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1887 History of Vernon County, Missouri




1887 History of Vernon County, Missouri



General Historical Sketch from Its Founding-to the Present -Its Origin, Its Early History, Its Experience in Peace and War, Its Progress and Development, etc. -Incorporation -Churches, Schools, Secret Orders and Other Institutions.

The origin of the City of Nevada and its founding were public and official acts, growing out of the municipal organization of Vernon county, and not the work of individual or corporate enterprise. The selection of the site was according to the forms of law, and not for purposes of commercial advantage merely. It was not contemplated in the beginning that the business interests of the town would be more than incidental to its character as the capital of the new county. It was not imagined that in time the county seat feature would become practically incidental, while the business and commercial features would be chief.

The commissioners appointed to select the permanent county seat of Vernon county, Messrs. John W. Boyd, of Jasper; and Abram Cassell, of Cass, proceeded on the 1st of October, 1855, to the discharge of their duties, and on the same day made selection of the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section 4, township 35, range 31, belonging to Thos. H. Austin, having been entered by him October 20, 1854; also ten acres off the west end of the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of the same section, owned by Benj. Baugh, who had purchased the tract to which it belonged from James Skaggs, who entered it November 3, 1853. The entire fifty acres cost the county $250; Austin receiving $200 for his forty acres, and Baugh $50 for his ten.

The following day the commissioners made report of their action to the county court, then in session at Noah Caton's, and that body approved everything that had been done. That site was so near the exact geographical center of the county, so desirable naturally and so easy of access, that no other conclusion could well have been reached.

From its natural peculiarities the county court desired to name the new town Fairview, and indeed the locality had been so called by certain persons; but the county and circuit clerk, Col. D. C. Hunter, objected, and reminded the judges that there was already a village and post-office of that name in Cass county, and that the similarity in names would inevitably lead to embarrassment and confusion. Presiding Justice Still then said: 'Well, Hunter, you give it a name." Hunter had been a California gold seeker, and recalled some very pleasant remembrances of the town of Nevada City, then, as now, the county seat of Nevada county, in the Golden State. He proposed to call the new capital of the county of Vernon in honor of the delightful little burg on the Pacific slope. The court, after some discussion as to the propriety and relevancy of the name, finally acquiesced and the town was ordered named Nevada City.

The town was ordered laid off into blocks 320 feet square, with streets 60 feet in width, beginning at the southeast corner of the tract, and leaving two blocks on the east and one on the south, and reserving the next for a public square -numbering said blocks from the northeast corner of said square. The above blocks to he laid off in lots 160 feet long and 80 feet wide, reserving three blocks on the east to be sold by the block; the remaining fractions to be sold by the fractional block."

'I'hos. H. Austin was appointed county seat commissioner, and ordered to sell the alternate lots in each block, beginning with No.1, on Monday, November 19, 1855; sale to take place on the public square; six months credit, purchaser giving note due in two installments of six months each, with approved security. The sale was ordered advertised in the Osceola independent, the Jefferson City Enquirer, and the Springfield Advertiser, and by posting up notices in at least three public places in the county.

Col. D. C. Hunter, as deputy county surveyor, did the surveying and laying off of the town, and November 16th presented the county court with a plat of the survey. The expenses attendant were $45.

On the 4th of February, 1856, Col. Austin, the county seat com· missioner, reported that at the public sale the previous November, and at subsequent private sales, he had sold lots to the amount of $331.85, and that the expenses had been $11.85; previous expenses, surveying and advertising, $48.50, leaving in his hands $271.50 ; the report was approved, and on motion Austin and Baugh were paid for their land, which left It balance in the commissioner's hands of $21.50.

Notwithstanding the fact that the town was laid out in the fall of 1855, no improvements were made until the spring of 1856. In May A. G. Anderson began the erection of a store house on lot 1, block 7; a few days later D. C. Hunter began a dwelling house on lot 8, block 7; both buildings were frames. Anderson's was nearing completion when a windstorm blew it down, and Hunter's was the first building completed in the town; Anderson's was the first store house.

The first family on the original town site was that of D. C. Hunter, although there then lived within what are now the corporate limits Of the city the families of Benj. Baugh, Jas. H. Morris, and Thos. H. Austin. Col. Hunter's house was used for a court house when court was first held in Nevada, and the Colonel built a smoke house in which he allowed the grand jury to deliberate.

Soon after the first houses were built the post-office was removed from "Haletown " to Nevada, and Col. Hunter commissioned the first postmaster, succeeding Col. Austin, the official at " Haletown."

D. B. McDonald came from Papinville and built the first hotel, a double log building. which stood on lot 5, in block 2. McDonald was also a merchant in June, 1856, but the first merchants were Anderson and Hays.

The first resident attorneys were D. C. Hunter, Wm. H. Blanton, and D. C. Boone, all of whom were here in 1856. The first physician was Dr. J. L, D. Blevins, now a minister of the M. E. Church South, and a resident of Lexington.

In June, 1856, J. H. Morris and Will. Wilson were granted saloon licenses. Later in the year .Joseph Reynolds received a license. The amount of license charged was insignificant, $20 in all, of which only five went to the county. It i$ said of Wilson's saloon that it was a little pole cabin with a clapboard roof, a rough slab for a bar, and tin cups for glasses. Whisky was the only beverage dispensed, and it was so liberally adulterated that it actually froze up during a moderate winter.

The first death in Nevada, of an adult, at least, was either that of James Connor, or a Mr. Roberts, in 1857.

By the 1st of January, 1857, there were probably 25 families in the village; by the following year there were 50. In June, 1857, the court house was completed and occupied. In the lower room of this building religious meetings were allowed to he held when it was not occupied by the courts. There were no church buildings in town until after the Civil War.

During the years 1858 and 1859, the progress of the town was slow. The disturbances in Kansas, the unsettled condition of affairs along the border, the panic of 1857, and one or two drought seasons all combined, had been of disadvantage to the county generally, and Nevada City did not advance rapidly. The advancement was continuous, however, and of something of a substantial character. No very elaborate and costly buildings were constructed, but there were a number of neat and tasty dwellings built.

All the pine lumber used was hauled from Van Winkle's mill, near Fayetteville, Arkansas, and though it could be purchased at very reasonable prices at the mill, the long distance it had to he hauled made this material very expensive. Native lumber and timber could be more easily procured. In due course of time a few small brick houses and one stone building were put up.

The first merchants hauled their goods from Independence, Lexington, and Kansas City. The teams employed were oxen, slow, patient and plodding, all the time usually consumed in making a trip to and from Kansas City was about eight days. A week was considered fast time.

Society was somewhat refined and exclusive, although not particularly high-toned and not at all uppish or snobbish. There was hardly such a thing as aristocracy made manifest, although there was as much real blue blood in proportion to the whole number of people as in any other locality. In small country towns everywhere the fact that the entire human race has descended from the old gardener and his wife is generally recognized.

In short, Nevada City from its founding up to 1861, was scarcely different from any other town of its size in the State in characteristics and general respects, and not much different from the towns and villages of 400 inhabitants to be seen to-day. Of course there was no railroad, and there was no newspaper and no church, and but un indifferent school house, and there were two or three dram-shops, which were patronized at times to their fullest capacity; but there were many God-fearing men and women, and public and private morality were not depreciated.

As the town was not incorporated there was no system of police government, nor sanitary regulations, nor of streets and sidewalks. The township constable was the conservator of the public peace; the justice of the peace punished its infractions. Lot owners and house owners built sidewalks when and how they pleased, and usually pleased not to build them at all.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Nevada City had a population of about 400, or possibly 450. The town was not separately enumerated from Center township in 1860, not being incorporated, and there is now no means of determining accurately and exactly the number of inhabitants; a careful estimate is given, based on the judgment and recollection of some of the old citizens. There were three stores, three saloons, a hotel, two or three shops, etc. There was no mill, the nearest being Moore's, on the Marmaton, three miles northwest, at the site of the present iron bridge.

Very early in the year 1861, Secession flags fluttered in the breezes, and the sentiment of the citizens was practically unanimous in favor of the separation of Missouri from the old United States government. The leading men of the town, Hunter, Blanton, Chivington, Anderson, Sheriff Taylor, were all Secessionists. The ladies took up the cause,  and were as zealous as their brothers. They could not wield swords, but they could ply needles, and they made flags and uniforms and did what they could.

Soon there came the actual call to arms and the mustering of squadrons in the streets, and in June Col. Boughan's battalion formed and marched away to join the little army of Gov. Jackson and Gen. Price. Thereafter, for four years, there was no peace for Nevada, until there came the peace of desolation. For what with seizures and impressments, raids and forays, and what with the swords and torches of war, the little village was racked, riven, and ultimately dismantled and desolated.

The first Federal troops were some of Montgomery's Kansans. Early in the fall of 1861, a battalion came over from Ft. Scott, and held the town a few hours. A man named Stegall, who lived in the country, east of town, had reason to fear the jayhawkers, and he chanced to he in town when they made their appearance. Mounting his horse he rode rapidly for his home. The troopers saw him and gave chase, and when he refused to halt, they shot him dead from his saddle. Then gathering up a small herd of horses they returned to Ft. Scott, without having done but little damage. But some of their comrades who came afterward were not so forbearing. The Kansans came back and forth during the fall and winter of 1861, and early in 1862, there came a detachment of the 2d Ohio cavalry from Ft. Scott, under command of Maj. Burnett, and this detachment remained a week or more as a garrison, or probably as a corps of observation. Throughout the remainder of the year, 1862, and through the first part of the year 1863, the town was at the mercy of the rebel raiders and the Federal foragers, who came in from each side when it knew that the other was not in the neighborhood, and helped themselves to what they liked best.

The usual demand on the people was for something to eat. "Dinner here for twenty men, and be quick about it." "Horse feed for twenty horses." "How many of us call you feed in an hour?" "Give us some of your best grub as quick as you can." And the reputation that hungry soldiers obtained for voracity, was so extraordinary as to be admirable. The poor people, hard put to it to get enough to eat for themselves, beheld with consternation and final despair, the feats of gastronomy performed by the greedy warriors.

Sometimes the bushwhackers would eat dinner at a house where the previous day a squad of jayhawkers had dined . Sometimes a Federal raiding party came and took away a good horse, leaving in its stead a horse with a sore back. The next day the bushwhackers came and took away the sore-backed horse. As in the days of prophecy, when what the grasshopper left the canker worm devoured, so it was that what the jayhawker left the bushwhacker seized upon.

The burning of Nevada by the St. Clair and Cedar militia, under Capt. Anderson Morton, May 26, 1863, is fully detailed elsewhere. At that time the population would not exceed 200; there were not 50 families and not more than a dozen adult men. Nearly every able bodied male citizen of the place had entered the Confederate army, and was either dead, disabled, or a soldier. Many of the families had gone South, leaving their houses to be tenanted by whomsoever should fancy them. Many buildings were empty, and not more than one-fourth of tile resident families owned the houses they lived in. There were many war widows, whose homes had been in the country, and who had been burned out hr frightened out, and had come to Nevada because they could get houses to live in rent free, and because misery loves company,

Not a building of respectable size was left. The court house was burned, but the school house was spared. Austin's houses were spared, for the service he promised to do, and Austin was regarded as a Union man; but these were small one-story affairs scattered about the town. The little brick near the northwest corner of Washington and Austin streets, and the frame building on the opposite or south side, now the residence of Mr. Austin, were conspicuous structures. The latter building (just west of the Christian Church) was really owned by Dr. Blevins, but was saved because his brother-in-law, Mr. Austin, had a mortgage on it.

When the smoke of the burning bad blown away the site of the town was covered with rectangular patches of alternate ash-piles and garden plots. Seen from a balloon it would have much resembled a chess-board, with the few scattered houses for pawns, but no castles, knights or bishops.

Two log cabins near the southwest corner, northwest of the Thornton bank; one small house an East Cherry, near the Episcopal church; one all the northwest corner, on the site of the Rockwood House; one southeast of the southwest corner, and one west of the Thornton bank, were among the buildings left standing after the flames had passed.

Thereafter, until the dose of the war, Nevada was, more of an ash heap than of a town. In the few remaining houses fugitive families sought shelter and habitation from time to time, but the smell of fire was upon everything and the town sat solitary in the prairie, a miniature Tadmor in the desert. It was not raided any more, for it was not worth raiding, but occasionally war parties passed through and said, " Here is where Nevada City once stood."

With the flower of her men slain in battle or wanderers from the wreck of a shattered cause, and burned and blackened from walking the furnaces of war, Nevada emerged from the great conflict in sad plight indeed. So completely had it been dismantled, and so abject and wretched was its condition, that it was seriously proposed to vacate it entirely, and to relocate the county seat, either to the north or northwest on the Marmaton, or to the westward, on the west side of Little Drywood. Had it not been for the efforts of Austin, Requa, Dodson, and one or two others, this might have been accomplished.

When late in the fall of 1865, the 6rst post bellum county court assembled here, there was no suitable building in which the judges could deliberate, and for several weeks the county seat pro tem. was at Balltown, or Little Osage. The old school house was repaired at last, and here the county business was transacted for a considerable period.

Perhaps the first house built in Nevada after the war was one put up by Henry Morris, on the southwest corner of the square, a little west of the Thornton bank building. It was occupied as a drinking saloon. The first building of any considerable size was a two-story frame erected by Dr. J. N. B. Dodson, on the west side of the square. The lower room was occupied as a store building; the upper room was used sometimes as a public hall. One of t he first stores was in a small log building a little south of the opera house, where Dr. Dodson was the second merchant. Another was west of the southwest comer of the square.

By the 1st of January, 1867, the business directory of the place was as follows: J. N. B. Dodson & Co., dealers in dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, hardware, tinware, queensware, iron, nails, glass, sash etc. ; Frank P. Anderson & Co., general merchants, as Dodson & Co., and also dealers in ready-made clothing, ladies' goods, gents' furnishing goods, saddlery, etc. Real estate and tax-paying agents were Harvey Karnes, E. I. Fishpool, W. 'V. Prewitt, F. P. Anderson, and Wight & Pitcher; the lawyers were Wight & Pitcher, D. C. Hunter, and E. I. Fishpool; the physicians were Drs. J. N. B. Dodson, John Brockman and J. H. Blake. The only insurance agent was D. W. Graves, who represented the Missouri Horse Insurance Company of Palmyra, an association which insured horses against theft. The .Nevada City Times, a five column folio newspaper, R. C. Brown, publisher, was regularly issued, having been established in June, 1866.

The first business men in the town after the war made money. Goods were sold at extraordinary prices, and the demand was equal to the supply. The lawyers had their hands full of business, the shop men were active, everybody had something to do. Emigration was directed from the Northern and Eastern States, and from certain parts of this State to Southwestern Missouri, and Nevada City got her full share.

Nothing was so much talked of for years as railroads. The need of communication with the outer world was imperative and pressing. Merchandise was hauled in from Pleasant Hill, for some time the terminus of the Missouri Pacific, and from Kansas City, then, as now, the chief emporium for the western border of Missouri. Stores increased, the debris that the war had left was removed, and new houses were built on the sites of the old ash-heaps, until at last Nevada City stood out a blooming and thriving-village.

Mr. Anderson advertised: "Six thousand acres of land for sale in Vernon county at $2 per acre."

Not until March 3, 1869, however, was Nevada incorporated, and there was consequently not much of real improvement until then. The courthouse had been completed the previous October, and there were premonitions of coming importance if not of greatness, and the people were accommodating themselves to the circumstances. With the incorporation of the place came a change for the better in the regulation of its affairs. Sidewalks were ordered built, and a marshal entered upon his duties as preserver of the peace. With the incorporation came the dropping of the word" City" in its title, and the town has since been called Nevada.

All communication with the outer world was by way of Fort Scott, until in the fall of 1868, when by the efforts of Dr. E. R. Morerod a company was formed to operate a stage line or hack line to Clinton. In December, 1869, the first railroad, the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Gulf, was completed from Kansas City to Ft. Scott, and until the completion of the Mo, K. and T. to Nevada (in 1870), Ft. Scott was the chief shipping point for this section. The Clinton hack line brought in a daily mail for a time, prior to the advent of the railroad; but from 1865 for a period of two years or more the mail carne in only once and twice a week. A Mr. Wight was the proprietor of the hack line.

The first postmaster after the war was Col. A. A. Pitcher. The office was kept in a small frame tenement west of the Thornton Bank (sw. cor. square) which was then occupied as a harness shop by Judge H. L. Tillotson, who was the deputy. In about 1868, Mr. Tillotson was himself appointed postmaster, at a salary of $10 per year, and served, not at the same rate of wages, however, until about the last of April, 1886, when he was succeeded by W. R. Crockett, who resigned in a year to he succeeded by Wm. McCrudden.

In September, 1870, the town council ordered an issue of $10,000 in bonds to the Tebo and Neosho Railroad Company, virtually the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, to pay for the prospective depot ground at Nevada, and for right of way through the town. In November following the town voted $15,000 in aid of the State Normal School, in addition to the $50,000 voted by the county. But this latter action was in vain, for the institution was finally located at Warrensburg.

As elsewhere noted the first railroad through Nevada (the M., K. and T.) was completed in the fall of 1870. The first locomotive reached the town on the 26th of October. There was no formal celebration, but quite a number of the citizens went down to the track and hurrahed among themselves. There would have been a public demonstration, but for the particular request of the railroad authorities. The latter were trying to complete their road to the 1Indian Territory in advance of the James F. Joy road (now known as the Gulf), in order to obtain certain important advantages, and not only was there required the utmost expedition, but all possible secrecy as to the progress made. The almost incredible assertion is made that the road was practically completed from Sedalia to Fort Scott in ninety days; and tile further remarkable statement is made that the Joy "people" were kept in total ignorance of this rapid advancement of the line until too late for their best interests.

Certain parties opposed to the building of the road through Nevada concocted a scheme which was attempted to be put through the Legislature. This was what was known as the "strip law," and provided that no bonds issued in aid of the railroad should he valid unless voted for by the citizens living on a strip of land fifty by eighteen miles in width south of Clinton. It is claimed that Drs. Morerod and Harding occasioned the defeat of the hill. Those gentlemen wrote to Hon. George Wallbrecht, then a Senator from St. Louis county, and who owned 2,000 acres of land along the proposed line of road in this county. Mr. Wallbrecht was a member of the Committee on Railroads, and obtaining possession and charge of the bill he first pocketed it and finally "smothered" it.

After the railroad came the town improved for a while, but the panic of 1873 affected its interests very materially. Money was scarce, property was very low. Many a reputed "sharp" citizen of to-day recalls with astonishment and pain the fact that a dozen years since he could have bought lot after lot in Nevada for a mere song, and not the song of a cantatrice, either. Freights and fares on the railroad were exorbitant, and he who now grumbles at three cents per mile has forgotten when he thought five cents fairly reasonable.

With little of notable incident in its history, Nevada pa8sed the decade from 1870 to 1880 in prosaic, plodding gait, leading a life that was somewhat listless and humdrum. In the latter year its population was less than 2,000. But with the building of the Lexington and Southern Railroad came a marked change. Improvement began at once. Strangers came in, property changed hands very rapidly, new buildings went up, new establishments were opened, and the town progressed steadily and with reasonable rapidity.

It. became necessary to layoff additions to accommodate the home seekers, and many purchases of real estate were made, The business houses were now put up of brick and were imposing and substantial in their character, and the dwelling houses were remarkable for their comfort, elegance, and architectural beauty.

No fires or other disasters occurred to interfere with the prosperity of the town. There was no halt in its progress. Churches were built. A large new school house was added to the already commodious edifice. Two tine hotels were constructed. The streets were greatly improved. All opera-house was built, burned down and rebuilt better than ever, and there is still the same advancement. The town now has at least 6.500 permanent inhabitants.

In July. 1882, the council contracted with D. H. Ireland and J. H. Andrews to supply the city with gas. The city authorities agreed to pay $30 per year each for 25 lamps, and the gas company was allowed to charge ordinary consumers $3.50 per 1000 feet until March 1, 1888, after which date the rate should be $3.

In September, 1885, the Perkins system of water works was completed. By the contract with MI'. Perkins the city agreed to rent 55 hydrants at an annual rental not to exceed $60. The works are situated in the western part of town, but connected with the main part of the city by telephone. The water comes from the Marmaton river and is abundant, pure and wholesome.

At present (April, 1887), there is this to be said of Nevada ~ it is a good town and promises to be better. The compiler of this history can afford to tell the truth. It is not the best town in the country, nor are its prospects the brightest; but it can and doubtless will hold its own. It already has most of the institutions considered necessary for the well-being of modern cities and towns. It has most excellent public and private schools, and eight church buildings and organizations. The city is supplied with water and gas; an electric light plant has recently been put in place; the telephone system is good; an elegant opera-house has been built for public entertainment; all the great secret and social orders have representation; the business houses and stock>; are unusually good, and an index of their prosperity is the fact that they support two excellent daily and four weekly newspapers. There are three banking houses having large deposits, two excellent hotels and several smaller ones; an assessed valuation of $1,500,000; no bonded dept. and a floating debt of only $6,000, and certainly many excellent opportunities for profitable investments. Business lots average from $50 to $100 per foot (those offered for sale), and residence property from $125 to $1,200 per foot.

One incident in connection with the schools of Nevada may be mentioned. In March, J860, the county court donated block 9 (where the Central building now stands) to the town, so long as it should be used for school purposes, with the following provision: "No part of this block shall ever be used by any school or company organized under the direction of any church or society, or for the teaching of any abolition

or free-soil doctrines! 

The first incorporation of Nevada was as a town, by the county court, March 3, 1869. The old title of Nevada City was changed to Nevada (without the" City") by the order of incorporation, and by this name it has since been known. J. N. B. Dodson was chairman of the appointed board and John T. Birdseye, clerk. At the first election, April 10, following (1869), the following members of the board of town trustees were chosen: Dr. J. N. B. Dodson, Thos. H. Austin, Peter Rexrode, H. L. Tillotson and Silas Allison. Dr. Dodson was appointed chairman of the board, and John T. Birdseye, clerk. The other first officers (who were appointed by the board) were W. A. Poindexter, assessor; R. W. McNeil, treasurer; Alex R. Patterson, collector; David A. Bateman, marshal; Orville Graves,. street commissioner.

Nevada continued its municipal existence as a town and was governed by a board of trustees until March 16, 1880, when by a vote of 155 to 134 it became under the law, a city of the fourth class. The first mayor was J. E. Hardin~; the first marshal was W. C. Duren. The city was divided into two wards. and the aldermen were C. G. Burton, C. W. Conrad, W. D. Bailey, and J. Zellweger.

The third incorporation was as a city of the third class, pursuant tG an election held March 18, 1884. The vote for reincorporation was 444 to 104. The first officers under the last incorporation -who were chosen at an election held April 1 were C. B. Ingels, mayor, and the following aldermen from the four wards into which the city was divided: I. V. Seymour, H. K. Kuhn, R .•r. McGowan, Robt. Irons, J. M. Conklin, F. B. Morris, I. F. S. Nelson and N. J. Jones.


Christian Church.-The first organization of this church was effected in the fall of 1857 by Rev. Thos. German. The constituent members numbered about 20, some of whom were W. W. Prewitt, Samuel Thomas and his wife, Amanda; D. C. Hunter, Henry Hunter and Joseph Stapp. Of these Maj. W. W. Prewitt is the only surviving member. The first meetings were held in the old court house. Up to the outbreak of the war, the preaching was done mainly by Elders Thos. German and Wm. Sargent; the latter died in Illinois a few years since at the extraordinary age of 104. The war entirely destroyed or broke up the organization; even the records were lost. But September 12, 1868, the church was reorganized, chiefly through the efforts of Elder H. J. Speed, who gathered up about 40 members and formed the organization of which the present is the successor. In February, 1869, W. A. Poindexter and Peter Rexrode were chosen elders, and W. W. Prewitt and Jacob Craft were elected deacons. From 1869 to 1878 the elders were W. W. Prewitt, A. Cummins, W. H. Blanton and Ashby Gray; the deacons were P. J. Bond, J. M. Liddil, A. Cummins, Ashby Gray, W. D. Howard, W. S. Clack and J. A. Williams. Meetings were held successively in the little frame school house, the new court house and Cummins' Hall. Regular preachers during this period were Elders W. W. Warren, H. J. Speed, J. W. Mountjoy, J. A. Graves, --Watson, Wm. Matthews; irregular ministers who did much good for the congregation were Elders C. W. Sherwood, G. W. Longan, W. W. Carter, A. Proctor, Robt. Norville, S. K. Hallam, J. H. Hughes, M. M. Davis and G. R. Hand. Sometime after the reorganization an unfortunate dissension arose in the church, resulting in its division into two bodies, one called the Washington Street Church, the other the Cherry Street Church, each congregation having at last a separate house of worship. November 2, 1877, largely through the efforts of Elder M. M. Davis, the congregations agreed to submit their grievances to a commission and to abide by its decision and award in the premises. The commission was composed of Elders L. B. Wilkes, J. M. Wilkes and J. K. Rogers, all men of eminence in the Christian Church. Tile decision, which took effect May 19, 1878, was that there was no cause for the existence of two Christian Churches in Nevada, and the award directed them to reunite upon fair and equitable terms. A complete reconciliation was effected, and since that date the church has greatly increased and prospered. Elder M. M. Davis served as pastor of the church from January, 1880, until May 23, 1884, when he tendered his resignation. Elder E. B. Cake, the present pastor, has served from January, 1885. The present church building, on the southwest corner of Washington and Austin street, was built in 1877; since that time it has been considerably enlarged and improved; its total cost, as it stands, is about $4,000. The church has at present about 400 members. The Sabbath school, of which R. L. Turnbull has been for some years the superintendent, has a membership of nearly 200.

Baptist -No report. Episcopal-No report. Catholic -No report. Holiness Association -No report. Cumberland Presbyterian-No report.

Centenary, M. E. South.-It is not practicable at this time to give the details of the original organization of the M. E. Church South at Nevada. The records of the present church, which are accessible, go back only to 1870, at which time it was a fuIIy equipped station, and in which year the first church building, a frame, was erected. The present building, a splendid brick structure, the best of the kind in Vernon county, stands on lots 2 and 3, in block 12, of Austin's Addition, and was built during the years 1884-5, costing when completed about $12,500; it was dedicated Aug. 23, 1885, by Bishop John C. Granbery. The pastors of the church since 1870 have been as follows: 1870-73, James A. Murphy; 1873-74, J. J. Hill; 1874-75, J. F. Hogan; 1875-77, L. P. Siceloff; 1877-78, D. M. Proctor; 1878-79, A. P. Linn; 1879-81, R. W. Reynolds; 1881-82, R. S. Hunter; 1882-86, W. T. McClure. The present pastor is Rev. Woods; present membership about 400.

Seventh Day Adventist. -January 10, 1874, this church was organized, with the following members: Washington Boggs, Mary Boggs, .Jacob Craft, Rosanna Craft, L. 1. Shaw, Mary E. Wright,

D. C. Hunter and Matilda K. Hunter. John W. Watts is the present pastor. The present elders are D. C. Hunter, and T. A Hoover. The membership numbers 54. In 1881 a frame church building was erected at a cost of $400. The Sabbath-school has a membership of 44. The superintendent of the school is T. A. Hoover.

Wa8hington 8treet Presbyterian. The organization of this church was effected February 20, 1878. W. R. Samuel, J. W. Cleiand, Wm. P. Garrard, Mrs. F. P. Garrard, Mrs. C. J. Cleland, Mrs. Annie Doss, Mrs. Virginia Crockett, Mrs. E. Morerod, .Jas. Wilson, Mrs. Mary F. Lamey, Robt. Mackoy, Mrs. Nancy A. Mackay, Alex. M. Mackoy, Mrs. M. J. Byers, B. Wheeler, Mrs. J. M. Wheeler, Jonathan Seymore, and Mrs. Anna C. Seymore, were the first members. The present church building was finished in April, 1884. It is a large frame edifice. Its cost was $6,000. From the time of organization until 1879, the pulpit was filled by Rev. J. H. Byers, and from 1879 to 1883 the pulpit was vacant. Since then Rev. George Miller has served as pastor, he being the only installed pastor the church ever had. When the Rev. Mr. Miller came, there were but 44 members, but at present writing there are 150, many of whom have connected themselves with the church in the past year. The Sabbath school was organized the same year as the church. The present enrollment is 160 scholars. R. \V. Mitchell is the present superintendent.


Masonic, -Osage Lodge. '-At a convocation of Master Masons, held at Ihll's Mills, Bate,,; county, Missouri, November 20, 1851, a di8!wnsation, granted by the M. W. G. M., of the Grand Lodge of the State, dated September 20, 1851, was read, authorizing certain brethren to organize Osage Lodge, No. 303, A.F. and A. M., which was accordingly done. ,Meetings were regularly held under the dispensation until October 12, 1852, when a charter for opening a new lodge at Ball's Mills, under the name of Osage Lodge, No. 29, was read. This lodge was duly consecrated by Past Master A. M. Tutt. At this meeting the following Officers were elected: R. W. McNeil, worshipful master P. B. Stratton and F. F. Barrows, wardens; J. Williams, secretary; R. A. Boughan, treasurer. The last meeting of this lodge was held at their hall at Little Osage, on May 24, 1861. The minutes of this meeting were never completed upon the record. During the Civil War, owing to the unsettled condition of affairs in this part of the State, 110 meetings of the lodge were held, and no reports being made to the Grand Lodge, the charter was declared forfeited, and Osage Lodge, No. 29, ceased to exist. But after peace was established a number of members of the defunct Osage Lodge held a meeting which is entered upon record as follows:  At a convocation, U. D., on the evening of August 7th, 1868, at Nevada City, Mo., of Master Masons, petitioners for a warrant to open a new lodge of Masons to he called Osage Lodge, No. __ . There were present some twenty masons, all of whom were members of the late Osage Lodge, besides a number of members of other lodges who now reside in Nevada or its vicinity. December 28, 1869, Osage Lodge, No. 303, met for the first time when the charter was read and presented. The present charter is dated October 15, 1868. The charter members were R. W. McNeil, A. A. Pitcher, D. U. Hunter, D. W. Mitchell, J. N. B. Dodson, Albert Badger, W. Taylor, James White, Henry White, Henry L. Hunter, Enoch S. Weyand, V. C. Quick, L. B. Denman and J. L. D. Blevins. The first officers were James White, worshipful master; R. W. McNeil and D. C. Hunter, wardens. The remaining offices were probably filled by appointment. The present membership is 110.

Argyle Lodge, Bo. 451. -This lodge was chartered October 16, 1872, and formed out of O:5age Lodge. The first officers were Saml. H. Thompson, master, and Ashby Gray and A. C. Sterett, wardens. There were eleven charter members, some of whom besides those named were S. A. Sterett, O. J. Renwick, Wm. McCrudden, and Peter Rexrode. The present membership is 66. H. B. Hanis is the master, T. J. Jones and A. J. King the deacons, and R. J. McGowan is the secretary.

Royal A1'ch Chapter. -Nevada R. A. C. No. 56, was organized November 24, 1869, under a dispensation dated October 7, previously. The chapter was set to work by A. M. Long, of Greenfield. The first officers and members under the dispensation were E. I. Fishpool, high priest; D. C. Hunter, captain of the host; H. L. Tillotson, principal sojourner; Wm. McCrudden. royal arch captain; W. H. Blanton, J. M. Smith, Peter Teel, masters of the veils; H. L. Hunter, secretary; Dr. J. N. B. Dodson, treasurer; W. W. Vaughan tyler, and S. C. Hall, D. W. Mitchell, R. A. Boughan. At present, the Chapter has about 55 members.

Knights Templar. -O'Sullivan Commandery was instituted March 16, 1870, by Wilbur F. Tuttle. The charter bears date October 14, 1870. The charter members and first officers were, D. C. Hunter, eminent commander; E. I. Fishpool, generalissimo; J. W. 'Wade, captain general; H. L. Tillotson, prelate; R. M. McNeil, recorder; D. W. Mitchell, treasurer; S. H. Thompson and J. E. Harding. wardens; Peter Teel, standard bearer; Wm. McCrudden, sword bearer; T. H. Austin, warder; O. M. Nelson, captain of the guard, and Salmon C. Hall, W. A. Prall and A. C. Hogan. The present membership is 46.

Odd Fellows. -Nevada Encampment No. 97, was chartered January 15, 1886, with about 20 members. The first officers were W. H. Wilderson, chief priest; L. B. Sullivan and J. L. Beagles, wardens;

C. W. Conrad, high priest; W. :F. Lewis. scribe. The present membership is 30. Nevada Lodge No. 194, I. O. O. F. cannot he fully sketched; its charter bears date May 20, 1869, and the lodge is reported in excellent condition.

Knights of Pythias. -Triumph Lodge, No. 16, K. of P., dates its chartered existence from May 23, 1882. It was organized with 30 members, but the present membership is 104. The first officers were J. E. Harding, past chancellor; H. C. Moore, chancellor commander; J. U. Murray, vice-chancellor; D. W. Graves, prelate; Harry Mitchell, master of the exchequer; H. R. Camp, master of finance; C. G. Ritchey, keeper of the records and seal. The Uniform Rank of this order was chartered November 13, 1882, with Harry Mitchell commander; C. O. Graves, lieutenant commander; I. F. S. Nelson, herald; C. G. Ritchey, recorder. It now numbers 47 members. At the State Encampment at Springfield, in August,188.5, the Nevada company, Capt. Mitchell in command, was awarded the first prize for drill and efficiency, receiving" $250 in cash, a $500 banner, and $25 commander's medal. The contest was moreover generally conceded to be a hard one.

United Workmen. -No report; Select Knights, ditto. Knights oj Labor. -No report.

G. A. R. -Gen. ,Joseph Bailey Post No. 26, Department of Missouri, Grand Army of the Republic, was instituted by Comrade Chris. Stowitz, of St. Louis, assisted by W. R. Smith, of Iowa. The charter is dated August 28, 1882. The charter members and first officers were .John A. Davis, commander; E. E. Kimball, senior vice; D. W. Graves, junior vice; S. S. Bigelow, quartermaster; John P. Jones, officer of the day; M. Kimber, officer of the guard; G. W. McLain, chaplain; Harry Mitchell, adjutant; and H. L. Tillotson, N. G. Barter, O. G. B. Cline, John S. Lee, D. H. Bailey. The post is now in good financial condition and has about fifty members. Its meetings are held in a comfortable hall, near the southwest corner of the square. Comrade E. E. Kimball, one of the Charter members and still connected with the post, is the present department commander of the State, having been chosen at the Grand Encampment at Springfield, held February 2 and 3, 1887. The Woman's Relief Corps (No. 15), auxiliary to Gen. Joe Bailey Post, was chartered June 15, 1885. The first members were Carrie B. Mitchell, Sarah J. Bailey, Emma J. Bigelow, Ann S. Patterson, Mollie ,J. Bates, DeEtte Graves, Mildred J. Tillotson, Rose L. Kimball, Lizzie P. Jones, Alice Burton, Mary A. Birdseye and Nellie B. Hill. The corps is in good working order, and has performed its good work very effectively.


On the 7th of May, 1886, a military company was organized ill Nevada, under the laws of the State, and became Company G, 5th Regiment of the National Guard. Its local designation, however, was the Harding-Robinson Rifles, in honor of Messrs. J. E. Harding and W.

H. Robinson, its chief patrons and sponsors. The first officers were: Harry Mitchell, captain; J. E. Atkinson, 1st lieutenant; J. V. Seymour, 2d lieutenant; A. J. King, orderly sergeant; T. F. Clark, J. T. Harding, and --Smith, duty sergeants. The company had forty-seven members and was handsomely uniformed and equipped. Late in the fall Capt. Mitchell resigned and was succeeded by Lieut. Atkinson. Owing to the failure of the Legislature to pass the militia law making suitable provision for the maintenance of its militia force, the company disbanded about the first of March, 1887.


This institution, situated in the western part of the city of Nevada, was projected by the Misses Cottey, of Knox county, Mo., in November, 1883. The lady projectors offered to erect the necessary buildings and to establish and maintain the school, provided the citizens would donate the grounds. This proposition was readily accepted and two blocks of valuable ground in Prewitt's Addition, finely situated and valuable in other respects, were donated. Maj. Prewitt himself was a most munificent donor to this enterprise.

A large brick building was erected, and the first session opened September 8, 1884, with twenty-eight pupils, the enrollment reaching seventy-two during the year. The school was at first called Vernon Seminary. The second year opened with an enrollment of forty three, reaching 100 before the close. In this, the third year, the number of pupils is 130. In the summer and fall of 1886 an addition was made to the building, completing its symmetry and doubling its capacity. The faculty was also doubled, and certain other improvements made.

The school is for the education of girls and young ladies. The proprietors say: "It is our earnest endeavor to so educate girls that they may ripen into healthful, cultured, Christian womanhood." It is a very popular institution already, and at present is filled with students to its utmost capacity. The faculty is composed of Miss V. A. Cottey, president and teacher of languages and ethics; Miss Dora Cottey, mathematics, elocution and calisthenics; Miss J. Ella. White, history and literature; Miss Minnie Rogers, vocal and instrumental music; Miss Mary Cottey, painting, drawing and art criticism and principal of the primary department; Miss Kate Cottey, instrumental music; Miss Rose Cottey, assistant primary department ; E. J. Warth, M. D., lecturer on chemistry and physiology; home department, Misses V. A. and Kate Cottey.



   jrbakerjr  Genealogy