Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
The first settlements in what is now Dade County were made in the latter part of 1833 and spring of 1834. Among the pioneers who suffered the usual hardships, were William, Redden and John Crisp, who located on and near Crisp Prairie, and after whom it was named. John Crisp is still living (1874) on Big Sac and is one of the foremost farmers and stock-raisers in the country. Silas Hobbs settled on Big Sac; George Davidson on Limestone Creek, about 3 miles southwest of the present site of Greenfield; Judge Nelson on, and Samuel La Force near Crisp Prairie. Springfield, in Greene County, then a very small place, was the nearest post-office. Madison Campbell's grist-mill, on little Sac, in what is now Polk County, was the only grist-mill in all that region. (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, 1874, p. 179.)
Dade County was created January 29, 1841, formed from Greene County, and was named for Major Dade, of Seminole massacre fame. Its northern boundary was ten miles within the present county of Cedar, and its southern boundary was nine miles within the present county of Lawrence; it was reduced to its present dimensions, March 28, 1845. It was provided in the organic act that the courts should temporarily hold at the house of William Penn, until the commissioners appointed, Josiah McCrory, of Barry County; William Caulfield, of Greene County, and Winfrey Owens, of Polk County, should select a permanent county seat. At first it was expected to locate the county seat on Pennsylvania Prairie, but a supplemental act of the General Assembly required that it be established within four miles of the center of the county. The commissioners selected the present site, taking for the purpose a tract of land of fifty-one acres donated by Matthias H. Allison.
The first settlers found evidence of previous occupation by white men. Seven miles northwest of Greenfield, were the remains of a fortification and furnaces; it is conjectured that these were constructed by Spanish explorers. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, Conard, Vol. 2, pp. 214, 215.)
Dade County, organized 1841, parent county Greene. Lost ten mile strip on northern boundary to Cedar County, and nine mile strip on southern boundary to Lawrence County, reducing it to its present limits, Mar. 28, 1845; Courthouse burned in 1863, but records had been removed to safety. (--Fourth Edition of the Handy Book for Genealogists, George Everton, Sr. p. 98.)