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Pettis County, Missouri

1919 CEDAR Township by Mark McGruder

The name Cedar was applied to this township in the summer of 1877, probably on account of the cedar shrubs which grew abundantly on Cedar Bluff, near the junction of Cedar Creek and Muddy. The township perpetuates the shrubs that once grew abundantly on the hillsides. The Lexington branch of the Missouri Pacific railroad runs north through the western part of this township.

Cedar township contains 19,200 acres and lies in township 46, range 21 and is bounded on the north by Longwood and Hughesville on the east by Bowling Green, on the south by Sedalia, and on the west by Dresden. Prior to 1872 this was included in Mt Sterling township.

The Legislature of Missouri at its adjourned session, 1872, passed a law which was approved March 18 1872 allowing counties the right to adopt township organizations, giving the County Court power to divide the counties into townships.

By an order of court at the February term, 1873, "Township No. 7," Cedar was created.

After the township law was repealed, in 1877, the County Court ordered that the municipal townships remain as they were and that they be named instead of numbered and on the 17th day of July 1877, this township was named Cedar, and bears the name at the present time. The voting precinct is at Georgetown.

John Anderson settled here about 1823. He came from North Carolina. Married Amanda Proctor, and improved a small place on the Muddy.

The following is a list of the early settlers who were here prior to the organization of the county: Richard Hurt, W W Cross, George McClure, Henry Rector, Capt. O. Kidd, Amos Fristoe, Col. Chas, Cravens, Hiram Scott, John Ellis, Richard Bird, Bethel Allen, Thomas Ferguson, J W Beaman, Thomas Beaman, Wm O'Brien, James Anderson, John O'Bannon, Martin Sitton, Thomas Wasson, James Ramey, W K Ramey, Thomas Martin, Henry Rains and Reuben E Gentry. The last named gentleman came to this neighborhood prior to the formation of Missouri as a State. The early settlers held the first courts and transacted all their legal business at a place on Muddy, called "Pin Hook." It was first called by this name by an early adventurer from Tennessee, who said it resembled a hard place in his native state by that name. Pin Hook was the center of the first settlement of the county and was for a time the county seat. Here the first courts were held in an old building joined to a log cabin which was used for a store. The first store was kept her by Messrs. Marmaduke and Sappington, after which Clifton and Watson Woods kept the store in the same house until they moved their goods to the village of Georgetown. In those days there was but little demand for doctors. The first person who dared to practice the healing art was a pretender by the name of Dr. Bidstrap, a Dane.

The first marriage of this old settlement was in the winter of 1821, Miss Malinda Ramey to Thomas Brock. The first death was that of Thomas Brock in 1822.

Some of the first physicians of the township were Doctors Wilkins Watkins, Thomas Steeples, William J Westefield, Montgomery, Bell and Carter.

Some of the first lawyers: George Heard, John F Philips, George G Vest Abijah Hughes, John Heard.

G Heard was the first teacher in the township. Milton Thomson taught the second school, in the house of Reuben E Gentry. After this he taught several terms in a log cabin. Mr. Thomson was educated at West Point. For several years good select schools were supported by the citizens at Georgetown. There were several public schools supported in the township. The first county fair was held in Maj. Wm Gentry's pasture in 1857; Col Thomas Houston, president and John F Philips, secretary. This was the initiation of county fairs.

Many of the early settlers may be known by their early land entries. The following is a partial list of the original entries. Reuben E Gentry entered the NE quarter of section 11, George R Smith entered the NE quarter of section 10, Warren Reavis entered the NE quarter of section 5, David Thomson entered the SW quarter of section 7, James Ramey entered the NE quarter of section 20, Mentor Thomson entered the west half of the SE quarter of section 29, William Gentry entered the east half of the SE quarter of section 29, Milton Thomson entered the NW quarter of section 26, James Brown entered the NE quarter of section 14, Solomon Reed entered the east half of the SW quarter of section 10, Zadok Powell entered the east half of the NW quarter of section 19, George Heard entered the west half of the SW Quarter of section 20, James S English entered the SE quarter of section 28, Fielding Wolf entered the SW quarter of section 14.

The first church organization was Calvinistic Baptist in faith. Elders Jacob Chism and William Jennings were pioneer ministers who organized this church.

Solomon Reed sold an acre of ground to church people for six dollars. They built a log cabin on the land and called int West Liberty Church. This building was free for all denominations. Revs. Finis Ewing, Rooking and McCorkle held revival services successfully in this old log cabin church. Elder Allen Wright taught the reformation introduced by Alexander Campbell. It was through the efforts of this man that the Christian Church was organized at Georgetown. This organization was first of its faith in Pettis County and from this church sprang the others in the county.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Georgetown was organized by Rev Oeschsli in 1866. He and Revs. S Alexander, A P Salloway and Hanson were the early ministers.

The churches of the present day in Cedar township are as follows: Bethany Baptist in Georgetown. It was organized in Feb 1887, in a school house . Rev. J D Bryant is the present minister. The building is a frame 50 by 30 feet and is worth about $1,000. Present membership is 15. this congregation has a Sunday school with an attendance of 25.

The Georgetown Methodist Church is located on Boonville and Spring Street. This is one of the old churches of the county, the church organized in an old brick building built by Absolam McVey, who burned the brick and lime himself. This building was erected in 1852 and was used for lodge and school purposes also. Building was built by subscription, one of which was ten pounds of beeswax. Church has a good membership and Sunday school has six classes and six teacher, an enrollment of 60 with average attendance of 40.

Mount Harrison, a Union Church, situated 5 miles north of Sedalia, has a fair attendance. Rev. Dinwiddie, is serving, at present, as pastor. Building is a good frame, with a seating capacity of about 200. Sunday school is regularly attended with membership of about 30. Mt. Harriman, a beautiful cemetery is in connection with the church.

Cedar has one German Lutheran Church, located on the north end of the township. The building is a substantial frame, well built equipped and cared for. The membership is 100 with Sunday school attendance of 120.

This township has two colored churches, well attended located in Georgetown. They are Methodist.

There are five public schools in the township. Sunny Side has an enrollment of 18 and Beulah Luther is the teacher. Tangle Nook enrolled 24 pupils this year and Ruth Burford is teaching school. Georgetown has an enrollment of 54 and Leota Alexander is the teacher. Smelser enrolled, this September 23, and Naomi Walch is the teacher. Bothwell enrolled 23 and Mary L Witt is the teacher. This is the latest school house built in the township and bears the name of one of our distinguished citizens a lawyer, John H Bothwell. There is a residence on the school grounds, in addition to the school house for the teacher.

[Transcribed by Laura Paxton.]