Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow (1990's)

Early 90's, unknown author

Wastewater Improvements

In November of 1992 the City of New Florence placed into operation a new wastewater treatment facility. In the late 1980's, the City applied for and received one of the last remaining EPA grant projects. This project allowed the City to abandon three public and five private lagoon systems and consolidate them into one wastewater facility. In addition to eliminating the old lagoons, with this project the City has been able to expand its system to service the northwest quadrant and the northeast quadrant of the I-70 and Highway 19 interchange area.

Water Distribution System Improvements

The City of New Florence owns and operates its own water distribution system. The City currently operates two domestic wells and a complete distribution system which includes one 50,000 gallon elevated tower. In the summer and fall of 1992, City workmen constructed over 6,000 feet of trunk water lines, encompassing both the northwest quadrant and the northeast quadrant of the I-70 interchange area.

Most important of all for the City in '92 and '93 is the awarding of a Community Development Block Grant to replace the existing 50,000 gallon water tower with a new taller 150,000 gallon tower. Construction on this project has begun. The improvements in the City's water distribution system will greatly enhance the storage capacity and fire flows for the town. Also, the City is currently completing a "DNR-Owner Supervised Program" to enable the City to obtain prior approval for all water line extensions. This project establishes standards for construction and a new hydraulic analysis.

Natural Gas System Improvements

The City of New Florence also owns and operates the natural gas system. This system too has been expanded in 1992 to serve the entire south side of the City's outer limits bordering on the I-70 north service road and also servicing both the northeast quadrant and the northwest quadrant of the I-70 interchange. Over 8,000 feet of three inch gas main was layed in this expansion project.

Miscellaneous Improvements

In the spring of 1992 the New Florence City Council developed and adopted a house numbering system for its residences and businesses. This project was undertaken to help citizens better identify their location for ambulance, police, and general delivery persons.

The 1990's have been busy years for the City of New Florence so far, but its private citizens and businesses have been too. Over a half dozen old buildings have been torn down and cleaned up. The local telephone company has built a new business and central office on Main Street and has just completed installing a new digital switch. Also, a great deal of effort is being put into bringing businesses to the I-70 Highway 19 interchange.

New Florence has a promising future. Led by the dedication and hard work of public officials, city employees and community leaders, New Florence is prepared to enter the 21st century with optimism and enthusiasm. Focusing on the needs of the entire community and striving to continually improve the quality of life for all residents, the City will continue to cultivate the warmth and comfort of rural living with the many amenities of an urban area.

History (unknown date and author)

From "History of St. Charles, Warren and Montgomery Counties 1885." The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and not not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the City of New Florence.

New Florence Gets Its Name

The town of New Florence stands on section 23, township 48, range 5, and is situated in the eastern part of Danville township, Montgomery County, Missouri. The Wabash, St. Louis, and Pacific Railroad runs through the place.

New Florence was laid out in 1857 by Hon. E.A. Lewis. The land was formerly owned by Mortimer McIlhaney, but was sold to Judge Lewis. At first it was called Florence, after the daughter of Judge Lewis (now the wife of Robert Atkinson, esq., a merchant of St. Louis), and was so platted and recorded, but it was discovered that there was a town of the same name in Morgan county, this state, and so by act of the legislature in March 1859, the name was changed to New Florence.

The first house in town was a dwelling built by James Wood, and stood in the western part of town. It was a small one-story frame. Mr. Wood's was the first family in town. The first storehouse was built opposite the depot in 1856.

Railroad Depot

The depot building was erected soon after Wood's house, and Nathaniel Patton was the first station agent, and a Mr. Van Orden the second. The Post Office was established in 1857, and kept in a little confectionary store run by Duncan Hughes.

Nathaniel Patton built the first hotel, opposite the depot, in about 1858. The first school house was built in 1859, and stood on the site of the present academy building. It is now used as a storehouse on the south side of the railroad.

In 1861, the town numbered about a dozen houses, nearly all of which stood on the south side of the track. In the fall of this year, a fire broke out and consumed all of the important buildings of the place but four.

Civil War

In December 1861 (or January 1862) a company of the Third Iowa Infantry, commanded by Capt. Herron, was sent into New Florence. This was after the road had been torn up by Confederates, and while the Tenth Missouri and Eight-first were at High Hill and Danville. For a time, the soldiers were quartered in the school-house. Other detachments of Federal troops and militia were here from time to time during the war (Civil War).

The most notable incident in the history of New Florence during the troubles of the Civil War was the raid of Bill Anderson and his band upon the place, in October 1964, and the burning of the depot. The particulars of this affair are narrated elsewhere.

In the year 1862 Messrs. Hunter, Ellis and Powell built a store, but with this exception there was little other improvement in the place during the war. Soon after, however, the place took a fresh start and improved very fairly for a year or so.

The First School(s)

In 1869 there were but three or four houses north of the track, and population of the village did not exceed 200. Some time in 1866 a company built a frame building, which was used as an academy. The school had nearly 200 scholars and was a very good one, but in time other schools were established, the attendance fell off, and in 1868 he closed. In 1869-70 Prof. Carl Vince nt (now of Texas) had charge, but in the latter he too closed the school, and thereafter the building was not occupied except by the Good Templars and for lectures, etc.

In 1870-71 the public school building was put up. The citizens voted to withdraw the funds which had been previously given to the academy and build the new school-house, which is a two-story frame, and yet stands north of the track. The Masonic lodge room was built in the second story. This building was used until 1882-83, when the academy building was rented for school purposes.

In April 1884, the academy building was purchased by the school district, of T.J. Powell, for $1,500. The building is now the second best school-house in the county. The first principal was (and now is) W.H. Fields, with an assistant, Miss Effie Davis. The number of scholars in average attendance is 90; total enumeration in the district, 112. A colored school has been taught in the colored church for some time. With the exception of one year, Elijah Cooper has taught this school for the past ten year. There are 18 colored children in the district and an average attendance at the school of 15.

It was during the years 1872 and 1873 that New Florence had its "boom." The principal houses in the place were built then. A good hotel had been built and opened in the fall of 1869 by Albert Fullington. The Montgomery County Fair Association was formed here is 1866, and gave several exhibitions. It died about 1869, and the grounds and other property were purchased by Mr. Jacob See, its leading member and president.

The Cyclone of 1867

August 19, 1867, a cyclone struck the village of New Florence and destroyed the partially erected amphitheater of the fair grounds belonging to the County Fair Association, besides killing two men and wounding others. The particulars of this incident were thus narrated by a correspondent of the Montgomery Standard and published in that paper August 23, 1867.

On the morning of the 19th inst. our village was visited by one of those "simoon winds" or hurricanes so usual after extensive drouth. The dark clouds "passed in fury," gathering strength in each "whirl," burst in violence about one mile west of our village, and directing its course east and north, came in contact with the partially erected amphitheater of the County Fair grounds, where the entire corps of hands had taken refuge, and, in one sudden moment, a crush, a wreck, a wail. The entire amphitheater was swept to the earth, and nearly every man more or less injured and two killed in the moment: Mr. James G. West and a colored man named Wiley Graham. Among the severely wounded were:

  • Mr. D.H. Nunnelly, in head and hip

  • Mr. Miles Johnson, in spine

  • Mr. John E. Loyd, arm broken and otherwise bruised

  • Mr. J. Fisher, in head and hip

  • Master Tommie See (son of Mr. Jacob See), in face and head

  • Master Jimmie Powell (son of Mr. T.J. Powell), bruised in several places

  • L.H. Fleet, in head

  • Toleson Hunter, in face

  • Mr. Fred. Davault, in back

  • Mr. George Ramsey, in leg

  • Thomas Graham (colored)

  • Issac Jenkins (colored)

  • one man unknown was severely injured in back

  • Mr. George H. Spark, the foreman, was bruised very much from the fall.


In 1876 New Florence made a credible effort to obtain the county seat of Montgomery county, but failed.

In 1878, according to McCleary, the town had:

  • four dry goods stores

  • one drug store

  • two furniture stores

  • one hardware and agricultural store

  • three millinery establishments

  • two blacksmith and wagon shops

  • one grist and saw mill

  • three churches

  • two hotels

  • one seminary building

  • one good public school house

  • one newspaper

Population about 350

In 1884 it had a population of about 425; contained:

  • three churches

  1. Christian

  2. M.E. South

  3. Cumberland Presbyterian

  • three lodges of secret orders

  1. Masonic

  2. Odd Fellows

  3. Good Templars

  • one newspaper, the Optic

  • a good creamery

  • two hotels

  • a first-class school house and school

  • five general stores

  • two drug stores

  • one furniture

  • one hardware

  • one boot and shoe

  • one millinery store

  • a livery stable

  • blacksmith and wagon shop

  • marble yard

  • two lumber yards

  • two grain dealers

  • two saloons


New Florence was incorporated as a town August 2, 1869, "on the petition of Riley H. Mansfield and others." The first board of trustees was composed of:

  • Nathaniel Patton

  • James A. Simpson

  • Melvin Guthridge

  • Thos. J. Wiley

  • John T. Hunter


The first newspaper in New Florence was started in October 1869m by Melville Guthridge, who employed as editors T.H. Musick and C.E. Dwyer, of Wellsville. The editorial "copy" was sent down by mail, although Dwyer was here in person frequently. The paper was called the New Florence Plaindealer. It was a seven-column folio and Republican in politics. Really it was started to assist in the county seat movement in favor of New Florence. The office was at first in Wilson Garrett's building.

During the political campaign of 1870 the Plaindealer espoused the Liberal Republican cause and worked against the election of McClurg. Musick and Dwyer resigned as editors, but Guthridge was still the publisher, and the real editor was unknown. In a year or so the Plaindealer passed into the hands of M.J. Jones, and then in a few months Nat. Patton took charge, to be succeeded in a short time by C.H. See, who ran the paper about three months, when it suspended. The material of the office was stored for a year and then purchased by Mr. Harris, who removed to Jonesburg and established the Jonesburg Leader.

October 17, 1877, Riley H. Mansfield issued the first number of the New Florence Optic, a six-column folio, independent in politics. This paper is still in existence, and is yet presided over by its original proprietor. It is fairly supported and deserving of its general popularity in the town and community where it is published.

The New Florence Creamery

This institution was put into operation June 4, 1884. It is owned by the New Florence Creamery Company, an incorporated association with a capital of $6,500. The officers are:

  • T.J. Powell, president

  • Dr. Kallmeyer, secretary

  • C.E. Stewart, treasurer

The superintendent of the institution is a Mr. Stewart. The creamery makes 300 pounds of butter daily, but has a capacity of 2,500 pounds.

Churches and Sunday Schools

The first church in New Florence as a union church built after the war by the Methodists, Baptists and Christians, and purchased by the Christians some ten years ago. Probably the first sermon in the place was preached by Rev. W.S. McNeiley, the well known Methodist divine.

An Episcopal Church was built, perhaps in 1871, and services held therein a few times, but it was never dedicated, and in 1877 was purchased by the M.E. Church ("Northern Methodists") and used by that denomination until in the spring of 1883, when it was sold to its present owners, the Cumberland Presbyterians.

Some years since the Sunday-school at New Florence had a wide-spread and an enviable reputation. It was organized on the second Sunday in April, 1865. The first meetings were held in Marshal McElhany's residence; afterwards in the railroad depot, in the academy, and elsewhere. The first superintendent was Joseph Stewart, who served for three months, and was succeeded by P.P. Ellis, who served very efficiently until December 1871. The school never missed a Sabbath except on an occasion of two or three unusually heavy storms.

After Mr. Ellis left he organized a Sunday-school in connection with the M.E. Church South, and into this most of the scholars afterwards went. The former school was called for a time the New Florence Union Sunday-school, but it gradually passed out of existence.

Cumberland Presbyterian Church - A church of this denomination was formed at New Florence in 1872, the original members being:

  • Mrs. I.H. Bernard

  • Taylor Bernard

  • S.P. Shaw, D. Janssen

  • Miss Mollie Webb

  • M. Guthridge

  • Mrs. Guthridge

  • Francis Bryant

  • James Nelson

From 1872 to 1884 J.R. Patton was the pastor in charge. Rev. Ingram is the present pastor of the congregation of 24 members. In 1871 the house of worship which they now occupy was erected by the Episcopals. It is a frame structure and is valued at $600.

M.E. Church South - Information and data concerning the history of this church has not been furnished up to the time of going to press with this volume, although faithfully and repeatedly promised. All that can here be stated is that the church building was dedicated in July 1871 by Bishop E.M. Marvin.

Christian Church - J.C. Ford is clerk of this church, which now numbers 45 members. Its organization occurred in 1871, Bro. Thomas Marlow taking an active part in its formation. The members then were:

  • E.W. Howell

  • W.Y. Howell

  • S. Broadwater

  • Elihu Milliken

  • Orlena Milliken

  • A.J. Ward

  • Maegaret Goodrich

  • J.A. Simpson and wife

  • Elizabeth McClure

  • Miss Lizzie Goodrich

The first pastor of the church, Thomas Marlow, was followed by W.B. Gallaher, and he in turn by the president incumbent, W.T. Sallee. This house of worship is valued at $1,000.

Secret Orders

Odd Fellows - November 7, 1865, Zenith Lodge N. 157, I.O.O.F., was instituted with the following members:

  • W.R. West

  • Richard McCormack

  • Mathew Moore

  • John Morgan

  • Joseph Hibbert

  • Harris Keeney

  • P.P. Ellis

  • J.R. Bodine

The first officers were:

  • P.P. Ellis, noble grand

  • T.H. Ford, vice-grand

  • J.C. Ellis, secretary

  • L.T. McNeely, treasurer

And the present officers are:

  • A. Davault, noble grand

  • T.H. Ford, vice-grand

  • Clark Morris, secretary

  • John Morris, treasurer

At this writing the membership is 31.

Masonic Lodge - The Masonic Lodge at New Florence, No. 261, was instituted October 15, 1868, with the following officers:

  • A.C. Stewart, worshipful master

  • J.H. Tuttle, warden

  • J.C. Ford, warden

  • D.H. Nunnelly, treasurer

  • M. Guthridge, secretary

  • W.M. Sutton, deacon

  • M. Patten, deacon

  • E.D. Owen, tyler

The lodge has only a membership of 13. Since June 1, 1884, the officers have been:

  • P.O. Ellis, worshipful master

  • R.H. Mansfield, warden

  • I.W. Stewart, warden

  • W.Y. Howell, treasurer

  • B.E. Wilson, secretary

  • W.R. Pennington, deacon

  • Ben Hall, deacon

  • D.P. Taylor, tyler

Good Templars Lodge - May 10, 1865, New Florence Lodge No. 34, I.O.G.T., was organized, with:

  • Rev. Marshal McIlhany

  • Joseph M. Stewart

  • John A. Franklin

  • Stephen S. Kuettle

  • Fannie Franklin

  • Mary C. Jasper

  • Bettie Nunnelly

  • P.O. Ellis

  • John T. Hunter

  • Mollie J. Hunter

  • George W. Howell

  • Jesse B. McMahan

  • Hannah A. McIlhany

  • Bettie W. Milton

  • Joshua B. Morris

The lodge has now a membership of 55, with the following officers:

  • E.E. Wollem, worthy chief

  • Lizzie Wollem, worthy vice

  • Clark Morris, recording and financial secretary

  • Robert See, recording and financial secretary

  • Lizzie Stultz, treasurer

  • V.P. Marmaduke, chaplain

  • ed. Allen, marshal

  • K. Marmaduke, inside guard

  • Elijah Owens, sentinel

  • G.A. Stulz, past worthy chief

  • B. McCoy, lodge deputy

P.P. Ellis was for seven years grand worthy chief templar of the State Grand Lodge. This is one of the oldest living lodges in the State of Missouri. It owns the hall in which it meets - valued at $500 - and is in a flourishing condition generally.