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The first known inhabitants of the Monett area were members of the Osage Tribe. As early as 1840 white settlers were filing claims at the Springfield land office for the area known today as Monett.

Originally named Billings, in October 1871 the people petitioned to have the name changed to Plymouth or Plymouth Junction. Being a town dependent on the railroad, by 1876 when George A. Purdy, and agent for the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad petitioned the court to abandon the town of Plymouth, there were no objections.

On October 1, 1887 The Frisco railroad relocated its division point to the tiny town of Monett. Along with the needs for all kinds of goods and services the town grew flourished. By 1903 the town of Monett had grown enough to reach the classification of a "third class city."

Source: Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County

Bob Banks pointed out that Goodspeed does read that Monett was called Billings in the 1870s, but he thinks it is somewhat questionable (1) that any community existed on the future site of Monett prior to the founding of Plymouth or Plymouth Junction in 1880 and (2) that the community was ever called Billings. Bob Banks
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