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This page last modified 15 April 2010 by Laurie S. Biswell


  Morgan County MO-AHGP
Genealogy & History


History of Morgan County



COUNTY ORGANIZATION - Morgan County was organized by act of the Legislature in 1833. An act of the Legislature in 1868 transferred to Miller County a strip the length of two townships from the southern east side of the county; and in 1881, by another law, the line running diagonally northwest from the northeast corner of Township northeast of saidSection 12. With these changes the boundary lines are as follows: Beginning at the northeast of Section 12, Township 45, Range 18; thence west on subdivisional lines to the northwest corner of Section 7, Township 45, Range 19; thence south by range line between 19 and 20 to the point where it strikes the Osage river; thence down the middle of said river to where it intersects the southeast of Section 30, Township 40, Range 18; thence by subdivisional lines to the Osage river; thence down the middle of said river to the southeast of Section 12, Township 40, Range 16; thence by subdivisional lines to the township line between 41 and 42; thence east to the range line between 15 and northeast of Section 12, Township 44, Range 18; thence north by range line between Ranges 17 and 18 to the place of beginning.

TOWNSHIP FORMATION. The county was divided into six townships by the county court in "Willow Creek" to Mill Creek Township.

Richland forms the northwest corner of the county. Flat and Richland Creeks join and form the Lamine Creek. Flat Creek is crooked through fourteen sections, from where it enters the township at Section 18 to its mouth. This creek bounds the timber on the south of "Little Morgan" Prairie; Haw Creek gives it abundant water and drainage on the south part. It is divided into two voting precints. Florence and Brick School House. All of that part of Morgan county that lies north of Flat Creek is called Little Morgan. Some of the most valuable farms in the state are found in Little Morgan. There are two school districts that are wholly in Little Morgan, the Brick and Stony Point. These two school districts have turned out some boys and girls that have made distinguished marks in the world. Then there are two districts that are partly in Morgan county. One of these is called the Gillum school and the other is County Line school. There is a church building in Little Morgan known as the Union church. There are several churches and school houses in Richland township. Florence is the only town in the township. The township has a population of about 2,500.

Haw Creek township lies in the central western part of the county. A high rolling prairie extends from the east side to the west side through its center; to the north and south of this are found excellent timber and mineral lands. It is in this township that the Hubbard and Moore coal mine is found. Several other valuable coal deposits are found in this township. There are five voting precincts in this township; Ritchie, Newstover, Hinken, Bethel, and Glenstead. There are about ten school houses and fourteen churches. This township has a population of over 3, 000.

Buffalo township is in the southwest part of the county and is chiefly timber land and is finely watered and drained, the Osage river forming part of its boundary; the river and creek bottoms are deep alluvial loam that makes them the best agricultural lands. There are also some fine mineral deposits in this township. Much prospecting has been done in this section of the county. It is in this township that the famous old Buffalo lead mine is found. The population of the township is about 2,000.

Osage township forms the boundary of the southeast part of the county. It is also partly bounded by the Osage river. Some very rich farming and pasture lands are found in the various bottoms of this township. The Osage river bottoms, Indian Creek and Mill Creek and the Gravois all have rich bottom lands. All of these streams water and drain this township. Most of the township is heavily timbered and underneath the soil is found deposits of coal, lead, and zinc. There are several churches and school houses. The population of the township is about 2,000.

Moreau township is north of Osage township, and forms part of the east and northeast county line. In mineral resources it is as rich as any and the whole of the township seems to be underlaid with good coal, mostly bituminous. Some coal mines in this township have been discovered and operated for years. It is also rich as an agricultural district, the larger part of the prairie of the county being within its borders. This is rich and rolling, and is drained by Moreau creek on the northwest and on he northeast by Smith and Burris Forks of Moreau creek, and on the south by Gravois and Indian creeks. It is divided into four voting precincts, Versailles, Barentt, Excelsior and St. Martin. The population of the township is over 5,000.

Mill Creek township forms the north and part of the east boundary lines of the county. It is mostly timber land, and is watered by Big and Little Richland creeks. The southwest portion is prairie; the whole is fine farming land. The railroad from Tipton to Versailles runs through the east and southeastern part of it. The township is divided into two precincts. The main line of the Missouri Pacific railroad passes through the northwest corner of Sections 10,11, 14, and 15; on this line is the village of Syracuse. Akinsville is in Section 19. Among the early settlers were Elijah Shanklin, John Jamison, John Carpenter, James Bridges and Jonathan Huff. The population is 3,500.

COUNTY SEAT -- The temporary county seat of Morgan was fixed at Josiah Walton's, southeast of where Versailles now is. It remained at this place nearly two years. The county court appointed Street Thruston commissioner to locate a permanent county seat. He selected the present site of Versailles, on Section 6, Township 42, Range 17. The land was donated by Wyans & Galbraith, and the court sold the lots at public venue.

COURTHOUSE -- In December, 1836, the county purchased of Phillip Barger the house standing on the northeast corner of the public square as a courthouse. At least part of this building is still standing, and is the rear of the Capt. Neilson's house.

In 1844 a modest brick court house was put up in the center of the public square. This answered all public purposes comfortably, but unfortunately was burned in the general town fire of March 12th, 1887. A new court house, the present one was built in 1888 at a cost of about $20,000. The bond issue for this building was $15,000 and the insurance on the old building, amounting to $4,000 was applied as well as some other funds.

Morgan county has no jail except a temporary affair on the second floor of the court house. This is only used for holding prisoners in to their trial. Our sentenced prisoners are kept in jails in other counties. A jail was built in 1865 but its occupants during several years chipped and dug away at it till it was condemed and torn down.

POOR FARM -- In February, 1877, the county purchased the farm of G.J. Harvey, for a consideration of $1,500. It is situated three miles east of Versailles. The county at once added to the original building and put up other needed improvements. Prior to this it had rented Mr. Harvey's farm and used it for a poor farm.

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