A Directory of Towns, Villages, and Hamlets
Past and Present
of Oregon County, Missouri

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser


Oregon County

A county in the southern part of the State, bounded on the north by Shannon & Carter, east by Carter and Ripley, south by the State of Arkansas, and west by Howell County... Settlement in what is now Oregon County was first made near the site of Thomasville, and according to the best authenticated records, the first settler was Thomas Hatcher, who located on the Eleven Points River and lived there for three years, with his solitude disturbed only by the Indians and occasional white hunter and travelers who followed the trail that passed westward toward the Osage Country. In 1819 a few families settled in the "Rich-woods," near the Eleven Points, in the neighborhood of Hatcher's quiet home and later others from Kentucky and Tennessee joined them. What few supplies were needed by the pioneers were carried on backs of horses from Ste. Genevieve, about 175 miles distant... The early settlers lived on the most friendly terms with the Indians. There is no record of any trouble with them. Oregon County was formed and its boundaries defined by Legislative Act, approved February 25, 1845... The creative act named John Buford and John Chilton, of Shannon County, and Hardy Keel, of Ripley County, commissioners to select a permanent seat of justice, and also directed that the county court by held at the house of John Thomas until the county seat be permanently located. The site for county buildings was located near Eleven Points River, where a town was laid out and called Thomasville. The Legislature approved the selection December 28, 1846. In 1847 a small log building was erected for court purposes, and the construction of a jail was commenced, which was finished in the latter part of 1849... Thomasville remained the county seat of justice. A court house was built, which in the excitement of the Civil War, was burned, with about half the other buildings of the town. During the Civil War the sympathies of the majority of the residents of the county were with the Confederacy. There was much bushwhacking, and for a time little law or order was observed. A few years after the close of the War, a new court house and jail were built and have ever since been in use... (--Encyclopedia of the State of Missouri, Conrad, 1901, Vol. 5, pp. 22, 23.)

Note: According to the Office of Secretary of State, Oregon County was organized February 14, 1845.


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