Lafayette County, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 39° 11.118 W 093° 52.965
15S E 423760 N 4337710
Major Civil War encounter took place here, called "The Battle of the Hemp Bales"
Waymark Code: WM12BGB
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 04/20/2020
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 2

County: Lafayette County
location of courthouse: Main St. & N. 11th St., Lexington
Location of county: west-central in state; crossroads of I-70, US-40, US-24, MO-20 & MO-13, MO-23, MO-131, MO-213
Organized: Nov. 16, 1820
Named after: General Lafayette, a French statesman who served in American Revolution
County seat: Lexington
Elevation (highest): 335 meters (1,099 feet)
Population: 32,708 (2019)

"Lafayette County is bounded on the north by the Missouri River, opposite Ray and Carroll Counties; on the south by Johnson County, on the east by Saline County, and on the west by Jackson Co...On November 16, 1820, the county of Lillard was established from a portion of Cooper County. John Dustin, James Bounds, Sr., David McClelland, James Lillard and David Ward were appointed commissioners and the act by which they were named provided that Mr. Vernon should be the county seat. The county took its name from Commissioner Lillard, who was its first member of the Legislature and who framed the county bill. He was also one of the earliest settlers of that territory. Lillard resided in Missouri a few years and then returned to Tennessee on account of his health. By act of the Legislature in 1825 the name of the county was changed to that of the honored and patriotic Lafayette, which change was brought about by the visit of the French patriot to this country in that year.

"Gilead Rupe was, from all accounts, the first settler in Lafayette County, he having located, according to some statements as early as 1815, according to others in 1819...George Houx, who fixes the date of Rupe’s location at 1819, settled at Old Frankin in 1817. In the spring of 1818, Houx stated, he passed through Lafayette County, and there was not a white settler in it...

"Mr. Houx fixed 1819 as the year when Thomas settled in Lafayette County, and 1820 when Abel Owens, Wilson Owens, Markham, Thomas and Richard Fristoe, Thomas Hopper and Solomon Cox settled there...

"It is impossible to ascertain who founded the first county seat of Lafayette County. It was situated within the present limits of the county upon the Missouri River bluffs between the present (1901) site of Berlin* and the mouth of Tabo Creek. The first county court of what was Lillard County met in the house of Samuel Weston January 22, 1821.** The court was composed of Judges John Stapp, John Whitsett, and James Lillard...

"The first term of the Lillard Circuit Court was held in 1821. On February 2d of that year, Judge David Todd...opened court at the house of Adam Lightner, in Mt. Vernon...Owing to the limited amount of room at the command of the court, it is said that this jury, with many others, subsequently held its sessions in the hazel brush until better accommodations were furnished...The transfer of the county seat to its present location, Lexington, was made in 1823, and on February 3d of that year the county court held its first session in Lexington.

"No public buildings of any kind had been prepared. March 17, 1823, the first term of the circuit court was opened at the house of Dr. Buck in Lexington...In a log room adjoining Dr. Buck’s residence, the room being used as a temporary jail, was confined at one time the notorious Kentucky outlaw, John A. Murrell." ~ Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 1901, Conard, Vol. 3, pp. 572, 573, 574.

"In passing, it may be said of Lafayette’s first seat of justice that “Mt. Vernon”, the spot designated, was never a platted place and is now gone from memory. It was a mere irregular shaped group of log cabins on the southwest quarter of Section 23, Township51 N, Range 26 West, on the high bluff a mile east of Tabo Creek, three-fourths of a mile from the Missouri River. It was a place where three or four tribes of Indians used to congregate to smoke the Pipe of Peace and barter with the French traders. Terre Bonne, "good land", or "good place", or "no fight place", was what the French had taught the Indians to say. But the American settlement called it Mt. Vernon, as a token of respect for General Washington, whose home was at Mt. Vernon, Virginia. The county court held its first session at Mt.Vernon, in November, 1822. Its next term was at Lexington, February 5, 1823, in Doctor Buck's house, the first house erected in the place.

As a majority of the first settlers came from Kentucky, the new county seat was called Lexington in honor of the city of that state.

* Berlin is no longer listed in Lafayette County. (** The first county court was held at the house of Samuel Weston a justice of the peace (within the limits of Cooper County at that time.)" ~ Lafayette County Missouri, Hon. William Young, 1910, Vol. 1, p. 42.

Wikipedia Url: [Web Link]

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