How the Towns in Wayne County Got Their Names

(as recorded in the book, Pictorial Review of Wayne County, by the Wayne County Historical Museum)

ALLERTON - Was started by Rock Island Railroad.  They bought 160 acres of land and a town began.  It became a legal town in 1874. Allerton's population in 1913 was 1600.  The population in 1970 was 643.  Allerton is in Warren Township.  Warren Township got its name after a general in remembrance of him.

CORYDON - Was named by Judge Anderson when he was playing a poker game.  The person who won named the town.  His home town was Corydon, Indiana.  He named it Corydon after his home town. In 1913 the population at Corydon was 1800.  Now it is 1745, the largest town in Wayne County.

HUMESTON - Was named in honor of Alva Humeston, Sr.  A man named, S.W. Mallory, a railroad official from Chariton named the town Humeston.  Alva Humeston, Sr. constructed the first building and was the first postmaster and held it for 24 years, he also was the mayor of Humeston a while and was a school board member. Wayne county bought a farm at two and a half dollars an acre.  The population in 1913 at Humeston was 1400.  Now it has decreased to 673.  Humeston is in Richman Township which was named in honor of M. H. Richman.

BETHLEHEM - Is one of the oldest towns in Wayne County.  Columbus Parr and his wife Martha Parr laid out the town of Bethlehem. Today only a church remains.  Bethlehem is in Wright Township.  The township got its' name in honor of Greenwood Wright.  Bethlehem's population decreased from 100 to 16 in 57 years.

NEW YORK - Was named New York because it had more room than New York City.  New York was laid out April 20, 1855 by Oorey and Micajah Cross.  New York is in Union Township.  Union is a common and favorite name for many townships and counties.  In 1913 New York had a population of 100.  Now there is only a church left.

BENTONVILLE - Is in Benton Township near Corydon, Iowa.  Benton was a name of a well known statesman.

LEWISBURG - Near Highway 65 is in Clay Township.  Clay was the name of a well known statesman whose name they bear.

BIG SPRINGS - Near Lineville is in Jefferson Township.  Jefferson also was the name of a well known statesman whose name the township bears.

PROMISE CITY - Was named by a group of farmers near it in 1852.  Laid out by Burris Moore and Richard Given in the spring of 1881.  The population of Promise City in 1913 was almost five times what it is now.  Then it was 500 and now 148.  Promise City is about in the middle of South Fork Township.  South Fork was the name of a creek.

LINEVILLE - Is the oldest town in Wayne County.  Part of Lineville is in Missouri so they named it Lineville. This was recorded in 1858.

CAMBRIA - Was by the Mormon trail long ago.  A. Nelson named Cambria in 1855. Also recorded later in 1855.

CLIO - Was suggested by Marion Edgeman.  The village was laid out April 16, 1874 by J. W. Tabler.  Clio's population is 113 now.

CONFIDENCE - Was laid out September 6, 1858 by four people, Epperson and Calvin Holder, David Wright and Humphrey May.  In 1913 Confidence's population was 100. Now it is 16.

HARVARD - Was named in 1882.  This village was once known by Grainville.  Laid out by Ellis and Martha Shriver and Lemuel and Josephine Kimple.

GENOA - Was named after a Post Office by that name.  It was laid out by Hugh Miller in 1855.

SEWAL - Was laid out in 1887, when the Milwaukee Railroad was built through the southeastern part of Jackson Township.

MILLERTON - Was named for H. C. Miller.  It was laid out and recorded in December of 1912.  Millerton's population in 1913 was 4 or 5 hundred.  Now it is 83.

SEYMOUR - Was indebted to the Railroad for its' existence. J. C. Fox, William Wade, Hiram Evans and H. S. Rogers laid out Seymour in 1870.  Mr. Fox suggested the name Seymour.  A railroad official from Seymour, Indiana.  So the town became Seymour.  Seymour's population has decreased since 1913 because it was 2000 - now it is 931. Seymour had an oil business in 1913, thus the larger population.  A cottonwood tree stood three-fourths of a mile west of Seymour and has been a landmark since 1840.  The cottonwood tree is called the Lone Tree.

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This page was last updated December 8, 2007