Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Columbia site chosen for access to ‘living’ water

However, families in covered wagons came in a steady stream. A group of more than 35 land speculators planned a complete town nearby, called Columbia, where water was available. Their town site was not to be on the hilltop but down where "living" water was available from springs and from wells they dug.

Today, curious families might visit this location by parking their vehicles near Grant School or the Columbia Public Library and then looking across West Broadway’s water storage "equipment." Hikers might pretend to see pioneers with all of their worldly possessions in, on and under their wagons, which were once there but now are long gone. No earthly scars are left where the three very deep wells were dug. One might see, however, a huge storage tank, which is part of Columbia’s modern water supplying equipment, by looking north, above ground level.

I’ve lived on a farm east of Columbia for more than 90 years and have attended the University of Missouri’s elementary and high schools, which no longer exist. When I was too young to care about or remember community changes, two men bought the road that extended to Fulton in Callaway County and to Columbia. The owners then charged people a toll to use their road.

That road, no longer made of crushed rocks, is now paved and named Route WW. It joins Boone and Callaway counties. The crossroads community on that road gradually got the name Harg, from the two large Irish McHarg families of brothers named Tom and Archibald. Little Will lived a long, fun-loving life at the McHarg home near where country dirt roads crossed Route WW. He owned the buildings on three of Harg’s corners: a blacksmith shop, the general store and the lovely bungalow home he had professional carpenters build for his bride, Cynthia Wilkes.

Olivet Church was on the fourth corner, and the entire community participated in church events. Our mom was the volunteer pianist for the entire community. People didn’t always ask her if she could play for funerals, weddings, church and community events. They just told her when she was needed, and she was there. Jim and I were there with her, bundled up in winter because it was a four-mile trip each way. It was great fun in the lightweight buggy with a horse trotting along and us bundled up with Mom.


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