|The information below is from Wilson's History and Directory for Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois
giving descriptions of Counties, Towns and Villages with valuable
historical and statistical information.|
Compiled and published by L.A.WILSON
|STODDARD COUNTY, Is bounded by Cape Girardeau and Bollinger on the north, by Scott and New Madrid on the east, by New Madrid and Dunklin on the south, and by Butler and Wayne on the west. It is one of the largest counties in Southeast Missouri, being thirty-five miles long from north to south, and averaging over thirty miles in breadth. It was established from a portion of Wayne County in the year 1834. Population in 1870, 8,535; present population (1874) not less than 11,000.|
|Bloomfield, the county seat, in the Centre of the county, is commandingly situated, has good public buildings, two churches, a seminary, two mills, and numerous stores and shops. A newspaper, the Stoddard County Messenger, is published weekly. There are numerous lawyers, two or three physicians, a land office, a title abstract office, and a money order department attached to the post office. There are lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows and Grangers.|
|Dexter, seven miles south of Bloomfield, is situated on the Cairo Division of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad. A few months since it was a dense forest; now there are more than one hundred houses, including eight or ten large stores, shops, family groceries, three hotels, and the ever present and never necessary saloons. This town bids fair to become one of the largest and most important in Southeast Missouri. The amount of cotton bought and shipped at this point demonstrates its importance as well as the capacity of the surrounding country. Over 3,000 bales have been already shipped this season (November 14th), and the supply seems to be increasing. A short time since 120 bales of cotton were received at Dexter in one day.|
|There are several other villages and post offices in the county. (See list.) Stoddard County is watered by Castor River, which flows through from the smaller streams and creeks. There are many points on Castor River where water-power could be made available, but only two are now occupied. There are also several mill sites on smaller streams, some of which are occupied by small grist mills.|
|The county is supplied with an immense number of springs, furnishing pure soft water. The surface of the county is very diversified, the central portion from the northern to the southern boundary is elevated and undulating, sometimes running into creek bottoms and occasionally into rocky points; but nine-tenths of the surface is gently sloping with rich soil, suitable for any branch of agriculture. Along the rivers on the east and west are broad bottoms, about one-half of which is sufficiently elevated for cultivation, the balance needing drainage. For some unknown reason, the map makers have persisted in locating grand swamps and "lakes" in this county, which have no existence except in imagination. Some of the most valuable farms in this county are located in these lacustrine regions.|
|The soil of the uplands is a light clay loam of a high degree of fertility, suitable for wheat, corn, potatoes and tobacco, and fairly for cotton. The bottom lands consist of a deep deposit of sandy alluvium, with large admixture of vegetable mould. It is absolutely unexcelled in fertility, and suited for the production of corn, cotton, pea-nuts, sweet-potatoes, &c.|
|Fruit has not been extensively cultivated, but large quantities of peaches are raised and dried for market. The peach crop never fails and the trees grow rapidly. Apple and pear trees grow rapidly and bear well, but the northern trees with which we are mostly supplied seem unsuited to this climate, and a large proportion die young.|
|Stock raising has proved the most profitable branch of husbandry in this county. Grass grows throughout the forests and remains green the year round, so that cattle are wintered in the bottoms without any feeding whatever. Very little attention has been paid to the improvement of stock and the consequence is a very "ornery" display of cattle and horses.|
|The seasons In Stoddard County are generally favorable. The drouth of the past summer, which was so destructive in many localities, and even in adjoining counties, affected this county very little. In fact, the crop of 1874 is the most valuable ever harvested in this county.|
|The timber of Stoddard County has attracted more attention of late than any other product. The magnificent growth of trees covering our bottoms and hillsides has supplied choice timber for fencing five hundred farms and building fifteen hundred houses, besides quantities of lumber and staves for shipment, to say nothing of the timber used for firewood and burned to get it out of the way in clearing, and yet hardly an impression has been made on the supply. Some dozen saw-mills have for several years supplied the home demand for lumber, and now that a railroad is completed, numerous mills have been established to manufacture lumber for shipment. In the uplands the timber consist of oak, a dozen or more varieties; poplar, walnut, hickory, elm, ash and gum. In the bottoms there are, in addition to the above, cypress, catalpa, hackberry, holly, &c. As a sample of the size attained by trees, it may be mentioned that one white oak on the line of the recently constructed railroad made one hundred and twenty-five railroad ties.|
|The mineral productions of this county are of some importance, but have received very little attention. Iron exists in vast quantities in our northern hills, and will soon be made available by the completion of the Illinois, Missouri and Texas Railroad. Lead has been found in small quantities as well as traces of silver and copper. Brown coal or lignite, exists in several loca]localities, and salt has been manufactured at our saline springs. There is no outcrop of rock except In the northern part of the county. where iron ores, coarse limestone, and a soft freestone come to the surface. Good lime has been manufactured in several localities, and the State Geologist, some years since, pronounced a stratum found by him near Lakeville, in this county, very superior for hydraulic cement.|
|The population of Stoddard County Is made up largely of emigrants from Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana. Many of the old settlers were "North Carolina Dutch," and there is quite a sprinkling of Germans. There are but about twenty negroes in the county, and they form no bone of contention in political affairs.|
|The roads of the county are poorly kept, on account of the inefficiency of road overseers.|
|The schools have been sadly lacking in efficiency, but have been greatly improved of late. Many new and comfortable school-houses have been built within the last three or four years, a much better class of teachers are being employed, and good wages are paid.|
|The finances of this county have been sadly mismanaged, but not more so than in the majority of other counties afflicted with donaitons of" swamp lands." The ordinary duties and responsibilities imposed upon county courts in this State require mere than average ability and probity, but when to these are added the administration of a vast and valuable estate entrusted almost absolutely to their discretion, the result has been a sad exhibition of weakness and incompetency. The lands have been squandered in railroad grants, gravel-road appropriations, &c. At the close of the war our county court, in its sovereign power, granted eighty acres of land to each volunteer in the United States army from the county, and the legality of the conveyances have never been called in question. In 1868 the remnant of the swamp land left was allowed by the county court to be sold under execution for a small debt against the swamp land fund. Since the last of the land was disposed of the affairs of the county have been decidedly better. The increased quantity of tax-paying property has resulted in a decrease the rate of taxation. There is no funded indebtedness whatever, and the floating debt does not exceed $3O,OOO. At the recent election, the good citizens of the county, regardless of party, united in an effort to secure honest and efficient officers, and were fortunate in securing an almost unbroken list of officials of tested and firm integrity. A heavy immigration is now pouring into the county, and for the purpose of assisting strangers in finding homes an Immigration Society has recently been formed at Bloomfield.|
|In addition to the Cairo and Poplar Bluff branch of the Iron Mountain Railroad, which runs through the county from east to west, about six miles south of the centre, a railroad is now being surveyed from Commerce, on the Mississippi River, to a point near Dexter. The early completion of this road is said to be a fixed fact. This, with the I. M. and T. Railroad, extending from Cape Girardean through our northern townships, will give this county as good facilities for transportation as could be asked for.|
|The price of unimproved land suitable for cultivation is from $4.00 to $8.00 per acre. Farms can be bought at $5.00 to $25.00 per acre, according to situation and improvements. Much has been said abroad about the uncertainty of land titles in Stoddard County, but there is no land in the United States which can be invested in with more safety. It is true that unprincipled pled men have attempted to sell land to which they had no title, and in some cases succeeded in defrauding people at a distance. But our records are all in a good state of preservation, and the title of any tract in the county can be definitely ascertained, so that there is no excuse for anybody that may have been swindled, except their own negligence. Purchasers should always and everywhere examine the records carefully before buying of strangers. Although our court-house was burned during the war, the land records were saved, in which respect we were more fortunate than some neighboring counties.|
|With the advantages of situation, soil and climate, good health and security of person and property, it is believed Stoddard County offers more than ordinary inducements to those seeking new homes.|
|Asherville||150||17 miles west of county seat|
|Bloomfield||800||7 miles northwest from Dexter City|
|Bufflngton*||25||12 miles east from Bloomfield|
|Castorville||80||11 northwest Bloomfield|
|Cross Roads||60||15 west from Bloomfield|
|Dexter City||550||7 south from Bloomfield on A.&.T.&IR.R.|
|Dudley*||11 southwest Bloomfield|
|Gray's Bridge*||20||9 east from Bloomfield|
|Lakeville||200||18 north from Bloomfield|
|Millers's Mill*||50||9 south from Bloomfield|
|Piketon||65||11 north from Bloomfield|
|Circuit Court-First Mondays in June and December.|
County Court-Second Mondays in February', May, August and November.
Probate Court-Fourth Mondays in January, April, July and October.
|State Representative.......W. R. Slack|
Judge Probate Court........P. G. Wilson.
|Judges County Court - A. J. Davis, C. M. Dowdy.|
|Circuit Clerk..............G. J. Harvey.|
County Clerk...............R. W. Christy.
Sheriff and Collector......Collier Morgan.
Assessor...................Chas. H. Bashaw.
Treasurer..................John L. Buck.
Prosecuting Attorney.......George Houck.
Coroner ...................0. C. Jones.
|Great care has been taken to avoid errors in preparing the historical information for this work. It has, however, been a difficult task, as much of the information which is before the public, in regard to the early settlement of Missouri and Illinois. is founded on Indian tradition. We are frequently led to accept that which seems to be truth, which in reality is without foundation.|
|Numerous documents, histories and papers have been carefully compared and examined, and nothing has been inserted in this work but that which seemed to be from good authority. The information it contains will there-fore widely differ from that given by many other writers.|
|In preparing the general history and description of the various counties of Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois, I have endeavored to insert facts, in as short and complete a style as possible, so that any information sought can be obtained in a moment's time. Having traveled almost con-stantly for the past six years in this section of country, it has enabled me to acquire much information of value, besides having one or more contribu-tors in each county, I feel quite sure that my work will be accepted as authority, and meet with the approbation of the public.|
|After much unavoidable delay, in order to have the work complete, I go to press with my first edition, with the flattering list of 5,000 subscribers and advertisers, which leads me to hope that the work will be a success; and with such hopes I offer thanks to those who have so kindly encouraged the enterprise.|
|This work is designed not only to rescue from oblivion the heroic deeds of the early settlers of this portion of the country, who by their tireless industry, toil, patience and fortitude, reclaimed the most fertile portion of Missouri and Illinois from a condition of savage wilderness, and intro- duced the arts, pursuits and blessings of civilized life, but also to disseminate Information of an interesting character and of great practical value.|
|Our mineral and agricultural resources need only be known to be appreciated. The inducements offered to immigrants intending to settle in this portion of the country, are unequalled by those presented anywhere in the Union. The Mississippi Valley is confessedly the richest in the world. The mineral and agricultural wealth of Missouri is as inexhaustible as it is incalculable. The rich coal fields and fertile prairies of Illinois are unsurpassed.|
| Entered according to act of congress, in the year 1875 by L.A. WILSON |
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington
NOTE: pages submitted to this site by
Nancy Hill -Mozarkhick@aol.com
transcribed by Mary A. Hudson email@example.com 02/01/2000