A Brief History of Early Yell Township


The first wave of settlers in the 1840's traveled northward along Raccoon Forks, the name the pioneers bestowed on the river. Later the Legislature would offically name the river, the Des Moines.

A county named Yell was established in 1851 and a township of the same name was formed in 1853. Yell was named for a famous hero of the Mexican War, Colonal Archibald Yell.

Nearly all settlers were concentrated in an area along the borders of present day Hamilton and Webster Counties called Boone Forks. In August 1853, after the soldiers had abandoned the Fort and relocated to the St. Peter River in Minnesota, the population was approximately 150 (this is a figure in Major William Williams diary), nearly all located in the immediate vicinity of Boone Forks.

The settlers in the counties of Yell and Risley made a request to the Legislature to combine the two small counties into one, and this was the beginning of Webster County.

This early history of Yell encompasses an area of 36 square miles, including all the present Hardin Township, the east portion of Dayton and the small part of present Yell, known as Township 86, Belleville. Belleville was platted as a town by Isaac and Jacob Bell in 1857. They never recorded the plat. In the early 1850ís the Landreth family arrived and also John Iles. For a short time the Stark family were large land owners in the southern part of Yell. Also the William Low family had settled here.

Early settlers in McGuire Bend, located in Township 87, according to the Federal census of 1850, included Francis McGuire, age 50 and his six children. Another family was Squire McGuire, his wife Sarah and 10 Children. They settled in the area in 1848-49. Squire and Francis where both born in Tennessee, Frank in 1800 and Squire in 1805. They had both lived in Kentucky, and around 1830, left there for Missouri,after becoming known as "abolitionists". Missouri was later finally in 1848 made their way to the place which would become referred to as McGuires Bend.

A daughter Frank, Jemina, became the second wife of the notorious Henry Lott.

Later in the year of 1852 the James Bass family arrived followed by many other weary pioneers.

For research purposes it is important to remember the early records for Yell Township include families and land records which are now part of Yell, Sumner, Lost Grove, Hardin Townships and Hamilton County.



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