Its First Hundred Years
At any rate the authentic explorer, Henry R. Schoolcraft, an American, in 1819 traveled from White River up Swan Valley and across the intervening ridge to Finley Creek in what is now Christian County, making an independent discovery of the Smallin Cave as he proceeded toward James River. His narrative, available in the Christian County Library at Ozark, states that the stream referred to had been named for a trapper, Finley or Findley, who had earlier sought, and no doubt found, beaver pelts on the stream, which was described as clear and beautiful, even in December 1819. He crossed Finley near the present site of the nationally famous Riverside Inn and the authentic history of Christian County seems actually to start at that point.
The first permanent settlers arrived about two years later, locating in the vicinity of the present town of Ozark. These include the families of Pettyjohn, Shipman, Friend, Claud, and Kimberling, soon followed by those of Patterson, Wells,