Oregon County


This week on the podcast, the crew is at the home of Irish Wilderness, Oregon County to continue telling the history of Missouri one county at a time.

Our host, Scott Faughn, was joined by Presiding Commissioner Patrick Ledgerwood, Cooperative CEO Dan Singletary and Farm Bureau representative Jinks Wynn to help share the history and culture of Oregon County.

Ledgerwood’s great-grandfather was in Oregon County at the turn of the century and his family has been here ever since – from a timber mill to farming.

Singletary attended School of the Ozarks, now known as College of the Ozarks and decided to stay in the Ozarks after he graduated.

“It gets in your heart and gets in your blood. What a better place to raise your family,” he said.

Wynn’s family moved to Oregon County from Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1960.

Oregon County is located in the southern borderline of the state. The county was founded on Feb. 14, 1845, and is named for the Oregon Territory located in the northwestern portion of the United States.

As of the 2010 census the population of Oregon County was 10,881. Its seat resides in Alton and its largest city is Thayer. In 1846 the courthouse needed to be added on to so officials decided to move the county’s seat and plotted the courthouse in Alton.

During the Civil War, the county was Confederate. In 1861, many people who joined the war were joining what was called the Home Guard with the charge of defending the state against anything and anyone that invaded the army. Later in 1862, many veterans from the guard joined the Confederate soldiers. Be sure to tune into the podcast to hear about how the county recruited during the war between Confederate and Union soldiers and the many stories of Devil Dick Boze.

Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative, now headquartered in Howell County, was incorporated in Alton in 1939. Back then there were 525 members, today there are over 24,000 served across six counties, 5,300 specifically in Oregon County.

Agriculture and ranching are prime businesses in Oregon County. Today agriculture mainly consists of cattle and timber, but it used to be hogs. According to the guests, tourism is not as big as a factor as many would expect it to be for the business side of the county.

Politically speaking, Oregon County is divided in control of the Republican and Democratic parties. Historically, the Democratic Party has held the majority of positions but that has recently changed in the last ten years or so.

Our guests said that if you are ever in Oregon County, they would like you to stay for a weekend to see the mills and fallen springs, Eleven Point River, cattle operations and meet with the people.

Before leaving Oregon County, the crew stopped at Greer Mill and Backwoods Diner for a bite to eat.