Wright County, in the Ozark Highland of Missouri, lies in a region ceded the U.S. by the Osage Indians in 1808. The first white settlers, mainly from Tennessee, came in the 1830's. The county, named for Senator Silas Wright of N.Y., was organized in 1841. Hartville was laid out as county seat the same year. The town name was probably derived from Hartsville, Tenn.
During the Civil War, Hartville was the scene of a bitter day-long battle, January 11, 1863, in which some 2,500 Confederates, under Gen. John S. Marmaduke, encountered about 1,000 Federals from Gen. Fitz Henry Warren's command. Victory was claimed by both sides, but Confederate loss was heavy. Among colonels on Marmaduke's staff were Joseph O. Shelby (later general) and Joseph C. Porter who was mortally wounded.
Ozark Divide, in southern Wright County, is an extensive plateau dividing the waters flowing north to the Missouri and south to the White River. North of the divide are the headwaters of the Gasconade River. At Cedar Gap, the plateau reaches 1,685 feet, one of the highest points in Missouri.
Wright County, an area of fertile valleys and rough hill land, is noted for its fruit, poultry, and dairy farms. To the southeast, at Mountain Grove, are located the state's fruit and poultry experiment stations. The Fruit Experiment Station was
Back Sidefounded on 190 acres given by Wright Countians, 1899. The Poultry Station dates from 1911.
Mountain Grove was laid out, 1882, the year the Kansas City, Springfield, Memphis R.R. (now Frisco) came through. Pioneers who came to the area in the 1850's, first called the settlement Hickory Springs. An early school of note was Mountain Grove Academy, built in 1857. In the Civil War, it was the scene of a sharp skirmish, March 9, 1864. Rebuilt in 1886, it served the area as both a private and public school.
Southwest in Wright County is Mansfield, laid out, 1884, and named for one of the founders, F.M. Mansfield. Near there is the early home of novelist Rose Wilder Lane and the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the writer of children's stories. Educator James M. Wood was born in Hartville; World War II Gen. Paul M. Robinett in Mountain Grove.