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January 13, 2018

Mob of 300 Lynches Confessed Murderer, Warrensburg Courthouse, July 1872

LYNCHING OF A MURDERER

THE HANGING OF SHARPE AT WARRENSBURG

A WELL ORGANIZED MOB
--
STOLID NERVE OF THE CRIMINAL
July 1872
Kansas City Star, 1872
Warrensburg, Johnson County Courthouse, Next to the Jail in 1867
From the Kansas City times July 27, 1872

The reader will recall the account of an attempt to lynch James Sharpe, the murderer of John Erskine, at Warrensburg, on last Monday night (July 22). The result of that attempt was evidently anything but satisfactory to those engaged in it, and there was good ground, as the sequel has proved, for the apprehensions of the sheriff, as stated to our reporter, that another and more formidable attempt would be made to take Sharpe out and hang him.

Night before last, just before night-fall the sheriff received an intimation that that night was the appointed time for a renewal of the attempt to lynch the prisoner. Accordingly, Sheriff Smith summoned a large posse to assist him in guarding the doomed man, but the majority of them failed, for some reason or other, to come to time, so that about nine o’clock Smith found himself unsupported save by some halt a dozen citizens, and with the uncertainty before him that an attempt would be made that night to take Sharpe out of his hands and hang him, and that the attempt would be of the most
DESPERATE AN DETERMINED CHARACTER 
The first mob had evidently come expecting to be let into the jail after a little parley, and came unprovided with means of breaking in. 
 They had therefore gone away when it became evident that they could not force a passage to Sharpe’s cell without a fight with the sheriff. The second mob came prepared, if they could get at their victim in no other way, to raze the old jail to the ground. A little after midnight on Thursday, the mob, mounted and numbering over

THREE HUNDRED MEN
Was observed approaching over the sight of eminence that rises between the old town of Warrensburg and Post Oak Creek.  When they had come within a short distance of the court-house square they halted, secure their horses, and came on in two bodies. 
To explain the nature of their operations a brief description of the jail is necessary.  It is a two-story brick, about forty-six feet north and south by twenty feet east and west. This court-house square, it must be remembered, is in the old town of Warrensburg, which is about a half-mile from then new, or railroad town, and westward from it.  The jail is divided into two parts, the north end being used as a residency by the jailer, and the south end fitted up for the incarceration of prisoners.  
Courthouse and Jail Warrensburg, Johnson County MO 1867
The cell is which Sharpe was chained is on the southwest corner of the building, on the first floor, and has two small, heavy-grated windows looking out into the back yard of the jail, which is perhaps ten feet by twenty, and enclosed by a high paling.  The brick wall around the cell is about sixteen inches thick, and the cell itself is a box made of two-inch oak plank, crossed and bolted together, and the whole lined with boiler iron.
The approach to the cell from the inside is through a narrow hall-way which extends to the end of the building, and between the end of the hall and the open air there is only the sixteen-inch brick wall.  The jail has been
CONDEMNED BY THE GRAND JURY,
And is evidently a very insecure place for the incarceration of the desperate felons, either for keeping them in or mobs out.
As has been said, the mob approached the jail in two bodies—one detachment investing the premises in front and the other coming up through the court-house square from the west, and surrounding the south end of the building.  They moved with silence, rapidity and precision of veteran troops executing a movement on the field.
1850's Courthouse Public Square Warrensburg, Johnson County, MO
They evidently meant to do their work of death this time, and to do it for certain, and in spite of whatever might come in their way.  It had become a settled conviction in the minds of these people of Johnson county that Sharpe must dies, and that he must speedily be put beyond any peradventure of an escape from the consequences of this crime.
These men, therefore, were determined.  There was no bluster, no loud talking; no one in the mob was drunk; there were no threats.  The orders and pass-words were delivered in muffled undertones—sullen growls through the set teeth of the lynchers; but there was no bravado; nothing but quiet.
TIGER-LIKE MOVEMENTS,
That had the rustle of death about them, and hoarse whispers that might have been from the grave.
At length, when all was ready, a formal, respectful demand was made upon Sheriff Smith for the body of James E. Sharpe.  The Sheriff was upon the door stone.  It was unpretentious rostrum, but the audience was attentive and willing to hear.
WHAT THE SHERIFF HAD TO SAY
“Gentlemen, “said Smith, “you are, most of you, citizens of Johnson county.  You have helped to elect me to this position, to discharge the duties for which I am here to-night.  You have chosen me to execute and enforce the law, and now you come to break it in spite of me.”

Sheriffs of Johnson County, Missouri
From left. J. H. Smith 1868-1872
H. H. Russell 1876- 1880
William Collins 1872-1876
David Raker 1890-1894
R. M. Lear 1900-1904
Winfield Dunham 1896-1900
A voice in the crowd: “Get out of the way Smith; we would not harm you, nor any of your posse; but we are three hundred strong, and we are going to take and hang Sharpe, no matter what stands in our way.”
“But,” replied the Sheriff, “what are you going to gain by such a proceeding? Why, simple to cast a stigma on the name of this county, to have it go out to all the world that the processors of law are interrupted by by armed mobs, and that the law of Judge Lynch takes precedence of the statutes.  If this were a new, border community, infested with desperadoes, without society, without the methods and appliances of legal procedure, and of executing the mandates of the courts, there might be some justification for this sort of thing.
But ours is an old community. Law is unrestrained in its processes and its execution is never delayed or hampered.  The prisoner is self-convicted.  There is no man or body of men in all the world who will make the faintest-attempt to rescue him.  He can elude justice only by taking his own life, and this he cannot do except by butting his own brains out against the walls or the floor of the cell.
Let it be said for once that the civil law has taken its course in Western Missouri, and that a criminal has suffered the legal penalty of his misdeeds in the manner prescribed by the statutes.  Leave the care of the prisoner to me; his trial to your jury: his sentence to your judge, and his execution to him upon whom such duty devolves.”
NO USE TALKING
“It’s not use talking about this matter, Mr. Smith, “was the calm reply. “We understand the nature of this thing as well as you can do or can. We revere and respect you as a man of courage and honor, and a faithful and vigilant officer.  You know and recognize many of us, for we make no concealment or disguise.  We are all responsible men.  This is not a drunken, howling mob, but a company of intelligent men who know what they are about, who know how to do their work and who had fully and deliberately determined, long before they came here, to do it as whatever hazards.”
Here the speaker stopped, a signal was given, and those in the rear of the of the jail made an onslaught upon the brick wall with heavy sledge-hammers, old axes, crow-bars and a battering ram.  A hole was soon broken through the wall at the end of the narrow hall, and into this part of the jail came five or six, men, with lanterns and crow-bars.
The door of Sharpe’s cell is made of bars of ordinary horse-shoe iron, crossed and heavily riveted at the intersections, swinging on heavy hinges, and secured by a bar and heavy hasp and padlock.  Two crow-bars were run through between the bars, and four stalwart men surged backward upon this powerful leverage.  The iron door creaked and groaned, there was a dull, metallic snap as the
RIVETS GAVE WAY,
Site of old jail and the lynching.
Warrensburg, MO
And in a moment the door was wrenched out of its fastenings, and Sharpe and those who had come to kill him stood face to face in the cramped cell.  Not a word was said.  Outside there was only a murmur of impatience.  Inside there was no sound save the rapid, hard breathing of the men, and the quick click of one of the two revolver locks in the narrow hall. Then came the dull clank of the chain that fettered Sharpe, as it was laid across the side of a sledge-hammer; then a blow or two as the links were but with a cold chisel; the shackles were apart, and Sharpe was seized by two men and taken out into the open air, not free, but doomed, past praying for, and past the last and faintest hope he may ever have dreamed of, that life would still be his.
The crowd fell back as the men came out with the victim, and then closed up close around them.  There was scarcely a word spoken, Sharpe had not opened his lips.  In his spare, wire frame there was not a quiver, and the flickering light of the lanterns, as it fell upon his face, showed not even a shadow of pallor upon its livid surface.  If he had fears, or if there was a sinking at his heart, he gave no world or sign to tell it.
Whether it was clear nerve or brutal stolidity, none can tell.  It may be that, as he sat in his brick, oak and iron walled dungeon, with the pitiless iron clasped upon his limbs and riveting him to utter helplessness—alone, in the darkness that hid his hand raised in front of him, listening to the “thud”, “thud” of the heavy blows upon the outer wall, as if driving the nails in his coffin lid—it may be that those blows smote every one upon his heart and gave him pain as if upon his body and not upon the brick they fell. 
It may be that now as he heard knocking at his door the death he had sat for days and knights gazing at afar off, and with a glimmer of hope between, the shuddered a little and the memory of the sweets life had held for him in better days that were gone, came back to make his heart sick, and set his brain reeling.
It may be that when he heard the tumble of the unresisting bricks that had been at once his prison and his shield, and knew that the last barrier between him and death was down, there came to him in the blackness of his cell and the midnight, as from a camera, the picture of his fireside, his wife and his little ones.  But whatever there may have been to move him, had gulped it down, and when he came out among those who were to take away his life, not a step in all the crowd was firmer that his, not a check was less blanched, and not an eye quailed less than did his vacant little gravy orbs beneath their overhanging red brows.  To take him out to the road and tie him upon a horse was the work of a few moments, and then cavalcade set out of the
PLACE OF EXECUTION
Which was in the timber on Post Oak Creek, about a mile and half from the old town of Warrensburg, Arrived at the appointed place, a halt was made. The men dismounted, a strong cordon was formed around the tree, over a limb fixed about his neck. The men who had been detailed to draw the rope took their places, and then the master of ceremonies stepped in front of Sharpe and asked him if he had anything to say before he died.  Sharpe said he would like to say a word.
“We will hear what you have to say.”
“I acknowledge that I killed Erskine in the manner stated in my first confession. I did not kill Gallagher.  Young’s story to that effect is false.  I do not know what became of Gallagher.  Erskine was the only man I ever killed.  I killed him because I thought he had wronged me in business.”
“Have you any request to make or any mercy to crave?”
“None.”
“Are you ready to die?”
“I am.”
There was a signal, a tightening of the cord, a rasping sound as the rope slid over the rough bark on the limb, and
JAMES SHARPE SWUNG FROM THE EARTH,
Never more to press its surface a living man.  All through the proceeding there had not even been a word spoken to Sharpe by any one of the mob except recognized leaders. Not a jeer, not a taunt, not an expression of malice or revenge. And now, as he swung between heaven and earth, there was not a word or brutal exultation—only the faint gurgle in the throat of the dying man, the rustle of the rope as it swung against the limb, and the occasional stamp of the horse’s hoof, and the sigh of the night wind among the branches of the trees. A few lamps threw a flaring, a ghastly light upon the scene and lit up the solemn, resolute faces of the lynchers that stood around.
Indiana Hanging
When Sharpe ceased to struggle, and his pulse had stopped even its irregular fluttering, the leader announced he was dead. 

“Our work is done, men” he said.
“Now disperse and go to your homes as orderly and quietly as you came here. I hope we shall never have occasion for another such job like this in Johnson county.
The mob then rapidly dispersed in every direction.
As soon as it was daylight Sharpe’s body was taken down and an inquest held.  The verdict was, that the deceased came to his death by strangulation at the hands of parties unknown to the jury.
His body has been delivered to his family for internment.
There was not excitement in Warrensburg over the affair.  Many of the most respectable citizens of various parts of the county, were engaged in the hanging, and they made no effort at concealment or disguise.  The affairs is to be regretted, but it certainly was conducted with a degree of decorum and formality that stripped it of the more hideous features of mob law, and made it an unique and curious affair of its kind.

THE LYNCHED MAN
Was about fifty-two years of age, and owned one of the finest farms in Johnson county, located near Centerview and about three or four miles from the line of the Missouri Pacific railroad.  He was a stock raiser and feeder, and dealt largely in Texas and Cherokee cattle.  His farm, with what stock, crops, buildings and utensils are on the premises, is worth at least forty thousand dollars.  It is said to be only lightly encumbered, and is in a fine state of improvement.
His family consists of his wife and six children, the eldest of whom is twenty-two, and the youngest about seven years old.  Mrs. Sharpe is a lade of about forty-five years of age, rather below the average size of women and more than ordinarily good looking for a women of her age.  She is an amiable, intelligent little woman with a face beaming of with womanly kindness and mother affection.  Her name in the neighborhood is a proverb of charity and benevolence, and she is a devoted Christian, in deed as well as in profession.
In this awful trial that has come upon her she has the keenest and most active sympathy of the entire community.  Since Sharpe has been in jail with a certainty of death at the hands of the law or mob, she has borne her affliction with meekest resignation.  To all who have conversed with her upon the subject, she has expressed her sense of justice that has overtaken her erring husband, and has said that his career has been, in spite of her tearful entreaties and prayerful remonstrances, a wicked one.  A few days ago she visited Sharpe in his cell, accompanied by three of her children.  Then, for the first and only time, he showed feeling and utterly broke down.
His death, in view of his career, is undoubtedly a relief to her, thought the manner of his taking off must always be a theme of the keenest grief and shame. But the community cannot and will not visit upon the innocent head of this dove-eyed little woman a shadow of the reproach that belongs to her hardened husband alone.
July 28, 1872 The Leavenworth Times
James Sharpe - John Erskine
Warrensburg, Missouri 
John Paulee Erskine 1819-July 1872, Murdered by James E. Sharpe
in Centerview, near Warrensburg, MO, Johnson County

Buried in the Centerview MO Cemetery
Age 52 yrs - from Guadalupe, Texas and was murdered near in Centerview, Missouri near Warrensburg.
John Paulee Erskine was born in 1819 in Monroe County, Virginia. The gory details of his murder and the aftermath, from the Dallas papers:
Dallas Herald August 3, 1872 (p.2 col.4)
The Kansas City Times gives an account of the brutal murder of Mr. John Erskine, of Seguin (Tx) in this state, a well known and highly respectable gentleman who has been for some years engaged in the cattle trade. He was murdered by a man named Sharp(e), who had given Erskine a mortgage on his property, to get rid of this encumbrance. Sharp was exposed by his little son, who witnessed the deed.

1877 Nov 17 - 266 Convict Laborers Revolt with Fires - 12 Killed at "Montserrat Coal Company" Mine, Missouri Just West of Knob Noster

Southwestern Coal Association

Montserrat Coal Company
Clearfork Coal Company
Coal Mining in Osage County, KS
Convict Lease Mining, Alabama
The Convict Revolt

The Revolt of Convicts at Montserrat Saturday Night – How it Started and Ended – Statement of J. M. Jobe – Eight Killed and Cremated, Twenty-Three Wounded – Not One Escaped – Efforts of the Officers and Prompt Action of Warden Willis.

Sunday morning the city was full of rumors in regard to an outbreak of the prisoners at work in the coal mines at Montserrat, twenty-one miles west of this city. Yesterday a Bazoo reporter in company with General Montgomery, of the Democrat, took the evening train for the scene of the trouble, to learn the full

PARTICULARS AND DETAILS
Of the scenes enacted at the mines on Saturday night. We arrived at the mines about 7:30 p.m. In the office we found D. W. Marmaduke, Gen. Waddy Thompson, Mr. Gallagher, M. A. Harwood, Captain Todd, deputy warden, and several other gentlemen, who received the press representatives courteously. Their business was made known in a very few words, when General Thompson said: “That is all right, we are glad to have you come and see for yourselves, and get the facts from headquarters, so that they can go to the world in the right shape.”

THE BUILDINGS
Coal Mine during the same era in Iowa

At the mines designed for the comfort and the safety of the convicts consisted of a stockade which was 180 x 220 feet in size, constructed of two-inch plank, sixteen feet high. Inside the stockade was a building 40 x 60 feet, of three floors, as follows:

First floor—Dining room, kitchen and wash rooms.

Second floor—Negroes’ sleeping rooms, where the revolt opened.

Third floor—White men’s sleeping room.

The following is a rough diagram of the Stockade
Stockade Layout Montserrat Coal Company

Leased Convicts Stockade Montserrat Coal Mine,
 Johnson County Missouri

SOUTH

1. N. E. Corner guard lookout

2. S. W. corner guard lookout

3. Direction of fire from corner guards.

4. Oven for cooking.

5. Prison building.

6. Prison building.

7. Breach made by prisoners.

8. Gate.

9. Stairs to second story.
Potosi, Missouri Mine 1870

Mr. J. M. Jobe, one of the attache's of the branch prison came into the office. As he had taken a prominent part in suppressing the revolt, the press men obtained from him the following

STATEMENT:

My name is J. M. Jobe and I occupy the position of commissary and hospital steward at the stockade, at the Montserrat Mines. Saturday night I was in the office, inside of the stockade about seven o’clock, I was at my desk writing. Capt. Todd who occupies the position of Deputy Warden here, came into the office and sent for a prisoner name Allen Williams, (colored) to correct him for giving the wrong name to an officer while in line. He was sent out in charge of an officer, and sent for another colored man named Charles Butler.

The officer returned in a few minutes and said that Butler refused to come. Capt. Todd went out and was gone some time—I remaining in the office. During the absence of Capt. Todd the triangle sounded, which was a signal to go to bed. As soon as the triangle sounded the last time, there were several yells. I left the office and met Captain Todd in the yard inside the stockade. I suggested to him that we had better be prepared for any emergency, as I thought the indications ahead
LOOKED LIKE TROUBLE
He stopped in the yard while I went to the corner where the guards were stationed and got two pistols.  I gave on to Captain Todd and took one myself.  Four of us went up to the head of the stairs (h) and called for Butler, who was standing by the the stove in the east end of the sleeping apartments, with an iron poker in his hand, and the balance were at his their beds.  Captain Todd ordered offices Coffelt, Gordon and Donahue to take Butler by force and bring him out.  When within about ten feet of Butler he said, "Don't come any closer; you can shoot me down, but I'll not be taken out."
Negro, White, a bright mulatto from Chicago, who was in bed, jumped up and said, "Butler should not be taken out. I'll have no man punished here. We will burn the D____d stockade--you can throw your hot lead, but no man shall be punished.  And then in a loud voice he said,
"FIRE THE BUILDING"
While White was giving this talk he was all the time dressing himself, and after he had made the the cry of "fire the building", he was joined in in it by a dozen or more of others who raised from their beds.
They were ordered to their beds by Capt. Todd but did not heed his order.  White then seized a large glass lamp filled with coal oil, burning, and threw the blazing lamp in the direction of the officers say, "We'll burn your d-----d house." The lamp struck the wall and burst into a thousand pieces and the oil spattered in every direction, and all was in a solid flame in a moment.
About twenty convicts--evidently the leaders--made a rush towards the officers, it is probably being their intention to disarm them. We fell back down the steps, Capt. Todd and the others going down first under the protection of stockade corner guard (2). Then
THE GUARDS FIRED
which checked the speed of the convicts. One of of the convicts nearest to me that followed down stairs, I shot at, but in the scramble and excitement, it is impossible for me to tell whether I hit him or not. Guard from corner No. " called met to go out through the gate. (8).  I went out and joined the guards on No. 2.  In glancing toward the burning building the men seemed to be swarming and jumping out of the windows of both stories.  I was followed out by Wm. Baskin, a colored man, who said if I did not protect them they would kill him, as the other convicts charged that he had reported the intended revolt.  I took him out protecting him with a drawn pistol.
We then ordered those who desired not to be engaged in the revolt to lie down, so that we could tell who to shoot at. Many laid down at once and held up their hands.  I then heard the noise of axes and other weapons endeavoring to make a hole through the wall (7).  I saw one man at work trying to make an impression the on the wall.  I took a fair aim at him and fired.  I am unable to to say whether he was hit or not but he went away very fast.  I then went tot he outside where they were endeavoring.
MAKE A HOLE THROUGH THE WALL
the place was guarded when I arrived, but the convicts had made a hole about eight inches across--not large enough for a man to go through.  The north wall was then all in flames. The firing from the stockade guard at No. 1 was constantly kept up by Shrader and Donahoe with considerable effect.  One negro chopped on the wall until he was shot through the heart.  His name is not known.
James Donahoe, guard at No. 1, stand on the stockade guard house until the flames had the same,
ALL THE TIME SHOOTING,
and had to be called down before he would leave.
When Donahoe shot the negro was chopping the wall, he broke into a laugh and said, "there, he will quit chopping now."
POWDER HOUSE
There is stored in this house about six hundred kegs of powder.  I then turned my attention to this, knowing that if that exploded that there would not be enough of any of us left to stop a watch. I took a trusty convict, George Washington, and carried water and kept the building wet until it was out of danger.
Capt. Todd and the whole guard force then marched the convicts to the coal shed, preparatory to putting them into the mines for security.
From the time the lamp was thrown, until the whole revolt was quieted, it did not exceed 8 minutes. The whole loss by the fire will not fall much short of $2,500.00. I am lesser to the amount of $100, or thereabout, in articles of clothing and furniture--my private property.
PARTIAL LIST OF THE WOUNDED
The papers, books and rolls of the stockade were all burned, and it was impossible to to get a full list of the killed and wounded.
NAMES.
Dave Brown jumped from the third story building and dislocated his ankle.  This the horse-thief that Maj. J.C. Wood arrested near Springfield, Mo., in July, 1876.  He was, at that time, an escaped prisoner from the Warrensburg jail.  He is a desperate man.
James Kelly dislocated an ankle--he jumped.
Andrew Abner, also a jumper, slightly hurt in the back.
Thos. King, a jumper, dislocated an ankle and a bone in the leg broken.
William Edwards, shot in the shoulder. This man walked from the stockade to the company's office, and laid on the floor while the ball was being extracted. He expressed a willingness to have the ball cut out, but wanted the chunk of cold lead after it was out.  He would is not serious.
John Edwards, injured in the thigh, and hip dislocated by jumping.
George Dean, injured in the spine, from the effects of the third story jump.  This was man was considerably burned.
James DeVasier, sent to the penitentiary from Johnson county, dislocated an ankle, and one bone broken, by jumping.  His term will expire in five days.
Thos. Long, dislocated ankle.
WOUNDED, COLORED
George Jones feigned an injury in his bread basket--claimed to be in great pain.  In short time he was all right and in no pain.
Mr. Clark injured in the spine by jumping.
John Majors badly burned--considerable skin slipped off.  He will get well.
John Williams, a hog thief from Pettis, badly burned.
J.H. Brown crippled in the foot--slightly hurt.
Geo. Vaughan, shot in the fleshy part of the leg below the knee.
Eight more names whose names could not be learned, are slightly hurt--twenty-three in all were taken to Jefferson City to the penitentiary hospital.
The following is a diagram of the building inside the stockade, show the three floors :
Stockade Building Layout, Montserrat Coal Company, Missouri

CORONER'S INQUEST
Sunday morning, Dr. G. R. Hunt, of Warrensburg, Coroner for Johnson county, was notified of the presence of the remains of eight dead persons, at Montserrat.  He promptly responded to the call, and was on the ground and summoned the following as a jury to inquire int the case:
W. J. Bray, Wm Gant, Jno T. Gilliam, W. J Mayers, D. H DeArman and -- -- Bell. After getting all the facts obtainable, the jury returned the following
VERDICT:
"We, the jury, find that the remains of eight unknown persons here dead, came to their deaths by means unknown."
The twenty-three wounded convicts were transferred to the penitentiary hospital by train on Sunday morning.
VISITORS
Sunday at least two thousand people, many ladies from Knobnoster (one word then), Warrensburg and surrounding country, visited the scene of the holocaust.  They viewed the ruins and expressed themselves satisfied that those who were in charge of the mines and convicts were perfectly able to take care of the States, prisoners and work them for profit of the great common wealth.  The substantial people from the immediate vicinity of the mines expressed freely the sentiment yesterday, that in the future they would feel safe--no danger and no fear of the prisoners escaping and preying upon the inhabitants. 
Dr. R. J. Fewell and Dr. J. L. Lee, of Montserrat, were promptly on hand at the mines on Saturday night, and rendered such medical aid and surgical attendance as was necessary to relieve the wounded men.
WARDEN WILLIS
was at the mines on Sunday morning, at 7 o'clock, with bread warm from the penitentiary, to feed the convicts for breakfast and on Sunday evening they sent several barrels of cooked pork, warm for supper, as all of the commissary stores were burned up, together with much clothing.
NEW STOCKADE
Last night five car loads of lumber arrived, and the work of rebuilding the stockade was commenced this morning.  It will probably be completed Thursday night, ready for the occupancy of the convicts, who are now in the mine. 
Warden Willis arrived from Jefferson City again this morning, to give the matter at the mines of looking after the prisoners his person attention.




 Coal Mines of the same era


Coal Mine of the Same Era, Tough Conditions for Leased Convicts

Larger Coal Mine of the same era



1910 - "Montserrat" was an old world name given to the town by James A. Gallaher when he laid it out. The township received the same name. Montserrat is on the main line of the Missouri Pacific railroad about six miles east of Warrensburg. It is in section 13, township 46, range 25 and was laid out August 24, 1870, by John A. Gallaher. It is in the midst of a valuable coal field and coal has been mined in this vicinity for a number of years. Mines were first worked about 1863, the first mining being done in drifts along the Clear Fork creek. The first shafts were sunk in this vicinity in 1866 by the Missouri Pacific Railroad Coal Company and other companies and private individuals have operated here with varying degrees of success for the past fifty years. In the early history of the village of Montserrat, the following were among the first business men: W. H. Anderson, was a carpenter and justice of the peace; C. B. Baker kept a saloon, and was also postmaster; Thomas Boyd was a merchant and coal operator; John A. Gallaher was a coal operator; Dr. John W. Gallaher was a physician; Dr. J. L. Lea was also a physician; Lea & Gallaher kept a drug store; Lea & Mayes kept a grocery store; S. J. LaRue also kept a grocery store; H. B. McCracken was a drayman; and D. S. Williams kept a butcher shop. J. C. Cooper (colored, an ex-Union soldier and a good man) was one of the pioneer blacksmiths. (Cooper, an African-American blacksmith was one of the co-founders of the Baptist Church in Montserrat. This war veteran’s grandson, Mazell Campbell who is also buried at Sunset Hill in Warrensburg, was highly respected for his work at Knob Noster State Park in which he worked one day with a fractured leg.) There seems to have been a surplus of saloons in the town in the early days. In addition to the postmaster, John Gibson, George James and George Penn kept saloons here at the same time. Montserrat now has three churches, one negro church, white and negro schools, physician, good stores and blacksmith shop. Its population in 1910 was 157.

Biographical Sketch of George M. Boyd, Johnson County, Missouri, Warrensburg Township From "History of Johnson County, Missouri," by Ewing Cockrell, Historical Publishing Company, Topeka, Cleveland, ***********George M. Boyd, foreman of the Boyd Coal Company of Warrensburg, has been connected with the coal business in Johnson county since 1878 or 1879. He is the son of Thomas H. Boyd, who was engaged in the mining business in Johnson county for many years. George M. Boyd is the oldest child born to his parents, Thomas H. and Jennie (McIntosh) Boyd. The others were as follow: Margaret, wife of L. M. Hare, of Pittsburg, Kansas; Thomas Jr., died in 1889 at Knob Noster, Mo.; Susie, wife of Tell Zuber, of Knob Noster, Mo.; John, died at Knob Noster, Mo., in September, 1896; and Nettie, the wife of Frank Booth, of Kansas City, Missouri. The mother was born in Scotland in 1844 and with her husband came to America about 1865. Her death occurred January 1, 1880. Thomas H. Boyd was again married, his second wife being Mary E. Clifford, of Wisconsin. To them were born six children: Timothy, the superintendent of the brick company at Ginger, Texas; Mrs. Rufus Brindle, Knob Noster, Mo.; Mrs. William Connor, Denver, Colorado; William, who resides in Ginger, Texas; Mrs. Arthur Heider, Terbell, California; and Archie, now deceased. Before Thomas H. Boyd came to Missouri, John A. Gallaher was the superintendent of the mines at Montserrat and had been mining coal there for five years prior to Mr. Boyd's coming. In the spring of 1880, Thomas H. Boyd opened a coal mine at Clearfork and the two mines, the one at Montserrat and the other at Clearfork, employed at the time between six and eight hundred miners. In the spring of 1882, 500 convicts from the State penitentiary were imported for use in the mines by Gallaher, under a four year contract. A fight was made on the convict laborers by the local miners and the men were returned to the penitentiary in the spring of 1884. During the time the convicts were employed at the mines, the stockade was burned down by a fire started when one of the criminals threw a lighted lamp at the warden. While the stockade was being rebuilt, the convicts were kept down in the mines, which was from seven to nine days. After they were permanently removed, the Clearfork Coal Company assumed control of the mines and operated the Clearfork mine until 1887. Since that time, nothing much in the line of mining has been done there. The vein of coal in the Montserrat mine was from four to six feet in depth. Thomas H. Boyd went from the Clear- fork mine to one which he opened at Knob Noster, where the vein was four or four and a half feet in depth, and which he operated for five years. His death occurred in 1905 at Knob Noster and his remains were interred at that place. George M. Boyd received his education in the public schools of Johnson county, attending school at Montserrat. At the age of fourteen years, he left school and began working with his father in the mines. He has been engaged in the coal and brick business practically ever since he was a lad. Mr. Boyd has literally grown up with the coal business in Johnson county and there is no more capable miner in Missouri. For 24 years he conducted the brick plant at Knob Noster, associated with his father in the ownership of the plant, the firm being known as Boyd & Son. In 1912 the plant was incorporated and the ensuing year Mr. Boyd accepted the position of foreman of the Boyd Coal Company of Warrensburg. In April, 1883, George M. Boyd and Louisa Clifford were united in marriage. Louisa (Clifford) Boyd is the daughter of Timothy and Mary Clifford, of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Both parents of Mrs. Boyd are now deceased. To George M. and Louisa Boyd have been born the following children: Thomas W., married Mrs. Louisa Riggs, Knob Noster, Mo.; John, who married Sadie Brindle, Warrensburg; George E., married Ursa Vickery, Warrensburg; Robert, married Buena Ragner, Knob Noster, Mo.; Timothy, married Ruth Gardner, Knob Noster, Mo.; Frances, a graduate of the Warrensburg High School and resides at home with her parents; and William Tell, who is a lad in the grade school of Warrensburg. Mr. and Mrs. Boyd reside at 210 East Gay street in Warrensburg. 
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"In the spring of 1868, Thomas H. Boyd and his wife, Jane McIntosh Boyd, and their son, George McIntosh Boyd, aged 5 years, came to the United States. They made the voyage on the steamer "City of Brussels". After arrival in New York Mr. Boyd proceeded to Canada. After some months of travel he returned to the U.S. and settled in Quincy, Illinois, where he remained for six years. Then he went to Ohio and was engaged in coal mining. From there Mr. Boyd went to Pennsylvania where he was employed by a wealthy firm to superintend their coal mining operations which position he held for a period of years.

In 1875 Mr. Boyd traveled to Missouri and located at Montserrat, near the middle of the state. There he was hired as a superintendent of the "Southwestern Coal Association" and was placed in full charge of their coal mining operations. The mines and business flourished under his direction, and his knowledge and services were cultivated. The Company bought and leased over 5,000 acres of land near and around Montserrat. Mr. Boyd also operated a General Mercantile Store which accommodated a wide area of the town.

Later Mr. Boyd relocated to nearby Knob Noster, Missouri, where he set about establishing the Boyd Brick and Mining Company. The payroll from both of these enterprises stimulated the business and the growth of the town. The brick yard was located on the west end of McPherson Street less than a mile from the center of town. The coal mine was a little West and less than a mile South of the brick yards. Mr. Boyd chose wisely in his location of the brick yard as the clay proved to have a variety of uses. Face brick, common brick, fire brick, pressed brick and mud machine brick were manufactured there. In addition many colors from buff to deep red were made. The Missouri Pacific Railroad built a siding spur into the brick plant and each day large orders of brick and clay were loaded into boxcars and onto flat cars. Much of the clay was shipped to Kansas City where it was used in the manufacture of terra cotta. By this time Mr. Boyd took his son, George McIntosh Boyd, into partnership with him. Even today (1996) some of the brick can be found in some of the towns and cities, the following imprint still clearly shown: "T.H. Boyd & Son, Knob noster, MO."Bristle Ridge Coal Mine Mention
1902
"Coal mines operate mainly at Bristle Ridge, five miles south of Montserrat."
"Montserrat Coal. — The Montserrat coal underlies the greater portion of Johnson county and a portion of Lafayette county, and, at one time, was extensively mined near the town of Montserrat. The inferior quality of the coal, however, caused its abandonment some years ago, and at the present time it is only mined on a small scale. In thickness it runs as high as 5 ft., the lower 3 ft., however, containing almost all of the good coal. It slacks quickly and contains a large proportion of iron pyrite."
THE BOYD BRICKYARD--KNOB NOSTER, MISSOURI
Margaret Rages Boyd
"T.H. Boyd and Son, Knobnoster, MO" -- T.H. Boyd and Son, Knobnoster, MO. 

The impression on each brick was sharp and clear as if this T.H. Boyd, whomever he was, was proud of the name and meant it to endure the pounding of countless feet as they walked along the southern edge of the campus. Thomas Henderson Boyd was proud and his name has endured. But my concerns in 1945 were of the "here and now."
I would have laughed heartily had someone told me that this was my link with the Scottish history I find so fascinating today. Even his great grandson, whom I was to meet on campus in 1946, and marry during our senior year was not greatly concerned with T.H Boyd in 1945, as first and second generation Boyds, like so many immigrant descendants at that time, paid little heed to their roots.
Great Grandfather Boyd's brick kiln in Knobnoster was a crumbled ruin that day in 1945. But its history is well documented in Johnson County,Missouri archives and bicentennial publications.
Thomas brought a knowledge of coal mining with him from Scotland when he immigrated in 1868. He was successfully engaged in this activity while living in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1875 he moved to Montserrat, Missouri where he was placed in charge of coal mining operations in that area. Later in nearby Knobnoster, he established the Boyd Brick and Mining Company.
The business flourished and in 1891 bricks bearing the Boyd name were "pronounced by experts to be the best made in the West." The Missouri Pacific Railroad built a siding spur to the plant and each day large orders of different colors of brick and clay were shipped to Kansas City. Clay was used in the manufacture of terra cotta and bricks were used in the building of Missouri churches, banks, residences, sidewalks, streets and most interestingly the interior walls of the classically beautiful Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City. Twenty-six men were employed at the plant during this time and the demand was great. The Boyd Brick and Mining Company was considered to be so important to the town of Knobnoster and the surrounding area that students were sent to the plant to watch the manufacturing process. The plant closed in the 1930's and all the buildings and kilns were torn down. But the bricks "live on!"
In the 1970's while visiting Missouri relatives my husband and I with out three little Boyd sons, stopped at Knobnoster in order to secure several bricks which now serve as door stops in our Ann Arbor, Michigan home.
It is always something of a shock to realize that I am only a second generation American. Looking at the listing for Boyd in a 1972 American Genealogical Research Institute publication I see that a Thomas Boyd came to the United States around the year 1736. That's one hundred and Sixty years before my great grandfather arrived on these shores via the steamship "City of Brussels".
This same publication lists, in the census of 1790, twenty-five Thomas Boyds as heads of house-holds in twelve of the 13 original states. Thomas ranked in popularity with Robert, James, William, and John as a given name in Scotland.
The common naming practice for male children was for the first son to be given the name of his paternal grandfather, the second son was given the name of his maternal grandfather, and the third son took the name of his father. No doubt the brief historical prominence of that 15th century figure, Sir Thomas Boyd, husband of the king's sister, plays a part in the continued popularity of the name. Scottish Boyds must have been quick to preserve any connection with Sir Thomas, no matter how tenuous, by naming their sons "Thomas".
I know little about my Thomas Henderson Boyd before the date 1868. His father was Robert Boyd, born in Linlithgow, Scotland. Thomas brought a knowledge of coal mining with him when he immigrated, which could very easily place his origin in the coal mining country in Southwest Scotland.
The following is copied from a published History of Johnson County, MO. with information furnished by Francis L. Boyd, who was Thomas Henderson Boyd's grandson.
"In the spring of 1868, Thomas H. Boyd and his wife, Jane McIntosh Boyd, and their son, George McIntosh Boyd, aged 5 years, came to the United States. They made the voyage on the steamer "City of Brussels".

Missouri Division of Mine Inspection , Missouri Bureau of Mines Annual Report, 1908
After arrival in New York Mr. Boyd proceeded to Canada. After some months of travel he returned to the U.S. and settled in Quincy, Illinois, where he remained for six years. Then he went to Ohio and was engaged in coal mining. From there Mr. Boyd went to Pennsylvania where he was employed by a wealthy firm to superintend their coal mining operations which position he held for a period of years.
In 1875 Mr. Boyd traveled to Missouri and located at Montserrat, near the middle of the state. There he was hired as a superintendent of the "Southwestern Coal Association" and was placed in full charge of their coal mining operations. The mines and business flourished under his direction, and his knowledge and services were cultivated. The Company bought and leased over 5,000 acres of land near and around Montserrat. Mr. Boyd also operated a General Mercantile Store which accommodated a wide area of the town.
Later Mr. Boyd relocated to nearby Knob Noster, Missouri, where he set about establishing the Boyd Brick and Mining Company. The payroll from both of these enterprises stimulated the business and the growth of the town. The brick yard was located on the west end of McPherson Street less than a mile from the center of town. The coal mine was a little West and less than a mile South of the brick yards. Mr. Boyd chose wisely in his location of the brick yard as the clay proved to have a variety of uses. Face brick, common brick, fire brick, pressed brick and mud machine brick were manufactured there. In addition many colors from buff to deep red were made.
The Missouri Pacific Railroad built a siding spur into the brick plant and each day large orders of brick and clay were loaded into boxcars and onto flat cars. Much of the clay was shipped to Kansas City where it was used in the manufacture of terra cotta. By this time Mr. Boyd took his son, George McIntosh Boyd, into partnership with him. Even today (1996) some of the brick can be found in some of the towns and cities, the following imprint still clearly shown: "T.H. Boyd & Son, Knob noster, MO."
In 1880, the first wife of Mr. Boyd, Jane McIntosh, died. To their union had been born six children: George M. (grandfather of Julian Dale Boyd), Margaret, Thomas, Susan, John and Nettie Boyd.
Mr. Boyd remarried in 1881. His second wife was Mary E. Clifford, a former resident of De Pere, Wisconsin. She was a sister to Louisa Clifford, who later married George M. Boyd. Born into the second family of Mr. Boyd were the following children: Timothy C., Jane, Marie, William, Jessie, and an infant son.Mr. Boyd was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Knobnoster. He died on January 6, 1904 and was buried in the Knob noster Cemetery, East of town. Additional information about Thomas Henderson Boyd is found in the obituary for his son George McIntosh Boyd, who was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. "His father (Thomas Henderson Boyd) was educated for a minister of the Old School Presbyterian Church". Julian Dale and Margaret Rages Boyd, 2630 Patricia Court, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

Boyd Coal Company, operating two coal mines located one and a half miles east of Warrensburg. The mines are on the Burkarth place. The firm has just completed a shaft thirty-two feet in depth running to a vein of coal twenty-two to twenty-six inches in thickness and of excellent quality. Near this mine is the mine operated by the twenty-thousand-dollar stripping machine, put in operation in September, 1916 by these enterprising men. Six men are daily employed in operating this stripping machine. The dirt, rock, soapstone, twenty-five feet in depth, are shoveled from the vein of coal. Above the coal, about eight feet, is a layer of flint rock, which is utilized by being crushed. A stone crusher has been installed at the mine for this purpose. The crushed stone from the Stockton & Lampkin mine has been found to be of the best quality for concrete work and as good as any in the state. It is being used in the foundation work for the new Normal building and has given perfect satisfaction. The demand is far greater than the supply.
Before Thomas H. Boyd came to Missouri. John A. Gallaher was the superintendent of the mines at Montserrat and had been mining coal there for five years prior to Mr. Boyd's coming. In the spring of 1880, Thomas H. Boyd opened a coal mine at Clearfork and the two mines, the one at Montserrat and the other at Clearfork, employed at the time between six and eight hundred miners. In the spring of 1882, five hundred convicts from the State penitentiary were imported for use in the mines by Gallaher, under a four-year contract. ?____ was made on the convict laborers by the local miners and the men were returned to the penitentiary in the spring of 1884. During the time the convicts were employed at the mines, the stockade was burned down by a fire started when one of the criminals threw a lighted lamp at the warden. While the stockade was being rebuilt, the convicts were kept down in the mines, which was from seven to nine days. After they were permanently removed, the Clearfork Coal Company assumed control of the mines and operated the Clearfork mine until 1887. Since that time, nothing much in the line of mining has been done there. The vein of coal in the Montserrat mine was from four to six feet in depth. Thomas H. Boyd went from the Clearfork mine to one which he opened at Knob Noster. where the vein was four or four and a half feet in depth, and which he operated for five years. His death occurred in 1905 at Knob Noster and his remains were interred at that place. George M. Boyd received his education in the public schools of Johnson county, attending school at Montserrat. At the age of four- teen years, he left school and began working with his father in the mines. He has been engaged in the coal and brick business practically ever since he was a lad. Mr. Boyd has literally grown up with the coal business in Johnson county and there is no more capable miner in Missouri. For twenty-four years he conducted the brick plant at Knob Noster, associated with his father in the ownership of the plant, the firm being known as Boyd & Son. In 1912 the plant was incor- porated and the ensuing year Mr. Boyd accepted the position of foreman of the Boyd Coal Company of Warrensburg. History of Johnson County, Cockrell 1918

ALEXANDER SPEIR. Among the worthy and enterprising men of Montserrat, who left their native country and adopted this, may be mentioned Mr. Speir. He was born in Scotland, February 8, 1821. He continued to reside in his native country until he attained his majority. His father dying when Alexander was quite young, he was early in life thrown upon his own resources. He came to the United States in 1854, embarking on the Middlesex, a sailing vessel. Arriving at New York, he immediately went to Ohio, and stopped at a place named Chopaway, where he remained fifteen months. He then went to Maston, 0., and was there one year.From that place he went to Illinois. He came to Missouri, in 1868, and located at Montserrat, and engaged in coal mining, in which business he has had large experience. Although commencing in very meagre circumstances, he has, by industry and energy, succeeded well, and is now a member of the South Western Coal Association of Montserrat, and is an honorable gentleman. Mr. Speir married in Scotland, in 1850, Miss Lizzie McFarland. They have no children.

Missouri Mine Maps Link
“Missouri was the first state west of the Mississippi to produce coal commercially, in 1840 and it is important that we know as much as possible about past underground operations for the safe development of our state,” said Joe Gillman, state geologist and Missouri Geological Survey director. “We presently have approximately 1,000 coal mine maps in our database. However, we believe maps may exist that would enable us to have a more robust database which would greatly benefit the public. Thanks to this grant from the Office of Surface Mining, we are now in a position to make a difference. So now, we’re asking for any information the public may have to assist us in this effort.”
Thousands of mines exist in Missouri, Many small, family operations. Since commercial production began in Missouri, thousands of mines were created and developed, primarily in the counties within the state’s coal region. Some activities were small, family operations whose maps may be treasured heirlooms that have been passed down to family members. Others may reside in county courthouses, libraries, historical societies and at other locations throughout the state. Most maps are hand drawn.
There are two maps of the Johnson County Coal Mines. 

How to participate
Donated or loaned maps are scanned at high resolution, color, archive quality images and entered into the department’s archive. The electronic file is also sent to the Pennsylvania-based Office of Surface Mining for inclusion in the National Mine Map Repository. Maps that are donated will be scanned, cataloged and housed at the department’s Rolla facility. Those loaned for scanning will be scanned, cataloged and returned to their owners.

If you have a map of an underground coal mine in Missouri and would like to participate in this national effort please contact project lead, Cheryl Seeger at 573-368-2100. The project is in effect through Sept. 30, 2011.

History of Montserrat, Missouri
Nora Thompson

Montserrat, called the “rat”, was laid out by John A. Gallaher in 1870 when it was still in Washington Township. Montserrat Township, the last township in Johnson County to be organized, was created by order of the Court on August 6, 1890.

Montserrat is named from the “serrated mountains” or hills which extend southward from the village and are shaped and jagged like “the teeth of a saw”. It is presumed that the activity created by the coal mining and lumber industries in the area surrounding the town brought the people together.

Before the railroad was built there was a stagecoach stop located one mile east of town and north of the present railroad track. It was a three-story wooden building which survived until about 1900. Before the 1900’s lumber was sawed and bricks were made to the north and east of Montserrat. During the days of gypsy caravans, there were many gypsy encampments at the old abandoned brickyards.
Knob Noster, MO Brick Works

In 1867, about midway between Montserrat and Knob Noster, on the south side of the tracks, close to the coal mines, there was a small village inhabited by the miners and their families, which was known as Carbon Hill or Carbon Center. In later years there was also stockyards at Montserrat where many farmers drove their cattle for shipping.
Victor Gallaher -Gallaher's in Montserrat, Missouri

Now, the once blooming little town of Montserrat is still and silent, with only the homes of the few remaining inhabitants and a small store or two, and a couple of churches. The main industry of mining has ceased. The brickyards, stockyards, post office, depot and rural schools are no more, the little village of Carbon hill has vanished.
Johnson County Missouri Historical Society Bulletin 1980’s


 
Warren Street Episcopal Church, Warrensburg, MO Built with bricks from Knob Noster Brickworks