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The Centennial History of Independence, Mo. by W. L. Webb
   

Chapter 6:
A Snappy, Jovial Court

 
Life was less sad in 1827 than it is now as we enter upon the second century of existence for the City of Independence.  Men were free and unrestrained in 1827 -- joyous and fun-loving.  Even the County Court was regarded as inconsequential by those not concerned in its proceedings and was sometimes treated with levity, even derision.  One man, dauntless and unafraid, came into the presence of the newly installed by humble County Court and made sport of that unimposing body.  He was promptly brought before the bar of the court and he then and there was disillusioned.  He discovered that this apparently unimposing County Court was really very imposing.  It imposed a fine on the offender, who then and there paid over the amount of the fine, $1.00, and in addition apologized for his rudeness.  That fine was the beginning of the County Court dignity and authority.  This fine was generally regarded as a very severe punishment, for a dollar was a large sum in those days.  But thereafter the Court was accorded a very high and wholesome esteem.

    During the first term the new County Court laid off  the county into three townships, Osage, Blue and Kaw.  The township line between Osage and Blue began at the Missouri River and ran due south as to strike the Little Blue Creek at Fristoe's Fish trap.  (The specifications of Judge Fristoe's fish trap have been lost to posterity.)

     The three townships extended to the Southern limits of the county, which seems to have been the Osage River.  We still have Osage township and Osage Street, memorials of the original owners of the land.  The name Osage is a corruption of the Indian word Oua Chage, meaning strong, in the aboriginal tongue.

     The new County Court appointed justices of the peace and constables for the several townships and thus the operation of law became possible upon all men and all property.  Civilization had planted its firm foot upon the wilderness.

     One of the earliest transactions of the County Court was the reception of a petition signed by twelve householders praying the Court for a new road.  The court in response appointed commissioners "to view and map out a road from the Public Square in the town of Independence to intersect the Missionary road on the east side of Little Blue, crossing Little Blue at Fristoe's fish trap."

     The first money available for the payment of accounts against the new county was receipts form the sale of lots in the town of Independence.  Among the earlier accounts allowed by the Court was presented by the commissioner of the county seat, Samuel Newton, who presented an itemized statement as here appended:

     "To preparing mulberry stakes.............  $1.00
     "James King 3 days packing
           & driving stakes............................   2.50
     "John Dunston surveying the town of
           Independence, 143 Lots @ .25.......  35.75
     "Myself 5 days, laying off the Town,
           @ 75 cts.......................................  3.75
     "Writing and putting up advertisements..  2.00
     "4 quires writing paper..........................  1.50
     "2 sheets paste board............................  .25
     "3 days crying sale at $2.00..................  6.00
     "Samuel C. Owens four days writing........  4.00
     "7 gallons whiskey, 50 cts......................  3.50
     "Boy watering.........................................  .25
     "House rent 3 days................................ 3.00

 

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