History of Ray county, MO

The publishers of this work flatter themselves that it is worthy of public confidence, and that it will meet with the acceptance and approval of those for whom it is intended, namely: the people of Ray county, Missouri. It has been very carefully prepared from sources of information both official and private, and entirely authentic and reliable. No pains have been spared in making the history thorough, accurate and exhaustive; and that it has reclaimed from oblivion much valuable data concerning the early history of the county, and is a faithful record of facts worthy of preservation in permanent and readable form, is earnestly believed.

In prosecuting this work to completion, we received material assistance from citizens in various parts of the county; from old settlers, county officials and others, to all of whom we are profoundly grateful. Our acknowledgments, however, are especially due to Col. James W. Black, who is a contributor, to whatever merit the book may possess; to George W. Trigg, county clerk; to John R. Green, circuit clerk, and to Lewis Slaughter, recorder, for kindly permitting us to examine the records of their respective offices, and for gentlemanly courtesies extended during that work; to Wm. E. Ringo, deputy county clerk, for polite assistance; to James A. Davis, county collector; to Capt. Thomas McGinnis, ex-sheriff, and to Frank G. Gibson, ex-prosecuting attorney; to Dr. G.W. Buchanan and George I. Wasson, Esq.; to Judge Joseph E. Black, for loan of books and for files of the Richmond Herald; to Col. Jacob T. Child, editor Richmond Conservator, for files of that paper, and to Col. Thomas D. Bogie, editor Richmond Democrat; to Thomas N. Deacy, school commissioner; to Professor B.F. Duncan; and to Holland Vanderpool, William R. Blythe, R.L. McCoskrie, Edwin Odell and John Cleavenger, old settlers.

We desire, also, to acknowledge our indebtedness to Prof. James M. Long, an obliging, scholarly gentleman, for valuable suggestions.

The history of the county begins prior to its organization as such, and with the first settlements on lands which it afterwards embraced and now embraces, and is brought down to the present (June 1881).

In point of age, as a state, the twenty-fourth in the American Union, and in the scale of greatness, the fifth, Missouri is the just pride of every honest man and true patriot within her borders. Inexhaustibly rich in natural resources; fortunate in geographical position; convenient and beautiful in surface configuration; finely situated for commercial intercourse with her sister states and with the world; of generous soil, salubrious air and intelligent population, every throb of the Missourian's heart is a pulsation of love for his state then, would the "History of Ray County" be complete without at least a sketch of Missouri? A condensed view of the state is essential to an intelligent history of the county.

A very brief abstract of the laws of Missouri will, it is believed, enhance the value of the work, by affording to farmers and business men a convenient and reliable reference for every day use.

Part Second is devoted to brief biographical sketches of prominent citizens; of early settlers, and of those who, having the welfare of the county at heart, have contributed to its growth, wealth and development.

All history is but a recital of past events, and the great aim of him who places a series of those events, affecting the day in which he lives, of record, to be read by future generations, should be, above all things, Truth. He who records faithfully, impartially, truthfully, the important passing events of his own time, as well as the yet unwritten history of former days, for the guidance, instruction or amusement of those who are to come after him, is indeed a benefactor. It has not been our ambition to achieve merely the distinction of being called a benefactor, but, if we have succeeded in making a book worthy its subject, we are satisfied, and shall regard the people's gratitude as our best reward.


Table of Contents

Historical and Political 9
Prehistoric Missouri 10
The White Race in Missouri 15
Missouri as a State 25
Summary of Events and Dates 25
Counties and Population 26
Census Report, 1880 27
State Finances 29
Presidential Votes from 1820 to 1880 30
Governors from 1820 to 1880 31
United States Senators 31
Members of Congress 32
Public School System 34
Protectional Laws 40
Homestead Exemption 40
Exemption of Personal Property 42
Rights of Married Women 43
Taxation 43
Public Debt Limitation 44
Comparative Tax Rate 45
Federal Officers in the State 46
Missouri's Distinguished Men Daniel Boone 47
Thomas H. Benton 47
James B. Eads 48
Carl Schurz 49
Prof. Charles V. Riley 49
Missouri in the Civil War 50
Geology and Minerals 66
Geological Chart 67
Mineral Resources 72
Earths, Clays, Ochres, etc 77
Geography of Missouri 78
Rivers and Watercourses 81
Notable Springs 82
Soils and their Products 83
Wild Game 85
Climate 87
Healthfulness of the State 89
Agriculture 90
Staple Crops 91
Horticulture 93
The Grasshopper 96
Navigation and Commerce 99
The Lewis & Clark Expedition 100
First Steamboats in Missouri 101
The Barge System 103
Railroads in Missouri 104
Manufacturing in Missouri 107
Principal Cities in Missouri 108
Constitution of the United States 113
Constitution of Missouri 124
Abstract of State Laws and Forms 160
Practical Rules for Every-day Use 190
Names of the States of the Union and their Significance 196
Topography 199
The Pioneer 202
Early Settlements and Settlers 205
Indians 212
Organization 215
First County Seat, etc 218
Removal of the County Seat 226
First Instruments Recorded 231
Townships 238
County Officers 248
Ray County War Record 264
The Great Civil War 281
Confederate Soldiers 282
Union Soldiers 297
Religious 324
Educational 347
Societies 362
Newspapers of Ray County 366
Towns and Villages 383
Terrible Cyclone 389
Incorporation of Richmond 399
Ordinances City of Richmond 413
The sole surviving witness of the Authenticity of the Book of Mormon 456
Geology 461
Incidents 468
Statistical 482


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When a book is written, it is presumed that the writer had some object in view and some end to achieve by his labor in collecting the material and writing the book; and it is right that he should put himself on good terms with his readers at the outset by making a brief, but frank and honest statement of his object, plan and purpose in the book which he offers to public patronage. The writer of this History of Missouri has aimed to embody in a brief space the greatest amount of solid and reliable information about things which directly hinge and center upon or within the territory of this State this international commonwealth, which holds by right divine the royal prerogative of a destiny imperial and grand, if she can acquire or develop human brain and muscle adequate to utilize wisely, honorably and energetically her magnificent natural resources, both of commercial position and of agricultural and mineral wealth. The writer's desire and effort has been to present nothing which would not be read with deep interest by every intelligent citizen of Missouri at the present time; and also stand as a permanent body of information, at once useful and reliable for future reference. Discussion of theories, problems or doubtful matters has been avoided; solid facts have been diligently sought after; and the narrative has been made to embody as many facts and events as possible without falling into the dry-bones method of mere statistical tables. In fact, the limit of space allotted him has compelled the writer to condense, epitomize, shorten up and therefore continually to repress his desire to embellish the narrative with the graces of rhetoric and the glow of an exuberant and fervid enthusiasm. This, however, secures to the reader more facts within the same space.
In preparing this work more than a hundred volumes have been consulted, to collate incidents and authenticate dates and facts, besides much matter gathered from original sources and not before embraced in any book. It is not presumed that there are no mistakes or errors of statement herein made; but it is believed that there are fewer of such lapses than commonly occur with the same amount of data in similar works. The classification of topics is an attempt to give them a consecutive and consistent relative place and order in the book, for convenience of incidental reference or of selective reading.