Union is the middle township on the eastern border of Randolph, joining Monroe county on its eastern boundary.
It has an area of about 29 square miles, and a population of 1,350. Flat creek, Coy branch, Elk Fork, Sugar creek,
Mud creek, and Coon creek, branches of Salt river, penetrate its territory in every direction and fertilize its
fields and farms. There is no district in the county, of the same dimensions, that is better watered.
The first settlers of the township were George Burckhartt (father of Judge G. H. Burckhartt), Clemen Jeeter, Dr.
Burton, Geo. Chapman, Nade Chapman and Wm. Haly, These men have left the impress of their toil and industry on
the country they settled and improved.
The lands of this township are unusually fertile and will compare favorably with the best lands in any part of
the State. The territory is about equally divided into prairie and timber lands. Each division is equally well
adapted to cultivation and pasturage. The crops of every kind are heavy and the live stock raised is of superior
Coal is found in large beds and of very excellent quality in various parts of the district. Much of it finds its
way to the city of Moberly, and with improved transportation to the railroads, would become an important factor
in the aggregate of the public income. Limestone, brick and potter's clay are also found, but as yet none of these
have been put to any practical use.
There are three mills in Union township, owned respectively by W. D. Wilson, ____ Elsea, and Frank Hall. These
are the principal manufactories of that section, and each is doing a good business.
There are five churches within its borders, viz.: two belonging to the Southern Methodists, two to the Christian
denomination and one Baptist. It has four school houses, provided with modern improvements and conveniences, in
which schools are taught from five to six months in the year. The average of wages paid to teachers is $40 per
The yield of crops is as follows: Corn per acre, average, 40 bushels, extra, 70 bushels; wheat, average, 15 bushels,
extra, 25 bushels; oats, 25 to 35 bushels per acre; hay, average, one ton, extra, two tons; tobacco, average, 1,000
pounds, extra, 1,500 pounds. The average price of the latter for several years has been about $3. But little attention
is given in Union township to the sowing of wheat and oats. The arasses are cultivated with great care, the farmers
preferring to convert their lands into pasturage for the accommodation of stock, and only planting so much grain
as is absolutely needed for home consumption. Almost the entire township is under fence, and all the territory
is made to contribute to the general welfare.
There are some large farmers in the township, prominent among whom we may mention Capt. James Wight, who owns and
cultivates a farm of 720 acres in a very high state of improvement, having a palatial residence, and stocked with
the best animals of different kinds that he has been able to procure. Capt. Wight's farm is on Elk fork, and he
has resided in the village of Milton for 30 years. He has twice represented Randolph county in the State Legislature,
and is the father of the present county clerk, Mr. James M. Wight.
Among her prominent traders and farmers are G. W. Burton, general stock dealer; Andrew Carpenter, Q. T. Hall, Capt.
James Wight and I. H. Newton, dealers in sheep, mules and horses, and L. L. Newton, dealer in horses and hogs,
having shipped more of the latter in the winter of 1878, than any other man in the township. D. T. C. Mitchell
and Benj. Oldham have been extensively engaged in the pile and tie business, employing from ten to twelve men and
six to eight teams each, bringing a large amount of money into the township. W. G. Lensley is engaged in coal mining
on a large scale and is also occupied in bridge building.
Rev. J. A. Holloway, aged 94, is the oldest man in the township; the oldest lady is Mrs. Wesley Boatman, and the
oldest settler now living is David Myers. Mr. George Burckhartt, deceased, was the first settler.
the only village in the township, is about 40 years old. Its trade has been of a purely local character, there
being no facilities for shipping. It is, however, eligibly and pleasantly situated on Elk Fork, and has an elegant
grist and saw mill, one wagon and carriage factory and repair shop, one blacksmith shop, and some other unimportant
shops. Until about 1878, four ministers made their homes in Milton, to wit: Eld. J. A. Holloway, of the Christian
church, Rev. Peter Parker and Rev. W. D. Hutton, of the M. E. Church South, and Rev. W. L. T. Evans of the Missionary
Baptist Church, The latter, a most estimable and much beloved man, died about 1879. Dr. R. R. Hall, the only physician,
has resided in Milton for about 40 years.