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Robert McAlear

My families from the Blue Mound/Dawn area are the McAlear, Matthews, Morris, Maberry, Good, Wilkinson, Cox, and Stagner. I still have lots of cousins in the area.

I have been working on finding my Great Grandfather’s, Charles A. McAlear, origins for over 40 years. (Charles' middle initial was "A" but nobody knows what it stood for.) The time before his arrival in Livingston Co is a mystery! It is known that he was in Madison County, Illinois in 1860 and that he moved to Livingston County with the Groce family.

On 22 Apr 1862 Charles A. McAlear bought 120 acres from Benjamin B. Peck and wife Sarah. The land is described as S‑1/2 of the SE‑1/4 and the S'‑½ and the N‑1/2 of the SE‑1/4 of Sec 22 Twp 56 R24. Just a few months later, on 19 Jul 1862, he sold this land to Silence Peck, of Oakland County, Michigan. I've heard he didn't like the area because there were too many Welshmen. So, on 20 Mar 1868 Charles bought 40 acres in the SW‑1/4 of SE‑1/4 of Sec 4 T56 R24 from the Hannibal‑St Joseph Railroad.

In May of 1875, he moved to Blue Mound about 5 or 6 miles east of where they had lived. They bought the farm (55 and 7/10 rods north of the N side of NW 1/4 of SE‑1/4 of Sec 35 T56 R24) from the Jefferson Stagner heirs (Charles' wife was Margaret Ann Stagner).

In 1880, Charles A. McAlear ran, unsuccessfully, as a Greenback Republican against Arch Thompson for County Judge, 2nd District. (History of Caldwell & Livingston Co 1886, p.823). His obit says he was county judge, so obit must be in error. Charles McLair [sic] enrolled in the Missouri Home Guard, 65th Regt. Co I under Capt Barnes. Dates were from 20 Oct 1864 to 30 Nov 1864.

I can remember, as a kid, hearing my grandfather, Everett McAlear (Charles A.’s son) saying that his dad used to trade horses with Jesse James. I gather from what my grandfather said that the James boys visited the McAlear farm fairly often. Grandfather used to say the James boys weren't "bad" until some disillusioned civil war vet shot off their mother's arm as she sat on the porch knitting. My grandmother would always "shush" grandfather. She didn't want him telling such stories (or maybe they were great exaggerations.....). At any rate, Charles A. McAlear's wife, Margaret Ann, was sort of shirttail cousin to the James boys so it seems reasonable in that day and age that they would have visited the McAlears. Zerelda Cole James married her 2nd husband Dr Reuben Samuels and had a dau Sarah born in 1858. This Sarah was a ½ sister to Frank & Jesse. Sarah married William A. Nicholson and resided in Clay Co. So, this William A. Nicholson was a brother‑in‑law (½ brother‑in‑law?) to the James boys.

William A. Nicholson was a son of Arthur Nicholson of Clay Co. Arthur had a sister Anna Nicholson who married Drury Shrewsbury. Drury and Anna (Nicholson) Shrewsbury had a daughter Nancy who married Jefferson Stagner. Jefferson and Nancy (Shrewsbury) Stagner were the parents of Margaret Ann Stagner. I defy you to map this out on paper! The Stagners and Shrewburys are all buried in Livingston Co. I visited the cemeteries when we were there eons ago. I believe they are near Dawn (Elliott Cem?).

I had a gentleman research postal records in Washington DC and here is what we came up with:

"On 30 Apr 1884 Charles McAlear was officially appointed postmaster of the Blue Mound post office, but he had been serving unofficially before that time. The post office was in the McAlear home and was destroyed by the cyclone. Charles resigned as postmaster prior to 19 Aug 1884. On 1 Oct 1884 C[harles] A. McAlear was again appointed postmaster. He served until 1 May 1885."

I've heard that old Charles A. McAlear loved politics and politicians from Kansas City would come out to the McAlear farm and make speeches. I think 4th of July. I thought about trying to go thru old newspapers to see if I could verify.

On 16 Oct 1899 Charles sold part of his land, left the family, and went off to Oklahoma. He died in Oklahoma in 1900. Margaret Ann caught pneumonia in the winter of 1901 and died in January 1902. All the children gathered for a photograph just after her death.

Charles A. (1829-1900) and Margaret Ann Stagner McAlear (1843-1902) had 8 children as follows:

John (1864‑1927) went to Greeley, Colorado.

George (1866‑1925) went to Polson, Montana.

Albert (1869‑1940) went to San Diego, Calif.

Rettie (1872‑1928) stayed at Blue Mound/Dawn. Married Lewis Mossbarger. Buried at Blue Mound Cemetery. No children.

Minnie (1874‑1958) Blue Mound/Dawn. Married William Jenkins. Buried at Blue Mound Cemetery. Mervyn Jenkins their son died in 2003.

Everett (1878‑1953) went to Forest Grove, Oregon. Married Alta Good. These were my grandparents.

Carrie (1881-1925) never married. Buried at Blue Mound Cemetery.

Lillie (1884‑1972) stayed at Blue Mound/Dawn. She married John Jenkins (brother of William). She used to "winter" at Leeper Hotel in Chillicothe. Ina Cameron of St Joseph is their daughter.

My grandparents (Everett James McAlear and Alta Good McAlear) moved from the Blue Mound area to Oregon about 1908. As a kid growing up around my grandparents, all I heard was Blue Mound this, Blue Mound that..... We saw what was left of the old homestead (a rock quarry in 1971).

The only story I can remember my grandfather, Everett, telling about Blue Mound was, “Why anyone would ever want to live there is beyond me!”

When the cyclone of 1883 hit, all the McAlear children were ushered into the cellar. My Grandfather, then age 5, couldn’t be found. Mother panicked, but Everett was found in time and brought down into the cellar just as the cyclone struck the house with full fury. The house was destroyed and my Grandfather came close to not having any descendants!

A lot of folks left this area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. All four of the McAlear boys left Missouri about this time and even Charles A. himself left in 1899/1900. My Grandmother's parents (Good) went out to "no mans land" in Oklahoma in the 1880s (I think a lot of land became available at that time ‑‑ speculators, etc.), but returned to Livingston County. Maybe there wasn't enough land left in Blue Mound to support all these families and they "went west" to settle less populated areas. That’s just a guess on my part.


If you would like to submit your recollections, please contact Joe G. Dillard at: 3535 West Arbor Way, Columbia, MO 65203 or e-mail

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Blue Mound History - Joe G Dillard
3535 West Arbor Way, Columbia, MO  65203