The Wheel

In the absence of societies of farmers, such as Patrons of Husbandry, agricultural societies, etc., the agriculturists of the county have introduced the "Wheel," a secret society, formed, so far as can be learned, for the benefit of its members in the matter of purchasing their mercantile supplies. To state their purpose in fewest words, it would seem to be their object to rid themselves of buying and selling through "middle men," and by means of their authorized agents to deal directly with the wholesalers and manufacturers. They will have, for instance, a State purchaser, who does the purchasing for all Wheel stores in Missouri, and by the details of the society's workings it is evident they are doing much business. Farmers who are Wheelers are given a card, and the cost mark of goods, and allowed to purchase at a price of ten per cent added to cost.

At this time it is difficult to guess how permanent the institution may become in the county, but this is demonstrated, that for the few weeks of its existence it has made rapid advances and many accessions to its members.


The first elections in Morgan County were held at Willis Brown's in Moreau Township; at Joshua McPherson's in (Willow) Mill Creek; at Elias Bocker's, Osage; W. C. Scott's, Buffalo; at Mansfield Hatfield's, Richland; at Littleton Johnson's, Haw Creek.

The judges of elections in the different townships were as follows: Phillip Berger, James Enlow, Buford Allee, for Mill Creek; Thomas Kenedy, Sr., William Donnegan, William Kelsay, for Moreau; William Poor, William Rhea, Warner Houser, for Osage; John R. Huff, William C. Scott, William Janes, for Buffalo; Hugh Morrison, Samuel Kelsay, Woodson Scoggins, for Haw Creek; Mansfield Hatfield, Joseph B. Steele, James McCutchan, for Richland.

Buford Allee was commissioned the first justice of the peace in the county. Other justices appointed at organization were William Kirkpatrick and Benjamin Gist. Robert Wilson was appointed the first county treasurer in August, 1833.

County Officials

The following record includes the list of Morgan County's officials from the earliest date, with the time of election to office:

Circuit Judges

David Todd, 1833; Charles H. Allen, 1836; William Scott, 1836; James W. Morrow, 1841; George W. Miller, 1851; Theron M. Rice, 1869; George W. Miller, 1875; Edward L. Edwards, 1879.


William Monroe, 1833; John B. Fisher, 1834; Lot Howard, 1836; Hugh Miller, 1838; William Cole, 1840; John Kelsay, 1842; John C. McCoy, 1844; William Baughman, 1846; William Crook, 1848; William Baughman, 1850; S. S. Abney, 1852; William Bradford, 1854; Peter B. Burns, 1856; S. S. Abney, 1858; William Baughman, 1860; B. F. Willson. 1864; Elisha Taylor, 1866; Moses S. Courtright, 1868; John Williams, 1870; William Baughman, 1872; A. B. Brock, 1874; Anderson W. Anthony, 1876; David C. Dale, 1878; Daniel E. Wray, 1880; Orsino A. Williams, 1882; A. B. Brock, 1884; Conway Jones, 1886; William L. Abney, 1888.

County Court Judges

Zacheus German, 1833; Seth Howard, 1833; John B. Fisher, 1833; Phillip Barger, 1834; J. M. Bernard, 1834; William S. Barnett, 1834; John B. Fisher, 1836; Zacheus German, 1836; John Chism, 1838; Phillip Barger, 1838; Francis L. Ross, 1840; Charles M. Brooking, 1842; John Porter, 1842; Buford Allee, 1842; Ezekiel J. Salmon, 1845; John M. Reed, 1845; William K. Brown, 1846; B. F. Willson, 1848; Coleman L. Bridges, 1849; Martin H. Parks, 1850; William K. Brown, 1853; John Porter, 1855; John Sims, 1855; James W. McCoy, 1856; Hugh Kelsey, 1856; W. H. Brown, 1858; C. O. Rice, 1860; Hiram Madole, 1860; B. F. Willson, 1862; John Sims, 1862; Jacob Cline, 1862; Hugh Kelsay, 1862; Perry Ross, 1864; Samuel M. Willson, 1865; I. Luckenbill, 1865; W. V. Banks, 1866; Peter Haase, 1866; John H. Papen, 1868; George H. Stover, 1870; John Bohling, 1870; E. D. Bailey, 1870; Samuel H. Legg, 1872; Joseph N. Martin, 1873; Thomas B. Clark, 1874; J. M. Salmon, 1876; H. P. Bond, 1876; D. M. Inglish, 1876; B. G. Bowling, 1878; Henry Gehrs, 1880; John H. Webster, 1880; John H. Alfter, 1882; E. F. Gunn, 1882; John W. Comp, 1882; I. H. Earnest, 1884; Henry Wagenknecht, 1886; T. L. Callison, 1886; George W. Sanford, 1888.

Probate Judges

James P. Ross, 1847; Ezekiel J. Salmon, 1849; John A. S. Tutt, 1853; William C. Sevier, 1858; Andrew Masters, 1862; William G. Reed, 1865; John O. McCoy, 1867; James V. Allee, 1872; John C. Todd, 1875; James H. Thruston, 1881.

Circuit and County Clerks

Thomas G. Davis, 1833; Thomas Monroe, 1842; Calvin H. Huff, 1854; W. W. Salmon (appointed), 1861; Peter R. Burns (appointed), 1862; W. A. Mills, 1866; W. H. H. McCarty, 1870; John Briscoe, 1874; Caleb Gumm, 1882; Joel D. Hubbard, 1886.

The circuit clerk's office was severed from the county clerk's office in 1874. James McNair was elected in 1874, and is still in office.

County Treasurers

Robert Wilson, 1833; Levi Blackwell, 1836; Hugh Galbraith, 1838; William Boggs, 1843; L. E. Williamson, 1845; John J. McClellan, 1856; L. E. Williamson, 1858; John J. McClellan, 1858; William P. Cooksey, 1860; William C. Reed, 1863; B. R. Williams, 1866; James A. Spurlock, 1870; Peter G. Woods, 1872; J. S. Thruston, 1882; Peter G. Woods, 1886.

Sheriffs and Collectors

Joseph M. Bernard (refused to act), 1833; William B. Anthony, 1833; Alfred McCulchan, 1834; Robert Wilson, 1836; Archibald Woods, 1837; Waid Howard, 1889; Green L. Donehit, 1840; William J. Tutt, 1843; William J. Davis, 1849; Peter R. Burns, 1852; William H. Goddard, 1856; James C. Puckett, 1860; W. A. Mills, 1862; B. S. Walker, 1862; George W. Painter, 1866; B. F. Lutman, 1868; John Briscoe, 1870; Anton E. Ehlers, 1875; William H. Goddard, 1875; Charles B. Howard, 1880; William H. Kavanaugh, 1884; Robert E. Dornan, 1888.

(Ephraim Wilson waited upon the first court that met in the year 1833, but his appointment as sheriff, if such it was, went no farther.)

County Attorneys

James P. Ross, 1838; John A. S. Tutt, 1849; John H. Stover, 1867; Anderson W. Anthony, 1870; Daniel E. Wray, 1874; R. F. Walker, 1876; Asa L. Ross, 1882.


Joseph McPherson, 1833; Joseph B. Steele, 1834; James M. Scoggins, 1835; John Taylor, 1836; George Campbell, 1837; John D. Campbell, 1841; George Campbell, 1842; George W. Martin, 1844; John D. Campbell, 1844; George Campbell, 1847; Peter R. Burns, 1851; William Pennebaker, 1853; James C. Puckett, 1857; John Porter, James C. Puckett, W. W. Crook, Jackson Monhollon, 1858; John Grills, John Sims, Peter Taylor, James Dornan, 1859; James Dornan, 1860; W. A. Mills, 1863; James S. Campbell, 1864; W. H. W. Argenbright, 1866; Anton E. Ehlers, 1868; J. S. Campbell, 1873; Charles B. Howard, 1876; John S. Madole, 1878; John J. Carpenter, 1880; James F. Yancy, 1882; James A. Hughes, 1884; Green B. Snorgrass, 1888.


Howard Chism, 1833; Hugh Brown, 1833; William Boggs, 1839; D. W. German, 1853; James P. Hook, 1866; John H. Burnam, 1868; Thomas R. Humes, 1872; George P. Clark, 1884; David W. Eaton, 1888.


W. J. Tutt, 1856; John Henderson, 1860; Reuben Cline, 1863; Samuel Tillett, 1866; Daniel Burns, 1868; O. A. Williams, 1876; W. L. Hatler, 1884; G. M. Gunn, 1886; T. R. Bridges, 1888.

Public Administrators

John Sims, 1880; William Wendleton, 1884; Turner D. O'Bryan, 1888.

School Commissioners

William C. Sevier, 1858; Samuel R. Woods, 1860; Thomas Turnbull, 1864; Samuel R. Lutman, 1870; T. B. Reese, 1872; William D. Morris, 1874; H. A. Blake, 1876; J. F. Morris, 1878; A. L. Ross, 1883; J. A. Blevins, 1885; Samuel Daniels, 1886; George W. Hannum, 1887.


The electoral vote of Morgan County for the year 1876 was: Democratic, 1,038 votes; Republican, 748. 1880: Democratic, 950; Republican, 798; Greenback, 57. 1884: Democratic, 1,104; Republican, 1,014; Greenback, 2. 1888: Democratic, 1,362; Republican, 1,260; Prohibition, 8; Labor Union, 2.

Election 1888

The following table is the vote on presidential electors:

County Officers

The present county officials are Hon. E. L. Edwards, circuit judge; Henry Wagenknecht, county judge. Associates: T. L. Callison, First District, and G. W. Sanford, Second District. Probate judge, J. S. Thruston; county clerk, Joel D. Hubbard; circuit clerk, James McNair; sheriff and collector, R. E. Dornan; school commissioner, G. W. Hannum; assessor, G. B. Snorgrass; county surveyor, D. W. Eaton; public administrator, T. D. O'Bryan.


Missouri Pacific Railway

The first railroad built within the lines of Morgan was the main line of the Missouri Pacific Railway. It enters the county at the extreme northeast corner of Mill Creek Township, and then bearing north passes out of the county, and again enters it and crosses the northwest corner of Richland Township. It thus cuts off a small angle at the extreme northeast and the northwest corners of the county. It was built to Syracuse in 1857—58. At this point it terminated for nearly two years. This gave a tremenduous impetus to the place, which subsided when the line was finished on west. The distance of the line in Morgan County is 7.9 miles.

The station of Syracuse is the only one it has in the county.

Boonville & Versailles Railroad

In the ante-bellum days, with the first impetus to railroad building in this part of the country, a road was chartered under the name of the Osage Valley & Southern Kansas Railroad, commencing at Boonville, and running through Southwest Missouri into Kansas being the route intended. The survey and location between Boonville and Versailles were made. It was graded and ties hauled along the line in 1861. Then the war stopped everything, and it was left until 1872, when it was again worked upon. The high waters washed away everything movable, and again the work lay idle until 1879, when it was taken up and completed. The county had already donated $100,000, and for years it looked as if it was that much money thrown away.

The project was revived as the Boonville, St. Louis & Southern Railway, again commencing at Boonville, and coming to Versailles. It is now the Boonville & Versailles Branch road. The new projectors asked the county to increase their first donation. After much trouble it was added to $30,000, thus making the county railroad indebtedness, with the interest, $135,000. The county was given stock equal to its subscription. It is simply a branch road of the Missouri Pacific from Tipton to Versailles. The road was completed from Tipton to Versailles June 2, 1881, the day of the arrival of the first regular train. The people had made preparations, and a grand celebration and banquet were held for the great crowd of people in attendance.

Regular trips are made each way every day, except Sunday, a mixed train leaving Tipton about noon, and coming to Versailles and returning. Even in its uncompleted condition it is a paying franchise. It has hauled enough ties and mules out of Versailles to have made it a lucrative road if it had had no other traffic.

St. Louis, Kansas City & Colorado Railroad

The east and west line of the St. Louis, Kansas City & Colorado Railroad, from St. Louis to Kansas City and Fort Scott, is located through the county, and it is built and operated a distance of sixty-five miles out from St. Louis. The completion through the county is of vast importance to the people, and the universal hope is that this will soon be accomplished.

Iona Lodge No. 381, A. F. & A. M.

Iona Lodge No. 381, A. F. & A. M., is the Masonic Hall and school-house, two miles north of Barnett. The Masonic society joined with the school district and put up the building, adding the second story, which is their hall. The society was chartered in 1869, the charter members being G. W. Colvin, A. M. H. Bills, William Simpson, R. M. Hargett, H. B. Graft, J. B. Coleman, Edward Saunders and Ferdinand Rauschelbach. The first officers were William Simpson, W. M.; Joseph Colton, S. D.; G. W. Colvin, J. D.; E. B. Brock, secretary; Edward Saunders, tyler. The present officers are A. P. France, W. M.; S. R. Inglish, S. W.; Joseph Stiffler, J. W.; T. G. Price, secretary; E. Saunders, tyler.

County Finances

Except a railroad indebtedness of $135,000 of six per cent railroad bonds, Morgan County is free of debt. The rate of taxes and the low assessments of all property in the county are powerful facts to attract that class of immigrants who are wanted to make this their permanent home. On $100 of assessment the taxes are: State tax, forty cents; county tax, fifty cents; railroad tax, forty cents, or a total, outside of school tax, of $1.30. There are few counties in the United States that can make a more favorable showing than this. The municipality of Morgan has reached that propitious condition of an efficient and cheap government. To be free from debt as a corporate body and as a people is the proud boast and glory of Morgan County. The questions of high and low taxes are now closely looked into by the modern home seekers. There was a time when the new arrival in a county was shown the splendid public building and improvements, and these were supposed to be the strong attraction. It is no longer so; the intelligent investigator looks first to the rate of taxes. These kind of men will be favorably impressed with the financial condition of Morgan County.


In 1872 a terrible and fatal wind storm swept through the county from the northwest to the southeast. It entered the county at or near Syracuse and passed southeast near Barnett. At this point the tracks of this and the storm of 1880 crossed. In the storm of 1872 Mr. Blosser and child were killed outright and his wife was seriously wounded, and all the other members of the family were severely hurt; Avery Fisher and family were all injured, and another Mrs. Blosser badly wounded. Mr. Brander and family were also wounded. The houses of these families were wrecked. and considerable property destroyed.

April 18, 1880, what is supposed to have been the great Marshfield cyclone struck this county with terrible effect. About half-past 5 o'clock Sunday afternoon was the hour of its appearance in the southwest part of the county. It could be tracked first about two miles south of the Osage River. If it was the Marshfield storm, it had jumped a long distance to that point, and passing up a ravine rose again and crossed the river, and struck the earth near Mill Creek, in this county, nearly at the range line between 18 and 19, and going in a northeast direction to Amos Richards, killed one child outright and badly wounded another; thence to Leon Meyers, wounded Mrs. Meyers and destroyed the house; then to John Rasterfor's. The house was carried away to the floor, and the people blown two hundred yards, but no one badly hurt. At Hugh Combs' the mother and children crawled beneath the house floor, and here, too, the house was torn to fragments and carried away except the floor; then the storm struck a house occupied by a man named Polley. Two girls were near the house which was destroyed; Michael H. Stover's house was also destroyed and the logs piled about the family, who huddled in the middle of the room. and fastened them in, but hurt no one. Mr. Stover described the logs as gently floating in the air about him, and says he sat in his chair and pushed many of them into positions when they settled. Mr. Madole‘s large family of small children were at home alone. In their fright they ran under the bed. The house and contents were destroyed, everything except the bed and children, none of whom were injured. Reuben Routen was killed. John Hunter's house was destroyed, and his two sons, Shores P. and Daniel, killed -- one outright, and the other lingered in great agony until the following Friday. Barnett lay exactly in the destroyer's path, and was totally destroyed, the merchant A. Y. Campbell, Harry McKinley, northeast of Barnett. and Mrs. C. Green and two children being killed, and nearly every other person in the place wounded. At what was known as the coal mine Hiram Peterhoff had his leg broken. A blacksmith named McLean was wounded, torn and bruised almost out of human shape, but he recovered. One man had reached the gatepost within a few feet of his door, and was found dead, clinging to the post. The force had whipped him about and broken nearly all hie bones. Some ten or twelve of the wounded had been carried to Dr. Hargett's, whose house was just outside of the storm line, where they were attended. and cared for. The charity of the good people of the county was appealed to in this calamity, and not in vain.

History of Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Benton, Miller, Maries and Osage Counties, Missouri, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.