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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Camden County


This county was settled by hardy frontiersmen in 1834 or 1835. The relations of the settlers with the Indians, who were then in possession of the county were very friendly.

Kinderhook County was organized January 23, 1841, and Oregon was made the county seat. February 23, 1843, the name was changed to Camden, and the county seat to Erie. Linn Creek afterwards became the county seat. (--Gazetteer of Missouri, Campbell, 1874, p. 99.)

The County Seat

The commissioners appointed in the act creating Kinderhook County, to select a site for the permanent seat of justice, met at the time specified--the second Monday of April, 1841--and selected a site, and procured the title from the owners thereof by deeds dated on the 15th of that month.

The land described in this deed was the southeast part of northwest fractional quarter of the same Section (25, Township 39 North, Range 17 West), it being all that portion of the quarter section lying south of the Osage River, containing seven acres, more or less.

On April 12, 1841, the county court appointed the county clerk, James N. B. Dodson, as commissioner of the seat of justice, and at the same time named it Oregon. (--State of Missouri, History of Camden County, Goodspeed, 1889, p. 303.)

Camden County, 1843, was named for Earl Camden (Charles Pratt) of England (1714-1794), leader of the Whig Party, and chancellor of England from 1766 to 1770. (--Our Storehouse of Missouri Place Names, Robert L. Ramsay, p. 55.)

On the 7th day of August, 1867, a petition signed by a number of citizens of the county, praying for the removal of the county seat from Linn Creek to Glaize City, was presented to the county court. Some action was taken thereon, but the prayers of the petition were never granted. (--State of Missouri, History of Camden County, p. 306.)


The County of Kinderhook (so named after the residence of President Van Buren) the original name of Camden County, was organized with the following sections of an act of the Legislature, entitled, "An act to organize counties therein named and define the boundaries thereof:" (There follows a rather lengthy legal description of the county, which is too lengthy to include here).

This act was made to take effect from and after its passage, and it was approved by Governor Thomas Reynolds, January 29, 1841. (--State of Missouri, History of Camden County, pp. 297-298.)

Kinderhook County, 1841-1843 (now Camden County).

The slogan of "Old Kinderhook", used by the supporters of Martin Van Buren (whose home was at Kinderhook, New York) in those exciting campaigns (of 1836) and its abbreviation in the letters "O. K.", was according to a plausible theory the true origin of what has been called the best known and most characteristic term in the American language. But Van Buren lost most of his popularity after his crushing defeat in 1840, and both the counties named for him changed their names. (The other county, Van Buren, is now known as Cass County).

On February 23, 1843, an act passed by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri provided for the change of names from Kinderhook to Camden and of Oregon to Erie.

The county has ever since and still retains the name of Camden, but the town of Erie did not long remain as Seat of Justice. At the April term, 1855, of the county court, a petition for the removal of the county seat was presented. (This petition provided for the removal of the "seat of justice", from Erie to Linn Creek, and was approved 8 March, 1845.) (--State of Missouri, History of Camden County, pp. 304-305.)


August 6, 1929, is a date to remember in Camden, Miller and Benton Counties. For it was on this date that construction of Lake Benton was begun. (Today, Lake Benton is better known as The Lake of the Ozarks.) Lake Benton was to have honored the memory of Senator Thomas Hart Benton (1782-1858), Senator, 1821-1851. Known as "Old Bullion." However, the forgetful public persists in referring to it as Lake of the Ozarks; in 1931, by act of the State Legislature, the official name was declared to be Lake Benton.

The construction of the lake left its unmistakable mark on two towns:

Linn Creek, the county seat was forced to move, since the site was to be covered by the waters of the lake. Also, several cemeteries were moved to a higher location.

And it brought into being, a new town, Camdenton, which was designated by popular vote, as the new county seat. It was located on a hill overlooking the lake, and was located at the intersection of Highways 5 & 54.

However, Linn Creek was not to be denied. In addition to a new bank and a new cafe, a new post-office was built. Camdenton, the new county seat, had to be content with rural mail service from the post-office at Linn Creek.

The houses of Linn Creek, while in the valley, still they were beyond the ultimate water line. The business houses, above the water line, were close enough to have a view of the new lake.

Thus, on the map issued by The Missouri State Highway Department, both Old and New Linn Creek are shown. Old Linn Creek is shown to be located at Section 30, Township 38 N, Range 16 W, while New Linn Creek is located at Sections 7, 8, and 17, same township and range. Map issued 10-1-68.

The information quoted above is from a Xerox copy of various newspaper clippings, including the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Star (presumably Kansas City). All by courtesy of the Union Electric Co., St. Louis, Missouri, builder and owner of the dam and lake. The information concerning Senator Benton is taken from Our Storehouse of Missouri Place Names, Ramsay, p. 64, 66.

Camden County Table of Contents

 Springfield-Greene County Library