Chapter 31
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Chapter 31 - History of Henry County Missouri 1883



Osage Township

      The first settlement in Osage Township was in 1835. To be sure, this settlement was neither large or extensive nor did it grow rapidly. Captain Royston, now deceased, Alexander Bowles and Whitmill Holland these were all that can be named of the settlers who came in 1835, but there was George Bowles, William Stewart, David White, Montgomery Wright, John Johnson and Reuben Good, who came in 1836-7. James Smith came in the latter year, while Overton Parks was a settler of 1835 or the spring of 1836, and John Thornton in 1837 or 1838. These were the principal early settlers.

      At this time Osage was a part of Springfield Township, and it remained such until 1858. Judge Hillegas, who was County judge for a number of years, settled in this township in 1856.

      In 1858, as above mentioned, the county court created Osage Township and gave it the following metes and bounds:

      "Ordered, That a municipal township be established within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning at a point on Grand River, where the County line between Benton and Henry intersects said river; thence south to the corner of the county; thence west along the county line dividing Henry and St. Clair Counties to where the range line between ranges 26 and 27 intersects the county line; thence north along said range line to where it intersects Deepwater Creek; thence east down the main channel of said Deepwater Creek to where it intersects Grand River; thence down the middle of the channel of said river to place of beginning.

      And that the house of George W. Bowles be constituted and declared the voting precinct of said township, and that said township be known and called by the name of Osage Township and that the same be certified forthwith."

      This was at the May term of the county court, and the first election was the annual August election of that year.

      The first ferry across Grand River was kept by John T. Thornton, who was born in Virginia in the year 1800, and who, coming to Missouri, settled in Osage Township, Henry County, a few miles below Brownington, in 1839. This has since been known as "Thornton's Ferry." Mr. Thornton has been deaf and blind for thirty years, is now eighty-three years old, and lives with his widowed daughter, Mrs. A. R. Everett, in Brownington. He has been a noble, self-sacrificing pioneer, known only to be respected by all. He loves to talk over the reminiscences of the past, for those associations and their recollections are vivid to him even now.

      The second ferry in the township was kept by David White, at the crossing of Grand River, near Brownington, and was called "White's Ferry." When Consville was laid out, in 1867, by Captain J. L. Consollis, the ferry was still called White's Ferry.



      In the laying out of this village the name of Consville was given it, as was also the postoffice and Capt. Consollis became the first postmaster. He put up the first store and was the first merchant, keeping what was called a general stock, and doing considerable business from the north as well as from the south of Grand River. After the war the voting precinct was changed from the Widow Bowles, George W. having died, to the house of John Mohervies.



      The town of Brownington was first located in the year 1869, and joined that of Consville and was laid out by William M. Doyle. This gentleman moved a store building upon the location and opened the first store. He had, however, a partner, Mace Avery, and the firm was Doyle & Avery. Mr. James Comer put up the first residence and moved therein and was the "oldest inhabitant." The same year a school house was erected, which was also the church of the place . This, however, was a subscription school at first. It was made a public school, by purchase, in the winter of 1870-71, and Miss Mattie Parks was the first teacher. The first school was taught by Miss Kate Watkins, on the completion of the school house in the winter of 1869-70. This, as we said before, was a private or subscription school.


Metes and Bounds

      In Organizing Osage Township its metes and bounds included all of the present township of Fairview, its western line being range line between 26 and 27, running to Deepwater Creek; thence following that creek to Grand River and down that river to the Benton County line. When the county court reorganized the county in 1873 Fairview Township was taken off of Osage and the latter was left with the following dimensions:


No. 19 - Osage

      "Composed of so much of township No. 40 of range No. 25, as lies on the right bank of Grand River, except the territory laying north of the line running east and west through the center of section No. 7, and the west half of fraction of the southwest quarter of section No. 8, in said township and range. Also all of township No. 40 of range No. 24, laying south of Grand River and north of the Osage River."

      This boundary breaks it up into many fractional sections, but it has in round figures a trifle over forty-seven sections, or about 30,200 acres of land. It is rather a rough township with hills and bluffs along the Grand River and on the Osage, in the southeast. In the south and southeastern part it reaches into a fine prairie, and for a stock township it is not excelled in the county. Sheep, cattle and hogs cannot find a better country, go where you will. It is largely devoted to cattle and hogs and should be to sheep. The soil along the bottoms is very deep and very rich, and the prairies are fully up to the average. Corn is the staple crop. The settlers are in need of a little more energy and pride. A good many live in cabins that are simply a disgrace, and it is not necessary, in a large number of cases. In fact they have means to build comfortable houses, and it is not to the credit of some of them in ignoring both comfort and looks for the sake of the almighty dollar.


Population - Fire

      The population of Osage Township in 1870 was 828. This also included Fairview Township. In 1880, the census showed a gain of nearly 200, after the township of Fairview was taken off, it having a population of 1,010. This is as rapid an increase as any agricultural township in the county, showing that it has been recognized as a good stock country, and a corn growing district unsurpassed.

      On Sunday night April 11, 1875. the largest fire ever experienced in

Brownington occurred. It was discovered about four o'clock in the morning, and was in the large dry goods store of Robert Redding. The post office was kept in the same building, and the loss in Stamps was about $90, besides all the fixtures belonging to the office. Mr. Redding's loss was considerable, though an insurance of $3,725 was carried by him on his stock. There is considerable coal in the township, and quite considerable is being mined, that is for home consumption. When the railroad from Clinton to Osceola shall have been completed to Brownington, these mines will be valuable. The Hobbs' coal bank is now being worked on Section 30, about one and a half miles southwest of the town of Brownington. The developments of this wealth will add much to the advancement of the township, as well as its little but enterprising capital - Brownington. Something may be gathered of the stock interest, and corn raising by the following item taken from a correspondent's letter to the Clinton Democrat. It says:

      T. H. Atkins and O. M. Potts have purchased from Peeler & Kirkley 104 head of cattle, average weight 1,200 pounds, and upwards of 150 head of hogs, average 275 pounds . The purchasers will ship the best of the hogs and feed the remainder for the June market. They have about 8,000 bushels of corn on hand which they will feed. The sale aggregates a total of about $7,500. This is a sample of what the stockmen are doing in good old Osage.



      This village, as before stated, was first settled in 1869, although it may be stated as being settled in 1857, Consollis being its founder, as at this day the two places are one. It lies south of; and about one-half mile from Grand River, and is directly on the line of the Clinton & Osceola Railroad, which is expected to be completed to the latter town during the present year, 1883, and will probably become the largest and most important station on the line of the road between the points named. It had in 1880, a population of 251, and now numbers fully 300, if not over.


Churches - Business

      The Brownington Presbyterian Church was first organized in 1873 but the church was not erected in the village until 1880. They now have a neat frame structure, erected in the last named year at a cost of $1,000, being 30x40 feet in size, and substantially but plainly furnished. Its first preacher was the Rev. J. F. Watkins, and has a membership of about sixty.


Business Interests

Doyle & McFarland, general merchandise

O. M. Potts, general merchandise

Sheldon & Payne, general merchandise

Ellington & Bros., drugs and groceries

A. H. Camp, shelf and heavy hardware

J. J. Stevens, drugs and medicines

Henry C. Bowles, Brownington Hotel

Peeler Bros. & S. L. Kirkly, stock dealers

Dr. Taylor, Dr. Hardeman, Dr. Stevens, Dr. McGlade


Mt. Zion M. E. Church

      On the southern section line between sections 25 and 36, being however, on section 25, Mt. Zion M. E. Church is located, within about a mile of the St. Clair County line, and in township 40 of range 25, and a little over a quarter of a mile from the range line between 25 and 24. It is the oldest church in the township, and first organized way back in the fifties. Not all of the original members can be given, but the following are among those who first joined: J. A. Gilkey and wife, D. S. Walker and wife, David Walker and wife, Judge J. Hillegas and wife, Henry Hubbard and wife, Sol. Breitenstein and wife, M. J. Hillegas and wife, John Morewise and wife, Jesse Sheppard and wife, and Linsey Retting. The members at last raised a subscription of $1,000 and erected their church edifice on the spot above described, in 1872. It is 30x40 feet in size, and a good, comfortable place of worship. The church is still well attended by good sized congregations, and is in a good Condition and exercises a strong moral influence for good. Its first pastor was the Rev. Dr. Wendall.



      When first organized into school districts Osage was given one in each congressional township of which it is composed, being parts of township 40, of ranges 24 and 25. In 1878 it boasted of six public schools and in 1883 it has twelve. In educational matters it is up fully with the most advanced of her sister townships, and if they take but little pride in dwelling houses, they are strongly in favor of educational progress and are ready to meet the expense promptly and cheerfully.

      With a full average attendance arid a six months term, the children of school age are rapidly advancing in their studies. The future of the township in its educational facilities is assured and when a railroad shall pass through her territory, so that her people will have transportation to the outside world and can speak by the electric wires, Osage Township will develop rapidly, and her advance, progress and material prosperity is likely to astonish her municipal sister, and here she is left until the day of resurrection shall come, and she stands forth disenthralled.


Fairview Township

      is one of the center townships of the county, east and west, its southern border lies on the St. Clair County line, and is in size a congressional township of six miles square, excepting a portion of its northeastern and northern border caused by the sinuous course of Deepwater Creek, which takes off two and three-fourths sections of land, making its area 21,280 acres. It is at least four-fifths prairie, with quite a heavy body of timber on the banks of Deepwater, which flows through and along its northern border.

      Cooper Creek flows in from the center of the south part of the township, and with Coal Branch waters the eastern portion. Minson Creek rises in the south center and runs north, and Marshall Creek, the largest, comes in on the west about two and a half miles from its south line, and running northeast, empties into Deepwater. White Oak Branch is in the northeast corner.

      With these streams there is plenty of water for all farm and stock purposes, but, with the exception of Marshall, none of the branches amount to much.



      While the county was under the civil jurisdiction of Lafayette County, Fairview Township was a part of Springfield Township of the latter county. When Rives, now Henry, County was organized the township was divided on range line 26, one-half being in Grand River Township and the eastern half in Springfield, as named by the Rives County Court.

      The "Ten Mile Prairie," so called, starts in this township, which is noted for its beautiful undulating surface, the luxuriant growth of its grasses, the depth and richness of its soil and its prolific yield.

      The township came into being in the great division of the county in 1873, when nine townships were made nineteen. Its boundaries are described below:


No. 18 - Fairview

      "Composed of all of Congressional Township No. 40 of range No. 26, excepting the east half and northwest quarter of section No. 1, and the north half of sections Nos. 2, 3 and 4, and lot No. 2 of the northwest quarter of section No. 5, and lot No. 2 of the northwest quarter of section No. 6, and the northeast quarter of section No. 12 in said township and range."


Old Settlers

      The township was not settled as early as the more northern or eastern portions of the county. Albert Dunning and James McNew, who came in 1839, seem to have been the first settlers, or among the first. There were a large family of the Dunnings and they followed Albert the next year and in 1841. They were Truman Dunning, Young Dunning and Henry Dunning and families . Robert McFarland came in the fifties, and so did William McKee, Thomas Hamilton and A. Cleveland, John Tade, Daniel and Joseph Rhodes and James Cook. They settled on and represented nearly all parts of the township. There are no towns or villages in the township, and it had a farming population in 1880 of 848. There has been some new settlers since then and the township at this time has probably 1,000 in population. It is certainly one of the best agricultural townships in the county and when the new railroad to Osceola is built, will not be far off from a station. Its northwest portion is but from two to five miles from LaDue Station, while Brownington, within a mile of its central eastern portion, will give railroad facilities to the entire east side, from one to four miles, or fully half of the township.

      Coal has been found on sections 12 and 13 and at other places, and Coal Branch was given the name in the southeast, because of coal exposure. Undoubtedly the east half of the township is well underlaid with coal, and it is claimed with veins from six to twelve feet in thickness, but as yet is undeveloped.


Schools and Churches

      They have one Dunkard or German Baptist Church, located on section 6, in the northwest corner of the township, the other denominations in the township have the use of the school house for service. The Dunkard Church was built in 1879, but was organized several years before. The members of the church united for its erection, and is a neat and plain place of worship. Its pastors have been Rev. J. Studebaker and Rev. Jacob Fahnestock . The church is in a flourishing condition. There are six districts or public schools in the township, which is about the average in the county. They are all well attended, with yearly advancement, very plainly to be seen. The average attendance being nearly forty to the school. The future of the township looks favorable for a good immigration, and it needs but earnest hearts and willing hands to return fourfold to its industrious inhabitants. In the future aggregate of agricultural wealth, according to her population, Fairview will not be behind her municipal sisters.


Bear Creek Township

      This township is No. 17, of the series of nineteen townships organized in 1873, which now constitutes the municipal divisions of Henry County. It is bounded on the north by Davis, and east by Fairview Townships. On the south is St. Clair County, and west, Deepwater Township. It has thirty-six sections of land, being a congressional township, six miles square, or an acreage 23,040 acres.

      Bear Creek is the principal stream within its border. It flows in on the west side, near the center, north and south, passing diagonally and with a sinuous course towards the northeast corner, where it empties into Deepwater, about three-quarters of a mile from its eastern boundary, and near the northern line of the township. Deepwater touches the northeast corner of the township. Marshall Creek passes from west to east, clear across its southern side. These, with Trap Branch, which flows into Marshall Creek, constitute its water privileges.

      Springs also abound, and water can be had almost anywhere at a depth of from twelve to forty feet.

      Timber is abundant on Bear Creek, while a plentiful supply of fuel can be had from Marshall Creek and Trap Branch. A long Bear Creek the land is broken, and there are a few places not easy of cultivation, but the bottom lands are rich, with a soil so deep as to be comparatively inexhaustible. The prairies are rolling rather than undulating, with some level stretches, and again rising to a height that gives a beautiful view of the surrounding country.

      Its description as given by the county court is:


No. 17 - Bear Creek

      "Composed of all of congressional township, No. 40, of range 27," and this is still its proportions. In 1880, it had a population of 817, and has slowly increased the past three years. It is a good stock township, especially in its northern and southern portions, and there is no better corn land than the lands of Bear Creek, lying upon the divide between Bear Creek and Marshall Creek. The Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad runs about three and three-quarter miles through the northwestern part of the township. Montrose is its principal post office, though the northeastern portion go to LaDue.


Schools, Etc.

      This township, also, has six school districts, with good school buildings in all of them. They assess no taxes except in an occasional demand, the township, county and state school fund being found sufficient for school purposes. The average school term is from four to six months, with a good average attendance. A Methodist Episcopal Church is located on Bear Creek, section 10, and on the northwest quarter. It has been organized a number of years, but the present church was not erected until 1881, at a cost of about $1,500, its first pastor being the Rev. King. It is exercising a large influence for good, and has every prospect of increasing in membership and spreading a strong moral and Christian example over a large extent of country.

      Bear Creek Township has no village or post office within its borders cereals and stock raising is the business of its population.


Old Settlers

      It was settled in 1838 by a few enterprising spirits, and it was not long before others followed. The Teays, Gutridges, Fahnestocks, Kings, Stillwells, Brownings and Eppersons were among those who settled up its valuable lands. In those early days Bear Creek Township proved one of the best for game in the whole southern part of the county. Bear Creek bottoms seem to be fairly alive with game. The prairies would be full during the day, and at night the wooded bottom lands would be their haunts. The musical howl of the wolf was almost of nightly occurrence. Bears were often found, but the wild turkeys were found in droves. The early pioneer found little trouble to supply his winter's meat.

      There are very few more productive townships in the county than Bear Creek, and what it needs are men of brains and brawn to settle her prairies and woodland, and make what is now waste land a land of increased productiveness and wealth.


M. E. Church South

      This church is one of the early organizations of the county, dating back to 1842, some forty-one years ago. It was not a large congregation that inaugurated the church, but they were earnest workers in the good cause. Not all of the original members names can be remembered now, but among them were Alexander Gragg and wife, Macon Gragg and wife, Peter Stricker and wife, John Gragg and wife, Samuel Dickinson and wife, George and Elizabeth Gutridge, Bluford Marchant and wife, Mrs. Clayton, James E. Taylor and wife, Ferdinand Somers and wife, James Wilson and wife and Samuel McAhee and wife. The church has not very rapidly progressed, and while it does not number a very large membership, yet is strong and steady in the faith and spreading surely, if slowly, an influence for good. Under the earnest work of its present pastor, the Rev. Briggs, of Barton County, it will continue to exercise a spirit of brotherly love and true Christianity in its sphere.

      Their church building is an old one now, having been erected in 1855. The building is 45x35, frame, and cost $700. It is substantially finished. The first preacher was the Rev. McDaniel, and its first presiding elder, Rev. Jamison. This record shows that all through the troubles and trials of years it is yet a beacon light to earthly mortal, showing them the true path which leads to life everlasting.