Sturgeon was born in 1856 on a site chosen because of the construction of the then - new North Missouri Railroad (now the Norfolk Southern), and it took its name from Isaac Sturgeon, president and general superintendent of the North Missouri. The town's early growth was greatly influenced by the completion of that railroad and the traffic it handled. Sturgeon at one time became the largest St. Louis-bound shipping point.
Many early Sturgeon residents were of southern birth or heritage and were sympathetic to the Confederacy during the Civil War. Federal forces occupied the town and maintained a military post here during most of the war.
Growth resumed as Missourians returned to the peacetime pursuits of commerce and agriculture which long formed the economic base of today's attractive, peaceful community. In recent decades, the economy has been strengthened by growing numbers of residents who commute to work in nearby Centralia, Columbia, Mexico and Moberly and by retirees who enjoy the obvious advantages of smalltown living.