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Pettis County, Missouri

1919 FLAT CREEK Township by Mark McGruder

Flat Creek Township- The writer has been unable to ascertain why this township was named Flat Creek. It is possible, but not certain, that it derives its name from the creek flowing across its northern border and separating its territory from that of Sedalia township. The Sedalia, Warsaw and Southwestern railroad runs south through the center of the township.

This township was organized when the question was voted on by the county in 1872, as a municipal township. When first formed it contained about 36 sections. Afterwards it was increased by taking from Sedalia township, on the north, several sections and making Flat Creek the dividing line between the two townships. Now Flat Creek contains about 50 sections or approximately 32,000 acres. The first township board was made up of the following citizens: J C Hatton, W M Devole, M. Parish. O P Hatton was first township trustee and Jacob A Yankee was the first clerk.

In the west, south and east parts of the township the land is high rolling prairie. The norther part is much more broken. The principal streams are Flat Creek, Spring Fork and Walnut Branch. The last two empty into Flat Creek.

The early settlers in this township came from Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. George Cathey came from North Carolina in 1827, settled and here made his home for many years. Joseph DeFord came from Kentucky in 1829. In 1830 John McFatrich came from Kentucky. David Holmes came in 1833 from South Carolina and remained in the township a number of years. John Brow came in 1833 from the same state, as did also George Marshall in the same year. Jolly Parish moved to this township in 1833 from Kentucky. Also in the same year came Benjamin Randall, from the same state and in 1835 Pemberton Casin and in 1839 Elias Hale. In 1835 Jacob Yankee came to this township from the "Blue Grass State." Col. John E Crawford came to this township in 1838. He came with this family when there were only seven or eight houses in the township, and those were on the south side of the creek and were all made of logs with sticks and clay chimneys. Mathias Ray came into the county and settled in this township in 1840. Abram McCormick came in 1833 from Kentucky. James McCormick came from Kentucky in 1833. William R Anderson came to the township in 1833 from Virginia. Thomas Gibbs came in 1830 from Kentucky. Joseph Deusman came in 1833 from Kentucky. William Mosbey settled in this township in 1833. He came from Kentucky. Michael Goodnight came in 1835 and George May in 1836 both from Kentucky.

Flat Creek township was sectionized in 1832, the Government surveyor being MR. Shields. The first school was taught by R A McFarland, on his own farm. The first marriage in the township was Henry Small to Nancy Mosby in the year of 1836. The first minister was Rev. Millice, who held services at Abram McCormick's and W R Anderson's houses. The first church was erected at what is called Brown's Springs. The first school house erected in the township was on Col Crawford's farm. This was a rude structure built of logs and had the uncovered ground for a floor. After a while another was erected and for years these were the only two school houses in the township and were also used for church worship. The first physician to locate in the township was Dr. Brown. The first post office was called Spring Fork, and J E Crawford was post master. In 1847, the township recorded its first suicide. In that year a man named Calvin Hall hung himself.

The leading and most profitable business of the township is agriculture and stock raising. The dep limestone soils are practicably inexhaustible. Wheat has nearly always done well here. Timothy and clover yield well. Vineyards do well wherever cultivated and proper care is taken of them. There are some fine orchards in the township. Some farmers are paying attention to small fruit, with marked success.

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South was organized in 1840, the class leaders being George Marshall and wife, Mrs. D Anderson and others. The original members of the class were George Marshall and wife, W R Anderson and wife, Jacob Yankee, W H and W P Anderson and families, and Absalom Elliott and family. The early preachers were: Rebs. Josiah Godby, Robert A Allen, A C Briggs, John N Anthony, Preston Philips, presiding elder.

Bethlehem Baptist Church was organized June 7 1851, by Elder G W Sands and Deacon J E Crawford. The first house of worship was erected in 1860 at a cost of $1000 by Henry Ebiling and was dedicated on the 27th of May the same year, by Elder C J Teas. The second house was erected in 1870 by Mr. Smith, and cost when completed $1800. It was dedicated the fourth Sunday in November 1870 by Elder R H Harris.

Aikins Mackey was murdered in this township shortly after the war by parties unknown. The same fate befell his son, A M Mackey, in November 1911 in the city of Sedalia. Mackey was engaged in running a hack and carriage line. HE was standing at the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Depot waiting for a passenger train to arrive from the South shortly after noon. While standing near his carriage a man by the name of John L Jones rushed up to Mackey and stabbed him to death. Jones was tried the January following his crime. William Dillard O'Bannon was the prosecuting attorney. He was assisted in the trial by W D Steele and Mark A McGruder. Jones was defended by William G Lynch, afterward Assistant United States District Attorney for Western Missouri and by Claude Wilkerson. After a three days' trial the jury rendered a verdict imposing the death penalty. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court and Jones was given a new trial. New trial was held in Boonville, on a change of venue, and a penitentiary sentence given Jones by the jury.

In 1882 there were five schools in the township. Teacher's wages ranged from $30-$40 a month.

Flat Creek township has one Catholic Church, known as St. Patrick's Church located at Spring Fork. The church edifice is a new brick veneer, 34 by 64 and cost $10,000. It is of Gothic style. Rev. Father F J Knoebbler is in charge of the church. Early priests have been Revs. Fathers Geth, Schmidt, Haeckler, Koaemer. Membership of the church is 20 families. Cemetery is known as St. Patrick's Cemetery.

Bethlehem Baptist, six miles south of Sedalia, was organized in 1854. Its early ministers were Revs. J K Godby, W H Roger, I B Dotson, T B White. More recent ministers were, Revs. Zeb Thomas and D M Trout. Present minister is Rev. Joseph DeWitt. The building is a good substantial frame. There is a cemetery in connection with the church.

Point Pleasant, a Methodist Episcopal Church, is two miles west and good condition and has a seating capacity of 200. Present minister if Rev. J Clifton Lee. Membership numbers 25, with a Sunday school attendance of 30. Point Pleasant Cemetery is just north of the church building.

New Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church, South, located six and a half miles south of Sedalia, is an organization well kept and attended. The building is a large, substantial frame in good condition. Membership is 40, with a Sunday School attendance of 25. Rev. Samuel Brooks is the present minister. Trustees are Isaac Elliott, B F Elliott, W H Elliott, J A Elliott and Vest Elliott. Stewards are H A Elliott, A P Elliott And Vest Elliott. Vest Elliott is the superintendent of the Sunday School.

Pleasant Hill, a Souther Methodist Church, six miles southeast of Sedalia, Has a nice frame building valued at $2,000 and well furnished. The membership numbers 75 with Sunday school attendance of 55. Services are held here twice each month, on the second and fourth Sundays. Rev. Cayton is the present minister. Pleasant Hill Cemetery is used in connection with the church and is well kept.

This township has six public schools, all well attended and disciplined. Prairie Grove has an enrollment of 19 and Mary Gehringer is teaching. South Side enrolled 46 this year, and Orma Teter is the teacher. Walnut has 20 pupils and Eunice Smith is teaching them. Anderson has an enrollment of 45 and Lynn E Callison is the teacher. Pleasant Valley has 20 pupils and Hazel Thompson is the teacher. Liberty school enrolled 18 this September and Mrs. Libbie Silsby is teaching.

[Transcribed by Laura Paxton.]