Liberty Missouri History

The township was organized in 1869 and was taken from Jefferson and Gallatin. The real estate valuation in 1877 was $143,510, and the personal property, 613,630, making a total valuation of $209,140. Since then no township valuations have been kept separate, until the assessment for this year, 1881, which under the new law will be taken by townships and the progress made in material wealth the past four years can be known when the assessor’s returns are reported January 5, 1882. The township laws were changed so often that some years the only township officers were the justices of the peace and constable. A law giving township officers was passed and again repealed, and even at the last session changes were made which have taken effect this year. These changes, especially the one giving assessors to each township, are to be admired. The townships will then be able to know what they have gained annually in population and wealth, and which have done the best. When the assessed valuation of a county is given in bulk, it is only by close observation that the difference in the relative gains of the different sections can be ascertained. So far Liberty seems to hold her own, as her gain is greater than that of the county. Some of her settlers are not inclined to much improvement in farm labor or in raising of stock, but prefer to travel the path laid out in their young days. They retard, however, more their own fortune than that of the township, for there are many who believe in the advances made in agricultural progress, and are ready and willing to take hold of the new mode of labor and the improved machinery of to-day. It is these farmers who have given Liberty township her great gain of fifty per cent during the past decade.

These were a few of the incidents of the settling of Liberty township, in fact, with the exception of a change of name, pioneer life in Liberty was the same as in other sections of the county. The steady swing of the woodman’s ax, and the hum of the spinning-wheel was the work of husband and wife. There were changes, for the plow had to be used by one, and the meals had to be cooked by, the other, and the dinner-horn was an ever welcome sound. Day in and day out the same routine went on. But the labor of the pioneer began to tell. The farm began to look like a farm; horses, cattle, sheep and hogs began to gather around. The good wife had her pet cow and chickens, and the rude cabin began to have its rough edges taken off and become more home like. So time passed on, and Liberty township was steadily increasing the area of her cultivated fields, her cabins growing thicker, with every promise of prosperity to all.

The township is well watered by Honey Creek in the south and southeast, and it is here that, perhaps, two-thirds of the timber in the township is found. South Big Creek gives plenty of water in the northern and western parts of the township. Larry Creek, in the northeast portion of the township, is not much of a stream, but a good wet weather branch, which empties, a couple of miles away, into the Grand River. The township is very evenly settled, and there are no towns within the “limits of its territory. It is a farmers’ township, and they have exclusive possession. There are six very neat frame school-houses, seven school districts and two churches.

The early days are yet remembered by many of the present residents of the township. Their only roads were made through the timber and open prairie in the direction they wanted to go. In fact, they had no roads, but wagon tracks.

The Mormons, who made Di-Amon their headquarters, did a great deal of stealing from the old pioneers, and when the Mormon War broke out, numerous cabins were burned and the stock runoff and killed. Honey and, household goods the Mormons had a special liking for, and the Gentiles suffered if the Mormons could compass in any way possession of these articles. For two years they had to keep pretty close watch of their goods and chatties, and it was this thieving propensity of the low class of Mormons which flocked to the county, and the refusal of Smith and Rigdon to stop them, that finally caused their expulsion from the county. When the time came for the Mormons to go, there were a good many articles that the pioneers of Liberty township got back when the contents of the store-houses were brought forth. But with the Mormons gone, there was nothing to disturb the serenity of the people until the Civil War of 1861 broke out. Then for a while there was sorrow and gloom over the land.

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