Clay County MOGenWeb

Clay County Events

First Incorporation in Liberty

(From the book "Clay and Platte Counties, Missouri," written 1855)

Liberty was first incorporated as a town by the county court, May 4, 1829, on the petition of "more than 2/3 of the citizens" under the name and style of "The Inhabitants of the Town of Liberty."

The following were declared to be the metes and bounds:

Beginning at the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of Section 7, in the line of the New Madrid claim; thence due west along said Madrid line to the southwest corner of said quarter section; thence due north along the line of said quarter section to the northwest corner thereof; thence due north along the line dividing sections 7 and 8 to the beginning corner at the mouth of the lane between ANDREW HIXON, SR., and said town tract.

This incorporation really included 160 acres of land, being the northeast quarter of section 7, township 51, range 31. The first board of trustees was composed of LEWIS SCOTT, JOHN R. PETERS, ELI CASEY, SAMUEL RINGO and JOHN BAXTER.

Describing Liberty in 1829, the year of its first incorporation, a writer in the Tribune in 1846 says:

The public square in Liberty then had two houses on the south side, one on the west, two on the north, and two or three on the east. HIXON's, WILSON's, BIRD's, and CURTIS's addition to the town were then in old Mr. Hixon's corn field. There was one tavern (the same now 1846) (occupied by JUDGE HENDLEY) kept by LEONARD SEARCY.

Parties and balls were frequent and often times attended by ladies and gentlemen from Fort Leavenworth, Richmond, Lexington and Independence. Preaching was uncommon -- at least I never heard much of it. There was no church in town, but I think the Baptists had 2-3 in the country; perhaps at Big Shoal, Little Shoal and Rush Creek.

There was but little use for doctors at that time, as the chills and fever were unknown, except in the Missouri bottoms, where but few person had then settled. I recollect that the first case of chills and fever that occurred in the uplands excited great alarm and astonishment. It occurred, I think, in Platte township. Liberty was always healthy.

Not a death took place for several years after I came to it, except 1-2 persons who came to it laboring under comsumption. Once a physician, DR. CONWAY, was sent for to see a sick man at the Council Bluffs. It was regarded as a most hazardous undertaking, being in the winter season, and the doctor received a fee of about $250.

There was no other physician nearer at that time; now there are perhaps a hundred, and a trip to Council Bluffs is as little regarded as it formerly was to the falls of the Platte. These changes would surprise an individual who had gone to sleep for the period of 17 years, but in those who had witnessed them they excited but little.

The first settlers of Liberty were as cleaver, as sociable, and as good people as ever walked the earth. Many of them have gone to "that bourne from whence no traveler ever returns", and many of them are now still living.

There was a kind of brotherhood existing among the people of Liberty and Clay County when I first came among them; nothing like envy or jealousy existed. They are perhaps more united yet than any other people in the state. This arose from the fact that the first settlers were almost entirely from Kentucky, and either knew each other, or else each other's friends before they came here.


This page was last updated June 7, 2005.