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The Clinton Eye, Clinton, Missouri, Saturday, June 28, 1890


Her Superb Location, Material Wealth and Undeveloped Resources -- Facts and Figures that Challenge the Attention of Capitalists and Manufacturers.

When Wm. M. Doyle laid out the town of Brownington, twenty-one years ago, he knew that he ha chosen wisely; for nature had already formed the site with wondrous skill and matchless beauty. A Lovely valley stretching to the south and west in one vast rolling sea of grass and prairie bloom, studded upon either side by graceful hills; while at its foot, and close hat hand, the primeval forest stood, thro' which the limpid waters ran hurrying, or with restful ease, pushing forward to the sea. But little did he dream that beneath him all about him were hidden mines of wealth richer than the treasures of orient kings, and vaster far than the world's best diamond fields.

Nature loves to keep her treasures closely guarded. True, the teeming soil may put forth flower, plant and tree, and proclaim by vigorous growth and blushing tint its alluvial depth and hidden power; the hillside may, from touch of frost and erosive kiss of rain, show the substances, the age, the depth and dip of strata, but it is only at the call of labor that her secret chambers are unlocked and her richest treasures yielded up. At this imperial call, however, nature has no spot too sacred and holds no treasures too divine for man's enjoyment.

Brownington is some twelve miles southeast of Clinton, three miles east of Deepwater, and a half mile south and west of Grand river. On the KC&S railroad, it is about 100 miles from Kansas City. It is surrounded by a rich farming country and splendid pasture lands, but by far the most important elements of its future growth, the ones that give strongest promise of prosperity, are its vast deposits of valuable coals, clay, iron, stone, gravel and ochre, together with an inexhaustible abundance of wood and water.


Coal and clay are the twin sisters that arm in arm will lead this section on to future greatness, and inaugurate an industrial era full of prosperity and happiness.

The coal mines have been worked for several years and the output is enormous, but the supply is practically inexhaustible.l Both hard and soft coal are found, and they are equally good for steam purposes, gas making and forge work. There is a variety here known as "peacock coal," found in veins from 34 to 40 inches thick, which is simply unsurpassed for the various industrial uses. It yields a larger percentage of gas then any other variety, and for blacksmith purposes, such as welding steel, etc., is substantially as good as the finest Pennsylvania coal. the mines already opened have a capacity for furnishing from 30 to 40 car loads per day.


In Chicago coal costs $1.65 per ton, St. Louis the lowest price is $1.37 and one half per ton and that too, five miles from the terminals. In Kansas City the cost is but little below St. Louis, but here in Brownington the miners bring to the surface and riddle the coal for 85 cents per ton, and arrangements could be made by which the best of coal could be furnished to manufacturing establishments here at a cost not exceeding $1.10 per ton. Coe, Thompson & Co. are working the Blair Diamond mines with a force of sixty men and are turning out from four to five cars per day. Their monthly pay roll is from $2,000 to $3,000 and in the fall they will open up a new mine and more than double their force.

The Dunlap mines have been opened only two months but they have thousands of tons stripped off which they can throw upon the market at any time, at the rate of twelve cars per day. Messrs. Dunlap have 40 acres of coal land which will turn out 275 car loads per acre.

There are hundreds of acres here where the finest quality of clay lies immediately above the coal, in layers from 6 to 200 feet thick and in surface stripping, much of which is done, the clay must be moved to get the coal. Could the clay and coal both be used upon the spot the best possible results would follow. At present both are largely shipped to Kansas City.

St. Louis has nine large factories that every year turn out an enormous amount of clay products; Kansas City does nearly as well.


This clay when shipped to Kansas City costs $18 per car load, $14 of which is freight and switch charges. The cost at Brownington is only $1 per car to which $3 more is added for loading. It will thus be seen that if these Kansas City concerns were in Brownington they would save in the way of royalties, freight charges on coal and clay, rents, taxes, cost of insurance, storage, etc. not less than $40 per car load, on all the wares they could manufacture. It is safe to say that they could make $3 where they now make one.

There is no finer clay in the world than this. It contains enough sand to work just right, is free from foreign admixtures and both potter's clay and fire clay are found easily accessible and in immeasurable abundance, and that too, with an inexhaustible supply of wood and water right at hand.

It certainly cannot be long until Brownington will have from three to a dozen large factories, turning out every month hundreds of tons of wares of every conceivable kind together with sewer pipes, vitrified bricks, paving blocks, floor tiling and a thousand and one articles of comfort, convenience and lasting usefulness; and give employment to an army of industrious, happy and contented laborers.


But clay is not the only material that would give rich returns to the manufacturer. Any one familiar with this section, could hardly have failed to notice the abundant evidence of the presence of iron. There are iron deposits near here that have been liberally tested in the iron furnaces of Kansas City and pronounced strictly first-class. It is here in sufficient quantities to pay rich returns for its manufacturing.

The ochre deposits have been largely drawn upon by the paint factory at Deepwater, and yields first class paint. The same advantages are offered for the manufacture of iron and ochre upon the ground where found as is offered by this city.


The building stone here is of the best quality of sandstone, much of which can be gotten out in blacks thin enough for making sidewalks.

Gravel is found here in sufficient abundance to dress the streets, walks and promenades of a large city.

Immense quantities of wood are shipped from this point every year and there is much timber adjacent that could be utilized for making lumber.


Shipping from this point averages 150 cares per month. Coal and clay head the list, but when the markets are active, there are from four to five car loads of stock sent out each day, and the mill here, in the busiest season, sends out large quantities of flour.

The greatest drawback to Brownington is its lack of a southern outlet. The KC&S railroad, only extends to Osceola, but we understand that it is soon to be completed and perfect connections made with southern roads.


Not withstanding the superior advantages offered here, there is comparatively little done in the way of manufacturing. Aside from the coal interests, the milling business is by far the most important.

The Brownington Roller mills owned and operated by J. B. Hancock is one of the finest pieces of mill property in Southwest Missouri. It has recently been remodeled throughout, has a capacity of eighty barrels per day, and turns out the very best quality of flour. This mill furnishes a permanent market for wheat and corn and besides supplying Brownington and Deepwater in breadstuffs, ships largely to Osceola, Clinton and other points.

Hosack & Kennedy run a custom ill and do considerable exchange business. This mill has been running for two years and makes fancy bolt meal.

The broom factory here makes the best quality of brooms. G. W. Wester, the proprietor, has had six years of experience and has no trouble in selling all the brooms he can make. He also keeps a good cider for sale and does quite a business.

H C. Barter is Brownington's harness maker. He has been in the business six years and also deals largely in furniture.

A good shoemaker can make money anywhere, and P. Curren, who has had 30 years experience in the business gives the best satisfaction and is doing a good and substantial business.

There are two blacksmith and one wagon-shop. Cooper & Doggett do a general blacksmith business and give special attention to horseshoeing. Mr. Doggett has had 20 years experience, J. H. Cooper six.

A. Walter has had 28 years experience in the business and is an expert at sharpening plows. He owns a good "Grey Eagle" stallion that is now making the third season at this place and can show some superb colts.

C. H. Wirth is Brownington's wood-worker and has been at his post of duty for the past 20 years. He is a most skillful artisan, can make anything from a hickory whistle to a steamboat, and in making and repairing wagons, he is unsurpassed, In addition to this Mr. Wirth has in charge another and most surprising industry, his apiary. Here is a miniature city of bee hives and for real business it is the peer of any city in the world. He has 170 stands, has hived 40 swarms this season and will have 1,000 pounds of honey ready for market in about two weeks. He sells his best honey, pure as the nectar of the gods and white as crystal, for 12 and one half cents per lb. He has been handling bees for ten years.


There are some half dozen good business houses here and they are doing a substantial trade. Messrs. Peelor Bros. and R. P. Dunlap & Co., each have a full stock of general merchandise. The former establishment has been running for six years, the latter for two. Peeler and Witherspoon have been in the grocery business for two years and have done well.

R. L. Thompson & Co. have been established only two months, but they have the bulk of the Miner's trade, which amounts to about $1,600 per month.

A new grocery house has just been established, which is destined to outstrip all competitors. It is the F. & L. U. co-operative store and it has already blazed the way for a general reduction of prices and in this way has saved many a hard earned dollar to the farmers and others who have groceries to buy. there are 75 shareholders who own from 1 to 11 shares of $5 each. With a beginning of only $265, one month ago, they now have a capital of $500 and will soon double this amount. They deserve to succeed and are doing it.

Messrs. Smith and Eldridge do a general hardware business and have a large number of fruit jars on hand for the present season.

W. H. DeLaVergne is the ever accommodating druggist, and keeps a full supply of everything in his line.

Mrs. K. Danwalder has controlled the millinery business in this place for eight years. Her experience is an unfailing guarantee of her skill and the satisfaction she has always given is a splendid earnest for the future.

There are two good hotels, the K.C.&S. in charge of C. E. James and his accomplished lady, and the Farmer's Hotel kept by Marshal Jos. Morris. Both hotels do a splendid business and accommodate both regular boarders and the public.

I. B. Freely has run a barber shop here for eight years and treats everybody right.

J. Craig is at the head of the meat market and keeps on hand a good supply of both fresh and salt meats.

W. L. McDonald is in the livery business and furnishes good rigs for all comers.


It is the pride of Henry county, and no less of Missouri and the great west that the citizenship is as good, the people as true-hearted and whole-souled as can be found in America, and Brownington maintains the high standard in large and generous measures.

It is no fault of theirs but rather a misfortune that they have been unable to allure capital and manufacturing plants to their locality by offering princely bonuses, but times are changing now and these will soon be forced to seek those places where nature conspires with man to offer best returns, and at any rate they are beginning to see the star of hope rising in the clear and cloudless sky of co-operation.

Brownington has been an incorporated village for five years, and for seven years has maintained a local paper, which is edited by Will M. Nelson, who dies his best to please.

There are three good churches here -- the Christian, the Baptist and Presbyterian -- and church services are usually well attended.

Drs. M. B. Taylor, J. H. McGlade and C. T. Severs are the health guardians of this locality, and the two former have been here for twenty years, the latter for two, but Dr. Severs had an experience of fully twelve years.

Prof. B. P. Richardson, ably assisted by Miss Mable Newell for the winter term, and Miss May Burge for the last three months, has just closed a most successful term of school. The enrollment was 135 and the attendance was good. The board composed of Messrs. C. Y. McDonald, pres., C. W. Mercer, clerk, and D. C. Blanchard have employed teachers for next year.

It will be seen that Brownington in the past has not made a growth that was at all commensurate with her natural advantages, yet it cannot be denied that her conservatism has been of use, for, none of her jewels are despoiled and this the last decade of the 19th century will be eager to appreciate, at the full value, the offerings she can make and will bring her a growth and prosperity, rapid, permanent and splendid that will make her at once the peer of any city in Southwest Missouri.

Henry County Missouri MOGenWeb