Boone County Missouri - Town of Ashland


The following is quoted directly from The History of Boone County Missouri by W.F. Switzler originally published in 1882, page 633-638.


Town of Ashland

This beautiful little inland city is located in one of the finest agricultural sections of Boone county, or even the State of Missouri, for that matter. Its immediate situation is on the line between sections 10 and 15, of township 46, range 12, the forest lying on the north, west and south, the Two-Mile Prairie stretching up to the town limits on the east. The country round is beautifully undulating, and no stranger can visit Ashland without being impressed with the fact that it would be a good place to live. The first house in the town was built by Peter Nichols, on the lot now occupied by the residence of Mr. Christian. D. M. and A. M. Burnam erected the first store-house in January, 1853, on what is now known as "Farmers' Corner." The Burnams occupied the building on its completion, placing therein a general merchandise stock. In the fall of the same year a business house was built by P. E. and Wm. A. Nichols on the site where Keen's restaurant now stands. Other houses were soon added, and the place began to take on the appearance of a village. For some years it continued to grow and flourish, the fine farming country adjacent demanding just such a market as Ashland afforded. It was not till May, 1877, however, that the town was incorporated as a city of the fourth class. The first board of trustees were Eli Penter, J. W. Grannis, W. T. Nichols, John G. Wiseman, A. G. Payne -- Wiseman being the chairman. R. C. Bowman had the honor of being the first city marshal. The first sidewalk in the town was built in 1880. A large mill was erected in 1877, with "five run of stone" and a grinding capacity of one hundred barrels per day, the flour being made by patent process. The mills are owned by the Ashland Mill Company, and cost over $20,000. The Farmers' Bank was incorportated and commenced business August 3d, 1881. The directors were Abner Martin, J. W. Johnston, R. E. Sappington, H. T. Wright, Peter Ellis, Sr., O. B. Thomas and Eli Penter, the latter being elected president, and Edward L. Dimmitt chosen cashier. The city board at this time presents the following names: Eli Penter, chairman; T. W. Peck, treasurer; W. R. Hopper, marshal; D. L. McBride, B. P. Matthews, T. G. Tuttle, J. T. Rothwell, trustees, and W. J. Warren, city assessor.

At the town election in April, 1882, the citizens voted an appropriation of $3,000 for improving the streets.

The school building, a two-story frame edifice, was erected in 1859 by a company incorported as the Ashland High School Association. It was purchased by the district in 1871, and devoted to public school purposes. They employ two teachers, the principle at this writing being Prof. Buckmaster. The town also has a colored school, with an attendance of about fifty pupils. The town now has a population of about five hundred, as it has grown since the census was taken in 1880.

Ashland has two hotels, a livery, feed and sale stable, and several restaurants, thus securing entertainment and comfort for man and beast. The situation of the town generally, and on the gravel road from Columbia to Claysville specially, give it a commercial prestige enjoyed by few inland towns of its size. Her shops and stores are therefore thrifty, and her citizens of a hardy class, most of her business men having come from the agricultural element originally, and possessed of that sturdiness that usually characterizes such a class. Her professional men, numbering two lawyers and several physicians, are as enterprising and successful as her merchants. The various churches and lodges, of which Ashland has several, are historically outlined in the sketches given hereafter. One of the chief enterprises of this enterprising town is the well-known and far-famed

Ashland Stock Sales,

A term used to signify a periodical convocation of live stock dealers at Ashland, to buy and sell and "trade" horses, mules, cattle, etc. These stock sales had their origin and conception in the fertile brains of W. H. Bass and J. W. Johnston, who may properly be said to father the enterprise. In the fall of 1881, a company, called the "Boone County Stock Sales Company," was formed, with W. H. Bass a superintendent and J. W. Johnston, secretary. The other members of the board of directors were O. B. Thomas, George M. Nichols, George Arnold, Peter Ellis, W. H. Thompson, Alex. Bradford, W. S. Burnett, Thomas L. Bass, and W. S. Maupin, with R. S. Martin as treasurer. The first notices of sales were issued for November 5, 1881, and have taken place regularly once a month since that time. The sale lots are located just north of the buildings on the north side of the principal street, and are so systematically arranged as to be a model of convenience in handling stock before and after selling. Mr. W. H. Bass, one of the originators of this scheme, was so kind as to take the historian all through these yards and explain their utility and convenience. Buyers and sellers come from other counties in Central Missouri to attend these sales, and much valuable property of the kind changes hands at every sale. The selling is done principally by auction or outcry, Col. Worley, of Columbia, being the official auctioneer.

Ashland Bugle.

The only paper published in the place is a Democratic weekly, called the Ashland Bugle, edited by James L. Wilcox, who has issued it as a weekly since April 13, 1877. It was originally a monthly, founded by Eli Penter and J. W. Johnston, who began its publication chiefly as an advertising medium, in 1875. [See biography of J. L. Wilcox.]

Ashland Riot.

One of the historic reminiscences of the usually peaceable town of Ashland is what is known as the "Ashland riot," which occurred there on election day, November the 4th, 1878. About four o'clock P.M., the streets were filled with negroes, many of whom were noisy and turbulent, from having imbibed too freely of bad liquor that always flows too freely on election days. The deputy marshal ordered them to keep quiet, when one of the "nigs" replied with a most insulting epithet, which naturally raised the anger of the officer, who, of course, seemed inclined to resent. Both negroes and whites became involved in the quarrel from this, and both sides armed themselves (most of them probably already supplied), in anticipation of trouble. The conflict soon became general, and a negro named Harris is said to have fired the first shot, though the confusion was so great and the excitement so intense that it is not certain as to who burnt the first powder. But it is certainly known that, for a short space of time, the air was filled with flying rocks and whistling bullets; and, strange as it may seem, no one killed or indeed very seriously hurt, though several casualties of a minor sort occurred. The Ashland Bugle, in its next issue, makes mention of the following: Jim Harris (colored) was shot in hip, and also received a scalp wound. Alex. Bass (colored), wounded in breast by pistol shot. Lowson Grey (colored, and reported to be one of the leaders of the riot), shot through the hand and in the back. A stray shot grazed the cheek of a daughter of Dr. R. S. Martin, who was standing in her father's yard, listening to the band when the riot began.

Secret Orders -- Masonic Lodge.

Ashland lodge, No. 156, A. F. and A. M., was instituted May 1st, 1858, the dispensation bearing date of May 28th, 1859. F. G. Sitton was the first master, and the other charter members were P. J. Ruffner, E. M. Bass, J. S. Strode, Wm. H. Harris, John Grant, J. S. Winterbower, D. L. Sitton, R. S. Martin, H. M. Strode, Theo. Brooks and J. B. Patten. The present officers are H. T. Wright, W. M.; A. P. Nichols, S. W.; John W. Sterne, J. W.; E. Penter, treasurer; W. P. Boqua, secretary; H. S. Baxter, S. D.; William Crane, J.D. The present membership numbers ninety-three and is increased from time to time by acquistions of new members, the lodge being in a growing condition. They have a neat frame hall that cost $800, and the affairs of the order are in good shape.

Ancient Order United Workmen.

The Ashland Lodge of A.O.U.W. No. 192, was instituted by O. J. Miller, the date of charter being June 26, 1880. The charter members were J. W. Johnston, W. R. Hopper, H. T. Wright, John T. Rothwell, W. R. Stone, H. S. Baxter, Jas T. Mays, B. P. Matthews, Joe Bauman, S. H. Whitfield, A. J. Harrington, E. R. Westbrook, W. H. Bass, B. W. Sapp, J. A. Oates, E. M. Bass, W. H. Callaway, H. W. Whipple, W. P. Boqua, M. D. Matthews and Wm. S. Peak. The following gentlemen were the first officers: H. T. Wright, P. M. W.; W. P. Boqua, M. W.; W. T. Lemon, G. F.; S. H. Whitfield, overseer; W. J. Warren, recorder; W. R. Hopper, financier; Joe Bauman, recorder; Eli Nichols, guard; J. A. Kerr, inside watchman; William Blackburn, outside watchman. The number present membership is 36. They own, as yet, no hall of their own, but use a rented room. Mr. H. T. Wright is delegate to the Grand Lodge.

Patrons of Husbandry.

The Ashland Grange, No 533, P. of H., was instituted by J. R. Cordell, district deputy, and the date of their dispensation was July 30, 1873, their charter being dated December 23, 1873. A. G. Payne, Miles Forbis, James W. Edwards, R. V. Burnett, Milton Forbis, E. M. Bass, J. G. Jones, A. G. Martin, R. T. Bass, R. E. Sappington, J. C. Wilcox, Mrs. Mary J. Martin, Mrs. Julia M. Bass and ten others were the original and charter members. The first officers were as follows: Master, A. G. Payne; overseer, J. G. Jones; chaplain, W. T. Waters; steward, J. H. Sappington; assistant steward, R. T. Bass; treasurer, James Edwards; secretary, R. E. Sappington; lecturer, E. M. Bass; gate keeper, J. C. Wilcox. The present officers are: Master, J. G. Jones; overseer, S. H. Whitfield; lecturer, R. V. Burnett; steward, J. H. Sappington; assistant steward, Eli Winterbower; chaplain, William Coons; treasurer, T. Christian; secretary, G. D. Sappington; gate keeper, J. H. Nichols; Pomona, Mary B. Sappington; Ceres, Susan E. Bager; lady assistant steward, Celestine Guilloze. The grange at this writing numbers a membership of fifty. They use a rented hall, having never built a room in which to meet.

Ashland Baptist Church.

As indicated by its name, this church is situated in the town of Ashland, its immediate location being lot No. 1 of block No. 2 Broadway Street. The date of its organization was April 19, 1879, about forty members being named on its charter roll. The church, which is a neat and commodious frame building, was erected in 1880, at a cost of about twenty-five hundred dollars. It was dedicated by the Rev. Joseph C. Maple, in November, 1881. The names of the pastors are Jonathan M. McGuire, who served the church a short time after it was constituted, and Rev. E. D. Isbell, D. D., who succeeded Rev. McGuire, and is still the preacher in charge at this writing. The present membership numbers seventy, and the church bids fair to be a power for good in the community.

M. E. Church (South)

Was organized in 1854, the names of the original members being James Roberts, Sr., Thomas H. Roberts, Lawrence Bass, Edwin Bass, Eli M. Bass, W. C. Maupin, Mrs. Elizabeth J. Maupin, George W. Dennis, Lewis Percell, Jacob Morris, Mrs, G. W. Dennis, Mrs. Lewis Percell, Whitley Madden, Mary F. Martin, and William T. Elliott. The first church building was a frame structure erected the same year after the church was organized. The present building was finished in 1875, and is also a frame, the cost of which was fifteen hundred dollars. It was dedicated in 1876 by John D. Vincil, D. D. The present pastor is Rev. H. D. Groves. George W. Rich, A. P. Linn, William Penn and Samuel W. Cope were connected with the organization of this church. The historian was not furnished with sufficient statistics from which to make out a complete history of the church, but has done the best he could with the matter at hand.

Christian Church.

This church was organized April 20, 1881. The elegant new church house is a frame structure erected in January, 1882, at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars, and was dedicated the same month by Rev. C. H. Hardin of Mexico, Missouri. Rev O. A. Carr, the present preacher in charge, is the first and only pastor the church has yet had. The particular aim of Elder Carr and his congregation is the restoration of Apostolic Christianity in faith and practice, with no creed but that "Jesus is the Christ, the son of the the living God," and the Bible as the only rule of faith and guide of action. The present membership numbers fifth-two. Nothing is required as a test of fellowship but what the New Testament enjoins as necessary to pardon.


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