Cape Girardeau County Streams and Rivers aka ------

Apple Creek was called Riviere a la Pomme (apple) when the early Frenchmen settled in the area.

Cape La Cruz Creek aka Cape la Croix given by Father Gravier in 1700. It is a small creek staring in Cape Girardeau County and joining the Mississippi in Scott County at Grey’s Point.

Indian Creek is a large creek flowing east in the northern part of Cape Girardeau County to the Mississippi. Called Table River, Riviere Table. Or The Devil’s Tea Table in 1797 when Cornelius Arent settled here. Table River was named from a Projection of rock resembling a tale on the southern side of the creek. This rock has been blasted away. Since 1800, the stream had been called Indian Creed for the Shawnee Indian village on it.

Moccasin Springs was a small village or boat landing on the Mississippi River north of Cape Girardeau. Called Moccasin springs because of the large number of snakes in the area. Once known as Willard’s Landing when the Willard family lived there.

Whitewater River is the largest stream in Cape Girardeau County The Indians called the river Ne Ska or Unica. The Chippewa name is Ne ska or Niske, meaning white water. Early French settlers translated the Indian name as La Riviere Blanch or L’Eau Blanche. The Spanish name was Rio Blanco.

Williams Creek was first known as Riviere Charles given by early French settler. It was Randol’s Creek on early maps then changed to Randall’s Creek before becoming William’s Creek.

Agriculture in 1880 

The six bottomland counties (Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Stott, and Stoddard), all lay within the Missouri Delta, only produced 15,357 bales of cotton. Yet, this represented three-fourth of Missouri’s cotton harvest. Cotton required at least 200 frost –free day to mature. A growing season of barely 200 days placed the Missouri Delta on the northern edge of the “cotton belt”.

On the Delta’s rich soil, Missouri farmers harvested two thirds of a bale per acre. While it was possible in Southeast Missouri to raise cotton, in 1880, only 23,448 acres were planted; that was only one percent of the regions’ total acreage.

Corn acreage was a different story. The Missouri bottomland’s large corn harvest exceeded the corn crops of the Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas Deltas. Framers in the Missouri Delta planted 165,086 acres in corn that yielded 5,275, 619 bushels of corn.

The deltas of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi were still sparsely settled frontiers. Missouri’s Bootheel had only 52, 885 residents with a population density of less than 16 people per square mile. Only 30 percent of the total acreage in Missouri, Arkansas Louisiana, and Mississippi deltas was farmland with the rest of the bottomland acreage in public or corporate hands. (John Solomon Otto, The Final Frontiers, 1880-1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands)

Farm to Market in the 1880 Bootheel 

Farmers who lived in the Deltas of Missouri sent much of their cotton to the St. Louis market.  Crowley’s Ridge offered farmers a cry and healthy refuge from the swampy malarial bottomlands. However, the silty-loam soils of the Ridge produced only half a bale per acre of cotton while the lowlands yielded three-quarters of a bale to the acre.

Along the bottomlands of the St. Francis and Little Rivers, remote Dunklin County farmers occupying the ridge lands. Most of the land was unavailable for cultivation because of the overflow. Raising cotton on ridges and prairies, Dunklin’s farmers hauled bales of cotton to distant river landing and rail stations over rutted road for shipment to St. Louis.

It cost a Dunklin agriculturalist as much as $2.50 to carry a bale of cotton to a shipping point. Then another $2.50 cent was charged in freight charges to get it to market.

 In Stoddard County, in the center of the Missouri Delta Cotton bales were hauled to the railway for shipment to St. Louis. They paid $2.50 to reach the St. Louis market.

In the riverside counties of New Madrid, Mississippi, Pemiscot, and Scott counties for farmers that occupied front-land along the Mississippi they had a cheaper opportunity. They could ship their bales of cotton on steamboats to either the New Orleans, Memphis, or St. Louis markets for one dollar per unit. . (John Solomon Otto, The Final Frontiers, 1880-1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands)


More S.N.I.C.K.E.R (Same Names In Cities, Kingdoms, Empires, & Regions)

From a reference book of American city names

Allenville (2) Illinois and Missouri

Arbyrd (1) Missouri

Belmont (10) California, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin

Big Lake (4) Alaska, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas

Bird Point (1) Missouri

Campbell (7) California, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Texas

Clarkton (2) Missouri and North Carolina

Cooter (1) Missouri

Cotton Plant (2) Arkansas and Missouri

Diehlstadt (1) Missouri

Dorena (1) Missouri

Fornfelt (1) Missouri

Gayoso (1) Missouri

Greenfield (10) California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin

Holcomb (1) Missouri

Hollywood (4) Alabama, Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina

Lilbourn (1) Missouri

Malden (4) Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Missouri

Matthews (3) Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina (spelled Mathews (1) Louisiana)

Nesbit (1) Missouri (spelled Nesbitt (1) Texas)

Oran (1) Missouri

Possum Trot (1) Missouri

Steele (3) Alabama, Missouri, and North Dakota

Cape Girardeau County Landing, Ferries, Forges, and Mills

Crawford’s Landing was a ferry land on the Mississippi River in the Northeast part Shawnee Township north of Cape Girardeau in 1873. The Crawford family was prominent in pioneer days and run the ferry.

Hay’s Ferry also known as Neely’s Landing was at the point where a smell creek emptied into the Mississippi River north of Cape Girardeau. John Hays owned the land here in 1805 and operated a ferry know as Hay’s Ferry and Jacob Neely operate a store and ferry in 1808. A post office was established in 1886 and named, as known to river men, as Neely’s Landing. Locals referred to is a Neely’s and the school carried this name.

Moccasin Spring was a small village north of Cape Girardeau that served as a boat landing on the Mississippi River. One know as Willard’s Landing as the Willard family lived there. Later named Moccasin Springs for the numerous water moccasin living at the spring. From 1904 to 1908 a post office was active here.

Sheppard’s Landing was a ferry landing north of Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi River. In 1838 E. W. Sheppard operated a ferry there.
Green Ferry Road was a county road running from Green’s Ferry on the Mississippi Rivier to Jackson and then west to Dallas (nor Marble Hill) in Bollinger County. During pioneer times this was an important road .In 1945, it was still in use.

Green’s ferry was located on the Mississippi River. How old this ferry is no one knows. Rev. Parish Green was granted a license in 1826 “to keep a ferry at the place called Green’s old ferry.” It was known as Smith’s Ferry in 1831 when Thomas Smith operated it, and a Vancil Ferry or Vancil from 1854 to 1860. The place no long exists but the name is preserved in Green Ferry Road.

In 1797 the settlement which grew up around Lorimier’s resident (later became Cape Girardeau) was referred to Lorimount by John Gihonehy and John Randol in land petitions. In 1805 it was called Lorimier’s Ferry in an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.

Waller’s Ferry was located twelve miles north of Cape Girardeau on the Mississippi in 1797 by Joseph Waller.

Dunn’s Ford was a low water crossing across Apple Creek in the north central part of Cape Girardeau County near the David Dun family. In the early days this was an important boundary marker.

Daugherty’s Mill was built on Daugherty’s Creek near Jackson in 1799 by William Daugherty, who settled there.

Davis Mill, a community built up around Davis Mill was village six miles south of Jackson. It was one of the earliest settlement in the County (1802). As late as 1827 a mill operated by Greer W. Davis was active. When a post off was established there sometime between 1876 and 1886, the village became Gordonville name of a merchant Samuel Gordon.

Delp’s Mill was a very important old mill built before 1827 on Whitewater River by John Delp. It was still operated in 1835.Itw often referred as Snider’s Mill and was evidently purchased by Aaron Snider but still popularly known as Delp’s.

Egypt Mills is a community twelve miles east of Jackson. In 1821Elbenezer Baptist Church was established in the Big Bend, a bend in the Mississippi River two-and-a half mile north of Cape Girardeau and was an important landmark with a trading post in 1766.Tradition say a school teach organized a Sunday school class in an old mill located there.

Hubbell’s Mill was a watermill established in 1797 by Ithamar Hubbell, a soldier of fortune, l on Hubble Creek. Hubble Creek is in the center part of the county just west of Jackson. In 1797 the stream was called Riviere Zenon for Zenon Trudeau (18748-179-) Lieutenant Governor of the Louisiana Territory.

McLane’s Mill was located on Apple Creek sixteen miles north of Jackson at Old Appleton. It was established in 1829 by John McLane and in early County Court Records used in marking boundaries or designing places.

Rodney’s Mill was established in 1836 by the Rodney (or Rodner) family. Soon Benedicts Mullett and Bennedict Schineder purchased it. In 19847 a German Evangelical Church was organized here.


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    Having grown up on Little River, I have been fascinated with it. Over the past several years, as a local historian, this area has been a special interest. 

     These areas have been treated much like step-children by Jefferson City and Little Rock. They seem to believe nothing has ever happened here.  Our history has been long and varied. Hope you enjoy my trip.  

    Near Puxico is the swampy Mingo Wildlife Refuge. One hundred and fifty year ago, most of the Little River Valley appeared that way. This valley covering two million acres was part of the largest wetland in America.

    Floods frequently intimated the Valley. Between 1815 and 2011, 15 major floods covered or threatened the area.

    Timber companies came in at the end of the 19th Century to clean cut the forest. Louis Houck, a Cape Girardeau lawyer and railroad builder, envisioned a rail network that covered the wetlands.

    Little River Drainage District (LRDD) Corporation was established in 1907 by an act of the Butler County (MO) Circuit Court. 

    Between 1909 and 1928 the LRDD dug nearly 1000 miles of ditches and constructed 30 miles of levees to drain 1.2 million acres of swamp and overflow land in Southeast Missouri. More dirt was moved than in building the Panama Canal.

    One surprise I had was the number of settlements in the area before 1811-1812. Another was the water connection between the Mississippi River and the St. Francis and I had no idea that Little River had enough current to run a grist mill.

    Norman Vickers


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    Little River's Geographic Past