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.
The original township of Buchanan, which includes all of what is now known as East Buchanan, was erected May 17, 1858...
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
Woodruff & Company built the first saw-mill in Buchanan Township, in a very early day. This mill was located in the southwest corner of the township, at a period when it was known as Bluff Township. Ransom Parmeter afterwards had a saw-mill in the timber above the narrows...Ransom Parmeter's saw-mill was, in its day, rather a noted institution of its kind. The locality in which it stood rejoiced in the euphonius cognomen of Hog-Thief Bend.(--p. 874.)
Benton Township was organized at the May term of the County Court for the year 1855...Parent Township was Nishnabotnah 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.)
Clark Township, one of the original townships of Atchison County was reduced to its present (1882) limits by the organization of Dale Township, August 23, 1876...It is bounded on the north by Clay and Tarkio Townships; on the east by Dale Township; on the south by Holt County and in a short distance (about ten miles), on the southwest by the Missouri River, which separates it from the State of Nebraska; on the west by Benton and Clay Townships...
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.)
Clay Township was organized February 20, 1856, from portions of what was originally included within the boundaries of Polk and Clark Townships...
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 MillThe first store: Shortly after the building of Fugitt's Mill, the first store in Clay Township was started there by Smith & Tottle...The proprietors continued to transact business here by deputy until the laying out of Linden, the original county seat, April 1, 1846, when the store was moved to that location...The first postmaster appointed at Fuggitt's Mill was a man by the name of Booth, who was transacting the business of Smith & Tottle's store...The other two post-offices then in the county were at High Creek, in what is now Polk Township, and at one time in what was then the northern part of Atchison County, but now in a locality included within the boundaries of the State of Iowa...(--p. 646.)
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.)
On the 25th of November, 1871, it was ordered by the County Court that Clark Township be divided into two voting precincts, and that the West Fork of Little Tarkio be the line; that all that portion of said township on the east side of said Little Tarkio Creek be called Walkup precinct, and that all that portion of said township on the west side of said Little Tarkio Creek be called Beck Township...(Here the metes and bounds of the precincts are set forth.)
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.)
At the regular November term, held November 22, 1871, it "was ordered that Tarkio Township in Atchison County, Missouri, be divided into two parts, and the part stricken off, be called Lincoln Township..."
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.)
One of the five original townships of Atchison County was reduced to its present (1882) limits by the creation of Templeton Township, February 22, 1871...It is bounded on the north in a distance of about a mile and a half by Buchanan Township; on the east by Polk and a small portion of Clay Township; on the south and west, and also on the northwest, by the Missouri River, separating it from Nebraska...
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.)
Polk Township, one of the original townships of Atchison County, at the period of its first organization, included about one-half of the present (1882) territory of Clay Township, all of East Buchanan, and a portion of the present territory of Lincoln and Tarkio Townships. It was reduced to its present limits at the period of the organization of Lincoln Township, in November 1871. It is bounded on the north by the State of Iowa and East Buchanan Township; on the east by Lincoln and Tarkio Townships; on the south by Tarkio and Clay Townships; and on the west by Nishnabotna Township, from which it is separated by the Nishnabotna River.
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.)
Tarkio Township, one of the original townships of Atchison Cunty, was reduced to its present (1882) limits by the organization of Lincoln Township...It is bounded on the north by Lincoln and Polk Townships and Nodaway County; on the east by Nodaway County; on the south by Dale and Clark Townships; on the west by Clay and Polk Townships...
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.)
Templeton Township was organized February 22, 1870...It is bounded on the north by Nisnabotna Township; on the east by Clay Township from which it is separated by the Nishnabotna River; on the south by Benton Township, and on the west by the State of Nebraska, from which it is separated by the Missouri River...Page numbers refer to History of Holt & Atchison Counties, 1882.
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 first mill erected in Atchison County, was a waterpower saw-mill, in what is now Clay Township, on Rock Creek, two and a half miles below the present city of Rockport. It was commenced in the fall of 1841 and completed in 1842 by John Fowler.(--History of Holt and Atchison Counties, p. 645.)
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)This was a water power grist mill. It was built about 1844 by Sarshall Fugitt...It stood on Rock Creek about two miles north of the site of Rockport...(--History of Holt and Atchison Counties, p. 646.)
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