History of Greene County, Missouri
1883

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian


Chapter 3
History of the County From 1840 to 1850

1840 — Sundry Public Business — Elections — The August Election — The Presidential Election, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" — Some Early Politicians. — 1841 Items — Polk Township — The Pioneer Merchants — Killing of Davis by John T. Shanks — Escape of Shanks — 1842 Miscellaneous — The August Election — 1843 Items — 1844 Newspaper Established — The August Election — Two Congressmen Elected at the Same Election from Greene County — Beginning of Hon. John S. Phelps' Term of Service in Congress, Lasting 18 years — The " Hards " and the "Softs" — Mr. Sims' Speech on the Oregon Question — The Presidential Campaign of 1844 — Polk and Dallas — Clay and Frelinghuysen — The Gubernatorial Canvass — Old "Horse" Allen — Items 1845 — Miscellaneous. 1846 — County Court Proceedings — The August Election — Sundry Items — Greene County in the Mexican War — Services of Boak's Company. 1847 — Miscellaneous. 1848 — Items August Election — The Big Sleet — The Presidential Election. 1849 — A Temperance Wave — Improve Tents — Miscellaneous —The Jackson Resolutions — Col. Benton in Springfield — Progress of the County from 1840 to 1850.


1840. — MISCELLANEOUS PUBLIC BUSINESS.

In February the county court reappointed D. D. Berry county treasurer, but he refused to qualify as he was required to give a bond of $30,000, while the compensation was only $50 a year, and in June C. A. Haden was appointed. At the time of Berry's appointment Haden was selected as county seat commissioner, and Joshua Davis chosen county clerk. When Haden became treasurer, N. R. Smith became commissioner.— In June, owing to the formation of Wright and Ozark counties, which caused a loss of some territory to this county, John L. McCraw, the county surveyor, was ordered to resurvey the eastern boundary of the county, to conform to the changes.— The boundaries of Benton and Jackson townships were enlarged in June.—In August C. A. Haden resigned as county treasurer, and James R. Danforth was appointed to that office, a position which he held for fourteen years thereafter either by appointment or election.— County Clerk C. D. Terrell died in January.— Wm. Chapman, another prominent citizen, died in October. It may be related, in connection with the death of Mr. C., that when the administrator of the estate, S. W. McCorkle, presented his bond with John S. Phelps as surety, the court rejected it on account of "insufficient security!"— The total expenses of the county this year were $1,533.50; receipts, $1,555.26; balance in the treasury, $21.76; outstanding debt, $837.04.— The United States census this year showed the population of the county to be 5,372.— Some of the new merchants in Springfield were John De Bruin, Samuel F. January, E. Fisher, and —Snyder. [191]

ELECTIONS-AUGUST 5.

The August election of the year 1840 resulted in the choice of the following officers:

RepresentativeJohn S. Phelps, over John C. Johnson and Joseph Powell.
SheriffThomas Horn over Joseph Burden and Silas Baker.
County ClerkJoshua Davis; no opposition.
AssessorJ. W. Wadlow, over Samuel Martin and Wm. Cloud.
Coroner-Wm. Cawlfield; no opposition.

The Democratic candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Thos. Reynolds and M. M. Marmaduke, carried the county by more than 200 majority, over John B. Clark, Sr., and Joseph Bogy, the Whig nominees.

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

The presidential campaign of 1840 was the principal event of that year in the State, and, in fact, in the United States. The Whig party, then for the first time formidable in the country, renominated Gen. Harrison as its candidate for President, with John Tyler, of Virginia, for Vice-President. The Democrats renominated Van Buren and Johnson. The canvass excited more interest than any other that had ever taken place in the history of the Union. There had been a great stringency in the money market and other financial distresses occasioning hard times, throughout the country. Many workingmen were either out of employment or at work for very low wages; prices of produce had fallen to insignificant figures and there was general discontent with the situation. Many people attributed the condition of affairs to the administration of Mr. Van Buren and the Democratic party. The Whigs took advantage of the situation and conducted their campaign with unexampled ardor and enthusiasm — and, as the result showed, with effect. Mass conventions of immense numbers of people were held, becoming political camp-meetings in many instances, and remaining in session three or four days. The object of both parties seemed to be to carry the election by music, banners, processions, and stump oratory. [192]

Gen. Harrison, at the time of his candidacy, was clerk of the courts of Hamilton county, Ohio, and lived in a house having one apartment, built of logs. A Democratic editor had observed that in addition to the humble style of the general's dwelling, there was nailed upon the outer walls of the log kitchen a raccoon skin, in process of curing, and he commented very facetiously upon these things, sneering at a party whose candidate for the exalted office of President lived in a log cabin ornamented with 'coon skins and knew no better beverage than hard cider. Immediately the Whigs took up the statements of the editor and reasserted them as facts of which they were greatly, and as they claimed, justly proud. The contest was thereafter known as the "log cabin, 'coon skin and hard cider campaign." Monster Whig meetings were held all over the country, at which log cabins of all sizes, live 'coons, and veritable hard cider were displayed; processions were formed miles in length, containing every unique feature that could be conceived; cannons were fired, bells run, and there were all sorts and kinds of fuss and fustian indulged in by the partisans of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too."

To counteract the influence of these meetings, and the party paraphernalia employed to captivate the masses, the Democrats held their meetings also, many of which equaled, if they did not surpass, the efforts of the Whigs. Invoking the name and the prestige of Gen. Jackson ("Old Hickory "), who ardently supported Mr. Van Buren, they adopted hickory boughs and the chicken-cook as their party emblems, and defiantly waved the former, and caused the latter to exultingly crow in the faces of their opponents.

In Greene county the canvass was not so exciting as in other parts of the country. The Democrats had a large majority over the Whigs, and neither party counted it worth while to make extraordinary efforts to increase its members for the time. Still the contest attracted general and especial attention throughout the county, and it is said that a full vote was polled. At the November election the vote in this county stood: For the Van Buren electors, 432; for the Harrison electors, 171. Of this vote Campbell township gave Van Buren 321, and Harrison 142. Finley gave Van Buren 35, and Harrison 3.

The leading Democrats of the county at that time were John S. Phelps, Alex. Younger, Wm. Garoutte, N. R. Smith, R. J. McElhaney, Judge Yancey, C. A. Haden, J. W. Hancock, Elijah Gray, Chesley Cannefax, John P. Campbell and S. S. Ingram. Some of the most prominent Whigs were Dr. Thos. J. Bailey, Gray Wills, Wm. McAdams, Samuel Martin, B. T. Nowlin, W. B. Farmer, D. D. Berry, John S. Waddill and Littleberry Hendrick. Among the incidents of the campaign it is remembered that the Democrats had a barbecue in the grove in the southeast part of Springfield, at which Judge Yancey and others spoke; and that on the St. Louis road, half a mile from town, there hung, for some time a "paddy," consisting of a woman's coarse dress and bonnet, stuffed with straw and labeled "Granny Harrison." [193]

1841 — MISCELLANEOUS.

In February the county court appointed R. A. Huffard to take a vote of the citizens of the county on the propriety of forming an agricultural society, pursuant to an act of the Legislature. The people refused to order the court to form such a society.— S. D. Hailey was appointed superintendent of public buildings.— In May a township comprising the southwestern portion of the county was organized and called Polk township, in honor of James K. Polk, of Tennessee, ex-speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives and member of Congress. The township was named by some old Tennesseeans, friends of Mr. Polk, long before that gentleman was thought of for President. A voting place for Polk township was established at the house of Lindsey Robberson.— From and after May 1 the county judges began to receive $2 per day for their services instead of $1.50, their former compensation.— July 7 the county court: fined Joseph Weaver, one of its own members, $5, "for contempt to this court, by absenting himself as one of said court, without leave thereof, on the fifth day of the term."

In this year the first permits were given to free negroes to reside in this country "during good behavior, and no longer." One of the parties so privileged was John Rider, "a free man of color;" the other was Margaret Williams, described as "a free woman, of bright mulatto color, 29 years of age, five feet two inches high."

The expenses of the county this year amounted to $2,319.71, and the receipts into the treasury $1,376.07, causing a deficiency of $943.64, and increasing the county debt to $1,780.63, which was thought to be an enormous sum at that day.

Some of the merchants of the county this year were John De Bruin, A. N. Farmer, A. Huff, Joshua Jones, Berry & Snyder, Jas. M. Kendrick and John Morris. The leading grocers were James Washburn, Thos. Shannon & Son, R. J. McElhaney, and Peter Apperson.

The August election resulted in the choice of Joshua Davis for circuit and county clerk over Richard Price, and of J. W. Wadlow for assessor over Thos. Tiller. Davis was an expert penman, and some of his penmanship, still extant, on the early records, is equal to copper-plate. An important addition was built to the jail this year, consisting of two rooms sixteen feet square, with walls of oak timbers, each one foot square, and proportionately strong in other particulars. The improvements had not been made at the time of the escape of Shanks, in June. [194]

KILLING OF DAVIS BY JOHN T. SHANKS.

In May, 1841, John T. Shanks shot and killed another man named Davis, in Springfield. Both men were intoxicated at the time, and the killing was the result of an affray. Shanks was a mechanic, and had a wheelwright's shop in the town. Davis was a hard drinker and a rough character generally. Shanks was arrested and had a preliminary examination, which resulted in his being committed to jail to abide the decision of the next term of the circuit court, which was to meet in July. Before court convened Shanks contrived to break jail and flee from the county. It was always said that he made his way to Texas, where he lived until his death, and was never arrested and tried for his crime. At the July term, after his escape, Shanks' property was levied on to pay the costs of the preliminary examination. The fees of the sheriff, Thos. Horn, alone amounted to $58.29. Some outside friend of Shanks' furnished him with an auger, with which he bored his way to liberty, and once free it is alleged that he was furnished with a good horse, a rifle, and a saddle bag full of provisions.

1842 - MISCELLANEOUS.

At the February term of the county court, Ash Grove township was organized, and the same session a school township was organized therein.— S. D. Hailey resigned his position as superintendent of public buildings, and Henry Matlock was appointed in his stead.— In May it was shown that the county had expended on roads and bridges, out of the internal improvement (or road and canal) fund, the sum of $1,542.87, leaving a balance of the fund to the amount of $1,124.79.— The county tax levy for this year was 100 per cent over the State levy.— The expenses of the county this year were $1,387.52; receipts, $1,775.18.

The August ElectionAt this election the following were the successful candidates: John W. Hancock, State Senator; Leonard H. Sims, representative; Thos. B. Neaves, sheriff; B. A. James, Jas. W. Blakey and Bennett Robberson, county justices; Daniel Cotner, assessor. At the first session of the county court B. A. James was chosen presiding justice. Daniel Cotner, the assessor elect, died before being qualified. [195]

1843 — ITEMS.

In February, Sheriff Neaves was made collector, and Thos. Tiller was appointed assessor, vice Daniel Cotner, deceased.— Leonard H. Sims, was appointed the county's agent to draw the road and canal fund from the State treasury.— The county court ordered a meeting of the inhabitants of the county at the courthouse, on the first Monday in May, to organize a county agricultural society. It is not remembered what was done at this meeting.

At the August election John L. McCraw was re-elected county surveyor, his opponent being Marcus Boyd.— During this year Goo. R. Smith succeeded John P. Campbell, as receiver of the land office at Springfield, and Robert Smith took the place of " Uncle" Joel H. Haden, as register. The Smiths only held their positions about one year, however.— The total expenses of the county during 1843 were $1,883.12.— The following prominent citizens of the county died during the year: Thos. Horn, Wm. Fulbright, J. H. Massey, Archibald Young, and Radford Cannefax.— A county tax of 200 per cent over the State tax was levied this year.

1844 - NEWSPAPER ESTABLISHED.

In May of this year the first number of the Springfield Advertiser was printed at the county seat, the paper having been established by Warren H. Graves, Esq. The paper was a folio (four pages), with six columns to the page, and was Democratic in politics. It had a circulation of about 400. Of the office of this paper Mr. Graves says: The original Advertiser office was the same in which the Standard and the Eagle had been printed. It had been idle for sometime—I think for two or three years—and was under the control and in the possession of John S. Phelps; but there was a suit between him and John P. Campbell, in relation to the ownership, which was afterward compromised, and the office went to Campbell. This was in the spring of 1846, and then I purchased a new office. The material of the old office was used in 1846, in the interest of John P. Campbell for Congress. The paper was published by E. D. McKinney." The Advertiser was published continuously up to the summer of 1861. [196]

THE AUGUST ELECTION, 1844.

The August election of this year was of unusual interest to the people of Greene county. It was a "Presidential year," and, in addition to that circumstance, two of the citizens of the county were candidates for Congress, both Democrats, and both were elected. Doubtless, such an instance is without a parallel in the history of the country, save in counties having large cities within them.

The circumstance occurred in this way: At that date Missouri was entitled to five Congressmen, all of whom, by the law then in force, were elected by the voters of the State at large, there being no choice by Congressional districts, as is now the case. The Democratic party of Missouri was divided into two factions, the "hards" and the "softs."1 A dozen candidates were in the field for Congressmen, among whom were John S. Phelps and Leonard H. Sims, one a "hard" the other a "soft." The five candidates receiving the highest number of votes in the State were to be the Congressmen. D. C. M. Parsons, from Pike county, was one of the "hard " candidates. A few days before the election Parsons died, and the "hard" central committee substituted John G. Jameson in his stead. News traveled slowly at that day, for the lack of telegraphs and fast mails, and the tidings of Mr. Parsons' death did not reach all parts of the State until after the election. The result was that some of the "hards" voted for Parsons and others for Jameson, and that Leonard Sims, who obtained the votes of "softs" and Whigs, received a plurality over Parsons and Jameson, and thus it so chanced that both Phelps and Sims were elected. Their colleagues were James B. Bowlin, James H. Relfe, and Sterling Price. The latter resigned in 1846, to engage in the Mexican war, and was succeeded by Wm. McDaniels. This was the beginning of the Congressional career of Gov. Phelps, which lasted for eighteen consecutive years. Hon. L. H. Sims is believed to be still living at Jacksonport, Arkansas. [197]

—————
1 The "hards" were in favor of hard money, or of State bank currency on a metallic basis, convertible into coin on demand, no State bank bills to be of less denomination than $10. The "softs" favored the issue of bank bills of $1, $2, $3, and $5, and leaned toward the Whig idea of free banking.
—————

While Mr. Sims was in Congress he made a famous speech on the question of the Oregon boundary difficulty ("54-40 or fight"), between Great Britain and the United States, then under discussion in Congress. In this speech Mr. Sims scouted the idea of being at all doubtful of the result of a contest between this country and England, should it be necessary to decide the controversy by a fight. "Why, Mr. Speaker," said he, "the ox-drivers of Missouri, armed only with their cattle-whips, can thrash all of the British troops in that quarter, and make the British lion scamper off with his tail between his legs, and take refuse in the far off forests of the north, and mingle his doleful whine with 'the wolf's long howl from Onalaska's shore!'"

The county officers chosen at this election were B. A. James (who had resigned as county judge to make the race), representative; Thos. B. Neaves, sheriff; B. F. Butler, assessor, and John W. Dagan, coroner. On the resignation of Judge James, Wm. C. Price became county justice, in May, and was elected presiding judge of the county court.

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, 1844.

Henry Clay, of Kentucky, and Theodore Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, were the Whig' candidates for President and Vice-President this year, and James Knox Polk, of Tennessee, and George M. Dallas, of Pennsylvania, the Democratic nominees. There was greater interest taken in Greene county in this election than in any other since the organization. The county had doubled in population since 1840, and many of the new arrivals were Whigs, from Tennessee and Kentucky, warm admirers of "Harry of the West." James K. Polk, too, had his friends among the Tennesseeans of this county, many of whom had known him in his own State, and, however unacquainted other portions of the country might have been with him, Mr. Polk was by no means a stranger to the county of Greene.

Numerous meetings and one or two barbecues were held at Springfield this year by the partisans of Polk and Clay. The Whigs were in great spirits, and some of them expected to carry the county for their candidate. The result of the election in November showed, however, that they were outvoted more than two to one, the vote standing: for Polk and Dallas, 817; for Clay and Freylinghuysen, 351. The vote of the State stood Polk, 41,369; Clay, 31,251. [198]

The Gubernatorial canvass attracted considerable attention from the fact that Charles H. Allen, the independent candidate for Governor, against John C. Edwards, Democrat, had formerly been a citizen of Greene county and circuit judge for this circuit. Allen and Edwards held a joint discussion in the court-house at Springfield, which was well attended. "Horse" Allen, as he was nicknamed, became somewhat excited and jerked a book from Edwards' hand in such a violent manner that the volume was badly torn. Judge Allen received a very respectable vote in this county and only ran 5,621 votes behind Edwards in the State.

Chas. H. Allen, at the time he was a candidate for Governor, lived in some one of the upper counties. He was a man of fine presence, of commanding stature, a good lawyer, and though impulsive, and often too hasty in action, was a gentleman of excellent character in the main. It is said he received his cognomen of "Horse" Allen from the following circumstance: On one occasion he was holding court and a disorderly attorney interrupted the proceedings by talking in a loud voice, being engaged in a sort of altercation with another lawyer. The judge commanded silence. To this command the attorney paid no attention. The sheriff chanced to be absent from the room at the time. Thereupon His Honor rose and, in a voice of thunder, cried: "Sit down, sir, and keep your mouth shut!" The lawyer wilted, sank into a seat and murmured, "Well, as you are judge of this court, I guess I will obey you this time." To this Judge Allen replied: "By G--, Sir, I'll let you know that I am not only judge of this court, but I'm a HOSS besides, and if you don't obey me, I'll make you!"

Miscellaneous.— A bridge across the town branch, near Owen's wool-carding factory, was built in the fall of this year, the job being superintended by John Bedford. The bridge was built by Cephas Hill and cost $125. The tax for county purposes this year was 18¾ cents on the $100.00. The expenses of the county this year were $1,287.94; receipts, $1,303.77.

1845 — MISCELLANEOUS.

In May the Springfield branch of the State Bank of Missouri was established, with J. H. McBride as president; J. E. Danforth, cashier; C. A. Haden, clerk. The opening of this institution was quite an event in the history of Springfield.

In this year E. J. McElhany succeeded Wm. B. Farmer as postmaster of Springfield. Farmer was a Whig, McElhany a Democrat, and James K. Polk, a Democratic president. [199]

At the August election, in addition to the regular county officials, there were elected two delegates from this district (the 21st) to a State constitutional convention, which convened at Jefferson City November 17, and after being in session for two months, presented a new constitution to the people of the State for adoption at the August election, 1846. This constitution was rejected by a majority of 9,000. The delegates to the convention from this district were Thos. B. Neaves and Burton A. James, both of this county.

This year the county's receipts were largely in excess of its expenditures, the former being $2,458.07, and the expenses $1,115.54, balance in the treasury, $1,342.53. Wm. T. Crenshaw, a prominent citizen of the county, died in October.

1846 — COUNTY COURT PROCEEDINGS.

In January A. L. Yarbrough was appointed sheriff, vice Thos. B. Neaves, who had been elected a member of the constitutional convention. Yarbrough afterward had Wm. C. Price appointed his deputy. In May the town of Springfield was re-incorporated, but with boundaries so indefinitely described as to be incomprehensible at this day. (See history of Springfield.) In July a county tax of 20 cents on the $100 was levied.

In May Cass township was organized, on the petition of Jacob Perryman and others. The original boundaries of this township were as follows: Beginning at a point on the northern boundary line of Greene county, six miles east of the eastern boundary of Dade county; thence to the south boundary of Robberson township; thence east seven and one-fourth miles; thence north to Sac river; thence down Sac river to the range line between ranges 22 and 23; thence north with said range line to the northern boundary of the county; thence west with the line dividing the counties of Greene and Polk to the place of beginning. [200]

THE AUGUST ELECTION, 1846.

This year, for the first time, Missouri elected Congressmen by districts. Greene county again had two candidates for Congress, Hon. John S. Phelps (for re-election) and John P. Campbell. Both were Democrats, Phelps a "hard" and Campbell a "soft." Each candidate had a newspaper to advocate his claims. The Advertiser, by Warren H. Graves, was Phelps' organ, while Campbell's paper was the Texas-Democrat, a journal established this year by himself and edited by his son-in-law, E. D. McKinney. The canvass was very spirited, but resulted in Campbell's carrying the county, and in Phelps' election by a large majority. The county officers elected this year, were the following:

State Senator. John W. Hancock, over Burton A. James.
Representative. — Bennett Robberson, over L. A. Patillo and R. W. Eaton ("Dan Tucker").
Sheriff. — Wm. McFarland, over Thomas Potter, A. L. Yarbrough, A. N. Farmer, Wm. Caulfield, B. Cowan, G. W. Kelley, Chesley Cannefax, Thos. Tiller, B. F. Butler and Edmund Turner.
County Justices. — J. M. Blakey, Elisha Headley and R. W. Sims, over Joseph Miller, Joseph Weaver, J. N. Bailey, J. O. Sheppard and James Dollison.
Assessor. — James Redfern, over S. Clark, H. Bruten, R. Woodward and J. Langham.
Coroner. —A. W. Maupin.

Upon the reorganization of the county court in September, the new justices took their seats, and Elisha Headley was made presiding judge. Wm. McFarland, the new sheriff, attended court. McFarland was a Whig and was elected sheriff of a Democratic county by reason of a multiplicity of Democratic candidates. He was a son-in-law of John Roberts, and operated the latter's distillery, at the big spring east of town. His chief distiller was one John Holcomb.

The expenses of running the county this year were $1,498.03; receipts, $1,413.38. The assessor's books showed that the total number of property owners in the county in 1846 was 1,747.

GREENE COUNTY IN THE MEXICAN WAR.

In 1846 the war between the United States and Mexico broke out, the annexation of Texas being the alleged cause of the declaration of war by Mexico against the United States in April, and the attack on American soldiers by Mexicans the ground of the retaliatory declaration by the United States, May 13.

In June Col. Alex. Doniphan's regiment, the 1st Missouri Mounted Volunteers, was organized at Ft. Leavenworth and soon after departed for New Mexico. In August Col. Sterling Price's regiment, the 2d Missouri, was organized and also left for "the front." There were more volunteers than could be accepted. In September another regiment was organized at Leavenworth with Thos. Ruffin as colonel, but at that time it could not be received. [201]

In Ruffin's regiment was one company from Greene county, commanded by Capt. A. M. Julian. Samuel A. Boak was 1st lieutenant. The company marched from Springfield to Leavenworth and engaged in the organization of the regiment, were disbanded, and returned home after an absence of one month. The company numbered about 75 men.

In the following spring Samuel Boak organized another company, of which he was captain and ——1st lieutenant. This company left Springfield in good shape, followed by the best wishes of quite a multitude that had assembled to see the soldiers start for the field where glory awaited them. A barbecue was given in a grove on St. Louis street, about 250 yards east of the public square, and there were speeches, a flag presentation, etc. The response was by Capt. Boak, who was a lawyer of fair ability, and had an office with John S. Phelps, though he did not have much practice. He had not long been, nor did he long remain, a citizen of Springfield, and it is not known what became of him finally.

Capt. Boak's company was mustered into the service in May, 1847. It comprised a portion of the 3d Missouri Mounted Infantry Volunteers, Col. John Ralls, of Ralls county, commanding. This regiment operated as far into the Mexican States as El Paso, Chihuahua and Santa Cruz de Rosales, at which latter place, March 16th, 1848, under Col. Ralls, seven companies of the regiment, two companies of United States dragoons, under Maj. Beal, and the Santa Fe Battalion, under Maj. Walker, constituting a force of 600 or 700 men, fought a battle with the Mexicans under Gen. Freas, who were in the town and sheltered by breastworks. The fight lasted from 9 o'clock in the morning until about sundown, when the place was charged, and the Mexicans defeated with a loss of 330 killed, many wounded, a large quantity of arms,. ammunition, wagons, teams, etc. The Americans then occupied the town, the Mexicans having surrendered a large number of prisoners, who were released the next day on parole.

In a few days after this battle, all the American forces returned to Chihuahua, where they remained until the close of the war, except seven companies of the 3d Missouri, that were stationed at Santa Cruz de Rosales, and occupied that post until the end of the war. In July, 1848, these companies were ordered to Independence, Missouri, and mustered out the following October. The other three companies were stationed at Taos, New Mexico, during their term and never joined their regiment until they were mustered out with it, at Independence. These three companies had been under the command of Maj. Reynolds, who died on his return, in October, 1848, at Fort Mann, below the crossing of the Arkansas river.

When Boak's company returned to Springfield, it was given a hearty welcome and an imposing reception. Another grand barbecue was held at Fulbright's spring, where there was much speech-making, and a general good time. [202]

1847 — MISCELLANEOUS.

Two townships were organized this year, - Dallas, July 8, and Porter, October 4. Dallas was organized in response to a petition presented by D. A. W. Morehouse and others, and comprised what had formerly been the south half of Ozark township, which township was now divided by a line "beginning on the east boundary line of Greene county, thence running west to the Widow Conley's, thence westwardly to William Harwood's, thence west to the line dividing Ozark and Jackson townships." All territory north of this line was established as Ozark township.

Porter township was reorganized (having first been erected in 1834), and its bounds declared to be a line beginning at the corner of sections 12 and 13, on the line between ranges 21 and 22, thence running west to the State road leading from Springfield to Fayetteville, thence south with said road to the county line." Elections in Porter township were held at Ingram's Mills. Wm. Sanders and Matthew MoCroskey were appointed justices of the peace.

In this year the county was thoroughly organized for school purposes. Under the act of the Legislature of March 27, 1845, every congressional township was to be erected into a school township, the inhabitants thereof to meet at an appointed place, choose school directors, determine as to the length of school, etc. About the last of November the people of the following school townships met and organized, pursuant to an order of the county court, made in accordance with a petition of the majority of the voters thereof: Smith school township, No. 24 (being Cong,. tp. 30, range 20), at John Smith's; Chaffin school township, No. 25 (tp. 29-18), at Robert Chaffin's; Pryor school township, No. 26 (tp. 27-19), at Wm. Stout's. It is stated that schools were established in nearly every school township in the county during 1847 and 1848. [203]

At the August election Wm. C. Price was elected probate judge over Henry Fulbright, and John L. McCraw county surveyor over Marcus Boyd. In October Elisha Headlee was again made presiding justice of the county court.

Prominent among the citizens of the county who died this year were General Joseph Powell, March 7, aged 39; Bennett Robberson and Sterling B. Allen, in July; Sidney S. Ingram, August 9, and James C. Turner in December.

In April the municipal government of the town of Springfield was established by the election of A. Maurice, Jr., mayor. The town needed a calaboose, and, having none, the county court graciously granted it the use of the county jail in which to incarcerate offenders.

The total expenses of the county this year. were $1,360.63.

1848 - MISCELLANEOUS.

Judge Jeremiah Sloan, one of the first justices of the county court of Greene county, died January 22, at his residence in Looney township, Polk county. In April Wm. P. Davis was appointed deputy county clerk. Taxes were higher in 1848 than in any previous year, a levy for county purposes alone being made in July of 30 cents on the hundred dollars.

AUGUST ELECTION.

The August election of the year 1848, called out a full vote in Greene county. Two of its citizens were again candidates for important and responsible positions. Hon. John S. Phelps was the Democratic candidate for Congress for re-election) from this, then the 5th district, against James Winston, and Hon. Littleberry Hendrick, was the Whig candidate for Lieutenant Governor with Hon. J. S. Rollins, of Boone county, for Governor. Austin A. King and Thos. L. Price were the Democratic candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor respectively. The Greene county candidates were: for representative, Thos. B. Neaves, Democrat, and Marcus Boyd, Whig; for sheriff, G. W. Kelly, Dem., and Wm. McFarland, Whig; assessor, James Redfern, Dem., and S. Clark, Whig. The full vote of the county, by townships, this year may be found of interest, and is herewith given: [204]

 VOTE OF GREENE COUNTY AT AUGUST ELECTION, 1848.

 

Governor

Lt. Gov.

Congress

Representative

Sheriff

Assessor

TWP.

King

Rollins

Price

Hendrick

Phelps

Winston

Neaves

Boyd

Kelly

McFarland

Clark

Redfern

Camp-bell

285

219

282

220

275

214

234

254

210

291

162

320

Dallas

66

10

66

11

66

6

58

10

57

17

46

19

Polk

47

27

47

28

46

26

45

27

40

33

40

33

Cass

87

50

87

49

84

53

76

58

86

55

56

80

Finley

212

42

212

42

196

37

189

60

167

86

115

112

Rob-berson

76

41

76

42

72

39

52

68

56

75

37

85

Boone

60

33

60

32

57

33

50

38

51

42

37

53

Porter

37

19

37

19

36

17

32

17

30

24

22

32

Jack-son

71

19

70

18

68

20

57

24

58

26

59

24

Ozark

37

21

36

21

39

16

37

26

31

33

19

43

Benton

62

30

62

30

60

24

54

30

51

40

51

37

TOTAL

1040

511

1035

512

999

485

884

612

837

722

646

838

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Presidential election this year did not draw out a full vote of either party. The Democrats knew they were certain to carry the county and the State, and the Whigs were willing to concede the fact, and both parties had spent their strength at the August election. The Presidential vote stood: For the Cass and Butler electors, 825; for the Taylor and Fillmore electors, 401. Democratic majority, 424.

September 10, of this year, the first number of a Whig paper called the Springfield Whit was issued at Springfield, by Fisher & Swartz. The paper was the successor of Mr. McKinney's Texas Democrat, and was edited by Hon. Littleberry Hendrick. The Whigs were proud of their new organ and gave it very fair support for a time. Mr. Hendrick and Dr. T. J. Bailey were its chief backers. The Whig suspended publication at Springfield, the following year, and the office was removed to Osceola.

"THE BIG SLEET."

In November of this year came the "big sleet," as it was afterward known. The sleet began falling and then came rain and hail and freezing weather alternately, until the ice covered the ground to a depth of three or four inches. Timber was badly broken down, and in many places the roads were impassable, being blocked by the trees which on either side were weighted down with ice and fallen or bent down across the roadway so as to completely obstruct it. Ice shoes for horses were unknown here then, and many a horse slipped on the ice, fell and either himself or rider was severely injured. The people in many parts of the county were compelled to bring to light their old mortars and pestles and "beat" meal for bread, as it was impossible to get to mill for some days. Two men were reported to have fallen and fatally injured themselves. One of the men lived near Fair Grove. The "big sleet" was general throughout the Southwest. [205]

1849 — A TEMPERANCE WAVE.

In February of this year there was a great temperance revival in Springfield. A series of temperance meetings were held and a lodge of the Sons of Temperance formed. By the 1st of April this lodge contained about seventy-five members. On the 7th of April there was a grand temperance celebration in Springfield. The Sons of Temperance marched in full regalia from their lodge room to the Christian church, where addresses were delivered by Rev. B. McCord Roberts, Rev. Thomas Johnson, and others. A temperance dinner was one of the features of the day. It may be remarked, gently and with a certain sort of regret, that, to temperance reformers, Springfield at that day was a "field white for the harvest," and could have furnished very many specimens of frightful examples of quaffing immoderately the flowing bowl, or "drinking between drinks." Happily, the last state of that town is better than the first.

IMPROVEMENTS.

During the year many important and substantial public improvements were completed in the county. Two good bridges were built, one, costing $1,800 was thrown across the James river, at or near Cason's mill, and one, costing $900, was thrown over Finley creek, near Massey's mill. Additions and repairs, at an aggregate cost of $1,877, were made to the courthouse, of which sum $250 was for a cupola. Of the latter improvement a story is told that a prominent citizen, once a general officer in the militia and a candidate for the Legislature, denounced the authorities for erecting such a structure. "If they can't find no other way of spending the people's money," said he, "they spend it putting up tupelows, which is no account anyhow. [206]

MISCELLANEOUS.

State school money to the amount of $1,076.79 was received by the county this year, and distributed among the different school townships. Springfield school township received $114.27. The expenses of the county in 1849 were $3,042.52; receipts, $3,440.22; balance, $397.70. The delinquent tax list amounted to only $35.90. In April Peter Apperson was appointed postmaster at Springfield, vice R. J. McElhany, who resigned; but later in the year that staunch old Whig, Wm. B. Farmer, was appointed by the Whig Postmaster General to the office. Ex-Senator Josiah F. Danforth, died at San Angelos, New Mexico, August 20, while on his way to California.

THE JACKSON RESOLUTIONS.

Early in the year 1849 there began a series of discussions in the Missouri Legislature concerning the slavery question, or rather the power of Congress over slavery in the territories. On the 15th of January Hon. C. F. Jackson, senator from Howard, afterward Governor of the State, introduced into the Legislature a series of resolutions as follows:

Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri: 2. That the Federal constitution was the result of a compromise between the conflicting interests of the States which formed it, and in no part of that instrument is to be found any delegation of power to Congress to legislate on the subject of slavery, excepting some special provisions, having, in view the prospective abolition of the African slave trade, made for securing the recovery of fugitive slaves; any attempt therefore on the part of Congress to legislate on the subject, so as to affect the institution of slavery in the States, in the District of Columbia, or in the territories, is, to say the least, a violation of the principles upon which that instrument was founded.

2. That the territories, acquired by the blood and treasure, of the whole nation, ought to be governed for the common benefit of the people of all the States, and any organization of the territorial governments excluding the citizens of any part of the Union from removing to such territories with their property, would be an exercise of power by Congress inconsistent with the spirit upon which our federal compact was based, insulting to the sovereignty and dignity of the States thus affected, calculated to alienate one portion of the Union from another, and tending ultimately to disunion. [207]

3. That this General Assembly regard the conduct of the Northern States on the subject of slavery as releasing the slave-holding States from all further adherence to the basis of compromise, fixed on by the act of Congress of March 6, 1820, even if such act ever did impose any obligation upon the slave-holding States and authorizes them to insist upon their rights under the constitution; but for the sake of harmony and for the preservation of our Federal Union they will still sanction the application of the principles of the Missouri Compromise to the recent territorial acquisitions, if by such concession future aggressions upon the equal rights of the States may be arrested and the spirit of anti-slavery fanaticism be extinguished.

4. The right to prohibit slavery in any territory belongs exclusively to the people thereof, and can only be exercised by them in forming their constitution for a State government, or in their sovereign capacity as an independent State.

5. That in the event of the passage of any act of Congress conflicting with the principles herein expressed, Missouri will be found in hearty co-operation with the slave-holding States, in such measures as may be deemed necessary for our mutual protection against the encroachments of Northern fanaticism.

6. That our Senators in Congress be instructed and our Representatives be requested to act in conformity to the foregoing resolutions.

The foregoing resolutions were known as the Jackson Resolutions, from the name of their mover, but their real author was Hon. W. B. Napton, of Saline county, latterly a judge of the Supreme Court, who admitted the fact to the writer. Space is given to an account of the Jackson resolutions in this volume from the fact that, at the time, they engaged a large share of the attention of the leading politicians, and prominent men of the county. The representative of the county voted for them, but the sentiment of his constituents was not unanimous in their favor. There were many who thought their passage untimely, unwise, and that they foreboded eventually a dissolution of the Union.

Col. Thomas H. Benton, Missouri's distinguished Senator, was especially opposed to the resolutions. He thought (and correctly, too,) that they were aimed at him, and designed to deprive him of his seat in the United States Senate, which he had held for nearly thirty consecutive years. The last section commanded him to act in accordance with the resolutions, the spirit of which he had often vigorously opposed. [208]

Col. Benton appealed from the action of the Legislature to the people of Missouri and canvassed the State against the Jackson resolutions. In the summer of 1849 he spoke in Springfield. The meeting was held in Fairer's grove, in the southern part of town. While in Springfield Col. Benton was the guest of Joseph Moss, Esq. The meeting was largely attended. It had been reported that Hon. Thos. B. Neaves, the county's representative, and John W. Hancock, the State Senator, both of whom had voted for the Jackson resolutions, had declared, with some others, that "Old Bullion" should not speak in Springfield, and trouble was imminent, the Benton men being on hand in strong force, to protect their leader. No disturbance occurred, save that, during the delivery of the speech, Mr. Hancock rose with his hat on, and asked the speaker if he might propound to him a series of questions. "Who are you, sir?" sternly demanded Mr. Benton;1 "take off your hat, sir, when you address a gentleman. "I am John W. Hancock, sir," returned Mr. H., "and I am State Senator from this district." Mr. Hancock then put his questions in a respectful manner, but Mr. Benton paid no attention to them.

Col. Benton's speech in Springfield was long remembered by those who heard it. He maintained that the spirit of nullification and treason lurked in the Jackson resolutions, especially in the fifth; that they were a mere copy of the Calhoun resolutions, offered in the United States Senate, February 19, 1847, and denounced by him (Benton) at the time as fire-brands, and intended for disunion and electioneering purposes. He said he could see no difference between them, except as to the time contemplated for dissolving the Union, as he claimed that Mr. Calhoun's tended directly and the Jackson resolutions ultimately to that point. Col. Benton further argued that the Jackson resolutions were in conflict with the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and with the resolutions passed by the Missouri Legislature, February 15, 1847, wherein it was declared that I the peace, permanency and welfare of our national union depend upon a strict adherence to the letter and spirit" of that compromise, and which instructed the Missouri Senators and Representatives to vote in accordance with its provisions. In conclusion, Col. Benton warned his bearers that the Jackson resolutions were intended to mislead them into aiding the scheme of ultimately disrupting the national union, and entreated them to remain aloof from them. [209]

—————
1 "I knew well enough who he was, " Col. Benton afterwards said, "but I wanted to- make him bow to me and take off his hat like a d —d nigger!
—————

PROGRESS OF THE COUNTY FROM 1840 TO 1850.

During the decade from 1840 to 1850 the progress of Greene county was at no time impeded. The county increased year by year in population, wealth and influence until at the close of the year 1849 it occupied a proud position among its sister counties of the State, standing twelfth in order of population, and tenth in value of real and personal property. It must be born in mind that this state of affairs was brought about when there were no railroads to assist in the development of the country, and no steamboats to aid its commerce and traffic.

The citizens depended on themselves—on their own exertions for what they had. Everything was accomplished by hard work. Farming was performed with the aid of tools almost primitive in their character. Plows with wooden mold-boards were common; "nigger hoes" were in general use—implements weighing five pounds, made by a country blacksmith; grain was cut with cradles, and occasionally it was reaped with sickles; threshing was done with flails or the grain was trodden out by horses, and frequently winnowed by hand in the open air. Yet great quantities of produce were raised, and it found a ready, if not a good, market. Wheat was often 30 cents a bushel; corn 50 cents or 60 cents a barrel; pork from $1.25 to $1.50 per hundred. Other articles of farm produce brought proportionate prices.

No inconsiderable amounts were realized from the sales of improved farms and lands. New comers preferred to buy land that had been tested and found to be productive. Even if the improvements were realty insignificant in character and value, land containing them, if it had been successfully cultivated, was counted worth vastly more than unimproved land lying alongside. A man could "break out" and partially improve a piece of raw land costing $200, or $1.25 per acre, that in two years would sell to a home seeker from Tennessee or Kentucky for $2,000 or $3,000. In this way many men accumulated considerable sums of ready money—by improving lands and selling them again.

Commerce with the outside world was difficult, but it was made fairly profitable. A valuable trade was kept up with the Indians. Farmers and traders were accustomed to send out from the county every year wagon loads of provisions—bacon, flour, potatoes, etc.,—to the trading posts in the Indian Territory, to Ft. Gibson, Ft. Smith, Ft. Scott, and other points, where they found ready sale, at fair prices. A great deal of money was brought into the county by those who were in the Indian trade. The breeding and selling of mules was a business largely remunerative and considerably engaged in. The long-eared animals were bought by dealers and driven to Southern markets in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, where they were sold to cotton and sugar planters at handsome profits. Some Greene county citizens realized considerable fortunes in the horse and mule trade. [210]

Merchandise of all kinds was brought into the country in wagons. Everything was bought in St. Louis and commonly shipped up the Missouri river on steamboats to Boonville, from whence it was brought here in wagons. Occasionally, especially from 1840 to 1844, when the Missouri river was very low, and steamboat freights very high, goods were hauled from St. Louis direct. It required about one mouth to make the trip to and from St. Louis with a load of goods, provided the Gasconade, the Meramec, and other streams were not high and the teams were not "water bound," for at that day there were no bridges across any but the smallest streams. The road to St. Louis was what came to be known long afterwards as the "wire road,"' and is that which is followed generally by the St. Louis and San Francisco railroad. The long distance from the wholesale market often made salt cost the consumer $5 a barrel.

At different periods plans were set on foot for the improvement of White river, so as to make it available for light draught steamboats as far up as the mouth of the James, then in the southern part of this county, now in Stone. Congressional aid was sought, but the Democrats, then in power, were opposed to committing the government to the policy of aiding internal improvements, believing such a policy unconstitutional, and nothing could be obtained. The State was then appealed to and bills were introduced in the Legislature by the members from Greene to appropriate a sufficient sum (estimated at from $8,000 to $12,000) to render the stream navigable into this county, but all such bills were always loaded down with amendments for the improvement of other streams of the State to such an extent that the bills were uniformly killed. As late as 1850 Hon. Burton A. James, of Greene, State Senator from this district, introduced a bill, on which he made an excellent speech, to improve White river, but the measure failed. Had the stream been made navigable, merchandise could have been brought into the county all the way by water from St. Louis, down the Mississippi and up the White river, cheaper than it could be navigated across the country from Boonville.

The people of the county, even at that early day, were alive to the importance of securing railway communication with the outer world, and whenever an expression was obtained it was almost always unanimously in favor of a railroad. Various railroads to run from St. Louis or some other point on the Mississippi into Greene county were thought of from time to time, but not until March, 1849, was the Pacific railroad chartered, and soon after the "Southwest Branch" followed—the latter now the St. Louis and San Francisco—with its 1,040,000 acres of land from the general government and bonds to the amount of $4,500,000 guaranteed by the State. From 1845 to 1850 railroad meetings were held not only in Greene county, but in Lawrence, Barry, Jasper and McDonald.

Mail routes had come to be pretty freely established throughout the county by 1850. Stage lines from Boonville, Jefferson, Lebanon, Fayetteville, ran through Springfield, and carried not only the mails but passengers. Other mails were carried on horseback. In 1850 postage on letters was only five cents, and Hon. John S. Phelps had introduced a bill in Congress to still further decrease the rate of letter postage to three cents.

Upon the first settlement of the country, and for many years thereafter, the cultivation of cotton was attempted in the county, but the results were never altogether completely satisfactory. It is stated that in the '40s nearly every farmer in the county had his cotton patch, but it was only for home consumption, and was ginned, spirits and woven mostly by hand, by the female members of the family.

The county had improved in many respects very materially. The old log cabins of the pioneers eventually gave way to time and brick buildings and comfortable barns arose on almost every hand. Sawmills were put up in all parts of the county and lumber (native) became reasonably abundant and cheap. Churches sprung up and schools were established in every township. It was in the year 1842, that the State made its first apportionment of school moneys—a very insignificant amount—only $1,999.69 to the entire State. In 1849 the apportionment had reached the respectable sum of $59,456.01. Altogether, in the seven years from 1842 and including 1849, the amount of the school fund apportioned among the counties amounted to but $225,323.49, not as much as was distributed ten years later in a single year, and but a very trifling sum compared with what is now annually expended.

Greene county added to her share of the State school fund and very many good country schools were opened in different parts of the county. "Select schools" were to be found in Springfield, at Ebenezer, and elsewhere. In 1849 the Southwestern Missouri High School; the Springfield Academy, by Bills & McConnell; Mrs. Merritt's and Mrs. Anderson's school for young ladies, and Miss McDonald's "Female Institute" were the leading schools in Greene county. [211-212]


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