Prior to its formation in 1845, the county was included in Scott County within land known as Tywappity Bottoms, so called by the early Indians and settlers. Since the entire eastern boundary of the county borders the Mississippi River, it seemed only logical to call the county Mississippi. The earliest settlement was Bird’s Point, a trading post located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Charleston was platted in 1837 and later became the county seat. Other communities that followed included Hibbard, later changed to East Prairie, Wyatt, Bertrand, Anniston, Belmont, Crosnoe, and Buckeye.
Archaeological findings indicate the pre-historic inhabitants of the county included the Mound Builder civilization. Before the advancement of farming, the land was dotted with multiple mounds filled with artifacts leading to numerous collections that remain in private ownership today.1910 Charleston Baseball Team
Because of the lack of good drainage, the area was known as Swampeast Missouri. That problem was eliminated with the development of a drainage and levee system begun in the late 1800’s and continuing into the early 1900’s. Legend has that more dirt was dug for this project than was dug for the Panama Canal. The result of this work left the land ripe for tillable crops and a valuable resource.
The effects of the Civil War did not bypass Mississippi County. General Grant’s first engagement with Confederate troops occurred in Belmont, located on the river at that time. Although not considered a major battle, both sides suffered numerous casualties. Other minor skirmishes included a robbery by Rebels of the local Charleston bank.
With the end of the war came the development of the railroad which had begun prior to this period. Within a few years, lines connected most communities bringing with it progress and prosperity. With the growing popularity of the automobile in the 1900’s, Mississippi County became the first rural area in Missouri to have a concrete paved highway that lead to the ferry connecting to Cairo, IL.