Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Adair County is bounded on the north by Putnam and Schuyler Counties, on the south by Macon County, on the west by Sullivan County, and on the east by Knox County and part of Mount Pleasant Township of Scotland County.
The north line of the county extends to within eighteen miles of the Iowa border, while the south line is 135 miles north of the Arkansas boundary. The eastern line is about forty-four miles distant from the Mississippi and the western line is 140 miles distant from the Missouri River. The total area is 567 square miles, or 362,880 acres. (--p. 203)
The settlement of the Iowa and Missouri boundary question came up in 1835. The Iowa people established a line, which they believed to be the just south line of their young State. Missouri defined her northern boundary to be the parallel running through the rapids in the Mississippi, above the mouth of the Des Moines River, and insisted on running their line west from a point just below Keasaqua about ten miles north of the true line.
(Considerable activity developed, each State claiming jurisdiction.) Sheriffs levied on the personal effects of a few. When the tocsin was sounded the Missouri officials were arrested, and 1,200 men of Iowa stood armed to defend their State; Governor Boggs, of Missouri, called out the State Militia, and very little provocation was necessary to precipitate war. Under such circumstances Generals Dodge and Churchman, with Dr. Clark were dispatched to the State House of Missouri with a message of peace. On arriving there they found that Governor Boggs had sent messengers to the Governor of Iowa, and that the commissioners of Macon and Clark Counties had called back their dogs of war and tax collectors. A suit was instituted under authority given by Congress, which resulted in favor of Iowa. (--Adair County, pp. 203, 234, 235.)
(For an explanation of the boundary line the reader is invited to consult A Directory of Mercer County, by Moser.)
The first settlement of Adair County was made in 1828 by James Myers, Isaac and Stephen Gross, Nathan Richardson, Reuben Myrtle and a single man named Gupp....(--Adair County, p. 235.)
The first settlement in the county was that known as "The Cabins," in 1828. The location was west of "Long Point," where Kirksville now stands, on the Grand Chariton, and the inhabitants were James Myers, Nathan Richardson, Isac Gross, Stephen Gross, Reuben Myrtle and Jacob Gupp. (--p. 250.)
Adair in Macon County, 1837 - 41. In Vol. A, County Court Records of Macon County, there are many references to the early organic history of what is now Adair and Schuyler Counties.
In 1823 the territory now known as Adair County was unknown to the white settlers of Missouri, and unexplored save by the Indians and trappers. The United States' charts of the territory did not show a stream existing, and for some years the traveler up and down the Mississippi would look west ward and consider it an immense marsh, while the traveler on the Missouri River would look east ward and form a similar opinion. The Indians and trappers did not once venture to refute such erroneous ideas.
The counties of Ralla, Chariton and Ray, then comprised all Northern Missouri. That portion of the present Adair County in Range 13 was included in Ralls, the other ranges, 14, 15, 16 and 17 in Chariton County. County after county was organized; Howard being the principal rendezvous, and the one from which came the pioneers of Adair County. Macon County was ultimately organized and of it Adair formed a part until 1841.
The act setting off from Macon County the townships in Ranges 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 west extending to the Iowa boundary from the south line of Township 61 North, took effect January 26, 1841. Jefferson Collins, L.B. Mitchell and Thomas Farrell were appointed county seat commissioners, and they selected the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 9, Township 62 North, Range 15 West, as the most central portion for the seat of justice.
The original townships of Adair County were: Benton, Richland, Wilson, Goshen (or Gocean), Wells, and Fabbe (Fabius). Morrow was named in honor of her first constable, Jesse Morrow. Lewis (Conner) Connor, was justice of the peace for Benton Township in 1843. In 1842, John T. Wright, George Tharp, Joseph Stewart and William Roberts were in Goshen Township; Seaman Atteberry was then a resident of Fabbe (Fabius) Township. Pettice (Pettis) Township was in existence in February, 1844. Thomas S. Wright, the first justice of the peace for Morrow Township, resigned in November, 1843. The remaining townships were set off and organized under authority of the county court.
The second court-house was burned April 12, 1865. The records of the county clerk's office, with the exception of the assessment book of 1859 and a few documents of little use to any one, the circuit clerk's more important record book and documents were saved. (--Adair County, pp. 256, 257.)
The post-offices in Adair County in 1887-88 were Adair, Bullion, Danforth, Lindesville, Loeffler, Millard, Nind (a new post-office with Postmaster Hoag in charge), Novinger, Prairie Bird, Shibley's Point, Sperry, Stahl, Sublette, Wilmathsville, Wilson, Zig and Pure Air. (--Adair County, 338.)
Adair County was a township of Macon County. (--Adair County, p. 292.)
The distance from the county seat to the post-offices stations of Adair County are as follows: Brashears, 12 miles east; Millard 7 1/2 miles south, Ninevah, 8 miles northwest; Sublette, 7 miles north; Sloan's Point, 6 miles west; Troy Mills, 4 miles south; Wilamathsville, 13 miles northeast; Wilson, 16 miles southeast; Shibley's Point, 18 miles southwest; Floyd Creek, 8 miles northeast; Linderville, 22 miles southwest; Zigg, 10 miles southeast; Inda, 8 miles west, was a postal office in 1876; so was Sand Creek, in the southwest, and Prairie Bird, 8 miles southeast. The new or reestablished post-offices were Adair, Bullion, Danforth, Nind, Novinger, Prairie Bird, Sperry, Stahl and Loeffler. (--Adair County, p. 324.)
Coffee's Store in 1842, and Ely's Mill built about that time were important points in pioneer times; also the wagon ford on the Chariton, the Mormon Trail, and the Goshen Road were known in 1841-42.
Hargraves Mill, on the Grand Chariton, was built in 1842.
Myers Mill, on Shoal Creek, was in Cochrane Township (?) in July, 1843; James Cochrane, Sr., lived in that township.
In September, 1869, Dr. A.H. John completed a saw and grist-mill on the site of Dumies old mill.
The Buckhorn Woolen Mill near Sharr's Mill, on the Chariton, was operated in 1868 by Pannabaker & Company.
The Troy Wollen Mills, four miles south of Kirksville, were operated in 1868 by Coldwell & Hall.
The Linder Brothers began Clem's Mill, but before it was completed sold out to Clem.
At Sperry, on Sec. 2, Twp. 63, R. 14, D. E. Williamson's stock, valued at $1,200 was subjected to a direct tax of $18.00 in 1887.
At Pure Air, on Sec. 14, Twp. 62, R. 17, T. W. Dixon's stock, valued at $700 in 1886-87, was taxed $10.15.
At Novinger, on Sec. 3, Twp. 63, R. 16, the stock of J. H. Novinger was assessed $1200 and that of Sarah C. Kinyon, $350, on which a direct tax of $26.36 was levied.(--Adair County, p. 374.)