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.