History of Prairie Township, Bates County, Missouri
From: History of Bates County, Missouri
By: W. O. Atkeson
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Cleveland 1918

Prairie Township.

In Prairie township the Osage and Marais des Cygnes rivers, with their tributaries afford abundant water and also, the means of drainage. Abundant and valuable timber along the rivers and smaller streams Large, fertile bottoms - somewhat subject to overflow, and rich, rolling uplands.

Excluding the settlement of Harmony Mission from the discussion of this place and in this connection because any adequate story of this township's historical worth requires a separate chapter, we endeavor at this place to treat Prairie as other townships are treated.

Among the early settlers outside of Harmony Mission, was John B. Chorette, a Frenchman, who built a mill about two miles tip the Marais des Cygnes river from Harmony Mission in 1833 or 1834. The precise date of his settlement is not known. He operated the mill for several years and sold it to another pioneer by the name of John M. Parks, and, while. he, owned it, sometime during the Civil War, it was destroyed. This was doubtless' the first mill in the county, other than the one at the Mission.

Freeman Barrows settled near the Mission in 1838, coming from Middleboro, Massachusetts. He came about the time Harmony Mission was discontinued, and worked in the store of Capt, William Waldo at the Mission until he was appointed county clerk upon the organization of the county. Freeman Barrows was so connected with the early history of the county that he will receive further mention in the proper chapter. Mr. Barrows settled about a mile and a half southeast of what is now the village of Papinsville, or about two and a half miles southeast of 'Harmony Mission. About a mile further in the same general direction was his dearest neighbor, Peter Bolin (said to be pronounced Colee), a Frenchman; and still about two miles further southeast Melicourt Papin and Michael Geraud, two Frenchmen, had settled, on the bank of the Osage river at a place known as Rapid de Kaw, because the Kaw Indians were in the habit of crossing the Osage at that point on their hunting trips. The place is now known as Colin's Ford. Papin and Geraud came from St. Louis and were connected with the American Fur Company and were Indian traders. It is certain they settled there as early as 1834, and probably earlier. Other settlers were R. A. Baughan, G. R. Garrison, John Zimmerman, Thomas Scroghern, George W. Hopkins, Daniel Johnson, A. Goodin, John Hartman, A. B. Bradley, Phillip Zeal, James McCool, Maj. J. N. Bradley, H. A. Thurman, D. A. W. Moorehouse. Thurman & Moorehouse were attorneys at law. Alexander Waddle was another old settler and settled in the northeast part of the township.

The history of Harmony Mission requires a separate chapter, and hence we merely mention here that it was the first American settlement in all this section of Missouri, and occurred the year that Missouri became a state of the Union.

The village of Papinsville was laid out in April, 1847, and was named after Melicourt Papin, a French Indian trader. The owner of the land was George Pierce who settled, or "squatted" there about 1844, and was a farmer.

Dr. Samuel Hogan was amoog the early settlers in the now town.

The first drug store was opened by Dr. Zachariah Anderson In 1854 Augustine Deville, a Frenchman, was the first blacksmith. Benjamin Richardson operated the first mill in 1853. It was a portable ten horse power, but afterward located on the bank of the Marais des Cygnes and improved by substituting steam for horse power. It was destroyed by fire in 1861. Thomas Burnside was the pioneer attorney at law. S. H. Loring opened the first merchandise store; F. F. Eddy, the second. Each of these men moved their stock of goods from Harmony Mission in 1848, when the county seat was located at Papinsville. The first postmaster was Dr. Z. Anderson. F. F. Eddy kept the first house of entertainment. Wiseman Hollingsworth, Preston Denton and Jonathan Kemper, a Baptist minister, were early residents. From 1852 to 1855 Papinsville was the center of much business and was a flourishing town. In the early days small steamboats came up the Missouri and the Osage to Papinsville and brought merchandise. During the years mentioned Papinsville had five general stores, and other business and trades in proportion. It was the center of a large circle, and men came many miles to mill and to trade in the most important town in the country at the time.

Prairie City was laid out by Joshua N. Durand May 2, 1858. It is nicely located In the, center of a fine farming country; but it has never been anything more than a' country village and a peasant community center, a school house and one or two stores.

The proud Osage Indians lived about Harmony Mission and where Papinsville was located after their removal to the West, and this township is peculiarly rich from an historical viewpoint, and it will be found adequately, treated in this volume.

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