Historical Marker in
McDonald County, Missouri

Mark Twain, one of America's most beloved authors, was born in Florida, Missouri, in 1835. He later moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where he set many of his famous stories, including "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".
McDonald County, Missouri, has a rich and varied history that spans several centuries. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes such as Osage, Delaware, and Cherokee. In the early 19th century, European settlers began to arrive, establishing small communities and farms along the banks of the Elk River.

The region played a significant role during the American Civil War. McDonald County experienced both pro-Union and pro-Confederate sentiments, leading to conflict and raids by both sides. The Battle of Newtonia, fought in 1862 and 1864, was one of the most notable engagements in the area. The war brought devastation and hardship, but the county slowly recovered in the following years.

By the late 19th century, McDonald County became a hub for lead and zinc mining. The discovery of rich mineral deposits attracted thousands of prospectors and miners to the area, leading to the rapid growth of towns such as Neosho and Pineville. These mining operations greatly shaped the local economy, bringing prosperity but also environmental challenges.

In the 20th century, McDonald County experienced significant changes as the mining industry declined. The area transitioned to a more diversified economy, focusing on agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. The county's natural beauty, including numerous rivers, springs, and caves, helped the growth of outdoor recreational activities and the establishment of several parks and conservation areas.

Today, McDonald County remains a vibrant community known for its scenic landscapes, small-town charm, and rich historical heritage. It continues to evolve and adapt, while preserving its unique cultural and natural assets for future generations.

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

  • 1830s: The area that would become McDonald County was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Osage and Delaware.
  • 1835: The Treaty of Castor Hill was signed, opening the area to white settlers.
  • 1845: The town of Pineville was surveyed and founded, becoming the county seat.
  • 1861-1865: McDonald County residents fought in the Civil War, with some supporting the Union and others the Confederacy.
  • 1872: The Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Memphis Railroad reached the county, stimulating economic growth.
  • 1874: McDonald County was officially organized and named after Judge John McDonald.
  • 1930s: Construction of the Pineville Dam brought electricity to the area, improving living standards.
  • 1960s: The creation of the Elk River Reservoir led to increased tourism and recreational opportunities.
  • 2008: The Joplin tornado caused significant damage in the county, resulting in a community-wide recovery effort.