|Utica | Utica History | Uticans and Ancestors | Utica's History ||
by Lois McCain
In the year 1837, seventeen more names were added to the land entries' official records of Greene Township. The first marriage recorded in Utica was in 1837 and was performed by County Judge Reuben McCoskrie.
Utica settled up slowly, but many came from the northern and eastern
first. Relatives of the early settlers came from New York, Massachusetts,
Kentucky and Illinois. Many later settlers came from Germany, Switzerland
Among those coming from Germany were my husband's Grandparents, Frederick
and Elnora Bloom. They came from Danzig, Germany, in 1861, on a Hamburg Passenger ship. Many contracted smallpox and died. The Bloom's ten year old daughter,
Wilhemina, was one of them. The ship stopped at the Grosse Isle near Canada, and the
child was buried. Elnora was quarantined having contracted the disease. She survived
and they continued their journey to the United States. They went to Michigan in 1861 and
remained until 1865. They traveled to Utica after receiving letters from Elnora's sister
who lived with her family in Dawn, Missouri. Upon arrival at Utica, Mr. Bloom looked
around at the "wilderness" about him and would have gladly gotten back on the train for a
return trip to Michigan if he had the amount for the fare. They were hardworking thrifty
people. Fred worked for the railroad, at the orchard, and both gardened and sold their
produce. They set aside a dollar at a time and eventually from their work and that of their
children, Frederick and Jennie, they were able to buy land, build a home "prospered." His
grandchildren occupy the house he built in 1900.
Mr. Bloom died May 16, 1903 and the following words were written about
Mr. Frederick Bloom belonged to that class of early settlers
who came to America with but little of this world's goods, but
with a strong aim and determination to make himself and his
family a competence. He succeeded in accumulating considerable
property, and during his long residence here made many friends
who admired him for his sturdy independence and many good
qualities of heart and mind. He was fair in all dealings and sincere
in all his purposes.
From 1858 to 1861 there was a "boom" in Utica. Business
and the citizens began the erection of fine residences. A"society" grew up and advantages
presented themselves to those who were willing to work. Upon the completion of the
railroad in February 1859, the tide of prosperity "swelled." Utica became a shipping point
for a large area of country. From Carrollton and other towns in Carroll and Ray Counties,
shippers came with their stock and grain, and merchants for
their goods and a large trade was going on.
The first railroad depot was built in 1859, a mile west of town.
John Stone gave
the railroad company forty acres of land. The railroad company built a depot and placed it
where it was most convenient for them. This location highly displeased the citizens. The
citizens showed their displeasure first by soaping the rails. Later they became more drastic
and burned the depot! Another building was erected and it too suffered the fate of the
first. A change was made but it was still considered inconvenient by the citizens. This
depot remained until on April 4, 1913 the third depot building was destroyed by a fire of
unknown origin. A night operator stated he believed the fire was started by a
spark from a passing engine that lodged near the semaphore. (Mrs. Will Stone, widow of
the grandson of John Stone who gave the forty acres of land for the depot, still resides in
The news of the election of Lincoln and Hamlin was received by the
people of this
county generally with dissatisfaction; but aside from the utterances of some ultra
pro-slavery men, there were general expressions of a willingness to accept and abide by
the result - at least to watch and wait.
One of the twenty men who voted for Lincoln in Livingston county, in
Presidential election in 1860, was Rev. J. E. Gardner, a minister of the M. E. Church, who
some time previously had been sent into this county, and who had located at Utica.
"Northern Methodists," as they were sometimes called, were few in number and in "bad
odor" at that day in Missouri. As a rule they were opposed to slavery, though few openly
demanded its abolition, as the people generally were very sensitive on this subject.
At this time, in the fall of 1860, Utica contained about 600
inhabitants, two dry
goods stores, two groceries, one drugstore, one hotel, two saloons, a school-house and
one church. The latter was owned by the Baptists, but the use of it was allowed to all
other denominations ex-cept the "Northern Methodists," who occasionally held senrices in
the school-house. Public sentiment in the town was largely against Mr. Gardner. He was
denounced as a "North Methodist," a "Lincolnite," an Abolitionist, and was accused of
tampering with the slaves, treating them as equals. A few weeks after the election he was
presented a letter telling him it was unanimously resolved that notice be given to him that
he was not desired as a residence by the citizens of Utica and was required to leave the
county within three days. This notice was signed by thirty-seven men. He refused to
leave. A few days later he was brought before a group of people and charges were read
against him. These charges dealt with his being sent among them without their consent
and support by "Northern" money and whose doctrine is to war upon the domestic
institutions of the South; he was the only man in the community who voted for Lincoln
and had publicly declared to glory in making himself a martyr to the cause of abolitionism;
and had frequent interviews with the slaves inviting a number of them to dinner and
preaching as his equals.
Again they gave him notice to be gone in three days. There was
throughout the town. Many of the citizens wholly disapproved the action of the lawless
element. These citizens formed a committee to censure and put down this lawlessness.
In the meantime the minister's wife, Mrs. Amanda Gardner, wrote letters to the
North. Her letters were published and copied into other journals. So this incident became
known throughout the North.
The last warning was given for a period of ten days. When the
time was up a mob
with rifles, shot-guns, revolvers and knives appeared at their home one night. One man
gave them ten minutes to make the promise they would be out of town within
twenty-fours hours or they would burn down the house and ordered a bunch of hay
brought to kindle the fire. At length of argument they agreed to leave and gave the
Gardners until noon to leave declaring they would accept no compromise.
The next day Mr. Gardner went into town to a store to take care offical business.
A man in the store ran outside to tell the group of men that Mr. Gardner was in the store.
To avoid the mob he went out the backdoor. But the mob met him with drawn revolvers.
He was violently seized, a "Lincoln rail" was ordered, upon which they forced him and
proceeded to rail-ride him. Tumultuous shouts of "North Preacher," "Lincolnite,"
"Nigger thief," etc., were raised. While some were clamorous for "tar and feathers,"
others shouted for a rope!
Thus was a minister of the gospel insulted and abused in a land of
Christian institutions! Mr. Gardner sang "Heavenly King." By this time Mrs. Gardner,
with their little child, walked into their midst pleading for their mercy. A Mr. John Harper
and Mr. Wm. Wells interceded for them and accompanied them home advising them to
leave as soon as possible as it would not be safe for them to remain. The Gardners
promised to leave the next morning.
Later, Mr. Gardner commenced suit in Chillicothe against the leaders of
but a mob was raised there and compelled Squire Hughes, before whom the case was to
be tried, to burn the papers. So Amanda Gardner wrote, "It is evident that there is no law,
either in Utica or Chillicothe to protect persons belonging to the M. E. Church."
When the Civil War came on it found the people of Utica nearly equally
sentiment - half for the old Union and half for Seccession. Two companies were formed.
The Secession had Capt. Charles Cooper for a leader. The drillmaster of the Union was J.
P. Frazer, commonly called Paley Frazer. In 1863, Paley was assassinated near the bridge
by some militia who considered him a rebel! Hon. A. J. Austin, the County's
Representative in the Legislature, owned a farm in the country and had a store in town.
He was the leading spirit among the Secessionists, raised a Secession flag above his store,
entered Gov. Jackson's army as lieutenant-colonel and fell at Wilson's Creek. Capt. John
Stone entered the Secession army and was killed at Carthage, the first officer of that army
killed in battle in Missouri.
Secession flags were early raised in Utica. In the summer of
1861, the Stars and
Stripes were waving over the store of Wm. P. Mead. His cousin took down the flag,
saying it was "not the right kind" The next morning a rebel flag was floating where the
Union flag had been. This cousin who "hauled down the American flag" was the next year
a prominent officer in the Federal Militia! (He changed his mind just like men who
participated in the Mr. Gardner mob. Looking through names of signers of the petition for
Mr. Gardner's leaving found names that later were listed among Union supporters.)
On the morning of the 14th of June 1861, the first Federal troops, the
appeared and seized the town making prisoners of two or three citizens and fugitives of
others and bearing away two Secession flags as rare trophies.
In September, when Gen. Sturgis disembarked from the train in Utica,on his way
to the relief of Mulligan at Lexington, he pressed a sufficient number of wagons and teams
to transport his baggage. In most instances, however, the owners were quite willing to
render this service, many of them being Union men. Gen. Sturgis repressed all disorder
among his men. Some of them robbed Capt. Cooper's beehives, and the General had
every honey forager put under guard.
Another event during the war was the Poindexter's raid. The
militia had been
summoned to Chillicothe and the town was unguarded. The raiders came through the
town on their way to Springhill, but made scarcely a halt and molested nothing and
nobody. A few provisions were purchased and paid for. They seemed weary, hungry,
sleepy and dispirited. Some had lost their horses, or never had any, and were on foot.
Others were riding two on a horse.
The town suffered a great deal from the war. Business was
slow. The merchants
feared to carry considerable stocks of good lest they might be raided. Harper's store was
plundered by some Federal jayhawkers. There were many annoyances incident to a state
of war but no considerable outrages .
After the war there was considerable improvement in the condition of
some years. In 1871 the project of building the Utica and Lexington Railroad was much
discussed. In May, the county voted to subscribe $200,000 to the stock of the road, but it
was never completed, and the town was compelled to relinquish the idea of becomig a
railroad center and obliged to content itself with its former and pesent condition --
a way station on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad.
After the loss of being a railroad center, the years of the 1870's were
Utica's prosperity was on the wane and property had decreased in value and its fine homes
sold for about one-fourth of the original cost.
In 1880, the population was 660. There were five churches - Baptist, Methodist,
Congregational, ~F~piscopal and Catholic. There were two lodges - Masonic and United
Workmen. The Utica Herald was the first newspaper, established in 1877 and edited by
Charles Hoyt. A five-room brick school building, costing $5,000 was built in the center of
the town. There was a good flouring mill, seven stores, a number of shops, four
attorneys, two physicians, two saloons and an Opera House.
One of the most interesting buildings in Utica, which still stands and
is occupied, is
the old Utica Hotel. Its present owners are Stephen E. and Wilda (Peters) Locke.
They have restored it and graciously take interested persons on a tour of it. They are
retired builders from Gary, Indiana. Mrs. Locke is a native Chillicothian and upon
retirement became interested in this building she had known as a child.
The house was built in 1836 by Edward and Susan Mead. It was sold
occupied by Edward, George, and Wm. Van Zandt who sold it to Roderick and Catherine
Matson. In 1838 they sold it to Wm. Hudgins who held the first warranty deed. He left
Utica and purchased a large tract of land in Mooresville. It changed hands frequently with
thirty owners over that period to the present time.
The original house consisted of four rooms downstairs and with two
Every room had a fireplace. The inside and outside walls are 18 inch thick solid brick.
Each room on the first floor had its own solid rock foundation and a crawlway large
enough for a person to crawl through it. Heavy quarry rocks were used for the fireplaces.
Only two fireplaces were in good enough condition to restore them and be used now.
The architecture is that of the Greek Revival period. The woodwork in the four original
rooms is of native black walnut and parts are beautifully carved. The original key holes in
each door were made of coin silver.
An additional four rooms were built on in 1856. These rooms had lower
flooring and ceilings. The woodwork was of different wood. The house consists of nine
rooms and a large attic; an outside porch on both floors; and a widow's walk. It is
believed the first time the residence was used as a hotel was by Mrs. Anna Waters, a
widow. This was a way in which a woman of her day could earn a livelihood. Another
widow, Lucy Lemon, purchased it for about $800 and operated a boarding and rooming
house from 1904 to 1930. Since that time it has been used as a residence.
Some of the most interesting reading about Utica was found in
entertainment you could attend "a beautiful little drama in four acts" at Lee's Hall for 15¢.
Or see the C. H. Howard's Big Moving Picture Show....Thrilling wild western scenes that
are hair-raising and soul stirring....These pictures are of the highest moral type and are
very entertaining.... .Admission 10¢ for children and 15¢ for adults. The majority of
entertainment was through the school with programs, plays and socials. Also the "Secret
Newspaper obituaries were very praiseworthy. An example is the
Mrs. John C. Stone:
The Struggle is Ended...The Victory is Won...Splendid Character
Called Home....Many citizens of Utica revere her memory as their
Sabbath School teacher. The Sunday School has lost a most able
teacher....Was Faithful to the very End....None slipped so far down
in life that she did not follow and try to awaken in them the desire
to live a better life. Life was not lived in vain by this woman of God,
for when the casket was lowered into the cold and silent grave last
Monday evening she began to live anew.
Their wedding notices also included praise for both the bride and groom
.....Mr. Newschaffer is one of Utica's best and most highly respected
young men, is well known and stands high with all who know him.
The bride is also a product of Utica and has the pleasure of numbering
her friends by the score. The best wishes of the community are extended to
Mr. and Mrs. Newschaffer and may all their troubles be little ones.
Commencements were given much publicity, usually with pictures of the
graduates, teachers and guest speaker. The speaker's entire speech was published. Most
of the classes were small in numbers. A list of the pupils in school who received the
highest grades during the school year was published.
Some of the ads selling products were most interesting and amusing with
Give the children Rocky Mountain Tea,
a spring tonic that makes sick people well - 35¢.
Black Drought - the great family medicine - a family of twelve children
and have kept them on foot and healthy with no doctor just Black Draught.
Deafness cured - a simple little device that instantly restores the hearing
Kodol Dyspepsia Cure for all stomach problems....
Foley's Kidney Cure....
Dr. Miles' Nervine gave me new life.....
Other interesting ads included:
The Burlington Rates to the World's Fair in St. Louis...$3.75 One Way.
9 lb. package of Star coffee - $1.00
1 lb. Gunpowder Tea - 25¢
25 lb. prunes - $1.00
3 lb. raisins - 25¢
20 lb. Japan head rice - $1.00
8 bars Swift's Pride or Hard Maple Soap - 25¢:
Lawn Batiste - 8¢ a yd.
Lace curtains - $1.00
News items delved into a very personal part of life. One in 1903
told of a young
lady who was going to bring a breach of promise suitagainst a young man. He denied the
charge in a letter to the paper. She came back with her letters to show the editor and he in
turn thought she had good reason to believe the young man was going to marry her. The
young lady had it published that she had decided to having nothing further to do with her
young man and the incident was closed.
Another published article in 1904 was a very personal one. It
read as follows:
Kind friends, I take this means to let the people of Utica know
the truth. I have been gone from home for several months and I will say
that I have done very wrong in not providing a support for my family.
However, I intend to take my family and return to Oklahoma, and be
more true to them in the future. My wife has been faithful on her part,
and as we are willing to go on in this life together, I stand ready to make
all wrongs right if any I have wronged will come to me. The suit for
divorce which has been instituted will be dismissed in court.
In reading some of the court cases found these crimes and punishments:
Stealing: a mule.....3 years in penitentiary
Petty larceny.....one day in jail
Common assault....$25 fine and costs
Among the professional and distinguished men of Utica was one Herman R.
Dietrich appointed Consul-general of the U.S. at Guayaquil, Ecuador. He was later
promoted to Minister to Ecuador. Many of his descendants live in this county and some
are very active in politics and hold offices.
I would like to end this paper on Utica with an editorial that I feel is a "classic"
Some Republican papers are saying mean things about Col. Richard C.
Kerens, but we find most commendable virtue in him. He stands by his friends,
and helps those who help him. There are a dozen or more men in Missouri today
who probably never would have been heard of in the political world had not Col.
Kerens picked them up and kept them in front. He is loyal to his friends and says
to them, "Here I am there ye may be also." There are politicians in this state who
do not possess that virtue: they are not grateful, and help no one. Gratefulness
and appreciation are most commendable virtues, but these things unexpressed are
simply tinkling cymbals If you appreciate favors and kind words be man enough
to say so and show it. Don't be a sponge - always taking in and never giving out.
Kerens' success in politics is largely due to his generalship in that he asks nothing
for himself; he helps those who help him. This is political wisdom and business
common sense and pays rich dividends on the investment. A man who does not
stand by those who stand by him is unworthy of confidence or respect.
Bosley, Jerry, Editor The Utica Herald.
Herald Printing Company, Utica, Missouri
Twenty copies dating from 1907 to 1912
Personal interview in Utica, Mo. July 4, 1980
National Historical Company
History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties Missouri. 1886
Re-print The Printery, Clinton, Mo. 1972
Roof, Major A. J.
History of Livingston County, Missouri Vol., 1
The S. J. Clarke Publishing: Company, Chicago, 1913
DEWEY WINS AGAIN ______
It Was A Great Day
When They Fought Naval Battle at Utica
Monday, June 11, 1956
Utica sponsored a gigantic celebration in July of 1899 in honor of
Dewey's Victory (May 1, 1895) over the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay. The Utica Herald
described the event as a "brilliant success" witnessed by 7,000 people and as a masterpiece
of realism." It was realistic enough that someone shot a hole in the bottom of a
"battleship" and it sank, causing the occupants to swim for their lives. The account below
is from the Herald of July 8, 1899.
The Fourth of July came twice this year in Utica. The real 4th was a
failure, but the
postponed 4th was one of the most brilliant days, both as regards weather and success.
that has ever been seen.....
At 9:30. Chief Marshal Philip Smith, with Fee Meek assistant, formed
which moved from the public square to the music of the McCoy Ladies Band, with a
carriage containing the Goddess of Liberty and Uncle Sam in the lead. A large number of
buggies and carriages followed, and the procession proceeded at once to the grounds.
Arriving there an overture was played by the band, and a most fervent
invocation was delivered by the Rev. S. C. Foster. It was then announced that
the program proper would begin at 1 o'clock and the vast throng made haste to get
dinners and be ready. A large proportion of the visitors brought their lunches, which were
enjoyed in the cool shade of the grove.
Eloquent in Oratory
At 1 o'clock the music of the band called the assembly together, and
Declaration of Independence was read by Paul Wilson, after which the orator of the day,
Prof. Paul Price, was introuced, and made a splendid address, holding the attention of his
audience by his eloquence and easy manner at delivery. The professor understands how to
talk interestingly to mixed audiences.
A duet by little Banna Kerr, as the Goddess of Liberty, and Len McCoy as Uncle
Sam, followed, with a full chorus accompaniment.
Alter a selection by the band, the Rev. S. C. Foster was introduced,
and made an
earnest and eloquent talk.....
A 60-yard foot race followed the platform program, and the first prize
was won by
Oscar Grant of Mooresville. The second and third went to Wm.Wells and Henry
The Naval Battle
Then came the leading feature of the day, the great naval battle,
victory of Dewey at Manila, and the thousands of people who lined the banks of the lake
were a sight to behold. Every inch of space was taken. and for a distance of a quarter of a
mile the banks were jammed with the people who watched the evolutions of the
battleships with admiration.
The American side was represented by the flagship Olympia and a torpedo
while the Spanish side also had a 60 foot battleship and atorpedo boat.
These in command of the American forces and the men on the boats were
The Olympia, Ed Schweltzer, cornmander: crew, Henry Engles, Jas.Bench, Jesse
Bench, Fred Allen, Scott Redding, Lew Dice, John Dice, Frank Lemon, Watt McCoy,
Howard Price and Alf Meek.
The American torpedo boat was in charge of Owen Myers and Chas. Fisher.
On the Spanish battleship the commander was Harry Myers and the Crew was
John Bench. Geo. Delap, Lewis Osborn, Emerson Hillt, Geo. Redding, Dell Dulin, Jesse
Brown, Harlan Smith and Noah Petty.
The Spanish torpedo boat was in charge of Albert Myers and Fred
fort was on the north side band and was in command of John Hicks and a large squad of
A Spy Is Shot
The first move was the capture on the bank by the Spanish in charge of
the fort, of
an American spy. He was dragged inside the fortifications and shot by a file of riflemen,
then buried in the coffin he sat on. The opening gun fired by the Spanish boats, and very
soon a fusilade of shots were being exchanged. After a few minutes, the Spanish torpedo
boat was disabled and abandoned by its crew, one of whom escaped to his own side, while
the other was captured by the American boat
Sharpshooters in trees were popping away at each other, until a well-directed shot
brought them down into the water. This was one of the most exciting events of the battle.
Finally, the American battleship riddled the Spanish with shot and
shell, and with
the commander Harry Myers at the bridge, she slowly keeled over and lay on her side,
while he took a flying leap of 20 feet into the water, with his men swimming for life all
around him. the bullets flew thick and fast, until the Spanish forces barely escaped to the
fort by swimming to shore, when the Americalis landed, and with a charge, put the
garrison to flight, captured the commander, John Hicks, and after recovering the body of
their comrade who had been shot, blew the fort up.
Then a naval parade past the tremendous audience closed the
was one of the most realistic ever witnessed.
The originators of the battle, Ed Schweitzer and Harry Myers, deserve
of all for the excellent manner in which the spectacle aas conducted, and every man
connected with it did his duty well. Everyone was surprised and astonished at the
The Flambeau Club
At 8:30, the Utica Flambeau Club, 25 strong, made a display on the
that was witnessed by at least 1,000 people. It was a splendid display.....The fireworks
were grand and the evolutions of the club beautiful to see. A concert was given during the
evening by the McCoy Ladies Band.
Altogether, the promoters of Utica's postponed 4th of July had the most
success to crown their efforts and have been instrumental in bringin to Utica the largest
number of people the town has seen at one time for years......
The Herald added that there were only two accidents during the exciting
giant firecracker exploded and seriously burned the two little daughters of Mike Ludwig.
Ed H. Smith of the Chula News was carrying rockets in his left hand, and while lighting
one with the right hand, the entire bunch became ignited. The baritone playing of Miss
Nellie McCoy was complimented by all who heard it. The celebration was postponed
from Monday to Saturday because of a downpour of rain July 3rd and into the afternoon
of the 4th.
by June Culling
Charles Ballinger was born in Carlow Missouri which is on the Wabash railroad
West of Chillicothe. He was Born May 24, 1888 and died July 21, 1964. He was buried
in Mooresville, Missouri. His parents were John Ballinger and Ellen Allen. His wife's
name was Anna Coppedge. Charles and his brother George came to Utica, from Carlow
to work at the Utica Brick Plant. In the early 1930's he set up a blacksmith shop in Utica.
The tools displayed here, are a small sample of the tools that were moved
Ballinger Blacksmith shop to the farm shop of Evert Culling of Utica, when Charles closed
his shop. Some older Utica residents still remember "Charlie's blacksmith shop." June
Culling, son of Evert, remembers Charlie teaching him how to weld two pieces of
steel together in the old fashion way.
June Culling provides some family history: He remembers that his Mother
Charley and George Ballinger were sons of former slaves owned by her Ballinger
ancestors who lived northwest of Chillicothe. As was the custom, the freed slaves took
the surnames names of their former owners. He also remembers his Mother saying when
the slaves were freed in 1865, that her Ballinger ancestors promised that their descendants
would "look after" the former slaves and their descendants. His Mother accepted that
responsibility and always maintained a close friendship with Charlie and George. Before
the depression they had good jobs at the Utica Brick Factory. They would drive over the
river to our house to buy frying chickens from my Mother. Later, when times got tough
during the depression, my Dad employed Charlie many times supplementing his blacksmith
income. I worked many times in the fields with Charley, and I was always told to respect
him and always call him Mister Ballinger. During the peak of the depression my Dad
could no longer employ anyone, but would provide Charley some food we could raise on
the farm in return for his help Charley always helped butcher and took home parts and was
especially fond of chittlins and liver. When the government began to actually give food to
the hungry and distressed during the depression, Charley was too proud to accept food for
which he had not worked. My Dad finally talked him into accepting food which he sorely
Charley did not have any formal schooling, however he did teach himself to
he wanted to read the Bible. He read the Bible many times, and eventually became an
ordained minister of the Free Will Baptist Church. Charlie was married only a short time
before his wife died. They did not have any children.