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Bethany, Missouri is the county seat of Harrison County. The county began to be settled in 1838, although it was not surveyed until 1842. Early settlers of the county homesteaded along Sugar Creek and in the Bethany area. The townsite was chosen by county commissioners, who appointed John S. Allen to survey the town, which was located in the southern part of the county. Lots were offered for sale in 1845, at which time the town’s name was Dallas. Early settlers were displeased with the chosen name for the town, and brought the issue before the county court, who decided that a new name would be chosen by ballot. Bethany and Carthage were submitted as possible names for the town, and the vote favored Bethany, which was incorporated under that name in 1860. The town’s economy was heavily influenced by the arrival of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1880, up until rail operations were suspended in the early 1980s, and the tracks were removed. Lakes were constructed in 1935, 1960, and 1994, serving to meet the water needs of the community. General Benjamin Prentiss, who achieved fame during the Battle of Shiloh, during the War of Northern Aggression, was postmaster for Bethany, and is buried there. Bethany is located just west of I-35 on US Highway 69, east of New Hampton, northeast of Wildwood, south of Eagleville, and southwest of Mount Moriah.



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