Towns and Villages of Howard County

Old Franklin

About the year 1820 John Hardeman, of German extraction, came to Old Franklin and purchased land five miles above the town nearly opposite the mouth of the LaMine creek and planted a garden and filled it with every known species and variety of plants. He was a man of wealth, and he spared neither expense nor labor in beautifying the garden and making it attractive to the eye. It has been claimed by some that it equaled the celebrated garden of Henry Shaw of St. Louis. This beautiful garden was finally engulfed by an overflow of the Missouri river in the year 1826. Old Franklin was made the county seat in 1817 and the land office was also located there. The town was the most promising and prominent west of St. Louis and its population was rapidly on the increase year by year. Some of the best blood of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee and other states flowed in the veins of its citizens. The town was noted for the intelligence, hospitality and enterprise of its people.

Among the illustrious citizens whose names sparkle upon the historic page with a fadeless luster were:
L. W. Boggs, John Miller, Hamilton R. Gamble, C. F. Jackson, all of whom were afterwards governors of the state; J. F. Ryland and Abiel Leonard, later on judges of the Supreme Court of Missouri, Gen. Robert C. Clark and Cyrus Edwards, both distinguished lawyers, Judge David Todd, David Barton, H. V. Bingham, the father of the great artist whose pencil made famous the General Order No. 11 of General Ewing of Civil war fame. The Baptists organized a church in the town in 1819 and the Methodists one year later on but no house of worship was erected.

Franklin continued to be the county seat until 1823, when the county seat was located at Fayette, the latter town being about the geographical center of the county. Many of Franklin's citizens moved to Fayette, especially the lawyers. The Masonic lodge was organized at Old Franklin in 1820. It was removed to New Franklin in 1852 and reorganized and known as Howard lodge No. 4, being the fourth Masonic lodge instituted in the state.

The first post office was established at Old Franklin on April 20, 1821, and Augustus Stores appointed postmaster. With the flood of 1826, the town of New Franklin owes its existence. With the advent of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad to New Franklin it soon increased in population from 250 people to 1,500, but of late years the railroad company has removed the round house and repair shops from the town and since their removal the town has gradually decreased in population until at present it has not more than 600 inhabitants.


Estill station is a small country village with one store and blacksmith shop and post office. It is situated in the richest part of Howard County and is named in honor of Col. J. R. Estill who gave the site for a depot.


Fayette, the county seat of Howard County, was named in honor of General LaFayette when he was about to revisit the United States; The town was laid out in 1823. The following citizens located the present site of the county seat: Jonathan Crawley, William Head, Samuel Wallace, Glenn Owens, and Samuel Hardin. Hiram Fugate and Hick Burnham each donated twenty-five acres for the county seat. Elisha Witt built the first house of logs. The first merchant was named O'Neal. Dr. Wm. McLain was the first physician and Mathew Semmons the first blacksmith. Lawrence J. Daly was the first school teacher, as well as the first postmaster of Fayette. He was a native of Ireland and died in Fayette. In 1838 a bank, a branch of the Missouri State Bank, was established in Fayette with Dr. J. J. Lowery as president and C. F. Jackson as cashier. In 1865 A. Hendrix established a private bank which later on became the Merchants and Mechanics Bank of Fayette.

The Fayette bank was established in 1871. The Commercial Bank has recently been opened for business in Fayette. There have been three court houses in Fayette since it became the county seat. The first was built in 1824, the second in 1859, and the third in 1879. The cholera visited Fayette first in 1832 and again in 1873. The latter visit resulted in nearly 100 deaths.

Central College, under the management of the Methodist Church South is located at Fayette and is in a prosperous condition. Howard-Payne College at Fayette is a school for the education of girls and is also under the direction of the Methodist Church South. Both schools are well patronized.

Science Hall, Central Collage, Fayette


The town of Glasgow was laid out in the fall of 1836. It was named in honor of James Glasgow, one of the early settlers of the township. As Glasgow was located on the Missouri river with the advantages of river transportation, it was not long until the town was of much importance in a commercial sense. Glasgow has four flouring banks in active and successful operation. The Chicago & Alton Railroad has a railroad bridge over the Missouri at Glasgow for the main line of its road from Chicago to Kansas City.

Pritchett College at Glasgow, an educational institution of high repute, is in a flourishing condition under the presidency of Hon. U. S. Hall, assisted by a corps of able teachers. The Morrison Observatory, donated to the use of Pritchett College by the will of Mrs. Berenice Morrison-Fuller in the year of 1874, is at Glasgow.

Lewis College is also located in the city of Glasgow. This is an educational school under the charge of the Methodist Church North and was made possible by the generous donations of B. W. Lewis.


Armstrong, a small town located in Prairie Township on the Chicago & Alton Railroad ten miles from Fayette, was laid out in 1878. It was incorporated as a village in 1879 and remained under the village act until 1894 when it was incorporated as a city of the fourth class. Armstrong has four neat churches: Christian, Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian.


The town of Roanoke was laid out in 1834 and named ''Roanoke'' in honor of the country home of John Randolph, the great Virginia statesman. Roanoke was for many years a town of considerable business importance and remained so until the building of the Chicago & Alton Railroad three miles south of the town and the location of the town of Armstrong, which has grown rapidly until it has virtually killed the trade of its sister town, Roanoke, until at present only one store and a few old houses remain to tell of the departed glory of the grand old town of antebellum days.


Sebree is a small town located in the southeastern part of the county in Moniteau Township.


Burton in Burton Township on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad was made possible by the construction of the railroad through the county in the year 1880. It has a depot, post office and one store. At one time in its history it had a large trade in the shipment of railroad ties and leaf tobacco. 


© 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