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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Hickory County


By an act of the legislature approved on the 14th day of April, 1845, the boundary lines of the county were fixed as they now (1907) exist, except that the Northeast corner of the county was described as being at the Northeast corner of Section One (1), Township 38, Range 20, instead of the Northeast corner of Section 12 (12), same Township and Range. The act provided that three commissioners; Henry Bartlett, William Lemon and James Johnson, should meet at Judge Joel B. Halbert's residence, then located on the Warsaw and Buffalo Road, one mile south of where the town of Cross Timbers is now situated, on the first Monday in May, 1845, for the purpose of organizing the county.

Prior to the date of this meeting, on April 25, 1845, John C. Edwards, Governor of the State, appointed Joel B. Halbert, President of the County Court, Jonas Brown and Amos Lindsay, associate justices...John S. Williams was appointed sheriff and collector; Thomas Davis, treasurer; and Alfred H. Foster, clerk of the county court and clerk of the circuit court, probably May 6, 1845. These officials, and the commissioners appointed by the Act of the Legislature met at the residence of Judge Halbert in May, 1845, and transacted quite a large amount of business. A great deal of the county records having been burned in the destruction of two court houses by fire, it is impossible to tell where the county court again met after May, 1845, until August, 1846, but it probably met at the residence of John Heard about half a mile North of what is now the town of Wheatland, on the 10th day of August, 1846.

On the 23rd day of December, 1846, the legislature passed an act appointing William Greene, of Camden County, William Divern, of Polk County, and Charles H. Yeater of St. Clair County, as commissioners, to locate a permanent county seat for the county to be named and known as "Hermitage". These commissioners met and selected the present town of Hermitage sometime in 1846; (could it have been 1847?), as the permanent county seat, which action of the commissioners was ratified by a majority of the people, but the good people of the west side of the county continued to advocate county seat removal until 1856.

As soon as the county seat location was settled, X X X a court house was built on the west end of Lot 2, Block 8, in Hermitage. It was a two-story frame building and was destroyed by fire in 1860, the lower room being used for school.


A second court house was built in 1860, on the South side of the public square, south of where the present court house stands, (1907). X X X It was destroyed by fire January 6, 1881, with important records of circuit court, county court, and deed and mortgage records. The records of the probate court and the collector's book were not destroyed.

Thus from January 6, 1881, and up to 1896, the county was without a court house. Courts were held, and the offices stored away in any sort of building that could be rented in town, and county expenditures for rent were enormous. In the forty-one years between 1845 and 1896, an attempt was made to re-locate the county seat from Heritage, to an unspecified spot, (possibly Wheatland). However, these attempts were never successful, and following the erection of the new court house in 1896, no further attempts tomove the county seat are recorded.

It is uncertain as to what year it was that white poeople first came to what is now Hickory County, but it is likely that it was as early as 1827. The lands in this county were not surveyed and report of survey filed until in 1837, and no entries of lands were made until 1838. The first settlers evidently came in on the old wagon roads from St. Louis and the counties near St. Louis, and from the Missouri River at Boonville. Two main old roads led out from these points as early as 1821, one from St. Louis southwest through what are now the counties of St. Louis, Franklin, Jefferson, Crawford, Phelps, Pulaski, Laclede and Webster to Springfield, and the other from Boonville south through Cooper, Pettis, Benton, Hickory and Polk to Springfield, and then on to Fayetteville, Arkansas. These roads were marked and cut out, and became Governemnt roads in 1835, under Act of Congress. The Boonville and Springfield road passed through Quincy and Elkton. (--Wilson's History of Hickory County, Jan. 6, 1907, Copyright, pp. 1, 2, 3, 4.)


There was a very early settlement Northwest of Cross Timbers, about the Benton and Hickory County line, near or on Turkey Creek, and the head of prairie hollow...

Samuel Judy, who afterwards entered the Northwest quarter of Section 21, Township 36, Range 23, (December 23, 1838) lying two and one-half miles west of Elkton...lived near Quincy or perhaps ont he present site of Quincy on the "Military Road", and ran a blacksmith shop as early as 1832, and the Post Office here run by Aaron Ripetoe was no doubt the first Post Office in the county. A long time ago but not so early, there was a Post Office at the Vanrensaler Bennett place three miles north of Wheatland, named Bledsoe...Most of the early settlers came from Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina; some, however, came from Ohio and Virginia. (--Wilson's History of Hickory County, pp. 28 & 29.)

Hickory County was organized under the act of the General Assembly of February 14, 1845, and received the familiar name given to General Andrew Jackson. Its territory was taken from the counties of Benton and Polk...

In 1861, the Union men were ordered to leave the county and in their departure a conflict occurred in Benton County, which resulted in the burning of a large portion of Warsaw. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Conrad, Vol. 3, p. 239.)

By an act of 1845 Hickory County was created, taking nearly one-half of its northern territory from Benton County. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Conrad, Vol. 1, p. 207.)

Hickory County was named in 1845 for Andrew Jackson, known as "Old Hickory", with his home called "The Hermitage", at Nashville, Tennessee. He defeated Henry Clay in 1832 in Clay's second candidacy. (--Our Storehouse of Missouri Place Names, Ramsay, p. 52.)

"We have two Butterfield Stage Stops in Hickory County. One at Judy's Gap, (Quincy) and one southwest of Elkton, 2 1/2 or 3 miles. A State Historical Marker marks the one at Quincy on the spot, but the other is IN Elkton, but that is not authentic. It was at the Yoast Place. A few things are still there to mark the place. Two pear trees and the old cellar can be seen, also some rocks, the last time I was there." (--A portion of a letter from Mrs. Nannie Jinkins, president of the Hickory County Historical Society.)

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