St. Clair County Remnants Of The Past


St. Clair County
Remnants Of The Past

Article written by Benjamin Franklin Lawler, found in The Lowry City Independent, Lowry City, St. Clair, MO, Thursday, Nov. 30, 1922 (reprinted from the St. Clair County Republican):

Osceola Historical Review

Rives county was divided, the south part becoming St. Clair county and Henry county being formed of the north part.
Philip Crow deeded to St. Clair county the town site of Osceola to have and to hold while the same should be used as a county seat. If not so used the land would revert to the original estate. This is the chief reason why two efforts to move the county seat failed.
My brother W. B. Lawler helped Mr. Crow build the first house in Osceola. The first store was owned by Mr. Hubbard. It faced south toward where Mr. Shaffner’s home now is. It was a little west of the little ravine west of Dr. Wilson’s barn. I was in that store eighty years ago.
The first circuit court in the county was held in the residence of Judge Gash, twelve miles south and east of this place. The first circuit court held in Osceola was in a doctor’s office near where the Baptist church now is. This was in 1841.
The first court house was built of red brick. Court was in session when my father took me in. He took off his hat and I took off my little cap. From that day I have had reverence for courts of justice. I was ten years old. When I was sixteen I was made a Good Templar in one of the little rooms on the second floor. Jim Lane shot this court house down with his little cannon in 1862. It was on the site of the present court house. The Academy was near where Dr. Sullivan now lives. The first church house was north of where the Methodist church now is.
In 1844 I watched steamboats being unloaded near where John Henry’s mill now stands. The river was overflowing on the west side. Johnson & Vaughn were shippers as well as wholesale and retail merchants, selling goods to Carthage and the Indian Nation. Their main building was where the Johnson-Lucas bank is located. Mr. Weidemeyer was in the same block. Trippet and Cock, Dorchester and others were on the north side of the square. The blacksmith shop was where Morrow’s produce house stands.
The first newspaper, The Osceola Whig, with William J. Mayo, editor, had its office near where Mr. Shrewsbury’s office now is. The first circus was where the Vannice hotel and Hurley Lumber yard now are. The clown had paint on his face and was cleverly comic. The captain’s wife, beautifully dressed, rode a fine horse in the ring, while the horse galloped gracefully, she standing on his back with reins and whip in hand. The elephant was there and the show was no cheap affair.
A tanyard and carding machine were on the ground and near where Alf Carroll lives.
Foster P. Wright was succeeded by Waldo P. Johnson as Circuit Judge, Johnson going to the United States Senate later.
W.F. Carter was a great scholar. I took my Greek to him to teach me, but his health was gone and he soon passed away, in 1860-61. I miss him yet. McClain was a leading lawyer, John T. McClain was a leading banker.
The first Confederate soldiers here formed a line in front of the block where the Johnson-Lucas bank now is. They were dressed in gray uniforms and sang Dixie in fine spirit. As they marched out in front of where the post office now is, John T. McClain, standing with the great crowd on the walk, cried like a child and said “it looks like war.” Few of those fellows lived to see home again. ---B.F. Lawler, in the St. Clair County Republican.

Submitted by:  Karen Foreman