Produced by Chariton County Historical Society

These books are possible thanks to the generosity of our Chariton County neighbors in sharing many of their keepsakes and photographs.

Books available for sale are:

Bee Branch Township – $18 + $5 shipping

Bowling Green Township – $10 + $3 shipping

Brunswick Township – $18 + $5 shipping

Chariton Township – $10 + $3 shipping

Clark Township – $6 + $2 shipping

Cockrell Township – $6 + $2 shipping

Cunningham Township – $6 + $2 shipping

Keytesville Township – $15 + $4 shipping

Mendon Township – $6 + $2 shipping

Musselfork Township – $10 + $3 shipping

Salisbury Township – $20 + $5 shipping

Salt Creek Township – $6 + $2 shipping

Triplett Triplett – $6 + $2 shipping

Wayland Township – $15 + $4 shipping

Yellow Creek Township – $6 + $2 shipping

If you are interested in any of these books, you may mail us a check along with your address and we will send your book(s) to you.

Each book in Includes the history, information and photos. Below is just a sampling of the information found in each book.


Includes the history, information and photos on schools, churches, cemeteries, businesses, and the towns and villages of Bynumville, Glee, Lagonda, and Wien. Bee Branch Township is located in the northeast corner of Chariton County.

Bynumville – established in 1859 and was named in honor of Dr. Joseph Bynum who was the area’s only doctor for miles around. Mr. Bynum left Bee Branch Township in 1849 and went to California. The town was not officially laid out until 1878, but people had been living in the area since the 1830s.

Glee – 1898. No information is available. It appears that there was a post office in operation 1898-1902.

Lagonda – 1867. A post office was in operation from 1881-1922. There was a handle factory in Lagonda that produced handles for hammers, axes, etc. The origin of the town is unknown.

Wien – 1877. The first settlers were of Irish and English descent, followed by German Catholic
settlers. A monastery and church were established (St. Mary’s of the Angels Catholic Church).
There was also a school and post office.
Includes the history, information and photos on Bowling Green Bend, Keytesville Landing,
Dalton Cut-Off, Dalton, Henry Goll Store, Sidney Botts Store, Namrash, and County Poor Farm.
The township is located in the south central portion of the Chariton County. Settlers made their
homes in Bowling Green as early as 1818.
Dalton – William Dalton (1784-1853) was the founder and namesake of the town. He purchased
the land from James Keyte in 1830. The town was established in 1867 and owes its existence to
the railroad.
Namrash – Its post office was in operation from 1886-1904.
Includes the history, information and photos on the towns and villages of Newcomer, Indian
Grove, Grand River City, and Brunswick. Brunswick Township lies in the southern tier of
townships and is bordered on the west by the Grand River and the Missouri River. Indian burial
mounds could be found on the bluff line at one time.
Newcomer – lies a short distance north of Brunswick. The Newcomer post office was in
operation from 1886-1906. Newcomer is known as the site of the founding of Missouri Farmers
Association (MFA) on March 10, 1914.
Indian Grove – When the white man came to this part of the county, the greater portion was
open prairie, but at one place there was a grove of trees that covered a few acres. The settlers
found out that this was an Indian campground. Therefore, they named it Indian Grove.
Grand River City – The town located at the mouth of Grand River, was established in July,
1844, with the belief that it would eventually overshadow Brunswick as a business center. The
town eventually folded to Brunswick, its chief competitor.
Brunswick – The first inhabitants of the area were the Missouri Indians who were befriended by
the Frenchman, Bourgmond. He was the first white man in the area that was to become
Brunswick. James Keyte, a Methodist preacher from England, arrived in St. Louis in 1818 and in
1821 was assigned to the Boonslick Circuit which included what is now Chariton County. He
settled in Chariton County purchasing the land and founding the town of Keytesville in 1832.
Keyte was drawn to the Missouri River area and chose this location for a new town, that he
named Brunswick after his home in England, Brunswick Terrace, near Manchester. In 1836,
Keyte laid out the town of Brunswick about one mile below the mouth of the Grand River (about
400 yards south of the present site). The Grand River floods over the next several years caused
the banks of the river to crumble and fall forcing the homes and businesses to relocate to the base
of the bluffs and up the hill. Until 1847, the western most edge of Brunswick was Scott (now
Keyte) Street. Brunswick flourished until the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was completed in
1856 and passed through Linn County. This created a hardship for the steamboat trade and led to
a decline in population.
Includes history, information and photos on the towns and villages of Old Chariton, Monticello,
Thorntonsburg/Louisville-On-Missouri, Glasgow, Lewis Mill, Aholt, Cazzell, Catfish City,
Rockford, Forrest Green and rural schools in Chariton Township. Chariton Township was the
earliest settled area in what became the county of Chariton. French fur traders who located at the
mouth of the Chariton River in the late 1700s were some of the earliest traders in the area. This
township is located at the southernmost portion of Chariton County.
Old Chariton – was located on the Chariton River about one mile from the junction where the
Chariton River empties into the Missouri River and two miles north of what would become
Glasgow. The town was laid out in 1817. At one time the population numbered about 2,000. The
first courts of Chariton County was held in Chariton Township until 1832, when the county seat
was moved to Keytesville. By 1825, the town began to wane after the townspeople had
experienced much sickness. Old Chariton was abandoned around 1840.
Monticello – was settled in 1831 by Dr. John Graves and was situated on high land one mile east
of Old Chariton. The town failed to flourish and little is known about it. Monticello did have the
distinction of being the site if the earliest educational institution, The Monticello Seminary,
which opened in 1839.
Thorntonsburg/Louisville-On-Missouri – In 1835 another effort to build a town was made by
R.B. Thornton at what was called “Point”, just east of the Chariton River at a site where R.B.
Thornton and Andrew Thrash operated a ferry on the Missouri River. The town was later
renamed Louisville-On-Missouri after several years of litigation on ownership of the town. There
were hopes that this town would outshine its rival, Glasgow, but the town failed to thrive and
soon became a town of the past.
Glasgow – After the failure of the earlier towns the town site that was to become Glasgow was
chosen. In 1836 the town was laid out. The town was named after James Glasgow, an early
settler in the area. Only a small part of Glasgow is in Chariton County.
Lewis Mill – Lewis Mill or Lewis Mills Station was in existence by 1899 and at one time
contained a general store and mill. The store closed in the early 1950s. The branch line of the
Glasgow to Salisbury train ran near Lewis Mill.
Aholt – The community of Aholt was situated on land owned in 1898 by Charles Aholt which
was south and east of Cazzell and across the Little Chariton River. There was a post office in
operation from 1900-1940. There was a general store. The business district was on the west side
of what is now Aholt Avenue. Across the road on the east were the cemetery, school and church.
All that remains today is the cemetery.
Cazzell – The Cazzell Post Office was in operation from 1892-1902 in the general store which
also carried needed supplies and a little “hard cider”.
Catfish City – Catfish City got its name because it was a good catfish hole and is located where
the Chariton River goes into the Missouri River.
Rockford – The community of Rockford got its name from a rock-crossing the travelers used
before the bridge was built across the Chariton River in 1897. The population in 1893 numbered
50 but boasted several businesses. There was a hotel, a livery stable, general store, blacksmith,
farm implement business, a medical practice, a school (there was also a black school on the other
side of the river), post office, and a corn and saw mill. The Chariton River eventually flooded out
the town.
Forrest Green (Forest Green) – The town of Forest Green, named after John Green Forrest,
was laid out in 1873 on the Keokuk and Kansas City Railroad that connected Glasgow and
Salisbury. It is unknown when the spelling of Forrest Green was changed to Forest Green. The
town is located in what was the finest tobacco-growing area of the county and for many years
was one of the principal points for prizing and shipping tobacco. At one time Forest Green had a
general store, post office, blacksmith, carpenter, a doctor, a large tobacco factory, a hotel, a
public school, barber shop, and a bank. Mr. Forrest built the first house in the early 1820s on
what became the west side of the town. In 1903 the town relocated further east in what was
known as the Lawhorn 1st Addition, which was referred to as the “New Town”.
This book includes the history, information and photos of Clark Township, which lies in the
northern tier of townships in Chariton County. It is watered by the Musselfork River and Locust
and Clark Branches. In 1883, about one-third of the township consisted of timber, with only part
of the soil being good. There were several schools, churches and cemeteries in the township.
Westville – Dr. William Sheldon West, an early settler in Clark Township, laid out the town of
Westville in August 1853. Westville was a thriving town with a post office, drug store, general
merchandise store, shoe shop, blacksmith shop, mill, church hotel and school. A stagecoach ran
regularly from Keytesville to Bucklin.
Taylorville – Taylorville was located one half mile west of Marceline, south of the Santa Fe
Railroad tracks and contained about 76 lots. It was laid out in March 1888 by E.H. and Emma
Taylor. There was a trading post and the old building had a slot in the door, maybe for mail drop
This book includes the history, information and photos of Cockrell Township. Cockrell
Township was first settled in 1845 by a man named Hamlin who built a water mill on the
Chariton River in the southwest part of the township. Cockrell was originally part of Bee Branch
Township and contains about 40 square miles of productive soil. In July 1883, Judge Lucius
Salisbury and Lewis Bartholomew, who together owned about 2,000 acres experimented by
throwing up a levee that stretched for two and a half miles in length. It protected 1,500 acres of
land from overflow of the Chariton River. This land has some of the richest soil in the county.
There are no towns or villages in Cockrell Township, but it is the home of three churches and
seven cemeteries. In earlier years there were around seven schools.
This book includes the history, information and photos of Cunningham Township. This township
is located in the northwest corner of Chariton County and encompasses 80 square miles of
mostly bottomland all of which floods except for the ridges. It is watered by four creeks: the Elk,
Locust, Turkey, and Yellow Creeks, all which empty into the Grand River which forms the
western boundary of the township. Thomas Stanley was the first pioneer settler in Cunningham
Township settling there near the Grand River in 1828.
Cunningham – Lying on the Omaha branch of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway, the
town of Cunningham was laid out in 1870 by Ezriah and Catherine McLilly in the northeast
section. A house was the first building erected and it soon became a boarding house. Eventually
there was a hotel, drug store, general store, livery, wool dealer, and an implement dealer. At one
time the town boasted the finest horse race track in the state of Missouri. The Bank of
Cunningham opened in 1883. Since one good railroad served Cunningham, the residents were
unwilling to pay to get the second railroad, so the railroad passed them by one mile north. The
depot, however, remained in Cunningham with the train stopping there and only slowing in
Sumner. A merchants’ war between the two towns developed. So very early on a Sunday
morning, a flat car was taken from Sumner down the tracks to Cunningham, and the depot,
baggage, and even the agent were loaded and transported to Sumner where the depot was set up
looking as it had always been there. That was the beginning of the demise of the town of
Forker The community of Forker was located in the southwest corner of the northeast section
of Township 56 Range 20, just to the west of Rt. 139 today. The town was named after Mr.
Forker, a conductor on the Burlington Railroad which ran from Iowa to Carrollton, Missouri.
Sumner Although Thomas Stanley was the first settler here in 1828, it wasn’t until 1882 that
the town of Sumner was laid out. At that time there was a bakery, livery stable, three hotels, a
restaurant, four general stores, a hardware store, two drug stores, two lumber yards, a saddle and
harness shop, and a blacksmith and wagon shop. Sumner was officially named Wild Goose
Capital of the World in 1967 and celebrates its recognition each fall with the Wild Goose
Festival. Maxi the Goose, a nationally known landmark, welcomes visitors to Sumner, Maxie,
the world’s largest goose, was dedicated in 1976. Maxie stands 40 foot tall, with a wingspan of
62 feet.
This book includes the history, information and photos of Keytesville Township. Keytesville
Township lies in the south central part of the county. History shows that there were several little
towns and communities in this township, but now Keytesville is the only town left. Keytesville
also serves as the county seat.
Hess – This community was located about 11 miles north of Keytesville and was founded in
1880 by James P. Hess who owned a general store. The Hess Post Office was in operation from
1888 to 1893 with Mr. Hess as postmaster. In April 1893, John Disney was appointed postmaster
but later that same year, all mail was directed to Padgett, later known as Newhall.
Izora City/Guthridge Mill – This town was located west of the store known as Chraneville and
near the Musselfork Creek seven miles north of Keytesville. The name Izora City didn’t last
long, as it was named by a man from Arizona for his wife. She wore fancy clothes and was a
“fancy” lady. The settlers could not tolerate this, so the post office was always called Guthridge
Mill. The name originated from James Guthridge, who erected a saw and grist mill in 1851. The
town was founded in 1858 but no plat of the town was ever filed. Eventually there were seven
buildings including a mill, two stores, a drug store and two blacksmith shops, along with two
Lodge halls and the Free Masons Hall. Guthridge was considered a rough place and supposedly
the first shooting scrape in the county occurred here. The mill continued to operate several years
after the town began to fade.
Snapp – The town of Snapp was located about three miles north of Keytesville. The post office
was in operation from 1891-1900. There was a general store which also sold hardware, horse
collars and other needed equipment.
Chraneville – Chraneville was located on the curve six miles north of Keytesville as Hwy. 5
turns to go west across the Musselfork River. The town was established by Theodore F. Chrane
in April of 1882, when he and his son opened a general store. The store was the site of many
good times on Saturday nights, with dancing and music. The post office was in operation from
Eccles – Eccles was located in the northwest section of Keytesville Township, just west and
slightly north across the Chariton River. The post office (in operation 1893-1906) was located in
the general store. The church at Eccles was located just north of the general store. Circuit
preachers provided the preaching once a month but Sunday School was held every week. A stile
in the church yard was built at a convenient height for ladies riding sidesaddle to mount and
dismount their horses.
Keytesville – James Keyte and his family along with Frederic F. Crane and his family moved
from St. Louis to where Keytesville is now located in the spring of 1830. Keytesville was
founded in 1832 by James Keyte, an Englishman and a Methodist preacher. The post office was
established in 1831 and Keytesville was incorporated in 1868. Mr. Keyte donated 50 acres to the
county upon which, in 1833-34, the courthouse and other public buildings were erected. (The
county seat had been in the community of Old Chariton where Mr. Keyte preached.) The original
courthouse was a two-story brick square building with four rooms on the ground floor and a
courtroom on the second story. During the Civil War bushwhackers burned the courthouse, but
Judge Salisbury prevailed on them to give him five minutes to save some of the important
papers. A second courthouse was constructed in 1866 in the Georgian style. It was added to the
National Historic Register in 1971, but unfortunately in August 1973, it burned during
renovation. The current courthouse was built in 1973 and was dedicated in 1975. The Chariton
County Jail is located just to the west of the courthouse.
Several businesses and churches were established in Keytesville, along with schools, and a train
depot and trolley car.
Asbury Community – This community is the home of the Asbury Methodist Church. The first
church was dedicated in 1850 and was named for Francis Asbury, a prominent leader of
American Methodism. This first church was located about two miles from its present location. In
1872, a second church was built on the same site. The present Asbury Church was built and
dedicated in 1917. Asbury Cemetery adjoins the church. It is located 12 miles southwest of
Salisbury and seven miles southeast of Keytesville.
This book includes the history, information and photos of Mendon Township. This township is
located in the western portion of the county and includes the towns and villages of Mendon, Old
Mendon, and Whitham.
Old Mendon – In 1865, Bostick and Eastman built the first business here and the area became a
business center. A Methodist Church was erected in 1866. There was also a mercantile, drug
store, general store, and a blacksmith shop. A sawmill was located five miles east of the town.
Mendon – It became evident that a new town of Mendon would be built when the A.T. & S.F.
Railroad made a survey and the town of Old Mendon was south by about one and quarter of a
mile. The new town of Mendon became a reality when dirt work for the railroad was begun in
1886. In 1888, the new town was laid out consisting of 20 square blocks. The town sits parallel
to the railroad tracks and thus isn’t square north and south. Businesses started to move from Old
Mendon and the town began to prosper. In 1890, the Articles of Corporation were filed and
accepted by the County Court. Mendon Cemetery is still where it was in 1860, a part of Old
Mendon. The post office began operation in 1872 and continued today. The first passenger train
came in 1888 and made two stops per day at the Mendon Depot when flagged to stop. The
infamous, always late, self-contained engine, passenger car and mail car, the Santa Fe Doodle
Bug, continued to serve customers several years after the rail company began closing depots. It
was distinctive in color being red, yellow and black and seemed to stop everywhere.
Whitham – W.A. Rankin and Eugene Whitham purchased this land and laid out the town of
Whitham in 1905. They thought it to be an ideal location lying at the intersection of the A.T. &
Santa Fe rail lines. At one time there was a hotel, several residences, stores, two elevators, and a
lumberyard. There was also a refitting shop, the Whitham Bank, rolling mill, livery, a school and
a post office. The flood of 1909 changed the course of history for the town of Whitham. The
Santa Fe Railroad planned to build a roundhouse here but the flood changed their plans and the
roundhouse was built in Marceline.
Includes the history, information and photos on Musselfork Township, which is located in the
north central part of Chariton County. Musselfork Township was created from the split of
Buffalo Lick Township in 1840. This township includes the towns of Mike, Trade-Long’s Mill,
Pee Dee-Musselfork, and Lake Nehai Tonkayea. There are several cemeteries in the township.
Mike – Mike is known as “The Snipe Capitol of the World.” It is located in at the intersection of
Hwy. 5 and Rt. D. The origin of the town name has been lost in obscurity, but there are many
stories linking Mike and Pat, which was the name of a small trading point a mile south of Mike.
The town seems to have been founded in August 1890 when Benjamin Franklin Montgomery, a
blacksmith, was appointed the town’s first postmaster. By the next year Mike was a booming
village of around 200 people. The Mike post office was in operation from 1890-1906.
Trade-Long’s Mill – It was called Long’s Mill until 1895 and later called Trade. This is the
general area that the Iowa Indians came to hunt in the summer. There was a post office in
operation from 1895-1903, believed to have been located in the general store.
Pee Dee – Mussel Fork – Pee Dee and Mussel Fork were bustling little places with eight
resident homes. Pee Dee was on the west side of the road and Mussel Fork was on the east side
of the road with a concrete walkway over the dirt road. Mussel Fork River was probably so
named because of the large supply of mussels and probably the same reason the settlement was
called Mussel Fork. There never was a known record of mussel industry in Chariton County,
However, during the early 1800s there were large processing plants along the Mississippi River
making pearl buttons from the shells. The Mussel Fork post office was in operation 1870-1895.
There were three stores located at Mussel Fork.
Lake Nahai Tonkayea – is a private resort located south of State Hwy. D. Construction of the
lake’s dam started in 1967. Today, many homes have built all around the lake.
This book includes the history, information and photos of Salisbury Township which consists of
the town of Salisbury, along with Shannondale, Oil City, and Switzer Mill. Salisbury Township
is located on the southeastern edge of the county
Salisbury – Salisbury is the largest town in Chariton County. Salisbury was founded on April 1,
1867 by Lucius Salisbury, who came from Vermont. He paid $400.00 in gold for two quarter
sections of land. Salisbury moved onto the land in 1858 and built a frame building of two rooms
on the west side of Broadway and Second Street. The first business was a blacksmith shop
located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Second Street and the first church was built by
the Cumberland Presbyterians. The first post office was established and was kept in the Judge
Salisbury house until 1863. The first house of entertainment was called “Stop a While” and was
used by travelers as a stage coach stop. The public school was organized in 1867 and the first gas
station was opened in 1921 at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street. The first paved street
was in 1924.

Disaster struck Salisbury in 1872 when the town was swept by a tornado. Then another disaster –

fire, struck in 1877, destroying nine wood-frame businesses and by fire again in 1882 and the
town was almost wiped out. The town was rebuilt, but this time brick was used. Another major
fire occurred in 1917 at the northeast corner of Broadway and Second Street, destroying the
Karcher Block.
Several businesses, schools and churches were added through the years and the town continued
to grow.
Shannondale – The name came from a family who owned a large tract of land in the area. At
one time there was a school, blacksmith shop, farmer’s elevator, and pens for holding livestock
to be shipped to market as there was a branch line of the railroad that went from Salisbury to
Glasgow. The train made four stops a day in Shannondale.
Oil City – This location was called Oil City because the buildings were owned by Sinclair
Refiners. There were five lines of refined oil products going out from the plant. Because the
pumps ran 24 hours a day, workers were on duty at all hours. The company wanted them nearby
so they built seven houses. The branch railroad line made stops at Oil City.
Switzer Mill – This was a grist mill located on the Little Chariton River, almost in Howard
Salt Creek Township is located in north central portion of Chariton and contains 36 square miles
and is one of the least watered areas in Chariton County. The area contained coal, limestone and
sandstone. A Mr. Jenkins was possibly the first settler in Salt Creek Township. He built a cabin
on the main road near the center of the township where he stayed a few years before selling to
James Dempsey, Sr. about 1841. Salt Creek Township was one of the best hunting grounds in the
county until the outbreak of the Civil War. St. Joseph Catholic Church – Hurricane Branch is
located in Salt Creek Township. The church celebrated its centennial May 1977.
Padget/Newhall – The village of Padget was started in 1885 as a general store. The origin of
name Padget is unknown. A Catholic Knights of America Hall was soon added along with a drug
store and a blacksmith shop. The Padget post office was in operation from 1885-1893 when the
name was changed to Newhall in honor of the large number of Irish and German Catholics who
settled the area. The Newhall post office remained in business until 1906.
Yellow Creek Township is located in the northern tier of Chariton County and contains 36
square miles. The east and west forks of Yellow Creek and their tributaries unite at the town of
Rothville to form the main branch.
Rothville – The town that was to become Rothville was settled in 1868 with John Roth operating
a business out of one part of his home and Mr. Bristol established the first actual business house.
Mr. Bristol was appointed postmaster in 1868. Other businesses followed. Rothville later had an
established reputation for its flour known as the “Pride of Rothville.” The Rothville Depot was
built in 1888. Over the years, the area near the depot witnessed at least five train wrecks. A
stockyard was located south and east of the tracks. The post office now sits on the south side of
the main street and is still serving the community. Located next to the post office is the Bank of
Wayland Township contains three communities and at one time had several schools, businesses
and churches. Wayland Township is a small township ion the eastern border of Chariton County
looks like a reverse image of the state of Idaho. Prairie is the only town of any size and it was
never incorporated.
Wayland – Folklore has a town identified as Wayland listed as the forerunner of Lick Skillet or
Prairie Hill. It isn’t listed on any of the early plat maps or in any of the early history books of
Chariton County. The Lick Skillet area was the only location in Wayland Township to show a
congregation of families that early to be considered a town.
Lick Skillet – The plat map of 1876 shows that there was a post office named “Prairie Hill”,
started in 1869 in the home of John Sears. Across the road from the Prairie Hill Post Office was a
dry goods store. The area got the name “Lick Skillet” because the owner would feed his many
hounds with the leftovers from breakfast in the skillet. People started calling the area Lick
Skillet. As more people started to settle in the area, Captain Bernell went three quarters of a mile
west and north to start the present town of Prairie Hill. He suggested that the new location be
used because of an Indian legend that the Army respected. The legend was that a tornado would
never occur in the middle of two sources of water. Another reason for the choice for moving the
town was that it was said to be an Indian burial ground near the location of the Wayland School.
Prairie Hill – The town site was laid out in 1878 and themed Prairie Hill in 1880 when the post
office was moved from south of the Prairie Hill Cemetery. The town of Prairie Hill had three
different newspapers. Several businesses churches and were established. Chariton County, like
Randolph County, had significant coal resources that were fairly close to the surface. Prairie Hill
had four or five coal mines. The early mines were shaft mines and provided work for many
years. On October 13, 1934 the newly started shaft at the Teeter mine caved in killing three of
the four men working that day. This disaster was beginning of the shutdown of the mines in the
Prairie Hill area.
Benjamin E. Hicken was successfully engaged in the manufacturing business at Prairie Hill. He
operated a garage for and manufactured several of his own inventions. Among them was an
oxyacetylene welding, cutting, lead-burning and decarbonizing torch, and a garage man’s need
for a light efficient oxyacetylene torch had been met in the “Hot Baby” and “Sod-Tor-Lite”
which he manufactured. He shipped his goods extensively throughout the country.