The pioneer history of Greene county is that of Southwest Missouri, for the first settlements in this portion of the State were made within what have been, until recently, the boundaries of this county, and upon the first organization into municipal government of that vast parallelogram, 75x100 miles in area, lying in the southwest corner of Missouri, it was all called Greene county.
Prior to the war of 1812 all this portion of Missouri was known as "the Osage country," or country of the Osage Indians, who occupied it from time to time as they hunted in its forests, fished in its streams, and camped in its pleasant places. The first white men to visit the country were some of the early French voyageurs, who came out occasionally from Ste. Genevieve after "the year of the great waters," 1785, and made certain explorations in search of gold and silver. Returning, they reported plenty of lead indications, but none of the precious metals. These Frenchmen belonged to the colony at Ste. Genevieve, and seem to have gone as far west from time to time as into Barry, or perhaps McDonald county, from the description of the country they gave. "It is a land very rough, mountainous, and hard to travel through," said they, "and there are plenty of springs, caves, and fresh water.1
There is a shadowy tradition that De Soto's men came as far west and north as into Jasper county, but there appears no good reason to believe that this tradition rests upon anything more substantial than the assertion of some fanciful individual anxious to establish some sort of distinction for the early history of that county.
Some time during or immediately after the war of 1812, a band of the Kickapoo tribe of Indians built a town on the present site of Springfield, which they occupied for several years. The population of this town at one time, was about 500—at least it numbered 100 wigwams.2
The Kickapoos ranged north and northeast of this town, principally, and the large prairie south of Springfield was called for them; and the "Kickapoo prairie" was more widely known in 1824 than it is now. This portion of Southwest Missouri was afterwards often called the "Kickapoo country."
Corroborative of the historical sketch of Mr. Escott, in his History of Springfield (1878), a most interesting and instructive little work, it may here be stated that the first permanent white settlements in Southwest Missouri were made in 1818 by John P. Pettijohn, his sons, their families and Joseph Price and Augustine (or Augustus) Friend, on the James river, from eight to fifteen miles south and southwest of the present location of Springfield. About the same time William Friend built a cabin on Finley creek, south a few miles of what is now Washington township, in this county, and near the town of Linden, or Kenton post-office, in Christian county. Jeremiah Pearson came to what is now the southern part of Jackson township, Greene county, a year or two later, and settled on the stream that afterwards bore his name, and not long afterward built a mill, which disputes for the distinction of being the first in this section of the State. Nathan Burrill, a son-in-law of Mr. Pettijohn, came with him and located near Wm. Friend, as did Isaac Prosser and probably George Wells. [125-126]
From John McPettijohn, a grandson of old John P. Pettijohn, and for many years, including the period of the civil war, clerk of the courts of Christian county, much interesting information concerning the settlement of this country has been obtained by different writers who have written historical sketches. Mr. McPettijohn has put it upon record that his grandfather, John P. Pettijohn, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, was born in Henrico county, Virginia, where he married and lived until 1797, when he moved to Gallia county, Ohio. There he settled a new farm, upon which he remained until 1818; at which time he and his family, together with those just mentioned and other relatives of the family, to the number of twenty-four persons, set out to seek a home in the interior of the new Territory of Missouri. Whether Mr. Wells was one of this company is not certainly known.
Procuring a keel-boat, which a was sort of large row-boat, they commenced their voyage in the latter part of the summer, down the Muskingum, thence down the Ohio and Mississippi to the mouth of White river. So far, it had been comparatively easy sailing; they had made good time, and were in fine spirits. The men had frequently gone on shore and killed game to add to their stock of provisions, of which they had laid in a good supply before leaving their homes in Ohio. It is not probable that it took many large Saratoga trunks to contain their surplus wardrobe, but they brought with them such things as they expected would be necessary to make them comfortable and happy in their new homes beyond the pale of fashionable society and its requirements. Among other things, they had provided themselves with a variety of field and garden seeds, and as they had spent much of their time in hunting, and trapping, in the forests of Ohio, they had a number of bearskins which were used as a substitute for mattresses.
Soon after commencing the ascent of White river, they encountered floods which greatly impeded their progress, the river being so full that it overflowed its banks, spreading out in some places for miles along the cane-brakes which lined it on either side, and flowing so rapidly that it was impossible to make any headway against its seething tide. 
About this time sickness assailed the little band and nearly all were prostrated with malarious fevers. With these hindrances, and the inability to go on shore to hunt, their supply of provisions was soon exhausted, and the famishing crew were compelled to use for food all of the seeds which they had brought with them, and then even to singe the hair from the bear-skins and roast them to keep from starving. After this, for nearly eight days, they were without a mouthful of food of any kind, but on the eighth day a small deer came swimming up to the boat, as if for assistance, having probably been borne down on the current while attempting to cross the river. It is needless to say that they gave it such protection as the vulture gave the lamb. On its flesh, without bread or salt, they subsisted two days, after which was another fast of eight days, and on the ninth day Nathan Burrill, a son-in-law of Mr. Pettijohn, took a skiff and set out among the cane-brakes, declaring that he would go till he found food or die in the attempt. He had not gone far before he heard the tinkling of a small bell, and, on rowing in the direction from which it proceeded, he soon discovered a mare and a young filly which were on a small knoll entirely surrounded by water, where they had been grazing, when the waters had risen around them and cut them off from the main land. Mr. Burrill considered it a "military necessity," under the circumstances, to appropriate the filly to the use of himself and his suffering companions, without waiting for the owner's consent, inasmuch as he did not know where to find the owner, and there was not much time to be lost if anything was to be done to save the famishing company.
Shooting it down, he next out its throat and drank of its blood as it flowed warm from the animal's heart. With difficulty he skinned the carcass and conveyed it piecemeal to the boat, where it was gladly received by his comrades. This furnished food again for a few days, and the waters getting lower, and the party gaining some strength, they were making their way slowly but surely toward the "promised land," where a few other families had preceded them and formed settlements but a short time before.
These settlements were on White river, near the mouth of the Big North Fork, and consequently in the present limits of Arkansas, which at that time formed a part of the Missouri Territory.
The first human habitation they found was that of a Frenchman who lived all alone, far down the river below the other settlements, where he was engaged in raising stock. From him they purchased some corn, but he could not be induced for money or any other consideration to kill any beef or pork for them. However, with the corn, which they boiled, they soon gained sufficient strength to go out occasionally and shoot game to go with it, and it was not long till they found themselves among more hospitable pioneers, who, true to the custom of old Tennessee, from which most of them had emigrated, would have shared their last loaf and killed their last fatted calf, in order to provide for the wants of the "new-comers." 
And well was this kindness appreciated, for, during this long and perilous voyage, two of the number—the wife of the veteran hero and the wife of his son William—had been taken away by the hand of death, and the rest had been sadly reduced by sickness and privation.
They were, however, soon able to erect cabins and begin to provide for their own wants, as there were plenty of deer and turkeys in the country, and bee-trees well filled with honey. The bear and the buffalo were not very difficult to find, and the elk still roamed through the forests in large herds.
But their settlement on the White river was not a permanent one. Their hunting excursions often extended several miles back among the hills and valleys, and as early as 1820 and 1821, frequent expeditions were made by various members of the party as far north as the James river, where some of them erected a small cabin and thus established a claim to a place about eight miles southof the present site of Springfield. On his return from one of these expeditions, William Pettijohn told his neighbors on White river that he had discovered the country which flowed with milk and honey, bear's oil and buffalo marrow. These two latter articles were considered great luxuries among the old hunters and trappers of the West.
In the spring and summer of 1822 these families began to remove to the places already mentioned—on the "Jeems"—and within the present limits of Greene and Christian counties. Thomas Patterson and family, who had also lived about three years on White river, which they had reached after successive removals from North Carolina to Tennessee, and from Tennessee to the Missouri Territory, came up the James in 1821, and bought the claim and improvement formerly made by some of the Pettijohn family on the place afterward owned by his son, Albert G. Patterson, said to be the oldest farm in the county, although not actually settled till August, 1822.
Alexander Patterson, a brother of Thomas, came about the same time and made a settlement on the place which was afterward known as the David Wallace place; also another Thomas Patterson, a cousin of Albert G., settled higher up the James. A man named Ingle settled near where the bridge now stands, at the crossing of the James, on the Ozark road, and there erected what some claim was the first mill in Southwest Missouri. 
Up to this time these early settlers had encountered but very few Indians—only occasional parties of Osages who were in the habit of coming here in the fall to hunt, their home being farther north and west, probably within the present limits of the State of Kansas. But, in the autumn of 1822, the Delawares came, about five hundred strong, and laid claim to all of the southwest part of the State, as a reservation given them by the Government.
These Delawares, one branch of the great Algonquins, are one of the most peaceable and friendly tribes in America, being the very same nation with whom William Penn formed his first treaty, which was ever kept inviolate by them, even when other nations had persecuted them for their friendship to the whites. In an early day they were eminent for their valor and wisdom, and exercised an important influence over the other tribes, which was felt from the Chesapeake to the Hudson, as an evidence of which they received the title of "The Grand Father." In the sixteenth century their home was in the valley of the Del aware and on the banks of the Schuylkill. In 1751 they were on the Susquehanna, and in 1795 they were parties with the Wyandottes, Shawnees and Miamis to the treaty of peace at Greenville. Owing to the hostilities of other tribes, they emigrated after this to White river, in Indiana, where they remained until their removal to this portion of the country, whither it is probable they had been directed by designing white men who had told them that this was the reservation which had been set apart for them.
The few white settlers here, not being satisfied on the subject, as to the Indians' right of ownership in the country, sent one of their number, Thomas Patterson, Sr., to St. Louis to make inquiry concerning it, and he was there informed, although it is not known to whom he referred the matter, that the Indians were right, and that the white settlers must give up their claims. On his returning and reporting, the settlers nearly all abandoned their claims, some going to the Meramec, some to Osage Fork of the Gasconade, some back to Illinois, and some pressing onward still farther south and west.
Besides the early settlers already mentioned there is an account of a man named Davis, who settled on the James, on section 13-29-20, now Taylor township, on land now owned by Col. Jno. H. Price, some time between 1822 and 1825, and was killed by the Indians, but it has not been learned what tribe was charged with it or what the circumstances were. His wife and children probably removed from the country at the time of the general abandonment of claims on the arrival of the Delawares and never returned to reclaim it. Davis creek takes its name from this early settler. A man named Spencer O'Neil was also an early settler on the James. 
The Delawares, who were now in undisputed possession of the country, rented land to a few families who came with them, and also to Mr. William Friend, who remained on his farm throughout the whole time that they had possession, and therefore, during his lifetime, was the oldest permanent settler in this portion of the State. His father was a captain in the Revolutionary war, and he himself had been a soldier in the war of 1812, and was at the battle of Tippecanoe, when Tecumseh was killed, so he had no fears in remaining among the red men, especially among this friendly tribe. Mr. Friend had successively removed from Maryland to Ohio, from Ohio to what is now Arkansas, and finally to the wilds of Southwest Missouri. He came with the Pettijohn family, the Pearsons, his brother Augustus, and the other pioneers who came by way of the rivers from Ohio.
With the Delawares, came a man named James Wilson, who was married to three squaws while here, and after living with each for a short time, would drive her off, and seek another "affinity." About the time the Delawares left, he sent away the third one and returned to St. Louis, where he married a white woman, whom he brought back with him, and they settled on a farm near the mouth of the creek which was named for him, And afterwards became noted as the scene of one of the fiercest battles of the civil war. After the death of Mr. Wilson his widow, a French lady, was married to Dr. C. D. Terrell, whose name afterward appears in the official record of Greene county as the second clerk of the county court.
It is said of Wilson that he gained the confidence of the Indians, and got the handling of what money they had. He is reported to have buried this money with the intent to keep it from the Indians, but Judge Lynch's code seems to have been known to the Delawares, and they caught Wilson and hung him up by the neck until he revealed where the cash was hid. He remained here after the Indians removed, and died soon after.
A man by the name of Marshall also came with them, being married to a squaw, with whom he lived until his death, which occurred about the time the Indians were leaving here, and his widow and orphans went to the Territory with their dusky companions. Mr. Marshall had taken the old mill which had formerly been abandoned by Mr. Ingle, and removed it down the river to apoint near th mouth of Finley creek, where he had commenced a plantation. 
Two other men seem to have come with the Indians as traders. They were Joseph Phillabert (pronounced Fillabare) and William Gilliss. Of the latter, all the information learned after the Indians left was developed by a suit brought by persons claiming to he his heirs, in consequence of his marriage to the daughter of a chief of a small tribe who were connected with the Delawares, or under their protection, while here.
It is claimed that, like Wilson, he was not content to live long at a time with one dusky bride; but that he, too, lived successively with three different ones, each, for the time, being considered his legal wife. It seems that while keeping a post at the Delaware town on the James fork of White river he was twice married to women of the Delaware tribe; but, about the year 1830, he proposed to Laharsh, a chief of the Piankeshaws, to marry his daughter, Kahketoqua, and that he employed one Baptiste Peoria to negotiate the marriage. Baptiste visited Laharsh and reported favorably to Gilliss; after which he and Gilliss went down to the settlement on Cowskin creek, where the Indian maiden lived, and carried her father and mother presents, which were acceptable, and she returned with them to become his wife. In regard to the custom among the Indians in relation to marriage, the contract was usually made thus with the parents, and if the bridegroom made presents which were satisfactory, the parent usually assented and that constituted the marriage. These contracts were dissoluble at the option of the parties, and in this case Gilliss sent Kahketoqua back after living with her for a few months, promising to recall her when he should return from the East.
But it does not appear that he ever returned or acknowledged her as his wife after this, although he frequently sent presents to her child, which was named Nancy, and in after years the heirs of Nancy, not being mentioned in his will, sued for their share of his property, which was finally granted them by decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri, from reports of which we obtain our information. 
It seems that Mr. Gilliss' mother-in-law, the wife of Laharsh, accompanied him and his wife on the wedding tour, remaining several weeks, probably to give the wife some instructions in housekeeping, and that at the end of her visit, Gilliss took or sent her back to the Cowskin settlement. This watchfulness of the mother-in-law over bride and groom doubtless had the same effect as it is often supposed to have in the case of white mothers-in-law, and may have been the cause of the early separation.
Concerning Mr. Phillabert, we have the following from Col. S. H. Boyd, of Springfield, in an address delivered by him at a meeting of the pioneers of Greene county, July 4, 1876:
"With the Indians lived a Frenchman whose name was Joseph Phillabert. He and some associates in St. Louis carried on a trade at this Indian town for many years, by which he accumulated considerable riches, and he now possesses large paying estates in St. Louis. From early life he had been a pioneer, and much of his career had been passed in close association with the Indians. When the Indians emigrated to the Indian Territory, Phillabert remained in this country, and still lives3 in Stone county. He takes great interest in the affairs of government, reads the weekly newspapers, and discusses with earnestness the political questions of the day. Many years have passed by since he was any distance from his comfortable home on the banks of the White river and the James. His agent in St. Louis makes him monthly statements of his property, and this is the only care he gives to his large St. Louis estates. He is the oldest settler of Southwest Missouri now living."3
1 St. Gem's Annals of Ste. Genevieve.
2 South of the Pomme de Terre, some twenty miles, is an old Kickapoo village, which numbered at one time 100 wick-a-ups or wigwams."-[Book's Gazetteer (1824), p. 78.
3 In 1876.
The Indian town and trading post referred to was in the northwest part of Christian county, near the Wilson's Creek battle ground, but on the James, and extending from the lake where the county road crosses the river, about three-fourths of a mile down its banks. This was their principal town, and for several years the home of the greater part of the nation. There were, however, some suburban towns scattered along up and down the James and on the banks of Wilson's creek.
Here the Delawares remained monarchs of the forest and the prairie until about the year 1830, when it was determined that their reservation was further west. To their new hunting grounds they removed, and there they have ever since remained, true to their former pledges, at peace with the whites, and willing to suffer wrongs rather than engage in war.
As soon as they left, most of the white settlers, who had been absent during their occupancy of the country, came back and reclaimed their old homesteads, where the descendants of some of them still live. 
Mr. Pettijohn, who had been back to Ohio, came with his son John, who had remained in Illinois. On returning to their old home, which had afterward been the site of the Delaware town, they found a man named Joseph Porter in possession and claiming to have purchased it from the Indians; so they went further down the river and settled near the mouth of the James, where they both remained until their death. John Mack Pettijohn, a grandson of the old pioneer, was long a prominent citizen of Ozark, in Christian county, where he reared a family of ten children. In the spring of 1878 Mr. P. and his wife, with their six unmarried children, set out overland, with horse and ox terms, for the interior of Oregon, but it is understood that they purchased land and settled in Southern Kansas. The descendants seem to inherit the pioneer spirit of their forefathers, and likewise a good decree of the patriotic spirit of their venerable ancestor of Revolutionary times. John Pettijohn, Jr., and his brother William, were both soldiers in the war of 1812; a grandson, William C., was in the Mexican war, and two other grandsons, George and Levi, as well as a great-grandson, John W., were in the Union army in the late war, while another grandson, George, who was the son of Jacob, was in the Southern army.
Joseph Porter, before mentioned, was distinguished as a first-rate farmer, as well as an excellent trapper and fisherman. He is said to have killed the last beaver taken in Greene county. Mr. P. is described as being of a very genial nature, full of fun and frolic, and possessing a large fund of anecdotes, which conspired to make him a general favorite with old and young.
Thomas Patterson and family returned from Osage fork in 1834, to the old plantation on the James, and in a small cemetery near the old homestead his remains and those of his wife rest undisturbed beneath the shade of a fine grove of native cedars, a fit emblem for the graves of pioneers from the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, which abound with this beautiful evergreen.
John B. and Edward Mooney settled on Davis creek, in Taylor township, perhaps in 1827, renting land from the Delawares. Rev. Mooney was a pioneer preacher, and one of the early townships was named for him. Its successor is now Mooney township, Polk county. Samuel Martin, of North Carolina, came to that section in 1829, and remained here for a number of years. He was the first Presiding justice of the Greene county court, upon the organization of the county, in 1833. He afterward removed to Ozark county, where he held the office of circuit clerk. Cowden Martin, a brother of Judge Martin, came here with him, and remained until his death, in 1835. 
In 1821 Bob Patterson and his father, who were from East Tennessee, settled on the James, about two miles north of Dallas, in Webster county, and a few miles east of the line now dividing that county from Greene. Bob Patterson was an exception among the early pioneers. He was inhospitable and ungenerous even to the point of hoggishness. In personal appearance he was not at all prepossessing. He was tall and ungainly and his front teeth protruded and were large and long. It is said that for many years Patterson was the only settler in that part of the country for miles, and that he planted the first apple and peach orchard in Southwestern Missouri from seeds brought from Tennessee.
On one occasion an emigrant common westward stopped at Bob Patterson's to procure some corn for his jaded horses and to make bread for his family, a rather large one. Though he had plenty, Patterson would not let the mover have even a single bushel, though he knew there was no other source from which it could be had within half a day's journey, unless he could receive $2 a bushel for every ear sold. The emigrant's wife, who had listened to the conversation between Patterson and her husband, now concluded it was time for her to interfere; whereupon she thrust out her head from under the wagon cover and cried out: You go to the dickens with your corn, you stingy old hound; we don't want to buy anything from a feller whose tushes is so long that he can bite the guts out of a punkin through a crack in the fence, and not wet his lips! Go to the dickens with your corn! Come on, old man!" And the "old man" accordingly went on.
Patterson acted the rogue with the Delaware Indians, and was expelled from the country. He went eastward and settled near Steelville, Crawford county. What eventually became of him none of the old settlers seem ever to have known or cared.
A number of explorers and home seekers visited this portion of the country from time to time, and among them was old William Fulbright, who came here in 1819.
In 1830, in response to numerous petitions, the Government ordered the Indians to give up this portion of Missouri and "move on," which the great majority of them proceeded to do. This seemed to be the signal for a large influx of pioneers. Although Missouri had been admitted into the Union ten years before, and the eastern and northern portions had been rapidly filling up with immigrants, there were very few white people southwest of the center of the State, and all of this vast amount of territory, now comprising forty or fifty counties, was still attached to Wayne county. 
On the organization of Crawford county in 1829, this territory was transferred to its jurisdiction, under which it remained until the organization of Greene.
There were no regular roads, and the usual way of reaching this part of the country was either by way of the rivers, as has already been described, or by following the Indian trails across from Green's ferry, on the Mississippi.
Some few years since, Mr. John E. Miller, of Ritchey, Newton county, published a series of historical sketches in the Springfield Leader, for which the people of Greene county must ever be thankful, since they contain much valuable information that might never have been known to this and future generations. Mr. Miller, a son of Joseph Miller, one of the very first settlers of the county, is blessed not only with a retentive memory, but with a capacity and a disposition to put his recollections on paper. Let it be impressed on our people, that to his kindness in writing these sketches, and to the Leader's enterprise in publishing them, we are indebted for much of the knowledge of the early settlement of this county that we all possess. Speaking of some of the first settlements and pioneer settlers of Greene county, Mr. Miller says:
"In the fall of 1829, Madison and J. P. Campbell left Maury county, Tennessee, on horseback, traveling toward the setting sun in search of homes for themselves and their families. Crossing the Mississippi river, thence west through the then Territory of Arkansas, on to the present site of Fayetteville, then almost an entire wilderness; thence making a circle back in a northeasterly direction into Southwest Missouri, striking the old Delaware town, the first and only place of note on the James fork, ten miles southwest of where Springfield now stands. From there they went on to Kickapoo prairie and then north into the timber, discovering the Fulbright spring and the natural well. Near the latter they cut their names on some trees to mark their claims to the land in that vicinity."
At that time the first settlers already mentioned were living on the James, and Gilliss and old Joseph Phillabert had a little log store or trading post on a knoll near the Delaware town, where they kept a few pieces of calico and trinkets for sale to the Indians. After mentioning the return of the Campbell brothers to Tennessee, Mr. Miller goes on to say: 
In February, 1830, J. P. Campbell and his brother-in-law, Joseph Miller, fixed up with their small families, and set out for Kickapoo prairie. Mr. C.'s family consisted of himself, wife and one child, Talitha, then not a year old, who was afterward the mother of Lula, wife of Frank Sheppard. Mr. Miller's family consisted of himself and wife and two children. Rufus was one year old, and John was twelve. They also had six darkies, one five-horse team and one Derbin wagon, which was driven by John. (Madison C. did not move until 1832.)
They journeyed via Nashville and Hopkinsville, crossing the Ohio at Golconda, thence over the South end of Illinois to Green's old ferry on the Mississippi. It being in February, they encountered great difficulties in crossing on account of the quantities of floating ice, but after making several trips across the river in an old, rickety piece of a flat, the wind being high and cold, they succeeded in landing, safe on the Missouri side; thence they were obliged to almost cut their own road, but onward they went toward the West, by old Jackson in Cape Girardeau county, stopping one day to rest at old Col. Abram Byro's, five miles west of Jackson. Thence they proceeded on to Farmington, in St. Francois county, and by Caledonia, in Washington county, which was the last town, and it only contained one little store and two or three dozen inhabitants. Then on west with scarcely any road, to the present site of Steelville, in Crawford county, and on twelve miles further to Massey's iron works, which had been in operation but a very short time, and so on to where Rolla now stands. Twelve miles farther on, they came to old Jimmy Harrison's, at the mouth of Little Piney, on the Gasconade, about four hundred yards South of the present Gasconade bridge. Mr. Harrison kept a little store for the accommodation of the few settlers up and down the Piney and the Gasconade; that was also the court-house for the whole of Southwest Missouri, and so it was the only post-office until 1832. Thence west twenty miles brought them across the Big Piney on to Roubideaux, now Waynesville, in Pulaski county. Continuing their journey, they went up the Gasconade river to the mouth of the Osage fork, where they found a few white settlers—some of the Starks, Ballous, Tygarts, O'Neals, and one old "Jim Campbell," who was sheriff of all of Southwest Missouri. This was in the neighborhood of the present Oldland post-office. From there they came on to Cave Spring, where they crossed the Osage fork, leaving it at the old Barnett place, from which they came to Pleasant prairie, now Marshfield, and striking James fork twenty miles east, thence down to Jerry Pierson's, where he had built a little water mill at a spring just below the Danforth place; then on west they struck the Kickapoo prairie one mile east of the present Joe Merritt place; thence five miles more brought them to the natural well (a short distance north of the present, public square of Springfield). Here they first camped on the night of the 4th of March, 1830. 
In the meantime, Uncle Billy Fulbright had got about three weeks ahead of them, and stopped at the Fulbright spring. His brother, John Fulbright had settled at another spring near by, and had a cabin up; and his brother-in-law, A. J. Burnett, had succeeded in putting up a small oak-pole cabin 12x15, just on the spot of the old Squire Burden residence on Booneville street. Mr. Campbell having had rather the oldest claim, by his name being cut on an ash tree at the well, Mr. Burnett gave way and went and commenced an improvement five miles east, at the Merritt place. Both Miller's and Campbell's,families then moved into the pole cabin, the negroes having a good cloth tent to live in. This cabin had a splendid dirt floor.
Then all pitched into cutting and clearing, and soon succeeded in opening a few acres on the north side of the branch (Jordan) and just north of the natural well. They also cleared a field on the top of the hill, where the city now stands, the north string of the fence being about in the middle of the public square running west and including the ground where the Metropolitan hotel now stands.
The remains of the old Kickapoo Indian village still stood in the southwest portion of the present limit of Springfield. It was built of bark and small hickory poles bent over. Plenty of dead corn stalks were to be seen in the little patches that had been cultivated by the squaws. The Kickapoos had moved northwest in 1828. They came here from Illinois.
The following communication from the pen of Mrs. Rush C. Owen, daughter of John P. Campbell, taken from the columns of the Springfield Leader, of August 3, 1876, gives some interesting incidents in connection with the early settlers of the town of Springfield: 
In 1827 my father, John P. Campbell, and my uncle, E. M. Campbell, took refuge from an autumnal storm in old Delaware town on the James, not far from the Wilson Creek battle-ground. The braves had just brought in a remnant of Kickapoos which they had rescued from the Osages. Among the Kickapoos was a young brave boy ill with a kind of bilious fever recently taken. Just before leaving home my father had been reading a botanic treatise, and became a convert. In his saddle-bags he carried lobelia, composition and No. 6. He gave them to understand that he was a medicine man, and against Uncle Mat's earnest protest, who feared the consequences if the Indian died, he undertook the case. Not understanding the condition of his patient, or, perhaps, the proper quantity of the emetic to administer, he threw the Kickapoo into an alarm, or in other words a frightful cold sweat and deathly sickness. Then there was work for dear life. Uncle Mat, the older and more cautious of the two, pulled off his coat and plunged in to help my father get up a reaction, which they did, leaving the poor patient prostrate, and "weak as a rag." My father always laughed and said: "But feel so good, good—all gone," laying his hand weakly on his stomach. They remained some time with the Indians, hunting and looking at the country. They finally made up their minds to return to Maury county, Tennessee, and bring their families. Piloted by the Kickapoo they went some distance up the James, and made arrangements with an old trapper to get out their house logs ready to be put up immediately upon their return. They had selected lands where Springfield now stands. They found four springs whose branches uniting formed Wilson creek. About the center of the area between these springs was a natural well of wonderful depth, now known to be a sub-terranean lake, hard by which my father "squatted," after a toilsome journey through the wilderness, the Mississippi river frozen over so hard that they crossed on the ice in February, 1830. Several families accompanied him, among whom was glorious old Uncle Jo Miller. Who ever saw him angry? Who ever caught him looking on the dark side? The moment he was seated every child clambered and buzzed over him like bees over a honeycomb, and we had implicit faith in his "honey pond and fritter tree," and have to this day. The Kickapoo came over immediately and became an almost indispensable adjunct to the family. Seeing that my father was very tender with my mother, he looked upon her as a superior being something to be guarded and watched that no harm come near. He was out on a hunt when my sister was born, the first white child in Kickapoo prairie. When he came in my father, who had thrown himself on the bed by my mother, said: "Oh, ho! look here!" He approached, looked at the little creature with quaint seriousness, and said, "What call?" My mother, to please him, said "Kickapoo;" and my father, who was cheerful and bright, had just taken baby's tiny hand and exclaimed, "My Beautiful," so that the child was ever to the Indian "Kickapoo, My Beautiful," and exceedingly beautiful she proved to be. The old people discourse upon her liveliness to this day, and refuse to believe that there ever was another to compare with her. The Kickapoo's greatest pleasure was guarding the rustic cradle, and drawing the delicately tapered hand through his own.
Springfield soon became a habitation with a name. Cabins of round poles were hastily put up, and filled with emigrants. My father vacated and built thirteen times in one year to accommodate new comers. Log huts filled with merchandise, groceries, and above all that curse of America—whisky—soon did a thriving trade with the Indians and immigrants. A cool autumn afternoon my mother, who was remarkably tall, with black hair and fine eyes, went to one of the primitive stores to buy a shawl, and could find nothing but a bright red with gay embroidered corners. She threw it over her shoulders, and crossed over to see a sick neighbor. Returning at dusk she was forced to pass round a crowd of Indians who had been trading and drinking. A powerful, bare-armed Osage attracted no doubt by the gay shawl, threw up his arms, bounded toward her shouting, "My squaw." She flew towards home. Just as she reached the door her foot twisted, and she fainted. A strong arm with a heavy stick came down on the bare head of the dusky savage, and he measured his length on the ground. The Kickapoo, for it was he that came so opportunely to my mother's rescue, carried her in, closing the door, for by this time everybody had rushed to see what was the matter, the Osages calling for the Kickapoo who had dealt the blow upon their companion. He passed on to the kitchen, making a sign to Rachel to go in; took "Kickapoo, My Beautiful," from Elizabeth, pressed her tenderly to his heart, looked at her wistfully, returned her to the nurse and was gone. The blow dealt really killed the Osage. Nothing but Rachel opening the door wringing her hands, with tears running down hers and Elizabeth's cheeks, with "Kickapoo, My Beautiful," screaming, the finding of my mother in a death-like swoon, and no trace of the Kickapoo saved the village from serious trouble. Days, weeks, months and years passed, and all my father's efforts to find out the fate of his red friend were futile, and he concluded he had been assassinated by the Osages, though assured by them, "They no find him." [139-140]
John P. Campbell was for many years a leading citizens and foremost resident of the town. "He was an organizer of men, a stranger to reverses. The touch of his hand was success to any enterprise. Kind, prompt, generous and benevolent, his word was as sovereign as a State statute. He amassed large property, and extended his field of operations over an empire. He built up schools, raised churches, and gave freely to the poor; died, leaving a name honored and respected by everybody." His brothers, Samuel, Ezekiel M., Junius T. and William Campbell, were also early settlers of the county.
Junius T. Campbell arrived at Springfield in the month of October, 1831. He was the first justice of the peace elected by the people, and was chosen to that office in 1832. He was also the first post-master in Springfield. Before the establishment of the office the nearest post-office was at Little Piney in Crawford county, one hundred and ten miles distant from Springfield. In those days the rates of postage differed from those now in vogue. Prior to the act of 1845 the postage upon a letter composed of a single sheet was as follows: If conveyed 30 miles or less, 6 cents; between 30 and 80 miles, 10 cents; between 80 and 150 miles, 12½ cents; between 150 and 400 miles, 18¾ cents; over 400 miles, 25 cents. By the act of 1845 the postage on a letter conveyed for any distance under 300 miles was fixed at 5 cents and for any greater distance at 10 cents. By the act of 1851, it was provided that a single letter if pre-paid should be carried any distance not exceeding 3,000 miles for 3 cents, and any greater distance for 6 cents. 
Junius T. Campbell opened up the first store in Springfield, and was the only merchant in the county until the arrival of Major D. D. Berry, who reached the town with two wagon-loads of goods which he brought from Bolivar, Tennessee, a distance of five hundred miles. About the time that Messrs. Miller and Campbell settled in Springfield, there were settlements being made in various parts of what was soon to become Greene county, the county seat of which should finally become a flourishing city. As before mentioned the Fulbright family had settled in the west part of what now constitutes the city, or perhaps just outside of the present city limits; the spring which bears their name, and furnishes an abundant supply of "Adam's ale," being but a short distance from the Mountain of that more recently invented beverage, lager beer. Wm. Fulbright had passed through what is now Greene county in 1819, but went back East, and settled in what afterwards became Crawford county. In 1829, just after the return of Mr. Campbell from his first trip, as before stated, Mr. Fulbright, with his brothers Levi and John, and his brother-in-law, A. J. Burnett, removed to this place and pitched their tents in the wilderness. They brought with them their families, and a number of negroes, among whom was Aunt Hannah, so well known to all citizens of Springfield, claiming to be over a hundred years old, and to have assisted in the construction of that first little pole cabin. In 1832 a mill was erected by Wm. Fulbright on a site near the head of Little Sac. Many of the descendants of this family are still living in the vicinity of Springfield. Mr. Miller, in a communication to the Leader, pays the following honorable tribute to some of the departed members: 
In making further drafts upon the tablet of memory, fond recollections are awakened of more, and not to be forgotten, men, and women who once lived in and about Springfield, but are long since gone. I call to mind the Fulbright family and others; Wm. Fulbright and his amiable wife (Aunt Ruthy) and their interesting young family of sons (they had but one daughter). When I first knew them in 1830, they lived at the spring, opened a large farm on the high ground south of the spring, and were the first to break the soil in the way of plowing in the neighborhood. Uncle Billy's late and last residence was at the sight of the old fort, or earth-work, where he died in 1843, after spending a very energetic and useful life. He was very punctual, honest and strict in all his dealings. He taught all of his nine sons true habits of industry; to get money, but to get it honestly, or not at all. Their, third son, Henry, held several responsible offices in the county, and was for one term receiver of the U. S. Land Office. It was my good fortune to be personally acquainted with old Grandmother Fulbright, mother of Uncle Billy. She was of Dutch or German origin, from North Carolina, and had in her possession a very old Dutch Bible, the first I ever saw. She died, I think, in 1832, at a very advanced age. Aunt Ruthy, who died a few years ago, is well remembered, no doubt, by many for her kind, generous and amiable disposition. Though passed away, may they long be remembered." [141-142]
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