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Knox County
Organized February 14, 1845, from Scotland County and named for Henry Knox, Revolutionary War general.

County Seat: Edina


Knox County
P.O. Box 116
Edina, MO 63537


During the 19th century Knox County had only one courthouse. Edina became the county seat in May 1845, and for the first two years the county rented facilities. On November 9, 1847, the county appropriated $1,600, which was borrowed from the internal improvement fund, for a 40-by-30-foot, two-story building to be built in the center of the square.

Apparently, the court drew the first plan, which was then elaborated by Martin Baker, Jr., who had been appointed commissioner in 1846. In May 1848 a $1,650 contract was given to James W. Baker. The building had been unoccupied for some time and in deplorable condition when fire destroyed it on Christmas Eve 1885; although arson was suspected, a contemporary report claimed that the county was not too concerned about apprehending the offenders.

Knox County continued without a courthouse, renting facilities for county business until 1934 when the county collector proposed the idea for building a new one; the court encouraged him to investigate grant possibilities. For several months a small informal committee worked surreptitiously making preparations (the county collector was accustomed to this; a few months later he was indicted after almost $30,000 was missing from county funds). The committee contacted an architect for preliminary sketches, which they submitted with a grant request to the Public Works Administration before making their actions publicly known in Knox County. The grant was approved, providing that the county pass a bond issue, which they did in August 1934. The grant was for $80,000; 70 percent of it was for a government loan. The court then formally approved architect William B. Ittner's design, which had accompanied the initial request for a two-story, brick building with stone trim. The courtroom and jail were on the second floor.

The building contract was let to J. E. Williams, St. Louis, for $61,882 in November 1934, and ground breaking took place December 18, 1934; cornerstone ceremonies were conducted April 6, 1935; the building was dedicated September 13, 1935 (see Figure 2). Total costs came to about $80,000. Ittner was a respected St. Louis architect known principally for his school buildings. This is his only courthouse work in Missouri.

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

The first County Court of Lewis County met at the house of John Bozarth, a short distance below the present site of  LaGrange, on Wednesday, June 5, 1833.  GREGORY F. HAWKINS and JOHN TAYLOR was the first clerk, and CHILTON B. TATE the first sheriff, and both were in attendance and presented their credentials.  The absent judge, ALEXANDER McMORROW, forwarded his resignation to the court , and JAMES A. RICHARDSON was appointed his successor.

The third term of the county court met at the house of MORTON BOURNE; the fourth term was held at the house of the U. S.  GREGORY, at Canton; the fifth at the house of JOSEPH TROTTER, at Canton and the sixth meeting held on June 2, 1834, was in the new courthouse in the town of Monticello.

The first Circuit Court for Lewis County was directed to meet July 14, 1833, at the house of JOHN BOZARTH.  Judge PRIESTLY H. McBRIDE failing to appear, on July 17th, the sheriff declared the court postponed.  The first meeting of the court was held October 14, 1833, at the house of U. S. Gregory, in Canton, Judge Priestly McBride presiding.  The first lawyers to be admitted to practice before the courts of the county were THOMAS L. ANDERSON, URIEL WRIGHT and STEPHEN W. B. CARNEGY.

Records at Courthouse

Recorder of Deeds: Index to deeds, 1838-1889; Deed records, 1845-1913; Index to marriage records, 1845-1920; Marriage records, 1845-1920; Register of marriage license, 1883-1944; Military discharge records, 1862-1977.

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Index to circuit court records, 1845-1912; Circuit court records, 1845-1885.

Clerk of the County Court: Permanent record of births, 1883-1939; Register of births and stillbirths, 1883-1891; Permanent record of deaths, 1883-1893.

Clerk of the Probate Court: Index to probate records, 1845-1918; Probate records, 1845-1889; Probate minutes, 1855-1877; Administratorís/executorís letters, bonds and records, 1847-1859 and 1882-1894; Inventories, appraisements and sale bills, 1858-1898; Settlement records, 1872-1906; Guardianís/curatorís records, 1847-1859 and 1879-1887; Will records, 1849-1918.

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Wills 1849-1872