|History of Caldwell County, Missouri
As written in the 1876 Atlas
of Caldwell County Missouri
While the territory which
constitutes Caldwell County was attached to Ray it was known as Caldwell township, Ray
In the spring of 1831, Jesse Mann, Sr., settled on
the farm now owned by George Young, just east of Kingston; John Raglin settled near the
Cox-mill ford, about three miles east of Kingston; and Ben Lovell camped in the bottom
near Raglin's until fall, when he returned to Ray County. These were the first white
settlers of Caldwell County. Their nearest neighbors dwelled.t miles away on the bottoms
of the Missouri and Grand rivers. Jesse Mann, Sr., was a Virginian by birth. In his youth
he removed to Georgia, was there married, and then removed again to Tennessee. From
Tennessee, he found his way to Ray County. Having heard glowing accounts from the traders
of the country along Shoal Creek, he determined to make it his home, and induced his
neighbors, Raglin and Lovell, to accompany him. In the July following, they were joined by
Jesse Mann, Jr., who settled on the farm now owned by John McBride adjoining Kingston.
(Jesse, Jr., now an old man, still. lives in Lincoln township, surrounded by all the
comforts of life).
In the spring of 1832, the infant settlement was
reinforced by Abraham Coots, Thomas Vanderpool, William Givens, and Wallace McAfee, who
settled in the vicinity of Kingston; by Thornton Gwinn, David Gwinn, and Henry Gwinn, who
settled near the farm of John F. Dodge in Mirable township; by Frank McGuire, who settled
on the farm of Jacob Bothoff, east of Kingston; by Elisha Gameron who settled in Grant
township west of Polo; and by Zephaniah Woolsey who settled near the County line in
In 1832, occurred what is known as the black Hawk
War. The tribes of Indians, who used this portion of the State for their hunting grounds,
were the Iowa's, the Kickapoos and the Sioux. They had no villages within our borders, but
were in the habit of vi.siting the settlements here for the purposes of traffic. Although
they were perfectly friendly and never committed any outrages, yet so long as Black Hawk
and his bands were on the war-path, threatening to exterminate the whites, the settlers
labored under intense excitement lest their tawny neighbors should take a fancy to lift
their scalps. By watchfulness and fair dealing the danger was escaped, and although the
Indians continued to pay periodical visits until 1836, they did no injury.
In 1833, Samuel Hill, Eppa Mann, Squire McGuire
and George Roland established homes in the vicinity of Kingston; George Williams settled
near Mrs. McCollums, three miles east of Kingston; and Jesse Clevenger and Joseph
Hightower settled in Mirable. These we:re followed in 1836, by William Royce, Thomas.
Crandall, Abe Jones, Sam K. McGee, John Taylor, Lewis Jackson, James Lee, and others.
Up to the year 1836, there was not a town or a
store within the limits of Caldwell County. When an article of merchandise was needed a
trip to Richmond was necessary to obtain it. The old settlers, if they desired to cast
their votes, had to repair to Richmond for that purpose...there being no voting precinct
in this county.
In 1836, occurred the Indian excitement known as
the . . .Heatherly. . . war. In June of that year the Iowa Indians, then living near St.
Joseph, made a friendly hunting excursion through the northern part of the State to a
small settle ment in Mercer County, where the Heatherlys lived. The Heatherlys, who were
ruffians of the lowest type, took ad vantage of the excitement produced by the incursion
of the Indians, circulated a report that the Indians were robbing and killing, and duri.ng
the excitement murdered Dunbar and another man against whom they had a grudge, and fled to
the settlements along the Mi.ssouri river, representing that they were fleeing for life.
Thi.s produced great excite ment amongst the sparse settlements in Caldwell, who did not
know at what hour the savages would be upon them. Some fled ~o thicker settlements for
protection; but most determined to stand their ground and not give up their homes un til a
blow had been struck. The militia were called out, but it was soon ascertai.ned that the
alarm was false. The Heatherlys were arrested and trieci for murder, and some of them sent
to the Penitentiary.
Most of the old settlers came from the mountainous
parts oŁ the southern states. Instead of establishing their homes on the,broad and
fertile prairies, which only required to be fenced to prepare them for cultivation, they
preferred to settle along the water courses, and in the forests that covered their banks.
It was the work of years to clear a way a few small fields, but with these they were
The lives of these first settlers were very plain
and simple. The forests swarmed with game of all kinds. The prairies were covered with
deer and birds. The soil yielded a bountiful harvest to the planters. Every where there
was an abundance of rich, substantial food. The stranger was never turned away empty.
Hospitality was a part of their nature.
Crosby Johnson, An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Caldwell County, Missouri.
1876. Edwards Brothers
Change of County Seat
Burning of Records
Since the War
Soil & Products