History of Moniteau County
The source for the following is the writings of L. F. Wood. Part of it was in the Tipton Times on August 21, 1925.
Today's Moniteau County was originally part of the area known as the Louisiana Purchase. Howard County was formed from this area in 1816 and included all the territory north of the mouth of the Osage and included all of what is currently Moniteau County. In 1818, Cooper County was formed out of this area, taking all the area between the Osage and Missouri Rivers. Cole County was formed in 1820 containing all its present territory and all that of Miller County north of the Osage and that part of Moniteau east of the range line between 15 and 16. In 1833 Morgan was formed from part of Cooper and included all of Moniteau west of range line 15 and 16. Moniteau County was then formed in 1845 and taken from Cole and Miller Counties. The Moniteau County Court first met and the new county performed its first official business on April 2, 1845.
When Cole County was formed in 1820 it was divided into two townships, Moniteau and Moreau, named for the two main streams flowing through them. Translated, Moniteau County means the "Country of the Great Spirit" or literally "God's Country." Manito, sometimes spelled Monito, was the indian name for the Great Spirit or Deity. According to the History of Moniteau County, near the mouth of Moniteau (Manito) River the first settlers found on a column of rock at the bluffs of the Missouri, a sculpture and painting of a colossal figure. The natives at the time of the settlers arrival worshiped the figure as a god and called it Manito. It was destroyed in the building of the river route of the railroad from Jefferson City to Boonville. This is how Moniteau County got its name.
(source - http://www.rootsweb.com/~momonite/moniteauhistory.htm)