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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Callaway County

Callaway County was first settled by Captain Samuel Boone (nephew of Daniel Boone, of Kentucky), in 1818. It was named for Captain James Callaway, who fell in battle while fighting the Indians. The county was formed from Montgomery County, and was organized in 1820... (--Campbell's New Atlas of Missouri, 1874, p. 54.)

Many years before the arrival of white man in the territory now embraced in Callaway County, Indians, known as the Missouris, made it their living place, and according to Indian tradition, were driven out of the county by the Iowas, Foxes and Sacs. Soon after St. Louis was settled in 1765, French hunters made expeditions into the county and some years before the beginning of the nineteenth century established a trading post and built a village on the Missouri River bottom, which they called Cote Sans Dessein, from a large rock which occupied the bottom, extending for nearly a mile and rising to a height of sixty feet...The date of the founding of the village is not known...

Missouri River floods about 1820-30 drove the inhabitants of Cote Sans Dessein to the south side of the river, where was established what was long known as the French village. Nothing remains of the original town today, but the name which is perpetuated by a station on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway, near the site of the old town. (--Ency. of the Hist. of MO., 1901, Conard, Vol. 1, p. 471.)

The great explorers were not only the first white men who arrived on the Missouri River, but Frenchmen were the pioneer settlers along that stream, from a period so early that its date is now merged with the mythical and legendary...

Cote Sans Dessein was the first settled place in Callaway County...The exact date is not known. It was known to have had an existence as early as 1803, and men who saw the town in 1813...said at the time the town had an old appearance. Cote Sans Dessein, which means "a hill without design," was a trading post, and was so called from its location near an immense rock...The rock is about one mile in length, rises to an average height of sixty feet, and is perhaps, three hundred feet in thickness at the base.

The early inhabitants of Cote Sans Dessein lived mostly by trapping and trafficking with the Indians...Through the encroachments of the river, the town has entirely disappeared...When commissioners on the permanent seat of government were appointed, but owing to uncertainty and confusion of titles, the idea was abandoned and Jefferson City was chosen.


The first Americans (that we have any knowledge of ) in the county were Colonel Nathan Boone, a son of Daniel Boone...and Captain Clemson, after whom Fort Clemson on Loutre Island was named, and was at that time an officer in the United States Army.

Callaway County was organized, November 25, 1820, out of territory taken from Montgomery County, and was named in honor of Captain James Callaway, who was killed by the Indians at Loutre Creek, on the 7th of March, 1820.

The first circuit court was held at the house of Henry Brite...on Monday, February 5, 1821...The first circuit court was held in Fulton, November 13, 1826...Immediately after the organization of the county, the county seat was established at Elizabeth (so named in honor of Mrs. Henry Brite), on Ham's Prairie, about six miles south of Fulton.

The Legislature of 1821 passed an act authorizing the county of Callaway to change the location of the county seat, and appointed Henry May, Ham Patton and Ezra B. Sutton, commissioners for that purpose.

A jail was built in the town of Elizabeth but no court-house...After the county seat was changed to Fulton the commissioners contracted with Charles Allen and Samuel Boone to remove the jail to Fulton, but before they did so, the jail was consumed by fire... (--Hist. of Fulton Co., 1884, St. Louis, National Historical Society, pp. 91, 92, 94, 112, 119.)


February 12, 1826, the county was divided into two townships. The first was known as Aux Vasse...The second was called Cote Sans Dessein...

May 14, 1821, the county court laid out Round Prairie Township...May 15, 1821, the court ordered a township to be known as Elizabeth to be laid out...February 7, 1825, the name of the township was changed to Fulton.

May 15, 1821, Nine Mile Prairie was erected into a township...November 13, 1824, the boundary of Cedar Township was defined...February 21, 1825, the court erected Bourbon Township...February 14, 1838, the court erected Liberty Township. The above are the old townships as they were originally laid out by the court. (The boundaries are given on pp. 122, 123, Hist. of Callaway Co.)

Jackson Township was established December 25, 1875; Calwood, February 23, 1876; Caldwell, June 5, 1883; St. Aubert--(no boundaries were given.)

In 1883 there were twelve municipal townships in the county: Aux Vasse, Bourbon, Calwood, Caldwell, Cedar, Cot Sans Dessein, Fulton, Jackson, Liberty, Nine Mile Prairie, Round Prairie and St. Aubert.--Fulton Co., p. 123.


Aux Vasse Township

Matthew and Tilman Agee settled on Coats' Prairie, in Callaway County, in 1817...Tilman Agee married a daughter of William Thornton, when she was thirteen years of age. The next morning after the wedding he left her to get breakfast, while he went out to work. He worked until 9 o'clock without being called to breakfast and then, having become impatient, he went to the house to see what was the matter and found his wife, sitting on the floor, playing with her dolls . (--Fulton Co., p. 133.)

Bourbon Township

Thomas Miller, a son of William Miller, of Pennsylvania, married a Miss Dodd and settled in Callaway County in 1826. He laid off and founded the town of Millersburg...

The first election held in Callaway County was under a large oak tree near Mrs. Samuel Miller's home. Mrs. Miller was the widow of Samuel Miller, a carpenter from St. Louis. (It is not known if Samuel was related to Thomas.) The first Methodist Church services held in Callaway County were at the home of Mrs. Miller. (--Fulton Co., p. 131.)

Cedar Township

Coonce--this name was formerly spelled Kountz, but by agreement among the different members of the family the orthography has been changed to its present form. Jacob Coonce, of Pennsylvania, settled in St. Charles County, Mo., in 1797. One of his sons, Henry, married Mahalia Buckner, and settled in Callaway County in 1835...

Bread was obtained from Fort Cooper, in Howard County, which served as a sort of depot for supplies...Salt was obtained from Boone's Lick, a distance of forty miles...The first school teacher was a Mrs. Feree...The next best teacher was Samuel Hayden...

Cote Sans Dessein Township

Robert C. Boyce, of Lancaster County, Kentucky, settled in Callaway County in 1828. He married Ann Murphy...

The township was the site of Cote Sans Dessein (q. v.). A Frenchman, whose name was Baptiste Louis Roi, and his wife, were among the principal defenders of the town when attacked by the Indians. He chanced to be in the block house with only two men and as many women, when the attack began. Through heroic measures the attack was repulsed. The women busied themselves in passing bullets and cutting patches for the guns. One of the men was so terrified he spent his time in prayer and supplication. Despite this a total of fourteen Indians were killed and an unknown number were wounded... (--Fulton Co., pp. 163, 167.)


Fulton Township

Captain Archibald Allen settled in Callaway County in 1822. He was born in Botecourt County, West Virginia in 1895, and served in the War of 1812.

Robert and David Dunlap were born in Ireland, but came to America with their parents when they were small boys, and settled in North Carolina...In 1821 the brothers removed to Missouri and settled in Callaway County. In 1825 they settled where Fulton now stands, and Robert Dunlap gave the name to the town, which for a number of years was called Bob Fulton on his account. He died in 1848, his wife having died in 1834...

Liberty Township

The old Boone Lick road runs through the north part of the county, and at the time was the only thoroughfare from St. Louis to the Upper Missouri. The first settler in the neighborhood located on this road. This was in the year 1818. This was the only house on the road from Loutre to Cedar Creek. The name of this man was Watson, and he kept the first entertainment for travelers...

There was a small settlement on Nine Mile Prairie. In 1828 James Leeper, from Kentucky, settled in the neighborhood of Concord. Aleck (Alexander) Fruite lived on Nine Mile Prairie, and was the first postmaster in that part of the county.

John White, of Kentucky...represented Callaway County in the Legislature of 1834-5...He told an amusing anecdote on himself while attending the Legislature, of which he was a member. He boarded at a private house, kept by a widow lady, who put him to sleep in a bed surrounded by a heavy damask curtain. He was unable to tell how he could get in the thing. He finally concluded he would have to go over the top; so drawing a table and chair beside the bed, he mounted on to them, and rolled over, expecting to land on a nice, soft bed; but instead of that he was caught by the floor, and like the Irishman, considerably hurt by the "sudden stopping". He finally learned the trick and after that he had no difficulty getting into his bed.

James Davis was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, March 17, 1794, and married Frances Davis, his cousin. They came to Missouri in 1822, and first settled in Boone County, where they remained one year, and located in 1823, about two and one-half miles south of Bloomfield, in Callaway County...

The first church edifice (a small log cabin daubed with clay) was built by the Cumberland Presbyterians, on what was known as Picayune Prairie. Lark Fleishman was one of the first school teachers in the township... (--Fulton Co., pp. 217, 218, 236, 245, 246, 250.)

St. Aubert Township

Hexekiah Smith, of Virginia,...settled in Callaway County in 1818, and established Smith's Landing, on the Missouri River, later called St. Aubert.


Jonathan Ramsey was born in Livingston County, Kentucky...He settled in Callaway County, Mo., in 1819...Mr. Ramsey was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1820...He was also one of the commissioners to locate the State Capital. He strongly advocated Cote Sans Dessein as the place, but there was some dispute about the title to the land upon which the town was located, and Jefferson City was selected as the future capital... (--Fulton Co., pp. 253, 255.)

Caldwell Township

Robert Caldwell, of Scotland, was married in South Wales, emigrated to America, where he settled in Pennsylvania...He had a son, Robert, Jr., who had several children, among them Thomas. Thomas married Eleanor Boyd and settled in Callaway County in 1826. He established the pottery works there, later known as Pottersville... (--Fulton Co., p. 257.)

Calwood Township

Calwood Township originally was a part of Nine Mile Prairie, Liberty and Fulton Townships...

James Van Bibber is said to have been the first settler in Calwood Township, locating there as early as June, 1823... (--Fulton Co., pp. 257, 258.)

Jackson Township

Jackson Township originally was a part of Nine Mile Prairie and Liberty Townships...

George P. McCredie laid out the town of McCredie September 20, 1876. (--Fulton Co., pp. 258, 259.)

February 21, 1825, the court erected Bourbon Township...

February 24, 1838, the court erected Liberty Township...

Jackson Township was erected December 25, 1875; Calwood, February 23, 1876; Caldwell, June 5, 1883; St. Aubert, ___________.

There are now (1883) twelve townships in the county...Aux Vasse, Bourbon, Calwood, Caldwell, Cedar, Cote Sans Dessein, Fulton, Jackson, Liberty, Nine Mile Prairie, Round Prairie and St. Aubert. (--Hist. of Callaway Co., pp. 122, 123. National Historical Company, St. Louis, 1884.)


Callaway County, and more particularly, Fulton, were in the National and International spotlight, March 5, 1946. Sir William Churchill, former British Prime Minister, was invited to give Westminster's John Findley Green Foundation lecture.

In his address, "Sinews of Peace," at the mid-point of his speech, he said,

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe, and all are subject to a very high and increasing measure of control from Moscow.

"Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Bucharrest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the population around them lie in what I might call the Soviet influence." (--New York Times, Wednesday, March 6, 1946.)

Callaway County Table of Contents

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