AHGP Transcription Project

Clinton County

Clinton County, in the northwestern part of the State, is bounded north by DeKalb County, east by Caldwell and Ray, south by Clay, and west by Platte and Buchanan Counties, and contains 264,623 acres.

In 1840, 2,724; in 1850, 3,786; in 1860, 7,848; in 1870, 14,063, of whom 13,380 were white and 683 colored; 7,582 male and 6,481 female; 13,036 native (6,358 born in Missouri) and 1,027 foreign.

About 1830, David Castile settled on the creek which bears his name, and was soon followed by Washington Huffaker, Page Stanley, James and William Groom, Moses McMahon, the Vassars and others from Clay County. Before its organization, Clinton was attached to Clay, for civil and military purposes, and extended north to the Iowa line. At this time the people purchased their supplies at Liberty, while their milling was done at "Yankee Smith's" in Clay County. There was no serious trouble with the Indians, but petty thieving was carried on quite extensively by them until one of their number was found lying dead across a very large hog. This circumstance effectually stopped their depredations. Being on the line of the Platte Purchase, then an Indian reservation, the settlers were frequently annoyed by soldiers from Fort Leavenworth, who ranged through that section to keep people from settling on Indian land before it come into market. The county was organized from a part of Clay, January 15th, 1833, and included the present territory of Gentry and Worth Counties. It was reduced to its present limits February 12th, 1841. Governor Dunklin appointed John P. Smith, Archibald Elliott and Stephen Jones county justices. The first court was held in April, 1833, at the house of John Biggerstaff, John P. Smith presiding, and Richard R. Reese clerk. Thompson Smith was appointed sheriff, Washington Huffaker, collector, Elijah Fry, assessor, John Biggerstaff, treasurer and Levi Thatcher, surveyor. Clinton County furnished several companies for the Black Hawk War, commanded by Col. Lewis Wood; also several companies for the Mormon War, who did good service in expelling the "saints" from Far West. In the late Civil War, the people were about equally divided in sentiment and furnished soldiers for both armies, many of whom were distinguished for their valor. Gen. David R. Atchison, for many years president pro tem, of the U. S. Senate, and Col. John T. Hughes, were citizens of Clinton.

Physical Features
The county is gently undulating, about three fourths prairie and one fourth timber, the latter consisting of black walnut, various kinds of oak, elm, cherry, linn, cottonwood, hickory, mulberry and black ash. There are many good springs, two of which are impregnated with sulphur, and are claimed to be chalybeate of great medicinal virtue. The creeks are Castile, Smith's Fork of Platte River, Shoal, and their tributaries, together with the tributaries of Crooked and Fishing Rivers. These springs and creeks furnish an abundance of water for stock, while good, pure water is easily obtained by digging. The soil is good, producing all the cereals and fruits common to the latitude. There are probably not forty acres, in a body, which are unfit for cultivation. The county is well settled and the lands are mostly fenced and in cultivation, or used for pasture. There are 10,160 acres selected as swamp land, most of which is as good land as the county affords. The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company owns 2,840 acres of good land and 868 town lots, which they sell on long time and at low rates.

The Agricultural Productions are corn, wheat, smaller grains, tobacco, fruits, cattle, hogs, sheep, etc. Grazing is a very important interest.

Mineral Resources
No minerals have yet been found, but prospecting for coal is going on, with favorable indications.

Manufacturing Interests
There is 1 woolen factory, 1 distillery, 1 wagon shop (at which the "Original Plattsburg Wagon" is manufactured), supplying for the most part the wants of the county, 1 carriage factory, besides several good flouring and saw mills.

Valuation of the county per census of 1870, $8,000,000.*

The Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, including the Kansas City Branch, has 35 miles, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rail Road has 30 miles and the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way has 27 miles of track in the county. No part of the county is more than 10 miles from a railroad station

The Exports are cattle, wheat, corn, horses, mules, hogs, tobacco, fruit, etc.

The Educational Interests are well cared for, there being a school house in nearly every sub-district. There are fine buildings at Cameron, Lathrop and Plattsburg, aggregate cost, $50,000; also a private school of some local importance at Plattsburg, which is well attended.

Clinton County Places in 1875

Anderson, is a post office 9 miles west north west of Plattsburg.

Bainbridge, 7 miles south west of Plattsburg, near Smith's Fork of Platte River, has 1 flouring-mill, 1 saw mill and 1 store.

Cameron, in the northeastern part of the county, at the junction of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, Kansas City Branch, and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rail Road, 173 miles from Hannibal, 34 miles from St. Joseph, and 50 miles from Kansas City, has a population of about 1,500, and is one of the thriving towns of the North west. It has a fine public school building which cost about $35,000, 7 churches, about 30 stores, 1 bank, 1 harness and 2 wagon makers, 2 lumber dealers, 2 nurserymen, 2 hotels, 1 flouring mill, 1 woolen factory, and 1 newspaper, The Observer, J. E. Goldsworthy, publisher.

Carpenter's Store, is a post office 12 miles south west of Plattsburg.

Converse, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 13 miles south east of Plattsburg, is surrounded by fine farms, and has 1 store.

Gower, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 9 miles west of Plattsburg, is surrounded by the oldest, best cultivated and wealthiest portion of the county. It was incorporated in 1873, and has 1 hotel and about 6 stores.

Graysonville, on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rail Road, 7 miles south west of Plattsburg, in the timber, near the prairie, in the first settled part of the county, is surrounded by a fertile country, in a high state of cultivation, and contains 2 stores.

Hainesville, 7 miles south of Lathrop, near the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, one of the oldest towns in the county, contains 4 churches, 1 woolen mill, 1 gunsmith's and 1 saddler's shop, and about 6 stores.

Lathrop, at the junction of the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way with the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 7 miles east of Plattsburg and 15 miles south of Cameron, is an enterprising town of about 500 inhabitants. It has 2 churches, 1 hotel, 1 graded public school, cost $10,000, 1 grist mill, 2 lumber yards, 1 wagon shop, about 20 stores, and 1 newspaper, The Monitor, published by J. O. Daniels.

Perrin, on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rail Road, 11 miles north east of Plattsburg, has 1 store, and is surrounded by fine farms.

PLATTSBURG, the county seat, first called Concord, afterward Springfield, and finally Plattsburg, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 269 miles from St. Louis, and on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Rail Road, 19 miles from Cameron, has 6 churches, 2 school buildings for white and 1 for colored children, 2 hotels, 2 newspapers, 2 banks, 1 flour and 1 woolen mill, about 30 stores, 1 livery stable, 3 lumber dealers, etc. Population about 1,450.

Tanner, is a station on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 5 miles west of Plattsburg.

Turney's Station, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 10 1/2 miles south of Cameron, surrounded by a beautiful country, has 1 hotel, 3 stores and 2 churches.

*Assessed valuation in 1873, $5,168,611; bonded debt, $200,000. Cameron has a railroad debt of $50,000; school debt of $30,000; total, $80,000. Lathrop has a railroad debt of $40,000 and a school debt of $10,000. Plattsburg has $25,000 of railroad debt.

Source: Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, Revised Edition, by R. A. Campbell, Published by R. A. Campbell,
St. Louis, Missouri, 1875

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