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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Johnson County
[I]

Johnson County was organized by act of the General Assembly, December 13, 1834, out of Lafayette County, which at that time included all of what is now Lafayette, Johnson and Henry Counties, the northwest half of St. Clair, and a narrow strip on the east side of Bates and Cass Counties, about 1,600,000 acres. Johnson County boundaries were as at present...

The first county court was held at the residence of Mrs. Rachel Houx near Columbus, on April 13, 1835...

At the second court on May 4, 1835, Richard Hancock was appointed collector for the county, and the county was divided into four townships, Jackson, Washington, Jefferson and Madison.

In 1835 the county court appointed four commissioners to select a site for the future county seat. A site had been selected but some people who had moved into the county and settled near Shanghai (Cornelia) bitterly opposed the site because it was on one side of the center of the county. The commissioners reconsidered their decision and selected Warrensburg as being as near the center of the county as it was possible to get. The county then bought the land of the owners and laid out the town of Warrensburg, now known as Old Town...

In the campaign to move the county seat to Centerview, a newspaper was published at Holden to especially promote the move, and on August 14, 1872, the records of the county court show the following: George Washington, Elhanan Roop, and others filed their petition praying the court to submit to the voters at the next general election, November 5, 1872, the proposition "for the removal of the seat of justice of the county of Johnson from the town of Warrensburg to the town of Centerview." It was taken under advisement till 1 P.M. Later in the day "George Washington on behalf of the petitioners withdrew the petition"... (--History of Johnson County, 1918, Cockrell, pp. 92, 93, 94.)

[II]

Settlements

Bluff Spring

Bluff Spring settlement, including Basin Knob, was among the first, and was a rival with Columbus settlement. This settlement is part now within the limits of Kingsville and Jackson Townships, and is extensively noticed elsewhere. (--History of Johnson County., p. 214.)
Columbus
Columbus settlement is the oldest of the county. Pleasant Rice came here in 1827 and raised the first corn crop of the county...Within a few years the settlement was known all over the State, and soon a large number of emigrants sought here a home. Here the first county courts were held, and, in fact, the settlement was the hub around which the interests of the old settlers centered...Here were the first schools and churches planted...(--History of Johnson County, p. 213.)
Cornelia
Cornelia settlement includes a portion of Post Oak, Chilhowee and Centerview Townships. One of the first jurymen of the county settled within these bounds in 1834... (--History of Johnson County, p. 214.)
Dunksburg (Grover Township)
It is on the line of Johnson and Pettis Counties, in Section 1, Township 47 N...In the year 1858 Dr. B. F.Cunkley opened a store at this place, which was commonly called Dunkley's store. The common chat among the neighbors "Are you going to the burg?" was answered by the person who put the question, "What burg?" "Dunklesburg." Finally, through the joke the name was contracted to Dunksburg, rather by accident. Soon after this the village began to build up rapidly, so that by 1860, it contained two stores, blacksmith shop, tailor, shoemaker and a school house.

The Post-office was not established in the township until the pioneers felt a deeper anxiety to hear from their friends and relatives. Grover Township never contained but one post-office, and that on the Pettis County line part of the time in the adjoining county...

The first post-office was named Bee Branch from the little creek nearby and Benjamin Prigmore was the first postmaster. The office was moved to the village in 1858, and took the name of the village Dunksburg, by which it is generally known. During the time of high political excitement, the name was changed to Sigel in honor of the "flying Dutchman". The latter name, however, has never been accepted and popularized... (--History of Johnson County, pp. 619, 620.)

[III]
It is situated at Section 1, Township 47 & Section 36, Township 48 N, Range 24 W at the junction of N & NN.

The post-office was discontinued prior to 1905. (--General Scheme, p. 55.)

Mail now via Sweet Springs, Saline County; population 25. (--Rand, McNally, 1974.) See A Directory of Pettis County, January 1980, Moser, for further details.

Gallaher Mills Settlement
Gallaher Mills settlement was made by Wm. Cheek, in the year 1831, when he erected a water-mill and sawed lumber on Clear Creek Fork near the line of Grover and Washington Townships. He sold to James A. Gallaher, in 1834...Near Dunksburg, a settlement was formed at an early date... (--History of Johnson County, p. 213.)
Huff Settlement
Huff Settlement includes a portion of Post Oak, Chilhowee and Centerview Townships. Samuel Brown, one of the first jurymen of the county, settled within these bounds in the 1834'Section... (--History of Johnson County, p. 214, 215.)
Hazel Hill Settlement
Hazel Hill settlement was made about 1830. Judge Harvey Harrison came here March 21, 1831, and settled on the head of Walnut Creek...Judge Harrison was born March 7, 1806, in Tennessee...He emigrated to Alabama, near Huntsville, before the town was laid out...About 1824 he came to Missouri... (--History of Johnson County, p. 214.)
Mulkey Settlement
Mulkey settlement was in what is now known as Simpson Township. James Mulkey settled on Flagstaff, a small stream which took its name from the abundance of flag growing along the ponds and small lakes on either side of the creek. Dr. Hamilton C. Davis settled and had an extensive practice about what is now (1881) called Kirkpatrick's mills. A mill was owned by Jerome Greer, who, with his brother, had a little store on Blackwater. (--History of Johnson County, pp. 213, 214.)
Rose Hill Settlement
Rose Hill settlement was made contemporary with surrounding settlements. Some times this was known as the "Scott Neighborhood". Richard Scott was one of the prominent settlers...At an early day, a waterpower grist-mill was erected by Welcome Scott on Big Creek, and was noted far and near. (--History of Johnson County, p. 214.)
[IV]

Kingsville Township

Bluff Spring was made the first post-office in the township. Benjamin Longacre was the first postmaster. This was in 1827...The post-office was discontinued in 1856, and the office was moved to the village of Kingsville, which was just laid out. Then came Samuel Bolerjack, moving to the new town and was continued in office until the war of 1861...

It is said that when the mail would arrive that the postmaster would pour the contents of the mail bag in the middle of the floor, and if any were present, they could pick their own mail. His wife couldn't read, and when her husband was absent, and anyone called for mail, she would say, "Look over this package, an' see ef you got anything." (--History of Johnson County, pp. 514, 528.)

Owlsey and Wall Settlements
Owsley and Wall settlements included all of Jefferson and part of Post Oak Townships. John Owsley, Mr. Draper, B. F. Wall....were among the leading settlers... (--History of Johnson County, p. 215.)

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