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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Monroe County

[I]

As early as 1817, parties came into what was then Pike County, and in the vicinity of Middle Grove located tracts of land, but no permanent settlement was made within the boundaries of Monroe County until 1820. The first settlement was begun in the county about three and a half miles east of Middle Grove, by Ezra Fox, Andrew and Daniel Wittenburg and others. For many years afterward this was known as Fox's Settlement ... A number of settlements sprang up. Gradually the settlements were linked together.

There were no trading-places, blacksmith shops, or mills in the county for a number of years. The settlements supplied their few wants at the trading places of towns on the Missouri or Mississippi River. The first blacksmith shop in the county was opened on the Louisiana Road ... by Charles Estes. Among the first of 1830, one-half mile south of Florida, near where Hickman's Mill later stood, by Maj. W. N. Penn. The town of Florida was laid out during the year 1831. Robert Donaldson, W. N. Penn and others were its founders. Soon after the town was laid out Maj. Penn moved his stock of goods to the site and became the first resident of Florida.

It is said that the first mill in the county was built by Benjamin Bradley, about two miles northeast of Florida. It was simple in construction, and was run by horse-power ...

The first public road in the county was what is now -- 1884 -- known as the "Old London Trace," ... It began at Fox's Settlement followed closely along the dividing ridge between the Elk Fork and the South Fork, crossing the latter near where the Louisiana road now --1884 -- crosses the same stream thence through White's neighborhood and on to New London ...

The early settlers of the county, for several years after they built their cabins, had neither postal nor mill facilities, and were compelled to travel from 25 miles to 50 miles in order to reach a post-office or to get their mail ... Postage was very high, and if the old settler sent or received two or three letters during the year, he considered himself fortunate ...

Monroe County formed and organized.

During the years 1829-30, emigration came in rapidly. The inconvenience of being so remote from the county seat, New London, ... and the hope of more rapid settlement, induced the pioneers during the latter part of the year 1830 to take steps to secure the organization of a new county. The subject was laid before the General Assembly of the State, was favorably considered, and passed creating a new county (from a portion of Ralls County) ... to be known and called by the name of "Monroe County." (Laws of Missouri.)

[II]

Supplies in those days were obtained at Hannibal. Mail was carried by horses and wagon transportation ...

The first mill was built in the county in 1827, and was known as Benj. Bradley's mill. At first the mill only ground corn, which had to be sifted after it was ground as there were no bolts in the mill. There was only one set of buhrs ...The mill had no gearing, the buhrs being located over the wheel and running with the same velocity of the wheel ...

First County Court

The first county court of Monroe County was held at the house of Green V. Caldwell on Saturday, February 26, 1831. Andrew Rogers, John Curry, and William P. Stephens had been commissioned justices of the court by Governor John Miller, and all were present and took their seats. They were commissioned to serve four years, unless sooner removed according to law.

The next regular term of the court was held on the 2d day of May, 1831, commencing Monday ... (after some routine business was disposed of, the court took further action.) It then proceeded to divide the county into townships as follows: --

All that portion of the county lying east of a line running north and south across the county, including ten miles in width, composed the lower or eastern township, and was called Jefferson Township, the middle or eastern township embraced eleven miles in width, and was called Jackson, and all the territory lying west of Jackson Township and attached to Monroe County was called Union Township, making three original townships ...

The first circuit court for Monroe County convened for the first time June 20, 1831, at the residence of Green V. Caldwell, the same place for holding the county court. Hon. Priestly McBride was the judge, William Runkle, sheriff; Edward M. Holden, clerk, and Ezra Hunt, circuit attorney. (--pp. 91, 92, 93, 94, 106, 100, 111, 114.)

Townships

Jackson Township is the central municipal division of the county and contains the county seat ...

James Runkle, Samuel Pool, William and John McBee were among the pioneers of Jackson Township ... An early school was taught by Rev. John Wright, a Presbyterian minister, just south of Paris. William Armstrong erected the first mill that was put up in the township ... This mill ground both corn and wheat, and stood on the bank of the Middle Fork of Salt River, about one mile east of Paris, and was a grist and saw mill. It was built in 1833 ...

Green V. Caldwell came from New London, Ralls County, Mo., in 1831, and located on the main highway leading from Maple Grove, in Monroe County, to New London in Ralls County ... Caldwell opened a small store and sold goods from 1831 until his death which occurred about the latter part of the same year. His store was about two and a half miles southeast of the present town of Paris ... (--129, 130, 132.)

[III]

Jefferson Township lies east of Jackson, and extends from the line of the latter to Ralls County ...

Jefferson Township was one of the earliest settled townships of the county; the pioneers who first emigrated thereto were generally from Kentucky ...

Among the early settlers of the township were the following: Maj. William N. Penn, Hugh A. Hickman, Peter Stice and Andrew Rogers ... (-- 151.)

Indian Creek Township ... is the smallest municipal division in the county. It is situated in the northeastern part of the county ...

Matthew W. Carswell, Andrew Arnett, Richard Miller and William K. Brooks were among the first to settle in the county ... (--157, 158.)

Monroe Township occupies the northeastern portion of the county ... It is the smallest township in the county, excepting Indian Creek ...

James Dale, Morgan Parish and Alexander Winset were among the first to settle in the township ... (--160.)

Marion Township ... was named in honor of Gen. Francis Marion ... Among the early settlers in this township were William, Joel, and James Farrell, John Glenn and Stephen Callaway. It has two towns, Madison and Holliday ... (--173.)

Union Township lies in the southeastern part of the county, and borders upon Randolph County ... The first mill in this township was built and operated by C. B. Dawson, in 1831, in the town limits of Middle Grove. It was, when first built, a saw-mill and carding machine, and afterwards machinery was added for a grist-mill.

Among the old settlers in this township were Kentuckians and Virginians ... John G. C. Milligan, Ezra Fox, J. C. Fox, James Weils and Jacob Stevens ... (--176, 177.)

South Fork Township was organized in 1834 ... The early settlers of the township were generally from Kentucky and Virginia ...

Among the pioneers who settled in South Fork Township were Lewis Crigler, Levi Crigler, Bruce Snyder, David Hanna and Esom Hanna ...The towns were Santa Re, Strother, and Long Branch P. O. (--180, 181.)

[IV]

Washington Township ... Among the early settlers were J. M. Dean, Caleb West, W. T. Adams, James Ragland and Jesse White.

The towns were Clinton, (Somerset P. O.), Jonesburg, and North Fork P. O. (--185, 186.)

Clay Township contained seven school-houses, located as follows: one, in Section 31, one in Section 15, one in Section 26, one in Section 18, one in Section 6, one in Section 2 and one in Section 14; and two churches -- one a Baptist, in Section 31, and one, a Methodist, in Section 12 ...

Among the early settlers were Charles S. Clay, (after whom the township was named), Isaac and Samuel Stalcup, William Briggs and Simeon Sparks.

The township had one town-Granville.

Woodlawn Township constituted an area of country a little larger than Monroe Township and is situated in the northwestern portion of the county ...

Among the early settlers were Thomas J. Wise, Nicholas Rea, Travis Million, Eglantine Hill, and James King.

The township had two towns, Woodlawn and Duncan's Bridge ... (--187, 188.)

Page numbers refer to Hist. of Monroe County.


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