First Settlements - Joseph Hutson was not only the first settler in Lincoln Township, but the first settler in Nodaway County west of the Nodaway River. He came from Clay County, Kentucky, and bought a section of land--section 32, township 66, range 37. This land lies nearly two miles west of the present town of Dawson. He erected his cabin in the grove east of Mill Creek about one-fourth of a mile. He arrived October 29, 1840, and that night snow fell to the depth of four inches. The prospect was not very encouraging for the pioneer, but the snow disappeared almost entirely the next day, and there was no more cold weather until Christmas, the grass remaining green until that time, and that proved to be the mildest and finest winter ever experienced in Missouri. During that winter Mr Hutson lived in his cabin and cleared six acres of land. He had been accustomed to timbered land in Kentucky, and thought at that time that the prairie was not as rich as the timber land. Garden spots could also be made sooner in the groves where there was no prairie sod to rot, which took considerable time. They used plows with wooden moldboards, the moldboards being from five to seven feet long. These Barshear plos were made about five miles north of Savannah, at Bennett's Lane, by Bennett & Son, who sold them at $27.50 apiece. Bennett worked for years at plow-making and realized a fortune. The prairie sod could not be broken by these plows with less than five yoke of oxen, and sometimes seven.
The six aces of ground which Joseph Hutson cleared the first winter he planted in corn in the spring. He also broke twelve acres of [page 234] prairie and planted it in corn. He raised that year fifty bushels of corn to the acre. ...
[page 234] Joseph Hutson lives on the same farm where he located, with his children settled around him. Only two of the thireen neighbors who came together are living now. One lives in Iowa. The writer spent a night under Mr Hutson's hospitable roof and found him enjoying the [page 235] fruits of his early privations, and spending the evening of his days in quietude with his children and a host of friends gathered around him.
B.F. Hutson, John Bagley, Silas Davidson and James Sunseford settled east of him within two miles and a half. They opened farms in the timber of the Nodaway River. These all came in the year 1841. Thomas Heddy and Elisha Heddy, his brother, and Wiley Crowder, all located in the year 1841, about one mile and a half east and a little north of him in the Nodaway timber.
Dr Benjamin Parker located on an adjoining farm and went to farming, there not being enough people there to sustain him in the practice of medicine alone.
John Smith located north of Lamar's claim on the Nodaway Bluffs, a mile from the river, on the west side, Geo Oster settled one mile and a half west of the present site of Dawson, in the grove. John, his son, married Miss Melvina Potter, in 1843, of Caldwell County, and located near him. Abijah Hampton married Nancy Oster, Geo Oster's daughter, and took a claim a little north of him.
William Taylor married another daughter, Julia Oster, and settled on an adjoining claim. Wm Berget located four miles west of Dawson.Edmond Chestnut took a claim near Berget and William Wiet settled in the same neighborhood. James Colvin bought the claim of Wiet, and Ambrose Colvin bought the claim of Abijah Hampton. Mansel Graves settled near where Elmo now stands, about one mile and a half west. Alfred and his brother, Aaron Graves, located on Tarkio Ridge.
The Hutson colony of thirteen went in company to mill. Two men went at a time with two wagons, and took from forty to eighty bushels of grain. Then, before their supply of flour was exhausted, two more would go. When the men returned from ill, all the neighbors would come together, and divide the flour, each one having his own sacks. They generally went with cattle, three or four yoke to a wagon, but sometimes with two-horse wagons. In those pioneer times they went to Hughes' Mill, fifty miles distant. The mill was located five miles east of Savannah. In going to mill, they would be absent five or six days.
Pioneers were accustomed to grate corn on a grater, especially during the first winter.
When they first went to mill, they laid in all their groceries at White Hall, three miles north of Savannah. After about three years, Savannah was laid out, and they began to trade there with Geo Smith and Robert Donald.
They first obtained their mail at White Hall, and then at Savannah. Postage on a letter at that time was twenty-five cents.
Those going to mill would take their guns and kill game along the way, and camping in the timber, they would cook it.
[page 236] Joseph Hutson's first neighbor was near Quitman; the second was at Graham; the third at Bennett's Lane, where all their blacksmithing was done for two or three years, until Mr Hutson built a blacksmith shop in 1842. He made the first set of mill irons for a mill on Hutson's Creek, now called Mill Creek. He would weld three bars, four inches wide and an inch thick, with two strikers for the spindles and gudgeons of the mill corn cracker.
Mrs Haney Lamar was the first person who died on the west side of the Nodaway River. She died August 23, 1842. The second person who died was Rufus Lamar, her oldest son. They were both buried in ground selected for the purpose on a little ridge near the Nodaway River. As there were no saw mills then in all that section, Mr Joseph Hutson sawed boards for their coffins out of a black walnut log with a whip-saw. In those pioneer days there was not as much display as in later times, but such sad scenes, in all their simplicity in those early days, did not lose anything, perhaps, in tender affection.
John M. Lamar, Sr., settled in the timber on the Nodaway River, about five miles north of where Dawson is now located. Mr Lamar was born in Anderson County, Tennessee, on the 6th day of July, 1804, and died August 16, 1877. In 1841, he moved from Hendricks County, Indiana, to Platte County, this State, and in May, 1842, he came to Nodaway County, or to what is now known as Nodaway County, as that was before the county was formed. At that time there were only a few settlers in all the Nodaway River country. Mr Lamar settled upon a beautiful pieceof land.
In those days wild game was abundant and the Indians enjoyed themselves in killing deer, turkeys, etc., on the very spot where are now located some of the most beautiful farms to be seen in the county.
It was several years after he came here before many other immigrants came in. At the time Mr Lamar came, this portion of the county had not been surveyed, and it was denominated the "lost land," that is, returned to the Government as not being worth surveying. Those surveyors were probably sincere in so returning the land then. We, however, know now that they were greatly mistaken. It is, though, quite suggestive that a scope of country which was returned as not being worth surveying forty years ago is now a beautiful, well cultivated and productive region. Before the surveys were made all the right and title to lands were acquired by discovery, or by settling down upon them. Fortunately, the claims thus taken were so far apart that after the surveys were made no person's rights were infringed upon, and consequently there were no difficulties attendant upon the surveys. For several years after Mr Lamar came to this county, Savannah was his post office, to which lace it was forty-five miles. We would think it [page 237] rather far to go in this day when the mail facilities are so great. When Mr Lamar came here St Joseph was a hemp field.
Mr Lamar was married twice. He has four children living, namely: Napoleon B. Lamar and Charles J. Lamar. Sarah married Thomas Lamar, and Rutela married John Hudson. Mr Lamar reared a most exemplary family. He lived a long and useful live. He was a vigorous and interesting conversationalist, had a clear, retentive memory, and illustrated in a free and easy manner the incidents of the early days in this our now great county.
Napoleon B. Lamar was born in Anderson County, Tennessee, March 13, 1829. He came to this county with his father in the spring of 1842. Much that has been said in the sketch of his father will also apply to a sketch of his life. Napoleon relates many amusing incidents of the Indians. He frequently went to their camps in an early day here, and witnessed their fun and frolics. He knew some of the chiefs, among whom were Powcheik, of the Mosquacha tribe, and Black Turkey, of the Pottawatomies. He says that whenever the Indians were going to take a spree some of them would keep sober. Before beginning the spree all the bows and arrows and tomahawks were hid away. This was done that the Indians might not hurt each other when under the influence of whisky. Mr Lamar relates an instance of an Indian spree in which one of their number was killed. It appears he was choked to death, as finger prints could be seen about his throat. When they buried him they set him up against a tree, and built a little pen around him, which they daubed over with clay until he was hidden from sight. They buried pipe and tobacco with him, that he might smoke on his way to the happy hunting grounds. A certain Indian, whom they called Malisha, was suspected as being the one who choked the Indian to death. Mr Lamar says he heard that Malisha was tried for the crime, after the Indians had removed the camp to another place, but he never learned the result of the trial. He was tried in this way: Some herbs were given to him, and if they should have a certain effect he was guilty, and would be put to death, if the herbs did not produce that effect he was innocent, and his life would be spared.
In another case where a squaw died, she was buried with a kettle of soup, and a ladle was placed in it that she might use the soup on her dark journey to the happy hunting grounds. Mr Lamar says the Indians would not kill a wolf. They seemed to have a tradition that the wolf was the dog of their ancestors, and they protected him as if he was sacred to them.
Charles Lamar is two years younger than Napoleon. He came to this county with his father, and therefore all that has been said relative to early days here in the sketches of his father and brother will also apply to Charles. Charles Lamar married Kisah Hudson. They have [page 238] three children living--two sons and one daughter. Their daughter Dora is married to W.W. Ramsay, a member of the Maryville bar.
They are all exemplary citizens, and men who stand high in the community in which they live.
The following are additional names of old settlers: