by Mary Emily Dozier
In the 1884 History of Callaway County, New Bloom-field was listed as "a station on the Missouri Division of the Chicago and Alton Railroad, twelve miles southwest of Fulton. It was laid out in 1836 by Enoch Murry...population 100." In 1983, New Bloomfield is now approximately ten miles southwest of Fulton with the new State Highway 54 cutting down on the distance, and ten miles north of Jefferson City. Population is now 519.
In the 100 years between, New Bloomfield has merged with the town of Ellerslie, the railroad was abandoned and the track removed in the early 1930's. The depot was moved to the east end of town and is still in use as a duplex, owned by T. N. Dozier and wife. A city park, with shelter house, tennis court, basketball court, and picnic area, now occupy the railroad right-of-way. The New Bloomfield Rural Fire Association, Inc. was formed on November 23, 1976, witK. David W. West as president, and the fire house is also on the park property.
Railroad Street, now Chestnut, New Bloomfield, c. 1912, courtesy Trenton Boyd. Businesses now consist of Don's Market, owned by Don and Louise Trammel; Bill's Service, owned by Bill Bennett; Thomas Hardware and Feed Store, owned by Herbert and Orthelia Thomas; Midway Liquor and Quick Shop, owned by Lawrence Luebbering; B & B Beauty Shop, owned by Bernice Smith; Used Furniture and Stuff, owned by Otto and Ruth Trachsel; and Claypool-Debo Funeral Home, owned by Robert Debo. In the 1915 Pocket Directory, New Bloomfield the town had 500 inhabitants and boasted of being "the home of some of the biggest and most successful stock raisers and feeders in the state and produces more big Missouri mules than any section of the county. The town is noted for its pretty homes and the hospitality of its inhabitants. It is a town of schools and churches, of good law-abiding people and is one of the most desirable residential, small towns." The businesses listed then were: Home Bakery; The Lemon Restaurant; Hotel Meng (rates $1.25 per day); Meat Market; Livery Feed and Sale Stable; Bank of New Bloom-field; a Lodge Directory; Harness and Saddle Shop (also shoe repair); Hardware Store; General Blacksmithing and Repair Work; Illinois Oil Company; B. W. Boyd Ice, Meat and Country Produce; Grain and Feed Store; Real Estate and Insurance Company; H. D. Brown, druggist; G. E. Kyger Auctioneer; A. P. Holt Real Estate, Loans and Insurance; Palace Restaurant; and Clatterbuck and Wilson Real Estate Exchange.
The first post office in New Bloomfield area in 1828 was listed as Round Prairie with James Henderson as postmaster, according to the U.S. Postal Directory. New Bloomfield, with James D. McGary, postmaster, was listed in 1842 and stated the name was changed, June 16, 1841. Whether New Bloomfield was previously called Round Prairie is not clear. The present postoffice building was dedicated October 29, 1961, with Arthur Williams as postmaster. At present F. Martin Bryan is postmaster.
According to the New Bloomfield News dated April 22, 1904, long-distance telephone service was available to the people. On November 8, 1962, Mid-State Telephone Company constructed a new underground dial telephone service in the area, and it was later bought by United Telephone, and in 1983 direct dial service nation-wide was available.
The town was incorporated on February 21, 1959, with Edith McClellan as mayor. Other council members were Churchill Pearre, Leon Gathright, Herbert Thomas and Thomas Nelson Dozier. Bernice Howell was city clerk and Glen Troyer was treasurer. After the incorporation, a city water system was completed on July 26, 1962. The city sewage system was later installed on September 9, 1977. Asphalt streets, street lights, and street markers also updated the town.
Although during the years New Bloomfield has had several banking facilities, the last one merged, April 1931, with a Fulton bank. For forty-two years the town was without banking service. The grand opening of the present First National Bank of Callaway County, New Bloom-field was held, June 3, 1973, with Mike Backer as manager. Today, Larry Underbill is bank manager.
New Bloomfield is now the location of a Baptist, Christian and a Methodist Church. The Presbyterian Church dissolution took place on April 12, 1921. The New Bloomfield R-III School is located in the city. It contains a four-year high school and elementary grade school. A school has been located in the town since September 2, 1867.
The oldest organization in town is the Masonic Lodge *60 AF & AM. The charter was granted May 25, 1854. The Order of the Eastern Star was granted a charter on September 21, 1917, and both still remain active.
The Lion's Club was organized on September 5, 1950, with Felix Lynes as president. Melvin Jones, founder of Lionism, spoke and presented the charter to the organization. Bob Wilderman is now president and Carson W. Boyd and Martin Bryan are the only charter members remaining with continuous service. A Lion's Club Horse Show and barbecue is an annual event in June. At one time, from 1908 to 1915, the Callaway County Fair was held in New Bloomfield. A permanent fair ground was located in the west part of town. It included a grandstand and three large barns that were erected on 15 acres of land from the Ewing Guthrie farm.
Meadow Lake Acres Country Club is located one mile south of the city limits and offers an 18-hole golf course, club house, swimming pool, and tennis courts to the members. The golf course opened in the spring of 1961.
The 1915 Business Directory statement that New Bloomfield was "a town of schools and churches, of good law-abiding people and one of the most desirable residential, small towns in the state" is still applicable in 1983.
by Alleyne Cave and Margaret Jones
Dixie was started in 1897. It consisted of the store building and the home of Mr. Walter Sappington, owner of the store. The merchandise had been in a store at Caldwell, Missouri, about three and a half miles to the northwest. There was also a pottery at Caldwell. In the spring of 1902, Mr. Walter Sappington sold the store and his residence to John C. Cave and Shannon Cave. In 1904, Mr. Sappington bought the store and residence from the Caves and continued to run it until 1910 when it was sold to Mr. John Woody and son Marvin. They ran it until about 1923 or 1924. Quincy Schreen was the next owner and he sold to his brother Fred. After a few years it was sold to Quincy Schreen and his uncle, Clinton Sparks, in 1927.
The truck business was founded by Sparks and a nephew, Quincy Schreen, in 1927 when the interest in the store was obtained. The truck line, used principally to transport livestock to St. Louis, was started with one vehicle, a Model-T Ford truck. The first run in 1927 began at 6 p.m. one day and ended late the next morning in St. Louis, with nine sows shipped on that first trip. As was the case with most Model-T owners, Sparks once suffered a broken arm while trying to crack the vehicle. The truck line in later years consisted of a pickup truck and two straight trucks, used for hauling livestock to St. Louis and to deliver feed and farm supplies to area farmers.
The interest of Quincy Schreen was purchased by Sparks in 1932, and S.C. Sparks and his wife Rosie operated both businesses alone until their retirement in 1957. S.C. recalled that one of the biggest changes that had taken place in the country store operation was the addition of bottled milk to the stock. "People would have thought we were crazy to have handled bottled milk thirty years ago." Everyone had a cow in those days. The store at one time also handled a large volume of dry goods business, but that went out as the innovations came in. The store has never handled fresh meat, but has carried a stock of canned goods and staples. Its main business was selling livestock feed and supplying gasoline to area residents.
At this time S. C. was well-known throughout the county as a soil conservation advocate. He was the first man in the Dixie Community to build terraces on his farm; he built 12 miles of terraces with a tractor and an old motor grader. The farm was chiefly in pasture-with cattle and sheep the main projects. He worked closely with the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and served many years on the township ASC committee. He also had served about 26 years on the Victor School board and was president of the board for more than 18 years. Before his death on January 14, 1977, he was very active as a church worker and had been on the board of the Dixie Christian Church for about 35 years and had been an elder for the last 15 years of his life.
After S. C.'s retirement in 1957, his son-in-law Dorris Jones took over the store and trucking business. The store remained open until 1962 at which time it was closed. The trucking business was not sold until September 1967.
HISTORY OF GUTHRIE
by Kathryn Holt
Samuel T. Guthrie was born in Madison County, Kentucky, in 1793. His wife, Sally Phillips, was born in Casey County, Kentucky, in 1804. Samuel T. Guthrie came to Callaway County in 1819, and he was married to Sally Phillips on December 27, 1821. They settled on the present site of the town of Guthrie. Samuel T. was the first coroner of Callaway county, in the year 1821. He died April 24, 1872, at the age of 79, less than two months before the town was founded.
John Guthrie and Samuel N. Guthrie, sons of Samuel T. Guthrie, laid out the town of Guthrie, on June 10, 1872.
The first census shows Guthrie with a population of one hundred. The population has fluctuated very little until this present time. J. W. Bruton was the first postmaster, express agent, notary public and lumber -dealer. The railroad was built in 1872 at a cost of $640,000, running from Mexico, Missouri, to Cedar City, Missouri.
Ben Bigbee, a wealthy man who furnished the money to build the railroad and went broke due to this venture, no doubt was unable to underwrite the huge cost of building the railroad. The town was originally named Bigbee for this man. He was an aristrocrat, influential, and no doubt, wealthy. This may have been reason for the town being named for him. The old survey maps still show the east part of Guthrie as Bigbee. The old house on the John Reynold's farm, one mile south of Guthrie, had the air of a southern mansion, and may have been built by Ben Bigbee since at this time he lived in the area.
Martin Butler at one time owned all the land south and west of Guthrie. It was known as the Guthrie land and was approximately 640 acres. Matt Guthrie married a Butler and became heir to this land. The grave stones in Dry Fork Cemetery for the Butlers and Guthries came from the old cemtery. They are the most outstanding stones in the cemetery. Emerine Butler left an endowment fund for upkeep of the cemetery.
The Matt Guthrie home on the south central part of the farm was, and is to me still, my idea of heaven with a fireplace and little upper windows on each side with deep window casings, a winding corner stair case, a puncheon door with a latch string, a south window with a couch beneath, a shed kitchen with a door to the east, grapevines on a trellis over the well, a garden gate where holly hocks grew, a four-rail fence on either side of the walk, a fire bush and hugh oak trees on the lawn.
Mr. and Mrs. Guthrie were highly respected neighbors and were the parents of Logan, Campbell, Cordie, Sally and Pattie Guthrie.
Ewing Guthrie was the father of George and Jim Guthrie. Jim Guthrie was the father of Leslie and Orlean Guthrie Craighead. Frank Guthrie was the father of Baxter, Lou Gray, and Sallie Houston. They lived at the old Guthrie home, where Tonanzio's now stands. I remember, probably seventy years ago, the morning the old house burned; we stopped by on the way to school. Nellie, a girl who lived with Sallie, Lou and Bax, was sitting on a big rock crying. I presume this was the original house.
My father, "Bill Jack" Wilkerson, farmed the Guthrie land, approximately 640 acres. This was the Matt Guthrie farm located south and west of Guthrie. He raised wheat mostly on this land. There was not a single gully then. I was a very young child at that time. My husband J. C. (Tots) Holt told me Dad shipped as much as two car loads of wheat a year from Guthrie that he raised on this farm. It was very good land, and Dad, who was a good wheat farmer, took care of the land. It was quite a feat to sow and harvest three to four hundred acres of wheat with a horse drawn grain drill and grain binder and then to thresh with steam engine threshing machine and horse drawn bundle wagons and grain wagons. It took twelve to fourteen bundle wagons, six to eight men pitching bundles onto the wagons, three to four grain wagons, three machine men and several boys. The threshers spent several days, and the women spent many hours preparing and cooking the meals for possibly thirty men with farm hand appetites.
History records a beginning for this area at the time Samuel T. Guthrie and many other settlers came in 1817-1819. The first church in Guthrie was founded on October 4, 1823; it was the Cumberland Presbyterian. It was the third church organized in the county. It was a small log cabin daubed with clay, known as Log Providence. The church was built on what was known as Picayune Prairie. The location is south of what we called Graveyard Hill.
The pastor and members are listed in a former Callaway history book. Later, Brother Buchanan and Brother Russell served as pastors, and a frame building was built in Guthrie which stands today, but it is no longer a church building. What a shame that we lost such a great heritage! My mother and father, Eva and William H. Wilkerson, took their family to services there as well as to Dry Fork, where they were members as we were growing up. I have pleasant memories of this old church and its members.
Grandpa and Grandma, Robert and Nancy Criswell, lived in a house across the present road from the cemetery. A legend of their home told me by "Tots" was that a little colored girl was drawing water from the well with a bucket, and it was storming, lightning, and thundering. Either she was struck by lightning or was frightened and fell into the well and drowned. A depression in the ground and the rocks to the well are still visible.
Guthrie residents in 1974-75 were researching the beginning of the Guthrie School. My sister-in-law, Maude Holt Bedsworth, who reached 90 in 1979, and I thought that possibly the first school was held in the church building. Mr. Peru and Lark Fleshman were the first two teachers in the township.
Trains played a big role in Guthrie life and welfare. The north and south bound trains met in Guthrie at 10:00 o'clock in the morning. The south bound train was on the siding which ran from the east-west road to the school house. The north bound passenger train returned at 2:00 p.m., and the south bound train at 5:30 p.m. One could go to Fulton for a quick shopping trip on the afternoon trains. Everyone except the store keepers met the morning trains to see who was going north or south and who got what from the freight train. Horses, mules, cattle, sheep, hogs and grain were shipped to St. Louis and Chicago. The branch line was the Chicago and Alton line. My dad sold John Deere machinery and also Minneapo-lis-Moline. The machinery came unassembled and Dad had to set it up and get it into operation.
The first rural telephone in the county and possibly the state was from Guthrie to Ashland. Charles Birkhead was in charge of building the line and installing the phones. The phone in each home had a call of long or short rings or a combination of both. There was no privacy on these lines and this was not at all appreciated by the patrons. Mr. Birkhead told the women how to use the phones, not to be too close to the transmitter etc. Odga, Church, and Herbert Clatterbuck raised hound dogs and as typical boys, they got the old dogs to howl so the women could not hear each other. Much complaint got poor results. Boys will be boys! My father and mother were on this first rural line and I remember a call from Texas telling my father of the death of his mother. This impressed me since Mother and Dad were crying. At the time of this message we lived at the house of my birth, and by checking ages, I think the line was built in 1911-1912.
My husband "Tots" told me of a Mr. Jamison who kept stallions and jacks for breeding purposes. When he made a phone call, he announced "If any women are on the line, they had best hang up because of what I might say to my client." Naturally all the women listened in.
Memories of 78 years ago
by Flossie Hudson as told to Sonya Wilson
"I hold many fond memories of the now near ghost town of Guthrie, Missouri. It was a booming little country village with a drug store, post office, harness and saddle store, mill and blacksmith shop, a Presbyterian church, a Baptist church a little ways down the road, C & A branch train depot, a barbershop, and three stores containing groceries, dry goods, novelties, and most anything a well-to-do-residential area could get by with until the residents could go to one of the three larger towns which were Fulton, the county seat of Callaway County; Jefferson City, capital of Missouri; and Columbia, county seat of Boone County.
"I especially have a slight memory of a small circus that came to Guthrie in the early summer around 1905. A large tent was set up between the railroad tracks and the business places west of the tracks. The tent faced east and had a large opening on the south end. It was equipped with amphitheater seats that were well filled with eager and excited spectators. I remember about six or eight small elephants in the ring, each holding the tail of the elephant in front of them with its trunk and marching around and around the ring. At the crack of a whip, they would turn loose of each other and would get on a tub apiece with all four feet. I also remember trained dogs doing stunts and clowns. "The entrance fee to the circus was 25 cents for adults, 10 cents for children under 12, and free for children under five. I had a younger brother who was five years old at the time. My father wanted to save some money so when it came time to pay the entrance fee, he pointed to my brother and said he was four years old. Well, as most children, my brother didn't want to be claimed younger than he was, so he spoke up and said, 'I am five years old!' My father turned and said, 'You little rascal, why didn't you keep still?' He had to pay the 10 cent fee for my brother after all. The incident caused much laughter as the circus itself did.
"I also remember visiting my grandfather who lived right in Guthrie and he would take me on a train ride sometimes when I visited. We would board the train in Guthrie and ride down to Cedar city, Missouri, and back which would usually take an hour. The train would make a stop at New Bloomfield and Holts Summit."