Historical Marker in
Benton County, Missouri

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The Pony Express, a mail delivery service that operated from 1860 to 1861, had a route that went through Missouri. The service used a network of riders and relay stations to transport mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in just 10 days.
Benton County, Missouri has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. The area was first settled by European pioneers in the early 1800s. It was named after Senator Thomas Hart Benton, a prominent politician in Missouri during that time. Benton County played a significant role in westward expansion, as it was located along the Osage River and served as a transportation hub for settlers heading west.

During the Civil War, Benton County was deeply divided between Union and Confederate sympathizers. The Battle of Island Mound, fought in October 1862, was one of the earliest battles where African American troops played a significant role. It marked an important step towards emancipation and equality.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Benton County saw significant growth and development. The railroad arrived in the county in the 1870s, opening up opportunities for trade and transportation. The county's fertile land attracted settlers who established prosperous farms and ranches, contributing to the agricultural industry.

In more recent years, Benton County has become known for its recreational opportunities. Truman Lake, formed by the Truman Dam on the Osage River, attracts boaters, fishermen, and campers from around the region. The lake's shoreline is also home to several state parks and conservation areas, preserving the natural beauty of the area. Today, Benton County continues to thrive as a rural community with a strong sense of history and natural beauty.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Benton County, Missouri.

  • 1820: Benton County is officially established as a county in the state of Missouri.
  • 1835: Warsaw, the county seat, is founded.
  • 1861-1865: Benton County is deeply divided during the Civil War, with both Union and Confederate sympathizers present.
  • 1870: The first railroad, the Kansas City & Sedalia Railroad, is completed in Benton County.
  • 1931: The construction of Truman Dam begins on the Osage River, which will eventually create Truman Lake.
  • 1979: Truman Dam is completed, providing flood control and recreational opportunities in Benton County.
  • 1981: The Lost Valley Fish Hatchery is established in Warsaw, becoming a major attraction for visitors.
  • 1993: The Truman Visitors Center is opened, providing information on the history and features of the Truman Lake area.
  • 2010: The population of Benton County reaches approximately 19,000 people.