AHGP Transcription Project

Macon County

Macon County, in the northern part of the State, is bounded north by Adair and Knox, east by Knox and Shelby, south by Randolph and Chariton, and west by Chariton and Linn Counties, and contains 529,920 acres.

Population in 1840, 6,034; in 1850, 6,565: in 1860, 14,346; in 1870, 23,230: of whom 21,734 were white, and 1,496 colored; 11,934 male, and 11,296 female ; 21,198 native (11,832 born in Missouri,) and 2,032 foreign.

The territory which forms the county was settled as early as 1831, though not organized until 1838, up to which time it formed a part of Randolph County. The first election was held in 1838 or 1839, at Box Ancle (afterward Bloomington) of which Wm. Blackwell was one of the judges. The first circuit judge was David Todd. The first physicians were Abraham Still, John Wilkin, Arthur Barron and Wm. Proctor. The first school teacher in the upper part of the county was Oliver P. Davis. Among the first settlers were Jacob Loe, the Wrights, Nathan Richardson, Erben East, James Cowhan, Wm. Sears, the Winns, Holmans, Shackelfords, McCalls, Wm. Blackwell, Thos. Williams, Morrows, Rowlands and E. Penton. There were but few Indians in the county, and they were friendly; these, however, soon joined their tribes further west, and left the territory entirely to the settlers. The first settlement was located about four miles north of Macon City, and was called Moccasinville. The county was settled slowly until 1858, when the construction of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road gave it a new impetus, and from that time until the commencement of the late war, the population increased rapidly by immigration, and although the growth was arrested during the war, since its close, the increase both in population and wealth have been very rapid.

Physical Features
The grand divide which separates the affluents of the Mississippi from those of the Missouri River, crosses the entire county from north to south. West of this are the Chariton and East and Middle Forks of Chariton River with their tributaries, Walnut, Turkey, Brush, Puzzle and Paint Creeks, and on the east of the divide is the Middle Fork of Salt River and its branches, Narrows, Winn and Hooker Creeks. Muscle Fork with its numerous small branches, lies in the extreme western part of the county, and in the east are Bear and Ten Mile Creeks. Along these streams and on the adjacent hills is an abundance of timber consisting of the various kinds of oak, also cottonwood, hickory, maple and black walnut. The forests skirt the prairies and the farms usually embrace a portion of each. The soil, of which there is a great variety, is chiefly a fertile, black loam, underlaid with clay in which marl abounds.

West of the Chariton River and north of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, is the region known as The Barrens. These consist of high rounded hills, covered with a tall, reddish grass and occasional clumps of post oak and black jack, while the valleys or drains between are destitute of trees, though covered with prairie grass. East of the Chariton, The Barrens are confined to a few miles in the northern part of the county. In the vicinity of Muscle Fork, and between that stream and Brush Creek, also on the East Fork of the Chariton, south of the center of the county, and in the eastern part, north of the Middle Fork of Salt River, the country is quite hilly. On the Chariton and on Muscle Fork these hills are sometimes 100 feet high, elsewhere they never exceed 75 feet, and are often less. In the remainder of the county, the slopes are gentle and the surface is mostly prairie.

The Agricultural Productions are principally wheat, corn, hay and tobacco, although Macon excels as a grazing and dairy county. The soil is well adapted to stock-raising and fruit-culture, and the farmers are giving increased attention to these pursuits. Apples, peaches, pears and grapes grow finely, and yield abundantly. Over 150 varieties of apples are raised which are largely shipped to western cities. About 40 varieties of grapes are raised successfully, the principal varieties being the Concord, Delaware and Hartford. The Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road has 10,000 acres of good land in the county which can be purchased on most reasonable terms. There are also about 1,200 acres of Government Land, and about 45,000 acres of swamp land, which are partly overflowed in the spring, yet a great portion of them are desirable and very fertile, and can be purchased at low figures on long time. The climate is very healthful and invigorating. The winters are short and the weather generally clear and cool.

The Mineral Resources consist chiefly of coal and stone. The whole county is underlaid with rich veins of the former which are worked principally at Bevier, Summit, Excello, New Cambria, Lingo and Carbon, and are rapidly becoming a source of immense revenue to the county. Large quantities are furnished to the railroads, and from the three places first named, about 50 car loads, daily, are shipped to St. Joseph, Kansas City and the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Coal is mined at a depth of 70 feet, and also crops out at the streams. As usual, accompanying the coal formation, are found gypsum and fire-clay. Limestone and sandstone exist in great quantities, especially in the southern part of the county, and are chiefly used for building purposes.

The Manufacturing Interests are as yet somewhat limited. There are several saw and grist-mills, and large amounts of walnut lumber are shipped from the county.

The "Enterprise Mills," at Macon City, ship large quantities of flour to Boston and New York, besides supplying the demand from surrounding towns.

Valuation of the county per census of 1870, $10,000,000.*

The Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road traverses Macon from east to west, and the St. Louis, Kansas City and Northern Rail Way from north to south, each having about 31 miles of track in the county. Besides these, the Keokuk & Kansas City Rail Road will have 36 miles (which will when completed) pass diagonally through the county from the northeast to the south-west.

The Exports are principally cattle, horses, mules, hogs, tobacco, corn, hay, apples, potatoes and grapes, also coal and timber in large quantities.

The Educational Interests of Macon are as well advanced as those of any other western county. There is a permanent fund of $100,000 constantly being increased by sales of school lands, the interest of which, in addition to the taxes levied for school purposes, is applied to the support of the sub-district schools. All the townships are divided into sub-districts, in each of which are comfortable school buildings. There are 2 colleges and 1 seminary in the county. Johnson College, in Macon City, is a fine institution with an able faculty, and capacity for 300 students. McGee College, at College Mound, 12 miles south-west of Macon, under the control of the Cumberland Presbyterians, has an efficient corps of teachers and about 250 pupils. It is a very popular and well patronized institution, of which the county is justly proud. Bloomington High School, at Bloomington, 7 miles north-west of Macon, is in a prosperous condition, and well patronized. The public schools of Macon City are in session about 9 months in the year, employing 15 teachers and a city superintendent. The schools are graded, and held in fine large brick buildings erected and furnished upon the most approved modern plans, at a cost of $25,000. There is also a commercial college at Macon, under the control of experienced professors.

Macon County Places in 1875

Atlanta is a station on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 11 miles north of Macon. Large amounts of live stock are shipped at this point, and there are several manufactures, 4 stores, also 1 cabinet and 2 wagon shops, 1 lumber yard and 1 hotel. Population, about 200.

Barryville, a post-office 12 miles south west of Macon City.

Beverly, (Round Grove,) a station on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 7 miles east of Macon City, is located in a rich prairie, which is being rapidly settled with thrifty farmers.

Bevier, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 5 miles west of Macon City, contains about 900 people, who are mostly miners, and are an industrious, sober, intelligent class. There are 3 or 4 coal shafts in this vicinity, from which large amounts of coal are taken. The place contains 8 stores and a few other industries.

Blackwell, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 8 miles north of Macon.

Bloomington, 6 miles north west of Macon City, the oldest town in the county, and until 1863 the county seat, was formerly called Box Ancle, and has the honor of issuing the first newspaper of the county-the Bloomington Gazette, published by Jas. M. Love in 1850. Here also, in 1837, was established the first mill in the county, owned by Judge Cochran.

Callao, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, 9 miles west of Macon City, in a good agricultural district, is a thriving town containing a woolen mill, a furnace, a lumber yard, several stores, a hotel and some other business houses. Population, about 250.

Carbon, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road 3 miles east of Macon.

College Mound, 12 miles south west of Macon City, contains McGee College (above noticed), 7 stores and a wagon shop.

Economy, (Vienna,) a post-office 3 miles east of Atlanta.

Emerson-See Excello.

Excello, (Emerson,) on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 6 miles south of Macon City.

Kaseyville, a post-office 14 miles south west of Macon City.

La Plata, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 20 miles north of Macon City, is a busy town of about 700 inhabitants, and contains 14 stores, 2 hotels, and several other business houses. The broad fertile prairies stretch away from this town for many miles, presenting a fine view during the summer, when thousands of cattle may be seen leisurely feeding there.

La Porte-See Ten Mile.

Love Lake City, on the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 14 miles north of Macon, has several stores, and fine water power.

MACON CITY, the county seat, at the junction of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road with the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Rail Way, 68 miles west of Quincy, 136 miles east of St. Joseph and 168 miles north west of St. Louis, was incorporated in 1856. In 1857, the town of Hudson was laid out, and in 1859, the two places were incorporated under the name of Macon City. It has an elevated and healthy location, and is handsomely laid out, the streets being at right angles, ornamented with shade trees, and, in the business part of town, macadamized. The citizens are enterprising and intelligent, and the merchants carry on an extensive trade with the country around, and with adjoining counties. The city contains 10 churches-M. E. Church, M. E. Church South, Congregational, Presbyterian (0. S.), Cumberland Presbyterian, Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, Christian; 2 banks, with an average monthly deposit of $300,000; and 3 newspapers-the Republican, Jones, Brock & Wilson, publishers; the Journal, published by J. M. London, and the Times, published by J. M. Love.

Mercyville, 20 miles north north west of Macon City, contains several stores.

Narrows Creek, a post office 4 miles south east of Macon City.

Newburgh, a post-office 6 miles west of La Plata.

New Cambria, (Stockton,) on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Rail Road, i6 miles west of Macon City, is a growing town containing 15 stores, 3 mills, 1 lumber yard, 2 hotels, and a cheese factory. The town is pleasantly situated upon a high point of land.

Round Grove-See Beverly.

Stockton-See New Cambria.

Sue City, 10 miles south east of La Plata, and 18 miles north west of Macon City, in a very fine agricultural region, contains several stores and churches.

Summit, is 4 miles west of Macon City. There are 3 coal shafts at this place which are being constantly worked, also 2 stores. This bids fair to be a very thriving town on account of the coal interests developed here. Population, about 200, mostly miners.

Ten Mile, (La Porte,) 9 miles north east of Macon City, contains 2 stores and 1 church.

Tullvania, a post-office 25 miles north west of Macon City.

Vienna-See Economy.

Woodville, one of the oldest places in the county, is 9 miles south east of Macon City, and contains 2 stores, 2 mills, a wagon shop and about 60 inhabitants.

*Assessed valuation in 1873 $5,909,200. Taxation, $3.25 per $100. Bonded debt, (railroad) $300,000. Floating debt, $28,000.

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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