Welcome to the Knox County Historical Society

Formation of Knox County

The area now known as Knox County, situated in northeast Missouri, was originally settled by the Iowa, Sac and Fox Indians. In 1824 the Native Americans ceded their territory to the State of Missouri, which had just joined the Union in 1821. Settlers of European descent arrived in the 1830s, including James Fresh, who owned a sizable amount of land and a grist mill operation. In 1839 the town of Edina was platted and named after Edinburgh, Scotland. During this time, Edina and the surrounding area were part of Scotland County, until Knox County was officially established in 1845. The county is named in honor of Henry Knox, George Washington’s chief of artillery in the Revolutionary War, who went on to become the first U.S. Secretary of War.


Edina Double Square Historic District

The Edina Double Square Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, and in 2002, the district’s boundary was increased. It encompasses the town’s two public squares and the buildings along East Lafayette and Main Streets. The district includes the town’s courthouse square and the Knox County Courthouse, which was designed by St. Louis Public Schools architect William B. Ittner in 1935 for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The second historic square includes the former public school, pavilion, bandstand, and water tower. The buildings in the historic district date from 1865-1945 and represent the history of commerce for the area, which served as a center of commerce for the agricultural community of Knox County.  


Oldest Town in Knox County

Newark, the oldest town in Knox County, Missouri, was established in 1836.  James Fresh, the first settler, arrived from Maryland in October 1833.  In 1834 he built a grist mill on the South Fabius River.  A Civil War battle was fought in Newark on 1 August 1862.


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