Established in 1808 under the superintendence of William Clark, Fort Osage served as a US military outpost and a government trading factory. Situated on a high bluff overlooking the Missouri River near the present town of Sibley in Jackson County, Missouri, the installation consisted of an upright log palisade with four blockhouses, a connected two-cabin factory store with a cellar, barracks for the soldiers, and assorted other buildings. After its closing in the 1820s, the abandoned fort fell into disrepair and ruin.
Located in the southwest corner of Missouri, McDonald County borders Arkansas and Oklahoma. Situated within the Ozark Plateau, it is characterized by a mixture of rugged hills, scenic ridges and river valleys, rolling prairie, towering limestone bluffs, and upland forest. The origins of its nickname, “Snake County,” are obscure, but the name may have been prompted by the large number of snakes found in and around the county’s many streams and caves.