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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Pike County


In 1812 the Territory of Louisiana was organized as the Territory of Missouri. This is described in the act of Congress June 4, 1812, which the reader can consult at his own pleasure ...

By a subsequent act of Congress, approved April 29, 1816. ... the General Assembly of the Territory was authorized to require the judges of the superior court to hold superior and circuit courts, and appoint the times and places of holding the same ...

In accordance with these and similar provisions of Congress the territorial legislature proceeded to establish the county of Pike, named in honor of Lieut. Zebulon Montgomery Pike, who, in the War of 1812, had risen to the rank of Brigadier-General, and was killed in the attack upon York (Toronto) in 1813. (--155.)

The act of the legislature by which this was done is dated December 14, 1818. The first article reads as follows: "All that part of the county of St. Charles lying north of the following line, to-wit: Beginning at a point in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River, on the township line between Townships 51 and 52, thence west with said township line to the range line between Ranges 2 and 3, west of the 5th principal meridian; thence south to the township line between Townships 50 and 51; thence west with said line to the eastern boundary of Howard County; thence north and west with the county line between Howard and St. Charles to the most western part of the county of St. Charles, shall, and is hereby laid off and erected into a separate and distinct county, which shall be called and known by the name of Pike County."

By the same act commissioners were appointed to fix the most suitable place for a court-house and jail, and the place which they should agree to be declared the permanent seat of justice for the county.

Until such place was selected the court was to be held at the house of Obadiah Dickerson, of Louisiana ...(--155, 156.)

Among the first duties of the circuit court was the carving up of the county into townships; but before giving the original boundaries of the first four townships, it is well to describe the old boundaries of Pike County itself in order to get a clear comprehension of the size and shape of the first townships, some of which embraced a number of the present counties of the State, a brief study of these old boundaries will convince the reader of the propriety of calling the county "The State of Pike." (See above boundaries.)


Now, at this time, the eastern line of Howard County was Cedar River (Creek), between the present counties of Boone and Callaway. From near the headwaters of the Cedar, the western boundary of Pike was the eastern boundary of Howard County, whose boundaries are described as follows: Commencing with the junction of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, "thence with the Indian boundary line, northwardly 140 miles; thence east with the said line to the main dividing ridge of high ground between the rivers Missouri and Mississippi; thence with the said ridge of high ground to the main fork of the river (creek) Cedar: thence down said river to the river Missouri."

From a glance at the map of Missouri, it is plainly seen that Pike County in the year 1818 comprised all of the present county of Pike, together with nearly all of Audrain, part of Randolph, Macon, Adair, and Schuyler; and all of Ralls, Marion, Monroe, Shelby, Linn, Knox, Clark and Scotland.

The original townships were Calumet, Buffalo, Penoe and Mason; these were the first names that appear on the records, but when it is remembered that Pike County extended to the northern boundary of the State, and that Howard County had one corner in the Missouri River, the student will be cautious as to what idea he attaches to the names of the first townships, and will carefully study the boundaries of the above mentioned townships as found in the following record of the circuit court:

"Ordered that such part thereof as is bounded on the east by the Mississippi River, on the south by the Lincoln County line; on the west by Buffalo road leading to St. Charles, and on the north by the little Calumet Creek, and a line from its head to the Buffalo Road pursuing the general course of said branch, be formed into one township, and be called and known by the name Calumet.

Ordered that such part thereof as lies north of the township line between Townships 53 and 54, west of the range line between Ranges 2 and 3 west of the 5th principal meridian, south of the main fork of Salt River, be formed into one township and be called Penoe.

Ordered that such part thereof as lies north of Salt River, and bounded on the west, north and east by the county lines be formed into one township, to be called by the name Mason."

The county was not reduced to its present limits until 1820, when Ralls County was organized ...

At the April session, 1820, Spencer Township was severed from Penroe.

Ordered: That such part of the township of Penoe as lies west of Spencer's Creek be formed into one township, to be called and known by the name of the township of Spencer ... It must be remembered that the western boundary of Spencer Township, as far as it had any, was near the middle of the present county of Randolph ... Elections were to be held in New London (now in Ralls County.) (159, 160, 169.)


August 14, 1820, Buffalo Township was reduced.

Ordered that all that part of Pike County bounded on the east by the Salt River road, on the north by the east and west line between Townships 53 and 54, north of the base line, and on the west and south by the county line, be and the same is declared to be one township, to be called and known by the name of the township of "Cuivre."

The first court after the admission of Missouri as a State occurred March 5, 1821 (sic). The first seven marriages were recorded on June 25, 1819. (These are mentioned on pages 169, 170, Hist. of Pike Co.)

The town of Louisiana had been selected for the public buildings, including the court-house and jail ...

The General Assembly of the State of Missouri, by an act approved December 14, 1822, appointed three commissioners to superintend the building of the court-house and jail at the new county seat which proved to be at Bowling Green.

(There was some agitation for the removal of the county seat from Bowling Green to Louisiana, and the project was warmly debated and hotly contested. Eventually the question was resolved and Bowling Green remained the county seat.) (--167, 168, 169, 174, 175ff.)

When it was decided to build a new court-house at Bowling Green, the commissioners are said to have sent to St. Louis for instruments with which to lay off the ground. After about three weeks the instruments finally arrived, but no one knew how to use them. Finally Mr. Trabue one of the commissioners decided to "step-off" the site. Another time it was decided to erect a log house. The logs were cut and notched in the forest, then brought to the building site. But when it was time to erect the new building, no two logs would fit. Mr. Trabue is said to have scratched his head in a puzzled way, and to have remarked, "Well, I don't understand it; I stepped 'em all off by myself, and they ought to fit." (--174.)

The first mill in Pike County was built on Ramsey's Creek by John Muherin ...

The first school was taught by the Rev. John Matthews, of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church ... The first cotton gin was built by the Rev. John Matthews on a farm owned by Moses Kelly ... (--200.)

Page numbers refer to Hist. of Pike County, Mo., 1883, Western Printing and Lithographing Company, Hannibal.


In 1837 the following post-offices were in existence in Pike County:

Post Office.........................................................Postmaster

Bowling Green......................................................M. Reynolds

Buffalo Knob.........................................................Joseph Paxton

Clarksville.............................................................James McCord

Frankfort...............................................................Adam Mase

Green Hill................................................................John Brown

Louisiana................................................................Edwin Draper

Mount Pleasant (Ashley)...........................................W. Kerry

Paynesville..............................................................W. L. Vaughn

Walkerville.................................................................(not given)

(--Wetmore's Gazetteer of the State of Missouri, 1837, 275)


The first seven marriages on record were all recorded on the same day, June 25, 1819, and the certificates were all signed by the same minister, the Rev. John Matthews. The times these rites were performed were as follows:

January 26, 1818 -- James Templeton, of Buffalo Township, to Jennie Mackeys, of Calumet Township.

February 6, 1818 -- James Venable, of Buffalo Township, to Lucinda Walker, of Buffalo Township.

October 18, 1818 -- Andrew Jordon, of Buffalo Township, to Peggy Henry, of St. Charles County.

December 18, 1818 -- Carroll Moss, of Calumet Township, to Miss Mackey, of Calumet Township.

February 7, 1819 -- John Hynen, of Buffalo Township, to Betsy Mass, of Calumet Township.

May 11, 1819 -- James Orr, of Buffalo Township, to Betsy Campbell, of Buffalo Township.

June 22, 1819 -- Jacob Lanes, of Fort Edwards, to Maria Phillips of Fort Edwards.

These were all married according to the rules of the Presbyterian Church.

The following were all married according to the rules of the Baptist Church:

December 31, 1818 -- Tyron A. Hayden, of Pike County, to Unice Fisher, of Pike County.

January 28, 1819 -- Joseph Walker and Sarah Patterson.

December 13, 1819 -- John Kincade and Sussanah McCune. (--Hist. of Pike County, 1883, 169, 170.)


Buffalo Township. This township is situated in the eastern part of Pike County, bordering upon the Mississippi River ... Buffalo Township was early settled ... Among the earliest ... were John and Robert Jordon, Samuel and David Watson, and others. The Jordons built the first mill in the township. (Location not given.) (--623, 641, 643.)

Cuivre Township. This is the middle township of the county, and within its limits and near the center is situated Bowling Green, the capital of Pike. Cuivre is irregular in form and is bordered by six other townships. (--750.)

Ashley Township. This is one of the smallest townships and is situated in the southern part of the county. It is bounded on the north and east by Cuivre Township, on the south by Hartford Township and Lincoln County, and on the west by Indian Township. This township was located by, as well as under, the old Spanish Grants ... (--717.)


Calumet Township. This is the southeasterly township of Pike County, the largest and the first settled ... It is bounded on the north by Buffalo Township, on the east by the Mississippi River, on the south by Lincoln County, and on the west by Prairieville Township ...

The first settlers were principally from Virginia and Tennessee. It is believed by many that Joe Scott was the first white man that ever came into Calumet Township, and that as early as 1805 he settled near the present site of Clarksville ...

The first mill in the township was a "hand-mill," or horse-mill, built by a Mr. Wells, two miles south of Clarksville ...

The first blacksmith was Daniel Walker ... The first carpenter was John Chambers, who built more looms than houses ... The first church in the township was Ramsey, organized by Stephen Ruddell in 1818, and situated on a creek of that name three miles north of Paynesville and five miles south of Clarksville. This church was built by all the settlers of the neighborhood, each bringing a log and afterwards lending their unified efforts to its raising and completion.

In the early days John Duke suffered a broken leg by a falling tree. A man was dispatched to St. Charles for a surgeon, but the creeks were up and he was detained. After waiting more than two days for the physician and amputation appearing imperative, two of his neighbors undertook that job, with a butcher knife and a tenant saw, but the man recovered as readily from the effects of the pioneer surgery as though he had passed through the hands of an expert ... The first constable of the township was John Duke, the same whose leg was broken by a falling tree ... (--517, 559, 560, 561.)

Prairieville Township ... was carved out of the southwestern corner of Calumet in February, 1870 ... It is situated in the southern portion of the county, and is bounded on the north by Buffalo Township, on the east by Calumet, on the south by Lincoln County, and on the west by Cuivre Township ...

Among the early settlers of this township were John F., George S. and S. B. Turner, Major H. J. Pollard, and Walker Meriwether ...

There were but two small villages in the township, Prairieville and Etolin ... There were two saw-mills in the township and one steam grist-mill. (--865, 866.)

Hartford Township. This is the most southerly as well as the southwestern township of the county ... It is bounded on the north by Indian and Ashley Townships, on the east by Lincoln and Montgomery Counties, and on the west by Audrain County ... Among the earliest settlers was Martin Moore, who came from Virginia in 1819 ... The first mill was built by William Hammond. It was a horse-mill for grinding corn, etc. ... The first blacksmith was Bemis Lovelace, whose shop was located on Section 14 or 15.


The first surgical operation was performed by James Keith, who set a boy's leg, and so successfully did he bring the parts together, and so splint and bandaged it that there was perfect union, and in a short time the boy was well and walking again. The splints used were cornstalks, and the box employed was made of clap boards. The name of the boy was George Anson, who broke his leg while coasting or sliding down hill ... (--877, 875, 879.)

Indian Township. This township was cut off from Cuivre Township May 4, 1842 ... The house of Nathan Vannoy ... was duly noted as the place to hold elections ...

Indian Township was mainly settled by immigrants from Kentucky and Virginia ...

Among those early pioneers, were the Branstetters, Frederick and Peter ... Adam Branstetters was a hatter by trade. (--913, 916, 917.)

Spencer Township. This is the extreme western township of the county. It is bordered on the north by Peno Township and Ralls County; on the east by Cuivre Township; on the south by Indian, and on the west by Audrain County.

From the best information to be had John Onstatt was the first white man who ever entered Spencer Township. He came in the fall of 1816. (--943, 945.)

Peno Township. This township is situated in the northern part of the county, and is bounded on the north by Salt River Township and Ralls County; on the east by Salt River and Buffalo Township; on the south by Cuivre and Spencer Townships, and on the west by Spencer Township and Ralls County ...

As early as 1816 a few pioneers had settled in Peno Township. Among these may be mentioned Samuel Realing, who came from Kentucky in the fall of 1816, and for want of a house he wintered in a cave three miles northeast of Frankford, and about one mile from the mouth of Peno Creek.

In the same year Archibald Clayton came and settled under or near the bluffs on Salt River. Henry Robinson also located near the Robinson Prairie about the same year ... (--990, 994, 995.)

Page numbers refer to History of Pike County, 1883, Western Printing Company, Hannibal, Mo.



Pike County Table of Contents
Local History Home

 Springfield-Greene County Library