DeKalb County, 270,720 acres of rolling prairie land, is one of 19 Missouri counties organized in February, 1845. The name is for German-born Johann Kalb, member of the French army and general in the American Revolution, known as Baron de Kalb. In May, 1845, near the center of the almost square county, Maysville was laid out as the county seat and named for either the month of May or Maysville, Kentucky.
The DeKalb County Courthouse, built in 1939, is the county's fourth. To the west of the courthouse is Maysville's oldest house, built of brick by Dr. John Black in 1854. In one of the few Civil War incidents in the county, Union troops vandalized the house as Black was a Confederate sympathizer.
Missouri's first permanent Chautauqua was founded in Maysville in 1896 by Thomas J. Williamson. Opening lecture was "Last Days of the Confederacy" by Gen. J. B. Gordon.
James T. Blair, Jr., inaugurated Governor of Missouri, 1957, formerly Lt. Gov., 1949-57, was born in Maysville. His father was a Mo. Supreme Court judge, 1915-24.
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First white settler in DeKalb County was a Canadian Frenchman, Samuel Vesser, who made a temporary home near Stewartsville in 1824, the year Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes ceded their claims to the area. Permanent settlers, largely from Ky. and Tenn., came in the late 1820's. Lying in northwest Missouri's Glacial Plains Region, DeKalb is a livestock and grain farming county.
Maysville, the seat of justice, was the only town in the county until Stewartsville was laid out to the south in 1858 on the route chosen by the Hannibal and St. Joseph (now C. B. & Q.). There was Stewartsville Academy, later a college, 1860-85. Osborn was laid out on the same route, 1854, and north on the C. B. & Q., Union Star was founded in 1879. The Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific reached Maysville, 1886, and on this route Weatherby, Amity, and Clarksdale were founded, 1885.
The old Council Bluffs Trace, a post road opened by the U.S. Army, 1823, from Liberty, Mo., to Fort Atkinson, Nebr., ran through the county. Lost Creek near Maysville got its name when several soldiers, lost in the snow, were rescued near this stream.