is the 28th of April 1851. The rains have made the roads
almost impassable for wheeled traffic, hence those gathered in the
Gillispie farm home have come on horseback.. Angel “Angie”
Gillispie is sick unto death and is about to make his last will and
testament. His daughters, Mary J. and Margaret are here. Mary J.,
the 18 year old wife of Dr. C. C. Fuqua, arrived on a pillion behind
the doctor. Margaret, 16 years old, bride of a few months, wife of
the young merchant, William Lasley, who is keeping store in Old
Clinton, has ridden side saddle. Marcus D. (“M. D.”) Blakey
senior partner of the firm of Blakey & Lasley, has ridden out
with Margaret at her husband’s request, along with Joseph T.
Norton and David Heniger, to witness the will.
will leave to William Lasley a house “in Clinton or Jonesburg”.
He will leave legacies to “ C. C. Fuqua” to his son Evermont,
aged 23 and mentally afflicted, also to his son “James” who has
just attained his majority. The bulk of the estate will go to the
wife Lucinda (Spencer) Gillispie, who will attend to the interests
of the minor children.
do not forsee that Margaret and William are founding a family which,
in Shelbina, a town not yet in existence, will still be merchants
well over 100 years. Nor do they dream that “son James”, now a
young bachelor, will produce a daughter who will marry the yet as
unborn son of the witness, M. D. Blakey, and his wife Patsy Julia
sine this is about “the Road”, I am getting ahead of my story.
The “ Old Military Road” begins at Palmyra. Someone may say,
“But, I though all roads in Northeast Missouri lead to Hannibal.
That’s true, but the road from Palmyra to Hannibal was cut through
before the Old Military Road was authorized.
the top of the hill, where Palmyra Avenue ends and “the road”
begins stands Morgan’s Tavern. John Morgan is a descendant of
General Morgan of Revolutionary fame, in whose regiment of sharp
shooters, John Austin, father of
John Frazier Austin of Ralls County and grandfather of John
Sanford Austin of Monroe County, marched and fought. And it was a
long march from Virginia to New York, where they persuaded the
British General Burgoyne to surrender and back south to North
Carolina, then to Virginia again. And George Blakey after crossing
the Delaware River with General Washington and helping in the taking
of Trenton and Princeton, also joined the regiment. For defeating a
superior force of the English in the battle of Cowpens, in N. C., in
1781, Congress voted General Morgan a gold medal. The general would
have been the first to say but for the bravery and discipline of his
men, it could never have been done. John Austin died, only a few
years ago, in 1845, in Oldham Co., Ky., aged 109 years and George
Blakey, aged 93, died three years earlier in Logan Co., Kentucky.
Morgan’s Tavern, three roads meet, the road to Hannibal the
earliest; the road to Shelbyville and on through the county seats to
the west; and the old military road, cut through about 1835.
Starting at Palmyra, it traverses Monroe, Randolph and Howard
Counties; crosses the Missouri River at Boonville; runs thru Cooper,
Pettis and Benton Counties; crossing the Osage at Warsaw, thence
south through Springfield, Mo., Fayetteville and Ft. Smith, Ark., to
Blakeys and Blakey descendants settled at the northern end of the
road. Wm Blakey and his son Granville were at Palmyra with their
families. Churchill Blakey, possibly William’s brother was an 1824
land owner in Lewis County. The Robert Stockton Garnett family was
in Lewis Co. He was the grandson of Catherine (Blakey) Stockton of
Barren Co., Ky. William was the uncle of Marcus D.
stage coaches, drawn by four horses each, ply between Hannibal and
Paris, one going each way every day. When the daily coach reaches
the top of the hill, a large horn in Morgan’s Tavern announces the
approach and a general turning out of the population of the Avenue
farmers up in Monroe County use the road to drive their stock to
market. In those days, hogs, cattle and even turkeys are walked to
market. Along the road to the river, inns are available for
overnight stops. One of these is at Dr. Bush’s farm and Dr. Bush
states that he has seen as many as 1,000 turkeys resting on the rail
fence around the house and barn. Arriving at the river with hogs,
some may be sold to the pork packing plant in Hannibal, salted down
and sent south. Others may be loaded on the bottom deck of a boat,
giving the farmer a trip to St. Louis to sell the stock. This is a
real event. On the way down, farmers who have stock on ship, build a
poll lot near the river, hail the boat when it comes and load. On
the way back, when he leaves the river, the farmer will walk and
stop for the night at the inn. Until the Hannibal & St. Joe RR
is built in 1856, all freight and passengers to and from the north,
east and south will come and go by steamboat. Traffic to the east
and west is and will be by wagon and on foot.
country merchant, and until he sold his store Blakey & Lasley,
this includes William Blakey, drives to Hannibal twice each year and
boards a boat to St. Louis. There he purchases a six months stock of
provisions, which he ships to a forwarding firm in Hannibal. This
firm stores the provisions until the country roads are in good
condition for hauling. A clerk in one of these forwarding firms says
it is not uncommon to load 250 wagons in a single day. However, the
movement of goods is not all in one direction. The wagons came into
town loaded with bacon, honey wheat, hides and homemade linsey,
which the country merchants have taken in trade, and return with the
provisions shipped from St. Louis.
Joel Maupin took the 1850 census of Monroe Co., he listed in the
same household with Marcus D. and Patsy Blakey with their two
daughters, Ellen and Mary (the latter only one month old) the name
of Joseph Angel, aged 19 born in MO. Occupation Stage drive. So on
these semi-annual trips to St. Louis, there seems little doubt that
the traveling members of the firm of Blakey & Lasley rides with
their young friend Joseph Angel at times.
end of an era approaches, however. The first mile of railroad track
in Missouri will be laid next year (1852). In the next decade many
miles of track will be laid and town of Shelbina will be born,
appearing as the name of a stop on the Hannibal & St. Joe RR.,
hence the importance of the old military will begin to diminish.
ten years hence, in Sept. 1861, when Colonel Williams, with the
federal troops from Iowa and Kansas, advance from Shelbina in an
attempt to seize the specie (money) in the Bank of Paris, the road
will seem important to the colonel. The Populace, including Grandpa
Austin, strongly sympathizing with the Confederate cause, and
doubtful of the protective force which Col. Martin E. Green has to
oppose him. The federal retreat from Paris to Shelbina without the
money they came to seize will not be by the direct routes but along
the old military road to Old Clinton, thus doubling the length of
the journey. The Kansas commander will have told his men the money
in the bank is to furnish their pay. So, who will blame the populace
for their doubts? The next day the confederates will besiege the
federals in Shelbina, who will then retreat by train to Brookfield
after receiving about 30 shots from the two confederate cannon, one
six pounder and one nine pounder, the Federal cavalry riding on the
right or safe side of the train.
burning of the railroad bridge over Salt River, in an attempt to
bottle up the Federals in Shelbina, will furnish the reason for the
General (then Colonel) N. S. Grant’s services in Shelby county. He
will be sent to guard the workman rebuilding it. It is here in
Shelby and Monroe Counties that he will learn a lesson which he
himself will say stands him in good stead.
to dislodge Harris’ Division, he will steadfastly approach the
task but with much trepidation. When he arrives at the suspected
place of combat, he will find the Confederates gone. As he will
later state it: “I’ll admit I was suffering from stage fright
when we went up that hill, but it never occurred to me till then
that Harris might be suffering from the same disease. When going
into battle I try to remember that the enemy might be as much afraid
of me as I am of him.”
Blakeys and Blakey connections are served by the road. Here in
Monroe County we find George Madison and Malinda (Miner) Buckner,
together with his brother, also Robert Thornton and Ann (Sidener)
Smith who are allies with the Williams and as well as the Blakeys.
Some years ago J. C. Fox, who took, as his second wife, Mildred
(Buckner) Caldwell, widowed sister of Patsy Blakey, gave a
considerable tract of land, on which a part of the city of Paris is
located, to which city Marcus and Patsy Blakey will shortly move.
Here also will come from Virginia, Wm. Dewitt Blakey, son of Marcus
sister Catherine, who married her 2nd cousin, Dr.
Yelverton C. Blakey. Wm. Dewitt Blakey will marry Peter Blakey’s
niece, step daughter of J. C. Fox. Here also are the Austins and
among the latter a few years ago, was the Revolutionary soldier John
Kippers, whose three saber wounds on the head and two bayonet
wounds, one on the left shoulder and other on the right hip,
testifies to valiant service in the battle of the Waxhaws, in South
Carolina, when the British Colonel Tarleton defeated the American
Colonel Buford. Later
Kipper generations seem to have have dropped the final “e”. John
Austin, having united in marriage with Nanie Elizabeth Kipper, the
couple will furnish a wife to Fred Blakey, as yet an unborn son of
Marcus and Patsy. Other Blakey children will take unto themselves
wives or husbands from Monroe and Shelby Counties, in the next 100
years, named Crow, Rodes, Curtright, Buerk, Speed and Daniel, until
one of them will say to a former resident of Monroe County, not far
away, “stick around for a while and well work up a relationship,
for if you are from Monroe County, surely we are kin to each
along the road, in Howard county, John M. Blakey, grandson of John
and Sarah (Cowherd) Blakey of Madison Co., Va., lived and died in
1844. His son, R. W. “Dr. Dick” Blakey will become a physician
in this county. Here Dr. W. c. Harvey will marry Dr. Dick’s sister
Leah, settle at Teanoke and hearing of the Blakeys of Monroe Co.,
will invite W. B. Blakey’s Ellen and W. D. Blakey’s daughter,
Carrie to visit them. Here Ellen will meet the doctor’s brother,
Benjamin P. Harvey and Carrie will meet Clyde Canfield, the man each
will, eventually marry.
the Missouri River, where the road traverses Benton co., we find the
physician Robert O. and Harriet (Neal) Blakey, the latter the aunt
of the future President, Grover Cleveland, the former believe but as
not yet proved to be the brother of John M. Blakey of Howard county.
Here too is James M. Blakey, first cousin of the father of Marcus D.
He was Public Administrator in 1844. He and his wife Nancy (Branham)
Blakey came to Benton Co., Mo., from Madison Co., VA via Bowling
Green, Ky., where he represented Warren Co., in the Kentucky
Legislature in 1820. His son, Col. A. C. Blakey will represent
Benton Co. in the Mo. Legislature 1854 and again in 1856. He will be
mayor of Pleasant Hill, Mo., Division Inspector of the 5th
Mo. Militia Dist., and Consul to Chile (1858-60). Other sons of
James M. Blakey will shortly lay out the town of Cole Camp and
establish a store there where the road crosses Cole Camp Creek. They
will use the Old Military Road to haul provisions, shipped from St.
Louis, up the Missouri and Osage Rivers, to Warsaw, just as do their
cousins in Monroe county.
disaster also came along the road. On June 6, 1849, another James
Blakey returned to Warsaw from a trip south with a herd of horses
and died the next day of cholera. Among others who died of cholera
was Mr. Blakey’s child, his sister, Mrs. Major, probably the widow
of Bert F. Major, State Senator from Benton Co. It is of interest
that on page 70 of Ray’s “Memoirs”, he reports meeting a
distant cousin by the name of Major or Majors, when on his way to
north where the road traverses Green Co., at Springield, is Whitsitt
Balkey, thrice elected Judge Judge of the County Court; to become
the ancestor of the Blakeys of Green Co., Mo. These in Grayson, Co,
Tex some of whom will be found in Oklahoma City in 1963. All of
these descendants from that Revolutionary soldier, George Blakey,
further south at Fayetteville, where the road traverses Ark. Are
Johnathan and Martha Angeline (Skelton) Osburn, together with
several of their brothers and sisters. They will produce a daughter
to become the wife of Marcus D. Blakey’s grandson, Bernard. They
arrived via the Arkansas river to Ft. Smith, where the notorious
“Hanging Judge” neither Blakey nor Osburn disperses his
so-called justice. Thence they traveled via the Old Military Road to
Fayetteville. They will be buried above the road, on Boston Mountain
at Sunset, Ark.
hundred years later Blakey and Osburn descendants, via TV will watch
Mr. Faber and Wishbone drive cattle along the Old Military Road,
which the cattlemen call “The Sedalia Trail” after the railroad
the road traverses the Northwestern part of Texas. Blakeys from
Georgia and Balkeys from Kentucky, but originally from Virginia,
have settled. One of them lost his life in the Battle on San Jacinto.
like beads on a necklace, Blakeys and Blakey descendants are
struggling along the Old Military road, out by the United States
Government, and became the chief route of travel from the upper
Mississippi Valley to Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. It was
regularly located and cut out to legal width under the authority of
an act dated 7 March 1855.
Blakey Family “Round Robin”