Jefferson Township, Daviess County, Missouri

Jefferson township was originally a part of Grindstone township, one of the three first townships of which Daviess county was formed. It was also one of the earliest townships settled. The western part was populated largely from the people of Virginia, Kentucky and other Southern States, while the east portion drew its settlers from the Eastern and Middle States. Jefferson township seems to be the fountain head of the head-waters of innumerable creeks and streams that flow to nearly every point of the compass, north, east, and south emptying into Grand River, while those on the west pass into DeKalb county. Eleven creeks and branches rise within the limits of Jefferson township, and from these streams are found plenty of water, and on their banks timber of every quality known to the soil is grown. It is in every respect one of the best townships in the county for richness of -soil and splendid timber supply.

In size Jefferson township is now a congressional township, six miles square, and having upon the assessment roll twenty-two thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight and ninety-four one-hundredths acres of land, nearly equally divided between prairie and timber with a rich and deep alluvial soil on the bottom lands while the prairies are in places of a black mould, and again of a rich loam. It is this latter soil which is so Valuable for raising fruit, and Jefferson township is the best fruit growing one, and with more of it, than any township in the county. The finest orchard in the county of Daviess is probably in this township, is the property of Joseph H. Mallory, a native of Carroll county, Virginia, but since 1841, a resident of Jefferson township. A great many of the farmers have given special attention to fruit culture, and the result is what might be expected, splendid orchards, the best of grafted fruits, and plenty of them.

This township lies on the west side of the county, in the second tier of townships, from the south, and is bounded on the north by Marion, east by Liberty and south by Colfax townships, and its western border is the dividing line between Daviess and DeKalb counties. Soon after the break-up of these original townships of the county, Jefferson came into life, and in 1859 was then one of the seven townships of which Daviess county was composed. From that time until 1870 Jefferson was the largest township in the county and was a potent factor in its history. It was also the greatest in population until it was dismembered, and in point of farm improvements is the equal of any in the county. So much for the township whose primitive name was that of “Grindstone,” but which when placed among the municipal sisters of the county was given the name of Jefferson, who was the immortal embodiment of Democracy and free government, whose achievements as a statesman have no parallel in our country’s history.


This town was laid out in 1855, by John Osborn on the northwestern part of section thirty-two and within less than a mile of the south line of the township. It never reached a very large size, but once had some seventy-five inhabitants, and before the town of Winston was laid out, was a rival .of Alto Vista, which was nearly two miles distant, on section nineteen, and near the DeKalb county line. A stage route in the good old days did not pass by Mr. Hine’s store, or Alto Vista, which, with all the etceteras of a “Four Corners”-a blacksmith shop and a few dwellings-had, according to Mr. Hines, and his village neighbors, a proud future, was thereby slighted, and Victoria, named after the womanly Queen of England, secured the boon and high honor of having the aforesaid stage line stop at its door. At one time Victoria had two stores, a dozen dwellings, besides other accompaniments of a village, but the unsuccessful attempt to get the railroad to pass through the place, drowned the brightness of its future, and to-day it languishes. The census of 1880 gave it thirty-eight inhabitants, and as that was two more than its rival, it was content. John Osborn also opened the first store in the place. Being but a little over two miles from Winston, the growing railroad town, which latter might be called as much a part of Jefferson as of Colfax township, being situated within less than a quarter of a mile of its border, there is not much future for Victoria, and the old Queen of the Prairies must give way to the bright and winsome lass whose substantial charms are more inviting, and at whose gates that great agent of civilization, the iron-horse, checks his speed, nods familiarly and then goes rushing on his way. And here we leave the little town, regretting that the bright anticipations of early years have been brought to a premature end.

Alto Vista

This is another bright luminary whose early years were given to rivaling a sister town in all that went to prove her great superiority, and in the bold expression of her great expectations. It is sad to think that this rival town, after a quarter of a century of life’s fitful fever, should Dumber, all told, only some forty persons. Again has Winston caused blight Where once the glamour of “great expectations” threw its welcome folds over all it contained. The town of Alto Vista was laid out by M. D. Hines, in the year 1856, who also opened the first store, and whose trade really covered a large extent of country. It was because they did not get a stage route that started the town of Alto Vista into life, but being a little over four miles from the young “Queen of the Prairies,” she is likely to retain her present population, which was thirty-six by the census of 1880. Having a trade reaching over into DeKalb county, all is not lost, but the halo which surrounds its future is sadly dimmed.

Back to: Daviess County

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