History of Knob Lick and Syenite, Missouri



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Downtown Knob Lick, Circa early 1900's

Knob Lick received its name on account of the deer which were attracted to a knoll whose soil was said to contain properties of salt. It is seven miles south of DeLassus on the Belmont branch of the Iron Mountain Railroad. It was a town of considerable size and importance due to the fact it served as a shipping point for the granite quarries located in the south part of the County. Just west of Knob Lick is one of the granite peaks of the St. Francois mountains and here for many years large quantities of granite were quarried later to be used as paving blocks, buildings of various kinds and as monumental blocks. Here it was that the Syenite granite works, which had been purchased by W. R. Allen and Company for $3,000, produced a quantity of stone valued many times this amount.

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Knob Lick was surveyed in 1869 by William McDowell. At that time the town included eleven blocks of irregular shape and size. The village was bordered on the west by the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad.

Published in a BRIEF AUTHENTIC HISTORY OF ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, MISSOURI. Compiled by J. Tom Miles, A.M. and Published in The Farmington News in Ten Chapters September 13 to November 15, 1935. Printed in booklet form through the courtesy of J. Clyde Akers, County Superintendent of Schools.

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Knob Lick Facts:

Located near US 67 and Route DD
intersection between Fredericktown and Farmington

Latitude & Longitude: 3740'31" N, 9022'02" W

Elevation: 930 ft.

Township: Liberty

School district: Farmington R-7

USGS Quad: Knob Lick

Founded: 1865
Syenite Facts:

On Route DD just west of Knob Lick
Latitude & Longitude: 3740'36" N, 9023'30" W

Township: Liberty

School district: Farmington R-7

USGS Quad: Wachita Mountain


Reveries by Edna Foley

On the third of July, 1941, Sam and I were married in the study of the First Baptist Church of Farmington. After purchasing a few articles, we drove to our home to begin a life of happiness and fulfillment together.

This place was one mile west of Knob Lick. Over a hundred years ago, it was known as Syneite.

There were numerous granite quarries in the community. This place was a town resembling old western towns with light saloons, a dance hall, hotel, boarding house and dwellings. The largest quarry was owned by a Scottish gentleman named William Milne. He was a kind, considerate man, held in high esteem by all who knew him.

The stones were quarried here and hauled to Knob Lick, then loaded on the train bound for St. Louis. They were used to pave the streets.

The old Milne house was a sturdy beautiful house made of granite. Six rooms, two fireplaces and stoves to heat the upstairs. The dining room had a fireplace. So did the large parlor. The parlor was divided by sliding doors. The large roomy kitchen was at the back. Upstairs were two bedrooms and the family room. There was a large barn and stable for the cow and the horse, ridden by the circuit rider. When they quit paving the streets in St. Louis, the large quarry shut down, pulled the pumps and it filled with water, providing a good swimming pool for the neighborhood.

A large pine support provided the beginners support to hold on to. One other pine support lay on the ground.

Gordon Milne, the youngest of the large family, lived across the road from the Milne house and looked after the premises. He had rented the house partially furnished to a nice couple from Georgia. This young man managed a plant in another old abandoned quarry. In a few years the plant was discontinued and the Wades went back to Georgia. We hated to lose this nice couple from our neighborhood. Members of the Milne family took the remaining beautiful pieces of furniture and hanging lamps from the house and it stood empty for years. Finally Gordon sold the property to a family from St. Louis. We were glad to see a light in the window again. The house has been there for many years. A sturdy house, built to last a long time. It had huge chimneys and two lightning rods. Gordon had a new roof put on and it is as good as new. I loved this old house and would have liked to have lived there, but my husband said it was too much house for us. He was usually right. So it is a large roomy house, should have a large family. And this house will be a land mark for a long time. It is a small community now, with a granite house not far from the Milne house. Several houses along the highway.

We all had large gardens, and dry wells. Our well was between two large granite boulders. We drew the water with a bucket attached to a pulley. The water was clean, cold and sparkling and very good. Folks had used it for many years. Dry wells got some debris in them and are apt to become contaminated. I took a sample of the water and sent it in for analysis. The answer came back, not safe to drink! Was my face red? I sent a dollar for something to put into the well to correct this and we kept on drinking the water.

All of the old timers left the community when the quarries closed. It is a small community, but a good one. Lovely with the old Knob standing there and the beauty of the changing seasons.

It will always be my home.

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Thurs. July 17, 1980.