|Utica | Utica History | Uticans and Ancestors | Utica's History ||
compiled by Darlean Cole
This outline of some of Utica's early history was taken from sources of records from books, actual newspapers of that day,
and narratives from local residents of the present time. The purpose of this was to enlighten those that are interested in the
past present connections with the people and events of Utica, Missouri, along with the
sale of this booklet at the Utica Fun Day activity of August 3, 1985. All
proceeds will be given to the Utica Community Betterment Association to be used
for community needs.
The idea was inspired by Matt Copple who had made an essay for a school project. In reading his essay and one that Lois McCain had done for college credits a few years previously, I found this to be more than interesting and find much more to be researched and printed up for the following years if time permits.
4 Utica's Beginning
10 Utica During the Civil War
12 Rev. J. E. Gardner, a Lincoln-ite
15 Frederick and Elnora Bloom
17 Utica's Churches
20 Utica's Schools
27 Utica's Railroad Depot
29 Utica's Bank
31 Utica's Postal Services
33 Utica's Old Hotel
35 Utica's Later Businesses
The land on which the town of Utica stands was entered by Matson and Van Zandt in October, 1836. This township, known as Greene Township, comprised an area of 24,000 acres with the west fork of Grand River on the north and Shoal Creek on the south.
The area is that of much diversity being that of bottom land along the river with bluffs and hills overlooking uplands were of excellent soil that was adaptable to the cultivation of diversified crops. It was said that, no township in the county of Livingston better suited to fruit culture.
According to county records of First Land Entries in Township 57, Range 25, Greene Township, Samuel E. Todd held E. ¼ N. W. and E. ¼ S. W., Sec. 24 on June 8, 1835. He was the first white settler. In 1833 and 1834 Mr. Todd put up a horse mill and in 1836 built a water mill on West Grand River at Utica.
Other settlers were residents and their names entered during 1835 are as follows:
June 18 - Reuben McCoskrie
June 24 - Alfred Rockhold
July 25 - Samuel E. Todd
October 9 - W. T. Todd
November 16 - David Girdner
December 28 - S. E. Todd.
These men became leaders and active in the politics of their community in later years.
Some of them retired in their latter years to live in Chillicothe, Missouri. Many of their descendants are still living in Utica and other parts of Livingston County today.
Roderick Matson is given the distinction of founder of the town of Utica. In the spring of 1836 he came to Livingston County from Utica, New York. At first he opened a small store at a location two miles west.
In April 1837, the original town of Utica was laid off and on the 27th of the month the plat was filed for record in Chillicothe. The town was named by Mr. Matson for his old home in New York.
In the year of 1837, seventeen more names were added to the land entries' of official records of Greene Township.
The first marriage recorded in Utica was in 1837 and performed by County Judge Reuben McCoskrie.
Utica settled slowly at first with relatives of the early settlers that came from New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky and Illinois. Others came from northern areas with later settlers from Germany, Switzerland and Ireland.
From 1858 to 1861 there was a "boom" in Utica. Business enterprises flourished, and the citizens began the erection of fine residences. The society grew up and advantages presented themselves to those who were willing to work and accomplish. Trading and steamboat traffic started down the Grand river about 1840. In 1859 the St. Joseph Hannibal Railroad was completed. Utica became a shipping point for a large area of the country surrounding. Residents from Carroll, Ray, and Caldwell counties were able to utilize these two means of shipping, trading, and buying. Farmers brought their livestock and grain, while merchants and traders brought their goods which made for favorable conditions for all concerned.
In the year of 1860, Utica contained about 600 inhabitants, two dry goods stores, two grocery stores, one drug store, one hotel, two saloons, a schoolhouse and one church. In addition to the business and services within the town of Utica, others in the surrounding area were engaged in enterprises from farming, railroad and river traffic, as well as trading and trapping.
When the Civil War came, the people of Utica divided nearly equal in sentiment, half being for secession and half for the Union. Both sides began to organize and raise militia for defense. The Confederate company elected Captain Charles Cooper to be their leader, while the Union group voted to have Mr. W. P. Frazer for theirs. It is interesting to note that the companies never fought each other. The two groups did continually fuss
over which flag should be flown with each group of supporters physically taking the others flag down to raise theirs.
On the morning of the 14th of June 1861, the first Federal troops 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.
Utica suffered a great deal from the war. The storekeepers were afraid to carry considerable stock lest they be raided. Railroad traffic slowed down to a trickle and the last steamboat came down the river in 1860. Business was slow and the people were hardpressed.
In September of 1861, General Sturgis came by train to Utica and asked for sufficient wagons and teams to transport relief supplies to the Post at Lexington. Most were quite willing to render this service as many had changed their earlier views and joined with the Union men.
After the Civil War, Utica rapidly built itself back up. In 1866, one year after Lee's surrender to the Union, Utica had a population of about 400. Ten years later, the population had grown back to over 600.
Utica once again became prosperous. While many other cities and small towns were faced with reconstruction, the town of Utica found itself without much physical destruction.
In 1871 the project of building the Utica and Lexington Railroad was much discussed. In May the county voted to subscribe $200,000. for this project but for many reasons the project was never completed, and the town was compelled to relinquish the idea of becoming a railroad center and obliged to content themselves with its former and present condition. Utica was, at least, a station on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad.
Utica incorporated in 1868 to meet the demands of a growing population. In 1970 the town proceeded to pave all the streets in the town and started to put in sidewalks and a sewer system, however the last two projects of sidewalks and sewers were never completed.
The town continued to grow until 1880 when the population reached a peak of 660. By this year there were five churches - Baptist, Methodist, Congregational, Episcopal, and Catholic. There were two lodges - Masonic and United Workmen. The first newspaper was established in 1873 and edited by Charles Hoyt and named the Utica Times. There was a good flouring mill, seven stores, a number of other shops, four attorneys, two physicians, two saloons, an opera house, a hotel, and a blacksmith, as well as a five room brick school building that cost $5,000, that was built in the center of the town and another school for the black people within the area.
Utica's prosperity began to wane and the property had decreased in value. Many of the fine homes were sold for about one fourth of the original cost. The businesses and shops were beginning to suffer financially due to the decline in population and in revenue. Due to these mentioned reasons and some strife among the members of the town council, Utica was unincorporated in 1899.
At the turn of the century, the prosperous small town of Utica was slowly declining and not much happening other than the social life through the churches and schools. Each year a few more of the businesses in and surrounding Utica would close out or move towards Chillicothe.
On July 5, 1909, a 7 to 8 inch rain caused a flood which cost many lives and several hundred thousands of dollars worth of property damage and loss.
It is reported that two four foot walls of water came down both forks of the Grand River, making in island out of Trenton, Missouri and creating havoc along the way down towards Utica. These two "tidal waves" met at Utica and resulted in the worst flood in the known history of this area. The water was very high and flooded up quite close to the main part of town.
In 1910 Meek Brick Company was started by B. J. Meek, and in 1911 Jared Cady, great-grandfather of Bill and John Stamper, and W. C. Kent, the grandfather of Bill and John, brought their families to Utica and established the Bank of Utica.
Meanwhile since the year of 1873 the local news had been edited and published by O. M. McCoy and appears to have become The Utica Herald, published by the Herald Printing Co., and in the early 1900s by the same name of The Utica Herald, published and edited by Jerry Bosley, the grandfather of
Mary Lee Everett that resides in Utica at the present. Mr. Mosley's motto in the news was "Get the Habit - Read the Herald."
In 1911 a sawmill was erected, and around the same years a drug store came to Utica. During this era some of the shops were changing owners and other businesses came and went. The barbershops were open and again the town was on a growing spree.
When the problems of World War I came about and a few years later the Great Depression days, Utica again declined.
The grocery stores, barber shop, post office, blacksmith shop, brick plant along with other smaller businesses still remained through the years of 1930s and 1940s and 1950s.
During the 1960s most all businesses had left or were closed and the automobile by now had made the distance between Utica and Chillicothe much quicker, for shopping.
In 1970 the residents formed the Utica Community Betterment Association and in 1971 the Green Township Fire Protection was brought into being with the Fire Station in Utica where the Clarks had operated a general merchandise store and later before moving to Chillicothe, an appliance store.
In 1920 an addition was made on the old school building and in 1944 that building was burned by a combustion in the basement where the coal was stored. In 1947 the School was rebuilt and used until 1952 at which time the students attended until 1956. During this time a consolidated school area had been formed and a new school district and a new building was built northeast of Ludlow to accommodate the students and the statutes of Missouri education.
Times seemed to be somewhat uneventful until 1984. On January 20, 1984, Utica was allowed to once again incorporate as a Village having a population of 318 residents within the incorporated boundaries.
At the present Utica is a quiet village of people who enjoy the rural atmosphere. Utica does have a monthly meeting of the Village Council and since there are no tax levies made the village is funded only through refund of automobile and gas taxes and the aid of the Utica Community Betterment Association in their fund raising activities.
At the beginning of the Civil War the people of Utica divided nearly equally in the sentiment and feelings of the issues at hand, half for the Union cause and half for the secession or the South.
Two companies were formed. The Secession chose Captain Charles Cooper for their leader while the drillmaster of the Union was W. P. Frazer.
In 1863 Frazer was assassinated near the bridge, by some militia who considered him a rebel.
The Hon. A. J. Austin was the county's representative in the legislature and was the leading spirit among the Secessionists. He raised a Secession flag above the store he owned in town and entered Gov. Jackson's army as lieutenant colonel and was killed at Wilson's Creek.
John A. Stone entered the Secession Army and became a captain. He was the first officer of that army that was killed in battle in Missouri.
Others joined A. J. Austin in flying Secession flags. One cute incident was that of the Stars and Stripes waving over the store of William E. Mead. His cousin took down the flag, saying it was not the right kind and the next morning a rebel flag was floating where the Union flag had been.
This same cousin who had been all out for the Secession was a prominent officer in the Federal Militia the next year. He changed his mind just as so many others had. Many of the men who had participated in the mob against Rev. Gardner and the signers of the petition for his leaving were among those listed later among the Union supporters.
On June 14, 1861 the first Federal troops came to Utica taking a few prisoners and creating fugitives of others of the area. For trophies the troops took with them two Secession flags.
In the fall 1861 Gen. Sturgis arrived in Utica by train, asking for support to the relief at Lexington. He needed a number of wagons and teams to transport his needs. The owners of needed property were quite willing to help as many were or had become Union men by this point.
During this trip a disorder arose among the men in the troop with Gen. Sturgis. Some of the men robbed the Secession leader, Capt. Cooper's, beehives. The General had every honey forager put under guard.
Another event during the war was the Poindexter raid. The militia had been summoned to Chillicothe and the town was unguarded. The raiders came through Utica on their way to Springhill. Other than stopping for a few provisions and even paying for them, nothing or no one was molested by the raiders. They seemed weary, hungry, sleepy and down in spirit. Some had lost their horses, or had never had any, and were on foot, and others were riding two on a horse.
Utica suffered its share during the war and business was slow. Merchants feared to carry much inventory and stock for fear of raiders. Harper's store was plundered by some Federal Jayhawkers on one occasion, there were many such annoyances but no amount of great outrages.
Once the war was ended the residents of Utica once again set out to build their community back to the prosperity that it once enjoyed and did just that, at least for a number of years following the war.
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, at the presidential election of 1860, was Rev. J. E. Gardner, a minister of the Northern Methodist Church. Rev. Gardner had been by sent into this county and he located in Utica.
Northern Methodists were few in number and not well liked at that time 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.
The one church house in Utica was owned by the Baptists but the use of the building was allowed to all other denominations, except the Northern Methodists, who occasionally held their services in the local school house.
Public sentiment in the town was largely against Mr. Gardner due to his being a North Methodist, a Lincoln-ite, an abolitionist, and he was accused of tampering with the slaves, treating then as equals.
A few weeks after the election he was presented a letter telling him it had been unanimously resolved that notice be given to him that he was not desired as a resident by the citizens or Utica and that he would be required to leave the county within three days. This notice was signed by thirty-seven men. Mr. Gardner 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 him being sent among them without their consent and support by "Northern" money and the doctrine to war upon the domestic institutions of the South. That he was the only man in the community who voted for Lincoln, and that he had publicly declared to the glory in making himself a martyr to the cause of Abolitionism; and that he had frequent interviews with the slaves inviting a number of them to dinner and preaching to them as if they were his equal.
Again they gave him notice to be gone in three days. There was great excitement 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, 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, shotguns, revolvers and knives appeared at their home one night. One man gave them ten minutes to make a promise they would be out of town within twenty-four hours or they would burn down the house and ordered a bunch of hay brought to kindle the fire.
At length of argument the mob left, giving 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 of final 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 back door, but the mob met him with drawn revolvers. He was violently seized and a "Lincoln Rail" was ordered, upon which they forced him and proceeded to rail-ride him. Shouts of "North Preacher", "Lincoln-ite", "Nigger Thief," as well as other name callings were raised. Some shouted for "Tar and Feathers," while others shouted for a rope.
While the minister was being insulted and abused in a land first formed on Christian principles, he sang hymns.
By this time Mrs. Gardner with their little child walked into their midst pleading for their mercy. A John Harper and William 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. The suit brought later by the Gardners was of no avail as the papers were burned.
Frederick and Elnora Bloom came from Danzig, Germany in 1861, on a Hamburg Passenger ship. Due to an epidemic of smallpox outbreaks the Bloom's ten year old daughter, Wilhemina, died on their trip while aboard the ship. The ship stopped at Crosse Isle near Canada, and the child was buried.
Elnora was quarantined, having contracted the disease herself. She survived and the family continued their trip to the United States.
They went to Michigan in 1861 and remained until 1865. After receiving letters from Elnora's sister who lived with her family in Dawn, Missouri. The Bloom's traveled to Utica.
Upon their arrival at Utica, Mr. Bloom looked around at the "wilderness" and would have gladly gotten back on the train and returned to Michigan if he had the amount for the fare to return.
Fred, Elnora, and their two children were hard working and thrifty people. Fred worked for the railroad and at the orchard. The family gardened and sold their produce. From their work they eventually set aside a portion of money and were able to buy land, build a home and prospered.
His grandchildren occupy the house he build in 1900.
Mr. Bloom died May 16, 1903, and the following words were written about him in his obituary:
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.
A number of churches were established in the town of Utica, with only two congregations of the Baptist denomination remaining at this writing.
The Beal Chapel Church was built on land given by Peter Allen, ancestor of Patricia Taylor, Albert Lee, another ancestor, who gave the first load of lumber to build the church. This church served the Negro members in Utica for many years but as the membership dwindled the group quit meeting and the building was sold.
There was not much research done on the earliest churches of the Utica area but records do show that in the 1880s that five white churches did exist. Those churches of that era were the Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Congregational, and Episcopal. These churches were in addition to the meeting place for the colored. Some of the slaves of times before the emancipation were allowed to meet with their owners in certain denominations while others were not. This was also true after the emancipation but generally the colored had their own church and school.
The Utica Baptist Church is most likely the oldest Church of Utica's history. The 18 charter members organized August 27th, 1849, during a meeting held at a schoolhouse about 2½ miles west of Utica. They continued to meet in the country schoolhouse until October of 1849 and at that time moved into the town of Utica and met in the school house. In 1859 a new house of worship was completed. In 1868 a brick church was built at the cost of $2,000. This building was at the site where the present Baptist Church Recreation Room is located.
In 1880s the belfry of the church was destroyed by a wind storm and again in 1882 a wind storm partially destroyed the roof.
In 1951 an addition was added to the existing building and in 1955 a parsonage across the street was built. In 1961 the group purchased the Utica School building. After much re-decorating of the school building the congregation held their first service, July 30th, 1961, in their new building. A 93 X 40 foot brick sanctuary was begun in March 1966 and on July 17, 1966 a Cornerstone Ceremony and Dedication was held with the first service in the new sanctuary on December 18, 1966. The year 1985 makes 136 years.
A group of eighty-three concerned Christians met to worship at the Utica firehouse on January 27, 1975. Upon discussion and visitations the group became affiliated with the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region. The Charter membership was signed on April 6, 1975 by 101 members. They were aided by the Calvary Baptist Church of the Chillicothe, Missouri area.
Four acres were donated for the site of the Church, by Ralph B. McCain. A building was begun in 1975, with the first service to be held in the basement of the new building on June 29, 1975, with Vacation Bible School starting the next day, June 30 going through July 11. The building was completed and the first service held in the sanctuary was on December 14, 1975. Dedication services were held on February 8, 1976. The money for the building was largely donations from the members with much of the labor being done in the same manner under the guidance of a contractor.
The town of Utica has always been a town of high moral standards and still finds their religious beliefs most important in the daily life of it's people.
Other interesting facts are that the Catholic Church was located on the property that the Jack Webb family resides on and the small building to the East by the Webb house is still a part of the original structures.
The bell that is on the walk way of the Utica Baptist Church is the old bell from the belfry of the original Baptist Church that survived the wind damage in earlier years.
The colored Church was located just south of the Ireland residence past the park.
The Masonic Lodge was instituted on July 19, 1856, and received their charter on May 30, 1857. The building now being used is the original building the Lodge built in the mid 1800s.
The United Workmen Lodge does not have any history that can be readily researched as to its existence.
Through the efforts of a committee of three men,
the Utica Public School system was founded in 1853. In 1867, a fine public school building was erected. Bonds were voted in the amount of $20,000, for an addition to the building in 1920.
A copy of the newspaper of a 1900 edition, "The Utica Herald" stated as follows: "Utica has a five-room brick building, commodious and well ventilated, situated on high and healthy ground, in the very center of the town. No more beautiful site could be found than that which the building now occupies.
While our course of study is as high or higher than the ordinary village school, approaching more nearly an academic course, we do not pride ourselves so much on what we teach as how we teach. Not how much, but how well is our motto. The young man or woman, finding the country schools inadequate, will certainly find the Utica schools just what is needed. To prepare for entering college, completing an under-graduate course or for preparing for teaching, the Utica schools have no peer in towns of its size.
It gives you an open door to the normals and universities."
A picture was found of the three story building in the April 9, 1904 edition of the "The Utica Herald" and another in the edition of the same paper on April 26, 1906, stating largest and best arranged.
The newspaper "The Breckenridge Bulletin" also stated in its October 29, 1915 edition that Utica had the finest school in Livingston County and also mentioned the outstanding colored school and teachers.
The first school grounds were located in the northeast part of town. The building originally on the school building site was intended for a courthouse, but the county seat was finally located in Chillicothe and the new building turned into a school building. At that time it was one of the most modern structures in the county.
Harry Webster and Ed Smith composed the first graduating class of Utica in 1873.
There was a subscription school which was generally held in the summer. Pupils who were kept out of the public school to do the work at home could attend subscription schools in the summer to make up work, which they lost during the regular period. The fee was usually $1.00 per month.
Recreation in the Utica Schools of 50 years ago consisted mostly of literary societies. These included debates, speeches, music, orations, readings, songs, and organ numbers. Each day's session started with scriptures and music consisting mostly of organ numbers in which all the rooms participated. This was one of the most interesting features of the student's daily routine and was appreciated and is well remembered by all who participated.
In 1944, our school was completely destroyed by fire. Very few records were saved. After some discussion regarding the erection of a new building or closing the school, an election was held and bonds were voted for a new building. School continued in various buildings around town until the new building was completed. The new building was completed in 1947.
In 1952 the final Graduation Exercises of the Utica Public School were held for three graduating seniors.
Dawn, Ludlow, Mooresville and Utica voted to form a re-organized school district. After closing the school in Utica, all of the highschool students in this district attended high school at Mooresville while the new building at Southwest R-I was completed and getting ready for occupancy.
Several years later the school building in Utica was sold to the Utica Baptist Church.
1873: Harry Webster and Ed Smith
1885: Lew Dice and Kittie Webster
1886: Bertha Smith, Clara Doosing, Cornelia McMillen, Mary Webster
1887: Susie Stone, Walter Warren, Zel Dice, Betty Yeager, Ida Terwilliger
1888: Mary Milhon, Lucy McMillen, Anna Fisher, Bert Weatherby,
1890: Dory Flinn
1891: Jessie Haughey, Mattie Stone, Anna McClellan, Katie Braden,
1892: T. S. McMillen and Lillian McMillen
1893: Blanche Stone, Phoebe McCoy, G. C. Weatherby,
Mabel Fisher, John Pennington, Vern Hart
1897: Samuel Stess
1898: Homer Hawkins and Emma Dice
1899: Ivan Hart, Gertrude Brown, Paul Wilson,
1900: Edith Baltis Stone, Oletha Brown, Jesse Bench, Hattie Flinn,
Arthur Wilson, Laura Norton
1901: Myrtle Hawkins, Minnie Braden Stillwelll, Susie McMillen Hawkins, Frank Bench, Coila Coit, Joseph F. Gier
1906: Marion Wadley, Allie Webster, Charles Bench,
Bessie Bagley, Beulah Hudgins
1922: Keith Myers, Grace Stone, Gladys McCoy Spence, Roxy Dale,
Herbert Braden, Rollo Dale, Hallie McCoy, Lee Hall, Raymond McCoy
1924: J. C. Milroy, Fern McCoy Easton, Wayne McCoy, Jennie Braden, Genevieve Dietrich Schriver
1925: Olivia Hamilton Mattingly, Jessie Mae Miller Moore,
Teresa Dietrich Funk, Estol Walz, Cozette Doosing, Gerald Bonderer
1926: Oma McCoy Wright, Florence Dome McDonnal, Sherman Clark
Evelyn Dome Hayes, Ruby Canterbury, Neva Wallis Dale,
Faye Hopper Hatcher, Eunice Schaffner Bonderer, Francis M. Dome
Vern Bagley, Harry McCoy, Buel Doosing, Broaddus Richardson, Dorothy Doosing
1927: Margaret Culling Gilroy, Vincent Culling, Leelah Sherman Fullhart
1928: Flavian Potts, Maurice Dietrich, Campbell Allen, Emile Bonderer Shryock,
Katherine Bonderer Slater, Chester Lawson,
John Myers, Lois Richardson Tribble, Wilfred Potts
1929: Everette Wever, Victor Bagley, Marvin Couch, Florence Braden,
Forest Raleigh, Kenneth Stone, Pryor Miller, Raleigh Allen,
Vivian Bagley Monroe
1930: Dorothy Dietrich, Ray Dale, Glen Schaffner, Conrad Potts,
Vada Neuschafer Wever
1931: Winifred Dietrich Marshall, Pauline Cook Henry,
Van Doosing, Roy Baldwin
1932: Velma Johnson Satterlee, Letha Ulrich, Virginia Bagley Norstrum
1933: Bernetta Campbell Phillips, Harriet
Cleveland, Opal Lawson McCully, Mae Kent Drew, Edward Hessenflow, Joe Knott, Bob Crouse,
Ralph Willard, Joseph Dietrich, Raymond Bonderer,
Mary Lee Cramer Everett
1934: Leo Sissel, Marion Wensel, Hobart Bryan, Ruby Bench,
Charles Max Dome, Faye Wever Englert, Donald Johnson, Edward Buck
1935: Geraldine Taylor Clemens, Hattie Wensel Lundy, Alice Lanier Dean, Mary Del Dalzell, David Young, Irvin Walz, Oren Johnson, Calvin Crouse
1936: Jewell Regan Jackson, Margaret Hessenflow, Cornelia Braden Dietrich, Junior Stevens, Wilbur Buck, Olin McCully
1937: Lois Culling Sissel, Laura Merryfield Peck, Arolene Jones Crowe,
Ralph McCain, John Braden, Joyce Mayes, Ellen Taylor Holt
1938: John W. Regan, Mary Stamper Bosler, Ellsworth Lawson,
Howard Hawkins, Melissa Johnson Hamrick
1939: Inez Taylor Franklin, Vern Elvin McCoy, Dorothy Taylor,
Joseph Anderson, Harold Braden, R. W. Dale, Donna Marie Long Stigers
1940: Mildred McCully Clark, Frederick Merryfield, Sue Scamper Potts, Mildred Harlow, Dorothy Patton, Frank Sprague, Norval Jones,
Louise Jenks, Mary M. Braden Lightner
1941: Arthur Taylor, Clyde Cartwright, Eileen McCoy McCully,
Betty Cartwright Braughtian, Jack Stottlemyre, Webster (Jay) McCully
1942: Maxine Wever Allnutt, Eddie Dominique Johnson, Ada Taylor Allnutt, Calvin Lawson, Florence McCoy Biessemeyer, Calvin Romeiser,
Bill Stamper, Gilbert Dominique, Paul Bosler, Bill Cramer
1943: Rosemary Potts Ralston, Zelpha Locke Wood, Meredith Dowell,
Vern Allen, Carmen Dawkins Wilson,
1944: Elva Stottlemyre, Emily Regan Frazier, Doris Lisby Taylor, Alden Taylor, Richard McCully, Donnie McCoy, Rosalee Morris Karsay
1945: Juanita Merryfield Ireland, Carolyn Walz Rawlins, John Stamper,
Bill Miller, Joy Stottlemyer Dominique
1946: Marguerite Pollard, Bob McCoy, Iris Dawkins
1947: Ramona Dawkins Pollard, Wanda Thomas Murrell
l948: Charlene Walz Coleman, Roy Elton Merryfield, Goldie McCoy Phillips, Clyde Pollard
1950: Mary A. McCoy Manchester, Mary M. Morris Cole, Betty Lee Wendt, Leo Thomas, Ethel Pollard, Bob Eller, Winona Merryfield Gardner
1951: Margaret Nadine Williams, Russell Stephens, Marvin Dawkins,
Betty Lou Jones, Jean Bonderer McGrath
1952: Franklin Morris, Betty Lemon Grimes, Marjorie Seidt Lawson
From the years of 1952 until 1956, Utica students attended school at Mooresville until the four towns, afore mentioned, created a consolidated district and the Southwest School was completed. Southwest School is located just to the northeast of Ludlow, Missouri.
In listing the years of graduating classes herein, only the classes completing the Twelfth Grade have been named. It was called to attention that some of the earlier years required only ten years to be sufficient for high school. Of those years and names, no records were found at the time of this writing.
In inquiring as to the reason for the school house burning down, it was from the combustion of the coal stored in the basement area, in a wet state during the heat of the hot summertime.
The school building that was rebuilt, after the burning of the older one, was sold to the Utica Baptist Church in 1961, who was the highest bidder of $7,500. The original cost of that school building when rebuilt in 1947 was $39,000.
There is little record of the colored school and it's attendance, in what research that was found the school was always referred to as a fine school.
An account is given in the newspaper "The Utica Herald," of John W. Lee, who was in charge of the colored school and was a native of Utica. He had been teaching for 10 years, most of that time here in Utica. He made for himself an enviable reputation as in instruction of his race. He was prominent in society circles of the colored people and his teaching and musical abilities. The building was purchased in later years and burned in 1973 and was across the street from where Bill Cole, Jr. now lives.
The first railroad depot was built in 1859 one mile west of town. John Stone gave the railroad company a portion of land. The railroad company built a depot and placed it where it was most convenient for the railroad company and not the people.
This location highly displeased the citizens. The citizens showed their displeasure first by soaping the rails but later they became more drastic and burned the depot building down.
Another building was erected in an inconvenient place for the people and that building too suffered the same fate of the first depot building.
A change of location was made but it was still considered somewhat inconvenient, but that depot building remained until on April 3, 1913. This third building was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.
The fourth building was erected and used as a train stop for the town of Utica until the time around the World War II era, in the mid 1940s. The passenger and mail service was discontinued at this time and the building was sold to be later torn down. Rail service was continued for those businesses that were still on the sides of the tracks. At the time of this writing there are still a few landmarks where the depot once stood.
John Stone, who gave the land for the original depot, was the grandfather of William T. Stone. William T. Stone was married to Edith Baltis. These are the parents of Grace and Calvin Stone who are still residents of Utica as of this writing.
William T. Stone died in 1953 and Edith remained a resident of Utica until her death in 1984. Edith was 101 years old at her death.
The Stone families go back to the beginning of the history of Utica and records show that they were always active in all social, civic and church affairs.
In researching the records show that John Stone gave a portion of land for the slaves to live on after they were emancipated and that land still is shown recorded in the name of an ancestor, Charles White. Mr. Stone took it on himself to aid and look after these folks.
Mr. Stone's first home built was the location of Ruth Holiday's home of this present day.
Jared Cady, wife and son, Lee, and W. G. Kent,
Cady's son-in-law, Kent's wife Bessie and daughter, Hazel moved from Osgood, Missouri to Utica in October 1911. The two of them, Cady and Kent, had been in the banking business in Osgood, and had decided to move to Utica, Missouri.
After moving the two families built two houses and the Bank Building in Utica. The Bank Building is the same building where the present post office is. The Bank was started in 1912. Grandfather Cady was the president, with Hazel's father, Kent, as a cashier and bookkeeper. Hazel, at the age of 11, during her summer vacations did bookwork at the bank.
The banking business continued for approximately 18 years until government rules and regulations made it hard on small banks to operate. The Bank was sold to the First National Bank in Chillicothe, who covered all the depositors and backing of all the outstanding notes. The First National closed two years later which was in the years of the Great Depression.
In 1920 Ashford Stamper was in poor health and his grandfather A. A. Stone, thinking farm life would be good for Ashford, wrote to him asking him to come, which Ashford did. He met Hazel Kent, and in 1921 they were married. They moved to the hilltop farm and have been there ever since. Their children are Mary Stamper Bosler, Sue Stamper Potts, Bill, John, Jack Stamper and Bessie Stamper McGinty. All of these children attended Utica School and the Utica Baptist Church.
The family all survived the depression days and the burning of the family home in 1937.
Some years after the death of Ashford Stamper, Hazel met, and married Joseph Remick and continued to live on the old homeplace. Ashford and Joseph are both buried in the hilltop cemetery not far from their home.
Jared Cady built and resided in the house now owned by Slater's and W. G. Kent built and resided in the house now owned by Goodman's. Both on the main entrance, not far from their bank building.
In tracing through history, the first post masters found were William H. Vanstane and George E. Williams serving in the mid 1800s.
The newspaper "The Utica Herald" dated November 16, 1907 gives an account of J. A. Dietrick being given the position.
Information given later is that Robert (Bob) Braden ran the post office from a frame building that he owned, which was then located on the corner where Bill Stamper's shop is currently located. This was prior to J. A. Dietrick.
When J. A. Dietrick was the postmaster, the postoffice was in a small building just north of the tile building that is next to the present Post Office.
Tom McCoy was appointed postmaster in 1929. While Mr. McCoy was receiving his commission there were a few months that Florence (Dome) McDonnal was acting postmaster. During this time the Post Office operated out of the Dome's Store.
After Tom McCoy received his commission he moved into a tile building located on the corner where Bill Stamper's shop is. From there the service was moved into the bank building. Later the Post Office was moved from the bank building into the bottom floor of the Mason building.
After lighting struck the Mason building, the postal service was moved temporarily to the former drugstore building, which was located just West of where the remaining steps are between the fire station and the present post office. After the Masonic Hall was repaired the post office was moved back where it remained several years.
Tom McCoy bought the tin building just North of the Masonic Hall and moved the postal service into that building and operated a grocery store along with being postmaster.
Tom retired in 1958 and the appointment of postmaster was given to Edgar Kohl on November 30, 1958. In 1966 Edgar purchased the old bank building and moved the postoffice once again where it is still located.
Edgar Kohl was the postmaster of Utica for a period of 22 years and retired on December 12, 1980.
The appointment went to Mildred Clark and she was postmistress until into the year of 1984, retiring April 01, 1984. Mildred had served as clerk since the year of 1971 under the commission of Edgar Kohl.
After Mrs. Clark retired Larry James was the acting officer in charge until the present appointment of Steve Best.
Kathrine Ratliff was the clerk under the term of Mildred Clark and Larry James and the first few months under Steve Best. Sue Wheeler filled in the petition upon the leaving of Kathrine and is at this writing the clerk under the commission of Steve Best.
An amusing article was found in the "The Utica Times" newspaper dated April 24, 1897 which read:
The latest mode for deciding postoffice contests, and one which Hon. F. V. Hamilton is seriously thinking of adopting, is what is known as the "Ice Test." Each patriot who desires a commission to hand out Uncle Sam's mail is placed on a cake of ice, cut out in the shape of a rocking chair, and a record kept of the length of time that passes before he hollers "enough." The prescribed costume to be worn during the "test" consists of linen coats and pantaloons and shoes a la Jerry Simpson.
This may sound amusing to some of us that do not know the worry of getting the mail sorted in time for that early morning rush to the post office when the postmaster has just arrived and has not had time to get the mail sorted and in the proper boxes.
On the other hand the postmaster does get to hear all of the residents' troubles, problems, woes, and complaints along with local events and all of the gossips.
J. A. Dietrick built and lived in the house now owned by the Sirois.'
The newspaper "The Breckenridge Bulletin," dated Oct. 26, 1915 carried an article with headlines of "A City Set Upon A Hill Can't Be Hid," "Utica the Pike's Peak of Livinston County." The article was describing a location for the site of the hotel, that was built on the highest point in the town of Utica.
One of the most interesting buildings in Utica, which still stands and is occupied, is the old Utica Hotel. The house was built in 1836 by Edward and Susan Mead. It was sold to and occupied by Edward, George, and William Van Zandt, who sold it to Roderick and Catherine Matson, all within the period of 2 years. In 1838 the house was purchased by William Hudgins, who held the first warranty deed.
The original house consisted of four rooms downstairs with two upstairs. Every room had a fireplace. The inside and outside walls are 18 inches thick, of 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. The architecture is that of the Greek Revival period. The woodwork in the four original rooms is of native black walnut and is beautifully carved. The original keyholes in each door were made of coin silver.
According to the article, additions were built on in 1956-1958 by John D. Hoy, a slave owner. The house after the addition consisted of nine rooms, an attic, an outside porch on both floors, and a widow's walk.
The building was used as a residence until purchased by Dr. Craven, who used it as a sanitarium. The next owner of the building was Hon. H. R. Dietrich, who later sold it to Mrs. Anna Waters, a widow. This is believed to have been the first time it was used as a hotel. This was a way in which a woman of her day could earn a respectable livelihood. In later years between 1904 to 1930, another widow, Lucy Lemon, purchased it for about $800. She operated a boarding and rooming house thus getting the name Lemon Hotel. After 1930 the building was used as a residence and the present owner, Wilda Locke and her husband, before his death, completely restored it.
In 1940 Veigh and Bessie Clark came to Utica from the Ludlow area and purchased a grocery store from Arvil and Grace McDonnal. The McDonnals were an aunt and uncle of Mike Clark.
At this time there was the post office in the other grocery store of Tom McCoy, a barber shop operated by Vic Bagley, a blacksmith shop owned by Dyke McCoy, the general merchandise of grocery, feed, ice and hardware store that the Clarks had purchased, the brick plant under the ownership of C. H. Patek, the Utica Baptist Church, the Utica grade through high school, the colored school and the colored Church, plus the Masonic Lodge.
In l94l, Delvern Mike Clark and wife, Mildred purchased the general merchandise store from Mike's father and mother, Veigh and Bessie. When REA put electricity in the rural areas in year of 1947, the Clarks added to their line of merchandise and became known as Clark's Grocery and Appliance Store and in 1951 added still another item, that of television sets.
As it became apparent that the grocery business was becoming less profitable due to the competition in Chillicothe, the store was re-modeled and the grocery stock and fixtures were sold, and the inventory now consisted only of furniture and appliances. The Clarks expanded to a second location on South Washington Street in Chillicothe, Missouri. Both stores are named Clark's Furniture and Appliance Store.
In 1965, after completing his college education, Edwin Clark (Butch) the son of Mike and Mildred, joined his parents in the operation of the two stores. After two more years the store at Utica was closed and the building was sold to the Utica Fire District. Some of the old shelves as well as the counter that had been used in the original grocery and general merchandise store are still used at the Utica Fire Station. On the back side of the counter, there are the bins that inventory items for sale were stored.
A co-ownership of the Clark Stores was continued by Mike and Butch until the retirement of Mike in 1980 with Butch continuing the business known now as Clark's Broyhill Gallery. Mike and Mildred reside now in the home they built.
Bill Stamper is the great-great-great grandson of John Stone, who was the 2nd settler of Green Township. John Stone built his first cabin on the present site of the Ruth Holiday property, in the years of 1836-1837.
The Stampers reside on a farm one mile west of Utica, which was purchased by John Stone in 1836. That property has been in the family ever since that time. On this property atop the hill, John Stone set aside one acre for a family cemetery where John Stone and his family are buried and many other family descendents.
Still living at the top of the hill is the mother of the Stamper children, Hazel Stamper Remick. John Stamper and his wife, Viola also reside on top of what is now known as "Stamper's Hill."
In 1947, Bill and Nadine Stamper built their home at the foot of "Stamper's Hill" near highway 36. In that home they have reared three children, Pam, Patrick, and Marsha.
In 1957, Bill Stamper purchased his first blacksmith shop, located behind the present Utica Fire Station to the west, from Ross (Dyke) McCoy. He conducted his business at this location until 1966 and during that year purchased the land and built the present building that he now occupies as Stamper's Blacksmith Shop.
Bill Stamper is one of those very special rare men that can fix anything and most anytime that one is in need. Bill has built up an accumulation of inventory or one might even call it junk until someone comes in for repairs and then that same person might find it a treasure.
In 1908 land along the south side of Grand River purchased by B. J. Meek and in 1910 a Meek Brick Company was formed and constructed on the present site. Some years later the brick company became Shale Hill Brick, Inc. with John Dailey as plant superintendent, but in1930 the company went broke during the Great Depression era. Before the depression hit, the plant grew from 4 to 14 kilns and a few still remain at the site at this writing. These are large mounds of brick and earthen ovens. Dwellings for available for rent to the employees were built and were used until 1960. The remains of some of these structures are still there. In 1935, C. H. Patek with Mr. Dailey, formed the Midland Brick and Tile Company. In 1945, Mr. Dailey retired and left the area. In 1953 Sherwood Patek, son of C. H. Patek, joined his father in the business.
The Midland Brick and Tile Company has enjoyed a successful enterprise and shipped to points throughout the entire United States.
The closing of the rail service within the last year has hindered transportation to a degree but the company has resorted to trucking and continues to survive.
When Mr. Patek was asked by this writer how the bricks turn out red from what looks like gray clay, his answer was that the iron oxide in the shale turns red when fired.
Before the days of our modern machinery, the shale was dug out by pick and ax and shoveled into railcars by hand. This was the actual physical handling of the materials until 1942.
Byron and Mary Lee Copple operate the B & M
Janitorial Service from their home in Utica. They both hold down full-time jobs and do the cleaning services as a side line of work, with help from their sons.
Farmer's Stone-Trager Quarries Co. has their main office and yard in the western part of Utica, located in what was previously known as the Stone's addition. There are two corporations involved in the joint venture, being that of Farmer's Stone Products Co. and Trager Quarries, Inc. in 1958 Frank Trager, Sr. divided his company into the construction division and the quarry division. His Son Robert Trager operates the business with Frank.
Many projects of the local highway system were built by the Trager firm using materials used from their quarries. As of 1981 the firm operates seven quarries and one sand site, and a fertilizer blending plant, all from their offices in Utica.