Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
That portion of Randolph County which borders upon Howard County was first settled, and is now known as Silver Creek and Moniteau Townships. From the best and most reliable information that can be obtained, the first white man to permanently place his tent in what is now Randolph County, was William Holman, who emigrated to Missouri in 1817, from Madison County, Kentucky, and located in Howard County, where he remained until the following year (1818) and then moved to Randolph County, and settled in Silver Creek Township. (--p. 92.)
Randolph County was organized in 1829, out of territory taken from Howard County, and named for John Randolph, of Roanoke, VA. (--p. 97.)
When Randolph County was organized, it included Macon and all the territory north to the Iowa line or Indian Territory. (--p. 93.)
(According to the map of the State of Missouri, the counties north of Macon County are Adair and Schuyler.)
The first county court that convened in Randolph County, was held on the 2d day of February, 1829 ... It was held at the house of Blanderman Smith ...
On February 3, the county was divided into townships: Silver Creek; Prairie; Salt Spring; Sugar Creek. (The boundaries are given on pp. 113, 114, Hist. of Randolph County.)
It was ordered by the court that application be made to the clerk of Chariton County Court, for copies of such records pertaining to the county of Randolph, as may be thought necessary ...
The early records of the circuit court and recorder's office, especially the record of deeds in the latter office were destroyed by fire in 1882, at the time the court house was burned ...
The first circuit court within and for the county of Randolph, was held at the residence of William Goggin in 1829. The Hon. Davig Todd, of Boone County, was the presiding judge; Robert Wilson was the clerk; Hancock Jackson, sheriff, and James Gordon, prosecuting attorney. (--pp. 116, 117.)
The contract for building the first court-house was let on the 13th of June, 1831, and the building was completed some time in the fall of the next year. It was a brick structure, two stories high, built in a square form, one room below used as the courtroom and three above used as jury rooms. One of these small rooms was for a number of years used as a Masonic Hall, and it was there that the Masonic meeting in Huntsville was held ... This building cost $2,400, and when it was condemned and torn down in the winter of 1858 or the spring of 1859, the bricks were purchased by the members of the Christian Congregation in this place and did good service in their church building. (--p. 122.)
The second court-house was completed in 1860 ... It was burned August 12, 1882. A new court-house was commenced in the fall of 1883 and finished in April, 1884 ... It was surmounted with a dome of symmetrical proportions, which was seen for many miles in almost every direction from Huntsville. The dome contained a town clock ... (--p. 122.)
County Seat Question
The City of Moberly was the rival claimant for the county seat against Huntsville, the former and present county seat. The first vote had the following results: For removal 2,453, Against 2,271. The second and last contest took place in 1882, with the following result: For removal 3,481; Against 3,068. It required a two-thirds vote to remove the county seat. (--pp. 123, 124.)
The county was originally divided into four townships, towit: Silver Creek, Prairie, Salt River, and Sugar Creek. The townships of Chariton, Clifton, Salt Spring, Jackson, Cairo, Union and Moniteau have since been added, making eleven municipal townships. Prairie is the largest and occupies the southeastern portion of the county. Jackson and Union are the smallest ... (--p. 125.)
Randolph County is situated in the northeast central part of the State and is bounded on the north by Macon and Shelby, on the east by Monroe and Audrain, on the south by Howard and Boone Counties, and on the west by Chariton County. (--p. 133.)
Cairo Township. Among the early settlers in Cairo Township were Leonard Doldson, from Kentucky, Andrew Gooding, from Kentucky, James T. Boney, from North Carolina and W. S. Dameron, from Kentucky.
Judge Joseph Gooding is said to have been the first settler in the township. He emigrated to Howard County, Missouri, from Kentucky, in 1818, and in 1823 located in Cairo Township. (--p. 136.)
Clifton Township is the middle township on the west border of Randolph County ...
Among the early settlers, all from Kentucky, were Joseph Baker, David Harris, Sadie Baker and W. V. Ball ...
The first mill that was erected was built by Ezekiel Richardson, in 1824, on Middle Fork of Chariton River. This was on property owned by Samuel G. Johnson ... About 1832 or 1833, a small house, known as Johnson School-house, was erected ... Among the early ministers of the Gospel was Rev. John Shores, a Methodist. (--pp. 138, 136, 141.)
Chariton Township lies in the northwest corner of Randolph and borders on Macon and Chariton Counties ...
It was organized in 1832, out of territory originally belonging to Salt Spring Township, and extended 12 miles into the present limits of Macon County. By the subsequent organization of that county, Chariton Township lost two-thirds of its territory, and was reduced to its present limits of 54 square miles.
The first settlement was made in about the year 1829, by a few families on each side of Eldad and Darksville ... (p. 143.)
One of the oldest settlers in the township was Judge Joseph Turner. He was born in North Carolina, in 1802, and moved with his parents to Tennessee in 1815, and was married in 1822, and moved to Missouri, and entered the land in which he resided in 1884, near Eldad Church, in 1830. He was appointed Justice of the Peace before the township was formed, and had jurisdiction to the Iowa Line ... (p. 147.)
Jackson Township is the middle township on the northern border of the county ...The early settlers included some of the following names: Henry Owens, of Kentucky, Leonard Hill, from Virginia, and Frank Sims, of Tennessee. Several came from Kentucky, a few from Tennessee and Virginia ...
James Lamb came in November, 1837, from Casey County, KY ... There were no settlements on the prairie. A road ran north and south through the township called the "Bee Trace," so-called from the fact that it was the route traveled by the old pioneers who hunted wild honey and sold it for twenty cents a gallon.
Humphrey and Brook erected the saw mill in the township, which was soon afterward destroyed by fire, and immediately rebuilt, when it was sold to George W. Jones, who combined it with a grist mill ... The mill was located about a half mile north of Jacksonville, at a spring ... The first church that was built in the township was by the Christian denomination in 1852, and was a Union church. Later it was used as a barn ... (--pp. 152, 153, 154.)
Moniteau Township is the middle township on the southern border of Randolph County. It contains a fraction over 37 square miles and was cut off from the townships of Prairie and Silver Creek after the construction of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, from Hannibal to Sedalia. Soon after this event a depot was established in the present territory of Moniteau, on lands then belonging to Edward Owens, called Higbee, and soon a village was laid out on lands belonging to Edward Owens and Joseph Burton. A post-office was established, and the growth of the future town was begun. Later the Chicago, Alton, St. Louis and Kansas City Railroad built through the township crossing the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad in the center of town. These arrangements having been completed a petition was presented to the county court asking that another township be organized, to be called Moniteau ...
Moniteau Township (cont)
Moniteau was first settled by Virginians, Kentuckians and Tennesseans and North Carolinians ... Some of them were James Dysart, Dr. William Walker and Montgomery Whitman ... John Turner erected the first mill that was put up in the township. It was an old-fashioned horse mill and was located in the northern part of the township and was running as early as 1828.
Thomas Dawkins, from Kentucky, taught the first school, about the year 1830; the school-house, a small cabin, stood near a small stream, one of the forks of Silver Creek ... (--pp. 156, 157.)
Prairie Township lies in the southwestern corner of Randolph County. It is the largest township in the county, and has an area of 88 square miles ... Among the old settlers of the township were John Martin and R. P. Martin ...
Nearly all of the above mentioned pioneers were from Kentucky. ... James Martin, in his early manhood, was very athletic, and was probably the only man who caught an unwounded deer by running after it on foot, and an unwounded wild turkey by climbing a tree.
The first mill was owned by Jesse Jones, and was located about three miles southwest of Rennick. The first church edifice in the township was called Dover Church, and was occupied by different denominations.
The first school was taught by Col. John M. Bean, a Kentuckian at a place called Oak Point. Lynch Turner was the first officiating minister of the Gospel ... (--pp. 160, 161, 162.)
Salt River Township is the northeastern township of Randolph County ... Among the early settlers of the township was H. G. Roebuck, M. McKinney and Strother Ridgeway ... There was but one post-office in the township -- Levick's Miii ...
There were four school-houses in Salt River Township ... These were used from four to six months a year. There were also two churches in the territory -- a Cumberland Presbyterian Church and a union building used alternately by the Baptist and Christian denominations. (--pp. 164, 165, 166.)
Union Township is the middle township on the eastern border of Randolph County. Monroe County is on its eastern boundary ...Among the first settlers of the township were George Burchart, Clemen Jeeter, Geo. Chapman and Nade Chapman.
There were three mills in Union Township owned, respectively, by W. D. Wilson, ? Elsea, and Frank Hall ... There were five churches within its border, viz: two belonging to the Southern Methodists, two to the Christian denomination, and one Baptist. It had four school-houses, provided with modern improvements and conveniences in which schools were taught from five to six months a year. The average of wages paid to the teachers was $40 per month. (--pp. 166, 167.)
Silver Creek Township is one of the four townships into which Randolph County was originally divided. It was made the smallest in extent of territory, because it embraced the most thickly settled portion of the county at the time of its organization ... Although originally the smallest in area, later it gave up 18 square miles of its territory to the township of Moniteau.
William Mathis, better known as Uncle Billy Mathis, emigrated from North Carolina in the year 1827, and erected his cabin ... on 80 acres of land ... within five miles of where Mat. Airy now stands ... He was here before the county was organized. (--pp. 169, 172.)
Sugar Tree Township. This is one of the original townships, and was organized in 1829 ... It has been reduced from its original limits, other townships having been formed from it ...
Among the earliest settlers having made their home in the county before it was organized, were Reuben Cornelius, Benjamin Hardin, Malcolm Galbreath and T. N. Galbreath ... (p. 176.)
Salt Spring, one of the original four townships of Randolph County ... is one of the most wealthy, populous and influential townships into which the county is divided. It also has the distinction of being the capital township. Huntsville, the county seat lies within its limits ...
Salt Spring has a local significance. It is so-called from the existence within its limits ... of a salt spring or well, of considerable volume at which, in the early history of the county, the pioneer settlers, by primitive processes, manufactured their salt.
The pioneers of Salt Spring Township were generally from Kentucky. Among them were Henry Lassieter, Henry Winburn, and Shelton Richardson. William Fray erected the first water mill in Salt Spring Township, on East Fork of the Chariton River. (pp. 208, 214.)
according to William Holman
The early settlers had to beat their corn in wooden mortars, and when they went to mill had to go to Snoddy's Mill at Glasgow (Howard County).
The first school ever taught in Randolph County was by Jack Dysart, in a log house, seven or eight miles southwest of Huntsville, on Foster's Prairie.
The first church was a log house, used by the Old School Baptist, near Silver Creek, and the first sermon preached was by Elder Merriman, between the years 1822 and 1825, the earliest settlers previously going to Mount Ararat in Howard County.
Mr. Holman believed that the first store ever opened in Randolph County, was by Daniel G. Goggins, near the residence of William Goggin, which site was afterwards made Huntsville ... He did not remember the first post-office, but said the mail was carried on horseback.
The first mill was Hickman's horse-mill, between Silver Creek and Huntsville. (--p. 93.)
(Page numbers refer to Hist. of Randolph Co., 1884, St. Louis, National Historical Society.)