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Pettis County, Missouri

1919 HOUSTONIA Township by Mark McGruder

This township derives its name from its principal town. Thomas F. Houston laid out the town of Houstonia, which was named in honor of its founder. Land in this township was sold by the Government from 12 cents to $1.25 per acre. The Lexington branch of the Missouri Pacific Railway traverses this township from section 10 northwest to section 19. Thomas F. Houston was born July 30 1818 at Houstonville (named in honor of his grandfather), Iredell County, North Carolina; received a collegiate education under the instruction of Marshal Ney; adopted the profession of law; admitted to the bar June 1840; and located at Statesville in his native county. In 1845 he married Miss Mary M Hampton a relative of the Hampton families of Virginia and South Carolina. He emigrated from Alabama to near the present site of Bunceton, Cooper County MO in 1846 and devoted his whole energies to agricultural pursuits and stock raising. In 1851 he removed to the norther portion of Pettis County, near where he subsequently located the town of Houstonia, named in his honor.

Houstonia is one of the later townships organized in the county. It was originally the eastern half of Blackwater township and remained thus until 1844, when it became in the new arrangement part of Blackwater, Mt. Sterling and Elk Fork. It remained parts of these three townships until 1873, when in the new organization Houstonia was organized in the northern part of the county and is bounded on the north by Saline County, on the east by Longwood and Hughesville townships on the south by Hughesville township and on the west by Blackwater township. It has thirty sections or 19,200 acres of land. It consist mostly of beautiful, rolling prairie, as fertile as any in the county. Its streams of water are Heath's creek, which rises in the southern central portion of the county and finds its way in a northeasterly direction through the township; Buffalo Creek and another small branch or tow rise in the township and flow north into the Blackwater, and a few small branches rise in the western part of the township and flow west into the south for of Blackwater.

Henry Guier settled here about 1834. He came from North Carolina. Bartlett Williams came in 1840. John L. Scott came about 1837, at an early date. John beatty came at an early day. A N Redd was another early settler. Cable Edmondson was an early settler. He came to the township from Maryland, and gave his attention to farming and stock-raising. He had one of the first, if not the first, herd of fine blooded stock in the county. A H Wilkinson settled at the head-waters of Heath's creek as early as 1840. He came from the Old Dominion and lived in the township until his death.

There were three early day churches in this township, of which the Christian Church of Houstonia is the largest. It was organized in 1870 by Elder Samuel McDaniel. Joseph B Wright was one of the early day preachers, as was also Charles Shouse. Among the most able who filled the pulpit of this church was Rev. G W Longan, father of our distinguished citizen, Judge George F. Longan of Sedalia. The writer is pleased to state that the father is now living comfortably in his old age and happy in his views of the future, with Judge Longan, his son, on East Broadway, this city. The first church of this denomination was built in 1871 and dedicated in August of that year by John B Wright.

The M E Church South, of Houstonia, was organized by Rev. W B McFarland in February 1869. Their first house of worship was built in 1870 by Rev. Joseph M. Kelley, a frame building costing $1,700 and was dedicated by Elder M M Pugh, in December of the same year.

The Christian Church at Houstonia is a modern, up-to-date brick building. Rev. Phillip Stark is the minister in charge. The church has a membership of 75 and a Sunday school with an attendance of 50.

Houstonia Baptist is one of the old churches of the county, having been organized in 1866 under the name of Hickory Grove. Later the organization was called Wake Forest, and in 1887 the organization was moved to Houstonia, where the present church is located. The building is new, modern and up to date. Revs. G M Hyde, J M Plannett, Dr. H M Richardson, I B Dodson, W A Wilson, O Jeffries, E James, Dr. R K Maiden W J Lester and G C Davis have ministered to this church since 1882. Church membership is about 70 with Sunday school attendance of 50.

The Southern Methodist Church, at Houstonia, was organized in 1870 by Rev. W B McFarland. Rev. George E Hargis is the present minister. The following have served the church as ministers: Revs. W B McFarland, Jeptah Kelly, A M Rader, W S Woodward, W M Bewley, Warren DeHaven J B Woolridge, J J Hill, W T Eastwood, J Y Busby, A L Houston, W S Woodward, H L Anderson, C A Emmons, C T Wallace, J C Cross, W J Snow, J A Jared, J R Hedgesm, W J Patison, J W Ezell, W F Wagoner, B A Powell, B V Altom. The present minister Rev. Hargis appointed in 1915. This church has a membership of 197, with Sunday school attendance of 170.

Houstonia, in this township, was destroyed completely by a storm. It destroyed every store and business house, the depot and about 20 dwelling houses, injuring many of the citizens.

Houstonia township is proud of her schools. They work under the consolidated District Law, and Hazel Hill school is the only school outside of the consolidated district. It has a fair enrollment. The Consolidated District No. 1 is composed of the following old district: Houstonia, Section, Black, Guier, Prigmore and Higgins. Houstonia township has an excellent high school in Houstonia.

[Transcribed by Laura Paxton.]