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Caldwell County
1876 Atlas History
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WPA Interviews

Chronological Events





Narrator: Mrs. Zelma Adams Filson, 70, Hamilton, Missouri

School Affairs Shoal Creek Tricks

Mrs. Filson is the widow of Thomas Filson of Hamilton and the step-daughter of John Owen. She was born in New York State and she came west with her Mother and her step-father in the colony of New York neighbors who settled in the present New York Township and Fairview Township in the late sixties. (For her remembrance of Haun's Mill, the old Mormon site, see special paper.) There she grew up.

In her seventeenth year, she took her first teachers examination for a license to teach. Steve Rogers of Kingston was the School Commissioner. He gave her a very severe oral examination on account of her youthful aspect, thinking she might be poorly prepared. She passed and later 1883 taught in the primary department of the "Hamilton Graded Schools" as they said those days under Professor Guttery. This was in the old north side brick which was torn down about 1905.

She married Thomas Filson 1884 whose father James Filson had come into the county from Kentucky prior to the influx of the New York settlers. There were two Filson brothers, Washington (known as Wash) and James (Jim). They settled in the forks between the Otter and the Shoal Creeks. Jim, being nearer Shoal, soon saw that he had made an error when he put his log cabin in the rich bottom land; for every time Shoal would get up it would come right into the cabin; and they putting the chairs on the tables would go over to Wash's house till the creek went down. So when they built their permanent home, they dug a cellar of only two feet then heaped up a high foundation and built the house that. When Shoal came up, it filled the cellar two feet but could not get into the house.

When Mrs. Filson and her husband were married they lived in this very house. She recalls one time that Shoal came up to the house and when it receded they went out in the yard and picked up a mess of fish. This farm was afterwards sold to E.G. Wallace who lived there many years (and so did the Interviewer who taught down there). Mr. Wallace told the same "fish story" about the fish once being picked up in the grass of the dooryard. Since the Filsons lived there, Shoal Creek has changed its course at least once; and in flood years ruined many a corn crop but at other times has given bumper crops in its bottoms.

Captain Wash Filson was a member of the Caldwell County Home Guards during the Civil War and his duties brought much trouble to him with the Southern sympathizers of that neighborhood. Jim was not active in the War. He had three sons come to maturity, Thomas, Frank and Alfred. Wash's children were George Leonard, Samuel and Mrs. Dave Paullin. With the exception of Mrs. Filson there is not a person living today in the county by this name; so widely has the family scattered.

Mrs. Filson's daughter married James M. Hill a grandson of the pioneer Samuel Hill (see paper).

Interviewed June 1934.


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