St. Clair County Remnants Of The Past


St. Clair County
Remnants Of The Past

History of Henry and St. Clair Counties, Missouri, 1883

Early Arrivals to Washington Township

Washington Township can claim as being the home of the first settler in St. Clair County, Jacob Coonce. Although Mr. Coonce lived one year in Roscoe Township, he moved to Washington in 1832, and ever afterward made it his home. The Gibsons made it their home in 1836, settling on section 15, township 36, range 25; John Haney and Richard Haney on section 16, John Snell on section 33, and John Denson on section 14. These pioneers came in 1837 and 1838. Elisha Wamsley, Peter Francis and Richard DeShazo all came in 1835, and William Allen in 1836, and settled on section 6; Alfred Burks in 1837, and James Stams in 1839, settling on the Sac River. Jacob Rowe settled on section 28, in the southwest corner, in 1842. This covers most of the early settlers of Washington; then one of the Gash family and one of the Culbertson's settled in this township in 1834, but their precise location or section was hard to find and being very near Doyal line have probably been credited to that township, but they undoubtedly settled in Washington.

In Memorial
Jacob Coonce, the oldest settler in the county. Obituary taken from the Osceola Sun:

Death has again laid his remorseless hand upon one of the citizens of St. Clair, the victim being one of the early pioneers and most estimable men of the county, whose residence here dates back more than half a century.
Jacob Coonce breathed his last at his old homestead in Washington Township on Sunday, April 21, 1878.
Uncle Jake, as he was familiarly called, was, at the time of his death, nearly seventy-five years of age. He was born and reared in St. Louis County, Missouri. When just entering the threshold of manhood he went to the mountains in the northwest, remaining there for several years, after which he visited the British colonies, under the leadership of General Dodge. His first visit to the portion of Missouri now comprising St. Clair County was made in 1827, coming into this region on a hunting and trapping tour, and making his headquarters near where now stands Howard's, or Ritchie's Mill, on Sac River. He then ranged from Gasconade up to the above named point.
An Indian trading post was situated upon Sac River on what is now known as the "Captain Harris Farm", and was kept by a man named Hogle. Mr. Coonce permanently settled in St. Clair County in 1831, locating on the farm where his death occurred forty-seven years later. Having previously obtained permission of the agent of the Osage Indians to make his home where he did, and being naturally of a kind and peaceable disposition, his residence during the stay of the red man in his vicinity was never marred by any trouble. His finest neighbors were Daniel Waldo, Daniel Brant, Nick McMinn, Ebenezer Gash and the father of Albert G. Gardner, all of whom have years ago passed into the valley of death.
In 1847 Mr. Coonce enlisted for service in the war of the United States with Mexico, joining Captain Smithton's company under General Sterling Price. He served in this war until its termination in 1848, when he returned to his farm in this county.
Uncle Jake and Missouri's famous scout, Kit Carson, were personal friends, and were comrades and fellow-sufferers in some of the western exploring expeditions headed and guided by Carson.
When the rebellion arose Mr. Coonce naturally sympathized with the cause of the South, but never took up arms against the government.
In 1863, when the unsettled state of affairs in Southwest Missouri made it impossible for even a man of his years to remain at home in safety, he removed to Boone County, and passed the next four years at his old occupation of farming. Peace being restored he returned to his farm in Washington Township, twelve miles south of Osceola, where he has since resided.
Like the true pioneer, Uncle Jake possessed a most kind and charitable disposition, and was always ready to assist a fellow-being in distress; generous in all his transactions, he had few enemies and counted his friends by the score. The weight of many years had caused his once vigorous step to totter in feebleness and dimmed his sight, but the warm impulses of the true man were as strong within him as ever, and deep sorrow for his loss mantles the neighborhood wherein he died.