First Settlement of Lincoln Township Missouri

As has been before remarked the township is nearly all prairie, but still it is far from being devoid of woodland. Numerous creeks traverse its boundaries giving both wood and water. The principal creeks and streams which pass through, nearly all of which take their rise within the territorial limits of the township, are Pilot Grove Creek, Bullard’s Branch, Lang Creek, Little Creek, Hickory Creek, and several other streams which fairly interlace the township and upon whose banks a supply of wood is found. Numerous springs also dot the surface, and wells of good water are found at the depth of from fifteen to forty feet. Thus nature has done much for Lincoln township, and now it is only man’s work that is needed to make it blossom like the rose, giving fair homes and full granaries to those who do their work thoroughly and well.

First Settled

It was sometime after the central, southern, and western portions of the township were settled before Lincoln could boast of being the home of the white man, and while Honey Creek township could boast of a settlement as early as 1831, and Lick Fork in 1832, and Grindstone in 1833, it was not until 1837 that these beautiful and sloping prairies became the home of the stalwart pioneer.

In the latter year came John Williams, a live Kentuckian, who settled on section thirty-one, in the southwest corner of the township. James Means, the same year staked his claim on section thirty. Mrs. Sarah Williams placed her cabin on the same section. These were from Kentucky. Peter Bear, for a long time one of the county justices,. came in 1839 from the muddy banks of the flowing Muskingum in Eastern Ohio. He came in March of that year and also staked out a home on section thirty. John Mikels, while from Kentucky, originally, moved to Lincoln township from Indiana, and came in March and settled on section thirty-one. Reuben Macy came in 1838, and so did Thomas Brown. Then came William and Berg. Shirley, and Jacob Brown from Indiana and Ohio, most of whom are still living, enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life, honored and respected by all.

Then we have Joseph Everly, originally from Pennsylvania, who came from Indiana direct, and he too tried section thirty, as a place to start in life. This settlement was on what was called Pilot Grove Creek, and was called the Pilot Grove Settlement, and the church of the Baptist denomination was called the Pilot Grove Baptist Church. It was not long before other portions of the township, received their quota of the new arrivals, and although slow to settle, yet Lincoln proved that her growth was solid, and that her enterprising people were gaining fully as fast in this world’s goods as any of her sister townships. Like the early privations of other sections, the pioneer of Lincoln found theirs, and they, too, traveled nearly one-hundred miles for supplies, taking from ten to twelve days for a trip, and they ground their corn at a horse-mill, or hand-mill, or pounded it in the burnt hollow of a log. Brunswick, Lexington and Richmond were their principal trading points, but in later years, Chillicothe received a large portion of their trade. These corn-mills were pretty slew and it was actually reported of one of these mills of those early years, that the meal failing to come through,  it was discovered that three turkey goblers had perched themselves by the feed, and were eating the corn as fast as it fell into the hopper. This was the story of one of these mills, very slow in its work, and never hearing that the story was ever seriously contradicted, we are fain to believe in its  truthfulness. Like the boy who went to a mill and got tired of waiting for his grist, exclaiming with great impatience and sarcasm that “he could eat the meal as fast as it was ground.” The miller wanted to know of the boy how long he could do it, and the boy exclaimed, “until I starved to death.” It will be seen that there are strong grounds for belief in the turkey story, and that in those early days there were some very slow grist-mills and, with an aptitude for simile on the part of the pioneers that would be no discredit to the present generation with all the advancements claimed to have been made since in the use of the English language and for terse expression. The prairie fires which occurred almost every fall, were the cause of the destruction of considerable property, crops and fences going down before the devouring flames, but they were closely watched and not allowed to get headway when it could be helped. While the pioneers fought the fire wild animals could be seen fleeing from the danger, fearing man much less than the fire. John Mikels counted no less than sixty-five wolves in going a distance of fourteen miles, fleeing from the track of the fire.

In 1841 and 1842 quite a number of .immigrants settled in the western and northern part of the township, and a few years later there was a pretty general settlement. The prairies were rich and yielded bountifully and those who came before were now writing to their eastern and southern friends of the elysium they had found in the west, and to come and see the rich farming lands. They came and saw and settled, and thus has Lincoln grown up a band of brothers, coming so many from the same places that communities have been formed and old ties renewed that had their first inception, in the homes of their parents and the playmates of their childhood.

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