History of Adair County, Missouri

I anticipate that more exceptions will be taken to the chapters on Early Settlements and on the Civil War than any others. Time was not sufficient to enable me to investigate the early settlements as I would have liked to do. I had therefore to make the chapter on that subject briefer than I think it ought to be. I have possibly committed a great offense against a good many people in not including the names of certain persons among those who are named as having come to this county as the first white settlers. I found it very risky to accept the claims made by many people that their ancestors were the first to do this, that, or the other. To my great surprise and amusement, I have come across the names of five or six people who have it claimed for them that each one was the first white child born in Kirksville, and of these, some were born almost five years after the town was laid out. Because of the great uncertainty of family traditions, I have been compelled to reject many of them. Of those accepted, there is no assurance that they are all trustworthy.

Since there are no footnotes to indicate the sources from which I have drawn my information, it may not be out of place for me to indicate here briefly some of the more important sources that have been used. The official records of the county and of the incorporated towns and villages have been extensively used. Unfortunately the records of the county and of Kirksville prior to 1865 are very meagre because of the burning of the court house in that year. There are many facts that one would like to know concerning both the county and the town that can never be known because the records are gone forever. How- ever, the records in the office of the Secretary of State at Jefferson City were made to yield up some of the facts that had been recorded in the records that had been burned in the court house in 1865. The published reports of the various state officials and bureaus, such as the Auditor, Superintendent of Public Schools, Bureau of Labor, and Bureau of Mining, were frequently invaluable sources of information. The chapter on the Civil War was written largely from the War Records of the United States Government and from Dr. Joseph A. Mudd's recent book, entitled "With Porter in North Missouri." Of course, participants and witnesses were consulted as they were to be found. The account of the "Big Neck War" in 1829 was written from contemporaneous sources which were found in the files of the Missouri Intelligencer and Boon's Lick Advertiser for that year. The newspapers of Adair County have been thoroughly gleaned, and as there is an almost complete file reaching back to 1870, the county's history for the last forty years is very easily followed. In addition to the home papers, the early newspapers of Macon and of Palmyra were gleaned, and some scattered material gathered therefrom. For example, all that has been given concerning the contest over the creation of the group of new counties in 1841, of which Adair County was one, was found in the Palmyra Whig for that year. The old county history published in 1888 was occasionally used, but generally just for the suggestions that it offered. If any matter drawn from it was of vital importance, no statement was taken unless verified by some more reliable source of information. Personal interviews with "old timers" have been held as opportunity would offer, but due caution has always been exercised in taking what has been gathered in this way. The memory of these interesting people is often treacherous, and their imagination frequently shows evidence of incredible activity.


Table of Contents


Indian Mounds... 3-5
Indian Hunting Grounds. - Indian Mounds. — Exploring Expeditions. — Indian Collections.

Early Settlements... 6-17
Indian Treaties. — Early Settlements in Missouri. — "The Cabins," The First Settlement in Adair County, 1828. — "Big Neck War," 1829. — Restoration of "The" Cabins," 1830. — Ft. Madison and Ft. Clark. — Settlers between 1831 and 1840. — Claims of Early Settlers. — Pioneer Life and Conditions. — Places from which Early Settlers came.

The Growth of the County... 18-23
Census of Population, 1850-1910. — Land Entries. — Assessed Valuations, 1844-1910. — Land Values. — Causes of Growth.

The Creation of the County... 24-39
Organization of Missouri Counties, 1805-41. — Iowa and Missouri Boundary Dispute. — Act of 1841 creating Adair County: Provisions of the Original Bill; Opposition to the Bill; Passage of Amended Bill. — Hon. John Adair of Kentucky. — Boundaries of Adair County. — Selection of County Seat. — County Seal. — The Five Townships of the County in 1845. — Creation of Other Townships, 1845-1898. — Naming of the Townships.

County Organization... 40-67
Section I. — COUNTY OFFICERS. First Officers. — Changes in the Organization of the County Court, 1841-1877. — Changes in other County Offices, 1841-1905. — List of County Officers, 1841-1911. — The John Owenby Case and the "Big Warrant." — Suspension of E. M. C. Morelock.
Section II. — COUNTY BUILDINGS. Court House: First Court House; Second Court House; Burning of Court House, April 12, 1865; Propositions to Vote Bonds to build a Court House; Laying Cornerstone of Third Court House. — Jail: Early Jails; Propositions to vote Bonds to build a Jail. — Almshouse.
Section III. — Bonded Indebtedness. Railroad Bonds. — Normal School Bonds. — Court House Bonds. — Jail Bonds. — Liquidation of all Bonds.

County Politics... 68-81
Predominance of Democratic Party in Adair County prior to 1860. - Royalist and Anti-Royalist Factions in the Democratic Party in .Adair County. — Radical and Liberal Factions in Republican Party in Missouri. - Formation of Republican Party in Adair County. — Contest between Liberals and Radicals in Adair County. — Campaign of 1870. — Campaign of 1872 and the Victory of the Independent County Ticket. — Campaign of 1874 and Victory of People's Party. — Vote in County on Constitution of 1875. — Campaign of 1876. — Campaign of 1878 and Victory of Greenback-Democratic Ticket. — Campaigns of 1880, 1882, 1884, 1886, and 1888. — Campaign of 1890 and the Victory of the Farmers' Ticket. — Campaigns of 1892 and of 1894. — Free Silver Campaign of 1896. — Campaigns of 1898, 1900 and 1902. — Folk Campaign of 1904. —Campaigns of 1906, 1908, and 1910. — Conclusions concerning County Politics.

Civil War... 82-108
Section I. — SLAVERY IN ADAIR COUNTY. Condition of Slaves in the County.
Section II. — MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS. War Agitation. — "Union Democrat," August 23, 1861. — Home Guard Companies. — Skirmish on the Westenhaver Farm, August 19, 1861. — Twenty-Seventh Infantry, Missouri Volunteers. — Thirty-Ninth Infantry, Missouri Volunteers: Massacre of Centralia; Battle of Centralia. — Fiftieth Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia. — Eleventh Regiment Cavalry, Missouri State Militia. — Twenty-Eighth Missouri State Militia.
Section III. — BATTLE OF KIRKSVILLE. Military Events in Missouri, January, '61-March, '62. — Confederate Plans for Recruiting in Missouri after March, '62. — Movements of Col. Joseph C. Porter in Northeast Missouri prior to the Battle of Kirksville: Memphis; Vassar's Hill; Florida; Santa Fe; Moore's Mill; Newark; Kirksville. — Pursuit of Porter by Col. John McNeil. — The Battle. — The Killed and Wounded. — Execution of Confederate Captives. — Porter's Retreat and McNeil's Pursuit. — Palmyra Massacre. — Whaley's Mill. — Death of Porter. — Subsequent Career of McNeil. — Significance of the Battle.

The Churches... 109-150
Section I. — RELIGIOUS CONDITIONS. Pioneer Preachers. — Camp Meetings and Revivals. — Church Buildings. — Religious Debates.
Section II. — THE DENOMINATIONS. M. E. Church: Kirksville; Brashear; Novinger; Connelsville; Sabbath Home; Bethel; Cater Memorial; Bullion. — M. E. Church, South: Kirksville; Brashear; Trinity. — U. B. Church: Brashear; Gibbs. — Baptist Church (Missionary): Bear Creek; Kirksville; Novinger; Millard. - Baptist Church (Free Will). — Christian Church; Kirksville; Brashear; Gibbs; Illinois Bend. — C. P. Church: Kirksville; Mt. Moriah; .Mulberry; Concord. — Presbyterian Church: Kirksville; Millard. Episcopalian Church: Kirksville. — Catholic Church: Adair; Kirksville; Novinger. — Miscellaneous Churches: Lutherans; Universalists; Swedenborgians; Spiritualists; Salvation Army: Holiness Church — Bible Society — S.S. Association.

Chapter IX.
Fraternal, Patriotic, and Industrial Orders... 151-165
Section I. - FRATERNAL ORDERS. MASONS: Kirksville; Brashear; Novinger. — Odd Fellows: Kirksville; Brashear; Novinger. - Knights of Pythias; Kirksville; Novinger; Connelsville. - Elks: Kirksville. A.O.U.W. Kirksville
Section II. — PATRIOTIC ORDERS. G.A.R.: Kirksville; Brashear. - Soldiers' Reuinions. — Sons of Veterans. - W.R.C. — U.D.C. - D.A.R. — Graves of Revolutionary Soldiers.
Section III. — INDUSTRIAL ORDERS. Grange. - Farmers' and Laborers' Union. — Labor Organizations.

Chapter X.
The Public Schools... 166-189
Section I. — THE RURAL SCHOOLS. Early School Legislation in Missouri. — Early School Organization in Adair County. — Township School Funds. — Early Schools in the County. — Law of 1855 on School Organization. — Supt. Greenwood on Schools in Salt River and Wilson Townships in the Fifties. — Progress of the Schools in the County since the Civil War.
Section II. — The KIRKSVILLE SCHOOLS. Early Schools. — School Buildings. — Enrollment and Daily Attendance. — Superintendents, 1S67-1911. — High School.
Section III. — THE SCHOOLS OF SMALLER TOWNS. Novinger — Brashear. — Gibbs. — Connelsville.

The Normal School... 190-240
Agitation for State Normal Schools in Missouri. — Cumberland Academy. — Founding of Northeast Missouri Normal School at Kirksville by J. Baldwin. — Law of 1870 providing for two State Normal Schools. — Adair County votes Bonds for a State Normal School. — Bid of Adair County for the Location of a State Normal School at Kirksville. — Location of First District Normal School at Kirksville. — Erection of Normal School Buildings. — Model Rural School. — Model School or Practice School. — President J. Baldwin. — Professor and Mrs. Ferris. — Professor Nason. — Professor and Mrs. Greenwood. — President Blanton. — President Dobson. — President Kirk. — The Faculty. — The Board of Regents. — First Graduating Class. — Certification of Normal School Graduates. — The Library and Laboratories. — Student Organizations. — Fortieth Anniversary Celebration, 1907. — Statistics. — Summer School. — Appropriations.

Schools of Osteopathy... 241-276
Section I. — THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF OSTEOPATHY. Dr. A.T. Still: Early Youth; Shawnee Mission, Kansas; Military Service during Civil War; Discovery of Osteopathy; The Theory of Osteopathy; Arrival in Kirksville; "Magnetic Healer" and "Lightning Bone Setter"; Itineraries; First Students in Osteopathy. — American School of Osteopathy: Incorporation; Early Opposition; First Graduating Class; Kirksville Bonus; Dedication of A.S.O. Building; Reincorporation; Additions to the Building; Hospital; Consolidation of other Osteopathic Schools with A.S.O.; Course of Study; Tuition Fees; Faculty; Graduates; Student Body; Student Organizations. — Osteopathic Legislation. — American Osteopathic Association : Session in Kirksville, 1901; Session in Kirksville, 1901; Celebration of the "Old Doctor's" Eightieth Birthday.
Section II. — THE COLUMBIAN SCHOOL OF OSTEOPATHY. Dr. M.L. Ward. — Columbian School of Osteopathy: Incorporation; Opening of the School; Dr. Ward on "True Osteopathy"; Erection of Building; Suspension of School.

The County Press... 277-286
Benj. Davis, First Printer in the County. — Kirksville Enterprise. — Denmocrat: Consolidation with the Kirksville Enterprise; Issue of the "Union Democrat" by the Third Iowa. — Patriot. — Journal: Early Editors; Destruction by Fire; Incorporation of Journal Printing Company; Equipment. — North Missouri Tribune. — North Missouri Register: W.B.C. Gillespie. — Kirksville Democrat: Early Editors; Destruction by Fire; Incorporation of Kirksville Democrat Printing Company. — Graphic: W.M. Gill; T.E. Sublette. — Kirksville Dailies: Daily Journal; Daily Graphic; Daily Express. — Thrice-a-Week Echo. — Brashear Papers: Brashear Gazette; Salt River Bugle; Brashear Citizen; Brashear News. — Novinger Paper: Novinger Record. — Miscellaneous Papers: Pell Mcll Greenbacker; Adair County Farmer.

Industries... 287-310
Section I. — AGRICULTURE AND STOCK RAISING. Agricultural Yield in 1870 and 1909. — Farm Statistics for 1900. — Stock Raising: Prominent Stock Raisers; Live Stock Census, 1909. — Poultry Business. — Burk Packing Plant. — Cheese Factories and Creameries. — Surplus Products of Adair County, 1891-1909. — Nursery Business.
Section II. — MANUFACTURING. Grain Milling Industry: Ely Mill; Kirksville Mills. — Woolen Mills. — Planing Mills. — Wagon and Axe-handle Factories. — Brick Yards. — Friedman-Shelby Shoe Factory: Activity of Kirksville Business Men's League in securing the Factory; Erection of Factory. — Railroad Tie Industry.
Section III. — COAL MINING. Early Coal Mining in the County. — Growth of the Industry. — The Three Veins. — Statistics compiled from the State Mine Inspector's Reports. — Effect of Coal Industry on the Towns of the County. — Prominent Coal Operators.
Section IV. — COUNTY FAIRS. Adair County Agricultural and Mechanical Association. — Adair County Fair Asociation. — Efforts to revive the Comity Fair.

Transportation Facilities .311-326
Section I. — STAGES, FERRIES AND BRIDGES. Early Stage Lines and Schedules. — Ferries and Ferry Rates. — Early Bridges.
Section II. — RAILROADS. Wabash Railroad: Incorporation of North Missouri Railroad; Adair County Bonds for North Missouri Railroad; Completion of the Road to Kirksville; Early Passenger Service; Change of Name to St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern Railroad; Change of Name to Wabash Railroad; Strike of 1894; Burning of Depots at Kirksville. — "O.K." Railroad: Agitation for a Railroad west from (Quincy; Adair County and Benton Township Bonds for Quincy, Missouri and Pacific Railroad; Completion of the Road to Kirksville; The Depot at Kirksville; Extention of the Road westward. — Change in the Name. -Santa Fe Railroad: Efforts to get the Road through Kirksville; Founding of Gibbs. Iowa and St. Louis Railroad: Incorporation; Laying of Track from Connnelsvilie to Centreville; Controversy with the "O.K." Railroad; Rebuilding of the Road. Proposed Lines. — Railroad Wrecks.

The Banks... 327-341
Deposits in Banks of County, Nov. 10, l9lO.— Kirksville Branch of Bank of St. Louis. — The Bairdl Bank: Organization by Porter and Stebbins; W. T. Baird; Change in Name; Fire; Robbery. — Savings Bank: R.M. Ringo; Robbery. — National Bank: Organization of Union Bank; Change to National Bank. — Citizens National Bank: Organization as Citizens Bank; Purchase of Baird National Bank. — Trust Company. — Brashear Banks: State Bank of Brashear; Brashear Banking Company. — Novinger Banks: Novinger Bank; Union Bank of Novinger. — Connelsville Banks: Bank of Connelsville; Adair County Miners Bank. — Bank of Gibbs. — Building and Loan Associations.

Kirksville... 342-404
Early Settlers. — Growth in Population. — Municipal Organization: Location of County Seat; Original Town; Naming of Town; Incorporation in 1857; Suspension of Town Government during the War; Reorganization in 1866; Charter of 1873; City of the Fourth Class, 1886; City of the Third Class, 1893; Chairmen of Board of Trustees, 1866-1872; Mayors, 1873-1911. — Bonded Indebtedness. — Dramshop Ordinances: Ordinance of 1866; Ordinance of 1873; Abolition of Saloons in 1879, 1887, 1895, and 1907; W.C.T.U. and Good Templars. — Public Utilities: Water Works; Electric Light Company; Gas Company; Telephone Company; Sewer System. — Street Paving. — Post Office: Postmasters, 1842-1911; Post Office Building; Mail Facilities. — Cemeteries. — Business Firms in 1866-67; in 1876; in 1886; in 1911.— Hotels.— Shryack-Thom Grocery Company. — Storms: Storms of 1866, 1872, and 1879; Cyclone of April 27, 1899; Floods; Snow Storms; Sleets. — Contributions from Kirksville to Sufferers Elsewhere. — Fires, 1865-1911. Business Colleges: Kirksville Mercantile College; Burke's Business College. — State Teachers' Association. — Wagner Conservatory. — Literary Societies: Early Societies; Sojourners. — Public Amusements. — Old Settlers' Reunions. — Missouri National Guards. — Business Men's Associations. — Mexican War Veteran's League. — Spanish-American War. — Medical Profession. — Adair County Bar.

The Other Towns of the County... 405-424
Section I. — BRASHEAR. Paulville. — Founding of Brashear. — Passing of Paulville. — Incorporation of Brashear. — Chairmen of Board of Trustees, 1897-1910, and Postmasters, 1872-1910. — Brashear Academy.
Section II. — NINEVEH. Dr. William Keil: Early Religious Experiences; Founding of the Communistic Colony at Bethel; Life at Bethel. — Founding of Colony at Nineveh. — Life at Nineveh. — Dissolution of the Colony. — Members of the Colony.
Section III. — CONNELSVILLE. Missouri and Iowa Townsite Company. — Incorporation.
Section IV. — NOVINGER. Founding of the Town. — Railroad Tie Industry. — Coal Industry. — Incorporation. — Mayors and Postmasters.
Section V. — GIBBS. Founding of the Town. - Incorporation.
Section VI.— Unincorporated Villages. Stahl. — Shibley's Point. — Adair. — Wilmathsville. — Sublette. — Millard. — Danforth. — Youngstown. — Nind. — Yarrow. — Wilsontown.

In Memoriam... 425-439
J.R. Adkins. — H.J. Bailey. — Andrew Beaty. — B.W. Bell. — B.A. Bozarth. — J.M. Bozarth. — W.G. Brashear. — Guy Chandler. — Robert Clark. — D.J. Clarkson. — A.K. Collett. — Edwin Darrow. — J.M. DeFrance.— J.T. Dennis. — I.B. Dodson. — Henry Eckert, Sr. — Andrew Ellison. — D.A. Ely, Sr. — J.S. Erwin. — W.L. Fletcher. — John R. Floyd. — Peyton Foster.— W.M. Gill. — A.E. Hamilton. — C.W. Hardin. — M.P. Hannah. — J.L. Hawkins. — A.H. John. — G.H. Laughlin. — A.H. Linder. — W.P. Linder. - S.M. Link. — D.F. McClay. — Wm. Meeks. — J B. Mitchell. — E.M.C. Morelock. — Noah Motter. — John R. Musick. — W.P. Nason. — J.I. Nelson. — David Newcomb. — G.W. Novinger. — Hiram Novinger. — Isaac Novinger. — John C. Novinger. — J.T. Paden. — W.H. Parcells. — Chas. Patterson. — H.E. Patterson. — John Patterson. — Walker Paul. — D.C. Pierce. E.L. Pierce.— W.T. Parker.— Gideon Richey.— R.M. Ringo. — Wm. Ringo.— E.B. Seitz. — Jacob Shoop.— P.D. Shoop.— W.H. Sheeks. — John T. Smith. — Noah Stukey. — J.T. Vaughn. — A.L. Woods.

Reminiscences... 443-460
Geo. W. Cain. — William T. Baird.— Mrs. Jacob F. Waddill. — Mrs. Otis Miller. — Peyton F. Greenwood. — Thomas J. Dockery.

Great Men of the County... 463-474
John Roy Musick, by Mrs. G.A. Goben. — Judge Andrew Ellison, by William T. Baird. — Judge James Ellison. — Superintendent J.M. Greenwood, by John R. Kirk. — John R. Kirk. — Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. — Judge George W. Wanamaker.

Biographical Sketches... 477-1168
Errata... 1169
Index... 1170-1188


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In presenting this History of Adair County to the public, the publishers believe they are putting out a work of which they can be justly proud. It has taken more than twice as long as was at first anticipated, but time and labor have only added to its thoroughness, completeness and value, and we trust will be all the more appreciated by the subscribers and the general public. It has been a stupendous undertaking, greater than any of us realized, but we were determined to make it worthy and as complete as possible, no matter what the cost, and the time and the labor it entailed. We feel sure the work is a monument of its kind, a credit to its publishers, the author and editors, and to Adair County. Competent critics, who have examined it, say it is the best thing of its kind ever issued in the West.

Too much cannot be said for Mr. Violette, the author of the Historical Section. He has, without doubt, made the most careful and exhaustive research possible in the time allotted to him. For accuracy, thoroughness and systematic treatment, we believe his part of the work is unexcelled by any county history anywhere. It was a much greater task than he realized at the outset, but he did not hesitate nor falter, laboring all the more assiduously to make it a work of which he might feel justly proud. The publishers fully appreciate all that he has done, and trust that the consciousness of a task well done will help to compensate him for the labor involved.