THE ROUND PRAIRIE TRAIL
“The Round Prairie” was a famous hunting ground for Indians. It was about 4 miles northeast of Fillmore. It was known over Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. Here the Indians made their drives and gradually drove the game for a hundred miles and made the kill on the famous “Round Prairie”. The remains of buffalo, elk, deer, and antelope could be found for years afterward.
In 1825, The United States had signed a treaty with several tribes of Eastern Immigrant Indians granting them the land between the western boundary line of the State of Missouri and the Missouri River “in perpetuity”. European settlers, who had immigrated into the original territory of the State of Missouri, had long been casting an envious eye on that roughly triangular piece of Indian held fertile land. The settlers could not see why they shouldn’t be given access to the land and its waterways, continuously urging the United States to abrogate the treaty and add the tract to the state. In 1837 the Platte Purchase became a reality and the first of the settlers began arriving well before Andrew County was established. Settlers had to register their land parcels at the Land Office in Plattsburg, a trip that could take as much as four days. Early land survey maps show how widely scattered those early farms were, usually being located on one of the early trails or at a spring or on a free flowing creek.
Important to the settlement of the western part of Andrew County was the Round Prairie Trail. An Indian trail leading to the Round Prairie hunting ground, known not only to indigenous tribes but also to hunters as far away as Indiana and Ohio, it soon became a valuable access route to the pioneer settlers. The trail entered the Platte area on the original western boundary about where the community of Gower now is. It crossed the Platte River at Agency Ford and made for Robidoux’s Trading Post on the Missouri River (St. Joseph). Heading north out of Robidoux’s Trading Post the trail followed the ridge of the river bluff; entering what would become Andrew County near the place I-229 now enters it. Still following the ridge of the river bluffs the trail passed an access point on the Missouri River in Section 36, Twp. 59N, Range 36W (Amazonia). Amazonia, which had the two earlier names of Nodaway City and Boston, would become a major supply point for northern and western Andrew County and southern Nodaway County after its 1842 establishment by Charles and William Caples. After passing the river access the trail continued northwesterly where it would eventually pass along the center line of the south half of Section 29, Twp. 60N, Range 36W(Slightly north of Turna Corner), where John Lincoln, cousin of the President, would establish a claim, smithy and grist mill beginning in 1838. The next landmark on the trail was a free flowing spring in the NW quarter, SW quarter Section 29(Now owned by Ronnie Landess & the house now owned by Randy Johnson was part of the farm). Mexican War veteran, Reuben Tipton, converted the spring into a well, which would serve the area into the 20th century. After passing the spring, the trail turned directly north crossing a major creek, later named for Lincoln. Here the trail forked, with a branch to the left leading to a ford of the Nodaway River (Near this ford was later located “Raines Ferry” and George’s Ferry.), and then into what would become Holt County. The main trail continued north going past what would later be the site of the Christian Church & Fillmore School (Now the site is the Marion Pryor residence) and then on past the site of what would become the site of Newark (Fillmore) to its conclusion at “a large rock near an elm tree on the Ogg Farm” (SW Quarter, SW Quarter, Section 21, Twp 61N, Range 36W). This was the Delmar & Marceline Simerly home place.
Marceline Simerly gave information for this article to Martie Schuman.