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LINCOLN COUNTY, MISSOURI
FROM THE EARLIEST TIME TO THE PRESENT.
INCLUDING A DEPARTMENT DEVOTED TO THE PRESERVATION OF SUNDRY
OBSERVATIONS, ETC., ETC.
This volume has been prepared in response to the prevailing and popular demand for the preservation of local history and biography. The method of preparation followed is the most successful and the most satisfactory yet devised—the most successful in the enormous number of volumes circulated, and the most satisfactory in the general preservation of personal biography and family record conjointly with local history. The number of yolumes now being distributed seems fabulous. Creful estimates face the number circulated in Ohio at 50,000 volumes; Pennsylvania, 60,000; New York, 75,000; Indiana, 40,000; Illinois, 10,000; Iowa, 35,000; Missouri, 25,000; Minnesota, 15,000; Nebraska, 15,000, and all the other States at the same proportionate rate. The southern half of Missouri has as yet scarcely been touched by the historian, but is now being rapidly written.
The design of the present extensive historical and biographical research is more to gather and preserve in attractive form, while fresh with the evidence of truth, the enormous fund of perishing occurrence, than to abstract from insufficient contemporaneous data remote, doubtful or incorrect conclusions. The true perspective of the landscape of life can only be seen from the distance that lends enchantment to the view. It is asserted that no person is competent to write a philosophical history of his own time; that, owing to imperfect and conAicting circumstantial evidence, that yet conceals, instead of reveals, the truth, he cannot take that correct, unprejudiced, logical, luminous and comprehensive view of passing events that will enable him to draw accurate and enduring conclusions. The duty, then, of an historian of bis own time is to collect, classify and preserve the material for the final historian, of the future. The present historian deals in fact; the future historian, in conclusion. The work of the former is statistical; of the latter, philosophical.
To him who has not attempted the collection of historical data, the obstacles to be surmounted are unknown. Doubtful traditions, conflicting statements, imperfect records, inaccurate public and private correspondence, the bias or untruthfulness of informers, and the general obscurity which, more or less, envelops all passing events, combine to bewilder and mislead. The publishers of this volume, fully aware of their inability to furnish a perfect history, an accomplishment vouchsafed to the imagination only of the dreamer or the theorist, make no pretension of having prepared a work devoid of blemish. They feel assured that all thoughtful people, at present and in future, will recognize and appreciate the importance of their undertaking, and the great public benefit that has been accomplished.