“Next stop, Lone House located in Shelby County.”


Photo of Johnson County, Missouri Livery stable, taken May 29, 1902.

Stage Coach Inns and stables once dotted the roads through Missouri, including NewMarket. The Livery Stables, also known now as barns, once housed the horses used to travel great distances in order for travelers to reach their desired destinations. A horse, being the only means of ground transportation in this time period, was highly valued, thus the stables often complimented the house in the 1800’s.

    The Livery Stable played a very important role in the formation of NewMarket. Being the only one of two stops between Hannibal and Shelbyville, the pony express, as well as the stage coach stopped here to feed and water their horses, or switch out their team for rested horses while completing their journey. Horses were switched about every twelve miles along the stage coach routes. Having a well-rested, strong and fed horse team provided faster ground coverage for the stage coach driver.

    Those traveling by horseback could pay a boarding fee for horses to stay in the stable, while the traveler stayed at the Hotel. When the stables were full, horseback riders had to find a place outside to leave their horse. The stable provided safety from weather and thieves, protecting a very prized possession of the owner. The Livery Stable rented out horses by the day for less fortunate community members, who may have needed to travel to a nearby town.

The Livery Stable in NewMarket was built about 100 feet west of the Hotel and was one of the first buildings to be built prior to the founding of the town in 1836 and was one of the last buildings standing. The stable was built to last. The stable’s crib stood for nearly 150 years with little to no upkeep and was still standing in 1973 with the logs showing only mild decay.

The logs in the wall of the stable were full length, expertly hewed and saddle notched. There were no nails used in the entire construction.


Hewing hatchet broad axe owned by Porter Moss of Hunnewell, Missouri.  Early livery stables were built by hand with such tools as this used to hewn out log beams during the construction process.

    The base of the crib was made of hewed logs measuring 12 feet x 12 feet, with the base logs in the stalls measuring 14 feet x 16 feet and with a few others measuring as large as 16 feet x 16 feet. The stable was quite exquisite for the time period, requiring large trees to hew such long sized logs to use for building. The base logs were laid on flat stones which measured 18 feet x 18 feet x 10 feet. The stones kept the logs off of the ground and helps explain their preservation throughout the years. The stable was built to withstand strong winds. On many of the logs, passersby carved their initials in the logs with dates. Some of the carvings dated back to the early 1840’s.

    The hallway between the crib and stalls was covered by a loft, which was high enough to drive under, allowing stage coach drivers to drive in and unload. Being able to drive into the stable was considered a luxury, allowing travelers and drivers to unhitch and unharness horses in a dry area, away from storms or cold weather. The NewMarket Livery Stable could be entered from the drive-way and was built with planned thought.

The loft housed the hay for the horses and could be thrown through the opening in the floor down to the horses. The loft floor did not cover the corn crib, making it convenient for a load of corn to enter either side of the hallway, allowing the corn to be scooped or thrown over the top log.

    The corn crib had a door measuring 3 feet x 3 feet on the north side All corn was carried out this door. In the corner of the door was a hollowed sycamore log, over two feet in diameter and approximately six feet tall. Hollowed out logs in this time period were used as a coon trap, to catch swarms of bees or as a barrel for to put the best-looking corn ears for seed. The hollow logs were also used as a vent to circulate air in an effort to prevent molding from too high of moisture from the ear corn. . In the crib’s outer walls, lead bullets were lodged into the logs. Which inspires one to believe it may have been used as a fortress of some kind during the civil war, as the hotel was used to jail prisoners.

    The roof was made of clapboards, which were three feet long and about six inches wide. The board was thicker on one side and attached by long poles. The rafters were hewed and crossed with wood split into two inch strips on which the clapboards rested.

There were two buildings, one on the east of the stable and one on the west. These buildings were used to house harnesses, for stage coach storage and to make repairs on equipment needed to make passengers expeditions successful without delay.

    The livery stable also provided a service to the community members of NewMarket for funerals. The stable housed a team of horses and a wagon, to transport a deceased person to the cemetery for burial. During this time, often those who passed away in NewMarket were buried inside hollowed out logs, lined with material, as caskets took too long to order and be delivered. The wagon would take the family and their deceased love one after the funeral, which was often held in their homes and transport them to the NewMarket cemetery or a nearby

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