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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Lawrence County

Lawrence County was organized in 1815; dissolved in 1818, and divided into Wayne, Madison and alter into other counties, one of which, created in 1843, was the present Lawrence County. (--Ramsay, p. 6.)

Lawrence County, at the time of its first settlement was part and parcel of Barry County, but in 1845, it was organized and became an integral part of the State. (--Lawrence County History, Vol. 2, p. 97.)

Lawrence County, organized February 25, 1845, was named in honor of Captain James Lawrence, of the "Chesapeake", in the War of 1812, who, when wounded and dying, cried: "Don't give up the shop." (--Eaton, Third Article, p. 184.)

Lawrence County was formed from Dade and Barry Counties, in 1845, and its organization was celebrated, July 4, 1845 by a "Bran Dance". (--Campbell's New Atlas of Missouri, 1874, p. 62.)

Mount Vernon

(See later listing.)

In May, 1845, the County Court appointed H.M. Joplin, vice Belugin. In May, 1845, W.M. Stroud was appointed Commissioner to sell lots. It was surveyed May 19, 1845, by John D. Allen, and named by the County Court for the home of Washington. (--Eaton, Third Article, p. 184.)


Bran Dance -- The Bran Dance was a popular amusement with the early settlers, on occasion of their infrequent social gatherings. It was practiced where the absence of a building or plank floors, obliged dancing to be performed outdoors. A space of ground was leveled down and the surface covered with bran to a depth of one or two inches. Such a dance occurred July 4, 1845, at Mount Vernon, Lawrence County, when the people assembled to celebrate Independence Day, and the creation of the county as well. The place was made the county seat May 4th previous, and there was but one building upon the site, where gathered the people from many miles about. During the day "Buck" Wham, a traveling teacher, made an address, followed by a barbecue dinner, and after that the bran dance. The only music was a single fiddle upon which "Dick" Chitwood, the player, could execute but two tunes, "Rye Straw", and "Chicken Pie". (--Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 1, p. 356.)

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