The city is well lighted, having a well-equipped and carefully operated electric light plant, which furnishes day power to many motors. The city is also supplied with ice manufactured within its limits.

In connection with the early history of Edina the name of John Winterbottom is entitled to an honored place. He was an Englishman, a Catholic and a good man. One of the early merchants, he built a very substantial brick building, now occupied by Hirner's shoe store. This was completed before the war. About the year 1866 Mr. Winter-bottom conceived the idea of putting in a woolen factory in Edina. He accordingly invested several thousand dollars in a plant for the manufacture of woolen goods of all grades, from plain white blankets to fine broadcloths. The approximate investment in this plant was $50,000. Much of this was borrowed capital and when Mr. Winterbottom discovered that Edina merchants opposed his factory and offered severe competition by the importation of all such goods as he manufactured, he became discouraged, accepted an offer from Denver, Colorado, and his factory was removed to that city. The plant used 360 spindles and gave employment to some fifteen persons.

Another pioneer whose name is prominently connected with the history of Edina is that of Patrick Cooney. Mr. Cooney came to Knox County about the year 1843. He entered government land near the present location of Edina and returned to his home at Somerset, Perry County, Ohio. In 1844 he sent P. B. Linville, then a young man about thirty years of age, to take charge of a stock of goods in Edina. After settling up his affairs, he removed with his family to Knox County, where he entered government land to the amount of several thousand acres. This land was sold to emigrants at a low price, to induce them to settle at or near the prospective county seat. He bought forty acres of what is now the east part of Edina from his brother-in-law, James Bradford. A part of this land has been in the name of the Cooney family ever since. P. B. Linville, afterward merchant and banker, and for twenty-five years public administrator, died two years ago at the ripe old age of ninety-six years.

Peter Early, Richard Cook, Patrick Jarvies, Price Parker, James Cody, Andrew Biggerstaff, E. V. Wilson and James Reid are other names associated with the early life of our city and deserve the grateful remembrance of our people.

The present mayor of Edina is P. K. Gibbons, and the city collector, J. E. Cooney; city clerk, J. W. Ennis; the postmaster is Dr. Ed S. Brown, who received the appointment seven years ago. The post office is a third-class office and its management has been pronounced eminently satisfactory. The office is in a handsome room and is furnished with modern equipment.

For information on the early history of Edina, the writer is indebted to Thomas Rogerson, Rufus McAtee, Theodore Coony, L. F. Cottey and the kindness of many other Edina people.


After Fresh's mill came Tage Howerton's mill on the Fabius, near Edina. This was a horse mill with a pair of buhr-stones and was called a "com cracker." A grist mill was built at Milltown, Edina, early in the fifties by Charles Ingles and afterward run by Bowen and then by Fulton. This mill was later destroyed by fire. Moss & Baker built a saw and grist mill near the same place. A man named Van Norman built the first carding mill at Edina on Main Street on the site of the present residence of the Corcoran family. This was operated by tread-wheel. Later Ed Wilson built a carding mill about one hundred yards west of Moss & Baker's mill. A carding machine was afterward operated by the Bowen family east of the railroad crossing.

The Edina Roller Mill Company was organized in 1883 and incorporated in 1884. The mill was erected that year, but not meeting with the desired success the number of the company was diminished and a new charter obtained. The incorporators were: Ed J. Brown, T. P. Cook, R. M. Ringer, F. M. Gifford, T. C. Baker, and Shumate & Burk, with Ed J. Brown as president. The mill was a three-story brick, with basement. It had nine pairs of rolls and a capacity of seventy-five barrels of flour per day. It made the best grades of flour. T. P. Cook bought the stock of the individual stockholders and became the sole owner. The mill was burned August 13, 1902. This was the last enterprise of this kind in Knox County. However, there are in operation several grist mills in the county.


Newark is the oldest town in the county. It was laid off as a town in 1836. In 1858 the Newark Fair Association was organized with Y. P. True as president and James Agnew, secretary. The Newark fair was the first real county fair in the state and enormous crowds came from every part of Missouri. Lewis Bradshaw was president, James Balthrope, secretary, and Hodge LaRue, marshal. After the war the organization gave money as premiums. From 1869 to 1891 the Newark fair was known throughout the country. In 1893 the buildings were destroyed by fire and the organization was disabled. The buildings were not restored and the once famous Newark fair passed into history. Again the people of Newark decided to revive the fair. The association organized with W. R. Glover, president; D. R. Downing, vice-president, and J. C. Callaghan, secretary. The new site of the grounds is southeast of town on Mr. Downing's place. Fine new buildings were erected, plenty of stalls and an excellent half-mile track.

The Knox, Lewis and Shelby County fair at Newark is now an event of the year. Thousands of people gather every year at this fair and many are the reminiscences of early days that are recalled at these annual gatherings.


The town of Novelty was laid out by Nars W. Hunter in 1857. Oaklawn College was established in 1876 and for a number of years was most successful. Novelty has many good business houses and is the center of a fine farming community.


Hurdland, incorporated in 1878, has a population of about four hundred. It has excellent schools, good business houses, an attractive public park and excellent railroad facilities. It is on two railroads, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe and the Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City.

Knox City

The first station on the Quincy, Omaha & Kansas City Railroad after entering Knox County from the east is the thriving town of Knox City. It was laid out in 1872 by Charles S. Wade and C. M. Pomeroy. Knox City was first named Myrtle, afterward Knox, and finally Knox City. It is situated on a high rolling prairie and commands a beautiful view in every direction. It is surrounded on every side by fine farms, some of which are among the best in Knox County.


Baring was incorporated in 1889. It is a progressive town, with good business houses and fine residences, and is surrounded by an excellent farming community. 


© Missouri American History and Genealogy Project
Created August 16, 2017 by Judy White

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