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The city of Fulton is the seat of government for Callaway County, Missouri, and home to Westminster College, William Woods University, Missouri School for the Deaf, Fulton State Hospital, and Fulton Regional Diagnostic Center. The first settlers came into the region in 1808, building homes at Cote Sans Dessein, along the Missouri River. When Callaway County was organized in 1830, Elizabeth became the county set. In 1825, Fulton was founded and became the county seat that same year, although it was not incorporated until 1859. Originally, Fulton was known as Volney, but two months later it was changed in honor of Robert Fulton, and engineer and inventor. In 1861, when word reached the county that Union troops were advancing into a nearby county, Colonel Jefferson Jones assembled troops to protect the county. Forces were limited, as most of those who were of age to do so had already volunteered to serve the Confederacy, so local troops erected tree logs to resemble artillery and started campfires representing military camps that were not truly in existence. Union troops were deterred, and talks continued for several days before securing a mutual ceasefire agreement. In reference to their ghost army, citizens referred to their county as The Kingdom of Callaway. Fulton is east of the Mark Twain National Forest, and Fulton is north of Hams Prairie, west of Toledo, southwest of Calwood, and south of McCredie.


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