AHGP Transcription Project

Livingston County

Livingston County, in the northern part of the State, is bounded north by Grundy, east by Linn and Chariton, south by Carroll, and west by Caldwell and Daviess, and contains 333,952 acres.

Population in 1840, 4,325; in 1850, 4,247; in 1860, 7,417; in 1870, 16,730, of whom 15,774 were white, and 956 colored; 8,793 male, an4 7,937 female; 15,376 native, (6,597 born in Missouri) and 1,354 foreign.

In 1828, a French trading post was established at the mouth of Locust Creek, in the south-eastern part of the county, but the occupants were so annoyed by depredations from roving bands of the Iowas, Sacs, Foxes and Kickapoos that the post was abandoned until 1833, when the Indian title to the land was extinguished. This county was settled by hardy and resolute emigrants from the older counties of Missouri, as well as from Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and other States. On the night of the 12th of November, 1833, memorable to the early settlers of Missouri as "the time when the stars fell," Elisha Herriford pitched his tent on Medicine Creek, 8 miles east of where Chillicothe now stands. On the same night the Austins, Blands, Lees and McCroskeys camped on Shoal Creek in the south-western part of the county. Soon after, Samuel Todd and the Stanleys, with others, settled on Grand River, where Utica now stands. The Blacks, Leepers, Legates, Davises, Martins, Drydens and others settled on Indian Creek in the north-western part of the county.

Some adventurers who settled on Medicine Creek, opened a trade chiefly in whiskey, with the Indians, and the result of this traffic was the Heatherly War in 1836 (for particulars of which, see Clay Co. p. 150).

The county was organized in 1837, and named in honor of Edward Livingston, Secretary of State under President Jackson. The commissioners located the county seat on land owned by John Graves, Esq., who was appointed county seat commissioner. He also erected and kept the first hotel. The first county court was held 5 miles north of Chillicothe, at the house of Joseph Cox, who, with Wm. Martin and Reuben McCroskey were the justices. Mr. Cox, at whose log cabin the first circuit court was also held, boarded the court, jury, litigants, lawyers and witnesses, without charge, setting long tables in the shade of trees near his cabin, ladened with corn-pone, butter, and venison cooked in every style known to the pioneers. Austin A. King was the first circuit judge, and Thomas R. Bryan the first county and circuit clerk. John Graves, Solomon Bargdoll and Judge Hudgins, all pioneers and veterans of the war of 1812, are still living in the county.

The first mill (horse power) was built by Brannock Wilkerson, 4 miles north of where Chillicothe now stands, and Samuel Todd built the first water mill at the present site of Utica. In 1838, the citizens of Daviess County were driven from their homes by the Mormons, and took refuge in this county. Col. Jennings, with a squad of militia, attacked the "Saints" at Horn's Mill on Shoal Creek, near the south-western corner of the county, killing about 30 of them. Several of the militia were wounded. Adam Black, who is now a member of the county court, went to Jefferson City with a petition asking for the removal of the Mormons. Gov. Boggs called out the militia, under the command of Gen. John B. Clark and Gen. Lucas, of Independence; but the removal of the Mormons prevented further violence. Dr. John Wolfskill, who was one of the early State Senators from this district, is still living in the southern part of the county.

Numerous instances might be mentioned of the early establishment of civil law-how the irrepressible Sam. Thompson, the first constable, levied on a calf, and a certain justice of the peace issued a writ for the arrest of a dog charged with stealing meat. About the year 1842, a steamboat ascended Grand River, during high water, as far as the forks of the river, 3 miles west of Chillicothe. Only 2 trips were made. Prior to the building of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, the people traded at Brunswick. Goods were freighted by ox-teams back and forth. There was no organized Confederate army in this part of the country during the late war, but the people were frequently alarmed by the guerillas under Joe. Kirk, whose men, on one occasion, being hotly pursued by a large force of militia, became separated, and one part were cornered in the bend of Grand River, about 7 miles from Chillicothe, and compelled to swim the river under fire from the enemy, losing one man, several horses, arms, etc. Soon after this, while Joe. was negotiating for an exchange of prisoners, his men attacked a squad of militia, killing 1 and wounding 8 or 10. Mr. Kirk has now settled down to quiet life, and is postmaster at Spring Hill.

Physical Features>br /> The surface is gently undulating or rolling, with but little broken land. The course of the rivers is from the north and west toward the south and east. Grand River runs through the county and with its affluents waters every portion of it. The principal tributaries from the north and west are Indian and Lake Creeks, Thompson's Fork of Grand River, Honey, No, Crooked, Medicine, Muddy and Locust Creeks, the latter forming part of the eastern boundary. On the south are Mound and Shoal Creeks. Many fine springs are found in the western part of the county.

The most broken portion is in the western part, on the south side of the West Fork of Grand River, extending from a half to three-quarters of a mile from the river, at which distance the hills attain an elevation of 225 feet; southward it is gently rolling. North of Chillicothe the surface of the country is elevated, generally about 155 feet above Grand River; everywhere else the surface is gently undulating, and lies well for beautiful farms. The bottoms of Grand River and Shoal Creek are flat, often wet, and are from two to three miles in width, flanked on one side by low bluffs, and on the other rising almost imperceptibly, by gentle slopes, to the neighboring uplands. The bottoms of Medicine Creek are from one to one and a half miles in width; those of the other streams are much narrower. Those on the west side of Grand River, in the north-west corner of the county, have scarcely any bottoms, but very steep bluffs. The county is well supplied with good timber, the best and most abundant being between the east and west Forks of Grand River, where the growth is black, white and red chestnut, pin and laurel oak, maple and sugar-maple, sycamore, cottonwood, black walnut, linden, shell-bark hickory, pecan, white and red elm, ash, red-bud, mulberry, dogwood and cherry. In other parts of the county most of the timber is confined to the streams. The prairie generally extends over the ridges and across the wide flat bottoms. The soil throughout most of the county is dark and rich, from one to two feet in depth, except in the broken portions where it is light brown, often sandy, and only a few inches in depth, but well adapted to fruit-culture and grazing.

The Agricultural Productions are chiefly corn, wheat, oats, potatoes and tobacco, but the soil is good and produces anything suitable to the climate.

This is almost entirely a stock-growing county and blue grass is well suited to the soil. Fruits do well, apples, pears, cherries, plums and grapes are certain crops, also the small fruits.

The Mineral Resources are mainly confined to coal. The workable coal fields may be divided into two parts, the upper lying on and near Grand River, west of Utica, and including two or three thin seams, the lower lying along and near Grand River below Bedford in the southeast corner of the county, including about three beds. These seams are partly developed, being only mined for local consumption. Building stone abounds and fire-clay underlies most of the coal seams. Mineral paint of, seemingly, good quality is also found.

The Manufacturing Interests are included in the description of the different towns.

Valuation of the county per census of 1870, $7,000,000.*

There are 53 miles of railroad, of which the Hannibal & St. Joseph has 27 and the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern 26. The Chillicothe & Des Moines Rail Road has 15 miles of road-bed graded.

The Exports are stock, wheat, corn, tobacco, etc.

Educational Interests
The public schools are in a flourishing condition. During 1873 $14,339.34 were appropriated to educate 6,476 children.

Livingston County Places in 1875

Asper, a post-office 13 miles south south east of Chillicothe.

Avalon, 10 miles south south east of Chillicothe, and 6 miles south west of Bedford, was laid out in 1870, and has a population of about 100. It is situated on the high prairie near Mound Creek, surrounded by fine farming lands. The academy here, controlled by the United Brethren, cost about $10,000. Avalon has 1 wagon and 1 harness shop, 3 stores and 2 hotels.

Bedford, 10 miles south east of Chillicothe, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, situated on the south bank of Grand River, was laid out in 1843, and is in the center of a fine tobacco- growing region, has an abundance of timber and coal in its vicinity, and is well supplied with water power. It contains 1 steam flouring-mill, 2 steam saw-mills, 1 wagon shop, 1 agricultural and 2 tobacco warehouses, 6 stores, 2 churches-Baptist and Methodist, and 2 school-houses, one of which is for colored children. Population about 300.

Blue Mound, (Mound Creek,) a post-office 10 miles south south east of Utica.

CHILLICOTHE, the county seat, has a beautiful and healthy location near the center of the county, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 130 miles from Quincy, 95 miles from Kansas City, and 76 miles from St. Joseph, and is on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 215 miles from St. Louis. It was located as the county seat in 1837, on land owned by Jno. Graves and incorporated in 1855. Population in 1860, 994; in 1870, 3,979; present estimate, 4,000. The superior railroad facilities make it an important shipping point for stock, grain and produce.

Convenient to this place may be found coal, sand and limestone, also timber of a superior quality, and water power in abundance. It has 1 foundry, 1 woolen, 1 planing and 2 steam flouring-mills, 1 cooper, 7 wagon and 3 carriage shops, 1 brewery, 1 wine, 1 vinegar, 1 mineral water, 1 candy, 1 patent medicine, 3 cigar, 3 furniture and 2 washing machine manufactories (the patents for the latter procured by resident citizens), 1 broom and 1 tobacco factory, 1 book bindery, 2 gunsmiths, 2 marble and 3 lumber yards, about 60 stores, 6 hotels and 5 agricultural and 3 tobacco warehouses. The city has fine public buildings, the city hall and market-house costing $31,000. It contains 10 churches-M. E. Church, M. E Church South, Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Catholic, Episcopal, Christian, colored Baptist and colored Methodist-aggregate value of buildings, $45,000. There are 5 public school buildings, costing $10,000; 2 select school buildings, worth $16,000; 1,300 children of school age; average attendance in public schools, 700. It has 2 newspapers-The Constitution, published by T. B. Reynolds & Co., and The Tribune, by E. J. Marsh & Co. Assessed valuation of real and personal property, $1,572,875.50; bonded indebtedness of the city, $53,000- subscription to C. & B. Rail Road; rate of city tax for all purposes, 11 mills on the dollar.

Cream Ridge, a post-office 9 miles north north east of Chillicothe.

Dawn, 6 miles south of Utica, was laid out in 1853, is surrounded by a fine farming region, known as the "Blue Mound Country," which is being rapidly developed by an industrious Welsh colony, and has 1 flouring-mill, 1 woolen factory, 2 wagon shops, 6 stores, 1 hotel, 1 public school building, costing $1,400; 1 Presbyterian church, worth $4,000. Population about 160.

Farmersville, 14 miles north of Chillicothe, laid out in 1870, has a high and healthy location on the prairie, and is surrounded by excellent farming lands. It contains 1 public school, 1 hotel, 1 wagon shop and 3 stores. Population, about 125.

Gordonville, a post-office 13 miles north east of Chillicothe.

Mooresville, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 10 miles west south west of Chillicothe, is situated on a high and rolling prairie, well supplied with good springs of water. It was laid out in 1860, and has 1 hotel, 1 church-Christian, 1 steam flouring-mill, 1 steam saw-mill, 1 wagon shop, 1 tobacco warehouse and 5 stores. Population about 200.

Mound Creek-See Blue Mound.

Muddy Lane, a post-office 16 miles north west of Chillicothe.

Sampsell, in Grand River Bottom, west of Indian Creek, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 9 miles west of Chillicothe, contains 1 store.

Shoal Creek, a post-office 9 miles south of Chillicothe.

Spring Hill, 8 miles north west of Chillicothe, and 5 miles south east of Sampsell, was laid out in 1848, is surrounded by heavy timber, and, as its name suggests, is well supplied with springs. At one time this was one of the principal business places in the county, but the building of railroads has drawn much of the trade to other points. The only tannery in the county is located here. It has 1 public school, 1 Methodist church and parsonage, 1 hotel and 1 store. Population, about 130.

Utica has a fine location on Grand River, and on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 5 miles south west of Chillicothe. It was laid out in 1839, and contains 1 public school (cost of building $5,000), 2 churches-Baptist and Episcopal, 1 saddle and harness shop and 4 stores. Population, about 1,000.

Wheeling, east of Medicine Creek, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 10 miles east of Chillicothe, laid out in 1866, contains 1 public school, 2 hotels, 1 plow and 1 wagon shop and 5 stores. Population, about 150.

*Assessed valuation in 1873 $4,662,551. Taxation, $1.40 per $100. Total debt of the county $180,298.99, of which $150,000 is 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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