History Cairo Township, Randolph County, Missouri
From: History of Randolph and Macon Counties, Missouri
National Historic Company
St. Louis, 1884


This township lies in the second tier of townships from the northern boundary of Randolph, and in the central north-east part of the county. It contains an area of 21,920 acres, or a fraction over 34 square miles. The "Grand Divide" runs in a north-westerly direction through it, separating it into two nearly equal parts. Its territory was formerly a part of Sugar Creek township.

The soil is a rich black loam, overlaying a substratum of stiff clay that, when exposed to the influences of rain and sunshine, snow and frost, not only becomes friable and arable, but imparts a peculiar productive energy to the soil and is admirably adapted to the cultivation of certain crops. Hence, the meadows and grass fields that have been deeply stirred are among the best in the State, and the township is noted for the rich and nutritive quality of its grasses. The cereals, also, are cultivated with great success, and with proper care give back a liberal return. The other products of the soil are such as are common to the county, though tobacco is cultivated with great profit-the yield large, the quality good, and the labor necessary to its production unusually easy.

About two thirds of the territory is a high rolling prairie. There is, however, more than sufficient timber for all the needs of the farm. Indeed, timber is little used, the Osage orange being extensively used for enclosing fields and pastures, and coal, of which there is abundance, being used for fuel. About three-fourths of the land is enclosed and under cultivation. The improvements are of excellent quality, and are annually becoming better as the farmers prosper.

As the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad (north end) follows the divide and runs through the township, even the farmers who reside in the most remote parts of it are not more than six miles from a depot. It therefore has good shipping facilities, and, with its other advantages, becomes an attractive region for settlers.

The East fork of Chariton river and Walnut creek on the west side, and Mud creek, Elk fork and Flat creek on the east, afford plenty and never failing water for all the operations of the farm.

One of the most profitable industries of the township is sheep culture. There are more sheep in Cairo, in proportion to area, than in any other township in the county. New and improved breeds have been introduced, and great care is taken to choose those best adapted to the country, and yielding the largest amount of wool. The annual wool clip is large and rapidly increasing. The yearly sheep-shearing at Cairo is a season of festivity, and attended by many farmers and their wives of the surrounding country. It is conducted under the auspices of the Cairo Sheep Breeders' and Wool Growers' Association, and attracts the best sheep and fleeces of the country. The wool finds ready sale at Cairo, the only town in the township, at good prices.

Other live stock is raised for sale and exportation, and the amount shipped to foreign markets of cattle, sheep, hogs, horses and mules, is very large, returning a handsome income to the farmers.

They have in the township eight well furnished and finished school houses, and four or five churches, one Old School Baptist, one Methodist church, one Cumberland Presbyterian and one. Union. The average yield of farm products per acre is as follows: Corn, 30 bushels average, extra, 60 bushels; oats, 35 bushels average, extra, 50 bushels; hay, one and a half tons, extra, two tons; tobacco, average 1,000 pounds.


Among the early settlers in Cairo township were Leonard Dodson, from Kentucky; Andrew Goodding, from Kentucky; Samuel Martin, from Kentucky; Col. Robert Boucher, from Kentucky; Isaac Baker, from Kentucky; Benj. Huntsman, from Kentucky, Daniel McKinney, from Kentucky; James Cochran, from Kentucky; William King, from Kentucky; James T. Boney from North Carolina; Benjamin Dameron, from North Carolina; W. S. Dameron, from North Carolina; Judge Joseph Goodding, from Kentucky.

Judge Joseph Goodding is said to have been the firsts ettler in the township. He emigrated to Howard county, Mo., from Kentucky, in 1818, and in 1823 located in Cairo township. He was a prominent citizen, and filled the office of county judge three or four terms.

W. S. Dameron came to the township in 1841, from Huntsville, Mo., and has lived in Randolph county 52 years. He was born in North Carolina, October 29th, 1824.


This town, of 250 population, was located in 1860, on the North division of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacifie Railway, eight miles from Huntsville, and seven miles north of Moberly, and 152 miles north-west of St. Louis. The town site originally comprised 40 acres, owned by W. S. Dameron, who donated five acres for depot purposes. The remaining 35 acres were laid out in lots, all of which have since been sold. The new town was at first called Fairview, but there being another town of the same name, it was changed to Cairo, at the suggestion of Thomas Dameron. The latter name was not liked by some of the citizens, from the fact that goods purchased by Cairo merchants were occasionally shipped to Cairo, Ill. The town, however, has retained the name of Cairo. P. G. McDaniel, from Kentucky, erected the first store building in the town; Thomas Dameron, the first dwelling house, located east of the railroad. J. C. Tedford was the pioneer physician. Abner Landrum was the first blacksmith, and Thomas Carter was the first shoemaker. B. R. Boucher taught the first school. The Methodists (M. E. Church South) erected the first church edifice. Thomas Dameron was the first postmaster, and wrote the first mail matter that was sent from the town.


Lodge No. 486, A. F. and A. M. - Was organized October 15, 1874, with the following charter members: W. M. Baker, J. A. Hannah, Isaac H. Newton, W. L. Newton, W. G. Griffin, R. H. Matthews, H. Huntsman, John Hoggs, C. E. Llewellyn.

Lodge No. 362, L O. O. F. - Organized in October, 1876. The charter members were Thomas Lisk, J. W. Carver, J. W. Boatman, J. F. Newton, Joseph Wiggington, Wm. Wilson, R. P. Rice.

Lodge No. 255, A. O. U. W. -This lodge was formed November 26th, 1882, with the following charter members: Dr. J. G. Wilson, J. W. Baker, W. P. Henson, James G. Griffin, R. H. Matthews, Samuel Lowe, D. W. Newton, F. E. Haynes, T. L. Day, E. S. Day, S. M. Holbrook.


Two general stores, two blacksmiths, one drug store, one hardware store, one lumber yard, one hotel, one shoemaker, one saw mill, and one wood-working shop are located in this place.


This association was organized in February, 1876, with the following members: D. O. Forayer, J. W. Boney, I. H. Newton, James A. Newton, J. W. Huston, John S. Bennett, Hon. Walker Wright, A. Smith, F. G. Johnstone, F. E. Haynes, William Haynes, B. C. Turner, John Hogg, V. Rollins, J. D. Dameron, D. B. Boucher, B. R. Boucher, Judge J. F. Hannah, J. D. Peeler, W. L. Landram, John T. Halliburton, John Huntsman, W. L. Reynolds.

The officers are: W. M. Baker, president; J. D. Dameron, vice president; F. E. Haynes, secretary; John Hogg, treasurer; I. Hamp. Newton, corresponding secretary.

There has been a public shearing every spring since the association was organized, and at these shearings all kinds of stock are exhibited.

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