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A History of Livingston County, Missouri
Published by The Livingston County Centennial Committee
At Hannibal, in 1846, in the Office Of Mark Twain's father, a few men held a meeting which resulted in the existence of the Hannibal and St. Joe Railroad. The enterprise was not accomplished without difficulty. Newspapers of the towns to be reached by the railroad favored it, but there were local jealousies and controversies to be overcome. After the legislature passed an act incorporating the railroad company, there was a meeting, or convention, in each county seat. At Chillicothe the gathering not only adopted favorable resolutions, but went to work to secure the road through the county. Five thousand two hundred eighty dollars in bonds was subscribed to aid the road; later these were returned to the county without any pay. Among the subscriptions from citizens one thousand dollars, given by John Graves, was the largest.
Top row, left to right: Mr. and Mrs. George Munro, who came from Howard County, Missouri to Livingston in 1837; Miss Hannah Campbell and Mr. Corydon Campbell, who came with their parents from Ohio to Livingston County in 1938. Bottom row, left to right: Uncle Matt Girdner who came from Kentucky to Livingston County before 1840; Mrs. Matilda Minnick, who came to Livingston County in 1834; Mr. Spencer A. Alexander, who came to Livingston County in 1837; Mr. James B. Francis, who came to Livingston County about 1834.
In 1859 the crews working from east and west met a few miles east of Chillicothe on what is now the Grothe farm. Mr. George A. Mahan, a lawyer, has placed a marker at this point on Highway 36. The building of this railroad, which is now the Burlington, was of almost inestimable importance to the county. It brought in hundreds of emigrants, revived and created public enterprises, and marked a new era in the progress and general welfare of the people.
The present Wabash railroad through Chillicothe, called earlier the Chillicothe and Brunswick, started twenty years before, when the legislature granted a charter to the North Missouri Railroad. On the completion of the railroad to Chillicothe in 1870, there was great rejoicing and a large excursion to Brunswick.
During the building of this railroad, the gravel pit at Sampsel was opened. Until a few years ago, it had been worked at intervals, when it was opened again by the Cooley Gravel Company. Since the purchase by the company of this important pit, gravel has been shipped to many points over the country.
Although a number of railroad projects have threatened our county, only three have materialized. The last, and certainly an important one, the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul Railroad, was completed April 1, 1887. The building of division shops here brought great prosperity and many new families of the finest type who remained in Chillicothe even after the division was moved in 1904.
Our progressive county, in the heart of North Missouri Valley, crossed by three roads, two United States highways, and several minor roads, is best described by the current remarks of people, far and near, whose work or travel has brought them to us, "Chillicothe is the best town, and in the best county, in all North Missouri.