The surface of this township presents, perhaps, as diversified an appearance as any township in the county. Prairie and forest add each its share to beautify the landscape, and the numerous small streams cut and carve the entire surface in a manner most charming.
Longwood derives its name from the town situated on its eastern edge. In England one of those grand old estates which we delighted to read about is and has been called for centuries, Longwood, and in this far western county is repeated after the lapse of years, a name that is loved and honored in "That far-off-house across the sea." The town was first called Hermantown and the postoffice Oak Grove. This was about one mile north of the present town of Longwood and when the petition for the change was made known to the town, it was granted on condition that it should be called Longwood, there being another Oak Grove in the state.
Longwood township, although one of the earliest settled in the county, is one of the latest In organization. It was originally part of Bowling Green, and then part of Heath's Creek and Mt. Sterling. It was organized again in 1873 and in 1878 it gave up sixteen sections out of its south and western borders to help organize the township of Hughesville. It is bounded on the north by Saline county, on the west by Houstonia and Hughesville townships, on the east by Heath's Creek township and on the south by Cedar township. It contains 38 sections or 24,320 acres of land. It has no railroad.
In the southwester part of the township is a little obscure place called in early years Pin Oak. Of this, little remains but the ruins, yet to the student of the history of Pettis County those ruins are full of interest in connection with the early days of Pettis County. Here first the voters of the county, then in its infancy, laid the foundation which has built the now famous county of Pettis. Before Georgetown was laid out, and years before the city of Sedalia had been conceived in the mind of even the widest dreamer of the future greatness of not only the county ,but the state, this little obscure place was the head of business in this county. The early settlers came here to do their trading, have their milling done and discuss the political situation of the day; but it has now decayed until but little is left to tell the story of its former importance outside of the minds of the oldest citizens. The first court ever held in the county was at this point and the docket of that term was meager in the extreme, but one or two cases being on trial.
The first postmaster of the town was Thomas Wasson, and the first merchants of the place were Marmaduke and Sappington. When Georgetown was laid out they moved to the new town. The first lawyers in Pin Hook was George Heard, Washington Adams and Heydon.
After the county adopted township organization in 1873 the following officers were elected: James Roberts and George F S Sprinkle, trustees; Wm. Hoffman, township clerk; W C Cheatau, assessor; Lewis Lower, collector.
The township being until 1873 a part of others its early settlers are so interwoven with those of other townships that it is almost impossible to give them separately. James Scott came to Missouri and settled in Cooper County in 1819. In 1830 he moved to this county and settled in the present township bounds. Hiram Scott came in 1828 or 1829, also from Cooper county. William Head settled near Longwood in 1827, coming from Howard County. John Ellis came in 1828 from Cooper County. W H Chaney came in 1838 from Clarke County KY. P T Parsons came in 1840, from Green County, Kentucky. William Johnson came in 1834. John, Peter, and Anthony Fisher came in 1830 from Illinois. Bethel Allen came in 1831 from Callaway County. Thomas and Jesse Joplin came to the county in 1829, and settled in the borders of the township. They were from Tennessee. Thomas Kemp came in 1831 from Callaway County. He was formerly from Virginia. Riley Kemp came near the same year, and was elected second sheriff of the county.
Among the early churches organized in the county were those in Bowling Green township, or as it is now called, Heath's creek and Longwood. Of these as complete a history as could be obtained is given in Heath's Creek township and in this township we shall treat only of the churches of 1882.
The Longwood Methodist Episcopal Church of Longwood was organized some years before the war. The Congregation worship in a frame building erected conjointly by them and the Presbyterian denomination at a cost of $1,200. The early pastors were: W B McFarland, J L D Blevins, A M Rader, Josiah Godby, M Duran, G P Smith, L M Phillips, and E G Fraizer. The original members of the church were Reuben Creel and wife, J C Hemphill and wife, James I Belwood and family, Wilson Jones and family, William Ricks, Col. Buford and family, Mrs. Horton, James Estes and one or two families of the Kemps.
Prairie Grove Baptist Church was organized in February 1880 by Rev. S W Whipple. They were situated in the northeastern part of the township.
In the township of Longwood there were six early day schools. Perhaps the most important was Green Lawn Seminary, built for a private school and located about five miles south of Longwood. It was organized by Rev. Gordon Turner, as a Cumberland Presbyterian school, but after the year 1878 it was conducted as a public school.
The Longwood school enrolled 70 pupils. The school house that had been used up to the year 1882 was a brick, but it became too dilapidated for use and a neat frame was erected in 1883, at a cost of $800. It was under the supervision of Mr. A W Ryan.
During the war there were one or two blood deeds committed in the township. William Majors was murdered in the year 1862, by a drunken rowdy on his farm near Longwood. Col W H Fields came from Louisville Kentucky and settled southwest of Longwood. He erected the finest brick house that up to its time had been built in the county. During the dark days of the war, Mr. Fields met his death at the hands of one of the gangs of marauders that infested these parts. Perhaps the most foul deed ever perpetrated in the township was the murder of Mrs. Henry Raines, In 1852, by a Negro man belonging to Mr. France. At the same time he also attempted and nearly succeeded in killing her tow children, severely wounding both. He was burned to ashes for his crime by a mob.
The Longwood Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1857 at the old Hansboro school house in Saline County, one mile north of the line between Saline and Pettis. C C Woods, Milton Adkisson, G W Horn served the charge in the early days of their ministry. The new church has been pronounced by many the most capacious and beautiful country church in central Missouri. Sunday, June 10th, the new building of the Longwood Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was dedicated. The present minister is Rev. H C Green. The church has a neat five room parsonage on the church grounds. Membership is 170, with a Sunday School attendance of 90.
The Longwood Presbyterian Church was organized in 1867. The present building was erected in the early seventies and is of the old style type of country church building. The furniture is all new, including a piano which was purchased recently. A five-room cottage serves as a manse for the minister. Membership is 150, with a Sunday school attendance of 85. Rev. Lenox Crocket is the present minister. Officers of the church are: Elders, William Baker, R N Lower, John Hughes E D Orear and J O Latimer; deacons, Lon Swope, William Lee Lower and Albert Smiley.
Longwood is not surpassed by the other townships of the county in her public schools. Their school houses are frame buildings in good condition. Fristoe school has an enrollment of 50, and Beaulah Puckett is teaching the school this year. Green Lawn, or Sunnymede, school has an enrollment of 20 pupils and Annabelle Lacey is the teacher. Longwood school has an enrollment of 41 pupils and Ruth Glazebrook is the teacher. Oak Grove school enrolled 20 this winter, and Mildred Cummins is teacher. Prairie Ridge has an enrollment of 22, and Emma Settles is the teacher.
Transcribed by Laura Paxton