Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Upon the organization of Scotland County, the territory belonging to it as it is now composed, was comprised in Benton and Mount Pleasant Townships, then of Lewis County. Benton Township lay on the east, and embraced a little over one-half of the present area of the county, and Mount Pleasant adjoined it on the west and embraced the balance of the territory.
Soon after the organization the county court subdivided the county (including the territory of Knox) into the following named townships: Benton, Mount Pleasant, Johnson, Miller, Maidenkirk and Ayreshire. The record of the creation of these townships being lost, their boundaries (which remained permanent for only a short period) cannot now be given with the accuracy, and are therefore omitted. A general election, for the election of county officers, was ordered to be held in the townships thus organized at the usual time in August, 1842. The election for Benton Township was to be held at Sand Hill ... The election for Mount Pleasant Township was to be held in Edinburgh ... The election for Johnson Township was to be held at the house of Daniel S. Farnsworth ... The election for Miller Township was to be held at the house of John Crow ... At the election for Maidenkirk Township Frank Loweris, Charles H. Baldwin and Robert Nelson were appointed justices thereof (location was not given.) The election for Ayreshire Township was to be held at the house of Hezekiah G. Lyons ... (--Scotland Co., 438, 439.)
In May, 1844, the county court subdivided the county of Scotland in to civil townships as follows:
Johnson Township was thus described: "Commencing at the northeast corner of Scotland County, thence running on the northern county line west eleven miles to the northwest corner of Section 20, Township 67 north, Range 11 west; thence on the sectional line eleven miles to the county line; thence north eight miles to the place of beginning. (--443.)
Miller Township was made to contain all the territory in the county lying west of adjoining Johnson Township. (--443.)
Harrison Township was thus described: "Commencing at the northeast corner of Section 36, in Township 66 north, Range 10 west; thence six miles west to the range line; thence on said range line thirteen miles to the south line of Scotland proper; thence six miles to the eastern county line; thence north on said county line to the place of beginning." (--443.)
The county court at its June term, 1852, organized Sand Hill Township as follows:
Commencing at the southeast corner of Jefferson Township, then west to the center of Section 2, in Township 64 north, and Range 12 west; thence south through the center of said section, east to the range line between Ranges 10 and 11; thence north with said range line to the place of beginning. At the August term, 1854 of the county court, the boundary line between Harrison and Johnson Townships was changed so as to commence at the southeast corner of Township 66 north, Range 10 west, and run west on the township line six miles to the range line between Ranges 10 and 11 west. This change took a strip of land one mile in width north and south from the north end of Harrison Township, and attached it to Johnson Township. Afterward, at the August term, in 1859, of said court, a new municipal township was created out of Johnson Township, to be known hereafter by the name of Green Township, and bounded as follows: Commencing on the range between Ranges 10 and 11, one mile north of the township line between Townships 65 and 66 north, thence running west to the range line dividing Ranges 11 and 12 west; thence north with said range line to the center of the divide between the North and North Wyaconda Creeks; thence in a northwest course and with the center of said divide, until it strikes the State line, between the States of Missouri and Iowa; thence east on the said State line to the range line between Ranges 10 and 11 west; thence south on said range line to the place of beginning. (--445.)
At the May term, 1862, of the county court, it was ordered that all that part of Miller Township lying east of a line commencing on the State line at the northwest corner of Green Township, and running thence due south to the township line between Townships 65 and 66 north, be attached to Green Township. Then at the August, 1866, of said court the name of Green Township was changed to Union Township, and at the following August term of the court, the boundary line of the same was thus defined: Commencing on the Iowa State line in the center of Section 21, Township 67 north, Range 12 west, and running thence south, to the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of Section 33, Township 66 north, Range 12 west; thence east on the section line, one mile north of the line dividing Townships 65 and 66 north, to the range line dividing Ranges 10 and 11 west; thence north on said range line to the Iowa State line, thence with said State line to the place of beginning. The organization of the seven townships, as herein given, together with the changes of boundaries as noted, leaves the territory of the county subdivided into townships as they now (1887) exist. (--446.)
The county of Scotland was organized in accordance with an act of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, entitled "an act to organize counties therein named and defined the boundaries thereof." Approved January 29, 1841 ... (Sections 32, 33, 48 and 49, relate the early organization of the County. They are not included in this account, due to their length, but may be found in History of Scotland County, 1887, Goodspeed.) (--438, ff.)
According to the foregoing provisions of law, the county of Scotland, at its organization, contained and included all the territory now belonging to both Scotland and Knox Counties, and in compliance with Section 48, of said act the Governor appointed and commissioned Hugh Henry, Joseph Davis and Willis Anderson as justices of the county court, and James L. Jones, as sheriff. These officers, being duly authorized, as provided in said act, at the house of Abraham B. Cummings, at the place now called Millport, in Knox County, on the first Monday in April, 1841, and organized the first county court of Scotland County. Hugh Henry was made president of the court, and Allan Tate was appointed by the court, as the first clerk thereof. This completed the organization of Scotland County, and its first court.
The records of the court, from its organization up to February, 1842, have not been preserved and consequently some items of historic significance have been lost. At the close of the first year, the court adjourned to meet at Sand Hill, and from that time forward, and until the county was divided, and the permanent seat established at Memphis, the courts of the county were held in a hewed-log house at Sand Hill, which stood on the ground later occupied by the store of Wilsey & Westcott.
In obedience of the act of organization Obadiah Dickinson, John Lear, and Matthew Given, commissioners ... met at the town of Sand Hill on the 15th day of May, 1843 ... and after due deliberation they selected the site for the permanent seat of justice at a "town called Memphis," which is about one mile north of west from the geographical center of the county.
At the February term, 1844, of the county court, Charles Metz was appointed superintendent of public buildings, with instructions to furnish the court, at its next session, plans and estimates of a court house to be built at Memphis.
Notice of the completion of the first court house at Memphis, issued by the county court, was filed with the clerk of the circuit in vacation, after the June term, 1844 ...
To H. W. Gorin, Esq., Clerk Circuit Court, Scotland County, Missouri:
Dear Sir -- in compliance with the within notice of the county court of Scotland County, you will, at the earliest convenient moment, remove the records of said county from Sand Hill to Memphis, the newly selected county seat of said county, and you will after the date hereof, attest all your officials acts, and make returns of your proceeds at Memphis aforesaid. With great respect, I am your friend, P. H. McBride, Judge Fourth Judicial Circuit, Missouri.
December 12, 1844. (--Scotland Co., 438, 439, 441, 447, 476.)
The county of Scotland is the second from the east on the northern tier of counties in the State of Missouri, and is bounded on the north by the State of Iowa; east by Clark County; south by Knox, and west by Adair and Schuyler Counties.
When the settlement of Scotland County began, the territory now comprising it, together with the northern Congressional Townships of Knox County, was all included in Benton municipal township of Lewis County. Accordingly this latter township which in September, 1834, was organized by the Lewis County Court, was much larger than the entire county of Scotland is at present. It was, then, by permission of the Government, the hunting grounds of the Sac and Fox tribes of Indians.
After going to the Paris, Monroe County mills for a short time, the settlers generally went to mill at Bonaparte* and at other points on the Des Moines River, and at Waterloo, in Clark County, and at Monticello, in Lewis County. The trading was also done at these points, and at the river towns on the Mississippi; Warsaw, Illinois, being the point where the farmers could get the best prices for their hogs. They usually drove their hogs to Warsaw ... Arriving there they would get about one and a half cents per pound, live, and sometimes they could realize no more than that for pork ...
*(Unable to locate Bonaparte on existing maps.)
There was in 1836 a little store at Edinburg, established that year by Holliday & Eskridge, and another at Sand Hill, kept by James L. Jones, but these afforded little or no market for the products of farmers. They could not exchange goods for produce to any considerable extent, and as the early settlers seldom had any money to purchase groceries, their trade was limited, mostly to the sale of whiskey, which, unfortunately would generally draw out the available cash. The first mill, erected in the county for the grinding of grain, was a horse-mill, put up by Joseph Price, near Sand Hill, and the second one was a water-mill, erected on the Fabius, by Jesse Stice. These, however, were of short duration. A number of saw-mills were afterward erected throughout the county ... The first post-office in the county was established about the year 1836, at Sand Hill, and Robert T. Smith was the first postmaster. The second was established at the house of William Foreman, about a mile and a half above the site of Memphis. This office was named Memphis, hence the name of the county seat. Foreman was post-master at his house from about 1837 to 1840. He went to Sand Hill every Thursday to get the mail, and the old settlers used to say that "he carried the mail in his bell crowned hat." The third post-office was established at Edinburg, and after that were established at different places throughout the county, to serve the demands and convenience of the people ... (--Scotland Co., 405, 409, 410, 427, 428.)