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Mercer County
Mercer County was organized February 14,1845, from Grundy County and named for John F. Mercer, a Revolutionary War general. The County Seat is Princeton, Missouri 64673.

County Seat: Princeton

Courthouse Address:

Mercer County Courthouse
Princeton, MO 64673

Photograph

History
Mercer County bought 40 acres from the U.S. government for the county seat and sold lots, using the money for public buildings. The first courthouse, built in 1847 east of the public square, was a two-story, log structure, measuring 24 feet square.

The second courthouse, built in 1858 in the center of the square, was a brick building, which cost about $8,000. H.B. Nesbitt was the builder. Exterior stairs were probably added later. If a separate or enclosed stairway were not provided, office workers were disrupted while court was in session. Fire destroyed the building March 24, 1898. For several years Mercer County considered building a courthouse. In 1907 a Scotland County, Missouri, newspaper illustrated one of Mercer County's contemplated designs. Officials had been planning a new courthouse for Scotland County and considered what other counties were doing.

After half a dozen rejected bond issues, courthouse advocates mustered their strengths and succeeded in passing by a four to one ratio a bond issue for $75,000 in October 1911. More than 16 architects sought the commission; R. W. Van Trump and Rae Sanneman of Kansas City were awarded the contract.

After the fire in 1898, the county had sold the square to the city for a park, so a new site was necessary. Princeton residents donated $4,000 for a lot close to the square.

J. E. Anderson of Kansas City was low bidder for the contract with $70,500. Construction was to be completed March 1, 1913, or he was to pay $10 a day penalty. Cornerstone ceremonies took place June 8, 1912, attracting a very large crowd. The event inspired some merchants to hold Cornerstone Day sales. The dedication took place in April 1913, again with an overflowing crowd.

The stone building is 65 by 90 feet and two stories plus basement. A large courtroom is on the third floor, and an assembly room for 300 is on the first floor. Final cost for the courthouse came to more than $76,000; furnishings amounted to almost $5,000.

Copyright 2002 University of Missouri. Published by University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia.
Additional History
Courthouse burned on March 24, 1898.
Records at Courthouse
Recorder of Deeds: Index to deeds 1846-1886; Deed Records 1846-1886; Quitclaim deeds,1877-1892; Sheriff's deeds,1881-1935; Index to Marriage Records,1898-1933; Marriage Records,1898-1924; Application for marriage license,1898-1916

Clerk of the County Court: Permanent record of births,1883-1894; Register of births and stillbirths,1883-1894; Permanent record of deaths,1883-1894

Clerk of the circuit court: Circuit court records and index,1868-1887

Clerk of the Probate Court: Index to probate records, no dates; Probate records,1849-1887; Will records and index 1853-1934.

More Links
 Birth & Death Records Database

Search for Mercer County on Archives' Online Catalog

Roll by Roll Listing of Microfilm

Missouri Birth & Death Records Database: Search & Record Availability