Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
By an act of the Legislature approved November 16, 1820, Boone County was organized out of the territory of Howard, "the Mother of Counties." At the time of its organization it contained about 3,500 inhabitants chiefly from Madison County, Kentucky. It retains its original boundaries and contains 674 square miles, or 431,000 acres of area. (Texas County has an area of 727,000 acres.) (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 6, p. 176.)
If not in fact the largest, it is among the largest counties in the State; larger in superficial surface than some of the States of Europe and islands of the ocean...It is also about half as large as one of the States of the American Union, and one-third the area of several others...
The county was named in honor of Daniel Boone...who died in Femme Osage Township, St. Charles County, Missouri, September 26, 1820, less than two months before the county was organized...Little progress was made, however, in the settlement of the country now embraced by the boundary lines of Boone County, until after the war with Great Britain and the treaty of 1815, by which the Indians relinquished all claims to any portion of the territory north of the Missouri River. Speedily following the declaration of peace and the ratification of the treaty of relinquishment of Indian titles, the tide of immigration sent in a flood, several individuals from Madison County, Kentucky, settled along the old Boone's Lick trail or old St. Charles Road, leading from St. Louis to Franklin...to "Boone's Lick" opposite Arrow Rock, on the Missouri River, in Howard County. The "Lick" was at Salt Springs, at which, in 1808, two of the sons of Old Daniel Boone--Daniel M. and Nathan--manufactured salt. Old Daniel had nothing to do with the enterprise; in fact, never was in the present limits of Howard, Boone or Cooper Counties, much less lived in either. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 1, p. 323.)
The Territorial Legislature assembled in St. Louis on September 18th, 1820, and proceeded to organize by the election of James Caldwell, of Ste. Genevieve, speaker, and John McArthur, clerk of the House. It consisted of forty-one members. It was during the session of this Legislature that Boone County was organized.
On Tuesday, October 20th, 1820, there were presented several petitions, and a letter from the citizens of Howard (County) praying for the establishment of a new county. This was the first movement toward the organization of the county of Boone.
The petitions were referred to a special committee, who, in a few weeks afterward, made a favorable report, which was adopted by both Houses, and finally approved on November 16, 1820. This act, creating the county of Boone, went into effect January 1st, 1821, but it was not until February that the first court was held, and it was as late as June before the Sheriff, Assessors and other officials received their commissions from the Governor.
Who conceived the title of "Boone" is not known but certain it is that the name was given in honor of Daniel Boone, and it is probable that its selection was mostly influenced by his death at Charette Village, on the Missouri, a few miles above St. Charles, September 26, 1820...
The act having been passed November 16, 1820, to organize Boone County...John Gray, Jefferson Fulcher, Absalom Hicks, Lawrence Bass and David Jackson, were appointed by the Legislature Commissioners to select and establish a permanent county seat...
In January, 1821, the commissioners...fixed the seat of justice at Columbia; and henceforth the identity of Boone was recognized and permanently preserved.
The ground on which Columbia now stands was purchased at the government land sales, on November 18th, 1818, by an association of citizens of Missouri and other States, organized in Franklin, and styled the "Smithton Company." It was the intention to make Smithton (q.v.) the county seat. (--History of Boone County, 1882, St. Louis, National Hist. Soc., pp. 151, 152, 157, 158.)
Prior to the year 1763, the entire continent of North America was divided between France, England, Spain and Russia. France held all that portion...west of the Mississippi River, except Texas and the territory we have obtained from Mexico and Russia. The vast region, while under the jurisdiction of France, was known as the "Province of Louisiana", and embraced the present State of Missouri. At the close of the "Old French War", in 1763, France gave up her share of the continent, and Spain came into the possession of the territory west of the Mississippi River, while Great Britain retained Canada, and the region northward, having obtained that territory by conquest, in war with France. For thirty-seven years the territory now embraced within the limits of Missouri, remained as a part of the possession of Spain, and then back to France by the treaty of St. Ildefonson, October 1, 1800. On the 30th of April, 1803, France ceded to the United States, in consideration of having received $11,250,000, and the liquidation of certain claims, held by citizens of the United States against France, which amounted to the further sum of $3,750,000, making a total of $15,000,000. It will thus be seen that France has twice and Spain once held sovereignty over the territory embracing Missouri, but the financial needs of Napoleon afforded our Government an opportunity to add another empire to its domain.
On the 31st of October, 1803, an act of Congress was approved authorizing the President to take possession of the newly acquired territory, and provided for a temporary government for the new acquisition; and another act, approved March 26, 1804, authorized the division of the "Louisiana Purchase" as it was then called, into two separate territories, all that portion south of the 33d parallel of North latitude was called the "Territory of Orleans," and that north of the said parallel was known as the "District of Louisiana," and was placed under the jurisdiction of what was known as "Indian Territory."
By virtue of an act of Congress, approved March 3, 1805, the "District of Louisiana" was organized as the "Territory of Louisiana," with a territorial government of its own, which went into operation July 4, of the same year, and it so remained until 1812. In this year, the "Territory of Orleans" became the State of Louisiana, and the "Territory of Louisiana" was organized into the "Territory of Missouri".
This change took place under an act of Congress, approved June 4th, 1812. In 1819, a portion of the territory was organized as "Arkansas Territory," and on August 10, 1821, the State of Missouri was admitted, being a part of the former "Territory of Missouri."
In 1836, the "Platte Purchase", then being a part of the Indian Territory, and now composing the counties of Atchison, Andrew, Buchanan, Holt, Nodaway and Platte was made by treaty with the Indians and added to the State. It will be seen, then, that the soil of Missouri, belonged:--
The cession by April 30, 1803, vested the title in the United States, subject to the claims of the Indians, which it was very justly the policy of the Government to recognize. Before the Government of the United States could vest clear title to the soil in the grantee it was necessary to extinguish the Indian title by purchase. This was done accordingly by treaties with the Indians at various times. (--History of Boone County, 1882, Ramfre Reprint, pp. 21, 22, 23.)
BOURBON TOWNSHIP is the northwest corner township of Boone County. It comprises all of Township 51, Range 12, and Township 51, Range 13, and fractional Township 51, Range 14;--running to the Howard County line on the west, and to Centralia Township on the east. It is bounded on the north by Randolph and Audrain Counties; and on the south by Perche and Rocky Fork Townships...
It is stated that the first settler in this township was a man named Riggs, who located three miles south of where Sturgeon now stands and built a cabin as early as the year 1818...Again it is asserted that Jack Lynch and ____ Runnels were the first settlers in what is now Bourbon Township. Nothing very definite or explicit can be learned, however, regarding these settlements...
The first physician was Dr. Alex Robinson, who practiced in 1835...However, it is claimed that the first physician in this township was Dr. Wells. In the year 1843, a Dr. Taylor practiced in Pittsburg. The first house in the prairie below Sturgeon was built by W. D. Kelly on the northeast quarter of Section 20, Township 51, Range 12, in the year 1837...For many years after the organization of the county, Bourbon Township was included in Perche and Rocky Fork Townships. At last, however, its population had increased to such an extent...that the territory now comprised should be erected into a separate township. At the June term of the County Court, 1854, the court made the following order:...creating Bourbon Township, and it is ordered that the place of voting in said townships shall be the town of Bourbonton. The "town of Bourbonton" was also called Buena Vista. (--History of Boone County, pp. 539, 542, 541, 543.)
COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP The first mill in the township was a horse mill brought in a wagon from Virginia, by William Wright in the year 1816. It was set up on the northeast quarter of Sec. 13, Twp. 49, R. 12, and was run for a great many years. Mr. Wright was one of the first settlers of Boone County. Richard Caines mill...was put up about 1821 or 1822, and was a horse mill. The Fulkerson Mill stood on the Hinkson, in Missouri Township and was built in 1819. (--History of Boone County, p. 736.)
CEDAR TOWNSHIP, the largest in the county, embraces all that portion of the county lying south of Columbia Township and east of the Roche Perche. Its northern boundary is the same as the line north of Congressional Township 47, while it is bounded on the east by Cedar Creek (the Callaway County line) as far down as the southeastern corner of Sec. 12, of Congressional Township 45, Range 12, from which point south to the Missouri River the boundary is the range line on the east of said Congressional Township. The Missouri River forms the southern and southwestern boundary, flowing in an almost regular outward curve from the mouth of the Roche Perche to the Callaway County line...Cedar contains two entire, and six fractional Congressional Townships, and has about 182 whole sections and 40 fractional sections of land... (--History of Boone County, pp. 614, 615.)
CENTRALIA TOWNSHIP This is the latest formed and the smallest township in Boone County. The first settlements in what is now Centralia Township were made by "Rudy" (Rudolph) March, Wm. Sexton, Peter Stire and Thomas Sexton, who moved in from Howard County, and settled in the southwestern part of the township, along a small branch of Silvers Fork, about the year 1822...
Until in 1874, the territory now comprising Centralia Township was embraced in Bourbon Township...Ineffectual efforts were made to form a new township from time to time, some of the people wishing to defer the matter until it was settled whether or not "Rollins County" would be formed in order that territory should comprise the township.
At last, on June 20, 1874, the county court made and entered of record the order to establish Centralia Township... (--History of Boone County, pp. 692, 693, 694.)
MISSOURI TOWNSHIP The first post-office (and probably the first in the county) was established at Thrall's Prairie in 1819 (one account says in 1818), and named Lexington. Probably Oliver Parker was the first postmaster, although this distinction is claimed by Mr. Lientz for Dr. Geo. B. Wilcox. Others assert that Parker was the first and Wilcox the second. In 1828 the post-office was removed to the house of Wm. Lientz. The named was changed by Col. Thomas H. Benton from Lexington to Boonton. Mr. Lientz was appointed postmaster. In 1832 the office was removed to Rocheport. When first established the mail was brought to Lexington from St. Charles on horseback. Mr. Lientz lived on the old Columbia and Franklin road.
The first store in the township was established by Oliver Parker, at Thrall's Prairie, in 1818 or 1819...He kept lead, powder, sugar, coffee, cloths and a few other articles...In 1823 Mr. Parker built a residence in Columbia, afterward the nucleus of Stephen's Female College...
The first school house was located at Big Spring...The first mill in the township was a horse mill, put up by John Copeland in 1819. The flour was bolted or sieved by hand. The mill was so popular that customers often had to wait days for their turn. The first grist-mill that ran by water power was built by William Stapleton in 1835...
At the first session of the county court, February 18, 1822, Missouri Township was organized. When the territory was in Howard County, it had comprised a portion of Moniteau Township...
The first mill built in this region of country, other than the old-fashioned horse-mill was the Dixon water-mill on the Callom, about 3 miles above the junction of that stream with the Perche. It was both a saw and grist-mill...
Soon after it was started, Stapleton, a wealthy young man from Howard County, commenced building a large steam mill about half a mile below the Dixon Mill. When completed it was the largest a most complete steam mill in the county. This mill also furnished a large amount of lumber for the State University, but Stapleton did not prosper, from some cause or other, and soon sold the property to the Sexton brothers, who conducted the business for several years, when they sold the mill and 500 acres of land to R. M. and S. B. Hatton. Gen. Hatton sold the machinery to a man named Renfroe, who moved it to Moniteau County. The machinery had formerly done service in the paper mill, at Rockbridge, Boone County. (--History of Boone County, pp. 982, 983, 987, 988.)
PERCHE TOWNSHIP is one of the original or primitive townships of Boone County, having been organized in 1821...There were settlers on Prairie Fork as early as 1816 of the pioneers of Perche this section of Perche Township...The first regular physician was Dr. John W. Roberts, who came from Virginia and settled in Perche Township. He died in 1875...The first school-house in Perche Township was built on Sec. 35, Twp. 50 N, R. 13 W, and William Corlew taught the first school therein. (--History of Boone County, pp. 1069, 1070, 1071.)
ROCKY FORK TOWNSHIP When first laid out, in May, 1821, its northern boundary was the same as that of the county. The creation of Bourbon Township reduced it to its present site and position.
An unauthenticated story current to the effect that as far back as in 1815 an old abandoned cabin was seen in the southwestern part of this township by those early pioneers who visited the county at that day. No one knew who had built this cabin; but one theory was that the French explorers had put it up perhaps in 1775...Some persons, with no basis of fact, believed that it was at one time the home of John A. Murrell, the great western land pirate, notwithstanding the fact that it is uncertain that Murrell was ever in Missouri...It is stated that the first brick house in Rocky Fork was built by Elijah Winn. (--History of Boone County, pp. 1104, 1105, 1108.)
ROLLINS COUNTY See Sturgeon.
In 1856, the name was proposed for a new county that never materialized to be formed out of parts of Boone, Audrain, Howard and Randolph. (--Our Storehouse of Missouri Place Names, Ramsay, p. 6.)
LAND SURVEYS--"MADRID SECTIONS"
Considerable embarrassment was occasioned to the land owners of St. Louis during the early portion of the 20th (sic) Century by an act of Congress, approved February 17, 1815, which authorized persons owning lands in the county of New Madrid, as it existed on the 10th of November, 1812, in cases where said lands had been materially injured by the earthquake of that period, to locate the like quantity of land on any of the public lands of the Territory of Missouri, the sale of which was authorized by law. The sympathy and generosity of Congress was lost, so far as benefits to the sufferers were concerned, and were perverted almost entirely to the profit of speculators. Of 516 certificates issued under this act, 384 were obtained in some manner by land speculators residing in St. Louis at a cost of more than $10,000, and claims were filed by virtue thereof on nearly 200,000 acres of land. These certificates were located upon lands in and adjacent to the city, regardless of the claims of the holders of grants under the former governments. Long and tedious litigation ensued, but the courts, both Federal and State, invariably declared these claims invalid, as against the early grants and confirmations. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 3, pp. 586, 587. For further information concerning these land grants, it is suggested that pages 582 to 587 be read.)
"MADRID LOCATIONS" Near Rocheport, were tracts of land which were granted by the government to settlers who had suffered losses by the earthquakes in the county of New Madrid, in the years of 1811 and 1812. (--History of Boone County, p. 131.)