File submitted for USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County Missouri History Page by Betty Lavy Krieg, 1 December 2001.  Link change or update: 26 Jan 2002

The First Settlers
Last updated: 19 Jan 2002

History of Lincoln County, Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888


Maj. CLARK was born in Lincoln County, N.C. in the year 1766. His father, James CLARK by name, was a native of Ireland, and his mother Catharine HORINE, of Scotland. They first settled in Winchester, VA. They had six sons: Alexander, William, James, Christopher, John and David. Alexander, James and John remained in North Carolina. William was killed by the Indians in Kentucky. David visited Missouri in 1811. Returning to his native state, he married Margaret DOUGLASS, by whom he had one son, William, who was afterward well known all over this county. The family of David came to this state in 1823 and settled on the Wright City road, three miles south of Troy. He died many years ago. He was greatly respected for his honest and upright character, and was for many years a justice of the peace. Christopher CLARK settled in Lincoln County, Ky., in the year 1788. He married Elizabeth ADAMS, by whom he had six children: James, Sarah, Catharine, David, Hannah and Elizabeth. He served as lieutenant in a company of volunteers, guarding the frontiers of Kentucky, and also during a campaign up the Wabash River in 1790. He came to Missouri in 1799, bringing with him his horses and cattle. On this occasion, he came on a prospecting tour as far north as the present site of Troy, where was then situated a small Indian village, the wigwams being placed in a kind of circle around the spring. The following year he brought his family in a priogue, or large keelboat, down the Kentucky and Ohio, and up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and landed at St. Charles. He settled at what is now known as Gilmore Springs, on the Wabash Railroad. A few days after his arrival his wife died. He immediately returned to Kentucky, and purchased a black girl to do the housework in his new home, where he resided about a year. In April, 1801, he moved into the limits of this county, being the first white man to cross Big Creek with a wagon, and built his cabin within a few feet of the present residence of Frederick WING, Esq., three and a half miles southeast of Troy, on the St. Charles road. This was the first permanent settlement in the state north of the present limits of St. Charles County. At that time his nearest neighbor was Anthony KELLER, who lived on the south bank of Big Creek, four miles off; after that the nearest settlement was made at Flint Hill.

Maj. CLARK, in 1804, married his second wife, Hetty CALVERT, of Virginia, by whom he had three children: Ralph H.F., Julia and William Calvert. He died in 1841. He was a man of sterling honesty and of good solid judgment, and ever retained the confidence of his fellow citizens. During the last twenty years of his life, he was frequently solicited to run for office, but invariably refused. Of his children, James served one year as orderly sergeant under Capt. Nathan BOONE, the youngest son of Daniel BOONE, and was severely wounded. David served one year under Capt. James CALLAWAY, who was a grandson of Daniel BOONE. He went to Texas with his brother James, in 1826 and was killed in battle in 1838. Sarah married Col. Alambe WILLIAMS and went with him to Texas in 1831, where they both died many years ago. Catharine married Capt. Joseph McCOY, and went to Texas in 1824, where her husband died a few years afterward. She was living when last heard from. Hannah died single in 1820. Elizabeth married Jesse COX, and lived and died in this county. Ralph was born while his mother was on a visit to Greens Bottom, in St. Charles County, in 1804. He married Mary MURPHY of Kentucky, by whom he has two children. She died in 1839, and he afterward married Mary ATKINSON, also of Kentucky, by whom he had eight children. He served many years as justice of the peace, while residing at the old homestead in this county. In 1858 he moved to Martinsburg in Audrain County. Julia married Valentine J. PEERS, who was sheriff of this county from 1836 to 1838. Mr. PEERS died in St. Louis. William died on his way to California in 1850. James died in Texas. McCOY and WILLIAMS each served a year under Capt. Daniel M. BOONE, and a year under Capt. CALLAWAY, during the War of 1812.

Soon after the settlement of Maj. CLARK came Jeremiah GROSHONG, a native of Pennsylvania, who had lived a few years in St. Charles County, near the Missouri River. He settled half a mile northeast of CLARK’s on the land known as the CASTLEMAN or HERNDON place. He built a stone house on this farm, raised a family of nine children, was a prominent citizen, and took an active part in the organization of the county. In 1836, he and his family, excepting his son Jacob, moved to Wisconsin, where both he and his wife died—he at the age of eighty-six years. Jacob was born in October, 1800, a few months before his father settled in this county. About the year 1843, he settled on a farm four miles from Chain of Rocks on the Troy road, and lived there till his death at a very advanced age. At the time of his death he had been a resident of the county longer than any other person, and was doubtless the only person within its limits who had been a subject of Spain and France, and a citizen of the District of Louisiana, the Territory of Louisiana, the Territory of Missouri and the State of Missouri, without a material change of his place of residence. Alexander McLANE came from Kentucky in 1801, and settled on the STUART place on the bluff, four miles from Cap-au-Gris. He took his negroes, dammed the creek which was afterward named for him, and built a gristmill on the spot where the stream cuts through the bluff. The buhrs were quarried in the vicinity, and dressed by himself and slaves. This was the first water-power mill built in the county. Next came the families of Zadock WOODS and Joseph COTTLE, from Woodstock, Vermont, who settled in Troy in 1802. With Mr. WOODS came his mother and his two brothers, James and Martin, who settled at the same time near Old Monroe. Mrs. WOODS died in this county at a very advanced age. The three brothers went to Texas in an early day, where Zadock and some of his sons were killed fighting for the independence of the Lone Star Republic. They were each possessed of considerable means. Zadock was a stone-mason, and built the first stone-chimney in Hurricane Township.

Ira COTTLE, nicknamed "Muxey," came from Vermont in 1799, and settled at Old Monroe, in this county, in 1802. His father, Warren COTTLE, settled in St. Charles County, and was afterward a soldier in the War of 1812. Ira COTTLE married his cousin, Suby COTTLE, and after her death, he married the widow of John EWING. During the trouble with the Indians he, unlike the other settlers, would not retire into the fort, but remained at home. In 1820 he was the richest man in the county, and paid taxes on 1,000 acres of land. He built the house since occupied by Mrs. Henry HEMMERSMEYER, as a store and dwelling, which is one of the finest brick blocks erected in the county, and, at the time it was built, the largest. He died in 1843.

Francis RIFFLE, born in Virginia, October 14, 1781, came to this county from Kentucky, where he was reared, and settled on the ridge below McLane’s Creek, in 1803. He died in this county May 22, 1858.

William McHUGH, whose three sons were murdered by the Indians, was of Scotch ancestry. In 1803 he settled on Sandy Creek, on the farm since owned by Burt J. COCKE. He died a few years after the War of 1812. He and his wife were buried on the banks of Sandy Creek, about 200 yards north of the site of their cabin. The male line of his family is extinct, except probably a grandson, John McHUGH, who was living some years ago on the Des Moines River, in Iowa. Col. David BAILEY, the first sheriff of Lincoln County, and who afterward occupied many official positions, came here from Vermont in 1803. He was a captain of rangers in the War of 1812. His death occurred in 1864. John LINDSAY, from Maine, settled on Sandy Creek in 1803. He possessed an excellent education, was deputy county clerk in 1820, county court justice from 1825 and 1828 and served several years as a justice of the peace. He died in the winter of 1833-34, having survived his two children. His widow went to Wisconsin. James BURNES, about the same time, settled on Sandy Creek, a quarter of a mile above the scene of the McHUGH massacre. Roswell DURGEE, also, about the same time, settled at the mouth of Durgee Hollow, on the David T. KILLAM place. The same year, 1803, Frederick DIXON settled in Monroe Township. He married Elizabeth, daughter of James BURNES, and lived here many years after the War of 1812, and died in Iowa.

John RIFFLE, son-in-law of Alexander McLANE, settled in Lincoln County in 1804. His daughter, Mrs. Nancy DANIELS, was with her parents in Fort Howard during the War of 1812, and being nearly grown, became very familiar with the events of the time, and carried them distinctly in her memory to old age. Benjamin ALLEN, of Woodstock, Vt., came to St. Louis in 1804 and removed, a few years before the War of 1812, to the TINBROOK place, near Monroe. After the War he settled on Hurricane Creek, where he died about the year 1840. He was a prominent citizen, and served many years as a justice of the peace. Ezekiel DOWNING, an Irishman, and cousin to Gov. McNAIR, came about the same time. He established the first tanyard in Lincoln County. It was on the Capt. WEHDE place. He was stepfather to Freeland ROSE, Esq. About this time came John and William EWING. They were not closely related, if at all. The former settled near the Mississippi River, not far from the line dividing Townships 49 and 50, north. He possessed considerable property. He died about 1819-1820. Col. Ira COTTLE administered on this estate, and married his widow. William EWING settled farther down, probably between Sandy and Bob’s Creeks. His wife died in 1811, and he then divided out his children and had no settled home thereafter. His youngest child, named after himself, was killed in the O’NEAL massacre. Jacob NULL came from Cocke County, Tenn., and settled in St. Charles County in 1808. The following year he moved to what is now Lincoln County, and settled on the JACKSON farm three miles west of Troy. He afterward moved to a farm one mile south of Troy, where he died in 1819. He was a great bee hunter, and spent much of his time hunting bees on Honey Creek, and in the forks of Cuivre River, and was so successful that the name of the stream was changed to Null’s Creek. His brother John, and the latter’s son, Jacob, Jr., came to the county the same year (1809). The NULLS, like most of their neighbors, left their farms, and abode in Wood’s Fort during the War of 1812-1815. They took an active part in the defense of the settlement, and also in the organization of the county.

Several other families settled in the vicinity of Troy before the War of 1812, but the exact dates cannot now be ascertained, nor can all their names be recollected. The following were among them: John and Joseph HUNTER, the former being the father of the late John M. HUNTER of New Hope. He settled near West Cuivre, five miles northwest of Troy. Robert McNAIR, a blacksmith, of Irish parentage, born in Pennsylvania, and brother to Gov. McNAIR, settled in Troy. After the war he moved to near Auburn and subsequently to Hurricane Township, where he died. Elijah COLLARD and his father, Joseph COLLARD, settled in the county in 1811, as did Alambe and Job WILLIAMS, Maj. Robert JAMESON and his son, George W. The latter, subsequently, in 1817, settled on a farm two and a half miles east of Millwood, and was the first settler in the forks of Cuivre. David PORTER came from Tennessee and settled on Big Creek in 1810.

As soon as the Indians ceased their hostilities, at the close of the War of 1812-15, the settlers retired from the forts to their respective homes. Some of them, who had only settled temporarily, now selected their permanent homes and moved thereon. Those who became permanent settlers in the vicinity of Auburn, in 1815 or 1816, were James S. LEWIS, David MERACLE, Daniel DRAPER, Joseph HOWDESHELL, Samuel and James GIBSON, James CLARK, Joseph McCOY, Lawrence B. SITTON, Robert McNAIR, Thacker VIVION, and Ezekiel DOWNING. Some of these, as has already been noted, settled in the county before the war. Levi BROWN, from Tennessee, settled in 1815 or 1816 and James PORTER from the same state, in 1817. Freeland ROSE from Kentucky settled in 1817, and remained here until his death, April 27, 1885. William MILLER, and his family, left North Carolina in November, 1817, and arrived at Clark’s Fort, now the Frederick WING place June 5, 1818. About this time, and perhaps earlier, James WILSON came from South Carolina and settled on the farm now owned by James RILEY, three miles northeast of Auburn. Both of these old settlers are still living—the latter at Auburn at the age of ninety-four years—the former on his farm near Moscow. Walton PERKINS came to this county with his father in 1818, and settled on the farm known as the old "Bickel place" about two miles south of Troy. In 1820 he visited the land office at St. Louis, to make a payment on his father’s land. In the fall of 1817, Philip SITTON settled in the forks of Cuivre. He was born in North Carolina in 1772, and died in this county in 1861. John HUDSON, was born in Washington County, Ga., in 1796, came to this county in the fall of 1818, and with him came Jarot INGRAM and James OWENS. The latter settled on what is known as the Daniel KEMPLER place, and INGRAM on the place cornering thereto and lying just over the line in Pike County. At this time John R. GILILLAND was living near the present Sulphur Lick Church and William TRAIL on the road where his widow, "Aunt Sallie Trail", now lives, on the road between Troy and Millwood. Capt. Thomas HAMMOND and his brother Slade, had also settled in that vicinity. A man named LOWE lived on the Brice H. WOMMACK farm, and another, named BARNETT, lived on the old Beard place near Louisville. The last named settlers, commencing with Philip SITTON, together with George W. JAMESON, who had been noted as the first settler in the forks of Cuivre, and a man who lived near the mouth of Lead Creek, were probably all the people living in the northwest part of the county, not including the Auburn settlement, in 1818.

At this time, Mr. HUDSON observed that Indian wigwams were very thick; and after selecting a place on which to locate, he returned to Georgia, married his sweetheart, and in June, 1819, moved to this county, bringing with him his parents and three brothers. In the interim nearly all the Indians had gone; Col. Meredith COX had settled at Louisville, and Mr. MOORE, father of Fountain MOORE, had settled on the Dr. McFARLAND place. These, with other parties mentioned above, helped Mr. HUDSON build his cabin, where he located, in what is now Nineveh Township. There was then no settlement west of him until Grand Prairie was reached, forty miles distant. He settled a quarter of a mile north of Lead Creek and half a mile west of the head of Null Creek. On the ridge between these creeks was the trail road leading to Troy. Samuel GLADNEY, born July 9, 1789, in South Carolina, settled near the site of Auburn in 1820. He died August 9, 1875, having been a citizen of the county fifty-five years.

In 1826 Charles HOSS came from Kentucky and settled near Louisville. He died at Truxton, December 26, 1879. The same year Samuel HOWELL settled about four miles northeast of Troy. In an interview published in the Herald in 1876 Mr. HOWELL stated that when he settled his neighbors were Armstrong KENNEDY, John HUNTER, Thomas EAST, John WILSON, Lemon and William BARKER, brothers, an old man named JENNINGS, who soon left the county, and one HATFIELD, who also left. These, with KENNEDY, lived near Cuivre River, and each had hunted up a spring of water near which to build. Beyond these settlements there were none on the north nearer than the Auburn settlement, on the northwest, those of George W. JAMESON and others, and further to the west the HUDSON settlement. Mr. HOWELL could not remember of any settlements west of HUDSON’s in 1826. By this time, however, the eastern and southern parts of the county had become much more thickly settled.

In 1828 Stephen A. STEPHENS, born in Virginia February 6, 1790, came to Lincoln County and settled near Millwood. He says that the grass where Millwood now stands was then tall enough to hide a man on horseback. Daniel DRAPER was then living in Auburn; and shortly afterward Andrew COCHRAN and his brother kept a store at Fort Spring, just south of Auburn. The same year Henry WATTS, from Tennessee, settled near the site of Elsberry. William UPTEGROVE, born in North Carolina, October 11, 1785, settled at Louisville November 8, 1829 on the place since owned by Ben. R. WILLIAMS, near the old bridge ford on North Cuivre. To Mr. UPTEGROVE this seemed to be a perfect paradise. The soil was fertile to a wonderful degree, to him who had been used to the red hills and flint stones of North Carolina. COCHRAN’s Store at Fort Spring, near Auburn, was then the best one in that part of the county, and had the most custom. James BECK of South Carolina, and his wife settled in Lincoln County at an early day. He died in 1839 and his widow died December 18, 1879, at the age of eighty-nine. John BRITTON, a prominent citizen of the county, was born in Virginia, March 12, 1796, came to this county in 1841, remained over forty years, and died at the house of his son, J. R. BRITTON, in Rock Hill, Mo., March 22, 1882. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, and was engaged at the White House, below Alexandria, on the Potomac, and had the satisfaction of firing seven shots at the British.

File submitted for USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County Missouri History Page by Betty Lavy Krieg, 1 December 2001.  Link change or update: 26 Jan 2002

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