Long before any permanent settlements were made in what is now Howell County, it was a noted hunting grounds, first of the Indians and then of the white men. It was not until 1832 that any fixed settlement was made. That year, James Howell after whom the county was named, settled on the present site of West Plains, and the valley, a few years later, when it became the home of other settlers, was called Howell Valley. The county was created by Legislative act, approved March 2, 1857. The commissioners appointed to select a seat of justice selected West Plains. A small court house was built. This was destroyed during the Civil War, as were all the other buildings of the town, excepting one small log cabin. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conrad, Vol. 3, pp 315-316.)
The first settlement was made about 1838 in Howell Valley, on the present site of West Plains. The county was organized in 1857, from parts of Oregon and Ozark. During the Civil War it was over-run by marauding bands, who respected neither person or property, and in 1865, at the close of the war, there remained but few tenantable farm houses and only 50 families, numbering perhaps 300 persons, in the county. West Plains was entirely destroyed by fire with the exception of one little cabin, everybody that could leave having gone away... (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, Campbell, 1874, p. 255.)
Howell County was organized in 1857, the territory being taken from Oregon and Ozark Counties.
The postal towns, are: Amy, Bly, Brandsville, Burnham, Chapin, China, Christy, Cobalt, Cordz, Cottbus, Cureall, Grimmett, Homeland, Hutton Valley, Lanton, Lebo, Moody, Mott, Mountain View, Olden, Peace Valley, Powersville, Siloam Springs, South Fork, Sterling, West Plains, White Church and Willow Springs. (--A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region, Goodspeed Bros., 1894, pp 24-25.)