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.

Scott County, Missouri, located in the southeastern part of the state, has a rich and diverse history that stretches back centuries. The area was originally inhabited by indigenous tribes, including the Mississippian culture. Later, the region became part of the Louisiana Purchase, and by the early 1800s, European-American settlers began to arrive.

In 1820, Scott County was established, named after John Scott, the first U.S. Representative from Missouri. It quickly became an important center for agriculture and trade due to its fertile soil and proximity to the Mississippi River. The area saw growth and development with the introduction of new technologies, such as the steamboat, which revolutionized transportation and trade.

During the Civil War, Scott County played a significant role, as it was located in the divided border state of Missouri. The county witnessed both Confederate and Union forces vying for control, leading to skirmishes and unrest. The Battle of Sikeston, fought in 1862, was a notable engagement in the region. After the Civil War, the agriculture industry boomed, with cotton, corn, and soybeans becoming major crops grown in the county.

In the 20th century, Scott County experienced further growth and modernization. The construction of the Little River Drainage District, one of the largest drainage projects in the United States, transformed the landscape and enabled more agricultural productivity. The county also saw advancements in infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

Today, Scott County continues to evolve, balancing its agricultural roots with new industries and developments. The county remains a vital hub for farming, with a focus on corn, soybeans, and livestock. It also offers diverse recreational opportunities, including fishing, hunting, and boating. With its vibrant history and resilient community, Scott County serves as a reminder of Missouri's past while embracing the possibilities of a bright future.

  • 1821 - Scott County was established on December 28 as one of the original five counties of the Missouri Territory.
  • 1823 - The county seat was established in Benton, originally known as Morley's Settlement.
  • 1835 - The county's first courthouse was built in Benton.
  • 1851 - The county seat was moved from Benton to Commerce.
  • 1858 - Sikeston was laid out as a town and eventually became the largest city in the county.
  • 1860 - The county seat was moved back to Benton due to the decline of Commerce.
  • 1916 - A new courthouse was built in Benton.
  • 1941-1943 - During World War II, the U.S. Army constructed the Sikeston Army Airfield, which became an important training base.
  • 1949 - The first Miss Sikeston Pageant was held, becoming an annual event and a significant part of the county's culture.
  • 1994 - The current courthouse in Benton was built.