Howard-Ritchie Mill
 

Located in Roscoe Township; originally known as Howard’s Mill and later Richey’s Mill; was later known as Cobb in 1889.

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Missouri Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1881:
Howard’s Mills – Locally known as Richey’s Mills, is located on the Sac River, a water power stream in Roscoe Township, St. Clair County. It is twelve miles south of Osceola (county seat court house), and twenty-six south east of Schell City, its shipping point on the M.K. & T. Ry. (Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway). Population 36. Land realizes from $1 to $10 per acre. Shipments, grain and stock. Stage, with mail, to Schell City tri-weekly; fare $1.50. W.F. Schoening, postmaster.
Elkins, A.D. & Co. – flour mill, woolen mnfrs. and lumber
Ellermann, Wm. – blacksmith
Gushman, Miss B. – teacher
Leonard, Robert – sawyer
Pace, J.R. – Justice of the Peace
Schoening, W.F. – general store and druggist

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St. Clair County, MO History, page 1057:
Howard’s Mill was originally Ritchie's Mill on Sac River. A post office was located on the Sac River, twelve miles south of Osceola, on the eastern edge of Roscoe township.

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St. Clair County, MO History, page 1057:
Howard’s Mill became known as Ritchie's Mill on Sac River.
 

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History of St. Clair Co., Missouri 1883:
Pages 833, 956 - Howard or Ritchie Mill - On the forks of the Sac River were Hill, Bob and John Burch and Nathaniel Bell. A.H. Wilkerson, Wash and Henry Whitlow came about the same time. Old man Ward settled the place where Dr. Cox and Avery B. Howard afterward built the mill that is known as the Howard or Ritchie Mill. The first water mill was put up in 1841, on the Sac River, southwest from Osceola about ten miles. It was known for miles around by the name of “Ritchie Mill”. It was with one exception the only mill of the kind in the county for several years. It had two run of burrs and did a good business.

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History of St. Clair Co., Missouri 1883:
Pages 833, 956 - Howard or Ritchie Mill - On the forks of the Sac River were Hill, Bob and John Burch and Nathaniel Bell. A.H. Wilkerson, Wash and Henry Whitlow came about the same time. Old man Ward settled the place where Dr. Cox and Avery B. Howard afterward built the mill that is known as the Howard or Ritchie Mill. The first water mill was put up in 1841, on the Sac River, southwest from Osceola about ten miles. It was known for miles around by the name of “Ritchie Mill”. It was with one exception the only mill of the kind in the county for several years. It had two run of burrs and did a good business.

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St. Clair County, MO History, 1883, pages 956-957:
THE FIRST MILL
The first water mill was put up in 1841 on the Sac River, southwest from Osceola about ten miles. It was known for miles around by the name of Ritchie Mill. It was, with one exception, the only mill of the kind in the county for several years. It had two runs of burrs and did a good business.
The next mill that is remembered was put up in 1845. James Gardner, one of the first Justices of Peace in the county, erected a mill on Weaubleau Creek in Polk Township. It was a grist and saw mill and had an extensive patronage, especially east and south. The mill stood for about ten years when high water carried it off.
In 1867, a practical mechanic and miller by the name of A.M. Fuqua settled in the county. He was the builder of nearly every mill in the county from that day to this. He is now a prominent citizen of Osceola and the proprietor of one and joint proprietor with his son in the two mills located in the county seat.
The Wagner Mill was built in 1867 with two runs of burrs.
Mr. Brown erected a mill the same year on the Osage near where the present flouring mills stand. It was taken down and moved to the Sac to saw the lumber for the $6000 bridge across that historic stream. From there it went to Vernon county, then back to Sac River and finally found a resting place at Osceola as property of Mr. Fuqua. A saw and grist mill was put up in 1869 with two runs of burrs.
One of these mills. before the war, was owned by James Talley, on the Osage, at Talley Bend.
Samuel Martin put up a mill on the Weaubleau in 1873 in the corner of Doyal township and it was kept running for four years. It was then sold and taken to Roscoe.

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St. Clair County Courier, 10 November 2000:
Nine miles west of Collins on Highway 54 is the Sac River Bridge. On the west side of the old bridge, a side road ran next to the river. About a half mile down this road would have brought you to the water mill and a small settlement.
Old man Ward settled on a piece of land on the west side of the Sac River. Dr. Cox and Avery B. Howard built a mill on Ward’s land in 1841. This was the first water mill in the county and was known as Howard’s Mill or the Ritchey Mill. It was with one exception, the only mill of the kind in the county for several years. It had two run of burrs and did a good business. Going to a mill in early pioneer days was one of the first necessities to get food for their families. With no roads, no bridges and no ferry boats, getting to a mill was no sorry task when so many rivers and streams were to be crossed. Several of the early census records list Howard’s Mill as the local post office. The first Post Office was from Roscoe, Rives County with John Burch as postmaster on June 18, 1840, but was changed to Howard’s Mill on Sept. 8, 1854 with William H. Cock as the postmaster. A series of postmasters were in charge from 1880 and moved from Howard’s Mill to Roscoe a number of times. The postmasters from 1856 to 1867 were: Bertrand O. Weidemeyer, Gabrial P. Nash, William W. Ritchey, John H. Dice, Anderson Morton, Noah Graham, Abraham S. Hart and Sterling Cooper. There were several others until it was discontinued in 1886. The mill was called Cobb on May 25, 1889 with James H. Fletcher, Mary S. Fletcher, Mrs. Meda Polston and Reuben E. McLain as postmasters and continued until May 13, 1918, when the post office was discontinued. The name “Cobb” was given the mill post office since there was always a huge pile of cobbs near the mill. The people thought that would be an appropriate name to give their settlements.
The mill was owned just before and at the beginning of the Civil War by William R. Ritchey and his partner, U.L. Sutherland, both natives of Kentucky who arrived in St. Clair County before 1840. They also had a large store in connection with the only mill. William R. Ritchey eventually moved onto land south of Osceola, close to the Harris Plantation.
U.L. Sutherland had a large house about ½ mile southwest of the river bridge. He was probably responsible for the starting of a school in the area, Cole-Hampton-Riverview. A small battle was fought there at the mill on Oct. 13, 1862. A small unit of the Southern Army took over a short time and began to mill their flour. A union force of 50 men under General U.R. Parsons took the mill back and began to mill their flour and meal.
A number of operators ran the store and mill over the next years. There was always a blacksmith shop in the settlement, several drug stores, probably several stills, a saw mill, several homes, store and one-pump gas station ran by James Keeton which burned about 1927 or ’28. Evon Gentry built a store south of the El Dorado – Collins road in the early ‘30s. Only rocks and some bolts drilled into solid rock that held the mill in place show where the mill was at an earlier time.

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Now and Then – Reminiscence, By Rev. B.F. Lawler:
Avery Howard built a Mill, the place being called Cobb. Here our already famous Sac river had been reinforced by Cedar Creek, itself having received Horse Creek into its channel. Horse Creek comes from way out toward “Golden Grove” as it used to be called and drains a vast extent of country. So Mr. Avery had something to do in harnessing the Sac river at that place to make it serve him, turning the monstrous wheels of his then great Mill. Yes, there were times when the raging waters had their own way.

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St. Clair County Republican, 13 February 1889:
Court Proceedings
The bond of J.C. Rowland for a ferry on Sac River at Howard’s Mill from January 24th, 1889, for one year was approved.

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St. Clair Co., MO Circuit Court Records:
April Term 1846
The Sheriff of St. Clair County returned here into Court the Inquest in writing of the Jury by him summoned by & on a writ of ad quad damnum in favor of Avery B. Howard signed by said Jury and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court from said Inquest that no proprietor will sustain any damage by reasons of inundation consequent upon the order of the dam proposed that no mansion house of suit proprietor or not house Curtilages or garden, thereto immediately belonging or ordained will be overflowed thereby that ordering navigation and rite of passage will not be obstructed by such erection and that the health of the neighborhood will not be materially annoyed in consequence of such erection It is Considered by the court that leave be given said Avery B. Howard have leave to erect his said mill dam seven feet high as prayed for in his Petition.

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St. Clair County Courier, 10 November 2000:
Nine miles west of Collins on Highway 54 is the Sac River Bridge. On the west side of the old bridge, a side road ran next to the river. About a half mile down this road would have brought you to the water mill and a small settlement.
Old man Ward settled on a piece of land on the west side of the Sac River. Dr. Cox and Avery B. Howard built a mill on Ward’s land in 1841. This was the first water mill in the county and was known as Howard’s Mill or the Ritchey Mill. It was with one exception, the only mill of the kind in the county for several years. It had two run of burrs and did a good business. Going to a mill in early pioneer days was one of the first necessities to get food for their families. With no roads, no bridges and no ferry boats, getting to a mill was no sorry task when so many rivers and streams were to be crossed. Several of the early census records list Howard’s Mill as the local post office. The first Post Office was from Roscoe, Rives County with John Burch as postmaster on June 18, 1840, but was changed to Howard’s Mill on Sept. 8, 1854 with William H. Cock as the postmaster. A series of postmasters were in charge from 1880 and moved from Howard’s Mill to Roscoe a number of times. The postmasters from 1856 to 1867 were: Bertrand O. Weidemeyer, Gabrial P. Nash, William W. Ritchey, John H. Dice, Anderson Morton, Noah Graham, Abraham S. Hart and Sterling Cooper. There were several others until it was discontinued in 1886. The mill was called Cobb on May 25, 1889 with James H. Fletcher, Mary S. Fletcher, Mrs. Meda Polston and Reuben E. McLain as postmasters and continued until May 13, 1918, when the post office was discontinued. The name “Cobb” was given the mill post office since there was always a huge pile of cobbs near the mill. The people thought that would be an appropriate name to give their settlements.
The mill was owned just before and at the beginning of the Civil War by William R. Ritchey and his partner, U.L. Sutherland, both natives of Kentucky who arrived in St. Clair County before 1840. They also had a large store in connection with the only mill. William R. Ritchey eventually moved onto land south of Osceola, close to the Harris Plantation.
U.L. Sutherland had a large house about ½ mile southwest of the river bridge. He was probably responsible for the starting of a school in the area, Cole-Hampton-Riverview. A small battle was fought there at the mill on Oct. 13, 1862. A small unit of the Southern Army took over a short time and began to mill their flour. A union force of 50 men under General U.R. Parsons took the mill back and began to mill their flour and meal.
A number of operators ran the store and mill over the next years. There was always a blacksmith shop in the settlement, several drug stores, probably several stills, a saw mill, several homes, store and one-pump gas station ran by James Keeton which burned about 1927 or ’28. Evon Gentry built a store south of the El Dorado – Collins road in the early ‘30s. Only rocks and some bolts drilled into solid rock that held the mill in place show where the mill was at an earlier time.
St. Clair County Republican, 13 February 1889:
Court Proceedings
The bond of J.C. Rowland for a ferry on Sac River at Howard’s Mill from January 24th, 1889, for one year was approved.

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St. Clair Co., MO Circuit Court Records:
April Term 1846
The Sheriff of St. Clair County returned here into Court the Inquest in writing of the Jury by him summoned by & on a writ of ad quad damnum in favor of Avery B. Howard signed by said Jury and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court from said Inquest that no proprietor will sustain any damage by reasons of inundation consequent upon the order of the dam proposed that no mansion house of suit proprietor or not house Curtilages or garden, thereto immediately belonging or ordained will be overflowed thereby that ordering navigation and rite of passage will not be obstructed by such erection and that the health of the neighborhood will not be materially annoyed in consequence of such erection It is Considered by the court that leave be given said Avery B. Howard have leave to erect his said mill dam seven feet high as prayed for in his Petition.

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St. Clair County Courier, 10 November 2000:
Nine miles west of Collins on Highway 54 is the Sac River Bridge. On the west side of the old bridge, a side road ran next to the river. About a half mile down this road would have brought you to the water mill and a small settlement.
Old man Ward settled on a piece of land on the west side of the Sac River. Dr. Cox and Avery B. Howard built a mill on Ward’s land in 1841. This was the first water mill in the county and was known as Howard’s Mill or the Ritchey Mill. It was with one exception, the only mill of the kind in the county for several years. It had two run of burrs and did a good business. Going to a mill in early pioneer days was one of the first necessities to get food for their families. With no roads, no bridges and no ferry boats, getting to a mill was no sorry task when so many rivers and streams were to be crossed. Several of the early census records list Howard’s Mill as the local post office. The first Post Office was from Roscoe, Rives County with John Burch as postmaster on June 18, 1840, but was changed to Howard’s Mill on Sept. 8, 1854 with William H. Cock as the postmaster. A series of postmasters were in charge from 1880 and moved from Howard’s Mill to Roscoe a number of times. The postmasters from 1856 to 1867 were: Bertrand O. Weidemeyer, Gabrial P. Nash, William W. Ritchey, John H. Dice, Anderson Morton, Noah Graham, Abraham S. Hart and Sterling Cooper. There were several others until it was discontinued in 1886. The mill was called Cobb on May 25, 1889 with James H. Fletcher, Mary S. Fletcher, Mrs. Meda Polston and Reuben E. McLain as postmasters and continued until May 13, 1918, when the post office was discontinued. The name “Cobb” was given the mill post office since there was always a huge pile of cobbs near the mill. The people thought that would be an appropriate name to give their settlements.
The mill was owned just before and at the beginning of the Civil War by William R. Ritchey and his partner, U.L. Sutherland, both natives of Kentucky who arrived in St. Clair County before 1840. They also had a large store in connection with the only mill. William R. Ritchey eventually moved onto land south of Osceola, close to the Harris Plantation.
U.L. Sutherland had a large house about ½ mile southwest of the river bridge. He was probably responsible for the starting of a school in the area, Cole-Hampton-Riverview. A small battle was fought there at the mill on Oct. 13, 1862. A small unit of the Southern Army took over a short time and began to mill their flour. A union force of 50 men under General U.R. Parsons took the mill back and began to mill their flour and meal.
A number of operators ran the store and mill over the next years. There was always a blacksmith shop in the settlement, several drug stores, probably several stills, a saw mill, several homes, store and one-pump gas station ran by James Keeton which burned about 1927 or ’28. Evon Gentry built a store south of the El Dorado – Collins road in the early ‘30s. Only rocks and some bolts drilled into solid rock that held the mill in place show where the mill was at an earlier time.



 

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