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


Washington Township is bounded on the north by Jefferson Township, on the east by Gentry County, on the south by Andrew County, and on the west by White Cloud Township. This is the southeast township in Nodaway County.

We find the following order of record for the April special term of court, for the year 1845, establishing Washington Township:

"All the territory within the following limits shall be called and known by the name of Washington Township, to wit:

"Beginning on One Hundred and Two, on the line dividing Nodaway and Andrew Counties; thence north up said stream till it intersects White Cloud Township; thence east and north with said township line to the line dividing townships 63 and 64; thence east with said boundary to the eastern boundary of Nodaway County; thence south with said county line to Andrew County; thence west to the place of beginning."

On June 14, 1866, the court made the following order, defining the bounds of Washington Township:

Commencing at the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of sections 15, 9 and 16, 8 and 17, 7 and 18, in township 63, range 34, [33?], and 12 and 13, I I and 14, to and 15, 9 and 16, 8 and 17, 7 and 18, township 63, range 34, and 12 and 13, to the northwest corner of section 13, township 63, range 35, thence south on the section line between sections 13 and 14, 23 and 24, 25 and 26, 35 and 36, township 63, range 35, and sections i and 2, 11 and 12, 13 and 14, 23 and 24, 25 and 26, 35 and 36, to the south line of said county, to the southwest corner of section 36, township 62, range 35, thence east on the county line to the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of section 34, township 62, range 35, [33?], thence north on the east line of said county to the northeast corner of the northwest quarter of section 15, township 63, range 33, to the place of beginning.

Subsequently, Jefferson and Grant Townships were formed out of territory belonging originally in part to Washington Township.


The Platte River flows through the extreme western portion of this township in a southerly direction, bending in its course a little toward the west, until it touches the western line, and then returning in a southeasterly direction it runs across the southwest corner of the township. Turkey Creek and Island Branch water the eastern portion of the township, and, uniting near the county line, run easterly into Grand River. The western portion of the township consists of high upland prairie, more rolling as we approach the river, with a valley along the river of rich alluvium about a mile in width. The eastern portion of the township is made up of gently rolling prairie lands with increased inequalities of surface as we approach the streams. All the water courses are fringed more or less with timber, one tenth of the whole area of the township being estimated as timbered land. Springs are found in numerous places, and the whole township is well watered. The soil is a silicious loam, exceedingly fertile and well adapted to the cultivation of fruits. Horticulture would find its native home in this township, all the small fruits of this latitude growing in abundance. The cultivated grasses have been introduced and flourish, and stock raising is quite successful.


The first settlement in Washington Township is supposed to have been made about the year 1840. Among the earliest settlers was Thomas Gray, who took a claim in the southeast part of White Oak Grove, which is situated two miles north of the present town of Guilford. The grove is two miles long and one mile and a half wide.

Silas Groves came next from Indiana, and located two miles northwest of the present site of Guilford, between White Oak Grove and the Platte River. Hugh Todd now owns this place.

Jesse Jones emigrated soon after from Pennsylvania, and settled half a mile south of where Guilford is now located.

Thomas Blakely came from Cooper County, Missouri, and located one mile south of the present town of Guilford.

James Irwin took a claim one half mile southwest of the present location of Guilford.

Silas Best settled three miles north of where Guilford now is, on the east side of White Oak Grove.

John S. Aldridge emigrated from Indiana and settled on the east side of White Oak Grove.

Guilford Richards came from Virginia and took a claim on the south side of the grove.

John Groves was born in Ohio, February 19, 1801. In 1823 he married Miss Susanna Vanpelt. Their marriage was congenial, and they have lived together in peace ever since. They are the parents of fifteen children, who are somewhat scattered, some being in Missouri, some in Kansas, and one in Iowa. In the year 1838 Mr. Groves moved to Indiana. He remained there two years, and then he came to Andrew County, Missouri, where he remained till 1842. He came to Nodaway County in the latter year, and settled on the farm where he has lived so long. When he came to Missouri, St. Joseph consisted of but two or three houses. His team hauled the logs for the first building that was erected in Savannah. He came to this region when it was but sparsely populated. At that time this township contained only about a dozen families, but soon after that number was augmented by the arrival of the families of Christopher Weatherman, Allen Gentry and Wiley Brittain. Little did these early settlers think that the country which then presented such a rugged and forlorn appearance could be transformed into almost a paradise; and little did they think that they would live to see the day when Nodaway County would contain 30,000 inhabitants.

In 1842 there were only about a dozen men in Washington Township, all told; but they were men of nerve and pluck, who forsook friends and came to a land where the track of the Indian was still visible.

The nearest trading point at that time was Savannah, and Whitesville was the nearest post office; the nearest mill about fifteen miles off. The first settlers raised corn, wheat and hemp, principally; they dressed in their homespun and very seldom were sick, excepting ague and chills, which they had occasionally.

Elliott owned the first store in the township. His chief clerk was William Weatherman, Esq. The latter gentleman carried the first mail bags that ever came to Washington Township.

Jesse Stingley settled one mile and a half southeast of where Guilford is now located. He came from Indiana. In 1847 C. Weatherman emigrated from North Carolina and settled one fourth of a mile south of the present site of Guilford.

W. J. Brittain came, in 1848, from North Carolina and took a claim one mile and a half east of the present town of Guilford, on seetion 14, township 62, range 34.

John Pulley, a son-in-law of Thomas Blakely, emigrated from Cooper County, Missouri, and took a claim three fourths of a mile southwest of the present site of Guilford; and James T. Estes, another son in law, came from Cooper County, Missouri, and located one mile and a fourth east of the present location of Guilford.

In the spring of 1850 Anthony Groves emigrated from Tennessee and located near the present site of Guilford, about one fourth of a mile west.

In the same year B. S. Cook came from North Carolina and took a claim one and one half miles northwest of where Guilford is now located.

I. Wilson emigrated from Buchanan County in 1851, and settled on Clear Creek. He has been in the Platte Purchase forty four years, coming in October, 1837.

When W. J. Brittain immigrated to Washington Township, in the year 1848, he went sixteen miles to Hobson's Mill, on the One Hundred and Two River, four miles northeast of Savannah. When Mr. I. Wilson came he went to Waterville to mill, which was located on the Platte, nine miles south of the place where Guilford is located. Matthew Whiteford emigrated from Indiana in 1864, and settled one mile southwest of the present town of Guilford, where he still lives. Mr. Whiteford owns about 1,300 acres of land, and he has been engaged quite extensively in handling live stock. His residence is elegant, and his surroundings are arranged with a view to comfort. His barn is well constructed, contains 50,000 feet of lumber, and cost $3,000.

The first school house in the township was erected in the year 1845. upon the southwest corner of the northeast quarter. of section 22, township 62, range 34. The first school teacher was a Miss Stockton. The second was B. L. Cook, who taught three terms of school in succession.

The township officers in the year 1876 were as follows: Trustee, Rufus McMackin; Clerk, Elias Stout; Assessor, B. L. Cook; Collector. L. C. Brittain; Constable, Eli Akers; Justice of the Peace, P. J. Hainey and H. G. Richards.


This village, the voting precinct of Washington Township, is located one mile east of the west line of this township, and about fourteen miles southeast of Maryville. It lies on the east bluff of the Platte River, and the location is quite picturesque. At an early day there was a post office named Carterville, and also a store, a little north of the present site of Guilford. When the town of Guilford was laid off this post office was moved there and the name changed from Carterville to Guilford. The town was probably named from Guilford Court House, North Carolina, where a battle was fought during the Revolutionary War.

William Irwin entered the land on which the town of Guilford is located, in the year 1852. He disposed of his interest in it about the year 1856, to O. H. P. Craig, a merchant from Savannah. The town was surveyed and platted in the year 1856, Mr. Rowley being the surveyor. There was a public sale of lots soon after the town was surveyed.

O. H. P. Craig put up the first building and opened a stock of general merchandise. He sold the first goods in the town. B. S. Cook and James R. Shepherd were the carpenters who did the work on Mr. Craig's building. B. L. Cook, Esq., put up the next building for a drug store. During the same time Wm. Irwin erected a store for general merchandise. In the year 1858 O. H. P. Craig sold his interest in the town to John Chandler, and quite a number of buildings were erected whose exact sequence it is hard to trace. Wm. Chandler put up a dwelling, Wm. Gibson erected a dwelling and a store, Caleb Richards built a dwelling, Willis Summers and Harvey M. Robinson put up dwellings. A steam saw mill was erected by Willis Summers and Harvey M. Robinson. In 1859 Hugh Groves built a store for general merchandise, which had a Masonic Hall in the second story. About this time there was also built a store for general merchandise by P. Hawk.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, erected a church edifice in 1873, and the Methodist Episcopal Church put up one a little later.

There has been a public school in Guilford since the town was located. There was first a log school house which was displaced by a good frame school house. The present teacher is Mr. T. J. Reznor, who has had twelve years experience in teaching. The school is well conducted. The present directors are John W. Ballard, president; B. L. Cook, secretary, and Matthew Whiteford.

The first marriage in Guilford was that of Mr. Charles Craig and Mrs. Mary Ann Landers, in the year 1858.

A son of Dr. J. S. McAdom died in the year 1857 - the first death that occurred in Guilford.

The population of Guilford is estimated at 100.


Akers, Joseph, blacksmith.
Bellows, Frank, stock dealer.
Carver, James, nurseryman.
Gleaves, J. S., physician and surgeon.
Hawk, J. P., general merchandise.
McDonald, A., basket maker.
Reznor, Thomas J., teacher.
Roberts, E., wagon maker and undertaker.
Roberts, John D., carpenter.
Roberts, Miss Rachie, dressmaker.
Stewart, John, hotel keeper and harness maker.
Stewart, John, justice of the peace.
Stewart, O. A., dealer in fine hogs.
Whiteford, Matthew, stock dealer.


This church was organized several years ago, but the date does not seem to be of record. The names of the consecutive pastors are as follows: Revs. Morton, Beggs, Breed, Ely, Cowden, Morton, Chivington, Roof, Moorhead, Edmunds, Moody and O. Bruner, the present pastor.

Eighteen members worship at the church in Guilford, and thirty five at Pleasant View school house. The pastor reports the church in statu quo The church property is valued at $800.


In the year 1858 the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Guilford, was organized, with the following named members: Amos McDaniel and wife, Sidney Smith and wife, J. Hugh McClanahan and wife, Elisha Carigo and wife, Isaac Sharp and wife, and Mrs. Catherine Edwards. The following named ministers have been pastors of the church: Revs. William M. Robbins, W. W. McMurray, H. C. Dodd, T. Grimes, Mr. Parker and H. C. Bolen. Rev. Mr. Mylum is the present pastor of the church. During the time of the war services were suspended in this church, many of the members being absent. The church property is valued at $1,500.

GUILFORD LODGE, NO. 474, A. F. & A. M.

Guilford Lodge was organized in the year 1874. The names of the charter members are as follows: I. Wilson, J. F. Davis, J. W. Brittain, R. Morris, W. H. Pope, S. Broderick, John Lanning, John S. Miller, T. A. Martin, J. B. Wilson, H. H. Snoderly, A. S. McClannahan and Alexander Floyd.

The names of the officers at the present time are as follows: I. Wilson, W. M.; T. J. Brittain, S. W.; Joseph Akers, J. W.; J. B. Wilson, Treasurer; H. G. Richards, Secretary; W. J. Beggs, S. D.; J. W. Brittain, J. D.; R. Morris, Tyler.

The present membership numbers twenty two. The lodge own their hall. It meets on or before each full moon. The lodge is reported to be in a satisfactory condition.


Fidelity Lodge of Good Templars received its organization in February, 1879, with the following named charter members: Dr. J. M Moorhead, John Roberts, Harry Moorhead, Mrs. Susan Gleaves, John Stewart, Miss Amanda Stewart, William Gleaves, Maggie Craig, Ida Ham, Ellen Ham, John Craig, and Mrs. Barlow.

The officers of the lodge at the present time are, F. A. Brittain, W. C. T.; Eliza Weatherman, W. V. T.; Hugh Craig, Secretary; John Felker, Marshal; Jennie Gleaves, Treasurer; Eugene Redman, Financial Secretary; John Weatherman, O. G.; Emma McDaniel, I. G.; Thomas Redman, Lodge Deputy; Rachel Roberts, Chaplain.

The membership of the lodge numbers at the present time twenty five. It meets every Saturday night, and is prosperous.

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