PIONEER SETTLERS of any community are deserving of more than ordinary mention for the important part they occupied in its earliest development. The first settler of the territory embraced within Randolph County was John Janes, a survivor of the Revolutionary War, who was wounded in the battle of Yorktown, and who, about the year 1800, emigrated from Virginia to Missouri, and thence, in 1809, to this county, locating on Janes Creek on the farm now owned by William Bridges. Other very early comers to this creek were the Rickmans, Bakers and Davises. On the other streams the first settlers were as follows: On Spring River, James Campbell, on the farm now owned by John Miller, Sr.; the Stubblefields and Loneys, on Eleven Point River; Samuel McElroy, who was a matter by trade and supplied the country for fifty miles around; Edward Mattix, Robert M. Revvel and Thomas Holderby; On Fourche Dumas River, the Fletchers, Fosters, Swezy, Jarrett and Plott; on Current River, Frank Hix, Peyton R. Pittman (the first county judge), Duckworth, Pyburn and Ingram; on Black River, Caspar Schmick chose a residence two miles below Pocahontas, and in 1828 Gov. Thomas S. Drew and R. S. Bettis located on the site of Pocahontas. James Russell, at whose house the first courts were held, made a home on the uplands eight miles north of Pocahontas on the farm now known as the Foster place. Mathias Mock was an early settler on Mud Creek. In 1815 David Black, formerly of South Carolina, the grandfather of John P., David C., Rufus H. and William A. Black, all of whom are living, settled at Black's Ferry, on Eleven Points River.
The DeMunns, two or three brothers, refugees from the French Revolution, highly respected, intelligent and liberal Frenchmen, became residents on Black River, some two miles below the site of Pocahontas, where they built the first waterpower grist and saw-mill in the county, about the year 1822. Prior to this John Janes had erected a horse-power grist-mill at his residence. All of [p.365] these settlers mentioned, except the DeMunns and, perhaps, one or two others, have left within the county a numerous progeny. The first immigrants were from Virginia, the Carolinas, Kentucky and Tennessee; later they were mostly from the latter State. and for a time before and up to the Civil War there was a large influx from Indiana and Kentucky. Recently the immigration has been from various States, both north and south. It is said that when the war came those individuals from Indiana sympathized with the Southern cause, while the Kentuckians generally remained loyal and refngeed from the county.
The following list includes the names of the officers of this
county, together with their terms of service from its
organization to the present. Judges: P. R. Pittman, 1835-42;
James Martin, 1842-46; B. J. Wiley, 1846-50; James Martin.
1850-52; B. J. Wiley, 1852-54; J. P. Ingram, 1854-60; William
Thompson, 1860-62; H. Cookran, 1862-68; C. V. Cory, 1868-72;
commissioners, 1872-74; Isham Russell, 1874-76; J. H. Purkins,
1878-78; S. J. Johnson, 1878-82; J. H. Richardson, 1882-86;
Daniel Wyatt, 1886-88; [p.366] A. J. Witt, present incumbent,
elected in 1888. Clerks: B. J. Wiley, 1835-42; J. H. Imboden,
1842-44; T. O. Marr, 1844-49; Alex. Smith, 1849-50; L. F.
Johnson, 1850-52; J. C. Walker, 1852-54; E. L. Urmston, 1854-58;
J. B. Kelsey, 1858-64; C. C. Elder, 1864-68; E. Rockwell,
1868-72; J. T. Robinson, 1872-76; J. Schoonover, 1876-82; J. T.
Robinson, 1882-86; W. T. Bispham, present incumbent, first
elected in 1886. Sheriffs: Wm. Black, 1835-40; J. H. Imboden,
1840-42; J. Spikes, 1842-49; John Chandler, 1849-52; W. G.
Murphy, 1852-58; D. C. Black, 1858-62; M. McNabb, 1862-64; S. M.
Truly, 1864-65; D. C. Black, 1865-68; G. A. Eaton, 1868-72; J. T.
Fisher, 1872-74; J. F. Spikes, 1874-76; D. C. Black, 1876-78; W.
Conner, 1878-82; A. J. Witt, 1882-86; B. F. Spikes, present
incumbent, first elected in 1886.