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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

[I]

Lincoln County, Missouri, is located the east central part of the State, and occupies portions of Townships 48, 49, 50 and 51 north, and Ranges 1, 2, and 3 east and west of the fifth principal meridian. It is bounded on the north by Pike County, on the east by the Mississippi River, which separates it from Calhoun County, in Illinois, on the south by St. Charles and Warren Counties, and on the west by Montgomery County... The 59th degree of North latitude passes through its center, and its isometrical line is 56, which passes through the mouth of the Potomac River, giving the same degree of temperature as that point on the Atlantic coast, which is intersected by the 38th degree of latitude.

There are several small caves in the county... On Sukphur Fork of Cuivre, in Waverly Township, there is a cave and Natural Bridge ... (1888). It was situated on the old J.S. Wilson farm, Section 15, Township 51 N, Range 2 West. At this point the right bank of the Sandy Fork, with a north and south trend, rises an abrupt limestone cliff, and then slopes westward to a hollow. The Natural Bridge, as it is called, connects this hollow and the creek. This archway is in length about 125 feet, and has an average width of some twelve feet, though its walls are quite irregular. Toward the center the walls, all at once, contract, thus cutting the bridge into two rooms, leaving just space for a man to pass from one to the other. The ceiling of the room is apparently one large, flat rock, extending the entire 125 feet... (--Lincoln County, 203, 205, 206.)

The county of Lincoln was organized in accordance with an act of the Legislature of the Territory of Missouri, passed December 14, 1818, and a subsequent act passed on the 23d day of the same month. To the first settler of the county was reserved the honor of securing its establishment, and of selecting its name. In the Territorial Legislature which convened at St. Louis, in December, 1818, being the fifth session after the creation of the Territory, the organization of several new counties was discussed. Maj. Christopher Clark, who was a member from St. Charles County living in that portion out of which Lincoln was carved, proposed the creation of the new county, with the boundaries corresponding very nearly to the present limits. The project met with favorable consideration, and a bill providing for the organization of the county was prepared, a blank space being left for the insertion of its name. Several names were proposed and discussed...

Finally, Maj. Clark addressed the Assembly...He said, "Mr. Speaker, I was the first man to drive a wagon across Big Creek, the boundary line of the proposed new county, and the first permanent white settler within its limits. I was born in Link-horn County, N.C. I lived for many years in Link-horn County, in old Kaintuck. I wish to live the remainder of my days, and die in Link-horn County, Missouri; and I move, therefore, that the blank in the bill be filled with the name of Link-horn."

[II]

The motion was carried unanimously, and the clerk, not adopting the frontier parlance of the Major, wrote "Lincoln" in the blank spaces of the bill. The was on the 14th day of December, 1818, and on the 8th Jefferson County had been created, and on the 11th, Franklin and Wayne. In 1813, Washington County had been established, and in 1815 the county of Howard. Thus Lincoln was the sixth county established by the Territorial Legislature, not counting the county of Arkansas, set off during the session of 1813-14, and afterward formed into a separate State...

The court then divided the county into four municipal townships, Monroe, Bedford, Union and Hurricane...

In April, 1819, Ira Cottle, Almond Cottle and Nathaniel Simond, offered to donate to the county a tract of land containing fifty acres, at the town of Monroe, as a site for the seat of justice... During the summer, the commissioners appointed for the task, caused to be erected a jail at Monroe, and in December, following they reported to the county court that they had selected, and fixed upon a site for the seat of justice, at the town of Monroe. The court then ordered that the courts within the county be thereafter held at the town of Monroe...

It is very evident that the commissioners who selected Monroe as the place for the seat of justice did not take into consideration the extent of territory included within the boundaries of the county, else they surely would have not located the county seat clear to one corner. It was certainly a very incosistent act and was soon so regarded by the people. The only reason, apparently that can be given why they selected Monroe, was because it was then in the most thickly settled portion of the county...

The selection of Monroe as the county seat was never satisfactory to the people of the county. By reference to the session act of the Legislature for 1822, will be found an act, Chapter 38, providing for its removal from that point.

New commissioners were appointed, and were empowered to select a suitable site in accordance with the petition which had been presented, asking for the removal. The courts were to be continued at Monroe until the erection of a court-house and jail at the new county seat, Alexandria. (--Lincoln County, 260, 261, 262, 265, 266, 267, 268.)

The last term in Monroe was held in November, 1822. No mention is made on the records of any compliance with the terms of the legislative act, before the removal of the county seat, but on the first Monday in February, 1823, the county court convened at Alexandria, the point selected by the commissioners as the new county seat. The books and papers had been sent up the previous Saturday, and deposited in the only dwelling house in the place. This was a hewed-log building, one and a half story, with one window containing twelve lights of 8 x 10 glass, a clapboard roof, floor and door of rough planks...A small room adjoining was used for a kitchen...

[III]

It was no little pride that the good lady of the house surrendered the "best room" for the use of the court, and retired to the kitchen...

The business of the court proceeded leisurely until an hour or so before noon, when it began to be whispered about the kind lady of the house, who, it was plain to be seen, was in a delicate condition, had reached such a crisis as might compel the court and all attendants to leave at once and without ceremony.

Most of the cases were disposed of very quickly, but one attormey demanded that his case be brought to trial at once. (After some lengthy legal maneuvering, which is described on pages 269, 270, the case was resolved.) Late that night, sounds were heard from the kitchen, indicating the arrival of a newcomer into the world. Later, it was learned the family of the patriotic lady had been increased by the birth of a daughter...

The county seat did not long remain at Alexandria until a majority of the qualified citizens of the county became dissatisfied with its location, being situated as it was on a high ridge of land inaccessible by water. Accordingly, on the 5th day of August, 1828, during the setting of the county court... a petition was presented, praying for the removal of the county seat from Alexandria to the town of Troy...

The commissioners, appointed for the task, met at the time and place appointed, and selected Troy as the site for the seat of justice, and on the 24th day of the same month, they procured title by deed from George Collier and his wife, donors, for two blocks of land... according to Collier's addition to the original plat of the town of Troy... The consideration expressed in the deed was $1.

At the November term of the county court an election was ordered held in the several townships of the county, on Monday, December 8, following to take the sense of the voters, as to the selction made by the commissioners... It was learned that a majority of the qualified voters had voted for the place selected. Thereupon the court "considered the seat of justice of Lincoln County removed to the place selected in the town of Troy"... This was at the old place formerly known as Woods' Fort. (--Lincoln County, 269, 271, 173.)

Townships

The organization of Monroe, Bedford, Union and Hurricane, the four original townships has been given. The first change in township boundary lines was made in April, 1820, when that part of Monroe lying between the Cuivre (pronounced 'quiver'), Big Creek and the fifth principal meridian was cut off by order of the court added to Bedford.

Afterward, from time to time, new townships were formed, with dates and boundaries as follows:

Waverly. November 7, 1825, on petition of Gabriel P. Nash and other citizens of Union Township, commencing at the northwest corner of Township 51, Range 2 West, and running to the southwest corner of Section 6, Township 50, and Range 2 West; thence east to the beginning. The new township thus formed contained twenty-eight taxable inhabitants...

[IV]

Clark. February 9, 1826, on petition of Christopher Clark and other citizens of Bedford Township, as follows: All that part Bedford Township as is situated south of the dividing line dividing Townships 48 and 49 north. The new municipal township thus formed contained twenty-eight taxable inhabitants... In November, 1877, the line between Waverly and Union Townships was changed so as to enlarge the latter.

Prairie. August 17, 1848, on petition of a large number of citizens... (The boundaries of Prairie Township and the following townships are too lengthy to include here, but may be found on pages 281, 282, 283, 284.)

Millford -- May 31, 1836...

Ninevah -- August 12, 1872...

Burr Oak -- May 11, 1878...

Snow Hill -- May 11, 1875...

Change between Ninevah and Prairie. In August, 1884... the county court ordered "that west Cuivre River be made the north boundary line of Prairie, and the south boundary line of Ninevah Townships; that is, all of Prairie Township lying north of Cuivre River be transferred to Ninevah Township." With the exception of this latter change, the municipal townships of the county are correctly shown on the county atlas, published by Edward Bros., in 1876. Care should be taken to include that part of Prairie shown to be north of the Cuivre with Ninevah.

The Indian treaties are discussed on pages 284, 285, 286. Land grants are described on pages 287, 288, 289, 290.

The first lands in what is now Lincoln County, to which individual titles were obtained, are certain tracts known as Spanish grants or surveys. Under Spanish rule, the Government, in order to encourage settlement, allowed individuals to select and survey unoccupied tracts of land of varying size wherever they chose to settle, and then gave them a grant or right to hold the same as individual property. The Spanish Government also granted large and very often large tracts to certain individuals for services rendered the Government... When the United States acquired titles and took possession of this territory, the Spanish grants were the only lands to which individuals could obtain title, and then only by purchase from the original grantees or their assigns. When the territory was ceded by Spain to France, it was upon condition that individuals holding titles to lands under the Spanish Government should be protected in their rights; and when France ceded the territory to the United States the same stipulations were made. Consequently the United States respected these titles, and afterward, upon a proper showing of evidence of title, the lands were confirmed by Congress to the original grantees of their legal assignees... (--Lincoln County, 287.)

[V]

The following is a list of post-offices and postmasters in Lincoln County, in 1888:

Apex H.H. Morris
Argentville  O. Argent
Auburn  J.M. Terrell
Bals  George Bals
Brevato  Jacob Eisenstein
Briscoe  Cyrus Finley
Brussells  Joseph Dryden
Burr Oaks Valley  Leo Frank
Chain Of Rocks  Stephen Reller
Chantilla  Alfred Filsinger
Corso  J.C. Williams
Dameron  J.W. Jenkins
Davis  William Owen
Early  Robert Howell
Elsberry  J.W. Bibb
Famous  Logan Howell
Foley   -----
Hawk Point  Alexander Kennedy
Hines  F.M. Cole
Linn's Mills  F.W. Grave
Louisville T.J. Higginbotham
Mackville S.R. McKay
Moscow Mills J.H. Anderson
Millview Daniel Mudd
New Hope  -----
Old Monroe W.T. Cameron
Okete  -----
Olney Theron Ives
Owen J.V. Moseley
Silex L.C. Kimler
Troy George H. Mohr
Truxton H.L. Ross
Whiteside J.V. Mokley
Winfield C.H. Stephenson
Fairview post-office had recently been taken up, and there being so many in the county, it was probable that a few more of the county post-offices, not on the line of the railroads would be discontinued. Those on the rail roads and in the large villages would remain. (--Goodspeed, 456.)


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