The area where all of my ancestors on my Mother’s side settled in the late 1800’s – the Pemberton’s, Elmore’s, Wilkerson’s, Myer’s and Kelley’s is right at the junction of Andrew – Gentry -DeKalb Counties. Some of the cities they lived in are Savannah, Avenue City, Rochester, and Rosendale in Andrew County. Union Star and Maysville in DeKalb County. King City and Berlin in Gentry County and St. Joseph in Buchanan County. It is not a very large area.

It was probably a cold winter day in February 1837 when local tribes signed a treaty giving up their rights to land east of the Missouri River in what is now northwestern Missouri. Until then all of the territory west of a line extending northward from Jackson County, through Clay County, etc., was Indian territory and not open to settlement by the white man. Some men had ventured into the area before that time, but were not allowed to remain. The Platte Purchase consisted of the area covered by the present counties of Platte, Buchanan, Andrew, Holt, Nodaway and Atchison Counties in Missouri.

Four years later, on another cold January day in 1841, Andrew County was formally organized from part of the “Platte Purchase”. The Pemberton’s and the Elmore’s came shortly thereafter. Before the end of that decade, Andrew County was just north of one of the hot spots (St. Joseph, MO) for taking off on the Oregon Trail.

After the year 1844 settlement of the county was quite rapid. A great many families came in, some from neighboring counties, and some direct from Kentucky, Tennessee and other States south and east. The early settlers sought the timber counties for various reasons. First, because they had been reared in a timbered country, they knew nothing of the prairies, and thought if the soil was too poor for forests, it was too poor to be cultivated. Second, they thought it impossible to survive the cold winters in such an exposed situation. Third, they preferred to remain where food was abundant. Fourth, they concluded to locate near some water course. Some of the early settlers learned the value of the prairie lands, and pushed out on the broad expanse despite the opposition of those who pretended to be wiser. Many of the first families merely squatted upon their farms, being too poor to pay the entry price until after the harvest of the first or second crop. Some had barely sufficient means to reach the new country; others had considerable means, and found it no difficult task to begin life in the backwoods.”