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The famous Dred Scott case, which helped fuel the tensions that led to the Civil War, originated in Missouri. Dred Scott was a slave who sued for his freedom in the Missouri courts in 1857, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled against him.
Bates County, Missouri, located in the western part of the state, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Osage and Shawnee, who lived off the land and utilized the resources of the region. In 1821, Missouri became a state, and shortly after, settlers began to establish homesteads in the area that would later become Bates County.

The county was officially organized in 1841 and is named after Frederick Bates, the second governor of Missouri. The early settlers in Bates County were primarily farmers and relied on agriculture for their livelihoods. The county's fertile soil and access to water sources, such as the Marais des Cygnes River, made it an ideal location for farming and attracted many settlers.

During the American Civil War, Bates County found itself in the midst of the turmoil as it was located on the border of the Union and Confederate territories. The county experienced skirmishes and raids by both Union and Confederate forces. The Battle of Island Mound, fought in Bates County in 1862, is recognized as one of the first engagements involving African American troops in the Civil War.

After the war, Bates County experienced a period of recovery and growth, with agriculture remaining the backbone of the economy. The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century further stimulated economic development and facilitated transportation of goods to and from the county. Today, Bates County is a thriving community with a strong agricultural base and a rich historical heritage.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Bates County, Missouri.

  • 1821 - Bates County is established as part of Howard County.
  • 1833 - The county is organized and named after Frederick Bates, the second Governor of Missouri.
  • 1833 - The first land sale takes place in Bates County.
  • 1834 - Butler is designated as the county seat.
  • 1840s - The county experiences significant growth with the arrival of settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
  • 1855 - The first courthouse in Bates County is constructed in Butler.
  • 1861-1865 - Bates County is heavily affected by the Civil War, experiencing guerrilla warfare and Union occupation.
  • 1881 - The Kansas City, Osceola, and Southern Railway is completed, improving transportation and promoting economic growth in the county.
  • 1900s - Agriculture becomes the primary industry in Bates County, with farming, livestock, and dairy production leading the way.
  • 1936 - Harry S. Truman, future President of the United States, visits Butler during his senatorial campaign.
  • 1969 - The Harry S. Truman Reservoir is completed, providing flood control, recreational opportunities, and tourism.
  • Today - Bates County continues to be known for its agricultural heritage and offers a peaceful rural lifestyle for its residents.