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Philibert, Joseph - Joseph in Stone County

Philibert, Joseph - Joseph in Stone County. White River Valley historical Quarterly Volume 9, Number 3, Spring 1986

Joseph in Stone County

White River Valley Historical Quarterly Volume 9 , Number 3 , Spring 1986

The McCullough Community and Williams Township Stone County, Missouri

The White River flowing west to east completely divides Stone County, Missouri into northern and southern areas; and with Kings River and Indian Greek flowing north from Arkansas, the southern region was isolated so that the area of Williams Township is more closely allied topographically to Carroll County, Arkansas. Not only was there high water in the spring when the creeks and rivers overflowed, but the area is in the White River Hills of the Ozarks (Taney, Barry and Stone Counties)—another isolating barrier.

In the late 1700s, the Ozarks had been home to the Osage Indians, but they had been moved westward as the United States acquired property rights by treaties. By 1820, the Delawares had been moved from east of the Mississippi River into the lands of the Osage, and with the advancing frontier came Indian traders and settlers.

Although many settlers came into the area from established communities along the White and Kings Rivers in Carroll, Madison and Newton Counties in Arkansas, the first white man to come into Stone County was Joseph Philabert, who in September 1822, as an employee of Menard and Valle of Ste. Genevieve, came to trade with the Delawares. For many years, he made several trips yearly overland to Ste. Genevieve. Meanwhile, another enterprising trader, Soloman Yoachuin founded a setfiement on the "James Fork of the White River on road from St. Louis, Missouri to main White River Arkansas Territory," as noted in the U.S. Government survey of June 26, 1838, which locates it near where Finley Creek flows into the James. It is listed as "Yocum’s Distillery, Mill and School House"—certainly the first school in the area.

On September 22, 1833, Joseph Philabert married Peninah Yoachum, daughter of Soloman; and, by 1850, they were the parents of six children who intermarried with many of the families who had migrated into the south Stone County region in the decade 1840-1850. Some of these family names are recognizable even today: Edwards, Taylor, Leonard, Williams, Plumlee, Bilyeu, Moore, Garrison, Clinkenbeard, Carr, Baker, Dye, and several others. Population growth increased to such an extent that in 1851 Stone County was formed from Taney; and the decade saw continued growth and development. In 1860, there were 422 families in the county. Some idea of the mobility of the early Missouri settlers may be found through a study of the Bilyeu family. Thomas Bilhiou (Bilyeu) in late iSOOs had moved from Artois in France to Holland because of religious persecution of the Huguenots. His son Pierre with his wife Francoise DuBois and children, together with other Walloons left Holland in 1661 for New Amsterdam where they arrived in August. Their children moved into New Jersey and Pennsylvania by the mid 1730s. Three of the subsequent descendants, brothers John (born 1775 in Maryland); Isaac (born 1780 in Virginia or an area of Pennsylvania at that time a part of Virginia); and William (born 1795 in Kentucky) are in Overton Co. Tennessee by 1810 where they served briefly in the War of 1812. In the mid 1820s, they removed to Sangamon County, lllinois with brief stops in Indiana and Kentucky. Related families who moved with them were Harp, Clinkenbeard and Workman. In 1838, Isaac’s son John Witten is the first postmaster of Kingston, Arkansas; but, in 1840, the Bilyeus are in Miller County, Missouri where in 1853 John dies leaving a will. In the will, he lists the residence of his fifteen children as: one in Tennessee; three in Indiana; seven in Missouri; two in lllinois; one in Oregon Territory, and one unknown (in Nebraska). In 1850, Isaac and his family are in the McCullough Community of then Taney County, Missouri, but most had moved to Christian County by 1860. The family of William Bilyeu, and other relatives left Missouri by the Oregon Trail in a wagon in early spring 1852. They arrived in Oregon on September 16, 1852. This was a trip of great hardship and many died enroute.

Despite its isolation, early settlers liked the area of Williams Township. The river and creek valleys were salubrious and fertile; there were ample supplies of game and fish, potable water in abundance, timber for housing and fencing, nuts and acorns for food for man and beast. They were fiercely independent— individuals who had known hardship and suffering; and, they were willing to work hard to achieve for themselves, material comfort, liberties and advantages which had been denied to their ancestors. The decade of 1860-1870 was to test their hardiness many times over. Most of the residents of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri were dedicated to the Union cause—a union which had given them much. They paid dearly for their devotion to this cause during the decade and many for the remainder of their lives.

Date28 Aug 2013

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