BOGARD, BIG CREEK, HONEY CREEK AND WHITE OAK TOWNSHIPS
This township lies in the northwest corner of the county and was first organized as such at the August term, 1857 and described as follows:
"Ordered that all that portion of the county lying between Grand River and Big Creek, in Henry County, Missouri, be declared a separate township for all municipal purposes, and that the house of Asa Hendricks be designated as the voting precinct, and the same be known by the name of Bogard."
This boundary gave it a sort of triangle, and at the same time extending into a portion of what are now White Oak, Honey Creek and Big Creek Townships, and What was formerly a part of Big Creek Township, when the county was first divided into municipal divisions, May 5, 1835.
The township, with some few changes remained as above described, until the new township went into effect in 1873, when Bogard Township, as one of the nine which then composed the municipal divisions of the county was changed. Instead of being one of the nine, it was then made one of nineteen, and its boundaries were described as follows, being known as No. 5:
Composed of all of congressional township No. 43, of range 28, and sections Nos. 31 to 36, inclusive, in congressional township No. 44, of range 28; also embracing all of the territory north of the south half of sections Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, in township No.42, of range 28.
This gives it a trifle over seven and four-fifths miles in extent, north and south, and six miles east and west, with an area of 30,155 95-100 acres, the principal part of which is as handsome a body of prairie land as can be found in the county. Grand River touches its southern border, and Knob Creek and its main branch, Black Oaks and other streams emptying into Grand River, waters its southern part. Big Creek from the northeast waters the northern part and on these streams and branches will be found all of the timber supply. There has been very little coal yet found in the township, except on sections 22, 15, 10, and 13, and while there may be some small veins in other sections, so long as wood is cheap it will not pay to work them. The old Shawnee Trail passed through this township, and the tribe had a few wigwams on the banks of Big Creek, while serving them as a hunting ground.
Its First Settler
Asa Hendrick, of Brown County, Kentucky, was the first white man known to have built his cabin in the township. He settled on the east half of the northeast quarter of section 16, and also staked out his claim on the northwest quarter of section 15. He came in the spring of 1837, built his cabin and planted a patch of corn, kept his rifle loaded and laid in his supply of meat for winter use. His nearest neighbor was Judge Smith, living nearly four miles distant, nearly due west in Cass County. Judge Smith at that time was plain Mr. Smith, and a pioneer like himself. His neighbor on the north was Mr. Jonas Turner, who lived in Johnson County. This continued until fall, when John Scroggs and Joshua Page moved into the township. This latter was a minister of the Christian Church, and preached the first sermon, and afterward many others in the township, at an old log school house that was reared as an educational institute in the year 1838. Miss Mary Page, now Mrs. Taylor, was born in 1838, and the first white child born in the township.
The school house above referred to opened as a school in the winter of 1838-9, and Rev. Joshua Page was the first teacher. Settlers came in from nearly everywhere, and in this respect Bogard has the most cosmopolitan citizens of the world, who at last found homes in the county.
Not only are the states and Europe well represented, but a large immigration from Canada have found homes, and their cabins and dwellings now dot many beautiful prairie sites of this rich township. Agriculturally speaking, it is one of the best in the county.
Its market now is more at Holden than at Clinton, but while good roads last the county seat has the preference. There are three small bodies of water in the township, which have been designated lakes. Those in the northeast part of the township, on sections 1 and 2, being called Horseshoe and Goose Lakes respectively, and the one in the southwest corner, found on the northwest quarter of section 7, township 42, range 28, called Little Lake.
There never have been any towns or villages in the township unless Urich, first known in 1871, may be called such. It is located on the southeast quarter of section 22, and being centrally located, may be termed the capital of Bogard Township and its only village and post office.
Urich is located on the southeast corner of section 22 and was founded in April, 1871, by H. C. McDonnell, and H. C. McDonnell & Co. built the first house at the above date. In the spring of 1872 they opened a very general stock of merchandise, and being the first and only store in the township, they did a good business with the rich farming community by which they were surrounded. A few more settled that year, and in the following year they sold out to T. W. Wells.
Mr. Wells became the first postmaster, and has held it to 1883, being succeed by Browning Stewart the present year. Mr. H. D. Rogers started the first blacksmith shop; William Green, carpenter, and J. W. Jones, M. D., was the first physician. Twelve years later, January 1, 1883, the business directory of Urich reads as follows:
J. A. Wells & Son, general merchandise
Miller Bros., general merchandise
F. C. Tisdale & Co., general merchandise
Stewart & Co., drugs
J. J. Miller, hotel
O. E. Wallace, physician
John Powers, physician
John Hisey, blacksmith shop
Ed. Murphy, blacksmith shop
They have a very neat and comfortable school house, which has also been used for church purposes for several years, and they have now five school districts in the township, each with a good, comfortable frame house, and all the necessary furniture for primary teaching. Schools are kept up some six months in the year, and are well attended, the number of pupils being fully up to the average. The township improved quite rapidly during the years 1870 and 1871, and increased its population. Over 5,000 acres of fine prairie land was fenced and placed under cultivation in the former year alone.
The little towns of Wadesburg and Grant, just over the line in Cass County, were quite well patronized before Urich came into being on account of a steam saw and grist mill, besides a union church which was occupied alternately by the Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists and Christians, and was built by them, and these little towns have yet some trade from the west side of Bogard and White Oak. They were founded about 1867 or 1868. However, when Urich was founded it secured the trade and still holds more of it than either Holden or Clinton. The town will grow and thrive and in 1890 will be dignified by having its population given, and finding itself with a local habitation and a name in the records of the census of that year. A coal bank lies within a half mile of the town on section 22, and others will be found on sections 10, 13 and 15, and perhaps in other places. Urich is not destined to want for fuel.
The oldest church is the Urich Baptist Church, which was organized many years since and was known as Mount Pleasant Church, and was located in the southwest corner of the township on Knob Creek. It was removed to Urich in 1875, and they worshipped at the school house house above mentioned for two years. In 1877 they erected their present handsome little church at a cost of $1,200. The church has always been well attended and prosperous and has at this time a membership of sixty-five. Its pastors have been in the order named: Revs. Obediah Tompkins, A. M. Cockrell, Thomas Briggs, I. Tompkins and John L. Denton.
was organized February 3, 1877, at the Urich School House, called by the name of Miller School House. Its first members were : J. A. Wells, P. A. Wells, G. T. Watkins, A. M. Watkins, William Briscoe, Fannie Briscoe, J. J. Corwine, Amanda Corwine, Mary Corwine, Jennie Robinson and Nancy Lotspeich.
Those who have officiated as ministers are, first, the Rev. Ragland, Rev. Cunningham, Rev. Mathews, and the Rev. J. A. Elliott. The present membership is twenty-eight. In the year 1880 they erected a church edifice, frame, at a cost of $1,200 and is neatly and plainly furnished. Their membership is small, but they make up in zeal and their meetings are well attended. They hope to profit, both by deeper interest in church affairs, which seems to be growing, and by the new comers to their faith.
Brushy Church was organized by S. Brown, in February, 1877. The names of the original members are as follows: John Mickelberry, Sarilda Mickelberry, Joseph Gerard, Melvina Gerard, Henry Eller, Levina Eller, Jefferson Burke, G. I. Burke, Fredrick Walby, Fredrick Seigle, Charles Seigle, Augustus Walby, Martha Walby, Ann Roads, Hannah Roberts.
The names of pastors up to this date are, Rev. S. Brown, Rev. Joseph Timmons, Rev. J. R. Evans, Rev. W. P. Bowman.
The church was built in 1880, and cost $1,200. The present membership numbers seventy. A Sabbath School conducted by Daniel Garrison, superintendent, is connected thereto; number of pupils, sixty.
The first voting precinct in the township was at the house of Asa Hendricks, and remained there for several years. When its boundaries were defined under the new organization law, the voting place was removed from Hendricks' to school house No. 2. about one mile west. The township is republican by from thirty to forty majority, it giving the county ticket an average of thirty-eight republican majority. For justice of the peace it elected one democrat and one republican. Its local vote will be found in the chapter devoted to elections of 1880 and 1882, which is given at 125 republican to 87 democratic votes in the township.
This would show a gain of only seventy-eight, but in the census of 1870 was included all the territory between the forks of Grand River and Big Creek to the Cass and Johnson County line. Much of this territory was taken from her by the new organization law, which is now its prescribed bounds.
With her fertile prairies and enterprising and industrious population, Bogard will grow and prosper. It is an agricultural township, with so little waste land as to be almost imperceptible, and it requires but work and intelligent cultivation to make it the garden spot of Henry County.
Let the hands of industry, culture and progress guide her, and her future is not doubtful.
Big Creek Township
This is one of the north border townships, having Johnson County on the north, Shawnee Township on the east, Honey Creek on the south and Bogard Township on the west. It lies principally in township 43 of range 27, but has on its northern border a strip one mile wide added to it from township 44 of the same range, the sections being from 31 to 36 of the last township inclusive. This gives it a dimension of seven miles north and south and six east and west. It has forty-two sections of land, or an area of 26,880 acres.
Honey Creek and its branches waters the entire east side, while Big Creek does the same for the west. The branches from these two streams reach to the center of the township, so that with the numerous springs it is abundantly watered, and its timber supply sufficient for all practical purposes, its timber belt lying along its running streams.
It is among the largest townships in the county, and ranks with the best in the richness which characterizes the soil of its magnificent prairies and the depth of the alluvial deposits found in the bottom lands of its creeks and streams.
Big Creek was one of the four townships organized when Henry County put on the robes of official life and secured a local habitation and a name (Rives) among her sister counties in the state. It then was composed of about one-fourth of the county, its west line being Cass and Bates Counties, Johnson County on the north, range line 26 for its eastern border and township line 42 being its southern limit.
This gave it all of Bogard, Big Creek, half of Shawnee, Honey Creek and White Oak, and one-quarter of Fields Creek. This was in May, 1835. This line, however, was changed a few years afterward, in 1840, as follows:
"Ordered, that Big Creek Township be altered as follows: Beginning north at a point opposite Huntly's mill on Grand River; thence following the divide between the waters of Honey and Lake Creeks, to the county road leading from Clinton to Warrensburg; thence along said road to the county line of Johnson County, including Childers in said township, and that the above boundary along the road be the eastern boundary of said township."
Its first voting precinct was at the house of Thomas Kimsey, at the August election, 1836. In 1858 the Kimsey School House was designated as its voting place, and that was afterward changed to Kimseyville. November 11th, 1865, the county court ordered the voting precinct to be removed from Kimseyville to Huntingdale.
Littleberry Kimsey came in 1830, so did Abner Martin and his two sons, George W. and Baker Martin and George Bounds in 1831, William H. Anderson, Major Isaac Anderson and Esau Prewitt in 1832, and the latter settled on section 13, as also Daniel Chitwood, a son-in-law of Prewitt's. In November, 1833, Abner Martin died, the first death in the township, and his two sons and George Bounds were made administrators, and the appraisers of the estate were William H. Anderson, Esau Prewitt and Littleberry Kimsey. Then later came Henry Lotspeich, 1835, William Fox, William Bidwell, John Swift, Joe and Edward Anderson and others. While this was one of the first settled townships in the county, and as Davis Township and then Tebo, while under the jurisdiction of Lafayette, it did not settle fast from 1835.
The immigrants located nearer to the county seat, within striking distance of a place of trade. Still, take the township of Big Creek as it now stands, and it is certainly a splendid body of land, rich in all that pertains to cereal productions and the prolific yield of grapes. It is like Some others purely agricultural, having a couple of post offices and a store or two. The people, while patronizing those stores to a certain extent, do their largest trade at Holden. The county seat is of course attractive, and official business calls them there, but the best roads run to Holden, and in bad weather it leads in the trade. Norris Forks is at present little besides a post office, but it is centrally located, and is destined to become quite a village when the thousands of acres of land now idle and unproductive shall be populated with an enterprising and progressive farming community. This, and this only, is what is needed to make Big Creek one of the richest agricultural townships in the county. With a steady, but not rapid increase, Big Creek gained in population and wealth, and is fairly prosperous at the present time.
The Big Creek of today has been largely shorn of her proportions of earlier days. In 1873, the county was reorganized in townships, making nineteen, when before there only been nine. In this new arrangement Big Creek was composed as follows:
No. 4 - Big Creek
"Composed of congressional township No. 43, of range No.27, and sections Nos. 31 to 36 inclusive, in township No. 44, of range 27."
This is her present dimensions and is blest with a moral and enterprising population of about 1,200. In 1880 the population was 1,038.
In the cause of education she is fairly prosperous and has fine school buildings to accommodate the growing youths or children of school age. A more perfect account of the schools of Henry County will be found in the school history in another part of this work.
The settlers of this township, like all of the pioneers, had their ups and downs of life, of troubles, trials and vexatious, and from the wild region of half a century ago, now stands noble farm houses, and civilization has marked it for its own. This is Big Creek Township of today.
The village of Norris Forks lies in the southwest corner of section 10 and is the only village in the township, if it can be called such. It is surrounded by a rich agricultural country and in a well to do farming community. It took a start in the world in the spring of 1875, in the erection of a store house by Mr. B. T. Moore. The first residence was put up by Mr. Nathan Moore, son of the first named. Dr. L. A. Wisely built and started a drug store, and in 1879 J. A. Overbey put up another business house, making three in all. Its first physician was Dr. T. T. Thornton.
Norris Forks was a necessity, and it is now a great convenience to the neighboring country. While the past eight years of its existence has not given it the position of a city of even the fourth class, there is no reason to doubt that in time it will reach that position. When Big Creek Township shall have more of its rich soil under cultivation, and becomes more densely populated, the central position of Norris Forks will give it a healthy growth, and a prosperity befitting its' surroundings.
The Carrsville Union Church is located on section 13, township 43, of range 27, near Petersburg. and is owned by the Baptist, Reformers, Methodists and Presbyterian denominations, and its total membership as above is about one hundred.
The Rev. A. M. Cockrell, Baptist, was the first pastor, and others have held since. The church was erected by the above denominations jointly in 1880, and cost $700. It is a frame structure plainly built and neatly furnished. The church is gradually growing and its influence for good increasing.
I. O. O. F.
Laurel Lodge, No. 402, was organized February 22, 1881, the anniversary of the birth of the Father of his Country, so-called, at Norris, Big Creek Township. Its charter members were: L. A. Wisely, C. F. Altman, N. Kizer, R. E. Mansfield, J. W. Gilliam, J. B. Dunham and J. W. Victor.
Officers - C. F. Altman, N. G.; J. B Dunham, V. G.; R. E. Mansfield, Sec.; L. A. Wisely, Per. Sec.; J. W. Victor, Treas.
The order has found a pleasant field for its labor, and it is slowly but steadily gaining in growth and influence, and is likely to continue on the road of successful lodges. The officers elected and installed for the year 1883 are as follows: M. R. Gillette, N. G.; W. A. Stansberry, V. G.; C. M. Morgan, Secretary; R. E. Mansfield, Per. Secretary; Milo Spaulding, Treasurer.
A. F. & A. M.
Agricola Lodge No. 343, of A. F. & A. M., is one of the most prosperous lodges in the county. It is located at Petersburg, Big Creek Township and its charter was granted October 12, 1870. Its charter members were, J. H. Webster, W. M.; L. P. Beatty, S. W.; M. R. Gillette, J. W.; D. C. Mclntire, Treasurer; E. S. Campbell, Secretary; J. B. Howerton, S. D.; A. J. Dunham, J. D.; A. M. Butcher, Tyler.; and G. W. Beck, J. H. McCann, George W. McKee, and several others as members. They have a neat hall, Some 36x40 feet in size, frame, which was put up at a cost of $700. It is all paid for and the hall is handsomely furnished. It has a membership of fifty-eight, with money in the treasury and loaned out. It promptly acts out the tenets of its faith, contributes to deeds of charity and takes care of the welfare of its members.
Its present officers are: S. M. Lane, W. M..; L. P. Beatty, S. W..; J.. W. Lane, J. W.; N. D. Lane, Treasurer.; P. D. Lane, Secretary; J. B. Howerton, S. D..; S. M. Thompson, J. D.; J. C. Gilliam, S. S.; P. H. Howerton, J. S.; T. W. Dean, chaplain, W. A. McMahan, Tyler.
Honey Creek Township
Honey Creek when laid out under the new township organization law should have made Grand River its southern boundary, but the county court thought otherwise, and the result, although going by section and quarter section lines, crosses Grand River no less than eight times. The township contains a little less than twenty-eight and a half sections of land. In area it has 18,116 3/4 acres.
It is nearly all prairie; the timber there is lying on the north side of Grand River and on Honey Creek, which divides the township nearly in the center from about one and one-fourth mile of its northern border, running almost due south, emptying in Grand River.
Honey Creek waters its northeastern section, and Big Creek, coming down from the northwest, unites with Honey Creek, when it forks near the north line of the township.
This is the most thinly populated township in the county, having in 1880 but 480, and probably does not, January, 1883, exceed 500. The township, though the land is fertile, has exhibited less enterprise than any other township in the county, even according to its population.. Certainly, its thrift has not been proverbial. There is considerable of the land in the township owned by non-residents, which will account in a measure for its slow progress.
While there may be coal in the township, none has yet been developed. Its agricultural resources are equal to any, and needs but enterprising and active settlers to make it one of the most productive townships in the county.
In 1878, it had three school districts, and it now has four, and they are all well attended. The township. had but a few settlers up to 1840, and since then it has improved rather slowly. John Dixon was one of the first settlers in the township, and probably the second water mill in the county was put up by him. This mill was in operation in the fall and winter of 1838-9. It was largely patronized, persons coming from twelve to fifteen miles as customers. Its present boundary is given:
No. 7 - Honey Creek
"Commencing at the southeast corner of section number 36, in congressional township number 42, of range 27, and running from thence north to the northeast corner of fractional section number 1, in said township and range.; from thence west to the northwest corner of fractional section number 6, in said township and range; from thence south to the northwest corner of section number 30.; from thence east to the northeast corner of said section.; thence south to the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of section number 29.; thence east to the northeast corner of the southwest quarter of section number 29; thence south to the southwest corner of the southeast quarter of section number 29; thence east to the southeast corner of the southwest quarter of section number 28.; thence south to the center of section number 33; thence east to the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section number 34; thence south to the southeast corner of the southeast quarter of section number 34.; thence east to the place of beginning."
Here is really a good township of land, well watered, good and healthy climate, and why is it that it ranks as one of the least energetic townships in the county, with little encouragement in the future? There is something wrong somewhere, and the few citizens that now live within its border should find out what that wrong is and apply a remedy at once. Without one single exception it ranks in population, wealth, energy and material progress, at the very bottom of the ladder. With the exception of having a well watered stock and grain township and a rich soil, Honey Creek has little to be proud of.
White Oak Township
This township lies on the western border of the county, its western border being Bates County. It is the smallest township in the county, embracing but twenty-seven Sections of land or an area of 17,280 acres. Its boundary is as follows:
"Composed of congressional township No. 42, range No. 28, except so much territory as lies north of the north line of the north half of sections No. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, in said township and range. - May 1873."
Grand River passes through the northeastern portion of the township, and White Oak Creek, which rises just south of the southwest corner of the township, runs from southwest to northeast and empties in Grand River.
Grand River also passes west, through the northern tier of sections, and this, with White Oak Creek and its branches, waters the township. The land is good, three-fourths being prairie with an abundance of timber along Grand River and the other streams. In quality of soil and richness of production it is up to the average in the county. It has no town or village within its limits, being, as far as settled, purely agricultural. It has one post office, Lucas, located in the extreme southwest corner of section twenty-one. It was not settled until 1838, and patronized a town called Grantville, in Cass County, by those who lived on its western side. This town lays northwest of the township and but a little way from the line. Coal has been found in sections 35 and 36, in the southeast corner of the township, but there is doubtless a good deal of coal in this township. There is not, however, any development of the "black diamond" at present and probably will not be for years to come. The township, while being the smallest in size in the county, ranks second from the bottom according to population, leading Honey Creek Township eighty-five in the census of 1880, which gave White Oak a population of 565, and may possibly have 600 at this writing, January 1883. It was declared a voting precinct May 8, 1868, .and it might be said that this was the first recognition of the township of White Oak. Its boundary now is as given on the first page of its history.
Quite an incident occurred on August, 21, 1873, when a violent wind storm lifted the house of Martin W. Cox completely from its foundation, carried it some sixteen feet and set it down again right side up. Not a dish was broken or one of the family hurt. The house was allowed to remain right where the storm left it. The school districts in this township number three. No. 1 being located on section 21, near its north line; No. 2 on section 26, on the southeast quarter; and No. 3 on section 29, on the north side of the northwest quarter. They are all frame buildings, comfortably finished and furnished.
The township has suffered a good deal from its non-resident land owners. At one time nearly half of the township was in their possession. To a large extent the land was held and is now held at too high a figure to bring immigration. It has no towns of its own and its distance to market, combined with high prices of its land has retarded its growth to a very great extent . When its land owners show a disposition to take a fair price for their holdings, White Oak will take a start and progress will mark her pathway.