Clay County, Missouri
Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Settlers of New Clay County


It can be said of these early settlers that a more intelligent, industrious, better educated and worthier set of men never settled many new country. They were the scions of a noble ancestry, who had settled originally in Virginia, giving to that State renown and prestige such as no other state in the Union possessed; whose fathers had gone to Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, and whose sons now were seeking homes in western Missouri. It is not contended that all of this immigration was from these states, for such was not the case, but by far the greater portion of these settlers were from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North and South Carolina.

In 1820 the territory embraced in Clay County formed a part of what I was known as Howard County, and the county seat was Old Franklin. At this time, there was not a store at which goods could be purchased within the present confines of Clay County, (it is true some French men had a trading post at Randolph Bluffs, where barter and trade were made for furs and beeswax, exchange being made therefor, in gewgaws and trinkets; but nothing of a substantial character could be purchased.) At this time, if a settler wanted a new axe there was no place to obtain it north, south or west, but only at the nearest place, which was five miles this side of Old Franklin, in Howard County, to a certain blacksmith, who made axes with his bellows, steel and iron, anvil and hammers, and it was estimated for a settler to leave home, with his saddle bags, go to this blacksmith's, get his axe made, then return home, sharpen the axe with an old fashioned grindstone, would take about two weeks of the settler's time. Up to 1819, there was no money in circulation, nor was there in what is now Clay County, according to Mrs. Shubael Allen, then a resident, a silk ribbon.

Bluffton which stood on the Missouri River, near where Camden now stands, was made the county seat of Ray County, after that county was I taken from Howard, Clay County being at the time a part of Ray. The first county court was held there in April, 1821, and two of its members were John Thornton and Elisha Camron, and the clerk of the court was William L. Smith; all three of these officers were citizens of what is now Clay County.

The first settlers of the territory bordering on the Missouri River, not only in what is now Clay County, but in almost all other counties, were Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the two Carolinas, and in making their settlements, located their houses near springs. Their locations were in timbered lands, not prairie, for in that early day prairie land was an unknown quantity, it having been reported, and believed to be, fit only for grazing purposes, hence settlements were made almost exclusively in timber lands.

So numerous were the settlers in what is now Clay County, prior to the autumn of 1821, that it was determined to create a new county, subdividing Ray into two or more counties, and accordingly on the 2nd day of January, 1822, the Legislature passed the following act creating the county of Clay.

At the time of the organization of the county the population was about 1,200 and about this time, or shortly thereafter, this population consisted of other men of sterling worth, not hereinbefore mentioned, who by their industry, enterprise and discernment contributed largely to the upbuilding of the county, namely:

Pleasant Adams
John Adkins
Johnathan Adkins
John Akers
David Ashby
John Aull
Robert Aull
John Averett
Western Averett
Garrett Arnold
Thomas Arnold
John Bartleson
Stephen Baxter
William Baxter
John Berry
Charles H. Berryman
Humphrey Best
Truman Bivens
Walker Bivens
John Boggess
David Boggs
John Braley
Leonard Brasfield
Cyrus Brashears
John Broadhurst
Ed Linn Breckenridge
Joseph Broadhurst
Ambrose Brockman
Robert H. Brooks
Van Brooks
Hugh Brown
Joseph Brown
Jonathan Cameron
John Capps
Daniel Carey
John Carey
Uriel Cave
Nathan Chaney
James Chanslor
Edward Clark
Richard Clark
George Claybrook
Simon Cockrell
Henry Coleman
John Collier
Robert Collins
William Collins
John W. Creek
Killion Creek
Abram Croysdale
William Corum
Joseph Courtney
Thomas Courtney
John Culp
Nathan Culp
Cyrus Curtis
Weekly Dale
Archibald Logan Darby
Rice B Davenport
Alexander B Duncan
Matthew Duncan
William Duncan
James Dunlap
Robert Dunlap
John Ecton
Robert Elliott
Ambrose Embree
Bartley Estes
John Estes
John Ewing
Hiram Ferril
George B. Finley
Travis Finley
Martin Fisher
Joseph Fowler
Young Fowler
Alexander Fudge
Hiram Fugit
Simeon Fugit
J. Conway Garner
John Gash
Joseph D. Gash
Andrew Gartin
Richard Gartin
Robert Gilliam
Samuel Gilmore
Joshua B. Gotcher
Benjamin Gragg
Henry Gragg
Jacob Gragg
James Gragg
Jefferson Gragg
John Gragg
Samuel Gragg
William Gragg
James Greenfield
Samuel G. T. Greenfield
Abram Groom
Amos Groom
Isaac Groom
Joseph Groom
David Groomer
Jacob Groomer
Philip A. Hardwick
Robert Harris
James Harris
Jefferson Harris
Anthony Harsel
Collet Haynes
Robert Henderson
Gow Henry Hill
Thomas Hixon
Peter Holtzclaw
John Howdeshell
Samuel Hudson
Simon Hudson
Ezekiel Huffman
Daniel Hughes
John Hutching
Moses Hutching
Squire Hutchinson
James and Samuel Hyatt
Jonathan Jones
Richard Jesse Jones
Woodford Jones
William Laidlow
William Lainhart
John Lakey
Joseph Lewis
Alvan Lightburn
Leonard W. Ligon
Abram Lincoln
George Lincoln
John Lincoln
George B. Lingenfelter
John Linville
Ely Littleberry
John Littleberry
Peter Littleberry
William Littleberry
John Long
Reuben Long
Arch McCorkle
John McCorkle
David McElwee
David McKee
John McWilliams
Joseph H. McWilliams
Caleb Magill
Henry Mailes
John S. Major
John S. Malott
William Malott
James Marsh
Andrew Means
Nicholas Michalucine
Samuel Monroe
David Moore
Joel P. Moore
John M. Moore
Thomas A. Morton
William A. Morton
Nicholas Mosby
Ed. Munday
Redmond Munkres
Richard Munkres
William Munkres
William Nail
Clement Neely
Robert Officer
Nicholas Owens
Ashby Parish
Benjamin Parish
Ira Parish
John R. Parish
Thomas Parish
Daniel Patton
Henry Pence
John, Adam Pence
Benjamin Pickett
Edward Pickett
James Poteet
Nathaniel Powell
Baruth Prather
Joseph Prather
Winfrey E. Price
George M. Pryor
Allen S. Reed
Jonathan Reed
William Rice
Alfred M. Riley
Benjamin W. Riley
Hezekial Riley
Samuel Ringo
David Roberts
James Roberts
David S. Rogers
William Ross
Lee Rollins
Andrew Russell
John Shouse
Andrew Slaughter
Thomas Slaughter
Sabert Sollers
Benjamin Soper
Jesse Stollings
Daniel Stout
Littleberry Sublette
James Sullivan
Mason Summers
John Talbot
Eleven Thatcher
John Thorp
William Thorp
Edward C. Tillman
Thomason Tillman
William Tillman
Ebenezer Titus
Elisha Todd
Joseph Todd
William Todd
Hendle Vance
Solomon Vance
Jenkins Vassar
James J. Vassar
Peter Vassar
Samuel H. Vassar
John Walker
Robert Walker
Fountain Waller
George Wallis
Charles Warren
James Watkins
Walter L. Watkins
Caleb Weedon
Henry Weedon
Tarleton Whitlock
Benjamin Wilkerson
John M. Wilkerson
James Williams
David Wills
James B. Wills
John Wilson
Abijah Withers
Archibald Woods
Peter Woods
Francis Writesman
John Writesman
Peter Writesman
Samuel Wymore
Charles Younger


Clay County| AHGP Missouri

Source: History of Clay County, Missouri, by W. H. Woodson, Historical Publishing Company, Topeka, 1920.


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