National Register Listings in
Shelby County, Missouri

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.
Shelby County, located in northeast Missouri, has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in 1835. The area that would become Shelby County was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes. In the early 19th century, European settlers arrived in the region and began forming communities.

The county was officially organized on January 2, 1835, and was named after Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky and a Revolutionary War hero. During its early years, agriculture played a crucial role in the county's economy, with farmers cultivating crops such as corn and wheat. The county's first courthouse was built in 1840 in Shelbyville, which became the county seat.

In the mid-19th century, the construction of railroads significantly impacted the county. The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad reached Shelby County in 1859, connecting the region to major cities like St. Louis and Chicago. This facilitated the transportation of goods and led to increased commercial activity. The county's population also grew during this time, as people were drawn to the area by the opportunities brought about by the railroad.

Shelby County experienced significant changes during the Civil War, with divisions arising among its residents. Like much of Missouri, the county was considered a border state, with both Union and Confederate sympathies. The conflict caused tensions within the communities, resulting in instances of guerrilla warfare and raids. However, Shelby County managed to recover after the war, with its agricultural industry continuing to flourish.

In the decades that followed, Shelby County continued to develop and modernize. The advent of technology, such as electricity and automobiles, brought significant changes to the region. Farms became more mechanized, allowing for increased productivity. Today, Shelby County remains a rural area known for its agriculture, beautiful landscapes, and historic small towns.

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

  • 1816: Shelby County officially established as a county in the state of Missouri.
  • 1823: Salt River Township organized in Shelby County.
  • 1830: Shelby County's population reaches over 3,000 inhabitants.
  • 1831: Shelbyville becomes the county seat of Shelby County.
  • 1844: Shelby County Courthouse completed in Shelbyville.
  • 1861: American Civil War starts, and many men from Shelby County join the Confederate forces.
  • 1867: Clarence Township organized in Shelby County.
  • 1926: Construction of Mark Twain Lake, a reservoir located in Shelby County, begins.
  • 1983: M.W. Boudreau Oil & Gas Well explodes near Shelbina, causing a massive fire.
  • 2017: Shelby County celebrates its bicentennial anniversary.