AHGP Transcription Project

Linn County

Linn County, in the northern part of the State, is bounded north by Sullivan, east by Macon, south by Chariton and west by Livingston and Grundy Counties, and contains 388,993 acres.

Population in 1840, 2,245; in 1850, 4,058; in 1860, 9,112; in 1870, 15,900, of whom 15,158 were white and 742 colored; 8,219 male, and 7,68i female; 14,499 native (6,831 born in Missouri) and 1,401 foreign.

The present county of Linn was known as the Paradise of Hunters, and the Sioux Indians, from Iowa, attracted by the abundance of deer, elk and game of all kinds, were in full possession of it, when, in 1832, the Yount Bros., Joseph Newton, James Pendleton, Preston O'Neal and William Boyer, settled on Locust Creek, west of the present site of Linneus. The county was organized from Chariton, January 7th, 1837, and for several years the territory now included in Sullivan and Putman Counties was attached to it. At the first election, 100 votes were cast. The early settlers were principally from the old river counties of Chariton, Howard, Boone, Callaway and St. Charles, and from the States of Kentucky and Tennessee, and were generally men of property and most of them slave-holders. It is a noticeable fact that they occupied the timbered lands along the streams, believing the prairies worthless for cultivation. The only exports for many years were honey and beeswax (the timber containing an unlimited supply of these), and peltries. These were carried to Glasgow, the nearest supply point, and afterwards to Brunswick. The population increased but slowly until the building of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, in 1857, caused a large immigration, and between 1850 and 1860, the population more than doubled. The Civil War arrested the growth of the county both in wealth and population, as the State Census of 1865 showed a decrease in the latter of nearly 1,000, since the U. S. Census of 1860. During this time the county was much disturbed by bushwhackers, who made frequent raids, confiscating property and occasionally killing an obnoxious Union man. Sometimes they rode into a town, "corralled" the men, helped themselves to whatever they liked, and escaped with their booty without a shot being fired. This was the result of the disarming of the people by the State Militia authorities. At times they were resisted, and bloodshed was the result. In the latter part of 1864, a gang rode into Linneus in the night, and were resisted by a few of the citizens, not acting in concert, however, and in the melee that ensued, Judge Jacob Smith, a man of whom Linn County is justly proud, and Wm. Pendleton were killed, while Judge Smith killed one of the raiders.

Earlier in the same year, a gang from some of the lower counties rode into Laclede, and attacked the citizens in broad daylight, and one guerrilla and two citizens, ______ Crowder and J. H. Jones-were killed. This last affair was the only one that occurred on the line of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road in the county, the railroad towns enjoying immunity from such attacks.

Physical Features
The surface of Linn County, as approached from the east, consists of alternate prairie and timber, stretching away to the north and south. East Yellow, Yellow, Long Branch, Turkey, Muddy, Locust and Parsons Creeks flow from north to south through the county, having a fall of about 6 feet to the mile, and by the erection of dams furnishes excellent water power. These streams are all bordered by timber, that on Locust Creek being most abundant and of the best quality, and consisting of the various kinds of oak, linn, basswood, cottonwood, walnut, hickory and elm.

The bottoms along these streams are very fertile, and becoming more valuable every year as they become less swampy. Within the memory of many settlers, small branches, now tributary to the larger creeks, used to spread over the bottoms, forming great swamps which have since become arable. This is the result of the tramping out and the eating off of the swamp grass by the numerous flocks and herds. The roots of this grass bound the soil so firmly together, that the branches could not cut themselves channels to the main creeks. The most extensive of these bottom prairies are on Locust Creek, one on the east side, just south of Browning on the Burlington & Southwestern Rail Road, which runs through it for 4 1/2 miles, and the other on the west side, south of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road. About 3/4 of the county is prairie and the rest timber. Probably 1/3 is under cultivation. The Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road has several thousand acres of good prairie land for sale, principally in the north-central part of the county.*

In the south-western part there is a large mound, covering about 7 acres, and rising on the prairie to a height of 40 feet, which contains an inexhaustible supply of fine sandstone for building, and near Bowyer's Bridge on Locust Creek is a collection of basaltic rocks, which, on the grassy slope from a distance, appear like a dilapidated graveyard, with its weather-stained and moss-grown tombstones. A large boulder on the prairie in Jackson Township has the appearance of an elephant in repose, and there is a large raft of driftwood on Locust Creek, containing thousands of cords, and affording a secure retreat for otters. Some ponds on the prairie on the dividing ridge between Locust and Long Branch Creeks, have been formed by depositing earth in the valley so as to obstruct the flow of the waters. This is thought by some to have been the work of the Indians, and by others to be the result of the annual deposit of rank vegetation.

The Agricultural Productions are corn, wheat, oats, rye, the grasses, tobacco, apples, hogs, cattle, mules, horses and sheep.

Mineral Resources
Coal, mineral paints and various kinds of clays and building stone are found. A coal mine at St. Catharine, which has been worked for several years, is reached by a shaft 135 feet deep, and owing to the thinness of the coal the miners work in a reclining position. Another shaft is being sunk in the south-eastern part of the county with the expectation of striking the same coal beds that have added so much to the wealth of Macon County. A number of "coal banks" in the vicinity of Locust Creek are worked by simply "stripping" off the surface or "drifting" into the side of a hill. Great quantities of mineral paints are found near Linneus, and sandstone of fine quality for building purposes is taken from the natural mound before mentioned.

The Manufacturing Interests consist of tobacco, woolen and flouring-mills, plow, wagon and stoneware manufactories, etc., which will be noticed under the towns where they are located.

Valuation of the county per census of 1870, $6,500,000.†

The Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road crosses the county from east to west, having 21 miles of track. The Burlington & Southwestern Rail Road from Laclede to the northern line of the county, has 22 1/2 miles. There are also 3 miles of the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way crossing the south-western corner. The county has no railroad debt, but bonds to the amount of $113,000 in aid of railroads have been issued as follows: Brookfield Township, $13,000; Jefferson Township, $30,000; Locust Township, $40,000; Benton Township, $20,000; the city of Linneus, $10,000.

The Exports are stock, tobacco, flour, woolen goods, stoneware, lumber, hoop-poles and apples.

Educational Interests
Public schools are established in every part of the county, and the larger towns have fine, commodious buildings, also schools for colored children. At Brookfield the Sisters of the Sacred Heart have a school for girls.

Linn County Places in 1875

Bear Branch, a post office 10 miles north east of Linneus.

Brookfield, the chief business point in the county, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 104 miles from Hannibal and 34 miles from Macon City, is growing rapidly. It has about 50 stores and shops, and a population of about 3,000. The round house and repair shops of the railroad are located here, and it has also 1 flouring-mill, 1 steam planing-mill, 1 boot and shoe and 1 hub and spoke factory, 5 churches-Catholic, Congregational, Presbyterian, Universalist and Methodist, aggregate cost about $13,000; the best public school building in the county, 1 school of the convent of the Sacred Heart, 2 newspapers-The Gazette, published by W. D. Crandall, and The New Era, published by Elliott & Norris. The Railroad Hotel at this place will compare favorably with any of its class in the State, and in addition to this there is another built at a cost of $40,000, which is one of the best in North Missouri. This is one of the most thriving towns in the State, having an enterprising and intelligent population and possessing a good business location.

Browning, on the Sullivan County line, 13 miles north of Linneus, on the Burlington & Southwestern Rail Road, is a new town, and promises to be of rapid growth and an important business point. It has 1 flouring-mill, 3 or 4 stores and shops. Population, about 150.

Bucklin, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 13 miles east of Brookfield, is a thriving town of 700 or 800 population, 12 or 15 stores and shops, 2 churches-Baptist and Methodist.

Enterprise-See Northcott.

Fountain Grove, is in the extreme south west part of the county, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 13 miles south east of Chillicothe, and 25 miles from Brunswick.

Grantville, a post office 8 miles north east of Linneus, has 4 or 5 stores and shops, and about 100 inhabitants.

Laclede, at the junction of the Burlington & Southwestern Rail Road with the Hammibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 109 miles west of Hannibal, is an important point. It has 3 churches-M. E. Church, Congregational and colored Baptist, a fine graded school, with brick building, and a number of business houses, shops, etc.. Population, about 800.

LINNEUS, the county seat, on the Burlington & Southwestern Rail Road, 6 miles north of Laclede, was settled in 1840, incorporated as a town March 2d, 1856, and as a city March 17th, 1863. It is built on high rolling ground, is well laid out and beautifully shaded with forest trees, and has 3 churches-M. E. Church South, Baptist and Christian-the M. E. Church Society and Presbyterians worship at the court house, and the colored Baptists at the school-house for colored children. One of the best graded schools of the county is taught here in a commodious, well furnished building. There are excellent flouring and woolen-mills here, and 1 planing-mill and furniture shop, and 1 newspaper, Linneus Bulletin, published by Brawner & Tyler. There are about 30 stores, shops and other places of business. Population, about 1,200.

Meadville, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road 7 miles west of Laclede, was formerly known as Bottsville. It has 1 church-M. E. Church, 1 flouring mill, about 20 stores and shops, and a population of about 400.

New Boston, 15 miles north of Bucklin, has two stores.

Northcott, (Enterprise,) 14 miles north north east of Linneus, is surrounded by a fine farming country, especially adapted to fruit-culture. Population, about 200.

North Salem, 20 miles north east of Linneus, has 3 stores and 1 or 2 shops. Population about 200.

Scottsville, 8 miles north of Linneus, and 2 miles south west of Browning, has 3 stores and about 100 inhabitants.

St. Catharine, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 4 miles east of Brookfield, has a fine flouring-mill, also a woolen-mill, and about 10 stores and shops. Population, about 300.

*For full particulars, terms, prices, etc., see Appendix-page
†Assessed valuation in 1873, $3,483,055. Bonded debt, $20,815. 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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