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


This township is now bounded on the north by Polk Township, on the east by Grant Township, on the south by a portion of Andrew County, and on the west by Hughes Township. As White Cloud Township has been modified, in regard to its boundaries, since its first organization, we give the orders of court establishing it.

At the April special term, 1845, we find the following order of court establishing White Cloud Township:

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

"Beginning at the southeast corner of Hughes Township, on the line dividing Nodaway and Andrew Counties; thence east with said line to the river One Hundred and Two; thence up said river to township 6.3; thence east with said towship line to the north part of Gent's Grove; thence north to the north line of said township; thence west on the line dividing townships 63 and 64, to the east boundaries of Hughes Township; thence south with said township line to the place of beginning."

June 14, 1866, the county court defined the bounds of White Cloud Township as follows:

"Commencing at the northeast corner of section 14, township 63, range 35; thence west on section line between 11 and 14, 10 and 15, 9 and 16, 8 and 17, 7 and 18, township 63, range 35, and sections 12 and 13, 11 and 14, to the northwest corner of section 14, township 63. range 36; thence south on section line between sections 14 and 15, 22 and 23, 26 and 27, 34 and 35, in township 63, range 36, and sections 2 and 3, 10 and 11, 14 and 15, 22 and 23, 26 and 27, 34 and 35, to the southeast corner of section 35, in towship 62, range 36, to said county line; thence east on the county line and township line between townships 61 and 62, to the southeast corner of section 35; thence north on section line between sections 35 and 36, 25 and 26, 23 and 24, 14 and 15, 11 and 12, 1 and 2, township 62, range 35, and sections 35 and 36, 25 and 26, 23 and 24, 13 and 14, to the northeast corner of section 14, township 63, range 35, to the place of beginning."

Subsequently, Grant Township was formed out of territory which originally belonged to White Cloud and Washington Townships.


White Cloud Township is touched on the northeast by the One Hundred and Two River. White Cloud Creek runs through the township from north to south, being deflected a little in its course toward the east. The land of the township is rolling, especially along the streams. White Cloud Creek is fed by quite a number of small branches, particularly on the east side, which afford abundance of water for stock purposes. The soil is a deep black loam, averaging, on the uplands, about two feet in depth. There is very little bottom land along the White Cloud, the rolling timber land approaching near the stream. There is an abundance of lime and sandstone for all necessary purposes. The belts of timber along the streams increase in width as we go southward, and it is estimated that one fifth of the area of the township is timbered land. The soil is well adapted to the growth of corn, wheat, oats, and other cereals, and, for the various varieties of fruit. Cultivated grasses have been introduced, and the raising of stock is one of the leading industries of the people.


The first settler in White Cloud Township was Hiram Hall, who came in 1840, and settled one and one fourth miles southeast of the present site of Arkoe. He entered a claim, and cultivated his farm for several years, but sold out about the year 1860, and moved to Kansas. Thomas Groves came from Tennessee about the year 1842, and settled on section 6, township 63, range 35. He has lived there ever since his first settlement near the White Cloud, and has an excellent farm. He has recently met with a serious misfortune in the loss of his home by fire, but such a loss will be small in comparison to the privations incident to pioneer life. Hiram Groves, a brother of Thomas Groves, emigrated from Tennessee in 1842, and pre-empted the southwest quarter of section 18, township 63, range 35. He lived on his place about five years when he sold out to Alfred Jones who came from Rush County, Indiana, arriving April 13th, 1847. Mr. Jones has lived on the same place ever since. He says, since he came he has has had only one failure of crops, which was in the year 1860. Some of Mr. Jones' experiences are worthy of record, as showing the condition of things more than thirty years ago. He says the elk and buffalo had disappeared before he came. One buffalo was chased across the ice on the Missouri River near where the White Cloud ferry was located. The winter was very cold and the river froze over, the ice being thick enough to hear the weight of heavy teams. Hunters pursued a buffalo into Nodaway County and it was killed about four miles west of Mr. Jones' farm.

Elk and deer horns were so thick in those early days that they looked like dry limbs scattered over the prairie. No mowing machine could have mowed the prairie grass at that time on account of these horns. Mr. Jones says the turkeys were so thick in those days that he has often killed with his shotgun three at a time. Once he saw some turkeys walking along a furrow or ridge of ground, one nearly behind another, and at one shot killed seven, and wounded two or three more, crippling them so much that they were. not able to fly. but ran off and thus escaped. He says he has sometimes killed five deer in one day. He hunted deer at times in the night. His child would carry the lantern, and he going carefully beside the child would see the eyes of the deer glisten and shoot them. Once he saw fifty deer in a herd, and at another time thirty two. Tame turkeys would fight the wild ones, and sometimes go off with them. He has lost four flocks in this way. When a deer was shot, the hunters would hang it up on a small tree, to keep it from the wolves, which were very troublesome. When a deer was killed and brought in, thee wolves would follow in and howl fearfully around the house most of the night. Fur animals were very thick on the One Hundred and Two River. He says that Dr. Talbott caught enough otters to make himself a fine overcoat.

In pioneer times bees flourished on account of the wild flowers with which the prairie abounded. Mr. Jones says he has taken sixty and eighty pounds, a washtubful, of honey, out of a single bee gum. Bee hunters would fall a bee tree at night, close the orifice from which the bees escaped, saw off the log on both sides of the bees, and taking it home, set up the part of the tree in which the bees were located, calling it a bee gum. Hollow trees were often cut off in sections, four or five feet in length, cleaned out with an ax or chisel, and boards nailed on the ends. Mr. Jones says he has had thirty three such bee gums at one time. He prefers them to patent hives, and says the bee moths are less destructive with the old fashioned bee gums.

The pioneer had one advantage over the farmer of the present time which Mr. Jones thought worthy of especial mention. The range in those days was unlimited, and the grasses were very luxuriant. Underneath the tall rank grass, even during much of the winter, the grass would still be green and fresh, and cattle would thrive upon it a long time in the season after the farmer of the present day begins to feed them. Cattle would become exceedingly fat on the open range, to such a degree that the meat was almost too fat for the table. Deer would become so fat that when dressed and hung up they would look as white as a dressed sheep. Cattle were marked and turned out on the range, and the pioneer gave them no further thought until the " round up," when each pioneer would claim his own stock. Corn, however, left out in the shock would be half eaten up by deer and turkeys.

Isaac Newton Prather, of whom we have spoken elsewhere in this work, came from Kentucky in 1841, and located two miles west of the present site of Arkoe. He owned 1,800 acres of land. His son, James B. Prather, is a druggist in Maryville. Isaac Cox came in 1843 from Kentucky, and located four miles, a little northwest, of the present site of Arkoe. About this time Mr. Hanna emigrated from Kentucky, and settled seven miles southwest of the present site of Arkoe. R. J. Boatwright left Kentucky in 1845, and came to Nodaway County and located on the northeast quarter of section 18, township 63, range 35. John and George McLain, brothers in law of Hiram Groves, came from Kentucky about this time, and settled four miles northwest of the present location of Arkoe. James Bryant, a half breed, took a claim three miles west of where Arkoe is now located. Mrs. Martha Vandervert emigrated from Kentucky in the year 1843, and located one mile and a half west of the present site of Arkoe. In the year 1846, James Saunders came from Virginia and settled on the northwest quarter of section 18, township 63, range 35. Aaron and Isaac Groves came from Tennessee and located five miles west of the present town of Arkoe. About the same time, Wm. A. Ammons emigrated from Virginia and settled on the White Cloud some four miles west of the present site of Arkoe. Mijamm Byers came from Illinois soon after, and located two miles and a half southwest of the farm of Alfred Jones. Soon afterward, Simon Holland emigrated from Tennessee and located six miles west of the present town of Arkoe, and one mile south. William Edster, about that time, came from Kentucky, and settled four miles west of where Arkoe is now located. Soon afterward, Nicholas Kavanaugh emigrated from Kentucky, and commenced farming seven miles northwest of the present site of Arkoe.

On May 6, 1850, the pioneers state that there was a snowfall four inches deep. It cleared off warm the next day, the snow went off, and there was no more cold weather that spring. They state that August 26, 1863, there was a terrible cold spell of weather. The roasting ears of corn froze so hard, they say, the hogs could not eat them. The corn in the river valleys was ruined. On June 3, 1875, it snowed, but very little of the snow reached the surface bf the earth. On September 16, 1881, it snowed hard. The polar current seemed to break through suddenly, pushing the equatorial current above it, and the reduced temperature precipitated the moisture with which the air was heavily laden, in the form of snow. Although the snow melted Avery fast, it fell to the depth of about four inches, and had it not melted, the depth would probably have reached eight inches. Further south the moisture was precipitated in rain, and at St. Joseph, Kansas City and lower points, there were reports of heavy rain. The trees were all in their glorious. foliage, and the scene presented at Maryville and other places in Nodaway County, of the trees all bending under their heavy loads of snow, the branches trailing like weeping willows, in many places to the very ground, was never to be forgotten. The snow went off immediately, and the next day but one, was as lovely as ever shone down on Eden's bowers. Nature seemed to forget her strange freak, and as compensation, a lovlier day never smiled on the earth. The two days photographed on the opposite pages of a book, would form a contrast seldom seen in any clime. One of the pioneers dryly remarked, " That was the greatest snow I ever saw."


Hiram Hall came in 1840.
Stephen Barnes, in 1841.
John Wesley, in 1841.
Benjamin Windom, in 1841.
John McClain, in 1841.
George McClain, Jr., in 1841.
Harvey White, in 1840.
Thomas Groves, in 1841.
____ Hubbell, in 1841.
William H. Davis, in 1841.
Hiram Davis, in 1841.
James Bryant, in 1839.
Paul Connor, in 1842.
James B. Prather, in 1842.
Joseph E. Alexander, in 1842.
John Wiggs, in 1842.
[Long] John McClain, in 1842.
Edward S. Stephenson, in 1843.
Dr. David M. Irwin, in 1843.
Daniel Swearingen, in 1843.
Nicholas Swearingen.
John B. Morgan, in 1841.
John McDonald Morgan, in 1841.
Adonijah Morgan, in 1841.
William W. Morgan, in 1841.
Nathaniel Barnes came in 1841.
Thomas Barnes, in 1841.
Jesse Window, in 1841.
George McClain, in 1841.
James McClain, in 1841.
Greenville Thompson, in 1841.
Hiram Groves, in 1841.
Elijah Bunten, in 1840.
Wade H. Davis, in 1841.
Smithan Davis, in 1841.
James W. Davis, in 1841.
Mijamin Byers, in 1842.
Isaac Newton Prather, in 1842.
I. N. Prather, Jr., in 1842.
John Randall, in 1842.
[Little] John McClain, in 1842.
Jesse Stephenson, in 1843.
Isaac Cox, in 1843.
Henry Swearingen, in 1843.
Henry Swearingen, Jr.
Andrew Jackson Swearingen.
Dr. J. W. Morgan, in 1841.
Amaziah Morgan, in 1841.
Lewis Morgan, in 1841.


The land on which Bridgewater was located was originally owned by O. A. Howard, who cultivated it as a farm. At a very early day Mr. J. B. Cox built a mill on the One Hundred and Two River where Bridgewater was afterwards situated. In 1870, Page, Warren & Phelps, contractors of the Branch Railroad, bought the Howard tract of land and laid off the town of Bridgewater. The One Hundred and Two River near Bridgewater makes an elbow toward the west. At this bend in the river there are two railroad bridges within about one thousand feet of each other with a county bridge located between them, bridging the water of the One Hundred and Two three times. The bridges being placed in close proximity to each other, naturally suggested the name of the town. William Elrod & Son built the first house in the town, and opened a general stock of merchandise. John W. Walker was the first postmaster in Bridgewater. Nelson Wilson, in 1871, moved a building which was a little west of the site, into the town, and opened a stock of mixed merchandise. Mr. Miller built a saloon in 1871, but failing to receive a majority of the votes of White Cloud Township, he did not obtain a license, and so the saloon was not opened.

Meanwhile, Dr. P. H. Talbott had granted the right of way through his land on certain conditions, which resulted in the location of another town called

about one mile north of the old town of Bridgewater, which was consequently abandoned. Dr. P. H. Talbott and S. K. Snively laid off the town of Arkoe, September 15, 1874. Judge John Brady surveyed and platted the town. Dr. Talbott found the name in reading the work entitled " Twenty Thousand Miles Under the Sea," and elected it as the name of the new town. There was no public sale of lots. Lot 1, block 3, was presented by S. K. Snively to W. G. Turner. Dr. P. H. Talbott then sold two lots, lots 4 and 5, block 8, to Nelson Wilson for fifty dollars. Nelson Wilson moved a building from the former site of Bridgewater Ito Arkoe, and opened a store of general merchandise. This was the first building in the new town. Mr. W. G. Turner erected the second building in 1875, and put in a stock of mixed merchandise. C. A. Dewey built a dwelling in 1876, the third building in Arkoe. Dr. W. M. Sammis put up a building in 1877, and still uses it as an office. Mr. S. K. Snively presented a lot to James Buckridge, who built a blacksmith shop in 1878. Mr. Buckridge was the first blacksmith in Arkoe. Nelson Wilson was the first postmaster. The first death in Arkoe occurred July 18, 1880, a son of William Early. The first child was born January 28, 1881, a son to Mr. and Mrs. Bragg.

Mr. S. K. Snively erected a wind engine in the village, near his store, which forces the water from a living spring, or stream, that flows a few feet below the surface in the rocks, into tanks for the use of the public. The water is of excellent quality, and very abundant. There is also a tank engine for raising river water for railroad purposes.

Arkoe is located one fourth of a mile west of the One Hundred and Two River, and has a population of about fifty. The valley is fertile, and the situation is healthful and pleasant. The town will evidently increase in size and importance, and become the center of a Considerable trade.


Bond, H. C., depot agent.
Sammis, W. M., physician.
McFarland, William, blacksmith.
Snively, S. K., general merchandise.
Snively, S. K., postmaster.
Turner, W. G., general merchandise.

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