June 10, 2012
1875 Simpson Township Organized, Johnson County, MO.
Source: "History of Johnson County, Missouri" by Ewing Cockrell, 1918
Transcribed by Karen Hammer -2009
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 dogs 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.
Organizations.-The following is a complete list of all organizations of every kind in Simpson township. Full details of each organization are in separate chapters on the different organizations.
Churches-Baptist, Mt. Zion; Christian, Valley City; Cumberland Presbyterian, Oak Grove; Methodist, Oak Grove: Union. Fair Oak; Mt. Olive (black)
1917 War Organizations-Red Cross, Hoffman Branch.
Total number of organizations in township is seven.