History of New Hartford

New Hartford is a small town in Pike County about ten miles south of Bowling Green on 161. It was believed to be founded around 1819 by a man named Mastin Moore, who's family still live in the area. New Hartford is in the Hartford township, the other, a smaller town is Gazette.

New Hartford has never grown very large because of the inaccessiblilty to the area. There are no railways leading to the town and roads leading there in the past were in bad condition. The early inhabitants settled the area because of available grassland and the easy access to water, the southern part of the town being bordered by Indian Creek, the early town's main source of water along with the numerous springs in the area.

Most early settlers to the area came from Kentucky and Virginia. The earliest families to settle the area were the Moores, Wilsons, Orr, Adams, Vancil, Hammonds, Adkins, and Keiths. Originally the town stood on the southern side of Indian Creek but the Keiths settled the northern part, where the town now presides. The first schoolhouse was believed to be built shortly after the town's settlement, between 1819 and '22 the school was built on then-government ground. It was a one room log building with a dirt floor. The first school teacher is believed to be Matheas Wilbarger.

Shortly after Hartford was settled a Justice of the Peace was appointed, his name was Slade Hammond. The first Justice elected by the people of the town though, was Barney Lovelace. The town of Hartford has had two murders in its history, quite a big number, i think, for such a small town. The first murder took place in 1829. The murderer was a slave who killed his master, Mr. Tanner. Tanner was sitting by his fireplace in his house when the slave shot down through the top of the chimney and killed him instantly, the slave was arrested and tried for his crime, he confessed to the murder and was hanged in Montgomery City shortly afterwords. The second killing took place on the very steps leading up to the doors of one of the churches of New Hartford, about the the year 1877 or '78. The murderer, Horace Reed, shot and killed George Davis, the then son of Judge Davis, instantly, he was arrested and tried and was acquitted of the murder.

Along with the few grocery stores in the town in its early time, there was also believed to be a "house of entertainment" owned by a Mrs Keith on the Louisiana-Jefferson City road. The house was used by travelers and also served as a hotel to them. There was a place for horses to be kept for the night standing next to the building. About 1900 is when the first actual hotel was built. Marion Motley was the builder and owner. the building was two stories and the ground floor acted as a general store and the second story contained the hotel itself.

The early schoolhouse, mentioned earlier was built earlier in the towns history, and was beginning to get too small, so in 1883 a new schoolhouse was built. This one was a wood frame structure, unlike the log cabin style one built first. it had contained two rooms, one for the first four grades and one for the upper four grades. But by the year 1922 a new school was already needed. It too was of wood frame construction and was a three room school, one room for the first four grades, one room for the next four grades, and the third room for a couple years of highschool.

In 1903 a telephone system going to New Hartford was organized. the switchboard for it was first put in Dot Kerr's store. It was then moved to the Hughlett home for a year but in 1912 the shareholders of the company decided to build a switchboard house. Mrs. Summers and her family operated it along with the post office that was in the same building. In 1958 owners of the New Hartford telephone company met with Eastern MO Telephone Company to see if they would take over duties of running the telephone system for New Hartford and the surrounding area. On November 1958 the companies merged together and Eastern took over responsibilities for the area. In 1959 a dial service was set in place and new lines were run. The New dial service ended the need for a switchboard.

works cited
History of Pike County 1883
History of Hartford Township 1969
personal interview with Mrs. Claudia Wells