Butler County was organized February 27, 1849 from: Wayne County

1867: Establishment of the first Baptist Church:
Place name: First Baptist Church
Description: A Missionary Baptist Church on Sixth and Vine Streets in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. It was organized May 25, 1867, by Eld. William R. Combs, and was recognized by a council of members from Cane Creek, Black River, and Union churches on May 27, 1867, according to Goodspeed and the newspaper; but the Association minutes give the date as 1865. The first building was a small box house. In 1883, a larger frame building was erected, which was replaced, in 1913, by a modern brick building. After the Second Baptist Church (q.v.) was established, the prefix “First” was attached as a distinguishing term. (The Evening Citizen, 1901; Goodspeed, 560; M.B.G.A. 1934)

Source: Pottenger, Cora Ann. Place Names Of Five Southern Border Counties Of Missouri. M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 194; Source: Western Historical Museum Collection -Columbia, Butler County Place Names, 1928-1945

1867: FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH. On the 25th day of May, 1867, about fifteen persons assembled at the M.E.church house in Poplar Bluff for the purpose of organizing a Baptist Church. Rev. William R. Combs was elected as paster of the Church and continued his services as such until 1872, when church interest seems to have slacked, and no meetings were held until May 14, 1882.

Source: Butler county Missouri, A View of A Growing Town [Popular Bluff] Page 1; Transcribed BY: Susan (Sauerwein) Opalka. mopalka@alaska.net, contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives

1870 Butler County Census

Beaver Dam
P.O.: Freddie

Pg. 10 - Enumerated: 11 Jun 1870

81/67 Combs William 55 M W Babtist DD 3200 1189 PA
Fannie K 38 F W keeping house KY
Howard 17 M W at home KY
Mary 15 F W at home KY 1
Georgana 12 F W at home IL 1
William R 9 M W at school IL 1 1
Susan V 3 F W at home MO
Sarah M 11/12 F W at home MO July

Note: This William R. Combs appears to be the same as also found in 1860 Champaign Co, IL

Notes: The ancestry of Rev. William R Combs (1814-1884), a Baptist minister, has not been determined; however, his personal papers [housed at the Western Historical Museum Collection-Columbia] state he migrated from Philadelphia to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in 1838; then down to Georgetown, Kentucky, in 1843; next to Louisville, then Danville, and Cave Run [see below]. One Wilson family genealogy states William married 25 December 1851 Fannie [Francis Catherine] ORR who was born in Lexington, Ky. Their marriage record has not been located. The 28 March 1926 St. Charles, Co., Mo DC of this daughter Mary Francis WILSON states her father was born in Philadelphia and that both she her mother were born in Versailles, Ky. [Woodford Co].

The couple is first found together on the 1860 Champaign Co, IL census. A Missionary Baptist Church in Popular Bluff was first organized on May 25, 1867, by Eld. William R. Combs. He is buried in the Sparkman Cemetery, Cane Creek, and his marker gives these dates: COMBS, Rev. William R. (18 Mar 1814 - 18 Jul 1884). See below for more information about the Reverend. Son Edward Jessie Combs migrated to Kaufman Co, TX by 1900 and then to Van Zandt Co, TX by 1910 where he is buried. Research by descendants in progress on this family.

22 Sep 1870 Mary Francis Combs married James Meredith WILSON per the research of James Wilson as given in the following reference:
James Meredith WILSON b. Sept. 23, 1845, at Kanawha. W. Virginia, died Dec. 14, 1933, at Dardanne, St. Charles Co., Mo. Married Sept. 22, 1870 at Cane Creek, Butler Co., MO., Mary Francis Combs, daughter of Rev. Wm. Ryan Combs, and Francis Catherin Orr. She was born Dec. 14, 1854, at Lexington, Ky., died March 28, 1926, St. Charles, Mo. James was a farmer, Baptist, and resided at Butler Co. (Ten Mile Creek).

Source: Col. James Wilson (1644-1712) of Norfolk County, VA and brother Col. William Wilson (1646-1713) of Elizabeth City County, VA, p.1, by: James Wilson, Norfolk Co, VA Rootsweb/Ancestry

Additional Wilson notes: A second source states that Miss Georgia Ann Combs married Robert Faris WILSON, son of Samuel V WILSON and Sarah Cox Meredith, and brother to James Meredith Wilson who married Fanny Combs

Source: McLean, Harry Herndon, The Wilson Family, Charlotte, N.C., Observer Print. House, Charlotte, N.C., 1950, pp. 63 & 70, from Heritage Quest Published Book database

Combs, William R., Papers, 1846-1868 (C3942)


The papers of William R. Combs, a Baptist preacher in Kentucky in the mid-nineteenth century, consist of a journal describing his preaching and pastoral obligations, which was also used for financial transactions, recipes, and cures. The papers also include sermon texts, essays, and legal papers.


The Combs Papers were donated to the State Historical Society of Missouri by his great-great-grandson, McCormick Wilson, on 17 April 1995 (SHS Accession No. 3052).


William R. Combs left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Fort Wayne, Indiana, in March 1838. He was licensed to preach as a Baptist minister in Fort Wayne in October 1839. He left Fort Wayne for Georgetown, Kentucky, in May 1843, where he attended college for three years. After college he pastored in Louisville, Kentucky, (1846-1847), Danville, Kentucky, (1847-1851), and Cave Run, Kentucky (1851-1854). Combs married Fannie Orr on 25 December 1851. He may later have moved to Butler County, Missouri.


The William R. Combs Papers consist of a journal and miscellaneous papers that primarily document Combs's work as a Baptist preacher in central Kentucky in the mid-nineteenth century. The papers consist of a Journal and Miscellaneous material.

The Journal is arranged in three sections. The first contains ten pages of cooking recipes and medicinal recipes for humans and animals as well as financial records for various transactions (purchases, wages paid, receipts). The second section consists of a diary of forty-eight pages chronicling Combs's ministry as a preacher and pastor in various churches in central Kentucky from 1846 through November 1854. The diary lists sermons preached--where, when, number attending and numbers added to the church; weddings and funerals; and meetings and revivals attended. The third section, beginning from the back of the journal, includes a list of scripture texts suitable for different occasions, financial accounts, medical recipes, marriage certifications, topics preached at the Fourth Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, work records and wages paid to individual hired laborers, and loans of lumber.

Source: Western Historical Manuscript Collection

1876 Butler Co, MO State Census

Source: Ancestry.com. Missouri State Census Collection, 1844-1881 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Missouri State Censuses. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Submitted by Barbara RIVAS

(image too faded to read)

Township 24

Edward J Combs
Fannie C Combs
Sarah M Combs
Susanah S Combs
W F K Combs
W F K Combs

Note: In another copy (transcription?) submitted by Combs researcher Darlene Cole she states “the Wm R. Combs family & one Epps family are on page A-35 Twp. 24, Range 5 Males and their ages are listed first in each household, then the females:”

COMBS, WM. R. 60,
Wm R. 15,
Edward J. 05,

Susanah V. 09,
Sarah M. 06,

1880 Butler County Census

Epps Township

pg. 572c

20/20 Combs William R W M 67 1 farmer 1 1 PA PA PA
Fanie K W F 50 wife 1 house keeping 1 1 KY KY KY
Susan V W F 14 daughter 1 1 1 MO PA KA
Edward J W M 9 son 1 1 1 MO MO MO
THORN Samuel W M 14 1 1 1 MO MO MO
Adda W F 12 1 KY NC NC

Beaver Dam

pg. 579a

7/7 EPPS John W M 44 m farmer MO TN KY
Parthena W F 37 wife m keeping house MO TN MO
HILL Clara W F 12 dau s at home sch MO AR MO
David W M 9 son s at home sch MO AR MO
EPPS Emma W F 8 dau s at home sch MO MO MO
Maggie W F 7/12 Sept dau s at home MO MO MO
STEPHENS Nancy W F 54 boarder D hair dresser MO * *
NEEDHAM Merrit W M 45 s farmer Ohio Ohio KY

Note: See marriage of Emma Epps to William R Combs below.

Missouri Archives Roll # 5 Film No. C17773
Book 02 1887-1890
Butler County Court House
Page 202 August 9, 1888
COMBS, William R. Epps Twp, Butler Co., Mo. age 21
EPPS, Miss Emma A. Epps Twp, Butler Co., Mo. age under 18
Hand written note original spelling
July the 28th 1888
Mr Thomas Furguson you may grant Williams Comes lysens to marey Emma A. Epps
John Epps

21 May 1891 Butler County Missouri marriage Book 3 years 1890-1892 Page 261 May 20, 1891
FREEBORN, George Neely Twp, Butler Co., Mo. age 21
COMBS, Mrs. Mary Neely Twp, Butler Co., Mo. age 18

23 Nov 1893 Butler County Missouri marriage book 4 July 30, 1892 -February 10, 1894 Page 280 November 23, 1893
MC COMBS, Mack Poplar Bluff, Mo. age 21
MC CLANE, Miss Hattie V. Poplar Bluff, Mo. age 18

07 Jul 1896 Butler County Missouri marriage Book 06 1895-1897 Page 111 July 7, 1896
COMBS, Berryman Thomas Poplar Bluff, Mo. age 45
THOMAS, Agnes Poplar Bluff, Mo. age 37

1900 Butler County Census

Beaver Dam

sheet 36b pg. 11b

202/209 Combs William head W M July 1861 38 IL PA KY farmer
Emma wife W F March 1874 26 MO MO MO
Fannie F daughter W F Aug 1889 10 S MO IL MO in sch 6 mo.
James E son W M Sept 1892 7 S MO IL MO yes yes yes
Jessie F son W M April 1894 6 S MO IL MO
Lena M daughter W F Dec 1896 3 S MO IL MO
Unece P daughter W F May 1900 0/12 S MO IL MO
SMITH Charles E boarder W M July 1854 45 Wd IL IL IL farm laborer

Married 12 years; 6 children, 5 living; Owns Farm, mortgaged; farm #162

1910 Butler County Census

Beaver Dam

pg. 83b

176/177 MORROW Columbus head M W 40 WD MO MO MO Eng farmer gen farm
Prudence S daughter F W 15 S MO MO MO Eng doing theat farm
Frank R son M W 11 S MO MO MO works on home far
Paul G son M W 6 S MO MO MO

Note: Prue MORROW married Edward Combs 19 Mar 1916.

pg 89a

21/21 Combs William R Sr. head M W 50 IL PA KY farmer R/W
Emma A wife F W 37 MO MO MO R/W
Fannie F dau F W 20 S MO MO MO R/W
Edward J son M W 18 S MO MO MO farm labor R/W
Jessie F son M W 16 S MO MO MO R/W sch
Eunice P dau F W 8 S MO MO MO sch
Lora F daughter F W 6 S MO MO MO sch
William R Jr son M W 5 S MO MO MO sch

Married 22 years; 9 Children, 7 still alive; Owns Farm

Poplar Bluff

pg. 260a

7/7 THORN Beckie F head F W 34 MO IL MO wash woman R/W
Charles W son M W 17 S MO TN MO laborer
Johnnie son M W 14 S MO TN MO laborer
Lennie daughter F W 9 S KY TN MO sch
Jimmie son M W 6 S KY TN MO
Combe Oma daughter F W 2 S AR TN MO

Widowed with 6 children, 6 still living; rent home

19 Mar 1916 Butler County Missouri. Marriage Records Book N
Combs, Edward - MORROW, Prue - March 19, 1916
Application: 24.35 BK: N Comments:224.1

1920 Butler County Census

Beaver Dam

pg. 41a

8/8 Combs Emma A head O M F W 47 WD R/W MO * MO yes farm labor
Fannie F daughter F W 30 S MO MO MO
Frank J son M W 26 S MO MO MO yes farrm labor home farm W
Fay F daughter F W 17 S sch R/W MO MO MO
Roy W son M W 14 S sch R/W MO MO MO

pg. 43b

60/60 Combs James E head R M W 28 M yes yes MO IL MO yes farm labor
Prudence wife F W 25 M yes yes MO MO MO
Orvill son M W 3 S MO MO MO

Note: See Edward Combs and Prue Morrow 19 Mar 1916 marriage above. Is this the Edward J. Combs found in the 1910 household of William R. and Emma A. Combs, Sr?

Ward 3 Poplar Bluff City

pp. 135a

RD 1 mile N. of S. ln of twp 24 R

184/185 Come Will M head R M W 42 M yes yes TN KY TN laborer
Maudy wife F W 42 M yes yes IN IN UNK

Poplar Bluff

pg. 221a

842 Kinzer St

339/356 Ettinger William A head M W 58 M ME US US
Nettie M wife F W 49 M yes yes MN Cnd MN
Ernest son M W 16 S yes yes MO ME MN
Comb Eunice roomer F W 18 S yes yes MO IL MO yes none

Note: Is this the daughter of William R. and Emma EPPS Combs? See marriage below.

20 Jun 1924 BUTLER COUNTY MISSOURI MARRIAGE APPLICATIONS Missouri Archives Roll # 14 Film No. C17782 Book 32 Page 145 June 20, 1924 HARNED, Samuel Franklin Madison, Madison Co., Illinois age 23 COMBS Eunice Pearl Poplar Bluff, Mo age 24

Butler County Cemeteries

Sparkman Cemetery

COMBS, Rev. William R. 18 Mar 1814 - 18 Jul 1884

Missouri City Cemetery

Poplar Bluff Missouri

COMBS JOHN M 16 W 12/21/1899 LOT 69 BK 2 OLD CITY
COMBS MARION M 21 W 12/4/1901 LOT 69 BK 2 OLD CITY
COMBS WM. M 34 W 11//17/1889 SP 75 BLOCK 8 OLD CITY

Shain Memorial Cemetery (#88)
(formerly Ash Hill)

T25N R8E SEC 31 Map #9 ??

COMBS, Oscar 1895 - 1955
COMBS, Laura 1886 - 1964

Butler County Deaths

28 Mar 1914 Edith Combs Death Certificate #7609
24 Jul 1922 James Earl Combs Butler Death Certificate #20504-a
Feb 1938 Fanny F. Combs Butler (see Transcription of DC below)
Jan 1939 Jimmie H. Combs Butler Death Certificate #6035
Sep 1948 Roy Combs Butler Poplar Bluff Death Certificate #25577
Oct 1950 Emma A. Combs Butler Death Certificate #32771
Aug 1955 Harley O. Combs Butler Poplar Bluff Death Certificate #25438

Missouri State Archives

Death Certificates

4 Feb 1938 DC: Fanny Florence Combs, d. 4 Feb. 1938, Butler Co, Mo. Cause: Lobar Pneumonia; Female, White, Single, Born: 17 Aug. 1890; Age 47y5m17d; Father: Wm Ryan Combs, b. Illinois; Mother: Emma Ann Epps, b. Harviell, Mo. Informant: Fay Combs; Buried Cochran Cemetery.

Source: Original image, Missouri Digital Death Records database, Missouri State Archives

Important: All Records collected for this county may not have been added here as yet. See also the Combs Research List Archives

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