Benjamin van Landingham Homestead - Palmyra, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 39° 47.997 W 091° 31.484
15S E 626297 N 4406594
Quick Description: First settler and first cabin, spot still marked
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 11/1/2014 9:31:30 AM
Waymark Code: WMMT3B
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Mark1962
Views: 0

Long Description:

County of first: Marion County
Location of first: Main Cross St., Big Spring Park, Palmyra
Date of first: 1818

Sign at site:

Site of First Log Cabin
Built in Palmyra in 1818
By Benjamin van Landingham

The he first inhabitants of northeast Missouri were Indigenous (Native Americans), the Sauk, some times referred to as Sac or Sax, and the Misuras, some times referred to as Missouris. Explorers and traders established camps along the Mississippi in the late 17th century. Father Hennepin, a French Monk, making his way down the Illinois River in 1681 to the Mississippi, landed near what is now called “Bayview,” a campground between Hannibal and Palmyra. For many years it was called the Bay de Charles. Father Hennepin erected a cross and claimed the land for the King of France.

"“The city of Palmyra, the county seat or capital of Marion County, is situated on portions of sections 23, 24, 25, and 26 in township 58, range 6. It is seven miles due west of the Mississippi river, the same distance from the southern boundary of the county, ten miles from the northern boundary, and sixteen from the western. It is twelve miles northwest from Hannibal and sixteen southwest of Quincy as the crow flies.

“The location is beautiful—on an elevation on both sides of a spring branch, which rises in the town and flows from west to east. The original town plat, except on e street, is upon the south side of the little stream. The latter, fed by two springs mainly, furnishes an abundance of water to supply the ordinary needs of the community.

“The town is well built, and well laid out. The streets are broad and roomy, and rest upon a natural rock foundation. All of the main streets are graded and stone guttered and provided with sidewalks. Drainage is so well established that the streets are always easily traversable. The majority of the residences are substantial, and many are imposing and attractive—the abodes of competence, refinement, and culture.

“In November, 1818, Benjamin Vanlandingham came from Kentucky to what is now Marion county. With him came his sons Lewis, Meshach and William. His sons and some of the other settlers assisted him and he built a cabin a little southwest of the big spring, and moved in the same fall.

“The town grew rapidly, and in 1820 Palmyra had 150 inhabitants. Those interested made efforts to increase the number of settlers, and in 1821 the first post-office was established, the mail coming, when it did come, from St. Louis on horseback by way of New London.

“Maj. Obadiah Dickerson was the first postmaster. He kept the office in his hat a great portion of the time. Being frequently absent from home, in the woods hunting, or attending some public gathering of the settlers, the few letters constituting “the mail” were deposited under the lining of his huge bell-crown hat, often made a receptacle for papers, documents, handkerchiefs, etc., by gentlemen of the olden time. Asked why he carried the office about with him in this way, the old major replied: ‘So that if I meet a man who has a letter belonging to him I can give it to him, sir! I meet more men when I travel about than come to the office when I stay at home.’ As the mail at the Palmyra office increased, the major petitioned the department for a new and a larger hat!”

"A log cabin now marks the spot where, in 1818, Benjamin Vanlandingham settled his family by the “Big Spring” in a home constructed from hand-hewn logs taken from the deep forest that surrounded the town. By 1919, the town of Palmyra had been laid out in the form of a parallelogram. The original streets going north and south were Bradley, Spring, Dickerson, Main, Lane, Home and Last. Streets going east and west were Olive, Lafayette, Main Cross, and Water. In 1820, the first store was opened by James Vaughn. He sold powder, lead, a few groceries, coffee, pepper, salt, coarse muslins and woolens, some cutlery, and a small assortment of “notions.” In 1822 the first frame house was built in the city." ~ R. I. Holcombe’s HISTORY OF MARION COUNTY published in 1884 (reprinted in 2003)

Link to the Homestead: [Web Link]

History if no Link:
please see long description

Structure Type: Log Cabin

Additional Parking or Point of Interest: Not Listed

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