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History of Livingston County
from The History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri.  1886

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CHAPTER I.


PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND STATISTICS OF THE COUNTY.


General Description - Topography - Timber and Prairie - Streams - Description and Historical Mention of Grand River - Economic Geology - Coal - Gravel - Building Stone - General Description of the Soil - Statistics of Population - Voters - Abstracts of Recent Assessments - Schools - Manufacturing Establishments - Banks, Etc.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

Livingston county has an area of about 582 square miles. Its surface is either very gently undulating or rolling. The area of broken land is very limited. West of the East fork of Grand river, in township 59, the county is somewhat broken for the distance of one mile and a half from the bluffs, also near the heads of the various streams in township 59, range 25; but none of the hills exceed 120 feet in height. The southeast part of the county, lying west of Grand river for the distance of 1 mile, is somewhat broken, but not so much as the northwest part, for the hills are less than 100 feet in height. On the east side of Medicine creek, near Collier's mill, and on the west, near Slagle's old mill, the country is somewhat hilly, but the hills do not exceed 60 feet in height. The most broken portion of the county, and where the hills are the highest, is in range 25, on the south side of the West fork of Grand river, extending from a half mile to three-quarters from the river, from which distance the hills obtain an elevation of 225 feet above the river; southward it is gently rolling.

North of Chillicothe the county attains an elevation of 155 feet above Grand river. Everywhere else the slopes are very gentle; the county is gently undulating, and lies well for beautiful farms. The bottoms are wide, those of Grand river and Shoal creek flat, and are from two to three miles in width, flanked on one side by low bluffs, and on the other rising almost imperceptibly by gentle slopes to the neighboring uplands. The bottoms of Medicine creek are from one to one and a half miles in width; those of the other streams are much narrower. Those on the west side of Grand river, in township 59, range 25, have scarcely any bottoms, but have steep bluffs.

Timber and Prairie.- There is a good deal of timber in this county, some of a very good kind. The best and most abundant supplies of timber lie between the East and West forks of Grand river, where the growth is black oak, small white oak, shell-bark hickory, red-chestnut oak, white oak, also crabapple, coffee-tree, red-bud, ash, blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry, bitter-sweet, mulberry, white elm, red elm, prickly ash, hazel, black-haw, pignut-hickory, sumac, coralberry. Near the edges of the prairies are pin oak, hazel, plum and rough-leaved dogwood, also wild cherry, laurel oak, rose, coralberry. A few pecan trees have been observed on Grand river bottoms; none have been seen in any county north. In other parts of the county the timber is mostly confined to the vicinity of the streams. The prairie generally extends over the ridges and often across the wide flat bottoms.

In the Grand river bottoms, and especially in the forks, there is a great abundance of shell-bark hickory, of the very best quality, suitable either for firewood or manufacturing purposes. Superior qualities of this timber are cut up into cordwood, and much of it hauled to Chillicothe where it is sold on the streets at prices ranging from $3 to $3.50 per cord.

In the fall of the year the hickory nut crop is an important one in " the forks." Hundreds of bushels of nuts are gathered and sold to dealers and shipped from Sampsel, Utica and Mooresville. The nuts are large and usually bring 25 cents per bushel; the smaller varieties which grow on the uplands are of better quality, and bring more in the market. Really, hickory-nut gathering is something of an industry in portions of Sampsel and Jackson townships.

Streams. - Grand river flows through the county from northwest to southeast; near the center of the county it receives the West fork. These streams are broad and deep, and can not generally be forded. Medicine creek in the east, and Shoal creek in the south-west, are both large streams, and are often too full to be easily forded. They furnish good power for water mills. There are many other small streams, but their utility is insignificant.

GRAND RIVER.

Grand river is formed in the western part of this county (in section. 9 - 57 - 24) by the union of the East and West forks. The two streams have their sources in Southern Iowa, about fifty miles apart. The East fork (or Weldon's fork, as it is sometimes called, from an old settler who once lived on its upper banks), takes its rise in Lucas county, Iowa, and flows nearly southward. The West fork rises in Union county, Iowa, and runs south and southeast to its meeting with the East fork.

Nearly Fifty years ago the Legislature of Missouri declared Grand river to he a navigable stream "to the northern boundary of the State;" but this was not literally true, if the expression "navigable " was intended to refer to ordinary steamboats. If, however, the Legislature had located the head of navigation at the forks the location would have been correct. That the stream is navigable to that point, at certain seasons of the year, has been proven.

In the summer of 1842 the small stern-wheel steamer "Bedford ' acceded Grand river to the forks, bringing up merchandise for the Chillicothe dealers, from St. Louis and Brunswick, and taking back produce. It is said that two trips were made, but on its return trip the last time, the water was low and twelve miles southeast of Chillicothe, where the town of Bedford now stands, it struck a log and went to pieces. No lives were lost, but the boat was so badly damaged as to be of no use afterward. The town of Bedford was named for the wrecked steamer.

In 1849 the " Lake of the Woods " came up to the forks, during a period of high water, and put off some freight. Here she lay some days and was laden with wheat by Asa T. Kirtley, Wm. Mead and James Campbell, who shipped the grain to St. Louis, where it was sold for 50 cents a bushel. This boat made but one trip.

In the spring of 1857 the "Bonita," a regular Missouri river packet, came up to the forks and then went a mile up West Grand river where it discharged several tons of freight for P. S. Kenney, Mr. Austin, and perhaps other merchants of Utica and Breckinridge. It also put off goods on the east bank of the main stream for certain Chillicothe merchants. All of this freight and some passengers were brought from St. Louis. While the " Bonita" lay tied up near Utica her officers gave a ball or dance in the cabin one night. This festive occasion was attended by quite a number of the belles and beaux of Chillicothe and Utica, who long and pleasantly remembered the Occasion.

The "Bonita" made two trips that season, but on her return the last time she was caught on a bar near the mouth of the river and it was found impossible to extricate her for some months, or until there was a rise. The last boat that come up as far as Chillicothe made her trip in the spring of 1865.

Since the settlement of this county Grand river has reached its highest stage in 1837, 1844, 1851, 1858, and 1865, at a regular interval of seven years. In 1858 the flood was greater than ever before known. Since 1865 the overflows have been more frequent and irregular. Nearly every spring the bottoms in this county are submerged.

Competent engineers have declared that with some dredging and jetting Grand river could be made safely navigable for small boats at the proper seasons. The fall of the stream is seven inches per mile, and the current is easily overcome.

ECONOMIC GEOLOGY.

The workable coal-fields of this county may be divided into two divisions, the upper coal lying on and near Grand river, west of Utica, and including two or three thin streams of coal; and the lower, lying along and near Grand river, below Bedford, in township 56, ranges 21 and 22, and extending in a northwesterly direction to the northern line of the county. The coal is exposed in some places along Grand river.

In the northern part of Chillicothe township (sec. 12 - 58 - 24) there has recently been opened a vein of this coal on the land of Mr. Cox, and the bank has been worked very successfully. The coal is very similar to that found in Caldwell, and doubtless belongs to the same seam and formation.

Two miles north of' Avalon, in the northern part of Fairview township, a twenty-two inch vein of good coal was struck last spring at a depth of forty feet, and has been worked with good success since that time. It is intended to go much deeper in search of a thicker vein, but it is very doubtful that it will be found.

In Sampsel township, near Sampsel Station, a gravel pit has been opened by the railroad company, and all the indications point to an inexhaustible bed of gravel in the vicinity and along the Grand river bottoms generally.

Building Stone.- Elsewhere is included a description of the best building rock of this county. Perhaps the best quarries are those of Chillicothe and about one mile north of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. The rock is a silicous oolitic limestone; occurs generally in thick beds, but some are thin, and affords a strong and superior building-rock. There is about nine feet thickness of it. The sandstone at Gillaspie's mill appears thick and thin strata, and is also an excellent material for building. The quarry in the southeast quarter section 22, township 56, range 22, is a very even-bedded blue limestone, occurring in two layers of nine and eleven inches, and admits of fine polish. The quarry in the west half of southwest quarter section 29, township 58, range 22, includes beds of 10 1/2, 16 and 18 inches limestone, in even layers. At Utica are thick, rough beds of blue and drab limestone, that answer very well for coarse masonry, and may also be hydraulic. The quarry three miles northwest of Chillicothe includes about six feet of' rather rough-bedded limestone, but of' good thickness; this is much used.

Clays.- A deep red ochrey clay at Collier's mill (southwest quarter section 29, township 58, range 22) would afford a good material for paint; a similar but paler red has been observed on Collier's land, one mile from the mill. In Collier's shaft, near this place, are ten feet of alterations of yellow ochre bands, with blue shells; beneath it is four inches good band of bright yellow ochre; At Leaton's coal-bank, in Grand River township, there is six inches of brown ochre, containing selenite crystals. There are good beds of fire-clay under most of the coal-beds, particularly those on lower Grand River. Bands and concretionary beds of carbonate of iron occur in shales on lower Grand river.

Soil.- The soil is generally very rich; those portions of the county which have been mentioned as broken contain the only tracts of poor land, and the area is quite limited; the soil of the latter is light mulatto, and often sandy for a few inches in depth. The soil throughout. most of the county is dark and rich, and varies from one to two and a half feet in depth. Near the western part of the county it has much lime in its composition, resulting from the disintegration of limestone. The slopes generally are so very gentle that the county seems admirably adapted for grasses and meadows. The bottom lands are wide and flat, and have very dark and deep soil, but are often too wet for cultivation.

The following table shows approximately the number of acres of upland, the number of acres of bottom land, the number of acres of timbered land, and the number of acres in cultivation; giving the leading products of the townships in the order of predomination, according to an estimate carefully made in 1880: -

 
Twp
Range
Acres Upland
Acres Bottom
Acres Corn
Acres Hay
Acres Wheat
Acres Oats
Acres Flax
Acres Rye
56
21
4,000
2,500
1,450
1,250
500
450
200
100
56
22
20,440
2500
3,140
2,000
1,000
650
800
350
56
23
23,000
-----
4,750
1,800
1,200
700
1,000
300
56
24
21,400
1,240
4,530
1,100
1,300
400
1,000
200
56
25
19,740
3,200
5,850
1,200
1,000
500
1,000
260
57
22
4,960
7,040
2,240
500
500
200
------
100
57
23
11,340
11,300
8,760
1,800
1,900
300
------
150
57
24
11,000
11,440
8,650
1,900
12,000
350
------
150
57
25
18,580
4,160
5,160
1,600
1,200
500
------
250
58
22
11,360
640
2,820
600
700
250
------
200
58
23
19,280
3,860
5,270
2,000
2,000
300
200
150
58
24
17,890
4,650
5,160
1,500
1,500
400
100
200
58
25
15,800
7,040
4,450
500
300
200
------
100
59
22
11,600
1,920
8,800
500
300
100
------
100
59
23
18,860
4,480
5,370
1,000
1,200
200
------
100
59
24
17,270
5,130
5,640
600
500
150
200
150
59
25
22,840
-------
6,580
1,000
1,000
150
1,000
150
Total.
268,760
71,160
73,640
20,350
18,100
6,000
5,500
3,000

About one-third of the county is timbered land. Two-thirds of the uplands, 268,160 acres, are in cultivation, embracing upland pastures and orchards, and 10 per cent of the bottom land, 71,600 acres, approximately, 180,000 acres of cultivated lands.

Of the soil of Livingston county and its capacity for producing bountiful crops, no better description need be given than the following, which was written by a well posted resident of the county a few years since. As to the surface soil of the county, he says it is no mean or common thing. The same rich, black mold - mostly decomposed vegetable matter - that obtains in the richest valleys of the old prairie States, covers the surface of the county from 12 to 18 inches in depth. Of course it is very strong in productive elements as the rank vegetation everywhere indicates, and there are numerous instances where the old farmers have taken from 25 to 40 successive corn crops from the same field with no sign of diminution in yield.

The sub-soil of the county is a seemingly impervious clay, but it is wholly unlike the heavy, dead, unmanageable red and blue clays of the Ohio, New York and Canada sub-soils, being largely composed of siliceous matter, lime and magnesia carbonite, lime phosphate and organic matter, and is nearly identical with the Lacustrine deposits of the Missouri river slopes of Northwestern Missouri, Southeastern Kansas, Western Iowa, Eastern Nebraska, and the world famous Loess deposits of the Rhine, Nile and minor Swiss valleys. It slacks to the loose, flexible consistency of alluvium on exposure to the frost and air, is absolutely imperishable as an element of fertility, and forms the finest and most enduring basis for grasses, fruits and grains known to the world of agriculture. This deposit underlies the entire surface of the country to a depth of 10 to 30 feet, and will prove a permanent agricultural and horticultural resource of incomparable value.

The conjunction of these two soils gives the broadest range of production enjoyed by any part of the continent. There is not a single article of artificial production grown in the soil from the northern limit of the orange groves to the Northern Red river that does not Flourish here in high degree.

The great staple grain is corn, which gives a yield of 30 to 90 bushels per acre, and of which this county annually grows from 2,500,-000 to 8,000,000 bushels. Close to 200,000 bushels of winter wheat is annually grown, the yield running from 14 to 85 bushels per acre, according to season and culture. Tobacco is a splendid crop. Oats are grown to the extent of 250,000 bushels yearly and are a fine crop. Barley and rye do equally well, though they are but little cultivated. Flax is a sure and profitable crop. Sorghum, broom corn, millet, Hungarian, all the field and garden vegetables, all the fruits of orchard, vineyard and garden, all the grasses, flowers and plants of the middle latitudes grow in rich profusion in Livingston county.

Of course it is the paradise of mixed husbandry, no country leading it in that respect. The Livingston county farmers cover "the field " admirably. They grow a little wheat, much corn, some oats, a little flax, a good variety of vegetables and fruits; raise and feed cattle, sheep and swine in measure; raise mules and horses largely for the markets; sell wool, poultry and dairy products, and know nothing of the failures that attend "special farming." If one, two or three of these resources fail them, what of that! Have they not the whole "field" against the one possible winning crop of the all-wheat or all-wool man, to whole a single failure is almost certain ruin?

The grandest resource of the Livingston county farmer is found in the native and domestic grasses. This is essentially a grass country. The wild prairie grasses were always rich and rank of growth, but civilization has proved too much for them, and they have mostly yielded to the more tenacious and hardy blue grass and white clover, both of which are indigenous to the country, and only awaited the coming of the domestic herds to give them the all-conquering impulse. Blue grass is king of grasses here, as in the realm of Kentucky and Illinois cattle princes. It is assuring to see how grandly it is sweeping over prairie, woodland, field and lawn, driving everything before it. There is not a more natural blue grass country in the world.

The Kentucky, Illinois and Ohio stock men, who have settled here, are charmed with the situation. They say there are no such blue grass pastures as these of Northwestern Missouri. White clover is abundant in seasons of plenteous moisture. The timothy meadows, too, are worth the journey of a thousand miles to see. They are resplendent, with the richest, rankest, most nutritious growth of this grass to be found anywhere in the wide kingdom of grasses. Everybody grows timothy, and these royal meadows yield one and a half, two and three tons per acre of hay, which must get its remarkable feeding value from the peculiar character of this soil. Timothy seed is an important staple. Red clover does well and is popular with the farmers.

STATISTICS - POPUL ATION.

The population of the county in 1840, when the first census was taken after its organization, was 4,825; in 1850 (owing to the striking off of Grundy county and the large California emigration) it was but 4,247; in 1860 it was 7,417, of which 6,812 were whites and 605 were slaves - no free colored; in 1870 the population was 16,780; of which 15,744 were whites and 956 colored, 1,854 were foreign born, 6,567 were natives of Missouri, 8,793 were males, and 7,987 were females; in 1876 it was 18,074, and in 1880 it was 20,196.

The population by townships in 1880 and in 1870 was as follows: -

 
Townships. 1880 1870
Blue Mound
1,268
1,048
Chillicothe, including city of Chillicothe
5,860
6,096
Cream Ridge
1,208
956
Fairview
1,526
1,006
Grand River
1,486
1,160
Greene
1,009
903
Jackson
1,968
2,602
Medicine
655
901
Monroe
961
716
Mooresville, including town of Mooresville
1,112
1,092
Rich Hill
1,027
----
Sampsel
1,264
----
Wheeling
851
249
Total
20,196
16,730

The population of Chillicothe in 1880 was 4,078; in 1870 it was 3,978. Rich Hill and Sampsel townships were not organized in 1870.

VOTING POPULATION

The total number of males in the county 21 years of age and over in the year 1880, according to the national census, was 4,945; but the same year the greatest number of votes polled by all parties (the vote for Governor being highest) was 4,284, showing that 651 voters in the county did not go to the polls. In 1884 the total vote was 4,290, or four votes less than that casting 1880, four years previously.

ASSESSED VALUATIONS.

The number of horses in the county in 1880 was 8,807; of mules, 1,384; of asses, 82; of milk cows and other cattle, 24,216; sheep, 22,112; swine, 48,496. The same year the number of acres of taxable lands was 8&,825. The total assessed value of all property was $40,034,490.

The total assessed valuation of the county in 1885, not including $200,000 of merchandise, was $4,982,417.54, as follows: -

 
Assessed value of real estate $ 2,217,808 00
Assessed value of town lots 605,450 00
Assessed value of personal property 1,605,088 00
Assessed value of railway and telegraph lines 504,071 54

The average assessment of land per acre was $6.25. The number of' miles of railway was 48. The annual revenue derived from railway and telegraph lines was $5,859.08; the revenue from railroads was about $120 per mile.

The live stock of the county was assessed as follows: -

 
Kind Number Assessed Value
Cattle
25,307
$ 364,009 00
Swine
82,495
71,170 00
Sheep
19,416
20,000 00
Horses
8,594
316,480 00
Mules
1,186
58,185 00

SCHOOLS.

In 1885 the school population of the county was as follows: White males, 3,579; females, 3,404; total whites, 6,983. Colored males, 164; females, 181; total colored, 345. Total white and colored, 7,328.

The total amount actually expended for school purposes in the county for the year ending April 1, 1885, was $45,573.37. The average expense for each child of school age in the county was $622; but, as not all of the school children in the county attended school, the average amount expended on each scholar of those who actually did attend was a large sum.

The number of school districts in the county, Chillicothe not included, is 97. The number of school houses, 105, Chillicothe included.

The total amount of the school fund collected during the year ending April 1, 1885, was as follows: -

 
Amount received from interest on the permanent fund $ 11,521 96
Amount received from the State 5,357 35
Amount received from district tax 22,514 16
Amount received from all other sources 2,488 81
$ 41,681 78
Add amount on hand at beginning of school year 12,911 14
Aggregate fund available during the year $ 54,592 92
Amount expended during the year 45,573 87
Balance on hand, April 1, 1885
$ 9,019 55


The amount of the permanent school fund belonging to the county is $126,067.52, as follows: -

 
Swamp land fund $ 101,485 82
Township fund 23,694 27
Other permanent funds 937 93
Total $ 126,007 52

MANUFACTURING ESTABLISHMENTS

In December, 1885, the following statistics concerning the manufactories of the county were compiled by the county clerk, T. B. Brookshier, Esq.: -

 
Number and Kind. Capital
Persons Employed
Value of Products.
6 flouring mills $ 71,000
26
$ 212,750
11 Saw mills 5,500
55
45,000
1 Planing mill 3,500
5
3,000
1 Foundry 500
4
3,750
1 Carriage factory 3,000
5
4,695
2 Wagon factories 8,500
8
6,886
1 Ax-handle factory 8,000
20
8,000
1 Broom factory 1,000
2
3,000
1 Tobacco factory 10,000
40
50,000
1 Cigar factory 2,500
6
7,800
1 Brewer 8,000
2
12,520
1 Soda-pop factory 1,000
3
3,200
3 Creameries 11,000
16
67,295
Total $ 126,500
192
$ 427,896



BANKS.

There were two banking houses in the county, at Chillicothe, with an aggregate capital of $78,000. Following were the statements of their condition December 31, 1885: -

Official statement of the financial condition of the People's Savings Bank, at Chillicothe, State of Missouri, at the close of business on the 31st day of December, 1885: -

 
Resources -
Loans undoubtedly good on personal or collateral security $ 138,897 86
Loans and discounts undoubtedly good on real estate security 8,418 65
Overdrafts by solvent customers 587 00
United States bonds on hand
Other bonds and stock at their present cash market price 5,107 84
Due from other banks good on sight draft 35,971 39
Real estate at present cash market value . 4,000 00
Furniture and fixtures 25,000 00
Checks and other cash items 427 81
Bills of National banks and legal tender United States notes 15,564 00
Gold coin 4,122 90
Silver coin 1,652 82
Exchange maturing and matured
Total $ 217,249 77
Liabilities -
Capital stock paid in $ 50,000 00
Surplus funds on hand 12,471 89
Undivided declared dividends
Deposits subject to draft on sight 156,765 81
Deposits subject to draft at given dates
Bills payable
Due to other bank and bankers
Expenses now due

Total

$219,237 13

W. B. Leach, Cashier.

Sidney McWilliams, President.

Official statement of the financial condition of the Chillicothe Savings Association, at Chillicothe, State of Missouri, at the close of business on the 31st day of December, 1885: -

 
Resources -
Loans undoubtedly good on personal or collateral security $ 48,667 04
Loans and discounts undoubtedly good on real estate security 18,616 67
Overdrafts by solvent customers 6,845 57
United States bonds on hand
Other bonds and stocks at their present cash market price
Due from other banks, good on sight draft 15,852 88
Real estate at present cash market value 9,957 98
Furniture and fixtures 1,816 00
Checks and other cash items 711 54
Bills of National banks and legal tender United States notes 8,364 00
Gold coin 2,415 00
Silver coin 2,489 88
Exchange maturing and matured

Total

$ 110,186 41

 
Liabilities - $ 28,000 00
Capital stock paid in 7,251 84
Surplus funds on hand
Undivided declared dividends
Deposits subject to draft on sight 63,980 31
Deposits subject to draft at given dates l,503 26
Bills payable 10,000 00
Due other banks and bankers
Expenses now due

Total

$110,735 41

J. R. Middleton, Cashier.

W. H. Mansur, President.

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