St. Clair County Remnants Of The Past


St. Clair County
Remnants Of The Past

St. Clair County Courier
29 April 1976

Bicentennial Corner

The Benton Green Farm
By Floe Pasley Summers

Roy Smith, a fourth generation owner of the Benton Green farm located on Highway E midway between Roscoe and Monegaw Springs, recently registered 125 acres of the original 605 acres in the Bicentennial Farm recognition.
Historically the land was homesteaded in 1838 by Mr. Huffman, a ferry boat operator on the Osage River at Roscoe, Missouri. The small settlement was then located on the bluff of the river.
In 1851 Joseph Henry Green purchased the land for a dollar and a half an acre. He brought his wife Jane and their ten children from Lafayette County where he had operated a store. He came to the area seeking the medicinal qualities of the sulpher water found in Monegaw springs and in Mud Lake Springs located on his own farm.
A state-county receipt written on a piece of tablet paper shows Mr. Green paid two dollars in taxes in 1851. A bill of sale lists various yard goods purchased by Jane Green at the Weidemeyer General Store in Roscoe. An order for a marble tomb stone carved with an open Bible and a Scripture verse and embellished with roses and lilies cost 34 dollars. It was delivered by Benwell’s Marble Works in Boonville, Missouri, for Joseph Green when he died in 1855 at age 60.
A massive walnut four-poster Cannon Ball bed with four by four railings pegged to fasten the rope underpinnings is a treasured family heirloom. It was made in Tennessee and brought to Missouri when the family migrated in the early 1800s.
Joseph’s youngest son, Nicholas Benton Green born in 1838, was 13 when he came to St. Clair County. He lived on the family farm until his death in 1913. He and his wife Elizabeth had 11 children. Their youngest daughter, Bessie, married to Frank Smith, lived on the farm until her death in 1940.
In 1861 young Benton sat on a rail fence and watched the Bushwackers steal and ride away with all his horses leaving him a broken down mule. They also took his boots. At another time one of his neighbors concealed himself among the lily pads growing in Mud Lake while the Bushwackers searched for him.
Later Benton joined the Confederate Army and fought in the Battle of Lone Jack where he was severely wounded. His wife Elizabeth, along with a neighbor woman whose husband had also been wounded, traveled in a covered wagon to the battlefield where they stayed six weeks and nursed their husbands back to health and then brought them home. The muzzle-loader gun carried by Benton Green during the war is another prized family possession. Made in 1849 and bearing the government stamp, the gun is in excellent condition.
In 1872 Benton built the present two-story house near the site of his parents’ log cabin. Receipts for 1876 show he paid $29.08 for state and county taxes and he gave one horse valued at $11.00 in payment for his township taxes. The History of St. Clair County says, “Nicholas Benton Green is one of the leading farmers in his township feeding 82 head of cattle on a well-improved farm in a state of high cultivation.”
Trapping wild turkeys was a resourceful sideline. A covered rail pen built around a hole filled with shelled corn spelled the doom of the turkeys as they lowered their heads and ate their way into the trap. The birds were hauled to Sedalia twice a year and traded for flour, lumber, boots, square nails, and other necessities.
Benton Green Cemetery, located on the farm, dates from 1854 when James Carlyle, a son-in-law of Joseph Green, was buried there. He was struck by lightening.
A stone marks the grave of Joseph H. Green, who died October 16, 1855. His was the second grave in the Benton Green Cemetery.
Benton Green School, adjoining the Green farm, was located on land donated by Theodoric Snuffer, remembered for his role in the great battle of the Younger outlaws. He declined the honor of having the school named for him. In time it became known as the Benton Green School.
The Greens knew the James and Younger boys who often visited in the area. Their motto – “Rob the rich and give to the poor” – was once demonstrated when Benton’s wife found a twenty dollar gold piece under the pillow that a Younger guest had slept on.
After the death of Bessie Smith, the homestead passed to her only son Roy. He and his wife Wretha Pasley Smith kept the farm, living there part of the time, until their daughter Dorsha and her husband Paul Hooper moved there in 1961.
The home of the Roy Smiths of near Roscoe was built in 1872 and, except for the addition of other rooms, remains as it was originally. The fireplace was installed when the house was built and is still in use.
The Hoopers have three sons, Greg, Danny and Alan, making six generations who have lived on the Benton Green farm since 1851.