Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Ozark County was formed from Taney Co., in 1841; Taney Co., was formed from Greene Co., in 1837; Greene was formed from Crawford in 1833; Crawford was formed from Gasconade in 1829; Gasconade was formed from Franklin in 1820; Franklin was formed from St. Louis in 1818. Missouri became a State in 1821 (August 10). Thus St. Louis, Gasconade and Franklin Counties are older than the State itself. (--U. S. Census, Ozark County, 1880.)
Ozark County was created by legislative act approved January 29, 1841. Its boundaries were defined:
"Beginning at the southeast corner of Taney County, thence east with the State line to a point where the same crosses the ridge dividing the waters of Bennett's Bayou, Spring, Eleven Point and Current Rivers; thence in a northeasterly direction along the said ridge to the range line dividing ranges 9 and 10; thence with said range line north to the township line dividing Townships 27 and 28; thence west with said township line to the range line dividing ranges 16 and 17; thence south with said range line to the place of beginning."
As defined the county, when organized, included the greater part of Howell and much of Douglas Co. It was reduced to its present limits when the two counties were organized in 1857. February 22, 1843, the name of the county was changed to Decatur, and March 24, 1845, the name Ozark was re-given to it. The commissioners appointed to locate a permanent seat of justice were James Arnold, of Greene County; John Wray, Jr., and William Phebus, of Taney, and by the creative act they were directed to locate the county buildings within five miles of the center of the county and it was provided that until a permanent seat of justice be fixed the county court and circuit court meet at the dwelling house of William Hotel. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conrad, Vol. 5, pp. 41-42; A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region, 1894, Goodspeed, p. 26; Fourth Edition of the Handy Book for Genealogists, Geo. P. Everton, Sr., p. 100.)
Ozark was sparsely settled, but improving slowly when the Civil War swept over it. The people fled to the more thickly settled portions of the State for protection from the guerillas, and undisciplined soldiers, and the county was almost depopulated. It is now (1874) being resettled by an excellent class of people. (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, p. 413.)
Decatur County (formerly and later Ozark County)
Decatur was temporarily used as the name for Ozark County, at the request of the citizens of the county, most of whom came from Georgia. The State Legislature of 1843 changed the county name from Ozark to Decatur County, for the City of Decatur, Georgia. At the next session of the Legislature in 1845, it was changed back to Ozark County. (--Place Names.)