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Camden County
Organized January 29, 1841, from Benton, Morgan and Pulaski counties and named for Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden. Originally organized in 1841 as Kinderhook County in honor of President Martin Van Burenís New York home. The name was changed to Camden on February 23, 1843.

County Seat: Camdenton

Address:

Camden County
P.O. Box 960
Camdenton, MO 65020-0930

Photograph

Courthouse in 1902

History
Kinderhook, the name of President Martin Van Buren's residence, was the original name of Camden County. The legislation that changed the name to Camden in 1843 also directed commissioners to locate the county seat on the Osage River. The first location, Oregon, also underwent a name change to become Erie in 1843.

Orders made for a courthouse in 1841 never materialized, but in 1846 the first courthouse was built in Erie. S. R. Roberts superintended and William C. Young contracted for the two-story, 40-foot-square, brick building for $4,046. The courtroom was located on the first floor, county offices on the second. After removal of the county seat to Linn Creek, this courthouse sold at public auction for about $175.

Fire destroyed county records in 1902; fortunately, Goodspeed's History of Laclede, Camden, Dallas, Webster, Wright, Texas, Pulaski, Phelps, and Dent Counties of 1889 appears to have used the County Court records for resource material.

After the move to Linn Creek in 1855, temporary quarters sufficed until 1867, when the court appropriated $6,500 for a courthouse on the square. In June 1867 the contract was let to G. B. Shubert and James H. Waldron for $4,975. Thomas Selby superintended the work. The 32-by-40-foot, plain, two-story, brick building had a courtroom on the first floor and county offices on the second.

By 1902 county needs outgrew the courthouse. The courtroom had become too small, and the offices were inadequate. Fire severely damaged the building and destroyed the contents January 28, 1902. Several quarters served as temporary locations for county functions and business until August 10, 1905, when a committee petitioned the court to rebuild the courthouse, using the standing brick walls. The court agreed that if the town of Linn Creek would spend $1,500, then the court would supplement the amount, provided it did not exceed $1,000. Total costs came to several thousand dollars above this figure. The additional money was raised by popular subscription, but there is no record of the final accounting.

The court resumed use of the enlarged building in February 1906. The building measured approximately 40 by 60 feet, two stories, with a large attic room used as a jury room. The courtroom was on the second floor, the county offices on the first floor.

In 1930 the Lake of the Ozarks, impounded by Bagnell Dam, inundated the site of Linn Creek. In November of that year the county formally voted for removal to a newly created town, Camdenton, which became the county seat. A temporary courthouse, which cost about $4,000, was built by W. J. Cochran and Sons of Boonville.

The permanent courthouse site was at the junction of two highways, occupying a triangular plot. Union Electric compensated Camden County $60,000 for loss of the old courthouse. Architect Victor J. DeFoe designed the new courthouse. B. O. Short, Pierce City, received the construction contract for about $50,000 in August 1931. Cornerstone ceremonies were conducted November 3, 1931. 

The building was completed in July 1932. The yellow brick and tile building measures 76 by 76 by 32 feet and is trimmed with stone. A public assembly hall was planned for the half basement. County offices are on the first floor and the courtroom is on the second floor. It was the first Missouri courthouse built in a modern style.

Copyright 2002 University of Missouri. Published by University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia.

Additional History
The County was created by act of the Legislature, and orignally named County of Kinderhook so named after President Van Buren's residence. The Act was approved by Gov. Thomas Reynolds on January 29, 1841.

Accordingly, on the first Monday of March, 1841, Laban Ivy, David Fulbright and Miles Vernon, the county court justices met at the house of Thomas M. Pollard, and organized their court by electing Laban Ivy president. James N. B, Dodson was then appointed clerk of the court, and Martin Fulbright presented his Commission from the governer of the State authorizing him to perform functions of the office of sheriff of the county, and William A. Pope was appointed assessor of revenues. The County orgainzation had been completed.

On February 23, 1843, the General Assembly of the State of Missouri changed the name of County of Kinderhook, to County of Camden.

Courthouse burned in 1902.

Records at Courthouse

Recorder of Deeds: Index to deeds. 1849-1910; Deed records, 1849-1911; Index to marriages, 1902-1916; Marriage records, 1902-1943.

Clerk of the Probate Court: Will records, 1902-1933.
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