Laclede County was formed in 1849 from Camden, Pulaski, and Wright Counties. Named after Pierre Laclede, founder of St. Louis, it borders Webster and Wright Counties on the South, Dallas County on the West, Camden County on the North, and Pulaski and Texas Counties on the East as one of 24 counties that make up Southwest Missouri. It is located in the beautiful Ozark Mountains and has everything from farmland and pasture to rugged, forested hills. It is populated by about 35,000 residents and lies about 155 miles southwest of St. Louis on I-44.
The first white settler in this area was Jesse Ballew in 1820 when he built his log cabin on the east side of the Gasconade River. Other early settlers include Henry Anderson, William Montgomery, William Gillespie, William Tweedy, Leonard Eastwood, Jesse Williams, Spencer O'Neil, Josiah Tygart, Aaron Span, and James Campbell. Laclede County was surveyed between 1835 and 1840 before becoming an actual county February 24, 1849. The county seat, now Lebanon, was first called Wyota for the early Indians of the area, but was changed to Lebanon at the request of a local minister, in honor of his hometown of Lebanon, Tennessee.
© Copyright 2000 Larry Dunbar
Last updated August 23, 2001