The First Settlers in Pike County
The man who may properly be denominated the first settler of Pike County was Ebenezer Franklin. He came to the county in March 1820, and first stopped upon the northwest quarter of section 27, half a mile east from where Atlas was afterward located and up "Jockey Hollow." He brought with him his family, consisting of his wife, son and three daughters, besides a Mr. Israel Waters. This gentleman afterward moved to Adams county. When Franklin first came he found no neighbor with whom he could stop until he had reared his cabin. He was obliged to pitch his tent and gather his family around him in his tented mansion provided with the meager and rude furniture he brought with him and what he constructed after his arrival. There is no doubt the family suffered from the chilling winds of early spring, but they were sturdy pioneers and withstood the privations and hardships as became true pioneers. He resided in his tent until May, when he erected a rude log cabin.
The next settler to come in after Franklin was Daniel Shinn. He came from Batavia, Ohio, and arrived about the last of April, 1820. On his way here he stopped at Edwardsville, where he left most of his large family, which consisted of a wife and eight children: Benjamin. John, Eliza, Hannah, Mary, Phebe, Daniel and Nancy. John Webb, now living five miles east of Pittsfield, then only six years of age, came with them. Mr. Webb is now the oldest living settler in the county by four years, that is, he came to the county four years prior to any other man now living in the county. Mr. Shinn was the first man who brought a wagon into Pike county, probably the first to the Military Tract. He settled near Mr. Franklin, and the two lived in tents until May, when they both erected cabins, aiding one another in their labors. Mr. Shinn, with two of his sons, cleared a piece of ground and planted three acres of corn. It took but comparatively little labor to raise grain, but to have it ground or prepared for food was a hard task. At this early day there were no mills within reach of these early pilgrims. The first mill they had to go to was a horse-mill run by John Shaw in Calhoun county.
Mr. Franklin erected his cabin upon the southeast quarter of section 22, Atlas township, or what is now Atlas, three-fourths of a mile from Atlas and about 150 yards north of where the road has since run. Many years ago, even, the place was covered with a spindling growth of young trees.
Mr. Shinn located as a near neighbor to Mr. Franklin. He became a great wolf-hunter, prompted by the fact of his being unable to raise stock, owing to their ravages. He lost 200 pigs by that rapacious animal, and resolved to make war upon them. He finally succeeded in raising fine hogs by shutting them up in a close log stable from their earliest pighood.
The Shinn family were originally from New Jersey. On their way West they stopped for awhile at Cincinnati, where they followed gardening. After a long and useful life Mr. Shinn died at a little over 70 years of age, while on a visit to his daughter at Pittsfield in 1852. He took an active part in the early history of the county.
"Trip to Louisiana"
The first settlers suffered much from want of provision, as well as from the loneliness of their wilderness homes. During the year 1822, Franklin and Shinn started to Louisiana for a supply of provisions. On arriving at the river they gave the customary signal for the ferryman to come over after them, but could not make him hear. Being strong and fearless they undertook to swim the great river, even with their clothing on. They buffeted the waves well for a time and made good progress, but unfortunately Mr. Shinn took the cramp, and came near drowning, and would have drowned if it had not been for his companion's presence of mind. Franklin, by beating him, got him out of the cramp. In order to make further progress, however, they were compelled to divest themselves of their clothing. After a long, hard and dangerous struggle they finally landed upon the Missouri shore, about three-quarters of a mile below town, but void of clothing. They made their presence known, however, and were soon furnished with clothing.
Daniel Shinn & wife Mary Hackett
First of the Shinn Family to arrive in Pike County
The founders of the Shinn family in America were three brothers who emigrated from England, their native country, about 150 years ago, 2 of them locating in New Jersey near Philadelphia and 1 in Virginia where they reared families; they were prominent, respectable people, many of them being in the ministry, principally Methodists. Daniel Shinn, is the first of the family that located in Pike county, and is counted as one of the earliest and most respected of Pike county's pioneers. On his arrival here in 1820, he located near the present town of Atlas. He brought into the county at time the first wagon that ever came within its boundaries; about 2 years afterwards he bought a farm of 160 acres on the N.W. 1/4 of sec. 12, Atlas twp. on which he immediately erected a small log house, into which he moved with his wife and 6 children. He was married in the State of N.J. to Mary Haskett (Hackett) who was of Scotch descent and the 6 children born to them before they came to this county were all born near Cincinnati Ohio; their names were Benjamin, John, Eliza, Mary, Hannah and Phoebe. The first third and last are the only ones now living.
The farm above mentioned was wholly in a wild state, in the midst of heavy timber, no improvements of any kind, and consequently he had more to contend with than many in a new country, but he was endowed with that indomitable energy and perseverance so necessary to the pioneer and went bravely to work; his means were limited, and with a large family to support, it was no small merit to obtain success. He was a man of strong religious convictions, generous and affable to all. He was the first to open the house for religious worship, Methodist meetings being held there for 10 years. He was prosperous, and gave his sons between 700 and 800 acres of land; he died in March, 1852 and his wife in Sept. 1849; they had a family of 13 children, 7 of whom were born in this county - Nancy, Lydia, Henry, William, Daniel, Asa and an infant deceased. Of these 7 only Nancy , Lydia and William are living.
From the "History of Pike County Chapman & Co. 1880" (People/Towns /Religion)