The little town of KIDDER, Mo. was called the “Athens of Caldwell County” in its early days being considered the most scholarly town in the community. Kidder was laid out August 3, 1860, by George Harris, a representative of the Kidder Land Co. of Boston, Massachusetts. Kidder was located on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, the only railroad running entirely across the state. On February 14,1859 the first through passenger train ran over this road.
From Kidder’s earliest history, education has stood out as a beacon which has guided the community in its march of progress. From its beginnings a college was a part of its plan. Thayer College was established in 1869. Those who settled in and around Kidder were mostly New Englanders, who had been raised in an educational atmosphere and others from different parts of the country who had been attracted by its good school privileges. It closed twice until 1884 when the community opened the Kidder Institute under the direction of G. L. Ramsey, who after five years of untiring efforts resigned. Professor G. W. Shaw of Fostoria, Ohio, succeeded him as head of the school, a place he held for 43 years, until his death in 1932. Kidder Institute and Prof. Shaw were synonymous. The great work and devoted service of Dr. and Mrs. Shaw has won a place of highest esteem in the hearts of all Kidder Institute students and all who knew them.