Scott City, MO. History
(Formely known as Fornfelt, Ancell, and Illmo)



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The History of Scott City, MO.


SCOTT CITY was formed March 7, 1960 from the towns of Ancell and Fornfelt. Illmo was incorporated into Scott City in 1980. The first settlements were before the Civil War by Lutheran and Catholic farmers from Germany.

--Source: The Southeast Missourian, March 7, 2010.

FORNFELT--The two towns of Fornfelt and Illmo, Scott County, owe their existence to the building of the Thebes (railroad) bridge and the consequent construction of the St. Louis, Southwestern railway to this bridge.

The first persons who made their home in what is now Fornfelt, were G. S. Cannon and A. Baudendistel. The town dates its settlement from September 1904, and was incorporated as a town the following May, the first mayor being Charles Hamm. At the present time there are four general stores together with some other business interests of minor character. There is one box factory which employs about 150 men and turns out a large amount of box material. The Bank of Edna is one of the principal institutions of the town. It was organized in 1905 and has a capital of $15,000. Among the more important buildings are the two brick schoolhouses and the building occupied by the bank. The town is lighted by electricity, and other improvements in the way of sidewalks and streets have been made. The possession of the railroad yards of the St. Louis Southwestern and St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern is shared by Fornfelt and Illmo, as the yards are between the two towns. They consist of round houses and machine shops and employ several hundred men forming one of the reasons of the prosperity of the towns. Fornfelt has experienced a rapid growth, 60 residences having been erected during 1911.

ILLMO--Illmo owes its existence to the building of the Thebes (Illinois railroad) bridge. It was settled in 1904 and incorporated in 1905, the first mayor being Phillip Ruebel. Among the first settlers were: J. P. Lightner, Casper Roth and Charles Will. The merchants during the early period were B. Thomas, D. T. Titwell and Beggs Brothers. At the present time there are eight general stores and one factory. The Bank of Illmo is in a flourishing condition and takes care of the financial interests of the town. There is an electric light plant which supplies the residences, business houses, and also lights the streets. The more important buildings are the Southern Hotel, Lightner's Opera House and Crews building. The town of Illmo is the division headquarters for the St. Louis Southwestern and St. Louis, Iron Mountain railroad.

--Source: HISTORY OF SOUTHEAST MISSOURI, Robert Sidney Douglas, c1912, Lewis Publishing Company, New York & Chicago, Chapter XXIV, p.387-388.

ILLMO--Illmo was first known as Whipporwill's Hollow, but came to be known as Illmo. The name of the city was derived from the abbreviation of Illinois and Missouri. One of the first stores to be operated in Illmo was the Illmo Mercantile Company with S. R. Fitts, manager. Others were a grocery store operated by Mr. J. W. Jacobs and a mercantile operated by a Mr. Thomas.

In 1905 the State Bank of Illmo was organized and was in business until September, 1927, when it closed its doors. The bank was reorganized a month later as the Bank of Illmo and is today one of the soundest banking institutions of any bank in this section. The first bakery was established in 1905 and owned by Mr. Hubble. It stood north of where Dr. G. T. Dorris residence now stands. This bakery moved in 1912 and in 1917, Martin's Bakery, owned and operated by Mr. Gebhart Martin, moved here. It was destroyed by fire in 1930, was rebuilt immediately, and today is one of the modern bakeries of Southeast Missouri. The O. K. Barber Shop was established in 1905 by Mr. Cruse, and is one of the oldest business houses in Illmo. It is operated by Mr. Everett Cruse, the son of its founder. Mr. Henry Beggs has operated a store in Illmo and Fornfelt for over 20 years. In 1906 Mr. M. F. Roth and Mr. Eifert established a grocery store upon the town hill. In 1914, it was sold to Mr. Kniebert. Mr. Roth repurchased the store in 1916 and is the present owner of the store known as the Model Grocery. In 1906, there was a large skating rink here but it moved in 1910. A moving picture show then moved into the same location by a Mr. Patterson. In 1905 the "Ark" building was built by Mr. J. P. Lightner. Mr. Quigley started a store in Illmo in 1907 and continued to operate it until his death. This store went out of business by the death of Mrs. Quigley in 1929. The location was the building now owned and operated by Mr. J. A. Gearing. About 1909, there were two furniture stores operating in Illmo. One, the first, owned and operated by Mr. J. C. Drake, and the other by Mr. Scroggins. Later, this store was purchased by a man named Billingham who later sold it to Mr. Boardman who now operates the store in Fornfelt. Mr. B. E. Wadley started a pressing shop in Illmo in 1912 and still operates the shop. The Kroger Baking and Grocery Company started a grocery store in Illmo in 1920 and are still operating here. A telephone company which was organized in 1906 was known as the Kelso Telephone Company. In the early history of Illmo, Mr. J. H. Beisswinhert operated a private electric plant serving not only his own needs, but the needs of others as well. Today Illmo secures electricity from the Missouri Utilities Company's plant at Cape Girardeau.

The first school board of the Illmo school was composed of: S. R. Fitts, D. T. Doty, J. C. Drake, J. R. Young, W. L. Proffer, R. A. Pellet, and E. W. Bissel. Mr. Bissel has served the board for more than 20 years. The present President is Mr. Theo. Horn. Secretaries who have served the board have included: Axel Kjer, H. C. Hester, J. J. Craig, R. L. Buck, and Maurice Craig, the present secretary.

The following men have served the Illmo School as superintendents: E. T. Joyce (1905-07); O. E. Magee (1907-10); Elam Proffer (1910-11); J. F. Ellis (1911-13); J. O. McCullough (1913-14); C. A. Norvel (1914-19); R. M. Pierce (1919-22); R. D. McCullough (1922-27); A. L. Jackson (1927-28); and R. E. Ford (1928-present).

History of Illmo Churches--The first church was established in Illmo many years before the establishment of the town. The area was known as the New York Settlement. The Eisleben Lutheran Church was built here in 1867. This building was constructed of pure brown sand stone, which was taken from the bluffs near Manning's Landing. After 45 years of service, this old building was torn down and the rocks used in the foundation of the new church, a brick edifice which was completed in 1913. Rev. Geo. D. Hilpert has been its pastor for the past 25 years and is the present pastor (1930s).

The first Methodist Church of Illmo was organized about 1911 or 1912. It had five charter members composed of: Mrs. Hunt and daughter, Mrs. Lemons, Mrs. H. A. Dickey, and Mrs. Self. The first pastor was Rev. Denton. They first met in the town hall until it burned. They then met in the old Hubble Building till the present (church) was erected. The present pastor is Rev. J. A. Bertram (1930s). The personage burned in 1934 and was immediately rebuilt in 1934. The Illmo Christian Church was organized about 1916 and the church building completed a little later.

The St. Joseph Catholic Church was organized in 1911. In 1912 the new Catholic building was erected. In 1926 the parish erected a modern grade school building. The parish now has around 70 families. The first pastor was Rev. Father Lager. The present one (1930s) is Rev. Father B. S. Groner.

The Illmo Baptist Church was organized in the Christian Church building on April 24, 1923. The church held services in the little church building near the grade school until 1924 when it moved into its new building which cost $20,000. The charter members were: Mrs. J. A. Waller, Mr. J. A. Waller, Elizabeth, Martha, and Ulpian Waller, Mrs. E. H. Easley, Jack Easley, J. A. Gearing, John Romine, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Hall and John Romine. The present deacons are: J. P. Hall, F. A. Hinshaw, El H. Easley, June Washburn, Louis Hopke, William Ditch, and R. E. Ford. The first pastor was Rev. E. C. Abernathey, who served as pastor until 1926. Other pastors have been: Rev. T. M. Estes 1926-28: Rev. Floyd Rolf 1928-30; Rev. E. D. Rich 1930-31; Rev. E. Z. Newsom 1931-33; and the present pastor is Rev. Sam T. Mayo.

Illmo has had two great fires. In 1930 the Opera House, Martin's Bakery, and Mrs. Granville's Hotel burned, causing a loss of over $50,000. In July 1931 the Bank of Illmo and the Illmo Mercantile buildings burned at a loss of about $40,000.

FORNFELT--The city of Edna, now known as Fornfelt, was started about the time of Illmo. It was named after a woman by the name of Edna Fornfelt. The name was later changed to Fornfelt because another town in Missouri had the name Edna. It was believed in those days that the depot would be located in Fornfelt, but finally it was decided to locate the depot at Illmo.

ANCELL--Before Ancell was surveyed and the town site laid out, a small depot was located there for public accommodations. This station was known as Glenn. The town of Ancell was laid out about 1906. After the town site was laid out, the railroad changed the name to Ancell. Ancell is located one mile west of Fornfelt on U. S. Highway 61. It serves as a shipping point for the flour mill located at Kelso and the mill formerly located there. The town was incorporated as a town in 1911. The first Board of Trustees was George Kenner, Chairman; L. J. Drury, clerk; Phillip Georger, C. J. Welter, and George W. Welter, members. The first meeting of the board was held February 23, 1911. The first town election was held April 4, 1911. At this election, George Thomas, William C. Arnold, William Blattel, George Kenner, and L. J. Drury were elected to the town board.

--Source: EARLY HISTORIES OF ILLMO, MISSOURI, 1896-1934; FORNFELT, MISSOURI 1904-1938; ANCELL, MISSOURI 1906-1935.