Visit these Historic Towns and sites near St. Louis on your Missouri Vacation

Footprints of the past will come alive on your Missouri Vacation to our region. If you are researching your family history, please see our genealogy pages for helpful resources. Better yet, travel to our region and see for yourself!

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1895 Map of The Black River Recreation Area and Arcadia Valley Region

Reynolds County Missouri

Reynolds County was organized in 1845, however long before this designation, many early pioneers braved the risk, hardship and sacrifice in search of their dream. . .a more productive and rewarding life in our Ozark Region. In 1812 Henry Fry, who is said to have come from Kentucky as the first pioneer, settled on the Middle Fork of the Black River area in what is now Reynolds County. After the Louisiana Purchase, there were ongoing discussions in established states east of the Mississippi, about when the new “Missouri Territory” would become a state of the Union. At the same time, land in our region was being offered to veterans of the War of 1812. Pioneer families from the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee began to slowly and steadily move to our region. The civil war era presented tumultuous times for these early settlers, in some cases pitting brother against brother and fathers against sons. Many notable historic landmarks are present in Reynolds County including Fort Barnesville, on the National Register of Historic Places.

Notably, after the famous Gads Hill Train Holdup in 1874, Jesse James and his gang made their escape up the Black River along the Lesterville Road, seeking food and lodging from farmowners along the West Fork of the Black River in Reynolds County. According to news accounts, “in all instances they behaved very genteelly” and paid all their bills “lavishly.”

By 1890, there were 6,803 people living in Reynolds County. Please click here to tour and learn more about the historic towns and landmarks of these early settlers in Reynolds County, MO. If you are planning a Family History Vacation to Reynolds County, the genealogy resources page of our website may be helpful in planning your trip.

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233 South 2nd Street in Ellington.
Tuesday 10-7
Wednesday 10-5
Thursday/Friday/2nd Saturday of month 10-4
Call 573-663-3233

Brand new Reynolds County Museum has been built!
They celebrated a grand re-opening in May, 2011!
Visit their new website.

Join Reynolds County Genealogy on Facebook!
Be certain to explore all of the “favorite pages” listed on the page.

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Iron County Missouri

Europeans had been drawn to the early “Upper Louisiana” territory in the 1730s due to the prospect of mining lead. Close by, the area which later became Iron County, was inhabited by Native Americans who used it as their hunting ground. Known as “Lost Cove” by the Delaware Indians, William and Joseph Reed were the first settlers to arrive in 1798. Ephraim Stout built a log house in the valley (as early as 1805-1807) along the creek which still bears his name. It was not until 1836 that the vast iron ore resources of Iron County were discovered. Mining jobs brought many settlers to the region and in 1857 Iron County became a county in Missouri with its county seat in Ironton. It was also in 1857 that the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad was completed all the way to Pilot Knob, foreshadowing a series of events that led to one of the most important battles of the Civil War in Missouri – The Battle of Pilot Knob at Fort Davidson. Today, the hallowed ground of Fort Davidson State Historic Site honors the brave Union and Confederate soldiers who fought and died in battle. These Arcadia Valley Region communities became a popular nineteenth century summer resort for wealthy families from St. Louis. Visit the historic towns and villages of Iron County Missouri where history is preserved and graceful antebellum homes, historic churches and mercantile buildings are a reminder of days gone by. Visit the Arcadia Valley Visitor’s Center and Iron County Historical Society Museum while on your Missouri Vacation to our region.

Join Iron/Reynolds County Connections on Facebook!

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