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1876 Big River Township

Big River Township

It is stated that David Delauny, about the year 1800 settled at Morse's Mill, having obtained from the Spanish Government a grant of eight hundred arpents of land. Jacob Collins, in 1802, settled two miles farther up the river. The Widemans, from South Carolina, were also early settlers in this vicinity. Among these were Francis and Mark Wideman. Survey 871 was confirmed to Mark Wideman, and his son Meredith Wideman made a farm on the opposite (or east) side of the river, and lived there till his death in 1854. William Estepps was an early pioneer in the same vicinity. In the year 1804, Jesse Benton located on Big River on the claim which bears his name. Elijah Benton settled on the claim farther up the river. He was succeeded by a man named Thompson, he by a man named Clinton, and he by William Graham. All these persons had occupied the place previous to William Frissell, moving there in 1831. On the Jesse Benton claim, John McKean resided several years.

A man named Boyd settled the farm now occupied by Moses F. White. The farm of Calvin Johnston was first improved by a man named Childers. On the west side of the river, in section four, township thirty-nine, range three, Phillip O'Haver was an early resident, and directly below him, but on the east side of the river, lived John Thurman. In the Bend of Big River a settlement existed known as the Pounds and Evans settlement. James Pounds was an early settler here, and improved the farm now owned by John Wilson. Reuben Pounds was also a well-known resident of this locality. In the same vicinity lived Thomas Evans and James Evans.

Farther up the river lived John and Daniel Eastwood, men noted for their eccentricities and peculiar reserve from society. A mile ore two below Morse's Mill, the Pruitts settled, and claims were confirmed to Sarah and John Pruitt, and also to James Davis. Ephraim, Jacob, Lemuel and Adam Wilson were from South Carolina, and first settled on Big River, near Morse's Mill, and afterward on Jones' Creek. Jacob Wilson died in May, 1876, eighty-six years of age, and had lived on the same farm on Jones' Creek since 1816. He left fifteen children, sixty-four grand-children, and twenty-nine great grand-children.

Another early settler on Jones' Creek is Solomon Wilson, who settled there about 1820. Francis Wagner also lived on this Creek. John S. Manion has lived in Big River township for the last fifty years, and is now on the shady side of three-score and ten. On Dry Creek, John Wiley was one of the earliest settlers. He came to this neighborhood from Tennessee about 1818, and settled in section twenty-five, township forty, range three. Steward Wiley is still residing in that vicinity within a short distance of where the family made their first settlement. Michael and Seth McKee resided on Dry Creek some distance below the place of Wiley's settlement. Big River township contains some fine farming, land principally in the creek and river bottoms. Big River is remarkable for the extraordinary bends which occur in its course through this township.The southern part of the township is in the lead region, and several rich mines have been developed, among them the Frumet mines, whose equipment for carrying on a large business, is scarcely surpassed in this portion of the State.

Quoted from An Illustrated Historical Atlas Map Jefferson County, MO (Brink, McDonough & Co. 1876) p. 18