From the most reliable information that can be obtained, the first white man to erect his cabin home in the present limits of Macon County was James Loe, who came to Howard County,Missouri, in 1820, from Wayne County, Kentucky, and located near the old town of Fayette, where he remained, as above indicated, until 1827, when he and his family came to Macon County. They located south of Callao, on Section 13, Township 57, Range 16.
William Morrow was the third settler. He came from Clay County, Kentucky, in 1819, to Missouri and opened a farm, six miles northwest of Glasgow, in Howard County. After residing in Howard County for three years, he moved to Marion County, Tenn., where he remained six years, and then returned to Missouri, this time settling in Randolph County, near Fox's Mill on the Middle Fork of the Chariton River. After living there for one year, on March 15, 1831, he came to Macon County and located on the southeast quarter of Section 2, Township 56, Range 16 in Chariton Township.
At the date of Mr. Morrow's coming there were no settlements in the region of the county including Adair, Schuyler, Putnam and Macon, excepting those made by James Loe, and others. Mr. Morrow erected the first grist (corn) mill that was put up in the county. . .He was not only a pioneer miller, but was the pioneer blacksmith. The neighborhood where he settled was called the "Morrow Settlement."
The Blackwell Settlement was made on Grand Prairie five miles north of Macon, and was composed of William Blackwell, Nathan Richardson, and John Walker, an Old Revolutionary soldier. MIr. Blackwell came to Macon County April 12, 1831.
"Blackwell Settlement" was afterwards called "Moccasinville," so named because the pioneers had no leather to make shoes of and were compelled to wear moccasins instead. The next emigrants to the county came in 1832, and formed the "Owenby Settlement." Their names were Joseph Owenby, and Clemens Hutchison, and located where the town of Bloomfield now stands. Joseph Owenby was one of the first three county judges. HIST. OF MACON CO., 1884, St. Louis, National Historical Society, 702, 703,704.
At the session of the General Assembly held in the City of Jefferson in the winter of 1836 and 1837, an act was passed organizing a new county ca'iled Macon in honor of Nathaniel Macon. (The boundaries are given on pages 7O9- 710.)
The commissioners who were appointed to select the county seat chose the Owenby Settlement,in 1837, and which place was called Bloomington.
Macon county was the fifty-seventh county organized in the state and was the smallest. Fifty-seven counties have been formed since then. Macon County is the largest county in the State in area excepting Texas, Shannon, Howell and Bates; the county of Vernon contains the same number of square miles that Macon contains.
Nathaniel Macon, for whom the county was named, was born in Warren County,
North Carolina and died at his plantation in the same county June 29, 1837.
He was a Revolutionary soldier.
On Monday, the first day of May, 1837, the following townships were
Middle Fork; Chariton; Liberty; Jackson; Independence; Pettis; Gocean, (Gocean Township is now in Adair Co.). The boundaries are given on pages 723, 724, and 725.
At the second term of court, 3rd day of July, 1837, it was ordered by
the court that Middle Fork Township be divided to form another township
by the name of Narrows.
Pettis Township is now in Adair County. (See A DIRECTORY 0F ADAIR COUNTY, Moser.) At the August term in 1838, the court ordered that a temporary courthouse be built in Bloomington. It was a wooden structure two stories tall, 20 feet wide by 30 feet long.
At the November term in 1839, the court ordered that a brick courthouse be built 45 feet square and two stories in height.
The third courthouse was erected in 1864-65, at Macon. It was made of
brick and was a large and substantial building.
Macon County is in the north-eastern part of the State, and is bounded on the north by Adair and Knox, on the east by Knox and Shelby, on the south by Randolph and Chariton and on the west by Linn County. It is separated from the Iowa Line by Adair and Schuyler Counties and from the Mississippi River by Shelby and Marion Counties.
The county is divided into 24 municipal townships, namely, Bevier, Callao,
Chariton, Drake, Eagle, Easley, Hudson, Independence, Jackson, Johnston,
Liberty, Lingo, Lyda, La Plata, Middle Fork, Morrow, Narrows, RichIand,
RusselI, Round Grove, Ten Mile, Walnut Creek, White and Valley.
Morrow Township is in the extreme southwestern corner of the county, and bordering as it does on Chariton and Randolph Counties it was naturally the first settled.
James Loe, not only was the first settler in this township, but the first to pitch his tent within the present limits of Macon County, located on the northwest quarter of Section 1 Township 56, Range 16, in 1826. He was originally from Wayne County, Kentucky.
The first mill in the county was erected in Morrow Township, by William
Morrow, about the year 1833, near the banks of a stream which was known
as "Stinking Creek." This inelegant appellation was applied to that stream
because the water therein presented a muddy appearance, and when stirred
emitted an obnoxious odor.
IBID: 735. 737.
CHARITON TOWNSHIP takes its name from the Middle Fork of the Chariton River, which passes through its western boundary. Chariton was among the earliest townships settled.
It was called the South Carolina of Macon County during the Civil War.
Among the early settlers were James Dysart, James Mitchell, Thomas Bannon,
and Frazier Bannon.
NARROWS TOWNSHIP. This is in the south tier of townships, and borders upon Randolph County. Among the old settlers of Morrow Township were Joseph D. Butler, Isaac Gooding, and Edwin Bastam, the tallest man in the county. (Height not given.)
The first mill in the township was located in the northeastern part
and was built by Judge Frederick Rowland. It was operated by an inclined
wheel and ground about 100 bushels of corn and wheat per day. It was erected
in 1840, and was run until 1850, when it was changed to a carding machine.
Afterwards it was called Georgetown.
Judge Frederick Rowland sold goods in 1837, at Locust Grove, his residence.
MIDDLE FORK TOWNSHIP lies in the southeast corner of the county and is watered by the Middle Fork of Salt River (after which the township takes its name) and its tributaries. Bordering upon Randolph County, it was among the first settled, and many of its settlers came from Hunt* and Howard Counties.
*It is not known what is meant by Hunt County, as there is no county by that name in Missouri. Perhaps Huntsville is meant.Among the early settlers were WilliamH. Rowland, Young W. Rowland and James Rowland.
MIDDLE FORK TOWNSHIP. Perhaps Huntsville is meant since the early settlers of Round Grove Township went to Huntsville and Bloomington to get their supplies as well as to employ a physician. IBID: 761.
LINGO TOWNSHIP occupies the southwest corner of the county, and is the largest of the 24 municipal divisions embracing 42 square miles. It was named for Judge Samuel Lingo, who came from Kentucky in 1835. About one-half of the population was composed of Welsh settlers.
Among the early settlers were Gordon Lang, who came from Kentucky in 1835, and settled on Brush Creek one and one-half miles west of New Cambria; and William Stanfield, from Ihdiana, in 1835, who located between the Chariton River and Puzzle Creek. Willis Blair, from Tennesse, was perhaps about the first settler in the township. IBID: 752.
CALLAO TOWNSHIP is in the southwestern part of the county, lying just north of Morrow Township. Within its borders are also located (1884) Fed, Swan, and Trestle Lake, the largest of which is Swan Lake, which covers about 700 acres of land in sections 15, 16, 21 and 22. These lakes were within a half mile of each other, and were connect by a small stream.
Swan Lake was so named because it resembled a swan in shape. The Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad company constructed a trestle work through the north end of Trestle Lake, hence the name "Trestle Lake." The township was named for the town of Callao, whiich is situated in the same, and the town of Callao was named by Samuel Kinney, for a South American City. (Peru.)
Mr. Claiborne Wright from Kentucky, Jacob Love, from North Carolina, and Mike Sweeney and John Sweeney, from Ireland, were among the early settlers. IBID: 754, 755.
BEVIER TOWNSHIP lies immediately west of Hudson Township and contains 30 square miles.
William Green came from Kentucky, and settled south of and near the present site of Bevier. The Baptists erected the first house of worship about the year 1856. . .The first school house was built about 1838, one and one-half miles south of Bevier. William Matthews, from North Carolina, was the first school teacher. Lewis Cross opened the first blacksmith shop. IBID: 755, 756.
ROUND GROVE TOWNSHIP was reorganized in 1872, and lies in the southeastern portion of the county, bordering upon Shelby County.
Among the first settlers in Round Grove Township were John C. Rowland, Thomas C. Winn, Sr., Henry Matthews and Levi Cox. Mr. Rowland located on the southwest corner of Section 31, Township 57, Range 13.
George B. Larrick taught the first school that was kept in Round Grove Township. The school-house (log cabin) was located on Section 21, Township 57, Range 13.
The pioneer preacher was Dr. Abram Still, a Methodist. The early settlers went to Bloomington and Huntsville to get their supplies, as well as to employ a physician. John T. and C. H. Links put up a blacksmith shop in Section 28, Township 57, Range 13. The first church building was erected about the year 1850, by the Methodists. It was located in Section 28, Township 57, Range 13. IBID: 757, 761.
HUDSON TOWNSHIP, although not centrally located, contains the county seat, Macon.
William Fletcher, Benjamin Catterton, Jesse Hall, and Rufus Kincaid were among the early settlers. IBID, 762.
TEN MILE TOWNSHIP is the central of the eastern tier of townships, and is 36 miles square. The township took its name from a creek of the same name which is just ten miles in length.
The first settler in the township was William Griffin, who was born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, on the 28th day of May, 1797. Capt. Griffin commenced an improvement in Macon County in 1838 in Ten Mile Township near LaPorte. At that time there was no settlement nearer than Thomas Winn, Henry Matthews and the Moccasinville Settlement.
Capt. Griffin was married to Miss Susan Buster in September, 1821, in Pulaski County, Kentucky. In 1828, he and his family, in company with his brother, John Griffin, moved to Ralls County, Mo., and settled near New London. In 1829, he moved to Marion County, near Hannibal.
Hannibal then was in the brush; there was only one two-story house in the place, and that was made of logs, and used as a tavern by Joseph Brazier, not far from the steam-boat landing of 1884. Occasionally a steam-boat would make its appearance, but had very little business with Hannibal. There was a ferry kept by Samuel Stoje & Bro., who also had a dray to haul goods from the landing to Draper's Store. Zacharia Draper was the only merchant or storekeeper in the place.
The county was without roads, churches, school houses, mills or blacksmith shops. In 1839 Capt. Griffin moved his family to a new home. The first church established in his section of the county was in 1841 or 1842, by the Missionary Baptists.
The first store was established at the captain's house, of which he was postmaster. It was about 1845.
The first store was established at La Porte by a gentleman named Ritter, in a cabin.
The county seat was located at Bloomington. The first mill was built in the township in 1842, by Charles Collier; the first steam mill in 1844, by John B. Griffin, and located on Bailey's Branch, southwest of LaPorte. MACON CO., 783, 784.
EAGLE TOWNSHIP is north of Hudson Township. It was reorganized in 1872.
William Blackwell was the first white resident in the township. He was born in Madison County, Kentucky, January 18, 1797. He came to Macon County on the 12th of April, 1831. At that time Macon County was a part of Randolph County. In fact Randolph County extended to the lowa State Line.
The first mill was established by Judge James C. Cochran, at Bloomington in 1837 or 1838. The grinding was done by horses hitched to a sweep or lever.
The first water mill was built on the Chariton by Howell Rose date unknown. The first court was held at Box Ancle, in a log cabin, although some said the first session of the county court was held on a fence.
Perry Davis was the first school teacher. John Floyd was the first blacksmith and opened a shop in the northeast part of the township about the year 1861 or 1862. IBID: 785, 786, 787.
LIBERTY TOWNSHIP occupies the central portion of the county, and was organized in 1837 during the setting of the first county court. Its territory, however, has been greatly reduced in size, the township now embracing an area of only 36 square miles.
Among the early settlers were James Wells, George M. Taylor and Andrew Milsap. IBID, 792, 793.
VALLEY TOWNSHIP was originally named in honor of Jacob Loe, the first settler in Macon County. but was changed in 1872, by the county court, to Valley Township.
Among the early settlers were Richard Blue, William Ward and Daniel Hull. William Ward was the first setter, and came from Kentucky in 1835. Howell Rose built the first mill in 1840. The first school was taught in the Temple Weddell neighborhood by John Richards about 1844.
The first church services were held in the school-house above mentioned. Gabriel Wendell opened the first blacksmith shop. No post-office is in the township --1884. The people got their mail at New Cambria. IBID: 799.
Russell Township is one of the middle western townships of the county, containing 36 square miles.
Jacob Eppler was possibly the earliest settler in the township, coming to the same from Kentucky in 1835, and locating on the Middle Fork of the Chariton River.
The first mill was erected in the township by Davis Mendenhall on the Muscle Fork. The first school was taught by George Jenks, who came from New York. The Presbyterians (C. C:. P.) built the first church in 1872, near Brush Creek. Gabriel Wendell was the blacksmith. IBID: 799, 800.
JACKSON TOWNSHIP is one of the northeastern townships, bordering on the line of Shelby County. It is 36 miles square.
The pioneer settler of the township was Benjamin Davis, who came in 1832 and built a small cabin in Section 36, Township 59, Range 13. Davis came from Monroe County, Mo., and after living in Jackson Township three years, he returned to Monroe Countty. He was the only settler in the township for three years.
James McNutt built the first mill in Section 36. James Griffin taught the first school in Section 34. The Primitive Baptist organization built the first church in 1838. There is and has never been but one post-office in the township, and it is called Nickellton. IBID, 801.
LYDA TOWNSHIP lies south of La Plata Township, and is in the second tier of townships, south of the north line of the township. It was named for one of the early settlers--Gideon Lyda, who immigrated from Tennessee.
The southern portion of the township was first settled, the majority of the pioneers coming from Kentucky. George Lyda and E. L. Lyda were from Tennessee. Johnson Miles, Frail Myers and Robert Myers, from Kentucky.
The first church in the township was located near Vienna and erected about the year 1844. It was owned by the Baptists and called "Mount Tabor." IBID: 802,
INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP is one of the original muncipal divisions of the county, and was organized in 1837, but embraced much more territory than it does now. It is the central of the second tier of townships south of the north line of the county. The early settlers to this township were generally from Kentucky.
Among the early settlers were Greenberry Burckhart, Simpson Graves and Campbell Hubbard. IBID: 804.
The first mill was put up in Independence Township by Abraham Dale in the northern pat of the township. It was a horse mill, and was run by an inclined wheel. The original blacksmith was John Huffman, whose shop stood near the eastern line of the township.
"Little Zion," was the name of the pioneer church, and was located in the vicinity of Dale's mill. It was a double log house and was built by the Regular Baptists, about the year 1840. IBID:803.
WALNUT CREEK TOWNSHIP derived its name from a creek which flows through the northern part of the same.
It is supposed that Fisher Rice was the earliest settler in the township; he came from Kentucky in 1834.
Walter Gilman erected the first mill on Rock Creek about the year 1854; it was a steam saw and grist-mill. The first church edifice was built in 1865, at Glasstown--Presbyterian. The first school house was put up in 1845, and a school was taught therein by P. M. Richardson. E. C. Still was the first practicing physician.
William Dunnels was the first blacksmith, and began work about the year 1848. No post-office existed in 1884. IBID: 806, 807.
WHITE TOWNSHIP is south of DrakeTownship. . .It was named in honor of Randolph White, who came from Randolph County, Mo., in 1850. He was a native of Kentucky. One of the earliest settlers in this township was John Devold, who emigrated from Virginia about the year 1836 and located about 12 miles north of New Cambria.
Solomon Scott erected the first mill in the township about the year 1866, on Muscle Fork of Chariton River; it was a water mill.. Caleb Collier, a Baptist, was one of the first ministers. Meredith Davis taught one of the first schools in the southeastern part of the township. John Devold was the first blacksmith, his shop being located on his farm. John Michael was the shoemaker for the neighborhood. IBID: 807.
JOHNSTON TOWNSHIP is the smallest township in the county, containing about 182 square miles. It occupies the extreme northeast portion of the county. It was reorganized in 1872 and named in honor of Col. Richard Johnston, who came here from Virginia, in 1838, and settled upon the present site of Sue City. Among the early settlers were Logan Thompson, Peter Talbot, William Barrow, J. M. Collins, and B. Collins, nearly all of whom located near the present site of Sue City. The first mill in the township was erected at Sue City by Henderson McCully. The first carding machine was operated by Col. Rochard Johnston about the year 1841. The first schoolhouse was built by the Thompson Bros. in 1866; about one mile northeast of Sue City. Jesse Kellog opened the first blacksmith shop at Sue City. Dr. T. J. Norris was the first physician. IBID: 809.
LA PLATA TOWNSHIP is situated in the northeastern part of the county and has an area of 36 square miles.
John Gilbreath came from Tennessee in 1826 to Cooper County, Mo., and resided there until 1838, when he removed to Newton County, and thence to La Plata Township (sic). He had no such luxurie as coffee and sugar, and did not posess as would amount to one dollar for two years after his removal. He had to borrow money enough to pay his taxes (87½¢), for several years.
John Holmes emigrated from Tennessee about the year 1835, and was one of the first settlers. Later he moved to Iowa.
William Titus erected the first mill in the township, locating it on Titus Creek, about the year 1840; it was a horse-mill with no cogs, and was supplied with a band made of raw hide.
Samuel Davidson, from Tennessee, taught the first school in a log cabin, which was located about three miles southwest of La Plata. James Seavers was the first blacksmith who operated a shop in the township. It was about three miles southwest of La Plata and was put up in 1838. W. B. Lillie was the first physician, and came from Boonville, Mo, in 1848, and settled near La Plata. Robert Houston was among the early shoemakers· The first church edifice was built in 1866 by the Baptists. IBID: 810, 811.
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP is the central of the northern line of townships, and contains 36 square miles.
Among the earliest settlers in the township were; William Gross, R.
A. Wright, George Edwards and James Hubbard. Abraham Gross, father of William
Gross came from Cumberland County, Kentucky, and settled in the territory
of Missouri, in 1816, in what is now Randolph County, but thought it was
then called Howard County. He settled near Goose Pond, seven miles southwest
of Huntsville. This Goose Pond, at that time, covered about 5O or 6O acres
of land. In 1884, it had been dry for several years, and had been in cultivation.
In 1840, Macon County had been organized but a few years. Formerly Richland
Township was called Independence Township.
EASLEY TOWNSHIP is one of the northwestern townships and embraces an area of about 32 square miles.
The township was named for Judge William Easley, who emigrated from Kentucky about the year 1838. Among other old settlers were David Williams and Thomas Williams, from Kentucky. IBID 819, 820.
DRAKE TOWNSHIP lies in the extreme northwest portion of the county and embraces an area of 36 square miles. It was named for James Drake, who came from Iowa in 1849. John Mesmenger opened the first business house on the Muscle Fork of the Chariton River, in 1846. The first mill was put up by Matthew Crowder, on the Muscle Fork, and was run by water power: IBID: 821.
Springfield-Greene County Library