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Past and Present of Livingston County
Volume 1. History
by Major A. J. Roof. 1913
Fairview township comprises that portion of range 23, south of Grand river and includes all of township 56 and part of the south half of 57. The Carroll county line is the southern boundary of the township, Grand river the eastern and the eastern line of Mound township the western boundary. No finer agricultural lands are to be found in Missouri, being adapted to diversified crops and being a great grass producing section, thousands of head of pure blooded stock are raised and shipped from this township. The first entries of land by the pioneers prior to 1840 were made by Robert H. Jordan, J. M. Johns, A. J. Welsh, James W. Cole, Nathan Parsons, William Hereford, William Campbell and others. This township was mostly settled by people from the eastern States, Pennsylvania, especially being well represented. The township and the town of Avalon, a sprightly little village and populated with a most intelligent class, are without railroad or other transportation facilities except by wagon road to Chillicothe, a distance of fifteen miles, Bedford on the Wabash Railroad and Hale in Carroll county, on a branch of the Burlington. A daily mail, however, reaches them from Chillicothe. Not until March 4, 1867, was the township organized when on a petition signed by W. T. Fritch, and J. L. Burnsides, the prayer of the petitioners was granted. David Carpenter platted the town of Avalon, November 12, 1869. The Avalon College was founded the same year and for many years was a popular institution of learning, but not until 1873 were the doors of the college opened for the reception of students. Rev. M. H. Ambrose, A. M..; and Miss Lizzie Hanby, M. S., Alumni of Otterbein University of Westerville, Ohio, were the first teachers. In 1877, Rev. J, N, Albert, A. M., of Western College, Iowa; then in 1878, Rev. C. J. Kephart, A. M., of the same college was chosen principal. The cost of the college building and grounds, library, etc., exceeded $20,000. The character of the college was emphatically Christian. For a time the college flourished, but gradually the interest was divided and today the structure is closed as a school, being occupied as a place of worship by the Presbyterian denomination of the town.
The Presbyterian church of Avalon was organized April 8, 1869, by a committee appointed by the Presbytery consisting of Rev. J. D. Beard and Abram Brown of Dawn. The following persons were the charter members of the church: David Linton, Jennie Linton, W. S. Gray, Samuel A. Gray, Margaret Gray, David Shields, Mary Shields, Simeon Myers, Marv Myers, Mary A. Fullerton, Agnes Altman, Mary Fullerton, Jane Fullerton, Nannie B. Shields, Margaret Manso and Henrietta Manso. W. S. Gray, David Shields and Simeon Myers were elected ruling elders and Rev. J. D. Beard became the first pastor. Rev. Beard was a pioneer minister of the Gospel in this part of the county and a man of rugged type, whose name is still a household word in Fairview township. He served the church for a period of twelve years. He was succeeded in the pastorate by Rev. James Reed in 1882 who had charge of the church for three years. He was followed by Rev. Hawkes who served as pastor for two years. Rev. W. C. M. Cune was the next pastor who remained with the church four years.
Rev. J. A. Leiggett then served the church for one year from 1893 to 1894. Rev. Leiggett is now located at Lowden, Ohio, near Columbus. The next pastor who served for two years was Rev. J. A. Ghrette, now located near Lincoln, Nebraska. Rev. A. D. Wolfe now of Parkville, Missouri, in the summer of 1896 was called as pastor and was with the church for three years. Rev. T. C. Armstrong, the present pastor came to the field in the autumn of 1900.
The present board of elders consists of Simeon Myers, S. A. Gray and Ross Canning. The trustees are S. 0. Linton, Wm. Dunlap and Van Fullerton. The Sunday school superintendent is W. E. Myers.
A neat village church house was erected in 1875 in the center of the town, the dedicatory sermon being preached by Rev. John A. Pinkerton of Chillicothe. At this time when in a farming community hogs were selling for two cents per pound and corn for twenty cents a bushel, it meant some degree of struggle and sacrifice to complete and dedicate a church building free from debt. Dr. T. G. Blakely who came to Avalon in 1874, secured the necessary subscriptions, some of which were in cash, and some in labor. The contractor was Thomas France. In 1890 this building was sold to the Methodist church, and the property known as the "College Building" purchased for $3,000. Since that time this building has been the church home for the congregation.
I. O. O. F. Lodge No. 428, Avalon, was instituted July 27, 1884, at which time the following officers were elected: John S. Green, N. G.; Drury N. Morris, V. G.; J. B. Tanner, secretary; B. C. Webb, treasurer. The officers for 1913 were elected as follows: V. D. Fullerton, N. G.; J. W. Kimber, V. G.; Roy Wolfe, recording secretary; Robert Shields, treasurer; S. H. Burgard, financial secretary.