Volume 3, Number 8
Beaver Creek, located in Taney County, Missouri, was a pictureseque valley a long time ago. Among the early settlers here was Richard Pearce. Taney County was organized in 1832 with Theopolis Bass as County and Circuit Clerk, and John Miller, as his deputy. James Gideon was sheriff; William LeBus, deputy sheriff; James Archer, Assessor; and William Chestnut, Presiding Judge. The seat of justice was located on the John Rice farm, at the mouth of Bull Creek; the Court House was constructed of cedar legs which were afterwards used for a school house. The first circuit court was held here.
The first farm opened in this country was the A.C. Fisher farm near Walnut Shade. On this farm, the first blacksmith shop was constructed in this county. This land was settled by a man named Neal. On the Cripples farm on Swan Creek, the settlement of this land which dates back to early times, was the scene of the first murder in the county. That was killing of Bill Archer by Hiram Killmore.
The first couple united in marriage in the territory of Taney County was Carl Nucum and Miss Viney Garner, in the year 1829, Rev. C.C. Pinkney officiated. Others that followed soon afterwards; Wm. Le Bus to Miss Johnnie Barlett; Robin Barber to Miss Barbara Hodges; Caleb A. Edwards to Miss Annie Hodges, Rev. Willie Kiethley, officiating. James Kiethley to Miss Susan Hodges, Esq., John May officiated.
The Kiethley Cave in Taney County has an interesting history. It dates back to the early 1840's. This freak of nature was situated in the picturesque mountains of Roark, and was first discovered by two noted pioneers, Jacob Dewey and Zedekiah Tucker, who were attacked by a pack of both bear and dogs as they were exploring. Rev. Willis Keithley, one of the early settlers of Taney County, selected this cave for his last resting place. He first built an arch of mason work at its entrance and secured it with an inner and outer door. Inside of this was a spacious hall where he chiseled out a vault. Mr. Keithley died suddenly and did not reveal the whereabouts of his treasure, containing $5,000 in gold, which he had dug out of the mines of California.
To the early settlers of White River country, various ways were devised to capture wild turkeys alive. The most common method was to catch them in pens, and hundreds of thousands were caught this way. When it came to fishing, they killed all they wanted with harpoons.
Aaron Anderson located on White River in 1822. There were only a few settlers there at the time and they lived on wild meat and wild honey-with a small bit of bread now and then for variety. These pioneers were compelled to fight the wild animals at the doors of their cabins.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly