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Published by the Livingston County Bicentennial Agriculture Committee. July, 1976.

Reprinted with permission.
Dedicated to the people who came here more than one hundred years ago
and made it a better home for those who followed.

100-Year Farm Families A-N | 100-Year Farm Families P-Z


Honoring 100-year farms developed as one of the projects of the Agricultural Bicentennial Committee. Here we cannot really celebrate a bicentennial. No doubt white men had been in the country 200 years ago, but there were no settlers. However, we can recognize the 100th anniversary of many farms. It was necessary to collect names and dates from the families that own these farms. We saw this as an excellent opportunity to gather some history of these farms and families and record it in permanent form. The families have cooperated beyond our expectations. Perhaps this will cause us to have greater appreciation for those who came before us and generate in us deeper pride in our heritage.

Having a 100-year farm is the result of a combination of circumstances. Not having one is due sometimes to circumstances beyond a family’s control. Many early families still living here do not own the land of their fathers. Other families moved on or their branch withered and died. Many of the young people that grew up on farms left the farms for what they considered greener pastures. The families that remained are the ones that contributed a great deal to the development of the area. They gave an acre of ground for a schoolhouse, a church, or cemetery. They helped build these things, also the roads, bridges, and towns.

The early settlers had in common, to a large degree, certain desirable characteristics. They had faith in their God to see them through and to provide for their needs, and faith in themselves to deal with any circumstances. They had courage to leave familiar surroundings and loved ones; ability to make a living from the land. They were good neighbors, honest, straight-forward, and men of their word. Had they been otherwise, they would not have been welcome in the community. They were people who accepted conditions and had a desire to make them better. They gave more than they received and left this world a little better than they found it. They loved the land, the change of seasons, the hills and valleys. They considered this area one of the best spots of God’s creation.


Prior to 1492 - Indians

1492-1793 - Claimed by Spain and France

1725-1728 - Fort Orleans, French Fort near mouth of Grand River, explored in this area

1762 - France to Spain

1776 - Declaration of Independence

1785 - Congress authorized new lands to be surveyed into townships - 36 square miles

1800 - Spain to France

1803 - To the United States, Louisiana Purchase, $11Ľ million

1806 - Lewis and Clark Expedition

1821 - State of Missouri

1828-1833 - French trading post on Grand River near mouth of Locust Creek, hunters and trappers, furs and honey

1831 - Samuel Todd settled west of present location of Utica. McCormick Reaper invented

1833 - November 11, Elisha Hereford camped on Medicine Creek, Levi Goben in forks of river, Austins, Bryans, and McCroskries on Shoal Creek, Abram Cox from Ohio on Medicine Creek

1834 - Store at Navetown (Springhill), Herefords ferry, Grand River

1836 - Jamestown "Jimtown" laid out, 1000 settlers in county, Mormon trail, DeWitt, Mormon Hill (Avalon), Whitney’s Mill (Dawn), Far West, Caldwell County, 40 families come together from Hopkins County, Ky., to northwest Livingston County and Jamesport area

1837 - Livingston County boundaries established, Chillicothe laid out, Utica laid out

1838 - Mormon War, Haun’s Mill, Caldwell County, Shoal Creek, Bedford laid out, ferry at Whitney’s Mill

1839 - Hargrave ferry, Grand River

1840 - Union Baptist Church founded

1841 - Bedford laid out, bridge Shoal Creek, Whitney’s Mill, Springhill Methodist Church built

1842 - Hard times, wheat 35˘ a bushel, bridge across Medicine Creek, Bloomington/Plattsburg road, Grand River Chronicle, first newspaper in County

1846 - Mexican War 91 men from Livingston County, 12 casualties. Hog drive to Brunswick, 2 weeks, load of corn for feed

1849 - Steamboat "Lake of the Woods" to forks of Grand River. Gold Rush to California, numerous citizens of Livingston County (see 1886 history)

1852 - Mount Pleasant Church founded near Springhill

1853 - Dawn was laid out. New Providence Cumberland Church founded

1857 - Father Hogan organized Catholic Church

1858 - Wheeling laid out. Extremely wet year, crops poor

1859 - Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad completed

1860 - Mooresville laid out

1861 - Civil War, 16 men from Livingston County killed at Wilson Creek

1863 - August 23, hard freeze

1867 - Milbank Mills founded

1868 - Chillicothe/Bethany stage three times a week, 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. First iron bridges in county at Graham’s Mill and Jimstown, $37,000 for both

1869 - Avalon laid out. Chillicothe/Des Moines Railroad grading nearly completed

1870 - Chillicothe/Brunswick Railroad. Farmersville laid out. Iron bridges at Bedford and east of Utica, $36,000 for both. Iron bridges north of Utica and Mooresville, $6000 for each. Iron bridges at Chula and west 3rd Street; $4500 each

1871 - Chillicothe/Pattonsburg Railroad. Sampsel laid out

1872 - County Jail and Office Building (Oakland Apartments)

1873 - Avalon College founded

1874 - Scruby Bros. Elevator at Wheeling. First Angus cattle to the United States

1876 - Livingston County population, 18,074

1880 - Tornado at Bedford, wrecked mill and center span of "new bridge"

1883 - Tornado south of Dawn, four people killed

1887 - Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad. Sturges laid out

1889 - Citizens National Bank founded

1890 - Chillicothe Business College founded

1894 - Chula laid out

1896 - Hogs, $4.35 per cwt, top price

1898 - Fire destroyed one-half of Wheeling. Spanish-American War

1900 - First horse-less carriage in Chillicothe with a circus

1901 - Dry year

1902 - First horse-less carriage (Oldsmobile) owned in Chillicothe by Dr. A. J. Simpson

1904 - Wheeling Street Fair

1909 - Flood

1910 - Before and after Fair and races north of Chillicothe

1912 - Wheat $1.00, corn 600

1918 - World War 1 25 casualties from Livingston County. Medicine Creek Drainage Ditch. Dry year. J. A. Wisdom is first Vo-Ag instructor in Chillicothe

1919 - Hogs $23.25 per cwt, top price

1929 - January, fire east side of square, Chillicothe, 29 degrees below zero

1930 - Fed, cattle 100, hogs 10,0, corn 850, wheat $1.00, beans $2.25

1932 - Fed cattle 50, hogs $4.15 cwt, wheat 350

1934 - Drought - corn yield 0, May 35˘, September 85˘. Dust storms. Bought first hybrid seed corn

1935 - Wet spring - corn planted after June 5

1936 - Drought - corn yield 0, May 65˘, September $1.20, fed oats and molasses. Grasshoppers, grass fires. U. S. 36 paved. July, 116 degrees

1937 - January, sleet and rain with 1 to 2 inch ices - stock lost, stayed on one month

1939 - Hogs top price for year $8.75

1940-1945 - Electricity to farms

1941-1945 - World War II

1947 - Flood, river stage at Chillicothe 33.82 feet

1951 - Fifty-four inches rainfall for year

1960 - National Mechanical Corn Picking Contest - Vanlandingham farm

1960-1970 - Rural water lines

1961 - Flood, March, ice jam

1962 - Pick corn and combine corn and beans in April

1973 - Ice storm in January. Blizzard April 9, stock lost

1974 - Dry summer

1975 - Dry summer


Livingston County, an area of 533 square miles, is located in north-central Missouri. The northwest portion is hilly, much timber; the northeast portion, gently rolling, and the southern part, rolling to hilly. The two forks of the Grand River merge in the central part of this county and flow in a southeasterly direction with a fall of 3.8 feet per mile. Larger creeks are Medicine Creek in the northeast part and Shoal Creek in the southwest part. There are several smaller creeks.

About 30% of the county is bottom land. There are broad acres in some locations. Early histories indicate that when the first settlers came there were about equal areas of timber and prairie. The prairie was covered with tall blue-stem; open bottom land with slough grass or "rip gut." The timbers were mostly deciduous trees, hard wood and soft wood. All of the county was covered by glaciers centuries ago. The less rolling portion has a deep mantle of glacial soil. In the hilly areas much of the soil has weathered from underlying material. Bottom areas are alluvial fill and quite fertile. In the larger areas there is much heavy gumbo soil. There are a few depressions-like areas in the uplands that were called "deer licks" or "buffalo wallows. "They were no doubt so used. There are several outcroppings of sandstone and limestone. Quarries are or have been located in these areas. In past years coal mines have been operating in several locations. There are several pre-glacial valleys in the county. Wells in these areas supply unlimited water. Several deep wells have been drilled in search of oil. Results are unannounced. The Sampsel gravel pits are of glacial origin. Irrigation has been used on a limited scale. It always rains if one waits long enough. The annual average rainfall is about 36 inches. Elevation above sea level is 963 to 660 feet.

EARLY SETTLERS and date of Settlement

Blue Mound Township - 1836 B. F. Baker - 1839 O. H. Clifford - 1839 Joseph Knox - 1836 William Mann - 1837 William McCarty - 1838 Elijah Preston - 1839 M. S. Reeves - 1839 Jacob Stauffer - 1839 Henry Walker - 1838 Harve White - 1838 William Whitney

Chillicothe Township - 1838 Asel Ball - 1836 David Carlyle - 1836 B. Collins - 1839 Joseph Cox - 1836 David Curtis - 1839 Caleb Gibbons - 1837 John Graves - 1837 Elisha Hereford - 1836 Matson and Van Landt - 1839 William Linville - 1837 William Moberly - 1838 Elizabeth Monroe - 1839 Jessee Newland - 1837 Isaac Ryan - 1836 John Ryan - 1839 George Shriver - 1837 Elab Stone - 1839 B. Wilkerson - 1838 Joseph Wolfskill - 1838 William Yancey

Cream Ridge Township - 1840 C. H. Ashley - 1840 W. Atkinson - 1840 Josiah Austin - 1842 Elizabeth Crawford - 1840 Ashby and Crews - 1840 Lyman Dayton - 1842 Richard Dicken - 1840 Joseph Hughes - 1840 N. Z. Johnson - 1841 James Leeper - 1840 Jessee Newlin - 1840 Frances Preston - 1840 M. T. Treadway

Fairview Township - 1839 William Campbell - 1839 James Cole - 1839 William Hereford - 1838 John M. Johns - 1839 R. H. Jordan - 1837 Nathan Parsons - 1838 A. J. Welch

Grand River Township - 1838 S. A. Alexander - 1838 Cyrus Ballew - 1838 J. C. Ballew - 1839 W. L. Brown - 1838 J. G. Caldwell - 1838 Chris Coats - 1836 Whitfield Dicken - 1837 Henry Duncan - 1836 Rhodias Fewell - 1837 Joel H. Green - 1839 Hall and Stone - 1837 Abner Johnson - 1838 Aquila Jones - 1838 Joseph Jones - 1837 Asa Lanter - 1836 Ruben Leaton - 1838 William LeBarron - 1838 J. A. Lewis - 1838 Solomon Lewis - 1838 R. T. Marce - 1838 Elisha McGuire - 1837 B. D. Midgett - 1838 R. M. Mills - 1837 R. R. Mills - 1837 John A. Moore - 1838 J. Murray - 1837 George Murro - 1838 J. K. Reddick - 1837 John Ringo - 1838 Anselm Rowley - 1838 Harris Shaw - 1836 Alex Silvey - 1836 John Silvey - 1837 W. P. Stovall - 1837 John Stucky - 1838 C. Williams - 1838 John Wolfskill - 1838 Joseph Wolfskill - 1837 W. C. Wright

Green Township - 1839 Madison Fisk - 1835 David Girdner - 1836 John Kelly - 1836 Rodrick Matson - 1839 William McCarty - 1835 Ruben McCroskrie - 1838 William Pailthrop - 1837 Alfred Rockhold - 1835 John Rockhold - 1836 Robert Snowden - 1837 John Stone - 1835 Samuel E. Todd - 1835 W. F. Todd

Jackson Township - 1839 E. S. Andrews - 1840 Z. G. Ayer - 1835 B. F. Baker - 1839 William A. Black - 1838 Elijah Boon - 1840 John W. Boyle - 1840 John Brigle - 1839 William Brumnett - 1838 Peter Cain - 1838 John S. Campbell - 1838 Robert C. Campbell - 1838 William Carlisle - 1839 John Carmichael - 1838 William P. Clark - 1838 William M. Crawford - 1840 David Curtis - 1840 William Curtis - 1839 Nathan Cox - 1838 William C. David - 1838 James A. Davis - 1838 Alex Dockery - 1838 John Doss - 1840 John Findley - 1840 William Finley - 1840 Mathew Gibbs - 1840 David Girdner - 1839 Elias Guthridge - 1840 T. A. Harbert - 1838 Benj. Hargrave - 1840 John Hargrave - 1839 Joseph Harper - 1838 John Hart - 1840 C. H. Hayes - 1838 David Hicklin - 1839 John B. Hines - 1840 Roah R. Hobbs - 1840 H. S. Hoskins - 1838 Milton P. House - 1838 William O. Jennings - 1842 N. Z. Johnson - 1838 W. A. Jones - 1838 Jonathan Jordan - 1839 Danl Y. Kesler - 1843 John Kirk - 1838 James Leeper - 1838 Andrew Ligett - 1838 William Linville - 1839 H. I. Martin - 1838 Mose Martin - 1838 William Martin - 1839 J. D. Martin - 1840 J. Massigee - 1840 George McCoy - 1839 William Miller - 1840 James Nave - 1840 Jesse Nave - 1840 Wyatt Ogle - 1838 William F. Peery - 1842 N. S. Pond - 1838 Samuel V. Ramsey - 1840 R. W. Reeves - 1839 R. T. Rowland - 1837 L. Scollay - 1838 Payton Sherwood - 1842 Stephen Shrive - 1844 H. Simmons - 1840 J. Smith - 1840 William Smith - 1838 Abram..Sportsman - 1838 Thomas Stone - 1838 Sam Venable - 1839 William Venable - 1844 Jame Walls - 1838 Dudley Ware - 1838 Isham Ware - 1838 Rice Ware - 1839 Hugh Welch - 1838 Mark White - 1840 John Yates

Medicine Township - William Douglas - 1840 J. J. Jordan - 1840 David Kimbal - 1840 Chapman Lightner - 1840 James Lightner - 1840 John H. Perkins - 1840 Robert Phillips - 1840 Thomas Ray - 1840 William J. Wallace - 1840 J. C. White - 1840 Elizabeth Yeates

Monroe Township - 1835 James Austin - 1835 John Austin - 1835 Purmont Bland - 1836 L. A. Brady - 1836 Thomas R. Bryan - 1837 Jesse Coats - 1837 James Earl - 1836 W. P. Frazier - 1836 William Fryer - 1835 Spencer H. Gregory - 1837 John T. Gudgell - 1837 James Hamilton - 1836 Henry Hoagland - 1837 James Huntsman - 1836 Zach Lee - 1836 John Lewis - 1835 Isaac MeCroskrie - 1836 H. McFarland - 1835 Wratt Ogle - 1837 William Taylor - 1836 Oliver Walker

Mooresville Township - 1839 Samuel Collins - 1835 Thomas Fields - 1836 Thomas Fields - 1838 M. Fisk - 1838 Nathan Freeman - 1836 Jacob Gobin - 1839 H. H. Gray - 1837 William Hudgins - 1835 Peter Irons - 1836 Henry Karsner - 1838 James Lawson - 1838 Fred Lyda - 1839 Peter Malone - 1835 William Mann - 1835 Ruben McCroskrie - 1838 William Mead - 1835 William Parker - 1837 James W. Pearman - 1835 S. W. Reynolds - 1836 Josiah Taylor - 1836 John L. Tomlin - 1836 John Trotter - 1836 Alex Woods - 1838 Thomas Woolsey - 1836 Zeph Woolsey - Rich Hill Township - 1839 Charles Ashley - 1839 John Austin - 1839 A. F. Ball - 1839 Thomas R. Bryan - 1839 David Carlyle - 1839 John Cox - 1839 Solomon Cox - 1839 Andrew Culbertson - 1839 Thomas Dobbins - 1839 Samuel Forrest - 1839 William Garwood - 1839 Sol R. Hooker - 1839 Eli Hobbs - 1839 John B. Leeper - 1839 William Lyman - 1839 Inny Moberly - 1839 Eli D. Murphy - 1839 George Pace - 1830 Archibald Ward - 1839 James White - 1839 Thomas Williams

Sampsel Township - 1846 James M. Allnut - 1848 Thomas E. Boucher - 1847 Levan Brookshire - 1847 David I. Breeze - 1846 John Cooper - 1847 Dr. William Carlisle - 1846 Levi D. Cox - 1848 Barmock Curtis - 1846 J. A. Dryden - 1846 James N. Falkner - 1849 Henry Frith - 1848 William E. Frith - 1847 Abr.Gann - 1848 William E. Gibbons - 1846 William Hale - 1847 John Hargrave - 1847 James Hicks - 1847 F. C. Hughes - 1847 James Jennings - 1846 Thomas Kirk - 1848 Thomas Litton - 1849 Luther Lowe - 1848 William Mansfield - 1846 Thomas J. Marlin - 1841 Add Martin - 1848 James W. McClure - 1847 John M. Minnick - 1847 Jesse Offield - 1847 Samuel Pepper - 1846 Henry H. Simons - 1847 John Simpson - 1846 T. Sterling - 1849 R. S. Stockwell - 1848 A. G. Waddell - 1846 Amos Walker - 1847 Dr. George Williams

Wheeling Township - 1839 Tom Botts - 1839 Mose Caldwell - 1839 Nathan H. Gregory - 1839 Elijah Harvey - 1839 Joseph Miller - 1839 Ezekiel Norman

EARLY SETTLERS From 1913 History

1857 J. A. Adams - 1858 W. C. Adams - 1860 J. P. Alexander - 1854 W. F. Alexander - 1857 C. A. Anderson - 1857 I. M. Anderson - 1844 E. M. Austin - 1838 J. L. Austin - 1860 G. W. Babb - 1854 Henry Baker - 1847 I. I. Baker - 1857 J. W. Baker - 1848 N. A. Baker - 1858 James Bench - 1859 J. W. Bills - 1852 James Blackwell - 1850 N. J. Bliss - 1856 J. F. Bonderer - 1855 W. H. Boone - 1844 G. M. Brassfield - 1852 J. N. Brassfield - 1858 J. H. Breedlove - 1859 John Brigman - 1857 A. L. Brown - 1838 C. R. Campbell - 1842 E. Carlyle - 1857 B. B. Carr - 1855 L. A. Chapman - 1844 W. W. Clark - 1858 R. M. Cleveland - 1857 J. F. Coberly - 1857 A. C . Coburn - 1849 W. R. Coe - 1854 Mose Cole - 1854 Wilson Cole - 1855 J. R. Collier - 1844 F. W. Combstock - 1833 Hon. Abel Cox - 1832 I. Cox - 1850 J. C. Cox - 1856 G. L. Cranmer - 1856 Robert Cranmer - 1852 J. M. Davis - 1852 George W. Dennis - 1859 T. R. Dice - 1843 D. N. Dryden - 1859 D. W. C. Egerton - 1843 C. C. England - 1858 J. E. Fahey - 1840 John N. Flaherty - 1856 Seymore Gale - 1850 J. C. Gallatin - 1858 R. A Gaunt - 1856 T. H. Gibson - 1853 W. R Gilbert - 1853 B. B. Gill - 1834 J. M. Girdner - 1860 M. P. Girdner - 1855 G. W. Gish - 1836 L. Gordon - 1860 W. C. Grant - 1856 B. P. Green - 1857 James Gregg - 1860 M. Gregory - 1860 C. C. Griffin - 1860 Goodlow Grouse - 1853 R. L. Hale - 1858 W. B. Hale - 1856 Charles Hamilton - 1839 John C. Hargrave - 1837 L. Hargrave - 1855 Leander Harlow - 1851 W. B. Harris - 1839 R. Hawkins - 1859 Robert Haynes - 1856 A. J. Hedrick - 1838 James Herriford - 1857 J. E. Hill - 1858 J. E. Hitt - 1840 G. W. Hooker - 1849 Z. T. Hooker - 1854 J. S. Hoskins - 1842 J. W. Hudgins - 1842 John Hudgins - 1848 Benjamine Hurst - 1859 Henry Hutchinson - 1842 J. P. Hutchinson - 1850 William Hutchinson - 1857 Lewis Jones - 1858 T. D. Jones - 1847 G. W. Kent - 1848 W. F. Kent - 1850 B. Kester - 1855 J. C. Kester - 1858 J. P. Kester - 1853 J. W. Kester - 1848 F. M. Kingcaid - 1859 Lawrence Kinsella - 1840 J. B. Kirk - 1843 J. H. Kirk - 1838 E. Kirtley - 1844 B. F. Knox - 1859 R. V. Lauderdale - 1848 R. N. Lay - 1858 J. H. Leavell - 1854 Andrew Leeper - 1834 G. B. Ligett - 1856 Samuel Lightner - 1834 Wiley Linville - 1856 J. S. Litton - 1844 Samuel Luses - 1843 Ruben Mansfield - 1856 J. J. May - 1851 W. R. May - 1859 A. L. Mayberry - 1854 J. B. McCoy - 1855 James McDonald - 1859 J. A. McMillen - 1842 W. R. McVey - 1858 H. O. Meek - 1857 J. F. Meek - 1859 Otis Millon - 1849 L. J. Minnick - 1846 W. E. Minnick - 1860 R. S. Moore - 1856 D. N. Morris - 1841 John T. Moss - 1850 S. B. Mumpower - 1855 W. G. Mumpower - 1840 G. B. Nave - 1858 Otto Newschafer - 1850 G. H. Oliver - 1849 J. F. Oliver - 1848 W. W. Patrick - 1859 W. B. Patterson - 1859 William Perron - 1857 F. M. Phillips - 1858 G. W. Phillips - 1843 J. J. Phillips - 1857 J. R. Phillips - 1845 W. D. Phillips - 1855 J. H. Poe - 1857 B. W. Portersfield. - 1859 Andrew Prager - 1850 William Prewitt - 1849 G. W. Purcell - 1854 J. V. Ramsey - 1855 G. F. Renchler - 1848 N. L. Reynolds - 1840 S. W. Reynolds - 1854 J. T. Roberts - 1854 Thomas Roberts - 1849 W. P. Robinson - 1857 A. T. Rockhold - 1853 Isaac Rockhold - 1853 J. K. Rockhold - 1856 Julian Rockhold - 1843 Samuel Rockhold - 1849 W. C. Samuel - 1857 O. H. Saunders - 1857 J. W. Scott - 1856 Emily Shinkle - 1842 J. F. Simms - 1852 F. M. Smith - 1857 John M. Spears - 1859 G. W. Steen - 1846 James Steen - 1843 John Sterling - 1836 Joseph Stone - 1858 J. P. Stuckey - 1858 A. F. Summerville - 1844 E. L. Taylor - 1835 Leo Tiberghein - 1845 J. Y. Todd - 1838 M. Tomlin - 1858 Michael Trumbo - 1837 James Turner - 1835 T. B. Turner - 1859 J. E. Wait - 1843 Joshua Walker - 1854 W. R. Walker - 1838 Elisha Walls - 1854 J. A. Walls - 1858 William Walter - 1860 G. M. Walz - 1857 Jacob Walz - 1837 F. D. Ward - 1859 J. T. Ware - 1856 J. D. Warren - 1848 J. H. Warren - 1854 T. L. Warren - 1856 R. M. Weatherby - 1853 W. J. Wier - 1851 F. L. Willard - 1850 J. G. Willard - 1851 P. H. Willard - 1848 D. H. Williams - 1855 G. A. Williams - 1844 I. T. Williams


Within the last 50 years, a great many beneficial changes have been made in Livingston County. The first trails were Indian trails. Trappers, traders, and bee tree hunters followed these trails. Then the settlers followed them. After the county was organized in 1837, some of the first business were roads and bridges. Roads connected points where rivers and creeks could be forded. Then individuals operated ferries. Early roads were: Bloomington (Macon County) / Plattsburg road; Colliers Mill on Medicine Creek / Chillicothe / Utica; in 1840 Colliers Mill, Cox neighborhood north of Chillicothe, McGee’s ford, near the mouth of Honey Creek / Council Bluff, Iowa; Chillicothe / Springhill / Bethany (David Girdner carried mail horseback on this route); Chillicothe / Smith’s Tavern Brunswick; Chillicothe / Slagle Mill / Linneus; and others. Later roads were laid out on section lines where needed and practical.

With the coming of automobiles, there came need for much improvement. While still dirt roads, many cross-country roads were marked on trees, fences, and telephone poles as the Pike’s Peak Ocean to Ocean, Cannon Ball, Blue J, Ben Hur, and others. Federal highways US 36 and 65 were first narrow slabs, then widened and improved. The WPA programs in the thirties put crushed rock on many country roads. Then state farm-to-market roads, gravel, and black-tops were laid out so as to put most farms within two miles of an improved road. There is still a great need for stronger bridges in many locations.


Perhaps the greatest natural disaster to occur in this county was the 1909 flood. Many people lived in bottom areas at that time. On the night of July 5th heavy rain, called a cloudburst, occurred in northwest Missouri and southern Iowa. The message of a wall of water coming down the valleys was spread by telephone, warning people in the low-lying areas. In the Medicine Creek bottoms east of Sturges, Claus Jacobs with others were driving cattle to higher ground. They were caught by the wall of water. He was thrown from his horse and gained safety in a tree where he spent the night, to be rescued by boat the next day. A new McCormick binder was in this bottom. Only the top part showed above the water.

In the Grand River bottoms the raised railroad beds temporarily delayed the rush of the muddy water. The damage was great. Shocked fields of wheat and oats were washed away. Many livestock, chickens, fences, buildings, and bridges were lost. Corn and hay crops were destroyed. Miles of railroad track were washed out. Only one life was lost, a telephone repairman who fell from a pole and was unable to swim. Other counties throughout north Missouri suffered heavy losses.

The 1909 flood at Chillicothe was recorded at 33.6 feet. In 1947 a recording of 33.8 feet was reached. This time there was less lost. Floods are a frequent occurrence in bottom area. In 1851 at the time of the big flood in Kansas City, the rainfall in Chillicothe was 54 inches for the year. Floods have been caused by ice jams and drifts in streams and on bridges.

Much channel straightening has been done. Soon after 1900 a ditch was plowed with a big plow and 18 head of oxen in the Medicine Creek bottoms east and southeast of Chula for about 2˝miles through rip-gut sod. This became the creek channel and cut off a big bend of the creek. It was known as the Manning ditch. In 1918 and 1919 the channel was straightened for several miles beyond this. A drainage district was formed. Meek was contracted on the upper end. He used a dredge boat. The lower part was dug with a drag line. Other districts completed this to the river. This channel improvement was partially successful for a number of years. Many bridges washed out as the channel grew wider with each high water. No provisions were made for maintenance. Drifts plugged the channel until it was closed for a distance of about seven miles. The water sought other channels and at flood times inundated great areas of bottom land. One benefit was the good soil deposited on the gumbo. About ten years ago, through the efforts of landowners, the channel was reopened. Much -leveling and bulldozing has been done and most of the bottoms are now planted in corn, beans, and milo.

The history of other bottom areas is quite the same. Shoal, Muddy, Honey, and other creeks were straightened and leveed. On Grand River many bends were cut off. Attempts at tiling were made in some areas, notably the American bottoms west of Chula. They were not successful.

The costs of much channel improvement were high and at times when money was scarce. Some assessments were not paid off and the land was turned over to the bonding companies. They later sold this land, much under $20.00 per acre, which was a fair price at that time for the condition it was in.

Army Engineer plans for the Grand River basin have thus far been of little benefit to Livingsion County. The Soil Conservation Service has given assistance in many projects.

There are locations in the county where bridges have been, but no longer exist. Many bridges are very old, horse and buggy bridges. They are not safe for today’s needs. A hundred years ago, this county found money to build adequate bridges. I believe at least one is still in use. Now the money is not available for that purpose. In this county several streams merge that drain a much larger area. A county should not have to bear all the expense for those bridges.


In the early days the church, with protracted meetings oyster suppers, ice ream suppers, bazaars, quilting circles, flower shows, Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas programs, provided social contacts. The schools with spelling bees, box suppers, and Christmas entertainments did the same.

In 1858 there was an Agricultural and Mechanical Society. In the early 1900’s there was the Anti-Horse Thief Association, circuses, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows, and Medicine shows. Wheeling, Avalon, and Chula had fairs. Nearly every town had a band. The fair and horse races were held at the fair grounds, north of Chillicothe, the present location of Simpson Park and the Country Club. Occasionally there was a balloon ascension. Later Chautauquas were popular in summer and Lyceum programs in winter. A Farm Congress was held each fall in Chillicothe about the time of World War I.

In more recent years and in connection with farm youth activities, the event was changed to a fall festival held at various locations. About 1960 a movement was started to secure a permanent place for such activities. After much cooperative effort, a fair grounds was secured at the Chillicothe Municipal Airport. Permanent buildings were erected and they are the site of the Livingston County 4-H and FFA Fair held each fall. It is an event that all the people of the area can be proud of.

From 1934 to 1942 there was a distinctly agricultural event, corn husking contests. Eighty minutes top speed, peg or hook with deductions for husks in the wagon and ears left in field. Fred Shinnemen represented Livingston in the State Contest in 1936. In 1927 he won the state contest and represented Missouri in the national contest in Minnesota. Snow and ice were on the stalks and as he shucked bare handed he was severely handicapped. In later years Dwight Jagger and Ursil Meeker represented Livingston County in the state contests. County contests were held. The national event drew as many as 100,000 people.

As corn shucking gave way to mechanical harvesting the event changed. In 1958 the state Mechanical Corn Harvesting contest was held on the Ted Vanlandingharn farm east of Chillicothe. In 1960 the National event was held on the same farm. The corn was good, well over 100 bushels per acre. Senator Lyndon Johnson was there as a featured speaker.

Rivers and creeks have always provided good fishing. Many large catfish have been caught. With the Missouri Conservation Commission providing fish for stocking ponds and lakes, they have been good fishing spots. Also restocking the area with whitetail deer has made it good for big game hunting. The proximity of Swan Lake and Fountain Grove Wildlife Area has made many duck and geese in Livingston County. Rattlesnake and Coyote hunting are also popular farm sports.


When the settlers came to Livingston County, many of them walked or rode horseback. The wagons were full of a great variety of needed articles and were pulled by horses or oxen. The family cow and some breeding stock were herded along. The first mules and jacks came up the Santa Fe trail. They were brought back by traders who had taken goods to Santa Fe. The jacks were crossed with draft horses and road horses that came from the east. This produced a mule that was superior to those of the southwest. A greater abundance of feed in this area and a big demand for draft animals to pull wagons to California and Oregon made this area good for producing horses and mules.

Cattle were of English breeds: reds and roans, sometimes called Durhams, also Shorthorns, and later Herefords, Angus, and Galloways. Early breeders of Shorthorn cattle in this county were P. H. Minor, 1870, and John Morris, who also bred Berkshire hogs and Cotswold and Shropshire sheep. Another Shorthorn breeder was T. F. B. Sothum, who in 1890 lived three miles north of Chillicothe, and had a private switchtrack on the Milwaukee railroad. Later, as markets were established, more dairy cattle were raised. Adams Creamery, Fairmont in 1870, and Swift & Company were early buyers. Also grocery stores took in eggs, cream, and butter in trade. In the twenties and thirties there was a trend to dairying. Many farmers milked cows by hand, ran the milk through a hand-cranked separator, and sold cream, or shipped it on the railroad.

Hogs were brought in very early as they were quite Adaptable and able to shift for themselves. Also they provided bacon and salt-cured meat that could be sold and carried on long journeys. It is recorded that the Spanish explorer, DeSoto, in 1540, on his journey from Florida to the Mississippi River and Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, drove along a small herd of hogs. They thrived and multiplied.

Sheep were a necessary part of pioneer life. They provided wool for clothing. The history of 1886 records very large flocks in Missouri.

The completion of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad was a great thing for the livestock industry. Stock could be shipped to larger markets. Cattle and hogs were driven to Chillicothe and other towns on the railroad. Many crossed Graham’s Mill bridge from several counties away. The year 1858 was a year of poor crops and many cattle died the following winter. Much of the first freight shipped on the new railroad was cattle hides.

Later the Wabash and Milwaukee Railroads provided outlets to other markets. Chula became the largest livestock shipping point on the Kansas City/Ottumwa division. Fourteen carloads were shipped from Sturges one night. Every town had a stockyards and buyers who assembled carloads. Most farms raised hogs and cattle. Two and three-year-old steers were fed and shipped to Kansas City and Chicago. With a load of livestock a shipper got a free ride to market in the caboose. He paid his way back on a passenger train. From Ira Blue came stories of shippers becoming well acquainted with the trainmen. They would crowd around the conductor and take cigars, fruit, and candy from him, then before leaving the train give him a generous tip. Another story is of one of them grabbing a brakeman as the train was pulling out, holding him until the train was down the track. It had to stop and back up to get its brakeman. Certain trains hauled the stock cars that came immediately behind the engine and coal car. A great number of feeder cattle were shipped through Livingston County to feed lots in Iowa and Illinois.

With the improvement of roads, trucks began to haul more livestock. They would pick up any number at the farm anytime roads and weather permitted. Also they could haul back feed, coal, and supplies. Several years ago the railroads discontinued hauling livestock. About 20 years ago trucks hauled much hay out of this area to dairy farmers in south Missouri. Now with more use of fertilizer in that area the demand has diminished.

Many upright silos of wooden staves, bricks, concrete blocks, and poured concrete, were put up between 1910-1950. They were a great aid in feeding and watering cattle. With the coming of bulldozers trench silos became popular. Many are still used. Now there are a few modern glass-lined silos, but not as many as in other areas.

Recent years have seen the introduction of so called exotic breeds of cattle. They carry different characteristics and give the advantage of cross breeding. These breeds are perhaps more popular in this area due to the success of an early, well-known breeder.

Livingston County has a great deal of land that is not suitable for plowing and continuous growing of row crops. It has always been more of a cow and calf area. The old cow is the best animal available to convert grass and crop residue to human food. She has helped farm the rougher areas and feed the family. She can reproduce herself and does not require costly repair parts.

Fifty years ago many farms had flocks of sheep. They produced wool and a crop of lambs, and many people liked to handle and feed them. Dogs, coyotes, and parasites were always a problem. Now not many are raised.

Hogs have paid for many farms. They are rapid growing and are efficient converters of grain to meat. Almost every farm kept some hogs, raising two litters a year, and using them to clean up corn fields, hog down corn, and to follow cattle in the feed lots. Now fewer farmers raise hogs. They require more labor, scoop shovels are less popular, and outside money is more available. Many hogs are now raised in confinement with fewer producers raising larger numbers per unit.

Fifty years ago a flock of chickens was on nearly every farm, including Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Reds, Wyandotte, Langshangs, Leghorns, and other breeds, along with turkeys, ducks, geese, guineas, and bantams. Now very few farms have chickens. Until the tractor replaced horses and mules, they were the only source of power except for oxen. Farming would have not progressed without them. In this county were many breeders of good quality horses and mules.


John Stewart, a native of Pennsylvania, came into this area at an early date as a buyer for the American Fur Company. He thought Nave Town (Springhill) would be a good place to settle down. When he returned to St. Louis he bought a stock of goods and returned with his family. He ran a hotel and packing house. Cured pork was hauled by wagon to a point on the Grand River about 1˝ miles down the river from the later site of Graham’s Mill. There it was loaded on flat boats and floated down the river to St. Louis. He also outfitted four wagons to go to California in 1849.

Edward Carney, a native of England, came to Chillicothe in 1870. After the Wabash Railroad was completed, he operated a packing plant southwest of Chillicothe on the Utica road. He employed about 30 men, and had several buyers who rode through this county on horseback buying livestock.

Chris Boehner came from Germany in 1871, and to Chillicothe four years later. He operated a packing plant in the northwest part of Chillicothe, southwest of Simpson Park. In the winter of 1884 he slaughtered 2000 hogs. A brick building and a pond are still at this site on the Windle property.


Indians who occupied this area grew corn, beans, and squash. But they, like the early settlers, depended largely on wild game, fruit, nuts, and berries. When the settlers came, the prairie land was covered with tall blue-stem, Little of this still exists. Some may be seen in old cemeteries and along railroads. The Missouri Prairie Foundation is preserving areas of native grasses in other parts of the state. Crops that the settlers grew were for human use and for livestock feed. There was little market for it. At the early mills it could pay for the grinding and be traded for other supplies.

In 1849 a steamboat, the Lake of the Woods, came to the forks of the river. It was loaded with wheat by A. T. Kirtley, Wm. Mead, and James Campbell. At St. Louis it sold for 500 per bushel.

In 1867 George Milbank built a mill in Chillicothe. He offered to buy wheat at any time. This created a market. At this time wheat was sowed by hand, cut with a cradle, and threshed with a flail. Corn was planted with a hoe, sometimes an axe and covered with a hoe. Also, rye, oats, hemp, and tobacco were grown. Then improved plows, mowers, McCormick binders, followed by horse-powered threshing machines, and balers greatly expanded the growing of crops. Steam engines came into use for threshing, saw mills, and breaking prairie and bottom land from tough sod. Gang plows with several bottoms had a hand lever for raising and lowering each plow.

Bluegrass, clover, and timothy were grown for hay and pasture. Hay was mowed, raked with a sulky or bull rake, and stacked with a pitch fork or overshot stacker. Jenkins Rake and Stacker Factory and Foundry moved from Browning to Chillicothe in 1889. It employed 75100 men. There was a broom factory and cigar factories in Chillicothe and other towns. There was a good market for hay to livery stables and for shipping on the railroad.

The first part of the 20th century was the days of the big threshing machines, powered by long drive belts from a steam engine and later by tractors. Those were the days of threshing rigs in every community. Wheat, oats, rye, and timothy were cut with a binder and shocked. When dry and the corn crop laid by, the threshing rigs started out. The crew was an engine man and a water hauler for steam engines, a separator man, whose usual stand was on top of the separator, 6-8 bundle wagons, 4 pitchers in the field, 2 grain haulers, a spike scooper, and sometimes a man on the straw stack, and kids with water jugs. It required plenty of help from neighbor ladies and hired girls at the house to prepare a noon meal and supper. They always set a bountiful table, a great variety of food, and dessert with coffee and iced tea. Sometimes farmers would haul in bundles and stack them in conical stacks near the barns. They could be threshed later with a smaller crew. Straw stacks made good winter feed and shelter for livestock. Some set posts in the ground and laid poles and planks over them. The straw stack was made in. the top of this.

Later a number of upright silos were built. it was somewhat the same system for filling silos with corn or sorgo. In the thirties the corn binders had worn out and money was scarce to replace them. Much corn was cut by hand. In the dry years corn never tassled out and a binder would not handle what was left over after the grasshoppers ate most of it. It required many acres to fill a silo. The usual wage was $1.00 per day with dinner. Prior to silos much corn was cut by hand and shocked for winter feed.

Fruit and apples were grown on nearly every farm. That which was not needed for home use was barreled and shipped. There were large orchards in the Utica and Wheeling areas. In 1908 the Chula News carried a notice of a farm for sale with 500 apple trees and 800 peach trees.

About 1930 soybeans were introduced, first used as a hay crop, mowed before maturity, raked with a sulky rake, shocked with a pitch fork, and hauled in for feeding or threshing. About this time Korean lespedeza also became popular as a legume that would grow on any soil and provide pasture, hay, and seed. It would re-seed, no matter how close it was pastured. Some barley was grown. It sometimes winter killed. Grain sorghum became popular after the combine came into use, as it withstood drought and flooding better than corn. Cattle, hogs, and horses ate most of what was produced except for wheat and some hay.

Tractors replaced horses and mules, and following them came corn pickers, combines, -and hay balers, first with auxiliary gas engines and later PTO-driven. Then they put rubber tires on everything, and starters and road gears in tractors. Now it is very different with self-propelled combines and windrowers, drying bins, grinder/mixers, trucks, forage harvesters, stackers, big balers, chisel plowers, mulchers, fertilizer trucks, and chemical insect and weed control, sometimes applied by airplanes.

Also, the farm has changed, Small farms have been combined, fences taken out, homes abandoned, buildings burned or bulldozed, and much ground diverted to row crops. This would be better in grass, if there were more cattle to eat it, which is not the case at this time. However, there is also a surplus of corn, wheat, and beans. Even farmers have changed. There is less general, independent, self-sufficient farming and more specialization. Some are strictly grain farmers. Some are living in town and going out to farm, and many are farming several farms miles apart.


Grass is the forgiveness of Nature-her constant benediction. Its tenacious fibers hold the earth in its place and prevent its soluble components from washing into the wasting sea. It invades the solitudes of the desert, climbs the inaccessible slopes and forbidden pinnacles of mountains, modifies climates, and determines the history, character, and destiny of nations. Unobtrusive and patient, it has immortal vigor and aggression. Banished from the thoroughfare and the field, it bides its time to return, and when vigilance is relaxed or the dynasty has perished, it silently resumes the throne from which it had been expelled, but which it never abdicated. It bears no blazonry of bloom to charm the senses with fragrance or splendor, but its homely hue is more enchanting than the lily or the rose, It yields no fruit in earth or air, and yet, should its harvest fail for a single year, f amine would depopulate the world. - John J. Ingalls


Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad

Track laying gangs from the east and from the west met at a point in Section 4 on the David Mumpower farm, three miles east of Chillicothe on the 13th of February, 1859. Besides gangs of workmen, these were present: William Kent, David Mumpower, George Babb, Sol Hoge, and others. Two railroad locomotives were on each side of the gap. As the last rail was put in place and the spikes driven home they set off a blast of whistles that echoed through the county for miles. From miles around people came in wagons, on horseback, and on foot to join in the celebration.

David Mumpower was born in Washington County, Va., in 1815. He lived nine years in Clay County, Mo., moving to Livingston County in 1850. He died in 1891 and is buried in Jones Cemetery. S. B. Mumpower, who later lived on the farm, was 10 years old at that time, and was present at the scene.

The railroad did a flourishing business as it had no competition for some time. The limit on speed was 18 miles per hour and the rate for passengers was 5 cents per mile.


Anderson, Marcellus J. and Rosemary 14-56-25 1874 - Balman, Marvin and Viola 5-59-23 1868 - Bartholome, George, and Eckert, Altie B 8 and 9-59-22 1871 - Bills, C. Press and Mary 4-58-25 1840 - Blycker, Bonnie Austin 5-56-25 1837 - Bonderer, Gerald and Margaret 12-57-25 1869 - Bowen, Lewis and Linnie 7-56-23 1866 - Casebeer, Margaret, John, and Charles 19-59-23 1850 - Chapman, Mrs. Nolan (Esther) 9-56-24 1868 - Coberley, William Daniel and Mary Frances 24-59-23 1857 - Cole, J. W 34-59-25 1873 - Culling, Ira A. and Dorothy 36-57-25 1853 - Culling, Warren G. and Patricia 36-57-25 1873 - Dorney, Maurice, Jr 1-56-24 1868 - Drummond, Irene Ballenger 17-59-23 1854 - Duncan, Thomas and Edna 24-56-22 1857 - Gilbert, Michael S 23-58-23 1853 - Graham, Gerald C. and Ruth I 17-59-23 1871 - Gray, Harold and Ruth E 18-56-22 1865 - Hayen, Harry and Joyce 17-57-23 1876 - Hill, Ethlyn Warner 19-56-25 1871 - Hooker, Wallace T. and Edna 19-59-23 1850 - Hooten, Ola Burner 23-56-24 1855 - Hudgins, Gary W. and Sheryl 13-57-25 1843 - Jacobs, Orville and Evelyn (Donovan) 36-59-23 1868 - Jennings, Leroy and Gwendolyn (Metzner) 11-58-23 1868 - Johnson, L. M. and Mildred 25-56-25 1868 - Jones, Mr. and Mrs. David Wendell 8-56-24 1868 - Jones, J. Roy and Frankie 5-56-24 1868 - Jones, Lawrence G 20-56-24 1868 - Jones, Victor and Karlene 21-56-24 1868 - Larsen, Charles and Rosemary (Boucher) 16-56-25 1859 - Littrell, Melvin L 9-57-22 1855 - Lucas, Gladys C 12-58-25 1860 - Lutes, Keith and Alice 8-56-22 1866 - Mansfield, Herbert E., Eugene W., and Cox, Mary E. 17-58-25 1870 - Mathews, Mr. and Mrs. Claude 18-56-22 1865 - Morris, Ora C. and Grace 20-59-23 1842 - Morris, Ora C. and Dorothy 1-58-24 1862 - Morris, Ora C., Dorothy, and Mabel 6-58-23 1864 - Morris, Ora C. and Dorothy 6-58-23 1873 - Neis, Geneva and Neis, Victor 33-59-23 1870 - Peery, John L 18-59-25 1839 - Phillips, John J. and Okie 7-59-22 1850 - Remick, Hazel Stamper 18 and 19-57-24 1838 - Rickenbrode, Holton R. (Rickenbrode) 26-56-23 1869 - Rickenbrode, Holton R. (Roberts) 13-56-23 1876 - Roberts, Verl E. (Roberts) 33-59-23 1873 - Roberts, Verl E. (Uhrmacher) 33-59-23 1870 - Rockhold, George W 24-57-25 1848 - Sanson, Harry and Viva (Watson) 16-57-22 1871 - Seiberling, George and Ruth 36-57-24 1868 - Silvey, Willard A 18-56-22 1836 - Smith, Mrs. Brock 10-59-23 1865 - Steele, Mr. and Mrs. Francis M 6-56-23 1868 - Steen, Lee M. and Opal L 5-58-23 1853 - Stone, Mrs. Edith B., Grace, and Calvin 30-57-24 1864 - Thomas, T. J., and Thomas, Eileen 21-56-24 1870 - Thompson, Mrs. Arthur (Nellie) 4-58-24 1840 - Transue, Cecil, Jessie, and Shirley 16-59-22 1876 - Trumbo, Buel 30-59-22 1861 - Walker, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth 17-58-23 1862 - Ward, Don and Eleanor 6-59-23 1856 - Ward, Norman R., and Randy 6-59-23 1855 - Warner, Mrs. Clinton (Zeola) 18-56-25 1869 - Warren, Dale and Rema 4-57-22 1866 - Webb, Clifford and Lola 7 and 18-56-25 1851 - West, Richard L., and Burgess, Thelma M 7 and 18-59-24 1840 - Wilson, Floyd R., and Wilson, Alta L 26-58-25 1868

Click here to read about our 100-Year Farm Families...


Chapman & Chapman, Attorneys
Included in the business of this firm is agricultural affairs of Livingston County. Members of the firm have also owned farm land in the county. In 1876 Lewis A. Chapman opened a law office in Chillicothe. He was born in 1852 in Rappahannock County, Virginia. His parents were John and Jemima (Nolen) Chapman, who came to this county in 1856. The mother’s parents came in 1855. They farmed and operated a store at Utica. John Chapman was a cabinetmaker. He died of cholera in 1867. The son’s early schooling was limited. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1870. Being too young to practice, he taught school for several years. He was one of the organizers of the Citizens National Bank. He served as City Attorney, City Councilman, and a member of the school board for a number of years.

Scruby Hardware, Inc.
William Scruby, born in England in 1827 came with his parents to America in 1841. He lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois before coming to Wheeling, Mo., in 1872. Two years later he built the first grain elevator in Wheeling. He also sold farm implements and operated a lumber yard. Later with his sons he purchased a grain and implement business in Chillicothe. They bought and sold grain, coal, apples, and hickory nuts. Also they handled a complete line of farm machinery, buggies, spring wagons, harness, and windmills. In 1893 they built a building at 508 Washington Street. They discontinued the grain and implement business and in 1915 and since that time have operated as Scruby Hardware, Inc.

History of Milbank Mills
The history of Milbank Mills in Chillicothe begins in 1867, when George Milbank came to Chillicothe to found the first merchant mill in the area. However, the company itself traces its beginnings back more than 200 years, to the mid 1700’s, when there was a Milbank Mills operated by earlier ancestors of the Milbank family, at Little Bardfield, in Essex, England. In this country, the Milbank family have established mills in Virginia, and later in Illinois prior to locating in Chillicothe in 1867. Operations of Milbank Mills in Chillicothe have continued under the Milbank family through four generations. George Milbank was succeeded as president by his son, John Thomas Milbank in 1897. In turn, John Thomas Milbank was succeeded as president by his son, John Palmer Milbank, in 1933; and John Palmer Milbank’s son, Edward Milbank, became president in 1970.

Originally, Milbank Mills was a flour mill with by products being used to manufacture livestock feed. When it was first founded, the mill provided the first cash market for wheat in the area. There had been some earlier mills in Livingston County, but they had been grist mills which ground wheat into flour and returned the flour to the farmer, keeping a portion for the milling fee. Milbank Mills was established as a merchant mill, which meant that wheat was purchased from farmers for cash, and the flour which the mill produced was sold to others. The establishment of a ready cash market for wheat greatly fostered its importance in Livingston and surrounding counties. Farmers had a source of cash, which promoted the establishment of other businesses. Markets for Milbank flour ranged as far as Florida, Texas, Nebraska, and Chicago.

The first location of Milbank Mills in Chillicothe was at the corner of Washington and Bryan Streets, where the Taco Tico and Kentucky Fried Chicken buildings now stand. In 1867 this site was a field of oats, outside the city proper. The location was chosen because of a large ravine, which ran through the property. A dam was erected across this ravine, which created a pond, known for many years as the "Mill Pond." A source of water was important to the operation of the mill, since at that early date there was no city water supply in Chillicothe. The pond water was used to operate a steam engine, which operated the mill. During one especially dry summer in the 1880’s the mill pond went dry. In order to meet this crisis, water was hauled in large wooden barrels from Grand River, south of Chillicothe, to the mill site, a distance of some three miles, with wagons and teams of horses, and the steam engine was kept running, day and night. The rains came and the crisis passed. We still marvel at the devotion and energy of those early pioneers who kept the mill in operation.

In 1903 the original steam engine was replaced with a new and improved model that had first been exhibited at the St. Louis World’s Fair in that year. After the fair ended the display engine was dismantled and shipped to Chillicothe where it was installed to furnish power for the next 30 years, until it, too, was replaced by a more modern Diesel" engine. Through the early years the mill pond, in addition to being a source of water, served the community as a swimming hole, fishing hole, and skating rink. There are also recorded instances in which the pond was used as a baptizing site including once on New Year’s Day! The pond was drained in 1914 after a city water supply had been established, and changing community standards came to regard the pond as a liability, breeding mosquitoes, rather than an asset for all to enjoy.

There are a number of historical footnotes concerning the operation of Milbank Mills over the years, which reflect the changing life styles in the area. Originally, light in the mill was furnished by whale oil lamps, which were shallow cups with a handle attached. The cup was filled with whale oil and a burning wick floated on top. It could be carried to different work areas. Later, a small electric generator, driven by the steam engine, was installed to furnish direct current electricity, which was used for lighting only; and still later, alternating current electricity, supplied by the city power plant, was used for both lighting and power in the mill.

The first telephone in Chillicothe was a one-line system, connecting the office at Milbank Mills with the home of George Milbank. The first copying machine in Chillicothe was a hand operated "wet press," manufactured before the turn of the century, which took two hours and a strong arm to produce a copy. The first moisture tester for grain in the area was at Milbank Mills, and required one-half day to test one sample, using a process which boiled the grain in oil. The first dump, for automatic unloading of grain, was a hand-operated wagon hoist, in which a winch was cranked by hand to raise the front wheels of the wagon off the ground. From these and other items used in the early days of the mill, it becomes apparent that many of today’s ideas are not new. The ideas themselves, though have been greatly improved in their application, making them more efficient.

In the 1860’s and 1870’s, Milbank Mills greatly changed agriculture in this area, by providing a cash market for wheat, which encouraged agricultural and commercial growth. This interaction between Milbank Mills and agriculture continued and during the 1930’s and 1940’s a significant agricultural change was made which greatly affected the course of Milbank Mills.

Originally, this area had produced soft wheat, which is used in the manufacture of cake and pastry flours. During the 1930’s and 1940’s the area gradually changed to the production of hard wheat, which is used in the manufacture of flour for bread. However, hard wheat produced in Missouri is generally inferior in its baking qualities to the hard wheat produced in Kansas. In order to produce a quality bread flour, it is necessary to blend Kansas wheat with Missouri wheat. The extra freight involved in the shipment of Kansas wheat gradually made the milling of flour in Livingston County uneconomical.

Since the early days of the mill, animal feeds had been a part of the total business, and this part gradually became more and more important. Finally, in 1960, after 93 years of continuous flour milling operations, a decision was made to halt all flour milling and to concentrate in the production of animal feed. In 1963 an entirely new feed mill, of slip form concrete construction, and equipped with fully automatic machinery, was built in south Chillicothe, at the location of the former Jenkins Hay Rake and Stacker Company. In 1964 the original mill location, which included portions of the original building, was destroyed by fire. Since that time all operations of Milbank Mills have been headquartered at 1 Brunswick Street in south Chillicothe.


In response to a letter mailed to Livingston County farm families and business firms the following made contributions. We hereby thank them for their support:

Anderson’s Service Center Kanan Abstract Co., Inc.
Bacon Sales Co. E. J. Krautmann, D.VM.
Barnes-Baker Motors Livingston County Farm Bureau
Beebe Machine Shop Manning Extension Club
Hugh Campbell Auction Service Mart Super Drug Co., Inc.
Chillicothe Animal Hospital Midwest Concrete-Asphalt Co.
Chillicothe Iron & Steel, Inc. Milbank Mills, Inc.
Chillicothe State Bank MFA Exchange and Plant Foods
Chula Farmers Co-op M.F.A. Oil Co.
Churchill Truck Lines, Inc. Moore Equipment Co.
Citizens National Bank Orscheln Industries
Community Bank Production Credit Association
Cooke Sales & Service Co. Rainbow Extension Club
Courtney-Wood Oil Co. Reeds Seeds, Inc.
Farmers Mutual Insurance Co. Singer Locker Service
Grand River Grain, Inc. Bob Staton Service
Hayes Cattle, Inc. Still’s Digging Service
Hoover Oil Co. Summerville Insurance Agency
Hutchinson-Walker-Turner Insurance & Real Estate T & R Soil Service, Inc.
Industrial Equipment Co. Roy Westfall Lumber Co.
Investors Federal Savings and Loan Association Woods Ford, Inc.
Irvinbilt Company

Individuals who have contributed:

Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Adams Bob and Linda Kimmis
Marvin Albertson Mr. and Mrs. Donald Kissick
Mr. and Mrs. Amos Anderson Mr. and Mrs. Clem Koenig
Emmett Applebury E. J. Krautmann
Mr. and Mrs. Earl Arr Franklin Lee
Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Arr Jack Lightner
Clarence E. Arthaud Melvin Littrell
Warner Bachman Jim Lowe
Mr. and Mrs. Howard Barnhart Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Lowe
Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bauer Gladys Lucas
Mr. and Mrs. George Bauer Raymond McCrary
Eugene Baxter Mr. and Mrs. Earnest McDonald
Beetsma Farms, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Wally McGinnis
Bennett Brothers Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Merservey
Earl R. Benskin Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Meyer
Pres and Mary Bills Middleton Farms
Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Bonderer Mr. and Mrs. Edward Milberger
Claude Bosler Mrs. Dowe Miller
Paul Boucher Mr. and Mrs. Ray Mitchell
Mr. and Mrs. Francis Bowes Ora C. Morris, Jr.
Elnora M. Braun Geneva Neis
Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Braun Mr. and Mrs. Marion Nigus
Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Breeden Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Noblitt
Ted Brockhaus John L. Peery
Edward Buckner Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Pfaff
Mr. and Mrs. Louis Byrd Frank Pfaff
Lewis Campbell Mr. and Mrs. Robert Posch
Mr. and Mrs. Gene Carlton Mr. and Mrs. Albert Reeter
J. S. Casebeer Holton R. Rickenbrode
Mr. and Mrs. Bill Christison Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Riggle
Daniel Coberley George Roberts, Jr.
Ken and Rachel Coburn Wayne Rockhold
Carl Corf Hubert and Mina Russell
Bill Cramer Lawrence J. Saale
Mrs. Eva Cross Mr. and Mrs. Bill Schauer
Kirk Deardorff Mr. and Mrs. George Seiberling
Mr. and Mrs. Merle Doughty Mr. and Mrs. Bob Sherrow
Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Drake Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur E. Singer
Glen I. Drummond Mr. and Mrs. Bill Smith
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Duncan Paul and Gertrude Smith
Robert A. Fifer Mr. and Mrs. Paul Steele
Donald L. Garr Lee Steen
Mr. and Mrs. George Gilliland M. M. Street
Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Gooch Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Stedem
Harold B. Gray Gerald Stephens
Mr. and Mrs. Voyle Grothe Willis and Everett Stevenson
Haas Brothers Elmer Stoffregen
Clarence W. Hanson Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Thomas
Harvey Harrington T. J. Thomas
Harry Hayen Ted Thomas
Donald Hendrix Mr. and Mrs. Randal Vardaman
Roy Hicklin Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Ward
George Hightower David N. Walker
Mr. and Mrs. Niles Hill Mr. and Mrs. Harry N. Walker
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Hinnen, Jr. Raymond Walker
L. P. Hopper Harold R. Warren
Anna M. Howe Alva Watson
Mr. and Mrs. Bill Hoyt Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Webb
Evan W. Hutchinson Dale and Marilou Whiteside
Mr. and Mrs. Deane Jacobs Mr. and Mrs. C. William Wilson
Mr. and Mrs. Orville Jacobs Mr. and Mrs. Wisehaupt
Chet James Mr. and Mrs. Ron Wolf
June Duncan Johnson Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Wombles
Mr. and Mrs. Ben W. Jones Johnnie R. Zullig
Mr. and Mrs. David Wendell Jones Raymond Zullig
Fred W. Kerr

Livingston County Agricultural Bicentennial Committee

The following members have served on this committee, meeting every month throughout the past year:

Merle Doughty Darrell Skipper
Leo Hopper Mrs. Maurice Breeden
John Cusick Randal Vardaman
Marion Nigus Richard Hargrave
W. W. Lowe Kenneth Corzette
Bob Kaye Gerald Bonderer
Bill Gutshall Mrs. Paul Steele
Clem Koenig John Yeomans


In addition to the committee and the contributors we wish to give special thanks to the farm families and others for supplying the material for this book. Without their contributions it would not have been possible. We also give special thanks to Mrs. J. Roy (Frankie) Jones, Mrs. Maurice (Doris) Breeden, Darrell Skipper, and Leo Hopper for assembling the material; and to the following for willing assistance: The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune, Radio Station KCHI, Jean Arthaud, Willa Jane Smith, Graham Alter, Juanita Wombles, Mary Cooper, Kenneth Corzette, Randal Vardaman, Jane Sherrow, Maxine Eckert, Grace Stone, Betty Barrows, Kathy Anderson, Bill Gutshall, Doris Norman, Zeola Warner, Earle Teegarden, Pat Laffey, Roy Hicklin, Mildred Hutchison, Marcia Hoskins, Sam Bowe, Madeline Hawkins, Lee Peniston, Maurice Breeden, Marlene Breeden, Janice Steele, Gerald Bonderer, and Dick Ailor.

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Livingston County Library
450 Locust Street, Chillicothe, MO 64601
Phone: 660.646.0547
Fax: 660.646.5504
Children's Services: 660.646.0563