Miller County is Established: February 6, 1837

Miller County Courthouse, Missouri

Miller County was founded on this date in 1837. The county was named for US Representative and fourth governor of Missouri John Miller and includes the cities of Tuscumbia, the county seat, as well as Eldon and Iberia. The county was named in honor of John Miller, a Missouri politician who served as the state’s fourth governor from 1826 to 1832. The establishment of Miller County was part of a broader wave of territorial organization and settlement in the early 19th century, driven by westward expansion and the migration of settlers seeking new opportunities in the frontier regions of the United States. Initially, the area was sparsely populated, with the economy primarily based on subsistence farming and small-scale agriculture. The rich natural resources of the region, including timber and fertile land, played a significant role in the county’s growth and development throughout the 19th and into the 20th century.

The county includes part of the Lake of the Ozarks and a large section of the Osage River, from which the lake was formed. Incidentally, the county also includes within its borders the Bagnell Dam, which was responsible for forming the lake when it was completed in 1931, and generates hydroelectricity to this day. A section of Lake of the Ozarks State Park also falls within the borders of Miller County.

As of the 2020 Census the county’s population was 24,722 and its largest city was Eldon. Although Tuscumbia serves as the county seat, its population is only 203. Its post office has been in operation since 1837 and its location on the banks of the Osage River, which at one time played a large role in trade, transit, and exploration in the state, helps explain its role as the county seat.