Early History of Colfax Township Missouri

The first marriage took place, and they who proposed to travel together in life’s journey were Robert Castor and Sarah Jane Kier. The nuptial ceremony was performed by the Rev. James Reed, a Baptist preacher, at the residence of the bride’s father, Robert Kier, on section thirteen, October 5, 1843.

The first child known to have been born in the township was James Alfred Castor, son of the above couple, born August 15, 1844.

The first mill was put up by J. Lenhart on section thirteen, in the year 1842. It was made of native rock and was well put together. Two or four horses, were used, as demanded, and the bolt was turned by hand. The maximum capacity was about fifty bushels per day. The advent of this mill was one of the old landmarks of progress for a number of years after, and was the mill for the settlers for from ten to thirty miles around. When a rush came they were obliged to camp out around the mill and sometimes remain a week for their time to come, but the mill was a great convenience and was much better even with the delay than traveling from sixty to eighty miles. When their grist was ground they would manage, even those who lived at a distance, to get home in a day and night.

The first school-house was built, as near as can be ascertained, on section thirteen, in the year 1846. A. log cabin 16×18 feet in size, put up by the neighbors for their own convenience. The first teacher was Miss Elizabeth Morton, and without regard to the number of pupils, she received a salary of $10 per month. This was the only school in that section of the township for quite a number of years. It was built on the Castor farm.

Another school was taught on the west side by M. C. Weddle, and he received $1 tuition per pupil. This, if not about the time of Miss Morton’s school, was not over a year later. The date is given earlier, but not sufficiently corroborated to make it a certainty. Mr. Weddle removed to Gentry county. The next school-house was built on section six, in the northwest corner of the township, in 1850, and its first teacher was Mr. Love, who came from Indiana. At this time Colfax township can boast of six good frame school-houses, and the cause of education in the township was never more promising.

Dr. Venable, who died some few years after his arrival, was one of the first practicing physicians in the township. Now and then the noted Dr. William P. Thompson, of Grundy county, was found within its precincts, and with these and a little herb tea and other stimulants, the old pioneer tried to worry through. It wasn’t the kind of climate to make doctors wealthy, and so there were not many who practiced the healing art for a living.

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