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  Morgan County MO-AHGP
Genealogy & History


History of Morgan County



ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS -- Morgan county was at one time in the possession and occupancy of the Osage Indians. Upon ceding this part of their territory to the Government they retained the right to hunt in expeditions over the grounds for a term of years. These expeditions every spring and fall made the people nervous, and Indian scares, often serious and widespread, were common. Not infrequently families would sleep concealed near their houses during the night, and again the entire settlement would gather in order to be ready for defense against the night attacks. Then for some years after they ceased to hunt in the county they passed through on the old "Harmony Mission Trace," on their way to and from St. Louis to get Government supplies. The "trace", the first great east and west route through the county, was followed from St. Louis to this place by the pioneers. The Boon and fur traders sometimes passed on the trail going to St. Louis.

The Indians never attacked the whites of Morgan county, and no serious depredations can now be recalled. Practically the last seen of them in the county, except passing as delegations on their way to Washington, was in 1835.

FIRST SETTLERS -- Following closely upon the footsteps of the trappers, hunters and Indian traders came the first pioneers to what is now Morgan county - a daring and hardy race of men, full of self-reliance, and possessing those self-contained resources admirably fitting them to lead civilization in its marvelous rise and progress across our continent.

In the year 1825 Hugh Kelsay and the younger Alexander, James, Samuel and William Kelsay settled on Moreau Creek, about six miles east of Versailles. Soon after William Donegan, Thomas Kennedy, John Thompson, Furnis Adair and a man named Pushong settled in the Kelsay neighborhood. In 1829 came Willis Brown and family, among whom was Cyrus C. Brown.

North of the Kelsay settlement about six miles were located, among the next earliest settlers: Buford and William Allee, William Fulks, James Stinson, Elisha Taylor and Mordecia Bell.

Most of these were in what is the southeast angle of Mill Creek Township. Further north and northwest of this were Phillip Barger, James Enlow, Nathan Smith, Jesse Hallford, William Kirkpatrick, Absalom Wood, Benjamin Gist, William G. Porter, William Monroe, Ward Howard, James Birdsong, James Stinson, Elisha Taylor, H. Vivion, Orville Beatty, James Donaldson, Hickman Estes, Hay Hogue, Hardin His, Richard Larimore, Martin Parks, William C. Porter, Amos Richardson, James Rucker, Nathan Smith and Green Scott.

In the northwest part of the county, new Richland Township, Hugh Morrison, Absalom Wood, Isham Hatfield, John B. Morrison, John Taylor, William K. Anthony, Shannon Aiken, James Y. Cooper, J.W. Fridley, J. Gibeny, John T. Harman, Thomas Hackney, Joseph Jamison, Francis Nixon, George Nixon, P.S. Owenby, E.S. Rollston, Joshua Self and R.B. Harris settled.

West and northwest of Versailles, in Haw Creek, Township were Hugh Morrison, Samuel Kelsay, Woodson Scoggins, James G. Wooten, Joseph Smith, William S. Barnett, David McFarland, William M. McCarroll, Samuel Thruston and Robert Wilson.

In the southwest part of the county, probably all within what is now Buffalo Township, were John R. Huff, William C. Scott, William James, James Lamm, Hugh Brown, Thomas J. Morris, James Bushow, John Dobbins, Alexander Findley, John Farris, Joseph Modders, J.A. Paul, William Powell, and P. Webber.

In the southeast part of the county were Warner Houser, William Poor, William Rhea, Elvin Caldwell, Thomas J. Morriss, Morton and John Jones, Solomon Kemp, Seth Moore, Enoch Taylor, Wiliam Dorrell, E.S. Drake, Tyre H. Bell, Joseph Sidebottom, T.J. Bond and James Farris.

East of the Kelsay settlement, in Moreau Township were William French, Sterling Gunn, Walter Hines, Francis Laher, and Preston Taylor. G.W. Stewart settled two miles south of Versailles and George Campbell and Wm. T. Cole, four miles north (latter was killed by John Rughven in 1853). Josiah S. Walton, among the early settlers, located southeast of Versailles, on Gravois Creek. He put up a saw and grist mill in 1835, and other settlers located at that point, it being the temporary county seat, called and known for a time as Milltown. John B. Fisher, father of Trusten F., made a settlement in the north part of the county, and it is sometimes claimed that his was the first settlement in the county. John Tracy was located ten miles east of Versailles as early as , and James Scoggins and Aaron Allord, about the same time, were eight miles west. Seth Howard settled at the mouth of Gravois Creek, and John Crenshaw at the mouth of Buffalo, very early. Howard started the once promising place, Miningport. James McFarland and sons settled about five miles south of Versailles, about 1831. Zacheus German was a prominent early settler, and comes about the same time as McFarland. He first located twelve miles east of Versailles. Street Thruston and son, Dr. J.B. Thruston, were also among the early settlers.

In the list given above those without the date of coming attached to their names were known to be here in the early part of 1838.

The first marriage license in Morgan County was issued March 28th, 1833 to Layton Adair and Edith Summers. They were married by Philip Barger, justice of the peace.

LAND ENTRIES -- The earliest purchase of the Government of land in what is now Morgan county was made by George McFarland, Sr., February 13, 1824, the east half northeast section 8, Township settlements by townships is observed.

Township 41, Range 16: September 24th, 1826, Hiram M. Madole, north half southwest section 8; October 1st, 1832, Walker Moore, southeast southeast section 1; October 5th, 1832, David P. Taylor, northeast section 1; August 1834, E.B. Dooley, section 5; May 5th, 1835, H.B. Kelsay, Sr., east half northeast section 5; May 5th, 1836, Daniel Merry, northwest section 19; May 29th, 1837, William Bunker, southwest northwest, section 19; November 28th, 1836, H.B. Kelsay, southeast northwest section 5; February 12th, 1837, Jeremiah Johnson, south half southwest section 9.

Township 42, Range 16: October 27th ,1831, Andrew McCaslands in section 36; February 27th, , Edmund Wilkes, west half southeast section 23; November 29th, 1833, Andrew J. French, east half northwest section 5; January 31st, 1834, George W. Claybrook, in section 2; January 29th 1828, John H. Howard, in section 36; June 9th, 1829, Zacheus German, northeast section 23; November 16th, 1829, Andrew Phillips, west half northeast section 13; July 10th, 1836, Marquis Calmes, southeast southeast section 21; June 23rd, 1840, David Dutcher, east half southwest section 21; October 31st, 1836. H. San Ira, southeast section 18; February 2nd, 1836, William Monroe, east half southeast section Ellis, west half section 4; September 4th, 1836, Simeon Ratcliff, east half northeast section 8; February 2nd, A.J. French, in sections 5, 6,and 7.

Township 43 Range 16; November 16th, 1832, Willis Brown, southwest southwest section 10; November 10th, 1835, William Killison, Jr., south half northwest section 19; January 12th 1836, William Cooper, northeast section 19; November 30, 1832, Thomas Kennedy, northwest southwest section 30; June section 30; June 12th, 1836, Willis Brown, west half southeast section 30; October 25th, 1836, John Glover, east half southwest section 33; May 30th, 1839, Margaret Ann Townley, southeast southeast section 29; November 9, 1836, John Oglesby, southeast southwest section 17; same date and section, John Oglesby, southeast southeast; January 14th, 1837, David W. Johnson, west half southwest section 17.

Township 40, Range 17: April 1, 1836, Solomon Poor, southeast southeast section2.

Township 41, Range 17: October 15, 1832, James Lemon, southeast and northeast section 27; February 24th, 1835, John May, northeast southeast section 7; September 16th, 1836, Nancy Huff, northeast norhtwest section 7; January 25, 1836, Charles Newkirk, northwest southwest section 36; October 14th, Joseph Sidebottom, southeast northwest section 35; April 10th, 1839, E. Caldwell, southwest northwest section 7; December 4th, 1834, Tyre H. Berry, southwest northwest section 27; August 12th, C.F. Holtzwart, southeast northeast section 28.

Township 42, Range 17: In 1836 Fleming Meadows, Joel Meadows, William Mitchell, James Huff and Peter Link each made entries in section 21. November 27, 1837, John Lindley, southwest northeast section 17; December 3rd, 1834, Fredrick How, southwest southwest section 6; December 20th 1834, Jacob Chism, southeast northwest section 6; December 21st, 1835, Street Thruston, northwest southwest section William Pennebaker and C.A. Campbell made entries in section 7; April 30th 1833, Wyan and Galbraith, west half southeast section 6; November section 14; July 18th, 1836, John McClannahan made entry in section 6; October 31st, 1836, Thomas Miller, southeast northeast section 6.

Township 43, Range 17: February 8, 1833, John Pulley, northwest northeast section 18; August 17, Jackson Johnson, southwest southeast section 7; July 29, 1833, Obadiah Summers, southwest and southwest section 7; February 3rd, 1831, Elijah Anderson, east half northwest section 7; November 2nd, Willis Brown, southeast southeast section 25; February 14, 1833, Jesse Jopling, northwest section 33; January 29th, 1836, Henry Fisher, southwest northwest section 7.

Township 44, Range 17: March7, 1829, Robert Rogers, west half northeast section 28; July 11th, Furniss Adair, east half southeast section 7; November 20, 1833, Calvin Williams, northwest, northwest section 17; January 28, 1833, Elijah McFarland, northwest southeast section 29; December 12, Thomas G. Thompson, west half norhtwest section 27; May 21st, 1836, Charles Newkirk, west half northwest section 27; May 21st, 1836, Charles Newkirk, west half northwest section 28; January 22nd, James B. Hurr, east half northwest section 32.

Township 41, Range 18: May 1st, 1833, Jacob Chism, east half southeast and west halfsouthwest section 10; December 20th, 1834, Hardin Chism, northwest southwest section 12; December 3, 1834, John McClanahan, east half section 5; November 19th 1834, Noah Gordon, northeast section 12; September 19th, Street Thruston, east half southeast section 4.

Township 42, Range 18: May 1st, 1833, Jacob Chism, east half southeast and west half southwest section 10; December 20th, 1833, John Chism, west half southwest section 11; December 20th 1834, Hardin Chism, northwest southwest section 12; December 3rd, 1834, John McClanahan, east half section 5; November 19th, 1934, Noah Gordon, northeast section 12; September 19th, 1835, Street Thruston, east half southeast section 4.

Township 43, Range 18: October 29th, 1832, John Boyer, southwest southeast section 12; same date, Robert Wilson, southeast southeast section 12; February 15, 1833, John G. Estes, southeast southeast section 13, June 12th, 1833, Thomas Blakely, southeast southeast section 24; December 12th 1833, Littleton Seat, east half northeast section 25; December 10, 1833, Martin Boyer, northwest southwest section 25.

Township 45, Range 18: November 4, 1836, J.C. Todd, southwest southeast section 15; September 1st, 1838, Harry Mayfield, northwest northwest section 23.

Township 45, Range 18: December 20th, 1830, Samuel Smith, west half northwest section 9; December 21, 1831, W.H. Shanklin, northeast section 9; December 21st, 1831, John Carpenter, west half southwest section 9; January 28th, 1831, Elijah Shanklin, northeast southeast section 9; February 4th, 1828, William Steele, west half northwest section 8; November 20th, 1832, John Carpenter, northeast southwest section 9,; January 7th, 1833, Nathaniel Garten, southwest northwest section 9; November 4th, 1834, Elizabeth Findley, northwest northwest section 10; December 4th, 1833, Wiliam Hix, southeast southwest section 11.

Township 41, Range 19; April 4th, 1835, Joseph Byles, southwest southwest section 6.

Township 42, Range 19: November 26, 1833, Aaron Allen, southeast southwest section 6; January Township 43, Range 19: November 18th, 1833, Almer Weaver, northwest southeast section 30; December 12th, 1836, Charles H. Stevens, northwest section 29.

Township 44, Range 19: November 30th, 1833 W.C. Reed, southwest northwest section 15; September 30th, 1835, William Neal, southwest northwest section 30; November 6th, 1835 Hugh M. Blackburn, northwest southwest section 29; July 6th, 1826, A.C. Sloan, northeast northwest section 28.

CUSTOMS -- The abundance of game and fish on every hand in pioneer days left only the question of bread and building material a necessity to provide for. For some years the nearest post-office was six miles north of Tipton. The arrival of a letter, twenty-five cents postage, was a county episode, as it would be read and reread to nearly everyone in the county. Fear of the Indians made the people collect in settlements and all were on the lookout for a new settler, ready to extend to him every hospitality and aid in making a home and locating as a neighbor. They built their cabins of logs, and their first sawed lumber was from the whip-saw. Walton's saw mill opened an era in the new county's progress. The people could haul their bread-stuff hundreds of miles over the trackless waste, but the heavy lumber they could not. A constant dread of danger from Indian raids and wild animals made the people not only watchful, but inclined to gather at night at each other's cabins. Social and hospitable, simple and honest, they needed neither officers nor courts.

Section 3

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