History of Henry County, Missouri

The story of Henry County is one of achievement and development. The men and women who came to this county to make their homes on the, then frontier of the West, during the first half of the nineteenth century, laid the foundation for the present and future greatness of this the Banner County of Missouri. Many of them were descendants of ancestors who had been pioneers on other borders. Many came from Kentucky some from farther south, and still others from the East. They were typical pioneers, not unlike the average Missouri early settlers of whom a large portion were native Americans. They came here to make homes for themselves and their families. They were honest, sincere, industrious and God-fearing men and women, and the high rank that Henry County holds at this day, among her sister counties of the State and nation is, in no small measure, due to the honest motives and sincere devotion to duty of this hardy, self-reliant and liberty-loving vanguard of civilization, who perhaps "builded better than they knew." In recounting the story of Henry County, many of the descendants of these pioneers have played a conspicuous part in the affairs of the county, through all the years of its history, and many of these pioneer family names are prominently identified with the county at the present day.

The purpose of this work is not to present a philosophical treatise, on the causes and effects of matters connected with the history of Henry County, nor to fathom the unknown motives of man. It has been the aim, rather, to chronicle the events which may be of interest to those of the present and future. An effort has been made to present the main historical events which have transpired within the borders of the county, in chronological order, or as nearly so as possible. Major events of a State and national character have been touched upon, only as they affected Henry County, as well as the country as a whole. Many conditions and circumstances have had an influence in shaping the destiny of Henry County, and it is hoped that none of the more important of these have been overlooked in this volume.

Biography has ever been recognized as the foundation of all history and it has been well said that the family is the unit of society. Therefore, due recognition as been given in this work, to family and biographical history. Individual histories of many representative men and women of today, as well as of the past in Henry County, are here recorded with painstaking accuracy, which will remain an imperishable record of value as the years come and go.

Every effort has been put forth to make this history of Henry County accurate in detail, and comprehensive in scope, and while the limitation of human endeavor is ever present, especially in a work of this character it is firmly believed that this contribution to the annals of Henry County will meet with the approval and appreciation of a reading public.

Grateful acknowledgment is hereby made to the people of Henry County for their steadfast co-operation in this undertaking and the substantial encouragement which they have given.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
BEFORE THE WHITE MAN... 65-69

CHAPTER II.
FIRST SETTLEMENTS... 70-72

CHAPTER III.
SOME MEN OF EARLY MISSOURI HISTORY... 73-76

CHAPTER IV.
MISSOURI ADMITTED AS A STATE... 77-78

CHAPTER V.
ORGANIZATION OF COUNTIES... 79-84

CHAPTER VI.
THE BEGINNING OF THE COUNTY... 85-86

CHAPTER VII.
THE OFFICIAL ORGANIZATION... 87-89

CHAPTER VIII.
THE COUNTY SEAT LOCATED... 90-91

CHAPTER IX.
BEFORE 1840... 92-98

CHAPTER X.
FROM 1840 TO 1850... 99-101

CHAPTER XI.
FIRST THINGS AND EVENTS IN HENRY COUNTY... 102-103

CHAPTER XII.
THE ORIGIN OF NAMES IN HENRY COUNTY... 104-106

CHAPTER XIII.
TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY... 107-118

CHAPTER XIV.
FROM 1840 TO 1860... 119-123

CHAPTER XV.
CIVIL WAR DECADE... 124-129

CHAPTER XVI.
CIVIL WAR HISTORY... 130-147

CHAPTER XVII.
TOWNSHIPS... 148-152

CHAPTER XVIII.
IN THE EARLY EIGHTIES... 153-166

CHAPTER XIX.
THE LAST OF THE DECADE... 167-176

CHAPTER XX.
HENRY COUNTY IN THE NINETIES... 177-199

CHAPTER XXI
BEGINNING IN 1900... 200-216

CHAPTER XXII.
FINANCIAL DISASTER AND DEPRESSION... 217-223

CHAPTER XXIII.
RECUPERATION AND PROGRESS... 224-239

CHAPTER XXIV.
OTHER EVENTS AFTER 1905... 240-249

CHAPTER XXV.
RAILROADS... 250-280

CHAPTER XXVI.
STATISTICS... 281-288

CHAPTER XXVII.
BIOGRAPHICAL... 289-880

 

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The history of Henry County is more or less interwoven with the history of Missouri of which we are a part. It is not the province of a local history to recite in detail the events in the life of the State as a whole ; only so much of it will be included as will connect the history of the county, after its organization, to the time when it was merely a part of the wilderness which stretched from the Mississippi westward to the Rocky Mountains.

It is uncertain just what is the precise meaning of the word "Missouri"; it seems to have been derived from the language of the Sioux Indians. The Indians known to us as Missouries, dwelt near the mouth of the Missouri River; some authorities say that the word is supposed to refer to the drowning of people in the stream and may possibly be a corruption of the word meaning "Smoky Water." However that may be, of this we are certain; this which we now call Missouri, was once a part of the great territory of Louisiana which was bought by Thomas Jefferson from the French, and out of which were carved the wonderful States of this Middle Western country.

The writer will not attempt to recount the stories of early explorers of Missouri. Men like DeSoto, Joliet, Marquette and LaSalle, who made explorations through the Middle West, are part of American rather than part of Missouri or Henry County history. It is possible that DeSoto came into the southern part of the State and even into the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It is certain that the French people base their claims to the Mississippi Valley on the explorations of the others named; it is equally certain also, that aside from the fact that these explorations gave a basis for the claim to sovereignty, no importance attaches to them so far as the history of the State is concerned.