Marker Erected by: State Historical Society of Missouri and State Highway Commission.Canton
Date Marker Erected: 1957.
County of Marker: Lewis County.
Location of Marker: 4th St. & Marion St., Martin City Park.
Here on the Mississippi, where wooded hills rise above the plains along the river, Edward White, Robert Sinclair, and Isaac Bland founded Canton, probably named for Canton, Ohio, in February of 1830. On the pioneer Salt River Trail, the town by 1860 was a thriving river port and trade center for the upper Salt River Country. A rival town, Tully, laid out adjacent to Canton, 1834, declined after the flood of 1851 and disappeared when Federal Lock and Dam No. 20 were built in the 1930's.
During the Civil War, the countryside suffered from raids and recruiting sorties by Confederate and Union troops. In the period after the war, Canton recovered its economic standing with the coming of the St. Louis, Keokuk, and Northwestern R.R. (now Burlington) in 1871.
Culver-Stockton College, founded by the Disciples of Christ here, 1853, as Christian University, is famed for having the first college charter in Missouri to assure equal education to men and women. The present name, adopted, 1917, honors Mary E. Culver and R.H. Stockton, school benefactors.
Canton is the first town founded in the fertile Mississippi River county organized in 1833 and named for Meriwether Lewis. Settled by Southern pioneers as early as 1819, Lewis County lies in territory ceded the U.S. by Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes, 1824.
Westward is Montcello, the seat of Lewis County, laid out on the North Fabius, 1833. La Grange, south on the Mississippi, early river port and meat packing town, was laid out in April, 1830, near the mouth of the Wyaconda where Godfrey Le Seur is said to have had a trading post by 1795. Baptist Hannibal-La Grange College was chartered there as La Grange College, 1859.
Sculptor Frederick C. Hibbard (1881-1950) was born in Canton, and here lived editor Jesse W. Barrett, a founder of Mo. Press Assn., 1867; Union Gen. David Moore; and Jurist David Wagner. James S. Green, noted U.S. Senator, 1857-61, and Confederate Gen. Martin E. Green lived near Monticello, and southwest in the county was the home of Confederate Col. Joseph C. Porter. In La Grange, for a time, lived Thomas Riley Marshall, U.S. Vice President, 1913-21.