|Organized March 10,
1859, from Oregon, Reynolds, Ripley and Shannon counties; named for
Zimri A. Carter, pioneer settler.
County Seat: Van Buren
|The Work Projects Administration
inventory record described Carter County's first courthouse, dated 1837,
as a frame, two-story, four-room building put together with wooden pins.
The fireplace and chimney were built of native sandstone. This early
courthouse was located on the west bank of the Current River, one-half
mile west and across the river from the present county seat. It was used
while Carter County was a part of Ripley County, before separating in
1859. A commission voted to retain Van Buren as the county seat. The log
courthouse also continued in use, but was supplemented with space in the
Court officials authorized a temporary courthouse to be built in 1867, west of the present square. Specifications called for a hewn-log house, 18 by 24 feet. They appointed James Snider superintendent.
The court appropriated $3,000 in March 1871 to build a courthouse on the square. William Dawson, superintendent of public buildings, presented a plan and specifications, apparently provided by Peter Ake, who built the courthouse in December 1871. The court paid Ake $10 for providing a "diagram" of the courthouse. W. P. A. records describe it as a 40-by-40-foot, two-story building made of hand-planed pine lumber, on rock foundation, with six rooms.
Early in the 20th century several proposals to build a new courthouse were defeated. Instead, the 1871 courthouse was remodeled, expanded, and covered with native cobblestones. The architectural firm of Heckenlively and Mark, Springfield, Missouri, planned the remodeling for a Public Works Administration project from 1935-37. The original plan called for 13 rooms and a jail. The courtroom seated 350. This is the only courthouse in Missouri known to have been built with cobblestones.
The architects put a 30-by-70-foot addition on the east of the old square building. Interior remodeling placed the courtroom in the new addition on the second floor. Cost of the building was about $30,000. A P.W.A. grant provided $25,000; county funds paid the remainder. No bond issue was necessary. Cornerstone ceremonies were conducted January 21, 1936, and the building, which is still the Carter County courthouse, was dedicated in August of the same year.
|Records at Courthouse|
of Deeds: Index to deeds, (no dates); Deed records, 1845-1904;
Marriage records, 1861-1915.
of the Circuit Court: Index
to circuit court records, 1866-?; Circuit court records, 1866-1889.
Clerk of the Probate Court: Index to probate records, 1859-1922; Probate records, 1859-1922; Inventories, appraisements and sale bills, 1879-1888; Settlements records, 1883-1891; Guardianís/curatorís records, 1861-1891; Will records, 1872-1963.
& Death Records Database
Local Records Inventory Database