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History & Townships
Carroll County, Missouri,
is located in the northwestern portion of the State, being forty-five miles
east of the east line of Kansas and sixty-six miles from the south line
of the State of Iowa...It is bounded on the north by Livingston County;
on the east by Grand River which separates it from Chariton County; on
the south by the Missouri River, which separates it from Saline and Lafayette
Counties; and on the west by Ray and Caldwell Counties...
Rockford Township, being
one of the eastern townships of the county, borders upon Grand River...
The territory now embraced
in Carroll County formed a part successively of St. Charles, Howard and
Ray Counties. The territory of Louisiana originally embraced five districts,
viz: St. Louis, St. Charles, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau and New Madrid.
In 1816 Howard County was formed out of the western parts of St. Louis
and St. Charles districts, and included all the country on both sides of
the Missouri River, between the mouth of the Osage River and the mouth
of the Kansas River. Ray County was organized in 1820, and the present
Carroll County, formed a part of it. On the organization of Carroll County
in 1833 its boundaries extended north to the Iowa State Line, and out of
its territory the counties of Livingston, Grundy and
Mercer have been formed.
The organization of Livingston County, in 1837, reduced Carroll County
to its present limits...
Carroll County was organized
and the bill was signed January 3, 1833. It was originally intended to
call the new county "Wakenda," for the stream of that name which flows
through its territory. The bill forming the new county under this name
had already passed its first and second readings; but when it came up for
final passage the news of the death of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the
last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence was received at
Jefferson City. The proposition was made to call the new county "Charles
Carroll, of Carrollton," but it was sensibly shortened to "Carroll," when
the bills passed without a dissenting vote.
The survey of Carroll
County was begun by government surveyors in 1816 and completed the following
year. There were no white settlements at that time within the limits of
the county...While surveyors were in the neighborhood of White Rock a barrel
of whiskey was obtained, over which the surveyors made merry around the
evening campfire. Whether too much was imbibed for their own good or not
will, perhaps, never be known, but it is an undeniable fact that subsequent
surveyors have had great difficulty in tracing out the old lines of that
survey in that locality; and in fact some disturbing cause seems to have
operated to the disadvantage of the surveys throughout the whole of range
The first session of
the county court of Carroll County was held at the residence of Nathaniel
Cary (or Carey), as was provided by the act under which the county was
organized...on February 4, 1833. This house stood in Section 13, Township
52, Range 22, near what is now known as the Chinn Bridge on Waknenda Creek.
At the time of the organization
of the county the territory within the bounds of the county proper was
divided (February 5, 1833) into three townships by an order of the court
which read as follows: Grand River Township; Sugar Tree Township and Wakenda
Township. (The boundaries are given on page 82 Vol. 1, of History of Carroll
Later Shoal Creek Township
was formed. This gave Carroll County four townships. Shoal Creek Township
was afterwards divided into smaller townships or districts.
At the July term 1834,
Medicine Creek Township was formed, also Indian Creek.
February 1, 1841, Hurricane
Township was formed from Grand River.
Wakenda Township was
divided on February 7, 1842, to form Morris Township...
December 7, 1870, Bogard
Township was formed from Morris Township.
Beatty Township was formed
June 6, 1871.
Hills Landing Township
was formed at the same time.
In 1872, the following
townships were in existence:
55-23, Stokes Mound
52-24, Moss Creek
51 & 52-22, Eugene
51 & 52-23, Wakenda
54-23, Van Horn
51-23 & 24, Sugar
51-25, Cherry Valley
On March 5, 1877, the
General Assembly abolished township organization, and on August 7, the
county was divided into municipal townships as follows:
Grand River Township
to include Congressional Townships 52-21, 53-20, and 53-21.
Rea Township to include
Congressional Township 51-22, 52-22 and 53-22.
Carrollton Township to
include Congressional Township 51-23, 52-23 and 53-23.
Beaty Township to include
Congressional Township 51-24, 52-24, and 53-24.
Norborne Township to
include Congressional Township 51-25, 52-25 and 53-25.
Bates Township to include
Congressional Township 54-25, 55-25.
Morris Township to include
Congressional Township 54-24 and 55-24.
Bogart Township to include
Congressional Township 54-23 and 55-23.
Wood Township to include
Congressional Township 54-22 and 55-22, 54-21 and 55-21.
20th Century History
of Carroll To., 1911, Turner, Vol. 1, pp. 89 and 90. (See page 90 for a
discussion of the townships.)
In 1839, Benjamin Kendrick
located eighty acres in Section 8, embracing what were known as the White
Rock Quarries...The quarries were opened in 1840. The stones from these
quarries were used in the building of the Iowa State Capitol at Des Moines
as well as the building of the Carrollton Court House... p. 92.
Martin Palmer, the first
settler, was a transient one only and settled in 1837...In 1831 Bery W.
Jones, from Alabama, located. The Maris family came in 1830... p. 94.
(For a fuller account
of Palmer see A Directory of Towns, Villages and Hamlets, Past and Present
of Livingston County, Moser.)
Numerous mounds are found
in DeWitt Township, mostly near the town of DeWitt, whether the work of
Indians, or a race antedating the Red Men is a question yet undetermined...
In the early days of
this township Saturday was law day and every one went to DeWitt either
as a principal or witness...
On one particular day,
the parties in a case got into a quarrel and finally got into blows...The
lawyers finally got mixed up in the melee and like the others came to blows.
The justice commanded peace, but there was no peace. The fight became a
general; knock downs were the order of the day and excitement ran high.
The judge, taking advantage of the confusion hurriedly gathered up his
books, leaped out of the window and turning to the crowd, shouted out,
"Fight and be d________; this court is adjourned until nine o'clock tomorrow
morning"... pp. 94, 95.
About 1882 the Missouri
River changed its channel leaving Brunswick, which had formerly been a
Missouri River town, about three miles away with the Grand River occupying
the old Missouri River bed, thus throwing into Carroll County an immense
sand bar, about which there has been considerable controversy...
From time to time this
sand bar would be enlarged until by 1888 or 1890 these lands had received
a deposit of loam or silt brought down from above until they became recognized
as valuable farm land.
Controversies arose over
the ownership of the land led to quarrels and murder...This township was
named in honor of John Smith, one of the pioneer settlers who was a resident
of the township at the time of township organization. pp. 90, 91.
This township was named
from the ford across Grand River, within its bounds, which has been from
the earliest times designated as "Rockford" and which has at all times
been an important crossing of the river...
Among the earliest settlers
were William Jenkins, John B.Winfrey, and Nathaniel and William Bamks...
Eugene Township embraces
fractional Townships 51 and 52 of Range 22, with 32 full and 11 fractional
sections...Eugene Township was one of the first townships to be settled.
Nathaniel Cary, Sachel Woods and others came and located in this township
near the forks of Wakenda Creek as early as 1818...A man named Harper taught
the first school at the house of John Crockett...
Sophia Cary, wife of
Nathaniel Cary, was one of the first if not the first woman to weave cloth
in Carroll County... pp. 99, 100.
Combs Township embraces thirty-six
full sections of six hundred and forty acres...It was named in honor of
Col. Howard T. Combs, who was clerk of county court at the time the county
first adopted township organization.
Stephen Parker was the
first permanent settler in this township, locating in 1824. He held a warrant
from the government for the southeast quarter of Section 20...Parkers Grove
was named in honor of Stephen Parker...
Turpin Thomas erected
the first mill in the township about 1836, which he afterwards sold to
James Lucal, formerly of Hurricane Township. Lucas immediately improved
the property by building a new mill on the site, which was for many years
known as Baum Mill... p. 102.
Ridge Township embraces thirty-six
full sections of high, rolling prairie...
The settlement of Ridge
was somewhat slow. Daniel Hill was supposed to have been the first to locate
in the township, he coming in 1835, and locating on the banks of Big Creek,
about 1839. Jack Phillips, who had located in Van Horn in 1834 came to
Ridge Township and located at the ford of the Little Hurricane... p. 104.
Hurricane Township received
its name from Big Hurricane Creek, which flows through it. This township,
in turn, received its name from the fact that in the early days a very
large destructive hurricane passed through this township and along the
Grand River bottom. The effects of this storm could be seen for many years
after the arrival of the early settlers.
Probably the earliest
settler of the township was Col. William W. Compton, who came from Tazewell
County, Virginia, and located in Section 11, in 1835, the land having been
patented to Colonel Compton for serving in the War of 1812. p. 107.
February 8, 1877, on
the petition of more than one-fourth of the voters of Hurricane and Compton
Townships, an election was held to ascertain the sense of the township
upon the proposition of annexing of Compton to Hurricane Township. At the
election, more than two-thirds of the voters favored the proposition and
the townships were united under the name of Hurricane Township, thus adding
to Hurricane Township an area equal to about one-half of ordinary Congressional
Township... p. 110.
Wakenda Township derives
its name from the Wakenda Creek, which runs through the northern part of
the township. The name of the creek is also spelled Wakanda and was formerly
known as Wyconda Creek...
The earliest settlement
of this township was by Nathaniel Cary in 1818, who settled on Section
13, on the banks of the Wakenda Creek. In the same year John Maberry and
John Riffe settled in Section 1...
Bartlett H. Pitts located
in Sections 32 and 33...In the spring of 1833 Noah Caton established a
landing on the Missouri River south of Carrollton. Capt. William Hill,
in a short time afterward, obtained Caton's interest in the landing, and
thereafter it was known as Hill's Landing. pp. 112, 113.
Carrollton Township derives
its name from Carrollton, the county seat which was named in honor of Charles
Carroll of Carrollton, the last signer of the Declaration of Independence...
The first settlement
was made November 13, 1819, by John Standley and his seven sons who located
in what is now Tummon's Addition to the town of Carrollton.
It is related of Uncle
Jimmy Standley that in 1818 he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, the
first in the county. (An early law suite was resolved by Judge Standley
who brought the parties to settle the matter without litigation, and at
last was successful in making a compromise.)
In reckoning up the costs,
none of the parties had any charge except the constable, a man by the name
of Woolworth, he representing that he had ridden eighteen or twenty miles
through the woods and grass in the heat, threshing flies and he ought to
have twenty cents for his labor; an inventory of the available cash of
the whole party revealed the fact that Larkin Standley, a son of the Justice,
had a silver dollar, the only money in the crowd.
"Uncle Jimmy" proposed
to make the change by making four quarters with an axe. In cutting the
dollar it was somehow divided into five instead of four pieces. The constable
took one of the pieces for his fee, and Lark Standley his money (four quarters)
"Uncle Jimmy's law library
consisted of an old Farmer's Almanac, which had a constitution in it, but
whether of the United States or of some single state was never known. It
made no provision for appeal... pp. 115, 116.
Van Horn Township
Van Horn Township was named
for Col. R. T. Van Horn, who was a member of Congress at one time and who
was later an editor of the Kansas City Journal...
About 1834, John, otherwise
known as Jack, Phillips, located in Section 28...Asa McClaim came from
Cooper County, Kentucky, in 1848, settling in Section 1, where the first
school house was erected by Mr. McClaim, Burley Godsey and John and James
Phillips. Mr. McClaim first taught this school, having about twenty pupils
and receiving twenty dollars a month for his salary.
Doctor Taylor was the
first resident physician. He also taught school in the township and later
moved away to unknown parts... p. 124.
Stokes Mound Township
Stokes Mound Township is
one of the border townships on the north line of the county.
Among the first settlers
about 1832, were Elijah and William Compton, Solon and Axley Lewis and
James Bunch, of Tennessee.
Hiram McCall settled
on Section 29 in 1840. Dr. John Wolfscale and Dr. T. J. Brown were two
of the regular practicing physicians of the township. pp. 127, 128.
Sugar Creek Township
Sugar Creek Township is one
of the fractional townships in the county, and embraces Ranges 23 and 24
of Township 51, its southern and eastern boundary being the Missouri River,
which at times has caused the inhabitants of the rich bottom lands adjacent
much trouble by the cutting of its banks and by the overflowing of the
Nehemiah and Noah Woolsey
were among the first settlers and, although the date of settlement is not
positively known, it is supposed to have been about 1823, and even a few
years earlier than this.
Doctors Folger and Walling,
of Carrollton were the pioneer practicing physicians of the township...The
first death occurred in 1835 when Nicholas Pitts died in March of that
year. The body was interred close to the Missouri River and the cemetery
has since washed away. pp. 132, 133.
Moss Creek Township
Moss Creek Township derives
its name from Moss Creek, a stream ordinarily clear and beautiful, fed
by springs along its course.
Among the pioneer settlers
of Moss Creek Township were Stephen Woolsey, from Tennessee; John A. Austin,
from Virginia; Col. W. W. Austin, also of Virginia; these all settling
in the southwestern part of the township, forming quite a settlement, to
which a Mr. Blackwell came in 1839 and was made the postmaster of Round
Grove, the first postmaster of the township. Mr. Blackwell was also the
first Justice of the Peace of the township. p. 134.
The celebrated Wild Moss
Mills were located in the northeast corner of this township. ibid.
Trotter Township was named
in honor of Judge James Trotter, who was for a number of years presiding
judge of the county court, and was also one of the earliest settlers of
The first settlers came
to this township in 1829, among whom John and William Trotter...One of
the stories of the township which may be worthy of preservation is that
related by John Stamm, one of the pioneer settlers of the township, in
which he relates that in the early days there was across McCroskie's Creek,
a footbridge. It was supposed by all who used the bridge that it was a
log until an examination it proved to be an enormous bone some twenty-five
feet in length and large enough in diameter to be used as a foot bridge.
Its scientific value was appreciated by some individuals and the valuable
relic was removed to the East...
There was never a platted
town in the township, although in the early days there was a store in the
southwest portion of the township and in the more recent years a post-office
was established at Bingham, in the center of Section 8. This town, however,
like many another country cross roads store, was killed by the establishment
of the rural free delivery and even now -- 1910 -- is scarcely more than
a memory. p. 137.
Leslie Township is a portion
of what was originally called Morris Township, which was so called in honor
of James Morris, one of the earliest settlers who was proprietor of what
in the early days was known as "Buckhorn Tavern."...
Leslie Township was named
in honor of Gen. Leslie Combs, in Kentucky, whose son Col. Howard T. Combs,
was county clerk at the time the townships were named.
After Morris came to
the county in 1832, he soon was joined by James Runyon, his son-in-law
from Clay County, Kentucky...
The first school teacher
was James Mopham, who taught school in an old house in Section 17. The
first physician to practice in Morris and Leslie Townships was Dr. George
W. Folger, of Howard County, who lived in Carrollton. pp. 137, 138.
Hill Township was named in
honor of Richard, George W. and Nathan Hill, who were the first settlers
in the township, having come from Tennessee about 1836. John Cole was the
first school teacher of the township, teaching at the home of Aaron Braden,
with an enrollment of fifteen pupils, and receiving a minimal salary.
There is not -- 1910
-- and has never been an incorporated or platted town in Hill Township.
pp. 141, 142.
Cherry Valley Township
Cherry Valley is the
extreme southwest township of the county...Some of the earliest settlements
of the county were made along the Missouri River. The pioneer settler is
supposed to have been David McWilliams, of Tennessee, who located in Section
15, about 1819...In 1844 Samuel Cole located in Section 10 and John Freeman
located near the Ray County Line about 1847. pp. 142, 143.
John Hall is supposed to
have been the first settler in this part of Carroll County. He came from
Dr. Thomas Dobbins was
the first physician who permanently located in this township. He came in
1857...The first school house was built of logs, by George Cloudis in 1845...As
late as 1843, John Dietrich, in order to get a little flour for Christmas
cakes, sent his two boys, aged respectively twelve and sixteen, thirty-five
miles up on Grand River. They were gone nearly two weeks, but got back
in time to have the cakes. p. 146.
Prairie Township is one of
the border townships on the west line of the county...
The township was not
settled as early as some of the other townships because of the idea of
the early settlers that the prairie lands were not as strong as the timbered
Jacob Goff was one of
the first permanent settlers, he locating in the southeast corner of the
township about 1846...
Dr. Charles Heidel, of
Carrollton, was the first practicing physician in the township. There has
never been any attempt to found a town in this township, the nearest town
being Norborne. p. 150.
The first settler was possibly
Henry Brewer...who came in 1843 from Ray County, settling on Section 32.
Dr. George W. Folger, of Carrollton, was the first practicing physician
in the township. John Shirley, a Christian minister, held the first religious
services in the township in 1842 on Section 20.
Fairfield Township has
never had a town of any size in its limits, although the town of Rhoads
(or Roads), named in honor of the pioneer settler, has long been a good
trading point... pp. 150, 151.
Washington Township is the
northwest township of the county...James Runion was probably the first
comer to the township, locating on Section 12. He was soon followed by
Andrew Howerton, who located on Section 2, about 1839. Doctor Coon, of
Michigan, practiced medicine in this township from 1867 to 1870, when he
left for California.
The first school was
taught and the first school house built on Section 2. H. Anderson was the
teacher, receiving five cents a day for each pupil. p. 152.
Page numbers refer to
20th Century History of Carroll County, Vol. 1, Turner.