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A History of Livingston County, Missouri
Published by The Livingston County Centennial Committee
Cream Ridge Township, crossed by Medicine and Hone y Creeks, lies between Grand River and Medicine Township. When Francis Preston came here in 1838, he settled on Crooked Creek. Other settlers soon followed, although their land was not entered until about 1840. On May 13, 1857, Cream Ridge was organized as a municipal township from territory taken from the northeast corner of Chillicothe Township.
The New Providence Cumberland Church was organized February 17, 1855; St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in either 1868 or 1869; the Union Baptist Church in 1840. This last named church is one of the oldest in our county.
Farmersville was laid out and platted June 10, 1870. Mrs. Annie Stewart Williams, now living in Chillicothe, taught school in Farmersville. Two churches were organized early, the Farmersville Methodist Episcopal Church, 1867; and the Farmersville Christian Church, built in 1872, and reorganized in 1873. This little village on Highway 65 has about five businesses, including garages and filling stations, where people of the neighborhood find it convenient to trade.
When the Milwaukee Railroad built through this section, two towns sprang up in the north part of the county, Sturges and Niantic. After a year the depot at Niantic burned and since a few town lots had been sold, a settlement was started at Chula about 1894. For two or three years a box car served as a station.
In spite of the unfinished graveled road between Highway No. 65 and Chula, this town of nearly 400 population continues to be the main trading center for the township. The name, Chula is an Indian word meaning "red fox." Most of the town is laid out on the land known as the Leavell's estate. The first station agent, Charles Wait, who served for years, laid out an addition. The other additions are called Carry, Elmore, Marshall, Smith, and Jenkins. Here a dozen business places carry on a profitable trade. For many years Chula was the best stock shipping point on the Milwaukee road between Ottumwa and Kansas City, but in later years trucks have replaced a great part of the railroad shipping.
The two banks Chula has had were the Farmers and Merchants, organized about 1912, and the Exchange Bank, 1891, which, when it closed in 1922, paid each depositor in full. When the town of Chula started, Dr. Foster, then living in Cotton Grove, a little settlement one and one-half miles south, moved to the new place, where he continued to practice for many years. In 1930, with the death of Dr. L. P. Carlyle who came to Chula in 1909, the town lost its last and much loved physician.
For perhaps ten years, Chula, like many of our little towns, held a fair; families held big picnics and crowds came from the country around. From 1898 to 1906, a flour mill did a flourishing business. Perhaps the best known institution was the "Chula News," run last by Charles Steel as the "Chula Chronicle." The little "Chula News" came into fame because of the clever writings of Ed Smith. His miniature volume, "Four Flushes," treats of characters of Chula and Chillicothe, with an occasional personage of national or world fame thrown in.
Chula has three churches: the Baptist; the First Methodist Episcopal, of which the Reverend Brott is the minister; and the Presbyterian, with the Reverend McClymond, minister. A telephone exchange was established as early as 1898 by O. B. McCoy; the present owner is E. A. Bartruff. On Saturday nights the community enjoys a program of local talent, known as amateur night. The first car in Chula was a two-seated Ford touring, owned by Bill Caddell. W. E. Payton remarks that cars are now so numerous, it is all too easy to go to Chillicothe to shop. In this community, as in the rest of our state, the farmers are happy over bumper crops of oats and corn. It will be easier all over the county this year for country children to attend the splendid schools provided for them.