Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

Chapter 1
Early Inhabitants of Greene County

Part 3
Early Explorations

It is very interesting to note that there is a strong probability that the white man penetrated into what is now known as Greene county nearly three hundred and seventy-five years ago, or nearly seventy-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Authorities are pretty generally agreed that one of De Soto's exploring bands, in the famous trip from Florida across to the Mississippi, through the southwestern slopes of the Ozarks to the Arkansas river, in 1541, passed north into what is now Greene county. Neither Bancroft, Sparks nor Shea, historians who have written of these early days, believe that any of this band went west or north of Greene county. One local evidence seems to confirm the view that they were in this region. Some years ago the writer was shown a silver medallion, or amulet, of Spanish design that was found in cleaning out a spring near the town of Ash Grove, and which bore an obscure date in 1500. It is a reasonable presumption that this was lost by some one of the De Soto band, though it may have been dropped by some Indian who had become possessed of it.

Long before the State of Missouri was carved out of the Louisiana Purchase, the region of the Ozarks was known, from nearly one side of the continent to the other, as being a land of great promise. Rich in all natural resources, abounding in game and food-fish and a profusion of wild fruits, with prairies easily responding to primitive cultivation, numerous clear, cold springs and streams of water, finely wooded bottomlands and much mineral wealth, its fame, spread by the Indians, soon attracted those early adventurers who, coming from other countries in search of wealth, found it easy to believe more than the truth about this justly-praised section of the continent. No doubt, the Indians, seeing their greater interest in the tales of mineral wealth, were quick to take advantage of this and lead the newcomers on. Not only did De Soto's bands, penetrating everywhere in search of treasure, journey as far northward as southwestern Missouri, but Coronado, coming at the same time from Mexico on the west, his imagination inflamed by the reports of the Indians, after he had found the fabled "Seven Cities of Cibola," and still journeying to find the city of Quivira, which the Indian guide had told him was so rich, also arrived so near to what is now the Ozarks that it is quite probable that these two great explorers, without knowledge of each other, were, at one time, in their respective journeys, no more than a day or two apart. And this was only fifty years after the discovery of America by Columbus!

After the departure of these early explorers, we have no evidence that what is now Greene county was visited by the white man from 1541 to 1710 or '18 or until the time of the establishing of the "Mississippi Company," which was to exploit the Louisiana territory for the benefit of the French treasury. When, under the lead of Law and Crozat, the greatest scheme of financial inflation ever known became a failure, the bursting of the "Mississippi Bubble" left stranded thousands of people who had come to this country in good faith, but who were then thrown on their own resources for support. These people scattered everywhere, and sent exploring parties all through the Ozarks to search for the mineral wealth they had been led to believe was close at hand. Maps prepared for the deception of expected emigrants to this country pointed them to this more northern region. [44]

In St. Gem's "Annals of Ste. Genevieve," as quoted in. the History of Greene county, published in 1883, we read, on page 125: "The first white men to visit the county were some of the early French voyageurs, who came out occasionally from Ste. Genevieve after 'the year of the great waters,' 1715, and made certain explorations in search of gold and silver. Returning, they reported plenty of lead indications, but none of the precious metals. These Frenchmen belonged to the colony at Ste. Genevieve, and seemed to have gone as far west from time to time as Barry, or perhaps McDonald county, from the descriptions which they gave. 'It is a land very rough, mountainous, and hard to travel through,' said they, 'and there are plenty of springs, caves and fresh water'." It is very probable that the course followed by these travelers from Ste. Genevieve would have taken them through Greene county. These explorations must have given rise to the traditions in regard to the old French and Spanish mines and smelters for silver which have been treasured throughout the whole Southwest-stories that have been so frequently met with as to justify a belief that there was some foundation in fact for their existence. There is scarcely an old miner in all this region who does not have more or less implicit faith in the old French and Spanish silver mines, ancient maps of which some of them claim to have seen.

There is abundant evidence that all these French and Spanish explorers searched here for gold and silver. Northwest of the present town of Willard, in Greene county, a considerable area is pitted with old diggings made before the memory of recent settlers; and in other parts of the county similar evidences of early searching parties are found. Some six miles southwest of Springfield, in Wilson township, some partially smelted lead was found in a primitive furnace, no doubt constructed either by one of these early explorers or by Indians who had learned the process from them. Another such furnace was described by the explorer, Schoolcraft, as being near the James river mines at Kirshner's, southeast of Springfield, which was rediscovered and photographed by the writer some twenty years ago.1 Quoting from Schoolcraft, "A View of the Lead Mines in Missouri, 1819" we read: "Twenty miles above the junction of these streams (James and Finley), on the immediate banks of the James river, are situated some valuable lead mines, which have been known to the Osage Indians and to some White river hunters for many years.2 The Indians have been in the habit of procuring lead for bullets at that place, by smelting the ore in a kind of a furnace made by digging a pit in the ground, and casing it with some flat stones, placed so as to resemble the roof of a house inverted, such is the richness of the ore and the ease with which it melts. The ore has not, however, been properly explored, and it is impossible to say how extensive the beds or veins may prove. Some zinc in the state of a sulphuret is found accompanying it." [45-46]


The earliest travelers to visit Greene county and leave a record of what they saw and did were Henry R. Schoolcraft3 and Rufus Pettibone, who left Potosi November 8th, 1818, and, after studying the lead mines in that vicinity, traveled southward through the wilderness over a trail so accurately described in Schoolcraft's journals, that the present writer has been able to follow it through almost every portion of its course in this state. The distance and general course of travel each day, the striking topographic features of the country and their camp each night are all so vividly described that one may easily trace this route day by day. In their progress toward this southwest region, they reached the North Fork of the White river, which the Osage Indians called the "Unica," somewhere near what is now the town of Cabool, whence they journeyed to the White, then up this stream to the Big Beaver creek. A little beyond this locality, December 13th, 1818,they reached the last point of settlement on the White river, which he describes as follows: "The most remote bound to which the white hunter has penetrated in a southwest direction from the Mississippi river toward the Rocky Mountains. It consists of two families, Holt and Fisher by name, who have located themselves here within the last four months." Schoolcraft and Pettibone remained at that point until Monday, December 28th, 1818,when they succeeded in persuading Holt and Fisher to accompany them north to some mines where the Indians and hunters had been accustomed to get lead for bullets. 'Reaching Swan creek (The Mehausca, of the Osages), the next day, they followed an old Osage trail up the creek, crossing, what is now Christian county to a point on the Finley several miles east of the branch which empties into that stream from Smallen's cave, called Winoka (meaning underground spirit ) by the Osages, of which they gave a vivid description. From this point they soon struck again the old Osage trail, or the old Linden road in the south of section 26, township 28, range 21, of Greene county, reaching the Russell spring branch in the west half of section 26, where they camped. On the 1st of January, 1819, they passed along this trail to a point just below the Ozark bridge, south of what is now the town of Galloway, where they, forded the river and passed some four miles up the western bank of the stream to the James river lead mines, just east of what is now Kirshner's spring. With this brief introduction, we will here insert several pages from Schoolcraft's journal, which, long since out of print, is inaccessible to most people4: He says: "On leaving the valley of the cave (Smallen's), and ascending the hills that environ it, we passed over a gently sloping surface of hill and vale, partly covered with forest trees, and partly in prairies. I have seldom seen a more beautiful prospect. The various species of oaks and hickories had strewed the woods with their fruits, on which the bear and wild turkey reveled, while the red deer was scarcely ever out of sight. Long before the hour of encampment had arrived, the hunters had secured the means of making a. sumptuous evening meal out of wild viands; and when, at an early hour, we pitched our camp on the borders of a small brook (the Russell spring branch), who was ever ready with the rifle, added a fat brant from this brook to, our stores. * * * We then prepared our couches and night-fires and. slept. The first of January, 1819, opened with a degree of cold unusual in these regions. Their elevation is, indeed, considerable; but the wind swept with a cutting force across the prairies. We were now on the principal northwestern source of White river (at the Ozark bridge just south of Galloway), the channel of which we forded in the distance of two miles (from the Russell spring branch camp). The western banks presented a naked prairie covered, with dry grass and autumnal weeds, with here and there a tree. We pushed on toward the northeast. The prairie hen, notwithstanding the cold, rose up in flocks before us, as we intruded upon their low-couched positions in the grass. Of these, Holt, whose hunting propensities no cold could restrain, obtained a specimen; he also fired at and killed a wild-goose from the channel of the river. On passing about four miles up the western banks of the stream (at the old Phelps mines on the banks of the James river near Kirshner's spring), we observed a lead of lead ore; glittering through the water in the bed of the river, and determined to encamp at this spot, for the purpose of investigating the mineral appearances. The weather was piercingly cold. We found some old Indian camps (Osage) near at hand, and procured from them pieces of bark to sheathe a few poles and stakes, hastily put up, to form a shelter from the wind. A fire was soon kindled, and, while we cooked and partook of a forest breakfast, we recounted the incidents of the morning, not omitting the untoward state of the weather. When the labor of building the shanty was completed, I hastened to explore the geological indications of the vicinity. In the meantime my New England companion took a survey of the surrounding, country, which he pronounced one of the most fertile and admirably adapted to every purpose of agriculture. Much of the land consists of prairie, into which the plow can be immediately put. The forests and. groves, which are interspersed with a park-like beauty through these prairies, consist of various species of oaks, maple, white and black walnut, elm, mulberry, hackberry and sycamore.

"Holt and Fisher scanned the country for game, and returned to camp, with six turkeys and-a wolf. Their fear of the Osages had been only apparently subdued. They had been constantly on the lookout for signs of Indian enemies, and had their minds always filled with notions of hovering Osages and Pawnees. The day was wintry, and the weather variable. It commenced snowing at daylight, and continued till about 8 o'clock a. m. It then became clear, and remained so, with occasional flickerings, until 2 o'clock, when a fixed snowstorm set in, and drove me from my little unfinished furnace, bringing in the hunters also from the prairies, and confining us strictly to our camp. This storm continued, without mitigation, nearly all night. * * * I found the bed of the stream, where it permitted examination, to be non-crystalline limestone,.in horizontal beds, corresponding to the formation observed in the cave of Winoka (Smallen's cave). The country is one that must be valuable hereafter for its fertility and resources. The prairies which extend west of the river are the most extensive, rich and beautiful of any which I have yet seen west of the Mississippi. They are covered with a most vigorous growth of grass. The deer and elk abound in this quarter, and the buffalo is yet occasionally seen. The soil in the river valley is a rich black alluvium. The trees are often of an immense height, denoting strength of soil. It will probably be found adapted to corn, flax, hemp, wheat, oats and potatoes, while its mining resources must come in as one of its future elements of prosperity.

"I planted some peach stones in a fertile spot near our camp, where the .growth of the sumac denoted unusual fertility. And it is worthy of remark that even Holt, who had the antipathy of an Indian to agriculture, actually cut some bushes in a certain spot, near a spring (Kirshner's spring), and piled them into a heap, by way of securing a pre-emption right to the soil. [46-48]


"The region of the Ozark, range of mountain development is, one of singular features, and no small attractions. It exhibits a vast and elevated tract of horizontal and sedimentary strata, extending for hundreds of miles north and south. This range is broken up into high cliffs, often wonderful to behold, which form the enclosing walls of river valleys. * * * Through these Alpine ranges De Soto roved, with his chivalrous and untiring army making an outward and inward expedition into regions which must have presented unwonted hardships and discouragements to the march of troops. To add to these natural obstacles, he found himself opposed by fierce savage tribes, who rushed upon him from every glen and defile and met him in the open grounds with the most savage energy. His own health finally sank under these fatigues, and it is certain that, after his death, his successor in the command, Moscoso, once marched entirely through the southern Ozarks, and reached the buffalo plains beyond them. Such energy and feats of daring had never before been displayed in North America; and the wonder is at its highest, after beholding the wild and. rough mountains, cliffs, glens and torrents, over which the actual marches must have laid.

"Some of the names of the Indian tribes encountered by him furnish conclusive evidence that the principal tribes of the country, although they have changed their particular locations since the year 1542, still occupy the region. Thus the Kapahas, who then lived on the Mississippi, above the St. Francis, are identical with the Quappas, the Cayas with the Kanzas, and the Quipana with the Pawnees.

"The indications of severe weather, noticed during the last day of December, and the beginning of January, were not deceptive; every day served to realize them. We had no thermometer, but our feelings denoted an intense draft of cold. The winds were fierce and sharp, and snow fell during a part of each day and night that we remained in these elevations. We wrapped our garments about us closely at night, in front of large fires, and ran alternately the risk of being frozen and burnt. One night my overcoat was in a blaze from lying too near the fire. This severity served to increase labor of our examination, but it did not, that I am aware, prevent anything essential.

"On the fourth day of my sojourn here a snow-storm began, a little before one o'clock in the morning; it ceased, or, as the local phrase is, "held up," at daybreak. The ground was now covered from a depth of two or three inches with a white mantle. Such severity had never been known by the hunters. The winds whistled over the bleak prairies. with a rigor which would have been remarkable in high northern latitudes: The river (James) froze entirely over. The sun, however, shone out clearly as the day advanced, and enabled me to complete my examinations as fully as it was practicable to do under the existing state of the weather. [49]

"It happened on this day that my companion had walked a mile or two west over the smooth prairie, to get a better view of the conformation of the land, returning to camp before the hunters, who had also gone in the same, general direction. On their coming back, one of them, whose head was always full of hostile Osages, fell on his returning track in the snow, and carefully traced it to our camp. He came in breathless, and declared that the Osages were upon us, and that not a moment was to be lost in breaking up, our camp, and flying to a place of security. When informed of the origin of the tracks, he still seemed incredulous, and could not be pacified without some difficulty. We then prepared, by collecting fuel and increasing our-bark defenses against the wind and snow, to pass another night at the camp.

"I had now followed the Ozarks as far as it seemed practicable, and. reached their western summit, notwithstanding every discouragement thrown in my way by the reports of the hunters, from the first moment-of my striking the White river; having visited the source of nearly every river which flows from it, both into the Missouri and Mississippi. I had fully satisfied myself of its physical character and resources, and now determined to return to the camps of my guides at -Beaver creek, and continue the exploration south.

"It was the 5th of January, 1819, when we prepared our last meal at that camp, and I carefully put up my packages in such portable shape as might be necessary. Some time was spent in looking up the horses, which had been turned into a neighboring canebrake. The interval was employed in cutting our names with the date of our visit, on a contiguous oak, which had been previously blazed for the purpose. These evidences of our visit were left, with a pit dug in search of ore, and the small smelting furnace, which it is hoped, no zealous antiquarian will hereafter mistake for monuments of an older period of civilization in the Mississippi valley. When this was accomplished, and the horses brought up, we set out with alacrity. The snow still formed a thin covering on the ground, and, being a little softened by the sun, the whole surface of the country exhibited a singular mat of the tracks of quadrupeds and birds. In these, deer, elk, bears, wolves and turkeys were prominent-the first and last species conspicuously so. In some places the dry spots on the leaves showed where the deer had lain during the storm. * * * Frequently we crossed wolf trails in the snow, * * * and observed places where they had played or fought each other, like a pack of dogs-the snow being tramped down in a circle of great extent. We also, passed tracts, of many acres where the turkeys had scratched up the snow in search of acorns. We frequently saw the deer fly before us in droves of twenty or thirty."

We have given the foregoing lengthy quotation from Schoolcraft's journal, because of its vivid picture of what is now Greene county before the advent of the pioneers-the only written record that we have preserving for us the knowledge of the abundance of game and the early-recognized richness of the soil, and portraying for us the marvelous changes that have taken place in this region in less than a century. [50-51]

George Catlin, the great artist and painter of Indians, describes a journey which he made from Fort Gibson (near Muskogee, Oklahoma), north to Boonville, in October, 1834, with only his faithful horse for companion, and gives a somewhat detailed account of finding his friend, Captain Wharton, at Kickapoo settlement, the Kickapoo village already described as probably southeast of Springfield. He states:5 "I struck a road (sometime after leaving the Requa Indian village) leading into a small civilized settlement called 'Kickapoo Prairie,' to which I bent my course, and riding up to a log cabin which was kept as a sort of a hotel, or tavern, I was met by the black boy (who accompanied Captain Wharton, who had preceded Catlin on the trip from Fort Gibson to Boonville).

The reader of history finds it difficult to reconcile Catlin's own description of this journey with geographical facts. He makes mention of visiting, on the way, the Requa Indian village, which was in what is now Bates county, and of meeting there his old friend, Beattie, who had been a guide for Washington Irving in his travels through the region in question. Continuing his journey, he describes striking a trail which led into the Kickapoo settlement, and which was about half way on his journey to Boonville. After crossing various streams with steep banks, he records the fact that he reached the Osage river, "which is a powerful stream." He further says, "I struck at a place which seemed to stagger my courage very much there seemed to be but little choice in places with this stream, which, with its banks full, was sixty to eighty yards in width, with a current that was sweeping along at a rapid gait." As the Requa village is north of the Osage, which at that point is a very small stream, he could not have crossed again on his trip to Boonville by that route, which, moreover, would have taken him entire away from what we now believe to have been the Kickapoo settlement and prairie. As there was no settlement of that name in the region traversed except that near Springfield, as far as can be learned, and as his descriptions of the country through which he traveled before and after reaching that settlement strikingly correspond with Ozark scenery, it seems as though he must have journeyed through Greene county. But his own testirnony, so definite in statement, is thrown in doubt by his mention of visits to the Requa Indian village and his old friend Beattie, thus rendering the reader uncertain as to which of two possible routes to the north he may have taken. Another stumbling block in his description is the fact that the Osage, where he must have crossed before he could reach the Requa village, is a very insignificant stream.


In the historical sketch accompanying the Atlas of Greene County, published by John R. Williams, 1876, page 18, it is stated that the first pioneers and hunters who came into this region were compelled, by the Delaware Indians, to remove from the reservation that had recently been granted this tribe by the United States government. It is further stated that Thomas Patterson, a native of North Carolina, and subsequently an emigrant to Tennessee, moved from the latter place to the Little North Fork of the White river, in 1819.6 Two years later he followed up the course of the James river, till he came to a spot which he selected as his future home the immediate vicinity of the farm on which his son Albert G. Patterson, was living as late as 1876. This was in the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 27, township 28, range 22, eight miles south of Springfield, in Greene county. Thomas Patterson brought his family to this place early in 1822, and continued to live there until the Delaware Indians came to occupy their reservation, an event that occasioned the removal of the white settlers. When the government again removed the Delawares farther westward, Thomas Patterson came back to his first home. There were several families by this name who were early settlers in this part, of the county. Alexander, the brother of Thomas Patterson, made an early settlement on what was later known as the David Wallace place, afterward as the Stutzman, and now (1915) as the Robert Mack place, one-half mile northwest of the James River Club House, in section 19,township 28, range 21.

The names of Pettijohn, Patterson, Price, Friend, Pierson, Burrill, Prosser, Wells and Ingle appear in the story of pioneer immigration to this region, and the hardships borne by some of these families coming by the way of the Ohio, Mississippi, White and James rivers, is related by Escott,7 from which work, as well as from Vaughan's History of Christian County, Schoolcraft's Journal of a Tour in Missouri and Arkansas in 1818 and 1819,Williams' Atlas of Greene county and the History of Greene county in 1883, by Perkins and Horne, we have correlated the information herein given regarding the early pioneers, as belonging to this chapter on exploration. Most of the above men, with their families, came by water, in a keel-boat, in which they had loaded the things most necessary for life in a new country, including field and garden seeds. Escott says:8 They killed game on the way, which saved their provisions, but, encountering floods on the White river, they were hindered in their progress until all their food was exhausted and nearly all the party ill with malarial troubles. They were reduced to such extremities for food, owing to the impossibility of landing anywhere in the broad expanse of flooded country, that they were obliged to consume their seeds, and even roasted their bearskin sleeping rugs, after having singed the hair off from them. Then they were practically without food for eight days, when a young deer swam to their boat and was promptly made use of as a gift of Providence. Another time of starvation then intervened, when Burrill made an expedition in a skiff to the canebrakes, where a mare and colt were found stranded on a dry elevation. The colt was captured and converted into food. So great was the captor's necessity that he cut the throat and drank the blood of the animal before skinning it and cutting it up to convey to his comrades. So they were again provided with food, which lasted until they could make their way to the mouth of the Big North Fork, where a few other families had preceded them and formed settlements a short time before. [52-53]

The Pettijohn family, consisting of John, with his sons and their families, together with Joseph Price and Augustine Friend, were the first white men to locate, one at eight and another fifteen miles south of Springfield. Jerry Pierson went to the head of the creek in eastern Greene county which still bears his name, and historians are agreed that Burrill, Prosser, Wells and Inglee soon followed them into what is now Greene and Christian counties. Escott9 says it is doubtful if Wells was one of the company, but Schoolcraft10 states in his Journal of November 30, 1818, that he met a hunter who told him of another hunter located at the mouth of the river (Big North Fork) and still another named Wells, nearly equidistant on the path he was pursing—undoubtedly the George Wells referred to. He states further, "Our approach was announced by a long-continued barking of dogs, who required frequent bidding from their master before they could be pacified. The first object worth of remark that presented itself on our emerging from the forest was a number of deer, bear and other skins, fastened to a kind of rude frame, supported by poles, which occupied the area about the house. These trophies of skill in the chase were regarded with great complacency by our conductor, as he pointed them out, and he remarked that Wells was a great hunter and a forehanded man. There were a number of acres of ground, from which he had gathered a crop of corn. The house was a substantial, new-built log tenement, of one room. The family consisted of the hunter and his wife and four or five children, two of whom were men grown and the youngest a boy of about sixteen. All, males and females, were dressed in leather prepared from deer skins. The host himself was a middle-sized, light-limbed, sharp-faced man. Around the walls of the room hung horns of the deer and buffalo, with rifle, shot-pouches, leather coats, dried meats and other articles, giving unmistakable signs of the vocation of our host. The furniture was of his own fabrication. On one side hung a deer skin, sewed up somewhat in the shape of the living animal, containing bear's oil. In another place hung a similar vessel, filled with wild honey.

"All the members of the family seemed erudite in the knowledge of wood-craft, the ranges and signs of animals, and their food and habits; and while the wife busied herself in preparing our meal, she occasionally stopped to interrogate us, or take part in the conversation. When she had finished her preparations, she invited us to sit down to a delicious meal of warm corn bread and butter, honey and milk, to which we did ample justice. A more satisfactory meal I never made. Wells recited a number of anecdotes of hunting and of his domestic life. 'When the hour for rest arrived we opened our sacks, and, spreading our blankets on a bear skin which he furnished, laid down before the fire and enjoyed a sound night's repose. The following morning we purchased from our host a dressed deer skin for moccasins, a small quantity of Indian corn, some wild honey, and a little lead. The corn required pounding to convert it into meal. This we accomplished by a pestle fixed to a loaded swing-pole, playing into a mortar, burned into an oak stump."

John Pettijohn, Sr., who had been a soldier in the Revolution, was born in Henrico county, Virginia, where he married and lived until 1797, when he removed to Gallia county, Ohio, and where he farmed until 1818, though the writer thinks it must have been earlier, possibly 1817, when, probably in company with the families of the men before named, he sought a home in Missouri. Their first settlement on the White river was not a permanent one. As early as 1820 and 1821, they made extended hunting excursions northward, and a small cabin erected, about eight miles south of what is now Springfield, established a claim for them there. William Pettijohn, on his return from one of these excursions, stated that the had discovered "a country that flowed with milk and honey, bear's oil and buffalo marrow-great luxuries among the trappers."11

It was in the spring and summer of 1822 that these families began to move to locations that they had selected on the "Jeems," within the limits of what are now Greene and Christian counties. Vaughan, in his history of Christian county, says that at about the time that John Pettijohn, Sr., located on James Fork, John Pettijohn, Jr., made a settlement at what is now known as the Berry Gibson place, or Delaware Town, just below the mouth of Wilson creek. Joseph Price is also named among those early settlers who made their homes within a few miles of Springfield.

The statements made by Escott and others in regard to Augustine Friend are verified by Schoolcraft's journal,12 wherein we read "about five miles below Bull Shoals on White river, some little distance below the mouth of Little North Fork, January 12th, 1819, the head of Friend's settlement was reached, where we landed at a rather early hour in the evening at a log cabin on the left shore, and were hospitably received by 'Teen' (undoubtedly Augustine) Friend, a man of mature age and stately air, the patriarch of the settlement. It was of him that we had heard stories of Osage captivity and cruelty, having visited one of the very valleys where he was kept in durance vile.13 * * * Then he says, "Mr. Friend,14 being familiar, from personal observation, with the geography and resources of the country at large, states that rock salt is found between the South Fork of White river and the Arkansas, where the Pawnees and Osages make use of it. He represents the lead ores on its northwestern source, which we had partially explored (the James river mines), as very extensive."


From what Schoolcraft has written about Wells and "Teen" Friend, it would seem that both these families must have come to this region earlier, by several years, than 1818, and therefore we should infer that the date of Pettijohn's and Patterson's arrival in the White river region was somewhat earlier than Escott, Vaughan and other writers on the early history of this locality have supposed.

William Friend came with his brother Augustine and the Pettijohn family, as before described, and Vaughan, in his "History of Christian County," page 5, states that William Friend later settled the land on Finley Creek, opposite Linden, in Christian county, in 1828, having evidently moved from the Friend settlement on White river, where Schoolcraft had visited his brother "Teen." Escott, in his "History of Springfield," page 16,states that he was the only one who remained on his farm when the others were forced by the Delawares to move. Therefore, during his lifetime, he was the oldest permanent settler in this portion of the state. His father was a captain in the Revolutionary war, and he himself had been a soldier in the War of 1812 and was at the battle of Tippercanoe when Tecumseh was killed, so he had no fears in remaining among the red men, especially among this friendly tribe.

Vaughan, on page 3 of his "'History of Christian County," states that George Wells finally settled on Finley creek on the place known as the Yochem or Glenn place.

Schoolcraft states in his "Journal," page 22, under date of January 10th, 1819, that about two miles above Bear creek, on the White river, "as the shades of night overtook us, a hunter's cabin was descried on the left shore, where a landin was made. It was proved to be occupied by a man named Yochem, who readily gave us permission to remain for the night. He told us we had descended the river thirty miles (from the mouth of Big Beaver). He regaled us hospitably with wild viands and, among other meats, the beaver's tail-a dish for epicures." Yochem was evidently another of those migratory hunters who were attracted by the beauty and fertility of the James river district.

Following, or accompanying, these earliest pioneers, came, it is stated, in the spring or summer of 1822, the Pattersons, of North Carolina, and later of Maury county, Tennessee, the forebears of many of the earlier permanent settlers of Greene county. They moved to the North Fork of the White river in 1819, or probably earlier, and later settled on the James in Greene county, in 1822. Escott, on page 15 of his history, says that Thomas Patterson and his family, who had also lived about three years on the White river, came up the James in 1821 and bought the claim and improvements formerly made by some of the Pettijohn family on the place now (1878) owned by his son, Albert Patterson, without doubt the oldest improvement in this (Greene) county, although actual settlement was not made upon it until August, 1822.

All of the above corroborates the statements of Williams, before quoted.

Judge Vaughan also describes this place as eight miles south of Springfield, and "the one now used for picnics." Mr. Alanson Lyman, an old resident of the county, has stated to the writer that this location is about two miles west from the Paine bridge on the Campbell Street road, on the north side of the river.

Escott further says, "Also another Thomas Patterson, a cousin of Albert Escott further says, O. G. settled higher up on the James, a little above Samuel Crenshaw's place." This place is on the south side of the river, about one mile west of Gates Station, and now known as the Bingham farm, in Christian and Greene counties. Escott further states, "A man named Ingle settled, about 1822, where the bridge now stands at the crossing of the James, on the Ozark road, and there erected the first mill in southwest Missouri." The remains of the old mill-dam are now seen just below the Ozark bridge, south of the town of Galloway. Later, the same author says,16 "a man by the name of Marshall * * * being married to a squaw, with whom he lived until the time of his death, which occurred about the time the Indians were leaving here had taken the old mill, which had previously been abandoned by Mr. Ingle, and removed it down the river to a point near the mouth of Finley creek, where he commenced a plantation."

Between 1823 and 1825 a man named Taggart settled near McCracken's mill, just south of the mouth of Pierson creek. Escott also states that the settlers had a sort of traditionary account of the killing by the Indians of a man of the name of Davis, who settled on the James some time between 1822 and 1825, but there is no record of what the circumstances were or which tribe was charged with the crime.

Although treaties were made by the United States government with the Delawares in 1818, and with the Kickapoos in 1819, by which these tribes were given as parts of their reservations the portions of Greene county before described and outlined on the accompanying map, the Delawares did not begin permanently occupy their territory on the south half of the county until the fall of 1822, and then constant conflicts began to arise between them and the early pioneers. To settle such disputes, Thomas Patterson, Sr., was sent, by the fear white families of this region, to St. Louis to make inquiry as to their rights, and Escott17 tells us that he was there informed, although it is not known to whom he referred the matter, "that the Indians were right, and that the white settlers must give up their claims. On his returning and reporting thus, nearly all the settlers abandoned their claims, some going to the Meramec, some to Osage Fork of the Gasconade, some back to Illinois, and some pressing onward still farther south and west."

When, by a later treaty, the Delawares and, Kickapoos were removed, in 1829 and 1832, respectively, many of these earliest pioneers returned to their old homes and began the permanent settlements, the history of which will be given in a succeeding chapter of this work.


In closing this chapter, it may be interesting to remember the fact that Greene county, as a portion of Missouri, was, by right of discovery by De Soto, in 1542, claimed by the Spaniards; that La Salle, in February, 1682, with twenty-three Frenchmen and thirty Indians, floated down the Mississippi and reached the Gulf of Mexico on the 9th of the following April, where, finding a suitable location, he raised a cross, planted the arms of France, and in a process accentovere verbal, duly witnessed, took possession of all the region watered by the Mississippi and its tributaries, and named it Louisiana, in honor of his king, Louis XIV.

In October, 1764, the king gave a letter to the Governor d'Abbadie, announcing the gift of Louisiana to Spain, though it was not until March, 1766, that Ulloa, the Spanish representative arrived in New Orleans to receive the transfer of the colony. On the 1st of October, 1800, France came again into possession of Louisiana. On the 30th of November, 1803, the Spanish authorities at New Orleans handed over the colony to Daussat, the French representative, and on the 20th of December following he, in turn, transferred it to General Wilkinson and Governor Claiborne, of Mississippi, who were authorized to receive it on the part of the United States, when the French flag that was floating in the public square was hauled down and replaced by the stars and stripes. This scene was repeated on the 9th of March, 1804, in the then village of St. Louis, and thus we see18 that this county has been successively, under the Spanish, French, then again the Spanish, French, and, lastly, the American flags.

In closing this chapter, the writer wishes to state that he has consulted every available authority relating to this portion of the state, especially the fine collection of books and pamphlets in the Mercantile and Public libraries, the Missouri Historical Society collections the Missouri Botanical Garden Library of St. Louis, and the Public Library of Kansas City, as well as his own Collection of Missouriana, gathered during the past thirty years. He has quoted freely from these works, and endeavored conscientiously to give credit, with reference to volume and page, to all the authorities from whom information has been obtained, and he especially wishes to recognize the masterly work of Mr. Louis Houck, whose "History of Missouri," in three volumes, is a most exhaustive study of the period covering the early explorations and Spanish and French occupations, up to the time of the admission of this state into the Union.

1"Geology of Greene County," E. M. Shepard, Missouri Geological Survey, Vol. XII, p. 182.
2 The above fact confirms the view expressed by the writer that this region had long been known by the Spanish prospectors on the Mississippi River.
3 "Scenes, and adventures in the Semi-Alpine Regions of the Ozark Mountains and Arkansas," 1818 and 1819. Philadelphia, 1853. Also, "Journal of a Tour Into the Interior of Missouri and Arkansas in 1818 and 1819," Henry R. Schoolcraft, London, 1821.
4 "Journal of a Tour Into the Interior of Missouri and Arkansas in the Years 1818 and 1819," Henry R., Schoolcraft, London, 1821, p. 54, and "Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Regions of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas." Henry R, Schoolcraft, Philadelphia, 1853, p. 110.
5 "The George Catlin Indian Gallery," Smithsonian Report, 1885, Part II pp. 325 and 495.
6The writer believes, from evidence to be given later, that this must have been in 1817 or 1818.
7 "History of Springfield," George S. Escott, 1878.
8"History of Springfield, Missouri," George S.Escott, 1878, p. 12.
9 "History of Springfield, Missouri," George S. Escott, 1878, p. 18.
10 "Scenes and Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Regions of Missouri and Arkansas." Henry R. Schoolcraft, 1818-1819, p. 77.
11 "History of Springfield, Missouri," George S. Escott, 1878, p. 15.
12 "Scenes and Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Regions of Missouri and Arkansas," in 1818 and 1819, H. R. Schoolcraft, pp. 105, 125.
13 In the book list quoted, on page 105, Schoolcraft under date of December 13, 1818 describes passing various old camps of the Osages at the head of Swan Creek, and states that "in searching the precincts of one of them, my guides (Holt and Fisher) pointed out a place where the Indians had formerly pinioned down Teen Friend, one of the most successful of the white trappers of this quarter, whom they had found trapping their beaver in the Swan Creek valley. I thought it was an evidence of some restraining fear of our authorities at St. Louis that they had not taken the enterprising old fellow's scalp as well as his beaver packs."
14 A man who had been but a name to us until Schoolcraft made him so well known as a pioneer of this region.
15 "History of Springfield," George S. Escott, p. 15.
16 Ibid, p. 17.
17 "History of Springfield, Missouri," George S. Escott, p. 16.
18 See American Commonwealth Series, "Missouri," Carr, p. 80.

Next Chapter | Table of Contents | Keyword Search
Greene County History Home | Local History Home

 Springfield-Greene County Library