Moniteau County created in 1845
Originally published May 1, 2013 at 6 a.m., updated April 30, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.
In 1845 Governor John Edwards signed a bill that created 18 new counties that included Moniteau County. Before 1845 this area was part of Cole and Morgan counties. This information is important to genealogists who are searching for ancestor's graves. Burial records before 1845 may show the grave is in Cole or Morgan County but after 1845 the cemetery is listed in Moniteau County.
Before 1845 people living in this area and who had dealings with the county would have to travel to Cole or Morgan county to transact official business such as paying taxes or appearing in court proceedings. Travel was hard and took several days over very rough roads. As the population continued to grow many people and businesses clamored to have a county government closer and petitions were passed to create a new county.
There was a requirement of a number of square miles needed to form a county. In the 1840's the square miles needed was 400 square miles or more. A delegation of residents was formed and they pleaded with the Representatives of the surrounding counties for a donation from some of their county's land to form a new county. Miller and Cooper County declined. Only Morgan and Cole counties gave land to form Moniteau County and it still wasn't quite enough.
Lashley Lucus Wood was one of the founding fathers of Moniteau County and was thoughtful about this problem of gaining just a little bit more land to qualify for the required 400 acres. He had noticed that the islands in the Missouri River were unattached to any county and maybe by including the islands there would be enough land to make up the requirement. The plan worked and the petition to become a new county was accepted. Some geographers say this may have been the first time a Missouri River island was included in the boundary of a county.
Today Missouri has 114 counties with Worth County being the smallest with 266 square miles. Moniteau County is the seventh smallest with 416 square miles. Cole County that donated a large part of that county to form Moniteau County now has 398 square miles making it the third smallest county in Missouri.
Land three miles east of Clarksburg was donated by Cole County. The area west of this north - south line was given by Morgan County. This may be observed in the museum display along with maps showing the earlier counties of Missouri.
Next week the display "Our Family" will be featured. In the meanwhile remember the museum is open on the second and fourth Sunday afternoons from 1 to 3 p.m.
If you visit the Genealogy Library, open on the afternoons of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, you may also be able visit the Hall of History.
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