Macon County History

Contributor: Mary Margaret Kealey


The first settlement in the Macon area was recorded in 1852 by James T. Haley.

Both the county and the city were named after Nathaniel Macon, a North Carolina Revolutionary War patriot.

The city became known as the "City of Maples" when, during the country's 199th birthday, one of the founding fathers, John W. Beaumont, finding himself hard pressed, gave Macon 10,000 young trees, in lieu of the cash on a tax bill for $116.

An Arbor Day was appointed and the citizens were notified that they could get shade trees with which to ornament their premises if they would agree to set them out and care for them. The main residence streets are a direct result of this early day promoter's proposition.

At the time Macon came into being, Bloomington, the county seat, was the only active town in the county.

In 1863, the county seat was moved to Macon by special act of the state legislature. Oddly enough, the move was made to save Bloomiington from the ravages of the civil war.

General Lewis Merril, commander of the Union troops at Macon, gave orders to Major Thomas Moody to burn Bloomington down because he felt that Bloomington was a nest of Rebel sympathizers.

Moody, a native Missourian, didn't want to undertake such a drastic act and persuaded the general to let him run for the legislature and effect a change that way.

In 1886, I.S. Miller established the bottling works in Macon. Soda water was the best seller and in 1905 they started bottling CocaCola.
Banquet Foods was started in Clifton Hill in 1898 and in 1917 a Banquet Foods plant was established in Macon.

Those are the oldest manufacturing businesses in Macon at this time.

The Blees Academy was opened on September 27, 1899 and dedicated in January of 1900.

Col. F.W. Blees not only ran the academy, he also was the president of the First National Bank of Macon.

Blees and another early Maconite, Theodore Gary, collaborated on turning the duck pond into what is known as Macon Lake which was funded by public bonds in 1925.

Gary and his wife built the Samaritan Memorial Hospital with $125,000 of their own money. They also helped finance the Macon Public Library.

Long Breanch Lake

Recreational facilities at Long Branch Lake are the result of cooperative efforts of the city, state and Federal governments. When completed, Long Branch Lake State Park will consist of three park areas. The first park developed is the Bloomington Area located on the west shore. Bloomington Area facilities include a campground, picnic ara, swimming beach, boat ramp and marina. All recreational facilities at Long Branch are operated and maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, The Corps of Engineers operates the visitor Center and overlook on the east side of the dam.

Long Branch Lake's wildlife management lands provide a variety of recreational opportunities for those who enjoy nature. Besides hunting and fishing, you may want to try horseback riding, hiking, outdoor photography, birdwatching or nature study.

Any suggestions please contact me.
Ernie Miles