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St. Clair County People of Interest

WILLIAM WALDO (1812 – 1881)

From St. Clair County Democrat June 27, 1940:

William Waldo (Capt. Bill), son of Jedediah Waldo and his first wife, Polly Porter, was born January 16, 1812 in Harrison County, Virginia and died November 2, 1881 at Sutherland Springs, Wilson County, Texas.
He left Virginia in his early youth for Missouri and joined his brother, Dr. David Waldo, who had settled at Independence, Missouri.
William made a number of trips with trappers and hunters and after Dr. Waldo became engaged with the Santa Fe trade, he accompanied several of the caravans. For a brief time, he attended the Christian Brothers
School in St. Louis, but poor health and the lure of the open spaces soon caused him to return to the trail.
At Union Mission in Arkansas Territory, he met Rev. William Fowler and his wife, Asenath Selden Vaill, missionaries to the Osage Indians and January 23, 1834, he married their daughter, Elizabeth Ely Vaill, who was born at Guilford Connecticut September 27, 1814 and died at Sutherland Springs, Texas, December 20, 1878.
For a time, Mr. Waldo settled in the portion of Bates county, which is now Vernon County and the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri states that the first merchants of Vernon County after the French
traders, included William Waldo on the Marmaton River near Harmony Mission.
Captain Waldo also had mercantile interests in Osceola and two other places.
While not listed as a settler in this section as early as 1840, Captain Waldo became a resident of St. Clair County a few years later, for the records of the Presbyterian Church show that his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth
Waldo was received in 1844.
Mr. Waldo was active in the project to improve the Osage River with wing dams for the purpose of navigation. In 1844, Captain Waldo brought the Maid of the Osage from Jefferson City to Harmony Mission,
three miles above Papinsville and in 1868 or 1869, the Tom Stevens, a stern wheel boat, reached the same place four times.
The Wave was a steamboat Capt. Waldo was commissioned to purchase in Cincinnati, Ohio, and bring back.
The rush to the California gold fields proved irresistible and Mr. Waldo left Missouri as Capt. of a large emigrant train.
The History of St. Clair County gives an incomplete list of 36 persons, besides Mr. and Mrs. John B. Waldo and their negro slave, Nathan in the party with 24 wagons and two hundred head of stock.
According to our county history, the train crossed the Osage at Osceola, April 24, 1849 and reached the diggings in five months, 17 days. One man, John Read, died on the headwaters of Humbolt River. John Waldo, John Wamsley and Alec Ray died shortly after reaching California. John Waldo was the Captain’s eldest brother and John Wamsley his nephew.
The next year, accounts of suffering on the plains influenced Capt. Waldo to bring relief. There was, at that time, no name upon the Pacific slope around which public affection and gratitude so clustered as that of Capt. William Waldo.
About 1852 an act was passed by the California Legislature, partly
re-imbursing Mr. Waldo for his relief and efforts were made in other states to have the legislature repay him for aid to their citizens or
to urge congress to do so, but these appeals were in vain.
In 1853 the Whigs of California nominated him for Governor of that state, but he failed the election. After his defeat, he made his way back east, stopping in Minnesota where he engaged successfully in farming and speculation.
After an absence of eight years, he returned to his family in Missouri. His wife had been teaching a day school and Sunday School in a log house a mile from Osceola. Later the Sunday School as well as union
services were held in the unfinished brick courthouse in the center of town.
When Jim Lane led his band in from Kansas, William Waldo was visiting his wife’s relatives near Papinsville and upon learning of the projected raid on Osceola, nearly killed his horse riding at top speed
to warn the inhabitants. He reached town Saturday noon September 21 and Lane’s men got there before dawn on the 22nd.
After the burning of the town, Mr. Waldo rode east and met his nephew, Waldo P. Johnson, in Marietta, Ohio, bringing tidings of the state of affairs in the county. They returned together.
During the war, Mr. Waldo was in Texas and Arkansas and at its close came back to Missouri where his daughters obtained positions as teachers although they refused to take the oath.
About 1866, he settled on a farm near San Antonio, Texas, but failing health induced him to move to Wilson County some eight years before his death and here, after many wanderings and adventures, he and his wife peacefully ended their days.
Children of Capt. William Waldo and Elizabeth Ely Vaill were:
Asenath Porter Waldo, born Jan 5, 1833. She was a teacher who never married and spent her last days in new York City.
Mary Selden Waldo, born July 14, 1837 was a deaf mute from scarlet fever. She was educated at home, then at a school in Jacksonville, Illinois where she became a teacher. She was married to Professor Charles Laughlin, also a deaf mute and a fellow teacher. They had two sons, Waldo and Ely Laughlin who were entirely normal.
Isabelle Vaill Waldo was born in Bates County, October 28, 1842 and died in New York City where she had maintained an art studio for a number of years. She was a artist of distinction, studied abroad and
exhibited her work in London and Paris. She was never married.
Ellen Ely Waldo, born March 7, 1846 in St. Clair County, died at Knoxville, Ilinois where she was a teacher. She never married.
Lawrence Ludlow Waldo, named for his uncle who was killed in Mora, New Mexico in the Indian uprising of 1847, was born March 27, 1848. He attended Westminster college at Fulton, Missouri and died, unmarried, in Lexington, Kentucky September 20, 1869.

Missouri History Encyclopedia, 1901:

Osage River has been navigated at times by small steamboats. In 1844 Captain William Waldo sailed the “Maid of the Osage” from Jefferson City to Harmony Mission, three miles above Papisnville, and other boats made the same trip later that year. In 1847 Captain Waldo brought “the Wave”, a side wheel steamboat, to Papinsville; and in 1868 or 1869 the “Tom Stevens”, a stern wheel boat, reached the same place four times. In late years small boats have not been able to ascend higher than Osceola, in St. Clair County.
The first merchants in Vernon County, after the French traders, were Bernhart & Raper, at Balltown, in 1836-37; James Johnson, one mile below, on Osage River, and William Waldo, on the Marmaton River.
After the abandonment of the mission, Captain William Waldo opened a store in 1838, bringing his goods in wagons drawn by oxen, from Lexington, a distance of 150 miles. In 1844 he brought a small steamboat, the “Maid of the Osage”, from Jefferson City, a wonderful undertaking. Freeman Barrows came from Massachusetts the same year and worked in Captain Waldo’s store. He was the first county clerk, and became the first postmaster after the establishment of the county seat, the post office being called Batesville.
Hermitage – the county seat of Hickory County, and an unincorporated town. The first residents were Thomas Davis, who opened a tavern; William Waldo, who opened a store; and W.E. Dorman, who set up an ox sawmill.
Nearly all Indians are naturally disposed to be warlike. In their wild condition warfare was frequent between the different tribes. In their intercourse with the whites they were easily offended and always ready to spring to arms. Very few were permanently friendly. The hunters and trappers had to be always vigilant, and with the best watchfulness were sometimes surprised. Some whites were killed by the Indians prior to 1820. From 1820 to 1835 many lost their lives at the hands of the savages. An old pioneer (William Waldo) says that “the soil of the plains and the Rocky Mountains has been fertilized by the blood of the sons of many of the best families of St. Louis and Missouri.” Nearly all the trappers and traders of the vast region of the plains and mountains west were Missourians and chiefly of St. Louis. For that reason it is proper to briefly mention some of the conditions in which they engaged.
In 1833 Ebenezer and William Gash located on Coon Creek in St. Clair County. The Culbertson brothers, Isaac, Joseph and Ira, settled near by in 1835, and later the same year James and Robert Gardner settled farther southeast in the Coon Creek neighborhood. Other early settlers were Daniel, Joseph and Calvin Waldo, on the Sac River, south of the present site of Osceola. Calvin made his home in the big bend, where he opened a store, the second in what is now the county.
In 1845 Joseph Montgomery, Calvin Waldo and Thomas F. Wright were named commissioners to hold an election for location of a county seat. Osceola was chosen after a bitter contest.

Rootsweb Family Tree:

Name: William Waldo, born 16 January 1812 Bridgeport, Harrison Co., Virginia, now West Virginia; died 1881 Bates, now Vernon & Osceola, St. Clair, MO & San Antonio & Sutherland Springs, TX
Note: Was Whig nominee for Gov. of Cal., 1853; was elected but counted out. Listed as Waldo, William 1812-1881, People in History. An index to U.S. and Canadian biographies in history journals and dissertations. Two volumes. Edited by Susan K. Kinnell. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1988.(PeoHis) Parents were Jedediah Waldo, born 17 October 1772 Albany Co., New York
and Mary "Polly" Porter, born 15 April 1776 Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer Co., New York.
Married 1 - Elizabeth B. Ely Vaill, born 27 September 1814 North Guilford, New Haven Co., Connecticut; married on 23 June 1834 Union Mission, Arkansas Territory.
Children: Asenath Porter Waldo, born 5 January 1835 St.Clair Co., Missouri; Mary Selden Waldo, born 14 July 1837 Osceola, St. Clair Co., Missouri; Isabella Vail Waldo, born 28 October 1842 St. Clair Co., Ellen Ely Waldo, born 27 March 1846 St. Clair Co., Missouri; Lawrence Ludlow Waldo, born 7 March 1848 Missouri.
Sources: Title: Genealogy of Some of the Vail Family Descended from Jeremiah Vail. Publication: New York: No publisher noted, 1902
1850 Federal census, District 79, St. Clair Co., MO,

Bates Co., MO History 1821-1900:

Jason S. Woodfin: Indian Agent, William Waldo, came here in 1816; then the Missionaries came up from St. Louis on a flatboat, loaded with groceries, dry goods, beads, etc.

Recollections of a Septuagenarian:

The author recalls the Bent Family in this article. His brother David Waldo was in a trading and trapping partnership with Charles Bent. Recalls the struggle along the Santa Fe Trail, Indian relations, establishment of Bent's Fort, overland journeys including that of Auguste P. Chouteau attempt to California, William Ashley, Jedediah Strong Smith, Alexander Le Grand, Albert Pike, etc.
Author: William Waldo, Glimpses of the Past, April-June 1938, Issue 4-6, Volume: 5, Pages 62-94
Charles, John, William, George and Robert Bent were all sons of Silas Bent who came to St. Louis in 1806. John Bent was born on May 31, 1803 and died in Callaway County, Missouri on May 18, 1845. William Bent was born on May 23, 1809 and died in Colorado on May 19, 1869. Robert Bent was killed by Indians in 1841 and George died on December 27, 1847. Charles Bent was born on November 11, 1799 and was killed by Indians while governor of New Mexico in 1846. "William Waldo, Santa Fe trader, merchant, and farmer, was born near Clarksburg, Harrison County, Virginia, Jan. 16, 1812 son of Jedediah and Polly (Porter) Waldo." His
brother was Dr. David Waldo. He was in the mercantile business at Harmony Mission, Bates County, Missouri from 1837 to 1846.

Harmony Mission (Presbyterian) Church 1821-1836:

History from St. Clair County Library Files - Missionaries were sent from the eastern part of the United States in 1821 to minister to the Osage Indians. Living quarters for the missionaries were constructed first and as soon as the mission building was completed the Indian children began their training. Language barriers made this a slow project but the children were cooperative. Some were converted to Christianity.
In 1837 the Mission was closed and the Indians moved further west. The missionary people broke up, some returning to their homes, some remaining and settling in the Midwest.
The Mission buildings were sold to a Mr. Scroggins. In 1838, Capt. William Waldo opened a store and Freeman Barrows worked for him. Others living in the area when the Mission was closed were: Col. Robert Allen, John Bloy, James Moore, a Shoemaker, Miss Mary Etnis and others. Freeman Barrows would later become well known as he was appointed County Clerk, Recorder and Clerk of the Circuit Court when the county was organized. Harmony Mission was selected in 1841 as the first county seat of Bates County.

Albert Pike, Frontiersman:

WALDO, William. Published Los Angeles, Arthur M. Ellis [c. 1930].
Pike “…in 1831 reached St. Louis and accompanied a Charles Bent wagon train to Taos, arriving November 29. In August 1832, he joined a trapping party eastward, into Comanche country, the group reaching Fort Smith, Arkansas, December 10. In the fall of 1832 he assisted in the defense of Fort Towson, on the Red River, against a large force of Comanches…”—Thrapp, Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, III, p. 1145.
“William Waldo, the author of the sketch which is now presented, is known to us here in California as the vigorous Whig candidate for Governor in 1853. He had previously held a high standing amongst the Americans at Taos.”—Arthur M. Ellis, introductory commentary to the manuscript.

William J. Waldo, Arkansas 1834:

William Waldo, born 16 January 1812, Clarksburg, Harrison Co, VA; died 2 November 1881 at his ranch near Sutherland Springs, TX (killed by Indians of Ulzana's band when they left the reservation.) He was the 10th child of Jedediah Waldo (19 October 1772, Albany, NY to 20 January 1820 Harrison County, VA) and Polly Porter. Wm. Waldo married Elizabeth Vail 23 January 1834 at Union Mission, near Ft. Gibson, I.T. She was the daughter of the missionary there, and she died 20 December 1879, Sutherland Springs, TX. He wrote an article about his life on the frontier, published in the Mo. Historical Society some years ago.

1843 Wagon Trains list information on the Waldo family. The California Tunnel was named for William Waldo. Located at:

1840 Van Buren Co., MO Census – Deer Field
William Waldo
Males: 1 age 10-15, 1 age 15-20, 2 age 20-30, 1 age 30-40
Females: 1 under age 5, 1 age 5-10, 1 age 10-15, 1 age 15-20, 1 age 20-30

1850 Jackson Co. MO Census:
L.L. Waldo
Males: 1 age 20-30
Females: 1 under age 5, 1 age 20-30

1840 Rives Co., MO Census – Tebo:
John B. Waldo
Males: 1 age 20-30, 1 age 40-50
Females: 1 age 30-40

1840 Rives Co., MO Census – Wablean:
Calvin Waldo
Males: 1 under age 5, 1 age 5-10, 1 age 30-40
Females: 1 age 10-15, 1 age 40-50

1840 Rives Co., MO Census – Wablean:
Daniel Waldo
Males: 1 age 5-10, 1 age 10-15, 1 age 30-40
Females: 1 under age 5, 1 age 5-10, 1 age 10-15, 1 age 40-50

1850 St. Clair Co., MO Census – District No. 79 Being:
25 November
497/497 Wm. Waldo, age 42, male, merchant, $200 real estate, born VA
E.B., age 37, female, born CT
Asoneth, age 15, female, MO
Mary, age 13, female, born MO, Deaf & D
Isabella, age 10, female, born MO
Ellin, age 5, female, born MO
Laurence L., age 2, male, born MO

1850 St. Clair Co., MO Census – District No. 79 Being:
Line 6, 26 November
512/512 Calvin Waldo, age 45, male, farmer, $2000 real estate, born VA
Matilda, age 43, female, born VA
Jedediah, age 10, male, born MO
Mary, age 7, female, born MO
Milton, age 5, male, born MO

1850 Jackson Co., MO Census – Blue Township:
19 September
8/8 Waldo, David, age 49, male, Trader, $25,000 real estate, born VA
Eliza J., age 26, female, born KY
William, age 8 months, male, born MO
Norris, Margaret, age 50, female, born VA
Oreon, Bridget, age 19, male, born Ireland

1860 St. Clair Co., MO Census – Town of Osceola:
Page 5, Line 17, 14 June, Osceola P.O.
30/30, Jeddiah Waldo, age 20, male, Law Student, $1500 real estate, born MO

1860 St. Clair Co., MO Census – Speedwell Township:
Page 127, Line 25, 1 September, Pleasant Site & Osceola P.O.
902/864 Nancy Huffman, age 45, female, farmer, $600 real estate, $600 personal estate, born VA, cannot read or write
John W., age 26, male, laborer, born VA
Anthony H., age 23, male, laborer, born MO
Sarah J., age 20, female, born MO
Elemuel L.B., age 17, male, born MO
Matilda Waldo, age 53, female, farmer, $2500 real estate, $2500 personal estate, born NC
Mary O., age 17, female, born MO
Milton O., age 15, male, born MO, attended school

1860 Winona Co., MN – 1st Ward, City of Winona:
Page 23, Line 1, Winona P.O.
271/262 Wm. Waldo, age 43, male, Trader, $512 real estate, born VA
Elizabeth, age 45, female, born VA
Aseneath P., age 25, female, Teacher, born MO
Mary S., age 22, born MO, deaf & dumb
Issabell V., age 17, Teacher, born MO
Laurence L., age 12, male, born MO

1870 Morgan Co., IL Census – Jacksonville:
Jacksonville P.O., Line 2, 14 June
270/297 Laughlin, Charles, age 34, white male, Teacher Deaf & Dumb, $10,000 real estate, $200 personal estate, born IL, deaf & dumb, over age 21
Mary, age 35, white female, keeping house, born MO, deaf & dumb
Waldo, age 1, white male, at home, born IL

1880 Wilson Co., TX Census:
Dist. 149, Page 141, Line 24, 30 June
226/278 Waldo, William, white male, age 76, widowed, farmer
A.P., white female, age 38, daughter, single, keeping house
Laughlin, Charles T., white male, age 40, son, married, School Teacher, deaf & dumb, born IL
Mis, white female, age 27, wife, married, deaf & dumb
Waldo, white male, age 9, son, born IL, father born IL
Child, white male, age 4, son
Child, white female, age 1, daughter