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Nodaway County, Missouri

Nodaway County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Maryville
Year Organized: 1845
Square Miles: 877
Court House:

P. O. Box 218
County Courthouse
Maryville, MO 64468-0218

Etymology - Origin of County Name

Named for the Nodaway River. Nodaway is an Indian name which has many meanings. A simple explanation of the word is that it signifies "placid" or "placid water." Others hold that the word means "snakes," and figuratively "aliens" or "enemies." Mr. Allen Read, in his study of Iowa place names gives the following explanation of the name of a town called Nodaway, and the river from Andres Historical Atlas (p. 420). "There was an Indian interpreter in that vicinity in the early days who the other Indians called "Not-a-way." Dr. Luther Bent, who had a contract to supply beef to them asked the Indian the reason for it, and he replied that it was because he was like a rattlesnake, vindictive, revengeful and cunning. The stream for which this town was named also had the same source for its name be said, because in the early days its borders had been infested with rattlesnakes." Mr. Read quotes from A.R. Fulton's RED MEN OF IOWA (p. 488) to show how the name Nodaway links up with Nishnebotna: "When the Indians came to the Nodaway, they found it narrow and shallow enough that they called it "Crossed-without-a-canoe" or Nodaway. For the Nishnebotna they found the opposite and said, "crossed-with-a-canoe." (Eaton, p. 198, 336 Ibid. HIST. OF NOD., p. 85; Read, W.A., p. 43-4 Ibid, Gannett, p. 225; Ibid Thwaites, Vol. 14, p. 37; Read, Allen W., p. 52)

Source: Ewing, Martha K. "Place Names In The Northwest Counties Of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1929.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

History of Nodaway County

Organized in 1845 and named from the principal river, which crosses it near the western boundary. (Eaton, p. 336, 198; HIST. NODAWAY, p. 85; Session Laws, 1840, p. 32-33)

Source: Ewing, Martha K. "Place Names In The Northwest Counties Of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1929.

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