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Howell County Missouri
Genealogy Trails Website
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Howell County was organized in 1857, the
territory being taken from Oregon and Ozark Counties.
In 1838 a pioneer settlement was made near West
West Plains is the county seat.
Howell County is a county located in the southern
portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. The largest
city and county seat is West Plains. The county was
officially organized on March 2, 1851, and is named
after Josiah Howell, a pioneer settler in the Howell
Howell County was organized on March 2, 1857, from
Oregon County, and is named for Josiah Howell, who
made the first settlement in Howell Valley.
The first Circuit Court met in a log cabin one mile
east of West Plains, according to an 1876 account. A
small, wooden courthouse was built on the square in
West Plains in 1859. It was damaged during the Civil
War in 1862. The county was reorganized three years
later, but all of the county records were destroyed in
an 1866 fire. A second courthouse was built in West
Plains in 1869. It was a small, three-room, frame
building, about 24 by 30 feet.
(Source: A Reminiscent History of the Ozark
Region, Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers, Publishers,