The City of Warrenton was birthed from a strong, independent, pioneering spirit. Settlers of German, French, English, Irish, and Spanish heritage shaped the land as well as its citizens to become this city we call home. We owe our city’s very foundation to a group of savvy business men and a stubborn court clerk named, Carty Wells.
In 1883 Warren County was organized and named after the American Revolutionary war hero Joseph G. Warren. Warren was the president of the revolutionary Massachusetts Provincial Congress, and enlisted Paul Revere and William Dawes on their historical ride. Warren was also commissioned as a Major General in the colony’s militia. Despite his rank, Warren chose to fight alongside his soldiers. He died during the battle of Bunker Hill. His death galvanized the rebel forces that lead to the eventual defeat of the British, and the birth of our nation.
After Warren County was organized, the immediate concern of the legislature was a need for a permanent seat of justice and its location. A panel of three commissioners was appointed to name the location. A temporary court was established in the home of Mordecai Morgan despite the discontent of two of these commissioners. The commissioners eventually chose the town of New Boston (a small hamlet near what is now Hopewell) as the final county seat location, but this was unacceptable to the many property owners who were already invested in land and buildings near the temporary location. When the county court judges ordered the county seat be removed from Mordecai Morgan’s temporary location in Warrenton to New Boston, county clerk Carty Wells defied the judges’ order and refused to remove his records from Morgan’s. The legislature eventually appointed a new set of commissioners, yet the issue still couldn’t get resolved, despite the commissioners accepting a donation of 55 acres from Henry Walton of St. Louis, and an additional 5 acres from Mordecai Morgan. On January 15 and 16, 1836 the issue was put to the voters to decide. The vote was overwhelming in favor of the seat of justice officially being established in Warrenton.
Having secured the seat of justice, the town immediately began to prosper. The central location was readily accessible from all points of the county. The local farmers, mill operators, granary operators were now joined with a class of business and professional men who immediately set their goal to secure a railroad station. At the time, it was necessary for the raw goods produced to be hauled by wagon to either St. Charles or Marthasville for shipment on the Missouri River. The first North Missouri Railroad train arrived on the 4th of July, 1857. It ushered in industrial and mining opportunities. Once again Warrenton saw immediate growth results. This success in turn, allowed the city to focus on establishing schools and colleges, securing an even greater future for its citizens.
Today Warrenton prides itself in maintaining the small town atmosphere and friendliness while being the third fastest growing community in the state of Missouri. The pioneering spirit, hard working class fortitude and commitment to community lives on.