History of West Point Township, Bates County, Missouri
From: History of Bates County, Missouri
By: W. O. Atkeson
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Cleveland 1918

West Point Township.

This township joins the state of Kansas on the west, and like West Boone, is one of the border tier of townships, It lies directly south of West Boone, north of Homer, and west of Elkhart townships. It is a part of the most elevated portion of Bates county; an undulating prairie, cut by many streams of fine water, among which the principal are the Miami, Mulberry, Plum and Willow branches.

West Point is among the oldest settled parts of the county. Israel Brown was one of the earliest settlers, and he sold his farm to Vincent Johnson, a Kentuckian, in 1851. Covington Cooper was an early day settler and died there in 1851. Coming in the late forties, were Benjamin Sharp, Henry Schuster, who later settled near Double Branches, in south Bates; John Green was an. old settler who died during the Civil War; then, entitled to a place in the list, there were William Scott, Edgar C. Kirkpatrick, William Lamar; Jackson Clark, Nathan and Thomas Sears, James McHenry, J. E Mooney, Samuel and James Forbes, Emberson Keaton, George Walley, William and Wiley Reed and William Adams

The village of West Point is now extinct, with scarcely a land mark to indicate where this western post of civilization once stood, while the traffic of the savage and the adventurous pioneer poured through its marts and made its streets hum with real trade and commerce. Ban in the fifties, it had a population of about 700 people, and it was the center of a large and growing trade. It was the last "outfitting" place after West Port Landing on the Missouri river and hither came that numerous line of adventurers and settlers going south and west into the Territory of Kansas. It was located on one. of. the highest points in the township, if not, in fact, the highest elevation in Bates county, and the vast view in every direction was unobstructed, limited only by the horizon. The point is about 1,000 feet above sea level, and overlooks a beautiful country in all directions.

It was situate less than a mile from the Kansas line in the extreme northwest corner of the townships. The land on which it was located was entered by Thomas B. Arnett and Sydney Adams and the conveyance of the first lot was signed by Arnett and his wife in 1850. Arnett was the first clerk of Cass county. Adams sold out to Arnett prior to the sale of lots. J. A. Fox was among the first purchasers. West Point was the commercial and trading 'capital of a wide territory. Harrisonville and Papinsville were its closest and only rivals. It was on the Texas cattle trail. The Kansas Indian tribes visited it and traded there. Among its early merchants and business men may be mentionel Curd & Barrett, druggists; a dry goods merchant; Judge Alexander Feely; William Scott; James McHenry; Chil. Lovelace; Thos. Sears and Dr. T. J. B. Rockwell, who were all in business some years before the war broke out. William and Joseph Potts, and Slater & Stribbens were blacksmiths. John Martin ran a saloon, then called a grocery. William R. Simpson and John Roundtree were also business men. Henry Schuster erected a mill to grind corn only and ran it by ox power, on an inclined plane, or a "tread mill." John Green also had a mill at an early day. Wyatt Sanford was postmaster in 1856, and afterward James McHenry and Irvine Walley. The first, hotel was kept by Mr. Hedges, who later sold to Judge Alexander Feely.

This hotel was a two story frame, and was the largest hotel in all the western country, having no less than forty rooms; which fact indicates somewhat the great travel and business of the town. Besides, There were threes mother hotels, and sixteen business

General Clark came to West Point in the fall of 1856, during the border troubles between the pro slavery and anti slavery men, with about five hundred men, and remained in town about ten days. During the war the town was burned and scarcely a stone was left to tell where it had been. After the war a small business house and a postoffice were established there and with a few scattered residences the village had a precarious existence until the Kansas City Southern railroad crept stealthily by under the hill to the east, and the new town of Amsterdam was established a couple of miles south. Then the historic town of West Point gave up the ghost, and only debris remain to speak its former glory. It is a pitiful story, but one not uncommon in this western country. But here was really the westernmost post of civilization for a number of years, and if the real history of men and women who resided there in the fifties, were known it would doubtless be one of tragedy and sorrow. And they had a big school and a weekly newspaper.

The village of Vinton was founded in 1867, in the eastern part of the township by a Mr. Swink, who built a corn grinding mill there which was run by steam. Swink sold it to William Morrison in 1872 and he took the mill to Sugar Creek, Kansas. A. J. Christler established a mercantile business there. Then followed Felix Cox, and later J. P. Willis. The first postmaster was A. J. Christler and the first blacksmith was Thomas Hackett. The village now is only a memory but it doubtless had its aspirations.

The town of Amsterdam was laid out by John L. Rankin, September 30, 1891, in the western central part of the township, on the Kansas City & Southern railroad, and is one of the leading business points on that. railroad in Bates county. It has a bank, a newspaper, and all the industries and commercial establishments to be found in towns of its class. It has been rebuilt since a disastrous fire about a year ago. It is a prosperous village.

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