The name Green Ridge, as applied to this township, is appropriate. In it is the watershed between the waters of the tributaries of the Missouri and the tributaries of the Osage rivers. It is a ridge covered with beautiful green prairie, interspersed with timber along the few water courses that break the monotony of the physical features of the township. Green Ridge was formerly a part of Elk Fork township as the county was subdivided up to 1844. The subdivision of the county then made it a part of Washington township, and it remained thus until 1873, when in the township organization of that year it became the southwestern township in the county, with the name of Green Ridge. Its northern extremity touches Elk Fork township; its eastern, Washington; it souther, Benton County and its western Johnson and Henry counties. It contains 30,720 acres of land. The township has the same style of configuration of land as that of the balance of Pettis County. The headquarters of Flat Creek and Elk Fork Creek are within its bounds.
The Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad runs from section 1, southwest through the township, leaving it at section 31. The Rock Island railroad runs through sections 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
The early settlers of this and Washington township are the same or nearly so. Both these townships were a part of Elk Fork and before the townships were divided the pioneers had opened up their homes and laid out their claims for future farms.
The earliest settler of the section of county now occupied by Green Ridge township, was Robert Means, who came here in 1832. Mr. Means came from Christian County KY to Howard Count MO where a part of his family were born. He removed with his family in November 1832, to what is now Green Ridge township, Pettis County. He died in 1844, and is buried in the southwest corner of the township. Squire Robert D. Means came with his father from Howard County, MO, to Pettis County , in 1832 and settled in the township. John L Hawkins came between 1835 and 1838 from Howard County Missouri . In 1857, Washington Starke came to the township from Pike County Missouri. Daniel Ramey came in 1842 from Georgetown MO. During the war he was killed by guerrillas near Rose Hill, Johnson County. John S. Cole came between 1850 and 1855 from Illinois. W H Hammonds came in 1855 from Cooper County. During the Civil War he espoused the cause of the South, and died in defense of what he believed to be right at battle of Little Rock Ark., in 1862. William and Benjamin Hawkins came in 1856 from Cooper County Missouri. Thomas Owens came from Georgia and died in 1862. Hiram Richardson came about 1844 from Tennessee and died at his home in 1866. Thomas Richardson, the former's father ,came in the same year from Tennessee and resided in this county 20 years. Absalom and John Elliott came with their father in 1836 and settled in Washington township. James C. Hatton came at an early day and settled in this township but died at his home in the spring of 1861. Nathaniel Parberry came from Virginia at the early date. Thomas N. Ireland came in 1858 from Illinois, and died in 1860. John D. Majors came from Callaway County in 1855. O W Withers came in 1854 from Kentucky. He was killed while serving under Price, in the Confederate Army, at Iron Mountain. Thomas F Parazetle came in 1854 from Henry County. He was formerly from Virginia, and he died in this township in 1881. George Bell came in 1854 from Paris Illinois. Lapsley Bell came in 1854 from Paris Illinois. Henry Woodward came in 1854 from Henry County.
The principal industry in this township is farming and stock raising. They raise the staple crops, wheat and oats, some flax and considerable broom corn. Many of the farmers have fine flocks of graded sheep, cattle, hogs and mules. Land in this township sells from $60-$100 per acre.
The Congregational Church of Green Ridge was organized on the first day of January 1871, by J B Turner and J M Bowers. J M Bowers was its first minister and served for two years. J G Bailey served as pastor then until 1881. The original members of the church were George D Hicks, Abigail Hicks, J H Knapp, Lydia S. Knapp, Harry C Knapp, Thomas Ashton, Mrs. Thomas Ashton, Charles Ashton, Nellie Ashton, Mrs. Sarah Fowler, Mr. Labaw, Philip Williams, Mrs. Philip Williams, Miss Wilbur, Robert McCormick, Miss Amelia McCormick.
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of Green Ridge, was organized January 9 1876, by Rev. R A Cole, of Otterville, assisted by Rev. William House. The incumbents of the pulpit have been C W Weeden, George W Mathis, Rev. McBride. In the organization on January 9 1876, the elders elected and ordained were Dr. G W House, W C Wells, and Benjamin Melvin; deacons, Elijah Phillips and Tipton Edwards.
The Church of Christ of Green Ridge township at Green Ridge, was organized by Elder S K Hallam, April 25 1880. In the spring of 1882, a commodious frame house 28' by 48' was erected at a cost of $1,000 and was dedicated in the same year by Elder S K Hallam. The original members are: Thomas Close, Catherine Close, Sarah J Martin, Nannie Martin, R D Rains, Lou J Rains, Cassie Edwards, Aaron Dunfee and wife, R H Nelson, F A Logan, D E J Logan, Melinda Rains, Wm Dunfee and wife, Lecta Dunfee, Mariah Dunfee, G W Womach, Phoebe Womach, James Neal, John A Logan, Mary Womach, Columbus Parks, Eliza Neal, Alice Womach, Mattie Womach, Emily D. Womach.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Green Ridge was organized in 1872 by the Rev W W Powell, with George Anderson, James Anderson, Mary and Jane Anderson, S Johnson and Mentezee, as members of the class. In 1878 the congregation erected a house of worship at a cost of $700. In 1880 Rev. J N Pierce dedicated this building. The early ministers to this congregation were Revs. W W Powell, J A Little, E H Smith, J H Nelson, F Oeschsli, A P Salaway, J H Gillispie and John Lutz.
Green Ridge Baptist Church, located in the town of Green Ridge one of the older churches of the county. It was organized with only 14 members in 1887. Its present membership is 40. The church building is a good, substantial wooden structure, 30' X 60'.
The Green Ridge Christian Church is located two blocks south the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway station on Main Street. The church building is a good substantial frame 30' by 40'. The building is well kept and nicely furnished. This church was organized in 1882 and erected on its present site. Church membership is 70 with a Sunday school attendance of 50.
Prairie View Methodist Church, South, is located 4 miles north of Green Ridge. The church building is a good substantial frame, 36' by 40'. The church, at present has 80 members and the Sunday school for the past year has averaged an attendance of 40. Rev. Samuel E Brooks is the minister in charge.
The Green Ridge Methodist Church, South, in Green Ridge, is one of the growing churches of Pettis County. It was organized about the year 1884 and since that time has been presided over by some of the ablest ministers of the Conference. The present minister is Rev. Samuel Brooks. Present membership is 64, with a Sunday school attendance of 50. The building is a substantial frame in good condition.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, situated near the center of the town of green Ridge, was organized in 1872, by Rev. W W Powell. Rev. Powell was killed by lightning a short time later. The first church building was erected in 1878 and dedicated in 1880. This building was destroyed by fire in 1898 and rebuilt in 1899. Building was again destroyed by fire in 1911 and the present building erected in 1912. The present building is a frame. Membership is 100, with an average Sunday School attendance of 60. Rev. D E Fields is the present minister. The first members of this church were George Anderson and wife, James Anderson and wife, Shed Johnson and wife, Alexander Mentzer and wife. Present trustees of the church are : Joseph Upton, chairman; L B Ream, secretary; F A Lowe, treasurer; D S Crissman and J E Helman.
The Green Ridge Congregational Church, located at Green Ridge, is one of the substantial churches of the county. It Has a membership of 175 with a Sunday School attendance of 85. The church building is a good substantial frame and this summer it was improved and added to until it now represents a property value of $5,000. It is heated with furnace, equipped with oak pews, lighted with acetylene gas. Rev. L R Spooner is the present minister. S D Haight is senior deacon, and John B Kyd is junior deacon. The following are trustees: E R Wilson, Wm Baker and Mrs. Belle Evans.
The first school in the township was in school District 2. Emma Wells was the first teacher. Green Ridge township is second to none in the county in her schools. They have eight public schools and a second class high school at Green Ridge, which would be a credit to most any city of 20,000 inhabitants. Lida Hale is superintendent, with Anna Hiatt as principal. Elm Branch, with an enrollment of 12 and M. Sue Clark is the teacher. Wadleigh has 27 pupils and Moro Anderson is the teacher. Rodelia has 37 pupils and Mrs. D O Herndon is the teacher. Hope Dale enrolled 26 this September and Gertrude Ridsour is the teacher. Knapp has an enrollment of 12 and Anna P Funk is teaching. Green Ridge has an enrollment of 40 and Elizabeth Donaldson, Lena Shelley and Charlotte Kyd are the teachers.
The first marriage in the township was Josiah Nelson from Lafayette County to Miss Sarah Means in the year 1840.
The first birth was in the winter of 1832 and was a colored child, who was named Julia Ann. Her mother belonged to Robert Means, SR., and she still lives in the county north of Windsor. She has been married twice and had children and grandchildren.
The first death was that of a colored man named Solomon Cofer in the family of Robert Means Sr., in 1840.
The first minister: For years there was no resident minister. The first circuit rider was Rev. Jackson Whitsett of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination and his first visit was in 1833, with Rev. Dr. R D Morrow of the same church, who held their meetings in the house of neighbors.
The first camp meeting was held on the farm of Robert Means in 1838. It was continued yearly for four or five years. R D Morrow died at Columbus, Johnson County, Missouri.
The first physician was Dr. James Hogan from Calhoun County. He came prior to 1840.
[Transcribed by Laura Paxton.]