Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
What is now Audrain County was included in the old St. Charles District. When Montgomery County was organized December 14, 1818, the unorganized territory west of it was attached to it for civil and military purposes. Callaway, Boone and Ralls Counties were erected, however, in November, 1820, and for civil and military purposes, parts of what is now Audrain County were attached to each, and when Monroe County was organized, January 6, 1831, a portion of the unorganized territory lying south was attached. January 12th of the same year the Legislature passed a supplemental act, defining the boundaries of Monroe County, and also defined and designated a complete county to be known as Audrain County, and as soon as "inhabitants sufficient to justify a representative, it shall be organized and entitled to all the rights and privileges of all the other counties in the State. The parts aforesaid shall remain attached to Callaway, Monroe and Ralls Counties" for civil and military purposes. Thus it can be seen that, when the counties contiguous to Audrain, were organized, Audrain remained not a part of St. Charles as erroneously stated by some historical writers, but an unorganized territory, more the result of the faulty outlining of the counties surrounding it. This also accounts for its peculiar form, which is different from any other county in Missouri. Audrain County was formally organized by legislative act, approved December 17, 1836, and named in honor of Charles H. Audrain, a prominent pioneer of St. Charles County, who was a member of the State Legislature in 1830. In 1842 the Legislature passed an act further defining the boundaries of Monroe and Audrain Counties and a strip of territory one mile wide--in all thirty-one square miles--was taken from the southern part and added to Audrain County. As at that time defined, the boundaries of Audrain County have since remained. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Conard, 1901, Volume 1, p. 84.)
From the best and most reliable information available the first white man to permanently pitch his tent within the present limits of Audrain County was Robert Littleby, an Englishman, who settled upon what was afterwards called"Littleby's Creek" in 1816. He built a cabin in what is known as Prairie Township, on the above named creek at its confluence with the Salt River...
The next settler was Benjamin Young, who located in Audrain County in 1821...He was a native of North Carolina; had been raised by the Indians, and married a squaw. In the same county there lived a woman named Mary Ring, who was captivated by Young's prepossessing appearance, and proposed matrimony to him. He frankly told her he was already married to the squaw...if she would whip the squaw, she might take him. She accepted the proposition, defeated the squaw, and claimed her reward...Young dismissed the squaw and married the white woman...They had several children...
The early settlers of the county, for several years after they built their cabins, had neither postal nor mail facilities, and were compelled to travel from 25 to 50 miles in order to reach a post-office or to get their mail...
The county of Audrain was organized December 17, 1836, and named in honor of Col. James H. Audrain, of St. Charles, Missouri, who was a member of the Legislature at the time. It was the fifty-second county organized in the State...Since then 62 additional counties have been added to the list, which now aggregates 114...
The first county court of Audrain County was held on the 6th day of February, 1837, at the house of Edward Jennings, in Audrain County and town of New Mexico...
The court met again February 7, 1837...The court then divided the county into townships...
NO. 1--Saline Township; NO. 2--Wilson Township; NO. 3--Salt River Township; NO. 4--Prairie Township; NO. 5--Loutre Township...(the boundaries are given on p. 111, History of Audrain County.)
The next term of court commenced March 20, 1837...
The first petition for a road was presented by H. W. Hudnall and others. This road was to "commence at the west end of Love Street, in the town of New Mexico, and extend westwardly to intersect the road leading from Columbia, at the Paris road...crossing the South Fork of Salt River...and up the prairie between the South Fork and Skull Lick." (--History of Audrain County, pp. 92, 93, 94, 95, 109, 110, 112.
Cuivre Township About the last of the seventeenth century, a small boy was found in Wales who could give no account of his parents or himself, except that his first name was George. George manifested a fondness for music, and his friends surnamed him Musick, as the word was then spelled. He emigrated to Virginia in the beginning of the eighteenth century, where he raised five sons, viz: Daniel, George, Alexis, Ephraim, and Abraham. He also raised some daughters; their number or names are unknown.
Thomas R. Music was born October 10, 1757. He became a Baptist preacher...The family of Thomas consisted of three sons and three daughters. Lewis Musick was born the 1st day of February, 1784. He came with his father to Missouri in 1804, and married Nancy Martin, who died some years afterward and he married Mary Fitzwater....Lewis removed to Pike County in the fall of 1819, and from there to Audrain County in the spring of 1839...(--p. 132.)
Loutre Township Frederick Vaughn, a Revolutionary War soldier, of Virginia, was another of the early settlers. At first he taught school; later after he began to preach, he was frequently called upon to marry people. On one occasion, he went seven miles to marry a couple, through a driving rain, swimming several creeks that lay in his route, and returned the same day, for which he received the magnificent sum of fifty cents. He then had to go thirteen miles on a cold, rainy day and pay that fifty cents to have the marriage recorded. (--pp. 144, 145.)
Linn Township is bounded on the north by Prairie, on the east by Cuivre, on the south by Loutre and on the west by Salt River Township...Linn was for many years a part of Prairie Township. Shorten Blankenship came to Audrain County in the spring of 1837 and located on Littleby Creek on the 11th day of April of that year. His father's name was Eli and hi mother's name was Mary. The family came from Logan County, Virginia.
Neal Blue, son of Duncan Blue, of Scotland and his wife, Effie (she was cousin to Duncan) erected the first and only mill in the township, about 1840, near the mouth of Littleby Creek...The pioneers went to Monroe County, near the town of Florida, to get their grain ground...(--p. 148.)
Prairie Township Duncan Blue, of Scotland, married his cousin Effie Blue, and came to America and settled in North Carolina before the Revolution...After the Revolution, he removed to Christian County, Kentucky. His children were Daniel, Neal and Peggy. Neal was in the War of 1812...In 1831 Mr. Blue and the rest of his family came to Missouri and settled in Audrain County.
The first school meeting was held in the fall of 1836, in a house known as the "Jackson House"...The first sermon was preached by Allen Gallagher, a Cumberland Presbyterian, a native of Tennessee...(--pp. 151, 158.)
Saling Township This township is one of the original municipal subdivisions of the county, and occupies the northwest portion, Randolph County lying just west of it...
This township being contiguous to Boone and Marion Counties, was one of the first and most settled in the county, many of the original inhabitants coming from those two counties. Among the earliest settlers were Stanfield Porter, Benjamin McGee, James Allen, James Crosswhite and Wm. Crosswhite, Jr...No towns were reported in the township.
Salt River Township John Strahan was the son of Robert Strahan and Nancy Scott, of County Down, Ireland...He was naturalized in 1824, and settled in Lincoln County, Kentucky in 1832...He came to Missouri in 1841, settled first in Platte County, but removed from there to Audrain in 1844...
Chas. W. McIntire settled in Callaway County, Missouri, in 1819, and in Audrain County in 1836...Mr. McIntire was fond of a joke and never let an opportunity pass to indulge in one; but he got badly sold on one occasion. The people of Callaway had been taunting the citizens of Audrain, saying they had no money, and in order to convince them that there was some money in Audrain, gave a man a $20 gold piece, and told him to go into Callaway and show it to everybody who he could see, and tell them it was from Audrain. The fellow took the money, and disappeared, and doubtless he was still showing it around as he never returned.
Salt River Tigers Just before the organization of Audrain County, there was an election held during the month of August, 1836, in the counties surrounding the territory, which was afterwards called Audrain. (Several men who lived in the portion now known as Salt River Township, so named after a small stream by that name, attempted to vote. Since they were not legitimate voters the judges refused to allow them that privilege. However, they were so insistent on what they thought were their rights, the judges reluctantly allowed them to vote. As they were riding away one of the judges remarked, "Ain't those men tigers?" Hence the soubriquet "Salt River Tigers".)
The First School About the year 1832, the few families that had located in what is now the southern part of Audrain County, and the northern part of Callaway County concluded to build a school house. Matthew Scott, Temple Wayne, Thomas Boyd and others were the parties who were instrumental in the construction of a small log house on the northeast corner of Sec. 15, Twp. 50, R. 9.
--pp. 165, 178, 179.
Wilson Township was one of the five townships into which the county was divided in 1837. It extends from Callaway to Boone County...It is bounded on the south and west by Callaway and Boone Counties and Saling Township, on the north by Monroe County, and on the east by Salt River Township.
The first white man to locate within the limits of this township was Benjamin Young. (See under Audrain County remarks concerning Mr. Young.)
Reuben Pulis, son of David Pulis, ran away from home (Kentucky) and came to Missouri. He landed at Hannibal, which at that time consisted of one house. There he made a birch bark canoe and went down the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where he worked his way back to Kentucky on a steam boat. He then learned the trade of blacksmith and married the widow Hutson...He paid a man $25 to haul himself, his wife and their property back to Missouri. They settled first in Audrain County; removed from there to Callaway, and returned to Audrain again, in the spring of 1834...Mr. Pulis was a Justice of the Peace for six years...
The first mill was erected in Wilson Township in 1844, by William James; it was a horse-mill and was located near the main branch of Skull Lick Creek. Mr. James built also a saw-mill on the south branch of Salt Creek.
William Dobbins taught the first school in the township, sometime previously to 1844; the school house stood near the banks of Salt Creek...(--pp. 223, 225, 226.)
Page numbers refer to History of Audrain County.
Springfield-Greene County Library