Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Atchison County is located in the extreme northwestern corner of the State, bordering upon the Iowa line, which bounds it on the north. It is bounded on the east by Nodaway County, on the south by Holt and on the west by Nebraska, from which it is separated by the Missouri River.
It is about the same parallel as Philadelphia, Columbus, Indianapolis and San Francisco, and about the same meridian as Lake Itasca and Galveston. The county is divided into ten civil and nine full congressional townships and sixteen fractional townships...
The act organizing Atchison County was passed during the winter of 1844...The county was named in honor of General David R. Atchison, and was bounded as follows: "Beginning in the middle of the main channel of the Missouri River, at a point where a line running through the center of township sixty-three extended, would intersect the same; thence east with said township line to the line of Nodaway County; thence with said line to the northern boundary of the State, thence with the same (west) to the middle of the main channel of the Missouri River; thence down said river in the middle of the main channel thereof to the beginning"...
Ex-Senator David R. Atchison was born at Frogtown*, in Fayette County, Kentucky, August 11, 1807...
The first white settlement made within the limits of what is now known as Atchison County, was effected in the spring of 1839, by Hank B. Roberts and Thomas Wilson, single men...
The original townships of Atchison County were Clark, Polk, Bluff, Nishnabotna, and Tarkio. (The boundaries are given on pp. 628, 629, History of Holt & Atchison Counties, 1882.)(--History of Holt and Atchison Counties, pp. 588, 585, 611.)
*Frogtown now is a part of Lexington; mail via Versailles.(--Rand, McNally Marketing Guide and Commercial Atlas, 1978, p. 241.)
The area now enclosed in Atchison County is a part of the Platte Purchase, the other counties of the purchase being: Platte, organized December 3, 1837; Buchanan, February 13, 1839; Andrew, January 14, 1845; Nodaway, February 14, 1845; Holt, February 15, 1841.(--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, p. 151.
It was formed from all the townships of Polk and Nishnabotnah..
Sometime after the organization of Buchanan Township...the small territory in the extreme northwestern corner of the county, which comprised the original municipal division known as Bluff Township, and erected as such at the period of the first organization of the county, April 14, 1845, was annexed to Buchanan Township, and designated as West Buchanan Township in contra-distinction to the original, or as it is sometimes styled East Buchanan Township.
Buchanan Township claimed a pioneer within its limits, as early as 1839. This settler was a Frenchman, by the name of Joseph Bernard, but almost universally known through this section of the country by the nickname of "Faw Faw".(--pp. 869, 870.)
Mills of Buchanan Township
Benton Township is bounded on the north by Templeton & Clay Townships, from the latter of which it is separated by the Nishnabotnah River; on the east by Clay and Clark Townships, from which it is also separated by the same river...and on the south and west by the State of Nebraska, from which it is separated by the Missouri River...
The first settlers were two men, named respectively Stilson and Jackson. They settled as early as 1839, or 1840 (long before the country was surveyed) in the extreme western portion of Benton Township...The farm which they settled is now (1882) three-quarters of a mile in the Missouri River...(--pp. 630, 631.)
Among the early settlers of Clark Township were Dr. William Mann...and others, some of whom located in the township as early as 1841; and all before 1848. At that time the land on the east side of the Tarkio River could be bought for fifteen cents per acre (sic)...(--pp. 721, 722, 723.)
It is bounded on the north by Polk Township..., on the east by Tarkio and Clark Townships; on the south by Clark and Benton Townships, from which latter it is separated by the Nishnabotnah River, on the west by Templeton and Nishnabotnah Townships from which it is separated by the Nishnabotnah River...(--p. 641.)
The first white man who made a permanent settlement within the present limits of Clay Township was Callaway Millsap...He moved from the neighborhood of Sonora, on the Missouri River, where he had located on his first arrival within the limits of what is now Atchison County, November 11, 1839...at which time he settled on the northwest quarter of Section 22, Township 65 N, Range 41 W...(--p. 643.)
The First Store and the First Mill
The first blacksmith shop set up in Clay Township was built by Christopher Fowler, in the neighborhood of John Fowler's Mill...
A short time after the establishment of the store...at Fugitt's Mill, A. G. Buddington opened a stock of goods in a one story frame house built by Nathan Meek, on the east side of Rock Creek, in the immediate neighborhood of his mill...
On the laying out of the town of Linden, in April 1846, Smith & Tootle moved their goods from their store, in the neighborhood of Fuggitt's Mill to the pioneer town and capital of Atchison County...(--p. 647.)
It thus appears that the present limits of Dale Township include the whole territory embraced within the area of what originally constituted Walkup precinct of Clark Township, and a small portion of Beck precinct of the same...
Dale Township occupies the southeast corner of the county, and is exactly square, measuring nine miles in each direction. It is bounded on the north by Tarkio Township; on the east by Nodaway County; on the south by Holt County and on the west by Clark Township...
The groves of timber in which there are (1882) several, include some of the first settlements. Walkup's Grove, on East Tarkio, contained about three hundred and twenty acres of land and took its name after James Walkup, who came from Holt County...
Hickory Grove was settled by Samuel Proud from Indiana...
Robert Waugh, originally from Dunbar, Scotland, but to Atchison County from Illinois, located at Waugh's Grove about two miles southwest of Walkup's Grove, about the year 1865...(--pp. 755, 756, 757.)
The township of Lincoln is thus bounded on the north by the State of Iowa; and on the east by Nodaway County, Missouri; on the south by Tarkio Township, and on the west by Polk Township...
Among the earliest settlers of Lincoln Township were Ambrose Ripley and Isaac Lebo, who emigrated from Tennessee in the spring of 1844 and settled in what was afterwards known as Waldrens Grove, some miles from the town of Westboro..(--pp. 789, 791.)
The first settlers of Nishnabotna Township were also the earliest settlers of Atchison County. These people were Samuel Wilson, Samuel Rich and Hank Roberts, all from Clay County, Missouri. They landed and effected a settlement in the spring of 1859, on what subsequently became the site of Old Sondra...(--p. 819.)
Among the early settlers of Polk Township were Justus Hall, a German, whose son, Edward Hall, kept a saloon on the town site of Linden before the public sale of lots in the place...(--pp. 848, 849.)
Among the early pioneers of Tarkio Township were Mrs. Nancy Teague, of Jackson County Alabama, whence she, in company with her brother-in-law, William Daniel, came in the summer of 1844, arriving at Center Grove on the Fourth of July...
Fanning's Mill was located about three-fourths southeast of Tarkio, on the east bank of the Tarkio...(--p. 981.)
Among the first to settle in Templeton Township was George Harmon, from Illinois, who later went to Tecumseh, Nebraska...Margaret Scott was also an early settler, and owned the land upon which the town of Scott City was built...
The first saw mills erected in Templeton Township were put up in the winter of 1856, by McGee & Berry, and Muir & Hoadley. McGee & Berry operated theirs on the bank of the Missouri River at Cook's Landing. Muir & Hoadley operated their mill near Scott City...There are no grist mills in the township, and have never been any...(--p. 943.)
The second mill built in the county was also in Clay Township. This was built by Nathan Meek...at Rockport.
Callaway Millsap hauled in 1841 the first stock of timber wherewith to build the mill, and William Stickler placed it in position for the building. This was begun the following year. At the session of the legislature in 1843, an act was passed authorizing and empowering Nathan Meek to build a dam across Rock Creek. He first built a saw mill and very soon afterward added a run of burrs for grinding grist.(--History of Holt and Atchison Counties, p. 645.)
Fugitt's Mill (Clay Township)