JOHN J. COLLARD, on October 3, 1839, at the age of 22, married Mary Elizabeth Barton, the 15-year-old daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Barton, natives of Botetourt county, Virginia, and emigrants from Ramsey Creek in Pike county, Missouri, to the Bay Creek country southeast of Pleasant Hill in 1826. John G. Sitton, a native of Tennessee who had emigrated from Lincoln county, Missouri, to Pike county, Illinois, in 1836, was the officiating justice at this Bay Creek wedding of a century ago.
The license to marry was issued to John J. Collard by William H. Boling, then clerk of the county commissioners' court. The date of issuance was October 2, 1839. The marriage certification is signed by John G. Sitton. Only the bride's middle name, "Elizabeth," is entered on the marriage record by the clerk and the officiating justice. The license, No. 400 in the files of the county clerk's office, is still of record in the Pike county court house.
Mary Elizabeth Barton was born in Pike county, Missouri, April 16, 1824. She was two years old when her parents settled in the wild Bay Creek county, where later flourished the pioneer town of Bayville, a mile and a half southeast of present Pleasant Hill. In Thomas Barton's log house on Bay Creek centered much of the social and religious life of the early Bay Creek settlement.
Here, in the fall of 1826, Stephen Ruddle, a Christian minister and noted Indian captive, preached the first sermon heard in the Bay Creek country. The preaching was in Barton's log home. It is said that every man, woman and child in the settlement went to hear this sermon. Elder Ruddle and Thomas Barton had known each other on Ramsey Creek in Missouri. Ruddle had come to Ramsey Creek, in Pike county, Missouri, in 1817, joining there a colony of Kentuckians who had settled at that point as early as 1810. Among these settlers on Ramsey Creek were the Bartons, the Joseph McCoys, the Joel Harpoles, the Daniel McCunes and the Eliab Buckaloos, all of which families later became identified with the Bay Creek country in Pike county, Illinois.
Ruddle, on the same trip over into the Illinois wilderness in October, 1826, preached at the home of his Kentucky boyhood friend, Abraham Scholl, who had come to the vicinity of Griggsville in 1825. Ruddle's sermon at the log house of his friend Scholl, a mile and a quarter north of present Griggsville on the Perry road, was the first sermon heard in the north Pike county woods.
The Ruddle, Barton and Scholl families had all been associated with the great Daniel Boone in the early days of Kentucky. Members of these families had traveled the old Wilderness Road into Kentucky in the time of the Revolution, with the families of Daniel Boone and his younger brother, Edward (Neddie) Boone, numerous of whose descendants are still resident in Pike county. With this same party on the Wilderness Road traveled Abraham Lincoln, grandfather of the Civil War president. In this party traveled also Francis Elledge and his young wife Charity (daughter of Edward Boone), both of whom sleep in a lost cemetery on the Glenn Riley farm northeast of Griggsville. They were the ancestors of the numerous Pike county Elledges, including the great early-day Baptist preacher, Jesse Elledge, friend of Stephen Ruddle.
The Barton family was related to Daniel Boone through Lydia (Blunt) Barton, wife of Thomas Barton's brother John, her father being an own cousin of Daniel Boone. John Barton, a miller, came to Pike county in a very early day from Harrison County, Missouri (near Eagleville), and located at Bedford, and later at Nebo, where he built a mill. One of his sons, James A. Barton, was long a resident of Scott county and is prominently mentioned in Scott county history.
Thomas Barton was also a miller in the early days on Bay Creek. He had a rude water grist mill at the site of Bayville in the early years of the settlement. His mill was later acquired by Dr. Hezekiah Dodge, who improved and operated it. During this period, when Dr. Dodge had his mill at Bayville, two other water mills were in operation farther up the creek. One was the George Turnbaugh mill; the other, farther up and nearer Nebo, was the Woodworth mill, later operated by Shaw. The Turnbaugh mill dam was at the present Lou Henry place, where Henry Zumwalt, first miller on Bay Creek, had his limestone-burr mill. Among records of the Dodge estate is John J. Collard's attestation of Miller George Turnbaugh's "mark," signatory to a claim filed against the Deleon Dodge estate. This is dated March 11, 1845.
It is little wonder that entire neighborhoods turned out to hear the pioneer preacher, Stephen Ruddle. His life was as strange as fiction. He had been captured by Indians, along with his brother, when he was 14 years old. He was taken captive at the fall of Ruddle's Station, on the Licking river in Kentucky in 1780. He remained a prisoner among the Indians in their Ohio fastnesses for 16 years. At the age of 30 he escaped and made his way back to Kentucky, where he settled in Scott county, coming in 1817 to Ramsey Creek in Pike county, Missouri. He was 60 years of age when he preached at Barton's log house on Bay Creek in 1826.
Thomas Barton was the first supervisor elected from Pleasant Hill township, pursuant to endorsement by the voters of township organization in the election of November 6, 1849. Township organization became permissible under the new constitution of 1847. Barton defeated Lawson Turner for supervisor from Pleasant Hill in the first township election held under the new regime and was a member of the first board of supervisors in 1850. He was also Pleasant Hill supervisor in 1851, and in 1852 was succeeded by Elijah C. Thurman.
Brothers and sisters of Mary Elizabeth (Barton) Collard included Thomas A., Uriah, Rebecca A., Joshua, William, Emily and Jane Barton, who married William Dunham.
Mary Elizabeth Collard's brother, Uriah, on March 12, 1854, married Mary Jane Dodge, daughter of Dr. Hezekiah Dodge, who was also an 1826 settler at Bayville. They had a daughter, Harriet A. Barton, who on April 8, 1874, married William S. Freeman, native of Crab Orchard, Kentucky, and noted Pike county teacher, a son of Thomas and Susan I. (Stone) Freeman.
Rebecca A. Barton, sister of Mary Elizabeth Collard, on November 10, 1863, married Captain Andrew J. Lovell, a native of Pike county, Missouri, who came to Pleasant Hill township in 1856 and engaged in merchandising, moving thence to Pittsfield in 1876 where he completed the spacious home on East Washington Street that had been begun by Samuel Hayes and is now the home of the Hinman Strothers. Rebecca's sister, Emily (unmarried), lived with her in this home. Rebecca and Emily both died in Pittsfield.
Joshua Barton, a brother, on January 1, 1857 married Elizabeth Guthrie, daughter of Charles Grandison and Frances DeWill Guthrie, early settlers up Six Mile on what is now the Alvin Long place in Martinsburg township. Guthrie, enroute from the east to seek a location in Missouri, stopped at a settler's house at Stockland and was persuaded to look at the location on which he finally settled. This was in the early 1830s.
William Barton, another son of Pioneer Thomas, married Mary Jane Doman on June 14, 1860, with Justice Alex Hemphill officiating. William was the father of Elza T. Barton of Pleasant Hill.
Thomas A. Barton married Mary Jane Muse April 18, 1850. Justice Alex Hemphill performed the ceremony at Pleasant Hill.
Following their marriage in 1839, John J. Collard and his wife settled in the pioneer town of Fairfield, which had come into existence during the state-wide town lot boom of 1836. Fairfield was the forerunner of present Pleasant Hill. Collard, on January 11, 1840, bought Lot 5 in Block 6, in Fairfield, from Charles and Margaret (Cannon) Hubbard, who had considerable holdings in the early town.
The Collards resided in Fairfield until 1844. Two children, Lydia Rebecca and Eliza Jane, were born during this period. John J. Collard and his elder brother, Felix Alver Collard, engaged in merchandising in Fairfield in the pioneer days of the town, being among the earliest merchants in that section.
On February 29, 1844, John J. Collard sold his property at Fairfield to Robinson Copeland. We then find him locating at Bayville, in a settlement which had grown up along the bank of Bay Creek, where the creek breaks through the bluff into the Mississippi bottom lands. Here at Bayville Collard engaged in school teaching and merchandising. Here also two more children were born, namely, Elijah Barton Collard and Mary Elizabeth, the latter of whom married John Hancock Brant and became the mother of Alvin T. Brant of Pittsfield and Mrs. Jennie C. Yokem and Mrs. Lucretia Gresham of Pleasant Hill. Collard, in his pioneer store at Bayville, according to his statement rendered in 1845 in account with Joseph C. Turnbaugh, sold everything from violins to tea and nails and lead for molding bullets.
Nothing remains today of John J. Collard's early log home and store on Bay Creek. Gone, too, are all vestiges of the other log stores and dwellings that once constituted Bayville, which for many years was the most thriving village in Pleasant Hill township and the commercial rival of Fairfield (later Pleasant Hill), following the founding of that town in 1836. Bayville was settled on lands acquired by Thomas Barton and Dr. Hezekiah Dodge in 1826. Barton was the first settler. Dodge and his wife, Grenville, arrived from the state of Georgia later in the same year. She was the daughter of a southern planter. Dr. Dodge was the first physician and surgeon to establish his practice in that section of Pike county.
Bayville was a sort of string town, stretched out for a considerable distance up the right bank of Bay Creek from a point near where the great new steel and concrete highway bridge now spans the creek off the bluff road. The village lay along the old Pleasant Hill-Nebo road which then that way. All that remains of this early settlement are a half-dozen half-buried headstones, marking the graves of Dr. Hezekiah Dodge, his wife, Grenville Dodge, and four of the Dodge children, Mrs. Seba Ann Glenn, Alice, DeLeon Lamarr and Sebrid Dodge.
Other graves may be there, with headstones now sunken beneath the level of the valley. The headstones stand amid an open clump of trees, on a plot of ground somewhat elevated above the surrounding Bay Creek valley. The stones are flat slabs with rounded tops, in two rows, three stones to the row. The stones marking the graves of the old doctor and his wife are engraved at the top with an emblem of clasped hands. Three of the children's stones are engraved with an emblem of a right hand with index finger pointing upward. A quiescent lamb is engraved on the stone erected to the girl, Alice.
Some of the burials in this old cemetery of the Dodges are more than a century old. One dates back to 1845. Deleon Lamarr Dodge, who occupies one of the marked graves, died January 5, 1845. Old records disclose that he left a nuncupative (oral) will, a will uttered on his death-bed and made by word of mouth only, in the presence of witnesses. The oral will, of record in the county's early archives, was as follows:
"I hereby give, devise and bequeath unto my mother, little sisters and brother, all my personal property of which I am now possessed, to be held, owned and enjoyed by them after my decease for their own use and benefit forever." This will was uttered on the day of the testator's death and was later proved in the probate court of Pike county by the affidavits of witnesses, James H. Ferguson and Grenville Dodge, who heard the oral declaration. Grenville Dodge, the mother, later relinquished her share under the oral will. John J. Collard, then a Bayville justice of the peace, certified the various documents necessary to prove the spoken will and became bondsman for J. H. Ferguson, executor of the nuncupative document. James H. Ferguson was the husband of Anna Eliza Dodge, a sister of Deleon.
A communication from John J. Collard to Mr. J. B. Donalson (then probate justice for Pike county), dated at Bayville March 7, 1845, reads as follows: "Mr. J. H. Ferguson wishes me to be his bondsman on his executorship of the estate of Deleon L. Dodge. The estate is but small and if you will accept me as such I will be in your place in two or three weeks to sign the bond.
Yours Truly, John J. Collard."
A trip to the county seat from Bayville was a long journey in those days. The county seat had been removed from Atlas to Pittsfield in 1833.
Another document of record, written in the magnificent Collard hand, also is connected with the decease of Deleon L. Dodge. The document, dated at Bayville, January 13, 1845, is in support of the birth date of Deleon Dodge, born August 30, 1822, and is as follows:
"I hereby certify that the within memorandum of the birth of Delon Lamarr Dodge was by me drawn off the family record kept by H. Dodge, the father of said Delon L. Dodge, and that it was copied correct. John J. Collard."