Nodaway County, Missouri
from Standard Historical Atlas of Nodaway County, Missouri containing maps of Villages, Cities and Townships of the County. Maps of State, United States and World. Farmers Directory, Business Directory and General Information. Published by The Anderson Publishing Co., Map & Atlas Publishers. Chicago, Ill., 1911; pages 1 & 2, section 2.
(Transcribed by Pat O'Dell:
Jefferson Township is bounded on the north by Jackson Township, on the east by Gentry County, on the south by Washington Township, and on the west by Grant and Polk Townships. It contains forty-seven square miles.

The Platte River enters about the center of the township on the north, and runs diagonally through it a little west of the center in a southwesterly direction. Long Branch passes across the extreme northwestern portion of the township through two sections, and flows in a southerly direction. The Wild Cat finds its headwaters in the eastern and northeastern portions of the township, and runs southeasterly and empties into Grand River. The land along the streams is rather rolling in character, and the township consists principally of upland rolling prairie. The soil is a silicious loam, and is exceedingly fertile, producing large crops of cereals. The land is well adapted in character for the cultivation of fruit, especially of the small fruits, and the farmers are engaged more or less in fruit culture, which is proving profitable. The first bottom along the Platte River is about a mile in width, and the soil is a deep, rich alluvium. The township does not contain a large amount of timber - not more than one-fifteenth of the area of the township being timbered land.

Good stone is quarried in abundance, enough for building purposes.

Many springs are found among the hills, and the whole township is well watered.


The earliest settlements of Jefferson Township were made along the Platte River and the various branches of the Wild Cat.

Among the first settlers came David Rhoades, in the year 1846, and took a claim and built a cabin, in the northwest corner of Section 28, Township 63, Range 34.

Samuel Ross came probably in the same year, and located two and a half miles southwest of the present site of Old Conception.

Silas Best, at an early day, emigrated from Washington Township, and with four sons took a claim on the east side of the Platte River in the edge of the timber.

Jacob Pugh, at an early day emigrated from Iowa, and settled on the west side of the Wild Cat, about four miles southeast of the present site of New Conception.

In 1857 Anderson Smith emigrated from Virginia, and located two miles and a half west of the present site of New Conception.

In the same year Isaac Weatherman came from Tennessee and settled on Wild Cat Creek.

During the year 1858 John S. Aldridge emigrated from Indiana, and took a claim three miles southwest of where Old Conception is now located.

Benjamin Casteel emigrated from the South, and located on the northeast quarter of Section 11, Township 63, Range 33. His farm of 160 acres was cut in two by the Platte River.

Sidney Smith emigrated about the year 1856 from Cooper County, Missouri, and located on the Wild Cat, three miles southeast of the present site of Clyde.

In 1858 Matthew Riley came from New York and settled one mile south of where New Conception is located.

Patrick Growney originally emigrated from Ireland, and made Brooklyn, New York, his home for twelve years. He came in the year 1858 to Jefferson Township, and located in Section 9, Township 63, Range 34. He died June 17, 1879.


In the year 1856, in the State of Pennsylvania, three gentlement of Irish descent, by the names of Felix, McLaughlan and O'Reilly, conceived the plan of forming a colony of their countrymen with the object in view of seeking suitable lands in the distant West upon which to settle said colony. They were induced to this measure by the scarcity of work, hard times and small wages, which prevailed in Pennsylvania at that time. When the colony was formed, Anthony Felix, O. O'Reilly and Rev James Powers came West for the purpose of entering lands. Arriving at St Joseph, they fell in with Jeff Thompson, who gave them a plat of the then vacant lands on which the colony is now located, and advised them to go to the land office at Plattsburg, in Clinton County, and make an entry of said lands. When they went there the Commissioner of the office represented to them that the office was closed, and as a consequence no entry of lands could be made. Messrs. Felix, O'Reilly and Powers then went to the General Land Office at Washington City, and upon application to Hon. Thomas A. Hendricks, who was then the commissioner of said office, they succeeded in effecting an entry of said lands, and the necessary documents were sent to the Commissioner at Plattsburg, with insturction to him that he should make a record of the entry upon his books. While Felix, O'Reilly and Powers were at Washington City, or immediately after the documents were received at Plattsburg, the land office at the latter place, which it seems had never been closed in fact, was opened as was claimed by the Commissioner, and these same lands were entered by other parties. This complicated condition with regard to the entry of said lands caused considerable difficulty and created a vexed question. Each party claimed that they had entered the land. The case was finally taken up before the Committee of Public Lands in the United State Senate, in the year 1858 or 1859, during Buchanan's administration. Said committee decided the case in favor of Felix, O'Reilly and Powers, and against the parties who claimed to have entered the land throught the Plattsburg office. The lands that were thus in dispute embraced about 20,000 acres, all of which, with the exception of one and a half sections, which are in Gentry County, lie in Nodaway County, and in Jefferson Township. The decision of the case turned principally up the fact as to whether the office at Plattsburg had been closed, and partly upon the fact as to whether the documents forwarded from Washington were not received at the office at Plattsburg before the other parties made their pretended entry.

The names of the first settlers of the Reading Colony were as follows: John McCarty, William Brady, Michael Fagan, Jeremiah Sullivan, Thomas Reilley, Edward Reilley and Patrick Growney.

During the time of our Civil War immigration almost ceased, but soon after the war ended a large number of immigrants came into Jefferson Township.


This town is located about eleven miles southeast of Maryville, near the Wabash, St Louis & Pacific Railroad. The town was named in honor of the Immaculate Virgin.

Father James Powers came from Reading, Pa., in the year 1856, and entered the land where the town of Conception is now located, in behalf of a company of which he was a member. The company was composed of Father Powers, Owen Reilly, and Anthony Felix, as above mentioned. They selected 20,000 acres of land in Nodaway and Gentry Counties. Father Powers and William Brady laid out the town of Conception in 1860. On June 9, 1860, the colony house and chapel were finished and dedicated. There were forty acres laid out and platted as a town site, described as the southwest quarter of Section 24, Township 63, Range 34. The first lot was sold to Mr Saul for $1.00, who put up a store for general merchandise, the second building in the town. A blacksmith shop was erected by Joseph Hefner, who also built a dwelling. Mr A. Blyley put up the next house for a dwelling, and moved into it, and he also erected another building for a dwelling. Soon afterward, Frank Enos built a blacksmith shop and a dwelling, and Father Tuerk erected a house for a dwelling. In the year 1870, Ignatius Richlin put up a dwelling and moved into it. In 1871 he put on an addition to Mr Saul's store building and opened a stock of general merchandise. In 1871 Henry McIntire erected a dwelling, and Augustus Enos put up a dwelling the same year. A store and a dwelling were soon afterward built by Joseph Wonderly. He moved into the dwelling and commenced keeping store, opening a general stock of merchandise. About this time a dwelling was erected by Gerhard Arens, and another one by John B. Krotch. Dwelling houses were also erected by the Sisters, Mr Terriso Ikleman, Mrs Elizabeth Koons, Mrs Elizabeth Myers, Mrs Margaret Smith, Mr Barnard Nathan, and Dr James Bickett. Joseph Sholze erected a dwelling and drug store combined. Dwellings were also erected by Joseph Wonderly and Anthony Match. Nicholas Burns put up a saloon, and Christian Voelker erected a dwelling and shoe shop.

The first church was built by the Catholics in 1867, and dedicated December 8, 1867. Its dimensions were 25x40 feet, and it was enlaged in 1874 to 34x90 feet.

In the year 1880 a monastery was erected in Conception, but has been elevated to the dignity of an abbey, and called Conception Abbey. The new church is 80x208, 66 feet in height. It runs east and west and is one of the most magnificent structures of the kind in the United States. It is surmounted by three grand towers reaching some 140 feet in the air from the ground. At the southteast corner of the church another wing similar to the one now completed is built and extended to the southeast corner of the present building, making the total building in size 208x208 feet square, covering over one acre of ground. It is built of cut stone and pressed brick. The material for the buildings is mostly obtained on their farm. The whole structure is built in pure Roman style with court in the center, and cost some $250,000.

The Sisters' Convent is located about a mile and a half northeast of the abbey.

The first death in the town of Conception was that of Mr Hewey McIntyre, in the year 1874. The first child baptized in the congregation was christened Ellen, a daughter of Mr and Mrs Sullivan. Father Powers, who baptized her, gave her forty acres of land because she was the first child baptized in the parish. The first marriage was that of Elisha Richlin and Miss Julia Protzman, in the year 1870.

The town of Clyde, once known as New Conception is located on the Wabash Railroad about two miles northeast of Conception, and eleven miles southeast of Maryville.

In 1869 Matthias Jerman bought the land on which Clyde is now located. He sold the land in 1873 to Matthias Rogers, and the latter in 1879 sold it to the Western Improvement Company, who, during the same year, platted and laid out the town.

This town was the outgrowth of the crossing of the Wabash and Chicago & Great Western Railroads, the law of the land requiring that proper junction accommodations must be maintained at such junction points. It was platted by C.N. Comstock in August, 1895, on Section 14, Township 63, Range 34, and as the name New Conception had been applied to what is now known as Clyde, one mile to the east, this place was called Conception Junction. While it has drawn from the growth of Clyde, yet it has never developed into much of a trading point until recently, when there has grown up an appreciation of the railroad interests of the two great systems of railroad crossing here, with the freight division being located here on the Chicago Great Western line, and it is now building up materially.