A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets
Past and Present
of Buchanan County, Missouri
Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Agency(elevation 830 feet)
Where the town of Agency now stands there was formerly a ford, extensively used in the days of early settlement of the county, called Agensy Ford. The name originated from the fact that the Platte River was forded at this point, in going from the Indian Agency established west of the Platte, to Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, in those days, the nearest point of trade.
The town of Agensy was founded in 1865 by William B. Smith and during the following year his father, Hugh Smith, sold his farm on which was the townsite of the original town of Sparta, and established himself here also...In 1864, Smith Bros., completed the building of a mill at Agency. In 1868 and '69, R. R. Boone became the sole proprietor. In 1878 he sold a half interest to his son-in-law, E. M. Yates...
One of the earliest postmasters of Agency was Benjamin Moore. J. B. Hollingsworth, a Justice of the Peace of the attached part of Center Township by the erection of Agency Township became the Justice of the Peace of the new township. W. H. Ritchie was the first constable, and Susan W. Halland was commissioned the first notary public. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., pp. 374, 375, 131, 132.)
Agency is situated at Secs. 20 & 29, Twp. 56 N, R. 34 W, at the junction of Highways H & FF. General Highway Map of Buchanan County, issued by the Missouri State Highway Department, 12-1-60. Unless otherwise noted all map locations are from this map.
A shallow ford on the Platte River, where the road from Clay County to Blacksnake Hills crossed. Andrew Hughes, Indian agent to the Sacs and Foxes, conducted his business with the Indians at this point. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 1, p. 14.)
Ajax was north of Matney. Map of Missouri, 1925, Rand McNally.
About the year 1846 or '47, Eli Arnold from Ohio erected on the present site of the village of Arnoldsville (1881), about four miles west of the Platte River, a large frame building which he equipped as a grist mill, and for a time operated it by horse power. Later he installed an engine and boiler, and used steam power. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining the necessary water, he ceased operations. After the Civil War he sold the machinery to W. B. Smith, who moved it to Agency.
Eli Arnold was the first postmaster. There were other stores, and shops in the town. The present (1881) and only physician in the town is Dr. J. C. Smith, a son of the founder of Agency. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 378.)
Arnoldsville is no longer listed.
It was a post-office fifteen miles southeast of St. Joseph. (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, 1874, p. 76.)
Bake was situated in Sec. 1, Wayne Township. (--New Atlas of Missouri, 1874, Campbell, Map 17.)
Bee Creek is north of Willow Creek, on the Chicago & Great Western R. R. (--Map of Missouri, 1911, Rand, McNally.)
It has no population. (--Standard Reference Guide of Missouri, 1974, Rand, McNally, referred to as Rand, McNally, 1974.)
The Indian name of the hills on which the city of St. Joseph is built. (--Conard, Vol. 1, p. 285.)
On the 7th of May, 1839, the County Court at its second term held at the house of Joseph Robidoux, at "Blacksnake Hills", began the work of laying out roads...
The first person regularly licensed as a ferryman was Julius C. Robidoux, who was authorized to maintain a ferry across the Missouri River at "Blacksnake Hills", on the 7th of May, 1839...He was authorized to keep a ferry on the Missouri River in the county of Buchanan, at Robidoux's Landing for the term of one year...For many years the solitary log cabin of Joseph Robidoux was the only evidence of the presence of civilized man within a radius of fifty miles...
The next house (log) erected at "Blacksnake Hills" was built in March, 1836, and occupied by Thomas Sellers...No other improvements of a special character were made until the following year. The small colony remained in statu quo...
In June, 1843, Mr. Robidoux laid out the original town...Simeon Kemper acted as surveyor...and Elisha Gladden as chain bearer...Two maps of the town were made, one by F. W. Smith, and the other by Simeon Kemper, bearing respectively the names of "Robidoux" and "St. Joseph", in honor of its founder. The map drawn by Mr. Smith was selected by Mr. Robidoux, and the more civilized name of St. Joseph was substituted for "Blacksnake Hills".
The first post-office was established at Blacksnake Hills, June 10, 1840, Julius Robidoux, postmaster. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., pp. 396, 397, 398, 413.)
Joseph Robidoux, also spelled Roubidoux, is related to the Roubidoux family who was prominent in the early history of Texas County. Also, there is a Roubidoux Creek in Pulaski County. M. A. Thesis, submitted by Anna O'Brien, in the Graduate School of the University of Missouri, 1939.
See Dekalb. De Kalb.
Bridgeport was on the Platte River, eight miles from St. Joseph. (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, 1874, p. 76.)
It is no longer listed in Buchanan County; there is a Bridgeport in Warren County. (--Rand, McNally, 1974 1974.)
Clair is situated on the C. B. & Q. R. R. south of Andrew County line. (--Map of Missouri, 1911, Rand, McNally.)
Mail via St. Joseph, rural; no population. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
Clowser's Mill (Crawford Township)
It is generally conceded that the first mill erected in the township was Clowser's Mill, a water power mill built by Harvey Jones, and operated by John Clowser. The site of this mill was two and one-half miles east of Halleck. Daniel Clowser destroyed and rebuilt the mill in 1847. In the great freshet of 1858 this mill was entirely swept away. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 121.)
This is the oldest town in Buchanan County, having been platted by James G. Finch in 1839. It had a population of about 600, and contained a newspaper, a bank, two stores, a hotel, an implement house, a drug store, and various kinds of artisan's shops. Prof. Charles S. Robbington conducted the Bloomington Academy at this point. (--Conard, Vol. 2, p. 252.)
De Kalb, formerly Bloomington, in Bloomington Township is located on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, 14 miles south of St. Joseph, and 12 miles from Atchison, Kansas...The town was laid off in 1837, by James G. Finch...The town was laid off with a square in the center, for the purpose of accommodating the court house of the county of which it was expected to be the county seat.
About the year 1851, owing to the existence of another town in the State called Bloomington, the name was changed, with that of the post-office, to De Kalb. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 370.)
It is situated at Sec. 10, Twp. 55 N, R. 36 W at the junction of Highways HH & JJ.
James Gilmore completed what was known as Dixon's Mill, two and a half miles above Agency, on the Platte River, date unknown. Of this mill scarcely a vestige now (1881) remains. Its builder, Mr. Dixon, was from Maryland. James Gilmore died in Oregon. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 130.)
Donovan Harbor was situated southwest of St. Joseph on the Mo. Pac. R. R. (--Map of Missouri, 1925, Rand, McNally.)
Easton (elevation 915 feet)
Easton, in Marion Township, is (1881) one of the largest towns in the county outside of St. Joseph. It is 12 miles east of St. Joseph. In 1848, Mr. Don McCrary purchased four hundred acres of land, where now (1881) stands the town of Easton. In 1854, Mr. McCrary opened a store on his farm, and the same season laid off the town. There were several stores, mills, shops, hotel, and a post-office here.
It is situated at Sec. 30, Twp. 57 N, R. 33 W, at the junction of Highways 31 & N.
Eveline (also known as Hall's; Hall's Station)
Eveline, commonly called Hall's Station, was on the Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs R. R., about halfway between St. Joseph and Atchison, Kansas, in Wayne Township. It contained a depot, store, saloon and several residences, (1881.) The surrounding country is flat...and subject to flooding. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 379; Campbell, p. 77.)
Evansville was located at Sec. 4, Twp. 56 N, R. 34 W, on Highway 169 southeast of I-29.
Fansher's Cross Roads
Henry Fansher ran the first blacksmith shop in Crawford Township. This was on the present (1881) site of Faucett's Mill. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 121.)
It was located at Sec. 2, Twp. 55 N, R. 35 W on Highway 71 south of the junction of W & Bus. 71.
The first mill was built in Bloomington Township, in 1838, by Stephen Field, who came in 1837. It was a horse mill, three miles from De Kalb and took all night to grind two bushels of meal. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 125.)
Frazer (also Frazier, Tremont Township)
It was located on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern R. R. fifteen miles from St. Joseph. It had a post-office and one store, 1881. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 379.)
Also known as Jordon, Rock House Prairie. (--Campbell, p. 77.)
It was situated at Sec. 36, Twp. 56 N, R. 34 W, on Highways E & H.
Garretsburgh was a post-office on the Platte River, eight miles southeast of St. Joseph. (--Campbell, p. 77.)
It was situated at Sec. 10, Twp. 56 N, R. 34 W, on Highway 169 southeast of Evansville.
It is no longer listed.
Goffsville was on the One-Hundred-And-Two River, five miles east of St. Joseph. (--Campbell, p. 77.)
Gower(elevation 830 feet)
A town in Clinton County (sic), located in Atchison Township, nine miles west of Plattsburgh, the county seat, and twenty miles southeast of St. Joseph. It was laid out in 1870 by Daniel Smith and named after A. G. Gower, who, at that time was division superintendent of the St. Louis & St. Joseph (later the Wabash) R. R., at that place. The first postmaster was B. O. Willer and the first school teacher was Miss. Mollie Tillery. Gower was incorporated in 1873...Population 600, 1901. (--Conard, Vol. 3, p. 82.)
Gower is on the county line between Buchanan and Clinton Counties. It is situated at Sec. 4, Twp. 55, R. 33 W, on Highways H & 169.
A town in Buchanan County, once known as Fancher's Cross Roads and nicknamed "Old Taos." It had a population of 200. Halleck flour was famous. Frances Ferguson kept a school in the vicinity in 1839. (--Conard, Vol. 3, pp. 156, 157.)
The present (1881) hamlet and post-office of Halleck, in Crawford Township, was formerly called Birming. The name was changed during the Civil War to its present style, in honor of General Halleck.
The site of the village was originally known as Fansher's Cross Roads. In 1848-49, a saloon was kept here, in what was sold a whiskey of so villainous a character that some soldiers of the Mexican War, who had just returned home, compared it to Taos whiskey, proverbial for being the meanest sold in Mexico.
A soldier, John McGuire, galloping through the village and yelling "Hurrah for Taos!" fixed the nickname by which it has ever since been known. McGuire died in California. The first postmaster of Birming was Henry Hardin...The first building on the site was a saddle shop, and put up by John Baker previous to 1845. John Conan bought the first stock of goods and opened the first regular store, in 1849. Other businesses in 1881 were blacksmith shops, wagon makers, and a hotel. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., pp. 375, 376.)
Hall's Station (Hall)
It is situated at Sec. 32, Twp. 56 N, R. 36 W at the junction of Highways 59 & KK.
Mail via St. Joseph. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
Hurlingen is situated in the northeast part of the county, at Secs. 31 & 32, Twp. 58 N, R. 33 W, on Highway P south of UU.
Mail via Easton. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
Industrial City (Inza)
It is near St. Joseph. (--Map of Missouri, 1917, Rand, McNally.)
It is part of St. Joseph. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
See Wallace. (--Campbell, p. 77.)
See Frazier. (Campbell, p. 77.)
Kenmoor is situated at Sec. 21, Twp. 56 N, R. 36 W on Highway 59, southwest from St. Joseph.
It has no population. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
Kyle was situated at Sec. 9, Twp. 56 N, R. 35 W on Bus. 71, south from St. Joseph.
It is no longer listed.
Lake Station was on the K. C., ST. J. & C. B. R. R., in Wayne Township. It was four miles from St. Joseph, and had a glue factory. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 379.)
Leachman's Post Office
James Leachman was the first postmaster in 1851 of Rush Township; his office being known as Leachman's Post Office. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 129.)
It was situated at Sec. 8, Twp. 57 N, R. 34 W, on the C. B. & Q. R. R.
It is no longer listed.
The second mill erected in the township was a water power, owned by General John T. Martin, who afterwards converted it to a steam mill. It was located on Sugar Creek and has long since disappeared. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 125.)
It was commenced in 1838 by Harrison Whitson, an old settler, and was completed at the Platte Township end of the dam, exactly opposite to its present (1881) site in Jackson Township. Mr. Whitson operated it till 1843, when John Britz, afterwards County Judge, became its owner. It remained in his hands till February 28, 1845, when it was destroyed by fire. It was immediately rebuilt, across the river just opposite to its present (1881) site in Jackson Township. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 116.)
Matney was a flag stop on the Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Rail Road, seven miles southeast of St. Joseph. (--Campbell, p. 78.)
It is no longer listed.
Platte River Mills (Jackson Township)
Platte River Mills also called Matney's Mills, was one of the earliest settled neighborhoods of the township.
The post-office at this period, called "Platte River," was established in 1848, and John Britz appointed postmaster...John Grabel started a general store in 1881, and sold goods about a year...
There was no store kept at the mills during the Civil War, and the post-office, as above stated, was moved across the river into Platte Township, one mile north of the mills to the house of Henry Weltner, with whom it remained until after the close of the war, when it was moved back to its original site in Jackson Township. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 119.)
It is no longer listed.
The name by which the pioneer settlement was known, prior to the incorporation of the village of St. Joseph, in July, 1843. (--Conard, Vol. 5, p. 378.)
Rock House Prairie(Tremont Township)
A prairie, through which the road from Clay County to Blacksnake Hills passed. The Indians had built a mound of rocks in the form of a house on a ledge of rocks. This was no doubt a memorial of some great event in Indian history where tribes had assembled in the plain, and each Indian had placed a stone on the pile in token of some solemn covenant. Conard, Vol. 5, p. 387.
Wilson P. Mudgett and P. P. Mudgett, settled on Rock Prairie in 1839. Wilson P. was the first postmaster, of the settlement. P. P. moved to Iowa. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 135.)
A trading-post near "Blacksnake Hills" which was established by the American Fur Company in 1826. Pierre Chouteau and his brother Francis was connected with the American Fur Company. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., pp. 390, 391.)
Rushville (elevation 810 feet)
Rushville is an incorporated town in Buchanan County, laid out in 1847 by Perman Hudson and James Leachman. Five railroads pass through the town, which had a population of 300 (1901). (--Conard, Vol. 5, 415.)
Rushville was formerly called Columbus, but in 1851, the name was changed to Rushville. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 372.)
It is situated at Secs. 13 & 14, Twp. 55 N, R. 37 W, on Highway 116, east of 59.
St. Joseph (Saint Joseph)
St. Joseph was incorporated as a village, February 25, 1845, with Joseph Robidoux as first President of The Board of Trustees...A city charter was obtained February 25, 1851...Thos. Mills was the first mayor.
At the close of 1845 the town contained 600 inhabitants...The first postmaster, Fred Smith in 1843, carried the mail in his hat -- postage 25 cents...Samuel Hall was the first Justice of the Peace, in the same year, and he carried his docket and kept his office, as Fred Smith did the post-office, in his hat... (--Campbell, pp. 77, 78.)
The first telephone line erected west of the Mississippi River was put up in St. Joseph in the fall of 1874, by John Kenmuir, manufacturing jeweler and watchmaker...The first telephone ever erected in the United States for fire-alarm purposes, was put up in St. Joseph, by John Kenmuir, and extended from one engine house to the next in regular succession, connecting the entire system within the city limits. Next he attempted to establish a telephone exchange but encountered quite a bit of opposition.
...Finally in the fall of 1877, Col. Alburger came up from Kansas City, with a charter from the Bell Telephone Company, of Boston, Mass., authorizing the establishment of a system in St. Joseph, and turned the same over to John Kenmuir. By virtue of the charter, John Kenmuir became President, P. L. B. Combs, Secretary, and Joseph Corvy, Treasurer...The original exchange was located in the rear of John Kenmuir's watchmaking and jewelry establishment on Felix Street...The first telegraph line built to St. Joseph was completed to that point on the day of the inauguration of President Franklin Pierce. The first dispatch to come over the line to St. Joseph, was his inaugural address. The name of the telegraph operator who received this address was Peter Lovel...
One of the most noted events in the history of St. Joseph was the starting, on Tuesday evening, April 3d, 1860, of the pony express for San Francisco. At a given signal, a cannon shot from the Patee House, the fleet little animal with its light and active rider, darted from the doorway of the old Pike's Peak Stables, which then stood on Penn, between Ninth and Tenth Streets, opposite the Patee Park, and in a few minutes was at the United States Express Office on Third Street, between Felix and Emons. Here amid the cheers -- of the vast throng assembled to witness the event, the rider received his light burden of dispatches, and again at 7:15 PM, darted off, toward the ferry boat at the foot of Jules Street, and in a few minutes after was pursuing his wild career to the distant West. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., pp. 608, 609, 629, 630, 631, 641, 643.)
St. Joseph is in the northwest corner of the State, near the Andrew County line. It covers several sections in Townships 56, 57, 58, Range 35 W. It is on Highways 36, 59, 71, OO, 275, K, 169 & I-29, all of which converge here.
In 1865, 1866, J. H. and B. Sampson erected a flouring mill on Contrary Creek, two miles north of De Kalb. It turned two runs of burrs; attached to this was a small saw mill. J. H. Sampson, Sr., also owned and operated a steam saw mill one and a half miles northeast of De Kalb. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 125.)
It is no longer listed.
San Antonio was a post-office seven miles northeast of St. Joseph, (1874.) (--Campbell, p. 82.)
Saxton is situated on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, six miles east of St. Joseph, in Washington Township. It contained a depot. The ground upon which it is situated was donated by Mr. A. M. Saxton, of St. Joseph. There was one general merchandise store. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., p. 380.)
It was named in honor of Albe M. Saxton. (--Conard, Vol. 5, p. 492.)
It is situated at Secs. 25 & 30, Twp. 57 N, R. 34 W, on Highway N, east of I-29.
Mail via St. Joseph; Railway BN. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
Sparta (Centre Township)
The old county seat of Buchanan County -- Sparta -- was located in 1840, and six years later removed to St. Joseph. It was only a small town...and after the removal of the seat of justice, it died a natural death, and the site has since been abandoned. The plat of the town was recorded in December, 1840...Its streets were named Harrison, Main, Walnut, Cherry, Cedar, Chestnut, Market, Vine, Olive, Prune and Hazel.
On the fourth day of January, 1841, the County Court of Buchanan County, Stephen Jones being at the time President of said court made an order relative to the building of the court house at Sparta. The court had held its sessions at Richard Hill's near Rock House Prairie, and at the house of Joseph Robidoux, since April, 1839...The following is a portion of the order of the court in reference thereto:
"Ordered by the court, that a building be erected on the Lot. No. 1, in block No. 17, in the town of Sparta, to be used as a court house and clerk's office, until other and more suitable public buildings shall be provided...It was a large house, perhaps the largest in the county, when it was built. In it were located the several county offices, and there met...the circuit court. Church services were held here on Sunday...Children came here to school...The old court house at Sparta, after having accomplished its mission...was converted into a granary. (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., pp. 179, 180.)
Stockbridge was located on the C. R. I. & P. R. R., the first station west of De Kalb County line. (--Map of Missouri, 1911, Rand, McNally.)
Sugar Lake is between Armour and Winthrop, at Sec. 28, Twp. 55 N, R. 37 W on Highway 59.
Mail via Rushville. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
See Halleck. (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, 1874, p. 82.)
Taos is now listed on the map. It is situated at Sec. 16, Twp. 37 N, R. 35 W on Highway CC north of 116.
Mail via Faucett. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
Tarmine was south of St. Joseph on the Missouri Pacific R. R. (--Map of Missouri, 1925, Rand, McNally.)
Vories was on the C. R. I. & P. R. R., east of St. Joseph. (--Map of Missouri, 1911, Rand, McNally.)
It was a station of St. Joseph Post Office. (--General Scheme, p. 12.)
Walnut Hill was on the Kansas City Northern R. R., north of Agency post-office. (--New Atlas of Missouri, 1874, Campbell, 1874, Map 17.)
It is no longer listed.
Willowbrook is situated at Sec. 34, Twp. 56 N, R. 35 W on Highway H west of I-29.
Mail via Faucett; population 50. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
Hiram House put up a building and was the first to sell goods in the place. He began in 1860 and continued until 1869, when he went to Colorado...Hiram House was the first postmaster, and also the first Justice of the Peace. By the flood of 1880 the town was nearly depopulated...The first lumberyard was started in 1877, by Henry Denton, of Atchison, Kansas...The most prominent features of the town were the large brick packing houses south of the railroad tracks.
Another prominent feature of the town was the East Atchison Live Stock Exchange and Stockyards, (1882.)... (--History of Buchanan County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams & Co., pp. 373, 374; Campbell, p. 82.)
It is situated in the extreme southwest corner of the county at Secs. 19, 20, 29 & 30, Twp. 55 N, R. 37 W.
Winthrop is now known as East Atchison. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.)
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