History of Greene County, Missouri
1883

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian


Chapter 5
History of the County From 1856 to 1860

Part 1
1856 — Miscellaneous Official Business — Items — Statistics — Prohibition — Fatal accident —The Political Campaign — Col. Benton in Springfield Again — He Replies to Tom Neaves — Dr. Larimore's Candidacy — The County Canvass — Official Vote at the August Election — The Know Nothings Sweep the County — The Presidential Election — Greene County and "Bleeding Kansas" — The "K. G. C." — Going to Kansas to Vote — The First Agricultural Fair in Greene County — Crop Failure — Some Advertisements — 1857 — Miscellaneous — Appointments — Bank items — the Land Office — Effects of the Crop Failure — A Famine in the Land — Necrology — Assessed Values — The "Peculiar Institution" — Runaway Slaves — The Auction Block — Fatal Casualties — The Fair of 1857 — Springfield in 1857 — A "Boom" — The Political Canvass — A Forged Letter — The Liquor Question — White River Improvement — A Steamboat at the Mouth of the James — Miscellaneous.


1856—MISCELLANEOUS OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

At the April session of the county court a new township was laid off west of Springfield, and called at first Farmer township, in honor of Judge W. B. Farmer, at that time a member of the court, but absent when the new township was named. Afterward, upon motion of Judge Farmer himself, the name was changed to Center township.

N. R. Smith, J. L. McCraw, and S. C. Nevill, were appointed commissioners to select the swamp and overflowed lands of this county, and were afterward allowed $380 each for their services.

Greene county's share of the State school fund this year was $5,236. The capital of the general county school fund amounted to $1,294.93, which amount was apportioned among the several school townships of the county.

Taxes were uncommonly high this year. In July a tax of 162/3 cents on the hundred dollars was levied for county purposes, and 80 cents on the hundred dollars for railroad purposes. The sheriff was ordered not to collect the last named tax until further orders from the county court, which he afterward received, and in November Judge Farmer, who had been appointed agent for the purpose, was ordered to pay the balance due on the first installment of $20,000 on the county's subscription to the stock of the Pacific railroad.

October 6, Sylvester Blackwell was made overseer and superintendent of the county poor farm. John Lair, E. P. Gott, and Benj. Kite, were each paid $55 for twelve months' services as patrols in Campbell township. In this month a tax of $200, half State and half county, was levied on dram shops by the county court, licenses to run for only six months, making the annual tax $400 for each dram shop. Such a vigorous remonstrance was made, however, that a few days later the court reduced the license from $200 to $60 for each six months. Previously, in December, 1855, the Legislature had passed the following act: "Be it enacted, etc., That hereafter no application for license as grocer, dramshop, or tavern-keeper, in the city of Springfield shall be entertained by the county court, unless the court shall be satisfied that at least one-half of the taxable inhabitants thereof have signed the same. This act to be in force after its passage. Approved December 4, 1855." [235-236]

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS.

On the 23d of January snow fell in this county to the depth of fourteen inches.— In April John D. Brown was appointed county school commissioner until the next regular election.— The number of persons in the county this year owning property liable to taxation was 2,430.— The population of Springfield was 721.— October 23, Joshua Davis, a prominent citizen of the county, died of flux, aged 63 years.— In December Larkin Payne was president of the Springfield bank.— The total value of the taxable property of Greene county in 1856 was $2,,012,928, as follows: Number of slaves, 1,420,— value, $704,975, or $496 apiece. Land 217,131 acres— value, $1,449,895. Town lots, $105,907. Money, notes etc., $239,926; other personal property, $512,725. The amount of the county tax levied was $5,259.96; State, $6,733.11; total tax, $11,993.07.— About the 1st of June an old lady named Goss living in the eastern part of the county, committed suicide by hanging herself.— In the fall of the year a daily mail line was established from Jefferson City to Springfield.— In the latter part of December Mr. Thos. Edmondson, an old and respected citizen, was at work engaged in covering a shed, when the scaffolding gave way and he fell to the ground, shivering his leg at the ankle joint. Amputation was resorted to, but after a few days of intense suffering Mr. Edmondson died.

THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN OF 1856
THE AUGUST ELECTION.

A most intensely exciting political contest was that of this year, especially in Missouri and Greene county. It was not only a Presidential year, but a Gubernatorial year, and besides there were a Congressman and county officers to elect. Only two Presidential tickets were voted in the county — the Democratic, headed by James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, and John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, and the Native American or Know Nothing, headed by Millard Fillmore, of New York, and Andrew Jackson Donelson, of Tennessee. This year the Republican party ran its first Presidential ticket, with Fremont and Dayton as candidates, but it received no votes in this county, and but few outside of the Northern States. [237]

For Governor there were three candidates. Trusten Polk, was the regular Democratic nominee for Governor, with Hancock Jackson for Lieutenant Governor; Thos. H. Benton was an Independent Democratic candidate for Governor, with J. W. Kelly, of Holt county, for Lieutenant Governor; the "American" candidates were Robert C. Ewing, of Lafayette, and Wm. Newland, of Ralls county. Col. Benton was making his last fight for political existence, and bravely he fought and well. He made a canvass of the State, visiting the principal cities and towns, and came to Springfield, July 8. He spoke in a grove then standing where the city lots and city buildings now are. His speech, while it was a good one, did not equal his former effort. It was somewhat vindictive and malevolent. M. T. B. Neaves had said that if Benton abused him as he had abused other anti-Benton Democrats in a speech at Bolivar, he would "bounce a rock off his head." To this Benton alluded in his speech. "As if I were afraid to speak my mind about such a fellow as Neaves," he said, contemptuously, and then rising to his full height and speaking with all of his wonderful volume of voice,— "when I have faced and fought Andrew Jackson!" O. B. Smith introduced Col. Benton to the audience. A barbecue was had on the grounds.

The American candidate, Robert C. Ewing, also spoke in Springfield, May 25, and the Democratic candidate, Hon. Trusten Polk, delivered a speech here June 29.

Thomas H. Benton had hosts of strong friends in this State and in this county, some of whom even yet cherish his memory with great fondness. Men name their boys for him, hang his portrait in their parlors, and never tire of talking about him. Perhaps it was well that Benton died when he did, for had he lived longer, doubtless he would have become a Republican, as many a one of his henchmen did, and this would have disgusted many of those who admired him to the last.

The candidate for Secretary of State with Benton was John M. Richardson, a lawyer of Springfield and for former editor of the Flag. He ran largely ahead of his ticket in this county.

The straight-out Democrats and the "Americans" also held mass meetings in the county, and by reason of the split in the Democratic ranks, the latter succeeded in obtaining for R. C. Ewing a plurality of the votes cast for Governor. Polk ran a few votes ahead of Benton.

For Congress there were but two candidates regularly in the field—John S. Phelps, straight Democrat, and B. H. Emerson, of Hickory county, Benton Democrat. The latter carried Greene county by nearly 500 majority, being supported by the Americans and the Benton men. The vote in the district resulted: Phelps, 9,818; Emerson, 6,911; Larimore, independent, 110. The irrepressible Dr. Larimore frequently possessed the hallucination that he was a candidate for office, but the delusion was never held by any considerable number of voters. He always called himself an "independent candidate of the people." His favorite method of canvassing was the distribution of circulars. He closed his electioneering document of this year with the following paragraph: [238]

Gents, please be so kind as to give my respects to your wives and all the ladies, and tell them that I love children, and that my opponents are all lawyers, who have but little sympathy for the ladies, in any way; and that I am the doctor, who has the respect of all the ladies within my acquaintance; and that I am the ladies' friend, in health and in sickness.

Yours truly,
P. B. Larimore

The county canvass was lively. Three tickets were in the field—Democratic, Benton and American. On the 10th of May the latter party met in convention in the female college at Springfield, and nominated a full county ticket as follows: For representatives, Wm. McFarland and George W. Kelly; sheriff, P. C. King; assessor, Allen Mitchell; treasurer, Wilson Hackney. Afterward the straight Democrats nominated W. H. Graves and John W. Hancock for representatives; Samuel Fulbright for sheriff; David Kenney for assessor. The Benton candidates were: For representatives, F. T. Frazier and Larkin Payne; for sheriff, C. S. Bodenhamer; for assessor, Berry Moore. The following was the vote of the county by townships:

AUGUST ELECTION, 1856

 

Governor

Cong.

Representatives

Sheriff

Assessor

TWP.

Polk

Benton

Ewing

Phelps

Emerson

F. T. Frazier

Larkin Payne

G. W. Kelly

Wm. McFarland

W. H. Graves

J. W. Hancock

Sam. Fulbright

C. S. Bodenhamer

P. C. King

Allen Mitchell

Berry Moore

David Kenney

Boone

22

47

43

21

59

56

43

39

46

12

20

31

32

45

41

38

23

Campbell, 1st Dist.

39

35

49

45

61

36

29

46

52

37

35

40

30

48

52

29

29

Campbell, 2nd Dist.

71

50

109

76

134

46

34

99

109

70

68

68

47

101

107

35

28

Campbell, 3rd Dist.

49

35

98

57

103

36

29

80

96

44

58

39

45

86

92

36

32

Cass

59

66

51

59

107

69

58

57

55

59

54

63

56

55

52

56

60

Center

38

70

39

41

98

78

68

34

40

37

36

57

57

32

32

60

62

Finley

97

40

41

89

80

45

31

34

46

87

98

86

47

37

36

40

79

Jackson

19

48

70

15

112

51

48

69

71

16

24

14

54

77

74

47

17

Linden, 1st Dist.

81

24

7

72

30

24

18

4

10

75

76

75

19

14

6

16

72

Linden, 2nd Dist.

35

42

2

35

44

40

39

 

6

27

30

33

37

 

1

37

27

Polk

23

40

13

20

41

42

37

10

19

22

22

37

36

9

10

35

22

Porter

23

48

64

26

99

57

45

56

76

20

20

57

40

42

59

34

17

Robberson

38

62

94

46

126

69

52

93

100

35

34

25

67

103

92

43

27

Taylor

45

5

42

47

38

10

 

40

45

43

47

41

14

41

43

3

42

TOTAL

639

612

722

649

1132

659

531

661

771

584

622

666

581

690

697

509

567

There were 51 scattering votes for Congressman, and 36 votes for George Irvin for county assessor.
———————————————————————————————————

It will be seen that the Americans, or "Know Nothings," made a clean sweep of this county at this election, being successful in electing every candidate on their county ticket. It showed conclusively that the men in the county who "knew Sam," knew something else besides—how to keep their opponents divided and thus slip between them and bear off the prizes. The result of the Gubernatorial election in the State was as follows: Polk, 46,993; Ewing, 40,589; Benton, 27,618. It was charged by both Americans and Benton Democrats, that Wm. Newland was fairly elected Lieutenant Governor, but "counted out" by the anti-Bentons. [239]

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, 1856.

As previously stated but two Presidential candidates were voted for in Greene county at this election—James Buchanan and Millard Fillmore. Fremont, "Benton's son-in-law," as certain Democrats were fond of denominating him, received no votes. The result of the election showed that very many men who had voted as Democrats in August voted for Fillmore, the Know Nothing candidate. The election called out a full vote, more ballots being cast, than at the August election. It was charged by the Mirror, the American orogan, that "the Democrats set a barrel of whisky in the streets of Springfield for electioneering purposes." Be this as it may, the Democrats carried the county, but by the small majority of 26. The following is, by townships, the

OFFICIAL CANVASS OF THE VOTE FOR PRESIDENT IN 1856.

Boone

61

51

Campbell, 1st Dist.

115

148

Campbell, 2d Dist.

71

107

Campbell, 3d Dist.

97

218

Cass

50

44

Center

53

46

Finley

127

65

Jackson

48

71

Linden, 1st Dist.

100

38

Linden, 2d Dist.

106

20

Polk

49

17

Porter

42

78

Robberson

68

68

Taylor

42

32

TOTAL

1029

1003

The vote in the state resulted: Buchanan, 58,164; Fillmore, 48,524. Buchanan's majority, 9,640.
[240]

GREENE COUNTY AND BLEEDING "KANSAS."

From the first to the last of the troubles in the territory of Kansas, the result of attempting to decide whether or not there should be slavery in the State upon its admission into the Union, the people of Greene took a more or less conspicuous part therein upon the pro-slavery side. For some time many of those interested in the institution of slavery, believing their interests to be in danger, and that the end would justify the means, had been members of a secret political order looking to the preservation, extension and perpetuation of the peculiar institution. "This organization had many members in, this county and three or four lodges or camps." These were in communication with other camps in other States, and performed an important part of one division of the work for which the order was created.

The order had its hailing signs, its grips, its passwords, and was near akin and auxiliary to the famous Knights of the Golden Circle. It did what it could to make Kansas a slave State. Some of its members, as well as some other citizens of the county who were not members went from time to time to Kansas and voted every time a territorial Legislature was to be chosen or a constitution adopted, and as regularly returned to their Missouri homes after the election! But the Free-Soilers of the North were pursuing the same tactics, and there was that sort of excuse for the Missourians—if it be proper to call it an excuse. Sharp's rifles and brass cannon and powder and shot were bought with the proceeds of Northern church collections, and sent in charge of men who would use them "to consecrate the soil of Kansas to freedom," as the abolition sentimentalists expressed it, and there was a great deal of fraud and other wrong perpetrated by both the Free-Soil and pro-slavery factions.

As stated from the start the pro-slavery men of Greene county had taken great interest in the affairs of Kansas. The proximity of that territory to this county, its likeness of soil and climate, had made it a desirable objective point of emigration for people here, when they should become tired of their homes and desire a change, and those who had slaves wished, of course, to take them alone. Then there was a strong desire to have Kansas made a slave State for the reason that the politicians of the South had made this the measure of the devotion of. Southern men to "Southern rights." It was not until September 1, 1856, that any open demonstration, of consequence was made by the pro-slavery men of this county in favor of lending a helping hand to the brethren in Kansas. On that day a large and enthusiastic meeting was held at the court-house in Springfield. Resolutions of the strongest character were adopted, denouncing free-soilism and abolitionism in the severest terms, and pledging aid of a substantial character to the pro-slavery people of Kansas. A financial committee was raised to secure funds to be used in aid of the cause, and a considerable sum of money was raised on the spot. Stirring speeches were made by Hon. Wm. O. Price, of Springfield; R. W. Crawford, of Mt. Vernon, and W. H. Atter, of Bolivar. A number of men enrolled themselves to go to Kansas at a minute's warning, and "fight the abolitionists." A day or two before a large meeting was held at Greenfield, Dade county, which was presided over by John P. Shields and addressed by Col. John T. Coffee; Dr. S. M. Sproul was appointed captain of a military company.

In the latter part of the month of August, "Judge" R. G. Roberts, formerly of Cedar county, then of Ft. Scott, Kansas, delivered a speech at Springfield in the interest of the pro-slavery party of Kansas, which speech excited great interest, and really was the first of the kind that stirred up the people here to active exertion in behalf of their brethren across the border. Judge Roberts canvassed Southwestern Missouri in the interests of the pro-slavery party in Kansas.

Sometime in July a company of armed Missourians started from Dade and Polk counties for Kansas, intending to go into the Fort Scott region and assist in defending that country against the "Free-State men. There joined this company a dozen or more citizens of Greene county, who were armed and mounted, chiefly at their own expense, and who, for the most part, left their homes at night. The Greene county men were led by a distinguished citizen of the county, now dead, and went out in defense of what they believed to be right. They started to fight, but, happily, when they reached the border, they found there was no occasion for their services, hostilities having ceased in that quarter, and very soon the most of them had returned to their Greene county homes. [241-242]

THE FAIR OF 1856.

The Southwest Missouri fair of 1856, the first in Greene county, was held at Springfield about the first of October. It lasted three days and drew a large crowd of people. Seven counties participated—Greene, Taney, Dade, Lawrence, Polk, Webster, and Barry. Premiums for the best horses were awarded to "Scipio," owned by P. B. Owen; "St. Charles," owned by I. B. Rickets; "Zephyr," by T. C. Rainey; "Kate Donelson," by Dr. T. J. Bailey. The sweepstakes premium for best bull was received by C. A. Haden &, Co's "Lexington," and John Wells's bull. The best cows were those of C. A. Haden and R. P. Faulkner. The best buggy horse was the one owned by Wm. McAdams. The best span of mules were those of T. G. Newbill.

In choosing new officers for the fair association, Col. Marcus Boyd was elected president; T. G. Newbill was the vice president for this county, and the Greene county directors were N. E. Smith, J. W. Hancock, S. C. Nevill, John H. Miller and R. B. Weaver. The fair was held on the grounds of the association, (called the Southwest Missouri District Fair Association) about a mile and a half west of Springfield. Many of the visitors from other counties camped out during the fair, having brought everything with them, tents, provisions, negro servants, etc., in order to have a good time.

CROP FAILURE.

This year, owing to the wet weather in the spring and drouth in the fall, there was a failure of crops. Corn especially was light, and everything was "short." The effects of this crop failure were more plainly visible the following spring.

ADVERTISING IN 1856.

The magnificent advertisements to be seen in the Springfield papers of today are in strange contrast with those which appeared in the Mirror, the Lancet, and the Advertiser along in the 50's. The business men of that day contented themselves with inserting a standing. advertisement of a few lines, or of but one-fourth of a column at the most, which was usually set as solid matter, without display lines. Some of the advertisements were models of plainness and simplicity. The following are extracts from the advertising columns of the Springfield Mirror in 1856. [243]

BY THE EDITOR.

Those of our friends who have promised to pay their subscriptions in meal and flour, will confer a favor by bringing it along. Wood will also be taken for all debts due the office.

WHISKEY BY THE BARREL.

Having bought the mill and distillery 5 miles east of Springfield, of B. P. Haden, I am now prepared to fill all orders with the best quality of whisky by the barrel at 40 cents a gallon. I will keep constantly on hand whisky by the barrel at the store of McGinty & Haden in Springfield.

J. D. Haden

WESTERN HOTEL

The undersigned begs leave to inform his old friends and the public generally that he is now prepared to receive and entertain travelers and all others who may favor him with a call. He will be able to keep a man and his horse all night for 75 cents. He will also board at from $1.75 to $2 per week. Stage passengers and transient sojourners will be charged 25 cents per meal. His table will at all times be supplied with the BEST the market affords, and his stable well filled with good provender. Travelers may rely on themselves and horses faring well. Hotel on St. Louis street, opposite Lair's blacksmith shop.

John S. Bigbee

1857—MISCELLANEOUS.

Wilson Hackney, the newly elected county treasurer, was required to give a bond to the amount of $40,000.

Appointments.— At the August election, 1856, Allen Mitchell had been elected county assessor, but failing to file his bond in time, could not take the office on January 1 of this year, and the county court was forced to appoint him, which it did, "January 27.— At the same time J. W. D. L. F. Mack was appointed deputy county clerk. — March 12 Hon. W. C, Price resigned as State Senator, and was appointed by Governor Polk to the judgeship of this circuit made vacant by the death of Judge Yancey. — In August John M. Richardson was appointed the agent of the county to look after its swamp and overflowed lands. He was instructed to visit Washington, to obtain patents for all the lands to which the county was entitled (about 18,000 acres) and was to receive $200 for his services, which sum was to be paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the swamp lands. — November 2, B. H. Bills was appointed county school commissioner, for two years from date. — December 5, Elisha Headlee was appointed, under the law, the first public administrator of the county.

Bank Items.In January the following were chosen officers of the Springfield bank: President, John W. Hancock; cashier, J. E. Danforth; clerk, D. C. Smith; directors, E. J. McElhaney, N. R. Smith, and Charles Sheppard; attorneys, S. H. Boyd and J. H. McBride. — By June 18 stock to the amount of $50,000 had been subscribed to the branch bank—securing its permanent location at Springfield. [244]

The Land Office.— On the 20th of March the office was closed for want of a register, that functionary's time having expired and his successor not having been appointed. Thos. J. Bishop had been the last register. A few days later W. H. Graves, the editor of the Advertiser was appointed. From the 1st of May until the 30th of November there were 666,280 acres of land entered at this office, and 175,072 acres sold for cash, amounting in all to 841,352 acres. This was the largest amount of land ever before disposed of at the office in one year. It was not all sold to bona fide settlers, however, much of it having been bought by speculators on a venture. At the close of the year over 2,000,000 acres remained unsold in this land district, much of which was worthless.

Effects of the Crop Failure. Early in the spring of this year the effects of the crop failure of last year began to be most keenly felt by the people of the county. Seed of all kinds was very high. Seed sweet potatoes brought $7 per bushel; Irish potatoes, $2; seed corn, $1.50; common spongy, unsound corn and "nubbins," $1. Other articles of grain and provender were correspondingly scarce and dear. Many of the farmers were unable to buy corn and hay, and numbers of their cattle and hogs starved to death. Horses became very poor and thin. Those attached to the Mt. Vernon stage could not be urged into a trot, and even provoked the ridicule of the newspapers. The spring was very backward, and fruit was greatly damaged thereby. The latter portion of the season was so favorable, however, that a most bountiful crop of wheat was raised. Notwithstanding the hard times, many families left the county for California in the spring. Corn was poor and spoiled by frost, and on Christmas sold at from $1.25 to $1.50 per bushel.

The season of the spring of 1857 will long be remembered in Southwest Missouri, on account of the famine that prevailed. The situation in other counties was far worse than in Greene. There was real suffering in the counties of Barry, Lawrence, Webster, Polk, Dallas, Laclede, Ozark and Taney. In Ozark county, of which Rockbridge was then the county seat, the May term of the circuit court was adjourned, because of the scarcity of provisions in the town and country—the people not being prepared to feed themselves well, to say nothing of feeding a crowd of hungry lawyers, witnesses, jury-men, etc. [245]

Deaths. February 7, Judge Charles S. Yancey died, after an illness of two months. Only a few months previously his wife and sister had died, and afterward his own health was very poor, until the fatal illness came upon him.— July 6, Rev. Jonathan Carthal died. — Larkin Payne, a prominent politician, died in October.— Dr. T. W. Booth, well known to the people of Greene, died in Newton county on the last day of the year.— Mrs. Sarah Hornbeak died August 11, and Mrs. Eliza J. Alexander died a week later.

Assessed Values.— The assessor's books for this year showed 2,824 names assessed. The total assessed value of property in the county was $3,468,103. The number of polls was 2,076; number of slaves, 1,436. The county tax levied was $4,594.63. The total delinquent tax was only $43.01—a remarkable showing, considering the hard times, failure of crops, etc. In December, in order to facilitate assessments, the county was divided into five districts.

THE "PECULIAR INSTITUTION."

Slaves were worth a good price in Greene county this year. About the first of January there was an auction sale of this species of property in Springfield. One "likely" negro man, 35 years of age, brought $1,000. Two women were put upon the block and sold fairly; one, 26 years of age, brought $830; the other, aged 30, brought $715. March 30, a negro woman, 40 years old, with a child of two years, sold for $900; another, about 30, with a two-year-old child, brought $860.

Occasionally slaves escaped from their masters about these days, and struck out toward the north star, or for the abolitionists in Kansas, or for the Indians in the western part of the Indian Territory. One or two were said to have been spirited away by interested parties and taken to California. In May, 1856, the following advertisement appeared in the Springfield papers and those of Southwest Missouri generally:

Three Hundred Dollars Reward!— Ran away from the subscriber, on the 21st of April last, two negro men—LOGAN, 45 years of age, bald-headed, one or more fingers on the right hand crooked, or else so stiff he cannot bend them. DAN, 21 years, six feet high; his toes were frost-bitten last winter, so that it is perceivable by examining the naked foot; there is also a sear on his body. Both negroes are black. I will pay $100 for the apprehension and delivery of Logan, or, to have him confined so that I can get him. I will pay $200 for the apprehension of Dan, or to have him confined so that I can get him.

John S. Doak.
[246]

Mr. Doak was a negro trader, living a few miles from Springfield, who bought and sold slaves for the Southern market. It would seem that he was not an easy master, and that it was not strange his slaves should run away, when he described them by their "crooked and stiff fingers," their "frost-bitten toes," and the "scars on their bodies. The negroes were afterwards caught in southern Kansas, below Ft. Scott, while on their way to California, and were returned to their master. Accompanying them was another Greene county runaway slave, belonging to the Danforth estate.

About the first of September, three more negroes, belonging to Henry McKinley, ran away. In an advertisement offering $800 for their return or lodgment in jail, Mr. McKinley thus described them:

"Campbell, a black boy about 33 years old, five feet ten inches high, with a blemish in his right eye caused by being snagged, stutters in talking; Jim, a mulatto, about 26 years old, five feet seven inches high; King, a black boy, about 22 years old, stoop- shouldered, with some beard on his face. Said negroes left my house on the 1st inst., to go to meeting at Mr. Allen Edmondsons, in this county."

In July there was a sale of eleven negroes belonging to the estate of Nathan Boone, deceased, a son of Daniel Boone. The sale took place on the Boone farm, about four miles from Ash Grove, in Boone township. The negroes were said to have been "well sold." In December, a negro girl ten years of age, was sold in Springfield for $552.

FATAL CASUALTIES.

John Ellison, who lived four miles east of Springfield, was struck by lightning, June 20, and instantly killed. In the first week of November, a Mr. Foster, of Springfield, was drowned in the James. He was subject to fits or partial derangement, and it was supposed that while in one of these he attempted to cross the stream, and fell in and was drowned. When found the body had evidently been in the water some days.

THE FAIR OF 1857.

The second fair of the Southwest Missouri Agricultural and Mechanical Association was held on the grounds near Springfield, Oct. 3-6, 1857. Notwithstanding the fact that the weather was very gloomy and unfavorable generally, there was a large attendance, a great number of entries, and many important premiums awarded. The following were the officers of the association chosen for another year: President, Marcus Boyd; secretary, Charles Sheppard; treasurer, J. W. D. L. F. Mack; directors, John W. Hancock, C. A. Haden, T. G. Newbill, W. M. Horton, of Greene; E. M. Campbell, of Polk; James S. Rains, of Jasper; Peter Hogle, of Dade; P. A. Duley, of Lawrence; J. G. Hollis, of Webster; A. Hooker, of Laclede. [247]

SPRINGFIELD MATTERS IN 1857.

At the city election in Springfield, April 6, the following officers were chosen: Mayor, John S. Kimbrough; councilmen, W. B. Logan, W. G. Evans, and N. R. Smith; recorder, John S. Bigbee; marshal, Josiah Leedy.

In the latter part of June, occurred the examinations in the Springfield schools, of which there were two at the time, the Springfield Female College, Rev. Charles Carleton, superintendent, and the Springfield Female High School, Miss Sarah Bailey, principal. The exercises were witnessed by good audiences, and the examinations were said to have reflected credit on both teachers and pupils.1 In the same month the female college property was sold by Mr. Carleton to a joint stock company, that made arrangements with Mr. C. to continue the school. August 21, the examination in the Springfield Male Academy came off successfully.

Two circuses exhibited in Springfield this year—Lent's on August 22, and old John Robinson's, September 14. Both shows attracted large crowds, from miles away.

November 18, the first number of the Weekly Missouri Tribune, was issued by John M. Richardson. It was devoted to "Union Democracy." Motto: "The people of Missouri love the Union, and will maintain it at all hazards."— In the first week in May there was no flour on sale in Springfield, "or to be had for love or money." Corn meal was $1.50 per bushel. The same condition of affairs existed in the first part of the month of August.

In the fall of this year there was a "boom" for Springfield. In September considerable building was done. The Presbyterian Church was well under way, work on the Methodist Church was begun, and many dwelling houses went up. In November there had been so many accessions to the population that no empty dwelling houses—"not even a shed," the papers said—could be rented.

THE CANVASS OF 1857,

January 12, 1857, Gov. Trusten Polk was elected U. S. Senator to succeed Senator Geyer, his term to begin March 4, following. A new Governor was to be chosen. The anti-Bentons, or regular Democrats, nominated Hon. Robert M. Stewart, of Buchanan county. The "Americans" nominated Hon. James S. Rollins, of Boone county, who was indorsed by the majority of the Benton Democrats.2 The candidates made a joint canvass of the State and spoke at Springfield June 29; a large crowd, numbering 2,000, was present, and each crowd, Know Nothings and "Sag Nichts," as the Democrats were called, claimed the victory for its leader. [248]

——————
1 Miss M. C. Nevill received the highest honors at the Female College.

2 Col. Benton had written a letter from Washington to his friends in Missouri, urging them to vote for Rollins.
——————

In February the Democrats of Greene held a county convention, which was presided over by F. T. Frazier, hitherto a Benton man, and which sent the following delegates to the Democratic State convention: W. C. Price, Dr. N. A. Davis, John Kinney, F. T. Frazier, and Matthew Chapman. The delegates were instructed to vote for the nomination for Governor as follows: First choice, John W. Hancock, of this county; second choice, Waldo P. Johnson; third choice, Claib. Jackson; fourth choice, George W. Hough.

Upon Judge Yancey's death, as before stated, Wm. C. Price was appointed circuit judge. Price was State Senator at the time, and resigning, a vacancy was created, which was to be filled at the August election. John S. Waddill, of Springfield, was the American candidate and W. H. Riley the Democratic nominee.

For circuit judge there were four candidates, Wm. C. Price, the then incumbent; Littleberry Hendrick and J. H. McBride, of Springfield, and J. R. Chenault, of Jasper county. A strong fight was made for and against Judge Price in this county.

For judge of the probate court and of the court of common pleas of Greene county there were three candidates, Sample Orr, J. D. Brown and H. R. Jarrett.

The election in this county resulted as follows:
For Governor.— Rollins, 1,135; Stewart, 748.
For State Senator.— Waddill, 1,065; Riley, 587.
For Circuit Judge.— Hendrick, 658; Price, 630; McBride, 415; Chenault, 47.
For Probate Judge.— Orr, 726; Brown, 593; Jarrett, 273.

Waddill was elected Senator by 889 majority, carrying four counties, Greene, Webster, Dallas and Ozark, out of the five composing the district. The fifth county, Wright, gave Riley a majority.

Chenault was elected circuit judge over Hendrick, the next highest, by about 600 majority, but it is possible Hendrick's defeat was accomplished by a forged letter sent out from Springfield to certain counties, stating that Hendrick had withdrawn in favor of McBride. One of these forwarded letters is still in existence, and a copy is herewith appended: [249]

Springfield, Mo., July 30, 1857

Messrs. Means, Wyrick and others: After having written to every county in this judicial circuit, in regard to the relative strength of McBride and Hendrick, and having reliable assurance from each, we, the following Americans and Benton men, together with the mass of each of the above parties in this count, have concluded to center upon McBride in order to defeat Price. In union of action there is harmony, and, in accordance with the above, we shall act. Old Greene will be sound to the core for the defeat of Price and his Phelps coadjutors.
(Signed)
Joseph Moss, Stephen Bedford, John Dade, Elijah Gray,
Larkin Payne, Hosea Mullings, T. J. Bailey.

The vote in the State this year, as canvassed, stood: Stewart, 47,—975; Rollins, 47,641; Stewart's majority, 334. The Rollins men, however, declared that their candidate was fairly elected, but was cheated in the count by "doctoring" the returns from certain counties in this quarter of the State. The truth of this declaration was never fully established.

THE LIQUOR QUESTION.

In January Representative McFarland, in compliance with a promise made in the canvass of 1856, introduced a bill in the Legislature to repeal the Springfield liquor law, noted on a previous page. The ladies of Springfield sent up a remonstrance, and the gallant legislators, by a large majority, refused to repeal the law. During the discussion in the House many eloquent speeches were made by Wilson, of Platte, Switzler, of Boone, and others. In February a petition was circulated in Robberson township praying the Legislature to pass a law prohibiting the sale of liquor in that township. A remonstrance was also circulated.

Both petition and remonstrance, came before the Legislature in a few days, the former signed by 114 ladies and 109 gentlemen, and the result was the passage of an act prohibiting the sale of liquors in "the 30th congressional township."

WHITE RIVER IMPROVEMENT.

In April John Young, commissioner for the improvement of White river, was paid $198, or $3 per day for 66 days' service as such commissioner, having expended in that time only $371 of the county's appropriation. Some time this spring a small light-draft steamboat came up the river as far as the mouth of the James, discharged some freight, took on a few bales of cotton, and returned to Memphis. The first night out on her return trip she tied up at a point in Stone county, five miles from the mouth of the James, and in the night there was a stabbing affray between the mate and a deckhand. [250]

FIRST EFFORT TO FORM CHRISTIAN COUNTY.

In January the first real effort of the Legislature to organize Christian county was made. The people of Greene were hostile to the organization of the new county, as it was to take off a strip of territory seven miles in width and running east and west across the Southern part of the county, and in this territory was some valuable taxable property. The county had a railroad debt of $80,000 which it was very desirable this property should be taxed to pay. The owners of the property had helped to create the debt and care was to be taken that they should help to pay it. The Greene county legislators were able to stave off the creation of Christian county two years from this year.

MISCELLANEOUS.

About New Year's day Mr. E. C. Davis, superintendent of common schools, well known in Greene county, was arrested in Jefferson City and committed to jail on a charge of forgery. Afterward he was sent to the penitentiary. for two years.— In July the county court ordered notice to be given that no interest on county warrants would be paid after that date, as there was sufficient money in the treasury to pay all demands against the county. A tax of only 12½ cents on the $100, and a poll of only 12½ cents a head were levied this year.— About the last of May Prof. G. C. Swallow and the corps of the State Geological Survey were in Springfield and Greene county engaged in their work.— In the month of June, notwithstanding the famine, lands in the vicinity of Springfield sold at from $75 to $100 per acre. E. P. Faulkner sold his farm of 250 acres for $40 per acre. The county school fund this year amounted to $7,235.52, of which $4,664.40 was from the State, $2,229.94 from the county, and $341.18 from the townships.— On the 19th of June a severe hailstorm passed over a portion of the Grand and Kickapoo prairies, doing considerable damage to fruit and the growing crops.— During the year there was considerable discussion among the people regarding the building of a railroad from Cape Girardeau to Springfield. Meetings were held in this part of the State in favor of the project, and plenty of substantial aid was promised. November 28 a bill chartering the "Springfield and Cape Girardeau Railroad " passed both Houses of the Legislature.— November 28 Greene county was attached to the 14th judicial circuit, Hon. P. H. Edwards, judge. Hitherto it had belonged to the 13th district. The times of holding court were fixed as the first Mondays in March and October.— In August four prisoners, named Lee, Smith, LeDuc, and McAlpin, escaped from the county jail. Sheriff King offered $200 reward for their capture.— The great financial crash of 1857 affected Greene county no little. The merchants were put to great straits to pay their wholesale creditors in St. Louis, and the people of the county had but little money with which debts could be discharged, owing to the numbers of bank failures throughout the country. [251-251]


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