A Small Brief about Audrain County

Map of Missouri highlighting Audrain County

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Audrain County is full of hunting attractions. It is a quiet county resplendent with spectacular naturist views. Located in the U.S state of Missouri, Audrain County was formed in 1836. Named after Col. James Hunter Audrain, Audrain County is flanked by counties such as Monroe, Ralls, Pike, Montgomery, Callaway, Boone, and Randolph.

Audrain County Historical Society is a famous name. Located in the Robert S. Green Park, there are some museums located here. They are namely Graceland Museum, and American Saddlebred Horse Museum.

Graceland Museum is considered to be a historical museum nationally. It was formerly a mansion which was then converted to a museum. During the American civil war, Colonel Ulysses stayed here.

Visitors can see the beautifully dressed rooms in this mansion-museum. Victorian architecture is in vivid display, and the architecture still resonates the beauty of the America’s rich history.

The American Saddlebred Horse Museum is dedicated to Graceland. It exhibits rare and unique pieces that will capture your attention and interest.

At Audrain County, and at the Audrain County Historical Society is located the Country School. Placed among lush settings, the school is a cute cozy outfit in the middle of picturesque settings. Constructed in the early part of the nineteenth century, the Country School reflects the olden day school building architecture.

In the same vicinity is the Country Church. It was built in the 1800s. This is a trans-located church. It was brought to the Audrain County Historical Society premises part by part before re-building it here. The church is beautifully set amongst serene settings, and is a must visit for new visitors at the Audrain County.



Anna J. Harrison, Notable Audrain Native

Benton City is a small town of 122 people in the heart of Audrain County. It was also the hometown of Anna J. Harrison, who became the very first female president of the American Chemical Society. What is it about the area that would inspire a woman to rise to the professional heights needed to gain such an honor? Perhaps it is the strong work ethic of the local people, or the quiet rural atmosphere that lends itself to contemplation. Whatever it was, Dr. Harrison must be commended for her professional achievements at a time when it was very difficult for women to become successful academic scientists.

Dr. Harrison was born to a farming family in Benton City, and she attended high school in nearby Mexico. After earning her advanced degrees at the University of Missouri, Columbia, she immediately became a chemistry professor in Louisiana. She served the nation during World War II by doing research for the National Defense Research Council. She worked in a number of industrial positions and later became a professor at Mount Holyoke College, which is where she was based when she headed the American Chemical Society, as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was also very involved in Sigma Xi, which is also a society for science researchers. Mount Holyoke College still holds a collection of Dr. Harrison’s many articles and photographs, which are available for use by permission. These archives illuminate the many lively years when she worked as a practicing chemist in several fields of study. Her books include co-authorship of a general interest chemistry text, a work on science education, a work about human health and its relation to the environment, and the ascendent role of women in science.

Dr. Anna Harrison was a very active and engaged scholar with a serious breadth of intellectual accomplishment. She passed away in 1998, after a fascinating life that began right in Audrain County.


Audrain County in the Civil War

The Chance Guest House in Centralia, Missouri

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The city of Centralia lies along the border of Audrain and Boone Counties, and it was the site of an important battle during the Civil War. In September of 1864, which was during the last year of fighting, more than 20 Union soldiers who were on leave and without arms were snatched from a train by Confederates and killed. A group of Union soldiers that was in pursuit of the Confederates who perpetrated the killing were surprised, and more than 100 were killed. This occurrence is known by historians as the Centralian Massacre. The battle only lasted minutes, but it was representative of the split loyalties that haunted Missouri and the surrounding region during that time. The casualties of the Centralian Massacre were initially buried in Mexico, but were later moved to Jefferson City, where civil war buffs can still visit to remember what happened that day in Missouri.

Those visiting the Centralia area who have more horticultural interests may want to visit the Albert Bishop Chance Guest House. The Chance House is a Queen Anne-style home that has been on the National Register of Historic Places for more than 30 years. Starting in May, the Chance House’s rose garden is blooming with fragrant blossoms, and visitors looking to cool off from the hot Missouri summer can check out the famous rock grotto on the grounds. Inside the Chance House is a history museum that shows many local curiosities, including a room dedicated to the history of the civil war in this region.

Be sure to check local listings for notices about upcoming civil war re-enactments. There are also numerous markers around Centralia that show what happened here during that tumultuous time. In light of modern events that are dividing other nations, it is important to remember that similar discord has divided our own country, and understanding the history of that time will help us learn to heal our own modern differences.


The Missouri Military Academy

The Missouri Military Academy (MMA) has been described as one of the premier all-boy military boarding schools in the United States. The MMA was founded in 1889 and is located in Mexico, Missouri. The school states that its mission is to empower “young men to succeed through a program of academic excellence, character development and leadership training.”

The MMA offers classes from grades 6-12 and most of the school’s almost 300 students are in the higher grades. Classes are small, allowing more personal time between teachers and individual students. The school offers the all the standard courses along with advanced courses in American history, calculus, economics, English comp, English lit, physics, statistics and Spanish. As a military school, dress is, of course, formal.

In addition to academics, the military academy has a variety of sports programs. Sports offered include baseball, basketball, football, riflery, swimming, track and field, wrestling and more. Athletic teams are called The Colonels. The MMA facilities also include a horse stable and the Centennial Gymtorium.

Extracurricular activities are encouraged and include, in part: marching band, military police, drill team, drama club, chess club, weight training, and a World War II reenactment club called the “Railsplitters.”

The MMA has a history of excellence and an impressive record of college admissions. Thousand of students have gone on to assume important positions in a variety of fields ranging from business to art to the military. Notable alumni include Cody Fowler, former president of the American Bar Association; businessman Howard R. Hughes, Sr.; William Berry, former Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and many more.

For over 120 years, the Missouri Military Academy has been accepting and educating young men from around the world. Students are taught the importance of self-discipline and character development and when they leave the academy, they are prepared to face the challenges of the future.


Historical Highlights of Audrain County, MO

Early Settlers and Frontier Days

Audrain County was named for James H. Audrain who sat on the state legislature. Many of the county’s early settlers came from Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Much of the early settlers were farmers and built their homes near forests and streams. In 1856, the North Missouri railroad was extended through the county opening it up to trade with the surrounding regions.

Involvement in the Civil War

Audrain was divided during the Civil War with hundreds of residents fighting for both the Confederacy and the Union Army. Little actual combat took place within the county limits. For most of the war, the city of Mexico was made the headquarters for federal troops. Ulysses S. Grant, future General of the Army and President of the United States, was assigned to the area for a time early in the war.

Early Industries

Because of the abundance of easily cultivated prairies, the main occupation was farming. The chief crops of the largely agricultural population were corn and oats. Livestock was mostly mules, sheep, and hogs. Horses became an important industry in the region. Audrain produced the finest Saddle Horses in the United States and was called the “Saddle Horse Capital of the World.”

Audrain was also known as the “Fire Brick Center of the World.” Fire clay deposits and local firebrick companies helped to build a leading firebrick industry. Audrain-produced firebrick was known around the world and used in a wide variety of other industries.


The county was home to the Hardin College for Young Ladies, a conservatory for women, and the Missouri Military Academy, a boys boarding school. The Hardin College opened in 1873 and closed in 1933. Two buildings of the college are currently used by Mexico Public Schools and the Academy, founded in 1889, is still active and educating young men from around the world.


Early Settlers of Audrain County

Robert Littleby and Benjamin Young were among the first settlers of the region later known as Audrain County. Naturally, these men are not the first settlers in the region. That honor falls to the native populations of the area. Littleby and the Youngs were among the first permanent settlers of European descent.

It is believed that the first white man to permanently settle within present day Audrain was Englishman Robert Littleby. In 1816, he built a cabin near where a stream met a river. Described as an eccentric, “misanthropical” man, Littleby lived alone with his dogs. He lived off the land – wild fruits, vegetables, and game – and often sold the furs / pelts of beavers, otters, muskrats, and raccoons in nearby St. Charles. Littleby died in 1822.

In 1821, Benjamin Young and his wife moved to the region from Kentucky. They built a cabin on a stream that has since been named for them. For years, they were the only settlers in the area. The only other people they encountered were travelers and hunters who wandered their way. Like Littleby, they lived off the land. Mrs. Young was described as almost as good of a hunter as Mr. Young. She also kept bees that provided the family with honey.

The Young’s had several sons and daughters. One son, Thomas Benton Young, joined his mother on a bee-hunt, and fell some twenty feet out of a tree. He survived, but never fully recovered. Benjamin Young died in 1833, killed by a bull.

The Willinghams arrived from Boone County in 1825. They were followed in 1830 by Joseph McDonald, a Wainscot, the Levaughs, Barnetts, and another Willingham. Next came the McIntyres, the Pearsons, the Watts, Byrns, Jacksons, Harrisons and more. By 1884, there were still less than 30 families in the entire county. Today, 26,000 people live in Audrain County, Missouri – the area first settles by those early pioneers: Littleby and Young.


History of Audrain County

Audrain county, in Missouri, was officially founded in 1836, and is named after James H. Audrain. Mr. Audrain was a member of state legislature for the state of Missouri. The largest city in Audrain county is Mexico, Missouri. Not only is it the largest city, it is also the oldest city in the county. It is now the official seat of the county and is home to the county court. The city of Mexico was named due to the idea that the country of Mexico used to be considered the place to go to make your fortune and luck.

Most of the early settler into Audrain came from Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Most of the settlers built their settlements near woods and small streams. One of the most popular settlers were John Morris, the first postmaster in Audrain county and he also owned the general store. After the first group of settlers, there was little growth until after the Civil War. Despite the slow growth a railroad was built in 1956 through the county.

Audrain county’s Civil War involvement included sending 1100 men to fight in the war. While no battles occurred on Audrain land, the railroad was used by both Confederate and Union Army members to transport weapons, soldiers and other goods across the state. Buildings and homes were damaged during the war, and residents sent to war were killed or injured in battle.

Starting in 1870 agriculture became an important money maker for the Audrain county. More settlers came to the area and settled on the prairie areas. With more railroads being built Audrain county became a well-known agricultural center of Missouri. Popular crops include corn and oats, with popular livestock choices as horses, mules, hogs and sheep.

Today Audrain continues to be a booming agricultural center, with an emphasis on education, museums and tourism. Historians and travelers both visit Audrain County for the Saddle Horse Museum and the Graceland Museum.


A Brief Overview of Audrain County

"Fort Pierre Dak. and the Adjacent Prairi...
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Many people know the great state of Missouri, what many people don’t know is that there is a great county that has been standing for well over 150 years. That’s the county of Audrain and it’s a booming county that just keeps growing. In 2000, the population of the rich county was 25, 853. The county, although no one is quite clear, seems to be named after Samuel Audrain. There are others out there who believe the county got it’s name from a state legislator known as either James Audrain or Charles Audrain.

The county is not unique. As a matter of fact it is one of the several counties that was formed along the Missouri River. It’s immigrants were from the Upper South. They had previously populated the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. These state brought slaves and slaveholding traditions with them and they were able to use those slaves to help cultivate crops that would act that would resemble what they were getting in Middle Tennessee. They started to make hemp products as well as tobacco. This turned out to be a great boon to the economy.

The south has always been known for it’s connection to tobacco and so in starting a county it was only appropriate that in the face of no other original ideas for their county that they go back to doing the old tried and true methods of running their county and making it financially viable. This is where tobacco and hemp came in. These crops became the backbone of the county until recently. While tobacco is still a viable crop, recent restraints put on the tobacco industry has made this crop far less profitable than ever before. Audrain county is one of the most stable counties and will continue that way for years to come.


History of Audrain County, Missouri

Map of Missouri highlighting Audrain County
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Audrain County is located in the northern center of Missouri and is primarily known for its firebrick and farms. Organized on December 17, 1836, Audrain County has a population of 25,853, as of the 2000 census. It was named after James H. Audrain, who was a state legislature member.

Audrain is one of the top agricultural counties and its primary crops are corn, soybeans and wheat. The early settlers came primarily from Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. John B. Morris, one of the first settlers, became the first postmaster. He also owned a general store and operated a tavern. While the county saw little development in its first years, in 1856 a railroad was placed through the county that eventually led to the counties development. This meant that trade could prevail because there was now a way to reach other counties surrounding Audrain.

From the 1870s to the 1890s, the county grew agriculturally. More settlers arrived in the area and more railroads were built. Farming became the counties main source of income. Corn and oats were the major crops growing at this time. The main livestock were hogs, sheep, horses and mules.

Up until the 1930s, horses were becoming more popular and Audrain county hosted some of the finest show horses. Showing horses became the main attraction in the county as well as at other county fairs.

The first public school was built in 1873. By the early 1900s over 100 schools were in the area and surrounding counties. Around the 1970s these schools were consolidated into three primary school districts. In 1889 Missouri Military Academy was founded and is still around today. The Department of Education even named the academy one of the nation’s best private schools.

Today, the residents make sure to preserve old buildings as well as stay afloat on the history of the county.


A Brief History of Audrain County, Missouri

Audrain County, Missouri was officially founded in 1836. It was the 52nd established county of Missouri and has for the past 175 years led a very eventful history. While Audrain County is known as the agricultural mainframe of Missouri it also has some very interesting historical points ranging from civil war activities to its vast developing firebrick industry.

Most Audrain County’s early settlers came from the states of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. They originally settled in the outskirts of the wooded area but quickly grew and settled major cities throughout the land. The major city to become developed was that of Mexico, which still serves as Audrain’s governing city.

It wasn’t until the development of the railroad throughout Audrain that the county began to really grow. The railroad allowed settlers to be able to trade and travel between areas and soon development really grew.

When the Civil War started Audrain County had many people who were ultimately divided onto which side to choose. Over half of the men and women served the Confederate army, while the other half served the Union. A lot of Audrain County was destroyed during the Civil War due to its unique location to the railroad which allowed it to become a Federal troop set up. This meant that there was a lot of riots, fighting, building destruction and even destroying the surrounding land.

After the Civil War Audrain County was able to go back to becoming the agricultural center of Missouri. Many people came from the surrounding states and even as far as Germany in order to set up farms on Audrain County land. The ideal location to the railroad allowed farmers to ship farm goods all over the country in order to maintain a living.

Sometime after the farms were developed Audrain County also saw the development of firebrick factories which became another major part of the culture of Audrain County. Farming and firebrick factories are major stables to the county’s economy even today.