RUSHVILLE

 

Productive crop land, fertile pastures, ample timber and the Missouri River are what led the first settlers into Rushville, the third oldest city in Buchanan County, Missouri.

 

The first settler's on the quarter-section that includes the town site of Rushville was John Flannery in 1839.  He sold his land to two men, Perman Hudson and James Leachman, who laid out the town of Rushville 1847, James Leachman, was a prosperous land owner with dreams of making Rushville a prosperous industrial city.  He died four years later in 1851.

 

Rushville was originally called Columbus, but the name was changed in 1851.  Many Kansans drove their herds of cattle across the river to graze the fine pasture land. They dubbed the town “Rushville” because of the extraordinary number of rushes growing along the nearby creeks.

 

In 1852 a wave of settlers began moving into the small village.  Many of the new settlers to the town chose the east part for their homes.  This section was known as New Town, while the rest of the village was simply called Old Rushville.

 

The City of Rushville in 1852 contained a church, a school, two doctors, Dr Evington and Dr. Stewart, three saloons and two drygood stores.  In the same period the first railroad was built through the town, these first tracks ran from St. Joseph to Winthrop. (East Atchison)

 

Among the early Rushville settlers were William Allison, John H Allison, James Ganter, John and Eli Seips and Micthell Owen all of whom had settled their before the county was surveyed in 1937. Another   familiar figure in the early history of the community was Colonel Wells whose stepson Johnny Fry, who also lived in Rushville, was the first Pony Express rider out of t. Joseph, Missouri on April 3, 1860.

 

An early rival of Rushville was The Narrows, a small community on the Missouri River bank, all trace of which has long since disappeared.  It consisted of a store, a blacksmith shop and a physician Dr Ankrum, a very familiar figure in Buchanan County in those days.

 

For many years there was only one well in Rushville for general public use.  Lost Creek runs along the south border of the town.  In the early days, stakes holding large iron kettles were set up along the creek, fires were built under the kettles which held water taken from the stream and the women did the family washing, visiting with one another while they worked.  The stream also supplied water power for some of the early day mills.

 

Milling, distilling and hemp farming were the main industries of the town in its early days.  The first mill in the township was put up in 1840 by Flannery and Son.  It was a long house on the waters of Lost Creek and enough power was supplied to run one small run of burrs.  In 1842 a small corn mill and distillery were built by Sylvester Hays.  Other mills were constructed in the years that followed, but in 1890 all milling operations were discontinued because they no longer offered a profit to the operators.  In 1901 the first elevator was built by a stockholder company of farmers.  The first President of the company was William Bunten.

 

The first distillery in Rush Township was operated in 1839 by Anhon Graves. Several other distilleries sprang up, but soon moved to other communities because the residents of the community held resentful feelings toward them.

 

Hemp rising was one of the chief agricultural endeavors in the early days.  Many acres were planted each year, which was used for making rope.  Two large hemp houses were once located in Rushville.  One was owned by Alfred Fenton.

 

The first sermon preacher in Rush Township was by Rev J.R Lowe, a hard-shell Baptist in 1843.  In the same year the first marriage was performed by the same minister.  The contracting parties were James D Bunten and Ursula Flannery, the daughter of John Flannery.  At the time the church was little more than a log house which also doubled for a school on week days.

 

 

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