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Missouri Counties

Missouri has one hundred and fourteen counties and one independent city. St. Louis City is separate from St. Louis County and is referred to as a "city not within a county." Following the Louisiana Purchase and the admittance of Louisiana into the United States in 1812, five counties were formed out of the Missouri Territory at the first general assembly. Most subsequent counties were apportioned from these five original counties.

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Clark County, Missouri

Clark County Education, Geography, and HistoryClark County, Missouri Courthouse

Clark County is a county located in the state of Missouri. Based on the 2010 census, the county's population was 7,139. Its county seat is Kahoka. The county was organized December 16, 1836 and named for William Clark, leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and later Governor of Missouri Territory.

Clark County is part of the Fort Madison-Keokuk, IA-IL-MO Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Clark County Name

Named for William Clark, explorer, Indian agent and governor of the Missouri Territory.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

History of Clark County

Clark County is in the extreme northeastern corner of the state, with the state of Iowa to the north, the Des Moines River to the northeast, a short frontage on the Mississippi River to the east, Lewis County on the south, and Scotland and Knox Counties on the west. On its organization Clark County included the northeastern part of what is now Scotland County, embracing over one- third of that county. The statement that the county was organized in 1818, made by Campbell and repeated by Switzer, et al, is undoubtedly wrong, as there were no settlers in Clark County until around 1829. The statement probably arose from the fact that in 1818 the Territorial Legislature passed an act creating the county of Clark in Arkansas which at that time was a part of the Territory of Missouri. Clark was organized for the first time in 1836. Prior to this time it was a part of Lewis County. While still a part of Lewis, it was divided in 1833 into two townships, Jefferson to the north and Des Moines to the south. A redivisioning of the latter followed, and Jackson Township was formed in 1836. Washington Township in 1837 followed the organization of the county. A redistricting was made and new counties formed in 1838, with a final redistricting in 1868, bringing the number of townships to thirteen. The thirteen townships remain today the same except for a few minor changes. Clark is outstanding in that of her thirteen townships six are named for national figures. On the organization of the county in 1836, there were already two post offices established, St. Francisville and Sweet Home. The first settlers were from Kentucky, and settled near the Des Moines River. Two-thirds of the land was prairie; the remainder was well timbered with a heavy growth of cottonwood trees on bottoms along the streams. There was no road above Tully in Lewis County, but the pioneers pushed their way through the brush and high grass to sites near the present St. Francisville. James A. Lewis was given a grant for land situated in Clark as early as 1825. The first cabin was that of John Alexander's, the ferryman, at the mouth of the Des Moines River. (See Alexandria). The family of Jacob-Weaver, the miller, was the first white family in the county. "Uncle Jerry" Wayland was associated with the early story. There is a legend that the famous Virginian, Robert E. Lee, and his brother homesteaded two sections of land in Clark. "General Harrison," so named for the real General Harrison, an early governor of the Illinois Country (q.v.) as trapper and interpreter had trapped up and down the river in this locality for a long period of time later settling near the Des Moines River (See Marysville). Colonel Muldrow, in the 1830s, that interesting romancer, was also associated with the early story of Clark (See "Eastern Run," also Muldrow College). From Father Marquette's narrative of 1673, there is reason to believe that the two French missionaries, Marquette and Joliet must have been very close to the territory now Clark, if not within its borders. Father Marquette, speaks of the two Indian villages, Peouarea and Moningwena, on the western side of the river generally supposed to be the Des Moines. The distance traveled from the Mississippi River where they left their canoes leads to the conclusion that they were situated not far above the mouth of the Des Moines River, probably on the bluffs of the Iowa side not far from St. Francisville. The position of Clark County at the junction of three states, bordering the Mississippi River at an important point in an early story; its wealth of Indian names indicating its association with the story of the red man of the Mississippi Valley through its honey and "sugar" harvests and its rich hunting ground,--all make the story of this county an interesting one. The counties of northeast Missouri participated in this county in a "war" all their own. In the formation of civil townships the county court in 1838 in Clark recognized the Indian Boundary Line (q.v.) as the northern boundary of the county as laid down by the State of Missouri in 1821. Over this boundary ensued in 1839 a dispute known as the Missouri-Iowa War (See Rapids of the Des Moines), a war without a battle, otherwise humorously known as the "Honey War." (See Jessamine Township). Clark County was the terminus of the old "Bee Roads" (q.v.), as well as the terminus of the Old Salt River Road (q.v.) of pioneer days. None the less interesting was the adjustment of the location of the seat, a matter of contention from 1837 to 1871, with as many as five rivals in the interval, hot controversy ensuing over rival sites circa 1866-1871. The General Assembly named the county on its organization for Governor William Clark (1770-1838), last governor of Missouri Territory, United States Army officer, and fellow commander with Lewis of the exploring expedition across the Rockies to the Pacific. Captain Clark was early acquainted with Indian warfare. The statement was made that it was to his knowledge of Indian habits and manners that the expedition owed its success. He also rendered material assistance in scientific arrangements. He was last governor of Missouri Territory, being governor when the territory became a state. Later he was appointed by President Monroe to the office of Superintendant of Indian Affairs, an office which he held to his death. The Indians trusted "Redhead," their name for Clark, and he was able to avert many a threatened invasion through their feeling for him. While in office, he engineered the Platte Purchase by which a large tract of land was ceded by the Indians to the United States, and thus added a large tract to the state of Missouri. (HIST. CLARK 1887, 233, 234, 238, 240, 251, 252, 266, 267, 271, 273, 274, 275, 288, 289; HIST. N.E. MISSOURI, 82, 338, 339; ATLAS CLARK 1878, 9; Stevens, 67; Williams 1904, 563; Rader, 34, 63, CLARK COUNTY COURIER, Oct. 2, 1936; AMER. ENCYC.; Samuel Ball)

Source: Elliott, Katherine. "Place Names of Six Northeast Counties of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1938.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 512 square miles (1,330 km2), of which 505 square miles (1,310 km2) is land and 7.1 square miles (18 km2) (1.4%) is water

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Van Buren County, Iowa (northwest)
  • Lee County, Iowa (north)
  • Hancock County, Illinois (east)
  • Lewis County (south)
  • Knox County (southwest)
  • Scotland County (west)


Public schools

Clark County R-I School District - Kahoka
Luray School District No. 33 - Luray

Private schools

Shiloh Christian School - Kahoka (03-12) - Nondenominational Christianity

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