Reprinted here with the permission of the "Cedar County Republican Newspaper". 

Cedar County places we've never been...and a few we have

by Aaron Sims
Cedar County is rich in history dating back hundreds, even thousands of years.  First the Native Americans roamed the area, doing little to change the land around them except taking what was needed to survive and utilizing the natural springs in the area for medicinal purposes.   Europeans ‹ in particular Spaniards ‹ began exploring the area in the 1500s and settling here by the 1700s. The Spanish even set up a remote outpost, somewhere around the Vernon County area where they mined lead and established a fort for a few years.

By the early 1800s, when the area came under the control of the young United States, settlements began. Only a few brave souls at first, but after statehood in 1820, more and more people came to the area. By the 1830s, a number of settlements had popped up in what would be Cedar County. Cedar County, named for Cedar Creek, was formally created Feb. 14, 1845, from portions of Dade and St. Clair counties.

Missouri counties were established by size, normally as far as a horse and wagon could travel in a day would constitute the distance east and west or north and south. Settlements grew ‹ usually around waterways where trading posts and water-powered grist mills were constructed.   Natural resources ‹ such as springs thought to house medicinal properties ‹drew other settlers who founded communities to utilize the natural properties available to them. By the late 1800s more than 50 hamlets, villages and towns were spread across Cedar County. Some were well organized ‹ such as Stockton or El Dorado Springs. Others were little more than a store and post office or school. Some thrived while others existed. By the
mid 1890s and the beginning of Rural Free Delivery with the postal service, some communities began to fade. 

More communities disappeared as Americans and Cedar countians became more mobile, with the automobile becoming quite common by the 1930s and paved highways across the county by the 1950s. State-endorsed school consolidation in the 1950s and early ¹60s resulted in more communities fading from
existence and one-room schools closing. By the 1970s and ¹80s, only a few of the old schools remained.

Today, most of the villages that once were the important community and trade centers across Cedar County are just faint memories, no longer found on any map.

Before the memories and locations of many of the communities were lost forever, Arthur Paul Moser traveled across Cedar County and Missouri, poring over records and maps, visiting with residents and finding out about the towns and villages of the area and recording their locations and origins.
Over a period of about 20 years, beginning in the 1960s, Moser covered the state to compile his work. Moser knowingly omitted some communities from his work as little or no information could be located, but many are included.   Our thanks is expressed to the late Arthur Paul Moser who researched and compiled the majority of this information in his "Directory of Towns, Villages and Hamlets of Missouri."

The communities will be divided into four groups, three of at least 20 Cedar County communities and one week with brief histories of Stockton, Jerico Springs and El Dorado Springs.

A map will show the location of many of these communities, and again some will be omitted. In the first of the series, we begin an alphabetical look at the first 20 places.

Akard was a trading post near the mouth of Bear Creek, named for Judge J.M. Akard. It was established near the close of the Civil War. The location was 3-1/2 miles east of Stockton.

Earlier settlements in the area were Hubbard Mill, Tatum Mill, Crow's Mill and Owen's Mill. In 1847, a saw mill and dam were built and later sold to Philip Crow, the Owens family bought an interest. Many of the original buildings were destroyed during the Civil War and were rebuilt after the war¹s end. A fire destroyed the mill in 1867 or 1868 and the mill was never replaced, but the dam was rebuilt. The dam and mill foundations are still present and can be accessed on County Road 1801.

Alice was the name of a store and community eight miles northwest of Stockton, most likely along what is now Missouri Highway 32. The store was founded about 1870 and likely named for a woman in the neighborhood. The  community also was known as Horse Creek and Mule Creek. 

Arnica was named for a spring local people thought contained the medicinal principals of Arnica. The town was laid out in 1882 and also was known by the names of Fincastle and Fincastle Springs. A small group of houses remains in the area of Arnica, located on County Road 950.

Baker's Store was a community with a country store. The store began operations about 1915 and closed some time in the 1960s. Moser was unable to obtain a location for the store, but found mention of it in various records.

Balm was a local name given to the community of Cedar Springs, having been derived from the believed medicinal nature of the water in the area. A town was laid out by Thomas Eslinger in 1884 and thrived for a number of years. A few buildings remain in the area of the original town, located along U.S.
Highway 54 in the northern area of Cedar County.

Bear Creek, also known as Payntersville, began as a trading point in the 1850s and was so named because it is near Bear Creek.   Charles W. Paynter and Jefferson Jackson opened a store shortly after the
Civil War and soon people began calling the community Payntersville, but the official name remained Bear Creek.   Bear Creek was a bustling community for a number of years, with two or more stores, hotel, blacksmith shop, churches and later a consolidated school that remained in operation until the late 1960s.
By the mid-1970s, a few houses, one church and a service station remained.   Today a group of houses remains in Bear Creek, and the Lindley Prairie Cemetery and church are a little over a mile away.

Bell's Mill was built on Bear Creek in the 1840s and was named for the builder and operator. The nearby location of other mills and communities allowed others to grow while Bell's Mill remained a small operation. 

Blakeley's Mill
was built on the Sac River, likely in the area now flooded by Stockton Lake, by a Mr. Blakely. An exact location is unknown as the endeavor was short-lived.

Bugtussell was the name jokingly applied to a store and community established around 1915 about 3-1/2 miles east of Arnica, near the intersection of Highway AA and County Road 2101. The name, while humorous, stuck as long as the store remained open, until sometime in the 1930s.

Cane Hill was a trading post in the southern part of Cedar County, first established in 1868 by Tom Dale, his son Bill Dale and son-in-law John W. Rountree, who named the community Cane Hill because of the abundance of cane produced in the area.   The town was laid out in 1869 and within a few years had four stores and other industries. The community was served by a post office until it closed in 1919, due to a lack of patrons and Rural Free Delivery.   By the 1970s, Cane Hill had one general store, supplying residents with a variety of needs. Most recently, the community had a lumber and feed store, a few homes and nearby Flint Hill Church and Fullington Cemetery.

Caplinger or Caplinger's Mill has been known by several names including Sackville, Sacville and Williams Mill and is located on the west bank of the Sac River, about seven miles north of Stockton.
The area was settled in the 1840s by Samuel Caplinger who bought the mills from a man by the name of Williams. The mill was destroyed and the dam washed away during the Civil War. In 1866 the property changed hands and the mills were rebuilt by Andrew Master who operated the mill for some years.   The town was known for a while as Sacville, named so because of the river.   At various times the name was incorrectly listed on official publications as Sackville.   A town was laid out in 1869 and had a population of about 40 by the mid-1870s and continued to grow.   A modern mill owned by Whinery brothers was destroyed by fire on March 20, 1947, and rebuilt beginning new operations in April 1948. The new mill was again destroyed by fire in June 1953 and never rebuilt.

Cedar Mill was an early settlement on Cedar Creek built by John G. Williams who moved to Cedar County in 1837 and built a mill. The name was taken from Cedar Creek. The mill was later destroyed, and the exact location is unknown.

Centerville was a trading location 18 miles northwest of Stockton in the early days of Cedar County. Records indicate a town was laid out in 1857, but the community was destroyed during the Civil War and was never rebuilt.  A reason for the name is unknown.

Claud was a community built around a store named for the nephew of Charles E. Eliston who built the store near a crossroads, near where highways J and N intersect.
Clear Spring was an early name for Lebeck and was also known as Clair Spring. The community took its name from Clear Creek, which was so named by pioneers for the clear waters of the creek. The community is located on Highway DD near the Cedar and St. Clair County line.

Clintonville was established in 1857 by G.B. Adcock who named the community for the nearby town of Clinton. With growth, El Dorado Springs has enveloped what was Clintonville and all that remains today is the cemetery by the same name on the south edge of town.

Coal Hill was a community about three miles west of Cedar Springs. At one time, there was a Coal Hill School and 4-H Club and today a church remains.

Cook's Mill was located about a mile below the mouth of Horse Creek on a small branch a few hundred yards from Cedar Creek. The mill was named for the building and owner, a Mr. Cook, but later was destroyed and not rebuilt.

Cracker Box was the name of a store that opened around 1910 and was in operation for about 10 years. The store was very small, and the name Cracker Box was suggested by a local joker. The exact location is unknown, but Moser found reference to the location in several records.

Dixon's Store was the name of a country store named for its owner. The business was started around 1900 and also was called Red Hill for the badly washed red clay hill nearby. The business closed after several years of operation and the exact location today is unknown.

There are many more villages and communities to explore in Cedar County.  There are more we are unaware of that existed that would fit in the alphabetical listing we've begun here. Our thanks is expressed to the late Arthur Paul Moser who researched and compiled the majority of this information in his "Directory of Towns, Villages and Hamlets of Missouri."

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