In the spring of 1857, Dr. J. H. Trego, Edwin and T. E. Smith moved into the vicinity of Mound City, and by the following fall had erected a sawmill on the Little Sugar, at a spot where now stands Van Buskirk & Sons' flouring mills. Trego & Smiths had their saw mill running by the spring of 1858. The town site of Mound City was located by D. W. Cannon and Ebenezer Barnes in 1855, and afterward the town company was increased to twenty persons, and organized in 1857, with Charles Barnes, President, Dr. H. H. Trego, Secretary, and T. E. Smith, Trustee. Ezra H. Smith was a member of the Town Company, as were also four persons named Danford from Geneva, Ill.
The town site consisting of 240 acres, was surveyed by N. J. Roscoe, in 1857, and was used for a dwelling. It was of logs. The next building was a frame one erected by Charles Barnes, and occupied for a store and post office, Mr. Barnes being the first Postmaster at Mound City. This building was completed January 30, 1858. The lumber for this store was sawed at Trego & Smiths' mill. A few months thereafter, James F. Matheny completed a boarding house. In April, 1858, Edwin Smith and Dr. Trego each completed a dwelling house, and in June, T. E. Smith completed his, these being the first three frame residences erected. In the summer, W. H. Barnes started the first blacksmith shop.
The first physician in Mound City was Dr. Lee, who came in 1856; the first lawyer, Addison Danford, in 1857; the second, J. F. Broadhead, in 1858. A. A. Johns was the first teacher, who taught in the winter of 1858-59, in the Town Hall erected in the summer of 1858. The first sermon preached here was in the spring of 1855, by Elder Mark Robertson, a Methodist minister. Rev. Josiah Terrell, a United Brethren minister, preached in 1857.
The first birth was that of John F. Barnes, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Barnes, October 3, 1858; the first marriage, that of J. S. Atkinson to Miss Maria Mannington, in 1858, and the first death, that of Ebenezer Barnes, October 17, 1858. The first Fourth of July celebration was held at Sugar Mound in 1858. At least one thousand people were present, having come from all directions many miles. W. P. Tomlinson was Orator of the Day. A grand barbacue (sic) was a notable feature of the celebration, but the ox that was roasted proved too small to feed the assembled multitude.
The Methodist Church was organized in Mound City at an early day, but the records of the church being lost, but little of its history prior to 1870 can be learned. In that year, they erected a neat frame church building at a cost of $1,500, and are the only church that has kept up regular religious services throughout their history. This they have been enabled to do through their itineracy (sic) system. The other churches having but few members have each found the support of a minister too great a burden to bear. The Baptists have a substantial brick church, erected in 1867, at a cost of about $4,000, and the Congregationalists have a good frame church building erected in 1867 at a cost of $2,700. The expense of building this church, and of sustaining it since, has been borne to a considerable extent by persons outside of all church connection.
The United Brethren commenced the erection of a church edifice in 1863; but becoming financially embarrassed when the frame only was completed sold it to a Ladies' Enterprise Association, which completed the building and converted it into a free church and schoolhouse. In 1866, it was purchased by the county, and when the county seat has been in Mound City, it has been used as the court house.
City Government. - The government of the city was placed in the hands of a Board of Trustees, December 27, 1870. The first board consisted of T. Ellwood Smith, Chairman; E. W. Bartleson, S. L. Ives and W. R. Biddle.
W. R. Biddle was elected Clerk. The form of government was changed to a city of the third class June 20, 1871, at which time S. M. Brice was elected Mayor, and George B. Dennison, T. E. Smith, C. H. Richardson and D. F. Park., Councilmen. The first meeting of this council was held June 29, 1871. The subsequent Mayors and the dates of their election are as follows: C. H. Richardson, 1872; S. H. Hibbs, 1873; O. P. Watson, 1874-75; Edward R. Smith, 1876; E. W. Bartleson, 1877; Robert Kincaid, 1878; O. P. Watson, 1879; e. W. Bartleson, 1880; E. F. Campbell, 1881; Robert Kincaid, 1882.
Mound City at present contains three general stores, two hardware stores, two drug stores; one stove and tin shop, one grocery, one bank, one lumberyard, four blacksmith shops, three carpenter shops, three hotels, one furniture store, two wagon shops, one good stone schoolhouse, built at a cost of $6,000, and a population of 550.
The Border Sentinel was commenced April 1, 1864, by J. T. & J. D. Snoddy. J. T. Snoddy died on the 21st of the same month, and J. D. Snoddy continued the publication of the paper until March 25, 1865. At this time Frank B. Smythe became associated with Mr. Snoddy, and on May 25 took full control of the paper, continuing until October 13, when Mr. Snoddy again assumed control. On the 24th of August, 1866, Joel Moody bought the paper and published it until March 28, 1868, when he sold it to Nathan G. Barter, who continued its publication until January, 1874, when it was removed to Fort Scott. The Linn County Herald, the first paper published in the county, was started at Mound City, April 1, 1859, by Jonathan Lyman; after being published one year the name was changed to the Mound City Report, and J. F. Broadhead became editor.
In the spring of 1861, R. B. Mitchell bought the press, moved it to Mansfield and started the Mansfield Shield and Banner. This paper was published by Mr. Lyman until the spring of 1862, when it was suspended, and the press sold and moved to Baldwin City. The Linn County Enterprise was started by J. J. McCallum, April 1, 1873. July 4, 1875, he sold one-half interest to W. C. Hanchett, and on the 11th of November the press was sold to T. L. Darlow, of Pleasanton. In January, 1876, J. C. Cannon and T. B. Van Buskirk, bought the press and started the Linn County Clarion, February 1, with Dr. S. M. Brice editor. Dr. Brice bought Cannon out January 1, 1877. Brice & Van Buskirk continued the publication of the Clarion until they sold it to R. B. Bryan, its present editor.
Mound City Lodge, No. 33, A., F. & A. M., was chartered October 17, 1860, with eight members. The charter officers were as follows: Oscar Dewey, W. M.; C. S. Wheaton, S. W.; James M. Iliff, J. W. The present membership of the lodge is thirty-nine.
Magnolia Lodge, No. 20, I. O. O. F., was instituted May 3, 1866, with nine charter members. The first officers were: Jefferson Fleming, N. G.; N. M. Hawk, V. G.; John A. Lefker, R. S.; Jesse Brown, P. S.; and J. K. Anthony, Treasurer. Present membership of the lodge forty-nine.
Mound City is located at 38°8'31N, 94°48'44W (38.142026, -94.812186). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 km² (1.2 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 821 people, 331 households, and 219 families residing in the city. The population density was 255.6/km² (659.9/mi²). There were 354 housing units at an average density of 110.2/km² (284.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.20% White, 1.46% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.24% Pacific Islander, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.85% of the population.
There were 331 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 22.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,795, and the median income for a family was $39,265. Males had a median income of $26,500 versus $23,203 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,407. About 7.5% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.