Lincoln County Schools and Churches


The early development of the educational interests of Lincoln County makes an interesting chapter in its history. One of the first teachers in the county was Samuel Groshong and others were Philip Orr, James Wil-son, James Reid, Clayton Alcorn and Ariel Knapp, all of whom taught in the vicinity of Auburn.

Joseph E. Wells was one of the early teachers in the vicinity of Millwood.

Richard H. Hill, who afterwards moved to Texas, also taught in that neighborhood as did Athanasius Mudd, a graduate of the college at Georgetown.

D. C. William Watts was one of the early teachers of Hurricane Township, teaching the first school in the vicinity of where Elsberry now stands, about the year 1833.

The first public school districts of which the records make any mention were organized by the county court at the term held in February, 1837. They were Nos. 1 and 2, township 50, range 1, east.

Elijah Myers, Alexander Martin and James Stoddard were appointed trustees of No. 1

Thomas S. Reed, James Finley and Harrison D. Allen of No. 2.

At the same term of court four districts were organized in township 48, range 1 west and Andrew Brown, William Vaughan and Benjamin Bowen were appointed trustees of No. 1
Silas M. Davis, Robert Hammond and Allen Jameson of No. 2
John Thurman, B. F. Blanton and David Boyd of No. 3
John M. Faulkner, Mervin Ross and A. Cahall of No. 4

The work of organizing the county into school districts went on rapidly after these districts were formed, more districts being organized as the population increased.

There are now 91 school districts in the county with 93 school houses and 125 teachers. The enumeration is 4,889. The value of the school property is estimated at $95,000. The school funds amount to about $55,000 annually. The total permanent school fund of the county, loaned on farm mortgages, amounted in 1912 to $53,121.32.

In addition to the common schools in the county, there are graded and high schools at Troy, Elsberry and Winfield.


The early religious history of the county has not been accurately preserved and hence there is a difference of opinion on the subject of the organization of the earliest churches.

Dr. Joseph A. Mudd gives it as his opinion that Sulphur Lick Baptist church was organized in 1813 by Elder Bethuel Riggs. But the Rev. R. S. Duncan, an authority on Baptist history, says that the church was not organized until 1823. If Dr. Mudd is correct, the Sulphur Lick church was the first one organized in the county. If he is not correct, then probably the New Liberty Methodist church was the first, the date of its organization being given as 1818. It is believed to have been organized by the Rev. John Scripps at the home of some private citizen.

Among the pioneer ministers of Lincoln county were

Andrew Monroe,
David Hubbard,
Bethuel Riggs,
Hugh R. Smith,
Abraham Welty,
Darius Bainbridge and
Benjamin S. Ashby,

All of whom solemnized marriages, as shown by the record of marriage certificates prior to 1830. And, commencing with 1830, the record shows the following:

1830, James W. Campbell and Thomas Bowen.
1832, Elder Thomas McBride, of the Christian Church, and the Rev. Samuel Findley, of the Presbyterian Church.
1833, Nicholas C. Kabler, of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
1834, John S. Pall, of the Presbyterian Church, Jacob Lanius, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Sandy E. Jones, of the Christian Church, John M. Hopkins and Robert Gilmore, of the Baptist Church, and Fred B. Leach.
1835, Hugh L. Dodds, of the Methodist Episcopal church, and J. H. Hughes, of the Christian Church.
1836, Ephraim Davis and Ezekiel Downing, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Peter R. Lefever, of the Catholic Church, and S. G. Patterson, of the Methodist Church.
1837, Robert L. McAfee and Lewis Duncan.
1838, F. B. McElroy and William Patton, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Nathan Woodsworth.

Some signed their names as "ministers of the gospel, "and others as ministers of the churches to which they belonged.

In the early history of the county:

Baptist church (known since 1836 as the Primitive Baptist) was among the first organized.
The Stout's Settlement (afterwards New Hope) church was organized in 1821 by Elders Bethuel Riggs and Jesse Sitton.
If Dr. Mudd errs in regard to the organization of Sulphur Lick church, then the New Hope church is the oldest Baptist church in the county. We are, however, inclined to the opinion that the Sulphur Lick church is the older, from the fact that it was organized at the home of Elder Riggs; it seems probable that he would organize a church at his own home earlier than at a point so far distant as that at which the Stout's Settlement church was organized.

The Troy church (now Sand Run) was organized in the year 1825.

A church known as Cuivre was organized in 1828.

New Hope and Sand Run are the only churches of that faith in the county.

After the division in the church over missions, in 1836, the Troy and New Hope Missionary Baptists were first organized.

New Salem church was organized in 1843 and has today a larger membership than any other church in the county.
Fairview church was organized in 1845 as Bethlehem.
Mill Creek church was organized in 1851,
Ebenezer in 1869
Comer Stone in 1874.

Baptist Organizations in the county

Harmony Grove
Mount Gilead
Oak Ridge
Olive Branch
Pleasant Grove
Star Hope

The total membership of the denomination in the county is about nineteen hundred. All of the churches belong to the Cuivre Association, organized in 1891.

The Methodist Episcopal denomination, as has been previously noted, organized New Liberty church at an early day at a private home in the northwestern part of the county. They did not build a house of worship until 1848. That and the congregation at Truxton, which was organized about the year 1864, are the only churches of that denomination in the county.

Next to the Baptist denomination in point of membership is the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Among the earliest churches of the denomination organized in Lincoln County were those at Troy, Moscow and Slaven's Chapel.

The congregation at Troy built a substantial brick house of worship in the year 1859, the comer stone of which was laid on the 19th of July, 1859, by Troy Masonic lodge. On August 24, 1900, the same lodge officiated at the laying of the corner stone of the handsome edifice which now stands where the old house was built forty-one years before. There are now eighteen congregations of the denomination in the county:

Oak Grove
Souls Chapel
Smith's Chapel
Old Alexander
Asbury Chapel
Highland Prairie
Old Monroe
Moscow Mills
Sugar Creek
Slaven's Chapel
Linn's Mill
Little Zion

The total membership is not far from fifteen hundred.

The Christian church is third strongest in point of numbers. The oldest organizations were at Louisville and Troy.

The church at Troy was organized in July, 1856. Judge F. Wing, of Moscow Mills, was the first church clerk, and held that office for many years.

Other organizations in the county

Lynn Knoll
Elm Grove
New Hope
Highland Prairie
Old Alexander
New Gallilee
Sulphur Lick
Hawk Point
Moscow Mills

The membership in the county is about one thousand.

There are two Old School Presbyterian churches in the county. One is at Troy, which was organized in 1831, and it is one of the few churches which has perpetuated its original organization to the present day. It has about one hundred members. The other is located at Auburn.

There are four Catholic churches in the county. That at Millwood was organized in 1840, when the first church was built; the second house was built in 1851 and destroyed by a storm in 1876. It was rebuilt in 1877. It has a large and wealthy congregation. The congregation at Troy was organized in 1875 and numbers about fifty families. It has a $14,000 church and rectory. The congregation at Bals was organized in 1867. It now sustains a parochial school. The church at Mashek has a congregation of about forty families.

There are two German Methodist churches in the county, one at Truxton, organized about 1850, and one near Schroeder's Mill.

There are three German Evangelical churches in Troy, near Winfield and at Moscow Mills.

Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, located at Okete, was organized about the year 1840, and enjoys the distinction of being the earliest church of that denomination in Missouri. A church of the same denomination was organized in Elsberry in 1912, and a house of worship built.

There are Cumberland Presbyterian churches at Whiteside, Elsberry, Olney and Silex. 


© 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