Naylor History

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City of Naylor

The land that is today the town of Naylor, was earlier Barfield, being first settled by the Lewis K. and Sarah Barfield family a few years prior to 1859. The family had come to the area from Kentucky via Illinois. The Barfields were held in high esteem as evidenced later when there was great resistance to changing the name of the town.
The Barfield community did not come into existence until the Iron Mountain branch of the Missouri Pacific railroad came through in 1882 and went on to Doniphan. That same year Jasper McKinney opened a sawmill and a stave mill. The next year Edward Punch opened a store, the town was laid out, a post office was established and Barfield had a population of 75 and was growing. By 1889 there were 200 residents and in 1893 the population was 500. That year the town put up a city hall and a jail and had a fairground and a racetrack.

The Horton Land and Lumber Company made its headquarters in Naylor in the late 1880s and built a large sawmill south of the railroad tracks that employed approximately 500 loggers, lumberjacks and sawmill hands. A tram railroad was built south into the forested area and logs were hauled to the mill. The Horton brothers were Poplar Bluff bankers and their company specialized in making Victorian home kits that were sold by mail order throughout the Midwest. A model home designed to show the types of lumber that were produced at the Horton mill was put up in 1892 and was company headquarters for a time. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

When it became apparent that the freight was being misrouted because there was also a Barfield, Arkansas, mill officials recommended the town's name be changed to Naylor in honor of William A. Naylor, a former Union army captain from Indiana who was the county's land surveyor. Although the name of the city was not officially changed until 1910, the name Naylor was adopted for all practical purposes on Sept. 23, 1892 when the post office was renamed.

The Horton Company sold out to the Kelsy Lumber Co. which ran the mill until it burned in 1896. With big timber running out, Naylor began to decline, but the Frisco Railroad built a line from Cape Girardeau to Hoxie, AR in 1902. Things began to improve as Naylor was now on a railroad crossroad. On August 30, 1905 it became a fourth class city, a seal was adopted and voting precincts were set up.

Cotton was a good crop for the southeastern part of Ripley County and Naylor had two cotton gins at one time. The school would take a "cotton" vacation when the cotton was ready to be picked. People would gather and visit while the cotton was being ginned, bringing a bit of carnival atmosphere to a normally quiet town. In the 1920s and up until about 1960 cotton was king in southeastern Ripley County. Picking cotton during the depression paid about 50 cents per hundred pounds. Many men could pick 200 to 300 pounds a day. By 1960 the cost of fighting the boll weevil made milo, soybeans, wheat and rice more attractive crops and cotton crops dwindled.

Today, with a Mayor and a City Council, Naylor is the only other incorporated town in Ripley County. It has a modern school system, water system, fire department, bank, family clinic, restaurants, two grocery stores, several churches and all the other ingredients of a small town with a population of 642.

Naylor Government

The City of Naylor, Missouri is the only other incorporated Municipality in Ripley County, Missouri, with a population of 610 residents according to the 2000 Census. It is a Fourth Class City with a Mayor-Council form of government. A Mayor is elected to preside over a four member Board of Aldermen, all of whom serve in staggered terms for two years. The Municipal Election is held in April of each year. Also elected is a City Collector. The Mayor is the Chief Executive Officer of the City who appoints, subject to Board Approval, all other non-elected officers of the City. The City Clerk, elected by the Board of Aldermen, is the Budget Officer of the City and handles most of the administrative affairs of City Government.


Ripley County Chamber of Commerce
209 W. Highway St
Doniphan, MO 63935
573-996-2212 :: info@ripleycountymissouri.org
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