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1883 History of Jasper County, Missouri

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some families grew up quite rude. The girls of a few families were bashful and timid, and in their homes perfect prudes. The hoiden was unknown. However, the better classes brought up their children with great vigilance, training them in home etiquette, domestic economy, and love for religion. When the rights of the pioneers were threatened or invaded their timidity, or bashful nature, vanished like a mist in a summer's gun, and their "muscles of iron and hearts of flint" were ready for any emergency. The hospitality of the people was unbounded. During the camp-meeting season neighbors for miles around would gladly entertain those from a distance. Rough and rude though the surroundings may have been, these people were none the less honest, sincere, hospitable, and kind in their relations. It is true, as a rule, and of universal application, that there is a greater degree of real humanity among the pioneers of any country than when the country becomes older and richer. Here exists a high regard for the sexes, and moral courage was one of the noble qualities of the woman, whose chastity was never questioned. If there was an absence of refinement that absence was more than compensated by generous hearts and truthful lives. In fine, the early settlers were themselves-men and women-bold, courageous, industrious, enterprising, and energetic, abounding with an eternal hate for cowards and shame of every kind, and above all falsehood and deception, cultivating a straight line of policy and integrity, which seldom permits them to be imposed upon, or lead a life of treachery themselves.

CHAPTER IV.-ORGANIZATION.
Date of Organization of Jasper County-Territory Early Embracing what is now Jasper County-Laws Relating to the Organization of Jasper County-First Meeting of the County Court-Preservation of the County Records and County Money-Organization of Townships and Various Changes.

jasper county was organized on the 29th day of January, 1841. Before proceeding to give the details of this organization, and formally presenting to the reader the actors who carried into effect the will of the people, it will be well to consider the county system and in operations in general. No person, till he has investigated the subject, is aware of the unity which pervades the plan or the principles of law and government involved. Jasper county is no exception to the rule, and what applies to county organization throughout the world, is pertinent more or less to one whose history we trace on these pages. Just as a student of law can better understand the

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statutes and codes of the youthful states of the American Union by a careful study of the ancient common law of England and the civil law of Rome, so he can with greater pleasure and profit follow the practical workings of county affairs, having first obtained a clear idea of what such an organization has been and in still considered to be.

Counties are quasi corporations. The Latin word quasi signifies as if, or almost. A county, then, is almost a corporation, or has certain features of a corporation. A corporation, in the acceptance of the term, in a body formed and authorized by law to act as a single person, and endowed with perpetual succession, as an expressly chartered city government, a bank, or railroad company. Counties, townships, parishes, school districts, and some other political divisions of a county, are ranked as quasi corporations. In Great Britain and most of her colonies, a county is a subdivision of territory corresponding to a province of Prussia, or a department of France. In the American Union, except in Louisiana, which is divided into parishes, counties are divisions next in size and importance to states. This division in England is synonymous with the shire, but not so in Ireland. This division is said to have originated in England, under the origin of the ancient Saxon kings, though popularly attributed to Alfred the Great.

The United States for local government and other purposes are divided into counties, townships, school-districts, and municipal corporations. In all the counties in the several states and territories, including the parishes of Louisiana, there are officers who superintend the financial affairs, a court of inferior jurisdiction, and, at stated times, the circuit court or the supreme court. As the state is subordinate to, and a part of, the federal government, so the county is a part of the state, but possessing only such rights as are delegated to it by the statutory enactments. The people in each local division have entire control over the subjects in which they only are interested; and the whole works together like an extensive system of machinery, wheel fitted to wheel.

There is very little opportunity for the exercise of arbitrary power from the lowest to the highest. Executive power may be changed by election, or impeachment, if the officers are recreant to duty, or do not give satisfaction, and there are constitutional provisions for making improvements if the people think they should be made. Thus our country is secured against serious and protracted discontents for which there is no remedial law, as in some countries where the internal disturbances interrupt progress and destroy the resources of the nation. The value of any office, from that of a school director to county judge, governor, or president, is determined by the relation it bears to the public welfare; and when in the opinion of the

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people it ceases to be useful there are means of laying it aside according to law. This is true democracy.

All southwest Missouri was formerly included in Crawford county, the county seat of which was Little Piney on the Gasconade. Greene county was subsequently formed, and originally extended from the Arkansas line on the south to the Osage River on the north, and from the line of Kansas and the Indian Territory on the west two-thirds of the way eastward across the state. Barry county was afterwards organized comprising the territory included in the present counties of Barry, Lawrence, Dade, Barton, Jasper, Newton, and McDonald. The county seat was at Mount Pleasant, near the present site of Pierce City. The counties of Barry, Dade, Jasper, and Newton were then erected; Lawrence was afterwards formed from parts of Barry and Dade; Jasper gave the northern part of her territory to form the county of Barton, and likewise McDonald was taken from the southern part of Newton. It was little expected that Jasper, one of the latest subdivisions of the immense region of country formerly comprised in "Old Crawford," should grow to surpass not only her parent in wealth, population, and importance, but rank first among her sister counties of the southwest.

The first act of the legislature in reference to the government of the territory embraced at present in Jasper county, making provision for its functions as a part of Crawford county, bears date of January, 1831, and is as follows:

"All that territory lying south and west of Crawford county, which is not included in the limits of any county, shall be attached to the said Crawford county for all civil and military purposes, until otherwise provided by law."

On January 2d, 1833, the county of Greene embraced what is now Jasper, and the law was as follows:

"All that part of territory lying south of the township line between townships thirty-four and thirty-five, extending in a direct line due west from the point where the said township line crosses the main Niaugua River to the western boundary of the state, and south and west of the county of Crawford, which is not included in the limits of any county, and which was attached to the said county of Crawford by joint resolution of the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, approved on the eighteenth day of January, eighteen hundred and thirty, be and the same is hereby organized into a separate and distinct county, to be called and known by the name of Greene county, in honor of Nathaniel Greene of the Revolution. January 2, 1833." The first law relating to Jasper county was approved January 29, 1841, and reads as follows: " All that territory included within the following de-

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scribed limits, to-wit: Beginning at the southwest corner of section 1, in township 27, of range 29; thence running parallel with the line dividing townships 27 and 28. westward to the western boundary of the state; thence north on the line of the state to the line dividing townships 33 and 34; thence east on said line to the northwest corner of section 1, in township 33, of range 29; thence south to the place of beginning, is hereby created a separate and distinct county, to be called and known by the name of Jasper county. John Plummer, George Barker, and Abel Landers, all of the county of Newton, are hereby appointed commissioners to select the permanent seat of justice for said county. Said commissioners shall make their location as near the center of the inhabitable part of said county as practicable, without making a survey, due regard being had to the situation. The circuit and county courts of said county shall be held at the dwelling-house of George Hornback, in said county, until the permanent seat of justice is established, or the county court shall otherwise direct. Approved January 29, 1841."

In 1845, the boundaries of Jasper county were changed and made to include what is now Jasper, also Barton, and reads as follows: " Beginning at the southwest corner of section 1, in township 27, of range 29; thence west (with the subdivisional lines) to the western boundary line of this state; thence north on the state line to the line dividing townships 33 and 34; east on said line to the northwest corner of section 1, of township 33, of range 29; thence south (with the subdivisional lines) to the place of beginning."

The first meeting of Jasper county court, preparatory to the organizing term was held February 25, a. D. 1841, and the following is the record: At a meeting of the justices of the county court of Jasper county, in the State of Missouri, (Present: Jeremiah Cravens, Esq., Samuel M. Crosby, Esq., and Samuel B. Bright, Esq., who were appointed and commissioned by his Excellency the Governor as justices aforesaid,) on Thursday the 25th day of February, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty-one, and of this state the twenty-first, at the house of George Hornback, Esq., on Spring River, it being the place designated by law for holding the courts of said county, until there shall be a permanent seat of justice located, Elwood B. James was appointed clerk of said county court of Jasper county, who was sworn into office, gave bond to the State of Missouri for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, for five thousand dollars, with Dubart Murphy, Jno. F. Mills, and E. V----, as his securities, which bond was approved of by said court. Also, present: John P. Osborn, sheriff of said county of Jasper. On motion it was ordered that the sheriff give public

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notice that the county court of Jasper county meet on Monday the 8th day of March next, at the house of George Hornback, Esq., on Spring River, the place designated by law for holding the courts of said county of Jasper, until the permanent seat of justice shall be located. On motion it was ordered that the court do now adjourn to meet on the 8th day of March, next. Samuel M. Cooly, Elwood B. James, Jeremiah Craven, S. B. Bright, justices of Jasper county court.

The county was fortunate during the late war in having her records preserved intact, though her court-house was burned, and nearly every other prominent building in the county. When the rebels left her in 1861, Judge John Chenualt ordered the clerk, Mr. Stanfield Ross, to take the records into the Confederate lines for safe-keeping. He first took them down to Cow Skin, in McDonald county, and afterwards brought them back and put them in the vault of the jail at Neosho. Judge Onstott learned that they were at Neosho, and was apprehensive that they might be destroyed. He one day saw Mr. Morris C. Hood, an old resident of Carthage, and a man of energy and character, and told him where the records were and that the rebels were cutting out the blank pages to print their shinplasters on, and that he had better get some Federal soldiers and get the records and take care of them. Mr. Hood procured an escort and went after the records, and took them to Fort Scott, Kansas, where they were safely kept during the war, and on the return of pence Mr. Hood got a wagon and brought them back without the loss of one. The loose papers that were left in the court-house when Mr. Chenault took the records out were scattered by the soldiers all over town. A sixty-eight thousand dollar note was found on the public square by a citizen, which was returned to the proper authorities. At the outbreak of the war there was a small sum of money in the county treasury, and for a wonder it was not picked up. After the battle of Carthage, while Jackson's troops occupied the country, Archibald McCoy, the treasurer, told Judge John Onstott, who was one of his bondsmen, that the rebels were threatening to take the deposits from him, and that the securities had better get them and hide them. Judge Onstott and five others went to the treasurer and got the money, and receipted for it, upon the understanding that as fast as it would be needed to pay outstanding warrants it be refunded. From August to October the treasurer drew from Mr. Scott, one of the bondsmen, about two hundred dollars. Scott left the county in October and turned the deposits over to Judge Onstott. There was about one thousand and fifty-five dollars in gold coin, and two hundred dollars in Missouri paper. The judge told us he buried the gold under a

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cherry tree near his house, and Mrs. Onstott carried the paper money. The gold was not disturbed, but the Indians came and robbed Judge Onstott's house and took the two hundred dollars paper money that Mrs. Onstott carried. Judge Onstott was not at home when this occurred, and thus escaped being captured, as many others were, who were afterwards murdered. When he returned the money to the county court they would not allow him anything for keeping it, but he had to sell his last team to replace the two hundred dollars.

The Christie survey, embracing all the county lying east of the western line of range thirty (three miles east of Carthage), was completed in the year 1836. The portion lying west of that line was not surveyed until 1844. Many old citizens still remember seeing the surveying parties at work, and a few are still living who assisted in carrying the chains.

There is an old saying in circulation that when Carthage was being surveyed John Pennington came along and talked awhile with the party, and before leaving them he pulled up one of their corner stakes and poured some whisky into the hole from a bottle he carried with him, at the same time remarking "Now it will stick." The orchard in what is now known as Holman's and Bulgen's Addition to Carthage was set out in 1847. The orchard on the Wilbur place was set out a year or so earlier by Hannibal James.

North Fork Township.- In the records of Jasper county court organizing term, March 8, a. d. 1841, appears the following order: On motion it is ordered that all that territory situated north of the North Fork and the Dry Fork of Spring River, including the settlements on said streams within the limits of Jasper county is hereby declared a separate and distinct township for civil, judicial, and military purposes, which shall be known and designated by the name of North Fork township. The elections for said township shall be held at the home of John Mann, on the north fork of Spring River in said township, and the following persons are hereby appointed judges of the election for said North Fork township; viz., Alien Petty, Enoch Estep, and Joseph Smith, Esquires.

Spring River Township.-It is ordered that all the territory situated within the following described territory situated within the following limits is hereby declared a separate and distinct township for civil, judicial, and military purposes, which shall be known and designated by the name of Spring River township, and bounded as follows; viz., beginning on the line dividing the counties of Jasper and Dade at the intersection of the southern line of North Fork township; thence west with said township line to the center of Jasper county (east and west); thence due south to the line

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dividing the counties of Jasper and Newton; and thence due east to the southeastern corner of Jasper county, and from thence to the beginning. The election for said township shall be held at the house of Jesse Danow on Spring River, and the following persons are hereby appointed judges of the elections for said Spring River township; viz., Samuel P. Benny, Jesse Danow, and Samuel Mulgin, Esquires.

Center Creek Township.-It is ordered, that all that territory situated within the following described limits is hereby declared a separate and distinct township for civil, judicial, and military purposes, which shall be known and designated by the name of Center Creek township, and bounded as follows; viz., beginning at the northwestern corner of Spring River township, on the southern line of North Fork township; thence west along the southern line of said North Fork township to the western boundary of the state; thence south along the western boundary of the state to the northwestern corner of Newton county; thence along the line dividing Newton and Jasper counties to the intersection of the western line at Spring River township; thence due north along the western boundary line of Spring River township. The elections for said township shall be held at the house of Andrew Kerr, Esq., on Center Creek, and the following persons are hereby appointed judges of the elections for Center Creek township; viz., Thacker Vivion, Clisby Roberson, and James G. Ennis, Esquires. August 23, a. d. 1847, ordered by the court that the elections for Center Creek township shall hereafter be held at the store of Andrew M. McKee in said Center Creek township.

Marion Township.-Jasper county court record, November 3, a. D. 1841: It is ordered, that all that territory situated within the following described limits, which is stricken off from the townships of Spring River and Center Creek, is hereby declared a separate and distinct township for civil, judicial, and military purposes, which shall be known and designated by the name of Marion township, and hounded as follows; viz., beginning on the line two miles east of the range line dividing ranges number thirty and thirty-one, and on the line dividing the townships of North Fork and Spring River; thence running west on said line to the intersection of the line dividing Center Creek and Spring River townships; thence continuing west along the line dividing North Fork and Center Creek townships to a point on said line due north of Abner Gresham's; thence south, leaving said Gresham's on the west, continuing south to Netting's Point, leaving said point on the west, continuing south to James G. Ennis's, Esq., leaving said Ennis on the east of said line, continuing south to James Sims's; thence south, leaving said Sims on the west of said line, to the county line divid-





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