Wilson's History of Hickory County, Missouri
The object of the Author in presenting this book to the people of the county is to preserve some of the local history and biography, and the only regret now is that the work was not performed twenty years ago, when many of the old people now dead were alive. The matter for the book was not written like a real estate agent's advertisement, but to give our people as plain, intelligent statement as to conditions in the county, and territory from which it was organized, and history of its pioneers as far as traditions and facts could be gathered. An enormous fund of information that might have been gathered, and more correctly presented has perished with the departure of the good old men and old women who were living here twenty years ago. Ours has been the difficult task of extracting such truths as were wanted from the few remaining old people, and meager parts of the official records preserved from fire, and it will be found that some of our dates and conclusions are doubtful or incorrect. Four good old men living in the county at the time differed in their dates about four years when giving the Author information about the destruction of the first Court House. To him who has not attempted the collection of historical data, the obstacles to be surmounted are unknown. Doubtful or incorrect traditions, conflicting statements, imperfect records, and the general obscurity which, more or less, envelopes all past events tend to mislead and bewilder, when such a task as the Author has tried to perform is undertaken. We have not furnished a history without errors. Theorists may think such a thing could be done, but thoughtful, practical people realize the contrary. We feel that all thoughtful people will appreciate our work, and that if it is preserved it will be useful to future generations. The family histories and family records came directly from members of families, and we do not expect many errors in them, but they after passing through hands of writer, copyist and printer will not be found to be without errors. Many requests were sent to members of old families for family records, that were not furnished, but the loss, if any, is not to the author of this his- tory. We have received valuable assistance from several men, which we highly appreciate. Nothing promised to be given in this volume is omitted, and many things not promised are given. We call special attention of the young people to our short sketches as to early history of settlement, manners, customs, and disadvantages under which early settlers lived. In order to furnish names of all county officials, with dates and terms of office, we were compelled to search and compare scraps of old records, indices, and a bushel or so of old, musty, mice-eaten, papers, and from the same source we gathered many other facts, and conclusions. A perfectly correct statement of dates, facts, and conclusions, with the disadvantages under which we have labored can only be accomplished in the imagination of one who lives on theories and dreams. We used every effort that we could call to mind, and probably expended twenty dollars for postage, and stationery in trying to procure family records, and family history, which we are sorry we cannot present in this book, but the fault is not ours. We also used strong efforts to procure plates so that pictures of noted old and new buildings, and noted citizens could be produced in this volume, but failed to arouse sufficient interest among our people. If we should have occasion to issue a second edition of the book we may use further efforts to procure these interesting matters, but for the present have done the best we could. We submit this volume to our subscribers, with the desire that it be received, with due allowances for disadvantages under which we labored in its production, and with thanks to friends, who have kindly given us information, and hope that it will be appreciated by all who have chosen Hickory county as a home in which to live, raise their families, and be hurried beneath her surface. The Author.
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By an Act of the legislature approved on the 14th day of April, 1845, the boundary lines of the county were fixed as they now exist, except that the Northeast corner of the county was described as being at the Northeast corner of Section One (1,) Township 38, Range 20, instead of the Northeast corner of Section Twelve (12,) same Township and Range. The act provided that three commissioners; Henry Bartlet, William Lemon and James Johnson, should meet at Judge Joel B. Halbert's residence, then located on the Warsaw and Buffalo road, one mile South of where the town of Cross Timbers is now situated, on the first Monday in May, 1845, for the purpose of organizing the county. Prior to the date of this meeting, on April 25th, 1845, John C. Edwards, Governor of the State, appointed Joel B. Halbert, President of the county court, Jonas Brown and Amos Lindsey, associate justices. Jonas Brown lived about two miles North of what is now the town of Pittsburg, where Napoleon D. Lewis now fives, and was buried near his old residence about 1865. Amos Lindsey resided on the East side of the county, near the county fine in Section 12, Township 36, Range 21, about five miles Southeast of the town of Preston. John S. Williams was appointed sheriff and collector; Thomas Davis, treasurer; and Alfred H. Foster, clerk of the county court and clerk of the circuit court, probably May 6th, 1845. These officials, and the commissioners appointed by the Act of the legislature met at the residence of Judge Halbert in May, 1845, and transacted quite a large amount of business. A great deal of the county records having been burned in the destruction of two court houses by fire it is impossible to tell where the county court again met after May 1845, until August 1846, but it probably met at the residence of John Heard, about half a mile North of what is now the town of Wheatland, on the 10th day of August 1846.