Peno township is in the northern part of Pike
County, bounded on the north by the Salt River, on the east by the Salt River
and Buffalo township, on the south by Cuivre River and Spencer townships, and on
the west by Spencer township and Ralls County.
As early as 1816 a few pioneers had made their homes in Peno township. The earliest white settler actually came in 1799. William Spencer came to the salt springs located at what was later known as Spencer Lick for the purpose of manufacturing salt to be shipped to St. Louis at six to eight dollars a barrel. While the business was successful, the enterprise was abandoned when unfriendly Indians in the area became a threat to his safety and Spencer left the area. The salt springs were located at the edge of Ralls County, adjacent to the northwest portion of Peno township.
In the southern part of Peno township, the surface is broken and abrupt, while on the east the rugged hills disappear and the topography is rolling and gently undulating with many smooth valleys. The valleys and tablelands are productive, and once yielded tobacco, corn, wheat, oats and other cereals. The hills are utilized for grazing and the scenery is diversified. In some places, the rugged hills form an unbroken chain, but behind these hills are the uplands and valleys. The State of Missouri has set aside a portion of this rugged part of the township as a conservation area called Ranaker Wildlife Area.
Peno township is abundantly supplied with water. The principal streams are Peno and Sugar Creeks, and the Salt River separates this township from Salt River township. Artesian wells once supplied the town of Frankford with water, and Haw Creek supplied a source of water for the community of its namesake. Mineral springs were found near Frankford and, at one time, a sanitarium was established there. Limestone and porous rock have been eroded by the underground waters, and an immense cave, nearly three-fourths of a mile long was discovered running under the hills of Frankford in the late 1800's.
The principal industry of this township since its beginning has been agriculture. Cattle, hogs, soybeans, wheat, corn and other cereals were raised there, and the Short Line Railroad (also known as the St. Louis, Hannibal and Keokuk) ran entirely through the township from north to south affording shipments to larger markets.
HISTORICAL SOCIAL LIFE:
Memorial Services - Mar 23, 1919 - Death has been very busy in our town and community the past winter, and owing to the contagious nature of the diseases that prevailed, many were debarred from paying the last tribute of respect from the living to the dead, so it was arranged by Rev. J. F. McMahan, to hold a general memorial service at the Christian Church last Sunday night, in memory of all who have 'fallen asleep" during this time. Both rooms of the Church were filled when the services were opened. The singing, Chorus, solo and quartettee was fine; our singers are always so, but we never heard them sing sweeter than at this time. Bro. McMahan delivered a fine memorial address, appropriate, helpful and hopeful. He read the following list of name of those for whom the service was held, before the discourse: Glenn Hoback, Cliff Howell, Etta Epperson, Elmer Aldrich, Rollins Wood, Chas. A. Tapley, Anderson P. Fields, John C. Sisson, Sutro Pritchett, Ada Lamberson, Harry Sisson, Rolla Sherwood, John Brice, Frank Mefford, Frank Pritchett, Ralph Haden, Charley Walkley, Mrs. Emarilla Jackson, Mrs. Sade Thomson, Meriwether Starks, A. F. Turley, Samuel Parker Lucas, Emerson Coke Jones, Lloyd C. Winn, Bryan Silvey, Dorothy Rogers.
Annual Supper: - The Annual Supper given by the Frankford Camp, M. W. A., to the members and their families, was held last Friday night, in the Moseley store room. About 8 o'clock Mefford's Silver Band announced the hour of gathering, by playing several lively pieces on the street. After the company had assembled, Prof. Winders of the entertainment committee, as master of ceremonies, had rendered a very interesting and entertaining programme, which we will not endeavor to describe in detail. Miss Willa Mitchell, candidate for School Commissioner, had been invited to recite, and favored the audience with a splendid rendition of "The Maiden Martyr," which she had recited at the age of thirteen. Miss Mitchell introduced herself to the audience in the following original poetry: "I'm not a noble forester, Nor can I wield an axe; I'm not a Modern Woodman, Nor a voter on the tax. But I'm a woman candidate, A seeker for an office; And at making public speeches, You can see I'm just a novice. Yet if I'm not a forester Nor a woman with a hatchet, If I should get the office I'd proceed at once to patch it. Not with an instrument of warfare, Would I seek the rents to mend, But to faithful valiant teachers A willing hand I'd lend. I'd take the needle of the compass That points so straight and true, And with the thread of golden thought I'd thread it through and through. Then with the mended fabric Old Pike would stand in line With other counties that have taken The stitch to save the nine. Now if you people up in Peno Want to help in this direction, Just vote for me in April At the county school election." E. E. Campbell, of Louisiana made a short speech which was followed by a very able address on Woodcraft, by Eld. S. W. Marr of Bowling Green. Then Neighbor Strickler, and his excellent corps of assistants, served the oysters, which had been provided in generous quantities. The supper, as usual was a marked success, and reflected great credit upon those having the matter in charge.
Visit Home - Mr. Allen Rogers left Monday for his home near Princeton, Mercer Co., Mo., after a two weeks, visiting with relatives in this and adjoining counties. Mr. Rogers once lived on the farm now owned by Mr. Wm. Pritchett, near the lake, on Dry Branch, south of town, with his father Allen P. Rogers, sen., who moved from here in 1851 up near Princeton, where his son still lives. He visited his childhood home, but not a stone or timber remained to mark the spot where his father's house once stood. He said the only place that looked familiar was the house on the farm that was at that time owned by his uncle, Elder T. P. Rogers, and is now known as the G. W. Rogers farm. He has a good memory to have been so young when he left here, having remembered quite a number of people several of whom he met. While here he visited the following relatives and their families: Mr. Claud Rogers of Elk Springs; Mrs. Wm. And Ollie Stone, near Curryville; Mrs. Lizzie Brashers of Vandalia; Mr. Homer Stone and Mrs. Alf Lucas west of town and Mrs. Shehony of Ralls County. He is a nephew of Timothy Rogers, deceased, and left here many years ago, when he was ten years of age. This is his first visit back. Uncle Jim Nichols, and Wm. Shotwell are among the few whom he knew, that are left.
The Rebuttal - Geo. W. Rogers and family, of Pike county, were in town last Saturday. They came in a spring wagon, and attracted considerable attention --- not that they were homely --- for they were all fine looking, "barring" George's red head. Mr. Rogers has been married twelve years, and has eight children, three girls and five boys, the eldest of which is eleven years old. As we stood in amazement gazing at the wonderful group, we thought there was no telling how many children they would have had, had Mrs. Rogers been red-headed too. George ought to be pensioned and then sent to Utah.----[Ralls county Record]
Editor Chronicle: Dear Sir:---I saw in your paper, a few days since, an article copied from the Ralls County Record in regard to myself and family, and in reply to Mr. Mayhall I will say that the pension he suggests would be very acceptable. But I do not see the necessity of my removing to Utah at present. I infer from Mr. Mayhall's remarks, that his home circle is sparsely inhabited, and if so, judging from the lustre of his eye, he has enough vitality left to build up a family of liberal proportions, in Utah, himself, if he will go there; and by so doing he will doubtless cause the wilderness to blossom as the rose. In conclusion, if he decides to go for that purpose, I will donate a large share of that pension, to help him defray the necessary expenses of his removal, if he desires it. ---George W. Rogers.
Letter to the Editor: Mr. Editor:---I pray you grant me space in your paper that I may extend thanks to the many that have been so kind and faithful to me during all of my hours of pain and waiting----waiting for the Lord to call me home. I feel that each one of you has been the cause of my advancing, step by step, onward and upward, for I this day realize that in the little city of Frankford I fairly turned my steps toward Heaven. I know that my time to remain one among you is short, but I have no dread or fear for the time to come. My only regret is leaving those so near and dear to me, and especially my husband, who has been so constant and true, never flinching or complaining during the days and nights that he has administered to my every want. Christian people, remember him in your prayers, also my dear father, mother, sisters and brothers, and may your Heavenly Father bless and keep from all harm each one of you. Very Respectfully ---Mrs. Wm. Ladue.
WORLD WAR I
There will be a History of this War. The name of every one has enlisted or been drafted is wanted for this History, please call at E. A. Fields' Store and get a blank fill it out and return same. We want every boy enrolled. (signed) Woman Com. Of Nation Defense, Mrs. Steve Jones Chairman
The following is a list as far as we know of those who have already gone to the war from here: (long column) Gaines Rinker; George Haden; Glenn Griffith; Lyle Holman; Roy Ruffin; Harry Waldeschlager; Leland Fields; Grover Bramblet; Homer Bramblet; Reuben Foutes; Charley Benn; Dr. Kennedy; Joe Gibbs; Tom Richardson; Wirt Cash; Harry Matson; Von Dean; Mervin Ford; Gene Miller; Ernest Weaver; Babe Weaver; Bob Hamilton; Johnny Speigal; Homer Harris; Channing Booth; George Bryan (col.); Harold Martin; Ammond Aldrich; Roland Wood; Klanche Cox (col.); Don Jones; James Thompson; Harve Day (col.); Albert Kinney; Tom Howell; Glenn Harlinger; W. L. Fisher; Harve Doolin (col.); Roy South (col.); Jim Ed Foutes; Willie Douglas; Walter See; George Rogers; Glenn Winters.
Frankford in 1980 still stands on its original site, boasting one general store, a hardware store and a few small businesses, a city government in the civic building, a doctor, post office and approximately 496 people. The streets, once dirt or gravel, are now paved and lead to highways which make the larger towns of Louisiana, Bowling Green and New London easily accessible. There is still an active elementary school, churches of several denominations, and fraternal and civic groups which meet there, but the town has decreased considerably in size in the past 70 years and is no longer the center of commerce as it once was to the farming community in Peno township.
Frankford was laid out in 1819 on land owned by Solomon Fisher. In 1831, there was an influx of farmers into the town seeking homes and work in what was then a budding city. At that time, Frankford was platted and filed for record. The town became incorporated in 1859, and by 1883 the population was estimated at 500 persons. At that time, Frankford boasted some 36 places of business, including a marble yard, a broom factory, grocery and drug stores, dry goods shops, a hardware store, a furniture store, a saddle and harness shop, a hotel, a livery stable, confectionery shops, blacksmiths, physicians, attorneys and a dentist.
The first promoter of a manufacturing enterprise in Frankford was Fisher Petty, who owned a tannery which was established as early as 1819, several months before the town was first laid out. The tannery originally operated out of a log cabin, and the business was later purchased by Colonel Adam Mase, who built a two-story, four-room log house which was known for years as "The Old Tan House." The business was purchased in 1864 by a Mr. Kidd, who operated it until 1870 when it closed.
In 1905, Mrs. J. H. Lowry, of Frankford, wrote an article for a local newspaper stating that "Today we (Frankford) have one of the most modern little towns in northeast Missouri. The late buildings are modern and up-to-date, while the homes are beautiful, with spacious lawns of blue-grass, and we can boast of as many feet of granatoid walk as any town the size of ours"
Haw Creek in Peno township, once a community of about 40 persons, has long since disappeared. The town was located on Haw Creek for which it was named. The creek itself, a branch of the Salt River, received its name because many black haw trees grew in that vicinity. The town of Haw Creek had a post office, which has been discontinued, and the first lease for a general store there cost Charles Unsell two dollars. In 1900, the community had two blacksmiths, a church, school, general store, and eight families, all of which have disappeared in the name of progress.
Reading, located in the southeastern section of Peno township, was a trading point named for William Reading (1792-1868). Reading came from Kentucky to Pike County in 1820, settling on Grassy Creek and eventually becoming one of the largest landowners in the county, acquiring over 2,000 acres of land. His son, John Reading, was one of the first postmasters at Reading, whose post office is now defunct.
© 2000 Rhonda Stolte Darnell