Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
The Territorial Legislature, December 15, 1818, created a county to be named Pulaski in honor of Count Pulaski, the Polish Patriot. Its organization was never perfected, nor its boundaries specifically defined, though it included much of that territory that two years later was organized into Gasconade County, which later included the territory later formed into Pulaski, Phelps, Maries and other counties in the central part of Missouri.
January 26, 1833, the county of Pulaski was erected out of a portion of Crawford County, and within its limits was included all the territory now in Laclede and Wright Counties, and much of Dallas, Webster, Phelps, Texas, Maries and Camden Counties. These counties were created from time to time, and in 1859 the boundaries of Pulaski County were defined as they are at present, (1901). The first county court of Pulaski County met at the Jesse Boileau home, and until 1835, subsequent meetings were held on Bear Creek at the house of Green B. Williams. ...
February 24, 1843, the Legislature passed an act to locate the county seat of Pulaski County, and James E. Mills, of Osage; William Montgomery of Niangua (now Dallas), and Thomas Marshall of Miller County were named as commissioners of location and directed to meet the first Monday in May 1843. William Moore and Josiah Cristenson donated to the county a tract of land, part of the present site of Waynesville, which was accepted by the commissioners, and by order of the county court was laid out in town lots and sold at public sale. (--Encyclopedia of the History of Mo., Conrad, Vol. 5, p. 263.) For a fuller account of the History of Pulaski County, it is suggested that this volume be read, pp. 262-263-264.
Pulaski County, of course, went through all the experiences and changes of Missouri, as a whole, up to the time of the territorial organization in 1812, when it was a part of St. Louis County. It so continued, it is thought, up to the time of the organization of Gasconade County, in 1820, at the first assembly. A Pulaski County was organized December 15, 1818, at the same session that Cooper, Pike, Montgomery and other counties were organized, but that county seems neither to have lasted long nor to have included any part of the present Pulaski territory. The State Constitutional Convention of 1820 had no representation from any county called Pulaski. In 1820, Gasconade County was formed, and, no doubt, included the present territory of Pulaski, although the multiplicity of changes made in these counties makes such a statement have a bare tint of uncertainty.
Certain it is that in 1828 not only Pulaski, but Phelps, Laclede, Maries, Camden, Texas, Wright and others or portions of these, were parts of Gasconade, whose county seat was Mount Sterling. On January 23, 1829, Crawford County was cut off from Gasconade, and included a goodly portion of the above mentioned territory. Its capital was at the mouth of Little Piney, and courts were held in the house of James Harrison. It was in 1833 that there was passed "An act to organized the county of Pulaski," which declared as follows:
1. All that portion of territory within the county of Crawford lying in the following boundaries to wit:
"Beginning at the southeast corner of Township 30, in Range 9 West; thence due North with the range line between Ranges 8 & 9 West until it intersects the township dividing line between Townships 33 and 34 North; thence northwardly with the dividing ridge between the waters of Big Piney and the Gasconade River to the middle of Range 10 West; thence due North through the middle or Range 10 West to the Gasconade County line; thence due West with the Gasconade County line to the Osage River; up the Osage River, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the mouth of the Niangua River; thence up the Niangua River to the Big Spring; thence due South to the southwestern boundary of Crawford, as now established; thence along the dividing ridge between the waters of Gasconade and Current Rivers to the beginning, be and the same is hereby declared to be a separate and distinct county, to be known and called by the name, Pulaski County."
This act to take effect and be in force from and after the passage thereof, January 19, 1883, -- (note, evidently 1833 is meant.)
By this time the county included parts of Dallas, Webster, Texas, Phelps, Maries, Miller, Camden, and all of the present Pulaski, Laclede and Wright. There have been many additions to and subtractions from this territory from time to time, until Pulaski took its present limits at the cutting off of Phelps, on November 13, 1857, except Pleasant Wayman's farm, which was cut off in 1859, and left the county with its present limits.
Pulaski County was named in honor of Count Pulaski, the Polish Patriot. (--State of Missouri, History of Pulaski County, Goodspeed Bros. Publishers, 1889, pp. 112-113.
Pulaski County has had four court houses. The first one was finished in 1840. It was made of logs, as all buildings were then, two stories high, with one window ...
An act was passed by the State Legislature to locate the permanent county of Pulaski County, February 24, 1843. A committee was appointed who met and approved the location in Waynesville, May, 1843.
The log court house was used only a matter of three years. After the location was approved and made permanent, a contractor by the name of Hamor was engaged to build a brick court house on the present location on the square. It was quite pretentious, two stories high with wide halls.
At the close of the Civil War, the whole area was under Military Rule of the Union forces stationed at Waynesville Fort, which was built in 1862 ... A new court house had to be built. The State Legislature voted a sum of money to be used in repairs on the Pulaski County court house, but upon examination it was found that the court house constructed in 1843 was so badly damaged by the ravages of the war, that it was judged unsafe and was condemned. The donation from the State was used to start the construction of a new court house which was completed in 1870.
Still another court house has since been built. In 1903 the court house burned to the ground, destroying all records with the exception of the land books. So in 1904 the present court house was finished. ... (--Lest We Forget. A History of Pulaski County, Mo., and Fort Leonard Wood. p. 17.)
A compilation of newspaper and magazine articles and radio talks, by Mabel Manes Mottas, B. S.; M. S., 1960.
About 1826, a mill was built on the Roubidoux not far from where the Fort Wood Theatre now stands. This mill became the nucleus of the town and it was named Waynesville after the famous Indian fighter, "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Near the Mill a blacksmith shop was soon established, for a blacksmith with his forge was a necessity to these early settlers. ...
And then a tavern was built to serve the hundreds of travelers who came through on their way west, for what is now Highway 66 was once called the "Old Weir (sic) Road" -- (no doubt Wire Road is meant). The old hotel still stands on the east side of the Court House Square, which then was a stage stop ... As time passed, more buildings were thrown up -- a general store, a saloon, and a few homes. (--Lest We Forget, A History of Pulaski Co., pp. 2,3.)