of Jefferson County
"FOUR CORNERS. At the center of Sec. 22, Lockridge Township.
Gets its name from the intersection of roads at that point. P.O.
Est. 28 Mar 1872 with James P. Vorhies first postmaster; disc. 13 Feb 1904.
In 1888 J. L. Leafgeen was the postmaster; there was a store, established
in 1873, and a blacksmith-repair shop. Plat, p. 23, 1909 Atlas. Once had
four chuches, Swedish Baptist, Swedish M. E., Swedish Lutheran, and German
The above information was compiled by Mary Prill and published in the Hawkeye Heritage, July 1967.
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The following story was originally one of a number of articles in the Fairfield Ledger which was later included in the book Villages and Towns of Yester-year in Jefferson County by William R. Baker. We hereby include it on this page with the permission of the Fairfield Ledger.
One of the county's first
major catastrophies took place before the turn of the century at a steam
operated saw mill located 2 1/2 miles northeast of Four Corners in Lockridge
Township. The blast killed three people and injured a number of others.
A clipping of the blast from the Fairfield Ledger provided by Emerson Masden, 400 South D, is not dated but the explosion occurred after Four Corners was settled in 1868.
The article gave the following account of the blast: "Survivors of the accident said a runaway team had attracted their attention and called them away from the mill. As they returned they heard a deafening report and saw a column of smoke and steam ascend into the air." They hastened to the mill and found the entire plant utterly demolished". Those listed killed include John W. Adams who operated the saw; Alfred Eshelman and Townsley Baldozier, 12 and 14 years old, who were playing about the boiler." Other employees were injured.
The article said the power of the mill was furnished by a 10-horsepower traction engine which had been in use for seven years of hard service.
"The force of the blast was terrific," the article stated, "The engine was thrown a distance of 60 paces. Both ends and a side of the building were broken out, and water was thrown against a house 150 yards away."
The small community of Four Corners located about two miles north of Lockridge in Lockridge Township was named sometime before a town actually existed.
Following the Civil War the young men of the community always met at the crossroads when gathering for a party, charivari, or other events. The location became known as the four corners.
In 1868 James Vorhies, one of the early settlers in the community, decided the four corners would be a logical place for a store. He constructed a frame building 18 by 24 feet on the southeast corner of the cross roads and offered a modest line of merchandise to his customers. It automatically became known as the Four Corners Store.
In 1873 he sold the business to H.M. Kauffman. During the ensuing years the store had a number of owners and each one thought it necessary to enlarge the building.
When J.J. Graf purchased the store in 1909 he added the fourth addition, increasing the floor space to four times the size of the original building. It measured 36 x 48 feet.
The Lockridge Township school district was organized in about 1866. The first school was located east of Four Corners.
By 1877 residents of the area living some distance from the school requested that a new district be formed. This divided the district and a school was built at Four Corners and another was erected about a half mile on east of the original building. The original building was converted as a factory for making brooms.
There was a large number of German settlers in the community who longed for religious services. They built a church just east of the store in 1868. The church was used until 1910 when it was closed. The building remained vacant until 1918 when it was sold and used as a community hall. It has been razed.
In 1896 another group of German Lutherans organized as the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church and erected a church on the northwest corner of the intersection with a parsonage next door to the north.
The parsonage is still there, but the church building has been moved to a field some distance to the northwest and is used as a barn and storage facility. Both buildings are in a sad state of repair and clearly show their age.
Carl Zillman, retired Fairfield businessman, was born at Four Corners and the family moved to a farm northeast of the town when he was a little over a year old. They remained in the community for a number of years and Carl attended church at the Missouri Synod Church and remembers when the services were conducted in the German language.
Later they alternated, one Sunday in German, the next Sunday in English. Eventually English prevailed.
The Four Corners post office was established in 1871 and put on a star route. It remained in operation until February, 1904, when rural routes were started out of Lockridge.
Zillman pointed to the location where Asline Johnson operated a blacksmith shop on the northeast section of the corner for a number of years in the earlier days. He also pointed to the location where the creamery once stood.
The farmers around the area organized the Farmers' Creamery in 1895 and used the former blacksmith shop as its location. The creamery did well and finally needed additional space. A new building was constructed across the road south in 1901.
Here it was operated until farmers were able to get more money from their milk and cream at large creameries, causing the Four Corners Creamery to quit business.
Many different occupations were represented among the early settlers at Four Corners. Two men made furniture. Another built houses and coffins. His coffins were made of black walnut, nicely polished and described as "nice and fine a coffin as used today".
The second school building located on east of the original school and known as Lockridge No. 2, was converted to a residence after the Fairfield Community School District was organized and rural schools were closed. It is no longer occupied and presents a forlorn setting, rotting away.
The last business to operate in the old store building at Four Corners was the tavern operated by Dale Stutzman. He closed the business approximately two years ago. The building has been sold to Richard Anderson and work is underway in remodeling the interior. No announcement has been made on an operating date or what type of business it will be.
There are a few homes near the four corners and it is probable if you should ask the occupants where they live, they would answer, Four Corners.
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