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.
Macon County, located in north-central Missouri, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Osage and the Missouria. In the early 1800s, European settlers began to arrive in the region, and Macon County was officially established on January 6, 1837.

During the mid-19th century, Macon County experienced significant growth and development. The construction of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad in the 1850s connected the county to major markets and encouraged economic expansion. Macon City, the county seat, became a bustling center of trade and commerce. Agriculture played a vital role in the county's prosperity, with crops like corn, wheat, and tobacco being major contributors to the local economy.

The Civil War had a profound impact on Macon County. Like many areas in Missouri, the county was divided in its loyalties, and numerous skirmishes took place within its borders. The Battle of Compton's Ferry, fought on July 13, 1862, pitted Confederate forces against Union troops. Ultimately, the Union emerged victorious and maintained control over the county for the remainder of the war.

In the post-war era, Macon County continued to grow and develop. The 20th century brought advancements in transportation, education, and healthcare to the region. Highways were improved, allowing for easier travel and the growth of tourism. Today, Macon County maintains its agricultural heritage while also diversifying its economy with industries such as manufacturing and healthcare services. The county also boasts several historical sites, including the Macon County Courthouse, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

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

  • 1837 - Macon County officially established.
  • 1839 - First county courthouse built in Bloomington (now known as Macon).
  • 1841 - Railroads begin to be built, connecting Macon County with other cities.
  • 1872 - Construction of the Missouri State Hospital No. 3 begins in Macon County.
  • 1893 - The original courthouse is destroyed by a fire.
  • 1894 - A new courthouse is constructed to replace the one destroyed by fire.
  • 1921 - Completion of the Union Electric Railway, providing electric transportation in Macon County.
  • 1936 - The Chariton River is dammed to form Long Branch Lake.
  • 1978 - The Missouri State Hospital No. 3 is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 2000 - The population of Macon County reaches its peak at over 16,000 residents.
  • 2018 - Macon County celebrates its 180th anniversary since its establishment.