Jefferson County - Hillsboro, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 38° 13.918 W 090° 33.825
15S E 713235 N 4234359
Historical marker on the grounds of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Hillsboro, Missouri
Waymark Code: WM19Q3
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 03/07/2007
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 27

Jefferson County

  Historic Jefferson County, organized in 1818, the eighth to be formed in Missouri, lies in the southeast Lead Belt, region of the state's oldest settlements. Probably the first American settlement in Missouri was made in this county near the mouth of the Meramec about 1770 by the Hildebrands, Germans from Penn. De Gamache ran the first ferry in Mo., near there in the 1770's.

  Herculaneum, on the Mississippi, first town in the county and first county seat, was founded by Moses Austin and Samuel Hammond in 1809 as a lead depot for the mines in Potosi. Shot towers built on the Mississippi bluffs supplied shot to troops in War of 1812. In 1839 centrally located Hillsboro succeeded as county seat and Herculaneum languished. In the 1890's the St. Joseph Lead Co. smelter, built on the original townsite, brought renewed growth.

  Herculaneum is the birthplace of Thomas C. Fletcher (1827-99) the first native-born governor, 1865-69; and Campbell Morfit (1820-97) noted chemist, Daniel Dunklin, the fifth governor of Missouri, is buried in the family plot at nearby Riverside.

  A spur of the Ozark Highland runs into Jefferson County, lying at the middle of Missouri's Mississippi River boundary. many ancient Indian mounds are found in the area, and near Kimmswick is the site of a noted bed of prehistoric animal bones. Osage Indians, who gave up this region in 1808, greatly harassed the early settlers.

  Grain and stock farming and industries associated with county resources brought rapid settlement, many coming from the South and later, Germany. In 1857, Thomas C. Fletcher and L. J. Rankin laid out De Soto. The St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern R.R. (now Missouri Pacific) opened repair shops there in 1872. Phenomenal silica deposits brought a plate glass industry and the towns of Crystal City and Festus in the 1870's. This industry is now one of the largest plants if the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.1

  Among places of interest in the county are Maclot's shot towersite at Herculaneum; Thomas C. Fletcher House at Hillsboro; Grace Presbyterian Church at Crystal City; marker on the route of the 1789 El Camino Real (Sp. King's Highway) at Kimmswick.

History of Mark:
Placed by the Historical Society of Missouri and the State Highway Commission 1955

Updates and corrections since 1955:

1. The Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company closed its Crystal City plant in 1972 after forty-two years of operation.

Web link: Not listed

Additional point: Not Listed

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