NBAHS History

History Page

Histories of the various communities of the New Bloomfield area.

New Bloomfield


by Mary Emily Dozier

In the 1884 History of Callaway County, New Bloomfield was listed as "a station on the Missouri Division of the Chicago and Alton Railroad, twelve miles southwest of Fulton. It was laid out in 1836 by Enoch Murry...population 100." In 1983, New Bloomfield is now approximately ten miles southwest of Fulton with the new State Highway 54 cutting down on the distance, and ten miles north of Jefferson City. Population is now 519.

In the 100 years between, New Bloomfield has merged with the town of Ellerslie, the railroad was abandoned and the track removed in the early 1930's. The depot was moved to the east end of town and is still in use as a duplex, owned by T. N. Dozier and wife. A city park, with shelter house, tennis court, basketball court, and picnic area, now occupy the railroad right-of-way. The New Bloomfield Rural Fire Association, Inc. was formed on November 23, 1976, witK. David W. West as president, and the fire house is also on the park property.

Railroad Street, now Chestnut, New Bloomfield, c. 1912, courtesy Trenton Boyd. Businesses now consist of Don's Market, owned by Don and Louise Trammel; Bill's Service, owned by Bill Bennett; Thomas Hardware and Feed Store, owned by Herbert and Orthelia Thomas; Midway Liquor and Quick Shop, owned by Lawrence Luebbering; B & B Beauty Shop, owned by Bernice Smith; Used Furniture and Stuff, owned by Otto and Ruth Trachsel; and Claypool-Debo Funeral Home, owned by Robert Debo. In the 1915 Pocket Directory, New Bloomfield the town had 500 inhabitants and boasted of being "the home of some of the biggest and most successful stock raisers and feeders in the state and produces more big Missouri mules than any section of the county. The town is noted for its pretty homes and the hospitality of its inhabitants. It is a town of schools and churches, of good law-abiding people and is one of the most desirable residential, small towns." The businesses listed then were: Home Bakery; The Lemon Restaurant; Hotel Meng (rates $1.25 per day); Meat Market; Livery Feed and Sale Stable; Bank of New Bloom-field; a Lodge Directory; Harness and Saddle Shop (also shoe repair); Hardware Store; General Blacksmithing and Repair Work; Illinois Oil Company; B. W. Boyd Ice, Meat and Country Produce; Grain and Feed Store; Real Estate and Insurance Company; H. D. Brown, druggist; G. E. Kyger Auctioneer; A. P. Holt Real Estate, Loans and Insurance; Palace Restaurant; and Clatterbuck and Wilson Real Estate Exchange.

The first post office in New Bloomfield area in 1828 was listed as Round Prairie with James Henderson as postmaster, according to the U.S. Postal Directory. New Bloomfield, with James D. McGary, postmaster, was listed in 1842 and stated the name was changed, June 16, 1841. Whether New Bloomfield was previously called Round Prairie is not clear. The present postoffice building was dedicated October 29, 1961, with Arthur Williams as postmaster. At present F. Martin Bryan is postmaster.

According to the New Bloomfield News dated April 22, 1904, long-distance telephone service was available to the people. On November 8, 1962, Mid-State Telephone Company constructed a new underground dial telephone service in the area, and it was later bought by United Telephone, and in 1983 direct dial service nationwide was available. The town was incorporated on February 21, 1959, with Edith McClellan as mayor. Other council members were Churchill Pearre, Leon Gathright, Herbert Thomas and Thomas Nelson Dozier. Bernice Howell was city clerk and Glen Troyer was treasurer. After the incorporation, a city water system was completed on July 26, 1962. The city sewage system was later installed on September 9, 1977. Asphalt streets, street lights, and street markers also updated the town.

Although during the years New Bloomfield has had several banking facilities, the last one merged, April 1931, with a Fulton bank. For forty-two years the town was without banking service. The grand opening of the present First National Bank of Callaway County, New Bloom-field was held, June 3, 1973, with Mike Backer as manager. Today, Larry Underbill is bank manager.

New Bloomfield is now the location of a Baptist, Christian and a Methodist Church. The Presbyterian Church dissolution took place on April 12, 1921. The New Bloomfield R-III School is located in the city. It contains a four year high school and elementary grade school. A school has been located in the town since September 2, 1867. The oldest organization in town is the Masonic Lodge *60 AF & AM. The charter was granted May 25, 1854. The Order of the Eastern Star was granted a charter on September 21, 1917, and both still remain active.

The Lion's Club was organized on September 5, 1950, with Felix Lynes as president. Melvin Jones, founder of Lionism, spoke and presented the charter to the organization. Bob Wilderman is now president and Carson W. Boyd and Martin Bryan are the only charter members remaining with continuous service. A Lion's Club Horse Show and barbecue is an annual event in June. At one time, from 1908 to 1915, the Callaway County Fair was held in New Bloomfield. A permanent fair ground was located in the west part of town. It included a grandstand and three large barns that were erected on 15 acres of land from the Ewing Guthrie farm.

Meadow Lake Acres Country Club is located one mile south of the city limits and offers an 18-hole golf course, club house, swimming pool, and tennis courts to the members. The golf course opened in the spring of 1961.

The 1915 Business Directory statement that New Bloomfield was "a town of schools and churches, of good law-abiding people and one of the most desirable residential, small towns in the state" is still applicable in 1983.

From: Keys to the Kingdom

By: Lee N. Godley

The beginnings of a town in Callaway can be the culmination of many unrelated events. Take for example the family of one Enoch Murry. Following the Revolutionary War, John Murry immigrated from Scotland to the newly won domain of democracy in Virginia. Later, the appeal of the frontier enticed John to move his family to Bullitt Station, Kentucky. He fought defending that democracy in the War of 1812, and was killed at the battle of Dudley's Defeat. John's son, Enoch, who was bom in 1779, followed his father's lead and headed west. In 1817, Enoch and his Virginian bride Jemima Gray settled in the vast wilderness of what would soon become Callaway County. The site that Enoch and Jemima chose was in the area of Round Prairie, which received its name due to its nearly round nature. Being a respectable pioneer, Enoch became involved in the local government activities of Callaway.

In 1821, he was appointed with others as commissioner of the county school lands. In 1830, Enoch, John Fry, and Samuel R. Dyer founded the town that one day would take on the name of New Bloomfield. Quite a saga for the planting of a town. History relates that Enoch was the one responsible for the laying out of the town in 1836. Mr. Murry's effort was originally called simply 'Bloomfield', though some feel that the town's original name was Round Prairie. A post office had already been established in the Round Prairie Township in 1828 with James Henderson serving as the first postmaster. Small homes began to pop nearby, and by 1836, sufficient population desired town status; thus Mr. Murry made their dreams a reality.

By 1841, the town experienced its first — and last — name change toNew Bloomfield. James D. McGary, who was postmaster in 1842, stated that the change came about on June 16, 1841. New Bloomfield experienced all the events of a small town in Callaway in those years. The town remained an agrarian based entity during and beyond the years of the Civil War. By 1867, a school was located in the town. Education would survive in the area, and even today New Bloomfield retains its own school district.

In 1872, when the Chicago and Alton Line was looking for prospective sights, New Bloomfield was on their list of candidates to receive a depot. The advent of the railroad increased the size and population of the town. In 1884, the number of inhabitants had increased to more that 100, with grain and livestock production being gainfully shipped by the local businessmen.

New Bloomfield managed to survive both the loss of the C & A and the tumultuous years of the Depression. Today more that 500 citizens enjoy those efforts of the Murry clan.

A series of articles from the "Callaway Gazette" in the months of March, April and May of 1882 written by an unknown oldtimer of the New Bloomfield area.

March 24, 1882

Being a reader of your valuable paper, I see a great many letters from various parts of the county, and some of them on the subject of the first settlers of, Callaway county, I have concluded to write what has been my experience relative to the first settling of Missouri, and if it meets with your approval you can give It a place in your columns, if not, drop it into your waste basket. "So here goes," as Crockett's boy said when he ran by himself.

My father moved to this county in the fall of 1818, (it then being a territory and but thinly settled) being the fall of the land sale of this county, and like all, or nearly all, of the first imigrants, aimed for Boon's Lick in Howard county. We reached that place on the 27th day of October, 1818, twelve miles above Old Franklin, and in a short time the lands were offered to the highest bidder in quarter sections. No lands were dropped below two dol­lars per acre, and were auctioned off by Mr. Burkhardt, and I think there are but few men at this time who could have excelled him as a cryer. My father did not get his land at auction, but bought the place where he settled in this county secondhanded, from a man by the name of Robert Heth, (who by the way, was a brother of John,A. Heth, one of the commissioners that were chosen to select a site for a suitable place for the seat of government) and in the latter part of the winter, part ol the family, consisting of my father one sister, three brothers and myself, started for this county. The second night on our way we camped at, or rather in what was then called, Hickory Grove, near the place where General John Ellis now lives. There was not a house in that region. My father and brothers left me and flay sister next morning to keep camp, while they hunted a road from that point to Cedar Creek for there was no road from where we were camped to the section of country where New Bloomfield now stands. We crossed Cedar Creek near where Wm. Duley now lives My father's wagon was the first that ever crossed the creek at that place. We found a little cabin built in the bottom by a man by the name of Ramsey (more familiarly known as "granddad" Ramsey) for a camping ground while out hunting. How familiar that name sounds to me, and I look back with fond recollections to these days, as being my happiest. My sister and myself counted eleven Indian guns that day while my father and brothers were in search of that road. The next day after camping in the cabin, we reached what was to be our future home. There was not a mark of civilization, except the section lines which were" then fresh, and were the marks by which each knew his home boundary. This survey was made by Major Langum. There was but one house where Fulton now stands. Perhaps the Editor knows to whom it belonged. If he does not, his father does. It was his playground and there was not a house in Columbia, Boone county, neither was there one in Jefferson City. Bear, deer, turkeys, wolves, wild cats, foxes, oppossums, coons, skunks and panthers were plentiful. We lived part of the year, or gathered food for the table, from the forests and found it excellent. People were glad to see each other, and often went from eight to ten miles to house raisings and log rollings. I remember the first death that occurred in our neighborhood, and that death was a Mr. Hall, a highly esteemed citizen and a good neighbor. It cast a gloom over the entire neighborhood. His grandchildren are now in our midst.

Imigration set in, and in a "short time settlements were made in various parts of the county.

Now and Then

March 31, 1882

At the close of my first communication I spoke of the great number of immigrants who flocked into Callaway, or I should say Montgomery, for at the time of which I write this county was to laid off. Permit me here to mention those families we found here on our arrival. Enoch Murray and family, also James Henderson and family; these two were settled ijear where New Bloomfield now stands. When I speak of Enoch Murray, I place him amongst the most prominent citizens in early days, as a kind, good neighbor, and a high toned gentleman. His children and myself were schoolmates. Three of them have gone to that "bourne from which no traveler e'er returns." His son, Ben, is on the old homestead, and when I meet him, I feel like I have met with a friend indeed. His house feels like home ltd me when I call there.

The land speculators came anc traced the section lines till there was a path almost everywhere let be seen. The grass and wild pea vines grew very thick and you could gallop a horse on the trail of almost any horse or cow that is, in the spring and summer time. There was a quantity of land relinquished in this country and fell back to the United States, and afterwards was entered at one dollar and twenty-five tents per acre. These speculators stopped with us over night, from three to five at a time, and finally became a burden to us. In my first communication, I mentioned the death of Mr. Hall. He was a man of energy, and did not forget to bring a quantity of fruit seeds with him, and near where New Bloomfield now stands he planted them, and gave my father his first apple trees, (which by the way was a great favor.)

I forget to tell you in my first communication that in the spring of 1818 the first steam boat that ever passed up the Missouri river, landed at Arrow Rock ferry in Howard County. My father went with the children to see the great wonder, or it,was quite a wonder to everybody, it being the first that was ever seen in this country. I have forgotten the name of the boat and the name of the captain yet I remember it was a high pressure single enigine and was quite a,clumsy old hulk in comparison with the present steamers, but to return to my narrative.

About this time the slavery question was disturbing the quiet of the county. The question was should this be a free or a slave state? This gave rise to the Missouri Coimpromise. The vote was finally cast in favor of it being a slave state. Slaveholders commenced dropping in from the slave states. But before proceeding further, I will give you a description of the houses we built in old Callaway. We cut trees from the forest and sometimes squared the ends of them, scored them and hewed off the chips, which was all the hewing that was done sometimes a log was left projecting just out far enough and proved to be n convenient place to hang a deer to skin. I have seen the ends of those cabins nearly covered with coon skins in the winter and spring season. We then split', or rather rived boards four feet long to cover our houses. We put ribs on in place of rafters and placing them about three feet apart, building up the gable ends with logs, which would give it pitch steep enough to let the water off. We put on each end a log for eave bearers, projecting out about two feet, we would then splii a straight log, turning the split side in for the purpose of a rest for the lower ends of the boards, or rather to butt against this the first course of boards was put on breaking the joints. Then a pole of sufficient size was laid on top to keep the boards in place; a heart from th board timber was placed below weight pole to keep it in place, and so on, till the roof was completed. We cu|t logs large enough to split then we hewed them as best we could getting the edges as straight as possible, having first laid three sleeders for a foundation for a floor we then laid down our slabs, completing the floor. Next we chinked and daubed with dirt mortar, thec building a chimney of cat and clay making a board door, lapping them weather board fashion, putting a latch on to fasten the door, leaving the string outside to pull and walk in. If anyone knocked, the little children in would call out "pull the string!" Says one, "Why did you not nail on the boards?" I can answer you without any trouble, it was almost impossible to get nails at any price, and again, "Why did you not lay your floors with plank?" that also is easily answered: we could not get the plank. If the present generation was to see how the first plank was made, it would surprise them. It was sawed, with a whip-saw by two men, on the following plan: they hewed a log of suitable size to make two planks six inches broad, then struck a line in the center, putting the log on a scaffold six or seven feet high, one man standing on the top of the log, the other man on the ground. The saw had but one handle and the top man had that, and the man below had a plan below by which he could fasten on a kind of handle to pull by, each man keeping an eye on the line, and after running through the log, the man below would take off his handle, the top man pulling out the saw turning the log down striking a line on each side as far apart as to make the plank to the thickness required. Two hundred feet was a good day's work for them.

Now and Then

April 07, 1882

In my last communication I tried to tell you how we built our cabins. The question might be asked, "did you have any school houses?" I answer yes, built in the same way we built the houses we lived in. Our seats were split logs, the split side up with hoies bored in the rounding side and wooden legs put in, and some of them so high that our feet did not reach the floor by six inches. We read aloud, which kept a loud noise all day long. Our schools were not district schools; they were gotten up by subscription. Some of the pedagogues we have at this time would have, come up missing like "Luck's calf," especially the youthful part of them. Says one, "Did you get any education?" not much ; the school law was not in vogue at that time. By the way, that reminds me of the old woman who said, "edication, edication, they were making a great fuss about edication now-a-days; she never had any in her life and was jist as healthy as anybody." Some of the youths of the present day would have come up blank. A goodly number of them are like a man I heard of. He did not love to work, neither had time to play, so he would split the difference and go to bed. Splitting rails is rough work, so they will try to get in as teacher. (Boys keep your shirts on, fer I don't wish to fight.)

Did you have any churches? I answer no. Did you have any preaching? Yes; the preachers rode the circuit and preached at private houses once in every two weeks and I believe were as eloquent as preachers are at this time. Many of them have gone to give an account of their stewardship. I think many of them were good men. Says one, "What kind of clothes did you wear?" l answer various kinds, but all of home manufacture, such as jeans, linsey, linen, cotton and sometimes buckskin. The skins we dressed ourselves. My dear old mother and sisters carded by hand all the wool, flax and cotton, and wove it at home, for such a thing as a bunch of spun cotton or a bolt 0 factory was never known here at that time.

The first church that was built was in the neighborhood of Guthrie Station and was built by subscriptions. I hauled the first log that went into that house. The house is forty-eight feet long and twenty-four feet wide, and was built by the Cumberland Presbyterians, yet the Methodists and other denominations helped build the house, and the way I feel and think, at this time people enjoyed as much heart-felt religion as they do now. Perhaps you are ready to ask who lived here? I will name a few of them: Samuel T. Guthrie settled where the station now is. I sometimes call to see the old lady, for I am always glad to meet with her as she is one among the many of the best woman. Abner Holt and family, James Brooks, Charles Powell, John Nevins, Robert Criswell, Thomas Brooks, then a bachelor, the Humphreys family, all kind and good men. Many of their children were my schoolmates. I sometimes meet them and it always is a pleasure. A great many have passed away.

Says one, why did you not settle on the prairies? that is easily answered!: The green-headed flies would in the summer time cover a horse and if kept there for any length of time would suck the life blood from them. Did we have any snakes here at the time of which you are writing? I guess we had a few rattlesnakes and copperheads, which were very poisonous, to say nothing of other kinds. I have killed many of them. Some few got bitten occasionally. I remember old uncle Thomas Brooks had a black man bitten by a big rattlesnake, and a brother of mine who was living there at the time was about to start one of the other negroes fof whisky. The one that was bitten wanted a quart. He was like the Indian; when he sent to the Indian agent and asked for a quart. Said the agent, "won't a pint be enough? no, said, the Indian, big snake, heep big.

The indians came around every fall to hunt, and sometimes made a bad shot and killed a fat hog in place of a bear or deer. Old uncle Abner Holt kept a blacksmith shop andthe Indians came to him often to havc their guns repaired."

We had but few mills in this county, and they were horsemills. We sometimes went to Hubbard's mill west of the Two-mile Prairie in Boone county, if it was not in fly time, and if it was we went to Joshua Ferguson's mill in the river bottom three miles above Cote Sans Dessein which was all the town we had at that time. About this time Jefferson City, Fulton and Columbia were laid off and began to settle, but quite slow. The first store that I recollect in Fulton was Sam L. Dyer's. If I am wrong, tell uncle Felix, your father, to correct me. Then John Yates and J.S. Henderson, then Broadwell put up a store. If I remember correctly, I.O. Hockaday was a clerk both of circuit and county court, and if my memory serves me aright, a Mr. Warner was the first sheriff. I think I would know I. 0. Hockaday's handwriting at this time if I was to see it. He was the father of J. A. Hockaday.

Railroads and telegraph wires were not heard of in this country. I remember the first Governor was Alexander McNear, a large man of a familiar disposition. He staid all night at my father's, en route to St. Louis to take his seat, that being the place. When the Legislature met at that time, not for the purpose of making dog laws, if a man had attempted to announce himself in favor of taxing the dog, he would have had the liberty to stay at home, for there were from three to five dogs on nearly every farm. They were quite useful to keep off the wild varmints. It was a treat to me, for I caught a great many wild animals with them.

Now and Then.

April 21, 1882

I send up the fourth communication, and in doing so I wish to say to your many readers I have no other object in view more than to give some of you a brief outline of the first settlements of this county which are facts as they recur to memory.

I will state that the first road or public highway that was cut through this county, began at Cedar creek near where Wm. Duley lives, the review following my father's wagon trail to where he lived. The first settlers were a good many of them like the old man when he was asked to sign a petition for a certain road, said, "I don't care where it runs if you will bring it by my house." Kind reader, if the road in question had passed by the house of every settler, it most assuredly would have been a crooked road, for the settlers were like a boy's mustache: extensively laid off, but thinly inhabited. Enoch Murray was appointed overseer.

The first night from Cedar creek a number of men stopped with us, and in that company was Thos. Brooks, then a bachelor. The next mornng being cool, Brooks came in to one of the cabins and said to Joseph Nevins, "Joe, your horse is loose;" Joe was seated in a corner by the fire. He at once jumped up and ran out. Brooks at once dropped in the chair and when Joe returned, he saw the joke. It was quite a joke on him.

The road was cleared out to Cote Sans Dessein. The people of Boone county opened the road from the lowjer end of Two Mile Prairie to Cedar creek, connecting with our road, thence to Columbia. It was called the Columbia and Cote San Dessein road. What gave rise to the name of Two Mile Prairie was from the fact of its being two miles across it where the St. Charles road then crossed it.

The next road was what was called the St. Louis and Jefferson City road. I, by this time was old enough to take hold and help clear it out. New Bloomfield was not there at the time of clearing out the road. Shortly after it was opened, a Mr. Bruer opened out a lot of goods in the south room of Enoch Murray's and sold goods to the early settlers. Then Bloomfield was laid off in lots. Bruer built a log house, which was the first house in Bloomfield. Being then a mere boy and anxious to get a dollar, I hauled the first load of lumber for that building from Holt's mill, on Cedar creek. John Fry lived about a quarter of a mile east of the little town and was post master for that section of country. The letters were not stamped at that time nor prepaid, and if I happened to pass and there was a letter for any of us I always got it, money or ho money. The postage was twenty-five cents for a letter. The mail was carried on horseback for a time, then mail coaches started. There was no train robbers in those days and seldom a theft or a murder committed. Rings and cliques nor salary grabbers were not in vogue. My father was a Democrat from his youth and was a revolutionary soldier. I imbibed the same principles quite early in my youth and had the pleasure of voting for Old Hickory for the Presidency of the United States the last time he was elected, and never have regretted it to this day, and as long as I am allowed a vote I expect to vote that ticket.

About the time I am writing, Abner Holt built a horse mill in about a mile from us and was a great addition to our neighborhood, He was a wide awake citizen, and a splendid neighbor. He died at an early day and his place in our community was deeply felt, especially by my father, for they always were on the best of terms. Some of his children are here yet, and When I meet them they feel quite near to me, being my school mates; and James Powell, when I stop at his house, or at James Brooks, I feel at home with them.

Kind readers of the GAZETTE, I hope you will not take any exceptions at my naming those men, for they have battled with the snakes and wild animals and seed-ticks with me. We share our joys and sorrows together with each other from the fact that you were not here at the time of which I am writing or at least the most of you were not and cannot feel and think as we feel toward each other. I will not fail to speak of old Dr. Conger, a man of extensive practice and a man of untold worth, a noble physician. If I were in good health, had he told me if I was not looking well, I would have felt uneasy. He had my explicit confidence. His charges were quite low.

I recollect when I was a boy that; Allen Ramsey, his brother, Erastus Prince and others started on a bear hunt with dogs, and when within a half mile of my father's they, with their dogs, scared up a panther. The dogs soon ran him up a tree within fifty yards of where my old friend Horace Sheley built his brick house. They shot the panther, then skinned it, bringing the skin with them the next morning. They had a dog with a short tail. They took the hide and tied it nicely on the dog and for the amusement of us children, set on the other dogs. What sport it was to see how the dogs would play aronnd. At last one of them caught the skin by the tail, pulling it off, which stopped the sport. It measured seven feet three inches.


April 28, 1882

Permit me to give the many readers of your valuable paper a description of the farming implements that the first settlers cultivated the soil with. The plows we then had were not Scoria or Moline patents, nor were any kind of farming; implements shipped here at the time I speak of, yet we had the old Bar-shear plow, (duck bill as it was'called) made in the following manner: The bar was of a straight bar or piece of iron about two feet long, and the shear, as it was called; was about eight or twelve inches broad, and was welded to the bar, leaving a point or snout extending in front, hence the name duck bill. The stock was similar to the plows now in use, except the mould board, which was a piece of wood about eight inches high, hewed in a kind of twist, to throw the dirt. A man now living, that ever plowed with one of those plows, will ever remember the kicks they gave him when striking a root or stump. A boy would begin to dodge when he came in, reach of a stump or grub. The question might fee asked, did you raise any corn? Yes, kind reader, plenty of it, and plenty of wheat and oats, but not a great quantity of hay. Our stock, in the spring, summer and fall, lived an out range. You could hear various kinds of bells in the woods. We kept dogs to guard our sheep. If this meets the eye of friend D. P. Bailey, I wish to say to him, dogs were not taxed in those days, and we raised sheep then like we do at the present time. We had plenty of venison to feed them, (the dogs) on, for it was not uncommon for my brother to kill two deer before breakfast in the morning. They were plentiful here at that time. The little fawns were great pets with the children. They were spotted, the spots running in straight. lines from head to tail about as big as an English pea and were whlte. The fawns were red except the spots. I can look back to those days with fond recollections to those days and see thelittle spotted fawns skipping and gamboling over ths yard, and it is a great pleasure to me. The deer, coon, fawn, wild cat, panther and bear skins were a part or our pocket money in those days. I met a man in New Bloomfield, perhaps twenty years ago, and in conversation with him, he remarked, "I saw three deer in the wild woods th}s morning as I came here." I asked him where the wild woods were to which he alluded. Why said he, "between here and the village." Sir, said I, if you had been here as early as I was, you then could say wild woods. He remarked he was here as early, perhaps, as I Was, and I asked him in what year he was born ; he gave me the year of his birth. I then told him I was here twenty years before he was borm He looked at me as if to say, that can't be so. Yet it was true.

We plowed with shuck collars and rope traces, boring holes in the hames to fasten them, in drilling them to the single tree, with back-band of cloth to match them. Think of it kind "reader, a boy plowing with a duck bill, bar-shear plow, shuck collar, rope traces, cloth backhand, making corn in new ground thick with both stumps and roots, the flies thick on his horse and gnats thick on the boy, "could thejy make corn? yes, they did, and good corn at that. The boys were nearly all those days, and that principle will result in much good if strictly adhered to.

The boys did not have anything to do with the star route and were contented with their hog and hominy, catching coons, foxes, wild cats and rabbits. They did not expect to get as much for their fox skins as the indian boy did. He sent one to town by his brother and,told him to get a saddle and a pair of spurs and that he could have the balance that was due on the skin. They were onlr worth two bits, and you see he was minus a saddle and spurs.

Wheat drills, riding plows, corn planters and threshing machines were not here at that time, neither were there any wheat fans in vogue. We cleaned our wheat with homemade riddles, fanning out the chaff with a common linen sheet, a man at each end forcing the wind with curent enough to carry off the chaff. Neither the cinch bug nor potato bug were here at that time. We were under Democratic rule at th it time, perhaps that may have had something to do with it.


May 05, 1882

I send you my sixth communication in order to give an accurate description of the implements of farming in the first settlement in this county. In a former communication I described (tie bar shear plow; thej next was the Carey plow, which was a great improvement in farming. It had what might be called a half iron mole-board; the balance was wood extending back of the right-hand handle. This was a very good plow. The next plow was the diamond. The mole-board was all of iron or steel. The plow in use at this time is )ut a slight improvement. We ba.rv sited our wheat and oats with a sidle or reap hook; then a cradle was next in vogue and at first was a clumsy looking instrument to handle. Old Uncle Horace Sheley moved into our neigborhood and was a man of usefulness, making wagons, stocking plows and cradles-a useful and good neighbor-his wagons were the wooden spindles and stiff tongue kind. In a short time farming implements were shipped here. The first wagon was the Quincy, from Illinois, with fall tongue and breast-yoke, thimble skein, a great improvement. If you saw a harrow, it was one with about sixteen teeth. Oxen were worked to a considerable extent. Mules were scarce here in those days and I feel like I would be glad to get once more one of our old fashioned scrub milk cows. Then I would be sure of plenty milk and butter.

I was in Texas once and was at a Mr. Clatterbuck's. In the, morning I went to look after my horse and passed through his cow yard there his negroes were milking eleven head. I told his wife when I returned that when I left home my wife was milking one cow- which yielded more milk and butter than all of hers. She seemed to doubt it, yet it was strictly true and a better article, by far. The old wind-splitter hog was in this country, yet my father, when he left Fleming county, Ky., had two sow pigs which were pets. He let the children drive them after the wagons the first day or two and after that we had no more trouble with them clear through to Howard county, this State, and when he moved from hog was in this country, yet .my father, when he left Fleming county, Ky., had two sow pigs vrhicti were pets. He let the children 3rive them after the wagons the firs; day or two and after that we had no more, trouble' with them clear through to Howard county, this State, and when he moved from there to this county the next spring he brought them with him, and from those two pigs we soon had as good hogs as we have at this time. I remember in an early day his selling old uncle Daniel Henderson on the Grand Prairie, twenty-seven head at $1.75 per hundred and or that same stock. Hogs lived well on the range in those days. I have seen a great many killed without eating any corn and were quite fat, yet the meat did not make as firm bacon as corn-fed hogs. It was rather soft, yet answered the purpose very well. We had bear bacon sometimes. I wish I had some at this time. It was excellent and a healthy diet and if I could get a fat piece of venison I would enjoy it greatly.

And now a word to the readers of the GAZETTE. Since I began to write I have tried to remember who are left of the first settlers. I can find but two remaining. The first is Felix Nichols, and when I meet those old settlers and shake hands with them, I have a warm place in my heart for all of them. I think he will vouch for every word relative to the first settling of Callaway county. The next are John, and Thomas Nevins, and if ever either of the three mentioned and myself felt cool towards each other I cannot now remember it. I always feel glad to meet them.

Kind reader, I at the present time will close my communications with my best wishes for your welfare and long life to you and a happy death.

May the GAZETTE wave its banner all over the land. In the meantime I bid you all a pleasant good bye.


Dixie Store


by Alleyne Cave and Margaret Jones

Dixie was started in 1897. It consisted of the store building and the home of Mr. Walter Sappington, owner of the store. The merchandise had been in a store at Caldwell, Missouri, about three and a half miles to the northwest. There was also a pottery at Caldwell. In the spring of 1902, Mr. Walter Sappington sold the store and his residence to John C. Cave and Shannon Cave. In 1904, Mr. Sappington bought the store and residence from the Caves and continued to run it until 1910 when it was sold to Mr. John Woody and son Marvin. They ran it until about 1923 or 1924. Quincy Schreen was the next owner and he sold to his brother Fred. After a few years it was sold to Quincy Schreen and his uncle, Clinton Sparks, in 1927.

The truck business was founded by Sparks and a nephew, Quincy Schreen, in 1927 when the interest in the store was obtained. The truck line, used principally to transport livestock to St. Louis, was started with one vehicle, a Model-T Ford truck. The first run in 1927 began at 6 p.m. one day and ended late the next morning in St. Louis, with nine sows shipped on that first trip. As was the case with most Model-T owners, Sparks once suffered a broken arm while trying to crank the vehicle. The truck line in later years consisted of a pickup truck and two straight trucks, used for hauling livestock to St. Louis and to deliver feed and farm supplies to area farmers.

The interest of Quincy Schreen was purchased by Sparks in 1932, and S.C. Sparks and his wife Rosie operated both businesses alone until their retirement in 1957. S.C. recalled that one of the biggest changes that had taken place in the country store operation was the addition of bottled milk to the stock. "People would have thought we were crazy to have handled bottled milk thirty years ago." Everyone had a cow in those days. The store at one time also handled a large volume of dry goods business, but that went out as the innovations came in. The store has never handled fresh meat, but has carried a stock of canned goods and staples. Its main business was selling livestock feed and supplying gasoline to area residents.

At this time S. C. was well-known throughout the county as a soil conservation advocate. He was the first man in the Dixie Community to build terraces on his farm; he built 12 miles of terraces with a tractor and an old motor grader. The farm was chiefly in pasture-with cattle and sheep the main projects. He worked closely with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and served many years on the township ASC committee. He also had served about 26 years on the Victor School board and was president of the board for more than 18 years. Before his death on January 14, 1977, he was very active as a church worker and had been on the board of the Dixie Christian Church for about 35 years and had been an elder for the last 15 years of his life.

After S. C.'s retirement in 1957, his son-in-law Dorris Jones took over the store and trucking business. The store remained open until 1962 at which time it was closed. The trucking business was not sold until September 1967.


Source Unknown

In the south-central portion of the county, in Caldwell township, the settlement of Dixie came into being in the late 1800's. Located 5 miles east of New Bloomfield, the area was first called Caldwell. Named for N.G. Caldwell, who erected the first business - a general store - in the area, settlement of Caldwell came into existence around 1870. The general store, although built by Mr. Caldwell, was operated by John Ferguson.

The post office, in operation ftom 1892-1905, was most likely housed at the general store and the first postmaster was N.G. Caldwell. In 1884, the population reached 60 and the following businesses were available: general store/flour mill- N.G. & J.B. Caldwell; blacksmith - J.W. Love; coal miners - Charles Ellis & H.W. Hobbs; schoolteachers - S.P. Beaven and P.H. Howe.

By 1890, a second store was built a mile or so south of Caldwell and became known as Dixie Store. Where the name came ftom is an unknown mystery. The following were storekeepers during Dixie Store's duration: Walter Sappington (1897-1902); John C. & Shannon Cave (1902-04); Walter Sappington (1904-10); John Woody (1910-23): Quincy Schreen (1923-32); Fred Schreen (1925-27); Quincy Schreen & S. Clinton Sparks (1927-32); S.Clinton Sparks (1932-57); Dorris Jones (1957-62).

In 1927, Quincy Schreen opened a trucking business in the small town of Dixie. The truckline, used to transport livestock to St. Louis, was started with one Model T Ford truck. Nine hogs were the first livestock reportedly shipped out in that Model T truck. Mr. Schreen sold his interest in the store and the trucking company to S. Clinton Sparks in 1932.

Mr. Sparks became a very influential businessman in town, operating the store and trucking enterprise until his retirement in 1957. Upon his retirement, Mr. Sparks sold both businesses to his son-in-law, Dorris Jones, who continued operating both business ventures. The Dixie store closed in 1962 and the trucking company stayed in business until 1967. Christian Church was organized in the area in the late 1800's and served the communities of Dixie, Caldwell and Pitcher. Today, regular church services are conducted and the present pastor is Dr. Parker Rossman.

Victor School served the community'S educational needs for a number of years before it consolidated with the New Bloomfield school system in the late 1950's. When the Dixie store and trucking company were built it acquired many of Caldwell's patrons, thus making that small settlement obsolete. Later, Caldwell became a memory to those who remembered it and the regional community became known as Dixie.

Ancestral Names in the Area:
Ackison, Allen, Baldwin, Barrow, Benson, Bills, Brandis, Burkhead, Bush, Caldwell, Cave, Cheatman, Cleveland, Creswell, Ebersol, Elley, Elliott, Erwin, Farnsworth, Ferguson, Fishburn, Foster, Gathright, Gilda, Gillin, Grimm, Harris, Herring, Holt, Jones, Kelly, Kemper, Kester, Knight, Langley, Latty, Letcher, McDonal, McGuhe, Newsome/Newsom, Nichols, Padgett, Powell, Sanders, Sanford, Sappington, Schreen, Smart, Sparks, Wagers, Whitlaw, Whittington, Woody.



by Kathryn Holt

Samuel T. Guthrie was born in Madison County, Kentucky, in 1793. His wife, Sally Phillips, was born in Casey County, Kentucky, in 1804. Samuel T. Guthrie came to Callaway County in 1819, and he was married to Sally Phillips on December 27, 1821. They settled on the present site of the town of Guthrie. Samuel T. was the first coroner of Callaway county, in the year 1821. He died April 24, 1872, at the age of 79, less than two months before the town was founded.

John Guthrie and Samuel N. Guthrie, sons of Samuel T. Guthrie, laid out the town of Guthrie, on June 10, 1872.

The first census shows Guthrie with a population of one hundred. The population has fluctuated very little until this present time. J. W. Bruton was the first postmaster, express agent, notary public and lumber -dealer. The railroad was built in 1872 at a cost of $640,000, running from Mexico, Missouri, to Cedar City, Missouri.

Ben Bigbee, a wealthy man who furnished the money to build the railroad and went broke due to this venture, no doubt was unable to underwrite the huge cost of building the railroad. The town was originally named Bigbee for this man. He was an aristrocrat, influential, and no doubt, wealthy. This may have been reason for the town being named for him. The old survey maps still show the east part of Guthrie as Bigbee. The old house on the John Reynold's farm, one mile south of Guthrie, had the air of a southern mansion, and may have been built by Ben Bigbee since at this time he lived in the area.

Martin Butler at one time owned all the land south and west of Guthrie. It was known as the Guthrie land and was approximately 640 acres. Matt Guthrie married a Butler and became heir to this land. The grave stones in Dry Fork Cemetery for the Butlers and Guthries came from the old cemtery. They are the most outstanding stones in the cemetery. Emerine Butler left an endowment fund for upkeep of the cemetery.

The Matt Guthrie home on the south central part of the farm was, and is to me still, my idea of heaven with a fireplace and little upper windows on each side with deep window casings, a winding corner stair case, a puncheon door with a latch string, a south window with a couch beneath, a shed kitchen with a door to the east, grapevines on a trellis over the well, a garden gate where holly hocks grew, a four-rail fence on either side of the walk, a fire bush and hugh oak trees on the lawn.

Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie were highly respected neighbors and were the parents of Logan, Campbell, Cordie, Sally and Pattie Guthrie.

Ewing Guthrie was the father of George and Jim Guthrie. Jim Guthrie was the father of Leslie and Orlean Guthrie Craighead. Frank Guthrie was the father of Baxter, Lou Gray, and Sallie Houston. They lived at the old Guthrie home, where Tonanzio's now stands. I remember, probably seventy years ago, the morning the old house burned; we stopped by on the way to school. Nellie, a girl who lived with Sallie, Lou and Bax, was sitting on a big rock crying. I presume this was the original house.

My father, "Bill Jack" Wilkerson, farmed the Guthrie land, approximately 640 acres. This was the Matt Guthrie farm located south and west of Guthrie. He raised wheat mostly on this land. There was not a single gully then. I was a very young child at that time. My husband J. C. (Tots) Holt told me Dad shipped as much as two car loads of wheat a year from Guthrie that he raised on this farm. It was very good land, and Dad, who was a good wheat farmer, took care of the land. It was quite a feat to sow and harvest three to four hundred acres of wheat with a horse drawn grain drill and grain binder and then to thresh with steam engine threshing machine and horse drawn bundle wagons and grain wagons. It took twelve to fourteen bundle wagons, six to eight men pitching bundles onto the wagons, three to four grain wagons, three machine men and several boys. The threshers spent several days, and the women spent many hours preparing and cooking the meals for possibly thirty men with farm hand appetites.

History records a beginning for this area at the time Samuel T. Guthrie and many other settlers came in 1817-1819. The first church in Guthrie was founded on October 4, 1823; it was the Cumberland Presbyterian. It was the third church organized in the county. It was a small log cabin daubed with clay, known as Log Providence. The church was built on what was known as Picayune Prairie. The location is south of what we called Graveyard Hill.

The pastor and members are listed in a former Callaway history book. Later, Brother Buchanan and Brother Russell served as pastors, and a frame building was built in Guthrie which stands today, but it is no longer a church building. What a shame that we lost such a great heritage! My mother and father, Eva and William H. Wilkerson, took their family to services there as well as to Dry Fork, where they were members as we were growing up. I have pleasant memories of this old church and its members.

Grandpa and Grandma, Robert and Nancy Criswell, lived in a house across the present road from the cemetery. A legend of their home told me by "Tots" was that a little colored girl was drawing water from the well with a bucket, and it was storming, lightning, and thundering. Either she was struck by lightning or was frightened and fell into the well and drowned. A depression in the ground and the rocks to the well are still visible.

Guthrie residents in 1974-75 were researching the beginning of the Guthrie School. My sister-in-law, Maude Holt Bedsworth, who reached 90 in 1979, and I thought that possibly the first school was held in the church building. Mr. Peru and Lark Fleshman were the first two teachers in the township.

Trains played a big role in Guthrie life and welfare. The north and south bound trains met in Guthrie at 10:00 o'clock in the morning. The south bound train was on the siding which ran from the east-west road to the school house. The north bound passenger train returned at 2:00 p.m., and the south bound train at 5:30 p.m. One could go to Fulton for a quick shopping trip on the afternoon trains. Everyone except the store keepers met the morning trains to see who was going north or south and who got what from the freight train. Horses, mules, cattle, sheep, hogs and grain were shipped to St. Louis and Chicago. The branch line was the Chicago and Alton line. My dad sold John Deere machinery and also Minneapo-lis-Moline. The machinery came unassembled and Dad had to set it up and get it into operation.

The first rural telephone in the county and possibly the state was from Guthrie to Ashland. Charles Birkhead was in charge of building the line and installing the phones. The phone in each home had a call of long or short rings or a combination of both. There was no privacy on these lines and this was not at all appreciated by the patrons. Mr. Birkhead told the women how to use the phones, not to be too close to the transmitter etc. Odga, Church, and Herbert Clatterbuck raised hound dogs and as typical boys, they got the old dogs to howl so the women could not hear each other. Much complaint got poor results. Boys will be boys! My father and mother were on this first rural line and I remember a call from Texas telling my father of the death of his mother. This impressed me since Mother and Dad were crying. At the time of this message we lived at the house of my birth, and by checking ages, I think the line was built in 1911-1912.

My husband "Tots" told me of a Mr. Jamison who kept stallions and jacks for breeding purposes. When he made a phone call, he announced "If any women are on the line, they had best hang up because of what I might say to my client." Naturally all the women listened in.

Memories of 78 years ago

by Flossie Hudson as told to Sonya Wilson

"I hold many fond memories of the now near ghost town of Guthrie, Missouri. It was a booming little country village with a drug store, post office, harness and saddle store, mill and blacksmith shop, a Presbyterian church, a Baptist church a little ways down the road, C & A branch train depot, a barbershop, and three stores containing groceries, dry goods, novelties, and most anything a well-to-do-residential area could get by with until the residents could go to one of the three larger towns which were Fulton, the county seat of Callaway County; Jefferson City, capital of Missouri; and Columbia, county seat of Boone County.

"I especially have a slight memory of a small circus that came to Guthrie in the early summer around 1905. A large tent was set up between the railroad tracks and the business places west of the tracks. The tent faced east and had a large opening on the south end. It was equipped with amphitheater seats that were well filled with eager and excited spectators. I remember about six or eight small elephants in the ring, each holding the tail of the elephant in front of them with its trunk and marching around and around the ring. At the crack of a whip, they would turn loose of each other and would get on a tub apiece with all four feet. I also remember trained dogs doing stunts and clowns. "The entrance fee to the circus was 25 cents for adults, 10 cents for children under 12, and free for children under five. I had a younger brother who was five years old at the time. My father wanted to save some money so when it came time to pay the entrance fee, he pointed to my brother and said he was four years old. Well, as most children, my brother didn't want to be claimed younger than he was, so he spoke up and said, 'I am five years old!' My father turned and said, 'You little rascal, why didn't you keep still?' He had to pay the 10 cent fee for my brother after all. The incident caused much laughter as the circus itself did.

"I also remember visiting my grandfather who lived right in Guthrie and he would take me on a train ride sometimes when I visited. We would board the train in Guthrie and ride down to Cedar city, Missouri, and back which would usually take an hour. The train would make a stop at New Bloomfield and Holts Summit."

Holt's Summit


by Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Dunn

Most of this material is from the "History of Holts Summit" by William Holt prepared for the Bicentennial Celebration, copies of which were still available at this writing. Our thanks to Mr. Holt for permission to use it.-Authors.

Looking back to the early settlement of this area, we find that most of the pioneers were from the state of Virginia. One such settler was Abner Holt, who, with his wife Elizabeth and children, settled for a small time in Tennessee. Traveling on to Missouri, they came to Howard County in 1819. It was their intention to settle in Call-away County; however, because of the lack of organized settlements and due to the fierce wilderness, they stopped in Howard County. While the family remained there during the winter of 1819-20, the menfolk were busy making a home and preparing a crop in Callaway. In the following spring, Abner brought his family to their new home in the then unnamed community we know as Holts Summit.

James Holt, the third son of Abner and Elizabeth Holt, worked in his father's mill and acquired a pioneer education to the degree that it rendered him an expert in business affairs. Thus the foundation for this community began in cultural growth, and "Uncle Jimmy," as he was fondly called, became the founder of Holts Summit and one of the most highly respected citizens of Callaway County.

Holts Summit was plotted out in 1870 by Timothy Holt around a general store owned by Timothy, his father James, and a cousin. The store was called Holts Summit because it was the highest point between this place and the Missouri River. Thus we have arrived at how the community was named. In addition to the great influence of Timothy and James; Elijah and John (brothers of James), and Perry Simeon Holt, John's son, also contributed to community development. It would be safe to say that the early influence and reputation of the Holt family greatly contributed to the formation and development of this community that is to bear the family name forever.

The boundaries of the town originally ran parallel along the Chicago and Alton Railroad tracks north and south. The exact northern boundary and exact southern boundary is not really clear, but the road that presently runs west from Summit Drive to the Community Center was the approximate southern boundary.

Schools: The first school began in a one-room structure. Then as the community grew it became necessary to be annexed to the Jefferson City School District. We now have two separate schools, North School and Callaway Hills School, housing approximately 800 students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Older children attend school in Jefferson City.

Churches: Religious needs are furnished by several churches: Union Hill Baptist Church, St. Andrews Catholic Church, General Baptist Church, Summit First Assembly of God, and the Community Presbyterian Church.

Businesses: In the early years several small businesses supplied the needs of the community. Lon Holt's store of general merchandise found a place for items such as jewelry, shotguns, nails and tobacco. Perry Simon Holt also had a general merchandise store. Joe Green way's place (which is now Greenway Park) supplied maple syrup from his maple grove. The grist mill and sawmill owned by Joe Pearre and Lewis Atkinson provided custom grinding and sawing for the needs of the community.

Summit Plaza: Bringing the times up to modern day, Summit Plaza affords many accomodations to the community; namely: United Super (grocery bakery, and meat market), Erlene's Card Shop, Auto Parts Store, Liquor Store, Hirsch Department Store, Milo Walz Hardware, Laundromat, Summit Shoes, Eiler's Drug Store, Denim Post, Garage and Body Shop, Car Wash, Granny's Restaurant and the Pizza Works. A new addition to the plaza will be called Callaway Center.

Banks and Savings and Loan: With growth came the financial needs which have been supplied by the Summit Bank and Fulton Savings and Loan.

Medical and Dental Clinic's: Holts Summit Family Medical Clinic, with James R. E. Ennis, D.O., physician-in-charge, meets the medical demands for many in the community. Dr. Walter A. Henderson, Jr., supplies the dental needs for the area.

Other Services: Other services which have been brought about through the growth of Holts Summit are: Callaway County Veterinary Clinic, Animal Clinic of South Callaway, Water District, Police Department, Volunteer Fire Department, and several beauty shops. Civic Organizations: The Lions Club, Optimist Club, and Civic Organization (owners of Greenway Park) take care of many needs for social activities.

City of Holts Summit: The city of Holts Summit has grown to be a fourth class city. Its governing body is composed of a mayor, a few councilmen (two from each ward), city clerk, treasurer and police department (police chief and five officers). The City Hall is located on Summit Drive.

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