A presentation to the Dallas County Historical Society by Linda Crawford, reprinted here with the permission of the author.
This presentation is in the far southwest corner of Dallas Co., MO, bordering on Polk, Webster and Greene counties. Some of the information will pertain to all of Dallas Co., but I wanted to concentrate on this area of the county. The area is bordered on the east by Webster Co., the south by the Pomme de Terre River. In places the river is the dividing line between Greene and Dallas counties. On the west it is bordered by Polk Co. which was formed in 1835 from Greene Co. Greene was formed in 1833 and depending on the source it was Crawford or Wayne Co. When Missouri became a state this was Franklin Co., but other counties were soon formed. Wayne Co. extended along most of the southern quarter of MO except for far southeast MO. Early boundaries were difficult to determine. The early residents of what is now Dallas Co. could easily have lived in five different counties by the time the county was formed and never have moved from there original site.
According to an article in Fairbanks and Tuck, Past and Present of Greene County Missouri, 1915, what is now Dallas Co. was in Jackson Township of Greene Co. in the early 1830s. By the time of the 1840 census of Polk Co the southwest part of Dallas Co. was in Van Buren Township of Polk Co. This is now Sheridan Township.
We live on Highway 215 just over in Polk Co. adjoining Dallas Co. and near Greene Co. This is in Range 20 West and includes the northern half of Township 31 and the southern half of Township 32. Starting from the south and going north some of the earliest landowners on record were: John Ramey 1844, Benjamin Potter, 1844; William Cranford, 1846; Daniel Wilson, 1846; Wm. R. Martin, 1850; Hugh Wilkerson, 1845; John Richardson, 1847; John Marshall, 1844; John Donnell, 1844; Thomas Potter and William Potter, 1839; George Mallard, 1840; John Alsup Sr., 1839; James Cayle, 1838; Benjamin Cobb, 1839; Joshua Davis, 1840; David Long, 1838 and James T Mallard, 1847. These were all south of Redtop in the small area that juts out south from the rest of the county. Potters and Donnells owned land in Dallas, Polk and Greene counties all. After 1850 some names of the original land purchasers were: A Hazel Butts, William Russell, Benjamin, John, Henry, Joseph and William Highfill, Tolbert and Logan Mayfield, Jeremiah Prater and Bird Stafford. Many of them owned land in adjoining counties as a number of them had settled on the land before the counties were formed and the land had not been surveyed. They were squatters, but were given first chance to purchase land after the survey. Many of these names will be found on the 1840 Polk Co. census.
Highway 215 was at one time called a Corduroy Road, especially the part in Dallas Co. It is very wet natured and logs were lain across the road which made a very rough and bumpy road. The road ends at Highway 65 near the Mallard Cemetery. Near that intersection was a small settlement called Skillet. Nothing is know of Skillet. It has been referred to as Lick Skillet, but that name also belongs to Pleasant Hope which is five miles west on Highway 215 in Polk Co. It is believed the name belongs to the Civil War era. The town of Gold was a half mile east of Tin Town and was on the west side of the Dallas Co. line. Many Dallas Co. residents received their mail from the Gold post office which was in operation from Dec 1900-July 1915. It then became the Red Top route. I have not determined when Highway 215,formerly CC, was straightened out to go across the two counties as it does now. An 1879 map of Polk Co. shows it coming out of Dallas Co. about 1/4 mile south of our home and it goes on mostly west and a bit south to the Goodnight Mill before going on to Pleasant Hope. Slight traces can still be seen of the old road. Sheridan Township residents used the mill as it was close and was one of the earliest mills in the area. Another mill will be discussed later. This road seems to have angled north and east across Sheridan Township and connected with "old road" somewhere in the area of Olive. Haston School was in Dallas Co. nearby, but has been also called Gold and High Prairie. There has been discussion that another Gold School was over in Polk Co. but I haven't found anything to verify this. New Garden and Goss Schools were both in this are of the county. Those are in the Rural Schools of Dallas Co. so they won't be discussed at this time as they have been well covered in the school books.
Another early settlement and post office was Martinsville which was just over one mile east of the Polk Co. line and 3/4 mile south of Highway 215, also not quite a mile west of New Garden School. This was the land settled by William R. Martin mentioned before. Mr. Martin and his family are found throught the 1880 Dallas Co. census. I did not find burial for them in Dallas Co. Clark Butts who resided very nearby until just before his death told us of Martinsville. There was a store and blacksmith shop run by Mr. Martin. About all that is left now is the remains of the old cellar. It is said the troops used this road during the Civil War . A few maps show a place called Pasco and it seems to be at or near where Martinsville was located. Nothing else is known of Pasco. Mr. Buttls also told us about the old road that came through or near Martinsville and this is verified by old maps. On one map the old Jefferson City Road is shown running north and south, just east of Jim Town, then makes a southwest bend towards Skillet and on through where Martinsville was located. It then went on into Greene Co. near the Polk Co. line. Remnants of the old road are still visible in place in both Dallas and Greene counties. This is probably the same as the Jefferson Road which is mentioned in a journal kept by Richard Saye who was a justice of the peace for Greene Co. that included the area of this discussion. He kept that position after Polk Co. was formed and before Dallas Co. was formed. Mr. Saye came into the area in the 1820s. This can be determined from reading the journal. He kept records of stray cattle, estate sales etc. The above road is believed to be the same as what was called The Old Road or military road which was inuse by 1821. It was also called the Boonville to Springfield Road and was used to get people into the south part of the state. The road forked at Buffalo with one branch going on to Warsaw then Boonville. The other branch went to Jefferson City. The road was authorized as a United States road by an act of Congress in 1835 ans is basically what we think of now as Highway 65 and of course has been moved several times since its beginning. One of the older Highway 65s was also part of the Ozark Trail which tied into the Jefferson City Road at Buffalo. It came from St Louis by the way of Lebanon. This road runs through Olive and the the old Goss School site, then to Potter's Ford after leaving Dallas Co. It also winds back west as did the Jefferson City Road before going to Springfield. The Fair Grove Chamber of Commerce printed and area map with the old roads a few years ago. The map includes southwest Dallas Co.
A grist mill called the Neighbors Mill was on Pomme de Terre River just west of the bridge on Highway 65 at the Greene Co. line. There has been debate as to which county it actually set in, but probably in Greene Co. The burr stone are still in existence at a private residence near where the mill was located. I did locate two children on the 1860 Dallas Co. census who were living in th Jeremiah Highfill home which was in the area of discussion. They were Sela Neighbors, 13, and Jesse Neighbors, 9. On 6 June 1973 Jesse Allen Neighbors married Lucinda Catherine Russell. A William Russell family bought land in 1857 about the place where the mill was located. Susan Neighbors, 74, was living nearby in the home of Elf and Margaret Fortner. I found a marriage license for Charlotte Jane Neighbors and Joseph Martin in Greene Co. for 16 April 1858, married by John Ramey, JP. Perhaps Joseph Martin was connected to William Martin of Martinsville. John Ramey was from the Greene and Polk counties area. Other than those names I have not found anything on the mill or family, but more research is definitely needed for the area.
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