|Bedford | Bedford, Missouri | History of Bedford | The Bedford Railroad | Photos ||
compiled by W. N. Bate
There is the general story that Bedford, in Livingston County, Missouri, was named after a steamboat that went up Grand River and was wrecked on the shoals near that town. But foundation for this story has always seemed vague. According to Mr. Geo. W. Somerville, President of the Grand River Historical Society, in his article in the Chillicothe Constitution Tribune of March 5, 1957, the town was not named after the steamboat. To quote Somerville:
"The original site of the town of Bedford was first laid out and platted
in 1837. The name given this town was Laborn. In 1839 a town was platted and
recorded on the same site, including the same number of streets and blocks. It
was given the name of Bedford. Bedford was located a few rods below a series of
shoals in Grand River. It has been quite commonly accepted that Bedford derived
its name from the name of a steamboat wrecked on the shoals in Grand River near
its site. History does not bear this out. However, the steamboat, Bedford, did
not ascend Grand River until 1840, and the town or Bedford was platted and
recorded in 1839."
The dates shown in these statements by Mr. Somerville are verified by HISTORY
OF CALDWELL AND LIVINGSTON COUNTIES, MISSOURI, a copy of which n the
Livingston County Memorial Library at Chillicothe, Missouri. Further
substantiation has now come to light. Mr. W. Boone Saunders of Gillette,
Wyoming, who formerly lived at Bedford, has always understood that Bedford was
named by a relative of his, by name of Dan'l G. Saunders, born in Bedford
County, Virginia in 1817, and went first to Chariton County, then to Livingston,
naming Bedford after his own home county in Virginia. In casting about for
documentary evidence of this it was learned that a number of other individuals
of the Saunders line has this same legend in mind.
In all, they are:
Mr. W. Boone Saunders, Gillette, Wyoming
Mr. Wesley Saunders, Rocky Comfort, Missouri
Mr. F. J. Saunders, 520 Oakridge Blvd., Lynchburg, Virginia
Mr. Aulus W. Saunders, 165 East 3rd Street, Oswego, New York
Miss Lockie T. Saunders, Bedford, Virginia
Sabra M. Palmer, Knightdale, North Carolina
Mr. Wesley Saunders, named above, formerly lived in Livingston County and is
a grandson of the Dan'l G. Saunders that named Bedford.
Mrs. Palmer, named above, is a Saunders and furnished the following paragraph from a Saunders family record:
"Daniel Greene, Jr., went west when a young man, settled in Missouri and
married a lady of that state. He was a lawyer and senator and founded the town
of Bedford, Missouri, naming it in honor of his home county."
The Missouri Historical Review, July, 1912, Vol. 6, page 201, lists the name
of Dan'l G. Saunders among those who arrived in Livingston County between 1833
In support of the Historical Review it is noted in the county courthouse records of Chariton County at Keytesville, Daniel G. Saunders executed a land purchase for one Peter D. Heisey on the date of June 14, 1842, thus verifying that he was operating in the general vicinity of Bedford in those early settlement days. Chariton County joins Livingston on the southeast corner of Livingston County and Bedford is only 5 miles inside Livingston. Mr. Saunders lived in Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri during the latter part of his life.