1883 History of Jasper County, Missouri
the honor of building the first saw-mill in the county-an attachment simply to his
grist-mill. The more aristocratic settler could then indulge in sawed doors and floors.
About the year 1836 Tingle and Massey settled at Centerville bringing with them
quite a large stock of goods, and for several years they did a thriving business. The town
aspired to a post office about this time, and the post-office department granted it, but it was
necessary to give the place a new name, as there was one Centerville in the state already. Who
it was" that suggested the name Sarcoxie we could not learn. The only light we have been able to
obtain on the subject is as follows: In the early days of the occupancy of the country by the
whites an Indian chief of that name frequented that place with a small tribe to hunt and fish.
The name is said to signify "Rising Sun." It was a happy suggestion to give the town that name,
for it is easily pronounced, and has the credit of being original. Mr. Cabanisa says that he
came across one of Sarcoxie's sons engaged in business in Kansas several years ago, and learned
from him that his father was still alive, hale and hearty, on some Indian reservation in Kansas.
Sarcoxie should secure his remains when he dies, and bury him on one of its sightly hills, and
erect a monument to his memory. The town was laid out by William Tingle and Benjamin F. Massey
on the 6th of August, 1840, but the plat was not filed for record until February 11, 1849,
when it was enacted by the legislature that D. Saunders and Andrew Wilson be authorized to record
the town plat of Sarcoxie.
The early settlers of this county had a great many advantages, notwithstanding
they were separated by great distance. Game was plentiful; deer, prairie chickens, and turkeys
were numerous, and easy to get. But with these advantages were coupled some disagreeable things
that have since almost wholly disappeared. The green fly was an intolerable nuisance, and people
hardly dared to venture across the prairie with their teams in daytime. Many of the first
settlers did their plowing and teaming by night, so as to leave their horses and oxen in the
timber in the day-time, where the flies were not so bad.
During the war the deer increased largely in numbers, as they were not hunted down
so relentlessly, while the country was being depopulated, and the green flies seemed also to have
thrived beet at this time, as they were more troublesome a year or two after the war than for
many years before.
The names of several early settlers of Jasper county are given below:
John Prigmore, born in east Tennessee in 1815; moved to Missouri in 1832, to
a place on White River, sixty-five miles southeast of Springfield. Moved to the present limits
of Jasper county in 1834.
John Cabaniss, born at Springfield, Illinois, in 1827, came to this county in 1869,
and settled at Bowers' Mills.
John Onstott was born in Indiana in 1816; came to this county in 1833, and settled near Center
Creek, four miles southwest of Carthage; is still a citizen of the county, and from appearances
bids fair for several more years.
Josiah P. Boyd was born in 1837, near Redding's Mills, above Grand Falls, Newton county,
Missouri. His father re-located three miles west of Sarcoxie in the spring of 1838.
Thomas Buck was born in Delaware in 1800. Thence was taken to Virginia; afterwards to Ohio. From
Ohio he moved to Tippecanoe county, Indiana, and from the latter place, in 1837, he journeyed
overland in a wagon, drawn by a four-horse team, to this county.
Samuel B. La Force was born in 1815, in Scott county, Illinois. Came to this county in 1843,
and settled on a tract of land three miles northeast of Carthage. Has held the official
positions of sheriff, representative, and clerk of the circuit and county courts of Jasper. At
present he lives in Carthage and enjoys a green old age.
Claborne Osborne, born in Tennessee in 1818, and came to this county in 1838, and settled
fourteen miles west of Carthage. Was deputy sheriff under his brother, John R., who was the
first sheriff of the county.
L. D. Osborne, born in Iowa in 1826; came to this county a year or two after his brother
William M. Wormington, born in Tennessee in 1832, and has lived in the vicinity of Sarcoxie
William Tingle, born in Delaware in 1810. Came to St. Louis in 1833, thence to New Madrid; after
that to Independence; from there to St. Louis; from St. Louis to Fayette, from there back to St.
Louis, and from St. Louis to Jasper county, in 1837, and engaged in business at Sarcoxie. Has
seen a great many ups and downs in life, but has never had any official positions and don't want
John K. Gibson, born in Tennessee in l823, came to Lawrence county with his father, George Moore
Gibson, in 1831, and settled at the head of Spring River.
Solomon Rothanbarger, born in Pennsylvania in 1841; went to Virginia, and when about twenty years
old moved to North Carolina. Thence in a year or two to Georgia, spent a year there and moved to
Tennessee. Finally, in the year 1839 reached a stopping place on Turkey Creek, about one mile
northeast of Joplin. He went to California in 1850 and stayed eighteen months. Was married to
Jane Archer in 1849. His wife was born in Callaway county, Missouri, in 1818.
John D. Allen, born in Callaway county, Missouri, in 1818, and moved to Lawrence
county in 1839; from there he moved fo Jasper county. Was in command of several cavalry
regiments in the late war.
William Cooley, born in Indiana in 1836, came to this county in 1849, and settled near the month
of Center Creek.
Daniel Hunt, born in Kentucky in 1812. His father moved to Howard county, Missouri, in 1817;
moved to Cooper county in 1824. Thence to neutral lands in Kansas in 1850. In 1854 settled in
Jasper county, and laid out Sherwood. Had a good trade with the Indians prior to the war.
Peter R. Johnson, born in North Carolina in 1822; moved to Illinois when five years of age;
came to Jasper county in 1840. Mrs. Johnson was born in Kentucky in 1827. Came to Jasper
county in 1841; were married in 1842.
John C. Cox, born in North Carolina in 1811; lived in Tennessee from 1820 until 1838; then came
to the country of the Six Hulls and settled near Joplin.
James Hornback was born in Kentucky in 1796, and came to this county in 1838 with his family.
Martin W. Halskill, born in Kentucky in 1826; came to this county with his father in 1837, and
settled at Diamond Grove, ten miles south of Carthage.
William Spencer came from Indiana in 1837, and settled seven miles southeast of Carthage.
John M. Richardson, born in Loudoun county, Virginia, September 8, 1820. He lived in that
county from birth until fifteen years old; he lived one year at Granville, Ohio, and one year at
Gambia, in that state, going to school. He then returned to Virginia, and in the fall of 1837
immigrated with his father's family to Missouri, arriving in Audrain county in October, 1837,
and in the spring of 1838 moved to southwest Missouri, and settled with his father and his
family on Spring River, two miles above Bowers' Mills, in what was then Harry county. The
nearest post-office was Mount Pleasant, twelve miles distant, on Clear Creek, near the present
site of Pierce City. Barry county at that time included about half of what is now Dade county,
and all of Lawrence, Barry, McDonald, Newton, Jasper, and Barton counties. Mt. Pleasant had the
county seat. H. Alien was circuit judge, at a salary of one hundred dollars. J. Williams was
circuit and county clerk.
In August, 1838, Littlebury Mason was elected representative of Barry county, and he had the
county divided into four counties: Newton, Jasper, Dade, and Barry. Jasper was attached to
Newton for civil and military
purposes. In 1840 John Wilson was elected to represent Newton county and that year
Jasper county was organized ror civil and military purposes; the county seat was temporarily
established at Jasper, but afterwards, in the year 1841, permanently established at Carthage.
In 1846 two miles was added to Jasper off the north end of Newton county, and the boundaries
have not been changed since. In 1857 Mr. Richardson, late representative, was appointed justice
of the peace by the county corrt; held the position for three weeks, and resigned to accept the
appointment of government agent for the Great and Little Osage Indians; he held the position two
years, and then removed back to the state and located at Springfield, and in 1852 was elected
Secretary of State, which office he held four years. In 1860 he was the elector of that district
on the Lincoln ticket. During part of the war he was a colonel in the Federal army, and also the
provost marshal under the enrollment call.
Lorenzo Dillender, born in the year 1836, in Giles county, Tennessee, came to
Jasper county in 1841, and followed the occupation of farming.
R. R. Laxon, Ephraim Stout, and J. G. L. Carter were other early settlers in our vicinity, and
among other items of interest recollect two colored persons being burned at the stake in 1855.
John Purcell, born in July, 1818. in Hardin county, Kentucky, on the head waters of Rough Creek,
forty miles southwest of Louisville, came to Jasper county, December 8, 1843, and located on the
west line of section 16, township 29, range 32. He has followed farming principally. When he
settled in that vicinity his neighbors were Tyron Gibson, Lloyd Vioty, Daniel Noland, Stephen
Hare, James N. Langley. William F. Stith, Edwin Stith, Abner Gresham, John P. Orsborn, then the
sheriff of Jasper county; W. W. Osborn, WM. D. Brown, W. Coonrod, and John Shelton. Some four
miles each way constituted the neighborhood. Money was very scarce in those times. The streams
were full of fish and game was plenty.
John Hornback, of Jackson township, Jasper county, Missouri, was born in Champaign
county, Ohio, August 24, 1827; he came to Jasper county in 1838, and settled on Center Creek; has
followed the occupation of farming principally. The early settlers in his neighborhood were John
W. Gibson, Win. Gibson, Tyron Gibson, H. H. Zackery, Wm. Scott, Gabriel Endicott, David
Lashasters, Abraham Onstott, John Onstott, and Frederick Cosmer. Mr. Hornback informs us that
the first settlement made where the city of Carthage now stands was made by John Pennington,
near the woolen mill George Hornback was the first town commissioner. He also built the first
business house in Carthage.
Jane Gibson, born October 28, 1837, in St. Charles county. Missouri,
came to Jasper county in the fall of 1833; she has always lived on a farm. Among
the early settlers in the vicinity where Mrs. Gibson resided were Simon White, Jacob Fifer, Tyron
Gibson, Isaac Gibson, and Abraham Onstott. Indians were plenty in this country in 1833, but had
no disposition to be hostile, although they would sometimes steal and kill the settlers' hogs.
All the breadstuff that this family got the first six months after they came to this country
they beat in a mortar with a pestle. Corn was worth sixty-two and one-half cents per bushel.
There were but few roads at this time, and no mill nearer than Springfield.
Rev. John Robinson, father of W. C. Robinson, Esq., was one of the first settlers and a large
land owner of the county. He was born in Kentucky, but moved at an early day to Tennessee. From
thence he moved to Missouri, and settled in Jasper county, forty-two years ago, and died here in
M. H. Ritchey, who resides in Newton county, furnishes us the following statistics: Was born in
Overton county, Tennessee, February 7, 1813; came to Crawford county, Missouri, in October,
1832; Steelville, being the county seat, was the post office. Greene county was taken from
Crawford county; from Greene, Harry county was taken, and from Barry, Newton county was taken,
so that Mr. Ritchey lived in four counties without moving. After residing nineteen years on the
farm where he first settled, he went to Oliver's prairie to raise stock. Newtonia, a pleasant
village, grew up on his farm on the prairie. After the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad was built,
and the town of Ritchey laid off, he moved back to his old home, never having sold it. Mr.
Ritchey's principal occupation has been farming and raising stock, which has proved more profitable
than anything else he has engaged in. He was in the mercantile business twenty-two years, and
in politics thirty-five years. The latter he regards less profitable, in a pecuniary point of
view, than any other business, and has more temptations to lead men from the path of rectitude
than anything he has followed.
L J. Burch, born in New York, in 1831, and came to this county in 1853; was a
commissioned Union scout during a portion of the war, and in 1853 was assigned to this post.
Visited this country off and on all through the war. Lost all his property in the Rebellion.
Lives in Carthage at present.
E. M. Burch, born in New York, in 1829, and came to this county in 1853. Being a Union man
he was early plundered and his house burned during the war. Represented this county in the
legislature one term since the war,
Judge W. B. Hamilton, living near Bower's Mills, is an old and esteemed citizen,
and has held the position of county judge.
Stephen T. Vititow, near Sarcoxie, has lived in the county for many years. Was engaged in
business in Sarcoxie prior to the war. After the war closed he held the office of county
assessor one term.
Gilbert Schooling came to this county from Indiana, with his father, in 1837, and settled near
Jonathan Eppright has been in Jasper county forty years.
Nelson Knight, born in Kentucky in 1809, came to this county in 1838. Was the first settler on
the prairie north of Avilla, where he opened out the place known as the Hunter farm. He was a
captain in the Federal army, and was in active service over two years.
The following are the names of aged people residing in this county in 1870:
Mrs. Elzada Wheeler, aged seventy-five; south of Sherwood.
Thomas Buck, White Oak, aged seventy-six.
Abner Buck, four miles north of Sarcoxie, aged eighty-six years.
Henry Farmer, three miles northeast of Avilla. seventy years old.
Mary Hopkins, born in New Jersey, in 1798; moved to Osage county, Missouri, in 1838. Lived in
Jasper county only a short time. Aged seventy-eight years.
Mrs. Eliza McKee, aged sixty-six years, south of Sherwood.
Stephen Boon, Medoc, aged seventy-four.
John Carr, Duval township, aged seventy-six.
Mr. Gordon, of Joplin, was a soldier of 1812, eighty-five years of age. His wife eighty three.
H. W. Shanks, living north of Carthage, about seventy-five years of age, and has resided in
Jasper county a long time.
James Hornback, aged eighty years.
Thomas Alexander, born in Kentucky, in 1796, has lived in this county twenty five years.
Banister Hickey, near Carthage, seventy-five years.
Middleton Hickey, near Fidelity, seventy-seven years.
A. Lansing, at Galesburg, seventy-three years old.
C. S. Robinson, at Galesburg, about seventy-five years of age.
David Monroe, at Galesbnrg, seventy years old.
William T. Watson, Duval township, eighty-four years old.
Josiah Earl, born December 22, 1814, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, lived in Pennsylvania fifty
years, in Illinois five years, and in Missouri seven years.
Alden Besse, born February 31, 1795, in Wayne, county of Kennebec, state of Maine;
resides in Madison township, Jasper county, Missouri.
John N. Hood, Samuel H. Caldwell, Milton Stephenson, B. W. W. Richardson, Bill Pool, William
Wilson, William Tingle, Moses Duncan, Widow Clark, Widow Griggs, Widow Fisher, Widow Fishbone,
Mrs. Lucretia Thompson, Henry Martin, the Melugins, of Spring River; the Greshams, at Preston;
the Prigmores, over the county; the Beasleys, Hoods, Rankins, and Whitlocks were, in 1876,
among the older people.
The Fountain boys had lived in the county with their father a number of years before the war,
and were early burned out of house and home, and their father murdered by the rebels. They were
in the United States service, and frequently passed through the countv during the Rebellion.
History is but the unrolled scroll of prophecy, setting forth and recounting not only what is,
but giving us gleams of what is soon to follow. The early settlers who bore the brunt through
all the dark and trying times of the development of this county shall never lose claims to valor
and noble deeds of charity. Whenever we read of the heroic and daring conduct of the hardy
pioneer in procuring bread for loved ones, we can but reflect that his heart was more valiant
than the soldiers who followed either a Napoleon or a Hannibal. A few old settlers have lived to
see the rough and crooked paths of pioneer life change to that of ease and comfort, with
grandchildren around, enjoying a thousand fold of the luxuries which have resulted from former
arduous toils. The iron-nerved pioneers stood bravely by their condition, through storm and calm,
ever thinking of the good time coming—
When the forest should, like a vision.
And over the hillnide and plain
The orchard would apring into beauty.
And the fields of golden grain.
The simple fare of the inhabitants was alike conducive to health and economy. When boarding
houses were first established ten cents was the bill for a meal. If the table was supplied with
corn bread the boarders were satisfied. Flour was very scarce and an unknown commodity to many
families. But few of the young people of to-day know anything about making the delicious and
digestible corn cake, the pride of our grandmothers' days.
One of the peculiarities of pioneer life was a strange loneliness, which at first was a solitude
of oppression to the young wife who had left her happy home in the states. Months would pass
often without seeing a face, outside of the family circle. The isolation of those days has
wrought such reticence upon some families that generations cannot efface. The children of
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