Other County Histories | Civil War | 1913 Vol. 1 | 1913 Vol. 2 | 1916 | Depression |
History of Livingston County
from The History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri.  1886

Table of Contents

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

Home

CHAPTER XIII.

GREENE TOWNSHIP.

Position and General Description - Economic Geology - Grand River - First Settlers - Original Land Entries Prior to 1840 - Organization - Items - The Town of Utica - Complete Historical Sketch of the Town, with Notes of Its Leading Institutions, Churches, Lodges, Schools, Newspapers, etc. - Biographies of Some of the Old Settlers and Leading Citizens.

Greene township comprises that portion of Congressional township 57, range 24, lying between Shoal creek and Grand river (including the West fork of the latter), and that portion of the east line of sections in township 57, range 25, lying south of the West fork. The area of the township is about 24,000 acres.

Only about half the township is tillable land. The vast broad bottoms of Grand river and Shoal creek comprise a considerable portion, and the bluffs and hills on the West fork, in the northeastern part of the township, interfere with the cultivation of that part. South and southwest of Utica is some excellent prairie lands, high and rolling.

The valuable character of Livingston county soil and its adaptability for fruit culture is exemplified in this township. Some of the largest and best orchards in Missouri are here. In 1883 Thos. B. Stone sold from his orchard of 30 acres, south of Utica, 2,200 barrels of apples, at $2 per barrel. Last fall, owing to the unfavorable season, only 1,200 barrels were sold. Mr. Stone has about 2,000 apple trees, chiefly of the Ben Davis, Willow Twig, Wine Sap and Genitan varieties. Stone & Harper's well known fruit farm, a mile northwest of Utica, is one of the best in the country.

ECONOMIC GEOLOGY.

A superior quality of brick clay is found in every section. Abundant limestone exists in the hills and highlands in the western part of the township. Along the bluffs on West Grand river are exposures of good building sandstone. The latter is of the variety known to geologists as ferruginous sandstone. When first taken out it is quite soft and easily worked, but soon hardens on exposure and is very durable. In buildings where it has been for 80 years, it is still firm and substantial. It ought to be more generally utilized.

The limestone comes well up to the surface in the western part of the township. West or southwest of Utica the railroad passes through a deep cut the walls of which are of stone; the surface is prairie. In but few portions of the State is the limestone to be found at so slight a depth on high prairie land.

There are traces of coal and a few shallow veins, but no workable beds. In former times some of these veins were opened, but soon abandoned. (See Chapter I.) Some years since Mr. Wm. M. Rush made an exploration for coal on the south side at the West Grand river, near the mill at Utica. He first dug a shaft and then bored. At a depth of 200 feet the work was stopped, no coal in paying quantities having been found.

Whether or not the large expanse of land in this township lying in the Grand river bottom will ever be reclaimed from its present swampy, marshy character, and freed from all exposure and subjection to overflow, time will determine. This can be accomplished only by "straightening" Grand river, changing its current by jetties and canals, and deepening and widening its channel, so that it may contain and carry off the volume of water it receives. At present, and for all time past, the stream has not been large enough and swift enough to convey the water; and nearly every year it overflows, sometimes for a mile and more on either side. These inundations of course cause the swampy condition of the bottom lands.

By cutting across some of the many sharp but extensive bends of the river its length would be greatly shortened, and the velocity of the current proportionately increased. Then by putting in jetties, and in some places rip-raps, the stream would gradually widen and deepen its own channel, and it is possible that in time it would be capable of taking care of the water that it receives without flooding the county. By whom this work should be done is not clear. The citizens and owners of the land have not the means, the State has not the authority, and the General Government no disposition to appropriate money for the reclamation of swamps and overflowed land. Congress has the power to improve navigable streams, and if in this improvement certain lands are benefited it is well. But Grand river is not a navigable stream, properly speaking. If Congress should undertake that it would hold all the water poured into it during the rainy seasons, it would also be compelled to devise a plan whereby the volume should respond to the demands of navigation, and in the dry seasons pour water into the stream. Sometimes there is too much water in the stream, but often there is too little; sometimes Grand river has plenty of water to spare, but at other times it hasn't enough to float a skiff.

Again, the river is obstructed by the Wabash Railroad bridge at Brunswick, which seems to give color to the idea that it is not a navigable stream in a legal sense, and if this is true then no help may be expected from the General Government. The writer is compelled to admit his ignorance on the subject, but it is probable that the river has been at some time declared a non-navigable stream, and that no assistance for its improvement may be looked for from the Federal treasury. No survey or examination of the stream by competent engineers has ever been made, and it may be that the scheme is impracticable.

FIRST SETTLEMENT

The first white settlement in Livingston county was made in the western part of this township, about a mile and a half west of the railroad depot, at Utica. Mr. Samuel E. Todd was the settler, and the date of his coming was the spring of 1831. His location was on the nw. 1/4 of section 24, township 57, range 25. In 1833 or 1834 Mr. Todd put up a horse mill, and in 1836 built a water mill on West Grand river at Utica. The later was a "corn-cracker," and in a year or so a sawing attachment was put in. The first boards in the county were sawed at this mill.

Other early settlers in the township were Joseph Todd, William Todd, Roderick Matson, William Mead, John Stone, George Stone, John Austin, John Rockhold, Alfred Rockhold. The majority of the settlers in the township prior to 1840, except a few men living in Utica, were those named in the list of first land entries.

From official records it is learned that the first entries in Greene township were made on the tracts and at the dates mentioned below. All of the parties named were actual residents of the township or vicinity: -

FIRST LAND ENTRIES - IN TOWNSHIP 57, RANGE 25.

 
Name. Description. Date.
Samuel E. Todd e. nw. and e. sw. sec. 24 June 8, 1835
John Stone se. se. sec. 12 and ne. and ne. se. sec. 13 June 14, 1837
John Rockhold s. sw. sec. 13 June 29, 1835
Alfred Rockhold n. sw. sec. 13 May 27, 1837
Samuel E. Todd sw. se. sec. 13 and sw. ne. sec. 24 Dec. 28, 1835
James Todd se. se. sec. 13 Sept. 6, 1836
Reuben McCoskrie w. nw. sec. 24 June 18, 1835
John Kelly nw. ne. sec. 24 Aug. 27, 1836
W. T. Todd e. ne. sec. 24 Oct. 9, 1835

IN TOWNSHIP 57, RANGE 24.

 
Name. Description. Date.
Wm. Pailthrop sw. sec. 13 July 14, 1838
Roderick Matson se. nw. sec. 17 Nov. 3, 1836
Matson & Van Zandt w. sw. and w. se. sec. 17 Oct. 6, 1836
Sam'l E. Todd se. ne. sec. 18 July 25, 1835
Sam'l E. Todd w. ne. sec. 18 June 6, 1837
John Stone w. and w. se. sec. 18 Feb. 7, 1837
Reuben McCoskrie e. se. sec. 18 Nov. 10, 1836
Joseph Todd nw. nw. sec. 19 Dec. 30, 1836
Wm. T. Todd sw. nw. sec. 19 Oct. 9, 1835
James Todd nw. sw. sec. 19 Aug. 30, 1836
Robt. Snowden ne. sw. sec. 19 Nov. 23, 1836
Matson, Mead & Van Zandt se. ne. sec. 19 Nov. 23; 1836
David Girdner ne. ne. sec. 19 Nov. 16, 1835
Joseph Y. Todd n. sw. sec. 20 Sept. 17, 1836
Madison Fisk ne. sec. 23 Sept. 3, 1839
Wm. McCarty w. ne. sec. 30 June 5, 1837
Reub. McCoskrie w. se. sec. 30 Feb. 28, 1838

ORGANIZATION

Originally, upon the organization of the county, the entire southwestern portion was embraced within what was called Shoal Creek township, which comprised what are now the townships of Greene, Mooresville, Monroe and Mound. The first election in Shoal Creek township was held at John S. Tomblin's. In February, 1839, the name of the township was changed to Monroe, in honor of President James Monroe, and in April following it was divided by a line running east and west, commencing on the county line between sections 30 and 31 in township 57, range 25, and running thence to Grand river. The southern portion retained the name of Monroe; the northern was called Greene, "in honor," says the record, in the handwriting of Wm. E. Pearl, who spelled as he pronounced," of Jineral Green of the Revolution War." The name is commonly written as Mr. Pearl wrote it; but as "Jineral" Nathaniel Greene always spelled his name with a final e, so Greene township should be written. There can be no question as to the propriety of the latter spelling.

ITEMS OF EARLY HISTORY.

Settlers came in rather rapidly to Greene township. Utica was laid out in the spring of 1837. Todd's mill was in operation at the same time, and the locality was considered a favored one. The land did not come into market until 1835, when the first entries were made, but there was quite a population, all circumstances considered, before that time.

At the time of the Mormon War, in the fall of 1838, one company of militia from the township, under Capt. Roderick Watson,- about fifty men - turned out, but took no further part than to assemble at Isaac McCoskrie's, about three miles south of Mooresville, and hold themselves in readiness for an emergency. A day or two after the massacre at Haun's Mill Capt. Matson sent John Stone and nine men of his company to meet Gen. Atchison's army, to report the situation here and receive orders. The detail returned without instructions.

THE TOWN OF UTICA.

The land on which the town of Utica stands was entered by Matson and Van Zandt in October, 1836; but to Roderick Matson is justly given the distinction of founder of the town. In the spring of that year he came to this county from Utica, N. Y. At first he opened a small store at McCoskrie's, two miles west, but in the fall of 1836, or early in the following spring, he came to the town site and occupied a small building which stood on the west side of Fellows street, probably on block 73. One statement is to the effect that John Austin built this house.

In April, 1837, the original town was laid off, and on the 27th of that month the plat was filed for record in Chillicothe. It was named by Mr. Matson for his old home in New York. In the fall of 1837 Henry Stover put up a little frame store-house north of where the public school building now is, and this building was occupied at first and for a short time by a man named Taylor, who kept a small store. The boards of which this house was built were partly rived or split by hand, and the "finishing lumber," such as it was, was sawed at Todd's mill. In the spring of 1839 Martin & Harper opened a store in the Taylor building. This was quite a respectable establishment, and the proprietors continued in business a number of years.

In the summer of 1838 Mr. John Stone built a small frame dwelling-house near a spring just north of his present residence (the Rogers House) near the railroad depot. Although this house was outside of the original town, yet it was practically a part thereof, and was the third or fourth house in the immediate vicinity. The site is now within Stone's Railroad Addition, but both house and spring have long since disappeared.

Utica settled up slowly, but many of its citizens were from the Northern and Eastern States, and were people of intelligence, industry and enterprise. Some of the best people of Kentucky and other Southern States also came in, and no more intelligent, reputable community existed in North Missouri. The progress of the town, as that of the county, was slow, until the projection of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad and the location of Utica as a point thereon.

From 1858 to 1861 there was a "boom" in the place. Business enterprises flourished, and the citizens began the erection for themselves of those fine, capacious and tasteful residences, which yet exist - although with their former beauty and general excellence much impaired. These were the abodes of comfort, culture and refinement. The society was of the best, and the advantages of the town were most excellent. Upon the completion of the railroad, in February, 1859, the tide of prosperity swelled. Utica became a shipping point for a large area of country. From Carrollton and other towns in Carroll and Ray shippers came with their stock and grain, and merchants for their goods, and a large trade was drawn from the country to the northward.

The first railroad depot was built a mile west of town. John Stone had given the railroad company forty acres of land in that locality, and the corporation placed the depot where it would "do the most good"- for the company! The citizens were greatly displeased. They first remonstrated, then became indignant, and, at last, denunciatory and violent. They fell to "soaping" the track, and at last one night the depot was burned. Then the location was changed to the present locality, which, though better than the first, was still protested against, and is yet considered illy placed and inconvenient.

When the war came on it found the people nearly equally divided in sentiment, half for the old Union and half for secession. Two companies were formed, one Union and one secession. The latter had for a leader Capt. Charles Cooper. The drillmaster of the former was W. P. Frazer, commonly called Paley Frazer. In 1863 this man was assassinated near the bridge, as detailed elsewhere, by some militia who considered him a rebel! Hon. A. J. Austin, the county's Representative in the Legislature, owned a farm in the country and had a store in town. He was the leading spirit among the secessionists, raised a secession flag above his store, entered Gov. Jackson's army as lieutenant-colonel and fell at Wilson's Creek. Capt. John N. Stone, an Ohioan, entered the Secession army, and was killed at Carthage, the first officer of that army killed in battle in Missouri.

Secession flags were early raised in Utica. In the summer of 1861 the stars and stripes were waving over the store of Wm. E. Mead. His cousin took down the flag, saying it was "not the right kind." The next morning a "rebel" flag was floating where the Union flag had been. This cousin who "hauled down the American flag" was the next year a prominent officer in the Federal militia!

On the morning of the 14th of June, 1861, the first Federal troops, the 16th Illinois, appeared and seized the town, making prisoners of two or three citizens, and fugitives of others, and bearing away two Secession flags as rare trophies. In September, when Gen. Sturgis disembarked from the train here, on his way to the relief of Mulligan at Lexington, as mentioned elsewhere, he pressed a sufficient number of wagons and teams to transport his baggage. In most instances, however, the owners were quite willing to render this service, many of them being Union men. Gen. Sturgis repressed all disorder among his men. Some of them robbed Capt. Cooper's bee hives, and the General had every honey forager put under guard.

In the spring and summer of 1862 the block house at the Grand river railroad bridge was built. Jacob Wells, of Utica, finished the structure. He also assisted in building the block house at Medicine creek.

At the time of Poindexter's raid there was great excitement. The militia were summoned to Chillicothe and the town was unguarded. The raiders came through the town on their way to Spring Hill, but made scarcely a halt and molested nothing and nobody. A few provisions were purchased and paid for. They seemed in ill condition, jaded, weary, hungry, sleepy and dispirited. Some had lost their horses, or never had any, and were on foot. Others were riding, "two on a horse."

Half a mile in the rear of Poindexter's column came one of his men, a boy of 17 or 18, struggling hard to overtake his command. An inhuman Federal sympathizer, a railroad man named Smith, shot the young man down when he could as easily have captured him. The ball went through one of the boy's lungs and made a very serious wound; but Dr. Gibson took him in charge and nursed him until his almost complete recovery, when his father came for him and took him to his home, somewhere in Linn or Chariton. While the young man was being cared for he was not molested by the militia.

The town suffered a great deal from the war. Business was generally prostrated. The merchants feared to carry considerable stocks of goods, lest they might be "raided," and on one occasion Harper's store was plundered by some Federal jayhawkers. There were many annoyances incident to a state of war, but no considerable outrages save those mentioned.

After the war there was considerable improvement in the condition of affairs for some years. In 1867 the fine public school building was erected, in which enterprise, by a piece of sharp practice, the town "got ahead" of the county and got the building for almost nothing. In 1871 the project of building the Utica and Lexington Railroad was much discussed. In May the county voted to subscribe $200,000 to the stock of the road, but it was never completed, and the town was compelled to relinquish the idea of becoming a railroad center and obliged to content itself with its former and present condition - a way station on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad.

Since 1873 the history of Utica has been uneventful, comparatively. Its prosperity has not been increased, but has rather been on the wane. The value of property had depreciated, until some of the fine commodious residences of former days can be purchased for about one-fourth of their original cost. Yet, although the town shows evidence of dilapidation and depreciation, it is not in a state of utter prostration, but is a good trading point and the abiding place of a community of intelligent and fairly thrifty people.

In 1880 the population was 660. There were five churches - Baptist, Methodist, Congregational, Episcopal and Catholic; two lodges, Masonic and United Workmen; a newspaper, the Utica Herald; a $5,000 school-house, a good water flouring mill, seven stores, a number of shops, four attorneys and two physicians.

Utica M. E. Church. - The Utica M. E. Church, a frame building, was erected in 1877, and cost about $1,000. In 1868 the church was organized, some of the members being Andrew Block and wife, John Law and wife, Orville Wilcox and wife, Lewis Crain and wife; William Heywood and wife and J. M. Davis and wife. The pastors and their years of service are as follows: Rev. Mosher, 1868-69; Rev. Hatfield, 1869 - 71; Rev. Fowler, 1871; Rev. Bassett, 1872-74; Rev. William Edmunds, 1874 - 76; Rev. George Stockings, 1876 - 77; Rev. C. T. Phillips, 1877 - 79; Rev. T. P. Hole, 1879 - 82; Rev. Bratton, 1882-83; Rev. Barwick, 1883 - 85; Rev. Powell, 1885 - 86. The number of Sabbath-school scholars as 60, the superintendent being W. T. Davis.

The Second Advent. - The organization of this church was effected in the year 1878, William C. Griffith, C. W. Middleton, N. Tarpley, William Lemmon, T. M. Clark and wife, Maggie Middleton, A. B. Miller and wife, and two or three others, being the original members. The first pastor was elder C. H. Chaffe; C. W. Middleton has also been elder. The present elder is C. J. DeSha. T. M. Clarke is the present deacon. The Sabbath school superintendent is William C. Griffith.

Masonic Lodge.- Benevolent Lodge, A. F. and A. M., was instituted July 19, 1856. The charter was not granted until May 30, 1857. The charter members and first officers were J. S. Harper, W. M.; A. J. Austin, S. W.; William Hixon, J. W.; D. K. Stockton, treasurer; J. W. Ringo, secretary; John Lowe and J. L. Austin, deacons; W. W. Long, tyler. The past masters have been J. S. Harper, William Hixon, A. J. Austin, John Lowe, C. Fink, David Stone, Henry C. Cox, A. A. Stone and George Culling. The present membership is 31.

THE ''HERALD."

The Utica Herald was established in 1873 by a stock company composed of some of the citizens, and Charles Hoyt was the first lessee and editor. In 1874 Hoyt withdrew in favor of Prof. H. W. Sawyer, now of Hamburg, Iowa. The following year Prof. Sawyer was succeeded by Frank Green, who was succeeded in 1876 by R. Risley, who transferred his position to E. D. Green, and that gentleman, after an experience of one week, stopped the publication of the paper entirely. In January, 1877, the office material was purchased by D. W. Webster, who resumed the publication of the journal, and still presides over its columns, very successfully and acceptably. In 1878 his son, Harry C. Webster, now of the Chillicothe Crisis, was part proprietor. The Herald is a creditable little journal, and the fact of its existence for so long a period, comparative, is evidence of the efficiency of its management and of its appreciation.

BIOGRAPHICAL.

JOSEPH FLAVIAN BONDERER

(Utica).

Mr. Bonderer is also numbered among the foreign-born residents of Livingston county, his birth having occurred in St. Gallen Canton, Switzerland, September 9, 1827. His parents, Johan Peter and Catherine (Probst) Bonderer, were natives of that same Canton and they are both now deceased. The father was a farmer and miller by calling and died in 1875, aged about 81 years; the mother was 44 years old at the time of her death in 1844. Their union was a fruitful one, 15 children being born to them, of whom Joseph was the fourth, or, at least, the fourth of those that grew to maturity. When he was a youth the system of compulsory education had not been adopted in Switzerland, but still excellent schools were to be found there and these young Bonderer attended. After discontinuing his studies he worked on the farm and in the mills of his father until 1855, in which year he left his native country for America, landing at New Orleans in May. Coming up the Mississippi river to St. Louis he went from there to Belleville, Ill., and began work on a farm at $6.75 per month. Six months later he returned to St. Louis, and after about a month ascended the Missouri river to Brunswick, from which place he went by wagon to Utica. Here he settled and began the business of burning lime, making brick and contracting rock work until 1860. In 1862 he entered the E. M. M., was stationed at Breckinridge, and in 1863 he was mustered out of service. While stationed at Breckinridge he was robbed (then living on a farm in Carroll county, near the Livingston line) and to escape further robbery he went to Leavenworth, Kan., in the spring of 1864. In December, 1864, he came back to Utica and re-established lime kilns and brick yards, also contracting for buildings, etc., continuing to be thus occupied for 12 years. From 1861 to 1863 he had been interested in farming in Carroll county, and this calling he now resumed. Up to 1885 he was employed in various business enterprises but since then he has confined himself mainly to farming. In 1860 he was married at St. Joseph to Miss Catherine Seitter, of Wurtemburg, Germany, her father being an agriculturist of that country. Six of their fourteen children survive: Mary, who married September 9, 1885, Alois J. Gier, then of Chillicothe, but formerly of Germany; they reside at Hanover, Kan.; Caroline, Lawrence, Bertha, Theresa and Joseph. Those deceased are Frank, Louisa, Louis, Gerald, August, Catherine, Frowin and an infant. Mr. and Mrs. B. and their children are members of the Catholic Church.

RODERICK M. CHITTENDEN

(Retired Merchant, Utica).

For more than twenty years and, indeed, up to 1883, Livingston county had among her representative merchants none more worthy than Roderick M. Chittenden, a man whose connection with mercantile life was only discontinued some three years ago on account of ill-health. Upon his removal to this county in 1860 he gave his attention first to farming, in which he met with good success, but desiring to engage in merchandising he removed to Utica, and started a store, and this he conducted as above stated. During all these years of active business life he showed himself to be a man of energy and progressive spirit, and a merchant of whom the community had no reason to feel ashamed. Since his retirement he has been hardly less prominent in the general issues of the day and the interests of those among whom he has made his home. Born at Watertown, Jefferson county, N. Y., August 15, 1813, he came of honorable ancestry, his father, T. C. Chittenden, of New York nativity, having represented his district in Congress. He died when 78 years old in 1878. His worthy companion, formerly Miss Susan Morrison, departed this life in 1874. Nine children were in their family, of whom Roderick was the eldest, and from an early age he was a student in the district schools of his native home, When 15 years old he commenced for himself as check clerk on the steamboats plying the waters of the lakes, and for 16 years he continued this avocation. Subsequently he commenced merchandising at Sackett's Harbor, and while here was he married, in 1838, to Miss Eunice E. Drury, of Massachusetts, who died sometime afterwards, leaving one child, Eunice E., now also deceased. After his wife's death Mr. Chittenden returned to Watertown, continued merchandising, and two years later settled at Detroit, after this following the lakes a portion of the time and also conducting an insurance business. In 1860 he disposed of his interests in that city and came to this county, where his career since has been noted. His second marriage occurred in 1853, when Miss Didava Edwins, a native of Canada, became his wife. Mr. Chittenden is a worthy member of the A. F. and A. M.

GREENVILLE COOPER

(Proprietor of Cooper's Ferry, Utica).

The ferry at this place, which Mr. Cooper now conducts, has only been established since the spring of 1885, previous to that time his energies having been directed in the channel of agricultural life. He had been brought up as a farmer and made this occupation his principal calling until the date mentioned. At this time he is a grower of fine horses and does something in the way of farming, conducting his place according to advanced methods. He was the youngest of twelve children born to Charles and Tabitha (Willis) Cooper, the former of whom was a Virginian by birth, and by occupation a farmer; the latter died when Greenville was an infant. Charles Cooper died in 1834, at the age of 68 years. The subject of this sketch owes his nativity to Greenup county, Ky., where he was born, August 23,1823. During his youth he attended the district schools in that vicinity, and when 12 years old came to this county, where he has since remained with one exception, from 1865 to 1867, which period was passed in the territory of Montana. Mr. Cooper is also now engaged in the water service of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad. His marriage to Miss Margaret Campbell, like himself, of Kentucky nativity, was consummated in 1844, but this union was dissolved by the death of Mrs. Cooper in 1859. She left seven children, five of whom survive: Albert, James B., Martha J., Ellen and Castaria. Elizabeth and an infant are deceased. In 1862 Mr. Cooper was again married, Miss Jeannette Walker, of Missouri, becoming his wife. They have seven children: Charles, John W., Samuel, Tina, Claude, Glendon and Frank. Mr. Cooper's brother, Charles Cooper, was brutally murdered during the war by a mob of Utica militia, who fired upon him through the door of his house. Mr. Greenville Cooper was present at the time and is certain of the names of at least two of this band of murderers; they still reside in Utica. He is a citizen held in high esteem in this portion of the community.

JUDGE JAMES M. DAVIS

(Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Missouri, Utica).

"With an equal scale

He weighs the affairs betwixt man and man;

He is not so soothed with adulation,

Nor moved with tears to wrest the course of justice

Into an unjust current to oppress the innocent;

Nor does he make the laws

Punish the man, but in the man the cause."

These words, written by one who is now among the foremost lawyers of the State, describe most truly the even-handed justice administered in the court of this honest and upright magistrate. Judge Davis is not unknown to the people of this portion of Missouri, but in all the long years his life has been conspicuous before the public not a shadow of distrust or suspicion of a wrong act has fallen upon his name. His birth occurred near Martinsville, Clark county, Ill., September 25, 1838, the son of Alexander Davis, a Kentuckian by birth, and a farmer by occupation, born at Danville October 6, 1805. He is now living in this county and is 81 years of age. October 10, 1827, he quarried Miss Priscilla McKay, also of Kentucky nativity, who was born at Maysville November 1, 1810. Of their 15 children nine grew to maturity and seven still survive. James M., the fifth child, accompanied his parents to this State in 1852. His education has been commenced in the district schools of Illinois, and he continued to attend the public schools here, his first teacher being Judge Wallace, and the first school-house having the name of Fair Land. Many humorous incidents concerning his school experiences might here be given, as related by Judge Davis, if space would but permit. At Bedford, Mo., he began teaching, though not then 20 years old; having a natural inclination to engage in legal practice, he took up the study of law which he continued through 18 months of teaching and during his spare hours at home. He also read in the office of Luther T. Collier in Chillicothe and having stood an examination before Judge Geo. W. Dunn, of the Fifth Judicial Circuit, in Carroll county, he was admitted and enrolled as a practicing attorney. After drifting about some time Mr. Davis settled at Utica in 1866, entering at once actively upon a career which has been one of decided success and merit. In 1872 upon the adoption of the township organization he was elected one of the 12 county judges, and in 1873 he was elected town attorney, serving in this position four years. Then he was made prosecuting attorney of the county, discharging these duties from 1878 to 1880, in which latter year he was called to the official bench. His career as judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit has been one so well known to the citizens of Livingston and surrounding counties that we feel it unnecessary to add any words of commendation; to say he has done his duty expresses a truth which all will support. Judge Davis was married October 18, 1863, at Wapello, Ia., to Miss Servilla McKay, a cousin on the maternal side. Her father, James McKay, and wife emigrated to Iowa (of which State she was a native) from Kentucky and there he filled various official positions. Mrs. Davis was the third child in her parents' family. Three children born of this marriage are living: Archie B., born June 29, 1870; Willie W., born March 9, 1872, and Servilla, born December 26, 1878. The Judge and wife are members of the M. E. Church at Utica.

WILLIAM M. GRIFFITH.

(Proprietor of Ax Handle Factory, Utica, Mo.)

It was in 1871 that Mr. Griffith commenced the manufacture of shaved pick-ax and other handles at Gallatin, Mo., previous to which time he had made some shaved handles; but to increase his efficiency he entered the noted factory of Middleton & Co., at Gallatin, where he finished his trade, and where his services became so valuable that he was taken into partnership in the establishment under the firm name of Middleton, Cook & Griffith. After three years at this place he removed to Utica and opened a similar factory, but in 1883, receiving an offer to manage the factory of T. E. Jackson, of Chillicothe, he went there and remained for two years, during which time he superintended the business and made all of the patterns used by it, besides turning out more finished work than any three men in the establishment. In July, 1885, he started his present factory at Utica, and here he now has a capacity for 100 dozen handles monthly. His son, William G. Griffith, is associated with him and their handles are everywhere celebrated for the excellent quality of the timber used and also for the superiority of workmanship displayed. Mr. G. was born in Harrison county, O., May 5, 1840, the son of Thomas and Millie I. (Wright) Griffith, both also natives of Ohio. The father, of Welsh descent, is now living Portland, Ore., at the age of 68; the mother, of German ancestry, died in 1866, aged 43 years. William M., the second child in a family of 19 children, attended school but a short time in his youth, beginning life as a farmer, but by self application in later years he has become well informed. In 1863 he was married to Miss Mary A. McAlister, then of Missouri, but formerly of Maryland. They have eight children living: William G., Emma, Frank E., Nora, Samuel, Amos, Ethel and Clarence. Mr. G. and wife are members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Utica, and having arrived at his belief in the sanctity of the Sabbath, or seventh day, by careful study and earnest thought, he keeps it holy in preference to the generally observed Sunday. An earnest Christian and a man of honor and truth, Mr. Griffith merits and retains the respect of all. His war record was that of a brave and honorable man, one who did his duty to his country and whose courage was tempered with magnanimity towards his foes. The following recommendation is most highly prized by him: -

HEADQUARTERS 50TH ILLINOIS INFANTRY,

CAMP NEAR LOUISVILLE, KY., July 10, 1865.

I take great pleasure in recommending William Griffith as a high-minded, honorable gentleman and true soldier. Would to God that we had more such men in our country.

William Hannah,

Lieutenant-Colonel 50th Illinois Infantry.

EDWIN MUSSON

(Farmer, Utica)

A glance at the notes from which this biographical sketch has been prepared indicates at once that the military career of Mr. Musson formed one of the most important epochs in his life's history. Therefore it is eminently fitting that a brief outline, at least, of the part he took in the late Civil War should here be given. At the time of the breaking out of hostilities he was attending school, but laying aside his books he enlisted in the 2d New York heavy artillery, was attached to the Army of the Potomac, and most of the time was stationed at Washington, although he was with Grant on his Virginia campaign and participated in the greater number of actions in which that gallant and now honored hero was engaged. In 1864 he received an honorable discharge and then returned to his home in the Empire State, where for a year he was occupied in discharging certain duties upon his father's farm. In 1866 he came to this county and settled near his present farm, to which he subsequently removed in 1869, and on this he has since remained. Here he has given his attention to its management, interesting himself also in raising cattle and Poland-China hogs. His farming operations are conducted in a manner which indicates the Eastern agriculturist, and such Mr. M. may be considered, for he was born in Otsego county, N. Y., August 6, 1839. His father, Daniel A. Musson, is still living in New York State, and all his life has been a tiller of the soil. The maiden name of Edwin's mother was Candace Donaldson, and originally of the same State. She died when 44 years old in 1860. Edwin was the eldest of their four children, and to the usual ordinary education which he received in the district schools he added a course at the Gilbertsville Academy, which he left as before stated to enter upon his career as a soldier. He has ever been an earnest advocate of superior educational advantages for the youth of the day and now he is clerk of the school board of district No. 5. In fact, he warmly supports all worthy enterprises and movements. Mr. Musson was married December 3, 1867, to Miss Carrie Harrington, of New York, a daughter of Elisha Harrington, a substantial agriculturist of that State. She died in November, 1883. Mr. and Mrs. M. were blessed with six children, five of whom survive: Harry, Agnes, Nina, George and May. Daniel died in 1871 when four months old. Mr. Musson is a member of the A. O. U. W. and Wadsworth Post No. 60, G. A. R.

CAPT. DENNIS W. STEVENS

(Utica).

Among the representative men of New England birth whose residence in Livingston county have proved of benefit to their adopted home the name of Capt. Stevens should not be omitted. A native of the town of Sheffield, Berkshire county, Mass., he was born December 1, 1827, and has therefore now almost reached the age of three score years. He was the sixth of eleven children born of the marriage of Jonathan C. Stevens and Miss Roxana Dunhain. The former was a son of Steven C. Stevens, a gallant Revolutionary soldier, whose death occurred when he was 91 years old. Jonathan Stevens was a large farmer, merchant, and the owner of grist and saw mills, and he, too, survived to a good old age, dying in 1877 when 84 years had rested upon him. Mrs. Roxana Stevens was originally of Connecticut nativity, and she survived until the age of 87, dying in 1883. Young Dennis in growing up was afforded such opportunities for acquiring an education as could be obtained in the schools of his vicinity, and after discontinuing his studies he learned the trade of a millwright, at which he worked for seven years with one man. After this he commenced a calling for which he seemed to be by nature especially fitted - the conducting of hotels, and for nearly thirty years he was well known as the host of superior hostelries. He finally however entered into the wagon business, and some years later entered a silk mill, from which he resumed his farming operations. Purchasing a hotel which was being conducted by the widow of a brother at Fulton, N. Y., he ran it until exchanging its contents for his present property, to which he removed in 1874. Capt. Stevens has occupied a position of esteem and respect among the people of this vicinity since his location here, and for one term he was alderman of Utica. For some time he was connected with the Utica grist mill, but in more recent years he has made his home upon a farm, which is under good improvement. His enterprise while here has led him to become well known. He has been twice married; in 1877, Miss Cynthia A. Roath, daughter of Russell M. Roath, a substantial agriculturist of Illinois, becoming his wife. One child, born of this union, survives, Dennis M., born February 2, 1882; another, Ashel D., born November 16, 1884, died December 3, 1884. By a previous marriage the Captain had two children: George D., born November 22, 1857, is foreman of the Danbury Hat Company, of Danbury, Conn.; Verrah, born September 26, 1851, died December 3, 1856.

JUDGE JOHN STONE

(Retired Farmer, Utica).

One of the very earliest settlers on the present site of Utica, or, indeed, in this vicinity, was Judge John Stone, and on this account, if for no other reason, he is accorded a worthy mention at this place. He was born near Lancaster, in Fairfield county, O., November 9, 1805, of Virginia parentage, though from the age of three months he was reared in Licking county. Thomas Stone, his father, of Prince William county, Va., died in Ohio in January, 1847, aged 79 years, 10 months and 8 days; the mother, formerly Miss Barbara Wise, was born in Maryland; her death occurred September 16, 1848, aged 79 years. John was the tenth of twelve children, and is the only one now living. His limited education was received in the State of his birth, and when 19 years old he commenced farming, $18 per month being the salary which he received. When 22 years old he was married to Miss Susannah Stover, a Virginian by birth, and the eighth child of thirteen children born to Samuel and Susannah Stover, nee Broomback. When 24 years of age Mr. Stone obtained some real estate from his father and remained upon this farm some three years, then selling out and exploring the States of Indiana and Illinois. Settling in the latter locality, he resided there for three years, and upon returning to Ohio, spent the winter and then came on through Illinois to this county, his location being made where Utica now is. His interaction had been to go to the Platte Purchase, but in this he was discouraged by reports of parties returning from that section. This was in August, 1837, and there were only two cabins on the present site of Utica. Soon after his arrival he served against the Mormons in 1838, and to this day retains a vivid recollection of the events that resulted in their expulsion from this State. Early he was chosen justice of the peace and twice since then he has been elected judge of the court of Livingston county, a position in which he acquitted himself with universal satisfaction and credit. At the close of the war, his children having reached an age where they were able to care for themselves, Judge Stone retired from active business life, and has since been living somewhat retired, enjoying to a boundless extent the veneration and esteem due one whose life has been passed in such an upright manner. At the time he conducted his extensive farming operations his estate embraced over 1,000 acres of rich land. A family of eight children blessed the union of the Judge and wife, and all those now living have become well known and respected members of society. Three are deceased: Flavius J., born April 14, 1830, died, in May, 1834; William H., born April 14, 1834, died in May, 1836, and David, born December 11, 1836, died September 10, 1877. He married Miss Lucy Martin, who survives him; they had one child, a son. Of the children living Samuel S., born February 25, 1828, married Miss Josephine Mull, and now lives in California; John C., born January 17, 1839, married Miss Eliza Harper, and they have three boys; Ashford A., born December 19, 1840, married Miss Mary Hoythey, and they have four girls; he has also been elected judge of the county court, and has held other offices of a local nature; Susan M., born September 13, 1845, married John McMillan, and they have had nine children, and Thomas B., born March 22, 1851, married Miss Ann Wadley. The Judge and wife and all of his family are connected with the Baptist Church.

JOHN C. STONE

(Farmer and Stock-raiser and Merchant, Utica).

The sketch which immediately precedes this is that of Mr. Stone's father, Judge John Stone, one of the most highly respected citizens that Livingston county has ever had; and among the family of children which he has given to the world there is none more deserving of success than he whose name heads this sketch. John C. Stone is known to almost everybody in this vicinity, for he was born at Utica January 17, 1839, and has continued to make his home here since that, time, occupied in either agricultural pursuits or active business. After he had acquired a good common schooling he began farming with his father and in 1860 took charge of the home farm, the senior Stone having retired from active management of the place. Up to 1882 he continued to be so occupied but in March, of that year, he and Dr. J. C. Waters opened a general store at Utica in which Mr. Stone has since been interested, and besides this he continues to conduct the farm, a portion of his land being rented. The position which this mercantile establishment has taken is a sound, substantial one and its proprietors have proven themselves to be men of such energy, perseverance and progressive spirit that good results are bound to follow. Close attention to each detail of every duty is doubtless one great secret of Mr. Stone's prosperity. He was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Harper in 1866, whose father, John S. Harper, was one of the earliest settlers in this portion of Missouri, and at present a resident of Dade county. He is about 70 years of age; his wife was formerly Miss Juliet A. Butts, a Virginian by nativity. Mrs. S. was the second child of her parents' family and is the oldest now living. They have three sons: Charles H., born October 2, 1867; Willie, born April 29, 1871, and Harry B., born March 19, 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Stone are members of the Baptist Church at Utica. He belongs to Benevolence Lodge No. 170, A. F. and A. M., of Utica.

WILLIAM H. VANSTANE

(Farmer and Stock-raiser, Post-office, Utica).

The occupation which Mr. Vanstane now follows has received his attention for a number of years, and it is but the truth to say that in it he is thoroughly posted and well informed. He owes his nativity to New York City, where he was born July 28, 1845. W. Vanstane, his father, is still living, a resident of Boston, Mass., and is now 72 years of age. William's mother, whose maiden name was Frances Cunningham, of English descent, died when her son was a child. Of their marriage (which occurred at Montreal) four children are now living, William H. being the second. His education was acquired in Massachusetts, at the public schools, which he attended until 12 years old, and at 21 years of age he took up farming, which has since received his attention, and in this his success has been made apparent. His residence in Missouri dates from March, 1866, the date also of his discharge from the service of the United States Navy, which he entered and in which he remained a year and a half, having enlisted at Charles-town, Mass., on the frigate Ohio. Mr. Vanstane is a believer in the raising of graded stock, and constantly follows out this belief in the growing of his horses, cattle and hogs. To his present place he removed some four years ago, previous to that time having been located a mile and a half southwest of this farm. October 18, 1875, he was married to Miss Paulina G. Fortune, of Ray county, Mo., and to them six children have been born: William A., Harvy E., Clarence L., Archie L., Bernice P. and Emma F. Mr. Vanstane is a member of Hancock Post No. 60, G. A. R., at Dawn.

JOSEPH C. WATERS, M. D.

(Utica).

One of the very foremost among the professional and active business men of Utica is acknowledged to be Dr. Waters, whose connection with several establishments here, as well as a personal popularity almost unlimited, renders him a representative citizen of Livingston county. On his father's side he is of Irish ancestry, Joseph Waters (the father) having come originally from the Blue Grass State. He died in Boone county, Mo., in 1865, when 63 years old, and there, too, his worthy companion also departed this life, her maiden name having been Miss Nancy Collins. She was born in this State and was 42 years old at the time of her death in 1854. Young Joseph was the oldest of the five children which were born to them, his natal day being January 23, 1848, and his birthplace in Boone county, Mo. The educational advantages with which he was favored were far above the average and were improved to the fullest extent. His attendance at the common schools was supplemented with a course at the State University at Columbia, and upon leaving college in 1868 he devoted himself assiduously to the study of medicine, which he had commenced to read during his last collegiate year under the preceptorship of Dr. A. W. McAlister. In 1869 he went to St. Louis and entered the St. Louis Medical College, Dr. Hodgen, a celebrated surgeon of that city, then being dean of the institution. After the completion of his course at this college Dr. Waters commenced the practice of his profession at Meadville, Linn county, also conducting a drug store at the same place. Some ten years after he came to Utica and in the spring of 1881 opened out a drug store, resuming his practice. This has continued to be his home up to the present time and the reputation which he has earned as a thoroughly qualified physician and surgeon is well bestowed. He continues to read carefully and continually, keeping apace with the advance of his science. He is also a member of the mercantile firm of Waters & Stone, the largest of the kind in the place, and the stock carried here is extensive and complete. The Doctor is a member of the A. O. U. W. and the F. M. M. A. A. of Missouri. He was married in 1873 to Miss Anna Harper, at the time a student of the Baptist Female College at Columbia, and daughter of John S. Harper, an estimable citizen of this county. They have five children living: (Clara, Horace, Walter, Julia, Grover Cleveland and Joe, Jr, One of these is deceased. Dr. W. is the present postmaster at Utica, his fidelity to his party being thus very properly rewarded.

D. W. WEBSTER.

(Editor and Proprietor of the Utica Herald, Utica).

Mr. Webster is a newspaper man of long experience, his connection with his present journal dating from January, 1877. This paper had been established some four years before, in 1873, but its advance under its present able management has been more noteworthy and rapid than formerly. At this time it is recognized as a journal of decided merit, its editorials being written with a clearness and force which indicates a writer of ability; while it has become very popular by its consistent course and fearless advocacy of all measures which it esteems to prove beneficial or detrimental, as the case may be, to the interests of the county. Mr. Webster was the oldest but one of six children born to his parents, Daniel and Mary Webster, whose maiden name was Emerson. They are both living, the father in the eighty-eighth year of his age, and the mother 80 years old. Four of their children also survive. D. W.'s birth occurred in Haverhill, Essex county, Mass., in 1827. He was favored with unusual advantages for obtaining an education, being a student in the common schools and academies of New England, and subsequently he began life for himself as a teacher. Afterwards he followed the mercantile business and since his residence in Missouri he has given his attention to both teaching and newspaper publishing. On the 9th of August, 1853, Miss Ann A. Carleton became the wife of Mr. Webster, a lady originally from Haverhill, Mass. This union has been blessed with three children: Harry C., now editor of the Chillicothe Evening Star, born in 1861, and two daughters, Katie Agnes and Mary Jane. He is a worthy member of the Congregational Church and also belongs to the A. O. U. W.

GEORGE E. WILLIAMS

(Farmer and Stock-raiser, Post-office, Utica).

Since commencing in life for himself, Mr. Williams has divided his attention to two callings only, first as clerk in a mercantile establishment and then to the business which now receives his attention. He is a native born resident of the State, having been born in Ray county September 28, 1847, and after leaving the common schools, in which he acquired a good education, sufficient for all ordinary practical purposes, he began clerking in a dry goods and grocery house at Utica, an occupation which he continued for two years. But a desire to enter actively into agricultural life, led him to move on his present farm, where he has since been successfully occupied in its improvement and cultivation. He believes in the high grading of all classes of cattle and other stock, though he grows no fancy breeds. Mr. Williams' father, M. J. Williams, is a Kentuckian by birth, and in another portion of this work more extended mention is made of him. He was the father of nine children, and of these George E. was the second child. February 2, 1879, he was united in marriage at Camp Point, Adams county, Ill., with Miss Rebecca F. Carson, a daughter of a substantial tiller of the soil there, Mr. John Carson. Her mother's maiden name was Miss Nancy Curl, and Rebecca was the oldest of their three children. Mr. and Mrs. Williams have had three children: Johnnie M., born January 1, 1870; Harry E., born February 17, 1873, and Nellie A., born March 11, 1875. Himself and wife are members of the Utica Baptist Church.

Table of Contents

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

Home