AHGP Transcription Project

Laclede County

Laclede County, in the south-central part of the State, is bounded north by Camden and Pulaski Counties, east by Pulaski and Texas, south by Wright and Webster, and west by Dallas County, and contains 474,879 acres.

Population in 1850, 2,498; in 1860, 5,182; in 1870, 9,380, of whom 9,218 were white, and 162 colored; 4,724 male and 4,656 female; 9,036 native (4,536 born in Missouri) and 344 foreign.

Laclede was settled mostly by emigrants from Tennessee, although, as in most parts of Missouri, Kentucky was soon represented; and there were also a few settlers from Indiana, Illinois, and some families from the Eastern States, who came early into the territory which now forms this county. At the time of its first settlement it was a part of Pulaski, but was organized as a separate county February 24th, 1849, when it received its name in honor of Pierre Laclede Liguest, the founder of St. Louis.

During the late Civil War this county suffered considerably from the invasion of the contending forces. The court-house and county jail were destroyed, but since peace was proclaimed the county has progressed rapidly in population and general improvements.

Physical Features
Laclede is situated upon the summit level of the Ozark Range, and presents a great variety of surface, from the level or moderately undulating prairies to rugged hills and miniature mountains. In the vicinity of Big Niangua, Gasconade and Osage Fork of Gasconade the hills range from 150 to 500 feet in height, separated from each other by deep and narrow valleys. From this elevation four streams-Woolsey's, Mountain, Spring Hollow and Sweet Hollow-flow west into the Niangua. Goodwin Hollow runs north to the Auglaize, a tributary of the Osage River, while the eastern and southern parts of the county are drained by Osage Fork of Gasconade, Gasconade River, and Bear, Mill, Cobbs, Brush, Panther, Parks, Steen and several smaller creeks. An erroneous impression is generally formed of these elevated table-lands from the manner in which they are represented upon many of the maps. (For correction of these errors, see general article on Topography.) The soil of the upland is varied; the light and gravelly portions are well adapted to fruit-culture, and particularly favorable for grapes, while in the post-oak fiats the clay comes nearer the surface. The bottoms along the larger water courses are remarkable for their fertility, and support a heavy growth of the finest kinds of timber. They are capable of producing excellent crops of corn, hemp and oats, and after being partially exhausted by cultivation, they become excellent wheat lands. The bottoms of the smaller streams are not so heavily timbered, but are scarcely inferior in point of fertility. The country is well watered, not only by running streams, but also by never-falling springs. Professor Swallow, in his Geological Report of Missouri, notices one of these, Bryce's Spring (Bennett's Spring)-whose waters are now used as the propelling power of Bennett's flouring-mill and carding machine.

Caves are of frequent occurrence, and some of them are of considerable magnitude. The one most deserving of notice is Cave Spring, situated on the east side of Park's Creek, in section 18, T. 32, Range zs. The entrance, 35 feet wide and 30 feet high, at the foot of a perpendicular cliff, is far above the water level. There is, on sec. 21, T. 34, R. 17, a natural bridge or tunnel 7 miles west of Lebanon, worthy of mention.

The Agricultural Productions are wheat, corn, oats, timothy, hungarian and other grasses, tobacco, hemp, barley and buckwheat; while all the fruits of the latitude, especially peaches and grapes, grow abundantly, and are of excellent flavor. The county is well adapted to stock-raising, and the main profit to farmers comes from the sale of horses, mules, cattle and hogs.

There is quite an amount of swamp land for sale in this county and 85,000 acres of choice land belonging to the Atlantic & Pacific Rail Road, for sale on their usual terms at $2 to $7.50 per acre.*

The Mineral Resources though not yet developed, are undoubtedly great. Large masses of hematite have been observed near Bear Creek, in T. 36, R. 14. Sulphuret of lead and zinc occur in T. 36. Dark grey dolomite, a fine building material, fire-stone, and a sandstone, composed of grains firmly cemented with a silicious paste which has been successfully used for mill-stones, and also limestone from which excellent lime is made, abound in this county.

The Manufacturing Interests are at present confined to a few saw and grist-mills and a wool carding-mill, though the excellent water power of the county invites a larger development.

Valuation of the county per census of 1870, $3,000,000.†

The Atlantic & Pacific Rail Road passes through Laclede from northeast to southwest, having 40 miles of track in the county. The Laclede & Fort Scott Rail Road, was commenced in 1869 and graded from Lebanon to the western line of the county; a distance of about 14 miles; this project, however, was temporarily suspended after the county had incurred a debt of $100,000.

The Exports are corn, wheat and stock.

The Educational Interests are well attended to. There is a high school at Lebanon, and about zoo other schools in the county, all progressing well.

Laclede County Places in 1875

Brush Creek, a station on the Atlantic & Pacific Rail Road, 9 miles southwest of Lebanon.

Case, a post-office 13 miles north of Lebanon.

Competition, (Newburg,) 22 miles southeast of Lebanon, on the Gasconade River, has a good school-house and a Masonic hall, and is in the center of an extensive mineral district. Population, about 100.

Conway, a station on the Atlantic & Pacific Rail Road, 16 miles southwest of Lebanon.

Hazel Green, a post-office 2 miles east of Sleeper.

Jericho, a post-office 17 miles south of Lebanon.

LEBANON, the county seat, on the Atlantic & Pacific Rail Road, 186 miles from St. Louis, has a beautiful situation near the center of the county, surrounded by a fine agricultural district. It contains 6 churches,Congregational, M. E. Church, Christian, Baptist, Catholic and colored Baptist. Several others have organizations but no church buildings. There are Masonic lodges with halls, 1 Royal Arch Chapter, 1 Odd Fellows lodge and hall; 1 high school, 1 colored school, 1 bank, 1 steam grist and sawmill, 21 stores, 1 lumber yard, 2 cabinet makers, 1 brewery, 3 hotels, 2 wagon and 3 carpenter shops, 1 stock yard and 2 newspapers-the Lebanon Chronicle, J. F. Johnson, publisher, and the Lebanon Anti-Monopolist, J. G. Lemen publisher. Population about 1,200.

Nebo, a post-office 20 miles east of Lebanon.

Newburg-See Competition.

Oakland, a post-office 12 miles east of Lebanon.

Phillipsburgh, a post-office on the Atlantic & Pacific Rail Road, 12 miles south of Lebanon.

Pine Creek, a post-office 22 miles east south east of Lebanon.

Sleeper, a station on the Atlantic & Pacific Rail Road 7 miles north of Lebanon.

Spring Hollow, a post-office 9 miles south west of Lebanon.

Warrenville, a post-office 9 miles north east of Lebanon.

*The Railroad Company requires 20 per cent. of purchase money at time of sale, the balance to be paid with interest on deferred payments, in seven years; and offers free transportation from St. Louis to the lands. Special inducements to colonists. For full particulars see Appendix.
†Assessed valuation in 1873, $1,505,215. Taxation, $2.15 per $100. Bonded debt, $100,000. Floating debt, $10,000.

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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