Place:Missouri, United States

Alt namesMOsource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1988) p 1257
Coordinates38.0°N 93°W
Located inUnited States     (1821 - )
Contained Places
Adair ( 1841 - )
Andrew ( 1841 - )
Atchison ( 1845 - )
Audrain ( 1836 - )
Barry ( 1835 - )
Barton ( 1855 - )
Bates ( 1841 - )
Benton ( 1835 - )
Bollinger ( 1851 - )
Boone ( 1820 - )
Buchanan ( 1838 - )
Butler ( 1849 - )
Caldwell ( 1836 - )
Callaway ( 1820 - )
Camden ( 1841 - )
Cape Girardeau ( 1812 - )
Carroll ( 1833 - )
Carter ( 1859 - )
Cass ( 1835 - )
Cedar ( 1845 - )
Chariton ( 1820 - )
Christian ( 1859 - )
Clark ( 1818 - )
Clay ( 1822 - )
Clinton ( 1833 - )
Cole ( 1829 - )
Cooper ( 1818 - )
Crawford ( 1829 - )
Dade ( 1841 - )
Dallas ( 1841 - )
Daviess ( 1836 - )
DeKalb ( 1845 - )
Dent ( 1851 - )
Douglas ( 1857 - )
Dunklin ( 1845 - )
Franklin ( 1818 - )
Gasconade ( 1820 - )
Gentry ( 1845 - )
Greene ( 1833 - )
Grundy ( 1841 - )
Harrison ( 1845 - )
Henry ( 1834 - )
Hickory ( 1845 - )
Holt ( 1841 - )
Howard ( 1816 - )
Howell ( 1857 - )
Iron ( 1857 - )
Jackson ( 1826 - )
Jasper ( 1841 - )
Jefferson ( 1818 - )
Johnson ( 1834 - )
Knox ( 1845 - )
Laclede ( 1849 - )
Lafayette ( 1820 - )
Lawrence ( 1815 - )
Lewis ( 1833 - )
Lincoln ( 1818 - )
Linn ( 1837 - )
Livingston ( 1837 - )
Macon ( 1837 - )
Madison ( 1818 - )
Maries ( 1855 - )
Marion ( 1826 - )
McDonald ( 1849 - )
Mercer ( 1845 - )
Miller ( 1837 - )
Mississippi ( 1845 - )
Moniteau ( 1845 - )
Monroe ( 1831 - )
Montgomery ( 1818 - )
Morgan ( 1833 - )
New Madrid ( 1812 - )
Newton ( 1838 - )
Nodaway ( 1845 - )
Oregon ( 1845 - )
Osage ( 1841 - )
Ozark ( 1841 - )
Pemiscot ( 1851 - )
Perry ( 1820 - )
Pettis ( 1833 - )
Phelps ( 1857 - )
Pike ( 1818 - )
Platte ( 1838 - )
Polk ( 1835 - )
Pulaski ( 1833 - )
Putnam ( 1845 - )
Ralls ( 1820 - )
Randolph ( 1829 - )
Ray ( 1820 - )
Reynolds ( 1845 - )
Ripley ( 1833 - )
Saint Charles ( 1812 - )
Saint Francois ( 1821 - )
Saline ( 1820 - )
Schuyler ( 1845 - )
Scotland ( 1841 - )
Scott ( 1821 - )
Shannon ( 1841 - )
Shelby ( 1835 - )
St. Clair ( 1841 - )
St. Louis (county) ( 1804 - )
Ste. Genevieve ( 1812 - )
Stoddard ( 1835 - )
Stone ( 1851 - )
Sullivan ( 1845 - )
Taney ( 1837 - )
Texas ( 1845 - )
Vernon ( 1855 - )
Warren ( 1833 - )
Washington ( 1813 - )
Wayne ( 1818 - )
Webster ( 1855 - )
Worth ( 1861 - )
Wright ( 1841 - )
Former county
Dodge ( 1849 - )
Independent city
St. Louis (independent city) ( 1821 - )
Left Carthage Marble in Carthage
Mark Twain Lake
Rural Marion
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City. The state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border.

Humans have inhabited the land now known as Missouri for at least 12,000 years. The Mississippian culture built cities and mounds, before declining in the 14th century. When European explorers arrived in the 17th century they encountered the Osage and Missouria nations. The French established Louisiana, a part of New France, and founded Ste. Genevieve in 1735 and St. Louis in 1764. After a brief period of Spanish rule, the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Americans from the Upland South, including enslaved African Americans, rushed into the new Missouri Territory. Missouri was admitted as a slave state as part of the Missouri Compromise. Many from Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee settled in the Boonslick area of Mid-Missouri. Soon after, heavy German immigration formed the Missouri Rhineland.

Missouri played a central role in the westward expansion of the United States, as memorialized by the Gateway Arch. The Pony Express, Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, and California Trail all began in Missouri. As a border state, Missouri's role in the American Civil War was complex and there were many conflicts within. After the war, both Greater St. Louis and the Kansas City metropolitan area became centers of industrialization and business. Today, the state is divided into 114 counties and the independent city of St. Louis.

Missouri's culture blends elements from the Midwestern and Southern United States. The musical styles of ragtime, Kansas City jazz, and St. Louis Blues developed in Missouri. The well-known Kansas City-style barbecue, and lesser-known St. Louis-style barbecue, can be found across the state and beyond. St. Louis is also a major center of beer brewing; Anheuser-Busch is the largest producer in the world. Missouri wine is produced in the nearby Missouri Rhineland and Ozarks. Missouri's alcohol laws are among the most permissive in the United States. Outside of the state's major cities, popular tourist destinations include the Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, and Branson.

Well-known Missourians include U.S. President Harry S. Truman, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, Chuck Berry, and Nelly. Some of the largest companies based in the state include Cerner, Express Scripts, Monsanto, Emerson Electric, Edward Jones, H&R Block, Wells Fargo Advisors, and O'Reilly Auto Parts. Missouri has been called the "Mother of the West" and the "Cave State"; however, Missouri's most famous nickname is the "Show Me State."



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Indigenous peoples inhabited Missouri for thousands of years before European exploration and settlement. Archaeological excavations along the rivers have shown continuous habitation for more than 7,000 years. Beginning before 1000 CE, there arose the complex Mississippian culture, whose people created regional political centers at present-day St. Louis and across the Mississippi River at Cahokia, near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. Their large cities included thousands of individual residences, but they are known for their surviving massive earthwork mounds, built for religious, political and social reasons, in platform, ridgetop and conical shapes. Cahokia was the center of a regional trading network that reached from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The civilization declined by 1400 CE, and most descendants left the area long before the arrival of Europeans. St. Louis was at one time known as Mound City by the European Americans, because of the numerous surviving prehistoric mounds, since lost to urban development. The Mississippian culture left mounds throughout the middle Mississippi and Ohio river valleys, extending into the southeast as well as the upper river.

The first European settlers were mostly ethnic French Canadians, who created their first settlement in Missouri at present-day Ste. Genevieve, about an hour south of St. Louis. They had migrated about 1750 from the Illinois Country. They came from colonial villages on the east side of the Mississippi River, where soils were becoming exhausted and there was insufficient river bottom land for the growing population. Sainte-Geneviève became a thriving agricultural center, producing enough surplus wheat, corn and tobacco to ship tons of grain annually downriver to Lower Louisiana for trade. Grain production in the Illinois Country was critical to the survival of Lower Louisiana and especially the city of New Orleans.

St. Louis was founded soon after by French fur traders, Pierre Laclède and stepson Auguste Chouteau from New Orleans in 1764. From 1764 to 1803, European control of the area west of the Mississippi to the northernmost part of the Missouri River basin, called Louisiana, was assumed by the Spanish as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, due to Treaty of Fontainebleau (in order to have Spain join with France in the war against England). The arrival of the Spanish in St. Louis was in September 1767.

St. Louis became the center of a regional fur trade with Native American tribes that extended up the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, which dominated the regional economy for decades. Trading partners of major firms shipped their furs from St. Louis by river down to New Orleans for export to Europe. They provided a variety of goods to traders, for sale and trade with their Native American clients. The fur trade and associated businesses made St. Louis an early financial center and provided the wealth for some to build fine houses and import luxury items. Its location near the confluence of the Illinois River meant it also handled produce from the agricultural areas. River traffic and trade along the Mississippi were integral to the state's economy, and as the area's first major city, St. Louis expanded greatly after the invention of the steamboat and the increased river trade.

Nineteenth century

Napoleon Bonaparte had gained Louisiana for French ownership from Spain in 1800 under the Treaty of San Ildefonso, after it had been a Spanish colony since 1762. But the treaty was kept secret. Louisiana remained nominally under Spanish control until a transfer of power to France on November 30, 1803, just three weeks before the cession to the United States.

Part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase by the United States, Missouri earned the nickname Gateway to the West because it served as a major departure point for expeditions and settlers heading to the West during the 19th century. St. Charles, just west of St. Louis, was the starting point and the return destination of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which ascended the Missouri River in 1804, in order to explore the western lands to the Pacific Ocean. St. Louis was a major supply point for decades, for parties of settlers heading west.

As many of the early settlers in western Missouri migrated from the Upper South, they brought enslaved African Americans as agricultural laborers, and they desired to continue their culture and the institution of slavery. They settled predominantly in 17 counties along the Missouri River, in an area of flatlands that enabled plantation agriculture and became known as "Little Dixie." In 1821 the former Missouri Territory was admitted as a slave state, in accordance with the Missouri Compromise, and with a temporary state capital in St. Charles. In 1826, the capital was shifted to its current, permanent location of Jefferson City, also on the Missouri River.

The state was rocked by the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes. Casualties were few due to the sparse population.

Originally the state's western border was a straight line, defined as the meridian passing through the Kawsmouth, the point where the Kansas River enters the Missouri River. The river has moved since this designation. This line is known as the Osage Boundary. In 1836 the Platte Purchase was added to the northwest corner of the state after purchase of the land from the native tribes, making the Missouri River the border north of the Kansas River. This addition increased the land area of what was already the largest state in the Union at the time (about to Virginia's 65,000 square miles, which then included West Virginia).

In the early 1830s, Mormon migrants from northern states and Canada began settling near Independence and areas just north of there. Conflicts over religion and slavery arose between the 'old settlers' (mainly from the South) and the Mormons (mainly from the North). The Mormon War erupted in 1838. By 1839, with the help of an "Extermination Order" by Governor Lilburn Boggs, the old settlers forcefully expelled the Mormons from Missouri and confiscated their lands.

Conflicts over slavery exacerbated border tensions among the states and territories. From 1838 to 1839, a border dispute with Iowa over the so-called Honey Lands resulted in both states' calling-up of militias along the border.

With increasing migration, from the 1830s to the 1860s Missouri's population almost doubled with every decade. Most of the newcomers were American-born, but many Irish and German immigrants arrived in the late 1840s and 1850s. As a majority were Catholic, they set up their own religious institutions in the state, which had been mostly Protestant. Having fled famine and oppression in Ireland, and revolutionary upheaval in Germany, the immigrants were not sympathetic to slavery. Many settled in cities, where they created a regional and then state network of Catholic churches and schools. Nineteenth-century German immigrants created the wine industry along the Missouri River and the beer industry in St. Louis.

Most Missouri farmers practiced subsistence farming before the American Civil War. The majority of those who held slaves had fewer than five each. Planters, defined by some historians as those holding twenty slaves or more, were concentrated in the counties known as "Little Dixie", in the central part of the state along the Missouri River. The tensions over slavery chiefly had to do with the future of the state and nation. In 1860, enslaved African Americans made up less than 10% of the state's population of 1,182,012. In order to control the flooding of farmland and low-lying villages along the Mississippi, the state had completed construction of of levees along the river by 1860.

American Civil War

After the secession of Southern states began in 1861, the Missouri legislature called for the election of a special convention on secession. The convention voted decisively to remain within the Union. Pro-Southern Governor Claiborne F. Jackson ordered the mobilization of several hundred members of the state militia who had gathered in a camp in St. Louis for training. Alarmed at this action, Union General Nathaniel Lyon struck first, encircling the camp and forcing the state troops to surrender. Lyon directed his soldiers, largely non-English-speaking German immigrants, to march the prisoners through the streets, and they opened fire on the largely hostile crowds of civilians who gathered around them. Soldiers killed unarmed prisoners as well as men, women and children of St. Louis in the incident that became known as the "St. Louis Massacre".

These events heightened Confederate support within the state. Governor Jackson appointed Sterling Price, president of the convention on secession, as head of the new Missouri State Guard. In the face of Union General Lyon's rapid advance through the state, Jackson and Price were forced to flee the capital of Jefferson City on June 14, 1861. In the town of Neosho, Missouri, Jackson called the state legislature into session. They enacted a secession ordinance. However, even under the Southern view of secession, only the state convention had the power to secede. Since the convention was dominated by unionists, and the state was more pro-Union than pro-Confederate in any event, the ordinance of secession adopted by the legislature is generally given little credence. The Confederacy nonetheless recognized it on October 30, 1861.

With the elected governor absent from the capital and the legislators largely dispersed, the state convention was reassembled with most of its members present, save 20 that fled south with Jackson's forces. The convention declared all offices vacant, and installed Hamilton Gamble as the new governor of Missouri. President Lincoln's administration immediately recognized Gamble's government as the legal Missouri government. The federal government's decision enabled raising pro-Union militia forces for service within the state as well as volunteer regiments for the Union Army.

Fighting ensued between Union forces and a combined army of General Price's Missouri State Guard and Confederate troops from Arkansas and Texas under General Ben McCulloch. After winning victories at the battle of Wilson's Creek and the siege of Lexington, Missouri and suffering losses elsewhere, the Confederate forces retreated to Arkansas and later Marshall, Texas, in the face of a largely reinforced Union Army.

Though regular Confederate troops staged some large-scale raids into Missouri, the fighting in the state for the next three years consisted chiefly of guerrilla warfare. "Citizen soldiers" or insurgents such as Captain William Quantrill, Frank and Jesse James, the Younger brothers, and William T. Anderson made use of quick, small-unit tactics. Pioneered by the Missouri Partisan Rangers, such insurgencies also arose in portions of the Confederacy occupied by the Union during the Civil War. Historians have portrayed stories of the James brothers' outlaw years as an American "Robin Hood" myth. The vigilante activities of the Bald Knobbers of the Ozarks in the 1880s were an unofficial continuation of insurgent mentality long after the official end of the war, and they are a favorite theme in Branson's self-image.

Twentieth century

The Progressive Era (1890s to 1920s) saw numerous prominent leaders from Missouri trying to end corruption and modernize politics, government and society. Joseph "Holy Joe" Folk was a key leader who made a strong appeal to middle class and rural evangelical Protestants. Folk was elected governor as a progressive reformer and Democrat in the 1904 election. He promoted what he called "the Missouri Idea", the concept of Missouri as a leader in public morality through popular control of law and strict enforcement. He successfully conducted antitrust prosecutions, ended free railroad passes for state officials, extended bribery statutes, improved election laws, required formal registration for lobbyists, made racetrack gambling illegal, and enforced the Sunday-closing law. He helped enact Progressive legislation, including an initiative and referendum provision, regulation of elections, education, employment and child labor, railroads, food, business, and public utilities. A number of efficiency-oriented examiner boards and commissions were established during Folk's administration, including many agricultural boards and the Missouri library commission.

Between the Civil War and the end of World War II, Missouri transitioned from a rural economy to a hybrid industrial-service-agricultural economy as the Midwest rapidly industrialized. The expansion of railroads to the West transformed Kansas City into a major transportation hub within the nation. The growth of the Texas cattle industry along with this increased rail infrastructure and the invention of the refrigerated boxcar also made Kansas City a major meatpacking center, as large cattle drives from Texas brought herds of cattle to Dodge City and other Kansas towns. There, the cattle were loaded onto trains destined for Kansas City, where they were butchered and distributed to the eastern markets. The first half of the twentieth century was the height of Kansas City's prominence and its downtown became a showcase for stylish Art Deco skyscrapers as construction boomed.

In 1930, there was a diphtheria epidemic in the area around Springfield, which killed approximately 100 people. Serum was rushed to the area, and medical personnel stopped the epidemic.

During the mid-1950s and 1960s, St. Louis and Kansas City suffered deindustrialization and loss of jobs in railroads and manufacturing, as did other Midwestern industrial cities. In 1956 St. Charles claims to be the site of the first interstate highway project. Such highway construction made it easy for middle-class residents to leave the city for newer housing developed in the suburbs, often former farmland where land was available at lower prices. These major cities have gone through decades of readjustment to develop different economies and adjust to demographic changes. Suburban areas have developed separate job markets, both in knowledge industries and services, such as major retail malls.

Twenty-first century

In 2014, Missouri received national attention for the protests and riots that followed the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer of Ferguson, which led Governor Jay Nixon to call out the Missouri National Guard. A grand jury declined to indict the officer, and the U.S. Department of Justice concluded, after careful investigation, that the police officer legitimately feared for his safety. However, in a separate investigation, the Department of Justice also found that the Ferguson Police Department and the City of Ferguson relied on unconstitutional practices in order to balance the city's budget through racially motivated excessive fines and punishments, that the Ferguson police "had used excessive and dangerous force and had disproportionately targeted blacks," and that the municipal court "emphasized revenue over public safety, leading to routine breaches of citizens' constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law."

A series of student protests at the University of Missouri against what the protesters viewed as poor response by the administration to racist incidents on campus began in September 2015.

On June 7, 2017, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a warning to prospective African-American travelers to Missouri. This is the first NAACP warning ever covering an entire state. According to a 2018 report by the Missouri Attorney General's office, for the past 18 years, "African Americans, Hispanics and other people of color are disproportionately affected by stops, searches and arrests." The same report found that the biggest discrepancy was in 2017, when "black motorists were 85% more likely to be pulled over in traffic stops".


1810Missouri's first censusSource:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1821Missouri becomes a stateSource:Wikipedia
1861St.Louis Massacre,Missouri State GuardSource:Wikipedia

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1810 19,783
1820 66,586
1830 140,455
1840 383,702
1850 682,044
1860 1,182,012
1870 1,721,295
1880 2,168,380
1890 2,679,185
1900 3,106,665
1910 3,293,335
1920 3,404,055
1930 3,629,367
1940 3,784,664
1950 3,954,653
1960 4,319,813
1970 4,676,501
1980 4,916,686
1990 5,117,073

Note: Missouri was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and became part of Louisiana Territory, established in 1805 and comprising the whole of the Louisiana Purchase north of present- day Louisiana. This was renamed Missouri Territory in 1812. The southern portion (present-day Arkansas and most of Oklahoma) became Arkansas Territory in 1819. Missouri was admitted as a State on August 10, 1821; the northwestern corner (the Platte Purchase) was added in 1837, bringing the State to essentially its current boundaries. In 1810, census coverage of Louisiana Territory was limited to portions of present-day Missouri and Arkansas, mainly close to the Mississippi River. The 1810 census was reported by districts (renamed counties in 1812); Arkansas District was entirely within present-day Arkansas and is shown under that State; New Madrid District also was partly within present-day Arkansas. In 1820, census coverage of Missouri Territory did not extend beyond present-day Missouri. After statehood in 1821, Missouri Territory, distinct from the State, continued to exist until 1854, but was almost entirely Indian lands and had virtually no census coverage.. Areas reported in 1810 were districts, renamed counties in 1812. Total for 1810 is population of Louisiana Territory (20,845), excluding population (1,062) of Arkansas District, in present- day Arkansas; total includes New Madrid District, part of which was within present-day Arkansas. Total for 1890 includes 1 Indian in prison, not reported by county.

Research Tips

Births, Marriages, and Deaths

Death records, post-1910: Missouri State Archives is in the process of digitizing death certificates from 1910-1956. The index is up (names and death dates only), with links to PDF certificates for the years 1910-1934, and 1945-1956. They are apparently allowed to release records more than 50 years old, so 1956 just became available (early 2007).

Other records, pre-1910: Records are incomplete, and mostly from the late 19th century, but the Archives also has online indices for pre-1910 birth and death records. has a variety of collections available for free online:

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Missouri. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

External links

Missouri Rootsweb

Outstanding guide to Missouri family history and genealogy (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, wills, deeds, county records, archives, Bible records, cemeteries, churches, censuses, directories, immigration lists, naturalizations, maps, history, newspapers, and societies.

Missouri State Genealogical Association

Missouri Historical Society

Missouri State Archives

Missouri AccessGenealogy

On-line Historical and Genealogical Societies of Missouri

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Missouri. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.