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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
(Reprinted from History of Randolph and Macon Counties, 1919)
Easley Township was named after Judge William Easley, who emigrated from Kentucky about the year 1838. He was one of the judges of the county court from 1852 to 1856, and is still a resident of the township. Mr. Easley was born in Grainger County, Tennessee, near Rutledge, in 1806, and resided there under the same for 21 years. In the fall of 1827, he immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio; there he remained till the spring of 1829. He then traveled further west to Illinois and settled in Sangamon County. In 1830, he was married to Miss Sophia Patrick, just from Clarke County, Kentucky.
In 1831, there was great excitement throughout the West over the Indian question – Black Hawk and other chiefs were stirring up the Indians for war. On the 4th day of June, 1831, William Easley enlisted for the war, under the command of Captain Achilles Morris; Governor Reynolds was commander-in-chief. After his discharge in 1831, Mr. Easley settled in Morgan County, near Winchester. He lived there until the fall of 1836. The following spring he made a trip to Texas and crossed the United States line on March 6th, 1837, the day that Col. David Crockett and others were killed at the Alamo, by the Mexican soldiers under General Santa Anna.
The same spring, he returned back to Illinois, and the same year, he moved to Macon County, Missouri, and settled in the present town of Newburg, which was once called Polkville. In 1840, he was elected a justice of the peace, and was continued in office until 1852. Newburg was then in Independence Township, and it embraced at that time Richland, LaPlata and Walnut Creek townships, as since organized out of its territory. At the general election of 1852, Mr. Easley was elected justice of the county court, and was made presiding justice afterwards, and served four years. After this he commenced the practice of law.
When the rebellion broke out in 1861, he took the side of the Federal Government. That same year, he enlisted as a private in Company F, Eleventh Missouri cavalry, under the command of Captain Ignatius Burns. A. L. Gilstrap was colonel and J. B. Rogers was major. Col. Gilstrap was superseded by Col H. S. Lipscomb, as good a man as Missouri could start. In short time, Mr. Easley was elected a lieutenant. He served until October, 1862, and tried to resign, but owing to some prejudice, his resignation was not accepted. The Second and Eleventh regiments were consolidated when he was left out of the service.
Sometime after he arrived at home, an order was issued (No. 107) to organize companies or platoons as militia. His neighborhood made up a company and he was elected captain, without opposition. That order was soon rescinded and another order issued that the State should organize into what was called the Missouri Militia. Captain Easley then organized another company, and was again elected captain. That was in 1864 or 1865, and he served until the close of the war, after which he resumed the practice of law.
Judge Easley is religiously a Missionary Baptist, and politically a Democrat, greatly opposed to Grant and the Dent family.