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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
In The Beginning
The purchase in 1803 of the vast territory west of the Mississippi River, by the United States extending through Oregon to the Pacific coast and south to the Dominions of Mexico, constitutes one of the most important events that ever occurred in the history of this great nation. It gave to our Republic additional room for expansion and stupendous growth. This country was unsettled, wild and magnificent. Not unlike the people who migrated to it in order to tame it.
The total population of the Territory, as shown by the United States census in 1810, was 20,845. The population would grow fairly rapidly from this time on and territorial organizations would soon develop. Congress organized Missouri as a Territory on July 4, 1812, with a Governor and General Assembly. The first counties were formed. After much debate and deliberation regarding the “Missouri Compromise”, Missouri was admitted into the union as a state on August 10, 1821. It consisted of fifteen counties. Additional counties would be formed and organized over the next 20 years until a total of 114 counties would ultimately make up the state of Missouri.
The fifty-seventh county to be organized within the state was Macon County, achieving that status officially in 1837. Naturally, people were beginning to settle there prior to that time. These people tended to be poor but very strong willed. They survived in a territory that was harsh and demanding. Most migrated from Virginia and Kentucky, some with intermediary stops before finally arriving in Macon County. What they lacked in worldly conveniences, they made up for with grit and determination. Soon the county was subdivided into townships, twenty-four in total.
Two townships in particular are central to the development of the towns to be named Mercyville and Elmer, those townships being Walnut Creek Township and Easley Township. Walnut Creek Township derived its name from a creek that flows through the northern portion of the same. It is supposed that Fisher Rice was the earliest settler in the township; he came from Kentucky in 1834. Two or three years afterwards Gabriel Lunday from Illinois, Amos Williams from Kentucky, Nicholas Gunnels from Kentucky, and A. B. Griffin from Kentucky, located in the township. A little later, between 1840 and 1845, James L. Herron from Ralls county, Missouri, Enoch Johnson from Kentucky, Ignatius Burnes, from Ralls County, Missouri, Moses Lovern from Kentucky, Charles W. Truitt from Ralls county, Jeremiah Biswell from Kentucky, William Huckaby from Virginia, James Banning from Randolph county, Missouri, Joseph Bailey from Ralls county (originally from Shenandoah County, Virginia), and John Bigsby from Kentucky, emigrated to Macon county and settled in Walnut Creek township.
Easley Township is one of the northwestern townships in Macon County and is located just north of Walnut Creek Township. The township was named after Judge William Easley, who emigrated from Kentucky about the year 1838. He was one of the judges of the county courte from 1852 to 1856. Among other old settlers were David Williams and Thomas Williams from Kentucky, George Cook, James Cook and Leo McDavitt from Kentucky, James Broyles from Tennessee, John McDavitt and Joseph Sears from Kentucky. At a later date came Milton and Marion Truitt, John Roan, Dr. William B. Lilly, Colton B. Sears, J. Hendrickson and others.
Over the next 180 years or so, people would come and people would go, as the population of the country would shift restlessly. But these brave and industrious men and their families would civilize and develop a wild country, establishing roots that would endure to this day. And so begins the piecing together of a puzzle, a puzzle with many pieces, some still missing, that placed together weave a colorful story. The story draws together characters from many parts of the world, finally centering its plot in Walnut Creek and Easley Townships, Macon County, Missouri. From there the characters again begin dispersing to remote places, but still having the common roots that will bind them together forever.