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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Scott County

In 1796 or 1797, Capt. Charles Friend, with his family, came from Monongahela (Monongalia?) County, Va., and received a concession of land near the present town of Benton ...

That part of Scott County formerly known as Tywappity Bottom, which extends from Commerce to Bird's Point, began to receive settlers as early as 1798 ... About 1802 or 1803, Thomas W. Waters, a South Carolinian, located on the site of Thomas W. Waters, a South Carolinian, located on the site of Commerce, and established a trading-post and store in partnership with Robert Hall. He also kept a ferry across the Mississippi. He died within a few years after coming to this county.

The limits of New Madrid County had been extended to include nearly all of what is now Scott County, but on December 28, 1821, an act of the Legislature was approved. This act provided for the dividing of New Madrid County, and the erection of Scott County. By the same act Enoch Evans, Abraham Hunter, Thomas Roberts, Joseph Smith and Newman Beckwith were appointed to locate the seat of justice for Scott County.

The county court was organized at the house of Thomas Houts in February or March, 1822, at which time the judges were Andrew Ramsey, Richard Mathis and Thomas Houts. (The county court records were nearly all lost or destroyed during the Civil War, so that little is known of its transaction) ...

The first court house was a small log building on the public square at Benton, soon after the town was laid out ... About 1844 the log court house was torn down, and a brick building was erected in its place. It was so poorly constructed that in a few years it became unsafe, and was replaced by a frame building. By an act of the Legislature, passed January 28, 1864, the county seat was removed to Commerce, and the court house sold ... In 1878, by a vote of the people, the seat of justice was removed to Benton ... (--History of Southeast Missouri, Goodspeed, pp. 303, 353, 354.)

The first settlements were made near the site of Sikeston and along the Mississippi at Commerce. In 1789 a road was started called the King's Highway, to run from Ste. Genevieve to New Madrid. This passed through the center of what is now Scott County. One of the first permanent settlers was Captain Charles Friend, a native of Virginia, and a Revolutionary soldier. In 1796 he was granted land on the King's or as it was later called the Illinois Road, near the site of Benton ... About the time the Friends settled near Benton, Edward Robertson and his son-in-law located near what later became Sikeston. Robertson conducted a trading-post and when the region became more settled he dealt in land claims ... In 1802 Thomas W. Waters of South Carolina, located on the land on which is situated the town of Commerce. With on Robert Hall he started a trading-post, and became a dealer in land ...

The townships in the county are Kelso, Commerce, Tywappity, Sandywood, Richland, Morley, Sylvania and Moreland. Scott County was named in honor of Hon. John Scott, the first member of Congress from Missouri. Within its limits was included all of Mississippi County which was cut off in 1845. (--Encyclopedia of the Hist. of Mo., 1901, Conrad, Vol. 5, pp. 540, 541, 542.)

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