Caldwell County History

Caldwell County History


Chapter I

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 
being ground.

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 
Caldwell County.

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 
Gen. Hinkle.

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 
Caldwell County.

Chapter II

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 
Caldwell County.

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, 
becoming wealthy.

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.

New Mills

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 1933.

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.

Militia Musters

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.

Early Roads

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.

State Coaches

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.

Chapter III

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.

Disloyalty Lists

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 
skirmishes occurred.

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 
few homes.

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.

Chapter IV

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 
Far West.

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 
long history.

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 
Fair Grounds.

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 
to strangers.

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 

Chapter V

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 
town school.

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 
later built.

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, 
Charley Ross.

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 
saddle bags.

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.

Sampson 18
Isaac 19
John 8, 10
Baker 10
Andrew 18
E.L. 13
Dr. 8, 19
Baxter 14
James 14
M. 19
David 14
John C. 13
John 8
Buster 5
T.N.O. 6, 8
Cap't 2
Hugh 14
Clampitt 15
William 6
Claypool 14
Jesse 1
James 14
Cox 6
Major. . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Solomon 5, 6
W.F. 5
James 1
Davis 13
A.G. 14
John T. 5
Walter 14
Billy 12
Dwight 5
Doll 5
Alexander W. 2
Gen. 3
Dudley 13
Enos 14
Lemuel 19
John 2, 14
James 18
Ellis 5
Estes 5
Oliver 14
D.M. 17
Filson 6
W.T. 8
John 18
James 1
Fugitt 5
Gardner 5, 6
Mary 17
Henry 10, 13
Capít 9
Goodman 5
Wm. 14
Dr. 19
J.S. 19
Alexander 13
Joseph 13
Absolom 10
Jacob 1, 2
Hawks 6
Wm. 6
Henkins 6
Hershberger 8
T.W. 5
Robert C. 18
Samuel 1
Wesley 5
Gen. 3
Hudgins 5
Mrs. 1
Major 9
M.L. 8
Johnson 14
E.D. 8
J.R. 19
Thomas 19
P.S. 12-14
Henry P. 13
King 12
Langford 10
John D. 3
Jerry 6
Gen. 3
brothers 1, 2
Jesse M. 1
Julia. . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Mann, Sr.
Jesse 1, 8
Mapes 6
William 5, 13
Marshall 6
Massingill 2
R.S. 10
Thos. 3
Wm. 18
John 19
William 5
Samuel 1
McHenry 14
Murphy 6
John C. 8, 10
Nixon 13
G.W. 8
Nunn 19
Oster 18
Bishop 3
James 8
Pemberton 5
Penney 5
Eli 8, 18
J.C. 18
Plumb 5, 9
Wm. 8
Parley P. 3
Gen. 8
J.A. 13
Daniel 18
David 12, 19
Rainwater 17
Ressegeau 19
A.W. 13, 15
Alex 10
Sam 1, 5
Samuel 2
Sidney 3
Stephen C. 17
Charley 5, 18
Sackman 5
Scanlon 15
Eloisia 19
George 5
Hiram 3
Joseph 2, 3
N.M. 19
Hardin 1
J.M. 14
John 17
Isaac 14
Streeter 17
Fletch 9
John 3
Terrill 8
Jerome 13
Thrailkill 10
John 9
Ilett 5, 19
Tucker 19
Winant 17
Warmsley 14
Weldon 9
Robert 1, 2, 5
John 14
H.D. 10
James 18
Wilhoit 2
Zephaniah 1
Brigham 3

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 
eighteen years.

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.
Hamilton Public 

File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by Karen Walker.
1281 NW Bus 36 Hwy, Hamilton, MO 64644

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This page was last updated September 24, 2006.