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June 27, 2012

1832 - Mt. Olive, Slave Town Formed, 12 Miles NE of Warrensburg MO

Mt. Olive Church, about 12 Miles
Northeast of Warrensburg, MO.

Coordinates (One point per USGS topographic map containing the feature, NAD83)
SequenceLatitude(DEC)Longitude(DEC)Latitude(DMS)Longitude(DMS)Map Name
138.9005672-93.6949387385402N0934142WKnob Noster NW
By Lucille D: Gress, An informal History of Black Families
in the Warrensburg, Missouri Area Amazon.com
Mt. Olive Location

LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY EMERGENCE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

During the transitional period from slavery to freedom, many former slave owners gave tracts of land, usually 20 acres, to their former slaves. Blacks also began to purchase land for themselves and real estate transfers were a key indicator of changes in social status. Changing conditions led some black families to migrate from one area to another. Others remained on the land that they owned and commuted to work sites in nearby towns. Many moved from rural settlement areas such as Mt. Olive to the Old Town section of Warrensburg, creating a sizable population of African American families.
As a whole, the backdrop of the African American in the area was rural, with Old Town in Warrensburg providing a more urban experience. The settlement patterns of African American families in the Warrensburg area have three major focal points. Mt. Olive, located 12 miles northeast of Warrensburg in Simpson Township dates to the end of the Civil War in 1865. Many of the earliest settlers of Mt. Olive were former slaves brought into the area by Sarah Simpson and her son, James, in 1832. The congregation of the Mt. Olive Church, established in 1875, erected a house of worship at the intersection of what later became NE 221 Road and NE 950, which also served as the meeting place of the informal community of African Americans. The village eventually grew to include the Mt. Olive Cemetery, opened in 1900; Foster School and, later, East Lynn School; a series of general stores, garages and welding shops; a horse training and race track; a bandstand pavilion; and approximately 20 homes. The community was self-sustaining, practicing shared work and projects. By the 1950s, the nature of farming, and new opportunities for work for blacks opened up in nearby towns, prompted members of this community to find jobs elsewhere. As the rural population declined, the church became inactive and, with the integration of county schools in the late 1950s, the 38 Other towns in the surrounding area with sizable African American populations were Centerview, Mayview and Knob Noster. dnr.mo.gov/shpo/survey 
Mt. Olive, which got it's name from the bible, was a settlement that was started by James Simpson in 1832. The settlement was located 12 miles northeast of Warrensburg, Missouri, on the Flagstaff Creek and Blackwater River. Most of the settlers in Mt. Olive were former slaves. There were 20 to 30 black families living in the settlement. It started at the end of the Civil War.
James Simpson came to Missouri from Virginia. He brought his widowed mother, 101 slaves, and other families. He owned 680 acres of land and was a farmer. His first settlement was the Simpson Township, which grew into Mt. Olive. Members of the Simpson Township included: Joseph Albin, John Bowman, Dr. Z Case, Alexander Greer, Jerome Greer, William Greer, Wm. Lazenby, Robert Maxwell, Jacob Neff, Wm. Pollock, all of their families, and many more.
In the community of Mt. Olive there were 10-12 black owned farms. The residents were quiet, hardworking and resourceful. In Mt. Olive the blacks outnumbered the whites. In their farms they had chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. They butchered hogs each winter, had a garden, and made milk and butter.
Mt. Olive had a Methodist church built in 1875. When the church was full going there were 30 members. The church served not only as a religious gathering but also as a fellowship for friends to get together. It was a big part of the town. The church held annual Christmas programs and served all denominations. Services were held in the afternoon because the pastor gave services in Warrensburg in the morning. The second church was built in 1914 and the third in 1955.

Mt. Olive Church, Johnson County, Mo
Simpson Township
    In Mt. Olive education was valued as second only to religious freedom. The Foster School was built in 1870 and was destroyed in 1874 by a fire. The school wasn't opened until 1878, where many people found that the colored children were quick learners. "The colored schools are doing well here. They are making rapid strides in education," said Ewing Cockrell in 1881. In 1831 the East Lynn School was built. It was closed in 1955 due to integration and it would cost money to keep a black school open.
    The closing of the school caused many people to move to Warrensburg, essentially shutting down the whole town. All that is left of Mt. Olive today is the cemetery, where Mary Elizabeth, the first person in the cemetery, was left in 1900.

Bibliography
"Mt. Olive: A Legacy of Living History."
Lucille D Gress. February 22, 1998.

"An Informal History of Black People of the Warrensburg Area."
author unknown.

"Churches Played by Role in Black Cultural Development."
Daily Star Journal. Lucille Gress. February 11, 1993.

History of Johnson County in Missouri.
K.C. Historical Company, 1881.

Untitled Newspaper Article.
Concordian. 11.15.95.

Page by: Lauren, Kim, Edy and John 
http://warrensburg.k12.mo.us/vw/scheuerell/2001/r2mtolive/index.html


LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY EMERGENCE OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY During the transitional period from slavery to freedom, many former slave owners gave tracts of land, usually 20 acres, to their former slaves. Blacks also began to purchase land for themselves and real estate transfers were a key indicator of changes in social status. Changing conditions led some black families to migrate from one area to another. Others remained on the land that they owned and commuted to work sites in nearby towns. Many moved from rural settlement areas such as Mt. Olive to the Old Town section of Warrensburg, creating a sizable population of African American families. As a whole, the backdrop of the African American in the area was rural, with Old Town in Warrensburg providing a more urban experience. 

The settlement patterns of African American families in the Warrensburg area have three major focal points.38 Mt. Olive, located 12 miles northeast of Warrensburg in Simpson Township dates to the end of the Civil War in 1865. Many of the earliest settlers of Mt. Olive were former slaves brought into the area by Sarah Simpson and her son, James, in 1832. 
The congregation of the Mt. Olive Church, established in 1875, erected a house of worship at the intersection of what later became NE 221 Road and NE 950, which also served as the meeting place of the informal community of African Americans. The village eventually grew to include the Mt. Olive Cemetery, opened in 1900; Foster School and, later, East Lynn School; a series of general stores, garages and welding shops; a horse training and race track; a bandstand pavilion; and approximately 20 homes. The community was self-sustaining, practicing shared work and projects. By the 1950s, the nature of farming, and new opportunities for work for blacks opened up in nearby towns, prompted members of this community to find jobs elsewhere.

Veterans: Mount Olive Cemetery, Johnson County, Missouri near Warrensburg

Name Cemetery
 Find your ancestors at Ancestry.com 
Bradford, Herbert L 97504493
b. Feb. 8, 1926 d. Jan. 28, 1987
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Bradford, William Mack 97504494
b. Jul. 19, 1897 d. Oct. 1, 1986
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Collins, John W 97504511
b. May 23, 1916 d. Jan. 31, 1976
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Collins, Raymond W 97769709
b. Jul. 23, 1950 d. Mar. 23, 2003
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Cushingbury, Robert W 97504517
b. Oct. 2, 1917 d. Mar. 31, 1950
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Dickson, Howard S 97504519
b. Mar. 25, 1926 d. Oct. 17, 1972
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Hardin, Jimmy Earl 97504537
b. Jul. 7, 1853 d. Jun. 20, 2001
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Johnson, George T 97504564
b. 1896 d. 1977
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA
Ralph, Caleb Anderson 97504569
b. Dec. 21, 1893 d. Nov. 2, 1965
Mount Olive Cemetery
Warrensburg
Johnson County
Missouri, USA

Excerpts from Amazon.com below
"When blacks in mid-Missouri were emancipated, many remained on the farms, where they worked to become paid employees of their former owners, while others immediately departed for cities, where they could look for work. Some former slaves chose to build settlements on which they could form their own communities. There were several small settlements in central Missouri…..Mount Olive in Johnson County grew into a sizable communities.
One of the original settlers in Mount Olive was Robert Collins. Collins was born a slave in Virginia. Collins was the name of the family who brought him to Missouri. When slavery ended, Robert Collins was one of those who decided to remain on the land he had worked as a slave. According to Gertrude Collins Murrell, who continues to live near the old settlement, her great-grandfather made a deal with a white to obtain a home. He agreed to work for the farmer for eleven years at $100 per year, after which he could buy the land. Mrs. Murrell says that her great-grandfather then, in the 1880s, borrowed money from the Concordia Savings Bank to purchase the 280 acre farm. John Collins married Jane Hughes after he came to Missouri, and they had eighteen children.
Other black families quickly joined the Collins’, until there were nearly a dozen black-owned farms in the area, along with many other homeowners. In their heyday as a thriving community, the settlement families had their own threshing crews, logged and had their own sawmill, where they produced lumber. IN the more than one hundred years of its existence, the community had two stores, a restaurant, a garage and a service station. It also supported a horse trainer and several midwives.
The first church was established in Mount Olive in 1875. It was the Mount Olive CME Church. That building was replaced in 1914, and a third building was constructed in 1955, renamed Mount Olive Community Church and served the community until 1955. The Mount Olive cemetery, with its first recorded burial in 1900, lies behind the church.
The Foster School was built in 1923. Both of these buildings were constructed on land given to the community by one of the white landowners in the area. There were several white settlements in and around Mount Olive. Foster School burned down in 1930, and while school was held in the church for some time, another school named East Lynne School was built a little over two miles from the old building in 1931. Between twenty-five and thirty children attended this school. Gertrude Murrell recalls that in spite of the fact that the school had no plumbing or lunch program, and the books they had were hand-me-downs, she enjoys fond memories of her days at East Lynne School.
The small community had a lively social life with its Old Tabernacle picnic area and several dance floors located around the community. And there was the Ladies Aid Society, which was active in sewing, gardening and other worthy projects for sixty years.
Although many of the black farms are rented out today, as some members of the original families have passed on and others have moved away, some of the old families, such as the Collins’, have members who remain in the area. The old buildings that once dotted the landscape have been cleared away, but many years ago a cemetery association was formed to keep that area clean and free of litter. And for people like Gertrude Murrell, memories still linger close to the heart. Mount Olive and the families who build the little settlement may be gone, but their efforts will live on in history. These people made the best of what life gave them. Good work doesn’t get any better than that.”


Variant Name of Mt. Olive, MO - "Priest"
Priest Citation
Source: "History of Johnson County, Missouri" 
by Ewing Cockrell, 1918
 Transcribed by  Karen Hammer -2009


SIMPSON TOWNSHIP

Simpson township was organized January 23, 1875. It was named for James Simpson, one of its' early settlers. Some of its territory was included in Montserrat township.
Early Settlements.-Stephen Bleirus is said to have been the first settler. He settled about 1830 on Haw branch in the eastern part of section 29. He was described as an "unpolished pioneer, full of vivacity, who cared little for how the world moved, and was generous and kind."
One of the first settlers of Simpson township was James Simpson, from whom it derives its name. He was a native of Virginia and settled in what is now Simpson township with his mother, Mrs. Sarah Simpson, a widow, in 1832. Simpson was a wealthy man for those times and when he and his mother came here they brought with them a number of negro slaves. Mr. Simpson entered something over a section of government land where he followed farming and stock raising on an extensive scale. He was one of the first to introduce fine stock in his neighborhood, which he brought from Kentucky.
Simpson was a bachelor. He was a great reader and his library and hunting clogs were his principal sources of amusement. He was not the type of pioneer hunter who pursued the chase in the prosaic way but he always kept a pack of greyhounds and hunted the deer and other wild animals in his own original and exciting way. He died in 1861 and his mother departed this life the same year.
Most of the families in this neighborhood were said to be related to the Simpsons in various degrees of kinship. Among them were the Browns, Ramseys, Youngs, Shepherds, Collins, Fosters, Herndons, Roberts, Roaches, Hanleys, Cheathams, Ofretts, Profitts, Mulkeys and Colberns.
William Simpson, a brother of James, was a negro slave dealer in Kentucky and was murdered by robbers prior to the Civil War. James B. Simpson, a nephew of James Simpson, was a captain in the Confederate army during the Civil War. At the close of the war he returned to Johnson county and kept a hotel in Warrensburg for a time. He died in Columbus township.
Judge John Thornton settled here in 1834. He entered government land and built a log house, spending the remainder of his life here. He died in 1845. He was a substantial citizen and served as one of the county judges.
J. M. Wood came here in 1834. He died in 1851 and was buried in the Thornton cemetery. He married a daughter of Judge Thornton. His two living sons are R. H. Wood, former county judge, now living in Warrensburg, and W. W. Wood, former circuit judge, now living in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
Charles Proctor Collins came here from Kentucky in 1835. He was born in Logan county, that state, in 1809. Shortly after coming here he entered a thousand acres of land upon which he built a log cabin, which remained as a relic of pioneer days for a number of years. He was a strong character and a typical frontiersman.
Alexander Greer settled here in 1838 and he and his brother, Jerome, started a store on the Blackwater near what was then Davis' mill. However, they soon disposed of this business and engaged extensively in the stock business and at the time of his death, April 10, 1881, Alexander Greer was one of the well-to-do men of the county. He was a native of Berkeley county, Virginia, born August 25, 1810. His wife was a Miss Clay, of Allegheny county, Maryland, to whom he was married in 1837. They were the parents of fifteen children, ten daughters and five sons. At the time of his death he owned three thousand acres of land.
Other early settlers were George P. Angel, who came in 1836, from Logan county, Kentucky, and entered considerable land; James S. Brown, who built in 1842; Rev. Amos Horn, Baptist minister and first county judge; James M. Foster, Sr.; John Anderson, half brother of W. H. Anderson, who was the father of Dr. James I. Anderson; James H. Narron and W. H. Narron.

Early Physicians.-Among the early physicians of this township was Dr. Hamilton C. Davis. He had a good practice. He also built a grist mill, which for a number of years was known as the Davis Mill. Later it was purchased by William Kirkpatrick and became known as the Kirkpatrick Mill. At first this was a water-power mill, but later was converted into a steam mill. Dr. J. T. Case, lately deceased, located in the township in 1876.

Early Post offices.-Simpson township contains one small village which at first was known as Millford, taking its name from a ford across the Blackwater near the Davis mill and was the first postoffice. Later the village was known as Grover, and now appears on the map as Valley City. Merchants who kept store here from time to time during the early days were J. Greer, William Kirkpatrick, Ed. A. Strickland, C. Potlett, J. Soister, John Strickland, William Tolbert, William C. Cook, T. M. McDonald and Edward Blake. The voting precinct was here until 1873, when the new township was created, when the voting place of Simpson township was changed to Lynn school house.
A postoffice was established at Millford about 1850, but after the Civil War the name was changed to Grover, in honor of Col. Benjamin W. Grover, an officer who was mortally wounded in the battle of Lexington, Missouri. During the Civil War the office was discontinued and re-established in 1870 and lasted till general rural service. William Kirkpatrick, William Cook and Thomas McDonald were early postmasters here.
Simpson postoffice was established January 16, 1880, at the residence of R. H. Wood in the northeast part of section 29 and Mrs. Sarah D. Wood served as postmistress until the office was discontinued in 1881.

The earliest road in the township was from Knob Noster to Independence and crossed Blackwater at the old Davis mill and then continued westward.

Early Schools.-In Simpson township, the schools probably preceded the churches. Perhaps the first school house within the borders of what is now Simpson township was a log structure located on Simpson Ridge, near what later was known as the Lynn school house. James Simpson, C. P. and Washington Collins lived in this neighborhood. Children attended this school from a radius of three to five miles. In the early days the school was nicknamed "Flagstaff Academy" by its pioneer patrons. Another early-day log school house was built on the prairie in section 29. This also was a primitive structure, 16 x 16 feet in size with a door which swung on wooden hinges with a wooden latch. The benches were made of split logs and light was admitted through a hole in the side of the building and such a thing as window glass was unknown. In 1855, a frame building, with two windows and a door, was erected to succeed the old log structure.
Among the early teachers of this township were Dr. T. Bradford, Dave Horn, W. L. Hornbuckle, J. M. Shepherd, George P. Angel, Z. T. Davis, Alexander Marr, A. B. and James Harrison. Later, the following school districts were established:
Mason, in 1868. Teachers were S. Swan, Lot Coffman, S. H. McElvaine, J. M. Crutchfield, Mollie Fulton, J. W. McGiven, James Johnson, W. Riffey, A. J. Sparks. Sallie Young, G. M. Shanton, Lizzie McClung, Peter Lynch.
Lynn, 1868. Early teachers were J. Smith, Henry Harman, J. Pennington, N. McPherson, John M. Christy, Irwin Granger, J. W. Branch, Dora Foster, Mary Brown, Laura Lutz, M. B. Cole, R. Reavis, A. J. Trapp, T. P. Reid, Laura Graham.
Milford, 1875. Early teachers were Ed. Blake, Julia Lutz, Mary Carroll, Isham F. Tanner, M. Fannie Narron, George W. Couch.
Bowman, 1860. School was burned and rebuilt since the Civil War. Early teachers were Major Humphreys, Dr. William Dobson, Jacob Motsinger, Maggie LeMar, L. Rush, Mr. Jones, John W. Christy, William Sharp, James McCluney, George Amick, James Thomas.
At Eureka school on Mulkey creek, J. W. Branch, G. M. Shanton and Miss Fannie Narron were teachers.

A negro school was built in 1870, burned in 1874 and rebuilt in 1878 on Flagstaff creek.

Early Cemeteries.-The following early cemeteries were located in Simpson township: Oak Grove cemetery, which was established in 1855. John Roberts was the first to be interred here. Foster cemetery located on section 4. Thornton cemetery, an old family graveyard on the Taggart farm. There were other private burial grounds located in various sections of the township.

Early Churches.-There were few religious organizations closely following the early settlement of this section of the county. However, now and then a circuit rider would preach the gospel in private residences at long intervals. Some of these pioneer preachers were William P. C. Caldwell, Robert A. Foster, one of the early ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; William Duvall, a Baptist; John White and Amos Horn and Reverend Mr. Brooks. John Warder and Robert Morrow also preached here at an early day.

Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian church was organized March 30, 1855, by Rev. J. B. Morrow, and other pioneer ministers who preached here were J. H. Houx, Albert A. Moore, J. A. Prather and W. T. Gillam. The following were the first members of this organization here: George Hoffman, Mary Hoffman, Louisa Hoffman, Bedford Brown, Polly A. Brown, Rebecca Walker, Sarah Roberts, John Roberts, James G. Suddath, Elizabeth Suddath, Elizabeth Roach, Virginia Hargrave, B. F. Suddath, Caroline Therrington, Margaret Hanley, Nancy Whitsett, Elizabeth Hornbuckle, James S. Brown, John W. Brown and Sarah J. Brown.

The Methodist Episcopal church, South, was organized about 1855, with the following members: Mrs. E. Fitzpatrick, John McCluney, Charity Atherton, Sarah Simpson, Mrs. S. Brown, Jacob L. Neff, Catherine Neff, John Atherton and Margaret Dobson. This place was in what was known as Columbus circuit as early as 1843, and was one of the preaching points of the circuit riders of that day. The following are some of the early circuit riders who preached here: Robert A. Blakey, W. M. Pitts, Josiah McCary, John Bond, L. P. Siceloff, J. P. Gibson, W. S. Woodard, E. W. Woodard, L. Phillips, L. H. Vandiber and L, W. Pierce.

Mount Herman Disciples church was organized in 1878 by C. A. Hedrick and the following year the building was dedicated by him. The first pastor here was C. A. Hedrick, who visited the place once a month for the first year. G. R. Hand, well known in the pioneer days as one of the ablest preachers of this section, then took charge.

The Baptists and Methodist Episcopal church also had small organizations here in the early days.

The Disciples organized a Sunday school in 1880. In 1870 a union Sunday school was organized in this township. G. W. Shanton, Robert Miller, Mr. Wriston, A. J. Sparks, and Martin Huston were superintendents.
Lynn School Sunday school was organized in 1876 by A. J. Sparks and conducted for two years, with fine results.

Justices.-The following are the justices of the peace of the township as far back as the county records show, with dates of their election. Earlier justices are said to have been Frank McChurey, from 1865 to 1876;-James Simpson, A. Kirkpatrick, E. A. Strickland, and M. E. Donaldson; 1878, T. F. McDonald, William F. Wriston; 1880, R. Stosberg; 1882, A. D. Blake, R. J. Pool; 1886, James Narron, R. J. Pool; 1890, William Lazenby, R. J. Pool; 1894, William Lazenby, J. H. Narron; 1896, William Lanham; 1898, B. L. Riley, Joe E. Johnson; 1902, B. L. Riley, Joe E. Johnson; 1904, William Lazenby; 1906, William Lazenby, T. J. Foster; 1908, James H. Cantrell, B. L. Riley; 1910, B. L. Riley, T. H. Myers; 1912, Ben F. Bell; 1914, J. H. Reggers, T. H. Myers.

County Officers.-The following are the county officers who have been elected from the township since 1882, with the dates of their election:
1890-92-William H. H. Collins (Democrat), sheriff.
1890-James H. Parker (Democrat), representative.
1904-06-R. H. Wood (Democrat), county judge.
1916-R. F. Boone (Democrat), assessor.
County Road Improvements.-County road improvements made by Simpson township since this system was established in 1911, were up to January 1, 1918, eighteen in number, and aggregated $963 furnished by citizens of the township, and $940 furnished by the county.

Churches-Baptist, Mt. Zion; Christian, Valley City; Cumberland Presbyterian, Oak Grove; Methodist, Oak Grove: Union. Fair Oak; Mt. Olive (colored).

1917 War Organizations-Red Cross, Hoffman Branch.
Total number of organizations in township is seven.
Johnson County, Missouri Genealogy Trails

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Battle of Blackwater Just East of Mt. Olive  
Battle of Blackwater, Valley City (Milford) Johnson County Missouri, Largest Capture of Confederate Soldiers (+1000) in Missouri, Civil War.








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