(side 1)Founded, 1832, by Englishman James Keyte, Keytesville is the judicial seat of Chariton County. First seat of the county, organized in 1820, was "Old" Chariton laid out, 1817, near the mouth of the Chariton River by Duff Green, editor, politician. Before floods led to town abandonment, it grew so rapidly that one settler exchanged lots in St. Louis for an equal number in "Old" Chariton, 1819.(See other side)(side 2)(Continued from other side)
The county name probably derived from Joseph Charette, a fur trader who drowned in what is now Chariton River, 1795. When the 1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition noted the river, it had two outlets. Since 1904 the 300 miles of curving channel through the county has been straightened to 33 miles.
Keytesville became county seat, 1833, James Keyte donating 50 acres for the site. Union troops stationed here surrendered to Confederates under John Thrailkill, Sept. 20, 1864, who burned the courthouse.
Sterling Price (1809-67), Missouri governor, 1853-57, and Confederate general, lived near Keytesville. The state statue to him by A.G. Newman is here in Price Park.
Keytesville serves as seat of justice for a rich grain farming county of the Boon's Lick Region. Southern pioneers who settled
following the War of 1812 introduced tobacco and the county was a leader in production into the 1900's. The county lies in territory ceded by Iowa, Sac, and Fox Indians in 1824. Brief hostilities broke out between settlers and a band of Iowas led by Big Neck, 1827. The Indian Trail, later called Field's Trace, followed the Missouri through the county.
Brunswick, the second town to be founded by James Keyte in the county, was laid out, 1836, on the Missouri which since altered its course. It grew into a prominent river port serving a wide range of settlements before the coming of the railroad. To the east is Salisbury laid out, 1867, by Lucius Salisbury.
In Keytesville lived Lisbon Applegate, a member 1845 Mo. Const. Conv.; W.W. Rucker, a congressman, 1899-1923; and Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor, appointed Chief of Staff, 1955, was born here. In Salisbury lived John C. Collet, Mo. Supreme Court, later Federal judge; and Roy McKittrick, Mo. Att. Gen., 1933-45. Actor Sol. S. Russell was born in Brunswick.
Erected by State Historical Society of Missouriand State Highway Commission, 1957