History of Independence Township, Nodaway County, Missouri
From: The History of Nodaway County, Missouri
National Historical Company
St. Joseph, Mo.: 1882


The township of Independence is bounded on the north by Taylor County, Iowa, and Worth County, Missouri, on the east by Worth County, on the south by Jackson Township, and on the west by Union and Hopkins Townships. This township contains sixty three square miles. Independence is the northeast township in Nodaway County.


At the May term, 1856, we find the following order of record organizing Independence Township.

"Ordered that Jackson Township be divided by a line dividing Township Sixty five in the center thereof east and west, and that all the territory north of said line, and formerly in Jackson Township, be called and known by the name of Independence Township."

On June 15, 1866, the following order of court appears defining the bounds of Independence Township:

"To commence at the northeast corner of said county, being the northeast corner of the northeast fractional quarter of section 33; thence west to the northeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 33, township 67, range 34; thence south on the section line between sections 33 and 34, township 67, range 34, and sections 3 and 4, 9 and 10, 15 and 16, 21 and 22, 27 and 28, 33 and 34, township 66, of range 34; and thence east on the range line between ranges 65 and 66 to the northeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 5, township 65, range 35, [34?] thence south on section line between sections 4 and 5, 8 and 9, 16 and 17, to the northeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 19, [20?] township 65, of range 35 [34?] thence east on section line between sections [17 and 20 - evidently an error-] 16 and 21, 15 and 22, 14 and 23, 13 and 24, township 65, range 34; sections 18 and 19, 17 and 20, 16 and 21 to the east line of the said county to the southwest corner of the southwest quarter of section a5, township 65, range 33; thence north in the center of sections 15, to and 3, township 65, range 33; thence west on township line and county line to the southeast corner of section 33, township 66, range 33; thence north on section line between sections 33 and 34, 27 and 28, 21 and 22, 15 and 16, 9 and 10, 3 and 4, township 66, range 33, and sections 33 and 34, to the place of beginning."

By an act of the General Assembly, approved February 25, 1863, a portion of the original territory of Independence Township was severed from the township and attached to Worth County when it was organized.


The land of this township slopes gently toward the south, being quite level in the central and southwestern portion, but rolling in the southeastern, and more rolling and even bluffy in the northern portion of the township, on the headwaters of Honey Creek. Platte River flows through the southeastern corner of the township, making an elbow toward the northwest. The affluents of the Platte as we pass from it eastward are Brushy Creek, Honey Creek, with numerous branches, and Long Branch. In the western portion of the township are found the headwaters of Mazingo Branch and Mowery Branch, which flow southwesterly and empty into the One Hundred and Two River. A few stone quarries are found in the township, and about one tenth of the land is timbered. The soil of the township averages well, while that in the middle and southwestern portions is very fine. The bottoms along the Platte River are sometimes a mile in width, the passage into the valley being by easy gradients, the bluffs seldom being steep or more than twenty feet in height. All the common.varieties of timber are found along the Platte that are found in this latitude. Independence township consists principally of high, rolling prairie land. The soil is a rich, black prairie loam, intermixed with sand, and is very fertile. The township is well adapted to fruit, and produces abundantly all the usual varieties. The land is well watered and all the grasses flourish. There are nine public schools in the township, which bring the advantages of common school education within the reach of all.


The first settlements in Independence Township were made in the marginal groves along Honey Creek and Platte River.

Samuel Russell was the first settler in the township. He emigrated originally from Indiana, and remained a few years in Andrew County. In 1845, he came to Nodaway County, and took a claim on what is now section 16, township 65, range 33. He built a log house one fourth of a mile east of the Platte River, near the edge of the timber. He was a good farmer and a kind neighbor. In 1847, he sold his claim to Elisha Brown and went to Oregon, and died soon after his arrival there, near Oregon City. He left a wife and two children in Oregon.

In 1849, Elisha Brown sold this claim to A. J. Anderson, who still resides upon it. Mr. Brown having disposed of his claim, went to Oregon, his wife dying on the way before he arrived there. Mr. Brown, while hunting, in Oregon, encountered and was killed by a grizzly bear.

The second settler in Independence Town ship was Raphael Dixon who emigrated originally from Tennessee and remained a few years in Andrew County. In 1846 he came to Independence Township and settled on the east side of Honey Creek, at the very edge of the timber, on section 32, township 67, range 33. He took a claim on the open prarie and opened a farm containing half a section of land. He is remembered by the pioneers as a good citizen, of marked social qualities, and very hospitable. His home was a rendezvous for social parties made up of acquaintances for miles around, and on Saturday and Sunday there would be gatherings of friends at his house who would engage in those pastimes in vogue among the pioneers. Some would try their skill at shooting at a mark, others would take a game of cards, and all of them would imbibe a little, a habit very common in pioneer times. A most cordial welcome was extended to all who would come on such occasions, and the day passed off with great enjoyment. The board would be spread with an abundance of good things common to pioneer days. Mr. Dixon owned a horse mill to grind corn for the neighbors which made his house a great resort. Sometimes the young folks would have a dance, on which occasion Jack Anderson would play the violin. In 1863 Mr. Dixon went to Nebraska, where he is still living on a farm. Win. Dixon, his son, now resides on Honey Creek.

In the following year, 1847, Isaac Guilt emigrated from Kentucky, and took a claim in the timber, one half mile east of Honey Creek. He opened a farm of 160 acres of land. He was a man very quiet in his personal habits, and a good neighbor. In 1863 he went to Nebraska' and is now deceased.

John Hall came from Iowa in 1847, and settled near the Platte River, on the east side, on the southwest quarter of section 8, township 65, range 33. He was a kind neighbor, and a good farmer. He sold his farm to Isaac A. Lanning in 1852, and went to Oregon, where he died four years ago.


was born April 3, 1823, in Pulaski County, Kentucky. His father's name was James Anderson. The latter was born in Montgomery County, Virginia, and there married one Elizabeth Clifton. The twain, after their' marriage, moved to Kentucky, where James Anderson died while the subject of this sketch was yet a small boy. Elizabeth Anderson subsequently came to reside with her son in Nodaway County, Missouri, where she died April 13, 1881, in the seventieth year of her age. Andrew J. Anderson removed from Kentucky to Hendricks County, Indiana, in 1829. He resided there until 1840, and in November of that year, came to a place called Jamestown, in Andrew County, Missouri, on the road between Savannah and St. Joseph, where he made his home until 1844. In March of this last year, he came to Nodaway County, and located on a quarter section of land situated about one mile east of what is now called Sweet Home, in Jackson Township. On the 3d of February, 1848, he was united in marriage to Candace Grindstaff, daughter of Jacob and Rebecca Grindstaff. In March, 1849, he moved to his present place of residence, in Independence Township. He was not the first settler, however, in this township. Samuel Russell was the first white man who took up his residence there. He located upon what afterward was surveyed as the southwest quarter of section 16, in township 65, of range 33. He broke thirty four acres of the land and built a log cabin upon it. This was in 1845. In 1847, he sold his squatter's claim on this land to one Elisha Brown, for $50, and the latter in turn sold his interest in it in February, 1849, to Andrew J. Anderson. Samuel Russell and Elisha Brown immediately after selling out their interests in this claim, removed to Oregon Territory, where the former shortly afterwards died. Elisha Brown was killed in an encounter with a grizzly bear, but the date of his death is not known. The land was surveyed by the United States about the year 1845. As Mr. Anderson's claim was cn the sixteenth section, it belonged to the school lands after the survey, and could not be sold under the then existing law until the Congressional township to which it belonged contained sixteen inhabitants. In 1853, the requisite number of inhabitants having settled in the township, Mr. Anderson caused a petition for the sale of this section to be presented to the County Court, and procured an order to sell it. At the sale he became the purchaser of the southwest quarter, upon which were his improvements, for $1.25 per acre. Mr. Anderson has seven children living - James, Elizabeth, Andrew J., Delicia, Martin, Charles Perry and John. James married Rosanna, daughter of George Hawk, and now lives on his farm, adjoining his father's on the east. Elizabeth married Fielding Thompson, who is a farmer, and lives near his father in law. The other children are unmarried, and reside with their father.

At the time Mr. Anderson settled in Independence Township, the Pottawatomie Indians, although they had by treaty relinquished their claim to the Platte Purchase, and been removed to their reservation in Kansas, yet they frequently returned to their old hunting grounds in quest of game, as many as two hundred or three hundred coming in one body. One, of their favorite resorts and camping grounds was in the grove of timber skirting the Platte River immediately north of Mr. Anderson's residence. Frequently, however, they encamped higher up the stream, near the site of Vinemiller's mill, now called Defiance. In December, 1849, about two hundred Pottawatomies, including squaws and papooses, made an incursion into the county and constructed their temporary wigwams in a grove near where Simeon Davidson now lives. A white man named Isaac Rice, who had married a squaw, accompanied them. After hunting for a few days, they hired Jacob Grindstaff to go to St. Joseph and purchase of Joseph Robidoux a barrel of whisky, called in the tongue of the Pottawatoinies goodness. Grindstaff arrived safely with the whisky at the Indian camp on Christmas eve, accompanied by Andrew J. Anderson and David Spooneman, who fell in with him as he passed their homes. Immediately on the arrival of the firewater the squaws secreted all the knives, guns, and tomahawks, to forestall any effusion of blood. The drinking and carousal began at midnight in the " forest primeval," and was prolonged through the day and night following, when half the whisky being exhausted, the residue was carefully reserved for a subsequent pow-wow. It is scarcely necessary to note the fact that the three sturdy pioneers, Anderson, Spoonemare and Grindstaff, then in the prime of vigorous manhood, imbibed freely of fire water, joined in the grotesque dances and lustily imitated the war whoop of their savage hosts. One old Indian who was accompanied by his daughter, a dusky maiden of eighteen summers, having exhausted his proportion of whisky, proposed to sell her to any one of the three white men for a single gallon of goodnetoss.

When Mr. Anderson first settled in Independence, wheaten flour was not used, and even corn meal was esteemed a luxury. The settlers got their grinding done at Hughes' Mill, on the One Hundred and Two River. Money was extremely scarce. Mr. Anderson and Jacob Grindstaff, in 1845, assisted the United States surveying party in their work for a short time, the former carrying the chain and the latter the flag. In this way they earned three or four dollars apiece. With this money they both made a trip to a mill north of St. Joseph, where they each purchased a sack of corn meal, which they brought home on horseback. On their return they swam both the Platte and One Hundred and Two Rivers. Usually they made their corn meal by hollowing out the top of a stump, in which as a mortar, they placed the corn, and with an iron wedge inserted in a sweep, or beam fastened to a pivot, they pounded the kernels of corn into meal. Few bears were ever seen in the county. One was killed by David Spoonemare on the Platte River, near Caleb Conway's. This was in 1846. Deer, prairie chickens, and quails abounded everywhere. The early settlers enjoyed lives of health and comfort, if not of luxury. Little attention was paid to agriculture, and most of their time was consumed in the pleasures of hunting.

Isaac Davis emigrated from Kentucky in 1851, and settled one half mile east of Honey Creek. He made a good farm of 16o acres, and was a good citizen. He died about two years since.

Allen Stephenson emigrated from Kentucky, and remained for a time in Buchanan County. In 1853, he came and settled on Honey Creek, building a log house on the east side of the creek, and opening a farm in the bottoms on the west side. He became a justice of the peace.

In 1855, Christopher C. Horn came from Indiana and settled on the west side of Honey Creek, on the south side of a grove, which contains about forty acres. His claim is the northeast quarter of section 24, township 66, range 34. He still lives on the same farm.

John York emigrated from North Carolina in 1855, and took a claim on Honey Creek, on the east side, and built a cabin on the bank of the creek. His farm consisted of a 160 acres. He was a Nimrod in his tastes, and a splendid shot. All kinds of wild game were in abundance. He made his living by hunting.

In 1856 Alexander Wilson came from Indiana and took a claim on the west side of Honey Creek, and built a house one half mile from the creek. His farm lay in the bottom where there was no timber. He has a fine farm - the southwest quarter of section 29, township 66, range 33. His son, William Wilson, has a farm adjoining on the west.

John Wilson, a brother of Alexander, emigrated from Indiana in the year 1856, and located on the east side of Honey Creek about one mile from the creek. He had a farm of 200 acres on the high prairie. He died several years ago.

In the year 1856 came John Stobaugh, a brother in law of John Wilson, from Indiana, and settled on the west side of Honey Creek, his farm running down to the creek. He made a good farm in the bottom where there was no timber. Mr. Stobaugh is still living and has acquired a handsome property.

About this time came Michael Shuck from Iowa, whither he had originally immigrated from Tennessee. He took a claim on the west side of the Platte, in the bottom, about one half mile from the river. He is now in Worth County. He was a good hunter, and pursued this avocation diligently. He is still living in the same place.

William Stingley, a brother of Moses Stingley, came originally from Virginia, and stopped about five years in Washington Township. In 1855, he made a home in this township, in the Platte bottom on the east side, within a stone's throw of the river. He was very hospitable in his nature, and loved music like his brother Moses. He reared a large family and was a good neighbor. He died several years ago, and his family has moved away.

Thomas Lucas emigrated originally from North Carolina and remained six years in Washington Township. In 1856, he settled on the east side of the Platte River, on an adjoining farm to Wm. Stringley's. He is still living in the southeastern part of this county.

In 1863, came H. N. Pool, from Iowa, and settled on section 34, township 66, range 33. He made a farm on the west side of the Platte, of 240 acres, consisting of bottom land. He was a man of quiet life, a good neighbor, a fine marksman and a successful hunter and trapper. He died six years ago.

Harrison Davis emigrated from Kentucky in 1856, and located on section 15, township 66, range 33. He made a good farm on the high prairie, between Brushy Creek and the Platte River. There was a fine grove north of his house containing nearly half a section. About five years ago, he moved to Kansas.

Originally, Josiah Shuck emigrated from Kentucky to Iowa, where he remained a few years. In 1856, he came and made a home on the Platte bottom, on the north side of the river, opening and improving a farm adjoining that of his uncle, Michael Shuck. He died several years ago. John Ham, desiring to make a home in the west, emigrated originally from New Hampshire, and remained a few years in Iowa. Hearing of the Platte Purchase, he came in 1856, and settled on section 34, township 66, range 33, on the bottom, on the west side of the Platte River, opening a farm adjoining that of his father in law, H. N. Pool. In the year 1863, the Missouri Legislature cut off a slice from Nodaway County, to form Worth County, so that his farm was just over the line in Worth County. In 1868, he was sheriff and collector of Nodaway County, when both offices were combined in one. Mr. Ham was a fine marksman and a successful hunter. He kept a rifle for hunting purposes, and one for target practice. He could put a hole through a deer's hide every time, even when the deer was on the run. One year, he says, he shot twenty five deer on the run at twenty five shots, before Christmas. He hunted considerably with his father in law, H. N. Pool, who lived on an adjoining farm. Game was plenty in those days, and the fruits of the chase were abundant. Otter skins were worth in those pioneer time from four to six dollars each, mink skins from seventy five cents to two dollars each, and muskrat skins five cents each. They did not consider muskrat worth killing.

John Hill emigrated from Ohio in 1856, and settled on the prairie on the southwest quarter of section 25, township 66, range 34. He was a good neighbor and was elected justice of the peace. He moved to Kansas two years ago, where he is still living.


Samuel Russell, 1845.
John Hall, 1847.
Elisha Brown, 1847.
A. J. Anderson, 1849.
Raphael Dixon, 1846.
Samuel Maiden, 1851.
John Schofield, 1851.
Campbell Ingalls, 1853.
Henry Foster, 1853
Alexander Wilson, 1856.
Robert James, 1855.
William Kinder, 1855.
Benjamin Kinder, 1855.
John Ham, 1856.
Christopher C. Horn, 1855
John Stobaugh, 1856.
William Stingley, 1855.
H. N. Pool, 1856.
Isaac Dowis, 1851.
Ellis Rigley, 1855.
James Gartsides, 1855.
___ Smiths, 1851.
Isaac Guill, 1847.
James Alexander, 1856.
Harrison Davis, 1856.
David Kinder, 1855.
John York, 1855.
Allen Stephens, 1853.
John Wilson, 1856.
Michael Shuck, 1856.
Thomas Lucas, 1855.
Josiah Shuck, 1856.
John Hill, 1856.


This is a pleasant little village, on the high prairie, two miles and a half west of Honey Creek. The land on which the village now stands was originally entered by John Hill - section 25, township 66, range 34. Mr. Hill opened and cultivated a good farm there, and sold it in 1878 to John Dyer, who occupies it still.

About 1876, Edward Gaynor built a blacksmith shop very near the section corners. Afterward Wilson McLain put up a store, and opened a general stock of merchandise. More recently he has erected a new store on the opposite side of the street. The village contains about twenty five inhabitants. There is a school house half a mile west of town. The first voting precinct of Independence Township was at Horn's school house; afterward it was changed to Redick's school house, and now it is at Gaylor City.


Cowin, Stephen, blacksmith.
Goodson, Dr. B. F., druggist and physician.
McLain, Wilson, mixed merchandise.

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