Missouri Counties
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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.

Lafayette County, Missouri

Lafayette County Education, Geography, and HistoryLafayette County, Missouri Courthouse

Lafayette County is a county located in the western portion of the state of Missouri. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 33,381. Its county seat is Lexington. The county was organized November 16, 1820 from Cooper County and originally named Lillard County for James Lillard of Tennessee, who served in the first state constitutional convention and first state legislature. It was renamed Lafayette County on February 16, 1825, in honor of Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de La Fayette, who was then visiting the United States.

Lafayette County is part of the Kansas City, MO-KS Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Lafayette County Name

Named for Marquis de La Fayette. Originally organized as Lillard County in honor of James (William) Lillard of Tennessee, who served in the first state constitutional convention and first state legislature. The name was changed in honor of Marquis de La Fayette's visit to the United States by an act of the Legislature on February 16, 1825.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Lafayette County

The territory included in the present Lafayette County has borne many names. In 1813 the General Assembly of the Territory of Missouri divided Missouri into seven counties. St. Louis County, which was named for Louis IX (1214-1270) of France, included this territory. In 1816 this territory became a part of Howard County, a county name for Benjamin Howard, a Governor of Upper Louisiana. On June 4, 1812, Upper Louisiana became Missouri Territory. In 1818 Howard County was divided and this section was named Cooper County in honor of Sarshell Cooper, a great Indian fighter. In 1820 the name was changed to Lillard to honor James Lillard, who was one of the members of the first state legislature. An abusive letter written by Mr. Lillard, who had become disgusted with Missouri, caused the county to ask that the name be changed. In April 1825 General Lafayette visited St. Louis and the legislature in session at that time changed to county name to honor the distinguished visitor. The present boundaries of the county are Ray and Carroll Counties on the north, Saline on the east, Johnson on the south, and Jackson on the west. The two counties on the north are separated from Lafayette by the Missouri River. (LAWS OF MISSOURI 1820, 13; ATLAS LAF.; 1877, 63; Pace, thesis, 88, 119,; HIST. LAF. 1881, 206)

Source: Atchison, Anne. "Place Names Of Five West Central Counties Of Missouri." M.A. thesis., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1937.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 639 square miles (1,660 km2), of which 628 square miles (1,630 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.6%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Ray County (northwest)
  • Carroll County (northeast)
  • Saline County (east)
  • Johnson County (south)
  • Jackson County (west)
  • Pettis County (southeast)


Public schools

Concordia R-II School District - Concordia
Lafayette County C-1 School District - Higginsville
Lexington R-V School District - Lexington
Odessa R-VII School District - Odessa
Santa Fe R-X School District - Alma
Wellington-Napoleon R-IX School District - Wellington

Private schools

Sionita School - Bates City (PK-08) - Mormon
Trinity Lutheran School - Alma (K-09) - Lutheran
Holy Cross Lutheran School - Emma (PK-08) - Lutheran
Immanuel Lutheran School - Higginsville (K-09) - Lutheran
Victory Christian Fellowship School - Waverly (K-12) - Nondenominational Christian
Wentworth Military Academy - Lexington (08-12) - Military
St. Paul Lutheran Schools - Concordia (K-12) - Lutheran

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