What’s New Wednesday ~ Henry Highland Corel in Kansas City

I had started working on researching to write up a page for Jemima Morris Corel, daughter of Henry Highland Corel and Nancy Matney.  When working on this line, I had to refer to the writing of Jemima’s daughter, Agnes Salathiel Hall.  It is a wonderful writing, even if some of the facts are a bit skewed.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure of reading this brief manuscript, I promise, it will end up here on the website.

Ever since I had first read Agnes’ manuscript, I have had a difficult time resolving one section, which you can see below.  My difficulty has come from the fact that I have lived most of my life in the Kansas City area, and although I do not know the entire area, as my Dad had spent many years as a delivery driver in Kansas City, I was raised to have a basic understanding of where things are located in the city and how to get around the metro without much problem.  Here is what Agnes had to say about the family moving to Kansas City:

In the 1850’s Henry Corel, my mother’s father, and brothers and families, their stock etc. came to Kansas. They came from Virginia by flatboat down the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers. Their boat foundered and they unloaded at Wyandotte and drove by schooner to Westport, Missouri using ox teams. Mama was seven years old. Kansas City was not started then. They began a homestead on the Little Blue, now Kansas City’s famous Cliff Drive.

Honestly, I do not think I have ever been to Cliff Drive, but I did know that it was near Downtown and ran along the Missouri River, not the Little Blue River.  Additionally, Henry and his family are found in Washington Township, Jackson County, Missouri on the 1850 census1.  I had no idea where Washington Township was, so before digging into this, I thought perhaps Washington Twp was just a bit east of present day Downtown, perhaps in the area now simply called “Northeast”.  The Little Blue River runs from near Grandview, south of Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, north to the Missouri River just west of the town of Sibley, Missouri2.

My first search was to determine just where Washington Township was located in Jackson County, Missouri.  To my surprise, Washington Township is in the southwest corner of the county.  This completely rules out that the family lived near Cliff Drive, but then I became curious to try to figure out just where they may have lived.

The official description of Washington Township when it was organized on February 9, 1836 was:

Commencing at Cummins Mill on Big Blue so as to include said Mill, thence running due west to the boundary line, thence south with said boundary to the corner of Van Buren county (now Cass), thence east with said county line to a point opposite the head of Little Cedar Fork of Little Blue, thence down said Cedar Fork until it intersects the main fork of Little Blue, thence in a straight direction to the beginning3.

I never could find anything on Cummins Mill, so I was quite grateful for this simpler description:

The southern and western boundaries were then about the same as now, but the eastern boundary ran north and south near the present site of Lee’s Summit, and the northern boundary ran east and was through the junction of Cedar Fork with Little Blue3.

I also spent quite a bit of time looking at the neighbors of Henry Highland Corel.  I looked up land patent purchases and reviewed old plat maps of Jackson County.  None of the Corel family members purchased a land patent in Missouri.  In order to determine a more precise location for Henry Corel and his family, I looked to their neighbors.  The family listed before Henry Corel was that of Edward Gray.  When he died, Edward Gray lived two and a half miles northwest of Hickman’s Mill5.  Just after Henry Corel in the 1850 census was Alexander Majors and family.  In 1856 Alexander Majors built a house that is still standing today at 8201 State Line Road, Kansas City, Missouri.

Estimated area of Washington Township 1850

This map is an estimation of the area of Washington Township.  The green line across the bottom is the county line for Jackson and Cass counties. The purple line on the left is the state line for Kansas and Missouri.  The purple line across the top is connecting to the fork of the Little Blue River and Little Cedar Creek.  The dark blue line on the right leads from the start of Little Cedar Creek down to the county line.   The light blue line above the dark blue line is the outline of Little Cedar Creek.  The yellow house in the upper left corner is where Alexander Majors’ house still stands today.  The purple push pin shows the location of the New Santa Fe Cemetery, and the green house in the center is the approximate location of the original site of Hickman’s Mill.  The green outlined area is about two and a half miles from Hickman’s Mill, which would be about where Edward Gray lived at the time of his death in 1869.  The red outlined area is where I would estimate that Henry Highland Corel lived, if his family did live near the Little Blue River, which is what the blue line is showing.  If you click on the map, you will be taken to this map on Google, which has all of these annotations, as well as an outline of Cliff Drive, which is about 10 miles north of Washington Township, plus you can look around the area a bit more.  I would have included the outline of Cliff Drive here, but then the map would have been so small, it would have been difficult to understand.

So, essentially, I have accomplished nothing in this past week, except that I have learned quite a bit more about the history of Kansas City, and I have deduced that there is no way that Henry Highland Corel lived near Kansas City’s Cliff Drive.  Hopefully now I will be able to focus on Henry’s daughter, Jemima!

  1. Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census (database on-line). Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1850. M432, 1,009 rolls. Year: 1850; Census Place: Washington, Jackson, Missouri; Roll: M432_402; Page: 261; Image: 70. <http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1850usfedcenancestry&h=3819942&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt> (accessed March 23, 2006)
  2. Little Blue River Watershed Coalition. “Where is the Little Blue River located?” Little Blue River. <http://www.littleblueriverwc.org/Little_Blue_River.htm> (accessed June 17, 2009)
  3. Union Historical Company, Birdsall, Williams & Co. “Washington Township.” The History of Jackson County, Missouri. Kansas City, MO: Ramsey, Millett & Hudson, Printers, Binders, etc. 1881.  Page 357. Google Books. <http://books.google.com/books?id=eMMUAAAAYAAJ> (accessed June 11, 2009)
  4. Union Historical Company, Birdsall, Williams & Co. “Washington Township.” The History of Jackson County, Missouri. Kansas City, MO: Ramsey, Millett & Hudson, Printers, Binders, etc. 1881.  Page 357. Google Books. <http://books.google.com/books?id=eMMUAAAAYAAJ> (accessed June 11, 2009)
  5. Union Historical Company, Birdsall, Williams & Co. “Washington Township.” The History of Jackson County, Missouri. Kansas City, MO: Ramsey, Millett & Hudson, Printers, Binders, etc. 1881.  Page 359. Google Books. <http://books.google.com/books?id=eMMUAAAAYAAJ> (accessed June 11, 2009)
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2 Responses to What’s New Wednesday ~ Henry Highland Corel in Kansas City

  1. Gene Dixon says:

    A lot of work to find out he didn’t live where his granddaughter said he lived. Great work.

  2. Paula says:

    :D Thanx Gene! It was a lot of work, but it was something I couldn’t let go of, and the things I learned about looking at the plat books will hopefully come in useful down the line!