Vintage Kansas - A Celebration of Kansas City Past!
The Centennial History of Independence, Mo. by W. L. Webb

Chapter 4:
Jackson County's First Resident


The very first white man to reside in the wilderness that became Jackson County was Daniel Morgan Boone, who came here in 1798 and spent 12 winters trapping beaver along the Little Blue and the Big Blue.

     In the spring of each year Morgan Boone floated down the Missouri River with his furs and peltry to St. Louis, then, and for a long time thereafter, the largest fur emporium in the world.  It is interesting to surmise that Morgan Boon en route to or from St. Louis spent each summer, or part of it, with his father Daniel Boone.  The country was the, as had always been, Louisiana, not Missouri.  The territory was named Missouri in 1812.

     In 1808 George C. Sibley opened a government storehouse at Fort Osage, acting as the agent of factor of the United States Government.  His business was to keep in stock such articles of traffic as the Indians would purchase, blankets, cloth, guns, traps, cutlery, etc., exchanging furs and peltry in payment.  Uncle Sam actually and actively went into business and became a fur trader.  Maj. Sibley lived at the fort from 1808 to 1827.  The fort was located on Osage Indian land.  In order to get the fort, the Osages relinquished title to the necessary site for the fort and to "Six Miles" square adjoining the fort.  This six miles country was owned by the government, but white people were permitted to occupy the land temporarily as gardeners and farmers, whose produce was sold to the soldiers and others at the fort.  These were among the earliest residents in what was destined to be a part of Jackson County.  The United States troops, a small company, was under the command of Capt. Clemson.  These soldiers were but temporary residents and never became citizens.  They were there as a protection to the government storehouse and were not under the command of Maj. Sibley, whose duty was to attend to the trade and traffic for the government.

     Maj. Sibley, during the time of his residence at the fort, married Miss Mary Easton of St. Charles, daughter of Rufus Easton, first postmaster of St. Louis.  Major Sibley -- all Indian agents were majors -- built a residence, a log house, at the fort and brought his bride there.  The Sibley home was noted for its hospitality and all prominent travelers on the Missouri River were guests of Maj. and Mrs. Sibley.

     We may be justified in claiming Maj. Sibley as the first citizen of Jackson County.  Mrs. Sibley was a woman of culture and she brought the first piano into the wilderness, a great curiosity to the pioneer settlers, some of whom drove 20 miles in an ox wagon, bringing their families to see Mrs. Sibley's piano and to hear her perform.

     Major and Mrs. Sibley moved to St. Charles, Mrs. Sibley's old home, the home of her parents, in 1827, the year that Jackson County was organized.  Probably Maj. Sibley never voted in Jackson County, and those who object to naming him the first citizen are entitled to the argument of his early removal from the county.  by the way, Maj. Sibley and Mrs. Sibley founded Lindenwood College at St. Charles.

     In the County Recorder's Office in Independence there are many pages of the Recorder's books devoted to a law suit instituted by the government against George C. Sibley.  Furthermore, it may be mentioned that Judge Rufus Easton, a scholarly and brilliant man, became incapacitated, and it fell to his sons-in-law, George C. Sibley and Archibald Gamble, to wind up his affairs.  And we may add here, parenthetically, that Rufus Easton was one of the beneficiaries of the Congressional Act whereby those whose lands had been damaged by the New Madrid earthquake of 1811 were empowered to choose other tracts of equal amount from the public domain.  Judge Easton selected new holdings here in Jackson County.

     Archibald Gamble was one of the original proprietors of the town of Sibley.  He and Governor Hamilton R. Gamble, famous in Missouri history, were brothers.

     If we must eliminate Morgan Boone and Maj. Sibley as first  citizens of Jackson County, because one was a trespasser on Indian land and the other because located temporarily as a government employee, we have next Lynchburg Adams, whose citizenship cannot be impugned or denied.  He was a bona fide citizen and his descendants, who are many, take pride in denominating him the first settler in Jackson County.

     Morgan Boone died in Westport and his grave is there.


The Centennial History of Independence


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