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Caldwell County
1876 Atlas History
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Chronological Events




History of Caldwell County, Missouri
As written in the 1876 Atlas of Caldwell County Missouri

First Settlers

While the territory which constitutes Caldwell County was attached to Ray it was known as Caldwell township, Ray County.

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 Fairview township.

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 content.

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

Territorial History
First Settlers
County Organized
Mormon Emigration
Far West
The Mormons
Mormon Settlements
Mormon Leaders
The Temple
Mormon War
Mormon Exodus
Change of County Seat
Salem, Missouri
Mexican War
California Emigration
Kansas Troubles
Burning of Records
The Rebellion
Thrailkill's Raid
Since the War
Soil & Products
County Indebtedness
Township Organization
Black Oak


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