SITE OF ORIGINAL COURT HOUSE STILL PRESERVED
By Cyrilla A. Tellman Doerhoff
Standing like a silent sentinel as guardian of its heritage is the Miller-Tellman house, high on a hill overlooking the Osage River. This historical residence is five miles downstream from the County Seat. The west side faces the confluence of the Saline Creek and Osage River and the east side faces the confluence of the Jim Henry Creek and Osage River.
William and Sarah Mulkey Miller, moved to the site in 1834. On February 6, 1837, the governor approved an act to organize the county of Miller and to define the southern boundary of Cole. The county was named for John Miller, Governor of Missouri, 1826-28. The legislature directed "until the permanent seat of justice shall be established, the several courts for said county shall be held at the house of William Miller. The temporary seat ordered was William Miller's log house on the present Charles P. Tellman farm.
Herman S. Tellman, born in Hanover, Germany in May 1833, married January 29, 1856, to Miss Mary A. Schwaller, a native of Ohio, but whose parents came from France, acquired the Miller property in March 1869. Charles P. Tellman was one of thirteen children born to this union on this homestead and lived there until his death at 78 after rearing a family of nine children.
The farm originally comprised seven hundred acres of well improved land, including considerable bottom land. It has since been increased to eight hundred and fifty acres. It is one of the most valuable and desireable properties in Miller County.
The first Catholic Church at Mary's Home was built in 1883. For about two years services had been held in the private dwellings of William Berendzen and Herman Tellman. The Miller-Tellman house is not just another "old" house that stood idly by while progress moved along. In this house lived people who were progressive, proud, and ambitious. This was not a place where families came and went, each taking whatever would be useful to them, and never leaving anything of themselves.
Herman S. Tellman came to a small log cabin. He knew this log cabin was special: in it was held the first County Court of Miller County, as well as the first Circuit Court of the County. He left it intact when he decided to enlarge it by incorporating it as the living room of a new home.
In 1925 the house was remodeled by Charles P. Tellman, doubling its size and again keeping the log cabin section intact. He added "running" water by gravity which was piped from a cistern at the barn.
The most progressive addition to the home was the 32 volt electrical system powered by a large kerosene Delco motor which charged 24 wet cell batteries which stored electrical energy for electric lights, electric iron, fans, radio, and other conveniences.
Charles P. and Josephine Evers Tellman reared nine children. It was a place where neighbors knew there was always help when needed. Many neighbors who had no means of transportation would buy flour, sugar, cornmeal, and kerosene for their lamps, along with other necessities at the home. Neighbors would help butcher hogs and calves. They knew they would be well paid with meat. During the depression this was not a regular item in their diet.
A book could be written about life on this homestead from vivid recollections of the Tellman offspring. The family still strives to preserve the home for posterity, along with other persons to save this historical house from being razed by the Missouri Conservation Commission, who purchased the farm for public use.
Quotations in this article are taken from pages 64 and 85 of the Early History of the Northern Ozraks by Schultz; pages 531,537 and 539 of the History of Missouri Counties, Vol. I; and pages 385, 386 and 637 of the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Vol. IV