The Story of Liberal, Missouri – Early Settlements

THE STORY OF LIBERAL, MISSOURI
BY O. E. HARMON
Published by THE LIBERAL NEWS, J. P. MOORE PRINTER, LIBERAL, MO, 1925

THE STORY OF LIBERAL, MISSOURI

Early Settlements in the Vicinity of Liberal

The stream of emigration that followed the star of empire westward many years ago, passed over the fair regions of Missouri and Kansas. Many a fertile tract of land was passed by in the eagerness of the emigrant to reach the valleys of the Rocky Mountains, or the more remote territory beyond the Sierra Nevadas.

We can easily imagine the vacant tracts shunned by the prospective settler, crying out to him as he journeyed by, “Do not pass me by.” This cry could not long remain unheeded. Now and then a few emigrants said to themselves, “It is good for us to be here.” So they pitched their tents, began to build dwellings and cultivate the soil. They found the wild prairie grass abundant for hay and grazing; and it seemed an easy matter to get a livelihood from the soil. The deer roamed over the wilds in great herds, and the meat problem was easily solved.

Southwest Missouri received its share of these settlers and not a few of them settled in Barton county in the vicinity of what is now the town of Liberal. Among those who located in the territory tributary to Liberal may be mentioned:

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John M. Minor, father of Marsh Minor, who settled north of Liberal in 1845; William H. Curless in 1867; Tom Stark, 1872; A. DeLissa, father of W. A. DeLissa, just northwest of Liberal, 1873; J. M. Wilson, father of the present postmaster, E. A. Wilson, who settled near the Lookout schoolhouse, 1872; John Rhines came to this vicinity in 1868; William I. Stacy, east of Liberal, 1871. In the Barton City neighborhood the early settlers were, C. M. Cameron, 1866; J. M. Coles, 1872; Chas. Brown, 1883; and there were also living there about this time John and Marion Fast, John Roberts and Mrs. Jennie Cartmel.

Mr. David N. Brewer settled about four miles southeast of Liberal in 1872. He was the mail carrier between Lamar and Arcadia for several years before the building of the railroad.

To these may be added Mrs. Kate Hesford, who still lives on the place where she settled in 1873; Sam Boulware who settled a little west of Liberal, and Robert Sweatt who settled north east of Liberal.

These settlements were made before the town of Liberal was dreamed of.

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