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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Howard County


On the 23rd day of January, 1816, that portion of the State of Missouri, lying west of the Osage River, and west of Cedar Creek, and the dividing ridge between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and which formerly had been known as the "Boone's Lick Country", was organized under the territorial laws, and was called "Howard County". Previous to this time, the settlers had made their own laws, and executed them rigorously, when the occasion demanded ... The Eastern portion of the State had been previous to this time, organized into counties ... but the "Boone's Lick Country", was not sufficiently thickly settled to justify its organization and the expense of holding terms of court within its limits...

The act under which the county was organized, located the "seat of justice" at Hannah Cole's fort. The first court within the territorial limits of Howard County, was held at Hannah Cole's fort, which was situated in what is now "East Boonville", on the 8th day of July, 1816 ... Benjamin Estill, David Jones, David Kincaid, William Head, and Stephen Cole were appointed commissioners to locate the county seat, which was first located by the territorial legislature at Hannah Cole's fort.

On the 16th day of June, 1816, the above mentioned commissioners settled upon Old Franklin as the most suitable place for the location of the county seat, and to that place the records, documents, etc., were removed in the year 1817. The county seat remained at Old Franklin until the year 1823, when it was removed to Fayette...

The town of Old Franklin was laid off opposite the present site of Boonville, during the year 1816. It was located on fifty acres of land, donated by different individuals for that purpose.... It was for a time the largest and most flourishing town in the State, west of St. Louis. Louis, and the starting point for the Santa Fe traders.

But in the year 1826, the waters of the Missouri River commenced encroaching upon the city, and despite the utmost endeavors of its citizens, house after house was swept away, until, in a few years afterwards, the current of the river rolled through its streets, and the whole of the city was engulfed in its waters. Within the last few years (dating from 1876) a small village still called "Old Franklin", has sprung up back of the site of the old town, but not a single house or anything else remains to suggest to the traveler that he stands near the site of a once large city ... (--History of Cooper County, Stearns & Drake, 1876, pp. 39, 40, 41.)


The Forts

Cooper's Fort - in the bottom lands, near Boone's Lick salt works.

Kincaid's Fort - a mile above the site where Old Franklin was afterwards built.

Fort Hempstead - one mile south of Franklin.

Head's Fort - near the present (1837) crossing of the St. Charles road, on the Moniteau. (--Wetmore's Gazetteer of Missouri, 1837, p. 82.)

The Mills

The first mills were built in the forts. These were small affairs. The first grist and saw mill combined was at Old Franklin, in 1819, by Shadrach Burns, and the buhrs were set on the saw frame. At first the mill only ground corn which had to be sifted after it was ground, as there were no bolts in the mill. There was only one run of buhrs which, as well as the mill irons were brought from St. Louis. They were shipped up the Missouri River ... The mill had no gearing, the buhr being located over the wheel, and running with the same velocity as the wheel. It was a frame mill, one story high, and had a capacity of fifty bushels a day.

The Mail

During the ten years of the settlement of the Boone's Lick Country, there were scarcely any mail facilities and in fact, there was not a post-office within the limits of Howard County until in 1821. The news was carried by the traveler or special courier, from one settlement to another; but sometimes weeks or months would intervene before the pioneers could hear from their former homes or from their more immediate neighbors ...

It was announced in the Missouri Intelligencer of April 23, 1819, that "it is contemplated running a stage from St. Louis to Franklin"... Other stage lines were to be in operation in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. "When these lines shall have gone into operation, a direct communication by stage will then be opened from the Atlantic States to Boone's Lick, on the Missouri ... (--History of Howard and Cooper Counties, 1876, National Historical Society, pp. 125, 126, 136.)


Under an act of the General Assembly approved January 13, 1816, the county of Howard was created, being the ninth organized county in the territory, and was taken out of the counties of St. Charles and St. Louis...

In order that the reader may have a more definite idea of the area of Howard County when originally organized, we will name the counties which have since been taken from its territory, and which were at first a part of Howard: --

Boone, Cole, north part of Miller, Morgan, north parts of Benton and St. Clair, Henry, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Cooper, Moniteau, Saline, Clay, Clinton, DeKalb, Gentry, Worth, Harrison, Daviess, Caldwell, Ray, Carroll, Livingston, Grundy, Mercer, Putnam, Sullivan, Linn, Chariton, Randolph, Macon, Adair and possibly parts of Shelby, Monroe and Audrain; also the following counties in Iowa: --

Parts of Taylor and Adams, Union, Ringgold, Clarke, Decatur, and Wayne and probably parts of Lucas, Monroe, and Appanoose ...

It was an empire, presenting an area of nearly 22,000 square miles. It was one-third as large as the present (1883) State of Missouri (65,350 square miles -- 1883) being nearly as large as England, and the States of Vermont and New Hampshire), and larger than Vermont, Massachusetts, Delaware and Rhode Island. (--History of Howard and Cooper Counties, 1883, National Historical Society, St. Louis, pp. 108, 109.)


The Townships

Bonne Femme Township -- Bonne Femme Township remains as it was originally formed, in 1821, excepting Sections 11, 14, 22, 23 have since been taken off and added to the new township of Burton. Bonne Femme is situated in the northeastern portion of the county and is bounded on the north by Randolph, on the east by Boone County, on the south by Moniteau Township, and on the west by Burton and Prairie Townships.

Among the early settlers were a Mr. Winn, father of Judge G.J. Winn; also Henry Myers, whose father lived at Myer's Post Office, (Bunker Hill), which was named after him... (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, p. 241.)

Boone's Lick Township -- This township, which was re-organized in 1821, has suffered no dimination of its territory since that period, nor has its area been increased (as of 1883). It occupies the southwest corner of the county and is bounded on the north by Chariton Township; on the east by Richmond and Franklin Townships; on the south by Cooper County, and the Missouri River, and on the west by the Missouri River and Saline County.

Daniel Boone erected a cabin and camped one winter in the immediate vicinity of Boone's Lick. The date of his doing this is not known. (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, pp. 148, 149.)

Burton Township -- Burton Township was created in 1880. It was taken from Prairie, Richmond and Bonne Femme ... It adjoins Randolph County on the north, Bonne Femme Township on the east, Richmond Township on the south and Prairie Township on the west.

Among the early settlers see Prairie, Richmond and Bonne Femme Townships. (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, pp. 240, 241.)

Chariton Township -- The territorial limits of Chariton Township have not been changed since the creation of the same by the county court, in 1821 (as of 1883). It is in form something like a triangle, and contains about seventy square miles. It is bounded on the north by Chariton and Randolph Counties; on the east by Prairie and Richmond Townships; on the south by Boone's Lick Township and on the west by Saline and Chariton Counties, being separated from Saline County by the Missouri River ... Among the early settlers of Chariton Township was Thomas M. Cockrill, who located about two miles east of Glasgow. He afterwards became a resident of Glasgow. (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, p. 204.)


Franklin Township -- Franklin Township stands as it did when erected by the county in 1821. In area, it is about 50 miles square. It is bounded on the north by Richmond and Boone's Lick Townships, on the east by Moniteau Township, on the south by Cooper County, from which it is separated by the Missouri River, and on the west by Boone's Lick Township.

Among the earliest settlers of Franklin Township were Daniel Boone, Benjamin Cooper, William N. Marshall and Ira P. Nash. (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, pp. 89, 90.)

Moniteau Township - It is one of the largest municipal divisions in the county, embracing an area of about 70 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Bonne Femme Township, on the east by Boone County, on the south by Boone and Cooper Counties, and on the west by Franklin and Richmond Townships ...

The settlement of this township began comparatively early -- 1812. At this period Price Arnold located on Section 23. He was from Mercer County, Kentucky, and arrived in Franklin Township in 1811. Here he remained until the following year, and took a claim ... The same year he was joined by William Head, who came from Washington County, Virginia. In the latter part of that year (1812) there two gentlemen selected a site and began the erection of Fort Head, named in honor of Mr. Head, named above, who was chosen captain of the little band formed for the defense of the small colony against the Indians. (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, p. 239.)

Prairie Township - Something more than a third of this township was taken off in 1880, to form Burton Township...It is bounded on the north by Randolph County, on the east by Burton Township, on the south by Richmond Township and on the west by Chariton Township.

Silas Inyart was one of the first persons to locate in this township. He settled about three miles south of the town of Roanoke...Lott Hackley located in the southern portion of the township, and David Crews in the central portion of the same. (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, pp. 236, 237).

Richmond Township - It remains as first formed in 1821, excepting sections 19, 20, 21 which were attached to Burton Township in 1880. It is bounded on the north by Prairie and Burton Townships, on the east by Bonne Femme and Moniteau, on the south by Moniteau and Franklin, and on the west by Boone's Lick and Chariton Townships...

The pioneer settler of Richmond Township seems to have been, from the most authentic sources, one Hiram Fugate*, who was one of the original settlers of Franklin Township--a private in Capt. Sarshall Cooper's company and connected with Fort Kincaid, where he remained during the Indian hostilities of 1812. His cabin stood near the present (1883) site of Central College; the northern part of Fayette was located on the south part of his land, and the southern part of the town on a portion of the claim owned by Hickerson Burnham*, who settled the township in 1819. (--History of Howard & Cooper Counties, 1883, p. 176).

*See Fayette.

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