A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets
Past and Present
of Jackson County, Missouri

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Jackson County

[I]

In honor of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, the county received its name.

The territory which now bears the name of Jackson County, Missouri, was first embraced in the county of St. Louis, except the western part which belonged to the Osage Indians. (The boundaries of the original St. Louis County are defined but are too lengthy to include here, but may be found in History of Jackson County, 1881, p. 115.)

This territory remained as St. Louis County till the act of January 23, 1816, which constituted Howard County as follows:

(These boundaries are set out on pp. 115, 116, 117, Hist. of Jackson County, 1881.)

Howard County remained with the above described boundaries from January 23, 1816 to December 17, 1818, when a part was laid off and named Cooper...

>From December 17, 1818, to November 16, 1820, the boundaries of Cooper County remained unchanged, but at the later named date a county called "Lillard," in honor of a State Senator by that name, was laid off, including the territory now included within the present limits of Lafayette, Johnson, Henry, part of St. Clair, Bates, Cass and Jackson.

The organization of Jackson County, though also including the present counties of Cass and Bates was effected by an act entitled, "An act to organize the county of Jackson," approved December 15th, 1821, which was as follows: "Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, that the county of Jackson, heretofore attached by law "for all civil and military purposes to the county of Lafayette, be, and the same is hereby declared to be erected into a separate and distinct county, and that all rights and privileges granted by law to separate and distinct counties, be and the same are hereby extended to the said county of Jackson..." Hist. of Jackson County, 1881, pp. 66, 115, 116, 117.

Nearly all the land comprising Jackson County was acquired from the Osage and Kansas Indian tribes by a treaty signed June 2, 1825. Up to this time those Indians owned a strip of land twenty-four miles wide, east of the State Line, extending from the Missouri River south into Arkansas. In 1808 the Osage Indians had sold out of this strip to the United States, a tract of land six miles square in Fort Osage Township, upon which Fort Clark, afterward Fort Sibley was built, and upon which the first settlements in the eastern part of the county were made. From 1804 to 1827 the part of what is now Jackson County was successively under the jurisdiction of St. Louis, Howard, Cooper and Lillard or Lafayette Counties...From 1827 to 1835 the territory of Jackson County included that of Cass and Bates Counties...It is bounded on the north by Clay County and a part of Ray county, on the east by Lafayette County and a part of Johnson County, on the south by Cass county, and on the west by Johnson and Wyandotte Counties, Kansas... (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 3, p. 403.)

[II]

Blue Township

Blue Township was organized May 22, 1827. At first it included land in what is Cass and Bates Counties. Later it was reduced by the organization of the townships of Washington, Prairie and Brooking...Independence has been the market, post-office and trading point for the farmers round about from the location of the town to the present time...(1883.) (--p. 296.) Brookings Township "We have two post-offices--Raytown and Little Blue..." J.J. Robinson.

James Kimsley, in 1831, built a horse mill at Round Grove, near Rock Falls. It was washed away in 1833. Water six feet deep, fell from a "water spout," and came in a flood against it. James Kimsley and another man were in the mill, but escaped unhurt.

The first settlement east of Heart Grove was made by William Pierson in 1835. Township 48, Range 32, was then known as the condemned townships. Long after this it was surveyed and brought to market... (--pp. 367, 368.)
Kaw Township Kaw Township was established by order of the county court, dated May 22, 1827. This was at the second day's session of the first County Court of Jackson County...This order established Kaw, Blue and Fort Osage Townships. Kaw Township, as established by this order, embraced all that part of Jackson County lying west of the Big Blue. On the 9th of February, 1836, the County Court, by order, established Washington Township, and included in it that part of Kaw Township now embraced in Washington Township west of the Big Blue. On the 17th of May, 1869, Westport Township was cut off of the south end of Kaw, reducing it to its present dimensions, which include but about twenty full sections of land... (--pp. 370, 371.) Prairie Township By order of the County Court, June 4, 1860, Prairie Township was organized and laid off from the west part of Van Buren Township...

Among those who were early and prominent settlers in Prairie Township are John Fristoe, W. B. Howard, and Zachariah Cooper... (--p. 341.)
[III]

Fort Osage Township Fort Osage Township was one of the three original townships into which the county was divided, and although these three--Fort Osage, Blue and Kaw--were defined on the same day, May 22, 1827, Fort Osage was the first defined on the records, and hence can properly be called the first township in Jackson County. It will be seen from the following boundaries (given on page 306) that Fort Osage Township, at that time, included more territory than is now comprised within the limits of all of Jackson County, since at that early day and for several years thereafter Jackson County included what is now comprised in Cass and Bates Counties... (--p. 306.) Sni-a-bar Township Sni-a-bar or "Scnee-a-bar" Township, as it occurs in some old records, was first organized May 5, 1834, but has undergone many changes since that date...

James Welch, a typical pioneer, came from Tennessee about the year 1820, first settling in Lafayette County, then taking a claim near the southern line of the township, about one-half mile east of Sni-a-bar Creek... (--p.314.)
Van Buren Township The first organization for municipal purposes was in May, 1834, embracing, in addition to its present territory, the whole of what was called the Big Creek territory, now included in Jackson, Cass and Bates Counties...

The first settlement or first cabin made on the creek was by David G. Butterfield, in the autumn of 1827, in what is now Prairie Township, near the head of the creek or branch on which Pleasant Hill is now situated. * This cabin was built on or near the east half of the northwest quarter of Section 25, Township 47 N, Range 31 W... (--p. 325.)

* Pleasant hill is now in Cass Co. (--Moser.)
Washington Township When this township was organized from Blue and Kaw, February 9, 1836, it included more territory than it does at the present time--1883. The southern and western boundaries were then about the same, but the eastern boundary ran north and south near the present site of Lee's Summit, and the northern boundary ran east and west through the junction of Cedar Fork with Little Blue...Hickman's Mills and New Santa Fe are the only post towns in Washington Township--1883. (--p. 327.) [IV]

Westport Township Westport Township is bounded on the north by Kaw, on the east by Blue and Brooking, on the south by Washington Township, and on the west by the State of Kansas. It was next to the last township organized in Jackson County, being laid off by an order of the County Court, May 17, 1869, and became a separate township...

Some of the old and prominent settlers of Westport Township were:

Allen McGee, who came from Kentucky, in 1825-6, and settled near where Kansas City now is...

John Crutchfield came at an early day and lived in Independence for some time. Later he settled in the town of Westport...

Isaac McCarty came early, and lived in Westport...

Westport Township was organized from a part of Kaw, and Kaw Township was one of the three original townships into which the county was divided by order of the County Court, May 22, 1827... (--Hist. of Jackson County, 1881, Birdsall, Williams Co., pp. 350, 351.)


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