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Livingston County History
Celebrating 150 Years, 1821-1981
Published by The Retired Senior Volunteer Program
The town of Sampsel, Missouri, is located in Sampsel Township in NE 1/4 of section 28 township 58 range 25. This is part of the 15 sections deeded to the State of Missouri by the U.S. Government for the construction of railroads in June, 1852.
This land was deeded to the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad in January, 1858. In 1863, the railroad company sold this land to John C. and Elizabeth Whitaker and William and Emily Whitaker and James H. Britton, Trustee of St. Louis, Missouri. The Chillicothe, Mo. to Omaha, Nebr. Railroad was built in June, 1867. The plot of the town of Sampsel was made July 31, 1871, by John C. and Elizabeth Whitaker, James H. Britton, City of St. Louis, Trustee and William and Emily Whitaker of Livingston County, in State of Missouri, proprietors. The land contained between North R. R. Street and South R. R. Street was donated to St. Louis, Council Bluff and Omaha Railroad Co. for the purpose of depot grounds, side tracks, stock pens, warehouses, coal sheds, water tank, and any other like purposes to which said railroad company may desire to put the same.
The town was named for J. E. Sampsel, an employee of the railroad. The depot was built in 1871. The post office was opened and later two rural mail routes out of the Sampsel office served the northwest part of Livingston County until the late 1940ís when they were dissolved and the residents were served by Chillicothe rural route mail carriers.
A general store was built and operated by several different families until it closed in the 1960ís. During this time the town occasionally had two stores. Occasionally a restaurant would operate for a period of time.
A telephone exchange was installed and served the community until about 1940. Stockyards were built and buying and shipping of livestock was a progressive business for a period of time. A grain elevator was built, where farmers of the area sold and shipped grain to market. Other businesses were barbershops and a blacksmith shop.
W. E. Morgan was the railroad station agent. He also operated a general store. Orville and Barbara Jones operated a store as did George and Perlee Wagner. In 1913, they sold their store to W. R. and
Florence (Allnutt) Walker. In 1914, it was sold again to George and Florence Allnutt.
Guy Owens and Everett Roberts were blacksmiths. J. E. Raulie bought and shipped grain. Bryan Tout was cashier of the bank which closed in 1931.
One room schools were built teaching grades 1 thru 8. In 1920, six of the rural schools consolidated to form a high school district for a two year high school in Sampsel. It grew to a three year school in 1921, and a full four year school in 1922, with the first class graduating in May, 1923. Superintendents who served the Sampsel School were Charles Greenwood, Ray Ramsbottom, Jewell McClaren. The school closed in 1933, and the students were taken by bus to Chillicothe High School. The grade school operated until 1961, when it was closed and children taken to Chillicothe on school buses.
A gravel pit opened in the early 1920ís on the Dan Walker farm, east of Sampsel, near the railroad track. Gravel and sand were transported from there until the 1960ís. This provided employment for several people in this area.
In 1933, a road was graded and surfaced with gravel making the first all weather road from Sampsel to Chillicothe.
The small towns were a great service to people in rural areas in the days when means of transportation were much slower than they are today. -- Oakland Douglas