Its Boundary - Old Settlers - Mills -
Linn township is bounded on the north by Prairie, on
the east by Cuivre, on the south by Loutre, and on the by
Salt Creek townships. It embraces an area of fifty-four
square miles, and is a fine agricultural district. It is
watered by Cuivre creek and one or two tributaries of
Salt river. It is traversed almost its entire length from
east to west, by the Chicago and Alton Railroad - the
road entering the township at section 22, and passing out
at section 2.
Many of the old settlers of Linn township are
mentioned in the history of Prairie township. Linn was
for many years a part of Prairie.
Shorten Blankenship came to Audrain county in the spring
of 1837, and located on Littleby creek on the 11th day of
April of that year. His father's name was Eli, and his
mother's name was Mary. The family came from Logan
county, Virginia. There were sixteen children, all of
whom lived to be grown. Their names were: Shorten, Jesse,
Claiborne, Thomas, John, Reuben, Henry, Levi, Chloe,
Polly, Lavina, Esther, Annie, Rachael, Nancy, and
Duncan Blue, of Scotland, married his cousin, Effie Blue,
and came to America and settled in North Carolina before
the Revolution. He joined the American army, when the war
began, and served during the struggle for independence.
After the war, he moved to Christian county, Kentucky.
His children were: Daniel, Neal, and Peggy. Neal was in
the War of 1812. He married Elizabeth Galbreth, of North
Carolina, and they had Duncan, John, Sally, Effie A.,
Peggy, Flora, Eliza, Emeline, Caroline and Charlotte E.
Several of the children died young, and in 1831, Mr. Blue
and the rest of his family came to Missouri and settled
in Audrain county.
The first and only mill that was ever erected in the
township was a horse-mill and put up by Neal Blue about
1840, near the mouth of Littleby creek.
David Martin came to the township in 1836, and raised the
first crop of tobacco in that section of country. The
seed was brought to the county by him, and the tobacco
was known as the "Yellow Pryor."
James Harrison, or as he was called, "Jeems"
Harrison, by the old pioneers, was one of the earliest
settlers in the township. He came from Virginia, and
after living in Audrain county a number of years, he
moved to Callaway, and there died before the War of 1861.
He was one of the most noted hunters in the country,
having acquired his reputation by spending much of his
time in the woods. The last elk that was killed in the
county was shot by Mr. Harrison. His old flint-lock gun
was very homely in appearance, but possessed rare virtues
in the estimation of its owner, who seldom failed to
bring down the deer upon which he drew a bead. He killed
the elk referred to in March, 1837.
The first double barrel shot-gun that was brought to Linn
township, and probably the first that was brought into
the county, was owned by an old settler whose name was
McCamey. It was a great curiosity in the way of a
fire-arm, and those who were fond of hunting, and who
were living in the neighborhood of McCamey's cabin, all.
tried, his gun. McCamey died on Cuivre creek before the
Douglass Murray, another early settler, was the
recognized fiddler of the community.
His fiddle was his inseparable companion, and when
spending an evening with his friends, he possessed the
happy faculty of discoursing to them the most delightful
music, always accompanying his instrument with an unique
and improvised song, which was replete with wise and
startling hits and felicitous innuendoes, touching the
vulnerability of some one or inure of his entranced and
rustic auditors. Douglass was especially happy when
playing for a dance. Upon such occasions the
scintillations of his wit were resplendently luminous,
and even the instrument itself seemed to be inspired with
new life, and gave back its most thrilling notes to the
amorous touch of this rustic musician. Never did
Troubadour sweep the strings of his harp with half as
much pride and self-assurance as did Douglass, when he
sounded the notes of his violin at a country dance. He
played many pieces to the delight of the dancers, but
none permeated their very souls like that old familiar
tune, called in yeoman parlance, "Chicken Pie."
So irresistibly happyfying in its effects was this tune,
that even old age forgot its wonted infirmities, and was
often found treading the mazes of the dance. The words of
this remarkable song were very suggestive, the first two
lines of which ran as follows: --
Chicken pie and pepper, oh!
Are good for the ladies, oh!
While "Chicken Pie" was universally liked as
a favorite dish, and as a favorite dance song, there was
another song that always enlivened the dancers, as they
listened to its inspiring measures. This was
"Buffalo Gals," and seemed to be played
especially on moonlight nights, when the weather would
permit of a dance under the bewitching beams of a silver
In the dances the women would often take part in the
jigs, and although they did not make as much noise as the
men, they successfully vied with them in the intricacies
and evolutions of the dance.
The first church edifice (log cabin) was erected by the
Methodists, on Littleby creek, just below the forks.
Solomon Peery was among the first ministers to hold
services in that humble house.
The pioneers went to Monroe county, near the town of
Florida, to get their grain ground. In cultivating their
fields they used the old Cary plow with wooden
mold-board. Their fields were generally small in area,
and abounded with stumps, because their farms were
invariably selected from the timbered lands - the virtues
of the prairie not being appreciated at that time.
Settling on the banks of Littleby creek, and its
tributaries, they were greatly afflicted with chills and
fevers, and suffered in this way for many years after
their arrival in the country. Quinine was used by many
families, but the most noted remedy was Smith's Tonic
Syrup, which is still a favorite medicine in some
portions of the country.