Sunday, December 6, 2009

Todd House in Columbia

From The Bench and Bar of Boone County Missouri by North Todd Gentry, Columbia, Missouri, 1916, pp. 29 & 76. Available in the Wilson-Wulff History and Genealogy Library at the Walters-Boone County Historical Museum.

Photo at right shows the Todd House presumably about the time of publication of the book, ca 1916.


A picture of the residence of Roger North Todd is shown in this book [see above], and the same is interesting for several reasons. It is situated on the south side of Broadway, between Third and Fourth streets, Columbia, and it was erected by Mr. Todd in 1823. It is, therefore, one of the oldest buildings now standing in Boone county. One room of this house was used as an office by Mr. Todd, and the deed records and court records were kept there for many years. This office was the occasion for the law suit between Mr. Todd and the county, which is told in another part of this book. The building was afterwards added to on the east and used as the residence of Col. Francis T. Russell; and the name of another attorney is connected with the house; D.W.B. Kurtz, Jr., was born there. The place is now known as the Geo. W. Smith property.


It seems odd that the author did not mention another reason that this house was interesting -- namely that it was visited by Mary Todd. Mary Todd, the future wife of Abraham Lincoln, was a niece of Roger North Todd. It is believed that the location mentioned above is also one block east of the true location. Roger North Todd purchased Lots 184 & 185 10 Aug 1822 from the trustees who held the original land for Columbia. On 22 Dec 1823, Todd also purchased Lot 186. These three lots comprised the entire block on the south side of Broadway between Third and Second Streets, what is now (in 2009) the land occupied by a Walgreen's store. The relevant deeds can be found in Boone County Record Book A, pp. 210 & 228. There is no record of a Todd purchase of any of the lots south of Broadway between Third and Fourth Streets.  Reinforcing the claim that the Todd house was located on the southwest corner of what is now Broadway and Providence Road is this image taken from the 1869 "Bird's Eye" view of Columbia drawn by Albert Ruger.  (Third Street then is now known as Providence Road; the cross street in this image is Broadway.  The view is looking northeast.)  Ruger is known for quite accurate renderings of the buildings in his drawings and this building, if imagined viewed from Broadway, bears a striking resemblance to the one in the first photograph.  The reader can find the entire Ruger image online by going to the posting titled "Other Online Resources for Boone County Research" and clicking on "Maps."

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