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

Compiled by Arthur Paul Moser

Washington County


Washington County, Mo., is situated in the southeastern part of the State, and is bounded north by Franklin and Jefferson Counties, east by Jefferson and St. Francois, south by Iron and west by Crawford County ...

It is not known when or where the first permanent settlement was made in the territory now included in Washington County. Historians agree that the first white men who explored this part of Missouri were Frenchmen under Phillip Francis Renault, a native of Picardy, France, who sailed from that country about the year 1820, with M. La Motte ... and about 200 miners and artificers ... One of their first discoveries they named Mine La Motte, it being in what is now Madison County ... and subsequently they discovered "Old Mines" ...

While it is probable that the settlement of Washington County began about the year 1765, there seems to be no record of a permanent settlement until near the close of the century, when concessions for lands were made by the Spanish Government, then owning the territory, to individual settlers. The original village of Mine-a-Breton, which comprises that part of Potosi through which the creek flows had its origin and gradually came into existence before the close of the century ...

The following is Schoolcraft's list of mines known in ... 1819:

Mine-a-Breton; Shibboleth; La Motte; Richwoods; Bryan's and Daggett's mines; Perry's; Elliott's; Old Mines; Bellefontaine; Mine-a-Straddle; Liberty; Renault; Silvers and Miller; Cannon's; and Austin's and Jones' Mines. Some of these mines are not included in the present limits of Washington County ...

Washington County was organized by an act of the Legislature of the Territory of Missouri, approved August 21, 1813 ... The territory of which it was composed had previously been a part of Ste. Genevieve County ... (--History of Jefferson, Crawford, Gasconade and Washington Counties, 1888, Goodspeed, pp. 459, 462, 463, 472, 480.)

The Ozarks Mountaineer, Vol. 21, No.2, March 1973, page 15, lists the following mines:

Old Mines; Richwood; Potosi; Tiff; Corn Stalk; Gaitee; Tunnel; Mellon; Rock; Cornbread; Brown Hollow; Rabbittville; Mud Town; Moslin; Frogtown and Possum Trot. (--Copyright, used by permission.)

Washington County is divided into eleven townships, viz: Belgrade; Bellview; Breton; Concord; Harmony; Johnson; Kingston; Liberty; Richwoods; Union and Walton.

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