Today, Missouri has 115 counties.  Well actually we have 114 counties plus the city of St. Louis, which has the unique distinction in our state constitution of being “a city not within any county”.  When Missouri became a state in 1821, we had only 14 counties.  The four counties I serve as state representative – Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, and Harrison – were not named counties at that time.  All of this area was part of Howard County, which enormously covered all land west of Jefferson City and north of the Missouri River.  By the mid-1800s, Howard County would get divided into 23 different counties.

Daviess County was named for Major Joseph Daviess, who died in the Battle of Tippecanoe in Indiana in 1811.  Five states have a county or township named in Daviess’ honor – Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Illinois.

DeKalb County was named for General Johann De Kalb, a German soldier who fought and died for America in the Revolutionary War.  Counties in Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and Georgia are named for him.  George Washington is quoted as describing DeKalb as “the generous stranger who came from a distant land to fight our battles and to water the tree of liberty with his blood.”

Gentry County was named for Colonel Richard Gentry.  Gentry fought in the War of 1812.  After his service, he helped found Columbia, Missouri and was elected as its first mayor.  He was later asked to return to the military and subsequently died in a battle with Seminole Indians in Florida in 1837.

Harrison County was named for U.S. Congressman Albert Harrison.  Harrison was elected three times, and died in office during his third term in 1839.  Harrison is also the namesake of the town of Harrisonville, MO.  Seven other states also have a Harrison County, but they are all named for President William Henry Harrison or President Benjamin Harrison.  Coincidentally, Harrison, Gentry, and Daviess all grew up in Kentucky.

Until next time, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.