History of St. Charles County, Missouri
Newspapers, Public Schools, Railroads, Etc.
History of Printing and First Newspapers -- The Missourian, First Paper in Missouri, outside of St. Louis, West of the Mississippi -- When Established and by Whom -- Its Success -- Suspended and Never Revived -- Succeeded by the Clarion -- Cosmos, Oldest Paper in St. Charles County -- Descended from the Clarion, which was followed by Free Press, Advertiser, etc. -- Purchase of Cosmos by W. W. Davenport -- Other Proprietors of Paper -- Destroyed by Fire -- Continued Publication by Stock Company -- Dr. Davis, Editor -- Size of Paper -- Politics -- St. Charles News -- When Established -- Removal from Wentzville to St. Charles -- Sold to F. C. King, and in 1874 to Stock Company -- Passes into Hands of P. A. Farley -- Succeeded by James C. Holmes -- Characteristics and Politics -- St. Charles Demokrat -- German Weekly -- Started in 1852 -- First Issue -- Whom Supported -- Hon. Arnold Krekel Editor until 1864 -- Various Changes Through which it has Passed -- J. H. Bode, Present Proprietor -- Katholicher Hausfreund -- Public Schools in County -- Railroads -- California Emigrants.
pages 214 - 229
The press, the great luminary of liberty, is the handmaid of progress. It heralds its doings and makes known its discoveries. It is its advance courier, whose coming is eagerly looked for and whose arrival is hailed with joy, as it brings tidings of its latest achievements. The press prepares the way and calls mankind to witness the approaching procession of the triumphal car of progress as it passes on down through the vale of the future. When the car of progress stops the press will cease, and the intellectual and mental world will go down in darkness. The press is progress, and progress the press. So intimately are they related, and their interests interwoven, that one can not exist without the other. Progress made no advancement against the strong tides of ignorance and vice in the barbaric past until it called to its aid the press. In it is found its greatest discovery, its most valuable aid, and the true philosopher's stone.
The history of this great industry dates back to the fifteenth century. Its discovery and subsequent utility resulted from the following causes in the following manner: Laurentius Coster, a native of Haerlem, Holland, while rambling through the forest contiguous to his native city, carved some letters on the back of a birch tree. Drowsy from the relaxation of a holiday, he wrapped his carvings in a piece of paper and lay down to sleep. While men sleep progress moves, and Coster awoke to discover a phenomenon, to him simple, strange and suggestive. Dampened by the atmospheric moisture, the paper wrapped about his handiwork had taken an impression from them, and the surprised burgher saw on the paper an inverted image of what he had engraved on the bark. The phenomenon was suggestive, because it led to experiments that resulted in establishing a printing office, the first of its kind in the old Dutch town. In this office John Gutenburg served a faithful and appreciative apprenticeship, and from it, at the death of his master, absconded during a Christmas festival, taking with him a considerable portion of type and apparatus. Gutenburg settled in Mentz, where he won the friendship and partnership of John Faust, a man of sufficient means to place the enterprise on a secure financial basis. Several years later the partnership was disolved because of a misunderstanding. Gutenburg then formed a partnership with a younger brother, who had set up an office at Strasburg, but had not been successful, and becoming involved in lawsuits, had fled from that city to join his brother in Mentz. These brothers were the first to use metal types. Faust, after his dissolution with Gutenburg, took into partnership Peter Schoeffer, his servant, and a most ingenious printer. Schoeffer privately cut matrices for the whole alphabet. Faust was so pleased that he gave Schoeffer his only daughter in marriage. These are the great names in the early history of printing, and each is worthy of special honor.
Coster's discovery of wood blocks or plates, on which the page to be printed was engraved, was made some time between 1440 and 1450, and Schoeffer's improvement -- casting the type by means of matrices -- was made about 1456. For a long time printing was dependent upon most clumsy apparatus. The earliest press had a contrivance for running the forms under the point of pressure by means of a screw. When the pressure was applied the screw was loosened, the form withdrawn and the sheet removed. Improvements were made upon these crude beginnings from time to time, until the hand-press now in use is a model of simplicity, durability and execution. In 1814, steam was first applied to cylinder presses by Frederick Kong, a Saxon genius, and the subsequent progress of steam printing has been so remarkable as to almost justify a belief in its absolute perfection. Indeed, to appreciate the improvement in presses alone, one ought to be privileged to stand awhile by the pressman who operated the clumsy machine of Gutenburg, and then he should step into one of the well-appointed modern printing offices of our larger cities, where he could notice the roll of dampened paper entering the great power presses, a continuous sheet, and issuing therefore as newspapers, ready fo the carrier or express. The Romans, in the time of the emperors, had periodicals, notices of passing events, compiled and distributed. These daily events were the newspapers of that age. In 1536, the first newspaper of modern times was issued at Venice, but government bigotry compelled its circulation in manuscript form.
In 1663 the Public Intelligencer was published in London, and is credited with being the first English paper to attempt the dissemination of general information. The first American newspaper was the Boston News Letter, whose first issue was made April 24, 1704. It was a half sheet, twelve inches by eight, with two columns to the page. John Campbell, the postmaster, was the publisher. The Boston Gazette made its first appearance December 21, 1719, and the American Weekly, at Philadelphia, December 22, 1719. In 1776 the number of newspapers published in the colonies was 37; in 1828 the number had increased to 852, and at the present time not less than 2,000 newspapers are supported by our people. Journalism, by which is meant the compiling of passing public events, for the purpose of making them more generally known and instructive, has become a powerful educator. Experience has been its only school for special training, its only text for study, its only test for theory. It is scarcely a profession, but is advancing rapidly toward that dignity. A distinct department of literature has been assigned to it. Great editors are writing autobiographies and formulating their methods and opinions; historians are rescuing from oblivion the every-day life of deceased journalists; reprints of interviews with famous journalists, touching the different phases of their profession, are deemed worthy of pulication in book form. Leading universities have contemplated the inauguration of courses of study specially designed to fit men and women for the duties of the newspaper sanctum. These innovations are not untimely, since no other class of men are so powerful for good or ill as editors. More than any other class they form public opinion while expressing it, for most men but echo the sentiments of favorite journalists. Even statesmen, ministers and learned professors not unfrequently get their best thoughts and ideas from the papers they read.
The Missourian of St. Charles is believed to have been the first paper published in the West outside of St. Louis on this side of the Mississippi. It was established by Robert McLoud before the admission of Missouri into the Union, and while St. Charles was the seat of the State or Territorial government. He was a practical printer and a step-son of Joseph Charles, Sr., one of the founders of the Missouri Republican.
The Missourian was a small folio publication of 20 columns, according to the best recollection of those still living who remember to have seen it. It was of course weekly, although for the time being the organ of the State government. However, when it was first established, though the State constitution had been adopted, the formal act of admission had not been passed by Congress. Those were not the days of the telegraph, and the daily news of the world was not expected next morning, so that a weekly answered every purpose.
The Missourian prospered abundantly during the earlier years of its existence and while the seat of government continued here, and, in fact, became a paper of large influence. It flourished for a number of years after the removal of the capital to Jefferson City; but finally, after passing through various changes of ownership and management, suspended publication, and was never afterwards revived under its old name. It was succeeded by the Clarion, and from that time forward there were a number of newspapers established here from time to time up to within a recent period, all of which passed through varied experiences, some failing outright, others being absorbed by more powerful rivals, and all being more or less reorganized, at each of which reorganization, or at some of them at least, a new name was assumed.
The early history of journalism in this county is briefly given elsewhere, so that for the purposes of the present chapter only the papers of to-day need be spoken of. In giving sketches of these, however, some of the facts already mentioned must necessarily be gone over, for the journals of St. Charles at this time are more or less the outgrowths of former papers, or lineal successors to them, so that in giving a history of these mention must unavoidably be made to their predecessors.
The Cosmos is the oldest paper in St. Charles county, having nearly completed its forty-ninth year. It is descended by regular transfer of offices from the Clarion, mentioned above, which was the organ of the Whig party in this county. The Clarion, as already stated, was owned and conducted by Nathaniel Patton until his death, which occurred in 1837. His widow, Mrs. Patton, who afterwards became the wife of Hon. Wilson L. Overall, continued the publication of the paper under her proprietorship as Mrs. W. L. Overall, with Hon. W. H. Campbell as editor.
But in 1839 the Clarion was sold by Mrs. Overall to Messrs. Julian & Carr, who ran it, however, only about a year. They sold the office to Berlin & Knipp, who changed the name of the paper to the Free Press, and published it as such until 1842. Overall, Julian & Carr then bought it and published it as the Advertiser for about four years, following which Douglass & Millington became its proprietors. They ran the paper as the Western Star until 1849. Orear & Kibler succeeded them as proprietors, and changed it name to the Chronotype. In 1852 Kibler retired from the firm of Orear & Kibler, McDearmon taking Kibler's place in the firm. The next year N. C. Orear became the sole proprietor. In 1854 Mr. Orear sold to King & Emmons, who adopted the name of Reveille for the paper. Two years later Hinman & Branhan bought the Reveille, and ran it until 1868, when Edwards & Stewart purchased it. They gave it the name of the Sentinel, and ran it as such for six years. Emmons & Orrick now became proprietors of the paper, and gave it the double name of the Sentinel and Cosmos.
The Cosmos had been established a short time before, and was the principal office at the time of the consolidation. W. W. Davenport succeeded Emmons & Orrick as the proprietor. He dropped the name Sentinel from the paper altogether, and continued its publication as the Cosmos until 1872. It was then purchased by W. A. McHenry and C. C. Davis, who owned it jointly and published it under the proprietorship of McHenry & Davis for nearly five years. January 1, 1877, McHenry became the sole proprietor. Four years later, December 31, 1880, he sold to Charles Gatzweiler, Henry Sanford and Dr. J. W. Davis, who bought it with the intention not only of continuing the publication of the Cosmos, but of also issuing a weekly Republican German paper, the Republikaner, from the office. But on the morning of January 1, 1881, the next morning after they had purchased the office, it was destroyed by fire in the conflagration of the Mittleberg Opera House, together with all the files of the paper, its type, presses, and other materials and fixtures.
With nothing by the good-will of the paper left, the new owners proceeded energetically to repair their losses; and, although but three days remained for them to make up and publish the next weekly issue of the Cosmos, such were their courage and enterprise that on the following Wednesday, as usual, the paper appeared the same as if no fire had occurred, except that it was reduced in size to a twenty-eight column paper from thirty-six columns, which it previously contained.
Shortly after the destruction of the Cosmos office by fire a stock company was organized for the continuance of its publication. Judge F. W. Gatzweiler became president of the company and Charles Gatzweiler secretary. Dr. J. W. Davis, one of the prominent stock-holders in the company, continued as editor. Since that time its publication has continued under the proprietorship of the stock company, known as the St. Charles Publishing Company, and with Dr. Davis as editor.
Like all leading paper, country journals as well as those of the cities, the Cosmos has been built up to its present prominence and influence by years of hard work, economy and good management, and by being conducted earnestly and faithfully in the interest of the public upon whom it relies for support and success. No leading and succeeding journal can be established in a day or a year. It requires years of patient toil and exercise of the best business judgment, as well as strict fidelity to the public interest and both ability and experience in editorial management. The growth of the Cosmos not only since it was given its present name, but prior to that time through all or nearly all of the different changes of name and management it has undergone, has been steady and substantial. Originally a small folio of about twenty columns as the Clarion, it was enlarged from time to time, and increased in circulation and influence until it has become one of the leading country journals of North-east Missouri. Not only that, but in a business point of view, it now occupies a position of thorough independence. It has long been a valuable and paying piece of newspaper property.
The Cosmos is a four-page, thirty-six column paper, 28x44 inches in size and has a circulation of about 2,000. The office building is one of the finest, outside of St. Louis and Kansas City, in the State. It is a large handsome two-story brick block, the first story being fitted up and occupied as business houses. In the second story there are a number of fine offices for attorneys and other professional men; and, besides, the Cosmos office. The latter is divided into editorial, compositors' and press-rooms; and being built and fitted up expressly for these purposes, they are veritable patterns of convenience and neatness. The office is also supplied with a full job printing "plant" and the Cosmos company are prepared to do as good work in the job printing line as can be had in this part of the State.
In 1883 the good-will and the subscription list of the St. Charrles Journal, a sprightly Democratic paper, established in 1880 by Messrs. T. G. & G. S. Johns, was purchased by the Cosmos, or the St. Charles Publishing Company, which added considerably to the circulation and influence of the Cosmos. The Republikaner, a weekly German Republican paper, which it was the purpose of Messrs. Gatzweiler, Sanford & Davis to publish from the office of the Cosmos, when they purchased it in December, 1880, had been printed and published from this office regulary every week from that time since. The Republikaner is one of the leading German Republican papers of the interior of the State, and has a large circulation and a good advertising patronage.
Originally the predecessor of the Cosmos, as we have stated, was a Whig paper, which it continued to be for a number of years. Afterwards, under a change or changes of management, it became Democratic. During the Civil War and for a time afterwards it was Republican in politics. But under its present management it has been avowedly independent. The Cosmos treats all political questions in a thorough spirit of independence and fairness, turning neither to the right not to the left to shield Democrat or Republican from responsibility for his public acts. Whatever is worthy of commendation in either part it approves heartily and without prejudices, and whatever censurable, it condemns without hesitation or fear and in the most positive manner. But pre-eminently it is devoted to the material welfare and social well being of the people of St. Charles county. Every public enterprise, tending to promote the best interests of the county, receives its most hearty support, and all movements of a moral, benevolent, educational, or religious character, worthy of approval, find encouragement and help in its columns. Dr. Davis, the present editor of the paper, has been connected with it in this capacity for the last 11 years. Of his experience and ability, as a writer, we have already spoken in a sketch of his life, which appears in the biographical department of the present work. Still, it would be less than proper to add here that the success of the Cosmos during his connection with it is largely due to his good judgment, industry and force in the editorial management of the paper.
ST. CHARLES NEWS
The St. Charles News was established in 1863 at Wentzville, a thriving little town 20 miles west of St. Charles, by Wm. S. Bryan. Under his management it continued until 1870, when, to enlarge its field, it was removed to St. Charles and an interest in the paper was sold to F. C. King, son of Hon. A. H. King, a former member of Congress. Its publication was continued with increased success until 1874, when it was sold to the St. Charles News Company, a stock company. This company continued its publication until December, 1875, when it passed into the hands of P. A. Farley, an attache of the St. Louis Republican, who brought it to a high state of prosperity. Upon his death, in April, 1883, the paper was sold to James C. Holmes, its present proprietor. Mr. Holmes, by his superior and careful management, close attention to details, good editorial judgment and fearless, outspoken views of party policy and management, has brought the News to the front as the leading exponent of Democratic principles in the Eleventh Congressional District. While achieving a prominent position as a political organ, the department of home news and local happenings, the peculiar domain of the country journal, has not been neglected, as the thousands of readers in St. Charles and adjoining counties, to whom it is a welcome, weekly visitor, can testify. Its constantly increasing list of subscribers show the appreciation in which it is held by the community. With increased facilities for news-gathering there is every reason to expect that therr will be a short time but few homes in St. Charles county into which the News will not enter. In connection with the News office, Mr. Holmes has a thoroughly equipped job office, filled with the latest faces of job type, fast presses, paper cutters, blocking machinery and a large stock of blank goods kept constantly on hand, from which he turns out some of the neatest and best executed job work west of St. Louis. We append a few extracts from journals and individuals of recent date, showing the enviable reputation of News is achieving under the management of Mr. Holmes.
The News is certainly a great aid in advancing the prosperity of St. Charles. -- The Trade Journal.
We know of no country newspaper that gives more indications of thrift and prosperity, than the St. Charles News. It certainly deserves all of its apparent prosperity, for it does much to promote and enhance the prosperity of St. Charles. -- The Iron Review.
The News is assuredly the leading newspaper of St. Charles, in all that goes to make a live, progressive and modern journal. -- Columbia Sentinel.
The St. Charles News is certainly the newsiest paper in Eastern Missouri. -- Springfield News.
The St. Charles News is one of the ablest conducted journals in the State. We welcome it to our sanctum. -- Wellsville Democrat.
The News is an enterprising journal, fully abreast of the times. -- Decatur Review.
The News is a most welcome visitor to my office. I do not see how any citizen of St. Charles can dispense with it. -- S. F. Covington, Cincinnati, O.
I am more than pleased with the News. It is certainly making great progress. -- E. A. Lewis, Judge of the St. Louis Court of Appeals.
I congratulate you on the success you are evidently achieving. -- E. L. Noonan, St. Louis.
I have found the News a most excellent advertising medium. I am well pleased with the results of my advertising in it. -- A. J. Crawford, St. Louis, Mo.
ST. CHARLES DEMOKRAT
This German weekly is published at St. Charles, Mo., every Thursday, by J. H. Bode, editor and proprietor. It was established in 1852 by Hon. Arnold Krekel, now United States circuit judge of the Western District of Missouri, who was its editor for 10 to 12 years. The first issue of the paper appeared on January 1, 1852, with O. C. Orear and Jac. Kibler as publishers, who were at that time also publishing an English sheet called the Chronotype. The issue of the first copy of the Demokrat created quite an excitement and under leading Germans, who were headed by Mr. Krekel, went to the California House, where they had quite a jollification over the birth of the "baby," which was destined to play quite a role in the course of years on the local stage. The Demokrat was a paper advocating Democratic principles; supported James Buchanan, and later Franklin Pierce, for the Presidency. The first two years the paper was published by Messrs. Orear & Kibler, when it passed into the hands of Messrs. Gustave Bruere, who had arrived from Germany, a bookseller by trade, and Jul. Hiemer, a practical printer. These two gentlemen conducted the paper with Mr. Krekel as its editor for about four years, when it passed into the hands of Mr. G. Bruere, retaining Mr. Krekel as editor. Mr. Bruere conducted the paper till January 1, 1864, when the present editor and proprietor bought a half interest, and it was then edited by them. In course of years the paper had affiliated itself with the Republican party and supported Fremont for the Presidency, afterwards Lincoln and Grant. In the so-called Liberal movement it supported Horace Greeley. Bruere & Bode conducted the paper for two years, when the former retired, being elected county clerk, and Herm. Lindeman, assistant editor of the Westliche Post, bought Mr. Bruere's interest. The firm was then J. H. Bode & Co., who conducted it for a year and a half, when it passed into Mr. Bode's hands solely, who made large improvements, in the way of machinery, placing a card press and a cylinder press for printing of the paper in the office, being the first press of that kind ever brought to the town. In 1870 Mr. Bode sold an half interest to his brother William A. Bode, who conducted the paper under the name of J. H. & W. A. Bode for two years in such successful manner that the cylinder press proved too small and a larger Hoe cylinder was brought, which is now in the establishment, and driven by water power, in connection with two other small presses. After the unfortunate Greeley movement the paper went back to its "first love," advocated Democratic principles and Democratic candidates for the Presidency, as Tilden, Hancock and Cleveland. It was one, if not the first, German paper in the State with advocated the nomination of Mr. Cleveland for the Presidency. January 1, 1880, the paper passed into the hands of Mr. J. H. Bode, the present editor and proprietor, on account of the continued sickenss of his brother. The office is now one of the best equipped country offices in the State. It is the oldest German paper in the State, having been published since its establishment in 1852 without interruption.
The Katholicher Hausfreund, a German Catholic household paper, was established at O'Fallon by Rev. Father Brockhagen about eighteen months ago, and by his ability, enterprise and industry has been placed upon a safe footing, in a business point of view. As a business enterprise it is now an established success. The Hausfreund is a representative German paper of the Catholic Church, and has proved to be a valuable auxiliary in the great work of Christianity in this part of the country, and under the beneficent influence and teachings of the Church. It holds a warm place in the hearts of true German Catholics wherever it is known and circulates. It is edited with marked ability and sincere, earnest piety, and a spirit of Christian love pervades all its discussions of religious questions. Father Brockhagen is a strong, vigorous writer, a man of strong mind and thorough culture, and a man whose heart is not lett fitted for the work before him than his head. It was no ordinary undertaking to establish a representative German Catholic paper at a small interior town, as he did, and no man of an ordinary stamp would have made the venture, much less have made it the complete success which has crowned the energy and enterprise of Father Brockhagen.
The Hausfreund is an eight-page, forty-column paper, 13x20 inches in size. It is printed in clear, good type, and presents a neat and attractive appearance. It is well filled with good reading matter, largely of a religious character. But, as the name of the paper indicates, it gives considerable attention to the wants and interests of the household generally, and therefore supplies its readers with much matter of general interest. The Hausfreund is a welcome visitor in every household where it enters, and is steadily growing in circulation and influence. It is well patronized by advertisers and is one of the prosperous Catholic journals of the country. Father Brockhagen deserves unqualified credit for the success he has achieved with the Hausfreund and the good he is doing in this, as in other fields of usefulness.
In this State, and in St. Charles county, we have had public schools from the time of the organization of the State government, and a regular public school system established by law. But in the early history of the State and the county, on account of the sparseness of the population, the limited means of the people and lightness of taxation, and, to some extent, the scarcity and inferiority of teachers, our public schools were neither numerous nor of a very superior character. They were not supported by taxation as it would have been well to sustain them, and the few we had were therefore not able to continue their terms as long as they ought to have run. Hence, a public school education in those days, whilst it included an elementary knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic, and a scattering of grammar and geography, was not as desirable or valuable as the instruction received in our public schools now. On this account may who were anxious to educate their children, sent them off to boarding schools, and not a few to colleges. Indeed, good boarding schools grew up in almost every county of the State and a number of colleges of high standing were established. Local academies, as they were called, and in some instances, seminaries, were started here and there by public-spirited citizens who were able to contribute to them and were desirous of educating their children at home. But all this tended to the detriment of the public school system. People, to some extent, came to look at it with disfavor, seeing that it resulted in but little practiced good. It was these considerations and influence, more than any others, that brought about whatever prejudice there was in Missouri prior to the war against public education, or "free schools," as they were called.
But as the country advanced in population and neighborhoods became more thickly settled, the necessity of resorting to the public school system became manifest. It was hardly to be expected that local academies could be built up in each neighborhood. Hence, public schools under the general law sprang up here and there, and in every direction, and long before the war, the free schools of this State had made commendable progress. They of course had much to contend against, growing out of the conditions in the early history of the State which we have referred to above. But considering all the circumstances, no Missourian need hang his head in the face of the public school record of his State. And in late years he may justly point with pride to the high standard of schools we have under the general law, the liberality and public spirit with which they are supported as well the great work they have performed.
As early as 1843 there was a number of good public schools in St. Charles county. The roll of attendance at the public school of the town of St. Charles showed the presence of forty scholars. It was taught in the building now occupied by R. Goebel's photograph gallery, and the directors were John Adkinson, Arnold Krekel, Dr. Thompson and F. W. Gatzweiler. From that time up to the present, one or more public schools have been kept open at this place during all, or nearly all, of the school months of the year. So, also, with the county outside of the city of St. Charles.
About the time of the close of the war a new impetus was given to the public schools of the State, generally. It was a time when all kinds of taxation were being rapidly increased and the spirit to push forward, regardless of expenses or cost, pervaded public as well as private affairs. Everything was inflated, and money was plentiful. The public schools shared in the benefits resulting from this condition of affairs, and heavy taxes were laid for their support. The school laws were materially amended and liberalized and provisions made for amplifying and improving the public school system. That period marks a decided epoch in the public school system, and one from which the schools have ever since made steady and rapid progress.
In 1864 the school directors of St. Charles were F. W. Gatzweiler, president of the board; Theodore Bruere, secretary, and Charles Hug, treasurer. The daily attendance of pupils numbered 130, and two teachers were employed. Jefferson school-house, on Jefferson and Fourth streets, was erected two years later. Franklin school-house came into the possession of the school board in 1870. Soon after this, Lincoln school-house, then a negro church, was purchased to be used as a temple of learning for the little negroes of the city. The Jefferson school-house was materially enlarged and improved in 1874. At this time the average daily attendance of pupils in the St. Charles public schools was 425, 75 of whom are representatives of the Fifteenth Amendment. The permanent school fund of the city was $30,000; State revenue fund, per annum, $1,847.07; number of teachers employed, eight; highest salary paid per annum, $1,000; lowest salary per annum, $500; length of session, ten months, beginning on the 1st of September. The present school board is composed of F. W. Gatzweiler, president; Theodore Bruere, secretary, and August Maerten, treasurer. Prof. W. C. Goodlet is the principal of the public schools of the city, a gentleman of high character, superior culture and large experience as an educator. He has brought the public schools of the city to a high plane of efficiency and success. Prof. Goodlett is ably assisted in his work by the Misses Laura Goebel, Clara Clauss, Maggie Parks, Lizzie Rood and Clara Bruere, at Jefferson school, and by Miss Mary Powell at Franklin school. Lincoln school is presided over by R. L. Woods, a colored educator of repute.
In the county, outside of St. Charles, the public schools have shown an equally gratifying degree of progress. The average daily attendance throughout the county is 7,507, representing 3,364 white male children, 3,286 white of the feminine gender, 436 colored boys, and 421 colored girls. The permanent county school fund is $21,265.31; township fund $41,137.75. The general school tax of the county is $24,166.76; county interest, $4,367.58; State fund for the county, (annual) $7,000; making an annual fund for school purposes (not including the city of St. Charles) of $35,534.34. The number of districts in the county is 74.
Unquestionably the above facts present a very gratifying showing for the public schools of the county. They are warmly supported by all classes, and if any prejudice against them ever obtained, it has long since passed away. The same is probably true of the whole State at large. Men of all parties vie with each other in efforts to promote the blessings of public, popular education. No one who would oppose the public school system of this State, would find any appreciable support among the people, but on the contrary would meet general and positive disapprobation.
In the present volume a somewhat extended and detailed history of the Wabash Railroad has been given elsewhere. It will be found in the division of this work devoted to the history of Warren county. Its appearance there, therefore, renders it unnecessary to speak, generally, of that road in the present connection. As the county map shows, the Wabash enters this county on its eastern border at St. Charles and pursues nearly a direct westward course to the western border of the county. We have mentioned the fact elsewhere that Hon. William Allen, of Wentzville, was largely instrumental in securing the charter for the old North Missouri from the Legislature. The road has proved a great benefit to St. Charles county. It opened up the county to the outside world and gave the people a convenient and rapid means of transportation to all the markets of the country. Of course the county has suffered some from what seemed freight extortions, but the benefits received far outweigh the burdens borne. To be sure, there is some complaint that the road is not assessed and taxed, proportionally, as heavily as the other property, and that it even refuses to pay the taxes levied against it. But as humanity is constantly growing better, it is to be hoped that although the Legislature and the courts refuse to remedy this (and of course nobody expects the Board of Railroad Commissioners to correct it), the public-spirited and philanthropic-hearted general officers and managers of the road will at last come to see the error of their ways in a light as broad and bright as the effulgence of a Brush electric lamp, and voluntarially pay over to the county all taxes justly due, but the payment of which the county is utterly helpless to enforce.
ST. LOUIS, KEOKUK AND NORTH-WESTERN
The next most important road to the Wabash in this county is the St. Louis, Keokuk & North-Western, which is now owned and operated by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy and is a part of the great system of roads of the latter company, one of the largest, as it is one of the finest and wealthiest systems in the West. The St. Louis, Keokuk and North-Western forms a junction with the Wabash in this county and leads thence north-westward up the Mississippi through Clarksville, Louisiana and Hannibal, to Keokuk, Iowa, where it connects with all the different roads entering at Hannibal and Keokuk.
The building of the St. Louis, Keokuk and North-Western, and of the St. Louis, Hannibal and Keokuk, together with the aid rendered them by this county and the part taken by citizens of the county in those enterprises, have already been spoken of in a former chapter.
The general offices of the St. Louis, Keokuk and North-Western, or the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, as the owner of the North-Western are W. W. Baldwin, president; T. J. Potter, vice-president; J. C. Peasley, treasurer; R. Law, general superintendent; J. H. Best, general ticket and freight agent; Howard Elliot, assistant treasurer and auditor; H. W. Pratt, car accuntant, and H. B. Starring, general baggage agent.
ST. LOUIS, HANNIBAL AND KEOKUK
The St. Louis, Hannibal and Keokuk also forms a junction with the Wabash in this county, above the junction of the St. Louis, Keokuk and North-Western, and leads thence north-westward to Hannibal and Quincy through Troy, Bowling Green, New London and Palmyra. It has connections with the Wabash, the Missouri Pacific, the Hannibal and St. Joe, Chicago and Alton, and a number of other roads. It is operated under the receivership of Theodore Case at Hannibal. Its other officers are W. W. Driggs, general ticket and freight agent; F. C. Cake, Jr., general cashier and auditor.
From what has been said it is seen that St. Charles is well provided with railroad facilities. Farmers and business men and all classes have the advantages of rapid and cheap transportation, one of the great desiderata for the prosperity and material and general progress of a community.
St. Charles county has of course always been considered a good county to immigrate to, but rarely a county to be emigrated from. Those who settle here are generally satisfied to remain. The few exceptions to this have been made only under the greatest inducements. About the largest emigration that ever occurred from the county was in the years 1849 and 1850, when the California gold excitement was at its height. Then the emigrants went from every quarter of the earth where the tidings of the new-found Midas-land was carried to the golden coast of the Pacific. No civilized country was exempted, and of course St. Charles county gave up a number of her people to the general movement across the continent. Among those who went to California during the earlier years of the gold excitement, the following are remembered: John W. Redman, John A. Richey, James Gallaher, Jr., Dr. Frederick R. Gallaher, Robert H. Cornforth, Albert H. Edwards, Thomas Glenday, Joseph Hall, John Hall, George W. Garriott, ____ Lucia.
Transcribed July 2003 by Deborah Heimann -- Co-ordinator for the St. Charles County, Missouri USGenWeb pages.