Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Compiled by Mrs. C. E. (Mildred) Austin
Boston was comprised of swamp land approved for reclaiming on September 28, 1850, and first claimed by John P. Murray. It was sold to James and John Dean in 1868 and in 1874 was sold to Alex and Cynthia Steelman.
In 1880, the Missouri Pacific R. R. built the railroad and a dream was born. Mr. and Mrs. Steelman donated the land for the right-of-way out of the farm property. They called the crossroads where the first trains were persuaded to stop, Carleton Station. This endured briefly. In July, 1881, Mr. and Mrs. Steelman gave 10 acres on the East and 10 acres on the West side of the track and filed a dedicatory plat of the village. The named it Beloit.
Three business men who saw advantage of a rail outlet were: W. P. Adams, W. H. Thompson, and Dr. J. W. Spence. The first two engaged in the sale of general merchandise and the latter operated a drug store.
Around 1900, a Post Office was obtained. There was another Missouri office named Beloit so the village became Boston. A school district was organized and a school building erected. Church services were conducted in the school house by circuit riders. Stock pens were erected and loading equipment installed. Boston became a major shipping-point for cattle and other livestock.
Jim Box installed a grain elevator so the shipment of grain was added. The Odd Fellows erected a large frame hall. The Box family, Dr. Warren, and members of the Crutchfield family were among the early dreamers and business people.
The I. O. O. F. Lodge #303 and Anti-Horse Thief Association #278 headed by president C. C. Coates of nearby Esrom and Secretary A. Y. Williams were very active in the early days. Walter R. Calvert, Boston school teacher, was elected representative in the State Legislature. He served two terms from 1899 to 1902. Calvert, a Democrat, was perhaps Boston's most famous citizen in the Missouri General Assembly. He was chairman of the Labor Committee. Succeeding depot agents were Tommy Owens, Will Bouser, Clarence Canray, and Leonard Dalton. Postmasters and merchants were Lewis Williams, Harry Collins, Charlie Hall, Frank Cones, Robert and Zula Meisin, Robert Carr, Mr. and Mrs. Christian Riley and son Albert A. Riley (who also operated under the firm name of Harvey and Miller), and Mr. and Mrs. John Lawless and son Leslie. The latter was a Postmaster. Mrs. Nettie Lawless was appointed Postmaster in 1914 and served until her retirement in 1939. Mrs. Mildred Austin was appointed Postmaster in 1939 and is still serving (1969).
Boston perhaps reached its Hey Day in 1911. One of the most active businesses was owned by Samuel Short and son Liel. They engaged in blacksmithing and woodwork and in later years they added a garage. Others were James Owens, Hay and Grain, Johnie Cones and Al Blair, Building Contractors, T. C. McConnell, Saw Mill and Threshing machines operation, James F. and Maud Brown, General Merchandise, and J. L. Box, Elevator and Lumberyard.
In 1913, four devout Methodist men decided Boston should have a chapel. They were A. Y. Williams, Jim Lisher, Will Meyers, and R. H. Rex. These men started a subscription list for the building of a Methodist Church. The building was erected in 1915, and is the only original public building still functioning.
Later merchants thru the years were A. M. Rand, J. L. Box, Alva Vanwiper, Harry Houser, Lewis Longnecker, J. W. Baker, and Doyle Throckmorton. C. A. Harrington was elected sheriff in 1912 and C. E. Austin in 1944.
Opal Riley's son wrote an article several years ago on Boston. This article, which rests in the archives of the Missouri Historical Society in Jefferson City (sic), seems to me to cover Boston. He did leave out the merchants from his grandfather's day until we came back home in 1933. I have supplied these. I like his closing thoughts. They express my sentiments nicely.
The Stockdale family still uses the large hay barn occasionally. Some hay is shipped by rail from Boston. Koss Construction Co. set their plant up in Boston in 1925, when 71 Highway was first paved and again in 1947 when it was resurfaced. So Boston is one of the few villages attempting to carry on, coming to life occasionally as when 50 car loads of tile were set on the siding, requiring a crane to load it on the trucks. The past year the pipe for the Barton County Rural Water Line was partly set in Boston.