Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser
Wright County was organized January 29, 1841, and named for Silas Wright, of New York. The first settlements were made in 1832, at which time 16 persons located here. (--Campbell's Gazetteer of Mo., 1874, p. 649.)
Mr. Wright, of New York, was a leading Democrat. The county seat was named in honor of Mr. Hart, who donated the site. (--State of Missouri, History of Wright County, p. 370.)
There is nothing recorded to point out an Indian settlement within the present boundaries of Wright. Prior to the time when the United States set apart the Indian Territory, a few wandering tribes visited this section of Missouri, among whom were the Delawares, Shawnees and Piankashaws. Their graves are even unknown.
The settlement of Wright County, by Americans dates back to 1836, although men from what is now Texas County sojourned here as early as 1826. (--Ibid: p. 359.)
Wright County was formed from Pulaski County. Other counties formed from Pulaski are: 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 ... (--State of Missouri, History of Pulaski County, 1889, Goodspeed, pp. 112-113. Encyclopedia of the Hist. of Mo., 1901, Conrad, Vol. 5, pp. 262, 263, 264.)
The first settlement in Wright County was made in 1832 when a colony of sixteen persons located upon land along the Gasconade and on Wood's Fork, near the site of Hartville .... The commissioners appointed to select a seat of justice named Hartville as the place. At that time it was a little hamlet of log cabins. The first court house was a small log cabin and the first grand jury met in the open air in a mountain glade near the river.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, the residents of Wright County were divided in sentiment; about one-half were in favor of an undivided union and the other half in favor of the Confederacy. In 1862 Unionists burned half the town of Hartville, and the out-buildings left standing, mostly all belonging to loyal citizens, were burned by "Lige Mack" and his followers, who were in the wake of Price in his march through Missouri in 1864. At this time the old court house was burned to the ground with all its records in 1897, and a few months later, the present (1901) court house, a substantial two-story building was erected. (--Encyclopedia of the Hist. of Mo., 1901, Vol. 6, p. 530, Conrad.)