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

MONITEAU TOWNSHIP.

Moniteau is the middle township on the southern border of Randolph county. It contains a fraction over 37 square miles, and was cut off from the townships of Prairie and Silver Creek after the construction of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, from Hannibal to Sedalia. Soon after this event a depot was established in the present territory of Mouiteau, on lands then belonging to Edward Owens, called Higbee, and soon a village was laid out on lands belonging to Edward Owens and Joseph Burton. A post office was also established, and the growth of the future town was begun. This growth was afterward accelerated by the location of the Chicago, Alton, St. Louis and Kansas City Railroad through its borders, crossing the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Road near the center of the town. These arrangements having been completed, a petition was numerously signed by citizens of the vicinity, asking the county court to organize another township, to he called Moniteau, as it would be located on the head waters of Moniteau creek.

The Moniteau, Silver and Bonne Femme creeks take their rise in the borders of this township. Along the borders of these streams the country is broken and hilly, covered with black and white oak timber. Where the bottoms and valleys are broad enough for cultivation, the land is found, to be very rich and productive. Even the land that cannot be cultivated is covered with a heavy growth of valuable timber composed of sugar maple, walnut and cottonwood. As the dividing ridges of these streams are approached, a sightly and fruitful country is presented, now occupied by substantial farmers, and highly improved. For grazing purposes it seems, in many respects, better than regions adjoining, which have a richer and deeper soil. Clover and timothy produce well with cultivation; but blue grass, the first to come in the spring, the most nutritious while it lasts, and the last to be affected by the frosts, is the spontaneous production of this region. If not grazed too closely during autumn, it affords excellent pasture for sheep and stock cattle during the winter. Even the most broken white oak ridges, when the undergrowth is removed, will in a short time be covered with a natural growth of blue grass.

Railroad ties are an important article of exportation from Moniteau. The white oak lands which furnish the most durable and valuable ties, and which are almost surrounded by railroads, have become valuable of late because of this product, and because, when cleared of the timber, they are the best tobacco lands we have. They are also easily converted into blue grass pastures and timothy meadows. Tobacco, however, has ceased of late to he a staple production on account of the low prices that have ruled for several years. Some few planters continue to raise it, but only to a limited extent. The grains and grasses and the rearing of live stock are depended upon for the principal resources of the farmers.

Bituminous coal underlies the surface and crops out at intervals along almost all the streams. Its accessibility renders it important, whether as an inducement to capitalists to locate manufactories, or to engage in mining. The proximity of the railroads to these deposits of " black diamonds," makes either enterprise a safe and profitable investment. The day is not far distant when the superiority of this coal will be acknowledged, and it will then be " more precious than rubies."

The healthfulness of this region, as indeed of the whole county, is a consideration for those looking for a permanent location. The settled portions of the township are on the divides, or ridges, between the streams. The air is therefore pure and not impregnated with the miasma and malarial influences that affect lower lands. The bottoms are used for cultivation, the hills and highlands for homes. The great body of the country embraces elevated territory, and Moniteau township especially enjoys the salubrity and health giving properties of pure air.

EARLY SETTLERS.

Moniteau was first settled by Virginians, Kentuckians, Tennesseeans and North Carolinians, among whose virtues were temperance, industry, probity and hospitality. Of these were James Dysart, John Dysart, Dr. William Walker, Rev. Jesse Terrill, Montgomery Whitmore, J. Higbee, George Yates and others, who have passed the bourne of time. But they have left the impress of their sturdy manhood upon the character of society. Of those whose time approaches and who wrought a good work in the township when customs and instituti ons were in a formative state, may be mentioned Nicholas Dysart, Christopher Dysart, M. M. Burton, Maj. J. B. Tymony, Joseph Burton, Edward Owens and George Quinn. Edward Owens was the oldest man in the township at the time of his death. Nicholas Dysart, aged 75, is the oldest settler; Hon. M. M. Burton, aged 62, is the oldest native born citizen of Moniteau. Mrs. Nicholas Dysart is the oldest lady. Among other settlers were John Turner, William B. Tompkins, Lynch Turner, Joseph Wilcox, Jacob Maggard, Charles McLean and Thomas Dawkins.

MILLS.

Moniteau has three steam saw mills and one combined saw and flouring mill. One of these is located in Higbee, the other three being located on or near Moniteau river. The lumber produced by these mills is generally used for bridging, house framing and other work requiring substantial timbers. The material used is principally white and black oak, though several car loads of walnut lumber have been shipped from this section. John Turner erected the first mill that was put up in the township. It was an old fashioned horse mill; was located in the northern portion of the township, and was running as early as 1828.

SCHOOL.

Thomas Dawkins taught the first school about the year 1830; the school house, a small cabin, stood near a small stream, one of the forks of Silver creek. Dawkins was from Kentucky, and was much thought of as a teacher.

"The people all declared how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write and cipher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage;
And even the story ran, that he could gauge."

FARMS AND STOCK.

The yield of farm products is as follows: Corn, average per acre, 50 bushels, extra, 75 bushels; wheat, average 15 bushels, extra, 30 bushels; oats, average 50 bushels, extra, 60 bushels; hay, average 2 tons, extra, 3 tons; tobacco, average 1,000 pounds, extra, 1,500 pounds. The. highest prices paid for the last named product for three preceding years has been from $3 to $8 per 100 pounds.

About three fourths of the township is enclosed by fences and included in farms, one half of these enclosures being devoted to pasture. There are no regular vineyards, but grapes do well, and show that if properly cultivated, wine of excellent quality and delicious flavor could be made.

Of course in a region so well adapted to grazing and cheap feeding, live stock forms the principal and most valuable article of commerce. Horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep and hogs are reared, and sold to traders and shipped in large quantities. About 2,000 head have been shipped by rail during the past year, though there are many mules, horses and cattle raised in Moniteau and sent to more or less distant marts of which no record is kept. Of the enterprising cattle dealers are William James, James E. Rucker, Isham Powell, A. and G. Miller. They also deal to some extent in mules and horses, sheep and hogs. There are many substantial farmers and stock raisers in the township, among whom are O. P. Baker, Nicholas Dysart, Owen Bagby, Z. Hale, Joel H. Yates, W. L. Rennolds, John Harlow, G. Quinn, Dr. W. P. Dysart, W. Yager, William James, J. Collins, Moss Dawkins, H. Patrick, W. Smith, R. Hinds, Isham Powell, James E. Rucker, G Miller, and others.

HIGBEE.

The name of James Higbee, a worthy citizen of Moniteau, now deceased, gave the title to the station which has grown into a lively, progressive and thriving village. The village, recently incorporated into a town, is situated about three miles north of Howard county line, at the crossing of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas and the Chicago, Alton, St. Louis and Kansas City Railroads. These roads, it is thought, will soon build a union depot at the crossing, and the town is also spoken of as a good point for the location of workshops for the Chicago, Alton, St. Louis and Kansas City road, being near large coal fields and valuable timber lands. Higbee is the only voting precinct in the township. It possesses facilities for shipping second to no place in North Missouri except Moberly. It stands on an open ridge two miles wide, between the Moniteau and Bonne Femme creeks, and is but three years old, having a population of 400. The public school, which is well conducted, contains 119 pupils. The Grange had a membership of 60 in 1880. The government of the town is excellent, and the citizens are peaceable and contented.

Joseph Burton, one of the founders of the town, is in the 68th year of his age. He has a family of 15 children, 10 sons and 5 daughters, and 18 grand children.

Edward Owens, another of the founders, is dead. He left a family of 9 children, 44 grand children and 6 great grand children.

LODGES.

Higbee Lodge No. 210, A. O. U. W. - Was organized in December, 1880, with the following charter members: J. E. Rucker, J. W. Newby, J. S. Dysart, W. H. Elgin, S. L. Ashby, E. M. Foster, J. W. Fristo, F. M. Tymony, W. J. Pulliam, G. R. Reynolds, Dr. L. J. Miller.

BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

Two drug stores, three physicians, two shoemakers, one lawyer, one barber, three restaurants, three saloons, one livery and feed stable, three blacksmiths, one milliner, one meat market, one lumber yard, two general stores, one grocery, express and telegraph office, and the Higbee Weekly Entetprise, compose the business of this town.

The following stock were fed in 1880, in the Higbee voting precinct:-

 

Cattle.

Hogs.

Sheep.

Mules.

William Jones & Son

25

45

120

4

H. E. Patrick

35

-

60

-

T. W. Yager

20

10

74

-

Augusts Miller

.80

75

140

4

J. M. Collins

10

20

65

3

J. A. Blackford

34

25

-

8

James Ferguson

15

28

-

4

Patton & Powell

197

200

-

4

William H. Burton

15

10

20

2

O. P. Baker

27

20

20

3

James E. Rucker

60

150

10

10

 

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Total

526

583

509

42


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