Sedalia is a city located about 30 miles (48 km) south of the Missouri River in Pettis County, Missouri. U.S. Highway 50 and U.S. Highway 65 intersect in the city. As of 2006, the city had a total population of 20,669. It is the county seat of Pettis County. The Sedalia Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of Pettis County. Sedalia is the location of the Missouri State Fair and the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.. On May 25, 2011, a tornado ripped through Sedalia, causing significant damage to much of the southern side of the city.
Indigenous peoples lived along the Missouri River and its tributaries for thousands of years before European contact. Historians believe the entire area around Sedalia was first occupied by the Osage (among historical American Indian tribes). When the land was first settled by European Americans, bands of Shawnee who had migrated from the East lived in the vicinity of Sedalia.
The area that became the city of Sedalia was founded by General George Rappeen Smith (1804–1879), who went on to found nearby Smithton, Missouri. He filed plans for the official record on November 30, 1857, and gave the area the name Sedville. The original plat included the land from today's Missouri Pacific Railroad south to Third Street. In addition, the version filed jointly by General Smith and David W. Bouldin (?-1893) on October 16, 1860, displayed the city spreading from Clay Street to the north and to Smith Street (i.e., today's Third Street) in the south, and from Missouri Street in the west to Washington Street in the east. Smith and Bouldin anticipated that the city would grow to the north; however, it grew in a southern direction.