Green Ridge Township
Green Ridge Township.-The name Green Ridge, as applied to this township, is appropriate. In it is the watershed between the waters of the tributaries of the Missouri and the tributaries of the Osage rivers. It is a ridge covered with beautiful green prairie, interspersed with timber along the few water courses that break the monotony of the physical features of the township. Green Ridge was formerly a part of Elk Fork township as the county was subdivided, up to 1844. The subdivision of the county then made it a part of Washington township, and it remained thus until 1873, when in the township organization of that year it became the southwestern township in the county, with the name of Green Ridge. Its northern extremity touches Elk Fork township; its eastern, Washington; its southern, Benton County, and its western, Johnson and Henry counties. It contains 30,720 acres of land. The township has the same style of configuration of land as that of the balance of Pettis County. The headquarters of Fiat Creek and Elk Fork Creek are within its bounds.
The Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad runs from section 1, southwest through the township, leaving it at section 31. The Rock Island railroad runs through sections 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
The early settlers of this and Washington township are the same, or nearly so. Both these townships were a part of Elk Fork and before the townships were divided the pioneers had opened up their homes and laid out their claims for future farms. The earliest settler of the section of county now occupied by Green Ridge township, was Robert Means, who came here in 1832. Mr. Means came from Christian county, Kentucky, to Howard County, Missouri, where a part of his family were born. He removed with his family in November, 1832, to what is now Green Ridge township, Pettis County. He died in 1844, and is buried in the southwest corner of the township. Squire Robert D. Means came with his father from Howard county. Missouri, to Pettis County, in 1832, and settled in the township. John L. Hawkins came between 1835 and 1838, from Howard county, Missouri. In 1857, Washington Starke came to the township from Pike County, Missouri. Daniel Ramey came in 1842, from Georgetown, Mo. During the war he was killed by guerrillas near Rose Hill, Johnson County. John S. Cole came between 1850 and 1855 from Illinois. W. H. Hammonds came in 1855 from Cooper County. During the Civil War he espoused the cause of the South, and died in defense of what he believed to be right at the battle of Little Rock, Ark., in 1862. William and Benjamin Hawkins came in 1856, from Cooper County, Missouri. Thomas Owens came from Georgia, and died in 1862. Hiram Richardson came about 1844 from Tennessee, and died at his home in 1866. Thomas Richardson, the former's father, came in the same year from Tennessee and resided in this county twenty years. Absalom and John Elliott came with their father in 1836, and settled in Washington township. James C. Hatton came at an early day and settled in this township, but died at his home in the spring of 1861. Nathaniel Parberry came from Virginia at an early date. Thomas N. Ireland came in 1858 from Illinois, and died in 1860 John D. Majors came from Calloway County in 1855. M.M. Lampton came from Christian County, Kentucky, in 1855. O. W. Withers came in 1854 from Kentucky. He was killed while serving under Price, in the Confederate Army, at Iron Mountain. Thomas F. Parazetle came in 1854 from Henry County. He was formerly from Virginia, and he died in this township in 1881. George Bell came in 1854 from Paris, Illinois. Lapsley Bell came in 1854 from Paris, Illinois. Henry Woodward came in 1854 from Henry County.
The principal industry in this township is farming and stock raising. They raise the staple crops, corn, wheat and oats, some flax and considerable broom corn. Many of the farmers have fine flocks of graded sheep, cattle, hogs and mules. Land in this township sells from $60 to $100 per acre.
The Congregational Church of Green Ridge was organized on the first day of January, 1871, by J. B. Turner and J. 3d. Bowers. J. WI. Bowers was its first minister and served for two years. J. G. Bailey served as pastor then until 1881. The original members of the church were Geo. D. Hicks, Abigail Hicks, J. H. Knapp, Lydia S. Knapp, Harry C. Knapp, Thomas Ashton, Mrs. Thomas Ashton, Charles Ashton, Nellie Ashton, Mrs. Sarah Fowler, Mr. Labaw, Philip Williams, Mrs. Philip Williams, Miss Wilbur, Robert McCormick, Miss Amelia McCormick.
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of Green Ridge, was organized January 9, 1876, by Rev. R. A. Cole, of Otterville, assisted by Rev. William House. The incumbents of the pulpit have been C. W. Weeden. George W. Mathis, Rev. McBride. In the organization on January 9, 1876, the elders elected and ordained were Dr. G. W. House, W. C. Wells and Benjamin Melvin; deacons, Elijah Phillips and Tipton Edwards.
The Church of Christ of Green Ridge township at Green Ridge, was organized by Elder S. K. Hallam, April 25, 1880. In the spring of 1882, a commodious frame house twenty-eight by forty-eight was erected at a cost of $1,000, and was dedicated in the same year by Elder S. K. Hallam. The original members are: Thomas Close, Catherine Close, Sarah J. Martin, Nannie Martin, R. D. Rains, Lou J. Rains, Cassie Edwards, Aaron Dunfee and wife, R. H. Nelson, F. A. Logan, D. E. J. Logan, Melinda Rains, Wm. Dunfee and wife, Lecta Dunfee, Mariah Dunfee, G. W. Womach, Phoebe Womach, James Neal, John A. Logan, Mary Womach, Columbus Parks, Eliza Neal, Alice Womach, Mattie Womach, Emily D. Womach.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Green Ridge was organized in 1872 by the Rev. W. W. Powell, with George Anderson, James Anderson, Mary and Jane Anderson, S. Johnson and Mentezee, as members of the class. In 1878 the congregation erected a house of worship, at a cost of $700. In 1880 Rev. J. N. Pierce dedicated this building. The early E. H. Smith. J. H. Nelson. F. Oechsli. A. P. Salaway. J. H. Gillispie and E. H. Smith, J. H. Nelson, F. Oechsli, A. P. Salaway, J. H. Gillispie and John Lutz.
Green Ridge Baptist Church, located in the town of Green Ridge, Is one of the older churches of the county. It was organized with only fourteen members in 1887. Its present membership is forty. The church building is a good, substantial wooden structure, thirty by sixty feet.
The Green Ridge Christian Church is located two blocks south of he Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Station, on Main street. The church building is a good substantial frame, thirty by forty feet. The building is well kept and nicely furnished. This church was organized in 1882 and erected on its present site. Church membership is seventy, with a Sunday school attendance of fifty.
Prairie View Methodist Church, South, is located four miles north of Green Ridge. The church building is a good substantial frame, thirty-six by forty feet. The church, at present, has eighty members and the Sunday school, for the past year, has averaged an attendance of forty. Rev. Samuel E. Brooks is the minister in charge.
The Green Ridge Methodist Church, South, in Green Ridge, is one growing churches of Pettis County. It was organized about the year 1884 and since that time has been presided over by some of the ablest ministers of the Conference. The present minister is Rev. Samuel Brooks. Present membership is sixty-four, with a Sunday school attendance of fifty. The building is a substantial frame in good condition.
The Methodist Episcopal Church, situated near the center of the town of Green Ridge, was organized in 1872, by Rev. W. W. Powell. Rev. Powell was killed by lightning a short time later. The first church building was erected in 1878 and dedicated in 1880. This building was destroyed by fire in 1898 and rebuilt in 1899. Building was again destroyed by fire in 1911 and the present building erected in 1912. The present building is a frame. Membership is 100, with an average Sunday school attendance of sixty. Rev. D. E. Fields is the present minister. The first members of this church were, George Anderson and wife, James Anderson and wife, Shed Johnson and wife and Alexander Mentzer and wife. Present trustees of the church are: Joseph Upton, chairman; L. B. Ream, secretary; F. A. Lowe, treasurer; D. S. Crissman and J. E. Helman.
The Green Ridge Congregational Church, located at Green Ridge, is one of the substantial churches of the county. It has a membership of 175, with a Sunday school attendance of eighty-five. The church building is a good, substantial frame and this summer it was improved and added to until it now represents a property value of $5,000. It is heated with furnace, equipped with oak pews, lighted with acetelyn gas. Rev. L. R. Spooner is the present minister. S. D. Haight is senior deacon, and John B. Kyd is junior deacon. The following are trustees: E. R. Wilson, Wm. Baker and Mrs. Belle Evans.
The first school in the township was in school District 2. Emma Wells was the first teacher. Green Ridge township is second to none in the county in her schools. They have eight public schools and a second class high school, at Green Ridge, which would be a credit to most any city of 20,000 inhabitants. Lida Hale is superintendent, with Anna Hiatt as principal. Attendance this year is forty. The public schools are as follows: Elm Branch, with an enrollment of twenty-five pupils and Mildred Thomas is teaching this winter. Maple Grove has an enrollment of twenty-one pupils and Irene Kilburn is teaching. Swisher has an enrollment of twelve, and M. Sue Clark is the teacher. Wadleigh has twenty-seven pupils, and Moro Anderson is the teacher. Rodelia has thirty-seven pupils, and Mrs. D. O. Herndon is the teacher. Hope Dale enrolled twenty-six this September, and Gertrude Ridsour is the teacher. Knapp has an enrollment of twelve, and Anna P. Funk is teaching. Green Ridge has an enrollment of forty, and Elizabeth Donaldson, Lena Shelley and Charlotte Kyd are the teachers.
The first marriage in the township was Josiah Nelson, from Lafayette County, to Miss Sarah Means, in the year 1840.
The first birth was in the winter of 1832, and was a colored child, who was named Julia Ann. Her mother belonged to Robert Means, Sr., and she still lives in the county north of Windsor. She has been married twice and had children and grandchildren.
The first death was that of a colored man named Solomon Cofer, in the family of Robert Means, Sr., in 1840.
The first minister: For years there was no resident minister. The first circuit rider was Rev. Jackson Whitsett, of the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination, and his first visit was in 1833, with Rev. Dr. R. D. Morrow of the same church, who held their meetings in the house of neighbors.
The first camp meeting was held on the farm of Robert Means in 1838. It was continued yearly for four or five years. R. D. Morrow died at Columbus, Johnson County, Missouri. The first physician was Dr. James Hogan, from Calhoun County. He came prior to 1840.
(History of Pettis County Missouri by Mark A McGruder 1919)
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