Crawford County Missouri Origin



Missouri (named for the Missouris Indian Tribe) became a territory in 1812 and was originally organized into five "districts", then organized into counties by proclamation of Governor Howard.  These were St. Charles, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau and New Madrid.  In 1813, Washington County was formed; 1816 Howard; 1818 Jefferson, Franklin, Wayne, Lincoln, Madison, Pike Montgomery and Cooper were formed.  Crawford County at this time was a part of Washington County.  The main judicial and military affairs were conducted in Potosi.  Mail came by horseback to the office in Potosi and waited to be picked up by the settler or a traveler.

In 1820 Gasconade was formed from Franklin County.  Crawford County was formed on January 23, 1829 out of a huge territory that made up Gasconade County (named after "Gascony", a French place).  This vast area comprised part (if not all) of Barton, Camden, Cedar, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Dent, Greene, Hickory, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Phelps, Polk, Pulaski, Texas and Wright Counties.  On the Northern boundary, a post office called Bourbois was formed in 1851, and in 1870 the boundary was changed and it was renamed to Rosebud.

Crawford County was named for Georgia Senator, W. H. Crawford, and the county seat is Steelville, being laid out in 1836.  Archaeological findings conclude the area had once been inhabited by Seminoles, Shawnee, and Cherokee tribes, some small bands of Kikapoo and Delaware, but was mostly inhabited by the Osage. 

The legend of Jake Prairie (aka "Jakes's Prairie")

In 1825, at St. Louis, Missouri, the Osage Indians signed a treaty to surrender all land north of the Arkansas border.  From this time on they were gradually pushed out west to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).  At about 1835, nearly all had been forced out by the settlement of the White Man, except a few remnants who settled from place to place adopting to the White Man way of life.  Legend has it, there was one such Osage Indian Tribe consisting of over 300 cabins, that settled just over the Franklin County line, till they decided to move further north.  Among them was an Indian named Jake, who got in an argument, packed up his lone teepee, moved to an area in the northwest part of Crawford County, and stayed there for years.  Others who would visit him would say, "Let's go down to Jake's Prairie", to visit Jake.  This is how it got its name.  If you would like to hear more about any other town, just let me know.  Enjoy your stay.

Joe L. Miller
<[email protected]>

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