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THE HARPSTER FAMILY OF GOMER TOWNSHIP CALDWELL AND DAVIESS COUNTIES

Narrator: Mrs. James I. Murrell, 69, of Hamilton, Missouri

Van Note School and Head Marks

Davies County Creeks

Mrs. Murrell was born in Ohio, the daughter of Amos and Loveta Harpster and grand daughter of Jacob Harpster all of Ohio. They came to Missouri for a better chance to earn a living. Twenty one of the Harpsters unloaded at one time at Nettleton 1871 from a Hannibal and St. Joseph train. At first they rented land of the railroad company. That first rented farm now belongs to Willard Lankford. The railroad land agent was George Lamson the depot agent at Hamilton and later a popular banker. Another renter of the railroad land near Nettleton was George Pickell later City Marshall of Hamilton. This land became part of the Wm. Mapes land and part of the Schartzer farm. About 1876 Jacob Harpster owned his own farm of one hundred sixteen acres in Gomer township, south of the railroad. He was neighbors on the east to J.B. Sturgis on the south to Wm. Markwitz. His land lay south of Wm. Paxton and he was near the farm of J.C. Penney Sr.

Amos Harpster came to Hamilton in the seventies. He and George Rymal ran a butcher shop in about 1874 on Broadway near where O.O. Brown's store stood. Later he ran a restaurant near or in the same place. Then he moved to Daviess County and bought land between Dog Creek and Marrowbone. His father Jacob owned the place north of Kidder College where now Jim Hainsworth owns. The Harpster family is now identified with Daviess County in the Kidder vicinity.

Mrs. Murrell went to school in the Van Note district east of Hamilton and learned her a-b-c's from Anna Watson (Kaufman). She had as school mates all the Sturgis boys, Maud Dawson, Nettie Judd, the Van Note children. She spoke of the old head mark (head of line in spelling) a small card was given and ten of these were exchanged for a big reward of merit card to be kept forever. To get a head mark, one had to be head at the end of a class period. Next day he went foot. The next person in the line advanced to head but must stay there to the end of the period. Some children never got a head mark. They just could not spell.

When Mrs. Murrell's father moved up near Dog and Marrowbone creeks, she asked the old timers why these creeks had these names. They said that the creeks were named by early hunters passing through the unsettled country one hundred years ago. Marrowbone was named thus; the hunters had killed many fat deer drinking in the creek. The marrow out of the venison bone is supposed to be a great dainty. They all ate heartily and then spent the night in agony with old fashioned "belly ache." They named the stream from that event. A night or two later, all the camp dogs who like-wise had eaten their full of the venison began to show the effects also and so the stream by which the dogs were sick was called Dog Creek. A near by stream was called Panther because a panther was seen there once. Honey creek, also in that general country, was named because a bee tree was there. Thus the early hunters gave the names to these "cricks" which they thought were fitting. Mrs. Murrell said that every one used to say "crick" in those parts, that the pronunciation "creek" marked a person as putting on airs or affected.

Interviewed July 1934.

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998