Putnam County Museum

201 South 16th Street

Unionville, MO  63565

(660) 947-2955




Putnam County

Historical Society, Inc., and Genealogical society Unionville, Missouri




         The First Settlers.—It is comparatively easy matter to determine who were the first settlers in Putnam County, but who was the first settler is not so easily ascertained.  The first old settler’s meeting held in the county was at Petty’s mill, August 26, 1882.  At that meeting John Corneilison received the prize of $10 as the oldest settler in Putnam County, he and his daughter, Hannah Vincent, being the oldest residents registered at the meeting, and both of them came into the county in March, 1836.  The second annual reunion of the old settlers occurred, also, at Petty’s mill, in Liberty Township, September 8, 1883. Brightwell Martin was present at this meeting, and it was claimed for him that he was the oldest settler in the county, but the precise time of his arrival has not been ascertained.  It is stated, on apparently good authority, that Mr. Martin had just discovered a bee tree when Mr. Corneilison arrived in March, 1836; but, if this be correct, he could not have been here long before that time.  It is also stated that when Mr. Martin located at Lesley’s ford, on the Chariton, near the southeast corner of the northwest quarter of Section 34, Township 64, Range 16, there were but seven families living in the county.  Spencer Grogan lived in Elm Township, where the residence of J.Q. Dickerson now is; William Pinnix and Thomas Kelley lived about one mile north of the site of old Putnamville; James Cochran lived in Liberty Township, about two miles from the State line, where Joel Fulhart now resides; Thomas Wright lived on Little Shoal Creek, and Jack Lesley, who was a brother-in-law of Brightwell Martin, lived at Lesley’s ford, on the Chariton.  These seven families comprised the entire population of the county at that time.  Supposing the above statement to be correct, John Corneilison must have been about the ninth arrival in the county, the date of which being accurately ascertained, serves as a kind of starting point for comparing the arrival of others who came later, so far as the dates of such arrivals can be determined.

(Reprinted from History of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam and Schuyler Counties, Missouri. 1888, The Goodspeed Publishing Company)