SHORT HISTORY OF CALDWELL COUNTY, MISSOURI
From the Indian Days to the End of the Mormon Occupation.
Traditional Indian History
Prior to the coming of the white man, the territory now included in
Caldwell County is supposed to have been used by the Missouri Indians as a
hunting-ground. The presence of arrow-heads shows that they made occasional
camps within its boundary. It is said that there was an Indian village a
little north of the Daviess County line and that an Indian trail from it ran a
few miles east of Kingston to a camp in Fairview Township. A northern tribe,
possibly the Sioux, having invaded the Missouri country, was defeated in a
fierce battle near Flat Rock Ford over Crooked River in Rockford Township over
150 years ago. The old timers yet alive in the county recall that even up to
1870 they met occasional groups of wandering, begging Indians who caused great
alarm to the women and children but were quite harmless.
Earliest White Settlers in Caldwell County
Caldwell County was once a part of Ray County. For many years after the
organization of Ray County, the territory now included in Caldwell was
unsettled. Over it roved migratory Indians and white hunters, but it was not
considered desirable for homes because it had too much prairie land. Early
settlers avoided prairie sod which refused to be broken by their weak plows
and preferred the timber lands which, having been cleared, gave them mellow
soil and also provided them with wood for building cabins and for fuel.
It was in the spring of 1831 that the first settler built his cabin in
what is now Caldwell County. This was Jesse Mann, Sr. who came up from his
home in Ray County and settled on the N.W. 1/4 of the S.W. 1/4 of section 22,
township 56, range 28, one half mile northeast of the public square of
Kingston. He picked out a location on upper Shoal Creek where he had plenty
of timber, water, and game. Part of his farm is now the home of Mrs. Inskipp
of Kingston and his original forty acres corners with the Fox-Hunt grounds.
Jesse Mann, Sr. was a Virginian and had come to Ray County in 1820. He
was a slave-owner and brought his slaves with him into Caldwell County. In
the summer of 1831, three other Ray County settlers joined this "Shoal Creek
Settlement" as it was called. One of these was Jesse M. Mann who settled one
half mile south of his father on Log Creek.
In May, 1832, occurred the first wedding in this county. Julia Mann,
daughter of Jesse Mann, Sr., was married to Hardin Stone, who later ran a
well-known mill just over the Daviess County line. (It is of interest to know
that the millstone on the Hamilton Library ground once belonged to the old
Hardin Stone Mill.)
In the summer of 1832, most of these Shoal Creek settlers went back to
the better settled parts of Ray County because of the scare over the Black
Hawk War, but Jesse M. Mann remained and became the first permanent settler of
the county. Within the next year, several new settlers came. Among them were
Robert White and Jacob Haun who became millers in Fairview Township Samuel
Hill; who settled in Kingston Township but later held hundreds of acres
throughout the county and was the ancestor of the Hill family of New York
Township; the Lyons brothers and Sam Richey who founded Salem in Kingston
Township (see below); James Crowley who came from Ray County to settle near
the present Cottonwood Church in Grant Township; Samuel McGee a settler in
Rockford Township; James Frazier a settler in Lincoln Township; Jesse
Clevenger a settler in Mirabile Township; and Zephaniah Woolsey, a settler in
Fair view Township. Many of these pioneer names are to be found in Caldwell
County today. By 1835, probably twenty-five or thirty families were living in
the present boundaries of Caldwell County.
The First Town in Caldwell County
Now we come to the first town in our county. In 1833, the three Lyons
brothers, who were Mormon exiles form Jackson County, settled at Log Creek,
two miles southeast of Kingston. They built a horse mill (the first mill in
the county), a blacksmith shop and three cabins for their families. Four
other families were quickly drawn to this little backwoods settlement, among
them being Samuel Richey of Ohio. This made a village which the settlers
named Salem. Salem was the voting precinct for north Ray County (as this
county was then called). In 1839 John Duston came here from New York, and
buying several acres of land near Salem (or Salemtown as many called it), he
laid it out in town lots, hoping for a future city. A tavern was built there,
and the stage coach which went to Richmond made stops there, but the little
village did not grow. When the county seat was moved from Far West to the new
town Kingston after the Mormon exodus from the county, Salem was abandoned,
and now nothing is left to mark its site.
The Earliest Mills in Caldwell County
In pioneer days mills held a very important position. The first
settlers in Caldwell County were forced to make a trip by ox team to take
their grist to the mills of Ray County. There were three types of mills used
in early Caldwell County history. There were water, sweep, and tread mills.
The favorite location for a pioneer mill was by a creek which provided
waterpower, but many early mills were run by horse or ox power. In the sweep
(or pull-around) type of mills, a horse or ox was hitched to the end of the
sweep. It was customary for the farmer who brought grist to be ground to use
his own horses to provide power for the mill, and many old people still recall
how they as children rode the horses, or even the sweep, while the grist was
The Lyons brothers in the fall of 1833 built the first mill in the
county, a horse mill, at Salem in Kingston Township and made good money. In
1834, Robert White built a water mill on Shoal Creek in Fairview Township near
what was later known as Mormon town Ford. This mill was washed away in the
flood of 1839. In 1834, Jacob Haun, a Mormon settler, started another water
mill on Shoal Creek in Fairview Township near the White Mill. It was on the
N.W. 1/4 of the N.E. 1/4 of section 17, a site destined to become one of the
most famous spots in Caldwell County because of the Mormon troubles (see
below). This mill stood until torn down in 1845. The Mormons started a water
mill on Shoal Creek a little west of the old bridge on the old Hamilton-
Kingston road. At the expulsion of the Mormons, this unfinished mill was sold
to Wilhoit and Massingill who ran it until it was washed away in the forties.
Mills built after 1838 will be described in Chapter II.
Mormon Occupation of Caldwell County
Up to this time, there was no Caldwell County for, as we have seen, the
territory was a part of Ray County. It was organized as a separate county in
December 1836 with the county seat at Far West. It was named by Gen.
Alexander W. Doniphan (of Mexican War fame) in honor of Cap't Caldwell, an
early Indian fighter of Kentucky. But at this point, we must learn why it was
necessary to organize Caldwell County just at this time. The answer involves
an eventful period not only in the history of the county, but in the history
of Missouri and the United States. I refer to the "Mormon
Occupation" of this county 1836-39. A very brief sketch of the Mormon
movement is given for a better understanding to the vents which follow.
Joseph Smith, the founder of the church of the Latter Day Saints or
"Mormons" as commonly called, was living in the State of New York when in 1823
he claimed to have a divine revelation which told him to dig up certain gold
plates. These gold plates, written in mystic characters, contained the Book
of Mormon which gave a new religion to the world. Smith's preaching gained
many converts. He and his converts first settled at Kirtland, Ohio, but
because of opposition, they moved west to Independence Jackson County,
Missouri, seeking a location where they could worship as they wished.
Opposition to the Saints (or Mormons) also developed there and they were
driven from that county into Clay County where they stayed until they settled
in Caldwell County. It was in 1833 that we saw the first Mormon families
coming into the backwoods of our county. More families followed in 1834 to
escape the growing persecution in other counties.
In 1836 an arrangement was made by the state legislature by which an
entire county was to be given to the Saints (or Mormons). Two new counties
were to be carved out of the northern part of Ray County. The extreme north
end was to be Daviess County, reserved for Gentile settlers (Gentile was the
term applied to a person who was not a Mormon); the middle section was to be
This new county was to be reserved for Mormons. To be sure several
Gentile settlers already were living in the future Caldwell County, but all
hoped that these Gentiles would sell out to the Mormons and that thus the
Mormon question which had been disturbing western Missouri for several years
would be settled when the Mormons had a county to themselves. Some of the
Gentile families, however, did not wish to sell their farms and so stayed.
In the fall of 1836, the Mormons began to enter the county in large
numbers. The so called "Mormon immigration" came in from the south over the
Rock Ford of Crooked River in Rockford Township. The townships showing the
largest Mormon population were Mirabile, Rockford, Kingston, Fairview, and
Kidder. They preferred timber land to prairie land and settled thickly along
Shoal Creek and the other creeks in the county.
They established Far West as the headquarters of the church in Missouri.
This town lay five miles northwest of the present site of Kingston in the
northeast corner of Mirabile township. By 1838, it was a growing city of over
4000 people. Plans had been made for the building of a great temple there.
The excavation had been dug and the corner stone laid. In Far West was the
first school house in the county (probably built in 1836) which was also used
for a church, town hall and county court house. Besides the city of Far West,
there was the hamlet at Salem and another hamlet at Haun's Mill in Fairview
Township. In 1838, Haun's Mill settlement was made up of a blacksmith shop,
the mill, several log cabins and several families living in covered wagons
because they had not yet entered lands.
It is interesting to note the names of great leaders in the Latter Day
Saints (Mormon) Church who once were citizens of this county: Joseph Smith,
the prophet who founded the church; Hiram Smith, his brother; Brigham Young,
afterwards president of the church in Utah; John Taylor, another president;
Bishop Partridge, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, John D. Lee.
By 1838, serious troubles began to appear between the Mormons and the
Gentiles in this county and surrounding counties. These quarrels led to what
is known as the "Mormon War" which occurred in the fall of 1838. Throughout
this war, the Missouri militia was under the command of Gen. Doniphan (already
mentioned) and Gen. Lucas, while the Mormon Caldwell County militia was under
The first engagement was at Crooked River near the south edge of
Rockford Township where the Gentiles were routed. This skirmish infuriated
the Gentiles to strong action. On October 30, occurred the so-called "Haun's
Mill Massacre" in which a Gentile force from Livingston County attacked the
settlement at Haun's Mill in Fairview Township. Seventeen Mormons were
killed, among them Thos. McBride, an old Revolutionary War soldier. The next
day, the survivors buried their dead in an unfinished well. For years the
site of this attack has been used as a cornfield, and today it is impossible
to find the exact site of the Haun's Mill Massacre. October 31, the day after
the attack on Haun's Mill, Gen. Hinkle commanding the Mormon forces at Far
West, surrendered the town to the state militia also giving up the leaders of
the church as prisoners.
After the surrender of Far West, the Gentiles demanded the immediate
removal of the Mormons from the whole state. Some Mormons sold their farms at
a low price, some traded for a team and wagon; some even abandoned their farms
without sale, in their haste to leave for Illinois which was to be their home
until they went to Utah. By June 1839, most Mormons had left Caldwell County.
The few who were left were dissenters from the faith or the authority of the
After the expulsion of the Mormons, most of the empty houses of Far West
were removed to farms. Upon the removal of the county seat to Kingston which
was founded in 1843, the town dwindled away. Today, the old temple foundation
remains to remind us of the exciting period of the Mormon occupation of
Between the Mormon Exodus and the Civil War
After the expulsion of the Mormons, the population of Caldwell County
fell to less than 1000 people, but this number was soon considerably increased
by the coming of new settlers who either entered unimproved land directly from
the government or purchased the Mormon lands at very low prices. Some of the
early settlers paid the government as little as twelve cents an acre for their
homes. Ilett Tobbin, who in 1840 settled near the present site of Braymer,
bought much land at this price and will be remembered as the largest land
owner in the history of the county (about 1500 acres). There was no land tax
until after 1842.
The haste attending the sale of the abandoned Mormon farms led later to
great confusion in land titles in this county. As late as 1890 cases appeared
in our county courts to clear disputed or clouded titles to lands to which
Mormon claims (often in the hands of speculators) had been filed long after
the Mormon exodus.
Shortly after the Mormon period, several outstanding settlers came into
George Smith ("Sheep" Smith) drove over 1000 head of sheep from Ohio to
Mirabile Township in 1844 and became the pioneer wool grower of Missouri. He
was later elected Lieutenant-Governor of Missouri.
Major T.W. Higgins was the first settler to choose prairie land for a
home. People considered him very foolish because he preferred prairie land to
timber land. He married the daughter of Wesley Hines, another well known
pioneer of Rockford Township.
Charley Ross was a picturesque figure of Fairview Township in the early
forties. He bought Mormon and entered other land from the government,
John T. Davis was the first settler in Davis Township (which was named
for the Davis family). When he came here in 1839, the country was wild, and
wolves and panthers were numerous. Since his cabin had nothing but cloth at
the door and window, he built a bonfire every night to keep away the wild
animals. William McCray was an early blacksmith, farmer and justice of the
peace in Lincoln Township. He once held a murder trial under an elm tree
because there was no way to get to the court house.
Dr. W.F. Crawford of Mirabile was miller, doctor, store keeper, farmer,
and stock raiser. Dwight Dodge of Kingston Township was preacher, farmer, and
carpenter. In fact, these early pioneers were often men of many talents.
Then there were the Estes, Plumb, Doll, Penney, Goodman, Buster, Hudgins,
Sackman, Ellis, Pemberton and dozens of other families all of whom were
splendid types of pioneers.
With the coming of more settlers, more mills started up. The Fugitt
water mill, north of Far West on Shoal Creek, ran from 1839 until 1859 when it
was washed away. The Gardner horse mill was north of Mirabile and later was
well known as the Sackman Mill. In 1843, Solomon Cox built a water mill on
Shoal near Salem which was a noted institution until washed away in the
fifties. In 1847 Sam Richey built a "pull around" horse mill near Salem,
which after his death was run by his wife. Old people in the south part of
the county yet talk about "Mother Richey's" Mill. The Richey millstones may
be seen today in the old McClelland graveyard in Kingston Township.
In 1848, Wm. Marquam built an ox mill at Mirabile for meal and saw logs
and he also had a wool carding mill. This in later times was the Dr. Crawford
Mill which ran for many years. Dr. Crawford always kept a lantern hanging in
front of the mill at night to guide late customers. This mill was torn down
In 1844, Robert White built his second water mill on Shoal which later
became the well known Filson Mill. In the fifties, Wm. Hawks ran a water mill
on his farm on Cottonwood Creek in New York Township which ground meal and
sawed logs. In fact, most of these mills had certain days for grinding and
certain days for sawing logs. Later mills were Murphy's Mill near
Breckenridge and Marshall's Mill near Catawba. The millstones from Marshall's
Mill were recently dug up and sold as relics. Settlers in the extreme north
end of Caldwell County often took their grist to the Uncle Jerry Lenhart Mill
just over the Daviess County line.
An interesting feature of the forties was a militia muster. By state
law every able bodied man between eighteen and forty-five belonged to the
county militia and must report tot he militia muster for practice. Such
musters were held at Far West and Kingston and drew great crowds. Col. T.N.O.
Butts was the commanding officer. The purpose of the muster was to insure
protection to the people, but because the drill was of little value, the law
was repealed in 1846.
Mexican War and California Gold Rush
During the Mexican War, only a few settlers from this country went to
the war. The greatest effect of the war was in the prosperity which came to
the citizens in the sale of flour, bacon, corn and horses to the U.S. Army.
During the California gold rush of 1849-50, over one hundred men went west to
hunt gold. Solomon Cox, miller of Kingston Township, and several others died
in California. None of the men came back with wealth.
Fords and Bridges
In the early days of this county, there were no bridges. When people
came to creeks, they hunted places where it was easy to ford the streams.
Such fords became known usually by the name of the near by farms. Probably
the most famous ford in Caldwell County was Flat Rock Ford over Crooked River
in Rockford Township, scene of a traditional Indian battle and the entry of
the Mormons into the Caldwell County. There were probably fifty fords in
frequent use in this county in its earlier history. In this brief history
only a few of these can be mentioned. Several fords occurred near Mills--
Cox's Mill Ford, Gardner's Mill Ford, Hawks's Mill Ford, two fords near the
Filson Mill. Others were Henkins Ford later Henkins bridge) in New York
Township, Mapes Ford west of Kingston, a well known "baptizing hole" fifty
years or more ago, the Kingston Ford over Shoal which preceded the old
Kingston covered bridge on the old Hamilton and Kingston road.
The first bridge in the county was the covered wooden bridge over Shoal
near Kingston, built in 1859. After many repairs, it was torn down in 1894 to
give place to a steel bridge. By 1875, there were four bridges in the county.
The early pioneers came into the county by following trails rather than
roads. Tall prairie grass grew on either side. A state road from Richmond to
Gallatin which passed through Kingston was for years the only thoroughfare
connecting our county with the Missouri River. Merchandise intended for this
section was carried by boat to Camden in Ray County and then carried over this
state road by ox team to its destination. This road passed through the site
where Hamilton was later built. In 1855, the state coach route was
established between Gallatin and Lexington. Hamilton, scarcely yet started,
was made a stage station.
Another old state road ran from the direction of Chillicothe into Gomer
Township. Going in a southeast direction, it ran past the old William
Clampitt farm in Gomer Township toward Kingston. This road also was a stage
road and the Clampitt house (or Clampitt Hotel as often called) was a night
stop for the stage coach. Traces of this road may still be found in fields
and farm yards.
There was the so called Overland or County seat road which ran east to
west through the middle of the county in use in the forties and fifties. It
led to Plattsburg, Missouri. This old road now forms part of corn fields or
In Mormon days, a good road connected Richmond with Far West, while
small roads connected Far West with Salem and Salem with Haun's Mill.
Old timers who recall the stage coach days speak of the resemblance
between the old stage coach and the modern bus, except that the stage coach
was drawn by four to eight horses. These coaches carried both passengers and
mail. Since it took a day to make the Lexington-Hamilton run, two coaches
were used on the route. Each day a driver started from each town and
ordinarily they met at mid-day at the midway point, Knoxville. Naturally with
the advent of the railroad, stage coaches fell into disuse.
The Hannibal-St. Joseph Railroad
The most important event in the history of our county was the building
of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad (now the Burlington) through the
northern part of the county in 1858-59. Prosperity began to be felt after the
line was surveyed in 1854. Land prices went up. Town companies were formed
and the towns of Hamilton and Breckenridge were started. Later on Kidder and
Nettleton came into existence as a result of the railroad. When the first
train went through Hamilton in 1859, people came here from all directions to
see the train go through.
Several results followed the coming of the railroad. Farmers began to
raise bigger crops because they could get them to market; new settlers began
buying or renting "railroad land" which was land given to the railroad company
by the U.S. government. Lastly the covered mover wagon of early days began to
disappear, for now new settlers came into Caldwell on the train.
Organization of Townships
Caldwell County has not always had twelve townships as at present. Soon
after the organization of the county, there were four townships. Rockford
which comprised the present western tier of counties (Kidder, Mirabile and
Rockford); Blythe which comprised Hamilton, Kingston and Grant; Grand River
which took in all of range 26 and 27 which lay north of Shoal Creek; and Davis
which took in all of range 26 and 27 which lay south of Shoal.
In 1867 changes were made. Rockford was sub-divided; the part north of
Shoal was Kidder Township, the part south of Shoal was Mirabile. Grand River
Township was sub-divided. Range 26 became Elm, Range 27 became Grand River.
Blythe was sub-divided in Hamilton, eight miles long, and Kingston ten miles
long. This made seven townships. In 1870, the twelve townships of equal size
were arranged as at present and the name of Grand River Township was changed
to New York Township by petition of the residents thereof, most of whom had
come as settlers from the state of New York in the late sixties.
The Civil War Period and the Succeeding Years in Caldwell County
Slavery in Caldwell County
During the early years of the history of our county, it was settled
largely by people from the southern states, many of whom brought slaves with
them. Jesse Mann, Sr., the first settler, was a slave owner. Sometimes these
slave owners owned large plantations in the county worked by slave labor.
Sometimes they owned one slave, just as they owned one horse, to help with the
work on a small farm.
Some of the well known slave owners of the county were the Terrill and
Hershberger families of Breckenridge Township, James Paxton and Rev. Eli
Penney of Mirabile Township, Col. T.N.O. Butts of the south part of the
county. All of these men represented the best type of masters. They buried
the dead slaves in the family burying grounds. They sometimes freed a
favorite and faithful salve in their wills. An old slave block used to stand
in Kingston where slaves were auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Civil War Sentiment in the County
After the coming of the railroad, the majority of the new settlers to
the county came from the northern and eastern states. When the Civil War
broke out, there was naturally a strong division of sentiment between the
Unionists and the Secessionists (Southern partisans) in the county. A slight
majority of the people being on the Union side. In this situation, there
developed bitter quarrels between neighbors, which at times resulted in
ruthless cruelty. Enmities arose which lasted for years after the war.
Bushwhackers in the County
While no real battle occurred in the county, there was considerable
"guerrilla fighting" (as they called it) done by bushwhackers on each side.
You may have heard people say that some of their relatives were killed by the
bushwhackers in the Civil War. Bushwhackers are unorganized bands of
fighters, often lawless in action.
Organization of the Unionists and Secessionists
At the beginning of the war, the Secessionists were first to organize in
the county. In the summer of 1861, a small company of Caldwell County Minute
Men was organized at Kingston with Dr. Bassett as captain. This company later
joined Gen. Price's Army and fought in the battles of Lexington and Wilson's
Creek. The secession leaders in the county were Cap't. Bassett, Col. T.N.O.
Butts, Sheriff John C. Myers who resigned his office to enter the Confederate
Army (see below for his tragic death), John Burroughs (Burrows) at that time
postmaster of Hamilton, John Ardinger a merchant at Kingston. (Both Burroughs
and Ardinger were members of the town company which had started Hamilton.)
Soon after the organization of the Caldwell County Minute men of the
Confederates, the Union men organized the first company of Home Guards in
Missouri outside of St. Louis. Cap't. E.D. Johnson of Mirabile Township was
the commanding officer. While called Home Guards, they pledged themselves to
go wherever they could do the most good. The Home Guards organization was
followed by companies of militia. Leaders among the Unionists of the county
were Cap't. Johnson, Cap't. G.W. Noblitt of Fairview Township, Cap't. W.T.
Filson of New York Township, Major Wm. Plumb of Kidder Township, Major M.L.
James of Kingston Township. These men all became well know in Civil War days
in this county. The Southern sympathizers called the Noblitt men "Wolf
Hunters" and the James men "James' Jayhawkers." On account of the aggressive
work of Filson and James, their country homes were raided by Confederate
Military Camps in Towns
During the war, companies of militia or Federal Troops were always
stationed in Hamilton. A militia company camped in the town park and a
company of the regular army camped in the old Mallory Grove west of town on
the old Kidder road. Kingston, being the county seat with the county money
and county records was closely watched by the militia. At one time, so the
story goes, the wooden covered bridge on the Hamilton-Kingston road was
smeared with oil by the Confederates who intended to burn it but it was saved
by the reported approach of a Union force.
The town of Mirabile was strongly Unionist and the Mirabile tavern
(still used in 1936 as a residence) was headquarter for Union soldiers.
Breckenridge was strongly southern in population and sentiment and the only
secession flag ever raised in the county was hoisted there in the spring of
1861. This however was soon cut down to save it from the Union Militia.
Breckenridge was never without a Union militia camp.
According to General Order 24, issued by the Missouri Military
Department in 1862, citizens of all counties were required to be enrolled
either as loyal or disloyal to the United States and state governments. Old
Caldwell County records contain the names of the so called disloyal citizens
(those who sympathized with the Confederacy. These "disloyal" citizens were
required to surrender all their fire-arms and quietly pursue their regular
business. Such men had to be very careful in both work and action for the
sake of their lives and property.
Skirmishes in Caldwell County
While no important engagements took place within the county, two
The Corn Stalk Fight. The people of the southern part of the county
were largely Confederate in sentiment and several men from there enlisted
early in the Confederate Army. In October 1861, a number of Confederate
recruits were in camp on the east fork of Crooked River in the south-west
corner of Lincoln Township. Major James then with his battalion at Cameron
resolved to break up this recruiting camp of the "rebels." He set out with
150 men and sent Lieutenant Plumb (later Major Plumb) ahead with a scouting
party. As Plumb passed a field of corn stalk, an attack was made on his party
by the Southerners who were hidden in ambush in the corn field. While it was
a doubtful victory for the Unionists, it drove the recruits away from the
The Weldon Settlement Skirmish. An odd skirmish occurred in 1864 in the
Weldon Settlement near Breckenridge between two groups of Union militia, both
out hunting "rebels." In the darkness, each group took the other for the
"rebels" and in the fight which followed, Cap't. Givens of the Daviess County
Militia was killed.
Thrailkill-Taylor Raid of 1864
The most exciting event of the whole war in Caldwell County was the raid
made in the county in July 1864 by three hundred Confederate soldiers under
the leadership of Major John Thrailkill and Fletch Taylor. The event is
usually called the Thrailkill Raid. The Unionists claimed that the object of
the raid was to obtain plunder and recruits and to punish the residents of
this county for the stand they had taken against the Confederacy. This raid
in Caldwell County, however, was a part of a longer raid in Clay, Ray and
Clinton Counties. Thrailkill was in regular Confederate service, while Taylor
had been under the guerrilla leader Quantrell. Coming up through Ray County,
they held up and robbed the Lexington-Hamilton coach at Knoxville. Crossing
into Lincoln Township of this county, they captured a company of Home Guards
who had gathered to oppose the progress of the raiders. They paroled these
prisoners and started on the Kingston road.
In the meantime, hearing of the entry of Thrailkill in the county, Major
Cox, then in charge of the militia, ordered all the militia in the county to
go to Black Oak, in the south part of the county to stop Thrailkill. This
left Kingston without defense. Cox and his militia were too slow. Thrailkill
went on toward the county seat. On the approach of the raiders, there was a
general stampede of the male population of Kingston to get out of town. The
invaders broke open the safe of the court house and got about $8000 of county
money besides the cash of several private individuals. (This was before the
day of banks in Caldwell County, and public and private funds were kept in the
court house safe.) The stores (except that of John Ardinger, a Southerner)
were robbed of food and clothing. After an hour's stay in
Kingston, the raiders proceeded to Mirabile where they plundered stores and a
Two Thrailkill men were captured on the Mirabile road and were promptly
killed by the militia. They were buried in the nearby Morris cemetery. It
was reported that Thrailkill himself never killed a Union prisoner.
When Major Cox realized that Thrailkill had evaded him and had raided
Kingston and Mirabile, he set out in pursuit with his militia. He overtook
the raiders at Camden Point in Platte County where the engagement ended in a
decisive victory for the Thrailkill men.
The Tragedies on Crab Apple Creek in 1862
Along Crab Apple Creek in Lincoln Township near the Ray County line in
the Confederate Community above mentioned, lived the large Baker family. Five
of the sons had served in the Southern Army. Two sons had returned home and
had not reported to the federal authorities of the county as the military law
required. The militia was sent down to arrest them. In the series of events
which followed , three of the Bakers and Alex Richey (a relative of the Bakers
and son of "Mother" Richey) were killed, the Baker homes were burnt to the
ground and Cap't. Langford of the militia was killed.
Killing of Other Southern Sympathizers
Other Confederate ex-soldiers and Southern sympathizers in Caldwell
County who met death at the hands of groups of Unionists during the war were
John C. Myers, H.D. Whitneck, R.S. McBeath, Absolom Harpold, Henry Gist.
Accounts of the tragic deaths of these men may be found in the larger
histories of Caldwell County or may still be heard in the stories told by old
men and women who as children in this county heard about these deaths or even
witnessed the burials.
Immigration After the Civil War
Immediately after the close of the war, the Hannibal and St. Joseph
Railroad began an intensive advertising campaign in the eastern and middle
states to sell the land which they owned in the sections through which their
road ran. As a result of this effort, a large immigration of settlers, mostly
from the East, came into Caldwell County during 1867-69. They were seeking
cheap land for good land was selling at from five to twelve dollars an acre.
It was at this time that many families from the state of New York settled near
each other in what is now New York Township (commonly called the "York
Settlement" in earlier days).
The new comers found many pioneer conditions yet existing in the county.
The prairies were still covered with tall prairie grass. Prairie fires were
common and the first job of the new settler was to plough up a considerable
tract near his home to protect it from such a danger. There were no fences,
few bridges and few good roads. Although roads had been laid out by the
section lines, people preferred to follow trails through the open prairie when
they came to town on horseback or in the farm wagon to do their trading.
Cattle and horses were branded with the owner's mark and farmers kept
their cattle "on the range" (on the open prairie). The boys or women had the
daily job of rounding them up in the afternoon. About 1880, the stock law
came in force in Caldwell County which forced farmers to fence in their stock.
The road system was well established by this time. Pioneer ways had passed
Plan to Move the County Seat
In 1867, a scheme was formed to make Hamilton the county seat of
Caldwell County. During the boom following the close of the war Hamilton had
become the largest town in the county. Some of its citizens had long desired
to make it the county seat, but it clearly was too far from the center of the
county. By the proposed plan, this objection would be removed.
The petition asked the Missouri legislature to change the county lines
of Harrison, Daviess and Caldwell Counties. The southern tier of townships of
Harrison County should be given to Daviess County. The southern tier of
townships in Daviess County should be given to Caldwell County. By this plan,
Hamilton would stand near the center of Caldwell County. Naturally Kingston
organized a spirited fight against losing the county seat. The plan failed to
pass in the legislature and Kingston kept the county seat.
Towns, Early Hotels, and Early Cemeteries in Caldwell County
History of the Towns
During the one hundred years history of our county, a number of Hamlets,
post office settlements and even a small city have passed out of existence.
As we have already seen, the first hamlet, Salem, came into being 1833 in
Kingston Township and died soon after the new county seat of Kingston was laid
out in 1843. The small city of Far West in Mirabile Township was laid out in
1836 and it too eventually became a ghost town.
A post office with a railroad station, Emmett, was located in Kidder
Township i the late fifties at the home of P.S. Kenney, a very prominent man
of that section. It was a one man hamlet, for Kenney had a store, was post
master, station and freight agent. After the town of Kidder was laid out in
1860, the railroad station with the post office at Emmett was moved to Kidder.
Grand River was a hamlet consisting of store and post office in Breckenridge
Township in the middle fifties. When Breckenridge was laid out, the post
office was taken there.
Black Oak in Davis Township was a village planted by the Davis family in
1871. It fell into decline, especially after the founding of Braymer in the
same township i 1887, when the Milwaukee Railroad was built through the south
part of the county. Elk Grove, an early hamlet in Davis Township, was founded
also but has long been abandoned.
Proctorville in Fairview Township was laid out in 1869 by David Proctor,
an outstanding pioneer of that township. It is now mainly a church center.
Catawba in the same township once had a population of one hundred fifty. Its
name too exists now mainly as a church center.
Glassville in Lincoln Township lost its post office and existence when
the new town of Cowgill was founded on the new Milwaukee road. The rural free
mail delivery, established about thirty years ago in the county, meant the
death of small post offices like Gould Farm in New York Township and Kerr near
The history of Bonanza is very interesting. It was located on Shoal
Creek in the western part of New York Township. The origin of the village was
due to the existence of the once famous Bonanza spring which is within the bed
of Shoal Creek. The early settlers knew of this spring but did not like its
taste. Prior to 1881, the medicinal virtues of the water were practically
In that year a company was formed to exploit the spring and build a
town. A wave of prosperity came to Bonanza. Three hotels were built and were
needed, for during the next two years, hundreds of people came daily to drink
of the Bonanza water. It was shipped away in bottles and barrels. Then
trouble arose between members of the town company and the town's growth was
halted forever. A few years ago it lost its post office through the rural
free delivery. Now its name belongs largely to school, church and
There are eight towns at present in the limits of Caldwell County.
The oldest town now in existence in the county is Kingston.
This town was laid out in 1843 as the new county seat. The center of
population had moved to ward the middle of the county and it was inconvenient
for people to go to Far West. The new county capital was named for Judge
King, a popular circuit judge of Richmond, later to be governor of the state.
The mail came in twice a week from Plattsburg and Richmond. In the seventies
and eighties "Billy" Dodge's hack carried the mail and passengers between
Hamilton and Kingston. The height of Kingston's prosperity came in 1890 when
the long desired railroad was obtained. The Hamilton and Kingston (commonly
called H. and K.) line was short lived for the road bed and equipment
materials were poor. The rental on the rails used up the income. Again
Kingston became an inland town, with a consequent loss in population and
The second permanent town was Mirabile. William Marquam
(pronounced Marcam) in 1848 or 1849 moved a stock of goods with the log store
building from the dying town of Far West to his land in the south part of
Mirabile Township. He also started up a blacksmith shop and an ox mill. Thus
he had a hamlet all his own which people ordinarily called "Marquam's Store."
After two other stores and the brick tavern had been built, Mr. Marquam
platted the village and called it Mirabile, a Latin work meaning wonderful.
(At that time there was a craze for giving Latin names to new towns in the new
sections.) Being off the railroad, Mirabile has made little advance in its
The land on which Hamilton now stands was on the old pioneer
road from Gallatin to Lexington. Before the town was planned, hunters and
trappers had used the place as a temporary stopping place. An old trapper
named Nixon before 1854 lived in a shack on the present Davis (Main) Street on
the site of the old elevator, south of the present railroad track. Deer used
to feed in his yard every day, and he shot many a bear nearby. When it became
an assured fact that the railroad was going to run right through his front
yard, he left.
The land of the original town of Hamilton was entered from the
government in 1854 after having been surveyed by Albert G. Davis, the founder
of the town. In the spring of 1855 Mr. Davis and the other members of the
town company (who held the land) named the future town Hamilton, partly for
Alexander Hamilton and partly for Joseph Hamilton, a hero of the War of 1812.
In the fall of 1855 the first sale of town lots took place, with plenty of
free whiskey for buyers. By that time, Mr. Davis had built the first house in
town. (See below for Davis Hotel.) He also built the first store building
(located on site of present Courter Theater). He was the first post master.
A blacksmith shop, other stores and houses followed. The railroad came
through in February 1859. By 1861 there were about twenty five families in
the town. In the early sixties, Hamilton was not as good a town as was
The boom in sales of town and farm lands in 1867-1868 brought a decided
growth to Hamilton, and it soon became the largest town in the county. Wild
animals in the vicinity of the town were fast disappearing. It is said that
the last deer seen around town was killed in 1879 just south of the present
Memorable events in the earlier history of Hamilton were the big free
barbeque given July 4, 1872, in the Dudley pasture, the explosion at the
Hamilton Mill in 1870 when several lives were lost, the visit of the
grasshoppers to the vicinity of Hamilton in 1875, several big fires of the
eighties which changed Davis (Main) Street from frame to brick buildings.
This town was laid out in the fall of 1856 by the
Breckenridge town company as a result of the coming of the railroad. Jerome
Terrill, Henry Gist and J.A. Price were leading men in this company. The town
was named for John C. Breckenridge, a leading Democrat of Kentucky at the time
and later vice-president of the United States. As already stated, the first
settlers in and around the town were from southern states.
The customary sale of town lots, advertised far and wide, came shortly
after. The first building in Breckenridge was a frame one used by P.S. Kenney
(afterwards of Kidder) as a store. The second was a saloon, which ordinarily
came quickly into a new town in those days.
The new Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad at that time was working from
the two terminals. The eastern end reached Breckenridge late in 1858 and for
a few months, due to a delay on the western end, Breckenridge stood at the end
of the railroad. This made much business there for a time. The growth of
Breckenridge, like that of Hamilton, was slow until late in the sixties.
This town was laid out in 1860 by Henry P. Kidder and E.L.
Baker representing the Kidder Land Company. This company was made up of New
England men which accounts for the large number of eastern people in the early
population of Kidder. The town leaders in this early time were A.W. Rice,
land agent and hotel keeper; James Beaumont, postmaster; P.S. Kenney, merchant
who erected a three story building. The big moment in the history of Kidder
was the opening of Thayer College in 1869. (See Chapter V). The interests of
the town have always been centered in school and church.
This town was laid out in 1868. The original name was Gomer
but in 1870 it was changed to Nettleton in honor of an official of the
Hannibal and St. Joseph Road.
In 1871, J.M. Stone sold to Oliver Farabee an acre of land on
which Farabee built a store. Soon another man built a wagon shop and
blacksmith shop close by. This laid the foundation of Polo. It was named for
an Illinois town. The old part of Polo was not platted, and land in that
portion is still sold my metes and bounds. Since the railroad was built in
that section, Polo has made a marked growth.
Braymer and Cowgill.
These towns owe their existence to the
construction of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroads through southern
Caldwell County in 1887. Braymer was named for David Braymer, a wealthy
farmer who gave land to secure the railroad. Cowgill was named for Judge
James Cowgill, once of Hamilton, who owned considerable land in Lincoln
Township. He later was mayor of Kansas City.
Shoal in New York Township is a railroad station started with the
construction of the Rock Island Railroad in 1930.
Early Taverns and Hotels in Caldwell County
During the prosperous days of Far West, two hotels were located there,
being kept by John Whitmer and Mr. Warmsley both of the Mormon faith. The
Whitmer hotel stood until about 1900, and was then used as a stable on a
nearby farm. The next hotel (or rather tavern) was started in 1839 at Salem.
John Duston was trying to create a boom in that village and gave a man named
McHenry a bonus of five acres of land for starting the Salem tavern. In those
days, taverns had a tap room in front where liquor was "on tap."
When the new town of Kingston was started in 1843, Walter Doak, an early
settler, turned his home into a hotel to keep new-comers. He later sold out
to a man named Baxter who continued it as a hotel. In the late fifties, the
Hugh Chain family built a hotel and ran it for several years as the Kingston
House. This stood until recent years.
Mirabile's first and only hotel in its history was built about 1851. It
is used today as a residence. It is made of brick in old fashioned,
rectangular tavern style, with a great hall in the middle, and with dining
room and tap room (or office) on either side. Fire places and chimneys are
built at end. Isaac Stout built it but is has passed through numerous hands
in its life of eighty-five years. Its most thrilling days were in the Civil
War when the Home Guards were quartered there. This old inn is one of the
historic buildings in our county.
Hamilton's first hotel was the home of A.G. Davis, the founder of the
town. It was built in the summer of 1855, the lumber for it having been
shipped by boat from St. Louis to Camden, Ray County; thence it was carried by
ox team to Hamilton. Its site was the north half of the present site of the
Johnson Grocery on north Davis Street. It was the stage coach station.
In April 1856, the Davis family moved into this house and opened it as a
hotel to keep stage travelers over night or to board new settlers who had no
house ready. It was known as the Davis Hotel or as the Lone Star Hotel
because at first it was the only house for miles on the route. During the
sixties this building became the well known Claypool Hotel. In 1863 the big
frame Hamilton House was built by Wm. Goodman and Enos Dudley on the site of
the present city hall. It remained a landmark until it burned down in the
middle eighties. Other early hotels in Hamilton before 1880 were the Western
House on north Davis Street and the Harry House on Ardinger (present site of
Davis Motor Company).
The Kidder Hotel was the first house built in Kidder in 1860 and was run
by A.W. Rice on Front Street. During the Civil War, the soldiers who were
camped here, used to hold "cotillion" dances and suppers at this hotel.
The Caldwell House of Breckenridge was built in 1857 when the town
company was selling lots. In 1864 the Scanlon family built a bit stone house
and used it as a hotel for railroaders. It is said they had so many boarders
that they bought flour by the car load. This house is still in excellent
Mention has been made of the Clampitt Hotel which stood in Gomer
Township in the sixties and seventies and was used for a night stop by the
stage line. It was of typical tavern shape, much like the old Mirabile inn.
Old Cemeteries in Caldwell County
A visit to the old cemeteries of our county is worthwhile, for there lie
the pioneers of whom we hear in the county's history. The oldest cemetery in
the county is the burial plot used by the first families in this county in the
Shoal Creek settlement of 1832. These graves lie one half mile east of
Kingston. While the names are known, the graves have long since been plowed
The Mormon cemetery west of the old town of Far West is next in age. It
is thought to have contained two hundred graves, but records of only four of
the dead have been kept. The grave stones have disappeared and the field has
been under cultivation. The graves in the old Salem (or Richey) Cemetery have
likewise been lost, with little record of the dead. Many other small burial
plots in the county have been plowed over when early families sold their farms
The White Cemetery in Fairview Township is considered the oldest
cemetery in the county still in use. Records show its use in 1845 but
tradition says it is even older, saying that some of the Mormons wounded at
Haun's Mill Massacre (which occurred at no great distance) died soon after,
and were the first to be buried in the White Graveyard.
Other old cemeteries whose stones by their inscriptions show early use
are Bonanza (also called Ernsbarger or Rutherford) in 1839, Paxton Farm in
Mirabile Township in 1843, Cox in New York Township in 1843, Pleasant Ridge in
New York Township in 1845, and Hines in Rockford Township in 1846.
It is interesting to note that soldiers of the following wars are buried
in Caldwell County: Revolutionary, War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Mormon War,
Florida Indian War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War and World
Early Schools, Early Churches, Early Physicians in Caldwell County.
Historical Map of the County
Mormon Schools in Caldwell County
The first schools in the county were the schools maintained by the
Mormon settlers. These schools were free, being supported by the church
tithing system. A commodious schoolhouse was erected in 1836 at Far West and
was used also for a church, court house, and town hall. An abandoned log
cabin on Long Creek in Kingston Township was used in 1838 for a school, the
teacher being Mary Ann Duty, a Mormon. The Mormons also built a school in the
center of Mirabile Township. In face, they had several schoolhouses in the
county for they insisted on education as a part of their religion.
Subscription Schools in Caldwell County
After the Mormon period, pupils attended subscription schools. A
subscription school (or select school as later called) was one in which the
parents paid the teachers for teaching their children. The tuition charges
were very low, often ten cents a month for each child in attendance. These
schools were usually kept at the home of the teacher who taught without a
Some subscription schools existed in the forties. They were frequent in
the fifties for not all of the county had been divided into school districts.
They existed in the sixties to a limited extent. At times they were combined
with the new tax supported schools. If the tax money could support only four
or five months of school, the teacher often carried the school on for two or
three months more as a subscription school.
Some of these old subscription schools are still remembered. An old log
cabin which stood in the yard of the Mrs. George Walters farm in Mirabile
Township served as a subscription school in the fifties. This log cabin
finally became the first home of the new district school opened in Pleasant
Valley district. The Black Oak subscription school in Davis Township opened
in 1852, being the only school for miles around.
In the late sixties a subscription school, taught in the parlor of Mrs.
Stephen Cole, was started southeast of Hamilton for the benefit of those
children who lived at some distance from a free district school. This was the
step which led to the organization of Liberty Bell district.
Free or Tax Supported Schools in Caldwell County
No record could be found at Kingston on the organization of school
districts in the county. The first free school in the county of which a
record was available was built by the old township of Blythe in 1846. It
stood in Kingston south of the public square. It later became the Kingston
A log school in Fairview Township north of Catawba was built in 1847 and
another in the same township in 1852. The Plum Creek School house, northwest
of Mirabile, was built before 1852. It had a school term of three to five
months. In the fifties the Log Creek School south of Mirabile was started.
The building was a schoolhouse left from Mormon days. It was "boxed up", that
is, the slab lumber ran up and down. The teacher received twenty dollars a
month and boarded around but was expected to help with the work.
Cottonwood district school near Polo, Terrill district school in
Breckenridge township, Radical district school in New York Township, were all
started in the early sixties. Proctorville district school started in the
late sixties. Van Note district east of Hamilton was organized in 1871.
The first free school in Hamilton Township was built in the fifties in
the present Independence district south of Hamilton. It was a log school and
stood on the old Streeter farm near the Tom Creek Coal Mine. Hamilton had no
free school at the time and several children walked from town to attend this
district school. In 1860 the log building was moved to the Dodge farm and was
known for years as the Dodge schoolhouse.
Early Schools in the Towns
The first school in Hamilton was a subscription school taught by Mary
Gartland soon after the town was founded. The log house stood south of the
present Presbyterian Church. This was followed in 1864 by the first free
school in Hamilton, a one-room school conducted in the second floor of a tin
shop on north Davis Street, north of the lumber yard. The teacher was Mrs.
Elizabeth Lenderson. In 1865, the first public schoolhouse was built, a one-
room school on the present site of the M.E. parsonage. An additional room was
The early public school of Kidder was a one-room school built in 1862 by
the land company. It was used on Sundays as a church. The Breckenridge
schools also started in a one-room school. The early Kingston town school
used the old Blythe Township schoolhouse already mentioned.
High Schools in Caldwell County
Before 1869 no school work of high school grade was given in this
county. In that year Thayer College (later Kidder Institute) opened its doors
at Kidder under the control of the Congregational Church. It offered both
college and academy courses.
In 1872 the Hamilton Public School was graded and the high school
organized by D.M. Ferguson. In 1873 the high school of Breckenridge was
organized by Prof. Hamilton. In 1874 the high school at Kingston was
organized by Stephen C. Rogers. The public school system in the county was
now well established.
School Equipment in Early District Schools
In the early district schools the furniture consisted of long benches
and desks, rudely made of logs which were planed off. The benches had no
backs, and the children were supposed to sit up straight facing the wall.
When they recited, they turned around and faced the teacher. The long log
desks might extend along three walls of the room in front of the pupils or
there might be but one desk. If the pupils wished to write, they went to it.
The subjects taught were commonly the three Rs, occasionally Geography and
Grammar. Often there was no uniformity of text books even in the same school.
Early School Funds in Caldwell County
The record of school funds at Kingston begins with 1853. Caldwell
County received school money that year. Until 1864 all school money was paid
to the township instead of the school district. In 1856 the "Stray Fund" was
set aside for school support. This money arose from the sale of stray
unbranded stock which were taken up.
Early Churches and Preachers in Caldwell County
Rev. John Stone and Rev. Winant Vanderpool, both Primitive (or Old
School) Baptists from Ray County, held occasional services in the cabins of
the first settlers along Shoal Creek in 1832-33. During the Mormon periods,
most of the preaching in the county was done by preachers of that faith.
The first sermon after their departure was preached June 1839 by Rev.
Rainwater, a Methodist from Knoxville. He held services at the home of a new
settler west of Kingston. The yard was crowded with people who had come a
great distance to hear the gospel. The field looked so promising that in 1840
another preacher came to the county and organized churches at Far West and the
community west of Kingston.
The old School Baptists in 1840 organized a church at Log Creek and the
church organization exists to this day, the oldest church in the county.
Some other old church organizations follow:
Black Oak M.E. South 1845 Plum Creek Presbyterian 1853
Proctorville M.E. 1856 (transferred to Mirabile in 1854)
Breckenridge M.E. South 1856 Catawba M.E. 1863
Elk Grove M.E. 1863 Kidder Congregational 1865
Kingston Christian 1865 Hamilton Christian 1865
Breckenridge Presbyterian 1866 Breckenridge Congregational 1866
German Baptists (near Polo) 1866 Hopewell Missionary Baptist 1866
Barwick M.E. 1867 Hamilton M.E. 1867
Hamilton Presbyterian 1867 Breckenridge Baptist 1867
Hamilton Baptist 1868 Hamilton Congregational 1868
Presbyterian N.Y. Township 1869 United Brethren of Davis Twp. 1869
While some of these church organizations were early, few congregations
had church buildings at an early date. In the winter they met at the homes of
members of in schoolhouses. In the summer, they held camp meetings in groves
or worshipped under arbors built of boughs for temporary shelter. Possibly the
first sunday school in the county was started in Fairview Township in 1847 by
Rev. Oster, a Protestant Methodist preacher, at the home of the old Pioneer,
A well known preacher of the forties and fifties was Elder Eli Penney of
the Primitive Baptist Church who was a plantation owner in Mirabile Township.
Most of the marriages of that early period were performed by Elder Penney.
He was the grandfather of J.C. Penney the chain store man.
A courageous preacher of the fifties and sixties was Dr. Daniel Proctor,
a farmer, merchant, doctor, preacher and founder of Proctorville. He belonged
to the (North) Methodist Episcopal Church. During the Civil War, North M.E.
preachers in this section were regarded as abolitionists hence subject to
attack. Dr. Proctor was threatened with death if he continued to preach. He
laid his gun down on the open Bible and went on with his sermon.
Rev. James Whitten was another (North) M.E. Preacher in this county
whose life was endangered because of the sectional feelings aroused by the
Elder (or Father) Andrew Baker was an outstanding figure in the history
of the (Missionary) Baptists in this county, by organizing several churches of
that denomination. Hopewell Church was his charge. He lived in New York
Township in a big stone house which still stands as one of the interesting
landmarks of the county. Another (Missionary) Baptist preacher of the fifties
and sixties was Robert C. Hill, a farmer-preacher of Lincoln Township who
helped to organize several churches.
The first ministers to preach the gospel in Hamilton were Rev. Eli
Penney and Rev. John Fine, a farmer-preacher of the Christian Church. They
held church in the town depot. By 1870 there were many preachers with regular
stations throughout the county.
Early Physicians in Caldwell County
In the early years of the county doctors were few and lived at a
distance from many settlers. Therefore it was necessary to depend much on
home remedies. Mothers gathered herbs and kept old medicinal recipes for
bodily ills. The herb or "yarb" doctors among the settlers were in good
standing and made little or no charge for services. Few facts could be
learned about the early doctors who practiced in the county before 1850.
Dr. Wm. McClellan, Dr. Sampson Agard and Dr. James Earl were practicing
physicians among the Mormons. Dr. Earl became a dissenter and after the
Mormon exodus, he remained as a doctor in this county.
Physicians of the Forties
Records show that Dr. Bassett of Kingston practiced al over the county
from the forties to the sixties. Dr. Tucker of Utica and Dr. Grant of
Knoxville were frequently called into the county. Dr. Grant was in charge of
the scarlet fever epidemic of 1856 in Fairview Township when Ilett Tobbin lost
five children within a few days. In those days severe epidemics were
frequent. People tell of the typhoid epidemic of 1839, of the small pox
epidemic of 1848, the diphtheria and scarlet fever of the fifties and
seventies. Doctors answered calls on horseback carrying their powders in
Physicians of the Fifties
At Mirabile during this period Dr. John McClintock was an eye doctor,
and merchant; Dr. J.R. Jones was a doctor and farmer. The last two men were
physicians of fine training. Dr. David Proctor of Fairview Township has
already been mentioned as a pioneer preacher. The first physician in the town of
Hamilton was Dr. Thomas Kavanaugh who came in with the new settlers
and was an early postman.
Physicians of the Sixties
Some physicians who afterwards became widely known moved into the county
in the sixties: Dr. M. Bottom and J.S. Halstead of Breckenridge, Dr. Lemuel
Dunn and Dr. N.M. Smith of Kingston, Dr. Nunn and Dr. Ressegeau of Hamilton,
Dr. Eloisia Smith (a woman doctor) of Kidder. Isaac Allee, an 1812 war
veteran who lived west of town was an herb doctor. His old accounts show that
he charged twenty-five cents for a call and twenty-five cents for two bottles
of herb medicine. By 1870 the county was well supplied with doctors.
So closes this brief history of Caldwell County. Many interesting
events in the hundred years life of the county have perforce been omitted
because of limited space. For the same reason, the names of many splendid
pioneers have been omitted. Then too the writer is quite aware of the
incompleteness of her research on some points which yet defy thorough
investigation. The purpose throughout has been to bring to the boys and girls
of this county a realization of its struggles and growth through one hundred
years. If a deepened interest in our local history results, this labor of
love will not have been in vain.
History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties 1885
History of Caldwell and Clinton Counties 1924
Atlas of Caldwell County by Johnson 1876
Missouri Persecutions by Roberts 1900
History of Missouri by Walter Williams (Chapter on Caldwell County)
Research material gathered by Hamilton D.A. R. in "Interviews with Old
Citizens" in Hamilton Library.
John 8, 10
Dr. 8, 19
John C. 13
T.N.O. 6, 8
Major. . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Solomon 5, 6
John T. 5
Alexander W. 2
John 2, 14
Gardner 5, 6
Henry 10, 13
Jacob 1, 2
Robert C. 18
Henry P. 13
John D. 3
brothers 1, 2
Jesse M. 1
Julia. . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Jesse 1, 8
William 5, 13
John C. 8, 10
Eli 8, 18
Plumb 5, 9
Parley P. 3
David 12, 19
A.W. 13, 15
Sam 1, 5
Stephen C. 17
Charley 5, 18
Joseph 2, 3
Ilett 5, 19
Robert 1, 2, 5
A SHORT HISTORY OF CALDWELL COUNTY, MISSOURI
By Bertha Ellis Booth
Published by Hamilton Public Schools 1936
Retyped by Karen Walker and Marilyn Williams - 1995
This short history was written by Dr. Bertha Booth to meet the needs of
the schools in celebrating the 100th birthday of our county. We believe it is
fitting and proper that the decendents of pioneers of this county should know
more of our notable history. Knowing something of the interests and talents
of Dr. Booth, we asked her to prepare a series of lessons suitable for class
room use. This she graciously consented to do.
Dr. Booth is a graduate of Hamilton High School and Kidder Institute.
She holds an A.B. degree from Drury College, took her A.M. degree at the
University of Missouri, and was granted her Ph.D. from the University of
Chicago. She has done additional graduate work at Cornell and Washington
Miss Booth has been for many years a teacher. She taught two years in
the public schools of Caldwell County before going to college, and was an
instructor in academies, junior and senior colleges, and universities for
We wish to express to Dr. Booth our deep and sincere appreciation for
making possible this study of Caldwell County history.
E.F. Allison, Sup't.
File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Karen Walker.
1281 NW Bus 36 Hwy, Hamilton, MO 64644
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