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   Kingdom City/McCredie Page

Callaway County, Missouri


by Evelyn Berry and Rita Stephens

The town of McCredie was founded in September 20, 1871, by George P. McCredie on Section 4, Township 48, Range 9, located 8 miles north of Fulton in Jackson Township. Though it never reached the one hundred mark in population, it was a flourishing little town in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Due to the prosperous farms surrounding it and the fact that the Chicago and Alton Branch Railroad was laid in 1872 from Mexico to Cedar City, it developed the largest stock yards on the C. & A. Railroad and the largest mule shipping point in the state of Missouri. Mules and cattle were fed by the Dunn brothers, Dave Hamilton, the Maddoxs, Ed Moore, Em-mett Moore, the Muir brothers, Will Vivion, Tyke Harri-son, the Berry brothers, Atkinson brothers, and Ennis Robinson, and they were driven by foot to the stock yards. Old timers can remember days when all of the pens and stock yards were full with even the road leading into town filled with stock, all awaiting shipment.

Businesses included: Suggett Brothers Grocery, John F. Sweets Grocery, Atkinson and West Hardware, Wilkes Cafe, a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, a barber shop, a combined grade and high school, the post office, and a bank. John Martin, who owned a farm on the edge of town, bedded the railroad cars which carried the livestock to the market and ran a drayage service to and from the stores. Salesmen and stockmen enjoyed delicious food at the boarding houses of Mrs. James Wise and Mrs. Sam West.

Three doctors served the town and surrounding community during this time. They were Dr. Noah F. Baker, Dr. J. M. Tate, and Dr. Joseph E. Harris.

The post office, established in 1872, was served by Hugo Herkenrath. Following his term were those of Miss Isobell Smith, Miss Mattie Craig, Mr. Charlie O'Rear, Mr. Jesse Wilks, Mr. James Epperson, and Mr. George Polmateer.

The bank, erected in 1915, was the only brick business building in the town. Ray Suggett served as cashier, Hetty Wallace was assistant cashier, and Claude Berry was president of the board. Board members were W. E. Muir, Matt Dunn, John Wilkerson, John P. Harrison, and J. D. Underwood.

In 1916, the community had outgrown the community hall built in 1880, and a larger hall was erected with ample facilities for plays, debates, and corhmunity gatherings. Older citizens remember the annual Christmas programs held there and the beautifully decorated tree, which Mr. John Martin turned with a hand made contrivance he invented. For years, live glowing candles adorned the trees. Fortunately, there was never a fire. The only church, Methodist, was built in 1906 on land donated by Mr. Dave Atkinson. Remodeled in recent years, it continues to serve the community faithfully.

In 1917, a combined grade and high school was built. Prior to that time the McCredie children had attended two rural schools, Maddox and Martine. The high school attracted students from the surrounding communities, some riding horses seven miles to attend. Others boarded in homes during the school year. In 1925, the grade schools were again shifted to the two rural schools as space was needed for the high school students. Henry Iba, the famed Oklahoma basketball coach, who attended Westminster College, coached the McCredie team to a county championship during the late twenties.

McCredie was hit hard by the depression. The bank closed in 1929 and soon other businesses also closed. A brief shot in the arm came during the building of Highways 54 and 40, but this was not lasting. Many farmers lost their land and life savings. Attempts to revive the town with street fairs, mule and horse shows did little to rejuvenate business.

During the thirties, the Sommers sisters, longtime residents of McCredie, operated a grocery store in the bank building. Later it became the site of the post office, and then a furniture store operated by Emmett Baumgartner and son George. Still later in 1970, Betty Taylor and her husband, William, operated an antique store and, adjacent to it a restaurant called the Calico Cupboard.

Though many people still cling to the name of "McCredie," the little town lost its identity when it became incorporated with Kingdom City in 1970. Kingdom City, with a population of 146, is located at the junction of Highways 1-70 and 54. Its business section consists of several restaurants, a grocery store, filling stations, a bank, a post office, and several motels.

Mrs. William Johnston (formerly Frances Martin, the daughter of John Martin), her daughter, Mrs. James Dunn and grandsons, Bill, Jimmy R., Danny, and Tad, are the only residents who are descendants of original settlers.

The above information was obtained from Frances Martin Johnston and an article printed in the Auxvasse Review August 6, 1975, by Betty Jo Palmer.

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