History of Clay County, Missouri
This history of Clay County has been compiled from three sources, printed and oral, which were deemed authentic and reliable, and from personal observation. No apocryphal event has been recorded, nor questionable story attempted to be preserved. Gleanings from unquestioned truthful printed history have been freely made. The public archives in Washington City have been in requisition, and from the writings of Mr. Jefferson more than excerpts have been taken therefrom.
The Editor has been a resident of Clay County for more than half a century which is more than half of the time since the County has had an existence, and has had not only the acquaintanceship, but in many instances the friendship of a number of the original settlers. Not a few of these men had vivid recollections of events occurring in the County from the very earliest days down to the time when they took delight in giving information to the writer, who was invariably a receptive listener. To him no entertainment was preferable than to have the privilege of listening to such men as John Wilson, "Marse" Fountain Waller, John Bronaugh, James, Alvin and Foster Means nan-ate true incidents, stories of the early days in Clay County. James Means lived continuously on the same farm from infancy to very old age, yet he lived during that time in three different counties — Howard, Ray and Clay.
Had not the Editor a predisposition to observe and retain historical facts, he certainly must have in the course of fifty years absorbed, at least, a modicum of historical events.
Table of Contents
LOUISIANA PURCHASE 65-72
ORGANIZATION OF COUNTY 73-84
EARLY COURTS AND ELECTIONS 85-97
INDIAN TROUBLES 98-103
MEXICAN WAR 104-112
EVENTS PRIOR TO THE CIVIL WAR 113-122
CIVIL WAR PERIOD 123-137
AFTER THE CIVIL WAR 138-147
LIBERTY TOWNSHIP 148-150
FISHING RIVER TOWNSHIP 167-172
EXCELSIOR SPRINGS 173-188
GALLATIN TOWNSHIP 189-192
PLATTE TOWNSHIP 193-200
KEARNEY TOWNSHIP 201-207
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP 208-210
WILLIAM JEWELL COLLEGE 211-224
ORGANIZED MEDICINE IN CLAY COUNTY 223-230
ROAD BUILDING 231-236
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
ALEXANDER DONIPHAN CHAPTER 237-242
THE PRESS 243-244
THE MORMONS 245-248
THE JAMES BOYS 249-254
THE WORLD WAR 255-275
THE CLAY COUNTY COUNCIL OF DEFENSE 276-278
CLAY COUNTY WOMAN'S COMMITTEE COUNCIL OF NATIONAL DEFENSE 279-291
CLAY COUNTY CHAPTER, AMERICAN RED CROSS 292-309
SOME CLAY COUNTY AND MISSOURI EVENTS 310-327
OFFICIALS FROM THE ORGANIZATION OF CLAY COUNTY 328-337
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Clay County was formed from Ray, January 2, 1822, extending from the Missouri River north to the Iowa line, with its present width of about twenty-one miles, and its length, of about one hundred miles.
The Act of the Legislature creating the County, appointed five com- missioners to select a permanent seat of government for the county, and further provided that until the selection of this permanent seat was made, all courts should be held at the house of John Owens, which house was located upon what is now known on the plat of the town — now city — of Liberty, as lot 173, on Water street. The commissioners named in the Act were Henry Estes, Enos Vaughn, Wyatt Adkins and John Pouge.