Campbell's Gazetteer: Monroe County

Source: Campbell’s Gazetteer of Missouri

In the north-east-central part of the State, is bounded north by Shelby and Marion, east by Ralls, south by Audrain and west by Randolph and Shelby Counties, and contains 422, 455 acres.


In 1840, 9,505

In 1850, 10, 547

In 1860, 14, 785

In 1870, 17, 149, of whom 15, 144 were white, and 2, 005 colored; 9, 014 male, and 8, 135 female; 16, 624 native (10, 601 born in Missouri,) and 525 foreign.


The first white settlers in what is now Monroe County were two families named Smith, two named Wittenburger, and one named Gillet, who came in 1819, the first from Tennessee, the latter from some of the Eastern States, and settled on the North Fork of Salt River in the north-eastern part of the county.

Monroe was organized from Ralls county, January 6th, 1831, at which time it contained several thousand inhabitants, principally settlers from Kentucky, Virginia and the Eastern States.

During the first two years of the Civil War, the Confederates occupied the county, and several slight skirmishes occurred. After this, the Federals held possession until surrender.

Physical Features

The country near the streams is hilly, elsewhere it is about equally divided between rolling prairie and timber lands. Along the streams are fertile bottom lands. The soil is a clayey loam, and, except on the bluffs and breaks of the streams, it is rich and productive. The prevailing rock is limestone. The county is well watered by Salt River and its tributaries, chief of which are Lost Branch, Reese’s Fork, Elk Fork, flat Creek, Middle Fork and Crooked Creek, affording in the eastern portion abundant power for flouring and saw mills.

The Agricultural Productions

Are wheat, corn, oats, rye, tobacco and fruits, nearly every farm having an orchard which yields generously. Blue grass grows spontaneously, and is a very important item since this is one of the principal stock counties of the State, improved breeds of cattle, horses, hogs and sheep, being well represented.

About one-twentieth of the county is not susceptible of cultivation, but not over one-eighth of the arable land is being worked. The Hannibal & St. Joseph R. R. Co. have about 1,000 acres of good land for sale in this county. Land is worth from $2 to $20 per acre, according to quality, location and state of improvement.

Mineral Resources

Bituminous coal of good quality is abundant in nearly every township of the county save the northern tier, but no efforts have been made at mining except where it lies near the surface. Red hematite ore, which has been found about 3 miles west of Paris and near Madison, is said to exist in paying quantities, and a sample of the same inspected at St. Louis, is pronounced to contain 85 per cent of pure iron. A good quality of potters’ clay is found in many places.

The Manufacturing Interests

Are confined to agricultural implements, wagon and plow manufactories, saw and grist mills and woolen factories.


Valuation of the county per census of 1870, $10, 550, 000. Assessed valuation in 1873, $5, 352, 610. Taxation, $1.45 per $100. Bonded debt, $250,000. Floating debt, $19,800.


The Missouri, Kansas & Texas R. R., (late Hannibal & Missouri Central,) passes through the county entering at the north-eastern corner, and has 40 ½ miles of track. The Hannibal and St. Joseph R. R. has 4 ½ miles in the north eastern part of the county. The projected line of the St. Paul, Keosauqua & St. Louis R. R. passes across the eastern part of the county, and when completed will have about 30 miles of road. The railroad debt is $250,000, which is mostly held by citizens of the county. These bonds are eagerly sought at par, accrued interest added. They have never been contested.

The Exports

Are principally wheat, corn, oats, horses, cattle, mules, hogs, sheep and tobacco.

Educational Interests

The county is divided into 22 districts, and these into 110 sub-districts. Paris has a fine school building erected in 1869, at a cost of $11,000. Monroe City, Madison and other towns also have good school buildings. The school houses of the sub-districts are good and substantial, many of them being new and all paid for.

The public school fund, arising from the sale of the 16th sections of Government Land and other sources, is $106,000. This fund cannot be used for any other purpose. It is invested in bonds and mortgages on real estate, bearing 10 per cent interest. The official reports show this county to be third in the educational statistics of the State.

Austin, a station on the M. K. & T. R. R. 4 miles n. e. of Paris.

Clapper, on the M. K. & T. R. R. 16 miles n. e. of Paris, was settled in 1870, and has 1 store. Population, about 30

Clinton (formerly Somerset,) 12 miles n. n. e. of Paris, 6 miles w. from Clapper and 5 miles s. of Lakenan, Shelby County, was settled in 1840, and contains 2 potteries. Population, about 30

Elizabethtown – see Indian Creek

Elliottsville, on the Paris and Hannibal wagon road, at the crossing of the North Fork of Salt River, 10 miles n. e. of Paris, was settled in 1842. Population, about 15

Evansville, (Mill Grove), on the M. K. & T. R. R., 17 miles west of Paris, was settled in 1870. Population, about 30

Florida, 12 miles east of Paris, on the line of the proposed St. P., K. & St. L. R. R., 6 miles s. e. of Stoutsville, was settled in 1831. Plat of town in Recorder’s Office, book A, page 4, was the first plat recorded in the county. It is pleasantly located on the divide between North and South Fork of Salt River, ¾ of a mile from their confluence, and was one a very flourishing town, and competed with Paris for the county seat. It has now 4 stores, 2 wagon shops, 2 water saw and grist mills, 1 church M. E. chu. South, worth $700, and 1 public school. Population, about 150 The humorist, Mark Twain, was born here.

Granville, 9 miles n. w. of Paris and 8 miles south of Shelbina, on the H. & St. J. R. R. has 2 stores, 1 steam flouring-mill, 1 wagon shop, 1 public school and 2 churches—Methodist and Christian. Population about 75

Hollyday, on the M.K. & T. R. R., 6 miles west of Paris, has 1 store.

Indian Creek, (Elizabethtown), on the Paris and Hannibal wagon road, 16 miles n. e. of Paris and 3 miles e. of Clapper, was settled in 1836, and has 1 wagon shop, 2 stores, 1 public school and 1 church—Catholic, costing $2,500. Population, about 80

Long Branch, is a post office 10 miles s. s. e. of Paris

Madison, on the M.K. & T. R. R., 12 miles west of Paris, settled in 1836 by James R. Abernathy, contains 6 stores, 1 school and 2 churches Methodist and Christian. Population about 200

Middle Grove, 18 miles w. s. w. of Paris and 4 miles s. of Evansville, settled in 1830, contains 1 steam flouring mill, 1 wagon shop, 4 stores, 1 public school and 2 churches—Presbyterian and Christian. Population, about 250

Mill Grove—See Evansville

Monroe City, on the H. & St. J. R. R., 20 miles n. e. of Paris, is situated on a high, rolling prairie in the extreme north-eastern corner of the county. It was laid out in 1857, though improved but little until the close of the late war, was incorporated April 16th, 1869, and contains 1 steam flouring mill with improved machinery, 1 agricultural implement and 1 coach and wagon factory, about 25 stores, 2 hotels, 2 livery stables, 2 harness shops, 4 churches—Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist and Christian---aggregate value, $20,000. The Methodists worship in the Presbyterian church. There is 1 female institute with a fine brick building, 1 male and female academy and 1 male academy; also a public school. The surrounding country is well adapted to stock raising, and this is an important shipping point for cattle, hogs, and sheep. Population, about 900

Paris, the county seat, on the M.K. & T. R. R.,, 41 miles w. of Hannibal, and near the center of the county, is finely located on the south bank of Middle Fork of Salt River. It was settled in 1831 by J. C. Fox, incorporated Nov. 19th, 1855, and contains a three story steam flouring mill, built in 1867 at a cost of $15,000, which has all the modern improvements, a three story steam woolen factory, built in 1865, costing $12,000, 2 plow and wagon factories, about 32 stores, 2 saddler’s shops, 3 hotels, 1 bank, 2 livery stables and 1 marble cutter.

The court house, occupying a square near the business center of the town, is a large and commodious brick structure, one of the best in northeastern Missouri. It was built in 1866 and cost $50,000. There are 6 churches—Presbyterian, Christian, 2 Baptist and 2 Methodist—aggregate value, $23,000, and 1 public school building erected in 1869, at a cost of $11,000, which has 250 pupils and employs 5 teachers.

The fair grounds of the Monroe County Agricultural Association are located here. The Masonic hall, erected in 1872, and costing $8,000, is a handsome three-story brick building. The I. O. O. F. also have a fine two-story building. All of the public streets are macadamized. Paris has 2 weekly newspapers—The Mercury, Bean, Mason & Co., publishers, and the Appeal, Anderson & Blanton, publishers. Population, about 1,200

Santa Fe, 15 miles s. e. of Paris, first settled in 1825, contains 1 steam saw and grist mill, 2 stores, 1 public school and 2 churches—Methodist and Christian—valued at $3,000. Population about 90

Somerset. – See Clinton

Stoutsville, on the M. K. & T. R. R. 12 miles northeast of Paris, was settled in 1870, and contains 1 flouring mill, 1 wagon shop and 2 stores. Population, about 70

Switzler, a post office 11 miles s. w. of Paris

Welch, a post office 10 miles s. w. of Paris

Woodlawn, 16 miles n. w. of Paris and 10 miles from Clarence on the H. & St. J. R. R., has 1 store. Population, about 20

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