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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Schuyler County

[I]

Schuyler County is the third county west of the Mississippi River, on the northern tier of counties, in the State of Missouri. It is bounded on the north by parts of Appanoose and Davis County, Iowa; on the east by Scotland County; on the south by Adair, and on the west by the Chariton River, which separates it from Putnam County ... (--p. 595)

Explorers, hunters and surveyors visited the territory of Schuyler County sometime before the permanent settlement began. The first settlement in this, the northern tier of counties in Missouri, began at St. Francisville, on the Des Moines River, in what is now Clark County, in the year 1829. (--608, 609.)

Two years prior to the complete organization of Schuyler County, the General Assembly of the State of Missouri passed an act entitled "The act to define the boundaries of Schuyler County."

Sec. 1 -- All that territory lying within the following limits to wit: Beginning at the northeast corner of Adair County, in the middle of Range 13, thence due north to the northern boundary line of the State of Missouri; thence west with said State line to the middle of the Chariton River; thence south through the middle of the main channel of said river to the northern line of Adair County; thence east with said northern line of Adair County to the place of beginning shall be hereafter organized and known by the name of Schuyler County.

Sec. 2 -- Schuyler County shall be attached to the county of Adair for all civil and military purposes.

Sec. 3 -- The revenue levied and collected by the county of Adair for county purposes, within the limits of the above described county of Schuyler shall, after deducting the expense of assessing and collecting the same, and all expense which may arise from criminal prosecutions originating in the county of Schuyler be reserved for the use of Schuyler County whenever the same shall be organized.

This act shall be in force from and after its passage. Approved February 17, 1843. (--p. 615.)

Page numbers refer to History of Schuyler County, 1888, Goodspeed.

[II]

Schuyler County was organized February 14, 1845, and was named in honor of General Phillip Schuyler, of the Revolutionary Army. The county seat commissioners appointed by the act accepted a tract of land donated by James Lusk, who was the first Representative of Schuyler County. At a meeting of the county court June 2, 1845, an order was made that the land selected by the county seat commissioners be surveyed and platted into "squares, blocks and lots," and the town to be known as Lancaster. (--Ency. of the Hist. of Mo., 1901, Conard, Vol. 5, 532.)

N. B. Cedar County, Missouri, also was organized February 14, 1845 ... The county seat at first was called Lancaster, February 11, 1846. (--Ibid: Vol. 1, 88.)

(However the name was not recognized by the United States Postal department, for the reason that another town of the same name had been established in Schuyler County, Missouri.) (--Missouri History in Cedar Co., 1976, Clayton Abbott, 16, Copyright, by permission.)

The first term of the county court ever held in Schuyler County was held at the house of Robert S. Neely, on the third Monday in April, 1845, or April 21.

This house stood in Section 7, Township 66 North, Range 14 West ... The county was then subdivided into municipal townships as follows: Fabius; Independence; Wells, Chariton; Liberty; Salt River. (The boundaries are given on pp. 616, 617, Hist. of Schuyler County.)

It will be observed that, as the territory was organized and subdivided into municipal townships, the disputed territory which caused the Iowa State War was all included in Wells and Independence Townships, and also a strip a mile wide south of the aforesaid Indian boundary line. Afterward, in 1848 and 1849, after it became evident that the State Line would be established on said Indian boundary line, the county court of Schuyler County ordered the line of Chariton, Liberty and Fabius Townships, to be extended northward to the Indian boundary line, and then, as the balance of Wells and Independence Townships were believed to be in the territory of Iowa, Schuyler County lost her jurisdiction over them, and they were dropped from her records. (--618.)

[III]

Subsequently, at the August term, 1853, of the county court, it was ordered that the municipal township of Fabius be and the same is hereby divided, making Bridge Creek the line through said township; the north end to retain the name of Fabius Township, and the south end to be called Independence Township. Thus a new township called Independence was organized to take the name of the original township of that name on the disputed strip of land. Afterward, in November, 1858, the boundary line between Fabius and Independence Townships was made to conform to the township line dividing Congressional Townships 65 and 66 North; and thus bounded, these two townships still remain. (--618.)

Afterward the municipal townships of Glenwood and Prairie were organized, and the following are the descriptions of the boundaries of each township as they are now constituted, excepting Fabius and Independence which have already been defined.

Liberty Township -- Beginning at the Chariton River between Sections 9 and 10, Township 66 North, Range 16 West; thence east on the Section line to the range line between Ranges 15 and 16; thence north on said range line one mile; thence east to the southeast corner of Section 3, Township 66 N, Range 15 West, thence north to the Iowa State line; thence west on said line to the Chariton River; thence following the meanders of said river to the place of beginning.

Glenwood Township is bounded on the north by Chariton Township, east by Liberty, south by the township line between townships 65 and 66 North, and west by the Chariton River.

Prairie Township. This township comprises all the territory in the county, in Township 65 North, lying west of Independence Township.

Salt River Township -- This township comprises all the territory in the county, lying south of Prairie Township and west of Independence. (--618, 619.)

Location of the County Seat

The old town or village of Tippecanoe (the first one in the county), located in the southeast part of Section 30, Township 66 North, Range 14 West, was as near the center of the county as it is now constituted. John M. Fisk and other property owners in the vicinity of Tippecanoe made a strenuous effort to secure the location of the county seat at that place; while James Lusk, who then represented the territory of Schuyler County in the Legislature, and

[IV]

others opposed to the location of the county seat Tippecanoe, secured the passage of a law which required the county seat to be within one mile of the geographical center of the county; and inasmuch as the nine mile strip of disputed territory heretofore explained was then claimed to belong to the county (and which was actually required to make Schuyler a constitutional county), Tippecanoe wa not located near enough to the geographical center thereof to entitle it to become the county seat, and in this way Fisk and his friends were defeated in their aspiration. Two of the commissioners appointed to select the site for the location of the county seat ... met at the house of John Jones, in Tippecanoe, and regarding the line north of the disputed strip as the true State Line, they found the site of the present town of Lancaster to be within one mile of the geographical center of the county, and selected it as the place on which to establish the county seat.

The county court at its special term June 2, 1845, made the following entry on its record: "Ordered by the court that the commissioners for that purpose for the County of Schuyler, shall be known and called by the name of Lancaster." The name was selected by James Lusk. (--620, 621.)

The Act of Congress, April 20, 1836, establishing the Territory of Wisconsin, and of April 12, 1838, establishing the Territory of Iowa, prescribed that the southern boundary of each (the Territory of Wisconsin originally comprised what is now the State of Iowa) should be the "Northern boundary of the State of Missouri ...

(However, through a misinterpretation by the commissioners for the State of Missouri, that line was placed approximately nine miles further north of the true line. Disputes arose over the jurisdiction of county officials in the disputed territory. Finally, the State Militia of both the States of Iowa and Missouri was called out. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and the disputed territory was submitted to the courts for arbitration, and on January 3, 1851, the disputed territory was awarded to the State of Iowa.)

The cost of the Iowa War to Missouri was $20,000. (--687, 701.)

Page numbers refer to Hist. of Schuyler Co., 1888, Goodspeed. (For another version of the disputed territory, the reader is invited to read A Directory of Mercer County, Mosser, 1981.)

[V]

Coal Mines

The first mines opened are said to be those of the Mock Brothers, in the northwestern part of the county, in Township 67 North, Range 16 West. Several openings had been made in this vicinity. In the northeast quarter of Section 27, in this township, a shaft had been sunk on North Polecat Creek; and Mr. William F. James had a mine in the northwest quarter of Section 34 of the same township ...

About the year 1879 a shaft was sunk in Section 23, Township 65 North, Range 16 West by C. W. Hight. Later it was owned by Herman Hesbeth.

In 1881, Ira Galston sunk a shaft 65 feet deep ... in the aforesaid section of land. (--Ibid: 599.)


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