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


Clifton is the middle township on the western border of Randolph county. It is five miles in width from east to west, its greatest length from north to south being seven and a half miles, giving an area of about 32 1/2 square miles. It is watered by the Middle and East fork of the Chariton, Muneas and Dark creeks, the slopes are gentle and the land lies in beautiful waves. Towards the southern and western parts of the township the hills become more abrupt, and in the vicinity of East fork, on the south, and the Middle fork, on the west, it is broken and somewhat ragged. This is one of the best farming sections of the county. The soil is deep and rich, affording such a variety, that, with care in selection of position, almost any crop may be developed in perfection. About one third of the township is prairie, the balance timber. Nearly all the prairie land is enclosed in farms and pastures. Two thirds of the entire township is in cultivation; but there are large tracts yet to be brought under subjection to the plow, which may be opened into farms that will hereafter be very valuable.

The Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railroad passes through the southern part of the township, and no point in it is distant more than seven miles from that road. This gives a convenient outlet to all the products of the farm, and easy shipping of live stock for the eastern market.

The farmers of this section are introducing improved farm implements and machinery, and with new methods of cultivation they are reaping beneficial results. The ordinary crops are raised, including tobacco, and in this township the latter article proves to be not only of superior quality but a very remunerative crop. It is probably the banner tobacco township of the county in proportion to area, and capitalists have not been slow to turn this fact to account, by establishing factories for prising and shipping this staple.

All the field crops yield heavy harvests. Corn will yield 8 to 12 barrels or 40 to 60 bushels to the acre; wheat, 15 to 25 bushels; oats, 40 to 50 bushels; hay, 1 to 2 tons; tobacco, 1,000 to 1,500 pounds. Besides this, rye and barley, when sown, blue grass spontaneously, and clover when cultivated give back rich crops to the agriculturist. Live stock is reared at very light cost and farm products are secured with less labor than is often bestowed in other sections of the country in obtaining one half the result.

There are six schools in the township, which are provided with neat and comfortable houses, some of them with maps, charts, etc., and all of them, during school months, with good practical teachers. The schools are continued four to eight months during the year; there are four churches, three Christian and one Missionary Baptist, which is used as well by the Old School Baptists and Methodists, two grist and saw mills and two tobacco factories.

Below is the stock report for Clifton for 1880:-








A. Bradsher




C. P. Summers & Co.



D. J. Stamper




W. H. Summers



James M. Lea




J. F. Fidler



W. B. McCrary




Richard Fidler



T. B. Stamper




J. K. McLean



J. E. Stamper







J. W. Graves








Of course, it is not expected that we will, or can give, the names of all the early settlers of Clifton township, or of any other township in the county. This would, at the present time, he simply impossible, as more than half a century has intervened since the pioneers began to make their settlements, and no record of that date has been made or preserved. We should be glad to record the names of all the men who braved the dangers and difficulties of pioneer times, and present a brief sketch of their lives, together with a few of their prominent characteristics. But time and space would preclude us from entering into details, which would doubtless prove to be of so much interest to the reader, and consequently we must content ourselves with the names of such of the pioneers as we have been enabled to secure.

Among the older States we find that Kentucky is more largely represented in the early settlement of this township than any other. In fact, that grand old State has contributed possibly more to the settlement of this entire region, including the Boone's Lick country, than any other two combined. Her sons and her daughters have ever been in the front ranks of civilization, and wherever they located, lived and died, there may be found even to this day, among the present generation, many of the traits of character which they possessed.

Joseph Baker, from Kentucky; Charles Baker, from Kentucky; Noah C. Baker, from Kentucky; David Harris, from Kentucky; David Proffit, from Kentucky, Sadie Baker, from Kentucky; Win. Titus, from Kentucky; Russell Shoemaker, from Kentucky; Levi Fox, from Tennessee; Samuel G. Johnson, from Tennessee; Joseph Harris, from Kentucky; Noah C. Harris, from Kentucky; James Holman, from Kentucky; Hiram Stamper, from Kentucky; John C. Turner, from Kentucky; Augustine Brasher, from Kentucky; Capt. N. G. Matlock, from Kentucky; J. M. Summers, from Kentucky; T. J. Summers, from Kentucky; Judge D. J. Stamper, from Kentucky; James Ferguson, from Kentucky; A. G. Rucker, from Kentucky; David Bozarth, from Kentucky; F. H. Hackle, from Kentucky, David Milan, from Kentucky; W. H. Ball, from Kentucky; W. B. Crutchfield, from Kentucky; J. M. Creighton, from Kentucky; W. B. McCreary, from Kentucky; J. M. Patton, from Kentucky; E. Greer, from Kentucky; Thomas Williams, from Kentucky; J. H. Wayland, from Kentucky.

Samuel G. Johnson, (born in 1807) who is now the oldest settler living in the township, in speaking of the events of 50 years ago, said: "I came to the township October 16, 1833, from Wilson county, Tennessee. We all lived in log cabins. My cabin had a board roof, which was weighted down with poles. When there was a snow storm the snow would drift through the roof, and after the storm was over, the snow would be almost as deep on the inside of the cabin as on the outside, the beds being covered like the floor. I have awaked many a morning with my head and neck covered with snow, and after making a fire had to clear away the snow from around the fire, so my wife and children could get up to it and warm.

"The floor of my cabin consisted of loose planks, sawed by hand. The bedsteads were made of small logs, with poles put across and boards laid on them."

Such was the primitive method of living, not only of Mr. Johnson, but of many of his neighbors, and yet there were compensations and pleasures which were experienced by these pioneers, that are wholly unknown to the people of today. The forests abounded with game, most rich and rare, and all the streams teemed with the most delicious and delicate varieties of the finny race. Here were found:-

"The bright-eyed perch, with fins of various dye;
The silver eel, in shining volumes rolled;
The yellow carp, in scales bedropt with gold;
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains,
And pikes, the tyrants of the watery plains."

The first mill that was erected in Mr. Johnson's neighborhood, or in that section of the county, was built by Ezekiel Richardson, in 1824, on the Middle fork of the Chariton river. Richardson resided in Chariton county, and sold the mill to Levi Fox.

The first religious services were held at Joseph Baker's house, but were afterwards held at Ezekiel Richardson's cabin, about the year 1828, where they were continued until 1834, when Mr. Johnson's cabin was used as a house of worship. After a period of four or five years, a small house, known as Johuson's school house, was erected, which served the purposes of a church and school. Here met these humble Christian worshipers until 1846, when a larger and more costly building was constructed and called Providence church. This edifice, although not a very stately and magnificent one, was something of an architectural wonder, as it contained 12 corners. The services above mentioned were conducted by the Methodists, who also erected Providence church. Among the early ministers of the gospel was Rev. John Shores, a Methodist.


is the only town in the township, and was laid out in 1866, on the south east quarter of the north east quarter of section 35, township 54, range 16, and was named after David Clifton, who came from Owen county, Kentucky, about the year 1850, and was the owner of the town site.

William Holman. erected the first house that was built in the town. The first hotel was opened by Julius Rogers. Dr. J. J. Watts was the first physician to practice in the town. Dr. E. F. Wilson was the first resident physician. The first school was taught by Ansel Richardson, from Virginia. William Wagner and James Maddox were the first shoemakers, and W. M. Roberts and Cyrus Clifton were the pioneer blacksmiths.


P. S. Baker, drugs and post master; J. B. Lambeth, general merchandise; J. J. Grouss, general merchandise; N. Wiseman & Bro., general merchandise; J. M. Fidler, shoemaker; J. F. Rogers, hotel; T. A. Morgan, boarding house.

The town contains a Baptist church and a free school; it also has railroad and telegraph facilities, a daily mail, and has a population of about 150.

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