Crow's Nest Homes 31-40

31.       Lot 25. The Old Union Church
            Here in 1866 at a cost of $1,400.00 a Union Church was built by men of the neighborhood from nearby timber, a very plain white frame building with two entrances, the one on the left for the women and the one on the right for the men, both shaded in the summer by a beautiful oak tree. Near the left entrance hung a large bell, the deep, melodious tones of which, heard for two or three miles, summoned young and old to Sunday school and church. Then occasionally its mournful tolling brought friends and neighbors to pay their last respects to some departed member of the rural community.
            Prior to the building of this church, many of the residents of Howell’s Prairie attended the Old Dardenne Presbyterian Church, the nearest place of worship where for many years the pastor was the Reverend Thomas Watson, a man who was loved by all who knew him. Lewis Howell became a clerk of this church in 1830, and John H. Castlio a ruling elder in 1831.
            In the minutes of Lewis Howell, we find that on April 6, 1862, the session met at the Dardenne Church. The next date is May 27, 1865 and the meeting place was the “Arbor,” for at some time between 1862 and 1865 the church had been burned, another of the many similar incidents which occurred during the Civil War. Then on April 14, 1867, the session met in Mechanicsville in the school house of Lewis Howell, and again on June 23, 1867, the session met in the school room of Lewis Howell in Mechanicsville.
            On July 7, 1867, the minutes of Lewis Howell inform us that the session met in the new Union Church at Mechanicsville. Besides the Reverend Thomas Watson who conducted services in this church, two other early ministers were Mr. W. A. Tarwater (about 1869) and Mr. Loving (about 1874). Great-uncle Lewis Howell was the first superintendent of the Union Sunday school, an office which he held until his death in 1876, at which time his funeral service was preached in this building by Mr. Thomas Watson and his body was interred in the Old Dardenne Cemetery.
            From 1888, when the Presbyterian Church was completed, until 1910, when the new Methodist Church was built on the western edge of Howell, the old church was known as the Mechanicsville or Howell Methodist Church. The last minister in this church was Mr. Patterson, who preached my father’s funeral here in March, 1910, several months before the church was abandoned as a place of worship by the Methodists.
            On June 18, 1910, W. C. Callaway, James F. Stewart, and William Stewart, trustees of the South Dardenne Presbyterian Church, sold to William R. Stevenson, Thomas Lay, J. U. Muschany, John McWaters, and Elias P. Silvey, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, their one-half interest in lot 25 for $250.00.
            “This deed of quit-claim being made in release of and satisfaction for a one-half interest in said lot 25 in said town of Mechanicsville, Missouri, which was at one time jointly held and owned by the said South Dardenne Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church South of Mechanicsville, Missouri.” (June 18, 1910; Book 93, p. 313)
            On September 3, 1910, the above named trustees of the Methodist Church sold lot 25 and the old church to Dr. Mitchell Castlio for $175.00. In August, 1916, Dr. Castlio sold the property to Adolph Stark, a Holy Roller minister who for a short time held his services in the old church. On October 31, 1919, Mr. Stark sold the property to Mr. WiIliam Long who tore down the landmark. In the meantime a Mrs. Pauley had built a new house between the church and the road leading down to “The Hollow.” On January 28, 1920, Mr. Mayburn Snyder (10) bought the house from Mrs. Pauley and the part of lot where the church had stood from his father-in-law, Mr. Long. This was the home of Mr. Snyder, his wife, Myrtle Long Snyder, and their daughters—Lorraine and Nadine—until they moved to St. Charles in 1929. Mr. Snyder’s sister, Mrs. Elsie Knippenberg (10, 11) owned this property from February, 1931, until 1940.
            Because the records of this church, too, were destroyed when the Methodist parsonage in Defiance burned, I have been unable to obtain desired information. However, friends and I have recalled a few names of ministers, besides those above mentioned, who preached in this first church on Howell’s Prairie. Mr. Tussey, Mr. T. M. Taylor, Mr. Chase, Mr. Humphrey, Mr. Garvin, Mr. J. I. Sears, Mr. Vandiver, Mr. J. H. Pritchett.
            Hollis Dixon told me recently that when the old church was torn down, it was found that all lumber used was oak; that no nails were used in the construction; that all framing timber was hand-hewed; that all joints were mortised and pinned.

32.       The Home of Dr. Mitchell Castlio
            This eight-room house was built in 1889 by Dr. Mitchell Castlio (1), and here he and his bride, Irene Castlio (4) came after their marriage the 22nd of May, 1889. Here their two children, Lola and Dwight, were born. Dr. Mitchell Castlio followed in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Newton Castlio, graduated from the Medical School of the University of Missouri, and practised medicine on Howell’s Prairie until about 1906 or 1907.
We were living in the east side of this house at the time of my father’s death, March 23, 1910.
            In 1911, Dr. Castlio sold this place plus lots 26, 27, 28, and 29 to Mr. William Stewart and his wife Mary Snyder Stewart.
            About 1917 this house was destroyed by fire. Another was built on the same foundation which in 1940 belonged to the heirs of Mr. and Mrs. William Stewart.

33.       The home of Mr. John Dixon
            On September 26, 1904, my father, Daniel B. Hays, sold to Mr. John Dixon 20 acres which he had bought from his mother, Harriet Darst Hays—which she had bought from Mr. Keiser, March 14, 1878. On the south edge of this tract of land Mr. Dixon built the home where he, his wife Aramatha Coshow Dixon, and their children—Hollis, Wilma, Juanita, and Gordon—lived for many years.
            In 1940 when Mr. Dixon had to give up his home, he moved to New Melle to live with his daughter Juanita.

34.       The Home of John W. Callison
            On this unnumbered lot back of the blacksmith shop was a house built by Mr. John Morris and first used as a mill for grinding corn. When Mr. Elias Silvey bought lots 7, 8, and 9 and the adjoining acreage in 1890, he moved this house to the west side of the blacksmith shop and used it for a harness shop and later for a dairy. Mr. Gamble at one time was postmaster here. October 10, 1908, Mr. Silvey sold the house to his son-in-law, Mr. John W. Callison, who moved it back to its original position. Here he, his wife, Viola Silvey Callison, and their four daughters—Ival, Hazel, Myrtle, and Leavern—lived for several years.
            In the fall of the year, I liked to go to the Callison home to watch John Will and Ollie make sorghum molasses. Against the fence were the piles of cane brought in by various people who had raised the cane and wanted it made into sorghum—some for themselves and the rest to be sold. Near the cane was the press, and near the press was a roof or shed over the long brick furnace with the molasses pan above it.
            Before the first frost, the sorghum cane was topped, stripped, and cut. Then it was brought to the press which consisted of three rollers standing on end. To the axle of one of these rollers was fastened one end of a long pole; to the other end of this pole a single-tree was attached to which a horse was hitched. As the horse walked around and around this press, the cane stalks were fed by hand between the rollers and the juice was squeezed out, caught in a barrel, and carried to the galvanized pan which was about three feet wide, eight feet long, and six or eight inches deep. Underneath this pan a fire was built and the juice boiled down to the proper consistency. A strainer was used for skimming off the thick, green scum. During the entire cooking period, the juice was stirred with a long-handled paddle. By getting up very early and working until ten or eleven at night, John Will and Ollie could cook three or four pans of molasses a day. Too often it was Ival’s job to ride monotonously around and around the press on Maude or Cricket.
            There was an art to making sorghum molasses which some people were never able to acquire. Some sorghum was dark. Some burned. Some strong. Some made from frosted cane. However, John Will learned the art from his father, Mr. Joe Callison, who, Mother thought, made sorghum surpassed by no one—a thick, mild, honey-colored molasses that was perfectly delicious with hot biscuits and butter or cornbread and butter.
            On March 7, 1914, Mr. Callison sold this place to Mr. James D. Pitman, who with his wife, Ella Audrain Pitman, and their four children—Benjamin Britt, Launa, Laura, and David—lived here until May 7, 1920, when they moved to California and sold the place to Mr. J. U. Muschany, whose heirs owned it in 1940.

35.       Jasper Leeman Castlio Farm
In 1906, Jasper Leeman Castlio (1) built a very attractive house on the western edge of what had been the John Harrison Castlio farm. He, his wife, Amanda Matthews Castlio, and their children—Folsom, Jasper, Halie, Lake Herbert, Idus, Garth, Harrison, and Martha—lived here until 1924 when the house burned down and the family moved to southeast Missouri. Ivo and Verna Castlio (17) owned this farm in 1940.

36.       The John Harrison Castlio Farm
On a knoll overlooking much of Howell’s Prairie, John H. Castlio built the house to which he took his wife, Nancy Howell Callaway Castlio and her three Callaway children after their marriage in 1818. Here were born the Castlio children: John Callaway (22, 48), Fortunatus Boone (4), Jasper Newton (1, 17), Othaniel Caleb (46), Hiram Beverly (11), and Zerelda Elizabeth. After the death of his wife in 1864, John H. Castlio moved to Mechanicsville. (14) I believe his daughter Zerelda lived on this farm for a while after her marriage to Greenberry Bishop. In 1940, Ivo and Verna Castlio (17) owned this farm.

37.       The Isaac Newton Howell Farm
            Though there were many, many descendants of Francis Howell, Sr. living in Mechanicsville and on Howell’s Prairie in 1940, there was only one family by the name of Howell living on the Prairie. On this farm, adjoining the John Harrison Castlio farm, lived the widow and three sons of Isaac Newton Howell, a grandson of Thomas Howell. (52) In 1940 Mrs. Howell and her three sons—Archibald, Martin, and Marvin—moved to Defiance, Missouri. Mrs. Howell, the former Elvira Johnson, was a daughter of the Mr. Johnson killed by the Home Guard during the Civil War. (“Crow’s Nest,” Chapter IV)

38.       There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher’s modest mansion rose.
            This modest, two-story, white frame mansion, built on a 46 acre tract of land bought from Willie A. Castlio (4), April 15, 1887, was the residence of the Rev. Samuel McCluer Watson and his wife Annie Ruffner Watson. Mr. Samuel Watson was the son of Nancy McCluer Watson and the Reverend Thomas Watson, a prominent minister in St. Charles County for many years. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Watson were Constance, Brank, Agnes, Jeannette, Julia, Thomas, Virginia, Ruffner, Lucretia, and Samuel.
Miss Julia Watson, in a letter to me dated April 19, 1956, has the following to say about her father and their home:
            “Our house was built in 1887. It was ‘home’ to our parents all the rest of their lives, though after 1918, they spent the winters in St. Louis.
Our father preached at Mechanicsville—Howell—from 1885 until his death in 1925, but less frequently in winter during the last seven years of his life. The house continued to be used as convenient by members of the family; then several years prior to the war-time break-up, Ruffner moved there and remained until the general exodus.”
            For eleven years my mother and I lived just across the road from the lane leading back to the Watson residence. I remember very distinctly seeing Mr. Watson, early in the afternoon, drive out of his lane on his way to the Dardenne Presbyterian Church where he held afternoon services on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Sometimes he was accompanied by one of his children, though many times he was alone. In all kinds of weather he made the long drive in an open buggy.

39.       The Grover Silvey Home
            This home of Mamie Tarbell Silvey and Grover Silvey was built on land which Grover inherited from his mother. In 1940 he took the house down in sections and moved it to Wentzville where he rebuilt it just as it had been.

40.       The Dunlap Place
            My mother said that this house, known for many years as the Dunlap place, was one of the first houses in the Mechanicsville vicinity. As she remembered it when she was seven or eight years old, it was a log house.
            I have obtained the following information from “History of St. Charles, Warren, and Lincoln Counties,” 1895, and from Beulah Keithly Stewart (Mrs. Percy Stewart), a great-granddaughter of James Dunlap and his wife Beulah Burroughs Dunlap who emigrated to Missouri in 1842 from Pennsylvania. Beulah Stewart’s grandmother, Elizabeth Doughty, was one of the oldest children.
            The Reverend Samuel B. Dunlap, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1816, came with his parents (James Dunlap and Beulah Burroughs Dunlap) to Missouri in 1842. After establishing his parents on a farm near Mechanicsville, he returned to the East where he was a pastor and where, in 1842, he married Caroline Easter. After his death in Maryland in 1861, his widow and children came to Mechanicsville to the home of her husband’s parents (though Beulah Burroughs Dunlap had died in 1860) where an unmarried brother and two sisters of the Reverend Samuel B. Dunlap were living—Caleb, Ursula, and Beulah.
            The children of Samuel and Carolina Easter Dunlap were Robert, Annie (Fulkerson), Mary (Young), Samuel, Melvin, and Bird (Lounsbury).
            On January 27, 1896, Mr. Robert H. Dunlap sold this place to William A. Kleusner. On August 1, 1906, Mrs. W. A. Kleusner sold the place to Annie Dunlap Fulkerson, who must have had many nostalgic memories when again this became her home and that of her husband, Shapleigh Fulkerson, and their son Howard. For thirty years Mrs. Fulkerson lived here, then on December 16, 1936, she sold her old home to Eltin Pitman and his wife, Maude Ronen Pitman, who owned the property until 1940 when they moved to Wentzville.