Firsts of Jamesport Township Missouri

First Marriage

Whether it be strange or not, marriage and giving in marriage was an institution in those pioneer days, and a pioneer’s life seemed to be no draw-back, but rather an incentive, to married life. The young people of those-days seemed to believe that success would attend their united efforts, and so a log cabin, a puncheon floor, a couple of pots, a little corn meal and a venison ham or two, was considered a pretty good wedding outfit, with the world before them. In the year 1840 the first wedding took place in Jamesport township. It was the marriage of Richard Hill and Miss Ann Gillilan. The interesting ceremony was performed by Isaac Jordan, a justice of the peace, and they went to house-keeping at once, and there amid the duties of everyday life they passed their honeymoon, and many years after of love and happiness, with now and then a cup of sorrow held to their lips, for-man’s life is changeable, and if the hour of affliction never came, happiness-itself would become less sought for, less a desire.

Other Incidents and Events

The first child born was James C. Hill, son of Richard and Ann Hill The year of his birth was 1841.

The first death was a child of a Mr. Liggett, who died in 1838, and was-buried in what was called Hill’s graveyard. This graveyard is still in use to this date.

The first regular physician who settled in the township was Dr. Carr. He, some ten years afterward, removed to Memphis, Tennessee, and died there a few years since.

The first minister was the Rev. Abraham Millice, belonging to the Methodist church. He preached at a log cabin built on section twenty-eight, just east of Anberry Grove and about the same time Rev. Robert Morgan, Presbyterian, held services at the house of Robert Miller.

The first school taught was in an old log building on Auberry’s farm and. taught by Lewis McCoy. This was in 1838. He got six dollars per months for six pupils and boarded around. On the John Hill place was the first school-house, and school was kept by James H. B. McFerran, who afterwards was a lawyer and banker at Gallatin, and now lives in Colorado. He had some seven or eight pupils, and taught for two dollars per scholar, a session of three months. It is evident that it was not the superabundance of wealth realized from teaching that caused him to take his departure. Six-teen dollars for three months labor, would not be looked upon in these days as a lucrative business. He undoubtedly ” boarded around,” and saved some wealth in that way.

The next school-house built was a log one, and was put up by the neighbors on McClung’s land. This school-house did duty for a number of years. Many of those now living have pleasant memories of that old log school-house where the first rudiments of education were taught them, and where the switch did duty as a guard against indifference and sloth. Jamesport township, including the town, now has six public schools.

Like all early settlements, it was the pioneer women who looked after the clothing of the family, and the spinning-wheel and old handloom had a place in the corner of the log cabins in those days. In Jamesport township Mrs. Rachel Miller and Mrs. Eleanor Gillilan did the first weaving. Not only of the homespun for dresses, etc., but of carpets. It was the rag carpet of those days that did the duty in the parlor. The kitchen or family sitting-room, which was all one, could do very well if it had a puncheon floor, but when a log cabin rose to the dignity of two rooms and a loft, then there was a parlor, and that parlor had a handsome rag carpet, beautiful in color and handsome as to stripe. There the young folks did their courting and split-bottom chairs did duty instead of sofas. They were strong and well made chairs, and would hold two just as well as a sofa, if not better.

At all events, it is hard to find an old man now who would say one hard word against the split-bottom chairs of long ago. And one other thing in favor of these useful relics of olden times: courting done in those days, and where one chair was sufficient, never bred divorce cases, as the sofa has of late years. There was so much of strong, real life in those chairs, so durable, that their strength seemed to be taken up in the enduring love of the young people, and so life passed away in enduring affection, but the sham sofa of today is often the counterfeit of true love, and divorces follow. A pretense-nothing real.

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