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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


The first settler is not recorded until 1832. At that time Linn County was a part of Chariton County which is among the old­est counties in the State having been organised in 1820. It was still in some respects the home of the red men.

From the year 1820 to the year 1830 this portion of the State of Missouri was known to the people of Missouri--those of Howard and Chariton Counties, especially--as the "Locust Creek Country.

Among the Howard County hunters who visited the "Locust Creek Country" were James Pendleton and Joseph Newton, who lived near Fayette, and who came here with their brothers solely to hunt. But they were greatly pleased with the country and at last determined to locate. Accordingly, in the fall of 1831, they came to Section 14, Township 58, Range 21, where now is the southwest corner of Lo­cust Creek Township, and located a claim. Together they built a cabin and fenced five or six acres of ground that fall. Then they went back to Howard County and returned the next spring with their families. Pendleton and Newton were not only the first white set­tlers in Locust Creek Township, but the first in Linn County.

Sometime in 1832 Silas and Peter Fore came to Section 29, Township 59, Range 20, about two miles northeast of Linneus. The act of the Legislature organising Linn County directed the courts should be held at the house of Silas Fore.

It is found that James Pendleton and William Howell raised the first two cabins in the township; that the Bowyers, Newtons, etc., followed closely; that John Holland settled first on the site of Linneus. . .and that the old town of Linneus was the gift of "Jack Holland" and wife for a permanent county seat; that from the "Black Hawk War" Linn County seemed to grow and prosper. So much so that her people were ready in the winter of 1836-37 to be cut loose from Chariton County. On January 6, 1837, the Governor approved the bill, passed by the Legislature, and Linn County from that day received recognition.

Quite a settlement sprang up on Parsons' Creek, in what is now Jackson Township in 1838, some settlers dating earlier. The Kirbys, Singletons and others came from Kentucky. It may be mentioned here that Linn' County was principally settLLed by Kentuckians.

The first mill erected in the county was a horse-mill by Will­iam and Jesse Bowyers, on the east side of Locust Creek, west of the fairgrounds about the year 1834.

In the year 1867 there was a discussion of a proposition to organise a new county to be called Grant, and to be composed of portions of Linn, Macon, and Chariton Counties. The scheme had many advocates, but failed, and never made sufficient headway to be of serious consequence. Bucklin was proposed for the county seat of "Grant County" should it ever be organised.
HISTORY OF LINN COUNTY, 1882, Birdsdall & Dean, pp.149, 152, 153, 157, 158, 160, 175.


The territory of which Linn County is composed was once a part of Chariton County. The latter county was organized November 16, 1820, and extended to the Iowa State Line. At the session of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri in the winter of 1836-37, an act was passed organizing the county of Linn from the territory attached to Chariton County, and extending her municipal government over the territory lying north of her to the Iowa Line. The act was approved January 6, 1837, and from that date Linn County has had a corporate existence. (See pages 185, 186, 187, HISTORY OF LINN COUNTY for the boundaries.)
Linn County was named for Hon. Lewis F. Linn.
--IBID, pp. 185, i86.


The territory north of Linn County to the Iowa Line was attached to Linn for all civil and military purposes, and had no particular name until 1843. At the session of the General Assembly of the winter of 1842-43, an act was passed defining the territorial limits of a county of the territory above named which includes the present county of Sullivan. The county was Highland, but was not organized into a district (distinct) municipal government until two years afterward.

Section 1 deals with the boundaries of Highland County.
see p. 201

Section 2. Highland County shall be attached to Linn County for all civil and military purposes. p. 202.

LOCUST CREEK TOWNSHIP This is the central township of Linn County, the one first settled, and one of the original townships. Its boundaries have been frequently changed, and are likely to change in the future. It is irregular in form being in shape like the Roman capital "L".

The first settlers in this township, James Pendleton, William Howell and Joseph Newton were the first bona fide settlers of the county. The first school in the township was taught by Mr. German Rorer of Howard County, three and a half miles southwest of Linneus, about 1838.

The first mill in the township was a "band-mill," or horse­mill, built by Mr. Bowyer, on Section 2 in the year 1834. Prior to this the settlers were compelled to go miles and miles away to mill. Keytesville and Old Chariton were their principal milling places and markets.
IBID. pp. 384, 385, 386, 387.


BROOKFIELD TOWNSHIP The first settlement in Brookfield Township were made by John and Daniel Moore, southeast of the town of Brookfield along Yellow Creek. The first semblance of organization that Brookfield Township ever had was June 5, 1866 when the county court made an order dividing Jefferson Township into two precincts, Laclede and Brookfield, for election purposes, and so Brookfield became first a district before a township.
--p. 483.

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP is one of the leading townships in the county, and is bordered on the north by Locust Creek Township, south by Chariton County, and west by Locust Creek, whose channel separates it from Parson Creek Township. Clay Township borders on the northwest corner for one mile separated by Locust Creek.

Jefferson Township at the time Sullivan County was organized from the territory of Linn covered far more territory than now, and in fact was one of the original seven townships formed in the year 1845.

The Rural Flouring Mills were located on Locust Creek, on Section 14, Township 57, of Range 21, about three and one-half miles from Laclede. These mills were erected in 1878.
--pp. 569, 570, 575, 579.

BUCKLIN TOWNSHIP Probably the first settler within what is now the confines of Bucklin Township was Sampson Wyett.  Mr. Wyett was born in Tennessee and came to Chariton County, and on the 24th day of March, 1835, came to Bucklin Township and settled upon the southeast quarter of section 29, Township 57, Range18. The first practicing physician was Dr. John F. Powers, who came from Ohio in 1841.

WATSON 'S SETTLEMENT Josiah Watson came from Chariton County (originally from Virginia) to this county and township in1836, and settled on the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 16, Township 58, Range 18.

LANE'S SETTlEMENT Mordecai Lane settled on the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 21, Township 57, Range 18, in the year 1837.

The first steam whistle. When the steam mill was just put near St. Catherine, it was the first steam mill in Linn- County. It is stated that when it first blew the whistle, about dusk one evening, the settlers on Upper Yellow Creek concluded that the noise was the scream of a panther. They gathered and many of them hunted all day for the monster. (The settlers firmly believed that some sort of "varmint" was in the neighborhood, and when the truth came out it was a standing joke for many years.
pp. 636, 637, 642.

YELLOW CREEK TOWNSHIP was one of the three original townships. Joseph Coulson settled on Section 19, Township 58, Range 19 and came from Virginia about 1836. Among the early physicians were John Powers and Dr. Conrad McArney. The latter was killed during the Civil War.


The first school-house is supposed to have been the one built on Section 34, of Township 58, of Range 19.

Among the first schools taught in the township was one kept by Joseph Watson who taught at a private house. He got ten dollars for teaching three children for three months.
pp. 669, 671, 672, 673.

PARSONS' CREEK TOWNSHIP was one of the three original townships of the county. Its territory comprised all that portion of the county lying west of Locust Creek and extending to the Iowa Line.  In 1845 Highland County, changed to Sullivan County, was organized into a separate county. That year a commission was appointed to divide Linn County into municipal townships and the result was that Parsons' Creek was cut into two townships.

John Botts was the first settler of Parsons' Creek Township. He came in 1833, and his brother carne with him and they put up a cabin of poles. He settled on Section 1, Township 57, Range22, but it was nearly three years before he brought his family. He was a Kentuckian born and reared but came to Linn County from Howard County.
pp. 694, 695, 697.

BENTON TOWNSHIP  After Linn County had been divided into three townships it remained so for a few years. Among the townships formed out of the three was that of Benton. It was taken from Locust Creek Township and was settled in 1866. It is hard to say who was the first settler. Capt. John W. McNinnis, who found himself in Sullivan County when the county was organized, settled in the winter of 1836-37, and many believed him to have been the first settler.

Later, a portion of the territory of Benton Township was given to Grantsville and another portion to Enterprise Townships. Keytesville, Chariton County, was the printipal trading point. There were no roads, no bridges. Finally Keytesville dropped out. Henry Brown and Thomas Barbee started a store on Kentucky Rupell's place (location unknown) and a mill by the Botts brothers did the work for the settlement. (Location of this mill likewise is unknown.)

The first school taught in the Gibson Settlement (location not given) was by a Mr. Rupell.

Brown's School-house or Hickory College, a name given it by H. P. Thorp, stood on the northwest quarter of Section 5, Township 20.
pp. 739, 740, 741, 743, 744.

CLAY TOWNSHIP is bounded on the north by Jackson, on the east by Locustcreek, on the south by Parsons' Creek Township and on the west by the Livingston County line. It had one small village within its borders, Eversonville, on the Livingston County Line, part of the plat of the village lying within that county.


The first settlement was along the banks of Parsons' Creek, and a few would be on Locust Creek. John Neal came from Howard County in 1836, and he, at that time, was the most northern settler in the county, west of Locust Creek.

Seth Botts came in 1825, but whether he should not be credited to Parsons' Creek is a matter of choice, as that was his first home.

It is said that the first prairie broken in Clay Township was by James Bowyer, in 1822, about twelve acres. The field was on Section 20, Township 59, Range 21. The plow was one of those old-fashioned, mould-board plows, with an iron point, and some six yoke of cattle were attached to it.

The first school-house in the township was a log house, a fireplace in one end, a door at the other, or rather an opening for one, and also another for a window. It was located on Section 13, Township 58, Range 22.
pp. 781, 782, 783, 784.

ENTERPRISE TOWNSHIP This township can be considered the baby of Linn County. It was next to the last organized. It was made out  of Benton and a portion of Baker Townships. No general rule was observed, and it not only lies in two sections, but even divides sections. It was organized August 20, 1860, and enlarged February 20, 1870. For a wonder the township line dividing Sections 59 and 60 is its southern boundary (evidently Townships 59 and 60 is meant), but to compensate this unheard of good sense, its western boundary divides the section from its south to north line. Sections 10 15, 22, 27 and 34 are divided, one half being in Benton Township and the other half in Enterprise. North is Sullivan County, south is Grantsville Township, and this last township was the last organized, though there was really no use for either.

Enterprise Township was settled about the same time that other portions of the north part of the county were settled, which was in 1838, 1839, and 1840. Among the first pioneers who made their homes was Greenberry Summers,who came from Indiana in October, 1839, and settled on Section 24, Township 60, Range 20.

The first school was taught in an abandoned log house in 1847 or 1848, but continued only one month. This school was on Section 24, Township 60, Range 20, and was taught by Adoniram Robinson. The first school-house built in this township was about 1852 and on Section 25, Township 60, Range 20.
pp. 797, 798, 799.

BAKER TOWNSHIP Originally Baker Township was a part of Yellow Creek, one of the three original townships of the county. The township did not improve much or have many settlers previous to 1840. Robert Baker, from whom the township takes its name, was born in Clay County, Kentucky, and came to Linn County in 1839.
The family came from Chariton County direct and settled on the southwestern quarter of Section 17, Township 59, Range 18.


Golden Chapel was the first church organized in Baker Township, and was located on the southwest corner of Section 21, Township 59, Range 18. The minister himself, built the church in 1842, and it was composed of logs. His name was Conway but his first name is forgotten. The first school-house was built in the neighborhood, it being located on Section 16, Township 59, Range 18. This was in 1843.
pp. 808, 811, 813.

NORTH SALEM TOWNSHIP lies in the northeast corner of Linn County. There were no towns in the township and the prospects were there would never be any.

The first settlers in the center of North Salem Township were Samuel Bob Baker, Balaam Baker and Michael Stufflebaum who came in 1840.

In the northwestern portion of the township where North Salem now (1882) stands, and where is now the southern part of Sullivan County, but then Linn, the first settlements were made by Jacob Kieth, William Putnam, George W. Baker and Andrew Baker, in July, 1840.

The first school-house in the settlement and in the township was built by the settlers in the year 1841, and stood on Section 11, Township 60. Range 19.
pp. 820, 823, 821.

JACKSON TOWNSHIP is the northwest township in the county and originally was organized out of the territory of Parson's Creek. It was one of the seven original townships which formed the municipal districts or divisions of Lihn County in 1845, which were formed after the organization of Sullivan Cbunty. . . Jackson Township is bounded on the north by Sullivan County, east by Locust Creek, south by Clay Township, and west by Livingston and Grundy Counties.

THE BRAGG SETTLMENT Jesse Goins, from Chariton County, perhaps was one of the best and favorably known citizens of Linn County. who settled in Benton Township. . .He said that the northeast section of Jackson Township was settled in 1838. William N. Bragg came from Alabama in 1839, and settled on the southeast quarter of Section 17, Township 60, Range 21, right on the banks of East Parson's Creek.

GOOCH SETTLMENT This might in truth be called a part of the other mentioned settlement, for a portion was on the same section. Asa Kirby settled on Section 17, Township 66, Range 21. . .On Section 12, Township 60, Range 21, Mark Arnold settled. . ..in March, 1839. Others settled. . .This might be called

ARNOLD'S SETTLEMENT and Arnold's house afterward became headquarters for the Confederates in the Civil War. Harvey Bragg, a brother of William before spoken of, settled in December, 1838, on Section 16, Township 60, Range 21, something like three miles north of the Arnold Settlement.

[ VI I ]

MOORE SETTLEMENT was on Section 3, Township 59, Range 21. Everett T. Moore settled there in October, 1840. Among others who settled there was William Jackson, from Chariton County. and Andrew Charles Caughron, from Trumpee. (It is not known what is meant by "Trumpee.")

The first school was taught by William Halley Moore in an old log cabin on Roland Gooch's land on Section 31, Township 60, Range 20. This school was stated by another informant as being located on Section 6, Township 59, Range 21.

Hazleville, Orlando* and Sebago were the post-offices in this township; the former was closed up in 1882.

*Orlando later is referred to as Orlinda. This is in the third paragraph following the first entry.
pp. 829, 830, 831, 833.

GRANTSVILLE TOWNSHIP, the last one organized in the county, was originally a part of Locust Creek, then of Benton, Baker and Enterprise. W. P. Southerland came in the fall of 1836 and settled on Section 10, Township 59, Range 20.

Grantsville Township was organized in 1871. The oldest school in the township seems to have been one built in the Guyer Settlement, in 1847. There were two post-offices in the township--Grantsville and Bear Wood.
pp. 843, 844, 847, 849.

Page numbers refer to HISTORY OF LINN CO., 1882, Birdsdall & Depn.

Linn County Table of Contents
Local History Home

 Springfield-Greene County Library