Historical Marker in
Douglas County, Missouri

The "Show-Me State" is Missouri's official nickname and is believed to have originated from a speech given by Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver in 1899. He said, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me."
Douglas County is located in the southern region of the state of Missouri. Its history can be traced back to the early 19th century when European settlers began to make their way into the area. The county was officially established on October 19, 1857, and was named after Stephen A. Douglas, a prominent American politician.

During the Civil War, Douglas County remained relatively peaceful compared to other parts of Missouri. The majority of its residents were Union sympathizers, and while there were some skirmishes and raids, the county largely avoided major battles. However, the war still had a significant impact on the county's economy and population.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Douglas County experienced a period of growth and development. The establishment of the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Memphis Railroad in 1883 played a crucial role in opening up the county to trade and commerce. Farms and businesses sprang up along the railroad line, leading to an increase in population and economic activity.

In the 20th century, agriculture became the backbone of Douglas County's economy. Farmers cultivated crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans, while also raising livestock. The construction of highways and improved transportation infrastructure further facilitated trade and transportation of goods. Today, Douglas County continues to be primarily rural, with agriculture and small businesses forming the economic foundation of the area.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Douglas County, Missouri.

  • 1835 - Douglas County is established as a county in Missouri.
  • 1845 - The county seat is established in Ava.
  • 1861-1865 - Douglas County residents participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1873 - The Douglas County Courthouse is built in Ava.
  • 1882 - A tornado strikes Ava, causing significant damage.
  • 1933 - The Mark Twain National Forest is established, including parts of Douglas County.
  • 1960 - The Ava High School wins the state basketball championship.
  • 1990 - The county population reaches its peak at around 18,000.
  • 2010 - The county population decreases to around 13,000.