The Neff Tavern Smokehouse originally built by Isaac Neff in the 1800s stands in Saline County, Missouri

CJ Coombs

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The Neff Smoke Tavern. (Edited for brightness.)Source: Santa Fe Trails Historic Sites

Six miles west of Arrow Rock, Missouri, there is an old smokehouse that's on the old Santa Fe Trail. It's located in Napton in Saline County.

The log tavern was built in 1837 and torn down in 1890. A stone smokehouse is the remaining original structure on the property that belonged to the Neffs.

In 1978, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Neff Tavern is located on an unmarked street, west from the Missouri Highway 41 (half a mile) and Arrow Rock (6 miles). (Source.)

The walls are 12 inches thick and there's only one room. The building had a dirt floor and the one known alteration was a roof replacement in 1935. It's now used for storage.

Isaac Neff

The individual responsible for the smoke tavern was Isaac Neff. He was born in Tennessee on September 11, 1797, and was a descendant of German immigrants. He arrived in Saline County in 1820 to visit two older brothers who were already living there. Isaac married Lucy Romine in Tennessee and came back to Saline County to settle. He built a tavern first for travelers and then built the smokehouse for food for them. The smokehouse could cure 50 heads of hogs. It was also used for curing deer.

It was equipped to hold as many as fifty head of hogs for curing at one time. In additioi deer were butchered and cured there.

It was equipped to hold as many as fifty head of hogs for curing at one time. In addition deer were butchered and cured there. (Source.)

Isaac's youngest son, Abram, tore down the tavern in the 1890s and built a house. The house was later moved to build another home on the site. In 1976, the first home built and moved was torn down.

According to Find a Grave, Isaac had seven children. He had married twice. His second wife was Lucinda Romine Neff. Their son, Abram, went to school to become a physician and practiced out of the Neff Tavern for years. Abram's wife, Louisa Jane Bingham, was the niece of the artist, George Caleb Bingham.

The land housing the Neff Tavern Smokehouse remained in the Neff family until 1975 when the last member of the family passed away. Ownership of the property and buildings went to Fitzgibbon Memorial Hospital in Marshall, Missouri which sold it to private owners in 1976.

Isaac died on December 9, 1878, at age 81. He's buried in the Neff Family Cemetery in Saline County.

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Neff Family Cemetery, Saline County, Missouri.Martin Tichenor (2012), Find a Grave.

Thank you for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO
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