Hartford Township

Hartford Township, at the southwestern end of Pike County, is bounded by Indian and Ashley townships on the north, Lincoln County on the east, Montgomery and Lincoln Counties on the south, and Audrain County on the west.

In the early 1800's, the area abounded in both woodland and prairie, and therefore was attractive to early settlers who needed both for their dwellings and the pursuit of agriculture, Indian Creek, running through the township, empties into the Cuivre River, and it abounds in springs, the best known of which is Moore Spring, two miles south of the town of New Hartford.

The township had a few settlers as early as 1819, among which was the Mastin Moore family whose descendants still live in New Hartford 160 years later. Most of these settlers came from Virginia and Kentucky. John Keith, who arrived in the 1820's, was perhaps the first settler in what would become the town of New Hartford.

The township suffered from inaccessibility in its early history due to the lack of ground roads or rail service. The first gravel road in the township was built from Ashley to New Hartford in the early 1900's. Electricity came to the township in 1935, principally through the efforts of a resident, Mrs. Lyss Moore. Electricity was 32 years behind the telephone in Hartford Township, as the first telephone was introduced at New Hartford in 1903.

Hartford township even had its own amusement park. In 1911, William D. Motley cleared some of his property for this purpose. The amusement park was located south of New Hartford on the west bank of Indian Creek near the bridge. An ice house was constructed at the site to supply the needs of the community through the summer months; and cold soft drinks, lemonade, cigars and candy were available to the residents and tourists who would reportedly spend hours there playing croquet and pitching horse shoes. The amusement park was described as "an ideal place for school picnics, family reunions, and for gypsies to camp"!

Grain mills were a common sight in the Hartford township of the 19th Century, and there were horse-powered mills, as well as those powered by the water from Indian Creek. There was also one steam mill, operated by Wesley Cole and his son, Frank. Northeast of New Hartford was a sawing and grinding mill operated by Enoch Martin and later another mill owned by Dr. Kerr. In 1980 all of these mills have vanished.

The only two towns within Hartford township are Gazette and New Hartford.



Gazette, a small settlement in northwestern Hartford township, once had a post office, telephone office, general store, blacksmith, a few churches and rural schools. Mrs. Charley (Carrie) Moore, who lived in this area for over 65 years, remembers Gazette: "a wonderful place to trade. The store carried most anything a farmer needed from eggs to all kinds of poultry, cream and feathers." Mrs. Moore recalls when Gazette had a rural mail route and one star route from Vandalia, Missouri, and the mail carriers traveled in two-wheel carts, as all of the roads were dirt. Mrs. Moore attended the Rudd school and remembers walking to school. The teacher arrived early to start the wood stove burning. All eight grades were together, and the one teacher often had as many as 30 students. The old Trower school, which is also in this area, later became the building for the Gazette Baptist Church. While the churches still stand, the other facilities, which once made up the town of Gazette, have long since ceased functioning.


New Hartford

New Hartford, the larger town in Hartford township, is located along Indian Creek. Although the area where New Hartford stands was first settled in 1819 or 1820, the town did not receive its name until it was divided into plots in 1871 by Judge A. J. Davis. Prior to that time, the small settlement was known as the Paxton Store crossroads. New Hartford received its name from the township of which it is a part.

New Hartford has been since its beginning, and remains in 1981, primarily an agricultural area. John Parsons from Virginia, the first carpenter who came to New Hartford, arrived in 1830. Soon blacksmith shops and machine shops were established there, and New Hartford became a center of commerce and trade. Lodge buildings, churches and a school were constructed and a post office was established for the village of New Hartford on April 8, 1867. There was even a hotel in town. New Hartford was kept from blossoming, however, by the poor road system leading to major markets and the lack of rail service in the township through the 1800's. In the 1980's New Hartford consists of a grocery, a post office, a community hall, the New Hartford Baptist Church and some 30 inhabitants. The early schoolhouse built in 1820 is long since gone, and the rural school most recently used is now a residence with the school children from Hartford being bussed to Bowling Green for their education.



Indian Creek Church was constituted at a meeting held for this purpose at the schoolhouse of the Union District, Township 51, range 3, west. At this organization Walter McQuie officiated, and in order to distinguish it from other churches, the above appellation was adopted.

Of this new church, the following were the constituent members: Rev. Lewis Duncan, Thomas Weatherford, Levi Moore, James Shaw, Robert Shaw, Harriet Duncan, Nancy Moore, Matilda Weatherford, Julia Ann Shaw, Catharine Shaw and Margaret Reeds. 

Excerpt from
Hartford Township History - 1969


New Hartford Baptist Church — This church was first organized at Smyrna Church in January 1868 with Green B. Smith as pastor and James R. Keith as one of the deacons. The council was organized by electing Elder Bush, Moderator and R. S. Duncan, clerk. The moderator asked for the names of those wishing to constitute a church. The following responded: James R. Keith, Parmelia Keith (his wife), James M. Keith (his son), Jane S. Keith (his wife), Elizabeth Collins (James R. Keith’s sister), Samuel Pollard, and Malinda Pollard (his wife) . The Covenant and Articles of Faith were read by the secretary and adopted. A sermon was preached by Elder R. S. Duncan followed by prayer offered by Elder G. B. Smith, Council adjourned. Caleb Bush, Moderator, R. S. Duncan, Clerk. The first members were Samuel Pollard, Malinda Pollard, Ann Pollard, Pernelia H. Keith, James M. Keith, Mrs. Lennie Keith and Mrs. E. Collins. This united Baptist was called Mt. Vernon. They met on Saturday before the third Sunday of the month. They continued to worship in the Smyrna Church with the consent of the Cumberland Presbyterians. Then they transferred their meeting to New Hartford, where they met and held services under the shade trees. In 1871 three trustees were appointed to make a deed the Church grounds. These men were Marion E. Motley, Lucien B. Martin and James M. Keith. Then the first church house was built in the town of New Hartford in 1871 at a cost of $1200. The church sills were hewed by John J. Keith and Lew Conover. Lumber for the building was hauled over dirt roads from Louisiana, taking two days for the trip. The seats were bought by James H. Keith at the old Presbyterian Church in Ashley. In 1873 the name was changed to New Hartford Baptist Church. In Oct. 1873 L. B. Martin and W. Hamlett were appointed to plaster the church. May 1873, Bro. R. S. Duncan was called as pastor with a salary of $125 a year. to be paid Quarterly. L. B. Martin was church clerk and served for years. In 1881 there were between 40 and 45 members. In 1890 the first organ was purchased for the Church. From 1873 —1928 the following deacons had served the church: W. J. Hamlett, Lucien Martin, Sam Davidson, E. F. Martin, S. W. Caldwell, J. H. Stroker, T. 0. Brown, Joe Davis, John M. Wright, Paren Hays and Ed Kerns. Up to 1926 two men had gone out from this church to preach the gospel, they were J. W. Trower and S. S. Keith. Mrs. H. J. (Stella) VanArsdel's funeral was the last to be held in the old church building, that was February 1928. The present sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1928. Deacons ordained after that date were: Clarence Summers, Eulah LeMasters, Ernest Motley, Chas. I. Davis, W. J. VanArsdel, L. 0. Thorpe, Elvin Wright, Joe Trower, Glen Stuart, Fred Dixon and Wayne Young, Frank Trower, Chas. Lucas, William R. VanArsdel and James Marshall. There are at present, November 1969, 172 members in the New Hartford Church. Sunday School is held each Sunday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 with Charley J. Davis as superintendent. Rev. Ray Long of Hannibal is the present pastor. The first wedding to be held in the new church was that of Miss Mary Ellen Strickland of New Hartford and Alfred Neal Parson of Bowling Green, Missouri on June 1, 1958, thirty years after its dedication in 1928. To the knowledge of those living, only one wedding was held in the church built in 1871. During a revival, a couple passing thru New Hartford asked to be married and they were. A dedication and homecoming was held on the fourth Sunday in Oct. On May l968, the church observed its 100th anniversary with a carry-in dinner and program.

Some of the pastors who have served the church since 1873 are: Robert S. Duncan, S. 0. Givens, Self, Patrick,
Bane, Emmett Cole, Watson, Luke Kirtley, Paul Smith, W. B. Williams, Ormsbee, L. F. Admire, Gordon Whitesides, Gruman Griffith, McDougal, L. L. Fuqua, Ed Hampton, James Graves, Fred Holmes, Glen Dunham and at present Ray Long of Hannibal.

Bro. Jennings and Bro. Modisett were each pastor for a short tine. In Jan 1881 S. G. Givens accepted the call and was pastor for years. The first organ for the church was obtained in this way. Prof. Nomer Brown gave a concert and gave the proceeds to buy an organ. A committee was appointed by the church to help raise funds. Viz:: L. B. Martin, D. W.
Motley and Miss Emmas Moss. This was in 1890 After Bro. Givens, Bro. Self took charge of the church for a while, then Bro. Patrick was pastor for several years. Because of ill health Bro. L. B. Martin resigned as clerk. A beautiful resolution of regret was spread on the church record and J. C. Humphry was called to fill the vacancy. In 1905 Bro. Bane was elected pastor and served two years. on Jan. 1st 1906 J. C, Humphry, who had been clerk for several years was called, to his heavenly home. He was tenderly and kindly spoken of in the resolutions of respect upon the church record. Bro. Martin again acted as church clerk. Bro. Emmett Cole served as church clerk. Bro. Emmett Cole served the church for two years and in Jan. 1908 Bro. Watson accepted the call and served the church for several years. May 30 1914, Bro. Luke Kirtley was elected pastor and served until 1917 when he was called home. Bro. Paul Smith was then chosen pastor. He was a student at La Grange College. On May 1918 the church accepted his resignation, when he was called to U. S. Service. In Dec. 1918 W. B. Williams was chosen pastor. Bro. Walter Morris served as church clerk. Nov. 1921 L. M. Martin was elected clerk for the church. Dec. 1921 three deacons were ordained. Rev. A. F. Pearson preached the ordination sermon. Prayer was offered by Rev. Dutton. The laying on of Hands by the ministry was conducted by Rev. Pearson. Rev. Eames delivered the charge to the church and Rev. Campbell to the deacons. Bro. Williams served the church for seven years and in Dec. 1926 Rev. Ormsbee was: chosen pastor. Ernest Motley served as clerk. Many consecrated Evangelists have held services here and this being gardening time, many delightful sheaves have been gathered in. No foreign missionaries have gone from this church, but an unnumbered host or Godly men and women have scattered throughout this land and have leavened the whole lump wherever their lot was cast. We feel that as a church we have been wonderfully blessed, and we are hoping, praying and believing that these blessings will continue to the end.

The present church building was dedicated in. 1928. Eva Keith Nalley passed t;horough [sic] transition May 21, 1947. For many years almost the whole of her life, she was a devoted member of the New Hartford Baptist Church. Her cheerful nature, her courage and her faith became part of the bulwark of the church. At the dedication of the church building, erected on the site of the old one, she wrote a short history from the minutes of the organization since its beginning. Since the church was organized entirely by members of the Keith family, since the land on which the church stands was given to the church by James Keith, and since children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Keiths are still vitally interested in the welfare of the church, we the undersigned thought it appropriate to dedicate this plaque in memory of Eva Keith Nalley: Hezekia R. Nalley, husband; Doris May Ankrom, daughter; Myrle Ankron, son-in-law; Stella Hamlett, sister; Sadie Vannoy, sister; Maidie Culwell, sister; Kathryne Ward, niece; Amy Lee Houser, niece; Phelex Houser, nephew.

Siloam Church — The first organized in the township was Siloam, a Baptist Congregation instituted by Rev. Davis Biggs
about the year 1822. On Aug 26, Elisha P. and wife Jane Willis, deeded one and 3/4 acres at land to Nathaniel Williams, Samuel Willis and Chappel Gregory, trustees for the Regular Baptist Church of Christ, at Siloam. The church later split up into Regular Baptist and Missionary Baptists. The Regular Baptists withdrew and built a church in 1868 near the home of Mr. and Mrs. Wayland Wiihoit in Ashley Township. This church is still active in 1969. Elder Russel Key of Huntsville is the present pastor. The site of the first church is just north of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Marshall, north of New Hartford on Highway 161. The cemetery near the church was known as Old Siloam Cemetery.

Smyrna Church — This congregation was organized under the Cumberland Presbyterian church In July 1852 by George Rice. When they organized there were only seven members but less than a week the number increased to nineteen. The first seven were Davis McDonald, Elizabeth McDonald, E. A. Coffman, Winifred Coffman, Adam F. Trainer, Cyrus McDonald and Cornelia A. Trower. Among the elders who served this church were Darius McDonald, Adam F. Trainer, Henry Trainer, William Dums, Robert M. Vannoy, George Wagner, Cyrus McDonald, Z, B. Blackmoore and William M. VanArsdel. About thirty members withdrew and organized a church at Trower school house. In 1869 this organization removed to what was known as Bible Chapel about seven miles from the Smyrna church. The church building for the Smyrna congregation was erected about 1853 and repaired in 1876 at a cost of $500. The last minutes on record are those of Oct. 21, 1882. This church continued until the early 1900’s when it disbanded and members moved their membership to other churches. It is believed that Rev. Pearson was the last pastor to serve the church.

Prairie Mound Church/Hopke — This church was organized in 1874 by James Thornberry who came from Kentucky to Illinois and from there to Missouri. The members were Samuel Hinton wife and two daughters, E. H. Hopke wife and daughters Anna Louisa and Augusta, Robert Hopke, Jonathan Davis wife and daughter, George Staton and Wife, Hiram L. Humphrey, Mary Wilson, M. P. Davis and wife, and August Kaufman, all of whom became members while meetings were held at the Hopke school house. The present church was built in the latter 1800’s by Peter Lieurance since which time others have united with the church. From a combination unfortunate circumstances the meetings for a while were suspended and the church stood idle.

In 1882 the church with one acre of ground was sold to Rev. Shumate of Bowling Green, who bought it for the use of the Northern Methodists for the sum of $250, although the first cost had not been less than $750 or $800. On Dec. 28, 1885 the church was bought for the use and benefit of a Christian Church, from Thomas J. Hammonds and a deed was made to William Shaw, Robert W. Dreon, and Chas. Carter were trustees. The witnesses were Thomas J. Hammond, Robert W. Dreon, L. A. Wells aind T. M. Hayes. The sum of $190 was paid for the church and one acre of ground. Rev. W. A. Dameron of Middletown was pastor here for ten years from 1930 - 1940. He was the last pastor until 1950 when Rev. Holly Hale of Columbia became pastor. However Sunday School was held each Sunday Morning since 1940. In 1950 siding was put on the outside of the church. A Lord’s Acre Sale was held, seventy-five members and their families attended dedication services Oct. 14, 1951. In 1967 the congregation decided to remodel the inside of the church house. Myron Lane of Hawk Point, Seth Keintzy of Silex and Foy Hawkins of Eolia were employed as carpenters. Among the people who contributed to this completion were the Jim Hudson family who gave the new floor In memory of their mother and father, Dora and Jim Hudson. Mrs. J. B. Howell gave the vestibule in memory of her husband; Mrs. Lucy Forsythe gave the porch; Mrs. Cecil Harness gave the lights, which she bought from the Olney church, in member [sic] of her father and mother, L. A. Wells, Sr. and Mary his wife; Miss Ann Wells who passed away in 1962 bequeathed money for the furnace; one of the carpenters donated his work in making the rostrum; Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Harness and Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Wells, Jr. contributed what was need to finish the work. Cecil Harness and his son refinished the pews. A dedication was held July 2, 1967. The last five pastors were: Rev. Holly Hale, Carl Burkhardt, John Farr, Paul Aeschliman and R. E. Moore, who has held this pastorate since 1964. Preaching services are held on the first and third Sunday mornings at 9 o’clock.

On Nov. 16, 1941. the golden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Hopke was held in the church. The wedding of Miss Dorothy Darnell of New Hartford, daughter of Howard and Hattie Darnell and William Cosgrove of Minneapolis, Minn., On Oct. 21, 1951 was the first wedding performed here during the 75 years of the church’s existence.

Miss Shirley Darnell of New Hartford, daughter of Mrs. Mattie Darnell and the late Howard Darnell, and Robert Hall of Bowling Green were married in Aug. 1953.

West Prairie Chapel / M. E. Church — This church was organized in 1861 by Rev. F. G. Owens at the Union school house with the following members: E. C. Cluster, wife and daughter; Drusilla Butler; Amanda Donaldson; Stephen O’Bryne and wife; and a few others. In 1876 the present church, a frame structure 32’ x 50’ was built at a cost of $1500. It was dedicated in July 1876 by Rev. N. Shumate of Bowling Green. There were about sixty members. The church was located on the Hartford and Middletown road. Rev. H. B. Barnes was one of the early pastors. From 1876 until 1922 not much is known as to the progress of the church. In 1922 the West Prairie community purchased the church from the Methodist Conference and a West Prairie Community Church was organized. It was interdenorninational. Rev. M. S. Minor was the officiating minister. There were 35 charter members. It was remodeled at a cost of $203.35 and finished in Oct. 1922. Extensive remodeling was done from 1965-1967 when gas heat, hardwood floors, masonite siding, storm windows and a porch entry was done. Recent board members are John Hobbs, Arline Weneker and Homer Willie. President is John P. Wagner and Earl Willie is treasurer. Rev. Randall D. Cone of Farber is the present pastor.

New Hartford Catholic Church — This church was organized in 1871 with the following members: James Hughes and wife Mary Ann and six children; B. W. Hayden; Dinah Hayden; S. J. Hayden; Margaret Hayden; Francis Rhot; T. L. Mudd and wife Ellen and four children; R. P. Mudd and wife Marcus and five children; William T. Mudd; and George S. Mudd. The church building was completed in the fall of 1871 at a cost of about $1000. The size of the house was 20' x 40’ and was located in New Hartford on a lot between what is now the home of Mrs. Clarence Summers and Marvin Olnhausen on land now owned by Carey Motley and Mrs. Summers. Head and Gleason were among the early chaplains. In Dec. 1882 Father Grochmyer was sent by bishop to serve and did so several years. At that time there were about 50 communicants. Father Menqes from St. Clement was the last to serve. The church has been gone many years now. (l969)

Indian Creek Baptist Church — This church was organized in Sept. 1851 by Rev. Walter McQuwith with eleven member. The first meetings were held in the school house which stood near where the present church now stands. In 1857 a church house, a frame structure 30’ X 40’ was built. It was rebuilt in 1875 and was also a frame building 30’ X 50’ upon the site occupied by the former, at a cost of $1800. At that time there were 150 members. On Sept. 28, 1951 the 100th anniversary was held. Then on Dec. 18, 1951 the new educational building, which had been added was dedicated. It is a very active church with Rev. Douglas Lewis of Hannibal as pastor.


There are several cemeteries in Hartford Township, namely Smyrna, Keith, West Prairie, Indian Creek, Catholic, Old Siloam, and some family ones: Moore, Brown, Hays, Wright, Motley and Harrelson.

Catholic Cemetery — Located between the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Randel and where the New Hartford school was located. The school house has been converted into a dwelling and is now owned and occupied by Mrs. Bertha Cox.

Keith Cemetery .- In 1843 and 1844 James R. Keith was a merchant in Middletown. He decided to come to New Hartford to continue his mercantile business. He bought land near the site of the home of Mrs. Marvin Nalley where he built a home and store building. While he was in business here, two children drowned while they, with their family, were crossing the Indian Creek just south of New Hartford. The father asked Mr. Keith where he might bury the children as they were traveling through and far from home. Mr. Keith gave him permission to bury them back of his house. In the late 1800’s John Keith inherited this farm from his father James R. Keith and deeded an acre or so of his land to be known as the Keith Cemetery. This was where the two drowned children had been buried. In 1965 a perpetual care fund was begun to take care of it. The officers of this association at present are: President, John R. Craig; Secretary and Treasurer, Mrs. Clarence Summers; Trustees, Jewel Humprey, Joe Thrope and John R. Craig.

Smyrna Cemetery — Was laid out in 1835 upon ground donated by Wesley Trower. It was about 3 acres and was located just east of the church. It was the largest in the township and was the first burying ground established in Hartford Township. The first interment made was the body of Francis Jones. During the Civil War, a battle was fought in the town of Ashley on Aug. 28, 1862. George Trower was killed and his body was buried in this cemetery. For a long time Memorial Services were held for him and other soldiers as well as other loved ones buried there on Aug 28th of each year. But it was changed and services are now held on the fourth Sunday of August. James A. Venable, grandfather of Willie Edwards, of New Hartford, was killed and Ambrose VanArsdel an uncle of W. J. VanArsdel of New Hartford was seriously wounded in this battle. On the third Saturday of August, those interested clean the cemetery and church building, then enjoy a fish fry at the noon hour. At present the cemetery has an organization known as the Smyrna Cemetery Ass’n. The officers are: Willie Edwards, president; Carey Motley, vice-president; John P. Wagner, Secretary and Treasurer; Adrain Trower, W. J. VanArsdel and Willie Edwards, Trustees. In 1969 a perpetual care fund was set up for its care.

West Prairie Cemetery — This cemetery was laid out in 1868. The ground was purchased from H. C. Gibson. It consists of two acres, including the church lot. This cemetery is located just south of the church and kept up by the community. The first person buried here was a child of H. C. and Maude Gibson.

Ashley Township

Buffalo Township

Calumet Township

Cuivre Township

Hartford Township

Indian Township

Peno Township

Prairieville Township

Salt River Township

Spencer Township

Cemetery Information









Salt River






© 2000 Rhonda Stolte Darnell