Audrain County Cemeteries
Some information about early cemeteries in Audrain county,
copied from The Intelligencer (weekly) Mar. 28, 1907 page 7 column1
The first cemetery around Mexico was that just this side of Cauthorn bridge on the hill west of the road. Among the early settlers were the Williamses, of whom Gideon Williams was a branch. These lived in and around this cemetery to the west. Some of these were buried there, as well as many ancestors of the Kilgores and Willinghams. Frank Kilgore’s father was buried there in 1836. In fact, this was a sort of central point in the settlement. The first mill, first schoolhouse, and first cemetery being here; and the first camp meeting was held near here. There was also a burial ground at the Clem Smith place, just north of the Taswell Hill place. It is now owned by J.T. Johnson. The Martins and many neighbors are buried there.
At this place the Methodist church of this city was organized with about fifteen members—the Martins being very prominent in that denomination.
There was also a burying ground on the old Gass place where Mr. Gass (the father of the Professors Gass and Albert Gass) and his wife are buried. It is now known as the Hedges place. In fact we shall see later that the tendency was to centralize the settlement around this region and in this direction the county seat was first located, but subsequently changed.
This county was first organized in 1836, and on December 17th of that year the act was approved, settling the boundaries of it and appointing commissioners to fix the county seat.
(Three paragraphs describing the legislation establishing the county are omitted here.)
The region around Mexico was considered then as belonging to Callaway County, that of Saling Township was a part of Boone, while portions of the eastern part of the county belonged to Pike. At present the limitations of these old counties cannot be determined. If anyone can define them, The Intelligencer would be obliged and glad of a communication. Later from causes not now known to this scribe, a tier of sections was taken off respectively from the south side of Monroe County, the eastern edge of Boone County (in the southwest angle of Audrain) and added to this county. Any communication concerning the cause of this would be gratefully published.
This county was regarded by these old counties as of little value, except as a dumping ground for emigrants—the prairie not being considered of any value then.
In the next installment the location and first settlers of the town site of Mexico will be discussed.
The following letter explains itself.
RFD 6, Audrain Co., Mo. March 15, 1907
To the Editor of The Intelligencer.
Dear Sir:-Baller (Baylor) Davis, of whom you spoke in your paper, was my grandfather. He came from Kentucky to Boone County about the year 1825. He settled there on a creek called Hingston (Hinkston). He did not live there many years until he moved to Audrain County and settled on the 16th section, as it was called in those days, but now it is known by the name of the old Abe Hitt farm, just south of the Salt River Church.
Yours Truly, Columbus Ploat
Mr. Davis was the grandfather also of J. Harvey Stuart, Mrs. F.M. Brewer and Mrs. Alvan Sellers, all of this county.
Scraps of Mexico’s Early Day History
Copied from The Intelligencer (weekly) April 4, 1907 p6 c1
“Picking up a few scraps before proceeding to the History of the City,” said the old citizen, “it should be stated that Jesse cemetery about three miles west of Mexico was the burial place for the family of that name and all those who attended Hopewell Church. Another thing, the typos made us say “Hays”, whereas it should have been the Mayes neighborhood. Then the cemetery at Cauthorn’s bridge was on the east and not the west side of the road as stated, and it may be seen there yet. In like manner we forgot to say that the stream Littleby was named for Robert Littleby—a trapper and hunter who settled at its mouth in 1826, living alone, and taking his pelts to St. Louis at intervals.
Audrain County was named for General Audrain of St. Charles who was in the legislature at the time, and was instrumental in establishing it. His name, being French, was pronounced “Odrin”, with the heavy accent on the O. Some old persons yet may be found who pronounce our county’s name so; and that was its pronounciation for many years before it was anglicized into the present AudRAIN.
The commissioners, as stated, who located the site of Mexico, were Cornelius Edwards, William Martin, and Robert Schooling. They met in December 1836 for that purpose. A lobby followed them around recommending this place and that, as the interests of various persons appeared. Each land owner wanted the town close to him; and there was much bickering about the matter. For weeks before the location, neighbors met in clusters at each other’s homes at night and discussed the matter in a friendly way. It was then pre-eminently the politics of the region. The commissioners were here a week or ten days investigating, and they finally agreed upon a point for the center of the city that is about two hundred yards northerly from the brick house of Mrs. Perry and built by B.R. Cauthorn. It was then on the land of Thomas Hook, the grandfather of the present citizen by that name.
The principal reason for selecting this location was that, from the slope of the ground and rock strata near the surface, it was presumed that abundance of water could be found there at slight depth. Judge Morris, who built the first house in the town, assembled his logs there. After the commissioners located the present site instead, he rehauled them and built his house just across the street east of Frank Coatsworth’s office.
The change of site was chiefly the result of a failure to find water as they expected and the further fact that the present site was a more beautiful location. In fact, they next wished to create the town in the midst of what is now Highland Addition, but Mr. Jno. A. Pearson, who owned the land, objected. He had bought it for a farm, he said, and did not want any town—in fact had not lost any.
But in the meantime R.C. Mansfield and J.H. Smith had jointly entered the land of the present site, and they offered great inducements for the location of the county seat on their tract. They would give streets and alleys and give to the county a public square and two acres for a public cemetery. Besides this, they donated certain whole blocks and many lots in others, as well as a tract of land north and west of the original town. This was later made into an addition, with the streets and blocks continuous with those of the town, and was then known as “The Donated Addition”, but it is usually spoken of now as “The County Addition”.
The date of this deed of donation was March 18th, 1837.
Smith was the first blacksmith of the town and Mansfield was the first resident preacher. The latter’s home was on the location of Frank Coatsworth’s office, and Smith’s was on the corner now occupied by The Morning Intelligencer.
The first house in the city, however, was that of Mr. Jno. B. Morris, the father of George.