A county in the northeastern part of the State, bounded on the north by Lewis County; east by the Mississippi River, which separates it from the State of Illinois; south by Ralls and Monroe Counties, and west by Shelby County – area 278,000 acres. About two-thirds of the surface of the county is undulating prairie. Along the Mississippi and the streams are long tracts of bottom land of great fertility. At different points along the river dykes and levees have been constructed to prevent overflow. The county is well watered and drained by North and South Fabius, Troublesome and Grassy Creeks, North and South Rivers, and numerous smaller streams. Many springs abound, some of which are mineral in character, principally chalybeate and sulphur. The soil of the bottoms is a rich sandy loam, that of the prairies a lighter loam underlaid by a siliceous marl which contains all the elements to render it highly fertile. The Mississippi bottoms extend from one to three miles from the river and merge into uplands. Near the center of the county, in the vicinity of Palmyra, are extensive and notably fertile tracts of “elm” land interspersed here and there by “white oak”. land. About 75 per cent of the area of tile county is under cultivation and in pasture, and the remainder in timber, mostly elm, hickory, white oak, black walnut hard maple, hackberry, ash, haw, wild cherry, honey locust, coffee tree and other less valuable woods. Tile average production of the principal crops are, corn, 35 bushels to the acre; wheat, 15 bushels; oats, 30 bushels; potatoes, 80 bushels; clover hay, 2 tons; timothy hay, 1½ tons. All the different vegetables produce large returns, and apples, pears and the smaller fruits grow abundantly. According to the report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1898 the shipments of surplus products from the county were: Cattle, 3,780 head; hogs 29,450 heads; sheep, 2,513 head; horses and mules, 761 head; wheat, 29,800 bushels; oats, 7,800 bushels; corn, 26,600 bushels; hay, 936,400 pounds; flour, 28,378,672 pounds; ship stuff, 2,187,000 pounds; lumber, 29,180,700 feet; walnut logs, 30,000 feet; cord wood, 312 cords; coal, 22 tons; brick, 1,103,320; stone, 53 cars; gravel and sand, 7 cars; lime, 192,364 barrels; cement, 411 barrels; tar, 8 cars; ice, 374 cars, wool, 178,200 pounds; potatoes, 1,200 bushels; poultry, 2,070,708 pounds; eggs, 343,290 dozen; butter, 8,050 pounds; dressed meats, 1,677 pounds; game and fish, 60,680 pounds; lard and tallow, 278,555 pounds; hides and pelts, 115,755 pounds; apples, 12,354 barrels; peaches, 1,100 baskets; strawberries, 400 crates; fresh fruits, 3,441 pounds; furs, 4,860 pounds; feathers, 5,723 pounds. Other exports from the county were vegetables, molasses, cider, junk, car wheels, boots and shoes, blank books, stationery and various articles of manufacture. The minerals of the county are coal, fire and brick clays and limestone. Coal has not been found to any considerable extent. The strata are below the coal measures. Marion County is lower carboniferous resting on the silurian.
In the office of the clerk of the Circuit Court of Palmyra is an autographic roster of the attorneys who practiced in the court prior to the breaking out of the Civil War.
Among the names enrolled are those of many who became prominent in the State, and some in national affairs. One of the first signatures in the book is that of Ezra Hunt, who was one of the judges of the circuit court; also there appears the signature of A. B. Chambers, later editor of the “Missouri Republican” at St. Louis; Edward Bates, who was Attorney General of the United States under President Lincoln; C. Allen, known as “Horse Allen,” once a prominent candidate for Governor of Missouri; Thomas L. Anderson, twice a member Congress and noted as a jurist; Uriel Wright, famous as a scholar and jurist; Carty Wells, eminent as a lawyer and a judge; Samuel T. Glover, A. H. Buckner and A. L. Slay back, all of whom became noted as lawyers; J. D. S. Dryden, judge of the supreme court; Thomas T. Crittenden, Governor of Missouri; James J. Lindley, member of Congress; James O. Broadhead, A. W. Lamb ,and others who gained distinction in public. Among other former residents of Marion County have been Bishop Marvin, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Samuel Clemens, better known as “Mark Twain.” house in which the latter lived has for many years been one of the prominent landmarks of Hannibal. A noted pioneer was Major William Blake. Marion County furnished troops for the Black Hawk War, as the Sac and Fox War; for the war with the Seminoles in 1837, for the Mormon war in 1838, the Mexican War in 1846 and Civil War. There were soldiers furnished to both the North and South during the last named war, and Hannibal and Palmyra were both important points during the conflict, but were well kept under Federal control. The Confederate forces under Colonel Joseph Porter gained many recruits from Marion county. Marion County is divided into eight townships, named respectively, Fabius, Liberty, Mason, Miller, Round Grove, South Union and Warren. The assessed value of the acreage and town lots in the county in 1899 was $5,565,635; estimated full value $11,131,270; assessed value of personal property, including stocks, bonds, etc., $2,108,965; estimated full value, $6,325,895; estimated value of merchants and manufacturers $,294,135; estimated full value, $782,405; assessed value of railroad and telegraphs, $1,392,332-17. There are 76.62 miles of railroad in the county, the St. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern, the Hannibal & St. Joseph, the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, the St. Louis &- Hannibal, the Wabash, and the Omaha, Kansas City & Eastern. The number of public schools in the county in 1898 was sixty-six; teachers employed, 140; pupils enumerated, 8,039; permanent school fund, $27,249.41. The population of the county in 1900 was 26,331.
DANIEL M. CARR.
Early History of Marion County
The original inhabitants of Missouri were imbued with a gentleness of trait, spirit and disposition conforming to the mildness of climate and the tenderness of landscapes. They must have been the people who pictured the vertical rock escarpment on Salt River, near Cincinnati, Ralls County, Missouri, the people who built the great mounds of Miller Township, in Marion County, and deposited the kitchen refuse, the mussel and fresh water clam shell heaps on the shore of Bay de Charles, and probably dwelt in permanent villages. The fortunes of war drove two tribes from the region of Montreal. They came to Michigan and thence to Southeastern Iowa, where they established themselves on soil distinguished for its fertility. As far south as the Illinois River they swept the land with fire and sword. They were not content to conquer, they exterminated. In like manner they desolated the region north of the Missouri River. Precisely as the Goths, the Huns and the Vandals poured from the north, the officina gentium to devastate the plains of Southern Europe, the invading North American tribe, equipped only for war, laid waste the homes of the peaceful inhabitants of the northern portion of what is now Illinois and Missouri. Northeast Missouri was generally forest land, with soil adapted for grazing rather than for cultivation. This area the conquerors devoted to the purpose of a game preserve. Oblivious of the precedent, they simply adopted the example set by William the Conqueror and his barons. The lords of north Missouri were the invaders. The descendants accepted the acquired name of Sacs and Foxes. The Foxes were called by the Canadian trappers Les Reynors, in testimonial of their thievish propensities. Woe to any other Indians Indians caught poaching in northeast Missouri or in northwestern Illinois. When the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States the territory northwest of the Illinois River they reserved the right of free warren. But in the successive cessions of the territory composing north Missouri no such reservation was made, though the grantors asserted it. As late as 1836 the Sacs and Foxes came down in hunting parties and encamped on Bay Island, in Marion County, and on Bay Island, opposite to Marion County. The wooded retreats of this county made it abound in game. Even now a solitary antlered buck is occasionally seen in the coverts of the Bay Bottom. Hunters refuse to do him harm. Thus it is that the area of northeast Missouri, which formed a primitive park, presents us with so few Indian names. About April 1, 1680, on his way up the Mississippi, Hennepin, beset by floating ice, landed and camped for two days at a point on the western shore of the river about 200 yards south of the mouth of what he called Bay de Charles. Father Hennepin, however imaginative in other respects, was specially accurate in topography. The place he describes is now known as Stillhouse Hollow, never in early days a distinctive name. Here is found a spring, and there is no doubt that this was the site of Hennepin’s camp. It would be better to call it Hennepin Hollow. It contains a fine natural amphitheater. About 1844, after the manner of the day, a great political meeting assembled there and heard the oratory of Stephen A. Douglas and Thomas H. Benton. The Mississippi River flows through a river plain, a bed of alluvium from six to eight miles wide, and enclosed on each side by a bluff line. In dropping sediment the river silts up until its surface is higher than the surrounding area. Then the river departs from its course and takes a new route, leaving the abandoned channel to become what is called in the West a slough (sloo). In making these departures the river occasionally crosses from bluff to bluff. Along the bluff lines the river forms pools with, a descent of six inches per mile. In making the crossings the river falls eight inches per mile, thus accelerating the current and dispersing its volume. In these crossings occur the shallows, impeding navigation. In the Illinois bottom, opposite to Hennepin’s landing, there is an abandoned channel which extends over fifty miles southward. It is a delightful miniature of the Mississippi River, sand bars, willow copses and all. The early French knew the nature of this bayou, for they called it Chenal Ecarte, the name on to-day’s map of the island, meaning “Lost Channel.” Somehow the name was transmitted to the American settlers, who knew nothing whatever about former French occupancy. “Snia Cartee Plank Road” is the name on the map of Hannibal, in the year 1851. Then the name became atomic “Sny,” incapable of further contraction. When the island was inclosed by a levee the name of Sny Island went into the courts in litigation over the bonds. Hennepin himself may have applied the original appellation. Observing the exact similitude of the mouth of a noble tributary just above his camp, Hennepin sent up his voyageurs to explore the stream. About a mile up they came to a fork. The western prong adhered to the bluff line, forming a long and picturesque pool which in recent years acquired the name of Heather Day. The eastern prong ran diagonally across the bottom to near Marion City. The explorers announced the absence of any northern outlet. Hennepin then named the bayou Bay de Charles. It does not appear whom Hennepin had in mind. It is seen that the name Bay de Charles had a very early origin. It is now colloquially contracted to Bay. Nearly a hundred years before the founding of St.Louis, A. D. 1764, the name of Bay de Charles was familiar in geographical references. There are numerous other sloughs on Bay Island, and one bears the antithetic designation “Running Bay.” At distant intervals the Mississippi River floods were wont to reopen the channel from the parent stream into the bay at Marion City. This occurred in 186o. Now the government has diked the opening to prevent the depletion of the main channel. The mouth of the bay deceived later explorers. It has a current derived from lateral sources which greatly contributes to the deception. Antoine Pierre Soulard (17661825)-Antoine, Antonio or Anthony, according to influence of nationality-was a sub-lieutenant in the French Navy. He came to St. Louis in I794, and was appointed surveyor general and held the office until the cession of 1804. He is said to have been a man of literary tastes and the owner of a large library. All the accounts dating in his era constantly tell of the perils of surveying parties. If Soulard ever came up this way he came up in and remained in a pirogue. At a much later date a party of American surveyors was ambuscaded by Indians at what is now Taylor’s Station, below Saverton. At least one of the party was killed, others were wounded, and one escaped by finding covert in a deep gully. These Indian hostilities began with the occupation of the north limit of the original French settlements. The Indians did not object to a Canadian courier ,du bois or voyageur, or a trader who sold whisky and often married a squaw, but when they saw theodolites or compasses, they comprehended the situation. Space will not allow the rehearsal of the evidence to show that Black Hawk, the Sac, was at the bottom of all such mischief, but many unsurveyed French-Spanish concessions were allowed by the United States on the ground that the Indians drove off the earliest French surveyors. When Soulard carne to the first tributary below Bay de Charles, according to tradition, he, being in a classic mood, named the stream Hannibal Creek. Proceeding up, doubtless in the middle of the river, he saw what he took to be a large tributary, and this he accordingly named Scipio River, but this was the bay. However, after Marion County was organized there was filed the plat of a town called Port Scipio, and at one time several hundred people lived there. The old houses have all vanished, and a few residences mark the site. Farther up, Soulard missed the present North River. Such streams surreptitiously enter the river through the alluvium. He detected another tributary which he named Fabius, doubtless in honor of Fabius Maximus. But our present North River was at some very early (late known as the Jeffrion River. The Sac and Fox cession of 1804 and 1805 was bounded on the north by the Jeffrion River, and when, July 10, 1810, the United States commissioners confirmed to Charles Gratiot the French-Spanish concessions to Mathurin Bouvet, it was provided that nothing north of the Jeffrion River was intended. The Bouvet grant was the farthest north of any French-Spanish grant ever made. (“American State Papers,” Vol. VI, P. 834.) This tract, two miles north of Hannibal, will be hereafter considered. There is no derivation of the word “Jeffrion.” It is suspected of being patois for je re’Vien (I return.) Such solution is the somewhat diffident conjecture of the Honorable Shepard Barclay. North River closely approaches the Mississippi, and it might have saved itself much trouble by going on a few yards, but it turns and makes a long detour and then comes back to the river very near to where it made its feint of junction. Voyageurs paddling up the Jeffrion would after awhile find themselves about where they started. This looping, recoiling feature in streams about to fall into their affluents is noticed in the antiquated “Buffon’s Natural History.” It was through the aid of the late Dr. Elliott Coues that the Jeffrion River was finally identified. The early French history begins in the Salt River Valley in 1792, the third Columbian Centennial. But Salt River nowhere touches Marion County, and all said on this theme is simply and briefly introductory. Augustin Charles Frernon Delauriere, of Cape Girardeau, about 1800, undertook to induce French colonists to settle there. There were three salines on the river. One of minor value was near Cincinnati, one was at the present Spalding Springs, and one was near New London, the same at present known as Fremon’s Lick-pronounced “Fremore’s.” The French with more patois called the river Rio de Sel, a combination Spanish-French name. The French provincial government was very anxious to develop the manufacture of salt, so as to be independent of the foreign Kanawhan supply which came on flat boats down the Ohio and tip to St. Louis, and sold at $6 a bushel. Delauriere was a colonist. At his lick the Indians killed three of his men, so that he brought up a cannon, which had a curious history. He wanted his countrymen to take up farms there and occupy the country. When the Americans gained access they desired to see the Salt River country. So in 1818 a party of five went up the Missouri by steamer and then rode northward and turned eastward. They met no human being, but they came to a river which they took to, be Salt River, and they followed it toward its mouth. Leaving this river they passed down until they came to Clear Creek, the very stream on which the pioneer Frenchman, Mathurin Bouvet, had settled in 1795. Here two of the explorers, ascending the stream, selected locations, the first made by Americans in Marion County. They thought that the bay was a continuation of their supposed Salt River. Proceeding southward, they came to Giles Thompson’s cabin, on Salt River. So they rechristened their river North River, because it was north of Salt River. They were not aware that on December 13, 1813, the General Assembly had defined the north boundary line of the territorial County of St. Charles as the east thirty miles of the Jeffrion River, and thereby fixed the legal name of their river as Jeffrion. (I Terr. Laws, p. 293.)
Mathurin Bouvet was a resident of St. Louis. In Billon’s “Annals,” at the foot of page 261, his name appears as M. Bouvet. He is elsewhere described as unmarried. He was a notary public, a deputy surveyor, and under the French domination such positions imported high grade of intelligence. Undoubtedly he was a cultivated gentleman. He proposed to manufacture salt at one of the salines on Salt River.
Charles Gratiot was a well known St. Louis merchant whose name is yet familiar. Bouvet borrowed his means from Gratiot, and with two men in a pirogue went up the Mississippi River, entered Salt River and followed that water course up to a landing near the present Spalding Springs. Here he tested the lick and found it available. He had three horses, which must have come overland. He went back to St. Louis to bring up more supplies, and in his absence the Indians came and destroyed his property and stole his horses. He and his men worked all summer, and erected a furnace and a dwelling and a warehouse. Late in the fall they returned to St. Louis. The men fell sick and Bouvet temporarily abandoned the lick. June 1, 1795, he obtained a concession to a tract embracing this lick. Bouvet’s experience put him out of conceit with Salt River as a medium of shipment. It was a long time before the Americans arrived at the same result. A spur from the Ozarks crosses the Missouri River in Franklin County, and follows up and upheaves the divide between the Missouri and Mississippi. The descending grade of Salt River is thereby made so rapid as to create great floods and thereafter to leave the river nearly dry Bouvet cast about for a better route of transportation. June 12, 1795, he obtained a concession on the Bay de Charles, just below the mouth of Clear Creek and extending below the mouth of the Bay. He went back and rebuilt and fortified his improvements at the lick, which he called Le Bastion. Then he cut a bridle path from the lick to Clear Creek.
This pack-horse trail entered Marion county on the Turner Lands, southwest quarter, See. 34, 57-5, and ran north of northeasterly over Sections 27, 23 and 13, to the old Walker place, and thence descended to the valley, down which a county road now runs to Clear Creek. A quarter of a century later the American settlers who had never heard of Bouvet found and used this road. Some thought the Indians had made it, and they called it the Indian road. Then it became known as the Bay -Mill road, because it was used for travel to that gristmill, a building erected in 1,823, just north of Clear Creek. There was much curiosity about the evidences of fighting in the Salt River Valley. No one could account for the field piece in the alluvium, or for the bullets sticking in the trees or found in the little creek that runs from Bouvet’s Lick. Speculation was rife about these and other problems until, in 1860, the “American State Papers” were published and Volume VI revealed the whilom vanished history. In 1795 Bouvet built his salt warehouse at the mouth of Clear Creek. He put his residence there and induced the French to settle there. Peter R. Rush, born near this site in 1895, and yet living, says that traces of the French cabins at one time extended all the way down to the mouth of the bay. The late Peter Snyder, of Hannibal, said that he had counted the remains of a dozen stone chimneys below Clear Creek along the bay. The old French style was to build a stone chimney outside of and adjoining the house. Such buildings are yet to be seen in the lower counties. In entering Bay de Charles, Clear Creek discharges a deposit which contracts the bay at a point thence called the Narrows. Bouvet located his settlement on a rounded bench of land just below the Narrows. The later pioneer, Franklin Whaley, so identified this site for the writer. Here the bluff line retires and leaves an amphitheater presenting soil of unsurpassed fertility. The French and the Indians were infallible judges of good land. Here some of Bouvet’s cabins remained until near 1860. That tract has long been noted for its abundant yield of Indian relics. For five years Bouvet conducted his manufactures and shipments. It was always difficult for the braves to surprise a French settlement. The French were wont to affiliate and intermarry with the Indians. So when the Sacs and Foxes set out to recover their hunting grounds and planned a descent on Bouvet’s village, they found the villagers gone. Many a pirogue laden with precious freight silently rode the velvet surface of the Bay de Charles. All fled but one, the undaunted Mathurin Bouvet. He remained in his cabin and repelled all assaults until the Indians fired the building and burned its occupant to death. This was in the spring of 1800. Below the crinoid ledges and on the upper debris of the bluff line the blue translucent stem of the Solomon’s seal waved aloft its bannered raceme, the Indian turnip curled its parchment scroll, the spikenard vaunted its antlered limbs of ebony, the trillium gleamed white like a forest star, the blood-root unfolded its waxen petals of snow, the hepatica, rapturous in white petaled radiance, held rare beauty in its old-gold burnished leaves. Below the bellwort drooped its gilded corolla, and through the copse mysteriously shone the phosphorescent gleam of the false foxglove’s balanced trumpet. On the bench the yellow violet ran like a prostrate vine, and the ground ginger huddled in concealment close to the sod. Beneath them lay the bones of the stalwart pioneer of the farthest north of French Louisiana settlements, hero in life, martyr in death. Bouvet deserves a monument. Meanwhile it is hereby declared that the bold headland just south of the scene shall be known as Bouvet’s Hill. This closed the first period of white settlement on the soil of Marion County. In the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase in 1804, and on the faith of many valid French-Spanish grants, the settlers began to creep up the Missouri shore of the Mississippi. Traders, too, established their posts and supplied the Indians with, among other goods, abundance of fire water. By 1812 these adventurous spirits had come up nearly to what is now the south line of Marion County. But the War of 1812 enabled the British to do openly what they never had ceased to do covertly. The British stimulated the Indians to hostilities, and the settlers fell back to lines of safety, and as they called it “forted up.” This ended the second period.
On January 8, 1815, the victory at New Or1eans was gained. Then it was the turn of the Indians to disappear from the region of north Missouri. Then was settlement resumed. In 1817 Giles Thompson built the first cabin north of Salt River. Afterward he erected and ran his bandmill, a crude affair, a horse mill communicating power by means of a large horizontal wheel encircled with a band made of strips of rawhide. In 1818 the Federal sectionalizing surveys were made and the settlers thronged into Marion County. The first public road north of Salt River was the dirt road from the present site of New London, Rails County, to the present site of Hannibal. This was an old Indian trail. It ran straight, without reference to topography, and in crossing the dividing ridge between Salt River and the Mississippi River it surmounted one of the highest and steepest hills in the range. Several years ago Silas Sims, a farmer, land owner and private citizen, took up the matter and secured at trivial expense a substituted easy grade. One of the old time residents said that “it might as well been done forty years ago,” From the most remote times the fur traders came up the Mississippi for their peltries. These articles continued to be practically legal tender. Dressed deer skins were worth $1; dressed coon skins were worth fifty cents, and skunk twenty-five cents. The price never raised. This was the paradise of barter. It was natural that in later days fur trading should be attributed to Mathurin Bouvet. But so far as history shows, he never was a trapper or trader of any kind. The earliest American settlers came from Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina. Their hardships were many. There is no reliable record of any American being killed by Indians in Marion County, but in 1819 a white man, probably under misapprehension, killed an Indian in what is now South Hannibal, and for a while there was great danger of retaliation on the Hannibal settlement. The Indians were always unwelcome guests, but the settlers feared to disoblige them. No one cares to incur the ill will of moccasin-shod people who, even in peace, prefer to approach one from the rear or enter a residence without announcement. For many years after white occupation the Sacs and Foxes lingered around their old haunts. The bucks devoted their time to the chase. In the spring the squaws tapped the hard maples and made sugar. They boiled Indian turnips for food, the process rendering palatable the otherwise poisonous diet. In the fall the squaws gathered bushels of persimmons, extracted the seed, mixed the pulp with meal, and then triturated the mass and divided it into cakes. In river bottoms pecan trees abounded. These trees bear to the hickory the same relation that the chestnut bears to the oak. They are now known in the market as Illinois pecans, and they far surpass the Texas variety. The pecan trees grow to noble proportions, but it requires an age to mature them. On a Sny Island farm a year ago, some nocturnal marauders cut down eleven full grown pecan trees. Civilization always taxes, but seldom protects. The squaws gathered pecans and sold, to the whites. The aboriginal Indians, in many respects, were the best citizens this country ever had, and they merited the congratulations of John Ruskin. They reverently accepted the bounty of nature. They dismantled nothing; they destroyed nothing. They handed down to their successors the same world they had received. The Poor Richardites, who preach frugality, should remember that the Indian is the most economical human being extant. Prior to 1851 the Sny bottom, opposite Hannibal, supported large areas of blackberry bushes. Many of the poorer classes of Ruskinites made a business of going over and gathering the berries by the bucketful for marketable purposes. But the great flood of 1851 washed away the last vestige of a bramble patch. Space will not allow a rehearsal of nature’s various astonishing spontaneous delicacies. The Sny is yet famous as a fishing resort. In the fall some of the old settlers would take a seine and levy on Bay de Charles and other sloughs for a supply of fish, which they would salt down for winter. The first mill in Marion County is said to have been built by Hawkins Smith on the northeast corner of section 12, on South River, commanding a wide patronage. The original Bay Mill was rebuilt in 1826. It is perhaps the oldest building in the county. Marion County was named for General Francis Marion, and was organized as a dependency of Ralls County, under act of December 14, 1822. Various trading posts were from time to time established along the bay. One trader named Smith had a store at the first hollow above the mouth of the bay. Marauding, drunken Indians killed him, and the tradition was that he left a buried keg of money. Robert Masterson, who came here in 1818, gave the pointers for excavation, and much digging was done in the surrounding neighborhood in search of the treasure.
Prior to 1860 many excavations were to be seen along the roadside. In course of time the tradition ran back and attributed the ownership of the treasure to Mathurin Bouvet. Bouvet was very poor. Gratiot “staked” him, and the Indians robbed and murdered him. To pay his debts his land grants were sold by the public administrator in St. Louis before the church door ad ostium ecclesiae, and the creditor became the purchaser on April 10, 1803. By deliberate theft the United States allowed the State of Missouri to locate a square mile of school land on Bouvet’s Lick and to so far defeat Gratiot’s title, but the land not occupied by the school section inured to Gratiot. His title to the Clear Creek concession, as commuted at his instance, was fully allowed. The government surveyed the land and sold it, but Gratiot was compensated by obtaining land scrip authorizing him to locate an equal area in some other part of the domain. There are grants of Gratiot land still outstanding in Marion County, the nature of derivation of which is not clear. A number of old surveys of the Gratiot tract are on file in the office of the recorder of deeds at Palmyra. The government was very-much addicted to trading people out of their lands. Notable instances are seen in the case of the Indian Territory and the New Madrid exchanges. In 1826 the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States the lands north of North River, and in the same year Marion County was independently organized. Black Hawk came up from St. Louis, with his canoes in a measure ballasted with silver half-dollars. Some of these canoes were five feet wide. He ran up the bay and bought some corn from Edward Whaley, the settler. Seeing that Black Hawk was about to make the squaws carry the corn to the canoes, Whaley hitched tip his team and hauled it. There is in the Marion County water courses a notable disposition to run parallel instead of uniting. Thus are formed the Twin Rivers. In this way, South River acquired its name because south of North River. Soon the names developed into North Two Rivers and South Two Rivers. There are several early books in which the Two River affix is used. In the original American settlement the region around Palmyra was popularly known as the Two River country. This meant the Elm region, named from the prevalence of the white elm. In that promised land no plowshare ever turned up clay. The Two River Baptist Association still perpetuates the name. “Flint’s Mississippi,” published in 1826, refers to Salt River as at one time the pole, star of attraction (page 203, foot.) This probably referred to Monroe County, but it as probably included the Two River country. Palmyra is situated on a table land, a narrow strip between the Two Rivers. It is not a ridge, but a level plateau, extending, unbroken. close to each river. When the phantom Marion City was founded the Palmyra & Marion City Turnpike Company was incorporated. (L. 1836-7, P. 296.) In each session of the Legislature thereafter to 1844-45 amendments appeared. Then was incorporated the Palmyra & Mississippi Railroad Company (L. 1848-9, p. 170). Much of the bed of this railroad was constructed. Years ago there was an old dump in the ,north part of Palmyra, the remains of this enterprise. Had the people turned their attention to deflecting, with governmental concurrence, the channel of the Mississippi to the Missouri bluff line, so that the Mississippi would reoccupy its old channel down Bay de Charles, the river would have been in sufficiently close proximity to Palmyra, and there would have been no Hannibal worth mentioning. There is an old and rare book called “Rutter’s History of Marion County,” which deals with the ambitions and struggles of the “Two River people” of that era. Had William Muldrow realized that his Marion City was an impracticable site, and had he turned his attention to restoring the ancient channel of the Mississippi, he would have made Palmyra what nature qualified it for, a great city. With the aid of brush obstructions, and perhaps the adoption of a part of the alluvial channel of North River, with some ditching extending to Heather Bay, the floods, which destroyed his Marion City metropolis, would have accomplished his purposes.
THOMAS H. BACON