Following their expulsion from Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found refuge and kindness in neighboring Clay County. The Saints remained there for several years, during which time several new counties were created. One of those, Caldwell, was designated as a so-called Mormon county.

Most of the Saints who had spent time in Clay County moved to Caldwell. Far West was established as the county seat.

The Prophet Joseph Smith moved to Far West as a permanent resident in the spring of 1838. He only lived there for about seven months. During that time, he had a site identified and dedicated as the place for a temple to be built. Sections 113-115 and 117-119 of the Doctrine and Covenants were revealed to the Prophet at Far West.

After the Saints were driven from Missouri in early 1839, the county seat moved to Kingston.