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The county seat of Dent County, Salem, Missouri is situated a few miles north of the Ozark Scenic Riverways and near Montauk State Park. When Dent County was created out of Crawford and Shannon counties in 1851, its first courthouse was a log structure on the Wingfield farm, northeast of Salem. Incorporated as a village in 1860, its government was suspended during the American Civil War, and the community was often occupied by units of the 5th Missouri State Militia. In 1881, Salem was incorporated as a town. The city is located at the crossroads of Missouri Highways 72 and 19. Surrounding communities include Doss, Howes, Jack, and Rhyse. Portions of the Mark Twain National Forest are east and west of the city. Springfield is 137 miles to the southwest, and St. Louis is 124 miles to the northeast.


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