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Washburn is a city in Washburn Township, Barry County, Missouri, United States. The current town encompasses the sites of two communities formerly known as Keetsville and O'Day and is named for local pioneer Samuel C. Washburn. The population was 435 at the 2010 census.
Located along the historic Trail of Tears and on the Old Wire Road, Keetsville traced its official settlement to Georgia native John Cureton (1795-1853), who had served as a judge in Washington County, Arkansas before settling on the Washburn Prairie about two miles north of current day Washburn in 1840 and then procured the location of the town. In 1853, Cureton died and ownership of the land transferred to the Englishman James T. Keet (1818-1863), who then laid out the town of Keetsville. The 1850s saw the first real establishment of the town with Keet establishing a store at the site. The growth of the town would be interrupted by the Civil War, as a February 1862 skirmish, a predecessor to the much larger Battle of Pea Ridge the next month in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, would result in the destruction of the fledgling town. Following the war, the town was rebuilt between 1867 and 1869 and in 1868 it was renamed Washburn in honor of an early pioneer to the area Samuel Washburn, who had lived in the area about ten years, before moving to Texas where he was killed in 1838.
In the winter of 1879 and 1880, the Atlantic and Pacific Railway — at that time a franchise of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway — built a railroad line between Pierce City and Seligman, Missouri. This line ran about a half mile west of what was then Keetsville, but soon to be renamed Washburn.
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