St. Clair County Remnants Of The Past


St. Clair County
Remnants Of The Past

Early St. Clair County Settlers

Missouri History Encyclopedia, 1901:

St. Clair County – The first white man of whom there is record was Jacob Coonce, a hunter who came in 1827. In 1831 he built a cabin, the first in the region, near the Sac River, about three miles northeast of the present site of Roscoe. This he soon abandoned to make his home on Brush Creek, in the southern part of what is now St. Clair County. In 1833 Ebenezer and William Gash located on Coon Creek. The Culbertson brothers, Isaac, Joseph and Ira, settled nearby in 1835, and later the same year James and Robert Gardner settled farther southeast in the Coon Creek neighborhood. Other early settlers were Daniel, Joseph and Calvin Waldo, on the Sac River, south of the present site of Osceola. Calvin made his home in the big bend, where he opened a store, the second in what is now the county. In 1834 Joseph Montgomery located in the Osage River, south of the Monegaw Springs. He was one of the first county justices and became a State Senator and surveyor for Cedar and Dade Counties. The same year came to the same neighborhood Jesse, Charles and Lindsey Applegate. Charles and Lindsey put up a small watermill. Jesse was a surveyor, and did much surveying for the United States. The first settlers on or near the present site of Osceola were Daniel Perrin, Jonas Musgrove, Philip Crow, Reuben S. Nance and Ashby Peebly in 1835, and Dr. Pleasant M. Cox, with his brothers William and Joseph in 1836; Richard P. Crutchfield later the same year. All were from Kentucky or Tennessee. Nance was county surveyor from 1841 to 1861. Among the settlers of that day was Littleton Lunsford, a “hard shell” Baptist preacher, noted for his wonderful command of language and fervid oratory, though an uneducated man. December 10, 1833, James Gardner and Jesse Applegate were chosen justices of the peace. In 1845, Joseph Montgomery, Calvin Waldo and Thomas F. Wright were named commissioners to hold an election for location of a county seat. Under the organic act the first county court sat at the house of William Gash, the judges being Joseph Montgomery, William Gash, and Hugh Barnett, Sr. The next session was held at the same place and two succeeding sessions were held at Wyatt’s Grove. In November 1841 the seat was established at Osceola. The first circuit court was also held at Gash’s house March 29, 1841, Judge Foster P. Wright presiding. Charles P. Bullock was clerk and John Smarr was Sheriff. A succeeding session was also held there, and the third court term was held at the house of Pleasant M. Cox, in Osceola, November 29, 1841. Nathaniel Bell was the first representative in the Legislature, elected in 1841.