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Cultural Heritage Center

103 S. 4th Street
Linn, MO 65051
(573) 897-2932


Linn was created by the County Court of Osage Co in 1842, when that body appointed John Scott county see commissioner and ordered that the county seat be known and styled as “Linnville”.  Later the town was called Linn in honor United States Senator Linn of Missouri, a distinguished physician and popular statesman.

Some facts that the compiler of this volume has obtained from the county court records follow:

February 14, 1842, John Scott, commissioner, was ordered to plat town and sell lots on “credit of twelve, eighteen and twenty-four months” and instructed to see no lot for less than $10. May 8, 1843, the commissioner’s report was received and ordered recorded.  On the same day Henry Zurnegeda, surveyor filed his report of the survey of the town.  On the succeeding day it was ordered by the court that thereafter all terms of court be held at Linn, except the next one, which was to be held at Van Buren, then the meeting place of the court.

In pursuance of an order of the court made at its May term, 1843, the first session of the county court held at Linn was on August 14, 1843.  Thereafter Linn became the permanent county seat.  An ineffectual effort was made by M.C. Davis, through his attorney, in February, 1844, to move the county seat back to Van Buren; but the court, upon investigation of the petition for removal, found that not two-thirds of the of the taxable inhabitants of the county had signed the petition, therefore the matter was dismissed.  At the same term of court, George Crutsinger, superintendent of public buildings, filed plans and specifications for a new courthouse, and reported the award of contract for its building, which the court approved.

The first dramshop license granted to a citizen of Linn was on August 14, 1842.  The first authorized tavern keeper was Theo. Even, who was granted a license for that purpose by the county court February 14, 1844, upon payment of $10, to the State, and $12.50 to the county?

The first store in Linn was conducted by W. M Lankin where the convent now stands.  E. McJilton built the first frame house on the site of the Boillot postoffice building.  The first brick house in Linn was erected by E. McJilton, the same being the one removed by John Feurers in 1913, and known as the Hopkins place.  Southwest of the courthouse Burch & Young contractors built a double log house which was used as a hotel.  The “Linn Mansion,” erected in 1849 was a pretentious building for its day and place, and was justly celebrated for the air of domesticity and hospitality which prevailed there.

The growth of the town has been by slow but substantial stages.  Transportation, passenger and freight, has been, until recently, exclusively by hack and dray, Bonnots Mill being the shipping point.  The improvement of the public roads, which has introduced automobiles, has greatly facilitated passenger service and placed the town in quick communication with the railroad.

Linn was incorporated as a village October 3, 1899 and remained so until October 11, 1911, when it was incorporated as a city of the fourth class.

The public utilities of the town are an electric light plant, incorporated, the stock of which is held by the citizens of the town; a central telephone system, with lines radiating to all points in the county and having connections with the Bell and Kinloch systems; the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company, with an office in the city.  The Osage County Fair Association grounds and buildings are located in East Linn.  The Fair Association was permanently organized at Linn, December 19, 1906.  March 23, 1907, the grounds, consisting of twelve acres, were purchased for $1,200.  Articles of incorporation were granted March 12, 1907.  Stock in the Fair Association is held by the people of the county generally.  The Bank of Osage County was organized in the Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1913.


St. George Church was organized at Linn by Father John B. Goeldin, S. J., in 1867.  The first church building was erected in 1874.  This was succeeded by the present building, which was erected in 1894.  The convent building was completed in 1883.  The first parsonage was built in 1874, and the present one in 1894.

The first Methodist Church was erected in 1874, an organization have been effected many years previously.  Later this property, east of courthouse square, was sold and a half interest acquired in the Christian Church building, where the two congregations worshipped alternately.  In 1905 the present building was completed.  The church parsonage was bought in 1881.

The Christian congregation was a vigorous and active organization from 1880 to 1890.  In 1880 the congregation built a church.  Eventually the organization lost its identity and the trustees sold the church property.  The membership has been, to a considerable extent, absorbed by the Methodists.  Those who remain with the organization have transferred their membership to Fairview.

There are a few adherents of the Baptist denomination in the vicinity of Linn, but they have no church property or organization.

Linn Lodge No 66, A. F. and A. M. was organized first in 1856; reorganized in 1898.  The Odd Fellows Lodge was organized in 1860, the A.O.U.W in 1890, the Modern Woodmen in 1895, and the Modern Brotherhood in 1908.


Bonnots Mill originally know as Dauphine, is near the site of old French Village, the first white settlement in Osage county.  The town was laid out by Felix Bonnot in 1852, and although the town retained for several years the post office name of Dauphine, it was known as Bonnots Mill, taking its name from the founder of the first mill at the place, Mr. Bonnot.  The town from its earliest history has been a very active commercial center, being located both on the Missouri river and the Missouri Pacific Railroad and the shipping point for Linn, Loose Creek, Frankenstein, Voshill and a large agricultural territory.

The town possesses a traditional interest.  The outgrowth of old French Village, it dates its ancestry back to a very early period.  In its earlier history the steamboat trade was a great part of the life and activity of the town.  Many of the earlier citizens of the town were investors in and promoters of steamship transportation.  Closely allied with river navigation, the town has furnished many skilled pilots, who have explored the “Big Muddy” from source to mouth.

Of its quasi-public institutions besides the railroad may be mentioned the Meyer-Morfeld Milling Company, owners of a merchant mill having a capacity of 75 barrels of flour and 80 of meal daily.  The mill was established in 1887, remodeled in 1904, and equipped with gas engine and modern machinery in 1908.

The Bank of Bonnots Mills was established in 1905, with Alex Verdot as President, which position he still holds.  Jos. F. Dubrouillet was the first cashier.  He was succeeded in 1907, by A. P. Mertens, who is at present serving in that capacity.

In Catholic congregation acquired land for a church building in 1905, and built and dedicated a church in 1906.  It is commandingly located on a high bluff overlooking the Missouri river.  Rev. Chas. Even has served as pastor of the church from its establishment.

There is no Protestant church in the town.  The Methodists have a small congregation, who are served by the Linn and Chamois charges.

The fraternities have been the A.F and A.M., and the A.O.U.W., now extinct.  A Modern Woodsman camp and a Catholic society are in existence.

Math. Koetting is owner of one of the largest lumber yards in the county.


Frankenstein is three miles from Isbell, the nearest railroad point.  The town is near the site of where Mary’s Help Catholic Church stood, which was build in 1863.  Previous to the construction of this log building the congregation worshipped at the home of Wm. Thoenen.  Later a house of worship was erected on the land of Gottfried Franken and John Huegen, about a mile north of where Frankenstein now stand.

The first store and postoffice at Frankenstein was conducted by Jos. W. Schrader, who was succeeded by Alex Koenigsfeld.  The first pastor was Rev. John Bachmier.  A parochial school is maintained by the congregation.  The town is located on a high hill and is surrounded by a progessive and wealthy agricultural population.


Freeburg, originally known by the postoffice name of Engelbert, was, until the building of the Rock Island Railroad, a very remote settlement. The first postmaster was Englebert Franke, appointed in 1886. In 1888 the name of the place was changed to Frankberg. In 1894 Mr. Franke retired as postmaster and was succeeded by John Welschmeyer, who changed the name of the postoffice to Freeburg.

Adam Wieberg homesteaded the land on which most of the town is now located.  The first business men of the town were John Welschmeyer, Engelbert Franke and Jos. Poettgen.

The St. Louis and Colorado Railroad, now the Rock Island, was built through, or rather under, the town in 1902. After the building of the railroad the growth of the town was rapid.  December 26, 1903, Rev. Gerhard Fick was sent out by Archbishop J. J. Glennon to organized a Catholic parish.  March 5, 1904, the present church building was completed.  Under direction of Rev. Fick the school and sisters’ house was built in 1904, the Ursuline sisters having charge of parochial school.  In 1907 the Catholic parsonage, beautiful in appearance and elegant in all its appointment, was erected.

The town has one bank, organized in 1905; one newspaper, the Freeburg Enterprise, established in 1903; two miles, one grain elevator, besides the ordinary commercial enterprises.  The town was incorporated in 1900.  The population of the town, according to the census of 1910 was 331.


Loose Creek, originally known as Russellville, is one of the old towns of the county.  August Pickineaud, a Frenchman, entered the land where Loose Creek is located in 1843.  Wm. Muenks opened a store in 1845.  The town was laid out by Surveyor Bovie in 1870.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception was organized by Father Helias, who in 1847 erected a log building for congregational worship, which was replaced by a brick building in 1867.  The two-story frame convent building was built in 1876.  The present elegant and imposing stone parsonage was erected in 1880.  Loose Creek is populated almost exclusively by German people, whose thrift, industry and progressiveness is evident in the substantial homes in the town.  An industrious and wealthy class of farmers, with elegant homes and fertile farms, adds to the general prosperity of the neighborhood.

John Theodore Lock, who came from Germany in 1841, established an ox mill in 1854, being one among the first mills in Osage County.  Patrons of the mill came from many miles distant and would remain sometimes two or three days for their “grist.”  In 1858 Mr. Lock replaced the celebrated ox mill with one of steam.


Medora, known also as St. Aubert, was named for the wife of its founder, J.M. Morrow, who laid out the town in 1855 and constructed the first house.  About the time of the Civil war Medora was the metropolis of Osage county, and was the base of the military operations at that time.  A union church dedicated by the Methodists and Christians, was built in 1879.


Hope, formerly called Boeger’s Store, dates its history back to 1834, when B.W. Duncan erected the first building on the site.  The land was entered in 1849 by John C. Brim.  In 1859 Simon Boeger put up the first store building, which was acquired by W. H. Brinkmann in 1886.  Stock & Keisker established a blacksmith and wagon shop in 1876 and in 1885 Mrs. Stock built a mill, now owned and operated by A.H.Heidbrader.  The first schoolhouse was built in 1848.  The majority of the people of Hope and vicinity belong to the German Presbyterian church, a mile or more distant from Hope.


The land comprising the site of Rich Fountain was entered by John Burns in the 30’s and later sold to John Struempf, who build a water mill, which was superseded by an ox-tread mill, and this in 1856 by a steam mill, built by Peter Struempf.  Father Helias named the place Rich Fountain because of the beautiful spring, famed in that whole section.  Joseph Walter Schrader, a sturdy German character, moved to Rich Fountain in 1854, at which time there was s tore, a blacksmith shop, a tailoring establishment, a shoemaker’s shop and a saloon.  Judge Henry Schrader opened a store in 1865 and was postmaster for more than twenty years.

The church of the Sacred Heart was organized by Father Helias in 1840.  The old log church, built in 1840, was replaced by the present imposing limestone structure I879, and dedicated the following year.  The stone convent building was built in 1887.  The old log school building, erected in 1845, was replaced by a stone structure in 1868.  A large attractive and commodious stone building was built in 1904.

The Bank of Rich Fountain was organized in 1913 with a capital stock of $10, 000.  George Holtschneider is present and H.J. Fick is cashier.


Luystown derived its name from Andrew Luys, who entered the land where the village now stands.  The town is located at the convergence of two beautiful and fertile valleys.  It is seven miles of Isbell, the nearest railroad point.

The first store at Luystown was established by Louis Poncot about 1878.  The business was later acquired by Wm. Meuser, and in 1894 by Mertens Bros.  The store is now owned by Wm. Mertens.  A mill was built by John Theo. Lock in 1884.  In 1889 P. Jos. Lock and his brother, Arnold, and Alex Koenigsfeld bought the property.  In 1903 P. Jos. Lock became exclusive owner of the mill, since which time he has conducted the business.  P.M.H.Vasen established a blacksmith shop in 1882.  A public school is located in the town.  Those of the Catholic faith belong to the Frankenstein parish.


In 1835 German immigrants, in search of home, located on the Maries, near the present site of Westphalia.  Among the first settlers were the Heese, Schroeder, Huber, Dr. Bruns, Grammatica, Nacke, and Hoecker families, thirty-five persons in all.

In April, 1838, P. Helias, a Jesuit missionary, having been sent out to found a central mission, came up the Missouri river on a boat.  Finding this mode of travel slow and tedious, the zealous missionary, with his trusted pony, pushed his way into the interior of the country and in May reached the little settlement on the banks of the Maries.  Finding a little log church where the settlers worshipped, he determined to found a central mission.  June 28, 1838, he entered into a contract with F. Geisberg for a forty-acre tract of land, which that gentleman had homesteaded.  Here he founded his mission and named the place Westphalia, in honor of the province in Germany by that name and from where the most of the settlers of that day had come.  Permanent homes were established and in a few years the little log church, having become to small to accommodate the growing population, the movement for the establishment of a new church was inaugurated and in 1847 the corner stone for a new stone building was laid.  Additions were built to it from time to time, the last being in 1906, under direction of the present pastor, Rev. F.A. Diepenbrock, the present large and imposing edifice representing the improvements made.  The old log schoolhouse remained until 1886, when it was replaced by the present modern and substantial building.

The town was incorporated in 1905, the first mayor of town being Henry A. Brune.  The Westphalia Leader was founded by John H. Boss in 1894.  Later the paper was acquired by Capt. Henry Castrop, its present editor, who changed its name, being now the Osage County Volksblatt.  The town has a steam roller mill, established in 1893.  In 1904 the Bank of Westphalia was organized with a capital of $10,000, which was subsequently increased to $20,000.  Its first and present president and cashier are Gerhard Plassmeyer and Henry Westermann.  In 1913 a second financial institution was established, the Farmers and Merchants bank, with a capital stock of $10,000.  Its president is Judge Ben Schauwecker and its cashier C.J. Buersmeyer. A high school department was added to the curriculum of the school in 1895.

The town of Westphalia is ideally situated.  About it is fertile valley lands and streams that abound in fish.  The town is located on a hill, somewhat lower than those that surround it, which presents an appearance of beauty in its outline.  On account of it proximity to forest and stream and the hospitality of its people, the town is a Mecca for those in search of rest and recreation.  The reputation of the town for cleanliness, for the substantial character of its business institutions, its wealth, its beautiful and comfortable homes particularly distinguish it.

The population of the town, according to the census of 1910, was 321.


Chamois is located on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, nine miles west of the eastern boundary of the county.  The Missouri river, forming the corporate limits on the north, adds beauty and picturesqueness to the city.  The high and symmetrical hills on the south, which now forms a part of the residential section of the city, afford an interesting view of the majestic stream which courses through the fertile valley below.

The early settlers were the Shobes, who entered the land that is now the site of Chamois in 1818.  At that time the Missouri river channel was much farther north.  Here, as elsewhere in the county, the stream, evincing a preference for Osage county soil, has encroached upon her territorial domain.

Morgan Harbor, who named the town and was one of the leading spirits in its development, build a double two-story log hotel and saloon north of the railroad track prior to 1855. This building was destroyed by fire in 1859.  Andrew Fitzpatrick, Wheeler and Knott, P and Thos. Green, Patrick Casey and John T. Hunter, were among the first to build houses in the town.  The Masonic hall was built about 1856.  The building, subsequently used as a church by the Catholic congregation, was erected for a storehouse by Welton and Hunter in 1858.

The town was laid out by James M. Shobe in 1856.  The Bridges, Knotts, Townley & Knott’s, Grangers, and Shobes additions were subsequently created.  In 1873 the freight division, roundhouse, repair shop, coal chutes and stockyards were established.  In 1896 the division was moved to Sedalia.

Of the city’s institutions of the quasi public nature may be mentioned the Bank of Chamois, established in 1890; the Chamois Milling Company, incorporated in 1911; the Peoples Bank, established in 1913, and the Osage County Enterprise, founded in 1888 by A.J. Childers.  The city has two public schools, one of which is for colored children.

The Catholic Church was organized in 1865, the Methodist Church in 1868, the church for the colored people in 1872, the Christian Church in 1870, and the German Evanelical Church in 1885.

The fraternities are the Masonic Lodge, organized in 1859; K. of P. Lodge (now extinct), organized in 1885, and the Ancient Order of United Workman (extinct), organized in 1880.  Subsequently were organized the Maccabees, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Modern Brotherhood.

  The population of the city, as given by the census of 1910, is 649.