The Missouri State Penitentiary, located in Jefferson City, was once the oldest operating prison west of the Mississippi River. It opened in 1836 and closed in 2004.
Pettis County, Missouri, has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. The county was established on January 26, 1833, and was named after former Governor Spencer Pettis. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including Osage and Missouri Indians. The first European explorers arrived in the late 1700s, followed by settlers in the early 1800s.

In its early years, Pettis County saw significant growth due to its location along the Missouri-Kansas border and the presence of fertile land. The county became known for its agricultural industry, with many settlers engaging in farming and livestock raising. The introduction of the railroad in the mid-1800s further boosted the local economy, allowing for increased trade and transportation of goods.

During the American Civil War, Pettis County experienced its share of turmoil. It was a border county, and tensions ran high between Confederate and Union sympathizers. The county saw skirmishes, raids, and guerrilla warfare, as well as the occasional clash between opposing forces. After the war, the county focused on rebuilding and recovery.

In more recent years, the county has experienced industrial and commercial growth. The city of Sedalia, the county seat of Pettis County, became a hub for manufacturing and trade. The city's annual Missouri State Fair, established in 1901, has become a major attraction, drawing visitors from throughout the state and beyond. Today, Pettis County continues to thrive, balancing its rich history with a modern economy and strong community values.

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

  • 1812: Pettis County, MO was established
  • 1830s: First settlements were established by European Americans
  • 1839: Smithton, the first town in the county, was founded
  • 1848: The town of Georgetown was founded, later renamed Sedalia
  • 1861-1865: Pettis County was affected by the American Civil War
  • 1870: Sedalia was officially incorporated as a city
  • 1873: The Missouri State Fair relocated to Sedalia
  • 1894: Sedalia was struck by a disastrous fire
  • 20th century: Pettis County experienced growth in agriculture and industrial sectors
  • 1974: The National Register of Historic Places listed the Sedalia Commercial Historic District