The Eldon Advertiser and Miller County Autogram-Sentinel
1975 Bicentennial Salute

 1904 Atlas Map of Etterville
The arrival of the Rock Island Railroad provided the impetus to the town of Etterville. The community had a hart time with its name though. The post office there was established as Etter, on April 27, 1903.

When the original plat for the town was filed Oct. 19, 1903 with W.M. Harrison, Miller County recorder, it was filed as the "plat of Townsite of Summit." The plat for the young town site was filled by William G. Etter and his wife, Nancy E. Etter, on land in Section 29, Township 42, Range 14, dedicating streets and alleys in the town of Summit. The town was laid out with Main Street running along the railroad tracks on the north. Twelve blocks were platted north of the tracks and another block and parts of two others on the south. On Dec. 6, 1904, the name of the post office was changed to Etterville-a name that's stuck through the years.

Ira W. Harbison, appointed April 27, 1903, was the town's first postmaster, and was succeeded on Dec. 1, 1909 by John J. Flint. Others through the years and dates of their appointments: John B. Schwaller, Dec. 3, 1914; William A. Bybee, Feb. 9, 1917; Claude I. Law, who assumed charge Jan. 1, 1942; Mrs. Sadie B. Law, Jan. 31, 1948, and Mrs. Anna Eula Dooley, confirmed June 9, 1948, and assuming charge Aug 1, 1948. She served until her retirement Feb. 27 1975 when Gerald Sosnowski assumed the post.

In 1910 among the businesses in Etterville were W.G. Etter, lumber; J.W. Hankins, restaurant; T.J. Roberts, general store, and B. Thomas, blacksmith. By 1920 they included Alabama Chemical Co., Etterville Farmers Telephone Co., B. Thomas blacksmith and garage, and Ralph Graham and J.M Baker, general stores.

In 1930, W.A. Bybee had auto supplies at Etterville; Homer Crane, general store, and C.H. Deffenbaugh, garage. The town also had its churches, school and depot.

The community not only lay along the Rock Island tracks, but also astride Highway 54. Four-lane expansion and relocation of Highway 54 now puts the town south of the highway at the junction of Rte. MM.


By William Wyrick

In the years of 1901 and 1902 the Rock Island Railroad was being surveyed and beginning to build a track from St. Louis through to Kansas City and at that time Mason Haynes and Anderson Keath put up a little store here at Etterville which was known at that time by the name of Topping. But William Etter told them that if they would change the name to Etterville he would give them the right of way through his land so Etterville was so named after Mr. Etter.

He also gave the ground to what is now the Christian church, but it was first built for a schoolhouse. It was later known by the name of the Cambellite Church, and later was named the Christian Church.

During this time the Thomas brothers, Andy and August (Gus) built a large store on the south of the railroad survey and handled all kinds of groceries and tools and did a large business with the railroad people and the farmers in the locality. A man by the name of Jerry Mengers built a big blacksmith shop, also on the south of the tracks, and did a large business in keeping the railroad picks and things sharpened, also the horses shod as all the work was done with horses and mules and by hand.

Balser Thomas worked for Mengers in the shop and finally bought Mengers out. He ran the shop for many years. Mengers also built a hotel to accommodate the railroad folks and ran it for a long time, but finally sold it to Ollie Etter who ran it several years until Balser Thomas bought him out. This building and three more are all of the old buildings still standing.

There was also a bank built here in later years and two lodge halls, the Woodmen and the Odd Fellows-one on the south of the tracks and one on the north of the tracks. Also Wilkins Weaver built a large grain house on the north of the tracks and did a good business for several years. The writer of this letter worked for him some. Then a Mr. Henley bought the grain house from Weaver and ran it quite a while. Several more bought and ran it for a long time. Two of them were H. C. Long, then Jerry Crain. The farmers built a large stock pen here and a company built some large charcoal kilns here.

The mail was first put off at the railroad crossing south of Mt. Pleasant as the post office was there, but Mt. Pleasant was then known as Pleasant Mount, but an office was later established at Etterville, in Ira Harbison's restaurant south of the tracks. The post office has been changed around here about five times and now may be moved again to Eldon. All of old Etterville will be gone, all but four buildings of the original Etterville.

In the last few years Ernest Miller built a store north of the tracks, but the highway took it so there is little left in the way of business, but the post office and it may be here but a few more weeks. So it will be so long to Old Etterville. It will be gone but not forgotten by many of us older folks.

The writer is the only and oldest resident that was raised here close to Etterville and spent most of his life here around this old town. I'm now 72 years old and can well remember the old hitch racks where the people would tie up their teams when they came to town to do their trading each week. There were two large hitch-racks and they would be full of teams tied up as there were no cars in those old days.

The first old car here was an old Metz. Balser Thomas got it from some fellow from St. Louis. It was a chain drive. The next car was an old Maxwell. Then an old model Ford showed up; it was owned by Albert Haynes. I have forgotten who owned the old Maxwell.

The highway first crossed the railroad tracks and went up on the south side, but it was just an old county road at that time, but was changed to the north of the tracks later.

So this is the history of Old Etterville as I knew it from childhood, but it's all passed away now. So I'll just say goodbye, Old Etterville, as I will be gone too before long.

Doctor Benage had an office here and I was the first child that was born here that he was the doctor for Dec 7, 1903. So long.

Miller County Museum and Historical Society
P.O. Box 57
Tuscumbia, MO 65082
2007 - Miller County Historical Society

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